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 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.

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Photo of GregJ
2.82/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Smokey, malty, sweet aroma. Crystal clear deep amber. The smokey flavor lives up to its namesake but is not a nice balance in this beer. The malt flavor and body are too light. It would be a much better fit in a porter with deep roasted malts.

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

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear reddish copper with a half finger tan head that fades pretty quickly. Ok lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma moderate smoke, light coffee, caramel, and toasted malt. Not really any hops detectable.

The taste has a pleasing smoke mixed with a healthy dose of toasted malt. Kind of tastes like an amber with a little smoke added. Some toffee and caramel. A slight tartness on the tip of the tongue along with a moderate bitterness finishing slightly sticky. Mouthfeel terrible though being extremely thin and watery.

Overall, an ok rauchbier but far from the top in the style. I would drink it again, though, purely for the ease of accessibility and lack of rauchbiers on the market.

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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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.75/5  rDev -22.5%
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 confer
2.71/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I've been wanting to try a Rauchbier for a while. This beer came in variety pack. Unfortunately there two more bottle to drink. The color is orange brown. During the pour a head tries to form but it never really get there.
The smell is actually quite good. There is no smokey smell, it smells like an ordinary lager.
This is definitely an acquired taste. I've had other smokey tasting beers, but this was the first true Rauch.

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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 BDIMike
2.38/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Pours a clear amber color with a very thin white head. However, there is a nice lace that stays as I drink.
Smell is a strong smoky taste. The smoke overpowers any other smells in the drink.
Taste is purely of smoke. There is such a strong smoke taste that it overwhelms anything else advertised on the label.
Mouthfeel is okay. There is a medium to little thickness, but a sharp and harsh aftertaste that is not pleasant.
Drinkability is bad. I can't finish this beer. I finish every beer I start. I normally love Fort Collins, but I would not recommend this beer to anyone.

 578 characters

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.

 310 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.

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Photo of dkoehler42
2.28/5  rDev -35.8%
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 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.

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Photo of IronGiant
1.86/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I was talking with the manager of my local brew bar about Fort Collins beer. We're both big fans of Fort Collins brews and I was surprised when he said he had a FC beer he couldn't give away. "I put it on sale for a dollar and no one will drink it."

Okay, so I had to try it. Pour me the Z Lager.

Z Lager looks very nice in a pint glass. It smells smokey, which is to be expected for this style. But then...there is the taste.

The best descriptions I have come from two other bar patrons:

Patron 1: "This tastes like they drained bacon fat from a dirty griddle into this glass."

Patron 2: "No, this tastes like I accidentally dropped my cigarette in the glass then picked it up and drank it."

I like a rich, smoky beer, but I don't like this one. Nope, it really is cigarette bacon beer.

Odd that this comes from Fort Collins which brews such great beers. Their Rocky Mountain IPA is one of my favorites and is an undiscovered gem.

 939 characters

Photo of sweemzander
1.72/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Thanks to cjacobsen for this one. . i think.

(A)- Pours a dark/burnt caramel colored amber. Produced some tan bubbles and froth.

(S)- Intensely smoky. Bits of a rye-like caraway seed spice, but otherwise just smells like liquid smoke and a sickly sweet soy sauce or old molasses and fermented raisins.

(T)- Same as the smell. Tastes like liquid smoke and a sickly sweet, almost sour flavor like bad raisins or something.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Extremely smoky and so sugary, its almost sour if that makes any sense.

(D)- I am no a fan. I am appreciate a good smoked beer, but I am not sure what this wants to be.

 659 characters

Photo of Jesse13713
1.54/5  rDev -56.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Pours a smoked cloudy caramel brown. No real hint of amber color on this one. Low carbonation and poor lacing.

Smell - A very strong smoked smell. Small hints of bacon that slowly take over the smell of the beer.

Taste - I definitely get that 'smoked on the fire' description as stated on the bottle. However, this isn't necessarily a good taste. It pairs poorly with the smokey bacon light body. No hop or ethanol characteristics at all.

Mouthfeel - An unpleasant smokey taste. It tastes like I'm guzzling down ground up campfire coals.

Drinkability - Easily drinkable but not very enjoyable.

The verdict - I personally did enjoy this beer at all. I was very disappointed with it after getting excited to see it in my local store. It tasted very similar to Three Skulls Buccaner Bacon, which was also not very good.

 834 characters

Photo of Duster72
1.35/5  rDev -62%
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.

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