Rauchbier

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Beertsipper, Sep 19, 2015.

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  1. gillagorilla

    gillagorilla Meyvn (1,300) Feb 27, 2013 Maryland

    @Shroud0fdoom brought this 2-year old Smoke over.

    [​IMG]

    I've had Schlenkerla and that is just a clean, liquid smoke type flavor. However, this was like a campfire cast iron cooked dinner consisting of baked beans, bacon and burgers. It was like a 3-course meal that we just couldn't get through. Nate did some abusive things to his portion and I kept the rest to cook with.

    @smakawhat You should try to find yourself a bottle of this. This is one ridiculous smoke beer and one everyone contributing to this thread should look out for.
     
  2. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,812) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    If you buy grocery store bacon, vs a small bacon producers Apple smoked bacon, vs a German butcher shop's double smoked bacon you can learn what I mean. The German one is more Smokey than balcony, BTW.

    I sat with a Grand Master that said a beer was spot on as it wasn't meaty, and she said the trip to Bamberg had defined what it should taste like. Often you are luckey to get one to style Rauchbier in a flight.
     
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  3. scottakelly

    scottakelly Zealot (518) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    Lucky you!
     
  4. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,387) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland
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    I've had it before... not a rauch in style but certainly a fun unique brew:

    http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/13014/39917/?ba=smakawhat
     
  5. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (318) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Point being we all have our associations and points of reference and we try to make sense of what we smell and taste through them. For alot of people the association between smoked meats and hardwood smoked beer makes sense. For alot of people it wouldn't make sense to reference an old house or well-used fireplace attended by steveh on BA. Yet I think they get the point across just as well. We don't use beechwood in our fireplaces or houses here, and I, in my personal experience, which is the point here, don't see that as a natural association. We do smoke meats with beechwood however.
     
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  6. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,654) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    The majority of mass-produced bacon over here doesn't use beechwood for smoking either, so that's probably why I don't understand the knee-jerk "association" between Rauchbier and bacon. Back to one of my first posts in this thread:
     
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  7. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I'd say you are pretty much spot on with your analysis here and that what is happening is a pretty much a universal human tendency that differs from one person to the next as a function of our background of experience.

    Our prior experiences and discriminations are going to have a definite effect on how we describe what we are experiencing. If one has not had prior experience with the different effects/flavors they will tend to get lumped together when trying to translate into words what one has experienced. As @JackHorzempa illustrates with one of his posts the effect of say, peat smoke on flavors will be detectably different from the effect of say, beechwood smoke. However, unless one has prior experience that allows for recognition of that difference between the flavors imparted by peat smoke or by beechwood smoke they will be "munged" together and experienced as being much the same.

    As a somewhat parallel example, its not unusual in the Southwestern part of the US to find people using water smoked Mesquite chips scattered onto burning charcoal to help provide a unique smokey character to their outdoor grilled meats. Having sometimes used that technique here in the Northeastern part of the US I've encountered more than one guest at a home barbecue who could easily identify that there was smoke in the flavor of the meats and equated it with wood smoked bacon. (Indeed there were some who'd hadn't the faintest idea of what Mesquite chips are or that there even could be such a thing. :slight_smile:)
     
    #127 drtth, Sep 22, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
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  8. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,004) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I'm in the minority, then, :wink: since with my first experience with rauchbier back in the 1970s, I compared the taste to smoked fish. I mean, I could even image liking something that was described as like drinking "liquid smoked meat" but, "smoked fish"? Nah. And I love smoked fish.

    Can never remember which rauchbier it was - I only remember it came in those very translucent, greenish-brown stubby/steinie bottles (maybe 11 oz.?) that a few cheaper Euro imports came in at the time. Might have been Spezial or Kaiserdom (previous to it being a Merchant du Vin brand, when it came in a more traditional German export bottle). All I remember is that a couple of the bottles stayed in the back of the fridge so long, the crowns started to rust from the condensation. Maybe one of the few beers I bought back then I just couldn't finish. Turned me off of rauchbier for decades

    20 years or so ago, sitting around the welders' booth, a few "older" guys were reminiscing about their peacetime US Army experience in post-War Germany (the guys there in that period never had a problem with reminiscing :wink:) and my buddy Bob the Welder brought up enjoying smoked beer while there.

    "Oh, " non-vet (hey, I had a high draft lottery number during Vietnam) me said, "you can buy them here now..."

    He gave me some money to buy a six of Schlenkerla (even though he drove home past the same liquor store I'd buy it in). Brought it into work, gave it to him, he brought back the remaining 5 bottles the next day and gave them to me as a gift - he was not a big beer drinker to begin with - with the comment: "Yeah, that was it. It tastes just like you're smoking a cigarette and drinking beer at the same time!"

    Really, Bob? That's how you remember it tasting?
     
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  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,533) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    JK, I have heard people describe drinking Rauchbier as being like licking an ashtray (with an accompanying facial expression). I never asked them if they actually licked an ashtray but I got the message: they hated Rauchbier.

    Rauchbier is indeed a very polarizing beer style. I like some and dislike others based upon their differing flavor profiles; they don't all taste the same to me.

    Cheers!
     
  10. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,812) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    As one who enjoys smoked pork (maple, Apple, hickory), brisket (love the Post Oak smoked brisket in central TX), salmon (alder), and cheese (what wood do they smoke Gouda with?) I can pick out differences.

    Last Friday I was at the LHBS and stuck my nose in bins that had malt smoked with beechwood, oak, cherry, and mesquite. Didn't smell the peat smoked malt, that I know I don't like, it is made from burning the organic soil peat. I have made beer from a variety of malt smoked over different woods, and you can learn the differences with training.
     
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  11. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,531) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    I've had the pleasure of drinking Schlenkerla's Maerzen and Fastenbier on tap (and in the case of the Maerzen, multiple pints from different bars). While different, I've also had the Helles on multiple occasions. When I've purchased bottles locally around the same time I consumed the drafts, the bottles tasted exactly as the drafts did.

    Would you say the bottles/drafts that I had are at all comparable to drinking Rauchbier in Bamberg?

    I'm trying to get a good feel for what a Rauchbier "should" taste like. For what it's worth, I always perceived more smoke than anything else in these beers. They tasted nothing like the "bacon-bomb" Rauchbier I had during my first experience in Sam Adams' version many years ago. Not that I don't perceive ANY meat flavor from the Schlenkerla offerings, it was simply more subdued. And in the case of the Helles, no "bacon" notes whatsoever.
     
  12. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,682) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
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    Draft might be, or at least somewhat close. A place near me (the Bull & Bush) gets gravity kegs from Shlenkerla a few times per year. It's usually the Bock or Eiche, which aren't my faves...but they tend to taste fairly authentic. Sometimes they can be older, though. I think that's just the luck of the draw with the distributor.

    One reason I was such a fan of the Spezial bottles is because they tasted more or less identical to how they do in Bamberg. Their milder smoke never seemed to concentrate or take over. Schlenkerla's is more potent and concentrates for about a year or two, which can be overpowering.
     
  13. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,654) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    As Domingo says, the Schlenkerla kegs might be, but if they're Pasteurized that could change them a little. The difference between the draft in Bamberg and the bottles here is a freshness and smoothness -- the beer in Bamberg also seems a little more mellow in the smokiness -- could also be a result of Pasteurization of the import beer.

    I've only ever had the Helles vom Faß here in the U.S., but I can't make a big comparison because it's not my favorite and I didn't have it much in Bamberg.
     
  14. Brutaltruth

    Brutaltruth Poo-Bah (3,289) Mar 22, 2014 Ohio
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    A nice one indeed. Seems to me the Americans that over-do the smoke. Then again, know some who hated the Sam Adams version and after a touch of aging found it to be extremely pleasant....that coming from a person of English and French descent.
     
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  15. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,654) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Hickory. I think that's what they use for smoked cheddar too, but don't hold me to it.
    But... doesn't that debunk the idea of taste being subjective? I mean, if you and I can both take the time to train our palates to recognize what something should taste like, wouldn't we both agree when something was spot on or way off? (BTW -- not singling you out, just taking the opportunity of you making the observation -- of which I wholeheartedly agree! :slight_smile:)
     
  16. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,812) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Well subjectively I have never been able to tolerate peat smoked malt beers, so that may support your point.
     
  17. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,654) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Heh -- but you do recognize them, right? It was like the time I was asked to judge Category 17 at a BJCP sanctioned competition. I don't like Sour Ales, but I know how they're supposed to taste -- what's right and what's wrong, and since I was grateful for the other categories I begged to judge I couldn't very well leave them in the lurch. Was a good experience.
     
  18. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,812) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Yeah, I will judge them.
     
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  19. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,654) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    In honor of the lively banter in this thread, I chilled the last of my Schell's Chimney Sweep from this year's stash.

    And I'll be damned if it doesn't taste like smoked ham! No, it really doesn't. :wink: The smokiness is woody, with light astringency, but compliments very well to the sweet maltiness and some subtle roastiness. This one's a bit past its prime as there is some slight souring going on (good thing I drank it now), but as I enjoy it I'm aware of how lucky I am to have this beer in my area. It would be well accepted in Bamberg as an Ami Cousin.
     
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,533) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Everybody has their own unique palate and consequently they will perceive flavors differently.

    As the French would say: C'est la vie.

    Cheers!

    P.S. I don't know how the Swedish would say this!:wink:

    @Crusader
     
  21. beastmammoth

    beastmammoth Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2010 New York

    You probably had this: http://sixpoint.com/blog/recent/sixpoint-barrel-aged-signal-smoked-ipa/
     
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