Z Lager | The Fort Collins Brewery

Z LagerZ Lager
Liked This Beer
3.53 w/ 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 322 |  Reviews: 216
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.

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Photo of glid02
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
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 +14.4%
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 +1.4%
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 +12.5%
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 +3.4%
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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Photo of Shaw
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brewery is a new arrival in Florida. Years ago a buddy of mine who visited Fort Collins a lot brought back a growler of one of their beers.

This pours a nice copper/mahogany in color with an off-white head that reduces to a thin layer of foam.

Its aroma is lightly smoky.

The taste is also lightly smoky, with a nice malt flavor. It's balanced and not a big smoky mess.

Smooth and creamy body.

Overall this is a nice smoked beer that's subtle enough to be a beer to drink regularly and introduce people to the style.

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Photo of thryn
3.73/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark but luminous copper with a finger or so of cream-colored head that leaves some spots of lace on the glass.

Smells sweet and slightly smoky; caramel and distant campfire. Simple.

Taste is better -- the smoke is more dominant, hitting the palate profoundly, then fading a bit so that the caramel malt can come through. It finishes with a nice bitterness.

Creamy mouthfeel with ample carbonation. Seems a bit heavy on the tongue for a lager. Sticky.

I love rauchbiers and could drink a couple of these pretty easily.

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Photo of cdizinno
3.01/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: poured into a tulip glass from a brown bottle with no best by date.

A: Pours a clear dark copper color, almost brown with an off-white head and minimal lacing.

S: Sweet malt and caramel. I didn't really smell any smokiness at first. After a couple of sips there is definitely a mild smoke scent.

T&M: Definitely taste some mild smokey flavor and heavy sweetness. Medium bodied with little to no carbonation. More like a bland brown ale.

After reading several other reviews I am beginning to believe I may have an old bottle. The beer is almost flat. It tastes good but the mouthfeel is almost not there.

D- I'm a big fan of smoked beers and this is another tasty one. Not my favorite, but an easy drinking one that I wouldn't mind having again. Would make an excellent tailgating/cookout beer.

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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.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fort Collins- Z Lager

A- Light amber brown with a small filmy, non lacing, head.
S- Light sweet smokey malt.
T- Sweet smokey BBQ sauce with a touch of toasted bready malt. Brown sugar and oak are prominent.
M- Sugary sweet and dry smokiness throughout. Charred oaky woodsy finish.

Overall- Decent but nothing inspiring. Worth a bottle or 2.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.29/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this from a friend.

A: Pours an amber body with a small white head without much retention and lacing to speak up. HEad seemed to dissipate pretty quickly, leaving very minimal lacing as I drank the beer.

S: A grapefruit and roasted malt smell with some bitter notes was not quite what I was expecting, given the style.

T: A bitter and smoky taste that was more to the style. There was a meaty and smoky aftertaste that did well to complement each other. As the beer warmed up, more of the smokiness came out, making for a decent tasting smokebeer.

M: A little on the thin side of medium-bodied, but still felt pretty nice on the palette.

D: A decent mouthfeel and taste combination makes this beer pretty easy to drink. As more of the smokiness came out, it made the beer nicer. Decent smokebeer overall.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.92/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a clear copper colored brown with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt, caramel and some smoke as well. Not a huge amount of smokiness, but it is definitely there.

T- The taste like the aroma is made up largely of smoked malts with some caramel and a touch of hops in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- I'm a big fan of smoked beers and this is another tasty one. Not my favorite, but an easy drinking one that I wouldn't mind having again. Would make an excellent tailgating/cookout beer.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color with a medium head and long lasting lace.

The aroma was mostly malts and smoke.
The taste starts off with a mildly bitter yet smoky sausage grilled flavor. Some light hops.

The feel is slightly creamy,smooth,medium body and low carbonation.

Notes: This was so welcomed at my latest grilling session. Smoky and flavorful,but not overwhelming.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So far gotta love the Fort Collins lineup, these beers are excellent. I kept on passing on them for the longest time. They definitely need a rep in the Burgh these beer has potential to sell. Anyways, this smoked lager pours a beautiful amber ruby hue with a light off white cream colored head. Lacing is even and covers the edges of my chalice like a blancket between each sip. A great nose of mild smoked malts, with slightly charred wood and smoke bacon at the minimal. Herbal hops also play nicely with the smoked malt additions, classically American style. Flavor has a great round edge of smokiness with sweet amber and caramel malt lager characteristics again hop flavor comes through as herbal, yet the flavor that finishes the beer is the smoked malt kickin' through. Like an American version of Spezial Ruachbier, great stuff. It's not going to kick compared to an scherlenkerla bier but it's sweet to taste the German influences in American micros. Mouthfeel is a fuller bodied lager, soft carbonation with lingering smoked wood and lightly salted smoked meat components. Drinkability overall is wonderful a beer that I'm proud to represent every time I try to remember my Z beer in the alphabetical list in the database.

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Photo of nickfl
4.22/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of white head on a clear, reddish-brown body. The foam settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Sour, smoky note with caramel and toffee. Lots of sweet, rich malt and a hint of plum like fruitiness.

T - Toasted malt, balanced by spicy hops up front. The smoke really becomes apparent in the middle with woody notes and perfume like floral qualities. The smoke lingers in the finish with some toasted malt and spicy hops.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Very nice, the smoke is readily apparent and adds a great deal of character to the hoppy amber lager body, but it does not overwhelm the palate. The smoke seems a bit more restrained than the German versions that I have had, but it has all of the same qualities and could be a good introduction to the style. A great example of the style.

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Photo of PEBKAC
3.87/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into my Sly Fox tumbler. Blank BB date box on the bottom left corner. Purchased two months ago at New Beer.

Two inches of fragile coffee creamer head. A just slightly hazed caramel amber color.

Smells of caramel, itchy red pepper flakes, & salty bacon grease. More so in the background, I get some stale chocolate & a tease of bitter greens.

Taste upfront with caramel & crackermeal, followed up with sweet smoke similar to hickory. The meatiness of the brew comes off more like smoked turkey then the expected bacon or sausage or rib meat. Moderately juicy & salivating. Just a twinge of bitter pine resin gives some extra dimension to a usually one-sided style.

Frothy, slightly lower carbed mouthfeel & a chalky finish.

Enjoyable. :)

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Photo of Billolick
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 32 ounce bottle/growler filled at DeCiccios in Ardsley, NY. Pours dark, ruby/blood orange tinged, amber, minor head and just a smidge of lace. Seems to be on the low carbonation side of things. Moderate smoke in the nose. Pleasantly malty brew, noticable, but fairly restrained levels of smoke. Complexity is enjoyable and this one would likely go well with some BBQ. Nothing amazing, but pleasant enough smoke up offering, worth a try for those with a taste for a smike infused, easy drinking lager.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.69/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale copper color with very little white foam. No retention or lacing.

Salty, smoked pork nose. I am pleasantly surprised by the bold smokiness I am getting. I was worried it would be a dumbed down American version of a rauchbier.

Unfortunately, the smokiness in the flavor is a bit more tame, but still tasty. Has a heavy caramely malt base that brings forth a sweetness that does not match really well with smoky and salty flavors. Overall though, it is a pretty impressive offering from FCB, probably the first I have had that I would actually buy a sixer of.

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Photo of riversider76
3.56/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange with a one finger white head. Excellent retention and lacing. Aroma is of smokey Carmel malts and dark fruits. Body is light to medium with some carbonation. Taste is nicely smoked. Malty,and hints of dark fruits. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Drew966
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Z Lager pours a dark orange with a thin tan head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The flavor is quite malty and the smoke is quite noticeable but it isn't as strong as the smoke in some German rauchbier that I've had. Lots of caramel as this beer warms. Not bad, I could drink a few of these.

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Photo of Jayli
4.2/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a gorgeous clear orange-red. Not much of a head to speak of, what is there recedes very quickly with a tiny little white film layering the top, very little spotty lacing left. Nose is of deep toasted malts and smokiness - reminds me of smoked bacon without much of the bacon smell. Taste is sweet at first, caramel malts lead the way, and then leads in to toasted malts and a great smoked flavoring. They've blended this nicely - perfect balance of sweet and smoked. Mouthfeel is a medium bodied, smooth beer, slightly creamy, nicely carbonated, slight aftertaste. This beer goes down far too easily - a definite can and will sit with it for an evening.

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Photo of williamherbert
3.87/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is flaming, clear red-orange. Not much head retention. Looks a bit watery. Tiny bubbles.

Lagery malt smells, topped by a bacon-y, smoky aroma. Tad of roasted barley.

The lager malt taste is crisp and sweetish. Has a bready quality (all-malt). Notes of mocha and cocoa; caramel malts, toasted. Leaves a smoky aftertaste.

The feel is lagery smooth, but with a creamy, ashy feel at the swallow. Smoky and pretty nice. Really a lager with hints of smoke rather than a true Rauchbier.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.36/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $4.50 at The Porter in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a nearly clear, mahogany-hued body with a smallish, ivory-colored head.

Smell: Toasted, crisp malts, faint caramel, and fair scent of wood-smoked apple skins.

Taste: Toasty malts with a light caramelized sugar sweetness. Red Delicious apple fruitiness. Restrained, even-handed smoke component that careful not to overwhelm the lager underneath. Mild spicy, floral hops with a medium-low bitterness. Finishes dry with a final taste of applewood smoke.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Just the right amount of smoke layered onto a light, refreshing lager. Sort of the young kid brother of the Schlenkerla brews. Paired fairly well with the Fish n' Chips.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.73/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I seem to consistently give beers from this brewery slightly better scores than other BAs do, and this beer is no exception. It's not so much that I think the beers are stellar, but merely that they are well made, often in unexciting styles, but not really extreme in any way. They are what they are, and what they are are simple, well-made beers. Now a Rauchbier might not fit the bill for that philosophy, but this one is relatively balanced and while there is some moderate smokiness, it isn't quite the salami taste that some of the style has. In other words its smoky enough to be interesting, but still accesible enough to appeal to someone who isn't used to the style. Brown with little head with a very light amount of malt, grain , and smoke on the nose. The taste is a bit smokier and maltier. Smooth and easy to drink. Not bad at all.

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Z Lager from The Fort Collins Brewery
Beer rating: 41.3% out of 100 with 322 ratings
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