Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm converted


Last week a tip off from The Beer Nut had me scampering to an off license knocking out Schlenkerla at 2 quid a bottle. TBN has a thing for smoked beer. It's not quite decent and worries me a little, but he's a grown man and a free agent. I'm not sure the average rehab centre knows how to deal with this particularly pernicious addiction though.

Smoked beer and I haven't got on in the past. My most recent beer was a nod towards this style with a small addition of smoked malt mainly because I had developed a taste for phenolic Islay scotch. In the past Schlenkerla tasted to me like smoked bacon in a glass and I struggled with it, but being a tenacious beer lover I was confident that at some point in the future I would come to appreciate this style of beer. It had happened with other beers why not with this one? Well tonight my conversion occurred. The key to this conversion is the change in my perception of the beer. It now tastes more of smoke than bacon, much like Islay malt and I find this very pleasant indeed. It still smells of bacon but this doesn't put me off and without the flavour overpowering things the malt and roasted aspects of the beer have appeared. I did find it a little disconcerting that the beer slowly started to resemble flat cola as I let it linger in the glass for quite a while, but no harm. It has begun. Will I end up in rehab trying to kick this smoky habit?

17 comments:

The Beer Nut said...

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Velky Al said...

Schlenkerla is certainly worth getting into - although at first it just blew my mind. For my money the best smoked beer in their range is the rauchweizen - well worth hunting out.

Jeff Rosenmeier said...

More Bacon!

The Weizen is amazing - though conceptually I had a hard time getting my head around it. A great beer to use as a smoked intro.

Thom said...

Cheers TBN, but that gristle really turned my stomach this morning.

So is there a help group you three attend together?

Velky Al said...

Thom, there is indeed such a help group. We meet with like minded souls searching for enlightenment in the pub.

Lars Marius Garshol said...

In Bamberg they say that people need to drink four liters of rauchbier before they start enjoying it. Sounds like you have pretty mwuch confirmed the rule.

I had to go through the same thing, and now smokiness is one of the flavours I enjoy most in beer. Putting in some smoked malts in your imperial stout translates just about guarantees a higher rating.

Spent many happy evenings this summer drinking nothing but Schlenkerla Märzen on a boat in Oslo harbour. :)

Adeptus said...

Yay! Welcome to the smokey side. Now, if you want heaps of smoke, you have to try the Smokey George from Brauerei Rittmayer. The Spezial Rauchbier Lagerbier is also nice, but is a more gentle, restrained smokiness.

The Beer Nut said...

Rauchbier in the pub, Al? Chance'd be a fine thing round here.

I didn't particularly like the weizen -- I prefer the big märzen body under the smoke. I did like the helles, though.

Anyone tried the urbock? I really fancy giving that a shot some time.

Lars Marius Garshol said...

I didn't much enjoy the weizen, either.

The urbock is great, but very similar to the märzen. A bit fuller-bodied and sweeter, but just as smoke-dominated.

The Beer Nut said...

Hooray! I'm well up for that.

By the way Thom -- to talk tech for a moment -- did you notice just how fantastic the head retention on Schlenkerla is?

Those €2 bottles were dated October so I've a nasty feeling they're the last of a shipment that came in last spring. We may never see its like again :(

I'm expecting to see the baby crawling across the ceiling any moment now.

Mark said...

I'm enjoying smoke in beer a lot more recently. I had a great smoked lager from Craft brewery in Greece last summer, and have been enjoying more smoky porters and stouts. Plus the Islay casked BrewDogs.

I quite like a bacon smokiness, it adds a savoury note to the beer!

The Beer Nut said...

That Craft Smoked Lager was my smoky road-to-Damascus moment.

Velky Al said...

Sometimes we are lucky to get rauchs on draught here - admimttedly though we have to keep our eyes well peeled and get in there quick.

I think I have a bottle of the Urbock in the flat somewhere - will have to check.

Quick random thought, wouldn't there have a been a smokiness to most beers in the dim and distant past as a result of the malting process? Also, I wonder what effect different woods and peats would have on the smoky flavour?

The Beer Nut said...

wouldn't there have a been a smokiness to most beers in the dim and distant past as a result of the malting process?

That was certainly the assertion of Cuilan, the Messrs Maguire brewer, when he launched his Imperial last year (ooo for a pint of that now), but I think the full story is a bit more complicated. Read Ron on it here.

Velky Al said...

Cheers for that - very useful reading.

Boak said...

I like the four litre theory. I think it took around that to get into it.

Thom said...

Wow, I never thought this would have stimulated such discussion. It's great, and a whole new avenue of beer has opened up to me.