Holy smokes! It’s been way too long since I’ve consumed me a tasty, refreshing, sooty rauchbier. If you haven’t yet mustered the decency and cranial fortitude to familiarize yourself with my take on two of my favorite brews, park your BaDoink boner on ice immediately, and allocate your next several dozen minutes to reading my reviews on Heller-Trum’s Schlenkerla doppelbock and their Marzen. Then you are encouraged to explore the VIP section for some oiled, pink body parts, joining and rubbing against and betwixt each other in the most taboo ways imaginable. Thank you.
Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen (I promise I’m not going to write that any more here) is made with the traditional smoked malt, but also made with non-smoked wheat malt, and bottle conditioned. If you drink enough serious/craft beer it is inevitable you will come across the term “bottle-conditioned”. The concept is simple: after fermentation in the tank there is still some live yeast in the brew. So the brewers add some sugar to the bottle and cap it. The yeast will then convert that sugar to CO2 and alcohol, and with no place to go the CO2 naturally carbonates the brew in the bottle. What does this mean for us, the drinkers? Honestly, I don’t know. I guess it’s just cool to know how the beer was made.
From the bottle-conditioning process this beer is filled with large, clumpy flocculates of the unfiltered yeast. And they are beautiful. If you have a problem seeing light, flaky chunks dancing and whirling in your beer you may find this brew a tad off-putting. And also you may find that you are an asshole, because flocculates are flocculating awesome. So, if you’re one of those who says, “Eww… why is there gross shit floating in my beer?” I strongly advise you to shut the flocculate up, go flocculate yourself, and flocculate off… flocculate face!
The liquid is dark brown, opaque, and it has a billowing, tan, ashy, two-finger head that fizzes assiduously, and recesses down into the liquid hastily. As with a shaved and clean box, as soon as I get my ugly face close to the pint glass it causes an uncontrollable, massive smile. It has that wonderful campfire aroma, mixed nicely with a sweet grain. Unfortunately the flavor isn’t quite as strong as the aroma suggests, but it’s still marvelous. Baked soft pretzels, toasted malt, sweet and buttery wheat, and a finish of smoked salami, Gouda cheese, toast, wheat cereal flakes, and a very slight sting of bitterness. The texture is very fizzy, highly carbonated (again due to the bottle conditioning), wet, light, and extremely drinkable. The aftertaste is uninspiring and anticlimactic with a strange, “stale” smoke flavor, yeast, and spring water. And there is virtually no lacing at all.
This is not quite as good as the rauchbier doppelbock, which isn’t quite as good as the rauchbier Marzen, but it’s better than their Helles Schlenkerla lager (which actually does not used smoked malt; I will review that one next week). It’s refreshing, yeasty, hearty, and earthy. Smoke up, you.
Brauerei Heller-Trum “Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen”
Weizen style Rauchbier