Here’s a big deal in our world. The Schlenkerla team has stepped up and delivered a beer pre-aged. The Oak Smoked Eiche beer was bottled and stored in the rock cellars of Schlenkerla for 5 years before releasing this to the public.
With interest with every new smokebeer that is issued, especially from Schenkerla, this review not only looks at the Eiche 2010 as a beer new to the market, but also as a comparison review to a regular un-aged Eiche beer. And right off the bat pallets expressed, “This is damn near the exact same beer.” It was found to be mere chance that one could take a sip, and correctly claim the beer to be aged or not (even when comparing sip after sip). This is great news if you’re worried about shelf life and expiration dates, but not so exciting if you were looking for a magic transformation that only aging could deliver. Having said that, when tasting and comparing the two and pressed to draw out differences, the 2010 Eiche does come off as slightly nuttier and with more wood flavors. It was perhaps less sweet and held a dryer sensation on the tongue. It also appeared slightly darker (2010 seen below left) and one individual noted a peppery taste. And in this particular bottle, there was more sediment in the bottom. It was a fun experiment and the 2010 is definitely worth a try, but it doesn’t go far enough to distinguish itself from the regular Eiche. Aecht Schlenkerla 2010 Eiche beer still garners a very respectable 6.5 smokestacks out of 7 possible smokestacks.
On the topic of aging beers, SmokeBeerMinistry does not practice this intentionally, although periodically beers may sit in the queue for over a year before being reviewed. Also, SBM can’t recommend that the average consumer expend too much energy into this practice given the variability in brewers products, variability in storing facilities (temperature and lighting concerns), along with the increased transient nature of modern society (one day boxed up in a hot moving truck could turn the beer over, jeopardizing your intended outcome). There are plenty of great smokebeers out there and we would prefer to drink them as soon as we can.
Here’s an image of the two side by side (2010 on the left):
|Beer Name||Eiche 2010|
|Brewer’s Description||The 2010 vintage version of the Oak Smoke double bock has been bottled unfiltered and matured for 5 years in the historic rock cellars of “Stephansberg” under the Schlenkerla brewery. General info on Eiche: Following century old recipes all malts made at the Schlenkerla brewery are dried by wood fire. While for the classic Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier traditionally beech has been ? and still is ? used, the malt for Schlenkerla Oak Smoke is kilned with oak wood. The resulting Oak Smoke Malt has a smoother and more multi layered smoky note than the intensely aromatic Beech Smoke Malt. The hence complex smokiness in Schlenkerla Oak Smoke is paired with the multifaceted bitterness of finest Hallertau aroma hops. With 8% alcohol and amber color it matures for months in the deep brewery cellars underneath Bamberg into a special treat for smoke beer lovers for Christmas.|
|Food Pairings||A Christmas feast|
|Brewery Location||Bamberg, Germany|
|Alcohol content by volume||8.0%|
|IBU (International Bitterness Units)||40|
|Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)||3.8|
|Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)||4|
|Sausage detection? Y or N||Y|
|Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks||3.75|
|Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)||3|
|Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy)||6.5|
Here’s one way to buy this beer with a little bit of extra info: