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Rauchbier - Sly Fox Brewing Company

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very good

15 Reviews
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Reviews: 15
Hads: 26
Avg: 3.97
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Rauchbier |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jakester on 08-25-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 15 | Hads: 26
Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An american-made Rauchbier?!? Yow! I had some of this a few weeks ago while doing my monk thing at the second semi-annual B.E.A.T.S.fest at World Cafe Live, which was relatively lightly attended, allowing me to get a pint glass filled and be able to do a review without (much) fear of backlash. I had it again on Thursday night during the dinner at Sly Fox and when I showed my notes to some of the people at the table, they remarked that I had captured it perfectly. Well, here goes ...

This had a medium, off-white head with decent, if not great, retention. The color was a clear, deep amber with a hugely smoky nose. The beginning struck me as imparting a slight honey taste, which gave way to a sausage-like flavor on the palate. The mouthfeel was full, not quite creamy. The finish was more towards pork/bacon, if one is capable of making that kind of subtle distinction. I was so taken with this that I put my $ where my mouth and pen were and sprung for a growler. This will be part of an upcoming Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em dinner at my uncle's place. Absolutely yummy, but a steady diet of it might put me off, so no 5 for drinkability.

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Photo of PEBKAC
4.64/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Baby growler from New Beer.

Again, same DFH glass.

Half inch of tan-ish cola head. Filtered, bright bourbon amber color. Very sparse, dotted lace.

Salty, fat side ham that's just mildly smoked with a sweet wood. Maybe a touch mineral-ly & even Gouda-y. (I often find that Sly Fox tries their hand at too many things, not quite getting it right, but this is one of my favorites. Just an awesome smell to it.)

Taste at first is more on the acrid side(think burning bark), even a little papery(when cold). Once it warms a touch, it's perceived more as a balancing chewy bitterness. Middle to end gets most of the hammy flavor. Sweet, salted, smoked, liquid pork. :) A little extra bitter char on the end there to close it out easier. Alcohol is there, but quite a distant thought.

As expected, light hef on the body. Carbonation is a little too strong, (even after three weeks sitting in a bottle), but it works well with food. Maybe it's to keep the fat from congealing. :P

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Photo of tigg924
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Phoenixville--served into a pint glass

Appearance: orage/brown in color, 1/4 inch head, clear, medium carbonation

Smell: deep smoke and some bacon

Taste: deep smoked malt, some toasted malt, and small earthy hops at the end

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, sweet with smokiness throughout and a slightly bitter/dry end, light bodied

Drinkability: The smell of this one is just amazing. The bitterness at the end is unique. This may be one of the best domestic rauchbiers I have had. I will look for this whenever I am in Pennsylvania. It is just a really great beer. Sly Fox continually impresses me with the high quality of the beers they churn out.

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Photo of Deuane
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Deep, dark copper with a small white head that held on strong and left spotty lace.

S-Like being out in the country and driving by an old smokehouse. Virginia ham and back bacon swirls around with a nice malty sweetness. The smoke plays the lead but accompanies the malt and does not overwhelm.

T-Initial smoky sweetness up front. The smoke stays strong but never becomes annoying or overwhelming. All this building smoke leads to a drying factor that melds with a bit of biscuit breadiness in the back.

M-Medium bodied, clean and dry.

D-I had this beer before it won the 2008 GABF gold and I stated, this is without question the best non-German rauchbier I have ever had....glad to see the judges agreed with me! For me, a smoked beer geek, this is about as good as it gets. No wonder I had something like four in a row!

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.34/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler at the P-Ville location, w/out having any knowledge of this beer's history. Some would say, the purchase was "on a whim".

Pours with a faint off white head that burns off fairly quickly to zero head over a clear amber body, with a touch of carbonation flowing up.

Aromas are fantastic - not over the top - just the right amount of charcoal cooked pork, caramel malt, black pepper, and rubber. Inviting.

Flavors are also terrific, and follow much of the same in the aroma. Fairly sweet up front, but overall a nicely smoked set of meats throughout. Touch of lingering charcoal dust.

Just a touch of carbonation with a fairly dry finish in the mouthfeel.

This one makes me long for fall, sitting out back by a campfire. And was a fantastic pairing to a chunky prime rib hoagie earlier.

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Photo of Seanibus
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear copper with big fluffy head. Aroma is strongly smoky. Flavor is clean and smoky, powerful yet delicate. Not overwhelming. It suggests leather and rich pipe smoke, not so much like a campfire, as with some rauschbiers.There is some butterscotch malt back there, but mostly smoke. Mouthfeel is quite delicate.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap during the Sly Fox Goat Race & Bock Fest on 5/3/09.

A - Clear copper with deep reddish hues and a short off-white head that receded to a patchy film and left nice lacing around the glass.

S - Mild smokey aroma with a prevalent sweetness suggesting toffee notes. Nose is quite malty overall with just a hint of earthy, leafy hops in the background.

T - Smokiness comes to life in the flavor and is more apparent here than in the initial aroma. Traces of smoked meat and charcoal, but not overpowering in the least. Finishes with a dash of earthy, leafy hops.

M - Medium bodied with a light syrupy texture and subtle carbonation. Finish is smokey with a slight dryness on the palate.

D - Extremely drinkable rauchbier, yet one of the more potent smoked beers I've had in my travels. This particular one packs tons of flavor without becoming too overbearing.

Brewslut's Quote of the Day:
"It's like drinking liquid bacon."

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Photo of Biscuit033
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear burnt amber, one finger head that disappates quickly with moderate lacing.

S: Smoke is evident (like the smell of your clothes after going to a bonfire), but also of smoked meat especially ham.

T: smoke and saltiness of cured meats especilly ham or bacon, like Irish bacon, there is a hoppiness that cuts through balancing the smoke very nicely.

M: This is more carbonated than most of SF's beers but I think that it helps keep the smoke flavor from being too dominant.

D: This is a well crafted beer that is spot on to the style. I could definately have a few of these on crisp fall afternoons.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer came an amber gold with a thin oatmeal head.

Smelled of salty chicken and smoke with a dry molasses.

Tasted of smooth honey and cherries that hesitates for a moment and then drops into a smoked slightly salty ham. There’s a unifying crisp sweet cedar and grass hops that ties these two together.

The mouth feel is light to medium bodied with a light carbonation.

The dynamics of this beer are stellar! I can’t wait to try this beer again.

BTW, my girlfriend, who used to live in Bamberg, tried this and liked it very much. I think that says a lot about the quality of this beer.

Well done!

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Photo of Gavage
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: amber in color with a 1" head that falls apart quickly. No lacing with this beer.

Smell: loads of smokey goodness with some caramel sweetness in the background.

Taste: nice caramel base with some mild smokiness, some nuttiness, and a mellow bitterness. The smoke flavor is kept nicely in check as not to overwhelm the flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout. Aftertaste is long as the smokey flavor linger softly on the tongue.

Drinkability: this beer goes down smoothly and would go well with BBQ meats. Nice beer overall and worth a try.

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Photo of DrJay
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, light chestnut (deep amber with a reddish hue) with a short cap of white foam. Good retention and the fine bubbles showed some stickage to the glass. Very nice aroma, all malt and smoke. There were notes of caramel and peat, giving it a single-malt scotch character. Also a light ashiness, almost like a campfire. The smell was fairly mellow overall though. Solid bitterness was balanced by sweet malt and wood smoke (kind of like a ham). Many of the qualities of the aroma carried into the flavour, but the smokiness was more subdued. Medium/light body with lowish carbonation, some dryness and decent texture. I really enjoyed Sly Fox's interpretation of a rauchbier. I'm not normally a fan, but the balance worked for me.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok, so after getting the Maibocks out of the way, the Rauch was my next target. Again, a 10oz serving for me, at $3.75.

This version was a clear, deep copper colored liquid. A thin, light beige head sat upon the surface, with light carbo below and great lacing on the sides. Aroma? Hot damn! Love it!! A super-strong beechwood smokiness is oh-so-evident! Mmmm! Mothfeel is solid, medium body combined with a pleasing smoothness.

This bier has a very subtle tinge of sweetness from the malts, but it soon goes deep into the smoky phase. Along with some floral hops lingering in the background, the beechwood malts take you on a great ride through Rauch-heaven. Solid all the way, with the rauchiness lingering long and hard. Well-made, sir!


4.13 rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


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Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a plastic sampler cup at a Sly Fox tasting event at Bierkraft in Brooklyn.

A--A reddish-orange body that's somehow more brown than amber. Kind of cola-colored. Head is small and a fizzy white, like, well, coca-cola.

S--A little bit of bacon and even maple, but mostly it's woodsmoke. Almost fatty scented that's cut immediately by acrid hardwood smoke. A little sweetness in-between. Impressive nose!

T--Oh, wow--get me some ribs and I'd just about be in heaven. This is the perfect beer for St. Louis or Kansas City style ribs, or Texas brisket, or, hell, any food that uses "low and slow" as a descriptor in its recipe. Great combination of sweet syrup up front alongside a middle of oily pork with a dash of smoke throughout but especially at the end. There's beechwood aging, then there's beechwood smoking. This tastes like light colored hardwoods were used in the smoking part of the program.

M&D--Both are excellent, as the active carbonation brightens and lightens this enough to keep it from being mouth-coating. It's fairly thin, thinner than the flavor profile would suggest, which is a necessary offset for such big flavors. Again, think BBQ, and not no barbecue chicken with like grilled scallions. Bring on the pulled pork, gentlemen! I'd drink this before the meat was on the smoker when I was getting the fire ready, during the smoking process when the meat and wood smells were mixing, and after it was through and I could gnaw my way through some bones. At 5.2 percent, I may just survive such an endeavor~! Great American take on the style. Tied with the Aurora IPA as my favorite brew tasted tonight (out of ten).

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks once again goes out to Jay for sending me yet another wonderful growler from Sly Fox. I received this one on Friday and immediately through it in the fridge, serving it in 24ozz pilsner glasses. Consumed on 08/03/2008.

The pour was very nice, with a hazelnut brown liquid with ample reddish highlights shining through immediately noticeable. A puffy little tan head of foam then came up over the top and settled down to a broken crown that clung to the outside of the glass. Very nice carbonation could be seen streaking up towards the top throughout the session, really letting you know that this thing was definitely lively.

The aroma was classic for the style. Rich notes of smoke and peat were dominating the aroma. Lots of roasted malts and a slight touch of caramel as well as a bit of a green bitterness mixed in throughout. The flavor was much more of the same. Rich notes of peat and smoked tones were riddled throughout. Nice malted grain, with a roasted flavor in the middle as well. Nice and light with a even and smooth carbonation profile, and a quick finish that left a lasting roasted malt flavor and a nice sense of smokiness on the palate. Highly drinkable as I had no issue in polishing off this growler tonight at all.

Overall a highly session able, tight little ale from Sly Fox. This is a style that can be done incredibly wrong if you are not careful, so it was refreshing to see another hit come out of them! Go check this one out while it is still available.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.01/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Sly Fox Rauchbier delivers a deep copper body beneath a short but creamy head of ivory froth. The retention is fairly good and it leaves some nice lace about the glass. The body is medium; and combines with a fine-bubbled, median carbonation to give it a lightly crisp and then somewhat creamy mouthfeel. There's little smoke in the nose, but much more in the flavor. The maltiness is rich and round as well; lightly sweet and velvety on the tongue. It's very much like a vienna lager done with smoked malt. The gently sweet and lightly toasty malts combine seamlessly with the smokiness; and it's backed by a firm bitterness. Unlike many examples of the style, I think this one really nails the smoke level properly, lending it enough character to keep it interesting without letting the smoke building on the palate. Very well balanced!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sly Fox- Rauchbier

On tap at the Royersford brewpub

A- Clean and clear chestnut brown with a small fluffy head.
S- BBQ sauce and campfire smoke & wood.
T- Sweet, tangy BBQ sauce flavored malt with a touch of paprika, ceder wood and smokey ash.
M- Tangy with a dry body and finish.

Overall- A style I'm very starting to enjoy more than ever. Solid smokey flavor throughout. Good solid beer.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium to dark amber hue with a two finger creamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a robust smoked malt for an all around smoked salmonesque experience.

The taste consisted of a smoke spiciness, grainy malts and a complimenatary earthy hop.

The mouthfeel was average for the style.

Overall an easy drinking smoked beer. Paired well with my bacon, apple, red onion and cheddar melt.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into nonic pint at Standard Tap, Philly. Pours a golden brown...more brown than golden, a bit of head and lacing. The aroma really shines here...lots of subtle smoke and sweet maltiness - not crazy, but deff present. Again, the flavor is on the more aggressive side of subtle with the smoke; perfect amount for me, with a nice sweet malt balance. Easy easy easy drinker and very pleasant. I have been drinking some really nice rauch's lately...a lot with the subtleness of smoke and bacon - which I really prefer, and this one really hits the mark for me. Overall, a great rauchbier for this who like the subtle smoke without the bacon...

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Photo of orsulacp
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have this on tap at home, I was very happy to find a sixtel of this. It pours a dark clear amber with a nice white head. The smell was smoky, but not overdone I really like the way it seems to just be around to complement the sweet malt. The smoke is a bit more noticeable in the taste, it really is balanced nice with the malt. The body is almost full, there is a nice level of carbonation to keep the body on the light side of full. It is very drinkable, very smooth, the flavors just keep coming for the entire beer. Easily one of my favorite Rauchbiers.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was my first Rauch and I wasn't sure what to expect.

Smell: An obvious woody smoked aroma that was accompanied with a slight hoppy and dry earthy smell as well.

Appearance: Poured a dark nutty brown color with a quickly dissipating head with a good amount of lacing.

Taste: Sweet malts up front with a smokey hop finish. Nothing amazing on the palate but a truly well balanced beer that wood be decent without the smokiness but with it is just a little something extra that makes this a good beer.

Mouthfeel: I didn't find the body to be too heavy more a medium bodied beer. Carbonation was present but not much.

Drinkability: A very drinkable beer that provides a balanced amount of flavor. Unfortunately only available on tap.

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Photo of JunkYardJake
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery.
This is my first time having this style so it's tough to review ''to style''. That being said, this is one delicious brew. I was expecting smoky flavors, which it has, but I wasn't expecting such a deep hardwood palate. There are also a fair amount of malt sweetness that pulls it all together. I would compare it to smoky version of a scotch ale, only with the refreshing qualities of a well crafted amber lager. This is certainly worth a taste if you happen upon it. Cheers!

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Photo of WissBrauSean
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm not a rauchbier enthusiast and only have had a few before, but after doing some research on the style, this sounds like a pretty darn good rauchbier.

It poured what looked like (it was a bar after all) a very clear amber with a full white cap and thin lacing.

The aroma was malty and smokey like caramel candy and sausages.

Smoke and malts take the lead and it has a mildly dry finish and lightly hoppy. (notes from the bar)

Light to medium body and sweet with a dry finish and low carbonation.

I described it as very pleasant but a little too sweet on the bar napkin.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a pint of this from the brewery.

A: Pours an amber body with a small, white head with excellent retention and lacing.

S: A slight, smoky smell; reminded me of a combination of smoke wood and bacon.

T: A malty taste with smoky notes. Also, a nice, smoky aftertaste, like smoked bacon. The smokiness could have been a bit more evident, but this taste went well with the burger I had.

M: A medium bodied mouthfeel that was also pretty smooth.

D: A nice mouthfeel and taste combination. A pretty good smokebeer that was pretty drinkable.

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Photo of corby112
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Memphis Taproom.

Pours a dark copper/chestnut brown color with golden amber edges and a half dinger off-white head that quickly settles into a thin lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing left behind.

The aroma of this beet was pretty disappointing at first. All I was getting was sweeter malt notes and hardly any smoke at all until it warmed. After a while, the smoked malt presence be ame more evident with hints of charcoal, BBQ and smoked meats. This is countered by the sweeter notes of caramel, rye and biscuit.

Medium bodied with a good balance of smokey and sweet malt notes. Like the nose, the flavor of this beer consisted mostly of the sweeter characteristics until it warmed up. After about ten minutes the smoked malt flavors began to appear with hints of charcoal, BBQ, bacon and burnt toast. This is nicely balanced by hints of caramel, toffee, hazelnut, rye and a touch of dry, earthy hops. Complex but not overly smokey making it relatively easy to drink. A good introdction to the style.

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Photo of akorsak
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pint glass served at the Phoenixville brewpub.

A: The smpked ale is a dark copper brown color, like an old penny that is showing its age. A finger of head coated the top of the glass and quickly receded.

S: The nose is an intoxicating smokehouse, thick slabs of cured bacon and ham. The intensity of the smoke does not overwhelm the malts, instead laying nicely atop them.

T: Each sip is strong on the smoked malts up front. The smokiness is pungent and pleasing, coating the tastebuds with liquid smoke and cooked meats. The biscuity malts manage to cut through but are rather flat, a touch of a letdown after the initial smoked strength.

M: The smoke is fleeting, hitting hard before moving on. I'd love to see that bite stick around a little longer.

D: Very drinkable, this was a perfect accompaniment to some pretzels and spicy mustard.

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Rauchbier from Sly Fox Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 15 ratings.