Scarlet Fire Rauchbier | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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151 Ratings

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by goindownsouth on 04-19-2003

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 151 |  Reviews: 66
Photo of JizackFH
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap the other day in Brooklyn, NY.

Review taken from notes.

A - This beer pours a nice dark amber color, that has some red tints around the edges. It has a nice 2-finger light tan head on it. The head has decent retention, and leaves behind some nice lacing on the glass.

S - It smells very smokey. Its like campfire, smoked sausage, ham, and bacon. There is a toasted maltiness to it as well, and not much hop action at all.

T - There is a very strong smokiness up front. It is like campfire and an assortment of smoked meats, mostly bacon. There is some sweet toasted malt in the background. The finish leaves a lingering smokiness in the mouth.

M - This has good creamy carbonation, and the body is a little bit lighter than I would have liked. There is a strong smokiness that sticks to the mouth, and other than that it goes down very smooth.

O - I think this has good drinkability. I can see how a lot of people would not like this style of beer if you weren't expecting the smokiness, but I for one really enjoy it. Overall, I thought this was a really nice rauchbier, and I hop I get a chance to drink it again. Give it a shot if you come across it.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Scarlet Fire

Pours a clear copper, nice sized foam and lace stickage. Aroma of smoke cured meats and beechwood smoked malt. Follows through in the taste with a nice smoked profile, bbq meats, ham and charcoal. Beefy. Tasty. Medium bodied feel, good carbonation level. Overall, a tasty rauch but not for the faint palate.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

.3 liter on tap at the Victory Brewpub. Reviewed from notes.

Arrives a nice copper color with one finger of foam. Aroma is smoky, but not overpowering. Certainly not indicative of what is about to come...

There is a very strong smoke flavor - borderline overwhelming. The smoke overpowers any sweetness, all I taste is an ashy flavor. Honestly, I don't really get the appeal of rauchbiers...

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean yellow-ish color with a small off white head. In the aroma, bacon and smoke, with hints of a lager in there somewhere. In the taste, beef jerky and smoked pork. A smooth and light bodied mouthfeel, with a dry cabin fire and smoked pork kind of aftertaste. Still a lager but nice smoke, pretty damn nice.

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Photo of beerfishkitedog
2.72/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This is a beer with a real smoky taste and smell. The color was orange-gold, with a light foamy head. I feel it would be better consumed along with food (which I didn't have at the time), in order to balance the strong flavors. Probably would be good with BBQ, smoked salmon, or strong cheese. I could barely finish one pint and did not enjoy it. I'll always remember what a Rauchbier is after this pour.

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Photo of nezelrac
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not a style that I drink with any regularity, but I have enjoyed them in the past. This seemed to be a good example from a brewery that has my respect. I would have liked a little more complexity, but I am not that familiar with the style. That being said...

A - beautiful rusty amber with a white head that quickly vanishes

S - smoky, almost bacon-like, with clean sweet malt in the background

T - powerfully smoky with hints of malt peeking through - essentially one dimensional, but the malt notes do add some interest

M - taut frame of smoked malt and clean, sweet lager malt

D - eminently drinkable, but the smoke builds up on the palate - a sipper, for sure

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
2.23/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed on 6 November 2010, on tap at Tap at Mallet in Rochester, NY for the "Victory Total Tap Takeover."

I quickly looked his beer up on my phone and it appeared to be either new or on tap only. I sampled one ounce of this and was drinking liquid smoke. I could not drink a full one. My friend is bold and orders a tall goblet of Scarlet Fire and can't finish one on his own. so I help him out AND review it. Color is copper-orange, slighty cloudy, and the head and lacing are like that of wine, so none. Aroma: smoke. I can't smell anything but smoke, like jerky. The taste is only that of smoked malt. This beer is way overdone on smoked malt and needs to go back to formula. Sorry, Victory.

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Photo of metter98
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber in color and has a thin off-white head. No carbonation is visible in the form of rising bubbles.
S: There are moderate aromas of smoke in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the overall flavor is very smoky, but it isn't too heavy.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer isn't that difficult to drink because the smoky aroma and taste is not overpowering.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Varga in Philadelphia.

Pours a clear amber color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with good amounts of meaty smokiness.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined almost immediately by solid amounts of smoked malt flavors. Midway through the sip the smoked malt fades out just a bit and the flavor profile sweetens. The faint smokiness carries through to a moderately bitter ending where it lingers on the palate after the sip.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this wasn't as smooth as some of the better-known smoked beers but I still enjoyed it. Worth a shot.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Churchkey.

Pours a deep brown with a tan head and a bit of lacing. Nose brings a good dose of smoke and a little bit of earth. Taste is smoky but not overly so. Not a huge amount of other flavors and lacking in the leafy character of many beers of the style. Feel is fairly light and a bit dry. Drinks really well with great body and a not overpowering level of smoke.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Glass had in Philly at the Varga.

A: dark amber; no head, no threads, no lacing--you might think it dead!
S: jerky! jerky! jerky! Pungent; a thing of beauty
T: tastes as if a brown ale forms the base of the smoking; it is rather simple in flavor once you get past the jerky flavor (did I say jerky? jerky!)
M: a bit watery
D: not really engrossing enough for me to revisit, mainly because of its simplicity and watery character

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Photo of jampics2
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Beer Engine. I had to try this beer - any brew named after one of the best suites/segues in musical history can't be half bad, right? Well, this beer is a pleasure to have tried, and I am GRATEFUL for the opportunity. If I was found DEAD tomorrow, I'd be better off having tried this.

Well there ain't nothing wrong with the way this looks. All copper and orange with a touch of the rouge. Not a lot of foam though, looks like someone stole this beer's face right off it's head.

Smells very nice. Deep levels of smoke and spice. Caramel, sweet malt with great flavors of smoked meat and some campfire. But it's not overwhelming. How can a rauchbier not be raunchy? It may be an illusion, but I might as well try.

After the first sip, it's obvious it won't take a whole pail of water to cool you down after this beer. That's because it's more of a beginner rauchbier, not by any means a dragon with matches that's loose on the town. It's got a nice balance of sweet and smokey. Almost ablaze but I don't feel the heat. Ends with some malt that's totally sweet.

More a Phil than a Jerry, the mouthfeel is light to medium. Sweet finish with lingering smoke. Refreshing and smooth. The more that you give, the more it will take, but rauchbier this refreshing, you really can't fake

The bottom line - don't have to learn the hard way not to let this pass by. Try it if you have the chance. You'll be GRATEFUL too! Get you some before you end up DEAD!

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was seriously expecting a nasty attempt at a rauchbier with this, but I was delighted to find maybe the most drinkable version yet, if not the best all-around.

This beer is probably the best example I've come across of a rauchbier to try if you've never had one. Don't hurt to ease your way in. Color was nice - light rust, fiery orange. Head was dead.

The smoke aroma is moderate, subtle even. Doesn't smack you in the face. Little bit of a clean malty lager essence underneath.

The potency of the smoke is rather mild balanced smartly with the malt, allowing it to come through and serve as a base from which the other flavors hover over. Hopping is earthy and light. No biting bitterness lingering afterward. Very crisp and clean.

Schlenkerla Marzen was the first rauch I had and I loved it. I suppose I more or less judge any other rauch against that. The Schlenkerla is art. A lot of domestics are okay but off-balanced. With Scarlet Fire, I found a domestic rauch that's very well-balanced, not trying to push any envelopes within the style, and crazy easy to drink.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Blind Tiger, NYC.

Poured a deep copper hue with a one half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light smoke and solid caramel malt.

The taste was likewise dominated by a light smokiness that gave way to the onrushing caramel malts.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty smoked beer.

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3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub. Served in an imperial pint glass for $5.

A: One inch of foamy fizzy off white head. Short retention leads to a thin film. The body has remarkable clarity and is rusty copper in color, medium-light saturation. Spare to no lacing.

S & T: Smoky. Beef jerky immediately comes to mind as well as mesquite BBQ and mild chipotle. The hops are so far in the background at this point that any description [from me] is impossible. I pick up on some bready malts and some fruity esters.

M: Just about perfect with the right amount of fizzy carbonation prickling the tongue. Victory RARELY misses in the mouthfeel department. Medium-light body with moderate sweetness and respectable flavor duration. Almost no bitterness. Crisp finish. Dry.

D: The Scarlet Fire is an excellent smoked lager with a prominent, but not overwhelming smoke flavor. Easy to sip on, but not for long term drinking.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on the growler station at Charleston Beer Exchange in normally beautiful but currently oppresively hot and humid Charleston, SC.

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head. The foam recedes into a small amount of lace.

Aroma was a bit lacking on the smoke front. Speaking to the brewmaster at CBX, he intimated this would be "in your face smoke". Sadly, it isnt. There is a delicate smoke aroma and flavor that will fit most palates without overdoing things. However, I was expecting more smokiness. Perhaps my expectations are flawed; perhaps not.

Good mouthfeel with good drinkability. Glad I tried this one but I would not actively seek this one out in the future. Barely above average overall.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rauchbiers have gotten my attention lately, this was on draft so I decided to get some.

Beer is surprisingly light, clear and red (scarlet...I get it). Forms a white broken head of small bubbles, carbonation is low and there is no lacing. Looks fine.

Aroma is no shock here, mostly smoke, like hickory, pretty expected. Not over powering like some though. I appreciate the level of the smokiness in there. The smoke still unfortunately overshadows anything else that may be going on in there though.

This beer is confusing. When I first taste it, I think, medium bodied but by the time I swallow I think it was quite watery. There isn't really any bitterness or sweetness to it. Some moderate to low body in the front and it finishes cleanly. Some of the smoke character is left as a late or even a slight aftertaste and the smoke builds the more you drink. Overall its a pretty decent rauchbier. Could use some beefing up though.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a becher.

This guy's been a Want since I learned it existed. Luckily for me ChurchKey's draft list is badass. The pour results in a clear copper/amber with about half a finger of white foam on top. Good start, right? Well, the honeymoon ends when I smell the thing. Whatever is there is very faint, unlike any rauch or smoked beer I've had before. There's a tinge of smokiness, as though the grill wasn't working properly. There's also an intimation of wheat. That's about it. The taste comes off similarly. There's a light smoked ham flavor, along with some wheat bread and a vague dull bitterness. Frankly, according to my tongue, this is one of the weakest smoky beers I've ever had. That said, it's not bad-tasting, just not what it claims to be. The body is pretty light, with moderate carbonation and a smooth and moist feel. Honestly, not a bad brew overall, but I expected better from Victory.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Victory

A-darker clear golden orange with a pure white head.

S-smokey up front, notes of charcoal followed by dry hay. caramel malt underneath with a light note of grassy hops and a touch of lemon.

T-the taste is smokey up front with a caramel malt backbone. notes of lemon with grassy hops and a touch of citrus. grainy hay lies in the finish and seems to linger a bit.

M-this is smooth and soft on the palate, the carbonation is a little low letting the medium body leave something to be desired.

D-this has a nice smokey presence toit with a good balance of sweetness from the malts and hops in the back.. has some good stuff going on here.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby red. Good carbonation. Smells of attractive hickory smoked flavor. Bartender said this was a one off but it smells &tastes great. Wish they would offer this more. Flavor I'd almost liken the malts and taste to are flavors on a BBQ grill with ham or rib flavor. Excellent for any beer drinker who loves ribs, wings, or any BBQ. I really like this. Wish I could get a sixer. I can see if some are turned off as this one probably has a smaller audience than most beers.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

@ The Indie, Somerville MA.

Thin tan/white head (not sure, it was dark) over an amber beer. Head gets stage fright and vanishes quickly. Leaves not so much as a thin skim.

Mesquite smoke aroma. Taste is similar smoke with a Carolina tang/Memphis sweet hybrid BBQ sauce mish mash sweetness. Underlying fruit which seems out of place. Pharmaceutical huskiness with swallow. Mouthfeel is a little juicy.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A light ruby colored body with about one finger of tan head that doesn't last long and doesn't really leave any lacing behind.

The aroma has a touch of smoke, some grain flavors and some hope in the background.

The smoked malt dominate this beer, making it taste a little bit like peat. Underneath the smoke is a little bit of a light grain flavor, and a decent yeast base that adds some peppery and fruity flavors. There is a slight hop presence too, that adds just a touch of bitterness and grapefruit flavor. Smoke dominates this beer, but not in an abrasive way. There is just enough balance to make it a nice beer.

Mouthfeel is a touch above medium in body and a little below moderate in carbonation.

Really drinkable, I downed my pint in no time. Good beer overall.

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Photo of garuda
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass produces a one finger thick head with good persistence. Color is a clear orange/amber, slightly darker at the top.

Aroma is a sweet caramel smokey scent with a hint of smoked ham.

Mouthfeel is a medium body with medium to low carbonation.

Taste is of smoked ham with very subtle hops.

The smoked ham aftertaste really lingers in my mouth and makes it salivate, and because of this dominating taste, does not get high marks from me for drinkability. I was intrigued to try it when I read the description of this brew, but probably wouldn't get it again unless it was paired well with a meal.

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Photo of ljbrisson
2.54/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip from a growler obtained yesterday and kept in the fridge. Pours a dark caramel red/amber with a finger-width head with substantial retention. Aroma is caramel, toffee, some bready malt and a suggestion of smokiness from the smoked malt. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with medium carbonation, not too heavy, in anticipation of watching some AFC/NFC championship football. The taste, however, is a different story. Taste is caramel, toffee, whole-grain bread, toast, light charcoal, and a light astringent smokiness. I expected a dark, roasty smokiness from this beer, but the smoke is merely a background note. No hop presence to speak of. Overall this beer is not one I would try again. I saw "smoked malt" on the Victory brewpub menu, and after trying Stone's smoked porter, I have to try any smoked beer. Next time I will be more discerning.

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Photo of drtth
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a standard pint glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a nice clear orange amber color with about ½" light tan head that head recedes fairly soon with some light lacing left on sipping. Towards the end of the beer the ring of foam and lacing are minimal.

Smell: The faint smoky aroma is as much like smoked ham as it is the bacon I expected. There is also some sweet toasted caramel malt but no real hop presence here.

Taste: As expected from the nose, the flavor is almost like bacon or smoked ham but with some sweet caramel to in the flavor to balance and mellow the smokiness.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is light to medium-bodied with minimal carbonation about midway through the beer. The finish semi dry with the smokiness persisting almost to the end.

Drinkability: As for drinkability, this is a fine beer but more of a curiosity for me. I don't mind the smoky flavor and would drink it again if offered, but I don't think this is a preferred style for me so I won't go out of my way to have it again. I think for me this a good representative of an unusual style but not something I feel the need to seek out and have again.

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Scarlet Fire Rauchbier from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 151 ratings
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