Z Lager | The Fort Collins Brewery

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Z LagerZ Lager
322 Ratings
Z LagerZ Lager

Brewed by:
The Fort Collins Brewery
Colorado, United States

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Crosling on 12-06-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 322 |  Reviews: 216
Reviews by doowhat:
Photo of doowhat
4/5  rDev +13.3%

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass a deep amber/brown with almost no head to speak of,smoke is light in the nose but is there along with some light chocolate and a little of a sour component.Again light smoke flavors up front with ahefty carame and chocolate sweetness melding into a touch of earth and lingering smoke again in the finish.Its ok but a little light handed with the smoke not bad but not one to go out and look for.

 429 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.1/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear amber with a tan bubbly head. Fades to ok lace.

Aroma is beefy with mesquite and peat. Caramel.

Taste is Aecht like. Not bad. Lots of smoke and BBQ. Pork, cedar, tobacco, graham crackers.

Sweetish, medium body, leafy bitter finish. Nice carbonation.

Drinkability is high. This is a very mellow rauch sort of beer and would pair well with tropical fruits, soft cheeses, strawberries, pear, etc…

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Photo of kaimcm
4.07/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very nice little beer. Mild smoke character but adding interest and well integrated. Surprisingly sweet on the finish but just pulls it off. Medium to light bodied, slick and well done mouthfeel. I would appreciate a little more spritz both in the glass and the mouth but not worth a ding. Bready in the middle, smoky up front, and a sweet linger on the finish. The way the savory aspect of the smoke wonderfully dissipates into this balancing sweetness is really nice. Some caramel in the nose and honey in the mouth. Probably the lightest smoke smoked beer Ive ever had but an enjoyable drink. Cheers to Ft Collins and Andrew for the sample. Drinkability is great for a smoked lager.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.76/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The Smokin' Lager poured a cloudy copper-red with a lot of tiny floating particulates. It had a huge light tan head the had great retention.

It's aroma was caramel malt and smokiness.

It had a big sweet, caramel malt backbone with some smokiness on top and a smoky aftertaste. There was not as much smokiness as I was expecting, I think the Double Z was more pronounced from what I remember. It did have a nice balance between the sweet and smoke. It was a little on the thin side.

Overall, this was similar to a lot of FCB's offerings (sweet and smoky and a little thin).

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.48/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, bright amber color with a 1/3 inch, creamy head that retains pretty well. Decent lacing. Smells of smoked meat and hickory notes. Tastes of more smokiness, smoked meat/fish, maltiness with a touch of bittering hops, strong smoky finish but not over the top, kind of thin. Mouthfeel is a tad thin to medium bodied, slightly dry finish. Fairly drinkable and pleasant to drink. Pretty solid brew but nothing amazing.

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Photo of Duster72
1.35/5  rDev -61.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

After looking at some other reviews I am wondering if I got a really bad batch, but this was easily the worst beer I have ever had. Poured a clear copper color with little to no head and no noticable lacing. Smell is like cigarettes and carmel malts. Taste is really bad. I would describe it as something like cigarettes and iced tea. I could barely manage a few sips before it met the drain.

 392 characters

Photo of iemailjack
3/5  rDev -15%

Photo of Billolick
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 32 ounce bottle/growler filled at DeCiccios in Ardsley, NY. Pours dark, ruby/blood orange tinged, amber, minor head and just a smidge of lace. Seems to be on the low carbonation side of things. Moderate smoke in the nose. Pleasantly malty brew, noticable, but fairly restrained levels of smoke. Complexity is enjoyable and this one would likely go well with some BBQ. Nothing amazing, but pleasant enough smoke up offering, worth a try for those with a taste for a smike infused, easy drinking lager.

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Photo of tigg924
3.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: amber in color, 1/4 inch head, clear, small carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, smoke, bacon, and caramel

Taste: The malt here seems a bit more burnt than toasted. There is a bacon taste and the smoke while there is not as dominate as in other rauchs.

Mouthfeel: sweet startwith a bitter finish, medium bodied, medium high carbonation

Drinkability: While not a bad beer, this one was a bit of a disappointment. The smoky taste is there, but the finish is harsh. I may have this again, but I think there are way better in the style.

 544 characters

Photo of jcdiflorio
3.06/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle,served into a nonic glass

Hazy,meduim amber with a coppery/brownish hue. 2"off -white thick,creamy,head. Good retention,with a few staggered bubbles rising,leaving some webby lacing down the glass.

Malty aroma, burnt carmell,sort of a hickory smoked phenolic smells,tobacco,some fruittyness of overripe apples.

Heavy malt tastes,lots of carmel,sweet/sugary,earthy, with light smokey notes throughout. Has a fruity aftertaste.

Light to medium body,tangy,leaving a dry feel at the end. Could drink a couple,not a beer i would drink all night.

 562 characters

Photo of mrbill57
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So far gotta love the Fort Collins lineup, these beers are excellent. I kept on passing on them for the longest time. They definitely need a rep in the Burgh these beer has potential to sell. Anyways, this smoked lager pours a beautiful amber ruby hue with a light off white cream colored head. Lacing is even and covers the edges of my chalice like a blancket between each sip. A great nose of mild smoked malts, with slightly charred wood and smoke bacon at the minimal. Herbal hops also play nicely with the smoked malt additions, classically American style. Flavor has a great round edge of smokiness with sweet amber and caramel malt lager characteristics again hop flavor comes through as herbal, yet the flavor that finishes the beer is the smoked malt kickin' through. Like an American version of Spezial Ruachbier, great stuff. It's not going to kick compared to an scherlenkerla bier but it's sweet to taste the German influences in American micros. Mouthfeel is a fuller bodied lager, soft carbonation with lingering smoked wood and lightly salted smoked meat components. Drinkability overall is wonderful a beer that I'm proud to represent every time I try to remember my Z beer in the alphabetical list in the database.

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Photo of glid02
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from a mixed 12-pack purchased at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly dark amber color with a 1.5-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of mild smoked malts with a good bit of caramel malt sweetness. As the beer warms the caramel malt aromas intensify.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Smoked malt flavors up front segue into sweet caramel malts with just a hint of nondescript fruits. The ending is mildly bitter and the sweetness lingers more than the smoke.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing the glass although I'm not so sure about another.

Overall this was definitely in the bottom half of rauchbiers I've had however it may be a good gateway beer for those not so sure about smoked malt.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.75/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

(Served in a dimple mug)
A- This beer has a slightly dense dark copper body with a yellowish antique white head that last for a good bid. There is a good carbonation of big bubbles that glide to the surface.
S- The rich caramel malt aroma has some Munich malt note in the finish.
T- The nice caramel sweet malt is quickly overpowered by plastic band-aid that wrap up my tongue and the full flavor of latex gloves finishes the beer and lingers.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a flat texture and a soft fizz finish.
D- This beer is undrinkable with a great nose, and a nice malt flavor buried under the awful peat smoke/chlorine phenol quality. I love rauchbiers and this is not one. It is to harsh to drink.

 721 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Brenden
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes are from about a month ago.

This brew pours out a deep amber/copper color. A small white head maintains an above-average retention with some spotty lacing remaining on the glass.
The smell is of a sturdy malt and obvious smoky tones that are strong without being overdone. It's more of a woody smoke like mesquite. This isn't much of the charcoal harshness in the aroma, and it's all backed by a leafy hops note.
The taste follows suit with a bit more caramel sweetness evident on the tongue, adding for a nice balance. The hops lingers underneath the strong malt and smoky undertones, making for a well-balanced sip and a dry finish.
The body is medium and the carbonation is pretty moderate. Each sip starts of with just a bit of a nip and smooths out a bit.
This is a solid brew, and an interesting idea to make a rauchbier out of an amber lager rather than a darker, sturdier brew, but it works well here.

 916 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.32/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought I was just going to be drinking a lager...and don't really care for many lagers at all.
I opened this bottle because I needed about a half of a bottle of beer to put in a marrinade for a chicken I am doing for dinner tonight.
WOW...what a perfect addition that was and what a great meal it is going to make.
Pours an orange amber with a half finger head that melts to a surprisingly sticky lacing.
Aroma is definately toasted malt.
Taste is an incredible smooth caramel malt that melts to a smokey goodness as you swallow.
Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with just a hint of the carbonation.
Aftertaste...duh....smoke? Yeah...definately.
I haven't had this in a lager before and have to say it is wonderful.
Suddenly a lager that works both with a meal or as a desert (to say nothing of what it would do with cheese.)
Good stuff.

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Photo of dacrza1
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In the mood for a rauchbier as the seasons change, I found a pleasant surprise, as Shop-Rite Liquors added the Fort Collins brewery to its shelves...translucent brownish orange body with a white, thin yet resilient head upon a cascade of bubbles--quite lively...wicked cedar smoke to the aroma, reminiscent of a smokepit summer night...toasted something is present too...medium bodied, with a swift start to finish and a familiar smokey end on the back of the tongue...aggressive on the sides of the tongue, but subsiding quickly...a well-balanced taste, not dominating in any aspect...not sweet, but substantial...I have not heard much of this brewery, but I enjoyed sessioning this and imagine pairing it with grilled foods in the summer and spicier fare all year round....

 775 characters

Photo of IPAylor
3/5  rDev -15%

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fort Collins- Z Lager

A- Light amber brown with a small filmy, non lacing, head.
S- Light sweet smokey malt.
T- Sweet smokey BBQ sauce with a touch of toasted bready malt. Brown sugar and oak are prominent.
M- Sugary sweet and dry smokiness throughout. Charred oaky woodsy finish.

Overall- Decent but nothing inspiring. Worth a bottle or 2.

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Photo of dkoehler42
2.28/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer has a most definitive taste to it, the smokiness in the flavor tastes almost like smoked meat. It has a nice dark amber color and has decent mouthfeel. But that taste and the smell associated with it can easily put off the unprepared drinker. If you know what you're looking for, than it's a great beer, as my friend comments. If not, then it's best you skip this one.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.21/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Had this one at the brewery. Pours a beautiful golden amber color, like that of cognac, with good head and great clarity.

Aroma certainly has some smoke in it, anything else is overwhelmed.

Flavor is much the same with strong smoke flavor all but covering up anything else in the brew. It's a good clean smoke flavor though. Assertive but not over-the-top.

For a real treat, they crush a chilli pepper into it and it gives it a very unique spicy/hot and smokey flavor.

Mouthfeel is good if you can handle the smoke but I would put drinkability pretty low. It's more of a novelty for me - I probably wouldn't drink more than one.

Side note: Many of the people at the brewery that day (mostly a gang of Harley riders) commented that it tasted like either bacon or BBQ potato chips.

 785 characters

Photo of DruC4
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of cokes
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper with a modest cap of blanched yellow.
Nose of Beechwood smoke hallmarks, grilled meats and dry wood, with a nod towards pipe smoke. Caramel whifts, and dry leaves underneath.
Begins with a persuasive and delicious malt base, oozing with toasted marshmallows. Honeyed graham crackers as well. Factor in the smoke and this is only the chocolate short of a liquid S'mores. Smoke enters next, but it's not the dripping roasted pork fat of Aecht Schlenkerla, here, it's more akin to cedar planks, fragrant tobacco, and dried venison. The hops arrive at the close, as the smoke fades, and add an earthy, leafy bitterness.
Medium in body, with a lively carbonation. This is built as a drinker, edged with smoke instead of drowned in it. As much as I enjoy the full strength rauchiness, this is a beautiful, restrained example. Incredibly food frendly.

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Z Lager from The Fort Collins Brewery
Beer rating: 3.53 out of 5 with 322 ratings