Z Lager | The Fort Collins Brewery

322 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 251-275 | 276-300 | 301-325  | next → last
Ratings: 322 |  Reviews: 216
Photo of Bitterbill
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle a hazy reddish-gold with a an ample head of foam that shrank quickly but left a layer that remained for the entire session.

The smell is of semi sweet malt with a touch of smoke.

The taste is woody with notes of smoke and roasted malt. The smoke, to me, is more noticeable midway through and in the finish where it *does* have a bit of harshness to it but, all in all, I like this brew and find it pretty drinkable.

 445 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
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…

 422 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a reddish hued, lightly hazy, amber color that is topped by a one-finger thick tan colored head that disappears pretty quickly. The aroma is quite malty; accented by notes of toasted malt, caramelized grain and a nice, fresh from the oven kind of caramelized bread crust aromatic. This actually has aromatic notes to it that remind me of a rich doppelbock; totally unexpected as I was expecting a macro-style lager from this beer.

The flavor is rich and malty as well, plus there seems to be an ample smokiness to this brew. I knew there was something in the aroma that I recognized, but couldn't quite place. The smoke character is unmistakable in the flavor, and even the aroma of smoke is quite apparent now that I have placed it. I love a good Rauchbier, and this one certainly fits the bill. The smoke is not as strong as some, but is at a nice noticeable level. The base beer is rich and malty, with notes of caramelized malt, toasted grain and a touch of sweetness. There is actually a fair amount of sweet maltiness here, it is just really tempered by the smoke character. In fact the sweet malt and dry smokiness strike a really nice balance together; the balance leans towards the smoky side of things, but the sweet malt note are apparent. A touch of spicy hop character rounds out the complexity of this brew.

What a pleasant treat, here I was expecting a bland macro-wannabee, that'll teach me to open a beer blind (not really, because the surprise was really nice as well). Smooth drinking and smoky a real treat. The smokiness leans towards the Spezial side of the Rauchbier spectrum (lightly smoky), so I would certainly welcome more smoke character, but as is, this strikes a really nice balance.

 1,730 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear amber wtih a tannish low tight bubbled head which lasted like a champ to lace the glass.

The aroma was smoky with a nice caramel aspect. The smoke was light and the aroma also was lightly fruity.

The flavor was smooth with caramel in the front followed immediately, or perhaps even at the same time by a low level smoky character. The smoke added complexity, and was at no time over the top. The flavor was malty and nutty and may have been an underlying Vienna or light Maerzen.

The finish was dry with a lasting smoke and caramel/nutty character long into the aftertaste. The body was medium and the carbonation level just about right. A nice smoked beer, might have to go out and pick up some more of this one.

12 ounce bottle.

 787 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass
this is labeled a smoked beer, but it just seemed like an amber lager with a bit more malt than normal.
Poured rusty brown, with a medium head that didn't last.
Smell of malt, vinegar and touch of American hops.
Taste was roasted malt, maybe some chocolate. Nothing 'smoked'.
A little flat, maybe I got a bad batch.

 344 characters

Photo of Oxymoron
2.23/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Smoking the bear says don’t play with matches. Pours more of an amber color but red-orange hues are distinguishable. Decent head that remains for a good amount of time, limited lacing though.

The smell is mostly malty and detectable overall. Some caramel notes are strong with sides notes of roasted and toasty inklings. Some peat is there with a smoky aroma.

The taste is a bit gritty with an obnoxious liquid smoke flavor. Any malt sweetness is lost in the almost sulfur taste. There is a malt backing but it really fits with the smoky taste. As the beer finishes, the smoke malt drops out and your left with a too sweet of a malt taste.

The body is hard to really indicate, but I would say more of a medium feel. Overall the beer has too much going on and needs to blend more of the flavors.

 804 characters

Photo of sweethome
3.98/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich amber color - orange hue. Gentle smoke on the nose - backing of sweet malt.

Firm, crisp mouthfeel. Well put together beer - fine malts, noble hops, gentle smoke. This is no liquid smoke "smoke" beer, but the real thing. Nice integration.

Generous malts in here, just a touch too sweet for my palate. Still, a fine representation of style and welcome addition to the US market as there are few who do it the right way - this is done right.

I paired it with a non-smoked cheese - Cahill's Porter and it stood up perfectly.

 542 characters

Photo of mynie
2.78/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a rich APA orange amber color with a nice white head.

Smells like plums, apircots, smoke, and salami. A surprisingly decent mixture, although the fruit does outshine the the smoke and meat a bit too much.

Tastes like fruit and liquid smoke with no distinct stages and little complexity. More like a red ale with smoke flavoring than a good smoked beer--no meat/cheese complexity, far too sweet.

A bit of a let down from a usually solid brewery.

 459 characters

Photo of RoBotGod
2.85/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A somewhat decent lager although I’m not a huge fan of the style. Has a good dark body and the malt is not to sweet. One of the better ones I’ve had from them. The smoked part is what gets me. I don’t know if they used extract or not? I has the overwhelming taste of Liquid Smoke™. I could see some people really digging this beer but once you’ve cooked with Liquid Smoke™, the taste never really goes away.

 413 characters

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.

 609 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an attractive amber to bronze color with a fluffy white head and loads of tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. Giid head retention & lacing

Smell: Malty/frutty nose that gives way to oaky smokiness

Taste: Fruity maltiness and then smoke & more smoke on the tounge & throat. Dryness is also imparted and a faint hint of cherry? Slightly bitter finish

MF: Smooth but out of balance, more body is in order to round out the smokiness. More hops wouldn't hurt also. Carbonation is adequate

Drinkable but more a BBQ/smoked meat beer than a session beer

 577 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
2.29/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This is THE most terrible smoked beer I have ever tasted. Very sulphuric. Pours to a dark earthy amber color, quite clear with little to no carbonation, and a nice white head that recedes to a thin film in minutes.

The smell is very sour with a bit of sulphuric smoke. Lots of berries, but they seem to only make the smell worse. The taste contains a lot of DMS and sulphuric smoke that lingers forever. Lots of fruity bits, but nothing hides such a disgusting flavor. I've enjoyed every other beer I drank from Fort Collins, but this one is plant food.

 556 characters

Photo of mentor
2.44/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A smoked lager picked up from Liquor Mart (Colorado) and consumed that same evening. Pours a half finger light yellow whitish head over a crystal clear amber rust liquid. Smells smoky phenolic with a mild malt sweet. I think some esters are trying to poke though, but they come across as wet jerky. Taste starts fairly plain. Some malt sweet and some tiny hop flavor and some smoked malt. But then, the woody smoke flavor rises, along with an odd malty flavor to essentially make smoked fish flavor. Really, this beer is not good (just a note, I despise the taste and texture of fish). The smoke flavor is actually not overly strong, nor are the phenols too bitter. They both dominate and are right on the edge of unpleasant. It's about at this point that a caramel rises to save all from disaster. Will I ever forget the liquid fish violation of my tongue? No, but the memory has been tamed. The aftertaste is a dying smoke with malt sweet poking it's head up every now and again to keep things interesting. While md-light in the mouth, it's actually got a thickness to the liquid that I would not have anticipated. Moderately carbonated. Sorry guys, but it's clear to me that smoek and lager just don't go together.

Funny note here. One of my cats jumped up and took a sniff of my drink (probably hoping it was milk). A couple tentative whiffs before one deep inhale. She looked like she was about to rub the edge of her mouth on the glass to 'scent it', but instead, she looked at me with danger in her eyes. One moment she stood on the destk glaring and the next she was turning the corner into the spare bedroom.

 1,620 characters

Photo of palliko
3.03/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this at the brewery yesterday. Appearance is a dark amber with some ivory foam, little lacing. Aroma screams SMOKE! - wood and pipe tobacco blended. Like burning leaves mixed with burnt sugar. Initial taste is of smoky biscuits, malt, crackers and not too much hops. Middle has bitter chocolate, burnt hamburgers and malts. Body is medium to light, with enough carbonation. Might be good with a barbecue meal, but on its own, I would pass.

 443 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
3.95/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A treat from prAna.
I am sampling a 12 oz bottle in a snifter slightly chilled.
The beer pours a clear chestnut color with a quickly receding beige head that remains as an edge layer throughout sampling.
Aroma is smoky bacon and caramel.
First sip reveals an average body and very mild carbonation that rolls across my palate.
Flavor is smoke and caramel with a crisp finish that leaves a bit of smoke on my palate. A very smooth and easy to drink beer that isnt just smoke smoke and more smoke. tasty!

 509 characters

Photo of bnuttz
4.05/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours 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 examples. The body is pretty hefty for a lager. Very nice and drinkable. A nice session drinker.

 394 characters

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.

 861 characters

Photo of Skidz
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out bright orange brown and sits a beautiful deep orange amber in the glass with a small off white head, fading to a light skim. Impressive gradient from bright gold to deep amber in the tuliped glass.

Aroma is deep and malty with big sugary sides of dark caramel and toffee. Wooden, oaky undertones and a mild phenolic presence. Some dark, leafy green aromas.

Full malt presence up front, a bit gritty. Caramel, toffee and roasted brown sugar sweeten up against a very mild smoke flavor that offers a hint of woodeness. Finishes nicely bittered, mildly peppery with green flavors abound.

Creamy, silky just plain smooth in the mouth. Medium bodied and slightly stringy.

Quite easy to drink, though the phenolic presence is a bit distracting. Otherwise pleasant.

 780 characters

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!

 466 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.76/5  rDev +5.9%
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).

 581 characters

Photo of bditty187
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Coppery-reddish hue with a touch of tawny-brown highlights, this does have a lovely color, the slightly off-white head reached a modest half finger in height. The head retention was respectable; a soapy collar remained throughout consumption. Subsequent lacing was spotty and nominal. The bouquet lacks in potency. Upfront is a sweet, soft maltiness then a distant note of smoky peat emerges and towards the very end I could smell a suggestion of salty ham. The sweetness was a bit much for me to call the aromas inviting but the sweetness didn’t repel me either. The first sip ended any concerns about the sweetness. The palate is simple but pleasant. Initially a lackluster maltiness slowly gives way to flabby ham and peat, a bit of sweetness, a little salty too. The smokiness is negligible and scarcely noticeable at the finish. This is a respectable Smoked Beer. It has all of the qualities of a lager, clean, crisp, and refreshing. The mouthfeel was decent, moderate carbonation but it is firm enough, medium in body. The flavors are complex enough for me to want to drink this again. I could match this up with simple BBQ, pulled pork sandwiches, or even burgers. This would be a good option for a local. I only purchased one 12-ounce single of this in Fort Collins; I could have got a six-pack of this one. While it is not groundbreaking it is worth trying, especially if you are curious to try a beer from FCB.

 1,421 characters

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!

 823 characters

firstprev| 251-275 | 276-300 | 301-325  | next → last
Z Lager from The Fort Collins Brewery
3.55 out of 5 based on 322 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.