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Samuel Adams Bonfire Rauchbier - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Bonfire RauchbierSamuel Adams Bonfire Rauchbier

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561 Ratings

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Ratings: 561
Reviews: 235
rAvg: 3.36
pDev: 23.81%
Wants: 18
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Rauchbier |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HoustonTX on 08-06-2011

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 561 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bierguy5
3.93/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Slightly hazy amber, with a copper hue. Off-white head disappears after a few minutes, leaving a nice ring.

Smoke in the nose, with a campfire smell. Some caramel malt, and a few slightly fruity notes.

Caramel malt up front, without much sweetness. Smoke comes in, more than subtle but also not overwhelming. Dry finish.

A bit on the lighter body side, with a good amount of carbonation. Alcohol is hidden. Enjoyable.

Photo of tykees88
3.68/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- It has a smoky haze. The color is that of a muddled straw color. not really a head but there is lacing from what is there.

S- peat moss and smoke. it truly is a smokey smelling beer.

T- a sweet taste upfront is followed by a salty flavor. The beer kind of tastes like ham. I really like it though. I have this paired with a hearty homemade steak soup and that is nice.

M- It's medium to lighter. The carbonation isn't great, but I am not super interested with that here.

O- I think you either like or hate smoked beer. So if you like them you will probably like this. Otherwise you'll hate it.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.15/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Saranac pint glass.

A: Deep copper with fine clarity despite some chilled haze beneath a slightly creamy head of white foam that leaves some weak lacing. A bit too light though if you ask me.

S: Liquid smoke, stamped out ashes, peat moss, wet bark and a ham-like quality with some maple syrup notes.

T: Sweet toffee and caramel malts at first met with a very smoky flavor that imparts open-pit BBQ and pork. It also introduces some flavors of feet and Spanish olives which I found a bit repulsive. Very little bitterness except a slight herbal pull in the finish that breaks down the smoke-screen.

M: Medium bodied ale with a little weak, grainy feel in the finish, but a rich smoky aftertaste bolsters this a tad.

O: I haven't had many rauchbiers in my day because there just aren't enough people out there making them or distributing to CT anyway. Sam has managed to homogenize a unique style with its typically bland yeast but all told, its not a bad idea as a niche fall beer.

Photo of JamesS
4.55/5  rDev +35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice coppery-brown color with good head and decent lacing. Wonderful thick and hearty scent with some nice sweetness and a wonderful smokiness in the nose. Great flavor, a nice malty thickness with some nutty attributes and a wonderful hearty smoky flavor that goes great on a cool and rainy night on the back porch. Went down quite well, given the smokiness.

Photo of JayS2629
3.9/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of the fall variety pack.

It pours a very murky, dark mahogany with ruby notes when held to the light. A light tan head starts out about two fingers and fades pretty fast into a sudsy film. Creamy walls of lace.

The aroma has a faint smoky scent with a dark, burnt toast and caramel in the backbone. Enticing and interesting, but very subtle. Most SA stuff tends toward the subtle carefulness, but that is their style.

Sweet porter-like front with a nice smoky, salty finish. Some cocoa undertones with some burnt, roasty notes too. A touch of dark fruit. Beechwood, bacon and toast. Herbal hops makes presence in bittering and smoky finish. Very approachable.

Interesting, but I couldn't drink many of these. Slight watery finish, but great job on getting the smoke to come through. Stronger smoke than I expected, but very nice.

Dry, salty finish, medium body but feels thinner than a porter. I guess it is a black ale. Better than expected, but I couldn't do a lot.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Samuel Adams Harvest Collection Pack - $14.99 at the nearby Publix grocery store in Canton, Georgia. Enjoy Before: Jan 2012.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany-hued body with great clarity and capped with an inch of light beige suds.

Smell: Sweetish, caramel-accented, invitingly bready malts and a slight fruitiness underneath a sullen shroud of beechwood smoke.

Taste: It's bready, toasty and with some noted albeit faint roasted hints. Fair amount of caramelly sweetness present throughout. There's a small nibble of smoked brisket as the smoked malt quickly enter the picture. Slightly raisin-flavored fruitiness. Trifling of herbal hops, near nil bitterness. Malty close, still a bit sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Not great, but a suitable, approachable smoked beer.

Photo of haywire77
3.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured a medium shade of cloudy brown with orange tints here and there when held up to the light. About 1" of khaki colored head that quickly faded to a very thin cap with little to no lacing.

In the smell, I got the smoke and brown sugary sweetness right away with sourdough bread and the smell of a filter tipped cigarello coming in late. Interesting.

The taste is very smoky and has maybe a beer/bacon grease flavor to it. Definitely smoked pork of some sort. Hard for me to describe maybe because this is my first of this style.

Mouthfeel is not very impressive. Kind of creamy feeling, but very thin at the same time.medium carbonation and lingering smoke.

Overall this brew was average to decent for me. I couldn't see myself drinking more than one of these at a sitting, but if it were all that were available I probably wouldn't turn it down.

Photo of ElmerBruisery
4/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich mahogany with off white thick head that slowly falls leaving decent lacing. I don't think I've ever seen a bee this dark brownish red, it looks pretty good.

It smells sweet, notes of cherry and wood with smoke becoming significantly more noticeable as it warms. 

Taste is sweet and smokey. Notes of bacon and smoked meat. Think sweet unsalted beef jerky. There is noticeable sweet malt in there to remind you this smokey concoction is still beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth but full.

This is my first rauchbier (other than half of one a few years ago) so I don't really have anything to compare it to, but it's pretty good. After a few sips it really starts to grow on me. I like it, and I'm definitely going to seek out other rauchbiers soon.

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.48/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a fluted pint glass: color is darker amber, very crisp with nice effervescence; head is tan that lingers and laces nicely.

Smell is more sweet caramel malt than a smoky flavor, there is a hint of light smoke coming through as it warms.

Taste is nice and relatively mild for a smoked brew, caramel sweetness hits first then is covered by the light wood smoke flavors. the sweetness actually lingers more than the smoke.

Mouthfeel is pretty well balanced with more lingering flavors on the tongue, but good carbonation with a touch on the sweet side for a finish.

Overall, a nicely easily drinkable smokey brew, i like a bit more smoke and less sweetness is my smoked brews.

Photo of Arenbeer
3.9/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Mug

A- Pours a reddish brown with no head, tons of carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

S- Campfire smoke, sweet and roasted caramel malts, earthy, and some grains. Nothing crazy but actually smells real nice.

T- Just like the aroma. Up front your hit with a strong smoked meat flavor that is followed by a sweetness from the caramel/toffee notes. Has some earthy characteristics from a slight hop presence that is pretty tasty.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a decently bitter finish.

Overall this is probably on of the best Sam Adams beers i've had in a while. The smoke is there but not in your face like most rauchbiers. Definitely a good beginner smoked beer.


Photo of Domingo
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Fall variety pack. This is a style that can be really good and mellow or over the top and harsh. We'll see where BB takes it...
Pours a cherrywood brown with a substantial head that sticks around for the life of the beer. No gushing, but still pretty carbonated.
Smells EXTREMELY sweet initially. So much that I really didn't even get the smoke for a second. Brown sugar and massive malt overload with a little maple. Smoke appears a bit on my second whiff, but it's not over the top. Pretty flawed to be honest. The smoky nose is one of the things that really "makes" a rauchbier.
The taste isn't as sweet as I feared. Caramel and brown malts kick in right away, followed by a mild earthiness from the smoke and maybe a bit of hops. I believe this is a dunkel rauchbier, which is my preferred version over the stronger takes. The smoke isn't overkill, and there are no rough tannins and uncured wood notes that can plague many US versions. The sometimes ever-present "Sam Adams Flavor" isn't even overly strong either.
A pretty decent take to be honest. That really sweet nose is my only real complaint. If that were kept in check, I'd say this would be better than a LOT of US examples.
Not bad, and likely a great starter for someone exploring the style for the first time.

Photo of Erish
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass. Best before January 2012.

A: clear medium-dark amber color, fizzy tan head quickly falls into a good cap with decent lacing.

S: distinctive bacon aroma, toffee, a hint of earthiness.

T: a decidedly gamey note up front, the middle shows some smokiness and toffee, the finish features mild herbal hops and a mineral crispness.

M: medium-bodied, silky to lightly oily texture, plentiful carbonation.

O: not as seriously smoky as some other rauchbiers I have had, but tasty in its own crowd-pleasing way.

Photo of Rayek
3.48/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bonfire pours a deep mahogany into my SA Perfect Pint glass. The head starts strong, but quickly falls to a patchwork film. No lace is left behind.

The beer starts out promising enough. A pronounced smokiness dominates the nose and flavor. Once past the smoke, there isn't much else happening. A light lemon bitterness adds interest. There's a hint of straw too. Toward the end, the beer gets rather astringent and finishes quite dry. The body is fairly light and a touch undercarbonated.

Overall, this is a pretty tame Rauchbier. I'm glad Boston made this, but it doesn't stand up to the best of the breed.

Photo of Hoagie1973
2.83/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep amber brown with a decent enough head.
Smells malty with the expected smokiness.
Flavor is malty with less of a smoked meat/campfire taste than expected. Actually it tastes more like Band Aid than wood smoke. Light hop presence helps to balance and gives a slight dryness in the finish. Would be better if the smoke tasted more woody and less plastic-like. Still it's not undrinkable.
Decent mouthfeel typical of a SA product.
Not awful, but could be much better with a few tweaks.

Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber brown with a two finger dirty white head that has good retention, no lacing left on the glass as the head resides. The aroma is full of roasted malts, clove and a nice smokiness. The taste puts the initial smoke in your mouth that fades quickly with a rich molasses and malty notes. A lighter mouthfeel then I would hope for but the carbonation feels good. This is a good beer, I wish there was a tad more smoke but it would be a very good way to introduce people to smoked beers.

Photo of JizackFH
3.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a deep ruby copper color. It has a nice 2-finger light tan head on it. The head has alright retention, and it leaves behind some lacing on the glass.

S - The smell starts off with some roasted malt and a nice big smokiness. There is also some scents of caramel as well. The smell comes off as creamy.

T - The taste has a nice caramel malt and a nice earthiness. There is smoke present, but not as much as the nose suggests. I would say the smoke is pretty mild. There is a nice toastiness present as well as some hops. The finish has some lingering smoke and touch of hop bitterness.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation. It goes down easy, and it has a nice creamy feel to it. There is some mild smokiness and mild hop bitterness. There is also some sweetness in the background.

O - This has good drinkability. I could easily drink a sixer of this stuff. Overall, I think this is a solid rauchbier. It's certainly no Aecht Shlenkerla, but I would say a great introduction into this style that is probably off-puttiing to non-craft drinkers out there. I am glad that BBC is doing styles like this and I think it really is helping people drink what they normally would not, since more likely than not this will the first rauchbier most people ever try. Anyways, I think it is a nice beer, and I would buy it again.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer pours a chestnut brown coloring that carries a big, puffy, fluffy, chunky yellow-ish head that weighs in around an inch and a half. The nose is sweet and rich, with meat like characters, and a hint of charcoal. The beer has a very unique flavor, and it can best be described (by me, at least) as an all beef hotdog freshly cooked over fire. Wow, very unique. The meaty flavor also coincides with a slightly greasy and slick feel in mouth, which completes the palate picture in my mind. The aftertaste is semisweet and slightly smokey, and the beer finishes quickly, with a slight tangy sweet linger at the back of the tongue. Interesting.

Photo of Apellonious
3.13/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - pours an orange brown color, thin head that disappears almost instantly. Cloudy.

S- spices, clove, pumpkin and bread

T - taste is much of the same, with a heavy emphasis on roasted malts and grains. Some hops are present. Not much else to mention here

M - carbonation is good, a touch on the thin side.

O - I can't say I have had many beers of this style, but based on this, it is not high on the list. This beer is worth trying ( what beer isn't?) but I won't be seeking it out any time soon.

Photo of Reaper16
2.7/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a clean, translucent maple-syrup brown color. The body doesn't look to be all that viscous. Pretty thin. Nearly one finger's worth of beige head bubbles up but quickly recedes to a thin ring.

You get the smoke right up front in the nose, but something is off. This beer doesn't so much smell like smoked malts as it does a brown ale that had liquid smoke added to it. Browned malt sweetness is present; some bread crusts too. The light smoke seems like it is coming from a different place than the malt aromas. Together, they make for an average sort of Rauchbier nose, but their dischoate nature hurts the beer.

The taste follows the nose. Light brown ale malt flavors with a pinch of fakey smoke flavor.The smoke is strongest right up front. It diminishes rapidly and by the time you swallow the smoke is pretty much gone.

This thin, insubstantial, fake-tasting Rauchbier isn't exactly terrible. It is quite drinkable and serves as a sort of entry-level Rauchbier. A sessionable Rauchbier, if you will. I won't seek it out again, but it isn't thoroughly bad.

Photo of Shaw
3.68/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Like last year with their pumpkin beer, I pretty much bought the fall variety pack for this one beer.

Pours a medium amber with a nice foamy head in my tulip glass. The head quickly reduces to a quarter-inch layer.

A smoky aroma, but one that's under control. Smells like a fire.

The taste, like the aroma, is smoky, with hints of spice that I'm guessing come from the smoked malts instead of actual spices.

A nice creamy body, no watery beer here.

Overall this is an above-average Rauchbier. It's smokier than others I've tried while not being overwhelming.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of the Fall mixed 12pk at Market Basket in Somersworth. Pours a crystal-clear amber body with nearly an inch of light tan head that dissipates rather quickly. Smoke and wood dominate the aroma with some malt, nut, and vanilla notes. Wood and smoke dominate the flavor too, with vanilla, nut, and caramel notes in the background. Medium to light in body with moderate carbonation. A fairly easy drinker. I will admit that I am not a huge fan of the style, but this one is balanced and nuanced and doesn't clobber you over the head with the smokiness. An interesting addition to the fall lineup.

Photo of zaphodchak
3.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Generous three-finger creamy offwhite head. Body is a gradient of clearish amber to hazy ruby. Laces some.

Smells tangy for a rauch, there's something pungent here that I'm not enjoying-- like a cheap-lager smell. But the smoke is there, so that's good.

Body has a lot of watery tartness around the smoke. Sort of a tinny lager with some smoke in it. I had my hopes up; Sam Adams does some pretty nice stuff, but this didn't live up to my expectation. I hold the bar really high for rauchs in general,a nd this one, while not bad per se, is not very good. Malt feels cheap and corny.

Mouthfeel is sort of fizzy, but not prickly. Again, not great.

Eh, a letdown, but I probably expected too much from it.

Photo of goldbot
3.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Excited to try another new fall seasonal from Sam Adams. This one pours clear mahogany colored with fizzy, bubbly, tan head that dissipates pretty quickly but leaves a solid layer atop the beer. The aroma is malty, lots of bread and caramel. As it opens up the smokiness comes out. It's neither too subtle nor too bold. I've certainly enjoyed smokier offerings but this is a pretty good balance. The flavor is a bit more up front with the smoke. Meaty and earthy, with a touch of malty sweetness. Full bodied, a bit flat as far as carbonation goes though. Something different but tasty for Sam Adams and a good beer for a rich hearty, meal.

Photo of mocktm
3.48/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another one out of the fall variety pack. If there's been one underlying theme to these beers so far, its been simplicity. Not that they are bad, but just very straightforward, lacking any real complexities. Let's see if their Rauchbier follows suit.

Pour is light brown, crystal clear and clean. Short off-white head quickly dissipates to nothing, no lace, no film, nadda.

Nose is smoky, freshly cooked bacon, light hop presence as well, but not much else.

This is probably the tamest Rauchbier I've ever had. As with the nose, mild smoke and meat, malty, not much of a hop presence.

Rather light bodied, medium carbonation, I'm not sure I know anyone who would want to session a Rauch, but I guess this could do the trick because of its timid flavor profile.

Overall, this fits in perfectly with the rest of the fall pack, a pretty toned down version of a traditional style. Faint hints without really blowing your hair pack, simplistic, but good. Cheers!

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
2.78/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review # 60
Served On: 9/9/2011
Glassware: Pint Glass

From the fall 2011 Sam Adams Harvest mixed 12 pack.

Look: Poured a little too aggressive and got around 6 fingers of creamy tan head of a milkshake consistency. The beer was a super clear brown. Zero carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Beef jerky - burnt umbers from a camp fire. Also some type of chemical smell. It could almost remind you of smelling a telephone pole. Creosote maybe???

Taste: Ok, this beer tasted like liquid Lebanon bologna. If I were to purée a Lebanon bologna sandwich and try to drink it, this is what it would taste like. And yes, the usual Sam Adams twang was definitely coming through. The after taste was that same bland diet soda flavor that you get with the Sam Adams Light and a couple of their summer seasonals.

Ok, I admit – this is my very first Rauchbier ever. My palate was certainly not prepared for this one. But hey, I guess that would make this a totally unbiased review then.

Samuel Adams Bonfire Rauchbier from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
77 out of 100 based on 561 ratings.