Z Lager | The Fort Collins Brewery

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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

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Reviews: 216 | Ratings: 322
Photo of BierStein711
4.85/5  rDev +36.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smells like a great smoked meat!

Color: Amber body with an off-white head, moderate carbonation--head fades to a glimmer with little lacing in about a minute.

Mouthfeel: perfect and smooth

taste: Astringent with a fluffy, smoky finish that teases and lingers.

Overall, this is a brilliant beer! I want one in the summer and spring when I'm grilling--why don't I have some brats with me right now?

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Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a nice head that retains well and sheets the pint glass with lace

Smell: Solid caramel malt base with a good bit of smoked meat in the aroma

Taste: Starts out laying down the caramel malt but the smoked meat flavors quickly join the fray and begin to dominate by mid-palate; after the swallow, the smoke stays in check and provides an interesting foil to the nutty malt flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Wow, am I ever impressed. I like a good, but restrained, smoked beer and this fits the bill to a tee; almost a smoked Marzen, in some respects

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.49/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fort Collins Z Lager has a medium, cream colored head, a clear, bubbly amber appearance, and minimal, splotchy lacing. The aroma is mostly of sweet, brown bread crust, but one can pick up a whiff of smoke in the sniff. Taste is of the same, with a nice, hearty, but not heavy, hop bitterness in the sip. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Fort Collins Z Lager finishes crisp, clean, refreshing, and mellow. Overall, this is a much more approachable and drinkable beer that what is offered by the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbiers. Check it out and enjoy!


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Photo of Crosling
4.35/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A smoked lager from Fort Collins Brewery. 1.0 Liter bottle for $ 8.29. I was somewhat skeptical about this beer especially because I thought there two other beers Edgar and Doktor were an abomination, but I opted for it and was it ever worth it!

This was an exceptionally colorful beer. Copper Hued with hints of burgundy, molten lava and ruby shining through the glass. A Nice head developed after each poor. The head retention was average but the lace was impeccable.

The aroma was outstanding. A slight smokinness stimulates the nose as well as some alcohol, caramel and citrus hops.

The palate was dominated with notes of butterschotch, smoked malts, cedar, citrus notes, light fruits and the flavor was very lingering on the palate.

I did polish off a 1.0 so obviously this brew was pretty damn drinkable!

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.33/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A brillantly clear copper color lager with a tall white fluffy head thats has great rentention, although there is not much lacing.

A nice and sutle smokey malt aroma. Aroma is similar to what you might experence with smoked cheese.

Taste is smokey up front but mildly so.

A medium body beer with a bit of grittiness.
Smooth and clean with nary any aftertaste.

An excellent ell made beer, the smoked malts are not overpowering and really enhance the flavor of the beer.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.32/5  rDev +21.7%
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 CuteZombieDoll
4.32/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Coppery red hue, not the best head formation

S- Smells like malt with a touch of smoke, very lovely but hard to really describe.

T- Malty and lightly sweet to start, followed by a smokey, bacon-like quality.

M- Full bodied, but still refreshing.

O- This is the first rauchbeir I have ever had, but it was a style I longed to try since I like other smokey things, so I can't tell you if it's a good example of it's style. However, it's well balanced, and come on it tastes a little like bacon. Who wouldn't like that? I was always told rauchbeirs were overbearing, so I don't know if they toned down the smoke, or if it's simply that I like smokey things.

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Photo of alexgash
4.32/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mandarin copper body, with a sea sponge porous, light-tan head.
Smells of cooked carrots, with smoky-sweet brown sugar glaze, and spicy hops.
Starts out with light sweetness, honeyed biscuit malt, and candied yams. Moderate smoke flavor comes in the middle, along with some spicy Germanic hops. Finish is bittersweet with lingering smoke. I really like the smokiness. Pretty big body for this type of beer; coats the mouth nicely too. I want to go to this brewpub!

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.3/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Man I can't believe I forgot to review this! Got this in my FC variety case.

A - Medium copper color with white head and lacing.

S - Mostly of burnt grain and slight wheat. Smoky.

T - Wow. I expected more of a bitterness but it quickly rounds to a smoky grain flavor that finishes sweet. Pretty memorable!

M - Very light and drinkable.

D - Well I got two and they are sadly gone but I have to agree with everyone if you never had a Rauchbier this was a pretty darn good one.

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Photo of Portertime
4.3/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I just love rauchbiers. This is not the best I have had but it is certainly a winner. Pours a lucid orange color. The nose offers faint smokiness and a touch of charred wood. The taste is heavenly with a well balanced smoked meat goodness that goes down smooth but not overpowering. Certainly enjoy this with some smoked gouda or smoked sausage.

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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale and light crystal malt scent that is semi-sweet with some peated malt in there as well. The smoke aroma is mild, but noticeable. The taste is great. It has a smooth "amber lager" flavor with peated malts added for a mild smokey taste that is out of this world. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine rauchbier. I can't get enough of these beers anyway, but this one is good. It's an easy drink and it's an enjoyable one.

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.29/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BACONBACONBACON! Had this brew on draught at the brewery. Color was a faded brown with a off white head that left rather quickly leaving a great lacing. I love the rauchbier style, eventhough I can't drink them often. Not only does bacon come out of this, but a beautiful caramel flavor hit my palate rather strong.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.27/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rounded out my evening session with this beer. I had never had anything from them before, but was lucky enough to pick up a mixed sixer of their and this was the first one I was going to try out of it. This poured a nice decent brownish amber color with a small off white head that quickly faded leaving behind only traces of what was left. The smell was rather intriguing. Smelled like a Dopplebock, full of smoked aroma and a deep underlying sweetness, this had a very full body to it. The flavor followed suit nicely with a full on smoked flavor and a lovely lightly hopped finish to it. Traces of caramel rippled throughout adding just the right amount of sweetness to it. Overall this actually surprised me; the deep flavors of wood aged smokiness took me completely off guard and give this a profile I did not expect to find. Definitely quality ale and something I would look forward to trying again in the future. Very full and very nice this one will surprise you in a very good way.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.27/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a standard pint glass
Clear, copper/amber in color , with a moderate head of foam
Aroma-Subtle smoked malts, faint smoked almonds
Taste-Woodsmoke and caramel notes, hickory chips, lightly charred meat
Overall, understated and flavorful, not overly done. Subtle and interesting-Very drinkable.
An excellent pairing with grilled, smoked, or BBQ'd meats.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +19.2%
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 ZAP
4.22/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange color....nice smoked malt aroma...relatively subtle but noticable....Body is about medium but firm...nice smoked malt flavor...a bit of caramel as well....clean tasting...excellent drinker...well done..This would be an excellent summer BBQ beer.

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Photo of nickfl
4.22/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of white head on a clear, reddish-brown body. The foam settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Sour, smoky note with caramel and toffee. Lots of sweet, rich malt and a hint of plum like fruitiness.

T - Toasted malt, balanced by spicy hops up front. The smoke really becomes apparent in the middle with woody notes and perfume like floral qualities. The smoke lingers in the finish with some toasted malt and spicy hops.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Very nice, the smoke is readily apparent and adds a great deal of character to the hoppy amber lager body, but it does not overwhelm the palate. The smoke seems a bit more restrained than the German versions that I have had, but it has all of the same qualities and could be a good introduction to the style. A great example of the style.

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Photo of tmitch75
4.21/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge props to my father-in-law... he's been trying to find a beer in Iowa that I haven't had. He had to go to South Dakota to make it happen, but he did it. And a smoked beer no less... Way to go Chuck!

Dark amber color, lighter than expected for a rauchbier. Also more translucent than I expected. Thin off-white head and lots of lace. Very inviting.

Slightly smokey smell with a caramelly sweetness.

Light sweetness up front with a nice roasty/smoky flavor that is assertive but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel is a bit light, but that is one of the reasons I like it so much.

I'm a fan of the styel and this is one of the more drinkable ones I've had. May not be perfectly to style but quite tasty and worth checking out.

Tasted (in Iowa!) on 5/23/08.

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Photo of Jayli
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a gorgeous clear orange-red. Not much of a head to speak of, what is there recedes very quickly with a tiny little white film layering the top, very little spotty lacing left. Nose is of deep toasted malts and smokiness - reminds me of smoked bacon without much of the bacon smell. Taste is sweet at first, caramel malts lead the way, and then leads in to toasted malts and a great smoked flavoring. They've blended this nicely - perfect balance of sweet and smoked. Mouthfeel is a medium bodied, smooth beer, slightly creamy, nicely carbonated, slight aftertaste. This beer goes down far too easily - a definite can and will sit with it for an evening.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear medium copper color with off-white head. Great retention and nice lacing.
Smell is of a smokey caramel note which is extremely interesting.
Taste brings about a moderately strong smokey character with is very enjoyable. A rich smokey flavor without being overpowering.
Finished with a light dryness which blends with the smokey flavor perfectly.
A perfectly made beer. Great job.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour - nice dark amber color, very clean and clear in appearance. There are some reddish highlights and a very thick, well-formed, off-white head.

Aroma - yes, its smoky (but not bacon). Its a subtle smoke, like a distant campfire on a warm summer night. Along with the very tantalizing smoke is some fruitiness like apples. I love the smell of this style of beer.

Taste - soft smoked malt flavor. By soft, I mean its not abrasive or dominating but melts very well with the sweet maltiness, the apple and pear ester flavors and the tangy caramel flavor. The finish to this beer is nice and crisp which really keeps things clean.

Overall - I really enjoyed this beer. I didn't know what to expect going in but was MORE than pleasantly surprised by the quality of this rauchbier. Great stuff and well worth giving a shot of you are a fan of smoked beers.

Would I buy more of it? - I might, I just might.

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Photo of FarmerTed
4.18/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber in color. It has a nice malty taste, almost chocolatey, and has a mild, smoky finish. If I didn't know it used smoked malt, I probably wouldn't be able to tell from the taste alone. It's pretty subtle to me, but very nice.

Overall, it tasted really good. I would drink this again for sure.

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Photo of cokes
4.15/5  rDev +16.9%
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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Photo of mmmbeer
4.14/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz., slightly under-filled bottle with no freshness date. It pours a crystal-clear amber, with a thick finger of noisy, tan head that reduces to a thin cap and leaves little lacing. Sweet and smoky bacon in the nose, with a dash of darker or crystal malts. Clean flavor profile, with spicy hops, a mild bitterness, pleasantly smoky malts, and a nice sweetness to back it all up. It has a lightish, dry body with a crisp tingle that makes this beer very easy to drink. I loved this one - incredibly balanced and insanely drinkable. If I had to critique it, I would desire a more robust smokiness, but as it is, it's a very approachable and refreshing rauchbier. Make sure you grab at least two bottles if you see this one.

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Photo of jonziefle
4.14/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a slightly cloudy brown color, with moderate visible carbonation. Half-finger bubbly head that diminishes immediately. No lacing.

Smell: Strong smokey/roasted malts, with significant chocolate and caramel flavors as well. Slight hint of some dark fruit hops, but not much. Not much sweetness in the nose.

Taste: Smokey and caramel malts, with some bitterness at first. Moderate sweetness. Interesting.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a nice carbonation bite. Smooth.

Drinkability: A very interesting beer; my first Rauchbier. Very smokey and malty, with more flavor than the usual lager. If you like smokey beers, without the intense alcohol and body of a stout/porter, this one is for you.

Buy Again? Yes.

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Z Lager from The Fort Collins Brewery
3.55 out of 5 based on 322 ratings.
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