von Trapp Brewing

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Smoke Beer
Ranked #9
Ranked #6,636
4.03 | pDev: 10.42%
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: 53 | Ratings: 147 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Reef
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of justintcoons
2.93/5  rDev -27.3%
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. :(

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Photo of cjgiant
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of VoxRationis
3.99/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
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.


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Photo of leantom
4.46/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of Tybokobes
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of RozzieBoy
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of GrandpaGeorge
4.07/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Tony210
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
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

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Photo of OatmattStout
4.39/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of Premo88
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
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!

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Photo of keithmurray
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
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

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Photo of Samlover55
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into 'Perfect Pint'
L- pours a dark brown with a reddish tinge, huge creamy tan head
S- dark roasted black coffee, yeast, subtle Smokiness
T- chocolate coffee yeasty again with the subtle Smokey finish
F- surprisingly full-bodied, thick and creamy
Overall this is like no other schwarzbier I've ever had, in a good way

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Photo of dacrza1
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

DATE: February 9, 2018... OCCASION: kicking off the Winter Olympics in Pyeong Chang... GLASSWARE: PSU pilsner... pours a coal-black body,--almost cola--with a clumpy, pillowy oatmeal-colored head that occupies a finger's worth of the glass consistently... roasted malts come straight across as smoke, borderlining on the bacon, but with a slight plasticine/rubber scent mingling... light lactic scents too... first sip is medium-bodied, solid, textured at its finish, though a surprisingly creaminess softens the experience.... light to little carbonation... the flavor is cola sweet, with some milky and vanilla hints... light peat, medium smoke, and some phenol for a distraction--the light chocolate and hearty fruits make a late push--in all, I wish I had more than one to test its drinkability, but this one reads well at 6% ABV and rewards with little nuance but consistent flavor...

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a moderately dark black, with a small fluffy head, and not much lacing.

This smells lightly smokey, with dark chocolate, light fruity yeast, and floral hops.

This really only makes me sad about how few breweries attempt to make black lagers. It's a delicious style, and this version is done very well. It's got a wonderfully warm, toasty, and smokey flavor, with black bread, dark chocolate, and lightly floral hops all mixing together very well.

This is nicely creamy, with a good level of drinkability.

I could drink a lot of this. It also makes me sad that I only had one bottle.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L-The beer pours a glossy black with a 2 finger tan head. The head recedes to a thin film. Lacing is light.
S- Initially the nose is all smoke, but that fades and the malt can be detected behind it.
T- On the palate the smoke is there up front as it was before, but in a much lighter manner than it was in the nose. The malt noticed in the nose finishes on the palate in a pleasant way and lightens the smoky aftertaste.
F- The mouthfeel is light overall but not watery. Carbonation is medium and feels appropriate.
O- As with most Von Trapp beers its well made and delivers on what it promises. It's not my favorite from them nor my favorite schwarzbier. An above average beer worth exploring.

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Photo of dennis3951
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trosten Lager is a Schwarzbier a style I don't see for sale often where i live. I saw a single of this and took a shot, I'm glad I did because this is a very nice brew, There is quite a bit if smoke in both the aroma and taste, I don't usually enjoy smoke but Van Trapp hit a sweet spot with the amount of smoke and I enjoyed the beer.

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Photo of PatrickCT
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cola colored body with a beige one finger head that leaves some lace and a solid ring.
The aroma is roasted malts, coffee, milk chocolate and with a touch of smoke.
The taste is roasted malts, a touch of coffee and molasses sweetness. A very round and pleasant smokiness all around.
Smooth mouth feel, a touch grainy. Dry finish. Medium body, medium carbonation.

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Photo of mikeg67
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours black with tall, long lasting, fluffy, off-white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of toasted malt and smoke. Body is medium and smooth. Taste is of toasted malt, caramel, grassy hops some dark fruit and smoke. Finish is long and semi-dry. Great brew.

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Photo of Jacobier10
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle. Best by 4/23/18.

Any Von Trapp seasonal is an instant pick up from the store. Trösten Lager pours a deep brown color. Holding it up to the light reveals ruby highlights and great clarity. Creamy tan head that leaves behind nice patches of lace on the glass.

Freshly roasted malt in the nose with notes of chocolate and coffee. Hints of smoke and ash in the background.

Dark chocolate and coffee flavor, very smooth with restrained bitterness. Medium bodied, clean and smooth with a dry finish.

I'm loving that Von Trapp is now available in NJ. This might be my favorite bier from them yet. So fresh and clean. Expertly made. A wonderful easy-drinking beer for Winter.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a pilsener glass. The appearance was a dark brown close to black color with a one and a half foamy off-white to tan head. Light foamy lacing stuck around the sides of the glass nicely. The smell started with a delicate amount of sweet milk chocolate sliding into a graceful smokiness. Light roasty edges balance it out. The taste was semi-sweet and roasty initially bringing in the smoke to balance. Light bready/yeastiness flows nicely into the grand scheme of things. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium with a nice score of level maltiness sliding over my tongue. Overall, really nice Winter "comfort" lager well worthy of returning to in colder weather.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle

Pours dark maroon near black with a dense creamy light tan foam head. Smells like sweet smoked malts, char, ash, chocolate, roasted coffee, dark toasted bready malts, caramel, molasses, toffee, brown sugar, spice, with floral earthy herbal grassy pine. Tastes like balanced sweet and smoky malts, some char, ash, chocolate, roasted coffee, dark toasted bready malts, caramel, molasses, toffee, brown sugar, spice, with floral earthy herbal grassy pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy and smooth with moderate crisp carbonation. Overall a real nice schwarzbier.

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Trösten from von Trapp Brewing
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 147 ratings