The Raven Special Lager
B.W. Beer Works USA

The Raven Special LagerThe Raven Special Lager
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Lager - Vienna
Ranked #195
Ranked #48,348
3.42 | pDev: 14.33%
B.W. Beer Works USA
Maryland, United States
The Raven Special LagerThe Raven Special Lager
Notes: The Raven Special Lager is a perfect balanced lager beer that goes well with any kind of food, but particularly with spicy food or when you just want to sit down and enjoy a beer with friends. With a shot of Woodford Reserve chased with chilled Raven is a near perfect combination. The rich golden colored beer is an exceptionally smooth Southern German lager, somewhat malty but well balanced between the hops and malt. Experiencing the clean finish and pleasant lingering aftertaste of The Raven Special Lager, one can truly say that The Taste Is Poetic.

18 IBU
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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 202 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This one had somehow escaped me until recently. I saw a sixer of bottles (eek!) during a recent Friendly Greek Bottle Shop (FGBS) visit & persuaded (ahem!) the owner into allowing me to purchase a single. I now feel special! Let's see how the beer fares.

From the Bottle (gasp!): "Pallas"; "Poe by Kal"; "1845 - 1998"; "The Taste Is Poetic"; " Open here I flung the shutter when with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore ... Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door - Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'" The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe"; "Smooth German-style Lager"; "Artwork by KAL".

I was elated, as a classroom teacher, when our anthology text included Poe's "The Raven" as students were familiar with it from Baltimore's NFL team, but had never read it or heard it read. I made copies of the infamous Bill Elder & Harvey Kurtzman interpretation from "MAD (the comic book)" #9 (1954) to distribute for visuals while I dimmed the lights as we listened to a spoken-word performance by the sepulchral-like Christopher Walken! It made even me have chills & goosebumps. Eeek!

I Pop!ped the cap as there came a tapping, a gentle rapping at my front door! It was @tone77 come to make a pickup, nothing more. I explained that I was in the midst of a review & so he perched & sat on my couch, waiting patiently as I continued with a slow, gentle C-Line pour into the awaiting glass. "Is that a bust of Pallas above your door?" he queried. I nodded in the affirmative as I watched the formation of just under two fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, tawny head with decent retention. "Nice collection. CAN I borrow some of your books?" "Nevermore!" :=( I gazed at the purple curtain of the label through the Amber-colored (SRM = > 7, < 9) liquid with its NE-quality clarity. "Do you have beer for me?" "Let me quaff this kind nepenthe & I'll be right with you," I replied. Only this and nothing more. Nose smelled grainy & malty, but sharpish, a bit too hoppy for the style, IMHO. Mouthfeel was medium, about on par for the style. The taste was better than the nose had led me to expect with a more balanced sweetness accompanied by a light hoppy bitterness. "Will you get a move on or shall I tinkle on your tufted floor?!?" Eeek! I finished off the remaining beer, savoring its semi-sweet/semi-dry balancing act as I pushed my visitor out into the tempest from whence he came. "Will you be reviewing beers after 31 December 2020?" "Nevermore!"

Nov 30, 2020
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hopphead31415 from Virginia

3.92/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look-It pours a copper gold with swirling vortices of carbonation trails. The head is about one finger thick and rich and silky like fermenting yeast.

Smell-Rich aromas of corn, milled grain, and notes of honey. It smells malty and slightly sweet with a grassy overtone like a wheat farm in summer after a rainstorm.

Taste-It tastes strongly of corn and grains with a prominent honey flavor. I get notes of coriander, orange peel, cracked white pepper, tea leaves, and clover. A mild bite of alcohol is accompanied by sugar, molasses, and fresh baked bread as well as graham crackers and then more milled grains. The subtle sweetness is balanced by a grassy and earthy hop component that is well-timed. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and medium-bodied. A light fizz accompanies the rich flavor and pleasing aftertaste.

Overall-Surprisingly good for a lager and pleasantly complex…a must try!

Jun 16, 2020
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paging12 from Virginia

3.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Pilsner glass from a bottle.

This beer tasted good. Sweet caramel and brown sugar, raisins, bready yeast finish. Unfortunately not much of a lingering complexity. But still a simple lager with a little more backbone. There was a lot of sediment. I give the brewers the benefit of the doubt as the beer has been in my fridge since March of 19.

Dec 21, 2019
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JohnFred4 from New York

3.99/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Smell: wet cardboard. musty. unimpressive

Taste: Grain, corn, caramel, sugar, molasses, biscuit, salt, grahm cracer, bread, cream, pepper, coriander.

Feel: creamy. not a cream ale, but this feels quite creamy. delightful. Small bubbles, coating the mouth but not oily. Cream, creme, potato, potatoe.

Overall: Blown away by this. I'm not much of a pilsner or lager drinker. I prefer something with a little more oomph, a little more personality, a punch in the face; a hop bomb, or a syrupy stout. But this was a pleasant surprise. Truly creamy mouthfeel, soft but plentiful carbonation that coats the tongue. Truly some very subtle tastes of toffee and/or caramel that might be lost in an aggressive stout or IPA that I love. Maybe I need to drink more of these subtle beers...

Feb 25, 2019
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Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

2.68/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Amber in color. Somewhat clear in appearance. Caramel and sweet malt. No real other discerning flavors. Hints of cardboard. Lower carb. Drinks more like an Amber. Flat out not good.

Sep 07, 2017
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Tone from Missouri

4.14/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, caramel malt, slight pale malt, hint of hops, hint of earthiness, hint of yeast, hint of dough, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of a Vienna Lager. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of fresh pale malt, fresh sweet malt, slight caramel malt, slight citrus hops, slight yeast, hint of tea, and a hint of dough. Overall, good appearance, feel, and body, with a great blend and freshness.

Jun 09, 2017
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Nimbus_ from Illinois

3.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours a yellowish tangerine color. Has a very wimpy foamy head that dissipates quite quickly. Its slightly hazy, but clear enough to see bubbles rushing to the top. Not bad looking, but nothing special.

Smell: Not very strong of an aroma. Mostly just getting fruit and citrus. Some orange. Maybe a tad bit of honey and nuttiness in the background.

Taste: Follows the nose almost exactly. Citrus is right up front with a few other flavors of honey resting in the background. There is also a little bit of a biscuit taste after the finish.

Feel: Crisp and refreshing. Not a dry finish what so ever. The carbonation is appropriate for the style and balances the mouth feel very well.

Overall: I'd drink this brew on a hot summer day. It's refreshing to drink. It doesn't stand out as an amazing beer, but it's decent.

Oct 11, 2016
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.52/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the BNA Party last week.Slightly hazy deep yellow color. bready biscuity aroma and flavor with a faint floral spicy hop to counter. Nice intermission beer.

Jun 19, 2016
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Smakawhat from Maryland

3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pokal glass, just like on the label being held there from Mr. Poe himself heh heh..

Light faint creamy and very faint tan head on creation, but only about a finger, but manages to keep a half creamed puck. Body color is a nice chestnut amber and quite clear with lots of rising carbonation very finely. Solid looking brew.

Slight toasty malts but a good sticky caramel and yeast sensation. Hits into a bit of sweet syrupy quality but relatively straight forward with no surprises.

Palate manages a little bit of a downplayed mouthfeel that sort of tunes everything down. Slightly watery grain finish and flavors, not unlike the caramel aroma but with less of a malt depth or hinting sticky residue. Strangely numbing finish, almost kind of a mild novocaine like quality but not horrifically bad or that noticeable. More watery caramel, a touch of hardly discerning clove spice perhaps.

A relatively just ok brew, but seems to miss a bit of malt depth and flavor.

Dec 11, 2015
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gammeldansk from Germany

3.71/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: foamy, doesn't stay long. Nice color, changing between lemon yellow and amber. A little bit cloudy,
S: complex, flowers and grass, old wooden furniture.
T: nice balance between sweet and bitter, not as complex as one would expect from the smell.
M: well carbonated, full-bodied.

Mar 18, 2014
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BuzzLitebier from Maryland

3.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 12/27/13 with Arithmeticus
Appearance: The color was a caramel with an orangish/reddish hue, decent carb, nice lacing and creamy head.
Smell: Not much there, and what we did smell was that of apples and metal
Taste: Compared to the other lagers we tried during the session, this had more of a toffee taste and more spices. It was definitely more complex. It had a soft finish too.
Mouthfeel: creamy mouthfeel with light, decent carbonation
Overall: One of the better lagers we had during our session. Would I have it again? Yep.

Jan 21, 2014
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Theheroguy from Maryland

3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Malty but not sweet, it is well balanced. Soft citrus noble hop character. Carbonated enough to be crisp yet still highly drinkable. You could put these down one after another really easily. Weak aroma smells mostly like stereotypical lager malt. The hops are most prevalent at the tale end where they linger on the tongue.

Oct 17, 2013
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Federal Taphouse in Lancaster PA, served chilled in a shaker pint.

The color is golden with a good clarity and white cap with tiny bead.
the aroma has a malty sweet ester with light yeast breadiness and mild nutty accent. The feel is good with creamy effect from carbonation with mild sweetness and light toasted texture.

The taste is good with clean overall flavor with bready and mild malt with toastiness in the taste and a mild yeast taste which has a gentle fruitiness and slight hop spice adds to the taste. Overall this is a good lager, but not overly complex -pretty average for the style w/ good drinkabliity.

Sep 02, 2013
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ThisWangsChung from Maryland

2.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear amber color - this is darker than I anticipated. The head is one fingers high, and barely off-white in shading. Not much in the way of either retention or lacing.

S: The primary notes are toasted malts and a hint of noble hops. Some fleeting caramel sweetness also invades the nose ever-so-slightly. Pretty basic, but not bad.

T: Plenty of caramel and toffee to start, which turns slightly nutty and toasty near the middle...and also slightly metallic on the finish. Faint hoppy hints also appear on the back end; I want more of this to appear. If nothing else, the flavors seem to improve slightly as the carbonation slows down.

M: This has too much of a rough, coarse feel for me going down. The high carbonation is welcoming, but the way it cuts through the otherwise sweet texture isn't. Should be more drinkable, as well.

O: This should be reclassified as an amber, or perhaps even a Vienna lager. At the very least, it's an acceptably mediocre amber/Vienna. Not bad, but I don't see much reason to pick this up over SA Boston Lager, which is cleaner, crisper, easier to drink, and available everywhere.

Aug 13, 2013
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.2/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Kings Row Gastropub in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is of malt, spice, and scented baby wipe aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer with an odd smell but the taste is decent enough.

Aug 12, 2013
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TMoney2591 from Illinois

3.08/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

If only I'd brought an extra bottle or two of this home with me for when I was watching the Super Bowl or John Cusack's performance in The Raven... Regardless, this stuff pours a clear pale sunset brass topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises mild biscuit and very light flowers. I think I get some hard water, but that may be from the glass (my apartment's water is harder than bricks). The taste brings in more of the same, along with a few drops of honey-like sweetness peeking through from time to time. The body straddles the line between hefty light and light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, a nice, if nondescript, little beer, nothing worth sneezing at, and nothing bad enough to wipe your nose on. Worth a go, at least.

Jul 29, 2013
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ThePaintedGrey from Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into pilsener glass.

A: Pours a dark golden color. Nice clarity throughout. Lackluster white head eventually fades down to almost nothing. Little to no lacing left behind.

S:Not much to the nose on this one, that I could pick up. Slightly bready with some grains. Light hints of sweetness and flowery hops.

T: The taste matches the nose pretty well, except the sweetness is a bit more profound throughout. A light spark of hop bitterness in the finish to balance out that initial sweetness. The most surprising factor here is that this beer actually warms up gracefully and doesn't become undrinkable like other lagers.

M: Crisp and clean with a decent, well-rounded carbonation. Relatively average in this department and overall quite drinkable.

O: This is essentially a run-of-the-mill lager. While it's nothing special, I will admit that this one boasts more flavor and goes down easier than most of the mass-produced lagers. For me, this is nothing more than something I'd bring a six-pack or two to a party full of people that don't really go for the crafts. It's nothing I'd recommend to anyone unless they were looking for a decent replacement for the mass-produced lagers and light beers.

Jun 30, 2013
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ckollias from Maryland

3/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a Beligan Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark copper hue with a white, 2-finger, frothy head that quickly dissipates leaving a good trail and solid lace.

S: Biscuity malt aroma with a slight caramel scent.

T: Similar to the smell there is a biscuity malt flavor with an overall sweetness that finishes sort of dry.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Just a typical lager – nothing I would grab again.

May 15, 2013
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.24/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Had on tap. Pours dark orange with fizzy white foam. Body is bright and light for style, with way higher carbonation than desired. Biscuit, caramel malt, and slight spices go well together, but there is nothing else for the beer to build on. Drinkable and forgettable

May 04, 2013
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Arithmeticus from Maryland

2.64/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured chilled in ale glass in Rollingside tavern.

A: nice dark orange, little head, no lacing; relatively clear
S: malty, not much else going on
T: metallic aftertaste, almost a Euro-strong, but without the ABV; barley is of a darker roast that I would have expected.

Jul 17, 2012
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mempath from Pennsylvania

2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

cool bottle! looks ok when poured. typical euro pale lager...nose is too close to the bad adjunct world...taste is a bit sweet...malty with not enough hop balance. flows down the gullet fine. past the palate...nothing special. actually less. i prefer the gusto Schlitz. or, speaking of baltimore, Natty Boh...

May 05, 2012
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle into a taster glass.

Pours a clear golden color with a nice white head and just a touch of lacing on the edges. The nose has a bit of light grain, faint hops, and just a touch of sweetness. The flavor is a really nice balance between light malt and very mild sweetness. Just a touch of grain flavor as well. Light body with good carbonation and just a bit of chewiness. Altogether, really a nice lager.

Jan 28, 2012
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clea amber color with light head.

Nose has some toasty malts, light lager fruits, doesn't get much of a crisp lager aroma, slightest hint of syrup.

Taste brings more toasty malts, light amber malt flavors, sweet lager, light reddish copper malts, light dme, hint of lager fruit like flavor, just a slight metallic taste.

Mouth is fairly lighter bodied, decent carb.

Overall not bad, I was expecting worse, just a slight metallic flavor otherwise no real off flavors but no crisp or clean lager flavors either.

Sep 23, 2011
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bamojr from Virginia

3.74/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber with white fluffy head about one finger that dissipates quickly. very floral nose with a hint of some roasted malts in the background but very faint on those. Bitter flavor with some malt backgrounds. no real detection of the floral aromas I was getting in the taste. Defiantly lingers on the palette with a pungent flavor. This is a good strong lager but doesn't have any thing too interesting about it other than the box it comes in. Not a bad little beer but a little to pricey for the novelty when it is a pretty standard brew.

Jun 07, 2011
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Rifugium from North Dakota

3.03/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: at Philly Craft Beer Fest '07

Poured a clear burnt umber with a small off-white head that dissipated quickly. Grains and toasted malts in the aroma. Toasty malts in the taste, grainy, woody, with some caramel sweetness. Some hop bitterness comes in towards the end, leaving a dry and somewhat bland aftertaste. Still an overall ok brew; light-medium mouthfeel, and pretty drinkable. Though after the fest, I never saw the stuff again.

Jun 01, 2011
The Raven Special Lager from B.W. Beer Works USA
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 202 ratings