Lips Of Faith - Grätzer
New Belgium Brewing Company

Lips Of Faith - GrätzerLips Of Faith - Grätzer
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Smoked Beer
3.58 | pDev: 14.8%
New Belgium Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Lips Of Faith - GrätzerLips Of Faith - Grätzer
Notes: Collaboration with 3 Floyds Brewing Company

Its not dead. But Gratzer is definitely a long-buried style from Poland. Together with 3 Floyds we unearthed its robust smokiness with oak smoked wheat and midnight wheat. Polish Lublin hops for a bitter bite and lacto for a slightly sour finish, this pours out a billowing, foamy mouth worth indulging.
Reviews: 96 | Ratings: 736 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.57/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

What an interesting beer. This is basically a smoked berlinerweisse as I understand it.

Comes in an almost grey like dull brown color. 3/4" also brown head. Aroma was smoked lemons.

Taste, interesting for sure, this works though. Little lacto bite, decent carbonation, tart, sour, mild smoke. I wouldn't necessarily call it complex, but it is definitely unique. I think this is decent stuff, especially on a hot smoky night around a campfire or swimming pool. That's where I drank it. Would bang again if in 12oz format 4/6 packs for ~$10. I dunno about the bomber format pricing structure.

Dec 30, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Draft at PreFunk - Boise. Dark and woody, smokiness doesn't kick in until the taste. Light beige head and some slick lacing. Bitter and dry finish. Nice rauch accents on this.

Dec 30, 2016
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jmills3 from Texas

3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Found this at a local grocery store and didn't realize it was labeled "best enjoyed by May 2015." So in all fairness, this may not taste as intended. Despite that, it was pretty good. Beautiful to look at, but I didn't get a strong whiff of anything on smelling it. I picked up a smoke and chocolate taste that was pretty decent. If they were brewing fresh, I'd try it again.

Nov 11, 2015
Photo of egrapplesberg

3.79/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz best by May so it's out of date. Poured into sniffer. Pitch black with light brown thick one inch head. Nose is chocolate, coffee, and slight smoke. Taste is same. Light in finish. Good beer Cheers!

Nov 04, 2015
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dfillius from Iowa

3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 10/29/14
A: Moderate pour yields 3/4 finger brown head with great retention. Very dark brown liquid.
S: Like clothing the day after a campfire, slight tart lactic acid edge, slight chocolate
T: Smoky opening subsides to a full nutty brown ale flavor with lactic acid undertones.
M: Simultaneous full roasty mouth and bright light feeling. Some creaminess in the mouthfel as well. Has a finish like sour porters. Unfortunately, this beer has the (unidentified to date) unpleasant red/amber ale off-flavor that I don't enjoy - starchy/metallic.
O: Fun beer to drink due to its blend of flavor profiles.

Sep 29, 2015
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Jadjunk from Georgia

3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"It's not dead, but Gratzer is definetly a long-buried style from Poland. Together with 3Floyds we unearthed its robust smokiness with oak smoked wheat and midnight wheat. Polish lublin hops for a bitter bite and lacto for a slightly sour finish, this pours out a billowing, foamy mouth worth indulging." Brewed in the style of a Gratzer Smoked Ale, available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft. Collaboration between New Belgium and 3Floyds.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy foam head of a toasted mocha brown color over a very dark brown body with dark maple highlights. Retention is very good and lacing is light and stringy. 4

(Smell) Slightly smokey with a creeping tartness. Malt aromas of caramel bread, peat smoked grains, chocolate and light syrup malts, with undertones of stone fruit, lightly tangy and mildly sour. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Lightly sweetened smokey and soft bread malt blend with a lightly soured undertone. Thin and light body overall with a reserved sweetness, plenty of specialty malt character, smoke and a lightly tart flavor. Enjoyable and highly drinkable. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is silky, smooth, clean, lightly tangy, mildly dry. Carbonation is light, generating a mild frothiness and a mildly crisp finish. Body is light/medium for the style, shy of medium overall. Balance is slightly more smokey and tart combined over sweet with a certain lightness to the body. Alcohol presence is very light and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) With an increase in the popularity of the smoked ales and soured ales, a beer like a Gratzer seems like it could inevitably go mainstream in the craft beer market, if the costs to produce are reasonable. Despite a fairly shallow body and a reserved sweetness, the drinkability of this ale is quite high and interesting from beginning to end. Unless the drinker finds the lightness of this beer disappointing, I feel that this is a fairly good ale and one worth seeking out. 3.75

New Belgium Brewing's
Gratzer Ale (With 3Floyds Brewing)

Aug 31, 2015
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whynot44 from Missouri

3.89/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Very dark, opaque brown, almost black with a creamy tan head that subsides to just a persistent thin layer but does produce a bit of lacing,

The aroma is mild roasted malt, pumpernickel bread, a hint of smoke.

The taste is smoke, lightly burnt toast, hints of plums and apple and bacon bits with an overall light sourness. The hops were barely noticeable with all the other flavors going on.

Light/medium bodied, easily drinkable.

Overall something a bit different and enjoyable, smokieness is much lighter than something like a rauchbier, decently balanced and interesting.

Aug 02, 2015
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TH28 from Florida

3.52/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. May 2015 code date. Appearance: Black as night, opaque, with a khaki foam cap. Aroma: Combination of dark roasted and smoked malt, bacon like and woody. Only the faintest hint of lactic acid. Taste: Lactic acid tartness up front, which turns to light roasted malt and coffee, and finishes with a light smokiness. Mouthfeel: Light in body, with a low carbonation Finish: Lactic acid fades quickly leaving smoked, roasted malt flavors lingering on the tongue. Overall: Dark for a Gratzer, which lends to roasted malt flavors I haven’t experienced in other styles. Lacto is mild, but the roasted malt nicely accentuates the smoke flavors.

Jul 07, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Pig & Fiddle and Muddy Waters as well as from a fresh bomber bottle. L: Pours brilliant deep brown under a persistent very finely bubbled dense 3” tan tinted head S: hints of funk, fruit, chocolate, vanilla and smoke T: The flavors follow the aromas with the addition of a layer of sour and salt with sharp, dry and malty finish and touch of tart and a smokey aftertaste. F: Very creamy, with a medium body and carbonation. O: A unique and interesting beer.

Jun 25, 2015
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Jeffreysan from Virginia

3.79/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with two and a half fingers of oatmeal-colored head that dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with lots of bready, earthy, smoky, toasted malt and wheat aromas, imparting notes of freshly toasted dark bread, freshly roasted coffee beans, licorice, brown sugar, vinegar, lactose and oddly enough, bacon.

Taste: Very interesting. There is a lot of the aforementioned roasted malt and roasted wheat flavors, bready and cereal-like, followed by some meaty, barbeque-like smoke, hits of brown sugar-like sweetness and vinegar-like sourness. Complex and original.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and very smooth as there is very little in the way of carbonation. With an ABV of 4.5%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a very interesting beer. Malty, bready, smoky, vinegary and sour. I’m not sure I like it, but it sure is interesting. It’s sort of a hybrid between a Doppelbock and a rauchbier. Very interesting.

Jun 20, 2015
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milehighhop from Colorado

2.89/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

very dark and opaque in appearance - almost black - with a tan thick head.
I wasn't able to pull out much aroma at all.
Smokey and malty taste, reminding me of being around a bonfire.
Overall it was okay, not one I'd probably put on my list to buy again.

May 15, 2015
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madelfonatree from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - I like the look on this one. It has different head. It looks like chocolate milk after bubbles are blown it in. It is very fine bubbles that mist for lacing. The color of the body is darker than cola, lighter than coffee.

Smell - Smoky, dark chocolate. Sour milk is there too, but light.

Taste - It is a little light. Smoke, wheat, chocolate, milk.

Feel - It is watery. I am surprised with the lack of foam with how much head it yielded.

Overall - I like this collaboration. It is light because it is 4.5%. Drinkable with taste.

Apr 22, 2015
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iRaven99664 from Alaska

3.79/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Love New Belgium, though this isn't a grand slam winner for me like Portage and Rampant.
Not a full technical review, just a few notes.

-couldn't taste or smell smokey like everyone says. Not sure when it was born though, might be an older bottle (though it says its good until may 2015, and its the end of march).

-by how dark and rich the taste is of chocolate and oak, I was highly suprised how watery the mouth felt. Something this dark and "stouty", I figured I would be having a glaze of coffee across my tongue. Sadly, it was like water. Though this is the first time I've and a wheat beer this dark so I'm not sure if its normal. The sour tang they say that the lacto adds is a total plus in my book, as it says its suppose to. I recently had a skunked beet that wasn't suppose to be sour but didn't know until I called the brewery. This tasts more deliberate though, and is a nice mix to the usual for me.

-the color was pronominal! Looks clean, but I can't see the light on the other side. The head was nice and mocha colored. killer!

-Final thoughts. I'm thinking it was a bottle that had been sitting shelved in a cooler too long, The top wasn't so great, but the farther down my glass I go, the more the flavors pop. I had a Sam Adams about two months ago I thought was skunked, but was just kind of stale-ish at the top (The top tasted like a bad attempt at an adjunct lagar, but the farther I went the more like an Adams it tasted like.)

Not my favorite from New Belgium, but I wanna give another bottle a go around. I've always wanted to try a 3 Floyds, and being in alaska, it's the closest I'm going to get (unless anyone knows how I can score some Zombie Dust or Gumball Head)

Mar 24, 2015
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RyanK252 from California

3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a New Belgium globe

A: Pours deep brown with a frothy pretty much paper bag brown color head that settles and laces well.

S: Smokey, some roasted malt, coffee, a bit tart, with a touch of dark fruit and faint toffee.

T: Smoke hits first, then noticeable tartness, dark fruit, a little roasted malt, some coffee, and maybe even some fruity berry notes.

M: Light to medium body, prickly carbonation, but it has a way of hanging around in your mouth.

O: Very unique to say the least, but can't say I'd go for it again.

Mar 14, 2015
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Libeertarian from Montana

3.17/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Even though I'm a huge fan of New Belgium and 3 Floyds (my first brewpub!), I wasn't terribly fond of this beer as far as taste goes. Still, it was certainly worth trying. I don't remember its specific qualities other than it being relatively viscous, very dark, and, of course, quite smoky. Oh yes, I am reminded that it was somewhat tangy as well. Palatable if sipped and consumed with some cheese. I only really like sharp cheddar, but I imagine it would go well with blue cheese for those who enjoy that.

Mar 10, 2015
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ChopperSmith from Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark brown and opaque, nearly black. A small one finger head of tan foam. Leaves nice sticky lacing as the beer recedes. Maintains a thin foam cap throughout.

Smell: Smoky and woody, with a whiff of coffee and chocolate. Slight sweet aroma as well.

Taste: Smoke, dark malts, slight sour tartness and wheaty. I like smoked beers when the smoke flavor isn't overwhelming, and this one isn't. It has a good balance and the smoke is actually what makes this beer so good.

Mouth feel: Medium bodied, low carbonation, slick on the tongue.

Overall: I haven't had this style before, but I really like it. It's interesting and different, and very drinkable. I really like that smoked flavor with the slight sour tang. It really works for me. I will look for this again.

Feb 13, 2015
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SlothB77 from Virginia

3.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recently a neighbors house burned down. I walked by the house the next day. There was a distinctive smell emanating from the house of smoke, charred wood and burned plastic.

That is exactly what this beer tastes like. Smokey coals, bonfire, campfire.

Then there is that finish - sour, kinda czech pilsner-ish. Reminded me a little of La Folie. There are smoked beers on the meaty side - like the Pipeworks Pastrami On Rye. This was not like that. This beer tasted like sitting next to the fire pit and the wind blows the smoke into your face.

I think they did a pretty good job of matching the style they were going for. Now we know why the style has been "long-buried". Gratzers are disgusting and I will do my best to avoid drinking another.

Feb 02, 2015
Photo of OrestesMethuon
OrestesMethuon from Montana

4.19/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I'm a huge fan of Three Floyds; I'm not much of a fan of New Belgium (and Fat Tire is one of my least-favorite widely available beers). That said, I really wasn't sure what to expect with this collaboration—though I have known New Belgium to score considerably better, on my personal scale, when they pair with other brewers than when they brew alone. Considering the sort of niche European/historical style, though I couldn't resist, and I'm glad to say this Grätzer far and away fails to disappoint.

Indeed, from the very first sip, I was really feeling this weird mix of flavors: a dark, smoky, slightly barn-sour nose presages an extension of all those elements in the ale's tastes, which double-down on the oak-smoke without ever pushing them into the extremes some smoked beers reach. Meanwhile, the use of lactobacillus more than double-down on the sour notes of the nose, adding crisp, funky tartness that—more than the smoke, even—underpins the overall bouquet and structure of this beer. The tartness also helps maintain a lightness, which is matched by the surprisingly thin mouthfeel—for a smoke-beer, but even more for a wheat-premised beer—which to me is more velvety than "billowing", but which is also quite clean.

The hopping, on the other hand, is much less aggressive than I would have expected, not just because of the two collaborators but because of the promised "bitter bite"; really, the Lublin are essential a footnote, and though I suppose they probably contribute to the cleanliness of the finish and help prop-up the bitterness that is derived from the oaken notes, the overall presence of the hops in the flavor-complex is pretty miniscule, to my taste-buds.

Still, that's a minor quibble for an ale that both surprised and surpassed my expectations from the moment I poured it into my Three Floyds-branded tulip-pint: a refreshing, light ale that belies its dark heart, an expressively oak-smoke wheat mellowed and well-matched by its cleanly-soured skeleton, and beer that seems it'd be perfect for a mild summer-day deep on the continent—presumably waiting for the zombie-apocalypse to reach Wielkopolska.

Jan 26, 2015
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.91/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

For those (understandably) unfamiliar with Grätzer - or Grodziskie as it's also known - it is a Polish ale dating back to the Middle Ages and is comprised majorly of oak-smoked wheat. This modern New Belgium/3 Floyds interpretation looks to have emphasized the smoke - entirely, thoroughly black, it looks as if it were rolled in ash. Its head leaves puff rings of lacing all the way up the glass.

The aroma likewise emphasizes the smoke element, albeit with some familiar Dry Stout-like burnt grain notes. It's probably enough for most people to cite dark chocolate or black coffee, though those flavours are certainly incidental relative to the presence of blackened campfire logs and soot. Warmth unearths a ganja-like component that must be the Polish Lublin hops.

The presence of the baker and the barista don't disappear on the palate, but things definitely take a turn for the acrid; flavours reminiscent of tobacco leaf, stiff new leather, and used ashtrays creep into the fore and linger longer than the others. Dear reader, if I heard that I'd be grossed out too but take my word: it's very agreeable and quite tasty.

Indeed, this Lips of Faith offering may require a leap of faith for some but is remarkably approachable for a smoked beer. For lovers of Rauchbier this won't be as gratifying; the smoke element isn't overblown and the bacon and campfire qualities it contributes, while clear and confident, are also restrained and mindfully folded into a 'bigger picture'.

The addition of lacto bacteria has an equally modest impact. There is a trace of tartness in the mouthfeel, something that like that found in a ripe piece of fruit (i.e, a purple plum) but it's far from being 'sour'. And it contains virtually none of that residually sweet, milky lactose character of a Milk Stout. This is decidedly lighter in a few respects, it's 4.5% body not the least among them.

When big names like New Belgium and 3 Floyds partner up, it's fair to expect big things and yet this Grätzer managed to exceed my expectations. While I don't have enough experience to speak to the authenticity of the recipe, I can say with certainty that it's among the most innately approachable, easily quaffed, and likely to be widely appealing smoked beers I've tried.

Jan 06, 2015
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Barnoloid from Illinois

3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A very interesting style, which melds the smoked malts and porter style body with a smooth mouthfeel. Love the generous pillowy foam head here, which retains through the pour. Complex layers dominate here with the result being a unique and enjoyable beer

Jan 04, 2015
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schoolboy from Ohio

4.23/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wow. This is a really interesting style. It is very different from most other smoked brews. The thing that sets it apart is the refreshing lightness.

It pours with a huge head and a nice dark brown color. The aroma is smoked with light yeast and hops aromas.

The taste is an amalgamation of smoky yeast, bitter sourness, but all being pretty subtle and balanced. It is not sweet or malty. The aftertaste continues lightly with the sourness.

This is a very successful brew. I can't say if it is authentic, I think it may be. Highly recommended (and it's underrated).

Jan 01, 2015
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TruePerception from California

3.56/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

New Belgium/Three Floyds' Grätzer Ale. 4.5% ABV.

A: Just a slim line of head. Extremely dark brown, nearly black. Honeyed brown in the dimple. A bit of sheeting, and just a slight bit of emaciated lacing.

S: Charred wheat toast (bread) up front. Light graphite. A faint molasses note. Not complex, but a nice scent.

T/MF: Big, yet soft char dominates. Faint licorice. Grassy note to the char flavor. Not bad, but not great.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

Jan 01, 2015
Photo of Wrichards

2.42/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

With this being my first smoked beer I will not be going back for another. The initial taste is of fire smoke but the finish is that of cigarette smoke which I am not a fan and the lingering taste is that of a beer that was filtered through an ash tray. I am sure this is for some just not for me.

Dec 31, 2014
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pruden from Indiana

3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wasn't sure what to expect with this one - it's not as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Definitely a smokey/cigarette finish though. Love the label.

Dec 28, 2014
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russpowell from Arkansas

3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent ebony with 3 fingers of tan head. Great lacing & above average head retention

S: Gummyness & smokeyness once warm

T: Mild smokeyness, a little dryness, & gummy sweetness up front. Some fig & pear mix with smokeyness & dryness as this warms, slight taffy flavor as well. Finishes dry, a little smokey with the aforementioned taffy

MF: Medium bodied, light carbonation

Drinks okay, but doesn't deliver much in the way of good flavor. A letdown like most of this series

Dec 21, 2014
Lips Of Faith - Grätzer from New Belgium Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 736 ratings