Brauerei Heller Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche

Reviewed by on April 7, 2016 in Spring Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Brauerei Heller

  • Origin: Bamberg, Germany

  • Rated On: April 7, 2016

  • Best Before: August 2016

  • ABV: 8.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Smoked Doppelbock

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Northern Germany’s Brauerei Heller are the progenitors of the Rauchbier (smoked beer) style, and they also produce a seasonal doppelbock, made with smoked oak, rather than smoked beechwood – hmmmm, I wonder if Anheuser Busch has tried out that option, eh?

This 500ml bottle pours a slightly hazy, medium copper amber hue, with two beefy (the aroma is already infiltrating my consciousness) fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and almost caked dirty white head, which leaves a few swaths of paint splatter lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of woodsmoke-infused dried meat, semi-sweet caramel malt, a twinge of hard toffee, wet brown toast, campfire-melted funky cheese, scorched rubber-like phenols, twisted vanilla, and faint earthy, singed leafy hops. The taste is actually less smoky than I was expecting (lots of room to move in that particular direction), with the same glowing log character moved to the, ahem, near back burner, allowing a strongly caramelized malt to arise, with a touch of biscuity toffee, dark, reduced orchard fruit, edgy warming alcohol, and some still stunned weedy, leafy hops.  The bubbles are fairly prominent, a bit surprisingly, the swirling frothiness doing well to distribute the robust flavours, the body a solid medium-full weight, and nicely smooth, once you sublimate all that lurking smoky acridity, which is apparently not all that hard of a thing to do. It finishes on the sweet side, the complex and complicated smoke starting to blow off, leaving us with but a boozy, caramel-heavy, and bready maltiness.

A pretty deft application of the Rauchbier treatment to a big doppelbock, the German version of overt style blending, I guess. Everything comes off well enough, the smoke having its way with my palate, before ceding the floor to the equally sturdy and strong like bull amped-up lager base. Once again, a tad scary at first contact, but by the end, it’s got me wondering about the times when all beer tasted at least a little bit like this.

Brady White

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