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Spezial Rauchbier Lager - Brauerei Spezial

Spezial Rauchbier LagerSpezial Rauchbier Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

271 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 271
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.82%

Brewed by:
Brauerei Spezial visit their website

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
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Ratings: 271 | Reviews: 231 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of micromaniac129


3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice copper color when poure into a glass. What foamy head is produced during the pour fades to nothing quite fast.

Aroma is lightly malts and weak smoke aroma.

A dry lager with a sutle but assertive smokiness.
Doesn't smell or taste like beech wood.

A thin mouthfeel with a dry finish.

Vey much different then Aecht Schlenkerla that I'm most familiar with but good too.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2011 19:13:43 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of Ochsenblut


3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The dark copper body sits underneath a compact, one cm white head. The retention isn't awesome, but there is some stickage to make up for it.

The smell is barbecue pork smokiness but with a bit of malty sweetness.

The taste isn't as outright smoky as I would have thought. It starts out with a malty sweetness cut slightly by lemony hops. The tail end is a very subdued smokiness.

The mouthfeel is briefly active with carb, but fades to reveal the beer as a tad watery.

This Rauchbier is well-balanced, yet personally leaves me wanting more. When I think 'rauchbier,' I'm reminded of Schenkerla's powerful Märzen. If you've had it, you know what I mean.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2011 20:26:01 | More by Ochsenblut
Photo of Suds


2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is an average colored light-amber colored lager. The head is soapy, white, and firm, and the beer is sufficiently clear. The smell is smoky (like a good smoked salmon) and a bit grainy. Slightly astringent-smelling, with some wood and slight medicinal smell. The taste is light and dry. Smoke is prominent in the taste. The beer is light in mouthfeel, and sweeter than expected from the smell. Interesting, but not really a great brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2011 02:50:15 | More by Suds
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2011 17:58:46 | More by Thorpe429
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2011 20:20:28 | More by Knapp85
Photo of zaphodchak


3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1.5 fingers of off-white foamy head over a ruddy amber (clear) body. Retains head and laces decently.

Smoky, bacony nose. Nice, and obvious considering it's a rauchbier.

Flavor is interesting. It's got some hop bitterness to clean up the finish, but it falls slightly short of my ideal for the style. There's some oaky, smoky malt, but it comes across as slightly watery.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, smooth and almost creamy.

Overall fine, but no reason to prefer over another smoky beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2011 01:18:59 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of hardy008


3.13/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light amber with a 3 finger off white head with decent retention and spotty lacing. The aroma has smoke, caramel malt, grassy hops, along with some green apple. Not as smoky in the aroma as I had expected.

The taste is just like the aroma. Smoke, caramel malt, grassy hops, and a little green apple. Sweet, and smoky, with some slight hop bitterness.

Light bodied, too light and thin in my opinion. Lightly carbonated. A decent beer, but not one of the better Rauchbiers I have had. Somewhat disappointing. I wish this would have been smokier.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2011 02:42:31 | More by hardy008
Photo of metter98

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2011 19:59:18 | More by metter98
Photo of Tone


3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight nut, slight earthy malt, smoke, and a hint of pale malt. Fits the style of a Rauchbier. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of smoke, sweet malt, hint of earthy malt, hint of pale malt, hint of roasted malt, and a hint of hop. Overall, a good session beer. Smoke essence isn't as strong as I would like, but still well done.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2011 13:33:01 | More by Tone
Photo of beeragent


3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a glass from a bottle.

A - Pours a light copper, forming a 1 inch off-white head that quickly faded. No lace on the glass.

S - Aroma is dominated by the smoked malt, but not overpowering.

T - Smoked malt along with a bit of pale malt/bready flavor towards the end.

M - Light bodied with low carboantion. Very clean and smooth.

D - Good flavor and aroma, clean body, but less than impressive appearance. The flavor is not as robust IMO as other rauchbiers from Bamberg.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2011 02:24:32 | More by beeragent
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.18/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer appears slightly hazy and a rusty orange hue, with a thick inch and a half of head that resides atop the beer for several minutes, gradually diminishing to a quarter inch.

S: The aroma is rauchbier all the way, with the expected scents of smoke, fire, and malt.

T: The flavor has more of a peat character than some other rauchbiers I have had, akin to an Islay scotch. Pleasant smoke notes and a very enjoyable malt character make this a fine example of the style. The flavor is not over the top; this is a lighter, well balanced, highly drinkable rauchbier.

M: Light in body and very smooth.

D: While perhaps the mouthfeel could be thicker, the drinkability is high. I inadvertently drained my glass in short time, and wished I had more. I'll be having this again.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2011 01:40:34 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Mdog


3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark gold, lots of particles, big head.

Smell: Smoky, salty.

Taste: Big smoky charcoal throughout. A little bit of sweetness is in there, but lots of dry charcoal.

Drinkability: A little too much "burned to the crisp on the grill" type flavor to have more than one.

Rauchbiers are an interesting set of tastes. This one goes a little too far into the carbon for me, like picking something out of the charcoal and giving it a taste.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 00:07:52 | More by Mdog
Photo of Domingo


3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah, Rauchbier, and smoked beers in general. It's a style I honestly enjoy as long as the smoke is allowed to dominate everything else. The Schlenkerla versions are a bit much for me, let's see how this one fares.
Pours a medium to tannish brown. Fluffy white head, good carbonation and clarity.
The nose is smoky, but not the infamous "BBQ sauce" scent some can have. There's a malty note in there and even a hint of clover-honey from the lager yeast.
The flavor is similar. Smoke's there in full-force, but it's really only a 50/50 pairing with the malt, which seems to be more of an amber in terms of flavor/color rather than the "dunkel" listed on the bottle. That might be a Bamberg thing as I've never been and am not as familiar with their traditions. Trace noble hops pop up here and there, but are more of a balancer than flavor component. It's easy to keep drinking this and the flavor never loses impact and the smoke never overpowers. If anything, the malt note comes out more as it warms a bit.
I've love to have more of this and I definitely think Spezial will be on my visit list whenever I make it to Bamberg. I'd imagine a pairing with pork or a stew would be great.
If all Rauchbiers were like this, I'd be more than happy.

EDIT: Had this in Bamberg and it's just as good if not better. Great pairing with some jagerschnitzel, too. I prefer it to the ones from Schlenkerla and would say it's definitely among the top beers in town. In fact, I'd say everything they had was top notch.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 20:14:56 | More by Domingo
Photo of OWSLEY069


1.75/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a clean orange-ish to copper color with a white head. In the aroma, a small hint of smoke and a smell of sweet tea. In the taste, small dry smoke and a hint of sweet tea maltiness. A small bite and medium to light bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry tea like aftertaste. Light smoke and a big presence of sweet tea malt and a hint of lemon.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2010 11:35:20 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of OtherShoe2


3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark orange with an off-white bubbly head that reduces to a skim and a ring. No lacing, some rising bubbles.

Mild smoky aroma, some light toasted malt and country ham-like scents. Where's the malt?

More of the same. Decent smoked malt flavor, but the malt never fights thru. Watery, but crisp, with a long smoke finish. Bitter toasted bread is there, but in a later wave of flavor. A refreshing rauchbier? Clean flavors, just too weak. This is borderline 3.0.

Thinner mouthfeel than expected. Some astringent pucker.

I'm a bit disappointed. The malt character needs some depth. It is a lager, but this seems to be a decision of smoke over all other beer elements. And there it fails a bit. The smoke isn't overpowering. The liquid bacon factor doesn't come into play -- it just lacks a bit more depth.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2010 23:06:47 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of TheJollyHop


4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Herbal hops, smoke, pepper, BBQ, and leather,
A pour expressing deep amber to light brown hues.
A finger of white head that was soft like a feather,
Smoke and fruitiness did fuse.

Flavor, a light and smoky sweetness with hints of BBQ together,
med carbonation, light body, and a refreshing quality does infuse.
An overall sweeter than hoppy brew perfect for the weather,
If you want a crisp, smoked beer this is the one to choose.

While not exemplary, average quality it does exceed,
if camping and honey is what you like this is what you need!

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2010 03:45:32 | More by TheJollyHop
Photo of Parrotbeak


3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light orange in color, with a thin white head that gradually fades, becoming patchy. Decent lacing.
Smell is crackery, smokey malts, with hints of barbeque and a touch of sausage.
Taste is malts with some ample, smokey notes, as well as some hints of barbeque and brown sugar. Very subtle notes of sausage.
Mouthfeel is crisp yet slightly smooth. Fairly dry on the finish. Medium-light body.
Drinkability is good. Pretty good take on the rauchbier.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2010 02:43:51 | More by Parrotbeak
Photo of Stigs


3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550ml bottle, served in a standard pint glass

A - pale golden in color and crystal clear. aggressive pour yields an inch or so of frothy white foam which falls to a thin layer within a few minutes.

S - lightly smoked meats with a thin sweet undertone of caramel and slightly bready malts for balance.

T - starts off with some grainy and lightly toasted malts, also a kiss of caramel before the smoke sets in in a very delicate controlled manner. reminiscent of smoked ham or incense - not overpowering at all and quite pleasant.

M - thinnish body and carbonation could stand to be just a touch hotter for an extra "oomph". lingering lightly sweet smokiness.

D - overall pretty enjoyable - went very nicely with my salmon + avocado panini. looking forward to trying more of the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2010 02:18:02 | More by Stigs
Photo of DrewHodges


4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from 4/8/10 tasting; .5L bottle poured to ceramic Spezial beer krug.

A--can't see color well in the ceramic mug, but a light bubbly head that settled to very thin, some sediment floating

S--wonderful smoky ham smell and the signature roast malts of rauchbiers

T--excellent flavor, a light smokiness, balanced flavor compared to Schlenkerla

M--this bottle might be a tiny bit old based on the flattish watery mouthfeel, but still pleasant

D--very drinkable beer, one of the few rauchbiers you can enjoy several in a row

Drank this beer numerous times living in Bamberg, and the export bottles in the US just aren't nearly on par with what you can get in the Spezial brew pub, but still nice to have it once in awhile to bring back the memories...

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2010 21:13:00 | More by DrewHodges
Photo of jmhart


3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From cask at the brewery.

A- Color is Orange-gold with hits of copper, with a firm head with good retention. Head subsides after a minute and leaves a rich lace on the side of the glass. Beer has a slight haze to it. No apparent sediment, just a little hazy.

S- Caramal malts hit first, with some non-citrus fruits mixed in. Afterwards the familiar aroma of the rachbier appears...smoke. However, this smoke is more subdued, more balanced. The combination of all the aromas is very pleasant and enticing.

T-First hits a bready flavor, followed by some sweet/carmel notes. Non citrus fruits like grapes/pears appear halfway through the taste. The finish leaves only the slightest hit of smoke. If you didn't know this was rachbier, you probably wouldn't notice the smoke in the taste.

M-Farily medium-full bodied, slightly chewy, with an oily finish. The oily finish is a little off-putting, but it encourages you to take the next sip.

D-A good beer, but not highly drinkable. It's thickness and residual oil don't invite you back for another one immediately.

Overall, this was good and definitely in my top 3 beers from Bamberg. I'll drink it again, but only one per sitting.

Serving type: cask

05-17-2010 13:37:18 | More by jmhart
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2010 03:18:21 | More by largadeer
Photo of popery


4.47/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle, home. Bright copper-amber liquid, crystal clear, with a fizzy, white, dissipating head. The aroma is milder and more refined than other rauchbier that I've tried, mostly Schlenkerla. Spezial's Lager tends more toward rich caramel and fruity malt. The smoke doesn't make the beer feel old or hammy. It's more like a fresh, mesquite-ish accent to a nice malty lager. The flavor is relatively sweet but also much bigger than its abv would suggest, a bit like a good mild. It's a great malty lager flavor, nutty and yeasty. Soft feel. Very good lager.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2010 05:29:58 | More by popery
Photo of crossovert


3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle best by 06.04.10.

Poured into my Bamberger ceramic stein (Gustbrauerei G. Bernreuther-Pyras) it has a nice bright white 4 finger head that recedes into a froth. The beer is brown with red and yellow hints.

It smells between a helles and a rauchbock. It has a nice smokiness to it with also a pinch of malt aroma.

I actually think the smoke is less present int he taste. It is like a nice light dukel lager with a good dose of smoke flavor over the top. The aftertaste is of helles lager.

The mouthfeel is nice, with a good carbonation level. The drinkability is high for the style.

Overall a great beer that isn't for all but can be something to be accustomed to.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2010 02:13:55 | More by crossovert
Photo of tigg924


4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, clear, orange-brown in color, moderate carbonation

Smell: smoked malt

Taste: smoked malt, grass, small hops, and honey

Mouthfeel: medium/light bodied, semi-sweet with small bitter stretches, boozy, high carbonation

Drinkability: This one drinks like a smoked amber. It is super easy to drink even with the high carbonation. The smoke is strong and pleasant. I could have several.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2010 15:53:31 | More by tigg924
Photo of bob3701

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an English style pint glass. Hazy gold/amber color with a big bubbled head that very slowly disapates into a thin film with almost no lacing. Slight smokey aroma. Very little smoke in taste but I thought this was a very good German lager. I like the stronge smokey beers which this is not yet I still enjoyed this beer. I have a friend that is not crazy about rauchbiers but I think he would enjoy this. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2010 23:57:00 | More by bob3701
Spezial Rauchbier Lager from Brauerei Spezial
83 out of 100 based on 271 ratings.