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Z Lager | The Fort Collins Brewery

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Z LagerZ Lager
322 Ratings
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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 322 |  Reviews: 216
Photo of Jeckel
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
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 Herky21
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Durandal_777
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of elchingen
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of bzach
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of redleg411
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of BeerOps
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of Beaver13
3.76/5  rDev +6.5%
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 joshstevens87
3.77/5  rDev +6.8%
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

 640 characters

Photo of Yeastcakes
3.77/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

 776 characters

Photo of Jmamay22
3.77/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a somewhat hazy scarlet influenced amber with a thin off white collar. Not much to be seen as far as head retention. Smells lightly of smoke with a sweet floral and fruit background. Interesting and unique nose.

Taste is initially fruity and sweet. Quickly moves to a smokey and lightly hopped spiced finish. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium. Has a more subtle kiss of carbonation that pushes the flavor forward at a moderate pace rather than overwhelms. Drinkable and improved when paired with various meats. I enjoyed it with some lamb chops.

 561 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
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 joezak5
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

 729 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

 594 characters

Photo of thecarster1
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

 807 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a smokey, dark amber hue with just a little bubbling. OK lacing, with a quick ring of foam. Smokey, bready mlats ad a little bit of toasted oak and a little campfire. Caramel and bready malts with a dash of funky hops. Toasted barrel hits the middle, but fades away to the finish bringing back some dark caramel. The palate is very smooth and a touch of smoke. Since the smokiness is on the lighter side, this is a pretty sessionable rauchbier.

 450 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
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 Rayek
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stange.

A: Deep amber, with great clarity and minimal carbonation. An eggshell cap starts strong and slowly retreats to a thin film. Leaves a nice amount of lace.

S: Smoked malts are out front, but not overpowering. They mix with a caramel sweetness and light woodsy aroma to create what's best described as a mesquite barbecue effect.

T: The aromas carry through nicely into the flavor. The overall profile is light rather than assertive. The smoked malt is still out front. Bitterness has a lemon and pepper bite that's just enough to provide balance. The only detracting quality is a slight astringency in the finish.

M: The medium-light body is dry and has about the right amount of fizz.

D: This is a nice and safe Rauchbier. Its light flavor makes it a good intro to the style for the newcomer. A nice pickup.

 835 characters

Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A medium copper color with light carbonation and little foam. The aroma has a mild smokiness reminiscent hickory chips in a fire pit. The taste has a nice maltiness but I was expecting a little denser body, which seems a tad watered down, probably from being produced on the level it is. It has promise up front with the aroma but is weak on the follow-through.

 361 characters

Photo of drizzam
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a hazy dark amber/dark red in color, topped by a thin off white cap for a head. The head wasn't all that impressive, and it didn't leave a lot in terms of lacing.

S - The aroma is a mild caramelized malt with a very mild smoke aroma. It takes a bit of warming for the brews smokiness to really come through.

T & M - There is a decent smokiness as I drink this, one that is much more pronounced than in the aroma. There also seems to be a bit of that caramelized malt to help balance it out just slightly, but the smoke is predominant in this one. The mouthfeel is on the watery side...certainly more on the light side. Not a lot of complexity, but maybe the style doesn't lend itself to complexity.

D - Fort Collins has had a lot of brews that I have enjoyed a lot...this version of a Rauchbier isn't terrible, and it is something that anybody should try. There are certainly areas that could be improved, but overall I was quite impressed by it..

 962 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.82/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a clear orange color with some yellow highlights onthe edge of the glass. A nice 2" fluffy head lasts a while. Moderate lacing paints the glass.

Smell: caramel and a fresh smokey fire aroma is pleasant on the nose.

Taste: big caramel base, red apples, bits of honey, and mild bitterness is wrapped in a soft smokey tone. The smoke is not overwhelming and balances out some of the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp at the start, less so at the finish. Aftertaste is very long as the smoke filled sweetness sticks to the tongue.

Drinkability: this would be a great beer with some BBQ. As a stand alone it is interesting but not a session beer. Definitely worth a try.

 696 characters

Photo of Mdog
3.82/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy red-amber, decent head that fades out.

Smell: Sweetness, hint of smoke.

Taste: Nice sweet barbeque flavor, molasses and wood smoke, with the smokiness more apparent in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Easy to have a few in a sitting.

Picked this up on a recent trip to Iowa. Beers with smoke flavors seem to be somewhat rare, so I try them whenever I see them. This is a pretty good beer that doesn't overdo the smokiness. I'll have it again!

 460 characters

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.82/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried 14 Dec 2009.

Served in a 0.4 L Edel Pis dimpled mug. Medium brown head. Moderate carbonation. Clear dark ruby red color. Smoky caramely bacony aroma. Taste is quite similar, like smoky pancetta, caramel, smoked almonds. Finish is sweet, smoky and almondy. Moderate alcohol. Medium body.

Like drinking a BBQ.

 329 characters

Photo of jfcaa193
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Z Lager from The Fort Collins Brewery
Beer rating: 3.53 out of 5 with 322 ratings
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