Rauchbier | Baron Brewing

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21 Ratings

Brewed by:
Baron Brewing
Washington, United States

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 21 |  Reviews: 19
Photo of Latarnik
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of NYR_Rob
3/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of beerthulhu
3.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Sparkling light orange with a densely packed micro shower of carbonation bubbles. The head is snow white and foamy, a good size, with respectable retention. Very good coverage on the lace.

S: The nose beared a light smokey nature at first, particularly on the open. Toasted orange peels, light smoked vegetation also chimes in. The aroma didn't have much staying power however, and quickly faded in terms of smoky appeal.

T: Sweet grains mixes with a bit of smoked barley. Light instances of smoked fruit of apples and pears could be detected. Caramel and oranges bring a certain sweetness to the palate as well a bit of spicy character. Mild herbaceous notes of noble hops sneak in beneath the sweetness. The smoking is very light and underlying, providing modest hints and accents rather then upfront domination. Overall the flavor was sweet with some fruitiness and not bad, just lacked smoke which hindered this per style. Overall the flavor was more sweet and fruity then smoky.

M: Sharp bubbly carbonation. Sweet and syrupy mouthful, medium consistency with a very slick feel.

D: Easy drink, though hardcore rauchbier drinkers may find this lacking in terms of smoke appeal. Lightly accented smoke beer more suited for the noob smoked drinker, though the malting is clean and respectable. Just wished a little more smoke went into this.

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Photo of pixieskid
2.39/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a nice golden color with rabid carbonation and a frothy mouth-feel.

nice smokey aroma with hints of citrus.

has a great mouth-feel; Hefeweizen-esque.

overall flavor is quite tart, almost sour, with strong notes of lemon.

finishes with a mild smokey flavor and slight saltiness.

Great mouth-feel, but based on the incredibly tart/sour citrus notes, I would deem it infected.

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Photo of colts9016
3.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug at 41 degrees.

Appearance: A monster 3 finger creamy, white, foamy head, That has some retention to it. The color of the beer is a light gold with orange hues. The clarity of the beer is clear with some haziness. The head did leave some lacing on the mug.

Nose: A rich smoky aroma with bacon, beechwood, and yeast notes. The malt is subtle toasted and bready. Reminds me of a campfire.

Taste: the taste of the beer is malty, smoky rich campfire with bacon grease and beechwood. There are also notes of toast and yeast.

The mouth feel is carbonated, dry, and clean

Overall: The body of the beer is medium light and the finish is medium full. Although the beer has a funky flavor it is drinkable, the malty smokiness of the beer is evened out. Actually to be honest, this beer isn't too bad.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.77/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 picked up at Brewtopia a week or so ago... Poured into my Derlirium goblet.. The label doesn't look like the one in the BA pic anymore... instead it's the shiny sticker label type that looks like all the other Baron brews we've received into Boise lately.

Short lasting 1/2" white head... no real lacing... descent enough cap.. the brew is slightly hazed golden.

Nose has a fair amount of smoke.. sorta sweet and meaty.. bacon or smoked ham definitely comes to mind.. and the sweetness is probably more in my mind than in reality.. it's certainly not a heavy maltiness... instead, the smoke tends to make me pick it out more.

No mistaking the smoke on the palate.. funny.. it even has a saltiness to it that makes me think of the fucking ungodly salty Virginia smoked ham my brother made for Thanksgiving this year... this is a shit ton better though. :-)

I would guess the base style of this one is a Helles instead of the tradtional amber lager... I don't know how that would really make a difference, but it's an observation. none of the caramel or toasty malts that make up some rauchbiers... Just enough lingering maltiness to play well with the smoke.

Really... this was pretty enjoyable... I may have to overcome my, "I don't like smoked malt beer" mantra.

Fairly drinkable (for me).. and tastes fresh.


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Photo of jwc215
2.92/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle:

Pours hazed golden with a thin head that drops to a wide patch.

The smell is of smoked meat/beef jerky with a grainy, malty - towards caramel background.

The taste is of bit "off" with an odd tart fruitiness that mixes with the smoked meat. Finishes rather abruptly.

The carbonation is aggressive, cutting through the body and leaving a prickly sensation on the tongue.

It's rather fizzy with a touch of tart fruitiness that just doesn't seem to go together with the smoke and touch of caramel. Smoked part has potential, though...Not bad, just not crazy about this one overall...

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Photo of Bookseeb
2.9/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance has a golden orange hue with minimal head and no lace. Smell is not as smokey as other smoked brews I've tried, having a lightly smoked ham aroma. Taste has a lightly bitter smoke, lightly sweet and maybe even a little watered down. Mouthfeel is a light - medium with good carbonation. I'm not much on smoked brews anyway, but I've had better.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.73/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark copper body with a thin, short-lived, white head.

Smell: Sweetish, grainy malts with a smoked sausage smoke component (though not too smoked sausage-y, mind you).

Taste: Sweet German malts with a hint of grain infused with a balanced smokiness. It's about that time a slight, highly suspect tartness and acidic pop of lemon juice begins filtering into the flavor. A tartness the meaty smoke character just can't cover up. All in all, it comes up a bit short to begin with and, once you factor in that questionable tartness, well...

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: While based on the beers of Bamberg, I'd certainly rather have one of them. Schlenkerla, where are you when I need you?! All of the Baron beers I've come across have been a bit off, and this one, regrettably, is no different, though being one of the few US breweries focusing on German beers, I do wish they'd start hitting a few home runs with me. Onward and upward, Baron!!

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.77/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rauchbiers are a peculiar species. It's very understandable if you don't like them, especially if you encounter an American version where the brewer thinks he'll soup up the recipe a bit by overdoing those smoked malts. You end up with a beer that tastes like a smoked sausage abandoned on a campfire spit for a week.

Granted, there may come a time when having a beer that tastes like a sausage isn't such a bad idea. It might be the perfect complement to your bratwurst. But the concept is all too easily distorted. Thankfully, Baron delivers a very drinkable beer (I believe it's a lager) that certainly tastes like smoked bacon, but is still clean enough to appreciate. It is hazed gold with low suds and has enough smoke character to service the style, without being overtly frightening. There aren't many rauchbiers available in the northwest market, but this would certainly be among the better local offerings.

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Photo of ccrida
3.56/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Popped the bomber and it slowly started to foam towards the neck, and I immediately feared it might be infected, something I *think* I've experienced with previous Baron Beers. Like all but their oktoberfest, it has a sharp acidic bite, but is otherwise 'clean' in regards to the spoiled flavors I'd expect from 'infected' beer (which I've never really had as far as a drainpour). I've always thought maybe the acidity was from the dark malts and their PH or something, but with this light lager, that's clearly not the case...let's just call it their house terrior. This bottle has been cellared 4-6 months, and it is bottle conditioned, served at cellar temp, so again, I don't know if the foam is from over priming or bugs at work!
Poured into a nonic pint glass, Baron's Rauchbier is a brassy gold with a large, dense white head that is rocky settling and leaves big chunks of foamy lace. Very impressive, and I'll just assume it was intended.

Smell is pretty sweet and sugary really, with only a a very slight amount smoke. With a rauchbier though, I'm not looking for subtlety.

Taste has a nice smokiness that's not to dominating or charred. And acidic, but not overwhelming so, with a sweet, fruity finish. Really a little of a lot going on at once but it comes together rather nicely, and is overall pretty smooth and tasty, although I'd prefer less sweetness and more smoke. I'm still not sure what to thick about that acidity or if it really is infected!

Mouthfeel is light, loads of creamy carbonation, dry.

Drinkability is pretty good, an sweeter rauchbier that's not overly smokey and pretty easy drinking. I'm a big fan of wild ales so the acidity doesn't put me off, even if it's not supposed to be there!

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one to fill out a box on a recent purchase. I am a fan of the style and always looking for a new one to try. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 03/04/2009.

The pour was nice with a big dark amber color and a nice clarity that really let the rich looking carbonation bubble up toward the surface really nicely. Lots of campfire and smokey notes in the smell here. As I lean in for a closer look as it warms some light bready malts are lying underneath of it now and the flavor carries over perfectly. Nice smoked, campfire roasted malts leading the way here. Some nice balance with a light bitter hop note as it really gets going as I finish the last sip, Nice light body here and nearly perfect carbonation led to a very drinkable beer. I really was glad I grabbed this one, Great example of the style and really just very solid overall.

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Photo of czechsaaz
3.64/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lightly smokey aroma with some malt character. Overall clean fermentation, no esters or yeast aroma which is good for the style.

Copper colored and almost but not quite clear. Could be chill haze but it didn't seem to get better as it warmed up. Poured with a rocky and not solid head that faded quickly to a small ring around my glass but there is lots of big rising carbonation bubbles.

Flavor is very malty with lots of caramel flavors. Only on the back end do I get smoke which lingers in the aftertaste. But the smokiness is very restrained. The imported version s of this style are much more smokey.

Medium bodied but it has a rough carbonation level. Feels a little soda-poppy in my mouth.

Very drinkable. I'd say people who think they don't like this style might be into it since it is less in-you-face smokey. Personally I want more but I will have this again. I kind of like it.

ASIDE: I marinated a pork roast in this overnight and it was pretty amazing.

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Photo of mentor
3.76/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thin layer of light tan head over a nearly clear dark copper liquid. Smells fruit wood and sweet amlt. Esters are likely wood character, rather than yeast products.

Clean malt with caramel and biscuit. Tame wood smoke well in balance with fruity character (green apple and raspberry) and a sourish acidic edge. Some peppery zing in the finish that's distinct from the smoke and malt and adds depth. Simple, balanced, blended, and quite drinkable. Drying finish just beats out the malt sweet, which could have become too wet without the clean-up. Md-thin body and medium carbonation that's a bit stronger than I'd like.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
2.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A typical pour still easily produces almost four-fingers of head in my 25cl tulip glass. The head is a pale, off-white color and forms a nicely textured surface and lots of lacing as it slowly recedes.. The beer is a clear, lightly red stained, dark gold color as it sits on my desk but shows a brilliantly clear, gold color when held up to the light (close to the color of Pilsner Urquell). The smoke is apparent as soon as I start to pour this beer as it lightly accents the surrounding atmosphere. Smoky smelling and quite dry, this beer doesn't have the typical chewy, sometimes bready and sweet malt notes that many versions have. Because of this, the smoke is much more spicy here and even comes off as having some hints of plastic-phenolic notes towards the end. This definitely has a signature, beech wood smoke character to it.

Light, and dry up front, the beer actually tastes much like a dry Helles, though it doesn't have the depth of malt character that a great example of that style has. The beer finishes with a smoky flavor that lingers on the tongue, but was not quite as prominent as the aroma would have suggested. The base malt character seems a bit washed out, and with a definite green apple note to it. Somehow this even seems to have a slight tartness to it. The smoke can get a bit too phenolic and sharp in the finish at times; the smoke really needs some other structured malt to balance it out.

Just too unbalanced, it is actually not that the smoke character is overwhelming, it is not and in fact I have had good beers with much more, it is the fact that the supporting malt character is so flabby. The malt just disappears and ends up being wan and cidery. Not horrible, but I was hoping for so much more.

Purchased: Liquid Solutions

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ripe tangerine with a fine yeasty haziness. For some reason, I always expect rauchbiers to be dark bronze, almost sepia in color. This one is even lighter than most. The eggshell hued cap is no great shakes in terms of texture, although it is sticky enough to leave a smattering of lace.

There's no question that smoked malt has been used. A total of 80% beechwood-smoked malt to be exact. That part of the aroma is fine, but there's also an underlying scent that is reminiscent of rubber cement, or something along those lines. Thankfully, it isn't prominent enough to ruin things.

Brauerei Heller-Trum has nothing to worry about. Each mouthfeel starts out on the right track with the classic sweet smokiness of the style. The beechwood smoke is too subtle, however, as evidenced by the fact that a sour fruitiness begins to seep through at the midway point. The Surgeon General must have designed the finish because it's pretty much smoke-free. In the end, this is more of a beginner's rauchbier than much of what comes out of Germany.

Given the ABV, the mouthfeel isn't bad. It's closer to light than medium and is acceptably bubbled. More malt would have helped in any number of ways, but at least the brewer did a decent job with the carbonation. Note: unfortunately, the beer loses lift in the second half of the bomber.

Baron Brewing hasn't impressed me yet. My hopes that Rauchbier would be the one to break through were dashed with the first sip. It isn't a total loss, however. Especially if you have a soft spot for smoked beer. Whatever these guys are spending their profits on, it sure as hell isn't labels.

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Photo of brdc
3.62/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Large capped bottle, poured into a mug.

Nice dark golden color, light tan head, average retention and lacing.
Aroma is good, but not strong as the style hallmark, Aecht Schlenkerla (s); smoked wood, faint smoked meats, little sweet maltiness.
Medium to light bodied, there is some roasted, smoked notes; a faint but perceptible hoppy bitterness that feels misplaced, malty sweetness with caramel.
Nice effort, but they need a lot more wood in that fire.

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Photo of froghop
2.92/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

pours semi-clear amber-orange with a small off-white head that doesn't last that long.

smell is of smoke, but not as much as a smoked porter or any other darker brews, more like a smoked salmon, some spiciness to it, pepper, some malt in the back.

taste is somewhat watery, tastes like it smells, smoked salmon dip with onions, light on the malt, few hops, ends oily and smokey.

overall very unique but don't think i can have much of this one.

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Photo of JDV
3.08/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle shared courtesy of Beerzack. Thanks!
Pours amber with an offwhite head and is semi hazy in the glass. Smell is very lightly smoky, and has a strong lager, yeasty and malt quality. Taste is lightly smoky, with sticky lager malt, and a lightly sweet flavor. Somewhat thin bodied and light on the lighter side flavorwise as well. Light carbonation as well. This was decent and drinkable.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this one a month or so ago at Belmont Station (Portland, OR) in a 22 oz. bottle. Could possibly be the crappiest looking label I've ever seen, outside of some guy's homebrew - circa 1987 (daisy wheel printer). But so what? It pours to a 'Kulmbacher' stange and comes from one of my new favorite NW brewers, Baron (in the Seattle area), guys who know how to brew German-style beers!

A: Pours a nearly-clear amber-orange, plenty of small rising carbonation. Head crests at nearly 3-fingers, then falls to a thick covering of creamy film. At its best, head is an eggshell white that's got a crackling fizzy sound yet tight bubbles.

S: Can't complain about the aroma; it is smoky, meaty and satisfyingly German. Just a touch of fruit, otherwise this is a sniffer-full of savory smoked malt. Very pleasant, not overtly 'smoky'.

T: Has some sugariness, a hint a ripe fruit and, of course, the requisite smoked malt. This is less 'red-meat' smoke, rather it seems a little on the 'fishy' side, a discernible salty/briny quality is what I'm getting. Herbal hopping.

M: A light, crisp (maybe a little overly carbonated) brew that leaves a gently smoky lasting flavor. Clean enough, remarkably light on the palate.

D: This is a nice rauchbier, regardless of its origins. Not over-the-top with heavy smoked malt flavors, nor with alcohol, this is definitely an enjoyable beer and one I'd get again. Worth picking up a bottle (or two).

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Photo of jkdrummer
3.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ok, I thought I'd give this try since it's so much cheaper than a genuine Bamberg Rauchbier. Poured a nice amber color, nice clear and a creamy head. Initial taste is like biting into a BBQ sandwich, well taste wise. Smoked beers are an aquired taste for sure. After 3-4 more sips it became more pleasant. The head managed to hold up well. Soft carb and clean tasting as a lager should be. Not much hops here, but they were there. But I'm not much of a lager guy, so I recommend this if you like lagers!

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Rauchbier from Baron Brewing
Beer rating: 3.34 out of 5 with 21 ratings