Schlenkerla Märzen

Total Score: 8.1/10 Bacon1 Honeycomb1 Lemon1 Stein1

Schlenkerla, what can we say about them that hasn’t already been said? They are the undisputed kings of the Rauchbier genre… well they may be a little disputed, HaandBryggeriet’s Norwegian Wood for example is a really good Rauch… anyway, it’s time to finally review the Märzen, which was actually the first Rauchbier I tried, lost my Rauch-ginity to Schlenkerla, and TBH I did not like it the first time. Now that I’m a seasoned Rauch drinker Schlenkerla Urbock is my go to glass of liquid bacon, let’s see if this revisit to the Märzen is as good.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Stein.

A: Presents a deep slight-hazed Bole brown body with a tight-packed 2cm beige head that settles to half a centimetre. Looks a real dark smoky treat, wunderbar! 8/10.

S: Bacon, yes you’ve been expected, probably the biggest difference between this and the Urbock is this one trends towards sweetness in the aroma with an almost icing sugar/cake frosting sweetness lingering in the background. Apart from that it is Beechwood FTW. 8/10.

T: Not as bold as the Urbock… actually I’m surprised by how shocked I recall being when I first tried this many moons ago – yes it is smoky, but not quite as smoky as the Urbock, and this is well balanced with notes of Bacon, sweet honey malt and a twist of lemon. This is the Märzen cousin of Urbock (remember that Märzens are bottom-fermented, in other words; a Lager, even though they don’t often come across as Lagers). Finish is Dry Munich Helles dry with a touch of yeast sourness. 8/10.

M: Mid to light bodied (a bit watery compared to the Urbock) with a light but dense carbonation – fits the Märzen bill well, not great. 7/10.

D: Overall this is wunderbar compared to the Urbock’s ehrfürchtige. A class act of a Rauch that is overshadowed by THE best Rauchbier in the world (Schlenkerla’s own Urbock). If I had to pick a cured meat to compare this Märzen to (as is my tradition for all Schlenkerla beer reviews) I would say this is: Smoked honey ham. If you like smoked honey ham you will like this offering from Bamberg (the unofficial home of sexual relations). Bam. 9/10.

Food match: Who needs food when you have a glass of this glorious smoked honey ham delight? Seriously though: Bavarian pork knuckle with fried potato and onions and sauerkraut… damn I’m hungry now.

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Schlenkerla Weizen

Total Score: 7.8/10 Bacon1 Smoke1 Clove1 Stein1

Schlenkerla are, for me at least, the definitive brewers of Rauchbier – or ‘Smoke Beer’, and their Urbock is one of my all-time favourite beers. Now that is. When I first tried Rauchbiers it was a Schlenkerla Marzen (about 3 years back) and I thought “WTF is going on?!”: You see I didn’t know I was buying a Rauchbier; I thought I was buying a Marzen, which was a style I had become enamoured with at the time… little did I know then that today I would take a Schlenkerla Urbock over any Marzen any day of the week. How tastes have changed indeed. Moral to the story: Schlenkerla Urbock is an awesome beer, get it… now!

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Stein.

A: Deep hazy seal brown body with a 1.5 inch light-beige head that slowly drops back leaving a hearty lace on the glass. This is where IT is at. Bring it Schlenkerla! 9/10.

S: Even though Schlenkerla only smoke the barley malt the aroma of smoke still dominates the aroma like nothing else. This is their Rauch-Weizen but you’ll be hard pressed to pick up anything other than that smoky bacon fragrance that I love the Urbock for… Hmmm, I take that back: a second deeper whiff reveals hints of sweet malt and spicy clove Phenols. 9/10.

T: Nah, get the Urbock. This tastes similar, although with a clove spiced ham to Urbock’s rauch schinkenspeck (smoked bacon) sandwich. However the Urbock has quite a bit more going on in the flavour (and the mouthfeel as we will soon [spoiler alert] find out). The wheat in this also makes it drier in the finish and consequentially less enjoyable than the Urbock. All the above said – even Schlenkerla’s average brews are still world class. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a light carbonation and a hint of creaminess. 8/10.

D: This was alright, I think the Weizen aspect of this could be a lot more pronounced – i.e. more banana and cloves to compliment the smoke, but I do still like this brew, tis a solid Rauch. Overall as a famous philosopher once said [this is someone from the future, in the future, talking about me] “If you can get Urbock: Get Urbock! If not, this is still decent… GET URBOCK!”. 8/10.

Food match: Christmas ham dinner or cheese and nut platter, decisions decisions.

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