Spezial Rauchbier Lager | Brauerei Spezial

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Spezial Rauchbier LagerSpezial Rauchbier Lager

Brewed by:
Brauerei Spezial

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Unser Lagerbier ist die bekannteste Rauchbiersorte aus unserem Spezialitätenangebot. Das bernsteinfarbige Bier mit seinem feinem, mildem Rauchgeschmack lässt auch Skeptiker zum überzeugten Rauchbierfan werden. Der Stammwürzgehalt dieses Bieres beträgt ca.12% - daraus resultiert der Alkoholgehalt mit ca.4,7%

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-19-2002

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Reviews: 235 | Ratings: 292
Photo of putnam
4.57/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Old bourbon colored.
Smells of apple and applewood smoke, like someone is drinking Pommeau de Normandie in a log cabin, with only fruit wood for light and fuel. Truly an inspiring image. The taste attacks sweet but is quickly overcome by smoldering tannins. Calvados barrels are here, carelessly enflamed, to yield their perfumes indiscriminately and finally. Steaming hearth bread, exhausting the ripest dough fumes of its lifecycle, provide exquisite chewing material in body and supple texture. This is another great import, great not because it is imported, but great because it is packed with premium ingredients and *dry* rather than syrupy sweet.

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Photo of JeremyK
4.57/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into a mug. This beer had a nice rich caramel color to it. Lacing was minimal and head retention was quick. In the mouth, this beer is a nice medium bodied lager with a slight sweetness of malt followed by a subtle smokiness, finishing with more maltiness. Carbonation is very well balanced. Lower alcohol level makes this beer perfect as a session beer. Excellent beer for grilled foods, nuts and cheeses. This beer went down fast!

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Photo of sparkydoyle
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 17 oz bottle. Small oily head, clear chestnut color, and with a slight smoked nose (not so smoked that one couldn’t pick out malty/bready and a decidedly roasted note).

The taste is complex offering a smoky foretase that seemed to build and then ebb as the beer was consumed. Interesting mineral notes in the middle combined with a roasted malt note that at points met up with the smoke and the sweetness. Overall the beer was very low in hops, but offered a sweet finish that became sweeter and more roasted tasting as the beer warmed. Nice balance between the flavor notes, and every flavor played a well-practiced solo at some point.

Tasters may compare this to the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier beers ( which come in marzen, wheat and urbock styles—styles also brewed by Spezial.) The Lager is sweeter, has less alcohol, and less-assertive smokyness. The roastyness added interest.

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Photo of TKempe
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper to dark orange in color, with a dense white head, perfectly distributed carbonation and some good sticky lacing.

The aroma is very malty/grainy and toffee-like, supported by a fruity, ale-like note and a mild but very sophisticated touch of smoke. Hops are slightly noticeable.

The taste follows the nose. After a sweet malty phase, the beer finishes pretty clean with a touch of hops, some salty malt flavors and a nuanced smoky note shining through. Quite a delicate and friendly taste, with the element of smoke integrated perfectly (just like in a good single malt Scotch).

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy -- perfectly right!

Don't expect the intensity of Schlenkerla, expect a lovely beer with a pyrotechnic hint.

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Photo of popery
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle, home. Bright copper-amber liquid, crystal clear, with a fizzy, white, dissipating head. The aroma is milder and more refined than other rauchbier that I've tried, mostly Schlenkerla. Spezial's Lager tends more toward rich caramel and fruity malt. The smoke doesn't make the beer feel old or hammy. It's more like a fresh, mesquite-ish accent to a nice malty lager. The flavor is relatively sweet but also much bigger than its abv would suggest, a bit like a good mild. It's a great malty lager flavor, nutty and yeasty. Soft feel. Very good lager.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.46/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Golden with amber hues, lots of suspended sediment, and light carbonation with a low filmed light tan head. Nice smoky nose; not overdone. Nice smoke-malt balance. Medium bodied and smooth but a bit light compared to the Aecht Schlenkerla; most likely due to the Lager base.

A nice subtle nicely balanced intro to the style.

Per label: "ABV 4.6%" & "Since 1536" & "Barley Malt cured by Natural Beechwood Smoke" & "Lager" & "Dunkel Lagern"

($4.04 / 16.9 oz. tall brown sleek Euro style bottle)

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Spezial is one of Bamberg's oldest breweries, with records dating back to 1536. The name is derived from the word "Spezeln" (local dialect), and means "a gathering of friends". It's been owned by the same family since 1898; and they have their own, small malting facility. They supply a few accounts in the area and have their own beergarden (Spezi Kellar); and ship a small amount of beer for export. They've recently introduced a kellar lager that's available in the spring and fall, but other than that their beers are all smoked.
Poured into a tall pilsner glass from the 25 oz bottle, it delivers a clear, deep-amber/copper body with an orangeish glow and some golden highlights at the base of the glass. Plumes of very tiny, somewhat effervescent bubbles stream upwards towards its creamy ivory head. The head retention is very good and it holds well and leaves some nice lace about the glass. The aroma displays a distinct, but nicely restrained, Beechwood smoke over a grainy maltiness. Very nicely done! There are some examples that push the limits, and there are some that hold back a bit too much, but like the finest examples of the style this one is right on. The body is medium; and combines with a very fine-bubbled, median carbonation it gives a lightly crisp and then smooth mouthfeel. In the flavor, the Beechwood smokiness is wrapped within a blanket of distinctly grainy, lightly toffee-ish malt. It's very well balanced between the two; and backed by a firm bitterness that becomes more solid at the swallow, leaving it to finish dry with some rising, spicy hops and just a mild touch of lingering smoke. Although some tasters might believe that this is a bit restrained for the style, that's far from the truth. Not all Bamberg rauchbiers are as bold as the best known examples; and in fact, this is a perfect example of the very drinkable and balanced dunkle lager that you might find at a tavern, hotel, or keller in the area. Its smokiness does not build on the palate after a few litres, and it retains its lightly sweet and grainy maltiness. Very nice! An excellent example of an authentic Bamberg-style rauchbier that's absolutely worth trying!

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Photo of seanyfo
4.39/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

50cl serving in a seidel at Spezial, Bamberg

A - Amber/gold body with excellent clarity. 3 finger creamy white head produces average retention/lacing

S - Notes of Stornoway black pudding,bacon and light caramel malt

T - Light biscuit malt with smoke/black pudding coming in with hint of toasted malts in a clean full finish.

M - Medium carbonation/body

D - For me by far the best rauchbier in Bamberg. This bacon/black pudding note is awesome with the kiss of biscuit malts. It goes down far too easy. Excellent.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.39/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$3.99 for a 1pt 0.9fl oz bottle @ Merchants. Pours to a chill-hazed burnt orange, forming a small off-white head with average retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is moderate-strong. The smell is as expected for a rauchbier....a clean ferment with abundant smoked malt, giving it a ham/bacon aroma that may be off putting to some, but I happen to love Rauchbiers. The nose is on par with Schlenkerla. The mouthfeel is clean and crisp with a medium to medium-light body that makes me want more body, but increases it's drinkability perhaps. Easy to drink. Bitterness is mild and the mild grainy sweetness of the malt and the noble grassy hops all fall into a wonderful balance with the smoke. Lingering woodiness and smoke in the aftertaste.

This is a clean well-done rauchbier, although I want a thicker body. I would gladly buy this again. Recommended.

Rereview 7/25/09-This time, pours out to a limpid mildly carbonated dark tan, with not much smoke in the nose, actually quick a bit more malt, like a bock or dopplebock with suggestions of raisins and prunes. Mouthfeel is still somewhat thin for the style, and smoke is there, but mild. Still pretty good, but I wonder if I don't have a fresh bottle.

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Photo of foles
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Brauerei Spezial in Bamberg - on an especially rainy day. A lovely dark looking lager colour in the glass. Smoked flavour is more prominent in the smell than in the taste. Very drinkable - beer is very smooth rather like a helles. Its a better bet to try this rauch beer first as its a good introduction to the style without being overpowered with smoke.

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Photo of MillRat
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the brauerei in Bamberg.

A rich coppery color with a white head that faded to ring that left plenty of lacing behind. A nice malty aroma that mingled with a subtle beechwood smoke. The flavor delivered on the aroma's promise, with a more mild rauch flavor than that from the brewery on the other side of the river. The solid medium-weight malt body balanced the rauch, plus a touch of hop bitterness, too. Nothing out of place, everything where it needs to be, by far the most sessionable smoked beer I've had.

When in Bamberg join the locals at the long tables and drink the smoked beer Bambergers drink.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Exactly as per the BA Database picture, the cream colored label on this one is very Teutonic. The neck label identifies this as the Special Rauchbier ‘Lager Bier’ with a green stripe, the neck label also states that this is Alc. 4.6% Vol. (I note that this different to the that listed). Reverse label includes a Bottled On Date of 02-09-04. Imported by Shelton Brothers. The date of 1536 on the label is genuine and shows that this is one of Bamberg’s oldest Breweries that is still in family hands.

Appearance: Pours with a massive creamy off-white Teutonic Kopf that fills the Glass. The thick deep head soon rescinds to a rocky covering that laces well and leaves a floating broken rocky iceberg like appearance. The body is a beautiful copper color, perfectly clear with a lovely orange hue when back-lit. Gorgeously smooth carbonation, velvet like in character when lightly swirled.

Nose: Lightly smoked aromas, like a fresh cut cedar, the woody aspects mix extremely well with the more grainy malts. Refreshing nose that is very inviting.

Taste: Grainy malt start, woody, bitter and rather dry. Some creamy toffee in the middle rises as the smoked character builds. Crisp and very clean the lines are well put together. Finishes with a soft light smoked caramel feel that is delicate but firm.

Mouthfeel: Decent feel but the crisp clean lines can make it feel like it only has an average to above-medium feel. Nevertheless, the smoky finish assists in leaving you with a finish that is far from wanting.

Drinkability: One of the more restrained Rauchbiers that I have had, but I actually think that shows some class, it is nicely balanced and the lighter smoked character in this Rauchbier makes for a very drinkable offering. Usually I can only handle one Rauchbier, but I could easily manage several of these beauties with little problem or heartburn.

Overall: Perfect, I like Rauchbiers, but so often they are overkill. This one is absolutely spot on and just right, the smoke is just enough, not too much and not too little, but perfectly in balance. Extremely nice example of a Rauchbier.


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Photo of apintofknowledge
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Holy moley! This just hit the spot. The aroma alone is mouthwatering... sweet and smokey. Pours a beautiful crystal clear light mahogany with a big frothy white head that disappates rather quickly. Now for the taste... initial cereal sweetness is followed by a tangy and smokey middle. Not overly smokey, but clearly distinctive. The smoke lingers as the bubbles of carbonation dance on my tongue providing a lightness to the finish. The more I drink, notes of tobacco, toffee, clove and cumin come through.

Initially excellent, it seems to get a little watery and thin as I get past the halfway point in my glass. Still, quite a tasty and smokey brew. Looking forward to trying it again when it gets warm enough to fire up the charcoal grill.

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Photo of Drew966
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spezial Rauchbier Lager pours a slightly hazy orange/copper color with a thick white head from a brown twenty five ounce bottle. There is a mild malty sweetness and a subdued smoke character in the aroma. The flavor starts off with a sweet maltiness and then the smoke flavor comes in. This is relatively mild on the smoke flavor compared to others I've tried. Nicely balanced and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of beerking1
4.29/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice gold-orange color, with a small but tight head that leaves huge lace all the way down the glass. It is a little hazy. Aroma is softly smoky, grainy, and toasty, very nice and sweet. Flavor is grainy and smoky, malty sweet with a very restrained noble hop. Smoke comes through the most in a soft aftertaste. Very pleasant beer with a great but restrained smoke character.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.29/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Adored by many who don't adore Schlenkerla, it is close to my favorite Bamberg bier. While I love them all, I always visit the Spezial for their beer. Good beer, some smoke, but not overwhelming. Try it, if you can find it.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured copper/amber with particulates. The head was white and fell back quickly, but laced the glass.

The aroma was smoke and vienna malt.

The flavor was smoke, but not overdone. In the background is the vienna/maerzen beer that is the background of traditional rauchbier.

The finish was dry and subtle smoky lasting into a pleasant aftertaste. The body was medium.

16.9 ounce bottle. Lager beir on neck label. 4.6% ABV on neck label.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Moan and Dove. Really, wicked good dark amber appearance with a slowly thinned head. The smell was the key; it was a little hard to discern at first. Yes, it definitely had a "smoked" texture to it, but the real flavors of both malt and grain were deliciously discovered through the nostrils. Those same flavors were bittersweetly shown in the taste of the beverage. A pretty good medium body saved it from being too watery. Overall, this is definitely a drink to check out.

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Photo of selecter70
4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not at all what I expected, but no misgivings here. As i saddled up to the Other Side bar on a cold, wet Spring day, I decided on the rauchbier, much maligned sadly. It seemed like the perfect day for a deep, smoky rich beer, instead of a porter, as I had some great lamb meatloaf awaiting me. Instead, a bright coppery pour to dark honey lager looking 0.5l stein came my way with a fluffy white 1 finger head on board. The white lace stuck about in small pockets and minimized on top as I drank. I thought that the aroma would be smoky as well, but only in a subtle "if you were looking for it, you'd notice it" kind of way. Likewise with the flavor; only a subtle smokiness that rounded off the malt flavors in this exceptional near dunkel lager. Fresh, crisp and a bit bubbly to the mouth, this is one you could drink & drink & drink...and watch your smile grow. A damn fine surprise!

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Photo of 100floods
4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

While the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen will always be my favorite german beer, Spezial puts up a great fight. medium dark amber color with a smokey sweet, honey after taste. this 'lager' as the label claims is refreshing, especially after a hot day at work. It has a lasting flavor i that i never get from lagers (i also don't drink many so I can't boast). Perfect for BBQs, to drink, and for marinades (why the hell not). I have only been able to find the 'bigger' bottles at bevmo and once at Toronado. I hope to see more of this. I'm not a huge fan of lagers, but this baby, only at 4.6 % will keep me coming back.

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Photo of DrewHodges
4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from 4/8/10 tasting; .5L bottle poured to ceramic Spezial beer krug.

A--can't see color well in the ceramic mug, but a light bubbly head that settled to very thin, some sediment floating

S--wonderful smoky ham smell and the signature roast malts of rauchbiers

T--excellent flavor, a light smokiness, balanced flavor compared to Schlenkerla

M--this bottle might be a tiny bit old based on the flattish watery mouthfeel, but still pleasant

D--very drinkable beer, one of the few rauchbiers you can enjoy several in a row

Drank this beer numerous times living in Bamberg, and the export bottles in the US just aren't nearly on par with what you can get in the Spezial brew pub, but still nice to have it once in awhile to bring back the memories...

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Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Armsby Abbey.

Big fluffy head over the top of the mug, clear toasty orange golden brown color.

Nose great toasty malts, oktoberfest like toasty malts, munich malt, light smoked malts, some lager fruits.

Taste starts with some smoked malts, not really the smoke meat or cheese level but nice smoke flavor, some light toasty malts, definite lager yeast with fruit and a crisp flavor, light sweet syrupy reddish munich malts, finishes a bit drier but sticky, lingering lots of malts, hint of bitterness and some smoked malts.

Mouth is med to a bit lighter bodied, good carb, very crisp.

Overall great, nice smoke that isn't overpowering, great crisp lager flavors, nice malts, almost oktoberfest like.

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Photo of blakesell
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from .5L bottle into a huge 1L Beer mug.

Appearance- Pours thick and caramel coloured with a huge head of froth that is just a bit larger than the beer content itself. 55% head roughly. Quickly dissapates to thin bubbles on the top.

Smell- Smoke and malt. There is no mistaking this is a rauchbier. Smoke is not overpowering as the malt is detectible and I would guess that Munich malt is what I'm smelling.

Taste- Smoke comes thru on the taste as well, balanced with the flavor of the lager. I would like to try a standard lager from this brewery to tell the difference without the smoke.

Mouthfeel- Well balanced and smooth. Finishes a bit watery, but still goes down nicely like a lager.

Drinkability- Very drinkable. Of all the rauchbiers I have had, I would say that this one is one of the most drinkable in the bunch. And at 5%, that could easily be very drinkable for a session.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

0.5 L bottle. Pours a solid copper color with a 2 finger head that falls very quickly to a light coat over top. There is a lot of chunky lace on the glass as the head recedes. Clarity is as good as it gets, and carbonation is not apparent in the glass. Nose brings a moderate smokeyness, with a moderate toastyness and bready sweetness behind it. The base and the smoke are both nicely sweet. Flavor initally hits with a nice sweet smokeyness. Not big and bold like other German rauchbiers, but enough to let me know what I'm drinking. This fades and lets a very nice and mild bready and toasty malt character shine through, finishing with a revisit of smokeyness after the maltyness fades. Mouthfeel is a light moderate with a solid moderate carbonation. This one is nice. It's not a smoke bomb that brings about the images of jerkey or chops, but I think it makes it more drinkable. This could be a session rauchbier, whereas others are only something I can do a bottle at a time. Good show.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle. This beer has a somewhat cloudy copper color topped with a small head. Malty aroma with a light smokiness. Toasted malt flavor with noticable smokiness throughout. No hop flavor. The malt is balanced by the smokiness. There's a little bit of apple cider flavor. Crisp mouthfeel. Alcohol is not noticable. This beer has a great drinkability. It's a great choice either paired with a meal or on its own.

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Spezial Rauchbier Lager from Brauerei Spezial
3.7 out of 5 based on 292 ratings.
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