Wood-fired Sugar Bacon
A Review of Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche (Oak Smoke) by Schlenkerla / Heller-Trum Brauerei
Posted on 6/18/2013 by Chops
                   
Exquisite
It's always an impressive feat when one can associate a brewery with a particular beer style. Schlenkerla (Brauerei Heller-Trum) is located in Bamberg, Germany. Both brewery and town are known across the globe for their delectable smoked beers. Schlenkerla has become so ingrained with the smoked beer style that they are almost synonymous outside of Bamberg. So going into any of their hearty brews, you can rest assured that you are sampling a world-class smoked beer. My first experience with the brewery came with their Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock, often considered their flagship offering. It was a magically delicious brew that kicked off my fascination with Bamberg beers. Up next in my exploration is the Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche, more commonly known as the Oak Smoke Doppelbock.

In the glass, this beer has a deep reddish brown coloration with a slight orange hue. It comes with a creamy tan head that has really good retention. The aroma is where things start getting interesting because you can smell this beer long before getting nose to glass. This beer possesses a huge aroma of campfire smokiness with a strong base of caramel malt and some dark fruits. As a side note, if you ever want to understand what is meant by a beer having a campfire aroma, this is the beer to study. One deep whiff was all it took for my eyes to roll back into my head in sheer beer bliss. Wow, what a fantastic introduction.

Amazingly enough, the flavor almost perfectly mirrors the aroma. Just add a robust hop profile and you're done. My taste buds were greeted with a complex array of malty sweet caramel, charred bread crust, various dark fruits, an oak-like nuttiness, brown sugar, and of course, smokey meaty goodness. Now prepare yourself, because I'm about to bestow upon you the greatest sentence I have ever written about beer. The Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche tastes like wood-fired sugar bacon. Go ahead, take a few moments for that glorious sentence to sink in. The mouthfeel is creamy smooth and drinks surprisingly easy. The hops are understandably muted and are only allowed to assert themselves on the finish. The beer exits with a lengthy smokey malty aftertaste.

Overall, the Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche (Oak Smoke Doppelbock) is an amazingly delicious brew. I was dumbstruck by how well this beer played out. I had already made the assumption that a strong campfire smokiness could greatly enhance an already malt-heavy beer style. Not only did the combination work, it damn near took my breath away. Needless to say, I can recommend this brew to most beer fans. Seasoned drinkers will be blown away by this beer's rich savory flavors and silky smooth body. I can even recommend this beer to general craft beer fans as a fantastic representation of the smoked beer style. I only caution novices with a glorious reminder: this beer tastes like wood-fired sugar bacon. Proceed with caution because that 8% ABV will sneak up on you in a hurry.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche (Oak Smoke) by Schlenkerla / Heller-Trum Brauerei
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