1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Spezial Rauchbier Lager - Brauerei Spezial

Not Rated.
Spezial Rauchbier LagerSpezial Rauchbier Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

274 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 274
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.82%
Wants: 10
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brauerei Spezial visit their website
Germany

Style | ABV
Rauchbier |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Unser Lagerbier ist die bekannteste Rauchbiersorte aus unserem Spezialitätenangebot. Das bernsteinfarbige Bier mit seinem feinem, mildem Rauchgeschmack lässt auch Skeptiker zum überzeugten Rauchbierfan werden. Der Stammwürzgehalt dieses Bieres beträgt ca.12% - daraus resultiert der Alkoholgehalt mit ca.4,7%

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-19-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 274 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

smoke aroma, on-tap at the Moan and Dove in Mass., no. 1 ranked bar in the country. Attractive significant Bubblly head. Light creamy mouthfeel,taste of smoke and some caramel and malt behind it moderating the smoke flavour, but otherwise nothing special. ABove average carbonation.

Sammy, Jul 15, 2007
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

t0rin0, Sep 01, 2012
Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

spycow, Oct 31, 2014
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 3/22/11.

Pours a slightly hazy amber with a 1 inch puffy light tan head that settles to a foamy film on top of the beer. Chunky rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grain/malt and some subtle smoke aromas. Taste is of smoked malt up front with a light fruity flavor on the finish. The smoke in the taste is also pretty subtle and doesn't stick around on the palate very long. This beer has a light level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the smoke in the aroma and flavor is pretty mild.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 13, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Becky for bringing this back from Germany. Served in a snifter.

Pours a moderate golden-brown color with a thin off-white head. A bit of lacing. The nose is nice with a bit of bacon and smoked meats plus, actually, some normal malt. Slightly earthy as well. The flavor is really nice and balanced between the base malt and some smoke. The smoke is there, for sure, but it doesn't take over the entire beer, which is actually pretty nice. Really easy to drink without thinking about coughing. Medium body and good carbonation. Highly enjoyable.

Thorpe429, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The beer is clear light amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a two finger high off white head that slowly died down and left a ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of smoke in the nose.
T: Light to moderate flavors of smoke stand out in the overall taste. There are some hints of toasted malts.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink, but the smokiness is a bit more subtle compared to other rauchbiers. This beer could serve as a good introduction to the style for a novice because the smoke doesn't overpower the taste.

metter98, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very inviting and not-so-agressive on the smoke character.

The beer begins with a murky-rusty look, fair head formation/retention and with some highlights of orange, peach, and gold. A decent amount of lacing left on the sides of the glass.

Aromas of sweet pislner malts, estery fruitiness, and then a bit later comes a soft campfire-ish hint of smoke. Spicy notes of rye and black pepper tickle the nose throughout.

Flavors are quite malty-sweet and fruity with peach and pear dominance. A raw barley-like worty-ness accompanies the malt and fruit flavors. Lightly sulfury, but hidden well behind the smoke. No real hop presence up to this point. Spicy, rye-like character impedes the flavors as well as aromas but in a complimentary role.

Somewhat under-attenuated, heavy, and lightly oily in the mouthfeel keeps the beer from cleanliness or crispness. Full and a bit cloying in the end.

The base beer character is a bit under-whelming and is not fully fermented, but the softer smoke flavor balances the beer in the absence of hops and offers enough variety to keep the beer from boredom.

BEERchitect, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clean light brown color ale with a one-inch foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of smoke is not as present as I would have expected. Taste is a mix between a light caramel malt bills with some medium smoke. Average body with some good carbonation. Easily quaffable but not as much character as I would have expected.

Phyl21ca, Sep 04, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yeast-riddled ripe orange with apricot edges. Full, rich and creamy, the head is somewhere between polished ivory and pale almond in color. The surface bubbles that popped with such a furious intensity immediately after the pour have now settled down to a more sedate rate of poppage. A few thick streaks of froth end up on the glass. Although short on lace, the 'yeast blizzard' intensifies as I get into the bottom of the bottle.

The nose belongs to a rauchbier, that much is clear. That said, it's one of the tamer versions that I've smelled. Given the less than potent beechwood smokiness, I'm amazed that there's little else going on. I don't fault the beer though. In my limited experience with this style, the smoke tends to smother any other aromas that may be present. You either like it or you don't. I like it.

Rauchbier Lager is a little more smoky on the palate, but is still on the tame side compared to the leaders of the style pack. It reminds me a great deal of the 'wheat rauch' from Brauerei Heller-Trum (Schlenkerla). There are no smoked meat or bacon grease comparisons here, just a lightly smoky, refreshing brew.

The beer also has an understated sweetness that fits the flavor profile well. Bitter smoke is rarely a good thing, while sweet smoke can be mouth-wateringly delicious (Bar-B-Q contains sugar for a reason). Even though I much prefer the big, full, smoked-to-the-gills versions of the style, that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the more subtle qualities of this beer. I'm enjoying it more and more with each and every mouthful. If there's such a thing as a session rauchbier, this one and Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen are the best that I've had.

I want a bigger body (I always want a bigger body), although in this case that probably wouldn't be advisable. The mouthfeel is perfect for the task at hand. There's an abundant amount of fine-gauged carbonation that keeps things hopping and makes what is probably a medium-bodied beer seem a shade lighter than that. In any case, my mouth approves.

Spezial Rauchbier Lager is good beer. If you like smoke, you'll probably enjoy it. If you don't, you probably won't. How's that for a brilliant analysis? I like it just fine. Even though I don't crave rauchbiers very often, I plan to buy this one whenever I happen to run across it.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 12, 2005
Photo of mikesgroove
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A – Poured a somewhat hazy, well more cloudy then hazy as it cleared up, but anyway light hazelnut brown color with a smallish, maybe a half inch of head on top. Ample carbonation could be seen streaming up from the bottom of the glass and this kept what little head there was alive for most of the session, A tiny bit of side glass lace formed initially, but even this waned and was left to nothing by the end, best trait was perhaps the reddish hue apparent in the color.



S – Lots of smoked goodness. It had a deep roasted malt and smoked aroma to it. At first this dominated it, but after a little while it started to taken on more of an earthen type of grassy aroma and had a very malty overall feel to the smell. It was a deep and robust aroma, something that could be picked up from across the room, but at the same time was light enough that it did not impart feelings of being a big brew, which it was not.



T – Now this one kinda surprised me to be honest. At first I thought it was going to come off a tad light for some reason, not sure why. But the flavor was very pronounced and had a wonderful fullness to it. Main flavor that sticks out to you in the smoked flavor, naturally, but it was more then just that. Underlying it was a great balanced earthiness that really seemed to bring it all together. The finish was great with lots of grassy flavors, but it was the sweetness, sort of a caramel or honey mixed in very small quantities that really helped to hammer it home. That little bit of extra really went a long way and giving the flavor much more depth and resistence to becoming well for lack of a better word boring. It really had just a nice touch to it and I enjoyed every last sip.



M – Very nice. The carbonation was not totally at the level that I would have liked to see, however it was more then decent at the very least. A bit of a slick finish and not as crisp as I would have thought, but that was not so much a big deal, as the flavors more then made up for any lack of production in this department.



D – Very nice indeed. This went down effortlessly and also perfectly with the game I was watching. Had almost no ABV at only 4% so it was almost like water, but the flavor offered much more then that it the total expierence. I could have easily put down a few if they were there, but they were not so I only had the one.



Overall this was a nice little brew for sure. I am not so sure that I would go out and get more of it or not, as there are soo many others I am waiting to try, however for just an all around good expierence this was nice. If it was offered I would not turn it away, and would love to expierence it on tap, as fresh this might be very good indeed. A would say it was a good call to try it if you see, but no need to seek it out at all costs.

mikesgroove, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of Knapp85
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance on this beer was pretty nice. Looks like just about any other lager. The color was a yellowish gold with a white head on top. The aroma had a light smokiness to it, nothing overpowering. The lager aroma was there too, there were malts and some grassy notes in there as well. The taste was also lightly smoked, kind of nice that it was on the lighter side. This allowed the lager flavors to remain there as well. The mouthfeel is light and bubbly much like most German Lagers. Overall this was a decent brew.

Knapp85, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of largadeer
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

0.5L with a best by date of 06.04.10 purchased at Gourmet Haus Staudt. Poured into an Andechs tumbler, Spezial's rauchbier lager is a bright, stunningly clear auburn color. Small champagne-like bubbles sustain slightly off-white head, two fingers height at first and then ultimately a half-inch cap.

It's got a reserved, almost delicate aroma. There's a bit of toast, a bit of sweet pilsner malt with a subtle, well-integrated smokiness. This seems to be the antithesis of Schlenkerla's massively smoke-infused rauchbiers.

The first sip seems almost void of smoke, subsequent sipping reveals it more and more. The smoke character is present at a beautifully balanced level, matched by rich flavors of toasted malt, caramel, dark fruit. It's lacking the strong meaty character I get from some rauchbiers, instead presenting more of a woodsmoke quality. The flavors are rather intense and the body surprisingly robust for the meager 4.6% ABV, which I'm a bit ambivalent about; it's not entirely quaffable, though it's impressively flavorful given the low alcohol. It finishes on a clean, lightly toasted note with the faintest metallic twang.

I enjoyed this thoroughly on the whole. The subtle smoke, complex malt profile and low alcohol made it a pleasure to drink.

largadeer, Apr 22, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Paulaner krug.

Thanks to YaKnowBrady for this bottle!

It's been over a year since I last tried this stuff, which means it's been too long. Right? It pours a mostly clear sunset rust topped by over a finger of thick dirty cream froth. The nose comprises light toffee being dominated by a strong (though still nowhere near o'erbearing) beech smoke, coming off almost like a mutedly honey-smoked ham. This one, though, is earthier than most German rauchbiers I've had, with a twinge of wet soil and dark greens seeping into the background. It's meek and doesn't hurt the overall smokiness much, but it is noticeable. The taste brings in more of the same, with this earthiness toned-down to a nice mild grassy quality. The smoke isn't exactly strong, but it's in no way subtle. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a somewhat slick feel. Overall, a damn fine rauchbier. It's not as good as the Schlenkerlas, but it definitely comes very close.

TMoney2591, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of emerge077
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Besides Schlenkerla & Rauchenfelser, this is the only other Bavarian Rauchbier i've tried. The richness and texture fall somewhere between Schlenkerla's Helles and Weizen. Being a lager, it's very smooth like a Helles, but more of a sipper due to the mildy rich smoke and malt flavor.

The body is a hazy auburn, looks like autumn in a blender. There are countless tiny particles in suspension. Smell is of spicy malt, with a pleasant level of smoke. Not overpowering at all. Taste is fairly sweet and smoky, barley malt and tobacco notes dominate. This is balanced by the tang of mild hops, and moderate carbonation. Raw honey lingers in the aftertaste.

It would be great to try this fresh in Bamberg...

emerge077, Sep 12, 2006
Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice rauchbier, not as smokey as some, but still plenty of that campfire essence to it. pours rich copper in color with a slender tan head that doesnt last too long. smells like smoke, dark german malts, and even a touch of wheat malt. flavor is smokey up front, a little woody in the middle before the semisweet malt finish draws on. feel is good, mellow carbonation and a lighter body than the color would indicate. very drinkable in the summer season, particularly moving into fall. overall a nice beer, lighter on the smoke than some other rauchbiers, and rather affordable.

StonedTrippin, May 26, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Spezial is one of Bamberg's oldest breweries, with records dating back to 1536. The name is derived from the word "Spezeln" (local dialect), and means "a gathering of friends". It's been owned by the same family since 1898; and they have their own, small malting facility. They supply a few accounts in the area and have their own beergarden (Spezi Kellar); and ship a small amount of beer for export. They've recently introduced a kellar lager that's available in the spring and fall, but other than that their beers are all smoked.
Poured into a tall pilsner glass from the 25 oz bottle, it delivers a clear, deep-amber/copper body with an orangeish glow and some golden highlights at the base of the glass. Plumes of very tiny, somewhat effervescent bubbles stream upwards towards its creamy ivory head. The head retention is very good and it holds well and leaves some nice lace about the glass. The aroma displays a distinct, but nicely restrained, Beechwood smoke over a grainy maltiness. Very nicely done! There are some examples that push the limits, and there are some that hold back a bit too much, but like the finest examples of the style this one is right on. The body is medium; and combines with a very fine-bubbled, median carbonation it gives a lightly crisp and then smooth mouthfeel. In the flavor, the Beechwood smokiness is wrapped within a blanket of distinctly grainy, lightly toffee-ish malt. It's very well balanced between the two; and backed by a firm bitterness that becomes more solid at the swallow, leaving it to finish dry with some rising, spicy hops and just a mild touch of lingering smoke. Although some tasters might believe that this is a bit restrained for the style, that's far from the truth. Not all Bamberg rauchbiers are as bold as the best known examples; and in fact, this is a perfect example of the very drinkable and balanced dunkle lager that you might find at a tavern, hotel, or keller in the area. Its smokiness does not build on the palate after a few litres, and it retains its lightly sweet and grainy maltiness. Very nice! An excellent example of an authentic Bamberg-style rauchbier that's absolutely worth trying!

NeroFiddled, Jul 24, 2004
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clouded amber tone with no visible chunks accumulating anywhere, nice sized cream colored head leaves scattered specks of lacing. Aroma: Great kilned malts, awesome air of smoked meat like a jar of beef jerky good stuff in my opinion. Taste: Mild compared to the other famous Rauchbier of Bamberg, but so tasty at the same time. Great crisp lager with nice malt character finishes nice and smokey but doesn't overwelm the palate, nice mixture of flavors. Mouthfeel: Medium to light in body solid carbonation, good stuff overall. Drinkability: Can't complain I could picture being in Bamber at the brewery located on the river drinking this on tap, would be such a treat.

WVbeergeek, Feb 02, 2004
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a practically clear amber gold with an off white head. Slight smoke on the nose and a bit of hops. Very mild on the flavor and not very much smoke there to speak of at first. But as it warmed up, those smoke characteristics peeked out. If I did a blind tasting of this as it was when I first drank it, I am not sure if I would know this is a rauchbier. Feel is standard. A bit like a macro lager. Nothing much going on here. This is my second dance with this style, and the first was much more impressionable. It’s drinkable, yes. But for the money and lack of flair in flavor; why?

RblWthACoz, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Cape Wine & Spirits in Lewes, DE. Poured chilled from the 1/2 liter bottle into a mug.

A - A pleasant looking hazy medium amber w/ a 2 finger bone white head w/ tiny beading

S - The nose is mildly smoky w/ a caramel malt back and slightly bready yeast aroma

M- The creaminess is very nice w/ malt coming in w/ moderate carbonation and accent of smoke w/ sweet caramel finish

T - The flavor has a very toasted bready malt that leads to hints of woody smoke which adds to the malt flavors but doesn't quite give a meaty taste, more like sweet smoked nuts. The malt doesn't let the balance shift to a smoky menace, rather it is refreshing w/ a smooth caramel and light lager yeast flavor. The finish is semi-dry w/ a light smokiness

D - I wish this had more smoke, but was pleased overall since the smoothness of the lager makes it very drinkable.

Slatetank, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Armsby Abbey.

Big fluffy head over the top of the mug, clear toasty orange golden brown color.

Nose great toasty malts, oktoberfest like toasty malts, munich malt, light smoked malts, some lager fruits.

Taste starts with some smoked malts, not really the smoke meat or cheese level but nice smoke flavor, some light toasty malts, definite lager yeast with fruit and a crisp flavor, light sweet syrupy reddish munich malts, finishes a bit drier but sticky, lingering lots of malts, hint of bitterness and some smoked malts.

Mouth is med to a bit lighter bodied, good carb, very crisp.

Overall great, nice smoke that isn't overpowering, great crisp lager flavors, nice malts, almost oktoberfest like.

jlindros, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of russpowell
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at Bruisin Ales in Asheville in late July

Poured an effervescent orange/copper with 3+ fingers of fluffed up eggshell white head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Smoked ham & that's it

T: Sweet caramel with a hint of smokeyness up front. Slight hop bitterness follows as this warms along with some butter diathechyl notes. Finishes sweet, grainy & dry

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, skews too sweet balance-wise

Drank too slow because of the cloying sweetness. Don't recall this being that sweet in Bamberg. Perhaps an old bottle?

russpowell, Oct 03, 2007
Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

XmnwildX12, Nov 22, 2013
Photo of drabmuh
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer served in a snifter, on draft. Beer is yellow and mostly clear with a soft white head, low carbonation minimal lacing, looks good.

Beer definitely has a hickory / smoke aroma. There is a slightly off putting vegetal aroma.

Beer is light in body and minimally flavored until the smoke comes up on the second half of the palate and finishes oddly bitter and dry. Overall, it's not my favorite rauchbier but I'm glad I had it, I doubt I would return to it though.

drabmuh, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: cloudy, solidly amber hue, adorned with a generous, meringue-ish, creamy head. Aroma: soft, before being the smokiness slowly unfolds and grows...where's the salmon, anyway?
Taste: mild, easy, minimal hops, adequate malt, this seems, underneath the smoke, to be a perfectly servicable dunkel lager, smooth and eager-to-please, but the smoke's what it's all about, dominating every inch of the experience, taking control with the first sip. This actually fades and mellows after a time, but never dies, and lingers on the palate. This is the first rauchbier I've had that was a simple lager underneath, the others being bocks, weizens, marzens (thinking of Schlenkerla here, which also has a bigger smokey character, if I recall) and ales. Don't think it works as well with a lager, perhaps there's less in the way of other characteristics to play with the smokey content.
In any case, for what it was, this was pretty nice, and the 500 ml bottle went down surprisingly fast!

feloniousmonk, Jan 31, 2004
Photo of WesWes
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark gold/orange color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a typical lager scent with a slight light crystal malt and smokey aroma. The smoke is light, but noticable. The taste is good. It has a smooth lager taste with an earthy smokiness in the finish. It goes down easy and finishes dry and musty. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a low bodied beer with a little too much carbonation. This is a decent beer. It has good taste, but it lacks mouthfeel. All in all, it still drinks well, but I wouldn't buy it again.

WesWes, May 22, 2005
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Spezial Rauchbier Lager from Brauerei Spezial
84 out of 100 based on 274 ratings.