F.X. Matt Brewing Company Saranac Stout Ale
This has been one that I have been awaiting for a while. I know that the Saranac Stout is included in the year-round Black and Tan but I really wanted to try the unadulterated Stout. Finally, the newly available "What Ales You?" variety 12 pack contains two bottles of the hard to find Stout. The brew pours very dark. Nearly opaque mahogany color with a strong tan head and loads of lacing everywhere. I don't get much in the aroma department. Maybe some coffee notes but nothing too overt.
The flavor is very roasted. On par with the style you will get loads of coffee and chocolate flavors coupled with strong hop bitterness. While this brew does conform to the style guidelines it does also have a unique milky creaminess that sets it apart from other Stouts. I also find the relatively low ABV of 4.8% really showcases the flavor of a solid stout. I find myself more and more liking the lower alcohol stouts more than the bigger beers. The roasted malt flavors seem to come out better without the alcohol flavor competition.
This is definitely one of the best Stouts around. I would call this a couple steps above (some may cry sacrilege) a Guinness. The roasted malt flavor with the very noticeable hop bitterness is extremely well done. You will certainly enjoy this brew and I will be sure to pick up more of the "What Ales You?" packs while they are still around.
Final Score: 87% (Great Stout. Drinkable, but Deep. Nice Addition)