Shenanigans have released the 2016 version of their winter seasonal, Malt Assault.
This year’s Malt Assault shows off a beautiful rusty amber colour beneath a light raw sugar head with some enticing froth.
It has a smokey nose from the oak smoked wheat. While there’s a whiff of this around your sinuses on the first few sips, it’s mainly constrained to the aroma which is one of the most delightful aspects of this beer.
So often smoked beers knock you over the head with a lingering smokiness that blows away any hope of subtlety but this is restrained and the smoke complements the malt-forward flavours.
The smokiness that does come through in the taste has a touch of scorched wood, like that of an open fire. There’s something comforting to it. And while at 6.2% there isn’t enough alcohol to make it “hot” there’s just enough of a very gradual warmth that fits in perfectly with the smokey flavour.
Inspired By Malt-Forward Tradition
Shenanigans Malt Assault 2016 is a mashup of two German styles, dunkel and altbier. Neither of these are seen frequently around the Australian beer scene but both are beautiful traditional styles. The smoked flavour is a lovely addition from the Shenanigans boys.
The initial taste is one of malty sweetness. The 2015 version of this beer had a much more straightforward grainy flavour profile similar to Weet-Bix. It was an exceptional beer but this 2016 incarnation has more complex flavours. Beneath the caramel sweetness, there’s plenty of satisfying gristy graininess. There’s scorched oats, a touch of toffee and plenty of chewy wheat.
A Delightful Beer Experience
This beer flows like silk across the palate. It’s has a smooth mouthfeel and while there’s some bite on the finish it slips down easily. It’s a satisfying beer to drink.
Malt Assault is perfect to enjoy on it’s own but would go nicely with braised pork and roasted winter vegetables such as carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin and parsnip, liberally seasoned with rock salt and rosemary.
Overall this beer stands out against the raging popularity of hoppy beers, which is what it’s designed to do. The warming, smokey, malt-driven flavours provide much needed comfort for the cold months and it’s a wonderful experience to let the beauty and the sweetness of the beer envelope you.
From: Inner West, NSW
Beer style: Dunkel / Altbier (smoked)
Pair with: Braised pork and roasted winter vegetables
Malts: Munich I, Munich II, Oak Smoked Wheat, Redback, Shepherd’s Delight
Hops: Pacific Jade and Helga
Have you tried the 2016 version of Shenanigans Malt Assault? What did you think? How did it compare to 2015? Leave a comment and share your experience.