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Spezial Rauchbier Lager - Brauerei Spezial

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Spezial Rauchbier LagerSpezial Rauchbier Lager

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282 Ratings
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Ratings: 282
Reviews: 233
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 13.51%
Wants: 9
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brauerei Spezial visit their website

Style | ABV
Rauchbier |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-19-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 282 | Reviews: 233
Photo of sulldaddy
2.55/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well I am guessing I had the lager, since most everyone else has. I sampled a chilled 10 oz snifter at Kclingers on tap. I was excited for a rauchbier as I enjoy smokiness in my brew. I have to say I was let down.
The beer arrives with no head and is a cloudy orange color. Aroma is very mild with sweet fruit (apples and pears) dominant. No smoke that my nose can detect. No hops either. Much more mild than I expected and seems to be more of a belgian than a rauch.
Flavor is similar to nose, no smoke flavor is sweet and fruity apples pears and tangy yeast. I get some lemon and slightly spicy hops but again no smoke. DOnt get me wrong the beer is quite tasty, but I ordered what I thought was a smoke beer and it ended up tasting like a dubbel. ENjoyable beer but my marks are low due to lack of smoke.

Photo of ybnorml
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A dark golden, amber beer. Has a very small white head that dissappers quickly. There is a light grainy lager aroma with some malty sweetness in the background and maybe a hint of smoke. Smokey flavor covers you tongue quickly with a light fruity sweetness in the background.

Photo of benmiliron
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Paid $3.29 for a 1pt 9oz bottle.

Looks a bit musty brown. Decent carbonation, big bubble but not frothy. Decent. Smells of campfire and beer, in that order. This is my first Bamburg Rauchbier. I enjoy the smoke, but would prefer not to drink it solo. Better paired with something else smoky I imagine.

Photo of DPMomutant
3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours with a smallish head that sticks a little bit but not very long. The body is unexpectedly light copper.

I can smell the distinct smoked smell, but it is much subtler than others I have tried in this style. Can be nice that it doesn't reach the 'smoked ham' level but I really don't mind that quality either.

The smoked taste is much also much less prevelent than in most in the style but you can tell it's there, mostly in the aftertaste which is quite pleasant. A light sweetness is present as well.

The carbonation is quite light and the consistency quite watery. While the finish is quite smooth, the mouthfeel isn't terribly exciting.

This is more drinkable than others in the style mainly because it is more subtle in smell and taste than others I've tried but I myself would seek something more exciting before having too many.

This isn't bad, but I'm not head over heels for it either. Good enough to try and maybe like. I may even find myself revisiting it someday.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Exactly as per the BA Database picture, the cream colored label on this one is very Teutonic. The neck label identifies this as the Special Rauchbier ‘Lager Bier’ with a green stripe, the neck label also states that this is Alc. 4.6% Vol. (I note that this different to the that listed). Reverse label includes a Bottled On Date of 02-09-04. Imported by Shelton Brothers. The date of 1536 on the label is genuine and shows that this is one of Bamberg’s oldest Breweries that is still in family hands.

Appearance: Pours with a massive creamy off-white Teutonic Kopf that fills the Glass. The thick deep head soon rescinds to a rocky covering that laces well and leaves a floating broken rocky iceberg like appearance. The body is a beautiful copper color, perfectly clear with a lovely orange hue when back-lit. Gorgeously smooth carbonation, velvet like in character when lightly swirled.

Nose: Lightly smoked aromas, like a fresh cut cedar, the woody aspects mix extremely well with the more grainy malts. Refreshing nose that is very inviting.

Taste: Grainy malt start, woody, bitter and rather dry. Some creamy toffee in the middle rises as the smoked character builds. Crisp and very clean the lines are well put together. Finishes with a soft light smoked caramel feel that is delicate but firm.

Mouthfeel: Decent feel but the crisp clean lines can make it feel like it only has an average to above-medium feel. Nevertheless, the smoky finish assists in leaving you with a finish that is far from wanting.

Drinkability: One of the more restrained Rauchbiers that I have had, but I actually think that shows some class, it is nicely balanced and the lighter smoked character in this Rauchbier makes for a very drinkable offering. Usually I can only handle one Rauchbier, but I could easily manage several of these beauties with little problem or heartburn.

Overall: Perfect, I like Rauchbiers, but so often they are overkill. This one is absolutely spot on and just right, the smoke is just enough, not too much and not too little, but perfectly in balance. Extremely nice example of a Rauchbier.


Photo of GClarkage
1.83/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Consumed in October 2004 at the Toronado on tap. Well, for starters, this apparently isn't my type of beer, which makes it really hard to review. I'm not a fan of smoked beers, as I was not aware that this type of beer was smoked. So, I apologize to all smoked beer lovers for the low rating I am going to give. I guess it's just one of those aquired taste beers. Just like I love IPA to the max beers, others can't tolerate them. OK....Poured a brownish, reddish hazy color with virtually zero head whatever. It left next to no lace also. The smell was a bit pungent. I've always read the reviews of "barnyard" type scents and never understood. Now I have a bit of an understanding. UGH, didn't enjoy the taste at all. Mainly because of the smoky overtones. Next to zero carbonation and tasted like a pair of used sweatsocks that have been soaking in some aged iced tea. Sorry, but not my kind of beer. I'm sure it's a perfectly good one for the smoked beer fans out there though. So, pay no attention to my rating unless you dislike smoked beers like I do.

Photo of TinusTime
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ok another Rauchbier from Bamburg.. Umm what happened? Did they lose he smoke? Pours a nice dark amber brown. With a host of floaty things.. Smell is malty but oddly not smoky. Taste is more like a Heavy dunkle lager.. with just a touch of smoke. This beer reminds me of Stones Smoked Porter.. It says it has smoke but Im trying to find it.. Some one give me a cigarette so i can have some smoke with my smoked bier. Its a tasty brew, but it aint that smokey.. I love the Aecht Schenkerla Rauchbiers.. but this one falls so short of them its not even funny.. Its like Schlenkela is Marlboro and this bier is Marlboro Ultra lite. Its tasty in a Malty almost Martzen way, but not gonna be smokey enough for Rauch lovers.

Photo of Tballz420
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew has a dark amber/copper body with a tan head that ran away from me. Slight smokey aroma on top of a malty lager scent. Kinda reminds me of a dark euro lager with smoke hints, slight hop flavor, nice level of maltiness. Med to light mouth. Not as intense on the smoke as say the rogue, makes this beer much more appealing to mainstream beer drinkers, i would think.

Photo of wyllder
2.1/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap at the Moan & Dove, Amherst MA.

Poured a slightly cloudy bronze-copper with a weak beige head that fades away to nothing.

Smell was an unpleasant hay/horseblanket/manure. This is the first time I've truly understood the barnyard description I've seen for other beers. Another scent confused in there is the medicinal smell of a fresh package of band-aids.

Taste was, unfortunately for me, tied to the smell. There's some malt character in there, but I couldn't get away from the medicinal and barnyard qualities that took up residence in the back of my throat.

Mouthfeel was average. Drinkability suffered purely as a result of the taste.

Comments: Of the 6 people I had sip this, 4 agreed with me and 2 others thought it was really good. Of the two who liked it, one was smoking regularly that night and the other was drinking a Stone Russian Imperial Stout. For fun, I had a sip of the Stone Imp Russian and then tried some more of the Rauchbier: much better. The Stone killed the foul taste. Too bad the effect only lasted for about 3-4 sips. Maybe this is one of those beers/styles I'll have to try several times before finding out I actually love it. It will have to wait, though, as I won't be revisiting it anytime soon.


Photo of sparkydoyle
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 17 oz bottle. Small oily head, clear chestnut color, and with a slight smoked nose (not so smoked that one couldn’t pick out malty/bready and a decidedly roasted note).

The taste is complex offering a smoky foretase that seemed to build and then ebb as the beer was consumed. Interesting mineral notes in the middle combined with a roasted malt note that at points met up with the smoke and the sweetness. Overall the beer was very low in hops, but offered a sweet finish that became sweeter and more roasted tasting as the beer warmed. Nice balance between the flavor notes, and every flavor played a well-practiced solo at some point.

Tasters may compare this to the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier beers ( which come in marzen, wheat and urbock styles—styles also brewed by Spezial.) The Lager is sweeter, has less alcohol, and less-assertive smokyness. The roastyness added interest.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +19.5%
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!

Photo of meathookjones
3.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of bditty187
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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, I’m 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.

Photo of Crosling
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Good beer.

Photo of yeagerbm
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
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!

Photo of Rastacouere
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of yen157
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’m 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.

Photo of Bighuge
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of cokes
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Jon
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Spezial Rauchbier Lager from Brauerei Spezial
84 out of 100 based on 282 ratings.