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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Ratings: 322 |  Reviews: 216
Photo of NEhophead
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a pilsener glass.

Light amber with a copper hue. Quarter-inch, foamy off-white head. Patches of thin and condensed lacing with decent strength.

Peat-smoke malt; pleasant, but mild. Light citrus: lemon, apricot. Modest wheat and grain that serve as a backbone in aroma.

Clean wheat and grain with a smooth, semi-sweet toasted malt character. Floral hops with a quite mild smokey quality. The peat is rather subdued, but noticeable amidst the sweetness. A crisp finish is followed by a smoked grain aftertaste.

Medium in body; smooth yet grainy in spots. Maybe a touch thin for a true Rauchbier, but enough body to stand up to the smokey and sweet flavors.

A decent Rauchbier; however, nothing too impressive in terms of flavor, especially in comparison to a full-flavored German. Not a bad alternative though for a late summer or early autumn brew.

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.48/5  rDev -2%
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 PiecefulToker
3.46/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Copper brown with an amber hue, pretty hazy, thick head that recedes rather quickly, but leaves a thin layer of head which deposits sticky lacing down the glass.

S: Mild smokiness, some caramel, wood, very mild hop presence.

T&M: Doesn't taste or feel right...

After having this beer before, this bottle just doesn't taste right. I bought it as a single, and I have a feeling this is an old bottle. I will buy this beer again in the near future and edit my review as needed.

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Photo of FatSean
2.36/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I couldn't finish this beer. It poured a nice brown-gold color and had some interesting scents. When I drank it, all I tasted was SMOKE! It made my turkey sandwich taste like smoked turkey, which was cool. Other than that, I quickly tired of the overwhelming smoke flavor of this beer and gave it a drain pour.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a nonic. Poured a translucent amber with a half inch off-white head embedded with tiny ringlets. Eventually formed a broken skim of foam; some strands of lacing during the session. No smoke evident in the nose; picked up primarily malt and a hint of caramel. Smokey flavor dominates in the mouth; picked up some peat and hickory on this one, as well as a little hops towards the end. Light and lively mouthfeel with a fairly dry finish with not much of an aftertaste. Decent drinkability, but not quite sure of the style as this is my first smoked beer.

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Photo of ectomorph
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another smokey offering from Ft. Collins. **keeps an open mind**

A - Nice clear copper in color, little carbonation/head, but it is there.

S - I picked up no smoke in the nose (surprised). Caramel and bread like.

T - Mild smoke flavors shine through. I appreciate the subtlety more so than in its' Kidd counterpart. This one is making me a fan.

M - Medium body, a tidge more carbonation and it scores a 4.5 here.

D - Any BBQ and I'll take 10.

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Photo of Hokies
2.88/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a nice amber/copper color with a thin white head that dissipates quickly.

S: The smoke dominates with a faint caramel smell. Not to much else going on.

T: Interestingly the smoke does not dominate the taste as the malts first come through with a light coffee taste. The smoke taste comes in next and is nice and light and a light hop spice finishes off the taste.

M: Moderate carbonation with a light mouthfeel.

D: Easy to drink, not my favorite style but a nice beer.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.02/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From Notes

A: Rich brown color with an off white head about half an inch thick. Crystal clear, not much carbonation. Very interesting looking beer. 3.0

S: Reminds me of barbeque. Smoke is very present, a few malt characteristics pop out, but the smoke is what stands out the most. 3.5

T: Reminds me of barbeque again, not many "beer" flavors in this. The smoke dominates this entire beer it isn't too bad though. Very interesting, the tastes linger in my mouth for quite a while. This is a big beer, no doubt about it, but not something I would drink many of. 3.0

M: Pretty crisp and carbonated. Kinda sticky though. The tastes makes the mouth feel a little thicker than it is. 3.0

D: One is enough for me. Its just too smoky for my taste. It was interesting and would pair well with some ribs, but just not my style. 2.5

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Photo of Donnie2112
3.87/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

dark translucent brownish amber with hues of red

aromas of hickory smoke and sweet malt

certainly smoky, just a bit of sweetness, some burnt sugar as well as a smokiness that reminds me of the smokey flavor in a good peice of smoked salmon or pork just a bit of hops that leaves just a hint of sourness on the finish

medium light and just a bit dry, around medium carbonation

nice and snappy, it's a good beer, really solid beer I am planning on pouring a glass of scotch to drink along side this one.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.02/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a small 1/8" of small off-white bubbles after the pour. Within about 20 seconds the head was gone, and there was a very small ring left on top of the beer where it meets the glass. You can only see a few bubbles rising.

Aroma: My initial impression was of some serious smoke. It is definitely bacon time in my house tonight. There are some sweet malts in there as complimentary aromatics, and add a mild cherrywood like aromatic in there that is very complimentary.

Taste: The taste is actually a bit milder than I thought it was going to be from the aroma. The smoky bacon impression is definitely there, but it doesn't rule the profile with phenolics as some smoke beers do. The finish is balanced toward the malt with some caramel sweetness to coexist with the smoke and linger long into the finish. There is a bit of alcohol apparent in this beer only in that I am warming up a bit after drinking half the glass. I would venture to guess that it is around 6% or so. As it warms, it reminds me of some of the designer bacons, like the apple wood peppercorn bacons and such.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer. It is mild in supporting flavors, but the flavor overall is clean and accentuates the smoke flavors pretty well. It is not overly phenolic, which definitely adds to its drinkability. I imagine that it would go well with a lot of foods, so I wouldn't mind trying it again for that reason alone.

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Photo of Misfit138
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

As I used my bottle opener as soon as the air it the beer foam was shooting out, I didn't shake the bottle or anything. Odd.

A - Massive head that dissolved fairly quickly with nice lacing on top of an amber colored ale.

S- Does smell smokey with caramel malts.

T- To me taste very smoked. With mild caramel sweetness.

D- I could enjoy this beer perhaps more with some red meat or something off the grill. I don't know. I wouldn't say its bad, but I don't think I like the style all that much.

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Photo of Vancer
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surprising pour of a clear mahogany brown (for a lager), ivory head was weak and wilted like the STL grass in the 95 degree heat.

Malty aroma, and another surprising quaff of smoked peat - this a lager or a smoked scotch ale? I like smoke, so this is a nice tasting frosty for me.

Ok - I see from BA that this IS a smoked beer - the label through me off. This is a tasty, easy going smoked beer, I'd go for a sixer in the cooler weather for sure.

Fort Collins seems to delivery a solid lineup of brews. Cheers.

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Photo of Rzzzzz
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I probably picked the wrong time to try this one, but I did not take a close look at the label until I had already poured it into the glass. There has been so much smoke in the air over the past week from the California wildfires that my senses are practically numb to it.

Nevertheless...poured into a pint glass, this beer presented itself as a nice orange/amber with good clarity and a thin, short-lived head. Caramel malt aroma, with what seemed to me to be a faint hint of smoke. Strong malt character on the palate, with some hop bitterness at the finish, and an overall light smokiness. Medium bodied, flavorful and refreshing.

As I said, my senses have been saturated with smoke for the past week, so whether the smoke characteristics of this beer will seem as understated to you as they did to me is questionable. But from my perspective the smoke certainly did not get in the way of the malt flavor, it simply rounded it out.

Would like to get my hands on another one of these some day after the smoke has cleared.

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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 srrn
3.66/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a deep clear orange with a quickly reducing head. a bit of lacing later on. Smells of sweet malts, not much else. I enjoyed this, mouthfeel is like a regular lager, a bit thin but the smokiness is pleasant. I like rauchbeers in a very linited quantity, this is more drinkable. A nice change and seemed to go well with very sharp cheese.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another new style, not sure why this isn't a Rauchbier but whatever. Hey Josh, whatcha got bitch?

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Pours a somewhat foggy sunset orange hue with a one finger off-white head that quickly dies down to a thin layer of bubbles. A fair amount of stick remains on the sides throughout tasting. Smell consists of lightly charred wood, smoked grains, and some caramel malt. That's pretty much it in the nose, pretty basic. Taste begins with a funky sweetness followed by a very weak smoked birch. Malts and grains come forward midway on the tongue. Aftertaste has a tiny bit of smoked meats, but is mostly bland and watered down. Light to medium body with a creamy feel. Carbonation is subtle, and pleasant. This definitely isn't a Rauchbier, so I guess the classification of it being a Smoked Beer is fitting. Either way, I don't like where it's going. Nothing I would suggest seeking out, not sure I understand this beer...? I'm hoping I run across the Rogue's Smoke Ale someday to see how that one matches up.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.17/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a 12oz beer into my Chimay chalice. Pours a amber red with a thin head that has absolutely no head retention at all. The aroma reminds me of caramel malts, smoke, chocolate, toffee, and a slight smell of copper pennies. The taste is odd. The smoke really comes out in flavor but not in a great way. The smoke is really mild, but it kind of sits on the back of the throat and affects every other taste. Caramel comes out and their is a slight metallic taste that follows the smoke. It's really odd. The mouthfeel is much fuller than I expected. I have drank this at the brewery many times and always found it easy to drink (might be because I had always had a flight and a couple pints) but out of the bottle is just tastes off. I remember these flavors in the draft version but not as pronounced.

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Photo of garcia2a
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear, deep golden color with a light lan head that held while I enjoyed my beer.

The bouquet had an interesting mix of malt, honey, toffee, light grain and mineral. This for the most part translated well to the the taste, where the malt is nicely mixed with some light smoke. That honey comes through very lightly, masked by the smoke.

This is a heavier body lager that cloys. Mouthfeel is good and this is a great beer to serve with food.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear copper color with a small light tan head. Smell is of caramel and dry. Can't pick up much smoke in the nose. Taste is upfront sweet and thick. Subtle smokey notes really compliment the taste. The smokey notes remind me of smoked pork or jerky, not over the top smokey like some other smoked brews. The body is pretty hefty for a lager.

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Photo of Homerbag
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright oragne ody with finger thick head that stays thick.

Smell is of light smoke on top of malt and clean mineral water. The taste of smoke is there but not obnoixious at all. The smoke brings out an almost woody character to the malts and give a nice touch to the overall palate. Feel is clean and crisp. This is a good beer to have with BBQ and stands alone on its own. I would have this again, but I would have to be in the mood for it. I don't always want smoke in my beer, but I enjoyed this.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Dark brown with an off white head, served in a pint glass from the tap.

S. Not much here, a subtle sweetness and some smoke in the background.

T. Very pronounced Rauchbier. Has the quality of smoked meats and went along most excellently with my bbq burger.

M. Coats the palate with a rich smoked toffee aftertaste.

D. Fairly drinkable, will have again if its still on tap there in the future.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - has a peachy amber color, maybe even a tint of cherry. Not much of a cap, just a few pockets of bubbles. Some random streaks of lace make their way onto the edges.

Aroma - basic graininess with a light side of smoke, like campfire smoke. Hints of vanilla as it warms.

Taste - a low-key grain presence; the smoke, though not harsh or over-the-top, takes over pretty quickly. A very nice level that can be appreciated by itself or with some grilled/smoked meat. Steady from the tip of the tongue to the finish.

Mouthfeel - average body, pretty crisp.

Drinkability - rauchbier is a specialty beer for me, I can't drink them often or many at a time. I would like to have this around, though, for weekend cookouts and such.

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Photo of joezak5
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got as part of a "Brewer's Lunchbox" variety pack from Fort Collins; props to them for including 6 varieties and not 4. This was the selling point for me. $14.99 for a 12 pack.

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter; clear reddish brown with a dirty white three finger head, ok rentention and good sipping lacing.

Smell: Beefy smoke with maybe a hint of sweet caramel... maybe... very slight.

Mouthfeel: Medium, chewy and smooth with no carbonation feel.

Taste: Pretty smoky and bbq'y, this is the overwhelming taste, deep roasty and chargrilled malt. That's about it.

Drinkability: I had this one by itself and that was a mistake. This one needs some bbq with it. It got be a chore at the end, but I enjoyed the style.

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Photo of jwc215
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours bright reddish copper with a pillowy off-white head that soon becomes patchy. The color is very nice, though the head could use a bit more retention.

The smell is of caramel, wood, grainy, mild Rauch-like aroma.

The taste is of an artificial sweetener with slight metallic notes. Herbal with caramel and charred beechwood. Thin flavor, but grows a bit, as does the smokiness. Smokiness is more apparent in the aftertaste, though it is fairly short-lived.

Thinnish medium-bodied, with a nice carbonation level that helps smoothness.

A mild smoke-beer - going towards a Rauchbier. Too many samll detractors to be really enjoyable, though it's a worthy effort.

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Photo of PBBC
3.67/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a clear orange-red, the head disapears, leaving no lace as it warms.

The aroma is very interesting, it smells like a summer night... bonfires, beer, and fresh cut grass.

The taste is great... sweet malts and a slightly smoky-burnt flavor rounding of the sides of the tongue with a lingering spiciness... would go perfectly with a BBQ...

The beer is generally drinkable, but I feel too many would give you an overwhelming smoky-aftertaste.

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