01 December 2007

Saranac Caramel Porter/Winter Wassail (NY)

Two more from the Saranac Beers of Winter 12-pack.

Caramel Porter: This certainly does smell like caramel, but more like those cubes in plastic wrappers rather than something fresh and rich. It looks okay: clear dark brown with ruby tones and a tan head. Taste wise, I'm not one to flinch at the slightest bit of sweetness in a beer, but this is too much for me. The label promises "Fuggles & East Kent Goldings hops for a smooth, yet slightly bitter, roasted flavor." Well, I don't detect much other than caramel. It isn't rich enough in taste for a porter, and the body is too thin. I thought Southern Tier's Pumking was over the top as well, but at least that was big and rich.

Mark at Beercraft blog says drinking this beer is "like licking peanut butter out of a dog's ass." It really isn't (don't ask). On the other hand, it receives fairly decent ratings at ratebeer compared with other Saranacs. I'm not crazy about it, although I didn't pour either bottle down the drain. If I bought this mixed pack again, I'd either cook with Caramel Porter or try to mix it with something else.

Winter Wassail: This is, in my opinion, a bit more successful. It's a crystal clear brown/amber color with a white head. "Look for hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and allspice," says the guy who wrote the label text. The warm spices come through nicely, along with some fruit and some hops that attempt to balance it. My main complaint is the body: it's slightly watery and (again) has too much carbonation. A winter brew in particular should be heftier. Still, this one's fairly decent.

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