Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier
Reviewed by Brady White on May 24, 2016 in Spring Guide
- Brewery: Brauerei Heller
- Origin: Bamberg, Germany
- Rated On: May 24, 2016
- Best Before: December 2016
- ABV: 5.5%
- Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature
- Style: Rauchbier
- Rating: GREAT !!
This 500ml bottle pours a clear, dark orange-brick amber colour, with a near tower’s worth of puffy, rocky, and chunky beige head, which leaves some broken webbed lace around the glass as it slowly sinks out of sight.
It smells of smoked pork, wet campfire, obfuscated grainy caramel malt, a faint black orchard fruitiness, hard minerals, and subtle earthy, leafy, and grassy noble hop bitters. The taste is much more rounded – gritty and grainy caramel/toffee malt, a softer, not so aggressive smoked meat acridity, smooth hickory-like wood, some berry-forward fruity notes, faint dry cocoa, and a growing (as the smoke recedes) earthy, spicy, and resinous green grassy hoppiness. The bubbles are fairly laid-back in their very understated frothiness, the body a solid medium-heavy weight, and actually smooth, with a heavy dose of cognitive dissonance necessarily riding shotgun. It finishes off-dry, the malt holding tough, while the meaty smoke starts a very measured wafting retreat.
I’m not sure I could tell the difference among Schlenkerla’s various Rauchbiers, without a direct, side-by-side, sit-down comparison. This one has all of the hallmarks – a huge smoky, nose-twitching intro, followed by a sudden switch to the sweet side in the flavour, and then a mixed trailing off into the hazy sunset together. Overall, it’s very, very good, and yeah, I’m drinking it as an afternoon snack, of a kind.