Aventinus is one of those ales where you remember your first taste. My first bottle of this fine, German weizenbock was purchased from a liquor store at a nearby mall. I was young, just taking my first halting steps into the world of educated beer snobbery. So I took my bottle of Aventinus home, poured it into a glass and drank deep. And oh, brother did I hate that beer. It was just too much. It was hazy, and brown, and tasted like leather and horse blankets.
Fortunately, my opinion of Aventinus has changed somewhat. My horizons have broadened since then and I’ve taken the time to learn a little about the beers I drink. For instance, according to BJCP style guidelines Aventinus (first produced in 1907) is the oldest example of the weizenbock. The weizenbock as a style is like other hefeweizens except made like a doppelbock. Partly this means a beer of 6.5-8% abv. You can expect greater depth and intensity than “average” hefeweizens. All the flavors and aromas are there, only intensified. Aromas of ripe bananas and bubblegum become dried pitted fruits and fruitcake, for example.
Aventinus pours into my glass a nice russet brown with red highlights. Light carbonation supports a dense off white head with excellent retention. Taking my first whiff, the aroma has much to offer. Leather, horse blankets, the rich sweet smell of dried pitted fruits. Some aromas remind me of figs, dates, and fruitcake. These aromas are backed up by scents of tobacco, cloves, and other spices. So far the aroma is a testament to power, balance, and subtlety.
Taking my first taste, Aventinus starts out sweet, all raisins, leather, and dried pitted fruits. Sweetness moves into a full, rounded center. Flavor follows aroma here with hints of leather, tobacco, and a mild horsiness. Finish is luxurious and lasting, bringing the flavors together with hints of clove and Christmas spice. The alcohol content doesn’t make itself known anywhere on the palate.
Overall, Aventinus is a fine beer. It’s full without being filling. Aventinus is delicious and complex without being overpowering. The alcohol doesn’t make itself known despite its 8.2% strength, making Aventinus dangerously drinkable, a velvet hammer if you will. Worthy of an 9.2 out of 10. If I were to recommend Aventinus to other people, it would be to those beer aficionados who’ve broadened their palate a little bit. If your palate is restricted to lighter American microbrews, you might want to hold off for a while. If, on the other hand, you enjoy big beers with lots of depth, than Aventinus is definitely for you.