Monday, November 25, 2013

Zero Gravity Smokey the Beer

Destiny came up with a great name for a German-style smoked beer, or "Rauchbier", with Smokey the Beer. It's brewed to tradition with beechwood smoked malt from Weyermann malting in Bamberg, Germany (also the birthplace of the style). This is only my second attempt at a smoked beer because the style deters me; however, I am a student of beer now so I have to try everything and especially everything from American Flatbread/ Zero Gravity. The style grows on the palate so give it a chance.

Alcohol Content:
Malts: Rauchmalt amongst others

Price: $3/ half; $5/ full
Medium: Small cylinder glass/ juice glass

Aroma: Malts give notes of cherry and melanoidin sweetness reminiscent of German Munich malt. I pick up cedar or similar wood elements amongst the smoke. Smoke is not anything like a campfire you normally associate with pleasant smoke character. Its entirely different and quite distinct. I liken it to wet forest smells of wood in combination with lighter smoke. Hops are not present. Yeast character is also muted.
Appearance: Great clarity or brilliant as brewers say. Malts provide a light reddish-amber color and a big off-white head. Good retention. The smaller serving type perhaps adds to the lighter color gradient whereas a pint glass may provide medium for more amber colors. No sign of strong carbonation in the body of the glass.
Flavor: I noted woody characteristics with the malts and some other undefined sweetness until the smoke hits about mid palate and aggressively takes over the previous. This last long into the aftertaste and is quite stronger than my nose prepared me for in the aroma. Smoked malt being the showcase of the beer, I felt the yeast contributed no major flavor contribution and allowed the malt bill to shine. No hop presence besides contributing bitterness. I found a touch of roast in the finish just to balance the smoke (or perhaps a toasted malt character is better defined assuming no roasted barley was used).
Mouthfeel: Relatively lighter in body than I expected and is quite drinkable. Alcohol is subdued or masked within the smoked malt. Other malts driving the beer are able to hold up to smoke and provide a pleasant sweetness to the mouthfeel. Not too dry in the finish. No lingering harshness, just the taste. In other words it finished cleaner than I expected. 
Overall Impression: Very big in flavor, but not too heavy. The only other example I tried using smoked malt was a homebrewed version and they both turned out pretty good, or at least accurate to style. I still don't enjoy the style thus far but I can better identify with those who may typically enjoy this beer. I would match this beer up against very strong/ flavorful foods such as marinated dark meats. It could easily impart smoked character to an otherwise unsmoked meat while providing sweetness with the fats.

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