Liam Deegan

Beer Review: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

In Reviews on April 6, 2010 at 6:28 pm

This review is of a beer that I can imagine many people would not try right away.  It is a Rauchbier, meaning, “smoke beer” a German lager where the malt is literally smoked over an open fire of beech wood.  The result is a smoky taste, often times reminiscent of smoked meat, which can be off-putting to an unwarned palate.

The beer pours a deep brown, with some ruby highlights, an off-white big soapy head that recedes with even lacing.

The nose is smoked meat right away, jerky and smoky wood notes are very strong and appetizing.

The taste is spot on: not as pronounced as the smell, the smokiness translates very well on the palate.  There is a roasty presence as well as smoke almonds.  The nose is not as nutty as the taste is, and there is a touch of hop bitterness on the back.

This is a very good drink, while it may not go well with everything, it is a very unique and delicious style of beer.  Pair it with a hearty meal, or on it’s own next to a fire in the winter.  I was nervous about this beer having never tried the style but the aggressive smoke aroma was balanced out by the beer’s complexity of flavor.

It is a great representation of German style brewing where they follow the rules and they brew to the T.  In my experience, German beers, as a result of the influence of the Purity Law (the Reinheitsgebot which required using only water, barley and hops) are very exact in their brewing method and the beers reflect that expertly executed brew.  In the same way that German beers represent the stereotypical national personality, I find that English beers are subdued and pleasant, while American beers are excessive (hops) and very boundary pushing.  Beer is an incredible art form, and method of expression.  In each glass you will find a brewer’s personality, passion, flavor and talent.

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