Störtebeker Roggen-Weizen

Total Score: 7.65/10 Earth1 Bananas1 Clove1 Stein1

Doc’s beer style #100: Roggenbier! It’s taken us a while to get here, 4 years in fact, but here we are and Roggenbier is lucky number 100. So what is Roggenbier? It is a beer style brewed with roggenmalz, duh! OK, but let’s pretend for a second we don’t speak German (das ist nicht gut!) what is ‘roggenmalz’ and how does it affect me as a beer drinker? There is a simple equation: Roggenmalz = rye malt = awesome sour/pepper notes3 in your beer. Easy. Now I will point out that this brew also contains weizen (or wheat) as well so expect some banana/clove Phenols as well.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a stein.

A: This is one great looking brew: Cloudy toffee-coloured body with a 1 cm creamy dense off-white coloured head that sticks around like forever bro. Leaves a thick lace on the sides of the glass as it drains – this is a head of Guinnessian proportitions! 10/10.

S: Upfront weizen banana/clove Phenols suggest that we are in for more of a weizen experience along with the roggen which comes through with a slight sourdough bread note. Hints of some complex sweet caramel/toasty malts linger in the background as well. 8/10.

T: Then when you taste it there is a big underlying earthy flavour. It’s not nearly as weizeny as I was expecting but those banana/clove Phenols are there adding their own polite nod. The sweetness of the malts is less pronounced and gives way to sour (but interestingly not bread) characters with the finish being more sour and dry than anything else, this really is a new genre of beer for me, though it could use a bit more flavour kick IMHO. 7/10.

M: Medium bodied with a creamy Hefeweizen-like carbonation, it’s hard to complain about that. 8/10.

D: Well, well, well… well. The overriding opinion at the end of this review is: more roggen, less weizen please. Whilst I did enjoy the rye aspects of this brew they were slightly overshadowed by rye’s brash and charismatic cousin wheat – and there’s the rub Störtebeker – wheat will always eclipse rye in a straight shootout as it has the bold Phenol advantage that rye lacks. As it stands I will probably get this again as something that’s weizenesque and different to go to when I am almost tired of Weizens, but I will also continue my search for other Roggenbiers to whet my palate with. 8/10.

Food match: Can you say “bratwurst mit senf und roggenbrot mit sauerkraut”? Ja!

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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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Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

Total Score: 8/10 (huh, same as last review, maybe I should add fractions?) Bananas1 Clove1 Bread1 Weizenglass1

For my next review a German wheat beer classic? Yes please! Franziskaner, hard to spell, even harder to pronounce, is an old school fella… a Weiss of a by-gone era of large German men and leather pants with suspenders, but we love it otherwise. The real test is how well it stands up against one of my personal Weissbier favourites: Weihenstephaner.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a 500ml Stein glass.

A: Cloudy orange body with a boisterous foamy white head that eventually collapses to about 1cm. Nothing out of the ordinary here. 8/10.

S: Notes of clove and banana which is very by the book for a wheat beer. I’m picking up a hint of a musty aroma and compared to Weihenstephaner this brew is overall lighter in the Phenols… not that it’s a bad thing. 7/10.

T: Smooth… very creamy and luxurious (and I know I should be saying this below but it really strikes me straight off how creamy this is). The banana and cloves are evident, along with the malt caramel grains but all-in-all this tastes a bit more restrained than the Weihenstephaner… again; not that it’s a bad thing. Slight sour-bread aftertaste. 8/10.

M: Smooth and creamy as stated above. The feel of the carbonation is well balanced and the overall body is medium. 10/10.

D: Here’s where I begin to compare oranges with oranges; Weihenstephaner is a fuller experience when it comes down to taste profile, but the mouthfeel of this brew is better. Other comparisons are minor at best. A decent beer nonetheless however Weihenstephaner would be my pick given the option (actually Schneider Aventinus is a real fine drop that would give both of these a run for their money but I haven’t had it in a while now… noted: next Weissbier review). 8/10.

Food match: Need I say a big plate of German food? Wurst, Shinken, Sauerkraut, Kartoffel, etc…

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HaandBryggeriet Dark Force

Total Score: 8.6/10 Coffee1 Bread1 Earth1 Tulipglass1

I’m a tad excited about cracking open Dark Force I must confess. I have recently been on a Russian Imperial Stout crusade, err, a peaceful crusade – I’m not putting the sword to one of my new favourite beer styles. Glad we covered that up. HaandBryggeriet has appealed to my dark beer loving nature by calling this behemoth a “Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout”, and it has appealed to my love of characters voiced by James Earl Jones through the various Star Wars references on the label (always read the label people!).

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Black and shiny body, like the spacesuit of a certain evil Sith lord voiced by James Earl Jones, with a dense mocha brown head that soon reduces to thin lace ring, also voiced by James Earl Jones. The force is strong with this one. 9/10.

S: Roasted and unroasted coffee beans, earthy characters with hints of chocolate fruit cake and white spirits (bit of Vodka and White Rum). Surprisingly* there is little of the malted wheat to be noted over the heady roasted Stout aromas. 8/10.

T: Moody is one way to describe this bold Stout. There is a an interesting mix between the aforementioned roasted/unroasted coffee bean, sloe berry, some bread dough notes, and golden syrup. In fact “syrup” is a good way to describe this – pure Stout syrup (with a twist!). In a move Mr. Vader may or may not have approved of there is some real complexity of flavours on the palate: Sweet, earthy, fruity (from the unroasted coffee bean), bitter and dry. Speaking of the finish – it is a slight coffee bitterness with a bit of dryness. No wheat flavours but who cares? They could have added Plutonium to this and I still wouldn’t give a damn. 9/10†.

M: Medium bodied with a dense but light carbonation. Stouts with body FTW. 9/10.

D: Well I’m out of Star Wars references (not really, but I can tell that you’re sick of them already). This brew is so big/dark/evil (i.e. a good Stout), I will definitely have to get it again to compare it with Odin’s Tipple, because I suspect that Dark Force beats it, but there have been many many RISs betwixt the two. Point in case: Just get this beer. 8/10.

Food match: Your mortal soul… oh and cigars, Cuban ones.

*That was sarcasm BTW.

†Very nearly almost a 10/10 here… so borderline… it’s great, just buy it, now.

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