Rauchbier | Sly Fox Brewing Company

very good
52 Ratings
no score
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Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jakester on 08-25-2005

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Ratings: 52 |  Reviews: 31
Photo of troegaarden
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of Kayakingmaddog
4.86/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Loved the taste. A very smoky beer with much character. Big thumbs up!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An american-made Rauchbier?!? Yow! I had some of this a few weeks ago while doing my monk thing at the second semi-annual B.E.A.T.S.fest at World Cafe Live, which was relatively lightly attended, allowing me to get a pint glass filled and be able to do a review without (much) fear of backlash. I had it again on Thursday night during the dinner at Sly Fox and when I showed my notes to some of the people at the table, they remarked that I had captured it perfectly. Well, here goes ...

This had a medium, off-white head with decent, if not great, retention. The color was a clear, deep amber with a hugely smoky nose. The beginning struck me as imparting a slight honey taste, which gave way to a sausage-like flavor on the palate. The mouthfeel was full, not quite creamy. The finish was more towards pork/bacon, if one is capable of making that kind of subtle distinction. I was so taken with this that I put my $ where my mouth and pen were and sprung for a growler. This will be part of an upcoming Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em dinner at my uncle's place. Absolutely yummy, but a steady diet of it might put me off, so no 5 for drinkability.

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Photo of PEBKAC
4.64/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Baby growler from New Beer.

Again, same DFH glass.

Half inch of tan-ish cola head. Filtered, bright bourbon amber color. Very sparse, dotted lace.

Salty, fat side ham that's just mildly smoked with a sweet wood. Maybe a touch mineral-ly & even Gouda-y. (I often find that Sly Fox tries their hand at too many things, not quite getting it right, but this is one of my favorites. Just an awesome smell to it.)

Taste at first is more on the acrid side(think burning bark), even a little papery(when cold). Once it warms a touch, it's perceived more as a balancing chewy bitterness. Middle to end gets most of the hammy flavor. Sweet, salted, smoked, liquid pork. :) A little extra bitter char on the end there to close it out easier. Alcohol is there, but quite a distant thought.

As expected, light hef on the body. Carbonation is a little too strong, (even after three weeks sitting in a bottle), but it works well with food. Maybe it's to keep the fat from congealing. :P

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Photo of mdillon86
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of DuaneL
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Tria Fitlers Square Phila. We both liked, DL especially. A wonderful, malty, smoked lager! Will find out if they can or bottle it soon!

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Photo of bkbergen
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of pottergator
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of chrishensley
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of tigg924
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Phoenixville--served into a pint glass

Appearance: orage/brown in color, 1/4 inch head, clear, medium carbonation

Smell: deep smoke and some bacon

Taste: deep smoked malt, some toasted malt, and small earthy hops at the end

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, sweet with smokiness throughout and a slightly bitter/dry end, light bodied

Drinkability: The smell of this one is just amazing. The bitterness at the end is unique. This may be one of the best domestic rauchbiers I have had. I will look for this whenever I am in Pennsylvania. It is just a really great beer. Sly Fox continually impresses me with the high quality of the beers they churn out.

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Photo of Deuane
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Deep, dark copper with a small white head that held on strong and left spotty lace.

S-Like being out in the country and driving by an old smokehouse. Virginia ham and back bacon swirls around with a nice malty sweetness. The smoke plays the lead but accompanies the malt and does not overwhelm.

T-Initial smoky sweetness up front. The smoke stays strong but never becomes annoying or overwhelming. All this building smoke leads to a drying factor that melds with a bit of biscuit breadiness in the back.

M-Medium bodied, clean and dry.

D-I had this beer before it won the 2008 GABF gold and I stated, this is without question the best non-German rauchbier I have ever had....glad to see the judges agreed with me! For me, a smoked beer geek, this is about as good as it gets. No wonder I had something like four in a row!

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler at the P-Ville location, w/out having any knowledge of this beer's history. Some would say, the purchase was "on a whim".

Pours with a faint off white head that burns off fairly quickly to zero head over a clear amber body, with a touch of carbonation flowing up.

Aromas are fantastic - not over the top - just the right amount of charcoal cooked pork, caramel malt, black pepper, and rubber. Inviting.

Flavors are also terrific, and follow much of the same in the aroma. Fairly sweet up front, but overall a nicely smoked set of meats throughout. Touch of lingering charcoal dust.

Just a touch of carbonation with a fairly dry finish in the mouthfeel.

This one makes me long for fall, sitting out back by a campfire. And was a fantastic pairing to a chunky prime rib hoagie earlier.

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Photo of Seanibus
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear copper with big fluffy head. Aroma is strongly smoky. Flavor is clean and smoky, powerful yet delicate. Not overwhelming. It suggests leather and rich pipe smoke, not so much like a campfire, as with some rauschbiers.There is some butterscotch malt back there, but mostly smoke. Mouthfeel is quite delicate.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap during the Sly Fox Goat Race & Bock Fest on 5/3/09.

A - Clear copper with deep reddish hues and a short off-white head that receded to a patchy film and left nice lacing around the glass.

S - Mild smokey aroma with a prevalent sweetness suggesting toffee notes. Nose is quite malty overall with just a hint of earthy, leafy hops in the background.

T - Smokiness comes to life in the flavor and is more apparent here than in the initial aroma. Traces of smoked meat and charcoal, but not overpowering in the least. Finishes with a dash of earthy, leafy hops.

M - Medium bodied with a light syrupy texture and subtle carbonation. Finish is smokey with a slight dryness on the palate.

D - Extremely drinkable rauchbier, yet one of the more potent smoked beers I've had in my travels. This particular one packs tons of flavor without becoming too overbearing.

Brewslut's Quote of the Day:
"It's like drinking liquid bacon."

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Photo of beerman999999
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Biscuit033
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear burnt amber, one finger head that disappates quickly with moderate lacing.

S: Smoke is evident (like the smell of your clothes after going to a bonfire), but also of smoked meat especially ham.

T: smoke and saltiness of cured meats especilly ham or bacon, like Irish bacon, there is a hoppiness that cuts through balancing the smoke very nicely.

M: This is more carbonated than most of SF's beers but I think that it helps keep the smoke flavor from being too dominant.

D: This is a well crafted beer that is spot on to the style. I could definately have a few of these on crisp fall afternoons.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer came an amber gold with a thin oatmeal head.

Smelled of salty chicken and smoke with a dry molasses.

Tasted of smooth honey and cherries that hesitates for a moment and then drops into a smoked slightly salty ham. There’s a unifying crisp sweet cedar and grass hops that ties these two together.

The mouth feel is light to medium bodied with a light carbonation.

The dynamics of this beer are stellar! I can’t wait to try this beer again.

BTW, my girlfriend, who used to live in Bamberg, tried this and liked it very much. I think that says a lot about the quality of this beer.

Well done!

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Photo of Gavage
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: amber in color with a 1" head that falls apart quickly. No lacing with this beer.

Smell: loads of smokey goodness with some caramel sweetness in the background.

Taste: nice caramel base with some mild smokiness, some nuttiness, and a mellow bitterness. The smoke flavor is kept nicely in check as not to overwhelm the flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout. Aftertaste is long as the smokey flavor linger softly on the tongue.

Drinkability: this beer goes down smoothly and would go well with BBQ meats. Nice beer overall and worth a try.

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Photo of CharlesK
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DrJay
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, light chestnut (deep amber with a reddish hue) with a short cap of white foam. Good retention and the fine bubbles showed some stickage to the glass. Very nice aroma, all malt and smoke. There were notes of caramel and peat, giving it a single-malt scotch character. Also a light ashiness, almost like a campfire. The smell was fairly mellow overall though. Solid bitterness was balanced by sweet malt and wood smoke (kind of like a ham). Many of the qualities of the aroma carried into the flavour, but the smokiness was more subdued. Medium/light body with lowish carbonation, some dryness and decent texture. I really enjoyed Sly Fox's interpretation of a rauchbier. I'm not normally a fan, but the balance worked for me.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok, so after getting the Maibocks out of the way, the Rauch was my next target. Again, a 10oz serving for me, at $3.75.

This version was a clear, deep copper colored liquid. A thin, light beige head sat upon the surface, with light carbo below and great lacing on the sides. Aroma? Hot damn! Love it!! A super-strong beechwood smokiness is oh-so-evident! Mmmm! Mothfeel is solid, medium body combined with a pleasing smoothness.

This bier has a very subtle tinge of sweetness from the malts, but it soon goes deep into the smoky phase. Along with some floral hops lingering in the background, the beechwood malts take you on a great ride through Rauch-heaven. Solid all the way, with the rauchiness lingering long and hard. Well-made, sir!


4.13 rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


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Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a plastic sampler cup at a Sly Fox tasting event at Bierkraft in Brooklyn.

A--A reddish-orange body that's somehow more brown than amber. Kind of cola-colored. Head is small and a fizzy white, like, well, coca-cola.

S--A little bit of bacon and even maple, but mostly it's woodsmoke. Almost fatty scented that's cut immediately by acrid hardwood smoke. A little sweetness in-between. Impressive nose!

T--Oh, wow--get me some ribs and I'd just about be in heaven. This is the perfect beer for St. Louis or Kansas City style ribs, or Texas brisket, or, hell, any food that uses "low and slow" as a descriptor in its recipe. Great combination of sweet syrup up front alongside a middle of oily pork with a dash of smoke throughout but especially at the end. There's beechwood aging, then there's beechwood smoking. This tastes like light colored hardwoods were used in the smoking part of the program.

M&D--Both are excellent, as the active carbonation brightens and lightens this enough to keep it from being mouth-coating. It's fairly thin, thinner than the flavor profile would suggest, which is a necessary offset for such big flavors. Again, think BBQ, and not no barbecue chicken with like grilled scallions. Bring on the pulled pork, gentlemen! I'd drink this before the meat was on the smoker when I was getting the fire ready, during the smoking process when the meat and wood smells were mixing, and after it was through and I could gnaw my way through some bones. At 5.2 percent, I may just survive such an endeavor~! Great American take on the style. Tied with the Aurora IPA as my favorite brew tasted tonight (out of ten).

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks once again goes out to Jay for sending me yet another wonderful growler from Sly Fox. I received this one on Friday and immediately through it in the fridge, serving it in 24ozz pilsner glasses. Consumed on 08/03/2008.

The pour was very nice, with a hazelnut brown liquid with ample reddish highlights shining through immediately noticeable. A puffy little tan head of foam then came up over the top and settled down to a broken crown that clung to the outside of the glass. Very nice carbonation could be seen streaking up towards the top throughout the session, really letting you know that this thing was definitely lively.

The aroma was classic for the style. Rich notes of smoke and peat were dominating the aroma. Lots of roasted malts and a slight touch of caramel as well as a bit of a green bitterness mixed in throughout. The flavor was much more of the same. Rich notes of peat and smoked tones were riddled throughout. Nice malted grain, with a roasted flavor in the middle as well. Nice and light with a even and smooth carbonation profile, and a quick finish that left a lasting roasted malt flavor and a nice sense of smokiness on the palate. Highly drinkable as I had no issue in polishing off this growler tonight at all.

Overall a highly session able, tight little ale from Sly Fox. This is a style that can be done incredibly wrong if you are not careful, so it was refreshing to see another hit come out of them! Go check this one out while it is still available.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Sly Fox Rauchbier delivers a deep copper body beneath a short but creamy head of ivory froth. The retention is fairly good and it leaves some nice lace about the glass. The body is medium; and combines with a fine-bubbled, median carbonation to give it a lightly crisp and then somewhat creamy mouthfeel. There's little smoke in the nose, but much more in the flavor. The maltiness is rich and round as well; lightly sweet and velvety on the tongue. It's very much like a vienna lager done with smoked malt. The gently sweet and lightly toasty malts combine seamlessly with the smokiness; and it's backed by a firm bitterness. Unlike many examples of the style, I think this one really nails the smoke level properly, lending it enough character to keep it interesting without letting the smoke building on the palate. Very well balanced!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sly Fox- Rauchbier

On tap at the Royersford brewpub

A- Clean and clear chestnut brown with a small fluffy head.
S- BBQ sauce and campfire smoke & wood.
T- Sweet, tangy BBQ sauce flavored malt with a touch of paprika, ceder wood and smokey ash.
M- Tangy with a dry body and finish.

Overall- A style I'm very starting to enjoy more than ever. Solid smokey flavor throughout. Good solid beer.

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Rauchbier from Sly Fox Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 52 ratings.
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