Brewed by Brauerei Heller
Style: Smoked
Bamberg, Germany


on tap

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RATINGS: 1708   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.87/5   SEASONAL: Autumn   IBU: 40   EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%
(First tapping every first Thursday of October) A smoked bock beer for Bamberg’s strong beer season (October through December). Matured for months in ancient rock-cellars underneath Bamberg and tapped freshly from the oakwood cask. Similar to, but much bigger than the classic Maerzen style.

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Shadallion (534) - Sacramento, California, USA - JUL 23, 2001
Like so many of the finer things in life, the first bottle of this stuff is awful. The smoke is overwhelming and unpleasant, and the result is a concoction worthy of the ole' sink sacrifice. But give it just one more shot, and you will discover a beer of astonishing complexity, with varying layers of smoke at different stages of the tasting process. The underlying bock is of the highest quality. Indescribably delicious with pork chops or smoked ham. The best beer out of Germany, and a top five brew for me.

baseballguy (246) - Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 24, 2001
This smoky beauty devastated me on the first sip. Even pouring it was a real treat - gorgeous color, just the right amount of head. As others have noted, it's a real food-accompanying sort of beer - it just cries out for robust meats and fish. This Urbock deserves to be a legend.

muzzlehatch (4978) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 24, 2001
OHMYGOD. The aroma is smoked cheddar and hickory-smoked bacon; the flavor a mix of sweet (maple, chocolate) and smoky, slightly bitter malt and wheat. With this complexity and sweetness, you'd think it would be a 'special occasion' beer suitable only with certain foods or in front of a roaring fire -- you'd be wrong. My current favorite beer (and brewery!), justifiably occupying a spot in our collective 'top 10.' The finish is perfect, with just a hint of lingering smokiness -- this must be what smokers of fine cigars experience!

biobier99 (23) - Neumarkt, GERMANY - DEC 19, 2001
I know that small brewery, it´s from Bamberg, I´ve been there. I was surprised that youcan get this beer in the US.

motelpogo (7704) - Plzen, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUG 18, 2004
UPDATED: NOV 2, 2013 updated rating: i finally had this in season at schlenkerla and was blown away. it emerged from the oak cask a rich jet black with a bulbous beige head, leaving thick texta lines of lacing. bottled schlenkerla beers tend to show their age in their aroma quite quickly with some creeping splintered woodiness that is thankfully largely disguised by the smoke; fresh on tap the aroma is simply a delight - beer-marinated spare ribs, wet grass thrown on a fire, honeyed rye, old well, muddy gumboots. drinking this is like the entire process of smoked food in reverse - starting rich, smoky, sticky and meaty, and ending up in a scenic grassy field wide-eyed with wonder. perhaps the most impressive feature of this beer is its sheer drinkability - a litre disappeared in no time and i expect the same will be true of the 5 litre party keg that i see before me now (a steal at 14 euros). urbockzeit will be a permanent fixture on my beer calender. old rating: never managed to find this in bamberg so i was glad to see it in san francisco. not the freshest bottle but the aroma was still a treat, burnt hay and bacon. a little sweeter than expected, rotting fruit and a little chocolate crackle and pear, lightly salty dryness, looking forward to a fresh one some time, hopefully in october at the brewery

GG (2333) - NorCal, California, USA - JAN 27, 2006
While sitting here looking at my empty bottle, I now realize precisely how good beer can be. I mean I’ve had some great brews, but this one is not only possibly perfect, it’s different and that goes a long, long way. I’m not sure how to put into words how good this brew really is, so I will simply say it’s probably one of the best brews I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. I will leave the detailed book review to other reviewers, but I will say this...the rich smokey aroma, the deep smokey taste, a nice hoppy finish...the only way they could improve on this beer would be if they included a super model with every purchase and she served it out of her bellybutton. Simply outstanding. ’Nuff said."

fiulijn (21590) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - FEB 12, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 1, 2016
2016-11-27, bottle bb Jun 2014, ~3 years old, 9-5-9-4-19=46
The age accentuates the malt and wood notes; it seems a bit leaner, possibly drier than a fresh version, but with more nuances, including hints of cigar and leather, and toasted nuts in the final.

2013-11-13, bottle bb Apr 2011, 3 years old, 9-5-9-4-19=46
The aroma is a complex mix of malt, caramel and smoke, that takes some time to fully develop. Good body strength, and smooth mouthfeel; the dark caramel is lean, and perfectly blends with the harsh smokehouse character, the woody tones, and the light residual sweetness; correct bitterness, but some of it comes from the darker malts; if one thing, it may start showing light signs of oxidization in the end.
Heavenly beer.

2012-04-24, draught at Fermentoren, Copenhagen, 6.9% ABV, 10-5-10-5-20=50
Dark brown color, with red shades; creamy head. The aroma, surprisingly, is very peaty, almost like an Islay whiskey. The carbonation is soft, allowing to the caramel and malt to fully develop in the mouth, then tangle with the smoke and residual sugars; in the flavor the smoke has nice accents of wood, fireplace and ham. Saying that the balance is perfect would be in understatement.
Could easily be the best beer in the world.

2011-12-09, draught at Ølbaren, Copenhagen, 10-5-8-4-18=45
Dark mahogany color, with fiery red beams and beige creamy head. Fat smokey aroma, like the best smoked ham, infinite, balanced. Good body structure, with caramel and toasted malts flavor, chocolate, apparent subtle sweetness, good smoke; a bit metallic, and drier in the end, with weaker body than usual. Great, but missing the greatest vibe that used to go with it.

2011-02-25, bottle, bb 2011-07, 9-5-9-4-18=45
Dark brown color; generous creamy head.
Fat smokey aroma, sausages, fresh wood, some firewood too; creamy, powerful, harmonious.
Bold mouthfeel, strong flavor of caramel, malt, and smoke of course; firewood; there is a nice residual sweetness that I would like to see in every Rauchbier, both as a complement to the dark malts, and as complement to the body.
The bitterness is fairly strong; in the final there is a nice touch of roasted malts.
Perfectly balanced, and powerful.

2010-11-26, draught at Ølbaren, Copenhagen, 10-5-8-4-17=44
Dark brown color, with red shades. Infinite smokeyness; pervasive aroma; definitively Schwarzwald sausages; very late, some cold burnt wood. Good body strength, lean structure, with good caramel flavor (but not lasting enough); lovely smokeyness; the final is good, with some cereals, smoked, but somehow ordinary, not too long.

2009-11-27, draught at Ølbaren, Copenhagen, 10-5-9-4-19=47
Deep mahogany color with red hue; creamy head. The smoke aroma is a world apart, with memories of smoked salami first, of burning wood later. Medium bodied, it carries a rich chocolate and gently roasted malts flavor, caramel, with a strong smoke presence and a sugar veil that fits perfectly in the picture; lovely mouthfeel, smooth, fulfilling. The bitterness is not strong, there is some dark caramel instead; if anything, the roasted malt in the final is just a millimeter beyond my liking.
This beer is as close to perfection as I may ask tonight.

2006-02-08, bottle, 8-5-8-5-17=43
Mahogany color, clean, with a creamy cap. Strong smokey aroma, sweet, malty. Smooth, full bodied, sweet, malty, smoked; the final has a pretty strong and very good bitterness, aromatic hops, plus caramel and some sweetness. Lovely.

prospector49 (2) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - AUG 28, 2008 does not count
Had this at the brewery in Bamberg, after enjoying bottles of it in Omaha. I was surprised that there was no difference when I had it on site. Didn’t wait to try any other beer in town, since if I died after having this one, I would be happy. The smoked flavor is really lifelike, like eating smoked ham...smooth and smokey. Bitter? No! Why anybody else brews smoked beer, I don’t know. Nothing else is of this caliber. This is, as I’ve seen written, "the high altar of smoked beer."

fugitive (2108) - Athens, GREECE - NOV 8, 2009
Bottle. I love smokebeers. This one is the best. I ordered it from Germany.Smoked like hell. Just great.

rauchbierlover (713) - Berlin, Berlin, GERMANY - JUN 2, 2011
50cl bottle @ Les Vignerons (Rome). I thought the Märzen was the best beer of all time, before trying the Urbock. Same aroma, with more alcohol.

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