Samuel Adams Bonfire Rauchbier | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Bonfire RauchbierSamuel Adams Bonfire Rauchbier

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HoustonTX on 08-06-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 238 | Ratings: 576
Photo of mocktm
3.47/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another one out of the fall variety pack. If there's been one underlying theme to these beers so far, its been simplicity. Not that they are bad, but just very straightforward, lacking any real complexities. Let's see if their Rauchbier follows suit.

Pour is light brown, crystal clear and clean. Short off-white head quickly dissipates to nothing, no lace, no film, nadda.

Nose is smoky, freshly cooked bacon, light hop presence as well, but not much else.

This is probably the tamest Rauchbier I've ever had. As with the nose, mild smoke and meat, malty, not much of a hop presence.

Rather light bodied, medium carbonation, I'm not sure I know anyone who would want to session a Rauch, but I guess this could do the trick because of its timid flavor profile.

Overall, this fits in perfectly with the rest of the fall pack, a pretty toned down version of a traditional style. Faint hints without really blowing your hair pack, simplistic, but good. Cheers!

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
2.8/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review # 60
Served On: 9/9/2011
Glassware: Pint Glass

From the fall 2011 Sam Adams Harvest mixed 12 pack.

Look: Poured a little too aggressive and got around 6 fingers of creamy tan head of a milkshake consistency. The beer was a super clear brown. Zero carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Beef jerky - burnt umbers from a camp fire. Also some type of chemical smell. It could almost remind you of smelling a telephone pole. Creosote maybe???

Taste: Ok, this beer tasted like liquid Lebanon bologna. If I were to purée a Lebanon bologna sandwich and try to drink it, this is what it would taste like. And yes, the usual Sam Adams twang was definitely coming through. The after taste was that same bland diet soda flavor that you get with the Sam Adams Light and a couple of their summer seasonals.

Ok, I admit – this is my very first Rauchbier ever. My palate was certainly not prepared for this one. But hey, I guess that would make this a totally unbiased review then.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.73/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in color, clear, head was ok and lacing is spotty but not bad.

It's got a lightly smoky smell, with some roasty malts and a lightly coffee aroma as well.

Taste isn't bad at all. It's only lightly smoky, not overblown at all, yet still captures the "campfire" label nicely. It's got a pleasant malt backbone without too much bitterness. Finish is slightly dry and quite enjoyable.

Feel is light and clean, moderate to slightly low carbonation, easy to drink.

A nice fall offering and overall a tasty and easy to drink beer. Great addition to the fall variety pack.

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Photo of oberon
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice to see SA make a foray into the style,to bad the results were not better.Poured into a becker a clear bronze with almost no head at all to speak of,very uninspiring pour here.Aromas mainly of caramel malt with faint smoke,sweet on the palate with caramel flavors and a tinge of fruit,the smoke is subdued and relegated to a minor role.Eh just very average and uninspired in my opinion.

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Photo of jeaton
1.42/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Bottle poured into a standard conical pint glass.

A: Darkish amber. Head dissipated quickly, leaving a minimal amount of lacing.

S: Like a cheap cigar. Slighly sweet and acrid.

T: Worse than it smells. Like licking an ashtray. My wife describes it as 'being mouthraped by a hobo.

M: After the taste, I just wanted to forget that even tried this.

O: Horrible. I would rather not drink beer than ever drink this again.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
3.17/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Sam Admas perfect pint glass

A: pours a hazy amber color with a finger of light tan head that dissipates quickly, leaves no lacing what so ever
S: smells a bit like thanksgiving dinner being cooked, stuffing immediately comes to mind, also has a slight underlying wheat scent like cooking break
T: smoked bacon immediately comes to mind as well as wood smoking on a charcoal grill, finishes with a slight hint of molasses
M: medium carbonation, sticks a bit to the back of the palate with a woody dryness which is reminiscent of sitting by a campfire in the fall for a bit too long
O: a decent representation of the style, good taste, weak appearance, ok overall

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.98/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Part of the new Sam Adams mixed 12 pack. An odd style, but one I actually really like so looking forward to this one. Pours a nice deep brown, small tannish-brown head to it. Nice toasted smell to it. Taste is medium bodied, the smokiness really shines through. Reminds me of drinking a nice beer by a campfire and feeling the ashiness (in a good way) of being near the open flame. Good use a tad more flavor, but the mouthfeel and creaminess of it are perfect. Spot on Sam Adams, another solid stab at a rare style, too bad there's only 2 in the pack.

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Photo of AleEvangelist
3.56/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A new offering to the Sam Adams line, the Bonfire Rauchbier admittedly concerns me. I had some bad experiences with a rauchbier once, and I don't think I ever fully recovered, but on to the review.

Appearance - The beer pours a flat, dark brown. Definitely what I expect to see from this style, but I believe a little more light coming through would set off the glass more. Head is very slight, with no staying power, little lacing.

Smell - Very little of this beer is actually present in the nose. When I first poured, I got some sweetness with some residual smoke. As I type this, I am getting less and less on the nose. Additional head may help with the aromatics on this beer.

Taste - The front of this beer is all malt. The finish, all smoke, but it's not overpowering. The authentic rauchbiers I've had in the past always tasted like what I imagine licking the bottom of a barbeque would taste like. Way too much smoke to be worth drinking. This beer moderates it some, like I'd hoped Sam Adams would do. The smoke lingers and lingers on, too, which is a nice touch. The finish turns this 3.5 taste into a 4.0 for me. Otherwise, the front of the palate is way too generic to be spectacular.

Mouthfeel - As with all Sam Adams' non-Imperial offerings, the mouthfeel leaves something to be desired. Letting the beer warm in the glass improves it, but it could definitely use a little more body.

Overall - Considering this is a style that I'm not terribly fond of, I have to give it props for not offending me. :) I like this much better than the more authentic Rauchbiers I've had. If I were rating it based on my preferences, I'd probably give it better numbers. However, to label this a rauchbier is definitely misleading. While many West Coast brewers take styles and kick them up to 11, Boston Beer Co's tactics seem to be to take potentially bold styles and make them more palatable. This is, essentially, a smoked version of the Octoberfest.

As a campfire beer, I think this one would rock pretty well. Labeled as a rauchbier, however, it is lackluster.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Dark orange with a nice off white head. 4/5

Smell- Caramel and smoke. Little bit of spice with it. 3.5/5

Taste- Toasted nuttiness. Not quite a campfire taste, but close. The spiciness is in the taste a little more than the smell. There is a sweet caramel taste in the end as the beer warms. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied. Lots of carbonation. 3.5/5

Overall- Decent beer. Not very complex, but not one dimensional either. I wouldn't buy a whole six pack, but nice to have once in a while. 3.5/5

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Photo of SDtastentune
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Darker red/brown/mahogany/cherry wood. Some good head when poured but did not stick around, lace is small.

S - Smell is smokey musty whiskey toffee with some caramel notes.

T - Taste is richer smoke toffee/caramel/with some wood/earthy smoked taste. A little thin but not bad aftertaste.

M - larger bubbles and lower then other SA brews carbonation. Good aftertaste but a little thin.

O - Overall I like this one, kinda different and reminds me of a barrel aged brew. If you like flavor you will like this one, kinda complex but not too much for the average drinker. Not bad! Came in the 2011 "Harvest Pack".

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Photo of stckhndlr
3.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Very little head which is very dissapointing coming from the company that prides itself on those thick heads. absolutely no retention to it. But the color is nice. Dark amber color.

S- it reminds me of the smoke rising out of a back woods fire. Mixes in with a malty scent that's light and crisp.

T- Heavier malts with a honey flavor. but the honey is more like a wild flower honey that's more raw and less sweet than everyday honey. Mellow flavor with a bit of a smokey finish.

M- Actually has a good medium body to it. Not too thick not thin.

O- Not too bad. Not my top pick of the Sam Adams beers but I think this one would be a great one to drink on a night when the air gets that first chill of fall in it. Since that time is almost here I look forward to trying this one again.

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Photo of bnes09
3.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber to copper in color. Weak head with poor retention and little lacing. Descent clarity.

Big smokey aroma rises up from the brew with smoked sausage and wheat bran notes.

Heavy whole wheat flavored malt backbone forms the base. Massive smokey flavors flood your mouth and make you think you're eating a Polish sausage. A touch of almond. Mild caramel sweetness which is well overpowered. Smokey through and through.

Lighter to medium-bodied, slightly watery in my opinion. Well carbonated and drying.

Pretty good stuff if you are in the mood. The smokiness is in-your-face from the get-go. Looking forward to trying more beers of this style.

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Photo of riversider76
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber orange with a fluffy head. Decent retention and really nice lacing. Aroma is sweet and malty. Body is medium with some carbonation. Taste is sweet and malty.Nice and crisp,with somke through out,but espically in the finish. Very good stuff.

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Photo of fsvan
3.62/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into New Belgium globe. Best by of 1/2012.

A- Amber, translucent, finger of slightly lingering off white head. Looks like an amber ale.

S- Meaty smoke, like deeply cooked, unseasoned pork. Smokey wood notes beneath the meat.

T- Following the smell. Big meaty smokiness completely dominates. A sipper for sure.

M- A little light of medium.

O- Not a bad rauchbier. This isn't a style that I would go back to often, but this is pretty good.

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Photo of Zorro
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burnt orange colored ale with a small tan colored head. Brilliantly orange if you hold it up and back light it.

Smells sweet and very malty with a little smoke, wonder if the used a Scottish ale recipe as a stating point for this beer? Strong caramel and vanilla scent almost candy like.

Starts out malty and smoky and frankly tastes like a good Scottish ale. Not as sweet as it smells. Good smoky flavor not over the top like some versions that are damn close to drinking a bottle of liquid smoke. Smoky yet mild.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall this is a nicely balanced smoked beer; honestly this is really a tasty Scottish ale.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

I've been waiting for the Harvest Pack to come out, just so I could try this one. Let's do it: It pours a clear copper topped by a finger of relatively short-lived dirty tan foam. The nose comprises mild hickory-smoked ham, caramel, and a touch of maple syrup and molasses. The taste amps up the smokiness of the ham, whilst still keeping the sweetness of the caramel and maple syrup around in good measures. The smoke becomes darker, more pronounced the further you indulge in this liquid. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a rather lightly syrupy feel. Overall, a nice little rauchbier, not up to the levels of the Germans, but still a generally enjoyable experience.

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Photo of scratch69
3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a Samuel Adams glass

Appearance - Amber colored with a small amount head that disappears fairly quickly. Almost no lacing.

Smell - Smoky malt aroma

Taste - Moderate smoke flavor with a sweet malt finish. Hardly any bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied and very crisp. Very well carbonated.

Overall - Not bad. This is my first rauchbier so I don't know how it compares with others in this style. One or two of these are enjoyable but I think more than that would be too much.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.2/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost-clear, amber color with a small white head that disappears quickly. Scent is smokey, like smoked ham...with a bit of toasty malt aromas. Taste initially tastes like a slab of delicious smoke breakfast ham. Once you get used to the smokiness, the malt flavors really kick in. Finishes fairly sweet. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very tasty. Overall, this is a very tasty Rauchbier. Love the smokiness and drinkability.

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Photo of setexascustoms
3.92/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass

A- A dark copper, I'd say almost leaning toward bronze. Fairly gentle pour, but no real head to speak of. Not much lacing either, but what's there has some staying power.

S- Of course the smoke is there, but I get a lot of sweetness from the malts.

T- Again, the smoke is there, but I get a lot of sweetness with toffee and some baker's chocolate. Minimal bitterness, I find it understated and well balanced.

M- On the lighter side of medium, soft carbonation.

O- I really enjoy this beer. It's the only rauchbier I've tried, and honestly I'm looking for more smoke. Now I grew up in Southeast Texas and have eaten heavily smoked barbecue all my life, so maybe that's why. I enjoy the smoke, love the style and look for to expanding my rauchbier experience. Cheers!

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.77/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top, best by January '12, cool label

Appearance: Bright, medium copper orange beer with a nice ivory cap which fades to a medium film a bit too fast

Smell: Definitely some nice meaty/smokey aromas, though less intense than those from Schlenkerla or the other traditional German brewers. Where the aforementioned examples smell more like straight-up bacon, this is more like a nicely smoked Thanksgiving ham or turkey.

Taste: A good deal more smoke in the flavors than in the aromas. Though there is a bit of meaty smokiness, this is more about dry, very mildly astringent, woodsy smoke. It's a bit like the name, actually, bonfire-like. Clean lager finish, but a bit of the astringency hangs on.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, on the light side

Overall: While something of an Americanized take on the style (slightly different smoke character, less malt depth/intensity) this is actually a pretty ballsy little number from BBC. Definitely a nice addition to the fall variety pack!

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Photo of Smixam
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a sam glass.

A - Copper and clear, yellowish head that fades quickly. No real lacing.

S - Hickory smoke and malt, soft floral or some sort of fruit, almost like a weis.

T - Really unexpected. Moderate 'smokiness,' that's really more easily related to a meat flavor in a way; not that it tastes like pulled pork, but it has that kind of finish. Nice soft malt and a little caramel touch. No bitterness at all.

M - Very clean, lingers for a while but not in an unpleasant way.

This was kind of a shock for me, I didn't expect Sam to take a chance at a relatively limited style like this. Definitely a solid offering - I'd definitely keep an eye out for this on tap!

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.82/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Adams Bonfire Rauchbier

12oz bottle. Pours an amber brown in color with a large yellowish head that soon disappears. Fairly strong aroma of smoked malts, birch wood, and a little caramel. In the flavor, a meaty smoke taste, undertones of caramelized malt and brown sugar. Even balance, mild tea like hops are on the outskirts of flavor town. Not intense, but for those not used to the style I can see it being so. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and thin. Overall, a nice little Rauchbier and a testament to the Samuel Adams brewery's prowess.

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Photo of Tee76
3.17/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark amber color with little head that faded quickly

S: Smoke! it's very predominate, some malts are present but the smell mainly reminds me of smoked meat or a bonfire.

T: Smoked meat like bacon or beef jerky. Much like the smell the smoke flavor is predominate.

M: Kind of thin bodied, Carbonation is minimal

D: Not bad, the smoke is really "in your face" but not off putting. Wouldn't be able to drink more than 1 or 2 of these in a sitting though.

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Photo of doopydoogle
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12. oz bottle from a Harvest Mixpack poured into a short hexagonal glass:

A - Good dark amber with little carbonation and a decently creamy head that quickly dissipates into a tight lace.

S - Oaky, woody, smoky aromas up front give the smell a scotch whiskey like characteristic. Roasted malts give an almost coffee like sense to things with almost some subtle fruit somewhere in the background.

T - Very approachable for the style. The flavor is consistent, smoky, malty, but the smoke is not overpowering like in a Schlenkerla. There is a subtle tartness to the brew that provides a good complement to the smoke and malt. Not much bitter but it is noticeable in the finish which is relatively dry with lingering hints of smoke.

M - Clean drinking with a good carbonation and an even mouthfeel followed by some residual tannic bitterness.

O - A very nice Rauchbier. Probably the most approachable and sessionable of the style that I've had. It has that Sam Adams character but is complemented well by a prominent but not overpowering smokiness. A good seasonal outing for a company who has some less than stellar brews they throw in to these seasonal mixpacks.

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Photo of DirtyPenny
3.2/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Second bottle was poured into a pot and used to boil cheese brats.

A: Dark, dark brown with charcoal highlights. Poured with 1-finger of tan head.

S: Smokey with dark malts and spices.

T: Meat spiced and smoked and seasoned with a sort of salty soy sauce quality. Smoke flavor almost entirely drowns out the dark malt and bittering hops.

M: Medium and kinda sticky. Carbonation is minimal.

O: Not awful, but the smoke is really overpowering and it's hard to drink more than a half glass of this stuff. The brats turned out great though.

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Samuel Adams Bonfire Rauchbier from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.53 out of 5 based on 576 ratings.
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