is one of the brands that introduced me to craft beer. They have a
reputation for being, shall we say, weaksauce craft beer. I think that’s
unfair, though, since they make pretty good products across the line.
Though what they consider part of their top shelf offerings are a lot of
brewery’s core releases, like the new Saranac Immortality – an imperial
amber ale that drinks exactly like what it claims to be. Maybe not
quite top-of-the-line in terms of impressiveness, but a solid, tasty,
and well-balanced brew I’d say.
I poured a 12oz bottle into my official Saranac shaker glass. It was bottled on 1/14/15 and cost $3.65 ($0.30 per ounce).
Appearance: Beautiful copper/amber color; nearly crystal clear with
plenty of carbonation visible. Pours to a small, off-white, soapy head
that retains and laces fairly well.
Smell: Piney and flowery hops; sweet dark malts (the Vienna really comes through).
Taste: Amber ales tend to be close to IPAs in flavor, though they
accentuate their maltiness much more so. Traditional brews tend not to
go overboard on the hops, but if you make a big brew you certainly can
justify upping the bitterness. This beer is a good example of what I
mean. There’s a strong malt character here, even though it’s only brewed
with three malts (two-row, Vienna and Carastan). The latter two
accounting for the darker color and sweet flavor. Definite notes of
caramel and a touch of toffee are found here. Additionally, the hops are
quite prominent. There’s a strong piney/resin flavor at the beginning,
but it becomes a little more dry and floral-like on the backend. Those
75 IBUs are impossible to ignore, but neither is the sweet malt base.
All in all it’s an interesting, well-balanced beer. A nice change of
pace from the typical IPA.
Drinkability: At 7.5% ABV, Saranac Immortality is much bigger than the
average brew in their portfolio so they put it with their limited
edition “High Peaks” series. Personally, I don’t find it to be anything
monstrous or weighty. It’s a full-bodied beer, yes, but the mouthfeel is
consistently crisp and well-carbonated to prevent it from being cloying
or feeling like carbonated oil. The hops do linger a bit on the tongue,
but it’s a faint and fairly pleasurable sensation. This would
definitely stand up to a savory meal.