Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen - Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 1,710 | Reviews: 971 | Display Reviews Only:
3.83/5 rDev -5.2%
I was reticent to pick this up for a few weeks, pondering it at the great local Piccadilly and walking past more than once. But I gathered up the nerve last week and grabbed a bottle, setting it in the fridge for a week-long chill. My curiosity got the best of me tonight and, as I read Engels's classic The Condition of the Working Class in England, figured that a unique German beer would best accompany a unique German thinker.
And this is certainly a unique beer. I've never had a smoke beer before, yet I can safely say that this is one of the most unique beers I've ever had, no question. It's also a good opportunity to tout one of the Beer Advocate site's best features, which is the plethora of sterling reviews about beer that one can find here. While I often read the reviews of Buckeye Nation, Nero Fiddled, Felonious Monk and others before I try beers for the first time, this was one of many times when one of them, in this case Buckeye Nation, positive nailed a beer in a review. He said that this beer was reminiscent of smoked meat, and that couldn't be more true. It's akin to liquid jerky, and I mean that in a good way. This speaks to a genuine benefit of writing here, and that is the sheer depth of knowledge that people transmit about beer on this website. Not for nothing, it's at times mind-boggling.
The presentation is decent, with a light cap of tan head quickly fading over a dark brown body with a rich ruby perimeter. The smell is incredibly smoky, nothing but. For some, I can imagine that this is a turn-off. Thankfully, having been prepared by reading the reviews of others mentioned above, I was not only braced but thrilled to get the same whiff I would get from smoked jerky--not the sweet-spicy smell of venison, but rather the deep, smoky smell of a good, dense, home-smoked beef stick. That's the truth.
I worried that the taste would require choking it down, but that's not so. It's actually fairly smooth and pleasant, a nice sipping beer. I genuinely have no idea whether or not smoke beer is regularly flat, but this is. That's not all bad, but I can't help but think that more carbonation, if that's possible with this style, would bring other flavors to the fore. Perhaps that's not to be, that the smoke would override all else. I'm just not so keen on flat beer.
The lack of complexity, and the overriding campfire-smoker taste, somewhat hinder the drinkability. Yet this isn't bad by any means. It's worth a try, and went well with a good slice of pepperoni pizza (I wish I had some anchovies on it, which probably would have been great with this Rauchbier.). I don't know how often I'll grab this or any other smoke beer but, if someone offers me a cold Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen, I won't say no. Fear not.
02-08-2008 05:24:46 | More by Gehrig
1.98/5 rDev -51%
I like bacon, and I like beer. But I don't like bacon in my beer.
The first thing I noticed while pouring this brown beer was the overwhelming smoked smell. This was my first smoked beer, and I was taken by surprise. Hickory bacon and barbecue sauce dominate the nose.
The taste was extremely smoky. Again, bacon, and lots of it, cooked over a campfire. Am I drinking beer or having a drunk cowboy's breakfast? I just needed to slap on some spurs and start telling folk stories around the campfire.
I couldn't finish this beer. I'll be sure to keep away from beers labeled "smoked" in the near future. Maybe when I'm older I'll revisit them. And maybe I'll look for ones in smaller bottles.
02-06-2008 14:44:19 | More by ElGrecoVerde
3.58/5 rDev -11.4%
Nice dark redwood colour, considerable head upon pouring. Dissipates quickly to a thin film which does stick around, credit to it. Steady carbonation. Frankly, a damn fine-looking beer.
Smells like dark-wood smoke. It's intense but not repulsive. Like heavily smoked bacon but without the bacon smell. Mostly sour and pungent and it feels like I'm getting soot up my nostrils. I don't dislike it though.
Taste is not too bad but funny thing is the nose strangles the flavour. I can tell I'm drinking a particularly flavoured lager but then the smoke kicks into my nose and I lose the flavour. Maybe that's the point. I'm getting hints of that smokey bacon flavour on the front palate and a bit of toastiness. The back palate (which is disappointingly short) is where the hops lie, and it would be quite underwhelming in flavour if not for the fact that the back palate is where the aroma comes blundering in. Overall an interesting brew. I certainly couldn't drink masses of it but it's an experience, and not a bad one.
02-03-2008 10:55:50 | More by laituegonflable
4.08/5 rDev +1%
When I'm in the mood for a Rauchbier I usually reach for Schlenkerla's Marzen. Pours a beautiful chestnut brown with ribbons of mahogany when backlit. Tiny streams of carbonation rise to the surface as there's tiny sediment suspended throughout. A one finger beige head formed on the pour and rather quickly fell to a solid cap. No lacing was left after the head fell but each sip did leave some decent lacing.
The aroma is that of good hardwood smoked bacon. There's a strong presence of smoke once your nose is stuck in the glass but there is a solid caramel and fresh grain base that reminds you you're smelling beer and not breakfast.
While the smokiness is certainly there and in your face it's tastefully done without being overwhelming. The initial flavor of smoked bacon is upfront but quickly levels out to include a caramel sweetness mid-palate and a clean graininess toward the finish. It's hard to believe but this beer, even with all the smoke, is fragile. All the flavors come together without one outdoing the other.
I do really enjoy the mouthfeel of this beer. Seems to have a moderate body but the carbonation creates an incredibly smooth creamy finish. This beer just glides through my mouth effortlessly.
This is a beer I find myself in the mood for every now and then but it's best enjoyed with certain types of food. Smoked salmon is a great choice. That said one in a sitting is enough for me but that one bottle goes down pretty easy.
Like I said earlier, if I'm in the mood for something a little off the beaten path this is what I pick up. This is one world class rauchbier.
02-01-2008 22:59:22 | More by joe1510
3.98/5 rDev -1.5%
Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a Belgian tulip.
Appearance- Beer pours a clear red with a minor head that vanishes quickly leaving a wisp of foam across the head that forms cloudlike perceived shapes when stared at for too long.
Smell- Smoke and malts but no real traces that this is a marzen. Hickory smoked wood and hints of ham. Pork goodness permeates this beer and you have to feel for the vegetarians.
Taste- Liquid smoke right here folks. Rich smokey malts and bacon goodness. This is over the top with smoke and everything else comes second. Light malts linger and it actually does pair well with bacon quite well.
Mouthfeel- Lighter than would be expected with a beer of this level of smoke. Leaves a comforting feel on the palate. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated.
Drinkability- Astoundingly, I could drink lots of this at any barbecue cookoff or any other meat eating activity. But to not be food racist, I'm sure this would pair well with smoked mushrooms as well.
01-23-2008 00:43:09 | More by blakesell
4.25/5 rDev +5.2%
There was a strong but smooth smoke aroma immediately upon opening the bottle. It has a very pretty reddish brown color, and a thin off white head that dissipates quickly. Smells like bacon on a campfire. Very smooth mouthfeel. The smoky flavor gives way to a buttery, nutty flavor that hangs in your mouth long after finishing the beer. This is the most drinkable rauchbeer I've had, and definitely one of my favorites.
01-19-2008 23:11:02 | More by lowbrau
4.43/5 rDev +9.7%
Attractive reddish brown color. Only a film of off-white head. Finely textured tendrils of lace.
Smells mainly of smoke, like smoked salmon and bacon, with toasty grain, honey, earth, fruit leather, and spicy grassy hops. Rich and appetizing.
Tastes of smooth smoked malt, moderately sweet, with some toast and honey. Very well balanced with fresh hop flavor - grassy, spicy, and earthy - and moderate bitterness. Dries out entirely for a fairly long smoky finish.
Lightly carbonated. The tiny size of the bubbles makes for a nice smooth texture. Very drinkable, the smoke doesn't interfere at all.
Plenty of smoke, but perfectly integrated. Very tasty and balanced beer, with no shortage of character.
01-14-2008 07:27:41 | More by Beerzebub
3.5/5 rDev -13.4%
Poured a 22oz into a Chimay Chalice (2 pours). Poured a dark brown with ruby highlights and a nice 1 inch head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing. Aroma is smoked meats, like oak smoked bacon, slight saltiness. I thought the taste was very 1 dimensional. I get the salty, smokiness but not much more. The smoke is a bit overpowering. It doesnt highlight the beer, it overwhelms it. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with light carbonation. I think this is a dont miss if youre a big smoked beer person.
01-12-2008 05:02:35 | More by hwwty4
4.35/5 rDev +7.7%
I think this is the first 5 I gave anything on flavor. That is because within it's style category I cannot imagine it improving any more. Also - I had it fresh on tap across the street from the brewery! A warm buffed and oiled woodsy brown with a pillowy off-white head. Aromas of juicy munich malt, campfires, and a hint of sulphur. Flavors of smoked pork, charred wood (but without bitterness) and the finely tooled leather belt they used to jam in my mouth during my childhood fits. This is incredible stuff, and is certainly not for everyone. Bottled bacon is an aquired taste.
01-07-2008 02:09:27 | More by dedrinker
4.47/5 rDev +10.6%
A: Pours a clear mahogany ruby with a one inch tan and sandy head that fades after a bit not much active carbonation. Not much lacing but the color save everything.
S: Smell sort of chocolaty but with a smokey bacon and ham scent
T/MF: Woody oak taste that decieves the meaty nose which is a nice change of pace. Not very sweet but not very bitter either, sort of sweeter in the middle while the smoke aspect sort of mellows everything out. The mouthfeel is robust and sturdy and leaves a thickish film across the tongue.
D: Highly drinkable for a rauchbeer and I feel a better than the urbock.
01-05-2008 03:11:19 | More by bluemoonswoon
3.5/5 rDev -13.4%
Brown body with amber highlights. Little head to speak of. Aroma is all smoky wood. Virtually no malt - just burning wood. Flavor is also heavy on the smoky notes. some malt comes through, but pretty much all smoke. Mouthfeel is solid. Drinkability is OK, but a little more rich malt sweetness to balance the dry smokiness would be nice.
01-04-2008 22:37:25 | More by aaronh
3.9/5 rDev -3.5%
Pours deep brown with reddish hues. Nice two finger tan head. A nice aroma off the top of smoked sausages (I never thought the smell of sausage would be good in a beer). First sip is very nice, a hint of sweetness followed by a lemon sharpness. The flavor in the beer mellows as the beer warms. The drinkability is ok, very filling, I don't think I could drink more than one. When all is said and done, an extremely tasty brew.
12-30-2007 22:32:29 | More by HopGoblin
2.85/5 rDev -29.5%
This one will definately be revisited, interesting I think. I was expecting something on the lines os smokey scotch whisky, which I love (think Lavagulin or Talisker). The smell was promising, just enough smoke with malts. All I get on the pallete is smoke, like a barbecue or smokehouse, or my fireplace. I would probably enjoy aout 4 oz of this at the right time. To me this is definately not a quaffer. I will try it again paired with food.
12-29-2007 22:24:40 | More by srrn
4.05/5 rDev +0.2%
If you don't like the smoky flavor of scotch or irish whisky, or that of smoked meats or cheeses, save this one for those of us who do.
Pours a orange-tinted amber topped by a just not-quite-white head as you'd expect from a classic marzen. One has to prepare for the smoky aroma with a hint of malt. It was disconcerting until I thought of the smokiness I'd expect from a nice single-malt Islay scotch or a smoked, dry-aged Schwarzwalder ham. With that in mind, the smokiness is a nice rich flavorful smoke that complements the marzen remarkably well. Unlike some other flavored beers, this one does not skimp on the base beer. The melanoidin maltiness comes through the cloud of hardwood campfirey smoke and smooths the edges of the smoke and light hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is typical marzen, and while it would otherwise be a dangerously drinkable beer, the smoke flavor would wear out its welcome.
12-25-2007 20:22:05 | More by MillRat
District of Columbia
1.15/5 rDev -71.5%
A friend of mine got this at a local bar (his review is actually somewhere below) and after punishing himself with a few sips, managed to goad me into indulging my own morbid curiosity.
While it has the appearance of any number of great German beers, that is where the praise ends for this beast.
Smell: I'm a smoker and I thought the smoky odor was overwhelming. Simply an assault upon the olfactory glands. It's the kind of smell that makes me desperately reach for a febreeze bottle, hoping that my parents don't notice that all of my clothes smell smokey.
Taste: To quote Barney Gumble "Someone spilled beer in this ashtray!"
Mouthfeel: See above.
Drinkability: I had about two sips before my carcrash fascination wore off and I pushed it back to my friend.
12-18-2007 22:28:36 | More by tsbuttry
4.03/5 rDev -0.2%
Nice dark amber/ruby colour, slightly cloudy with nice languous fine-bubbled carbonation. Excellent body, and a firm head of light brown foam. Superb lacing. A wonderful looking beer.
Amazing, overpowering smell of woodsmoke - reminds me of camping out in the forest. It almost dominates everything, but there is, hidden in there, a slight spiciness, like rum-soaked raisins or Christmas pudding. Pretty intense.
There is smokiness on the palate too, but it's tempered by a very welcome roasted bitterness. This, with the scent of smoke still spiralling around my sinuses, almost throws me into sensory overload. Mouthfeel is quite light, but much more would have been overkill. Lots of subtle complexity to explore behind the brash, overzealous smoked character. The beer is the more drinkable for this complexity.
A powerful beer, not something for everybody, but something that's worth seeking out. I will definitely be drinking this again.
12-16-2007 00:04:26 | More by lacqueredmouse
3.73/5 rDev -7.7%
Pours a thin bone-white head that gets thinner quick, reducing to a dishsoap-like layer. Lots of thin, lovely lace, and the color is a dark brown that can just barely be seen through.
Authentic smoke in the aroma, reminds of heavily smoked gouda, also has a nice woody element. Nothing over-the-top, but like many of its kind, it's pretty hard to pick out other characteristics/ingredients.
Not the most demanding smoked beer, flavor-wise, and that's good. Light touches of anise, dark fruits and maple barely get through, but as with the aroma, it's tough to discern much beyond the spotlighted smokiness.
The low-ish carbonation gives a smooth feel to the beer, offsetting the relative heaviness of the flavor; but it veers too much toward the watery side for my taste.
Drinkability? It's a rauchbier. An occasional indulgence at best, but an enjoyable one when you do go there.
12-11-2007 13:14:25 | More by Metalmonk
3.7/5 rDev -8.4%
1pint 9oz bottle into a pint glass.
Pours a dark brown with a slight head that drops to just a ring.
Smell is smmmoookkyyy! Smells like a campfire.
Taste is more smoke. Very woody. Some sweet malts in there as well. A tad less complex than the Urbock it seems.
Overall, this is an interesting style. I like the smoked flavors and aromas, but I would be hard pressed to drink more than one of these unless maybe I was trying to finish a honeybaked ham.
12-05-2007 04:59:10 | More by bluegrassbrew
4.18/5 rDev +3.5%
I purchased this bottle in Bamberg after visiting the brewery. Pours a dark ruby red with big clingy head. Smoke aroama is very present but not offensive. After a few swigs one becomes acostemed to the smoke and you can tell this a very good marzen. Nicely balanced malt falvor with a hop bitterness. I had this beer with some smoked salmon and it was fantastic. Very easy drinking and pure joy to consume.
12-01-2007 19:49:16 | More by ttu94
3.98/5 rDev -1.5%
My first ever smoked beer, and I'm not really sure what to say... I have nothing to compare it to, so this review is a little more different than usual... Appearance-wise, this strongly resembles a stout, although not entirely as dark... A brownish-cocoa color that pours with a nice head... Smell is very smoky, as would be expected from what is called a "smoked beer"... This definitely does taste very smoky, with a distinct smoked flavor dominating the palate... Tastes somewhat liked smoked fish... and is very different from anything I've ever sampled... An interesting brew that certainly deserves recognition for its unique aroma and flavor... This is a good brew, but not sure if I'd want to drink more than the 1.09 fl. oz. that the bottle provided, as the taste can be somewhat overpowering at times... All in all, definitely worth a try and very unique...
11-29-2007 00:26:58 | More by dsa7783
4.18/5 rDev +3.5%
I remember having had a Schlenkerla Rauchbier (not sure which type) some years ago and thought it was like drinking smoke ....
this one however tastes rather like a light stout (good dryness) with some smoked ham addition .... I am having it with some black forest ham ... just a delicious pairing ...
11-27-2007 20:52:06 | More by Daredevil
3.9/5 rDev -3.5%
A - Pours a very dark ruby red colour with an inch or so of off white head. Quite a decent lacing is left.
S - Smell is all about the smoked meat - exactly like the deli area of the queen vic market where I bought it from. Polish smoked meats, italian smoked meats, you get the idea.
T - The smokiness is also quite present in the taste as well as a subtle caramel maltiness.
M - Quite full bodied and fairly carbonated.
D - Any more than one in a session would be too much but it's a top notch beer that I would recommend to someone wanting something different to the usual fare.
11-23-2007 11:09:24 | More by brendan13
4.28/5 rDev +5.9%
1pint, .09oz bottle, into SA glass
A: dark brown, thin white foam rings the glass
S: wow! smells like the fire station when i walk in the morning after a fire, smoky, slight medicinal quality, earthy. Fantastic.
T: obviously smoky, oaked wood, sweet malt beneath the layers of smoke
M: medium body, light carbonation and very smooth
D: I love a Rauchbier and this is top notch
11-11-2007 20:36:05 | More by Rainintheface
4.2/5 rDev +4%
1 pt 09 fl oz bottle, cold, poured into wide-mouthed brandy snifter type glass. This beer is much darker than it's Weizen relative, and the head seems much thinner. This beer is nearly black with just a little hint of amber at the edges. Correspondingly, the aroma is even deeper and more inviting than the Weizen. I've reviewed this beer before on tap at last year's GBBF, so I'll focus this review on the differences between this version and the bottled Weizen Rauchbier of the same make.
This beer is much more bitter. In that regard, it's actually flatter than the otherwise inferior Weizen version (coincidentally, it's also less fizzy, which works in its favor, in my opinion). The bitterness is of burnt malt and some German hops as well, and whereas the Weizen reminded me of tea, this reminds me more of particular smokey coffees (I like Allegro's Sulawesi Toraja, but my coffee-fu is not yet up to the standard of my Beer- or Tea-fu, so you may have to forgive my lack of vocabulary here).
Finally, there's a bit of an acidic of even iodine note in the very back of the flavor. Of the two, I prefer the Marzen, but both are great. No yeast in this bottle either.
11-10-2007 02:58:56 | More by hreb
3.5/5 rDev -13.4%
25 oz bottle from The Lighthouse in Manchester. Dark brown-red translucent body with a good half inch of off-white head. Smells malty, peaty, and smokey. Tastes malty at first, but quickly goes to peaty and ashy... For the style, this is spot-on, and I suspect it'd pair greatly with a smoked Gouda or pork sausage. As it is, it's a bit overwhelming by itself for my taste. Nevertheless, nearly flawless and well-crafted for sure. It is what it is...
11-10-2007 02:32:31 | More by MrHurmateeowish
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
90 out of 100 based on 1,710 ratings.