Schroppfy (2360) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - JUN 3, 2005
hmmm, gorgeous dark golden brown. Some head formation. The aroma here is wonderful; sticke-like ,with some burnt rubber, plasticy, flowery stuff above and separate frm the smokiness. A good bit of well-integrated smoke, very pleasant and smooth smoke flavor and light spiciness. Delicious, and thanks to TAR. mkobes (2142) - paramus, New Jersey, USA - MAY 30, 2005
On tap at the Old Bay. Deep brown in color with little or no head. Very smokey aroma. Very malty and smokey. Light and smokey flavor. Smokey caramel notes. Complex. Well balanced. Full bodied. Great. Very drinkable. MaiBockAddict (1497) - Good Beer Bar Deprived, New Jersey, USA - MAY 30, 2005
Tap at the Old Bay in New Brunswick, at their Mai-Fest. Hazy orange, tan head. Smokey aroma, yet less so than I expected. The malt comes through here with the phenols. Flavor is light and smokey, with the malt easily coming through. Smoke builds as you drink. This is very good and very drinkable, but I was expecting more smoke for some reason... BBB63 (6557) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - MAY 27, 2005
Handbottled by TAR, thanks buddy! : The beer pours a deep chestnut brown with an initial fizzy head that fades to a ring and some lace. The aroma has notes of chared wood, smoked sausage and smoked gouda, hints of banana and plum, and a earthy yeast ester. The taste is smoky and earthy for sure but there is some fruity undertones that makes it interesting (sometimes it’s tangy and sometimes it fleshy, way cool!). Seems to be some undefinable spice at the end as well, even a dose of peat seems to come out to play. The feel is slick and oily with a ashy dry finish. Quite a nice smoked brew that seems so fresh and not over powering. A wonderful change of pace. YUMMY! DanielBrown (4520) - Birmingham (via Leicester), West Midlands, ENGLAND - MAY 9, 2005
Gravity at the Swan and Rushes annual German Beer Fest, Leicester. Creosote smoked aroma. Ruby coloured with a beige head. Smooth, (Cornish) pastie smoked flavour, with plenty of ham. Thin, slightly greasy mouthfeel. Nice finish. Good stuff indeed.
kujo9 (1095) - North Ridgeville, Ohio, USA - APR 21, 2005
On tap @ the Brew Kettle 4/13/05: Deep coppery amber w/ a lasting, thick, off white head. Pretty smoky aroma at first...like a freshly burning wood fire. Some sourness. The smoky becomes more sweet as it warms; mild malt aroma; clean & smokey throughout. Smoky flavor and well balanced with a clean and very low malt flavor. The smoky flavor is not really as potent as the typical rauchbiers they make as it seems to appear, disappear, then appear again. Very clean, smokey flavor. Dry finish & aftertaste is pure, woody smoke. Higher carbonation, low medium body, smooth m/f. I’m not a big fan of smoked beers, but this is not bad IMHO. It seems a little one dimensional, but would go well with sharp cheddar or a wood fired meats. Not my cup of tea however! willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - APR 8, 2005
UPDATED: APR 10, 2005 04.07.05 16oz, hand-bottled from growler by TAR. Hazed chestnut, glowing. Sports a creamy khaki head mixed with some sizeable bubbles despite the stress it’s been put through in its short life. Aroma is deep with woodsmoke, hints of brine, more smoke, ripe grain, layer after layer of smoke, and something of a caramelized fruit quality (raisin?). First sip and wow! Now this is a session beer! As dominant as the smoke is on the nose, on the palate this seems more like an alt with some definite toasty (pretzel) notes and a bit salty. Smoke is integrated beautifuly to simply play into the overall impression. And while more heavily smoked than the majority of ’smoked’ brews seem to be, it’s maybe the least smoky of the Aecht Schlenkerlas that I’ve tried. The body is soft, very wet and refreshing; hints of tangy hops bitterness on the back of the palate. Damn, this stuff’s invigorating. I feel younger for having drunk this ambrosia. Thank you Jeff!cb (810) - Roeland Park, Kansas, USA - APR 4, 2005
After dreaming about this beer for the last couple of nights, I’ve come to realize that I grossly underated the stuff. I’ve been waking with the DTs thinking about smoke. Previous rating 4.3
Definitely smoked meat and banana ~ my first impressions. Sweeter and less dry than other smoked beers I’ve had. Slightly roasty with peaty undertones and some sort of caramel mocha. Amazing flavor. Tried to distinguish whether the raisin/current tones were just in the aroma but couldn’t. Tasted them too. Fairly subtle finish, so so close to perfect with lingering slightly metallic and burnt sugar. NVBeer232 (467) - Reno, Nevada, USA - APR 4, 2005
I’m not the biggest fan of smoked beers and would’ve probably listed it as my least favorite style. This is truly multidimensional and amazing.
Tap at Brewkettle 4/4/05. Ruddy brown red color with a whispy off white head. Enormous smoke aroma, with underlying tobacco and spicy hops. Produces a slightly sweet malt aroma as it warms. Burstiing with smoke flavors, this is incredibly complex. Slightest smoke meat flavor, but mainly rauchmalt. Lightly malty with an incredibly clean, earthy bitter finish. This is assertively hopped, for sure, but never up front with the hop presence. Certainly luck to have had the chance to sample this. TAR (2776) - Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, USA - APR 2, 2005
UPDATED: APR 14, 2016 Draft: Unfiltered auburn. Loose but sticky off-gray foam. Fascinating nose chock-full of bready malt and honey-glazed smoked prosciutto. Faint leather, anise, and burnt toffee. Softly lush carbonation. Dash of acidity immediately deepens the rich smoke flavor. Thoroughly complex malt notes teem with sticky caramel drippings that segregate the mineral grittiness and lush, malt dust-laced foundation. Perfect level of datelike sweetness cuts the smoked poultry tang, but the attenuation magically remains impeccable. Finishes clean as a whistle but with an equally-rustic edge of ashen wood notes slowly cushioned by caramel and fresh bread as smoky phenolic whispers develop alongside firm herbal-accented hop bitterness and a neatly-tucked spicy anise punch. An “other-worldly” rauchbier, and perhaps the best smoked session beer on the planet.
Previous score from 2003 was a 4.6 overall, but over the years and eight visits to Franconia, my love for Brauerei Heller has waned. More often than not, I find their rauch character to be kind of ashy and meaty (I want melanoidins and breadcrust instead of "hammy" qualities in my rauchbier), thin and fruity. The last bottle I opened was infected in a cool way, with band-aid phenols and a huge head, but not sour or acidic; rather, quite lively and plenty fresh. While my tastes have certainly evolved, this is still a very enjoyable beer, just not as compelling or singular as it seemed 12 or so years ago when I was much more effusive and impressionable.