Saranac Rauchbier Smoked Lager
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Rauchbier Smoked LagerSaranac Rauchbier Smoked Lager
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German Rauchbier
Ranked #78
Ranked #45,470
3.31 | pDev: 13.9%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Saranac Rauchbier Smoked LagerSaranac Rauchbier Smoked Lager
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Reviews: 60 | Ratings: 70
Photo of woodychandler
3.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Ah, the joys of the Bottle Backlog! I have some in the basement's Beerfrigerator that I brought with me in the move from my parents' house over to Chez Woody that I have not looked at in a while. I was recently inspired to make today a New Saranac Beer Sunday (or New Beer Saraunacday (Week 661), if you will) & so this is a continuation thereof.

From the bottle: "Perfect for drinking around a crackling fire, this malty German style Lager is brewed with Bamberg Smoked Malt using only the best German hops and traditional Lager yeast. Look for a smooth malty flavor with a hint of smoke in the finish."; "The Spirit of the Adirondacks"; "Brewed in the Adirondack Foothills".

Once again, given the age of this bottle, I Pop!ped the cap & performed a slow, gentle pour into the awaiting glass. Once sufficiently decanted, an in-glass swirl raised a finger of foamy, light-tan head that wafted away into gloaming as I watched. Color was solid Amber (SRM = > 7, < 9) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was both smoky and sweet, like smoked honey, if that is possible! Here in southcentral PA, we have sweet Lebanon bologna & it has that selfsame combination of smoky & sweet. Mmm. Mouthfeel was kind of thin & watery. The taste was definitely of the malts with a honey-like lager sweetness and just a light smokiness. The smokiness was definitely discernable, but it was on the low end of the spectrum for the style. I prefer my Rauchbiers to be intensely smoky, but that is why only myself & a handful of friends will drink them with me. There was nothing inherently wrong with this beer, but it lacked Ooomph!, IMHO. Finish was semi-dry with a lingering light smokiness. I would like to see them go heavier with the Bamberg smoked malt, even if just a few notches heavier. This has real potential.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.26/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a decent pour for the style as it settles in and gives off a nice two finger head tha slips down the sides of the glass effortlessly.aroma was smoked to high heaven, but rather one sided, some touches of a cough syrup like smell coming off it as it warmed, not sure what that was, but hints of grain buried underneath as well. The flavor was surprisingly good though. Rich notes here of peat and malted grains, nice roasted touches and a very nice and well balanced grain bill. Definitely a very nice flavor and it took me off guard, the feel was a bit thin and one sided, but still not terrible.

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Photo of THECPJ
2.55/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes

Appearance: dark golden yellow with ½ finger white head

Smell: smokey malts, hint of spices

Taste: malts, smoke-but not overpowering, slight sweetness

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body

Drinkability: the smokiness is not really my thing, just can't get into it.


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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle from a mixed pack. Poured into a standard shaker glass. This rauch appears a clear medium chestnut color with a finger of fizzy ecru foam. The head vanishes in less than a minute. Smells and tastes of very mild smoke, maybe I use the Schlenkerla rauch's as a standard, but this is barely kissed with smoke. Notes of spicy/sweet caramelized malts are also present. Rather thin and watery as well with just about adequate carbonation. Take it or leave it.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.97/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On the pour, this was a deep yellow, clear beer with a half finger of white head topping it off in my pint glass.

Aroma was of very slightly smoky malt, with almost a hint of sweetness. Some medium-bodied malts were evident. No hops noticeable, but were not necessary.

Taste was slightly smoky, not overpowering but making itself known. Aftertaste was a little smoky, but also had some bitterness. Nice medium malt body. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel was well rounded, good body, not thin.

Good drinkability. Too bad this isn't one of their regulars. This is one of their better ones.

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Photo of MmmIPA
3.3/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I havnt had a Saranac in a while and I found this one at the beer store.It may be a bit old.

Twelve ounces of amber/orange body and no ead what so ever.Not much carbonation bubbles either.Caramel malts and thats pretty much it in the nose.I taste some malts and smoke.The smoke is at the end of the sip and its nice.Its not offensive to me,its delicate.Its a bit watery but that doesnt take any points from the overall score.This is tasty as are all of the Saranac beers Ive tried so far.They do a good job.Smooth body and carbonation is tingly.

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Photo of hero27
2.6/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle.

Light amber color. Head is modest and doesn't leave much behind for lacing.
Toasted malt aroma...where's the smoke??
Flavor is buttery caramel malt with some spicy hops. Almost adjunct-like.. For the style, this really does not have much smoke flavor at all. If you're looking for a hearty, flavorful rauchbier, this is not it.
Slightly oily mouthfeel, medium-bodied. Slick but easy enough to drink.

Overall take on it...this is a rauchbier for people that don't like rauchbiers.

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Photo of garcia2a
3.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For the style, I like the rauchbiers to have that smokey sausage tase, this beer, while nice, did not have that smokey body that I like. I wouls consider this more of a leichtrauchbier.

This poured amber and clear with a bit of head. The nose had a faint tinge of smoke and spice. The tase was thin with a thin aftertase.

A good primer for those wanting to try this style

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Photo of Redwood21
3.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is decent, a nice amber color with a decent head.

The smell is not very strong nor smokey but isnt bad.

The taste is a toss up, i actually really liek this beer, but looking at the style, i had to go back to the guidelines to be sure i wasnt crazy. there is no smoke in this beer. im a fan of scotch many of which have a smokey flavor in them....none here. that said i think it does taste really good with a malty character with a more full feel.

medium in body a nice full feeling to it, pretty pleasant.

i really enjoyed this beer. if they had just called it a malty beer or a "beer" its got some good flavor and is good

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Photo of auxiliary
3.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance - Deep yellow color, not much head or lace that stuck around.

smell - Malts, grass, smoked smell.

taste: Not much smoke or burnt taste that I thought it would be. Malt taste to it, not sweet. On the smokey side but not overpowering.

mouthfeel - Medium body, low carbination here.

drinkability - The last of the winter pack we had. Not a bad drink at all. Don't let the word smoked on the label through you off.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brilliant tangerine with almost Champagne-like carbonation zipping up to a whipped creamy, taupe colored head. Most rauchbiers are some variety of orange it seems. Delicate, attractive squiggles of lace are beginning to decorate the top few inches of the glass, making this one of the better looking MBC beers that I can remember.

Smoked beer should smell smoky, should it not? I can appreciate no more than a faint whiff of smoked malt. If it doesn't deliver much more rauchiness on the palate, Saranac Rauchbier will be no more successful than any other beer from this brewery. Although it doesn't smell bad per se, I can't see giving an average score to a nose that is so far removed from what it ought to be.

Perhaps the brewery doesn't have enough respect for its clientele to provide them with an honest to goodness rauchbier. This is, by far, the least smoky version that has ever entered my glass. I think it most resembles a sweeter than usual English pale ale, despite the fact that German hops (Hallertau) are is use. It's only on the finish that one tastes a glimmer of smoked malt.

Maybe it's the fact that it's a surprisingly hefty lager, but I think the base beer is one of MBC's best (of a fairly lackluster lineup). That's why I've decided to grant an above average flavor score to such a wimpy rauchbier. A few more tendrils of smoke appear on the horizon as it warms. Triple the amount would give it a chance to be the brewery's best beer.

As alluded to, there's nothing at all wrong with the mouthfeel. It's on the full side for a lager and has that characteristic polished gem smoothness that I love. They've even gotten the carbonation right: spunky, yet far from buzzy.

Saranac Rauchbier is oh so close to good beer. If I could send a smoke signal message to the brewers, it would go something like this: *add* *more* *smoke* *to* *Rauchbier* *please*. It's too bad more American craft brewers don't take a shot at this style.

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Photo of billybob
2.48/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

pours a quarter inch off white head that fades quickly to a ring on the glass with a orange amber color. smelled a little musty or like over ripe fruit. taste was stale bread maltyness with a touch of toffee and very slight smoke taste. mouthfeel was ok. would not buy this beer again. not a fan of smoked beers in general.

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Photo of happygnome
3.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: pours a golden-orange color with about a half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving a little lacing
s: the first thing that comes to mind is sweet aroma followed by a kind of grassy aroma
t: better than the aroma, the grassy aroma does not come out in the tastebut it is sweeter than most smoked beers and the smoked flavor is really not very strong
m: medium bodied beer with adequite carbonation

overall this is an ok beer i did enjoy it but there are a lot of things that could be improved

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Photo of sethmeister
3.23/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into mug at cellar temp. This bottle came in the saranac winter 12 pack.

Pours clear golden amber with 2+ fingers of fluffy offwhite head and ascending bubble streams. Some lacing evident.

There's a very (and I mean very) slight smoky scent on top of typical malty lager scent.

Malty flavor with a bit of smokiness. A little sweet with a hint of caramel. I actually do get a slight impression of bacon towards the finish and this lingers. Drank half the glass before I noticed it.

Medium to light bodied mouthfeel. A little watery.

My first Rauchbier and I guess I would have expected a bolder smoked flavor and scent. This is very drinkable, and I enjoyed it but I wouldn't search it out on purpose.

Kudos to Saranac for trying some less common styles and giving them to us in a 12 pack with one beer per style so we can sample.

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Photo of dherling
2.53/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured out an orange golden honey brown with a thin quickly dissapearing off white head. The nose is mostly munich malt, biscuity in a way, with some toffee sweetness and a bit of hickory. The taste is more like a dark lager than a rauchbier. Has some maltyness to it, and a bit of well, malt. Nothing else here. No smoke, no rauch, no fun. Has a medium body and slightly carbonated mouthfeel. Fairly drinkable, but a terrible example of the style.

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Photo of ski271
4.1/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, Medium amber/orange with a small, creamy, off-white, slowly-diminishing head. Smell is of lightly smoky malts supported by some light citrus from the hops, some very light earthy yeast, and caramel. Taste is more of the same except with more piney hops than the citrus in the nose. It has a medium body, dry texture and soft carbonation. This is very good for a rauchbier, because it lets the smoke aroma and flavor stand out without being overpowering or fake-tasting like so many other rauchbiers I’ve tasted. Very easy drinking and enjoyable.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.92/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A delicate smokiness enhances, and also acts as a counterpoint to, the gently caramelish maltiness of Saranac's Rauchbier. It pours a clear, glowing amber-copper body beneath a short head of creamy ivory. Beechwood smoke is found in the nose, but it doesn't leap out at you; and when some of the sweetish malt from below peeks through it takes on the mouthwatering scent of bacon! It's crisp in the mouth with a delicate, medium-light body and fine-bubbled, median carbonation. The carbonation helps to bring out the smokiness, and cut through the maltiness. The flavor is initially fairly light on smoke, but as you progress through the glass it builds on the palate, increasing its presence. It's lager-like, clean and just a touch sulphury underneath. The malt is lightly caramelish, a touch sweet, honeyish, and backed by some grassy and spicy hops. The smokiness runs the gamut from smoked meats, and ham specifically, to Scotch wiskey. It's drying, and in combination with the jagged bitterness, leaves the palate mostly scrubbed of malt. Smoke lingers, and it's kind of cigar-like, but not nearly as full or harsh. Well done! Nicely rounded with a good balance and an appropriate level of smokiness. Worth trying!

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Photo of sabrills70
3.05/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bown bottle with no freshness date. Pours a crystal clear medium light amber with a poor head and lace. Rather weak smelling. Caramel malts are present mixed with a slight hop floralness and an even slighter smokiness. Upon tasting, caramel notes are up front mixed with a decent hop flavor but very little smokiness. As a rauchbier it is poor but as a traditional lager its not bad. I'll give it average on taste because its a decent lager but poor as a smoked lager. Its is a very drinkable beer though. It tastes like they took their typical lager and added just a tiny bit of smoke.

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.54/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

NOTE: reviewing from notes. Not as detailed as current reviews...I need to knock out some of these from my notebook as it's getting full.

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a chalice at 50 degrees. Even though every Saranac seems to resemble one another, I seem to keep trying them all...

A - Pours a hazy darker-golden color with an off-white head. Not very much carbonation.

S - Good smokey aroma with traces of burnt malt. Smells promising...

T - *sigh*. Not bad, just not as smokey as the aroma led to believe. Toasted malt with a nice bitterness on the finish, but none of the flavors are over-the-top. All sits atop a earthy backbone.

M - Pretty thin with a dry aftertaste.

D - Not bad - a nice addition to the winterpack.

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Photo of beerphan
3.3/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle -&gt; imperial pint
12 beers of winter 2006

Pours a clear light copper almost golden, with a small white head that settles to a film of suds. No real lace to speak of, just a few dots. Carbonation appears on the light side.

Nose: Malty nose with a hint of smoked meat.

Taste: Malts dominate but are weak, there is a little smoked flavor in there but not much.

Mouthfeel is typical macro lager mouth, crisp and full.

I've never had a Rauchbier before, but this seems kind of like a Rauchbiers little brother, the potential is there but it hasn't reached adulthood yet. Thanks to Saranac for putting out such diverse styles in a single package at a cheap price.

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Photo of RedChrome
3.23/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Body of this beer was a crystal clear medium colored body. Half inch pure white head vanished in about a minute. Carbination is average in both size and amount. Small bits of lacing are rare.

A light roasted malt aroma. There is a faint hint of smoke aroma, but it doesn't have much strength. To weak in the nose to pick up anything in the way of other aromas.

Surprisingly sweet malt flavor. A gritty smoked quality develops in the middle of the mouthful before fading back behind a dough flavor. Interesting blend of tastes.

A gritty, but watered feeling. Average carbonation feeling plays on the tongue without being to dominating.

An average beer. Good to eat with a grilled sausage sandwich. Defintly not a style for everyone. This one is just an average offering to the style. Drink it if oyu got it in the mixed pack, but otherwise pass.

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Photo of psinderson
3.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Thick, strong off-white head. Some lacing. Clear, very light amber color...a little too light for style.

Smell: Definite smoky aroma with something akin to citrus..possibly the hops? Some bready caramel present as it warms.

Taste: Nice balance between hops and smokiness. A little less smoky than I imagined. Decently smooth finish. The tart citrus seems a little present throughout.

Mouthfeel: Nice, full-bodied feel.

Drinkability: Good going down, but the citrusy smokiness probably turns off some.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.09/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours an extra clear golden copper hue. A dense vanilla-colored head of three fingers shows good retention and produces some spotty lacing. Pale lager malt and light German floral hop nose, no noticable smoke aroma. Biscuity malt flavor upfront, followed by rich Munich and toasty Victory malt. Clean but malty marzen yeast character. Dry aftertaste with faint noble hop bitterness but not much flavor and the slightest hint of peat/wood notes. The light medium-body and mild carbonation add a crispness that accentuates the vauguely earthy mouthfeel. Finishes clean and dry with weak traces of charred wood and a humble malt residue. As far as German amber lagers go, this is highly drinkable and unique; but it's really lacking the true smoke taste and aroma of a traditional rauchbier.

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

The beer pours a gold color with a slight reddish hue. It has a nice foamy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry, malty scent that boasts of Munich and a bit of peated malt. The smoke scent is faint. The taste is decent also. It has a very average taste with a bit of Munich and very little peated malt. It's light and easy drinking, but lacking in character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an average brew. It's run of the mill. I wonder why these guys even bother with making such poor examples of the styles. Hell, even AB is making better beer these days.

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Photo of oelergud
3.7/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Transparent honey golden body, moderate carbonation and a white creamy head that has decent retention though not much lace.
Faint ryebread and grass scents. Well balanced nose and abit of licorice.
Taste is pretty good. Semisweet bread and grain. Mellow hoppy aftertaste which is fairly shortlived.
Medium body, abit acidic and a dry finish.
Decent brew and fairly drinkable.


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Saranac Rauchbier Smoked Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 70 ratings