Rauchbier | Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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27 Ratings

Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
United States

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 3.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bamburg-style German amber lager made with beech wood smoked malt giving this beer a distinct smoked character in both aroma and flavor.

Added by Hophead101 on 10-12-2008

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Ratings: 27 |  Reviews: 19
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of tigg924
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Phoenixville

Appearance: red/brown in color, 1 inch head, clear, medium carbonation

Smell: light smoked cedar

Taste: toasted caramel malt, light smoked wood throughout, honey

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, sweet with smokiness throughout, light bodied

Drinkability: This is a beer worthy of driving long distances for. I love this style and it may be my favorite American version of the style. The smoke balances with the caramel malt perfectly. True to the German style with an American kick...Go get this one.

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Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the originating North Wales brewpub. Slightly off-white head on yellow body. Smoke wafts yet it is not overwhelming the palate. Smoked wood and malts, vey smooth mouthfeel with a fruity and orange finish. Caramel. Bold taste. Very drinkable. Nicely done.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to JAXSON for this one. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Harpoon weizen glass (closest thing I had to a stange). I'm on a bit of a session beer kick so this is perfect.

A: Cork ejects without so much as a sound. Beer is well carbonated though. Standard pour yields a 2 finger foamy white head with good retention. Beer is a semi-clear orange lemon-yellow shade. Lacing is patchy and stringy with good stick. A nice looking beer.

S: Nose is one of the most unique I've ever encountered. Smells like a fragrant fire pit. Char, dates, and logan fruit. Slightly medicinal. This brings me back to when I was little and my parents used to make Chinese herbal medicine for me when I was sick. Aromatic. Very unique.

T: Opens smoky. Char, cane sugar, lemon rind, logan fruit, stale dates, and some adjunct corn and wheat sweetness. Slight creeping tartness towards the middle and end. More lemon and mild citrus fruit towards the end. Finish is logan fruit and some smoky bitterness in the aftertaste. Unique and takes a little getting used to but very refreshing.

M: Light bodied and well carbonated. Lively and prickly in the mouth and bubbly and abrasive going down. Finish is slightly messy with a lingering aftertaste. Very crisp and easy to drink.

O: Admittedly my first encounter with the style and I wasn't really sure what to expect. That being said, this beer is incredibly drinkable and while the flavor was very awkward at the start, I found myself getting used to and enjoying it more and more as time went on. A great introduction to the rauchbier style. Worth picking up.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a hand bottled jeroboam into a flute by head brewer Paul Rutherford at the 1 Year Anniversary Party help on 11/22/08.

Pours a hazy gold with some thin wisps of brite-white head. The appearance goes flat pretty quick, leaving no lacing behind. The aroma is straight up smoked meats and char with an underlying layer of pale malt sweetness.

The taste is once again just the right amount of smoked character that is backed by notes of citrus and light pale malts that offer balance while not being too heavy feeling. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation that seems to have just enough heft to be felt but still stay drinkable.

Nicely done Rauchbier here with just the right amount of smokey quality that keeps you interested but also doesn't detract from the drinkibility. I unfortunately skipped this when it was on draft last month but I wont' make the same mistake next time I see it!

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Photo of akorsak
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A corked and caged 750 mL bottle.

A: The bottle opened with little commotion. Following removal of the cork, a white foamy head slowly oozed up the neck of the bottle. A timely pour into a glass averted catastrophe. In my glass, the head is practically nonexistent. The rauchbier itself is an orange-yellow hue. The are quite a bit of floaties lingering around too.

S: The nose is full, coating the nostrils with a thick meaty smoked scent. A nicely smoked ham in a glass.

T: The rauchbier has a pleasant sweetness that cuts through the smoke. Coupled with the sweetness is a caramel malt base. The surprise is that the body doesn't have a strong smoky presence. Don't get me wrong, the smoke is there, it just isn't intense. Rather, it lends a meaty bite that pairs nicely with the malty sweetness. A smoked honey ham flavor is the last memory of each sip.

M: The mouthfeel is meaty but not overly smoked. The honey ham aspect is very nice, like dinner after dinner.

D: More, please! The ale lacks an alcohol presence but it cracks a solid flavor. A nice take on the style.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy copper beer that grows a magnificient, nicely lacing off-white foam that lasts forever. Step by step aromatic evolution, displaying layers over layers in perfect disposition of apricot, diplomatic complementary smoke, peach, orange – just all around well fruited. The malts got that pleasant toasty character that I dig in german examples, though the fruitiness is wider here, mangoish and delicately woody. Incredibly flavourful for such a light weight ABV-wise. The carbonation is silky smooth if tongue-cleansing, while the body is light to medium in size. Thanks Martin.

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Photo of weeare138
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to egajdzis for breaking open the bottle...
Appears an amber with a small white head that retains well. Scattered lacing is scattered around the glass.
Smell is of caramel sweetness with mild smoked malt.
Taste is nice, sweet, oaky, and smoked caramel flavor that isn't overkill.
Mouthfeel is caramel sweet, and semi-dry.

 332 characters

Photo of Phatz
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first experience with a Rauchbier. Thanks NolanGTI for opening the bottle at Iron Hill. I still owe you a beer :) We shared this bomber also with DarkerTheBetter.
I've had Stone Smoked Porter but that is barely smoked. This was incredible. I was really intrigued and I want to learn more about the style.
This was VERY smoked. It was like a smoked bacon smoky, wow. Oddly enough there seemed to be an interesting 'tomato' taste on the front end. I'm speculating it may be the attributed to the acidity but ...? There a strong smoked bacon finish that left a lingering smokiness on the palate. DarkerTheBetter commented, 'tomato and bacon, sounds like a BLT' :)
There was also a subtle caramel character to the malts. The mouthfeel was just bit over carbonated but with a nice dry finish.
I was eating a pulled pork sandwich next to this beer. The pork was also heavily smoked and I must say it was a divine pairing. This pair is worth traveling to Iron Hill Brewery for the meal. I couldn't have been happier.
I will definitely be back to the brewery and I will take a bottle of this home next time and write another review. I want to thank my fellow BA's for sharing this experience.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.35/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I split a bottle of this with Phatz and NolanGTI at the 4th Philly BA gathering. It poured a dark cloudy brown and amber with a thin fluffy white head.

Smelled strongly of an organic tomato tang that faded into a slight smoked ham with a little molasses sweetness.

Tasted of sour tingly citrus with a minimal smoky bite and not much else holding the flavor together. Finished rather bland but the smoke came through the most here.

The mouth feel was disappointingly watery with too much carbonation that stole a lot of the flavor.

Over all, it’s not a bad attempt at a Rauch. The flavor was a bit of a let down, but combined with the smell, it kept a lot of its drinkability.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Transcribed from undated notes (probably late-Oct/early-Nov 2009).

Arrived with a finger's worth of off-tan head with decent retention. Color was a slightly hazy golden honey-yellow. Nose had a perfect light smokiness that would make it perfect for the beginner, yet palatable for the initiated. Mouthfeel was medium with a mildly smoky, slightly tart taste on the tongue. Finish was just smoky enough to make the German in me smile. I love this kind of thing from our American craft brewers!

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Photo of Oakenator
5/5  rDev +25.6%

Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, Bobby.

A: The pour is a golden orange color with a big white head. The appearance certainly isn't what I expected...

S: At first the smoke doesn't seem all that strong and there's just a hint of sweetness. As the beer sits for a moment the smoke really comes out and is pretty much all you can smell.

T: The flavor is dominated by the smoke, but it's not so strong that you feel like you're chewing on a campfire. There's a bit of bread and sweetness underneath it all.

M: Fairly light in body with a medium level of carbonaiton.

O: I'm normally not one for smoked beers, but this wasn't too terrible. Probably couldn't drink too much, but good to try at least.

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Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of cpetrone84
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a cloudy golden amber clor with a creamy pure white head leaving a fair bit of lace.

S-the nose has a nice moderately smokey aroma, light notes of smoked meet and campfire with a juicy citrus hop presence coming in behind.

T-great smokey flavors, subtle and somehow pleasant. these flavors are so soft as to not over power and deter, smoke meat and woods linger on the palate. no in your face campfire presence many smoked beers have. juicy citrus hops balance with notes of honey. very well integrated and balanced.

M-light body with a smooth and soft feel on the palate. there is a moderate carbonation and clean juicy finish.

D-very easy drink here and probably one of the most subtle and inviting smoke presences of any rauchbier I have had. the juicy hop presence balances it very well and adds a nice refreshing dimension.

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Photo of gromis
2.9/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I bought this on a recent outing to Iron Hill. I let chill in the fridge for about a week before opening.

The nose is very smokey. Not overly so, just a hint.

The taste has a hint of smoke, basically just the astringency, but not the flavor.

The fade is when the smoke shines through, with the smoke flavors lasting quite a while.

This is my first foray into this style. While the beer wasn't bad, I didn't particularly enjoy it that much. Given that I've had lots of other Iron Hill beers and enjoyed them tremendously, I have come to the conclusion that; rather than this being a poor representation of the style, I must just not enjoy this style of beer personally.

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Photo of gford217
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to hopdog for this one.

Pours much lighter than I was expecting, a crystal-clear golden amber with tons of bubbles streaming to the top feeding a creamy white head that recedes fairly quickly to a soapy swirl, leaving some spots of lacing.

The aroma is sweet caramel malts and smoked hickory. Also some lightly toasted grains and some faint spices.

The taste is very subtle but still complex, especially for the extremely low ABV. There is a light caramel malts sweetness and some spiciness up front with a smokiness that starts out faint but leaves a wonderful smoked hickory aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is light bodied and extremely crisp, with a strong bubbly carbonation.

This is a world class rauchbier and probably the most drinkable example I've tasted. Well crafted.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is for the bottle entry, I think this should be merged with "Bamberg Style Rauchbier" as it's the same bottle. Pours a very clear medium gold/orange with a large white head. Nose is what I would describe as a Vienna malt with some yeasty influence, and a beautiful salty smoked ham. Mouth is at first just a touch of yeast and light grains, and this really lovely smokey quality. I've had smoked beers before and haven't enjoyed one nearly this much. Light bitterness at the tail end. The smoke expresses itself in bacon or cured ham, it's fairly light but marries perfectly. I feel like I could down a 750ml of this quickly and easily. 3.8% abv, wow. This is a benchmark for this style, absolutely no off flavors, just so interesting and pleasant.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly well carbonated, a soft pour produces a three-finger thick, tan colored head that leaves a touch of a layered lacing pattern on the sides of the glass as I work my way though the beer. The beer is a dull, dark amber color, but shows a lightly hazy, pretty, red hue when held up to the light. The aroma definitely smells of beech smoked malt, but there is also an underlying, malt fruitiness that reminds me a bit of raisins. The smoke aromas definitely dominate the aroma here as not much else is noticeable, luckily I really like smoked beers, so this is not a problem at all.

Not nearly as sweet tasting as I was expecting. The bottle says it has an O.G. of 1.052 and an alcohol of 3.8%, which means this finished as high as 1.022, but it certainly does not taste that full of residual malt sugars. Still this definitely has a full body to it, and the malt does sweetly cling to the palate; it could be that the smoke helps to significantly dry this beer out. The sweetness accentuates a soft fruitiness here that is hard to pick out because of the dominant smoke character; definitely something caramelized, perhaps a touch concentrated, maybe like a mix of baked apples and raisins (though this seems wring). As touched upon, the smoke is definitely the dominant character in the flavor as well. It certainly permeates this beer, but is not overwhelming. I would actually say that there is enough malt character and sweetness to support even more smoked malt flavors, but that might put off too many people.

This is quite quaffable, though it does drink quite a bit bigger than the 3.8% alcohol would suggest. In another beer the crazy under-attenuation might get to me, but I really like the fullness that this beer has, it really seems to work in this smoky brew On the other hand, at this alcohol level, a 750ml bottle is quite easy to knock back. Wow, I just sneezed quite vigorously and it really opens up a new level to the smoke aromatics in this brew; rich smoked aromas seemed to be pasted to my scent receptors for a minute or so after sneezing; I highly recommend it if you get the chance.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out much lighter than expected. The color of the beer was a hazy yellow color with a really nice white domed head on top. The lacing left behind was scattered but still very nice. The smell of the beer was indeed smokey but had some faint malt aromas in there too. The smell was mostly a salty smoke flavor, not overwhelming. The mouthfeel was nice. Overall it fits the style pretty well.

 405 characters

Photo of Durandal_777
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of DIM
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: This was a clear golden color with amber highlights. It was served to me with a thin, whispy white head.

s: Gentle smoke and charcoal along with some sweet pale malts.

t: Great balance between the minimal sweet malts and the beechwood smoke. A little bit of a woody charcoal flavor as well.

m: I was surprised by the body on this one. This was actually a little chewy.

d: I'm not very well acquainted with smoked beers, but this one just felt right.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of MerkurKing16
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of BeerThursdays
4/5  rDev +0.5%

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Rauchbier from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 27 ratings