Zwönitzer Rauchbier
Brauerei-Gasthof Zwönitz

Zwönitzer RauchbierZwönitzer Rauchbier
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Style:
Lager - Rauchbier
Ranked #64
ABV:
4.8%
Score:
85
Ranked #34,376
Avg:
3.74 | pDev: 11.5%
Reviews:
27
Ratings:
68
From:
Brauerei-Gasthof Zwönitz
 
Germany
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  0
Gots
  7
SCORE
85
Very Good
Zwönitzer RauchbierZwönitzer Rauchbier
Notes: You will love or hate it. A smoked beer is a real specialty. Invite friends to BBQ and have them all taste it. You will have much to discuss. A beer that will be remembered for a long time. The smell of this smoked beer reveals first smoky aromas, the taste is less smoky than is the case with other smoked beers. You could say this is a starter smoke beer.
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 68 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mwilbur
mwilbur from Minnesota

3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from pint can into shaker pint glass. Exp 05/2021 stamped on the bottom of the can.
A: Pours a dark clear cola brown with active carbonation jets fueling a 1-2 inch light tan fizzy/bubbly/frothy head with good retention.
S: Light wood smoke with caramel malts.
T: Follows aroma fairly closely with light wood smoke, peat, and caramel malts.
M: Light body. Lightly sweet with a stronger roasted, smoky astringency.
D: A decent example of style, but certainly not top notch.

May 23, 2020
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MNAle from Minnesota

2.55/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

From the Costco 2019 Advent pack. 500ml can stamped EXP 05/2021. The can label says, "BREWED AND OWNED BY PRIVATBRAUEREI H. EGERER", and like the previous NBS beer, the BA listing is for a different brewer. Going to the respective brewer's websites does not clarify the situation, either. It appears it may be normally a Brauerei-Gasthof Zwönitz beer that was brewed for the Advent pack by Privatbrauerei H. Egerer.

Anyway...

Brown semi-clear color beneath a very creamy and thick light tan head that recedes quite leisurely, leaving behind occasional strings of lacing.

Aroma is smokey malts, hinting of smoked meat (likely just in my brain...), bread and grain malts. The aroma is not at all overpowering; IOW, low key.

Smokey taste is stronger than the aroma, with an initial hit that builds throughout, ending with a somewhat bitter finish and aftertaste, with the smoke lingering. The finish and aftertaste are nothing special, with the overall thinness and slight bitterness somewhat discounting the smoke in the overall impression of the beer.

Mouth feel is thin.

Rauchbiers are not a style I would normally seek out, even so, this does not seem to be a particularly good example of the style. It is completely unremarkable at best, and a struggle to get through at worst. Understand, this is not due to the smoke; it has nothing to do with liking or not liking smoke beer, but it is due to the underlying beer. It is just not very good.

Mar 03, 2020
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Griffin2 from Virginia

3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 500 ml can into a Willi Becher pint glass.
L - Pours a dark brown color with a frothy white head. Looks like a coke in the glass.
S - Slight smokiness with some bready malts.
T - Much more smoke in the taste.
F - Medium body and carbonation.
O - Pretty tasty rauchbier.

Jan 28, 2020
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.05/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

So, "Smoke Beer" just says that the malts were smoked, and generally there are other style descriptors; ie, Smoked Helles, Smoked Porter, Smoked Pils, etc. None of that here. Best by date of 05/21.

Poured a solid dark brown color with about 3/4 inch of tan head that had moderate retention and very light lacing. Let's call it a Schwarzbeer.

Strong, but not overpowering smoke at the front of the nose, with some graininess back, and no real hop aspect.

Very much the same on the tongue, with the smoke being a bit stronger, and lingering on the palate.

The body was just on the light side of medium, smooth, and had a semi-dry finish.

Drinkability was fine, especially if you like Rauch beers, as I do.

Overall, not a bad beer, but not a particularly notable one either. Worth the tick.

Jan 09, 2020
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dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear dark mahogany in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate chestnut brown + dark garnet red colored highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense creamy foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a large patch of thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Slightly heavier than moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of smoked malts as well as light to moderate aromas of toasted malts with a hint of brown sugar + caramel sweetness. Slight hints of earthy + spicy hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted + nutty malts along with light flavors of smoked malts and a hint of brown sugar + caramel sweetness. That is followed by hints of earthy + spicy hops which contribute a light amount of bitterness in the finish which lingers slightly giving way to a lingering smoked malt flavor.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Soft, slightly creamy.

O: Easy to drink with well hidden alcohol and a pleasantly creamy mouthfeel. Enjoyable and very well balanced - nice smokey aroma with a lighter smokey flavor.

Jan 07, 2020
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Bottek007

3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Good looking poor 2 finger foam, dissipates nicely. Smells smoky, burnt. Tastes how it smells smokey , burnt toast.
Not my favorite, definitely different.
Wont try again

Jan 05, 2020
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FBarber from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark matte brown color that has some reddish tones to it. Thinner two finger head dissipates straight away leaving just a thin ring of bubbly foam along the outside rim of the top of the beer. Remains opaque even when held to the light as its a pretty cloudy beer.

Aroma has strong notes of smoke, some charred wood, a hint of smoked meat, brown sugar and burnt molasses. Its smoke forward, but not as aggressively smoky as the schlenkerla rauchbiers.

Taste is actually really nice and balanced. Although the aroma was smoke forward, the taste doesn't really hit you over the head as much. Smoked malts, a touch of dark bread, a hint of peppery spiciness comes through, Some light earthy nutty tones come through on the back end.

Feel is light and drinkable. It doesn't linger on the palate like some of the more aggressively smoky rauchbiers out there. Moderate, vibrant carbonation. Smooth semi-dry finish.

Overall this is one of the most balanced rauchbiers Ive had. Its really a nice middle of the road example of the style that is unabashedly smoky while not veering too far into straight up into a hot smoked ham. Admittedly this is the first rauchbier I've had, that I genuinely wanted to drink another one.

Dec 22, 2019
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HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is smoke,charred smokey wood, baked brown sugar ham,malt
Taste is smokey charred wood,,brown sugar, malt, and baked ham
This is really well done,very flavorful and interesting. But..I can see some people having a hard time with the smoke. And any beer with smoked meat in the description is going to be walking a fine line.
If you get a chance it's worth trying

Dec 16, 2019
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barnzy78 from Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500mL can, EXP 05/2021. 2019 Kalea Costco Advent calendar. Dark mahogany body with a foamy tan head. Very smoky aroma with toasted grain. Flavors are bold with smoked grain dominating; caramel, bread crust, toffee, slight anise, and earthy/spicy hops round out the flavors. Medium-to-full body, moderate carbonation, smoke lingers on the dry finish. Good Rauchbier - bo complaints from me.

Dec 16, 2019
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hman43 from North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: It pours deep amber with reddish hues. It has a tan head and head retention is excellent.

Smell: It has smoked aromas like bacon and ham.

Taste: The flavors have some bread with plenty of smoke that is like bacon and ham. There are some like herbal elements in the background.

Feel: It has a medium body with the smoke lasting well into the finish.

Overall, there are some bready elements and herbal notes but the main attribute is the smoke.

Dec 15, 2019
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VoxRationis from New York

4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The 14th can in the Costco/Kalea 2019 Advent Calendar.
Decanted from a 16.9 oz (500 ml) can into a muffin top, taster pint; best by 05/2021.
A: Pours a hazy, dark copper color with murky, ochre highlights, a two finger, tan colored head, rim retention, and spotty lacing.
S: Aromas of caramel, molasses, and honey. Earthy.
T: More semisweet than semidry. Malty with subtle smokey bacon/cured ham overlay, but the rest of the flavor pallet basically follow the nose. Bitterness is all about balance.
M: Medium bodied with low to moderate carbonation.
O: Probably the most subtle Rauchbier I have had. So pleasant, I lit a fire.

Nov 24, 2019
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

$ 2.50 (Including tax)/500 mL can ($0.148/oz) from Costco, Schertz, TX. Part of the Costco 2019 Advent Calendar. Reviewed 11/13/19.
Can dated “EXP 05/2021”. Stored on the shelf at the store, stored at home at 42 degrees and served at 50 degrees in a hand washed and dried 0.5L Schlenkerla Rauchbier glass.
Appearance – 3.75.
First pour – Amber, clear.
Body – Dark amber with marginal light penetration. When held to direct light, dark red-amber, clear.
Head – Large (Maximum 15 cm, stabilizing at six cm, aggressive center pour), light tan, meringue-like, good retention, diminishing to a twelve to twenty mm jagged crown and thick complete cap. Some tiny islands of lacing remain as the head retracts.
Lacing – Fair. Leaves a very open lattice of tiny bubbles. See also above.
Aroma – 3 – Light smoke, a bit of caramel malt, no hops.
Flavor – 3.5 – Moderately smoky and slightly bitter with a caramelly aftertaste. No grain, malt, or hops. No alcohol (4.8 % ABV as marked on the can) flavor or aroma, no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3 – Medium, watery, soft carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 3.5 More like Spezial than Schlenkerla, lacking the bacon/ham taste. Still, drinkable if a little weak on the smoke. Possibly a good gateway beer for the style.

Nov 13, 2019
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jkblr from Indiana

3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

500mL can stamped EXP 05/2021 (19 months from now) poured into mug at fridge temp 4.8% ABV. The beer pours bright dark amber with red highlights and khaki head. The head recedes to a thin ring and island of tiny bubbles. Minimal lacing. The aroma offers mild campfire smoke. The taste is similarly smokey with some bacon & ham flavors mingled with the wood smoke. The finish is mildly bitter and dry. The mouthfeel is medium to thin bodied with average carbonation. No off flavors or flaws. Overall, good. It's a touch thin and has a little more carbonation that I would like, but it's solid, if one dimensional.

Nov 06, 2019
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Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.05/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

CAN: Nabbed as part of a Beer Advent 24 pack from Costco Wholesale (2019 edition).

Currently #62 in the German Rauchbier Top Rated Beers list.

AROMA: Mild smoke - clean beechwood if I had to guess. 2-row. Some sort of darker malt - amber or Munich, I guess?

Pleasantly smokey without really drilling in deep; it's more approachable judging by the aroma than many smoked beers/rauchbiere. I'm eager to try it, though it does seem a bit simplistic for the style.

TASTE: Rich smoked malt flavours indicative of beechwood smoke, scintillae of caramel, and some kind of restrained amber malt.

TEXTURE: A bit coarse, a biteen dry, unrefreshing, medium-bodied, well-carbonated.

OVERALL: The smokiness is mild. but while that makes the beer more approachable for most it doesn't make the beer better for fans of the style. It's drinkable enjoyable fare, but I'd rather see them commit to the smoke rather than shy away from it. It's no Schlenkerla, but it's nice.

Low C+ / ABOVE AVERAGE

Oct 05, 2019
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kingpinjefe from California

2.82/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Looks like a nice deeply stained wood with head that dissipates quickly. Smell is a barely perceptible smoke and not much else, while flavor is pleasantly malty and again, only a slight degree of smoke that compliments without overpowering. Carbonationnis low contributing to smooth mouthfeel.
Overall this is a mellow Rauchbier that could be an introduction for those wary of the style. I only opened it because I was smoking some brisket, but I could find enjoyment even on a warm day. It’s a flavorful brew that is not heavy or overpowering. Now if only I could read that damn German script of the brewery name... it took me four tries before figuring out it started with a ‘Z’

Feb 25, 2019
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schoolboy from Ohio

3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is a style that seldom fails by me. This is no exception. It comes in on the lighter side of things, but it totally works and is very refreshing.

Recommended.

Dec 23, 2018
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Pegasus from Texas

3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Deep mahogany brown in color, with a small, dense off-white head, which retains quite well. Thick, fine-beaded, lacing coats the glass walls, showing only occasional breaches.

Aroma: Dark bread and smoky malt dominate the aroma. There is burnt caramel, and slight earth, as well.

Taste: The opening presents smoked malts, assertive, but not overpowering. A bit later, there is a little burnt caramel noted, with hints of ash. Later in the taste, the smokiness seems to intensify a bit. Finishes with a long, but mild smoke note and a little herbal hop bitterness.

Mouth feel: Very smooth and pleasant, with just a little coarse carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: A nice example of the style, very pleasing,; manages not to venture into the territory of liquid smoke. A pleasing and well-balanced example, recommended.

Presentation: Packaged in a 500 ml, 16.9 ounce steel can, served in a standard Pilsener glass. Beer number twelve (December 12th) from the 2017 Costco Advent Beer Calendar.

Oct 14, 2018
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OktoberfestHoss from Canada (ON)

3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Deep Copper colour with small bubbles rising up sides of kellerbier style straight sided glass.lacy beige head about 2 fingers when poured aggressively but fairly quick to dissipate to smaller thicker foamy head.

S: Smoke and dish soap? Yes the glass was clean and rinsed before i poured it! Smokey nose was evident on pour but dissipated fairly quickly on sitting.

T: woodsy smoke flavour but not overwhelming, nice smooth finish, good mouth feel, adequate carbonation but not overdone. hickory smoke flavour but more from a campfire than a smoker.... nice light smokey finish. This is a quafable rauchbier that I would actually consider buying again, and I generally do not like rauchbier.

F: very nice and smooth, frothy, not bitter

I am suitably impressed. This has a nice woodsy smoked flavour that is not overwhelming. I would buy this again.

Jan 07, 2018
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BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From Costco's Advent Calendar. From the can, it pours a hazy brownish color with a robust tan head. Lots of lacing. The nose gets gets of smoke. The mouth gets the smokey flavor and some malt. Yum!

2019 update: Yum!

Dec 23, 2017
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Apellonious from North Carolina

3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Getting caught up on some Advent beverages - Day 12. 500 ml can poured into a stange. A dark brown, mostly clear with a touch of murkiness. The smell is of smoke, burnt grains, and spices. A little deeper and I can smell some chocolate. The taste is mixed. Wood char, burnt grains with a weird metallic aftertaste that thankfully fades about a quarter of the glass in. The carbonation is medium low, with a good deal of heft/thickness. Overall, pretty good for a style I don't normally like. Generally smoke in the scotch/whiskey, not in the beer.

Dec 15, 2017
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Harrison8 from Missouri

3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with three fingers of khaki head that foam up quickly and with ease. Head retention is great as is lacing. Aroma is smoke, peat, venison, spices, and oak. Flavor profile is smoke, peat, oak, spices, with a little of venison in the back. It's hearty, especially as it warms, with a medium-thick thickness. Overall, a flavorful, straight forward rauchbier. Smoke notes are big.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 16oz can.

Dec 13, 2017
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BenHoppy from Michigan

4.11/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I originally gave this beer a 2.02 in 2017 but 2019 this beer was phenomenal. I still get a prune, chocolatey body but the aroma is filled with mild smoke that matches flavor of mild smoke and a mild cigar and roasted chocolatey malts with a slight sour finish. This beer is quite delishous but it's a total different beer as I seen in this 2019 Costco pack.

Below is 2017 review:

Served 42 degrees:

L: prune chocolate body with damp cream head

A: malt but doesn't smell even remotely smoked....huge disappointment

F: thin bitter cream

T: malt bomb, and that's about it

O: bad take on style, I wanted smoked, bbq, something of the like. This was way off, not even close. For a smoked beer this is straight up awful.

Dec 13, 2017
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Buck89 from Tennessee

3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the Costco Advent box. Poured into a snifter. Very large tan head on the pour. Muddy brown color. Nice smooth smoked malt aroma with some brown bread. About as expected on the taste with a nice mellow but pervasive smokiness that melded well with the bready malt. Medium bodied and medium carbed. Overall one of the better ones in the box thus far.

Dec 13, 2017
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josanguapo from Spain

4.11/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From Costco. In Bavaria hefe glass. Playing Bioshock Remastered. Very drinkable thanks to a great combination of bittering hops, smooth palate and soft smokyness, just at the level I like it

Dec 12, 2017
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brauerei Zwönitz "Zwönitzer Rauchbier"
,33l brown glass bottle, "Mind. haltbar bis: 28.07.18 U86" and sampled on 25.09.17

Notes via stream of consciousness: Labeled at alc. 5,0% vol. Dark chestnut brown in color. Fair clarity. Short head of creamy khaki colored foam. The aroma is quite rich with Beechwood smoked malt backed by medium-dark caramelish malt. Both follow in the flavor although the smoke isn't nearly as strong as the aroma suggests. I'd call it medium-full in comparison to some of the rauchbiers I've had. Interestingly the brewery is not from near Bamberg, but to the north east closer to Dresden. It's grainy and smoky malt is balanced by a moderate bitterness and a hint of background herbal hops. Medium-light in body and gently crisp. It's superbly balanced with just enough rauch malt to give it lots of flavor without going over-board, and that leaves it remarkably drinkable. In my personal opinion it's one of the best rauchbiers I've ever had.

Sep 25, 2017
Zwönitzer Rauchbier from Brauerei-Gasthof Zwönitz
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 68 ratings