Smoked Black Lager | Craftsman Brewing Co.

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24 Ratings

Brewed by:
Craftsman Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Callenak on 09-12-2006

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Ratings: 24 |  Reviews: 13
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of magictrokini
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tap @ Hamilton's. Pours dark, dark brown with red edges and a short, off-white head. Smoky, chocolate nose with a grain background. Watery, loose mouthfeel and a bitter finish. Pleasant somked malt flavor with an equally nice cocoa back. Again, there was a graininess throughout. Still, it was easiyl drinkable and overall was a nice beer.

 339 characters

Photo of ste5venla
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of sloejams
4.13/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at The Library Bar on 5/9/07

The Library Bar always has a seasonal / special Craftsman on-tap. Today it was the Smoked Lager.

It's a nice murky brown - think doppelbock with a retaining head. The aroma is as expected - smokey: part fireplace, slight caramel sweetness. It's very smooth on the mouth. The malts are well pronounced in the background.

This a remarkably drinkable smoked beer. Easily sessionable.

 434 characters

Photo of augustgarage
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood. Served in a nonic. Unknown ABV (though probably around 5.5%?).

Seal brown, though not quite opaque liquid is topped by a delicate oily skin of beige foam. A fine collar sticks around, but overall head retention is average at best.

Smoke is subtle and about equal with the low level of diacetyl going on in the nose. Light wheat bread, vaguely roasted malt, clean malt, and not much else.

Buttered bread, a whisper of smoke, faint roast malt, foaint hops, pale malt. Profile is a bit incoherent - this is no where near as integrated as a proper schwarzbier.

Medium-light bodied, well carbonated, smooth, and a touch watery.

Drinkability is hindered by the diacetyl. Overall brings to mind a tasty yet mediocre home-brew - not Craftsman's shining moment here...

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Photo of womencantsail
1.32/5  rDev -62.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

On-tap at Lucky Baldwin's

A: The pour is a brownish color with a bit of off-white/khaki head.

S: Oh lord, this beer smells like sulfurous farts. Rotten eggs, salt, burnt rubber, and sweaty, dirty feet.

T: Once I was able to get passed the aroma, I found sulfur, pretzels, salt, chocolate and spoiled eggs. It's not quite as bad as the nose, but that is really no consolation.

M: The body is medium and there is a moderate level of carbonation.

D: No, just no. I know I'm not the biggest smoked beer person, but what's wrong with this beer is not even the smoke (especially since I don't notice any).

 604 characters

Photo of NickMunford
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of mactrail
4/5  rDev +14%

It's back for 2014. On tap at Tiger Tiger in San Diego, which always seems to have a couple or more Craftsman brews.

Dark and nicely sudsy in the half-litre nonic. The smoke is really quite mild. It's more like the best Swartzbier you ever had. Some malty sweetness, a kiss of hops, and all all very refreshing. This makes me think that all the attention to dark beers lately has swung to the imperial stout end and not much notice of delicious quaffable brews like this one.

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Photo of Beeeeeerman
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of beerpadawan
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of ronricorossi
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Surly Goat in West Hollywood, CA.

Pours a clear dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, caramel, fruits, and some slight smoke aromas. Taste is of roasted malt, smoked malt, and some campfire smoke flavors. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

 566 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, on to the beer:

Opaque appearance with a bone-white head that has good retention to it. At first, there wasn;t much to smell besides water-logged grain, but as it warmed up, baker's chocolate was noticed. To the taste, there was some banana and roasted character to it. Coffee emerges as the beer warms. Heck, the beer in general got better as it warmed, as it allowed some of the good flavors to emerge. Still, a little more muscle in this brew could do wonders. Average when cold, pretty tasty as it warmed.

 535 characters

Photo of Zapp
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black but not quite opaque. Beige head without much lacing.

Smell: Burnt toast, fireplace.

Taste: Very understated sweetness, blended with the roastiness of the malt. The smoke comes up at the end, but is never overpowering. It actually hit the back of my throat almost like something spicy.

Mouthfeel: The body was fairly light, but the smoke rounded out the experience... in my mouth.

I'm always down for the smokey ones. The pint I had was super fresh, and the smoke was subtle enough that I could enjoy a few of these without getting burnt out (genuinely unintentional lame pun. Forgive me, world!)

 618 characters

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.84/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sampled at Father's Office, April 2007
A dry, roasted aroma greets my nose as does a touch of salty smoke. The beer has a black body with a creamy, light brown colored head that leaves a well defined lacing pattern as I work my way through this pint. There is also a touch of burnt acidity in the aroma, though all in all the aroma is quite light.

The beer is quite dry, yet a hint of smoke seems to add some subtle sweetness. There is a touch of burnt acidity in the finish, while the overall sensation of this beer is quite smooth. The finish reminds me of a standard strength, dark roasted cup of joe, but there is that touch of smoke flavor to make things interesting. The smoke is so smooth and so well integrated; definitely not peat smoked malt, probably beech wood, but it is a bit too subtle for me to tell. This beer has quite a light mouthfeel to it, there is some fullness, but this is not in any way heavy feeling.

The burnt malt notes and smoke really interact in a way I would not have guessed; in some ways they seem to cancel each other out. This makes for a very smooth, integrated, strangely non-descript, yet still fully flavored drinking experience. I can't decide if this beer needs more flavor, or if it has hit a perfect balance of flavors. Ultimately this is quite good tasting, and it may inspire me to brew one of my own.

 1,355 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Inky black, the color of charcoal. Has some translucency though. Head is decent, a medium toasted cashew color.

S: Campfire, vanilla, bitter chocolate, chestnut and olive oil.

T: Begins lightly smoked, but not as much as the smell would let on. Quite nutty and highly roasted, almost charred. Bit of dried cocoa mingles with spicy hops. Finishes dry and woody.

M: Medium body with a lot of carbo sting.

D: Good but I’m not taken by it. Surprisingly didn’t got well with my cheese plate.

 503 characters

Photo of Eriktheipaman
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Callenak
4.46/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the Stone 10th Anniversary Beer Fest. It was the second beer I had, so the palate was still clean. This beer stood out all day as one of my favorites. I was very excited to try Craftsman since I had never tried any of their beers before. They didn't let down.

Black lager smoked with alder wood. I'm a big fan of the Alaskan Smoked Porter and this is the only other beer I've had that has been smoked with alder wood. I was very curious to see how the smokiness carried over into a lighter bodied beer compared to a nice, thick porter.

A - Pours a nice black but still with lager clarity.

S - This is where the beer shines. You immediately pick up on the alder wood. Reminiscent of smoked salmon, but of course the smoked part, not the fishy. Mild roastiness behind it.

T - Wow, what a great beer. Like I said, one of my favorites for the day in a place FULL of great beer. I give props to a beer that can stand out through a day of drink like this beer did. Smokiness with a slight sweetness and roastiness. Don’t really pick up on any hoppiness, which probably fits the style.

M - Clean and crisp. Light in body, which fools you because of the color.

Would love to have a second swing at this beer. Have to make a trip down to Pasadena soon.

 1,273 characters

Photo of DrewBeechum
4.3/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled in multiple locations.

This has rapidly become my favorite sessionable beer from Craftsman when it is available.

The aroma is pleasantly smokey like a good wood fire or maybe the smell of bacon wafting from your neighbors kitchen.

Body is medium with a slight acrid bitterness from some dark roasted malts that blacken the beer.

Flavor is just slightly sweet, toffee like with minimal hop character to run around.

Overall a fantastic drinking beer that is just different enough to make you pay attention. Grab it whenever they make it available.

 571 characters

Photo of t0rin0
1.75/5  rDev -50.1%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours more dark red than black actually, with a small off-white head, good retention.

S: Light smoke, charcoal, roasted malt, fire.

T: Good black lager base, roasted malts, coffee, smoke is not overt, well in the background, bit of sweetness at the end, nice that its not overly charcoal, burnt malt bitter.

M: Light, somewhat watery, oily, needs more body in my opinion.

D: Another good beer from Craftsman, not a must try though, I think it would work well with smoked foods, to bad I didn't order any.

 537 characters

Photo of mig100
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Smarty_Pints
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Smoked Black Lager from Craftsman Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.51 out of 5 with 24 ratings