Scarlet Fire Rauchbier | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

very good
66 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 151
Photo of Arithmeticus
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
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 +7.4%
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 +4.7%
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 +5.5%
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 +4.2%
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 -6.9%
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 +4.2%
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 -16.1%
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 -0.5%
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 +15.3%
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 -10%
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 +1.6%
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 -8.2%
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 -33%
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 -7.1%
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.

 1,212 characters

Photo of blackie
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: medium nutshell amber in color and capped with a layer of khaki carbonation, good retention and lace

s: great marzen base - leafy/autumnal munich and vienna malts give a dry but satisfyingly aromatic backbone that supports the smooth beechwood smoked malt aroma, perfectly integrated into the base beer

m: carbonation on the higher side of medium, body a light-medium, very crisp finish

t: flavorful marzen base of toasty munich and other lager malts provides a great substrate for the woody,moderately smoky beechwood flavors, densely smoked bacon combined with nutty malt flavors, rustic yam, complex and unique, displaying superb balance, crisp and cleanly bitter finish

d: just a great marzen lager, maintaining a high drinkability without sacrificing any flavor, the only beer I've had that can compete with Aecht Schlenkerla in the substyle, which is a huge compliment

0.4 litre glass at the brewpub

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Photo of corby112
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Serving type: on tap at Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA

Pours a clear golden amber color with thin white head. Aroma was kind of week, not as smokey as I would like. Flavor was also weak, watered down with only a faint hint of smoked malt. Very disappointing.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a golden color with a slight redness to it. The carbonation was too much and resulted in a nice enough head but nothing really note worthy. The aroma had a smokiness that couldn't be missed and a sweet maltiness that pretty much dominated any real hop complexity. The taste was a very upfront smokiness that I thought was more aggressive than the Sly Fox Rauch. Still a very well balanced beer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to the kind BA who sent me this growler in the most recent growlin at the moon BIF. I was thrilled to get this one as not only is it one of my favorite styles, the name is just tight as hell! Big flip top growler was served cold right out of the fridge and poured into several large pint glasses. Consumed on 09/27/2008.

The pour was very nice with a reddish tinted, light amber coming through on this one right away. Nice bit of haze at first, though it settled out to produce a mostly clear liquid that showed off very nice carbonation throughout the session. Very light head on this one, maybe a half an inch in all and that faded to nothing almost immediatly.

The aroma was different then any rauchbier I have had in the past, this was almost spicey and peppery at times. Rich, with a slightly smoked aroma, but more peppery and grainy then anything else. The flavor was more of the same, grain base, with a spicey, almost tingling taste to it, that was not bad at all, far from it, just different and not at all what I was expecting. Light body was decently carbonated and light abv lended itself well to be decently sessioned.

Overall this was an odd one for me. Not bad at all, just very different. The spiciness of the profile really took me off guard on here. I would have no issue with trying this one again, it was just a bit weird is all.

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Photo of marcpal
4.57/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ive been seeking this one for a while in the Philly area and behold, I found it in my travels while in Boston at Sunset Tap.

Poured from draft into pint glass.

A: Golden color, middle of the road carbonation and bubbling.

S: Mild in the smoked meat department, but the woody smoke is surely there. Not much hops and ample sweetness. A bacon bite.

T: Not Aecht caliber, but enjoyable indeeed. Balance is terrific even though it doesnt have the potent smoked meat flavors of the German greats. This is ridiculously smooth and the aftertaste of the smoked bark is fantastic.

M: Smooth as can be, fairly substantial mouthfeel with a cooked finish.

D: The most enjoyable and drinkable rauchbier to date, in terms of not being overly smoky, yet tasty and enjoyable.

Leave it to Victory to nail another German style-awesome, just awesome take on this one.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange-amber color with a small puffy head and a decent lace.The aroma was of smoke and malts.

The taste is spicy,sweet and malty.Smoky notes that are just mild. Also,do not forget the light alcohol burn.

The feel is medium body,moderate carbonation with a nice creamy finish.It was so smooth with a well balanced touch.

Notes:Great balance and a really good beer. I liked it and I really did not detect any sausage flavor or meat taste.I don't think I would have minded though. Overall,I will have this again.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber. Fairly mild smoked nose. Flavor is a nice meaty smoked thing. Nice pronounced flavor. Nice ride for the tongue. Well balanced on the smoke. Feel is good. Drinkability is high. This is a rauch that more than the average person could go on. There's no abrasive smoke on it and it's well balanced enough that you can quickly go through it.

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Photo of ruckzuck
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, BSP.

A - a very amber (almost reddish) clear body with a tiny white head

S - very smokey and malty, not a lot of hop action going on

T - again, incredibly smokey and malty, but very enjoyable

M - medium bodied with some good carbonation

D - this is a good beer, but the smokiness sort of limits its drinkability/sessionability. Still, I enjoyed it and would order again. It's just not something I could drink a lot of.

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Photo of gabeerfan
2.37/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a rusty, dark amber with a white head that completely disappeared. No lacing.
Smelled of smoked summer sausage and gouda cheese. No hops detected.
Tasted like smoked summer sausage and gouda cheese. No real complexity.
Oily mouthfeel with good carbonation. The smokiness really lingers though.
I had a hard time finishing one of these, so I don't find this very drinkable.
I love BBQ (real BBQ, slow smoked pork), but had a real hard time with this beer. Too smoky, no complexity. If you like smoked beers, you will like this one. But, I'm not liking smoked beers, so I don't like this one.

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Photo of cichief
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft at the Frisco Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Pours a nice amber-gold with a decent off white head.

S- Smells of smoky ham, some sweet malt, no hops noted.

T- Smoky, not too sweet, well balanced, not as smoky as the Schlenkerla from Bamberg, more like the Spezial Rauchbier.

M- Well carbonated, far from fizzy, but not flat.

D- I have been drinking this beer since it went on draft at Frisco's, won't quit until its gone.

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Scarlet Fire Rauchbier from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.79 out of 5 based on 151 ratings.
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