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Z Lager - The Fort Collins Brewery

Not Rated.
Z LagerZ Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

312 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 312
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 17.28%
Wants: 11
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Fort Collins Brewery visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Rauchbier |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Crosling on 12-06-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 312 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fort Collins- Z Lager

A- Light amber brown with a small filmy, non lacing, head.
S- Light sweet smokey malt.
T- Sweet smokey BBQ sauce with a touch of toasted bready malt. Brown sugar and oak are prominent.
M- Sugary sweet and dry smokiness throughout. Charred oaky woodsy finish.

Overall- Decent but nothing inspiring. Worth a bottle or 2.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2009 23:01:51 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of maddogruss

New Jersey

3.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this from a friend.

A: Pours an amber body with a small white head without much retention and lacing to speak up. HEad seemed to dissipate pretty quickly, leaving very minimal lacing as I drank the beer.

S: A grapefruit and roasted malt smell with some bitter notes was not quite what I was expecting, given the style.

T: A bitter and smoky taste that was more to the style. There was a meaty and smoky aftertaste that did well to complement each other. As the beer warmed up, more of the smokiness came out, making for a decent tasting smokebeer.

M: A little on the thin side of medium-bodied, but still felt pretty nice on the palette.

D: A decent mouthfeel and taste combination makes this beer pretty easy to drink. As more of the smokiness came out, it made the beer nicer. Decent smokebeer overall.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2009 20:42:32 | More by maddogruss
Photo of cjgator3


3.93/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a clear copper colored brown with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt, caramel and some smoke as well. Not a huge amount of smokiness, but it is definitely there.

T- The taste like the aroma is made up largely of smoked malts with some caramel and a touch of hops in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- I'm a big fan of smoked beers and this is another tasty one. Not my favorite, but an easy drinking one that I wouldn't mind having again. Would make an excellent tailgating/cookout beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2009 04:07:13 | More by cjgator3
Photo of Lexluthor33

New York

3.9/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color with a medium head and long lasting lace.

The aroma was mostly malts and smoke.
The taste starts off with a mildly bitter yet smoky sausage grilled flavor. Some light hops.

The feel is slightly creamy,smooth,medium body and low carbonation.

Notes: This was so welcomed at my latest grilling session. Smoky and flavorful,but not overwhelming.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2009 00:28:27 | More by Lexluthor33
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So far gotta love the Fort Collins lineup, these beers are excellent. I kept on passing on them for the longest time. They definitely need a rep in the Burgh these beer has potential to sell. Anyways, this smoked lager pours a beautiful amber ruby hue with a light off white cream colored head. Lacing is even and covers the edges of my chalice like a blancket between each sip. A great nose of mild smoked malts, with slightly charred wood and smoke bacon at the minimal. Herbal hops also play nicely with the smoked malt additions, classically American style. Flavor has a great round edge of smokiness with sweet amber and caramel malt lager characteristics again hop flavor comes through as herbal, yet the flavor that finishes the beer is the smoked malt kickin' through. Like an American version of Spezial Ruachbier, great stuff. It's not going to kick compared to an scherlenkerla bier but it's sweet to taste the German influences in American micros. Mouthfeel is a fuller bodied lager, soft carbonation with lingering smoked wood and lightly salted smoked meat components. Drinkability overall is wonderful a beer that I'm proud to represent every time I try to remember my Z beer in the alphabetical list in the database.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2009 02:04:36 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of nickfl


4.2/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of white head on a clear, reddish-brown body. The foam settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Sour, smoky note with caramel and toffee. Lots of sweet, rich malt and a hint of plum like fruitiness.

T - Toasted malt, balanced by spicy hops up front. The smoke really becomes apparent in the middle with woody notes and perfume like floral qualities. The smoke lingers in the finish with some toasted malt and spicy hops.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Very nice, the smoke is readily apparent and adds a great deal of character to the hoppy amber lager body, but it does not overwhelm the palate. The smoke seems a bit more restrained than the German versions that I have had, but it has all of the same qualities and could be a good introduction to the style. A great example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2009 04:28:59 | More by nickfl
Photo of PEBKAC

New York

3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into my Sly Fox tumbler. Blank BB date box on the bottom left corner. Purchased two months ago at New Beer.

Two inches of fragile coffee creamer head. A just slightly hazed caramel amber color.

Smells of caramel, itchy red pepper flakes, & salty bacon grease. More so in the background, I get some stale chocolate & a tease of bitter greens.

Taste upfront with caramel & crackermeal, followed up with sweet smoke similar to hickory. The meatiness of the brew comes off more like smoked turkey then the expected bacon or sausage or rib meat. Moderately juicy & salivating. Just a twinge of bitter pine resin gives some extra dimension to a usually one-sided style.

Frothy, slightly lower carbed mouthfeel & a chalky finish.

Enjoyable. :)

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2009 00:37:27 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of Billolick

New York

3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 32 ounce bottle/growler filled at DeCiccios in Ardsley, NY. Pours dark, ruby/blood orange tinged, amber, minor head and just a smidge of lace. Seems to be on the low carbonation side of things. Moderate smoke in the nose. Pleasantly malty brew, noticable, but fairly restrained levels of smoke. Complexity is enjoyable and this one would likely go well with some BBQ. Nothing amazing, but pleasant enough smoke up offering, worth a try for those with a taste for a smike infused, easy drinking lager.

Serving type: growler

06-05-2009 23:48:36 | More by Billolick
Photo of twiggamortis420


3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale copper color with very little white foam. No retention or lacing.

Salty, smoked pork nose. I am pleasantly surprised by the bold smokiness I am getting. I was worried it would be a dumbed down American version of a rauchbier.

Unfortunately, the smokiness in the flavor is a bit more tame, but still tasty. Has a heavy caramely malt base that brings forth a sweetness that does not match really well with smoky and salty flavors. Overall though, it is a pretty impressive offering from FCB, probably the first I have had that I would actually buy a sixer of.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2009 13:28:57 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of riversider76

New York

3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange with a one finger white head. Excellent retention and lacing. Aroma is of smokey Carmel malts and dark fruits. Body is light to medium with some carbonation. Taste is nicely smoked. Malty,and hints of dark fruits. Definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 00:18:15 | More by riversider76
Photo of Drew966


3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Z Lager pours a dark orange with a thin tan head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The flavor is quite malty and the smoke is quite noticeable but it isn't as strong as the smoke in some German rauchbier that I've had. Lots of caramel as this beer warms. Not bad, I could drink a few of these.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 00:04:48 | More by Drew966
Photo of Jayli


4.22/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a gorgeous clear orange-red. Not much of a head to speak of, what is there recedes very quickly with a tiny little white film layering the top, very little spotty lacing left. Nose is of deep toasted malts and smokiness - reminds me of smoked bacon without much of the bacon smell. Taste is sweet at first, caramel malts lead the way, and then leads in to toasted malts and a great smoked flavoring. They've blended this nicely - perfect balance of sweet and smoked. Mouthfeel is a medium bodied, smooth beer, slightly creamy, nicely carbonated, slight aftertaste. This beer goes down far too easily - a definite can and will sit with it for an evening.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 23:52:45 | More by Jayli
Photo of williamherbert

New York

3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is flaming, clear red-orange. Not much head retention. Looks a bit watery. Tiny bubbles.

Lagery malt smells, topped by a bacon-y, smoky aroma. Tad of roasted barley.

The lager malt taste is crisp and sweetish. Has a bready quality (all-malt). Notes of mocha and cocoa; caramel malts, toasted. Leaves a smoky aftertaste.

The feel is lagery smooth, but with a creamy, ashy feel at the swallow. Smoky and pretty nice. Really a lager with hints of smoke rather than a true Rauchbier.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2009 17:33:30 | More by williamherbert
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $4.50 at The Porter in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a nearly clear, mahogany-hued body with a smallish, ivory-colored head.

Smell: Toasted, crisp malts, faint caramel, and fair scent of wood-smoked apple skins.

Taste: Toasty malts with a light caramelized sugar sweetness. Red Delicious apple fruitiness. Restrained, even-handed smoke component that careful not to overwhelm the lager underneath. Mild spicy, floral hops with a medium-low bitterness. Finishes dry with a final taste of applewood smoke.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Just the right amount of smoke layered onto a light, refreshing lager. Sort of the young kid brother of the Schlenkerla brews. Paired fairly well with the Fish n' Chips.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2009 22:42:23 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I seem to consistently give beers from this brewery slightly better scores than other BAs do, and this beer is no exception. It's not so much that I think the beers are stellar, but merely that they are well made, often in unexciting styles, but not really extreme in any way. They are what they are, and what they are are simple, well-made beers. Now a Rauchbier might not fit the bill for that philosophy, but this one is relatively balanced and while there is some moderate smokiness, it isn't quite the salami taste that some of the style has. In other words its smoky enough to be interesting, but still accesible enough to appeal to someone who isn't used to the style. Brown with little head with a very light amount of malt, grain , and smoke on the nose. The taste is a bit smokier and maltier. Smooth and easy to drink. Not bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 19:53:08 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of Haybeerman


3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep, clear copper color. Poured a 1 finger light brown head that dissipated to a skim. Broken, inconsistent lacing throughout.

S: Light woodsmoke initially that lessened as the head dissipated. Malty aromas filled in;; hay, grass and grains. Citrus notes give the nose a tickle.

T: Woodsmoke and slightly sweet biscuit malts up fornt. Bitter in the finish is crisp and dry.

M: Medium body. Balanced carbonation. Long, lingering dry finish.

D: Interestingly tasty beer with good balance. The smoke is not overdone so it doesn't taste like the bottom of an ashtray. I don't know about a session beer, but I'd definitely drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 19:33:12 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of Bung


4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Orange/amber pour, good size white head. Strong malty aroma with hints of some smoke. Tastes reminds me more of a dopplebock, malty raisin and peat. Smoke is really just an accent here. Finishes some smoke and hops. Very drinkable, good example.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 00:35:37 | More by Bung
Photo of TexIndy


3.98/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got from ummagum - many thanks! Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. No dating info. It was clear amber color with sight carbonation and slight sliding lace. It had an average sized off-white head that slowly dissipated into a barely there collar. Other reviews noted bigger and longer lasting head plus better lacing. Since no date on this one can't tell if freshness issue or something else.

The aroma is heavy on smoke - awesome! I love rauchbiers and this one has a great aroma to it. As it warms, the smokes fades a bit and the caramel malt starts to come thru as well. Glad the malt showed up but wished the smoke had stuck around longer. By the end, it had faded quite a bit. The taste was also really good. Starts out with a good caramel malt taste and then the smoke kicks in for a great finish. Again, as it warmed the smoke really faded. If it had stuck around, the aroma and taste scores would have been half a point higher for me.

Overall, a great beer that just misses on being legendary since the awesome smoke aroma and taste really start to fade halfway thru. As I noted earlier, mine was missing some head and lacing that others got so I may not have had a fresh one. Will need to re-try this one in the future and possibly re-review it. For now, still highly recommend. As is, it would be a player in the rotation. If the smoke sticks around longer, it could be a major player.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2009 02:25:12 | More by TexIndy
Photo of armock

New York

3.4/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Wasatch for sending this out as an extra.

A - Poured a copper color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is a nose full of smoked malt

T - Has a smokey start then finishes off a little bitter I would have liked more smoked malt in the taste

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - Overall not a bad beer I just like a more smokey meaty flavor in my smoked beers but its still an enjoyable beer to drink good with food from the grill

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2009 16:35:14 | More by armock
Photo of mmmbeer


4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz., slightly under-filled bottle with no freshness date. It pours a crystal-clear amber, with a thick finger of noisy, tan head that reduces to a thin cap and leaves little lacing. Sweet and smoky bacon in the nose, with a dash of darker or crystal malts. Clean flavor profile, with spicy hops, a mild bitterness, pleasantly smoky malts, and a nice sweetness to back it all up. It has a lightish, dry body with a crisp tingle that makes this beer very easy to drink. I loved this one - incredibly balanced and insanely drinkable. If I had to critique it, I would desire a more robust smokiness, but as it is, it's a very approachable and refreshing rauchbier. Make sure you grab at least two bottles if you see this one.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2009 22:19:25 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of confer


2.63/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I've been wanting to try a Rauchbier for a while. This beer came in variety pack. Unfortunately there two more bottle to drink. The color is orange brown. During the pour a head tries to form but it never really get there.
The smell is actually quite good. There is no smokey smell, it smells like an ordinary lager.
This is definitely an acquired taste. I've had other smokey tasting beers, but this was the first true Rauch.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2009 03:43:57 | More by confer
Photo of Tone


4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells strongly of roasted malts, smoke, and later a strong lager aroma. Fits the style of a Smoked Beer. Mouth feel is of smooth and crisp. Average to low carbonation level present. Tastes of smoke first off then, toasted malts, and then some sweeter caramel (maybe). Finishes off with a yest cleanliness (lageresque). Of the smoked beer I've had, this is by far the best. The smoke flavor is noticeable, but not overpowering which is an easy error to make, as far as I've read. Still not a great beer, but very good for it's category.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2009 04:43:36 | More by Tone
Photo of oriolesfan4


3.98/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with the tiniest little head to it and zero lacing. Smell reminds of being a t campground when I was younger.. some nice smokiness, but not overpowering. Nice smooth and creamy mouthfeel and nice body. Tastes like someone blew some smoke up a lager's ass (literally, except I mean this in a good way). Very easy to drink.. I was actually surprised that it doesn't taste as smokey as it smells and felt maybe it could have used a tad more taste. My first time having this style and I would def want to try more of it.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 23:25:10 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of shivtim


3.13/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I didn't even realize the name of this beer was "Z" at first, because of the way the Z is kinda more like a logo than a title. I thought my friend had just brought me a lager from out west, but turns out it was a smoked lager. Nice little surprise.

Poured out into a pint glass. Slightly hazy amber/brown, reddish tint, one thumb off-white head fades over a minute or so. Nose is liquid smoke and corn chips. Taste is barnyard hops, generic cereal grains, and metal, with a mild lingering campfire smoke. The smoke definitely comes through on the nose a lot more than the taste. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both average.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2009 23:22:31 | More by shivtim
Photo of treehugger02010


3.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought the Forth Collins Brewery variety case from Bryn Mawr Beverage in Bryn Mawr, PA and poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: The body is a transparent amber color. The head is an egg-shell color, 2 fingers tall with good retention and thin but abundant lacing.
Smell: The aroma is corny with some berry notes.
Taste: The flavor is berry like with some nutty notes.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is smooth.
Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer.
Don't drink and review.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2009 01:29:09 | More by treehugger02010
Z Lager from The Fort Collins Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 312 ratings.