Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saranac Immortality

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1328) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 18, 2015
Saranac 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. 
Score: 8/10