Raytailgater (105) - Rockledge, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 12, 2002
Yet again another good beer from Saranac TheBeerLover (1027) - DC Metro Area, USA - JAN 25, 2006
Saranac Single Malt is a very interesting beer. This beer is brewed with just one type of malt, imported Scottish Maris Otter, which is traditionally used by Scottish distilleries in the making of single malt Scotch whiskey. This beer is also hopped with one variety, imported English Fuggles. This was a very impressive beer. It had a very pronounced whiskey malt character in both flavor and aroma.
Saranac Single Malt pours to a beautiful, bright amber color with a nice white head that slowly fades and a moderate amount of carbonation. The nose is quite malty in aroma, with slight traces of peat smoke, which is a traditional feature of whiskey malt. The palate, like the nose, is a wonderful showcase of whiskey malt flavor. Slight sweet and smoky/grassy malt flavors coat the tongue. This beer finishes with more whiskey malt notes up front, and then dries with just enough hop character to balance this beer out.
This was a very impressive version of a whiskey malt ale. Many breweries use a portion of whiskey malt in brewing of Scotch ale, but few breweries do a beer that is brewed with just whiskey malt. This is quite different from a Wee Heavy, or Scotch Ale, which Saranac also features in the holiday pack. This beer showcases Maris Otter, and it is akin to drinking a single malt Scotch whiskey and water. I wouldn’t pair this one with food. This beer would make a perfect cordial, after dinner drink, or night cap egrzelak99 (5) - Rochester, New York, USA - DEC 2, 2001 does not count
A ’wet’ beer with an incredibly evident malt flavor. I could smell it before I tasted it. This beer also ends with a floral hoppy flavor. I enjoy it. JawVer (39) - - MAY 25, 2012
12 oz bottle. Pours deep red copper with medium head. Good but not great-worse than expected. Rib Eye (148) - USA - MAY 6, 2002
Very nice. Close to what I look for in a good refeshing beer. Medium light body with nice sweetness well balanced by light hopping.
hopscotch (11104) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - JUN 29, 2002
UPDATED: SEP 6, 2006 Bottle... Mostly clear amber ale with orange highlights and a mid-sized, frothy, off-white head. Malty, earthy aroma with notes of caramel, yeast, spent grain, light chocolate and a hint of smoke. Malty, floral flavor with good balance. Medium-bodied with modest carbonation. Lengthy, dry finish. Grassy at the wee end. monkeyman (57) - Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 27, 2003
Saranac 12 Beers undated package (purchased 12-02): A triumph! Incredibly smooth malty body with small hops. Very rich and tasty. Might buy again if it was date stamped and reasonably priced. UnionMade (621) - Connecticut, USA - SEP 22, 2002
Surprisingly light and refreshing. Not typical of a scottish ale. The malt is sweet and very mild, with very subtle hops in the background. I like this stuff a lot, even though I was expecting something much heavier. One of Saranac’s better brews. ChadPolenz (1820) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 25, 2012
UPDATED: JUN 26, 2012 I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Saranac shaker glass.
Appearance: Hazy shade of dark copper/burnt umber. Some fine carbonation visible. Forms an average size, off white, foamy head which mostly dissipates but laces the glass quite well.
Smell: A light scent of cereal grain with a hint of cherry, otherwise a mild nose.
Taste: If I’m reading the bottle label correctly, it seems that Saranac Single Malt is brewed using just Scottish Maris Otter malt - the same malt commonly used in the distillation of whiskey and Scotch. But don’t go into this beer thinking it’s going to taste like one of those types of liquors. It’s closer to a traditional British style pub ale. A light malty sweetness all around with subtle component of dark fruit. Cherry seems to be the most prominent. There’s a gentle dry bitterness through the middle due to the use of Fuggle hops (also a common ingredient in British pub ales), and then it finishes mostly clean, but not before a very brief peat-like flavor makes itself known.
While it’s not a complex palate, these flavors and the overall delivery would be handled better through the magic of cask conditioning. In bottle form it’s a very mild brew and most likely Saranac’s target audience won’t pick up on the minutia it has. That’s not to say it’s absolutely delectable, though, as the mildness is just a few shades north of bland.
Drinkability: I drank two bottles of Saranac Single Malt back-to-back on a hot summer’s night and they really hit the spot. The subtle fruit flavor of the palate combined with the thin, slightly flat, mouthfeel makes it surprisingly refreshing (or at the very least just an easy beer to drink). It goes down smooth and the aftertaste is clean with just a hint of bitterness. A tad too big to session, but at only 5.5% ABV it’s no challenge whatsoever to drink two bottles.