Overview for the Rauchbier

Historically, the Rauchbier originates from the city of Bamberg, in the Franconian region of Bavaria, Germany. Beechwood-smoked malt is used to make this Märzen-style amber lager. The strength of the smoke can vary and at higher levels, the aroma can smell like bacon or ham. The palate is malty sweet with a smoky, dry finish. Bitterness is moderate. The feel is clean with a medium body and moderate to moderately-high carbonation. The lager should be clear with an amber to dark brown color and topped by a thick tan-colored head. Comparatively, the Rauchbier is similar to the Märzen but with a darker color, better balance, and a smoky character.

Style Expectations

An elegant, malty German amber lager with a balanced, complementary beechwood smoke character. Toasty-rich malt in aroma and flavor, restrained bitterness, low to high smoke flavor, clean fermentation profile, and an attenuated finish are characteristic.


This should be a very clear beer, with a large, creamy, rich, tan- to cream-colored head. Medium amber/light copper to dark brown color.


Blend of smoke and malt, with a varying balance and intensity. The beechwood smoke character can range from subtle to fairly strong, and can seem smoky, woody, or bacon-like. The malt character can be low to moderate, and be somewhat rich, toasty, or malty-sweet. The malt and smoke components are often inversely proportional (i.e., when smoke increases, malt decreases, and vice versa). Hop aroma may be very low to none. Clean lager fermentation character.


Generally follows the aroma profile, with a blend of smoke and malt in varying balance and intensity, yet always complementary. Märzen-like qualities should be noticeable, particularly a malty, toasty richness, but the beechwood smoke flavor can be low to high. At higher levels, the smoke can take on a ham- or bacon-like character, which is acceptable as long as it doesn’t veer into the greasy range. The palate can be somewhat malty, rich, and sweet, yet the finish tends to be medium-dry to dry with the smoke character sometimes enhancing the dryness of the finish. The aftertaste can reflect both malt richness and smoke flavors, with a balanced presentation desirable. Moderate, balanced, hop bitterness. Moderate to none hop flavor with spicy, floral, or herbal notes. Clean lager fermentation character. Harsh, bitter, burnt, charred, rubbery, sulfury or phenolic smoky characteristics are inappropriate.


Medium body. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Smooth lager character. Significant astringent, phenolic harshness is inappropriate.


Samuel Adams Smoked Lager

Rauchbier  •  Boston Beer Company

Samuel Adams Smoked Lager is a German-style Rauchbier brewed by the Boston Beer Company that’s complex with flavors that are smoky, earthy, and sweet. Read More


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