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Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche

Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
35 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Home to some of the most idiosyncratic beers in the world, Franconia is rightfully known as the brewing world’s epicenter for rauchbiers, which are noted for the pungently smoky aromas and flavors. Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche, a rauch (smoked) doppelbock from Brauerei Heller-Trum in Bamberg, continues the tradition of intensely smoky brews while still delivering the hallmark malty sweetness associated with doppelbock. A wall of smoky, almost bacon-like notes leaps from the glass, yet a syrupy maltiness lurks beneath the campfire aroma. At first, the overpowering wood smoke notes put Pete off, but he soldiered on and teased out pleasantly fruity hints of “damson and overripe plums,” as well as a touch of caramel. A brooding, dark copper brew, with just the lightest topping of tan foam, this beer even looks smoky. Across the palate, the flavors track perfectly with the aroma, expressing an almost piquant spiciness to the smokiness, yet offering up tidbits of toffee, anejo rum, and oddly enough, fruit cake. Try as he might, Lee couldn’t get past the overpoweringly smoky flavors, yet he did delve deeply enough to find “traces of dark Jamaican rum and glacé cherries” to add some complexity. Contrarily, Tim complimented the “deft integration of caramelized maltiness and dense wood smoke,” and felt it was “full of delicious, juicy, smoky goodness.” Keep this one reserved for those long, cold nights of contemplation before the fireplace.