overall
32
71
style
RATINGS: 63   WEIGHTED AVG: 2.86/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 177   ABV: 5.9%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Our Saranac Winter Lager is a rich, malty, old school German Lager, made with traditional German malts and hops and fermented with a lager yeast. Look for a rich but smooth malty taste, balanced by an impressive Hallertau hopping-A nice reward for enduring our winter months.

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2.8
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
lithy (2996) - Capital of Appalachia, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 25, 2010
Clear amber red-beige cover. Toasty, aroma is spicy malts, caramels. Taste is cocoa, caramel, toast.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
MrBunn (2767) - The Wet Side of a Dry Town, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 15, 2010
Bottle. Pours a lovely deep amber/copper color with a thin but dense head. Aromas are a mix of grain dust, a bit of apple juice concentrate and caramel. Flavor is pretty grain dominant with a bit of an apple like fruitiness that comes and goes. This is fairly sweet with a fruity finish.

2.5
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
Beergeek23322 (2602) - Chester, Virginia, USA - DEC 2, 2013
11/1/2009. Bottle from a sampler pack. Golden color with a white head. Sweet malty aromas with grain and light hops. Watery and lacking flavors.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Beerona97 (2398) - Washington, USA - JAN 15, 2010
Clear ruby amber, thick foamy beige head. Aroma of bread, caramel, earth and spicey hop. Taste is like an Ofest with some bitter hops and roast balanced by toffee. Medium body, smooth carbonation.

2.8
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
gsmitty80 (2130) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 11, 2011
This was a nice heavier vienna beer. It was kind of sweet with a good malt.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 15/20
freekyp (2023) - Thomasville, North Carolina, USA - JAN 6, 2010
Nice malty lager with a bockish sweetness, but a rich spicy hop character. Aroma is shows brown sugar, earthy malt and some noble twang. Pours a gorgeous auburn with a thick sticky white head that leaves a lot of lacing. Finish is well balanced with a little brown sugar sweetness showing through receding into a mellow malty lingering. Packs more flavor than most other Viennas Ive tried. Well done.

2.7
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
topherh (1925) - Kearney, Missouri, USA - DEC 2, 2009
Bottle pours a clear brownish amber with a white head. Aroma is lightl caramel malt, toast, and a bit of metal. Flavor is much the same with some nutty notes coming through.

3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
ChadPolenz (1749) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - APR 15, 2010
UPDATED: JUL 16, 2011 Ive always considered myself a fan of the Saranac line of beers, although I catch a lot of flack for it within the craft beer geek community. Sure, Ill admit most of their brews are indeed supermarket beers, but that doesnt necessarily make them bad. I think when other beer geeks think of Saranac they would think of a beer like Winter Lager. This is an overtly pedestrian beer, which is evident from its smooth drinkability and fairly direct palate. Its not a bad beer by any means, but its not nearly as fanciful as the description would indicate.

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

The body here is very reminiscent of an Oktoberfest with a dark amber/brownish color with a clear complexion. It forms a surprisingly large, off-white rocky head which is slow to dissipate and, surprisingly enough, leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is quite sweet with hints of caramel and a touch of spice. There is a slight graininess to the nose as well, but mostly its unremarkable.

TASTE

Im not sure what the average drinker (craft, macro or otherwise) thinks of when they hear the term winter beer, but the first thing that comes to my mind is a spicy, peppery, warming palate. If a beer is going to put the put itself forward as a winter beer, especially as blunt as Winter Lager then its reasonable to have an expectation along these lines.

Saranac Winter Lager does play by these rules, but isnt a strict adherence to them. There is a slight bit of cinnamon or ginger to be tasted here, in addition to a maltiness to create for a slightly sweet palate. Its mild, to be sure, but the character is noticeable. Theres even a touch of hop crispness on the finish with a faint bitter aftertaste.

The problem is, despite all this apparent complexity, this beer is pretty direct. The palate doesnt change as it warms, although it doesnt worsen either.

DRINKABILITY

The good thing about Saranac Winter Lager is that its a surprisingly refreshing brew. In fact, I think thats the intention. The brewers website recommends pairing it with spicy food such as chili, and I could certainly agree with that. Its thirst-quenching because its so mild and has a watery, soft mouthfeel. Whats surprising is the fact this is such a potent brew at 5.9% ABV. It doesnt feel that heavy in the mouth, nor on the system.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really wanted to like Saranac Winter Lager more than I did, but its impossible to coax flavors out of a beer that arent there. Its drinkability is impressive, but the palate is not. Still, considering this beers target audience its a worthy conclusion to the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter variety pack ($12 - $20). I just wouldnt make it one of my first choices right out of the box.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
gkost (1709) - Tampa, Florida, USA - NOV 13, 2009
POurs amber. Nose is nutty, toasted malt and sweet caramel. Flavor is bready, nutty, floral hops, sugar sweet, cinnamon.

0.8
   AROMA 1/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 1/10   PALATE 1/5   OVERALL 2/20
fredandboboflo (1570) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 13, 2010
Bottle. Wow. After the maple porter I thought I must have gotten the worst of the winter pack out of the way. Now Im just terrified to try the rest. Corn. Creamed corn. Corn syrup. Goddamn government subsidies.


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