Schlenkerla Märzen – smoked in the bottle

The next meeting with the brewery in Bamberg. Schlenkerla Märzen is a classic representative of the legendary series of smoked beers.


In previous post I began a series of reviews of beers from the brewery Heller in Bamberg, commonly known as Schlenkerla.
I presented briefly the brewery and the first of their products – Helles Lagerbier.

For today’s tasting I chose Schlenkerla Märzen.
Actually, the full name of this beer is: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, which means “Original Schlenkerla smoked beer – Märzen”.

As I mentioned Helles Lager is not fully smoked beer, because for its production are not used smoked malts, and its smoky flavour is acquired feature – it is brewed in vats, in which are brewed real rauchbier from the offer of the brewery.
And one of these smoked classics it is just march beer – Märzen.


Märzenbier and Oktoberfestbier

I didn’t have so far opportunity to describe on the blog March beer, and is worth to know what kind of style it is.
It belongs to the group of bottom-fermented beers, which are popular lagers, and the name comes from the period in which this beer was brewed.

Traditionally, until the end of the nineteenth century, the brewer season lasted from October to April – in the summer months, the beer did not brewed.
March was the last month of the season, in which beer was produced. This March beer had to be enough for the summer months, so it must be adequately much, as well as so it is not spoiled, it was brewed with more malt – so, it was rich in extract and had a higher alcohol content.
Märzen is dark due to roasted malts, clearly malty in flavour with soft bitterness and more alcoholic than a typical pilsner.

From the tradition of March beers derive beers brewed specially for the Munich beer festival – Oktoberfest.

Once, before the start of the new brewer season in October, were organised festivities, at which were given beers from March, which were strongest and waiting for the end of the summer.
It was similar at the Oktoberfest festival, which takes place from 1810 years.

According to the regulations for the Oktoberfest beers can serve breweries, which brew them in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law (Reinheizgebot). Six breweries have approval: Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu.
They offered traditional March beers with alcohol content to 6.2%, although it should be noted that currently these beers are more like corpo-lagers than traditional March beers.


Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen - bottle

Märzen from Heller brewery is so unusual that it is rauchbier, it means smoked beer, brewed with smoked malt according to old recipes and according to the Bavarian Purity Law.

Schlenkerla Märzen is a multiple winner of a lot of awards, medals and titles. Regularly wins Gold in the prestigious German competition DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft), gold medals at the beer festival in Stockholm in 2012 and 2013, several times the highest awards in the Australian Beer Awards (most recently in 2015), awards and titles in various competitions in the US and many others (the full list on the website of the brewery).

It is considered as classic smoked beer and I think everyone passionate of beer should taste it. Perhaps my review will be encouraged to try it.
But you have to reckon with the fact, that for the first time, it may not taste to those who were not touched earlier with strongly smoked flavour of beer.
But as they say about this beer: the second mug tastes more than the first, and strangely enough the third tastes better than the second.

So before you: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen.



(Smoked Marzen, 5,1% ABV, ext. 13,2%, IBU 30)
Brewery: Brauerei Heller (Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany)

Expiration date: 09/2016 (bottle 500ml)

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen - beer 1
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen - labels


test-look-small Brown-ruby colour. The beer is very dark.
Foam from the beginning very high, with fine bubbles – falling slowly.
test-sniff-small The aroma is simply the smoked – very intense smell of smoked meats.
In fact, it is difficult to feel anything else.
test-drink-small In taste above all impose different shades of flavours of smoked and smoky.
So we have a taste usually associated with smoked meats: ham, bacon, sausages.
It is just a taste of smoky, burnt wood, as well as smoked malt.
Taking another sip, at the same time we breathe vapors of beer by mouth and nose
– we feel then smells of burning, that blend with the taste of smoked.
We feel then, as if soaked with fat log of wood thrown into the fire, it begins to smoke, it releases a lot of smoke… such are my associations.
Sometimes there are even associations with burnt electrical wires.
It may seem that this is something unpleasant, but still drinking the beer and feeling so intense aromas and flavours – this is a very interesting experience. The experience, however, that not everyone will appeal to.
The beer is sweet at the same time, we feel even chocolate notes. We feel a slight tartness, some ashes.
Bitterness is at a medium level.
Aftertaste – it’s of course the omnipresent smoked with medium bitterness.
Carbonation is moderate. Bodied at medium level.


Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen - beer 2


Schlenkerla Märzen from Heller Brauerei is a real smoke bomb. After opening the bottle releases their smoked aromas and does not give up even for a moment, until the very end (and to wash tankard).
When it comes to style – smoked beer, then you will not find a better. The intensity and variety of smoked aromas and flavours is enormous and extremely rich.
As for the aesthetic impressions, well, like in life: the first time can hurt, but then it’s sheer pleasure.
I appreciate this beer, I find it brilliant, it deserves for maximum evaluation, but I do not admit it, because I’m not an amateur of smoked hams and bacon. For lovers this is definitely an iconic beer.




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