I was at the liquor store scouring for Marzens and Pumpkin beers to meet my Oktoberfest Challenge when I came across this beer. I could hardley read much of the label, since it was primarily in German, but usually, when it comes to beer, that’s not a bad thing. The back label said, “Aecht Original Schlenkerla Maerzen Smokebeer, considered the classic example in its category, has been brewed for centuries in the baroque town of Bamburg in Franconia (Bavaria/Germany). Following the most ancient malting traditions, all its selected barley malts are kilned over a fire of beech wood logs at the Schlenkerla maltings. Brewed in classic copper vessel and matured for months in historic cellars, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier is a truly unique smoky beer experience. 5.1% ABV.”
It had a deep brown color with some ruby highlights when I held it up to the light. There was a slight carbonation head on it when I poured it, but that quickly disappeared to absolutely no head at all. There was a peat smoked malt aroma with a bit of sweet malty smell to it.
The body was medium and the mouthfeel was crisp and slightly sharp from carbonation in the beer. There was a very nice, smooth smoked malty flavor up front. These flavors grew just a bit in the finish, and there was a slightly grainy taste in finish and aftertaste.
I would definitely pair this beer with BBQ or a meal of smoked beef or pork. The peaty smokiness of the beer would really add to the flavor of the meats, and the meat flavors would highlight the smokiness of the beer. The peaty smokiness in the finish also reminded me a bit of malt scotch, so I could see this before or after a glass of scotch as well.
It had a very smooth and tasty smoked malt flavor, and it didn’t seem to have the sweet caramel malt flavors as other marzens I’ve had. The smokey flavor is very subtle and just right, so don’t be scared off by the mention that it’s a smoked beer. That made it a nice break from the steady stream of Oktoberfest Marzens I’ve had lately. I haven’t had many Rauchbiers (smoked beers), but I really enjoyed it, and overall, I thought this was a great beer.