Style Details

Name
Rauch­bier
Cate­go­ry
Amber Mal­ty Euro­pean Lager
BJCP Style Code
6 B
Appearan­ce
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.
Aro­ma
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.
Fla­vour
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.
Mouth­feel
Medi­um body. Medi­um to medi­um-high car­bo­na­ti­on. Smooth lager cha­rac­ter. Signi­fi­cant astrin­gent, phe­n­o­lic har­sh­ness is inap­pro­pria­te.
Over­all Impres­si­on
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.
Typi­cal Ingre­dients
Ger­man Rauch­malz (beech­wood-smo­ked Vien­na-type malt) typi­cal­ly makes up 20-100% of the grain bill, with the rema­in­der being Ger­man mal­ts typi­cal­ly used in a Mär­z­en. Some bre­we­ries adjust the color slight­ly with a bit of roas­ted malt. Ger­man lager yeast. Ger­man or Czech hops.
Histo­ry
A his­to­ri­cal spe­cial­ty of the city of Bam­berg, in the Fran­co­ni­an regi­on of Bava­ria in Ger­ma­ny. Beech­wood-smo­ked malt is used to make a Mär­z­en-style amber lager. The smo­ke cha­rac­ter of the malt varies by mal­ts­ter; some bre­we­ries pro­du­ce their own smo­ked malt (rauch­malz).
Comments
Liter­al­ly “smo­ke beer” in Ger­man. The inten­si­ty of smo­ke cha­rac­ter can vary wide­ly; not all examp­les are high­ly smo­ked. Allow for varia­ti­on in the style when jud­ging. Other examp­les of smo­ked beers are avail­ab­le in Ger­ma­ny based on styles such as Dunk­les Bock, Weiss­bier, Dun­kel, Schwarz­bier, and Hel­les, inclu­ding examp­les such as Spe­zi­al Lager; the­se should be ent­e­red in the Clas­sic Style Smo­ked Beer cate­go­ry. This descrip­ti­on spe­ci­fi­cal­ly refers to the smo­ked Mär­z­en ver­si­on.
Com­mer­cial Examp­les
Eisen­bahn Rauch­bier, Kai­ser­dom Rauch­bier, Schlen­ker­la Rauch­bier Mär­z­en, Spe­zi­al Rauch­bier Mär­z­en Vic­to­ry Scar­let Fire Rauch­bier
Ori­gi­nal Gra­vi­ty
1.050 - 1.057 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.012 - 1.016 SG
Color
12 - 22 SRM
Alco­hol
4.0 - 6.0 %vol
Bit­ter­ness
20 - 30 IBU