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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: 291
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

159 reviews as of this posting. I picked this up on a whim on my last beer run. Thought it was finally time for me to try one of these from Germany. Well, am I glad I did. I had this over dinner - salad with blue cheese, chicken and honey orange almonds and craisins - and the light sour smokey notes in the lager highlighted the flavors in my dinner perfectly.

beyond this dinner, I'd have this again gladly as I found it to be quite flavorful but smoked in a mellow understated but balanced way.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stubby cocoa colored head left specs of lace all over the glass. Glowing chestnut colored beer. Smells like a mix of caramel malt and musty leather. Flavors of tea, leather, beef jerky, and caramel malt blend together nicely. The body is on the light side of full, and there is just the right amount of carbonation. A nice, well balanced, smoked beer.

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Photo of cichief
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a half-liter bottle.

A- Pours a nice deep amber with a nice tan head.

S- Subtle smokiness, some biscuit malt aroma, maltier than smoke.

T- More toasted malt, the Munich malt prevails, smoke is definitely muted compared to other Rauchbiers.

M- Very carbonated, thin to medium body, much like other German lagers from the region.

D- Much more drinkable than other Rauchbiers, reminds me of the times I pent int the Spezial Brewery in Bamberg.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from bottle in AZ:
A nice copper color pours with a good cream/ tan colored head. First aroma is of a hoppy spiciness (a bit surprising, in a good way), but then a background smokiness kicks in, and soon becomes all you can smell. Good amount of body to this brew, nice solid malt presence accompanied by a bit of malt sweetness, very nice. Finishes with a smoky finish, that soon infuses the whole taste of the beer from start to finish. The smoke is reasonably subdued though. Not quite as good and hearty as when sampled fresh at the brewery, but if this is all you can get don't miss it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice rauchbier, not as smokey as some, but still plenty of that campfire essence to it. pours rich copper in color with a slender tan head that doesnt last too long. smells like smoke, dark german malts, and even a touch of wheat malt. flavor is smokey up front, a little woody in the middle before the semisweet malt finish draws on. feel is good, mellow carbonation and a lighter body than the color would indicate. very drinkable in the summer season, particularly moving into fall. overall a nice beer, lighter on the smoke than some other rauchbiers, and rather affordable.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Big A bottle to my glass lidded mug. A really dark amber almost brown. The head is big tan and rick looking. It fade and leaves a nice lace.

The smell is not very strong. Smoky malt and a hint of hops.

Taste is very good. Smoky malt smoky hops, a smooth and mild beer, could be bolder.

Mouthfeel is good, thick but not real thick. Carbonation is ok kind of coating, smooth.

Drinkability is high. Very high, no complaints smooth and not real strong. MK

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Photo of smakawhat
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Church key into a 10oz tumbler.

Appears as a real nice amber color, copper like and clear. Head has a nice off white tiny bubble head that goes nowhere of about one finger. Foamy and gives decent lacing on the glass.

Smell is a muted typical beechwood, smoke etc.. for this style muted, but also a strange starchy vegetable potato like smell also. I still dig it.

Taste is a light smoke, and a carbonated soft finish combination. Strangely for this style a little soda cola sweet on the finish, and even perhaps a little spritzy.

I still dig it overall, seem to push the right Rauchbier buttons for me, so I still dig it.

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Photo of 1000Bottles
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber to light brown hue with a thin ivory head. Sweet aroma - roasty, light caramel, and a touch of smoke. Flavor is lightly smokey, with a touch of caramel, lightly sweet, but very well balanced. Very rich and creamy mouth for a beer under 5%. Nice lingering lightly sweet smokey finish.

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Photo of JackTheRipper
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear light brownish/amber. Head was about 1" initially, faded fast.

S: Smokiness is there but not overpowering, sort of like the smell on your hands after tending a good hardwood fire. It's different and very nice, actually. Also noted some sweet doughy aromas and just a whiff of fruitiness underneath it all.

T: Smoky, with an almost meaty character. There is a faint spicy taste. Nice malt base to build on. No real hop bitterness.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Alcohol warmth is low.

D&N: My first rauchbier! Thanks to the manager at Sharp Edge for pointing my towards this one. It's a different sort of beer than I'm usually drinking, and quite a pleasant diversion. I was worried that a "smoked" beer would be like drinking another Skullsplitter, so I was very wary of this one, but happily this one isn't like sucking on an ashtray. Worth a try.

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Photo of jonb5
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half litre bottle. Golden colour, clear, small poorly retained head. Aroma was like a smokery, as was the case with the other Rauchbiers I've sampled. Smoke was understated, tasted malty with hints of apple, smoke gave the beer more character than expected for a beer of 4.6% abv. Crisp body, smooth texture with more carbonation than expected. Overall a very well balanced beer, where the smoke is present but not over powering.

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Photo of lpayette
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt. 9fl oz. bottle

"Made with barley malt cured by natural beechwood smoke right in the brewery, in the old tradition of Bamberg" on the label.

Appearance- The color of this beer took me by surprise a bit. From the smell, I was expecting a dark lager, but this was amber-orange- a color likely to be found in an octoberfest bier. Head size highly dependent on the intensity of the pour. Not much head retention.

Smell- Plenty of smoked beechwood, salty smoked sausage, crystal malt, and pumpkin pie crust.

Taste- The first part of the sip is nearly tasteless like water. As the beer engulfs the palate a somewhat subtle wave of sweet malt goes through, followed by a tsunami of smoked beechwood. No bittering hops to be found, but there is some balance to the whole thing. Some salty meat is in the taste as well.

Mouthfeel- Thin at first, but the malt and smoke make this about medium-bodied.

Drinkability- Very easily quaffable. Nice taste, and something a little different.

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Photo of willjansen
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the wooden casks at Brauerei Spezial in Bamberg, Germany, which also happened to be our accommodation during our stay in Bamberg.

Appearance: Big, foamy white head with deep amber/reddish color - almost copper. A rather dark lager, and has a look of being "heavy bodied."

Smell: Not a lot to pick up off the aroma... a very slight smokiness when agitated, but giving away very little. Clean lager...

Taste: Smooth, clean brew with lingering smoky aftertaste and only a hint of smokiness during. After-breath of smoked malt, but definitely not overwhelming. Truly delicious, un-challenging version of a smoked lager and very enjoyable, fresh beer.

Mouthfeel: Slightly more agressive carbonation than others in the style, but works well with a lager such as this. Slick and dry at the same time, leaving a strong desire to move on to that next sip.

Drinkability: Easily drinkable; perhaps the easiest of any rauchbier I've ever had. Restrained smokiness makes it a good introductory beer for rauchbier beginners. Perhaps the quintessence of style and subtlety... not bad at all.

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Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy amber body with a cream colored, one finger head that retains quite well. Plenty of sheet and patch lace.

Aroma is wood smoked bacon, with a hint of hops and malt underneath.

Mouthfeel has a peppery hops bite, medium carbonation, and immediate sensation of smoky wood.

Taste is wood smoked bacon with a distant hops background. The beechwood smoked barley malt really dominates here.

Not as complex as it could be, but this is an interesting and historical style that I really enjoy. This oozes charcoaled beechwood malt, from start to finish. Very pleasant to sip.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured out a deep yellow with a one finger head, composed of rather large bubbles. It faded after a little while, but kept a bit of foam around the sides of the glass.

The aroma was only slightly smoky, not anywhere near as potent as Schlenkerla. I could detect medium-bodied caramel malts, and a little bit of hops. There was a hint of skunkiness, but not really much and it faded quickly.

The taste was of gently smoked malts, not overpowering. It was nice and mellow.

Mouthfeel was smooth.

Drinkability was nice and easy... it went down really well. I liked it a lot. If it were not for the cost, this would be a good session beer. As it is, I can see downing a couple with a few brats.

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Photo of Domingo
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah, Rauchbier, and smoked beers in general. It's a style I honestly enjoy as long as the smoke is allowed to dominate everything else. The Schlenkerla versions are a bit much for me, let's see how this one fares.
Pours a medium to tannish brown. Fluffy white head, good carbonation and clarity.
The nose is smoky, but not the infamous "BBQ sauce" scent some can have. There's a malty note in there and even a hint of clover-honey from the lager yeast.
The flavor is similar. Smoke's there in full-force, but it's really only a 50/50 pairing with the malt, which seems to be more of an amber in terms of flavor/color rather than the "dunkel" listed on the bottle. That might be a Bamberg thing as I've never been and am not as familiar with their traditions. Trace noble hops pop up here and there, but are more of a balancer than flavor component. It's easy to keep drinking this and the flavor never loses impact and the smoke never overpowers. If anything, the malt note comes out more as it warms a bit.
I've love to have more of this and I definitely think Spezial will be on my visit list whenever I make it to Bamberg. I'd imagine a pairing with pork or a stew would be great.
If all Rauchbiers were like this, I'd be more than happy.

EDIT: Had this in Bamberg and it's just as good if not better. Great pairing with some jagerschnitzel, too. I prefer it to the ones from Schlenkerla and would say it's definitely among the top beers in town. In fact, I'd say everything they had was top notch.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Deep Ellum, Allston. Served in a 0.4l German mug. Dark amber color. Fizzy white head that faded quickly. Slight smell of smoke in the nose. Nice peaty and smoky flavor, but not as intense as a typical rauchbier. Since this is a lager, I feel that the brewer wanted to tone that aspect down a bit so that it retained some of the drinkability of a lager. That is the quality that I liked the most: it had that smoky flavor, but was easy to drink in a big German beer mug. Light enough body, but had just enough malt behind it to make it a sturdy brew. A nice beer for smoked beer lovers, and a nice beer for lager drinkers - best of both worlds. Paired nicely with my pasta with sage and pumpkin cream sauce.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9oz bottle. Pours a brownish amber color with a nice white head. The aroma smells like smoked meats. The taste is a little more subdued than I was expecting but it features some of the delicious smoky flavors that are present in the aroma. Overall, this is a highly drinkable and enjoyable rauchbier that is recommended. In fact, this is actually a pretty good beer for those who are looking to ease into the enjoyable world of smoked beers.

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Photo of joeysmokedporter
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 500 mL bottle into a sam adams glass.

A: pours orange brown with a slight offwhite head, about 1 finger, that dissipates fairly quickly. noticeably murky and appears that it may be bottle conditioned, but cannot determine this as I did not see a layer of yeast at the bottom (perhaps I poured it all into the beer?).

S: slight amount of beechwood smoke w/ malt, toffee-like aroma, as expected from a German lager.

T: Up front there is definitely a hint of smoke, which serves more as a background character to the lager flavors that take center stage. Malt flavors are toffee and honey-like, rich like a German lager, but this ends with an acidic-like finish, perhaps a contribution of the smoke. As the beer is consumed, the smoke flavors become less and less prominent and the malt more dominant on the palate.

M: carbonation on the low side, about medium feel in body.

D: This is a very easy drinker; although I typically like more smoke character out of a beer, I feel like I could have a few of these, whereas one is usually enough with other smoked beers.

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Photo of Phatz
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very easy drinking beer but not big or exciting. I have only had one previous experience with a Rauchbier and that was at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in West Chester PA. That beer was cloyingly smoky (almost) this beer is barely smoky. Still it is a tasty lager that has a nice hint of smoke flavor.

Served in my Stange glass.

Appearance: Pours a copper amber orange color with a 3 finger off white head.

Smell: It is a reserved aroma though clearly a bit smoky. Sweet grainy malts and a fruity lager beer aroma are more prevalent in the nose than the smoky character. [EDIT - as it reached room temp the smokiness did gain some gusto]

Taste: My understanding is that this beer is the classic representation of the style, form one of the oldest breweries in Germany; despite the fact that is not as overpowering as the Rauchbier I had at Iron Hill. Starts with creamy feel and leads into toffee and caramel flavored malts that have distinct woody character and a light smoke attribute that builds through the center but remains conservative all the way through the finish. There is also a bready grain attribute through the middle. The aftertaste has a gentle and pleasant lingering dry smoke flavor.

Mouthfeel: The feel is not as big as it could be but apropos for a standard lager, so no complaints. It is smooth and easy from beginning to end.

Drinkability: I was expecting the bacon experience I had the last time. I must admit this "smaller" version of the style is *much* more approachable and easy drinking (enjoyable). If you are a fan of authentic German lagers give this a shot, the smoke flavor is just and added bonus and does not intrude on the drinkability.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: cloudy, solidly amber hue, adorned with a generous, meringue-ish, creamy head. Aroma: soft, before being the smokiness slowly unfolds and grows...where's the salmon, anyway?
Taste: mild, easy, minimal hops, adequate malt, this seems, underneath the smoke, to be a perfectly servicable dunkel lager, smooth and eager-to-please, but the smoke's what it's all about, dominating every inch of the experience, taking control with the first sip. This actually fades and mellows after a time, but never dies, and lingers on the palate. This is the first rauchbier I've had that was a simple lager underneath, the others being bocks, weizens, marzens (thinking of Schlenkerla here, which also has a bigger smokey character, if I recall) and ales. Don't think it works as well with a lager, perhaps there's less in the way of other characteristics to play with the smokey content.
In any case, for what it was, this was pretty nice, and the 500 ml bottle went down surprisingly fast!

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A – Poured a somewhat hazy, well more cloudy then hazy as it cleared up, but anyway light hazelnut brown color with a smallish, maybe a half inch of head on top. Ample carbonation could be seen streaming up from the bottom of the glass and this kept what little head there was alive for most of the session, A tiny bit of side glass lace formed initially, but even this waned and was left to nothing by the end, best trait was perhaps the reddish hue apparent in the color.

S – Lots of smoked goodness. It had a deep roasted malt and smoked aroma to it. At first this dominated it, but after a little while it started to taken on more of an earthen type of grassy aroma and had a very malty overall feel to the smell. It was a deep and robust aroma, something that could be picked up from across the room, but at the same time was light enough that it did not impart feelings of being a big brew, which it was not.

T – Now this one kinda surprised me to be honest. At first I thought it was going to come off a tad light for some reason, not sure why. But the flavor was very pronounced and had a wonderful fullness to it. Main flavor that sticks out to you in the smoked flavor, naturally, but it was more then just that. Underlying it was a great balanced earthiness that really seemed to bring it all together. The finish was great with lots of grassy flavors, but it was the sweetness, sort of a caramel or honey mixed in very small quantities that really helped to hammer it home. That little bit of extra really went a long way and giving the flavor much more depth and resistence to becoming well for lack of a better word boring. It really had just a nice touch to it and I enjoyed every last sip.

M – Very nice. The carbonation was not totally at the level that I would have liked to see, however it was more then decent at the very least. A bit of a slick finish and not as crisp as I would have thought, but that was not so much a big deal, as the flavors more then made up for any lack of production in this department.

D – Very nice indeed. This went down effortlessly and also perfectly with the game I was watching. Had almost no ABV at only 4% so it was almost like water, but the flavor offered much more then that it the total expierence. I could have easily put down a few if they were there, but they were not so I only had the one.

Overall this was a nice little brew for sure. I am not so sure that I would go out and get more of it or not, as there are soo many others I am waiting to try, however for just an all around good expierence this was nice. If it was offered I would not turn it away, and would love to expierence it on tap, as fresh this might be very good indeed. A would say it was a good call to try it if you see, but no need to seek it out at all costs.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An orange, copper beer with a small head.

Smell is a bit smoky on a base of malt with notes of nuts. Some bandaids, but not horrible. Some sausage smell.

Taste is malty with some smoke. Not the like a bonfire smokiness, but battling with the malt for first place. The malt is sweet and has some biscuity and honey notes. Although smoked beers are not widespread, this beer has a typical German character. A clean, well brewed beer with a bottom fermented taste. Aftertaste is smokey and a little dry. It seems like the bitterness also comes from the smoked malt.

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Photo of BucBasil
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from the 1 pint, 90z bottle into an imperial pint glass. the beer is a hazy light brown with orange highlights. Head was off-white to light tan, 2 fingers thick, and had OK retention.

Smell: Surprisingly sweet aroma included hints of leather and some smoke. More subtle than what I was expecting, which isn't really a bad thing. As the beer warms, caramel begins to shine through.

Taste: Sweet bready maltiness with ever-so-slight hints of smoke peeking through. I love the subtleness of the smoke flavor here. Even some light hops come into play here. Very smooth going down with hints of smoked sausage.

Very subtle smoky flavors, and not in your face like other examples of the style. Other rauchbiers can go overboard and it ends up smelling and tasting like a campfire, but this was well done and very drinkable.

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Photo of Tballz420
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew has a dark amber/copper body with a tan head that ran away from me. Slight smokey aroma on top of a malty lager scent. Kinda reminds me of a dark euro lager with smoke hints, slight hop flavor, nice level of maltiness. Med to light mouth. Not as intense on the smoke as say the rogue, makes this beer much more appealing to mainstream beer drinkers, i would think.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug a hazy tarnished brass, foam starts rocky and drops to a ring. Smell is a mellow smoked sausage making the saliva glands work in anticipation of the savory flavor. The taste is light lagerish with heavy smoke throughout. Malts are subdued and a low hop presence makes itself known. Mouthfeel is rather light, but the flavor makes up for any lack of character here. This beer disappears rather quickly. If you like smoke ales, then this lager based version is worth a try.

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Spezial Rauchbier Lager from Brauerei Spezial
3.7 out of 5 based on 291 ratings.
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