Rauchbier is a German-style ale with one very particular ingredient; smoked malt. Rauch means smoked in German, although this style of smoked beer is brewed in other countries. The smoked malt results in a powerful taste, described by some as having a meaty quality; think BBQ! Rauchbier beer is unfiltered, giving it a natural hazy appearance and it develops its full aroma via bottle fermentation with top-fermenting yeast. Let Beers of Europe tempt you with their range of smoked beers.
Smoked beers are somewhat of a speciality beer, but they used to be far more common place. Before the invention of the drum kiln (Daniel Wheeler, 1818), malt was dried directly over an open fire. This meant that most beers had a smoky quality to a greater or lesser degree. Naturally, the brewer would make decisions about the type of fuel that was used, as well as the temperature and length of time the malt was kilned at and this would have an impact on the end product.
The drum kiln changed everything as the malt being smoked was never directly exposed to the fire and this signalled the end of smokiness for most beers, however, in the city of Bamberg, the old ways were the best ways. They could see no reason to change what had worked for them for years. This tradition has been upheld and many regard the city as the raucchbier superstars, preserving a time honoured brewing tradition.
The explosion in craft brewing in recent years led to the development of industrially produced smoke-flavoured malts and this in turn fuelled interest in experimenting with this style of beer across the globe. The rauchbier is making a comeback! Beers of Europe stock smoked beers from the UK, New Zealand and Belgium.