Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saranac Decoction Concoction

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1034) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 28, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into my official Saranac shaker glass. It came as part of the "12 Beers of Winter" mix pack for $14.28 ($1.19 per bottle or $0.10 per ounce).

Appearance: Pure amber hue, crystal clear body with carbonation visible. Pours to a somewhat small, eggshell, soapy head which retains and laces well enough.

Smell: Surprisingly hoppy - light notes of citrus, flowers and a touch of garlic or onion.

Taste: Everyone loves hops and every brewery is jumping on the bandwagon of making hoppy lagers these days including 125-year-old Saranac. I have no problem with trendy beers as long as the quality is good and I have to say "Decoction Concoction" lager is a genuinely good beer. It drinks more like an American-style pale ale than an amber or Vienna-style lager. That’s okay, because the net result is a good-tasting, easy-drinking beer. Nothing wrong with that.

Hops are present here right away, imparting a solid pine-flavor bitterness (rather ironic since the smell is so citrusy). The palette is well-balanced with a strong malty character equally present throughout. Pale, honey, and amber malts create for a slight confectionery sweetness with flavors of toffee, caramel and maybe even some butterscotch. Additional hop bitterness on the second half of the swig, this time a bit more on the earthy/herbal side. Leaves a slightly dry/slightly bready aftertaste. Overall, it’s pleasantly surprising and a palette that’s versatile to stand up to a meal or enjoy solo.

Drinkability: Though Saranac Decoction Concoction is a lager, you would never know this if you were to drink it blind. The mouthfeel is much thicker and more tepid than most lagers and has no generic lager aroma or taste to it all. It’s comfortable in the mouth and goes down smooth with a decent aftertaste. It’s surprising to learn this beer is 6% ABV since the body feels so much lighter than that. It’s tempting to session this. But since you only get two bottles in a 12-pack you’ll be fine with them. 
Grade: 8/10

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