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Hell - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

306 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 306
Hads: 1,015
Avg: 3.87
pDev: 19.9%
Wants: 130
Gots: 136 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 08-26-2008

Not unlike a Zwickel Bier from Germany, Hell is not filtered and fermented with lager yeast. American hops takes a back seat to the Pils malt sweetness and fresh bread aroma. The color is well... hell (Deutsch for light). It's fiendishly drinkable, and you don't have to sell your soul to get another.
View: Beers (55) | Events
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Reviews: 306 | Hads: 1,015
Reviews by BradLikesBrew:
Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, light, golden body with a white head.

The aromas may be on the lighter side compared to some of Surly's other beers, but they are wonderful none the less. Bready grain and unusual fruity esters form an uncommon, but enticing combination. Maybe orange blossom?

Bready, fruity, and noble hoppy. Orange blossom doesn't quite seem right, but I can't come up with anything better to describe the esters here. The crackery malt and grassy helps are in high enough quantity and and balance to make this a pretty good lager, but I think its the fruit that really pushes it into great territory.

Medium body isn't overly crisp, full enough to really stick to the tongue.

Pleasantly surprised, this is quite the lager. They don't get the credit or attention they deserve, but there is still nothing harder to do than brew a great lager. Surly has done that here with Hell, I for one would like to give them props for that. Nice work guys.

 939 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of KeithS
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good solid summer beer without all the gimmicks that come with summer beers. Nice and light but with enough flavor to make it interesting.

Good beer for me when my taste buds want something easier and less hoppy.

 213 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
2.99/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Golden appearance with a one-finger thick head.

Crisp smell with notes of cloves. I also detected what can best be described as grapes in the smell. Almost like someone hid a little bit of white wine in a can of beer.

The taste was surprisingly subtle for a Surly beer. Yes, it's a lager but I've been surprised by the attitude of pretty much every other Surly beer I've tried. Has a aftertaste of apple, and of malt - the later of which lingers for quite a while. I also picked up on quite a bit of sourness, which certainly did not work for me.

Carbonation is heavy to begin with, but dissipates quickly. Generally speaking, I enjoyed the feel of this much more than the subtle taste.

I probably won't return to this, but if I'm ever at the Surly Taproom and have to recommend a beer to someone who considers anything darker than Grain Belt an abomination - then this is the one. Otherwise, there are much better lagers from Minnesota.

 945 characters

Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured into a pokal a clear somewhat dull lighter golden with a nice thick white crown atop.All malts in the nose with a tinge of iron,just a faint leafy hop aroma is detected.Smooth and drinkable with toasted malts standing out,went well with some pork shanks and kraut last night.

 283 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to maximum12 for all the Surly love. The man is single-handedly accountable for sending me over 75% of the Surly beers I've had to date, and it is much appreciated. Surly Hell pours out with a straw-colored body; helles... that's Deutsch for "light" (thanks to the back of the can for that little lesson). Very pale, hazy, and squandering with a white head - cloudy, puffy, and crackling loudly like a box of Pop Rocks.

Surly Hell is far from hell on the nostrils. Zesty sweet grains, mound upon mound of bready malt, and the slightest hint of lemon peels and leafy hops. The hops are toned down and provide only a little aid, which really gives the bright Pilsner malts a chance to shine. It gets a bit sweeter and a little more amped up with warmth; a bit more citrus zest and some more sweet grains. The lager yeast is crisp, chunky, fresh, and certainly inviting.

Pilsner malt-y is the first sip, as well as lager yeast-y. A very nice amount of malt sweetness and doughy bread flavors envelope the tongue and show a nice sign of both balance and control, all at once. Earthy hops hang in the background, providing more of a musty, dry bitterness than actual flavor, which is fine by me... That said, the bitterness is still quite low, retaining superior drinkability in a very appropriate style.

The back-end contains some nice notes of orange and citrus zest; pretty light, just a nice spruce to keep things interesting. A faint musty hop note and bread-laden yeast flavors reign in the finish and clean your mouth of all other flavors (and moisture), begging you to take another sip. Thin bodied, as expected, with lots and lots of carbonation. The lager yeast definitely helps out with the clean mouth feel in the finish.

Superb drinkability, no doubt. I love a good helles lager, and one in a can, no less. This beer exhibits cosmos-level balance in the fact that it would be acceptable to BMC drinkers looking to turn to craft, while also being an excellent rendition of the style it represents, pleasing even people who have been in the game for while now. Far better than many of the other craft helles beers available in my area - why can't Surly extend their reach just a few states east?

 2,212 characters

Photo of MadScientist
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of blackearth
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden body with a puffy white head that leaves decent lacing and is slow to fall. Aroma is of light grassy hops and clean malts. Light bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation. A mild bitterness up front leads to a light sweet malt flavor at mid tongue and a slightly bitter finish. Not a bad beer, but I don't find myself wanting a second pint when I'm through with the first.

 392 characters

Photo of beaversfan12
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of NWer
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pour into Pilsner glass gives explosive head that settles fairly quickly.
Clear, light golden appearance.
Nice aroma for the style.
Taste, same. Light, smooth, easy drinker. A good thirst quencher that goes down very easily.
Not much left for the aftertaste. It's as if I hadn't had anything to drink at all. 16 oz can disappears very quickly.
Beats the hell out of BMC for that nice easy drinking beer.

 406 characters

Photo of SD-Alefan
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of DaftPatrick
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of csmartin6
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of warnerry
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy pale straw color with one finger of white head. Head fades pretty quickly, leaving some light lacing behind.

S - A light sweetness and bread malts up front. Pretty simple but quite nice.

T - Similar to smell. Nice bread and Pils malt. A faint bitterness not detected in the smell. Crisp, clean and very good.

M - light mouthfeel that finishes pretty clean.

O - I'm not that familiar with the style, but I really enjoyed this. Nice flavor, not overpowering in any way.

 488 characters

Photo of chip26
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Billolick
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Guinnsslvr
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to chewy08rx for hooking me up with a lot of great beers from Surly.

The beer pours a yellow color with a white head. The aroma is grassy hops with some lighter bready and pilsner-type malts. The flavor is grassy and biscuity, with a low amount of bitterness.

Thin to medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very nice.

 330 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of ryancl
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of bsp77
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Serving glass: Poured from can into Frankfurter glass.

Appearance: Bright, clear gold with billowing foamy head. Certainly doesn't look unfiltered.

Smell: Somehow smells both sweet and dry at the same time. Light semi-sweet fruits (apple, pear) and doughy bread. Despite these notes, it leaves my nose feeling dried out.

Taste: Certainly tastes unfiltered. Packs more of a malt punch than expected for such a low abv pale lager. Nice rounded flavors consisting of apple, pear, hay and bread dough. Slight noble hops detected at the end.

Feel: Pretty high carbonation, smooth clean body that is light but heavier and softer than a Pils. Dry finish.

Drinkability: Endless.

This August, Surly and Summit both released an unassuming German beer style and hit home runs with their Helles/Zwickel and Kolsch, respectively. I want to face them off against each other to see which is better. I really don't know who would win. While Surly did a fantastic job here, I have to commend Summit for standing up to Surly's challenge to the Minnesota craft beer scene.

 1,059 characters

Photo of NilocRellim
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of MNMike
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours from a can into a Pilsener glass. L: Brilliant straw under a quickly receding 1” creamy white foam cap. S: Light grains with a faint hint of apple and sulfur. T: Light grainy sweetness, some spice, malty aftertaste, mild bitterness. F: Very crisp, light, above average carbonation. O: Refreshing, easy to drink.

 320 characters

Photo of bpfrush
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of cnagle28
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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Hell from Surly Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 306 ratings.