von Trapp Brewing

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Lager - Rauchbier
Ranked #6
Ranked #6,736
4.04 | pDev: 9.9%
von Trapp Brewing
Vermont, United States
Notes: Trösten, translating to “comforting”, is a dark lager with rich notes of chestnut and toast. Carafa and smoked malts create rich flavors lingering on a surprisingly light, smooth finish. Brewed for the cold winter nights in Vermont, but can be enjoyed on any occasion.
Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 169 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JerzDevl2000
JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking and as I saw this on the shelf at Gary's in Wayne recently, I was thinking that this might have had something to do with "The Sound of Music" or was brewed in that part of the world. While this may not have been completely true to form, this was a joy to drink and an unexpected surprised in a sea full of IPA's and Octoberfest beers that are flooding the shelves these days...

This poured like coffee as it was thin and brown with a nice amount of mahogany seeping in around the edges. A fine, cocoa head topped this off as it was quite thick and filled up the remainder of my pint glass. Some uneven, rocky layers of lacing were left behind along the top half of my pint glass with lots of spotty splotches way down below that. Lots of smoked malt, sausage, and chestnut in the nose as the taste had a decent amount of smoked, toasted nuttiness, dark fruit and bread, and dry chocolate in the mix. Feels more like a Brown Ale than a true Rauchbier but indeed, this was clean and crisp as a Lager should be but with lots of spice, dark bread, and some burnt sugar to give this a nice depth.

Not a lot of booze or carbonation to this as the aftertaste was softly slick, moderately hoppy, and a bit sticky like caramel and custard. The date on the bottom said that this was best by 4/9/30 (really?) but this tasted as fresh as could be and had me wanting more from these guys. Glad to see a brewery open up that specializes in lagers like this and not IPA's that attempt to win the arms race of hops. Would easy reach for another one of these!

Oct 05, 2020
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hopsputin from New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a: dark dark murky brown, almost some black. a hint of very dark ruby red. lovely 3 finger rocky dark tan head

s: smoked oak and caramel upfront. bacon, smoked ham, and nice roasted malts. a hint of toffee and pepper spice. a little bit of a nutty note at the end

t: smooth roasted malts and caramel upfront. a hint of charred wood and campfire smoke. light smoked bacon, and a bitterness from the roasted malts with light grass to close it out

m: medium mouthfeel with medium-high carbonation

o: pretty nice Lager. nice mix of sweetness to smoke, however i think the smoke could be a bit stronger in here. it's a decent style example, but not quite on par with the top rated, for me

Jul 03, 2020
Photo of PeruserLoser

4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not as smoky as some other rauchbiers and absolutely comforting to drink (very aptly named). Malty without being sweet. Has quickly become one of my favorite beers.

May 05, 2020
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FBarber from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown almost black color. Completely opaque and quite shiny. Finger and a half head dissolves pretty quickly leaving just a ring of foam on the outside of the top of the beer.

Aroma has notes of smoked malts, a bit of charred oak, bakers cocoa and some light nutty notes.

Taste has notes of lightly smoked malts, a mild nuttiness coming through with notes of cocoa, charred oak. a touch of sweetness up front dissipates pretty quickly. Hops come through mostly providing a bit of spiciness in it. Dry finish with a touch of lingering bitterness.

Feel is creamy, smooth but still pretty drinkable. Moderate to medium carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall an absolutely lovely beer from von Trapp.

Apr 24, 2020
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

(12 oz can, BEST BY 04/09/20; purchased 6 pk off shelf... poured into a 14 oz mug)

L: clear, deep garnet liquid; tall, frothy sponge of garnet-tinged tan foam on the pour (healthy carbonation or addition drying out in can?)... suds recede, lacing a thick crusty ring at the top

S: toasty, singed wood; nutty, cracker-y grain; hints of vaguely fruity sweetness; earthy note on the edges, perhaps also a floral perfume and/or bubblegum/clove (phenols?)... alcohol colors in the aromas, but falls short of any bold showing

T: smoky-sweet up front, big rush of dense, chocolaty biscuit malt midway, burnt caramel and phenols on the back end... scrumptiously malty (more doppelbock than a Munich dunkel, or an American brown??), with just enough dryness and spicy smoke to avoid a molasses-like sweet aftertaste; arguably missing some of the finer nuances and depth of an import example (but maybe age has softened its character)

F: smooth roll to its luscious, medium body, with a lightly-sanded roughness at the edges; moderately-long finish, gradually layering a slick, lip-smacky film upon the entire palate... touch of boozy warmth creeps up... fulfilled but hardly bloated by the end

O: wanted to try another von Trapp, bought this blind, thinking it might be a helles or pils, but was actually delighted to find this tasty, malty, rather serviceable rauch-flavored lager; shame it appeared to be the last sixer on the shelf, but relieved it hadn't gone bad, as I'd been eyeing that pile of vT for months now; might even take a chance on the Keller sitting there as well... at any rate, I'd definitely get this again (and again) (1651)

Mar 12, 2020
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Gatch from Rhode Island

4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

At the birth all. Just missed this in cans and really bummed about it. Properly smoked malt but not as roasty and charred as you’d expect. Just an easy drinking, dark lager defect for February in northern Vermont.

Feb 04, 2020
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Claude-Irishman from New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First smoked beer ever. Pours a deep black/burgundy with a french vanilla colored head. Smell roasted sweet smoke flavor almost like a hickory,some toffee,sweet malts. Tastes like a Dunkel and instead of a mild hop presence you get a smoky finish which is very tasty. I think it is their Dunkel smoked. Feels medium bodied, finishes juicy. I was hesitant to try smoked beer or Rauchbier, thinking it would taste like a Slim Jim or something worse. Overall excellent. I would try other varieties but this style makes finding Altbier easy- At 6% this is an easy drinker.

Dec 30, 2019
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by 4/9/20

Pours a deep, dark mahogany body topped with multiple fingers of light khaki, dense, soapy foam; great retention yields a broad tapestry of lacing clinging to the glass along with a spotty cap and light, frothy collar.

Aroma opens with an underlying tone of bakers chocolate before a moderate, evenly-distributed smoke takes hold across the rest of the bouquet; meaty hints and sweet beechwood upfront with a touch of sea breeze developing over time.

Taste shows bits of milk chocolate upfront before quickly transitioning to rounded roasted malt middle; touch of toffee sweetness before a finish of bitter chocolate and charred wood leaves a subtly complex exhale.

Mouthfeel presents a body on the lighter side of medium accompanied with a moderate, fluffy carbonation; an oily roasty middle showcases an expressive peak along the palate while a dry, crisp, almost charry finish makes for an easy-going swallow.

Simultaneously light and hearty, this beer brings a quietly nuanced smoke balanced against the easygoing roast of a dark lager; incredibly easy to drink, especially as a lighter option with ample substance. Another winner from von Trapp.

Dec 24, 2019
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Amendm from Rhode Island

4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

An easy pour from a 12-oz. can creates a fat finger of creamy tan foam that becomes rocky with long retention and blotches of lace. Semi-opaque deep dark brown, red highlights in bright light.

Light smell of roasted malt, very faint smoke.

The taste is bold, roasted flavors prevail with the smoke adding some sharp bitterness.
Toasted dark bread, milk chocolate and faint coffee make the scene.
Semi-dry with average bitterness, uniform and balanced throughout.
Hop bitterness is blended perfectly with the smoke. Carafa Malt is mentioned on the label,
if this is the dominant flavor it works for me. Quick finish, smoke and roasted malt lingers.

Light body with ample carbonation, smooth and sessionable. Is this a smoked Schwarzbier?
Alcohol is well hidden, Lots of flavor packed into a light body.
BB 4/7/20

Dec 20, 2019
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with some mild light penetration. There's a fingernail of brown around the rim and covering half of the top. The aroma is of chocolate and caramel. I'm tasting delicious chocolate and caramel. The mouth is smooth and creamy.

Nov 18, 2019
Photo of Reef
Reef from South Carolina

4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no dating
A normal pour raised a few mm of beige head, quickly reduced to a ring and few islands of fine bubbles, spotty lacing. Dark brown admitting very little light
Smoky, pumpernickel bread scents
Light smoke, black bread, light note of something like chlorine
Medium bodied, hardy carbonation, light hop bitterness
If available I'd buy this regularly.

Aug 04, 2019
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

My late maternal grandmother, teetotaler that she was, would have smiled at the thought of the von Trapp family making beer & selling it in central PA. Here in Lancaster County, we have such old order Amish (PA Dutch - a bastardization of "Deutch") that to Germans coming to visit, it sounds like Shakespearean English! My late paternal grandmother was a Fryburger & one of my great regrets is that I did not take her efforts to teach us kids German more seriously. The price point on these beers is almost laughable as far as how inexpensive they are. I am drinking them as quickly as they come in, often accompanied by a hard Hammond's pretzel. Mmm.

From the Bottle: "'A little of Austria[,] a lot of Vermont'"; "Brewed on the grounds of Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, this lager is crafted with the finest traditional ingredients and our pure Vermont spring water."; "German for 'comfort', our Trösten is a dark, smoked lager full of gemütlichkeit."; "By the family that inspired 'The Sound of Music'".

Man, I could use some gemütlichkeit right about now. My M night trivia team finished second, a full six points out of first! I began by Pop!ping the cap on this gem & then I followed it with a C-Lin pour into the awaiting glass. Color was Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity & garnet highlights. Nose had the sensuous smoky sweetness of maple-cured bacon! 8=O Mouthfeel was medium, about standard for a Lager. The taste was really smoky, very much of maple wood, especially. I was drinking it in the dead of Winter 2019, but it would not be at all out of place in the late-Fall. This was not so smoky that people not into Smoked Beers would be put off by it, but at the same time, for a Smoked Beer fan like me, this was an unexpected stand-out! I found myself licking my lips after ever savory sip. So good! Did I mention the ridiculously low price point? I should buy more of this for people to try! Finish was semi-sweet. Again, think maple-cured bacon. I would have this alongside of salmon & barring that, I could drink this morning, Noon & night! It is just crazy delicious. YMMV.

Jan 29, 2019
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justintcoons from Pennsylvania

2.93/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip pint.

Cola brown with ruby highlights. Short tan head.

Licorice, cocoa, smoke, and Cola.

Licorice, cocoa powder, caramel, and Cola. Lightly smoky with a bacon presence.

Medium bodied, crisp, off-dry, and moderately bitter.

I guess I expected a Rauchbier and not a Smoked Schwartzbier. :(

Jan 14, 2019
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

As noted below, the bottle does have a bit more smoke that I noted on tap, but it's still melded quite well into light pumpernickel-like bread of the base beer.

Clear dark brown body with a consistent head and spots of lacing.
Nose is a pumpernickel bread to dark pretzel with a light smoke and a little bit of toffee.
Taste is similarly bready with a tad more smoke than the nose, but still moderately light and well integrated.
Moderate carbonation up front, but a fairly smooth finish.

On tap review:
This has a lighter smoked note than the recent bottles I’ve had. The look is clear save for the color, which is a deep brown with a thin coffee color where light can get through. A persistent light beige cap provides some lace lines.

Nose is that of a lightly bitter brown ale, with just a hint more light florality that is either the yeast itself or its cleaner profile allowing some malt profile to come through. The smoke is of a light charred wood that has sat around and previously given off its harsher smokiness.

Taste is similar, a clean, balanced brown malt beer with a hint of smokiness. The malts lead the way, but it’s actually fairly dry. Carbonation is a little aggressive, but fades quickly to allow the medium light beer to hit the gullet smoothly enough. A light toasted malt coating with a hint of char stays lightly on the inner walls of my mouth.

I enjoyed the more smoke-forward bottles a tad more than this draft, but I’ll need to revisit this soon with an actual analysis of one of said bottles.

Dec 20, 2018
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VoxRationis from New York

3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 16 oz (473 ml) conical pint glass at Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, NY.
A: Pours a fairly clear, dark brown color with a less than one finger, tan head, with limited retention and some lacing.
S: Aromas of smoked ham, caramel, and cocoa predominate.
T: Semisweet and toasty. Flavors of smoked bacon, caramel, and cocoa certainly present, but picked up plum and berries as in warmed, possibly a lime note. Bitterness strong and provides counterpoise to both sweetness and roastiness.
M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
O: Trösten is a well designed, complex, and enjoyable rauchbier. An a acquired taste and tasting that requires patience.

Dec 20, 2018
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Libbey style pilsner glass.

Deep mahogany brown body, with real nice red hued edges with a deep dark blood rust color. Khaki to tan colored top head, managing a solid two fingers with a good bit of retention. Small swiss cheese like bubbles, and a simple top. Very nice looking brew.

Very nice aroma. Touches a lot of nuances so nicely, a faint hint of smoke mixing with crispy char and bacon like flavors. Fireplace embers is another aroma that comes out with a mild ash quality on the nose too. Faint touches of milk chocolate also, making for an excellent play of flavors.

Palate is a nice mix. Simple light bodied but with a neutral presence of malt that goes for smoke. Touches light ash but with hints of faint chocolate and salty wood like bacon. Clean finish, almost very fast and fleeting though. Palate is a bit of a peppery hoppy quality as well.

Nice light smokey dark lager, good solid winter beer.

Dec 08, 2018
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Lingenbrau from Oregon

4.48/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks again, very much for this Craig. Prost!

The burnt brown body showcases gorgeous edges of dark brick red. Despite its deep tones, an excellent clarity is given away by the hazelnut shimmer at the bottom of the glass. A thin and creamy lightly tanned head rests above, leaving a thin sheet over the surface and a mountain range of lacing.

The aroma is in fact "comforting". More milk chocolate than anything, but that is accompanied by a deeply rooted toasty brown bread and the faintest hint of smoked nuts.

A well integrated trinity of flavors follows the aroma to a t. Surprisingly, the chocolate does take first stab but is quickly replaced by a squaw or even dark rye bread thanks to a hint of peppery spice. The toasted crusts carry smoothly and perfectly into a lingering sweet smoke. Subtle, but indefinite.

I am blown away by the texture. It's smooth and creamy, yet the lager cleanliness along with its crisp dry finish is perplexing and absolutely perfect. Spot on balance with a sweet start that gradually turns the dial to a toasty and smokey balanced bitter finish.

As with von Trapp's other offerings that I've been lucky enough to try, this is one outstanding beer. It seems much like their Dunkel with that minor smokey tweak. And yes, that to me means better. In fact, perhaps the only thing I'd like from this is a bit more smoke. Otherwise, as close to perfect a beer for me.


Dec 02, 2018
Photo of leantom
leantom from Indiana

4.46/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a delicious brew. It's a dangerously drinkable Schwarzbier, one that I would have again and again. Here goes:

A: Best thing about the beer. Pours a beautiful pitch-black with a massive white head. The head lingers on consumption and leaves plenty of lacing. Excellent.

S: Stout-like. Lots of smokiness and chocolate, as advertised, but also plum and licorice. Lots of sweet dark fruit graces the olfactory nerves - it's almost like an RIS.

T: Follows the nose. However, unlike many RIS's, it's not overpowering - it's surprisingly refreshing and drinkable.

F: Great. Very refreshing.

O: A very well-made beer. Will have again.

Nov 16, 2018
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Tybokobes from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There are very few beers I've become obsessed with over the years but this is one of them.... Earthy & toasty with a light touch of smokey goodness. The dark color gives the impression that this is a heavy beer but it has light, clean finish. This is the perfect fall beer.

Oct 22, 2018
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RozzieBoy from Rhode Island

4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - dark poor with a one finger tan head which I wish hung around longer. Nice lacing!
S - Smoky maltiness (if that's a thing).
T - Nice and roasty! Lingers on the palate.
F - Full mouth feel, smooth and easy to drink. Semi dry aftertaste.
O - I really enjoyed this beer. It warmed me up and packed a decent punch. As the bottle says, it really is a "comfort" beer.

Sep 06, 2018
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BackMarker from Maryland

4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up at Philly's Craft Beer in Langhorne, PA. Make-your-own 6 pack single bottle. Always on the lookout for a good "Dunkel" style lager, I liked this one. Had I not known it was from a craft brewery in VT, the taste was definitely European. Deep brown (very dark) color in the glass with a nice head. Subtle carbonation and a rich mouthfeel. Very well balanced flavor--dark roasted (not coffee, but more "Postum") with the perfect hops behind it, complementing the richness of the malt with a welcome bitterness. Went down very easily. Went back and bought a 6 pack.

Aug 01, 2018
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Tony210 from New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep chestnut color, minimal head. Big bready malt nose. Very malty and flavorful, chocolate, smoked peat, some raisin. Very complex. Sweet bitter coffee finish. Very good beer.

12 oz bottle, no date - thanks BJ
4 rating

Jul 15, 2018
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OatmattStout from Connecticut

4.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is a really excellent version of schwarzbier. Beautiful light brown thick chunky head. nice dark color with a red hue in the light. what a nose on this beer of roasted malt. mild coco and chocolate. a touch of smoke that is perfect in its presence.
starts with a sweetness up front in palate then you get the roast, chocolate and a nice finish of hop and charred wood .

Love this beer and for someone who swears by Kostritzer the quintessential Schwarzbier I am truly impressed every year I buy this beer.

Mar 17, 2018
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Premo88 from Texas

4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into pilsener
(best by 4/23/18 printed on bottle; courtesy of @tongorad)

L: dark copper, SRM in the 23-25 range by my count, pushes up meringue-thick head of beige/tan foam at least 1.5 inches tall and crazy sticky; keeps a full 1/4-inch head and laces off it on the way down; a true work of art

S: dusty sour grain at first then a showcase of darker malt notes ... dark dried fruits, chocolate ... and as it warms and opens up, a hint of wood smoke;

T: sweet chocolate, mocha latte from first sip, then the chunk of earthy burnt BBQ wood hits ... it's bitter, biting, a bit smokey and proof Von Trapp did use some smoked malt; some prunes or raisins or maybe a meaty red wine note shows up at times, but the earthy bitterness always comes over the top in the aftertaste; the more you sip, the better it gets for the sweeter malt notes start growing, even equalling the burnt-malt notes

F: all you could ask for ... lightweight but filled out by a ton of carbonation that's slightly softened by drinking through the constant head; the mix of soft-crisp is a highlight, and that's saying something considering the fantastic nose and flavor

O: bravo! I've heard a ton about Von Trapp but never got to try one of their beers until now, and this smoked lager surpasses the hype; I've tried other beers that meld schwarzbier/stout/porters with smoked malt, but Trosten beats them all in the smoked-malt/rauchbier department ... the earthy/smokey flavor at times is as powerful as a true rauchbier, yet it backs off just enough to let the sweeter, more subtle schwarz notes enjoy some playing time. what a treat!

Mar 04, 2018
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keithmurray from Connecticut

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

Appearance - dark mahogany body with tan head

Smell - smoked ham, burning firewood, caramel

Taste - caramel, coffee grinds, smoke, burnt firewood

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, caramel upfront, smoke and firewood in the back end

Overall - decent beer here, never had A Trosten style beer. This to me tastes like a smoked schwartzbier. Worth a try.

Price Point - $2.29/12 oz single

Feb 24, 2018
Trösten from von Trapp Brewing
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 169 ratings