Fech (291) - Parsippany, New Jersey, USA - APR 11, 2012
1.1 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 1/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 2/20
Oh sweet lord gross. Tastes like tree bark and burnt bacon. Whoever rates this beer high better check if they still have taste buds.
JefVerstraete (2883) - Oosterzele, BELGIUM - APR 7, 2012
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 10, 2013 Bottle @ Abseits, Bamberg. Very nice rauchbier, very strong but easy drinkable. Full of taste: smokey and some fruity sweetness (port), nice strong aftertaste.
Benzai (14074) - Oirschot, THE NETHERLANDS, NETHERLANDS - APR 1, 2012
2.2 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 8/20
Shared with Dutchdrebus @ In de Wildeman, Amsterdam. Clear orange to copper color, small white to off-white head. Smell and taste malts, smoke and an incredible lot of bacon. Average carbonation and body. Not my thing at all.
Ernest (7319) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAR 31, 2012
2.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bottle. Head is initially small, fizzy, light brown, fully diminishing. Body is medium amber. Aroma is moderately malty (caramel, toasted bread), lightly hoppy (apricot), with notes of smoke (ham, salmon, ash), band-aid, alcohol, fish sauce, cake icing. Flavor is moderately to heavily sweet, lightly bitter. Finish is lightly to moderately sweet, lightly to moderately bitter. Medium body, watery texture, fizzy carbonation, lightly to moderately alcoholic. This is my second experience with the bottles that just showed up in CO, and I did this review with glasses of Maerzen and Urbock (also new batches that just arrived) side by side for comparison. The Eiche has the most meaty smoke character, and itís even fishy, which is both neat and icky...under the smoke, not much, just some caramel and bread really, some band-aidy plastic and maybe some apricotty hops which are pleasant on their own but donít mesh very well with the meaty smoke. Some weird candy-cake smell comes out at times too, which also clashes. So, some good aspects, but really jumbled and messy. The Maerzen is ridiculously ashy this time, like a cigarette ashtray...unpleasant even, almost like a carpet fire, some yucky phenols perhaps (plastic/rubber). Itís usually not like that, but itís the worst aroma of the three. As is usually the case in bottle form, the Urbock wins. Iíve had better batches, but itís got the usual nice woody and lightly meaty smoke (turning ashy the less liquid that remains in the glass), rich bready malt, some dark dried fruit (dates), and nice herbal hops. Both the Maerzen and Urbock offered solid lasting heads (Urbock being the largest and creamiest), whereas the Eiche head disappears completely almost immediately. The Eiche is also the lightest in color by quite a margin (Urbock being slightly darker than the Maerzen), although that doesnít affect the score, just an observation. In the mouth, the Eiche is the biggest loser...overly sweet and quite fizzy, absolutely no fun to drink. Gotta say Iím surprised and disappointed in the Eiche...expected way, way, way better. But even the mighty Urbock isnít quite up to par this time, so it was probably just an off time at the brewery in general (and hopefully temporary, gulp!).
TAR (2671) - Marshall (Asheville area), North Carolina, USA - MAR 26, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Clear rufous. Small eggshell head soon dies after decanting. Simple but fairly pleasant aromas of wintergreen, smoked grass clippings, petroleum jelly, prosciutto and light manure. Takes a vigorous swirl to coax the mineral and characterful lager yeast. Some muted fruity esters, as well. Curiously scant carbonation. Sturdy residuals are countered by that signature Heller-Trum cleanness which gives way to oily prosciutto and petroleum-jelly-tinged smoke. Firm base of woodiness is tastefully incorporated, as itís clean to the point of exuding with a ghostlike presence yet manages to deepen some the "greasier" rauch character. Secondary grains barely exude with a dry and cookielike twinge, yet are simultaneously bouncy with vague notions of straw. Delightfully luscious and hearty bock character gracefully buoys the wood-laden smoke. After a few sips, the drinkability suffers as things teeter on the brink of medicinal due to the alcohol combining with the unfermented sugars. Little in the way of mineralic snap to be found, though the yeast compensates nicely to add lift as well as character. Gentle ashy scratchiness provides a welcome contrast to the slippery esters. Closes with a fleeting glimpse of biscuity Munich malt and fruity slickness, with a floral and vaguely peppery hop zing along with sweeter dabs of red licorice and brown sugar. As one can expect from this brewery, this is exceptionally clean and devoid of flaw. But with appropriate levels of carbonation along with a better showing of some dusty dextrins, this likely would be downright divine. Otherwise, as is, this is just a tad sweet/sugary. Pretty nice, though.
dmschefke (576) - Macomb, Michigan, USA - MAR 25, 2012
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a copper amber with minimal head and lacing. Aroma forward with smoke, caramel, and sweet malt. Flavor is actually a lot more complex than the aroma let on. If more smoke beers were like this one, I could definitely start enjoying the style a bit more.
kschep (1707) - DENMARK - MAR 21, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
#1339 draught; Nose is some sweet apricot, medium sweet smoke, red apple, sweet alcohol whiff, feel is medium, carb Is mediumweak, taste is quite heavy cedar, sweet mediumweak smoke, cooked vegetables, then sweet, broad malt,
DutchDrebus (5563) - Oirschot, NETHERLANDS - MAR 19, 2012
3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
Clear copper colour with a small white head. Smells bacon, bacon and bacon. Tastes bacon, malts, wood and smoke. And bacon. Nice carbo, medium body.
Ringo (963) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - MAR 16, 2012
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Considering that Rauchbier is my favorite style, this is the best Rauchbier that Iíve ever had,
mcmisko (356) - New York, USA - MAR 14, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a slightly hazy copper amber color with a tiny white head that quickly dissipates into nothing. Smells like smoked cheese and cured meat, with some toffee. Taste is very smokey with sweet malts, barely, caramel, toffee, faint citrus notes from the hops, and some booze. This is almost a smoked barely wine. Texture is very smooth and creamy. After taste is clean and warm from the alcohol. This oneís dominant character is the smokiness, but it has a lot of other complex flavors and a lot to enjoy.