“While for the classic “Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier” traditionally beech has been – and still is – used, the malt for “Schlenkerla Oak Smoke” is kilned with Oak wood. The resulting Schlenkerla Oak Smoke Malt has a smoother and more multi layered smoky note than the intensely aromatic Beech Smoke Malt. The hence complex smokiness in the “Schlenkerla Oak Smoke” is paired with the multifaceted bitterness of finest Hallertau aroma hops. With 8% alcohol and amber color it matures for months in the deep brewery cellars underneath Bamberg into a special treat for smoke beer lovers.”
We whipped out the old half litre Stein for this bad boy. The copper appearance is covered by a short head that rapidly collapses and leaves no lacing on the glass whatsoever. Without sounding like a ditzy blonde this has enormous smoky aromas. Variations of burned wood, charcoal and ash are all we can smell initially but once it settles in the glass the sweeter and maltier aromas begin to open up. Smoked ham still comes through boldly but underneath a delicate caramelized malt/sugar scent in no way balances, but does offer a brief respite from the hefty smoke that dominates the nose. Maybe just a touch of toffee poking through too. The mouth feel is watery and quite thin in texture. Carbonation, body and bitterness are all mild. In other words, other than the smoke, there isn’t much happening. The flavour profile is literally a mirror image of the aroma. Just this relentless presence of smoke that begins and ends in, wait for it…..smoke. To be fair it does seem to have a unique flavour. We’re aware of the fact that there are differences when dealing with beech, hickory, cherry or oak but honestly our palates just aren’t in tune enough to tell the difference. To sum up, it’s too much. Almost sickening at times. We’re fans of lightly smoked beers but this type of rauchy bier in our view is just excessive and literally drowns out any other characters the beer may have. It’s certainly an acquired taste, one we are yet to develop and respect to those that do. To us it’s unpalatable and simply not enjoyable.