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

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Samuel Adams Bonfire RauchbierSamuel Adams Bonfire Rauchbier
578 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 578 |  Reviews: 238
Photo of mvanaskie13
3.46/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a fluted pint glass: color is darker amber, very crisp with nice effervescence; head is tan that lingers and laces nicely.

Smell is more sweet caramel malt than a smoky flavor, there is a hint of light smoke coming through as it warms.

Taste is nice and relatively mild for a smoked brew, caramel sweetness hits first then is covered by the light wood smoke flavors. the sweetness actually lingers more than the smoke.

Mouthfeel is pretty well balanced with more lingering flavors on the tongue, but good carbonation with a touch on the sweet side for a finish.

Overall, a nicely easily drinkable smokey brew, i like a bit more smoke and less sweetness is my smoked brews.

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Photo of Arenbeer
3.88/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Mug

A- Pours a reddish brown with no head, tons of carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

S- Campfire smoke, sweet and roasted caramel malts, earthy, and some grains. Nothing crazy but actually smells real nice.

T- Just like the aroma. Up front your hit with a strong smoked meat flavor that is followed by a sweetness from the caramel/toffee notes. Has some earthy characteristics from a slight hop presence that is pretty tasty.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a decently bitter finish.

Overall this is probably on of the best Sam Adams beers i've had in a while. The smoke is there but not in your face like most rauchbiers. Definitely a good beginner smoked beer.


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Photo of Domingo
3.57/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Fall variety pack. This is a style that can be really good and mellow or over the top and harsh. We'll see where BB takes it...
Pours a cherrywood brown with a substantial head that sticks around for the life of the beer. No gushing, but still pretty carbonated.
Smells EXTREMELY sweet initially. So much that I really didn't even get the smoke for a second. Brown sugar and massive malt overload with a little maple. Smoke appears a bit on my second whiff, but it's not over the top. Pretty flawed to be honest. The smoky nose is one of the things that really "makes" a rauchbier.
The taste isn't as sweet as I feared. Caramel and brown malts kick in right away, followed by a mild earthiness from the smoke and maybe a bit of hops. I believe this is a dunkel rauchbier, which is my preferred version over the stronger takes. The smoke isn't overkill, and there are no rough tannins and uncured wood notes that can plague many US versions. The sometimes ever-present "Sam Adams Flavor" isn't even overly strong either.
A pretty decent take to be honest. That really sweet nose is my only real complaint. If that were kept in check, I'd say this would be better than a LOT of US examples.
Not bad, and likely a great starter for someone exploring the style for the first time.

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Photo of Erish
3.87/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass. Best before January 2012.

A: clear medium-dark amber color, fizzy tan head quickly falls into a good cap with decent lacing.

S: distinctive bacon aroma, toffee, a hint of earthiness.

T: a decidedly gamey note up front, the middle shows some smokiness and toffee, the finish features mild herbal hops and a mineral crispness.

M: medium-bodied, silky to lightly oily texture, plentiful carbonation.

O: not as seriously smoky as some other rauchbiers I have had, but tasty in its own crowd-pleasing way.

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Photo of Rayek
3.47/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bonfire pours a deep mahogany into my SA Perfect Pint glass. The head starts strong, but quickly falls to a patchwork film. No lace is left behind.

The beer starts out promising enough. A pronounced smokiness dominates the nose and flavor. Once past the smoke, there isn't much else happening. A light lemon bitterness adds interest. There's a hint of straw too. Toward the end, the beer gets rather astringent and finishes quite dry. The body is fairly light and a touch undercarbonated.

Overall, this is a pretty tame Rauchbier. I'm glad Boston made this, but it doesn't stand up to the best of the breed.

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Photo of Hoagie1973
2.86/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep amber brown with a decent enough head.
Smells malty with the expected smokiness.
Flavor is malty with less of a smoked meat/campfire taste than expected. Actually it tastes more like Band Aid than wood smoke. Light hop presence helps to balance and gives a slight dryness in the finish. Would be better if the smoke tasted more woody and less plastic-like. Still it's not undrinkable.
Decent mouthfeel typical of a SA product.
Not awful, but could be much better with a few tweaks.

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Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
3.65/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber brown with a two finger dirty white head that has good retention, no lacing left on the glass as the head resides. The aroma is full of roasted malts, clove and a nice smokiness. The taste puts the initial smoke in your mouth that fades quickly with a rich molasses and malty notes. A lighter mouthfeel then I would hope for but the carbonation feels good. This is a good beer, I wish there was a tad more smoke but it would be a very good way to introduce people to smoked beers.

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

A - This beer pours a deep ruby copper color. It has a nice 2-finger light tan head on it. The head has alright retention, and it leaves behind some lacing on the glass.

S - The smell starts off with some roasted malt and a nice big smokiness. There is also some scents of caramel as well. The smell comes off as creamy.

T - The taste has a nice caramel malt and a nice earthiness. There is smoke present, but not as much as the nose suggests. I would say the smoke is pretty mild. There is a nice toastiness present as well as some hops. The finish has some lingering smoke and touch of hop bitterness.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation. It goes down easy, and it has a nice creamy feel to it. There is some mild smokiness and mild hop bitterness. There is also some sweetness in the background.

O - This has good drinkability. I could easily drink a sixer of this stuff. Overall, I think this is a solid rauchbier. It's certainly no Aecht Shlenkerla, but I would say a great introduction into this style that is probably off-puttiing to non-craft drinkers out there. I am glad that BBC is doing styles like this and I think it really is helping people drink what they normally would not, since more likely than not this will the first rauchbier most people ever try. Anyways, I think it is a nice beer, and I would buy it again.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer pours a chestnut brown coloring that carries a big, puffy, fluffy, chunky yellow-ish head that weighs in around an inch and a half. The nose is sweet and rich, with meat like characters, and a hint of charcoal. The beer has a very unique flavor, and it can best be described (by me, at least) as an all beef hotdog freshly cooked over fire. Wow, very unique. The meaty flavor also coincides with a slightly greasy and slick feel in mouth, which completes the palate picture in my mind. The aftertaste is semisweet and slightly smokey, and the beer finishes quickly, with a slight tangy sweet linger at the back of the tongue. Interesting.

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Photo of Apellonious
3.15/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - pours an orange brown color, thin head that disappears almost instantly. Cloudy.

S- spices, clove, pumpkin and bread

T - taste is much of the same, with a heavy emphasis on roasted malts and grains. Some hops are present. Not much else to mention here

M - carbonation is good, a touch on the thin side.

O - I can't say I have had many beers of this style, but based on this, it is not high on the list. This beer is worth trying ( what beer isn't?) but I won't be seeking it out any time soon.

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Photo of Reaper16
2.71/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a clean, translucent maple-syrup brown color. The body doesn't look to be all that viscous. Pretty thin. Nearly one finger's worth of beige head bubbles up but quickly recedes to a thin ring.

You get the smoke right up front in the nose, but something is off. This beer doesn't so much smell like smoked malts as it does a brown ale that had liquid smoke added to it. Browned malt sweetness is present; some bread crusts too. The light smoke seems like it is coming from a different place than the malt aromas. Together, they make for an average sort of Rauchbier nose, but their dischoate nature hurts the beer.

The taste follows the nose. Light brown ale malt flavors with a pinch of fakey smoke flavor.The smoke is strongest right up front. It diminishes rapidly and by the time you swallow the smoke is pretty much gone.

This thin, insubstantial, fake-tasting Rauchbier isn't exactly terrible. It is quite drinkable and serves as a sort of entry-level Rauchbier. A sessionable Rauchbier, if you will. I won't seek it out again, but it isn't thoroughly bad.

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Photo of Shaw
3.7/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Like last year with their pumpkin beer, I pretty much bought the fall variety pack for this one beer.

Pours a medium amber with a nice foamy head in my tulip glass. The head quickly reduces to a quarter-inch layer.

A smoky aroma, but one that's under control. Smells like a fire.

The taste, like the aroma, is smoky, with hints of spice that I'm guessing come from the smoked malts instead of actual spices.

A nice creamy body, no watery beer here.

Overall this is an above-average Rauchbier. It's smokier than others I've tried while not being overwhelming.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of the Fall mixed 12pk at Market Basket in Somersworth. Pours a crystal-clear amber body with nearly an inch of light tan head that dissipates rather quickly. Smoke and wood dominate the aroma with some malt, nut, and vanilla notes. Wood and smoke dominate the flavor too, with vanilla, nut, and caramel notes in the background. Medium to light in body with moderate carbonation. A fairly easy drinker. I will admit that I am not a huge fan of the style, but this one is balanced and nuanced and doesn't clobber you over the head with the smokiness. An interesting addition to the fall lineup.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.06/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Generous three-finger creamy offwhite head. Body is a gradient of clearish amber to hazy ruby. Laces some.

Smells tangy for a rauch, there's something pungent here that I'm not enjoying-- like a cheap-lager smell. But the smoke is there, so that's good.

Body has a lot of watery tartness around the smoke. Sort of a tinny lager with some smoke in it. I had my hopes up; Sam Adams does some pretty nice stuff, but this didn't live up to my expectation. I hold the bar really high for rauchs in general,a nd this one, while not bad per se, is not very good. Malt feels cheap and corny.

Mouthfeel is sort of fizzy, but not prickly. Again, not great.

Eh, a letdown, but I probably expected too much from it.

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Photo of goldbot
3.58/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Excited to try another new fall seasonal from Sam Adams. This one pours clear mahogany colored with fizzy, bubbly, tan head that dissipates pretty quickly but leaves a solid layer atop the beer. The aroma is malty, lots of bread and caramel. As it opens up the smokiness comes out. It's neither too subtle nor too bold. I've certainly enjoyed smokier offerings but this is a pretty good balance. The flavor is a bit more up front with the smoke. Meaty and earthy, with a touch of malty sweetness. Full bodied, a bit flat as far as carbonation goes though. Something different but tasty for Sam Adams and a good beer for a rich hearty, meal.

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Photo of mocktm
3.47/5  rDev +3.6%
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 -16.4%
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 +11.3%
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 -10.4%
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 -57.6%
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 -5.4%
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 +18.8%
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 +6.3%
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 +5.4%
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 +19.4%
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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Samuel Adams Bonfire Rauchbier from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.35 out of 5 with 578 ratings
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