“Bamberg and Smokebeer (the Germans call it “Rauchbier”) belong together, a liaison which was not without consequences. The greatest of which is the Schlenkerla: the most productive, most visited and most traditional Smokebeer source in Bamberg. It originates in the middle of the old town, directly underneath the mighty cathedral, from a half-timbered house on which the geraniums effusively glow in the summer. Anyone who did not come here and try the strong, unmistakable taste of Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer (in German: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier) cannot claim to have been to Bamberg.”
- Eiche Doppelbock (96 Points)
- Fastenbier (100 Points)
- Helles Lagerbier (94 Points)
- Rauchbier Märzen (97 Points)
- Rauchbier Weizen (95 Points)
- Rauchbier Urbock (97 Points)
EICHE DOPPELBOCK: 96 Points
This Doppelbock is released in the Winter season in 500 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “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.”
My Description: The smoke flavor in this beer is definitely noticeable but more subdued than in other Schlenkerla beers. It has an average, beige colored head that fades quick to a film but holds and leaves behind a good amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and inviting with notes of malt and smoke with some underlying dark fruit notes. It is fuller bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The smoke flavor notes in this beer are great and multi-layered just like the brewer’s description said. There is also a sticky and sweet malty flavor accompanied by the faintest hint of plums. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and the alcohol is completely hidden. This gem is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with spicy sausages, grilled lambchops, or gourmet cheeses.
ABV: 8% Color: Amber/Garnet Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 2/10
FASTENBIER: 100 Points
This Rauchbier is only released during the Lent season in 500 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “The Original Schlenkerla Lentbeer is an unfiltered smokebeer, brewed in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Bottom-fermenting yeast gives the reddish brown lentbeer a natural cloudiness. Its smoky aroma is already noticeable in the smell, combined with a fine hoppy note. In the drink the fullbodied, highly drinkable lentbeer shows its strong malty flavour, rounded up with the smokey taste and a light bitterness. Due to the nourishing yeast, the Original Schlenkerla Lentbeer has the “Brotzeit already included” (German word for afternoon snack).”
My Description: This beer is beautifully crafted and remarkably smooth. What I love most is how clean the aroma is and how well the smoked flavor was pronounced without ever feeling like I was tasting something burnt. It begins with a good sized, light tan colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a good amount of lacing. The aroma smells absolutely amazing with notes of smoked ham, tobacco, and hints of malt. Fastenbier is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose closely. A woodsy bonfire flavor note is the backbone of beer holding up notes of earthy hops and a touch of malt sweetness. The transition is smooth to the aftertaste that is moderately bitter with a lingering note of smoked wood and smoked ham. This beer is addicting! It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage or baked ham.
ABV: 5.5% Color: Ruby/Garnet Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10
HELLES LAGERBIER: 94 Points
This Helles Lager is available year-round in 500 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: ““Schlenkerla Helles” is brewed with fine Bavarian aroma hops from the area around the city of Nürnberg. It’s lagered in century old caves underneath the historic Schlenkerla brewery and maltings. Schlenkerla Helles is boiled in the same copper kettles and bottom fermented by the same yeast as the historic Schlenkerla Smokebeer. Its subtle smokiness without using smoke malt makes “Helles Schlenkerla Lager” a unique representative of the classic lager beer style “Bavarian Helles””
My Description: This is a very clean lager. From the flavors to the overall body, every piece of this beer is smooth and crisp. It begins with a decent, white colored head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is subtle with notes of pale malts, some bread, floral/herbal hops, and a welcoming hint of smoke. The beer is roughly light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The light malt flavors upfront are clean and provide a touch of breadiness. This is accompanied by herbal hop flavors that are not sharp or harsh. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a hint of smoke that lingers. The beer is nicely balanced and truly refreshing. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with shawarma, fried chicken salads, or grilled shrimp with a fruity salsa.
ABV: 4.3% Color: Gold Sweetness: 1.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
RAUCHBIER MÄRZEN: 97 Points
This Märzen is available year-round in 500 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Bamberg’s speciality, a dark, bottom fermented smokebeer, brewed with Original Schlenkerla Smokemalt from the Schlenkerla maltings and tapped according to old tradition directly from the gravity-fed oakwood cask in the historical brewery tavern.”
My Description: The taste and smell of beechwood smoked barley in this beer is amazing and welcoming, perfect for that cool Autumn night. It begins with a large, beige colored head that has a great retention level and leaves behind an excellent amount of lacing. The aroma has a faint note of malt but the majority is dominated by a smoky scent that smells like smoked meats and hickory. This beer smells phenomenal. It is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This texture very smooth and is slightly creamy, it will coat your mouth. There are clean malt flavors present with an apparent yet subtle smokiness. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with hints of tobacco and a lingering smokiness. This beer is delicious if you enjoy the smoke. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, bacon cheeseburgers, or baked beans.
ABV: 5.1% Color: Deep Garnet Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
RAUCHBIER WEIZEN: 95 Points
This Smoked Weizen is available year-round in 500 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Schlenkerla Smokebeer Wheat is an ale with light smoky aroma. As Bavarian wheat beers, it is being brewed with a mixture of both barley malt and wheat malt. The portion of barley malt is hereby a classic Schlenkerla smokemalt, while the wheat malt remains unsmoked. Served unfiltered with its natural haziness, Schlenkerla Wheat reaches its full aroma through bottle fermentation with fine top fermenting yeast.”
My Description: The combination of the wheat malt, yeast, and smoked barley is nicely done as one does not necessarily overpower the other two, instead they all work harmoniously together. It begins with a large and foamy, light beige colored head that lasts the whole way and leaves behind a good wall of lacing. The aroma is complex with notes of smoked malt, cloves, some sweetness, and a hint of banana. It is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. This beer is refreshing and very smooth. There are great smoke flavors in this beer that are accompanied by notes of yeast spice, wheat malt, and a hint of light fruit. The aftertaste is thirst quenching with hardly any sign of bitterness. The smoke lingers nicely in between sips with a touch of clove. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, beef stroganoff, or grilled lamb chops.
ABV: 5.2% Color: Medium Brown Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
RAUCHBIER URBOCK: 97 Points
This Rauchbier is released in the Autumn season in 500 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “(First tapping every first Thursday of October) A smoked bock beer for Bamberg’s strong beer season (October through December). Matured for months in ancient rock-cellars underneath Bamberg and tapped freshly from the oakwood cask. Similar to, but much bigger than the classic Maerzen style.”
My Description: This beer just gets better and better as you drink it; more flavors develop and it gets much smoother. It begins with a pretty good sized, beige colored head that lasts for a long time and leaves behind a nice wall of lacing. The aroma is great with deep malt notes and an apparent smoke presence. It is medium bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The smoke flavor is bold and dominate but there are delicious malt undertones and some caramel to bring some complexity. The aftertaste is slightly bitter which brings a good balance to the flavor profile. The texture is somewhat sticky and the alcohol is completely hidden. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with coal-fired pizza, smoked ribs, or grilled sausage.
ABV: 6.5% Color: Dark Mahogany Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10