Aroma: Blend of smoke and malt, with a varying balance and intensity. The beechwood smoke character can range from subtle to fairly strong, and can seem smoky, bacon-like, woody, or rarely almost greasy. The malt character can be low to moderate, and be somewhat sweet, toasty, or malty. The malt and smoke components are often inversely proportional (i.e., when smoke increases, malt decreases, and vice versa). Hop aroma may be very low to none. Clean, lager character .
Appearance: This should be a very clear beer, with a large, creamy, rich, tan- to cream-colored head. Medium amber/light copper to dark brown color.
Flavor: Generally follows the aroma profile, with a blend of smoke and malt in varying balance and intensity, yet always complementary. Märzen-like qualities should be noticeable, particularly a malty, toasty richness, but the beechwood smoke flavor can be low to high. The palate can be somewhat malty and sweet, yet the finish can reflect both malt and smoke. Moderate, balanced, hop bitterness, with a medium-dry to dry finish (the smoke character enhances the dryness of the finish).
Mouthfeel: Medium body. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Smooth lager character. Significant astringent, phenolic harshness is inappropriate.
Comments: The intensity of smoke character can vary widely; not all examples are highly smoked. Allow for variation in the style when judging.
History: A historical specialty of the city of Bamberg, in the Franconian region of Bavaria in Germany. Beechwood-smoked malt is used to make a Märzen-style amber lager. The smoke character of the malt varies by maltster; some breweries produce their own smoked malt (rauchmalz).