Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen (2015 original review)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1422) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 5, 2015
When it comes to smoked beers or “rauchbiers” as they’re called in Germany, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen is probably the king of them. I’ve been drinking good beer for many years but for whatever reason I never got around to this one until now. I’m sorry I did because this isn’t just some novelty brew, it’s a legitimate, well-rounded and well-crafted beer.

I poured a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $4.99 ($0.30 per ounce).

Appearance: Seemingly dark brown but actually a pretty shade of mahogany. Pours to a two-finger, beige, foamy head which laces and retains well.

Smell: A meaty smoke scene; similar to that of a campfire. A hint of sweetness as well.

Taste: There’s a lot going on in this palette, which is surprising for two reasons. First of all, this is a Märzen, which is the same as an Oktoberfest lager and that style isn’t known for being complex or full of flavor. Secondly, it’s a rauchbier and the smoke tends to override the rest of the palette. This is more than simply a smokey lager, though. There’s a nice taste of dark malts throughout the first half. Lightly confectionery-tasting and a bit nutty. Through the middle I detect a surprisingly strong chocolate presence, which becomes stronger on the finish. The smoke is noticeable right away, but it really emerges on the finish. It adds a light bitterness and a bit of astringency. It actually seems to hold all these flavors together and transition between them very well. I’m impressed by how it all works together.

Drinkability: I’m sure plenty of newbies might have trouble getting used to the taste of this beer, but seasoned drinkers will not. The mouthfeel isn’t quite as crisp as I was expecting; it drinks more like a strong ale with a full body and slightly tepid mouthfeel. The flavors don’t linger, however, which is nice. At 5.2% ABV it’s got enough body so that a single pint is quite satisfying.

RATING: 8/10

NOTE: Read my 2017 re-review to BJCP specs here: