Spezial Rauchbier Lager - Brauerei Spezial
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Ratings: 272 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
4.43/5 rDev +20.1%
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!
07-24-2004 14:44:06 | More by NeroFiddled
3.75/5 rDev +1.6%
Pours a deep copper hue that is a bit cloudy and has about and inch tall white head. The head dissolved fairly quickly into a light bubbly cap on the beer with almost no sign of lacing. There is definitely a smoky scent detectable but it does not completely dominate the aroma. Some malt sweetness stood out as well with hints of spiciness detected. The taste is very similar to the smell with a definite smokiness with sweet malt and a slight hoppiness present. The finish was dry and smoky which hung around in the mouth for a while. This has a good medium body and a very smooth drinking beer. This was my first experience with a Rauchbier and I am very intrigued by the style. It has a great unique taste and would defiantly recommend this to anyone who has not tried the style.
06-08-2004 16:52:28 | More by meathookjones
3.95/5 rDev +7%
Pours a slightly cloudy amber body with a cream colored, one finger head that retains quite well. Plenty of sheet and patch lace.
Aroma is wood smoked bacon, with a hint of hops and malt underneath.
Mouthfeel has a peppery hops bite, medium carbonation, and immediate sensation of smoky wood.
Taste is wood smoked bacon with a distant hops background. The beechwood smoked barley malt really dominates here.
Not as complex as it could be, but this is an interesting and historical style that I really enjoy. This oozes charcoaled beechwood malt, from start to finish. Very pleasant to sip.
05-31-2004 19:05:12 | More by merlin48
3.83/5 rDev +3.8%
Clear, amber in hue with noticeable highlights of copper and maybe a splash of bronze. A foamy white head of a half finger formed but failed to hold long. It quickly faded to a bubbly collar. Subsequent lacing never transpired. Honestly I was expecting a darker, more mysterious looking beer. I like surprises. The smokiness of the nose was obvious but light, the aromatics from the malts displayed a soft smoked meat/beef jerky/campfire baked beans with lots of bacon characteristics. Behind these smells laid a suggestion of lager airiness, maybe a hint of hops too. The potency is modest. The invitation is clear enough. Lets drink! Upfront on the palate the smoky qualities of the beer are found. Cured bacon/ham notes, a beechwood campfire off in the distant, and a hint of wet wood. These qualities are all pleasant. None of them are loud, maybe I am being greedy but I was looking for more, still no complaints. In the middle and especially at the finish this beer nearly sheds its smoky start and becomes a lager like a Pils or a smaller Helles. The hops really slice through the heavy malty qualities, that seems Pils like but there is also a faint suggestion of non-cured malt that lends itself to resemble a Helles. The main point is the smoky flavors fade away. This beer would work wonders with many meaty, BBQ dishes. The start of the beer matches the flavors of fire-cooked food but the end of the beer is crisp enough to lift away the residual heft, this allows for consumption of new flavors. The aftertaste grows more hammy and smoky. Tacky too, in the mouthfeel, I wonder if a bit more carbonation would help. Regardless the mouthfeel is good. This is plenty drinkable but not too challenging, i.e., smoky. I liked it, Im glad I tried it; I now know what to expect. If you want to get smoked-out, skip this and go for an Aecht Schlenkerla, if I want a clean German lager with a Rachbier background I would select this. I purchased a 500 ml bottle in Iowa City. Worth trying.
05-25-2004 01:36:50 | More by bditty187
3.9/5 rDev +5.7%
Majestic Color looking like a mixture between Heinz 57 and Grapefruit Juice. Head falls quickly. Some lacing. Suspended particles everywhere.
The smoky aroma takes over everything else trying to come out in the aroma. Mainly, the sweet and crisp malts and the "clean" scents.
The smokiness is nice, providing most of the flavor but still leaving room for much more. Lots of sweet malts and fruitiness come about along with some nuttiness as well. The hops are crisp. Very clean flavors and very drinkable. Low carbonation but it seems right. The smokiness is very mild compared to the few other rauchbiers I have had, in fact, towards the end it was barely evident at all. I liked it that way.
04-01-2004 02:42:14 | More by Crosling
3.6/5 rDev -2.4%
Pours dark copper with a thin white head. Dense sediment particles. Smells pleasantly smokey. Tastes like a typical lager but with a thorough yet not overpowering smokiness. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but surprisingly drinkable for a smoked beverage.
03-18-2004 01:43:48 | More by yeagerbm
4.3/5 rDev +16.5%
The beer poured copper/amber with particulates. The head was white and fell back quickly, but laced the glass.
The aroma was smoke and vienna malt.
The flavor was smoke, but not overdone. In the background is the vienna/maerzen beer that is the background of traditional rauchbier.
The finish was dry and subtle smoky lasting into a pleasant aftertaste. The body was medium.
16.9 ounce bottle. Lager beir on neck label. 4.6% ABV on neck label.
02-16-2004 00:16:38 | More by GCBrewingCo
4.15/5 rDev +12.5%
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.
02-02-2004 20:57:33 | More by WVbeergeek
3.95/5 rDev +7%
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!
01-31-2004 10:24:10 | More by feloniousmonk
3.93/5 rDev +6.5%
Dirty amber color, murky, minimal white head rapidly turns into a ring. Aroma is surprising by it's low intensity. It's nevertheless packed with subtleties. The smokiness here seems to be expressed through leather hints. There's also a cerealic thing going on here. In mouth, this is very easy to drink, intensily malty and refreshing. Above average carbonation and lagerish thin-medium body. Highly drinkable, but not as expressing as I had hoped.
01-29-2004 06:27:45 | More by Rastacouere
3.9/5 rDev +5.7%
Im always up for a good raunchier, so I had to try this one that I had never seen before.
I poured a hazy, tan-ish orange with a creamy, eggshell head. Briney nose, actually a lot like a jar of Manzanilla olives. Good smoke presence, but not too much. There was some room left for light fruitiness. The smoke was very noticeable up front, but quickly gave way to some hoppiness and the crisp, toasty, and carbonic finish.
This would be a great summer quencher or smoky session beer. This is perfect for when one of the Aecht Schrenkerla offerings would be too much.
01-05-2004 18:28:48 | More by yen157
4.1/5 rDev +11.1%
This beer pours with some viscosity. It creates small bubbly tan head above the slightly hazed light copper beer that literally vanishes before my very eyes. The aroma reminds me of camping in the Wisconsin northwoods. Damp and smoky...wet leaves. I like it a lot. The smoke is very subtle on the nose. On the buds this one hits the spot. The smoke is intertwined nicely with some slightly bitter hop tones a toasty vienna like malt foundation. No ashtray here...just a nice drinking rauchbier.
12-20-2003 06:04:28 | More by Bighuge
4.1/5 rDev +11.1%
Appropriately smoky honey-golden. The head is white and dies in moderation.
The rauchiness of the beechwood cured malt is evident, but not so forceful as, say, A-S. It smells like lager as well, not just smoke. Toasty, clean, with ham notations.
Tastes as it smells. Again, the lager pedigree is not lost. Dortmunder Export backing. Lightly sweetened bread dough. Hints of nuts. Traces of honey. Ever-so-slightly toasty.
Smoke is here, and full of dried wood and meat, just as one would expect. It's not dominating, however.
Hops mix pleasantly into the fray. Like a burn-barrel of fallen leaves in late October. Grassy, herbal, and dry. Not persuasively bitter, but sufficient.
A medium body that demands large pulls.
I entered this beer wanting to get smoked out. Instead, I got a well-crafted, clean, authentic German lager with enough rauch traits to make me endear it.
Recommended for fans and novices alike.
12-13-2003 05:59:18 | More by cokes
4.05/5 rDev +9.8%
Sampled on tap at the brewery.
This rauchbier poured a clear, dark amber color with creamy, light tan foam that settled but coated the glass. The smell was mildly malty. The taste was malty with a hint of smokiness and with tangy hops in the finish. Very nice, and not overly smokey. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium body and moderate carbonation. There was a slight smokey feel and a light tanginess. This was a very nice rauchbier with a light smokiness. Very easy to drink.
12-10-2003 00:57:38 | More by UncleJimbo
3.9/5 rDev +5.7%
Beautiful golden orange color with a foamy, bubbly white head. Smell is of a distinct smokiness most akin to smoked salmon with some caramel thrown in for good measure. Only moderate smokiness penetrates through the palate, leaving notes of bready malt, caramel, lightly spicy hops, and smoked meat. Medium-bodied, lightly carbonated with a smooth, round mouthfeel. Drinkability is good for the style, but this beer is still a little much for me to regularly drink. Nonetheless, an attractive rauchbier with lots of character that would be perfect with your next barbecue.
11-29-2003 02:30:21 | More by Jon
3.75/5 rDev +1.6%
Turbid orange based gold color with nice thicket of white head. Smoky nose to some extent, definitely not overwhelming. Smells more of a quality lager with a slight smoky nose. Almost as how one's clothes smell the day after being around a campfire (minus, of course, the humanly stenches of day-old clothing :^) I feel some smoked beers can be a little taxing in the drinkability department, but this one has the sublty to send it's drinkability sky high. A plethora of culinary delights could be paired with this beer.
11-19-2003 09:04:49 | More by crookedhalo
2.93/5 rDev -20.6%
Orange-copper in appearance with a nice size head. A bit of caramel in the aroma, smokiness is very mild. Smoke is a little more prevalent in the taste, but still very mild. A slight metallic taste as well. Although this is a lager, it reminds me of an amber ale. I was looking for a more intense smokey flavor. A somewhat enjoyable beer, but it doesn't compare to some of the other rauchbiers i've had.
11-16-2003 19:21:10 | More by dmarch
4/5 rDev +8.4%
Sampled from bottle in AZ:
A nice copper color pours with a good cream/ tan colored head. First aroma is of a hoppy spiciness (a bit surprising, in a good way), but then a background smokiness kicks in, and soon becomes all you can smell. Good amount of body to this brew, nice solid malt presence accompanied by a bit of malt sweetness, very nice. Finishes with a smoky finish, that soon infuses the whole taste of the beer from start to finish. The smoke is reasonably subdued though. Not quite as good and hearty as when sampled fresh at the brewery, but if this is all you can get don't miss it.
10-26-2003 22:24:05 | More by Gueuzedude
3.4/5 rDev -7.9%
Another beer I'd never seen on tap at Redbones, which meant only one thing: try it and review it, here goes. Poured a dark straw color, with about the prettiest head I've ever seen: nice, creamy, and rounded (this was in a half pint glass, not a true pint glass, however). The aroma was woody, sweet/fruity, and of course smokey. Taste was actually slightly sweet and mild, followed by an all smoke finish. The adjective that comes to mind for this brew is mild...the smoke flavor is not overwhelming. Not a style I would go for normally, but certainely worthy of a half pint, which wasn't bad drinking. pat
10-12-2003 18:08:32 | More by PatandDavid
3.65/5 rDev -1.1%
Clear amber colour,foam not so compact, and a with a little persistence. Smell of smoked (soot?), of a warm fireside... particular, but very pleasant (family, home, and stuff like that...).
Taste clean, smoked, grilled wurstel, but maybe too marked and invedent; you can only feel a light note of malt and hops. Light body, too, but with a great drinkability.
01-12-2003 10:35:37 | More by stcules
3.5/5 rDev -5.1%
Have had quite a few of these when staying in Bamberg... from one of the oldest Brauerei's in Bamberg.... from my room at their Inn I can see (and smell!) their bier brewing! This one has a decent medium bronze-copper color, with a thin, tan head, which fades quickly to almost nothing, with minimal lace. Nose is faintly smoky, with mild malt present, too. Body just under medium, as is the smoothness on the tongue. There's just a touch of malty sweetness to start; the underlying smokiness is evident, but not overpowering. Finishes on the dry side. Improves as it warms; Easy to quaff! (Original review from samples from Sep 2001, and updated Oct 2002).
appearance: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
10-14-2002 09:37:31 | More by Bierman9
4.15/5 rDev +12.5%
Clear bronze hue w/ copious flecks of yeast aggregates. Thick, slowly disappating off - white head. Beechwood smoke aroma is surprisingly mild compared to other rauchbiers and is well integrated in the aroma-- toasty Vienna and /or Munich malt is discernible & light crystal malt sweetness is there as well. Although expectedly smoky in flavor, the smoke is well calculated & isn't overbearing. Rich, nutty, perhaps decocted malt aren't hidden and since the body is light this rauchbier is quite drinkable. The smokiness almost seems to dissapate, and malt flavors become more assertive as I drink this brew. Hop bitterness is moderate and pleasant, while the hop flavor is herbal Hallertauer. Finishes, clean and crisp, w/ a mellow and fading smokiness. This is the most drinkable rauchbier I've had-- it wet my appetite for smoked food. I will now comb the pantry.
07-29-2002 07:00:21 | More by marc77
Spezial Rauchbier Lager from Brauerei Spezial
83 out of 100 based on 272 ratings.