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 TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Pours a rich coppery amber with a very miniscule white froth for a head, which dissappears pretty quickly regardless of its lack of body. The smell is of malts with a barbecue chicken backbone. Honestly, I was hoping for more smoke, but, hey, them's the breaks. The taste pretty much follows the nose, but the smoke is thankfully more pronounced, bringing the desired complexity missing from the smell. The mouthfeel is a little on the slick, watery side, but this does serve as a foil to the smoke, leading to an overall high level of drinkability.

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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 Sammy
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle from Agassi. A decent serviceable lager and rauch. Light smoke. Pours moderate yellow body with lots of white bubbly head. A mild smoke aroma. Decently drinkable,thanks to the caramel bit not delicious. Average mouthfeel.Appropriate carbonation.

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Photo of joshstevens87
3.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a copper oragne with a small white head
S-roasted malt witha plesant smokiness with charcoal tobbacco background
T-the smokiness becomes much more apparent yet not overpowering (one of my irks about rauchbier)which a nice toasted maltiness with dark fruit present in the background very pleasant taste just a bit light
M-medium body with a slight carbonation gving the beer a nice crisp taste to compliment the restrained taste
D-very drinkable the flavor while being very pallatable (a standout for the style) seems restrained which combined with the body make for a good session beer though im not sure that many would choose it

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Photo of emerge077
3.54/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Single from Friar Tuck's in Peoria.

Pours a nice reddish amber, some larger bubbles foam up but don't stick around. No lace or foam. Looks kind of like apple juice.

Nice sweet and smoky malt aroma. The smoke is dialed down and approachable. Flavor is similar, sweet and a hint of smoke with a trace of dry bitterness. The aftertaste lingers for awhile, mildly dry and campfire wood smoke. Feel is a little watery as the carbonation escapes. Decent enough, seems like a nice beer for a Rauch beginner, or for a Fall night by the fire.

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Photo of feelmefoam
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a Stone pint glass.

Pours a light brown with orange highlights, slightly murky, with a small amount of visible carbonation. Puts up a finger of off-white head that leaves a pretty nice amount of lacing.

Interesting smell... I've never had a Rauchbier before, but the smell is as the site and bottle describe, I smell smoked meat followed by a little maltiness, though I can't put my finger on what kind.

This is quite the interesting beer. Although at first I was put off by the thought of drinking beef jerky, it's actually pretty damn good. A nice malty sweetness up front gives the beer a pretty solid body on which to build up to the smokiness that comes in at the end of each swig. A hefty amount of smokiness, but not overpowering, rather it is well balanced and combines well with the malts to give the beer a pleasurable 'fiery' feel. I could actually picture drinking this on a cold night by a roaring fire somewhere.

Nice medium-heavy body that works well with the smokiness to provide a good backup to the flavors. Good choice, I'd much rather have this beer be a thicker sipper than a thin, smoky mess. As it is, its like drinking a different kind of porter with a bit of meatiness to it. Smooth, yet assertive.

Drinkable, a sipper for me, but would go oh so well with some choice meaty/ cheesy foods. I actually like this style quite a bit, at least from what I can tell from Fort Collins version. I understand there are smokier versions out there; I'm curious to try them at some point. I'm kind of excited that I like this style, seeing as how it may not be the most popular with everyone. Good stuff, Fort Collins.

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Photo of WJVII
3.13/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass this brew is a deep amber color with nice red tint when held to the light. The head is less than a finger and leaves nearly no cap and no lacing. The aroma is smoky and has some hints of caramel and thick malts. The taste is extremely overwhelmed by smokiness. The bottle states the malts are dried over an open fire. This seems to overpower the entire brew. The carbonation is nice and there is some balance with hops in the finish, but it is very hard to get over the initial taste that just lingers. I am glad I purchased this as a single as I am not going to have again.

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Photo of arizcards
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up in late September as part of the FCB Lunchbox at Country Club Liquors in Grand Junction, CO for $16.99.

Beer poured a clear amber with a white head that is barely hanging on in mid glass. Nose is smoked malt, but not overwhelming as one might think. Taste is strong on smoked malts initially with an unexpected decent bittering hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Overall drinkability is pretty good, the beer is initially strong on the smoke but becomes more agreeable to the palate as the bottle is consumed.

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Photo of karengarys
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours nice and crystal medium-dark reddish orange. I slow pour, so there was just a ring of very fluffy bubbles around the edge which did not stick to the glass very much.

smells a little smokey beer like.

Taste is good and bad at the same time. it has a burnt charcoal bitter edge that left a bit of a, well, burnt like aftertaste. With all that ickey stuff, though, it has a clean, rich roasty crispness I can't quite explain.

Mouthfeel saves this, sparkely on the tounge and refreshing.

Body is a little richer than I'd expect. It's no heavy beer, but it isn't a lite either.

Finish, well, is a little bitter.

It is drinkable, quite drinkable, I need another to sparkle that aftertaste away!

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Photo of morimech
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color with a large off-white head that had excellant retention before settling to a thick cap. A good amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. Aroma has the appropriate amount of smokey charactor. A touch of sweetness is lingering underneath the smoke. The smoke goes a bit mild in the flavor. We don't want to offend the masses type of way. Still quite noticable. A touch of sweetness balances things out. I would of liked a bit more smoke to bring this up to good grade levels. The body seems a little thin. By far the weakest component of this beer. A more sessionable Rauchbier as several of these could be consumed without getting tired of the smoke. The real good Rauchbiers makes one compare them to ham or bacon, cannot do that with this one.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been sitting on this one for a while... it's been refrigerated since I received it in trade... big thanks to whoever sent this to me, but sorry, I can't remember. Making chili for tomorrow and needed a little bit of beer for it, so I figured why not... most of this went into my Delirium goblet.

3/4" white head dies to a nice cap with descent lace... the brew is crystal clear amber.

subtle smoke... mixes well with caramel malts and some toasty notes.

Flavor has more smoke up front.. again, it is pretty subtle compared to many of the big German smoke monsters... reminds me of what I think a campfire would taste like but much lighter.. the caramel helps guide the smokiness from front to back... the body is pretty standard for a German style lager... and the carbonation is about spot-on too.

Thanks again to whoever sent this to me, sorry I took so long to get to it... Normally, I don't appreciate smoked beers and this one was really pretty nice.

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Photo of tjd112
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the Brewer's Lunchbox 12 pack I got at Spirits Unlimited at 9 and 526 in Lakewood, NJ

A - Brown color with good lacing and average head
S - A bit like bacon, a little meaty for my taste, but a little bit of caramel too
T - See smell
M - Medium to heavy body, with a somewhat bitter aftertaste
D - A really good smokey beer. I wish I had some vegetarian riblets from Morningstar Farms.

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Photo of Gyle41386
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stange.

Very cautious pour (because I had no clue what to expect from pouring into a stange) gives me a bit more than a finger of rich foam on top of a orange (think Texas Longhorns orange) body. Head retention is pretty good, and there's a decent amount of lacing left on the glass.

Smells sweet and meaty. Make your own jokes here. Not nearly as smoky as I thought it would be. Like if you took a caramel, covered it in salt, and threw it in the smoker with the briskets. That sounds awful, I know, but delicious at the same time.

The taste basically follows the aroma. To be honest, I was really dreading this beer because I dislike overpowering smokiness, but this is not unpleasant at all. It's got a nice little sweet/bitter combo going with the caramel flavor and the smoke.

Medium bodied, with an appropriate carbonation level. Surprisingly easy drinker. Just a subtle kiss from the smoke in the finish. Very, very pleasant surprise.

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Photo of tigg924
3.49/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of thecarster1
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a- bottle poured into a pint, clear amber color, one finger head that fades fast, sparse bit of lace.

s- interesting, obviously smokey but not as much as i was expecting, deep caramel malt, bready, maybe a bit of vanilla.

t- interesting again, upfront i get a nice smooth caramel malt, the smoke hits the back of the mouth, it literally tastes like a pure open fire pit, the smoke is a bit bitter and covers the alcohol almost completely, i can imagine this being a great compliment to sweet smokey bbq, the smokey flavor intensifies as the beer warms.

m- smooth medium body.

d- this is my first rauchbier, it's a very interesting style that i'm glad i tried, this won't be a regular drinking brew for me but it was very interesting and enjoyable, i'd drink this again but i'll stick to one per session.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear red color. The head is none existent. The aroma is smoke with a hint of caramel malt. It is a rather simple aroma. The taste is like the aroma. I like that there is a lot of smoke, but there isn't nothing else. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a decent beer that could be a lot better if it had a more complex malt bill. I could drink it again, but there are better smoked beers out there.

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Photo of HeroJH
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A really good brewery. All of their beers seem to be quite solid. This one is a solid beer with some smoke added and really goes well with food.

A - Dark amber, decent head.
S - Smoke, honey, fresh
T - clean, aftertaste of light smoke
M - clean and dry finish possibly from the smoke more than anything else.
D - Good, better with some food though.

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Photo of gmfessen
3.27/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a perfectly clear, amber-orange color with a thin, inactive white head. The nose is what I expected from a Rauchbier, smoky - reminiscent of a smoked ham or smoky bacon in baked beans. Perhaps just a hint of sweet amber malt, but that's about it. The flavor starts with the upfront smokiness and transitions to a slightly sweet amber malt flavor before returning to its smoked meat flavor for the finish. Mouthfeel is a little on the light side for what I was expecting and the carbonation is all but absent. Overall, not a bad beer, probably mostly what a Rauchbier should be - would pair nicely with smoked anything but not a beer that I would choose to session with.

- Note: smokiness seems to fade as you drink more of the beer, which could be good or bad depending on how much you like the smoky flavor.

- Note: smokiness seems to fade as you drink more of the beer, which could be good or bad depending on how much you like the smokey flavor.

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Photo of wiseguy142
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I always like amber lagers.. I don't know why. Especially when you're not talking Oktoberfests/Vienna lagers.. these things seem to always pop up as gems in smaller breweries.

Pours a hazy dark amber... sort of like a pumpkin past its prime. Thin head with average lacing pretty gone within a minute after pouring. Very hazy but with some mysterious bubbles moving up through the middle.

Aroma is very light.. any smoke flavor seems to blend in with the amber very well, but a nice complex amber aroma up front.

Taste is a little tame, but a nice semi-sweet lager. I feel like I'm describing a wine. Smoke flavor is far in the back backing up the amber flavor. Fruity around the edges. Definitely let down in terms of smoke flavor but I'm enjoying it. Mouthfeel is a hit as is drinkability, because it's a nice easy drinking, flavorful lager which is why I like this style. We used to get kegs of Rohrbach's Amber Lager in college and it was always a treat. Not sure if this is what they were going for here. I think there could be a nice imperial version of this in the making in my basement at some point...

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Photo of Yeastcakes
3.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving notes - 45F, imperial pint glass.
A - beautiful smoke flavor with hint of malt in the background. Smoke is present but not overwhelming.
A - About two fingers of head with a good mix of bubble sizes that quickly collapses to a quarter inch or so. Almost clear amber with just a hint of haze.
M - medium body, some perceived slickness from the smoke, medium to high carbonation.
T - It takes just a split second and then the smoke filled my tongue. It passes though, is quickly followed by some malty sweetness on the tip of the tongue and then finishes nice and dry. This beer really had a great beginning, middle and an end to its taste.
D - Dry finish makes this a very drinkable amber in spite of the very present smoke. You can bet I order this if I see it on tap.

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Photo of glid02
3.55/5  rDev 0%
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 MrHungryMonkey
4.04/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nose is malty and estery with roasted malt/sugar, some spice and vanilla. Smells great.

Pours clear deep gold, mild head. Looks pretty good.

Tastes richly roasted with hints of smoke. Moderately sugary with roasted sugar and lots of caramel and full bodied malt. Mild bitterness. Mild hop - soft and mostly bittering. Slight chocolate, slightly dry powdery roast/yeast. Creamy smooth. Tastes good. Feels pretty good. Good drinkability.

The initial smokiness nods at Rauchbier, but I'd like to see a deeper smoke.

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Photo of gford217
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy caramel brown with lots of orange when held up to the light. There's a one-inch beige head that recedes slowly and leaves a soapy film on top and bits of lacing.

The aroma is a combination of sweet caramelized malts and smoked wood. There's plenty of smoke but it's not overpowering or as meaty as I've had in other rauchbiers. There's also some sort of zesty hop thing going on in the nose that doesn't seem to fit in too well, but I'm not exactly sure what it is.

The taste is good and the zesty kick from the nose is not present so I'll say it's a tad better than the aroma. There is enough smoke to offset the massive caramel malt backbone but probably not as big a presence as I would prefer.

The mouthfeel is creamy with lots of carbonation, maybe a little too much for me. The smoke leaves a slight dryness in the finish.

This is a solid rauchbier, but I wouldn't put it up there with the Schlenkerla beers. Then again, I love a big ole' super smoky rauchbier so take that statement for what it's worth.

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Photo of GarrisWH
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep, clear, reddish amber with a minimal, light tan head that diminishes to a spotty cap fairly quickly. Not a whole lot in terms of lacing.

S - Sweet, toasted malt aromas with a substantial woody smokiness. A slight spicy hoppiness hiding in the background.

T - Toasted malts with a sweet, caramel character up front. Then the smokiness pushes through along with crisp, fruity, apple apple flavors. Smokiness carries through the finish, which also has a nice, ever-so-slightly bitter, spicy hop kick. I like how the smoke flavors are pronounced, but are kept in check in this one. Nice, fairly complex flavors.

M - Medium bodied with nice, crisp carbonation.

D - Easy drinking with a nice flavor profile. Solid smoke presence that manages to stand out without being overpowering. I don't have a lot of experience with Rauchbiers, but enjoyed this offering quite a bit.

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Photo of jsh420
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours clear copper with a 1 finger head that left some lacing

smells of sweet carmel malts and some smoke

taste is sweet carmel malts - not overpowering smoke but you can taste it with every sip - i also pick up some soapy flavors??

mouthfeel is light/medium not much carbonation that gives it a smooth creamy finish

drinkability is good - not an overpowering beer but a nice lager with a subtle smokey flavor

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