Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

Reviewed by on March 6, 2015 in Spring Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Heller-Bräu Trum GmbH

  • Origin: Bamberg, Germany

  • Rated On: March 5, 2015

  • Best Before: end of July 2015

  • ABV: 5.1%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Rauchbier

  • Rating: WORLD-CLASS !!!

The Review

Germany is famous for its bock-style beers to herald the arrival of spring, but also for this esoteric brewing method from the northern region of Franconia – called ‘rauchbier’, or ‘smoked beer’.  The base beer’s malt (a Märzen, or March beer) is kilned over beechwood log fires (yeah, Budweiser), and you kind of have to experience it to get it. So let’s, then.

This 500ml bottle pours a crystal clear, dark copper-amber hue, with two fingers of foamy, rocky beige head, which leaves some cumulus cloud lace around the glass as it slowly seeps away.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, a tad bready, and then a huge dose of smoked meat, a bit of sausage grease, peat, and some soft, almost fresh-seeming tobacco. The taste is quite a lot less smoky, and gamey than the aroma, which comes as a not so surprising relief – there is still a roasted character to the grainy, bready malt, and a fading porcine meatiness, but the effect is mostly moderated, letting some of the inherent sweetness come out of the shadows, as well as the latent earthy hops. The carbonation is a bit peppy, in a low-fi simmering manner, the body medium-light in weight, and generally smooth, the lingering puffs of smoke not really detracting from things. It finishes off-dry, the meaty wisps holding steady, and the grainy malt rising from the ashes more or less unscathed.

A neat shape-shifter of a beer, this one is – the initial aromatics are so pungent, that I could see lesser mortals turning away at this point. However, if one persists, a more agreeably smoky, malty offering emerges, one that is actually rather drinkable, and even enjoyable. Great for a time when the predictability of the weather forecast is kind of all over the place.

Brady White



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