Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Schlenkerla vs. Spezial - The Lagerbiers

Having read Mr Nut's Session post, I felt I should dip into my first Bamberg Box again and pull out these two for a spin.

The Spezial Rauchbier Lagerbier from Brauerei Spezial Bamberg had a spritzy start and a loose tan head on top of a lovely clear, bright amber. The head disappeared sharpish, and it looked a bit dead pretty quick. I found the aroma very faint, and could just about detect a faint smokiness. Once in the mouth I found this is a slightly sweet beer, like light caramel, but above all this a delicate smoke washed over the tongue. It sparkles slightly on the tongue, and this seems to help bring the smoke out. I decided the smoke is delicate because I found it didn't stay long in the finish. While this wasn't the revelation of smokiness I was expecting, I found it a really pleasant, subtle beer that. I would happily drink more of this.

The Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller Bamberg was a contrast to the Spezial Lagerbier in terms of appearance at least, being a pale golden yellow with a gentle carbonation that maintained a thin head throughout. I found the aroma slightly floral rather than smoky, but from what I read on comments on TheBeerNut's post, any smoke is as a result of absorbtion in a kind of reverse Angel's share effect. Flavourwise, I did detect some smoke, although it reminded me more of smoked cod rather than the smoked ham of it's big brother, the Märzen. It also tasted to me like a, dare I say it, "regular lager", with a bready maltiness and a hoppy dryness at the back of the tongue. Actually, the finish is relatively dry compared to theh Spezial Lagerbier. I actually found this beer a bit boring till I brought out some cheese and kaminwurzen. The salty food seemed to bring out a sweetness in the beer which I had not really noticed before, but I still found it a bit unsatisfying.

Spezial Rauchbier for me in this round. Next up will be the Märzens...

3 comments:

Velky Al said...

The Schlenkerla Helles is one of my favourite lagers, unfortunately not available very regularly over here. I have never tried the Spezial Rauchbier, though it sounds very appetising - enough to warrant a trip to Bamberg?

e.s. delia said...

I've said it ad nauseum, but I love the Schlenkerla Helles. It's an easy-drinker, but has enough going on in the mix to keep things interesting. When unsuspecting victims pick it up and taste that tinge of smoke, they're often surprised what beer, specifically lagers, can truly be.

Adeptus said...

It is a nice beer. I think I might have found it more satisfying if I had tried it before the Spezial. The Spezial just had that little bit extra, so it won me over in a side-by-side (or rather one-by-one!) tasting. I'll certainly be giving both another go!