Hell - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

958 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 958
Reviews: 309
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 10.99%
Wants: 124
Gots: 113 | 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.
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Ratings: 958 | Reviews: 309
Reviews by samie85:
Photo of samie85
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden color with two fingers of white head.

Smells of sweet malt with with some lemony hop notes.

Follows the nose with sweet light grain and light lemony and grassy bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is nice and light with low carbonation.

Very easy drinking; wish I would have bought more of this one considering the hot streak we're having currently.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

Photo of tectactoe
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
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?

Photo of blackearth
3.46/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of NWer
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of warnerry
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of bsp77
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Photo of MattyG85
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16 oz. can into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Canned on 6-15-11.

Appearance: Pale golden yellow with lots of rising bubbles. Decent two finger bubbly white head with good retention and a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Sweet, bready aroma of Pils malts dominate. Has some light hints of earthy hops. Also a light hint of fruit. Definitely smells like a Germain Pils lager.

Taste: Fuller than the smell leads on. Sweet malts up front are followed by a solid kick of orange and other fruits. Hops are also stronger than expected with some earthy hop bitterness towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Very crisp and smooth.

Overall: A very tasty lager that is well balanced and fairly light. Surly knocks it out of the park again.

Photo of tyleeis
4.67/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Helles is one of my fav euro styles and this is by far one of the best examples I've tried. A little more hoppy than I expected...similar to 3 Floyd's Gorch Fock, also an excellent twist on a Helles lager.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my mouth during another one of the usual disc golf outings with cans. Nice vibrant yellow with a lot of clarity and carbonation running through it, pristine virgin white head on it. Aroma is lightly bready, grassy and floral at alternating moments.

Taste, wow, I'm going to have to give "zwickelz" another chance. This is enjoyable, its much like a good pilsner, thinking back to the old Czech Pilsner I used to drink in the Second Millenium. It is somehow a very good blend of smoothness, high carbonation, floral hops and crispness. Impressive. I wouldn't trade any Furious for it, but its probably one of my favorite lagers out there, in a style I don't completely understand.

In some ways, the mouthfeel is simple and clean, but it really has some delicate and appropriate touches and nuances. There's a little floral non hopped aspect, like some kind of literal flower petal in there, mild pepper notes, etc. . . Its kind of like an episode of the Simpsons, it can work on different levels, be it the simple punch in the crotch laugh or something a little more high brow at the same time (example, Duffman proclaiming in court while being sued by Duff Brewery for intellectual property violations: "Ever heard of 'Fair Use'? (hip thrust, OOOOHH Yeah).

Photo of rudylaw
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Huge thanks to mully for this extra!

Pours a clear gold with a two-finger white head.

Smells like a bakery in the morning. Freshly baked bread bombards the senses. There's a bit of citrus present... mainly lemon. Sadly, the aroma is the best part of this beer.

I get lemon and slight breadiness in the taste buds, though I'm not picking up as much of that bready malt as I thought I would. This is very refreshing, but I have to admit, isn't doing a whole lot for me. Carbonation is good and this is very quaffable, but I'm not floored like I have been with other Surly offerings. Perhaps this should have been paired with food? Happy for the opportunity but I won't be seeking any out any more down the line.

Photo of brow1901
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice slightly hazy pale straw yellow with a big white pillow of foam at the top. The head loses some of its size but sticks around for the most part. Good lacing.

S- Fresh and clean hops. Nice and simple pilsner type malt scents. Alot more hops than I antisipated.

T- Crisp and clean hop spiciness, pretty powerful actually. It doesn't overpower the beer but it is really pronounced. Nice typical lager flavors, really goes nice with the hops.

M- Light, smooth in the mouth. Leaves the mouth a little wet. Perfect beer for a hot day.

D- Very drinkable, really this should be called surly session. I really liked this beer more than I thought I would, one of the best lagers I've had.

Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can shared by gford217 - much obliged!

Pours a clear straw color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of crisp grainy malt with a hint of breadiness and very little hop influence.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Crisp light malt flavors up front are backed up by light amounts of earthiness and breadiness. Lots of ess's here. Here's one more: the ending is crisp with a mild amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with moderately active carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have a bunch of these.

Overall this is a very clean lager that has a good amount of drinkability. Worth a shot.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a stemmed strange)

A- This beer pours a warm yellow body wit a thin snow white film and a slow carbonation of tiny bubbles working to the surface.

S- The clean soft mellow Pils malt has a bit more fullness than its German counterpart but still very nice. Soft hint of green hops come through as it opens, but stays softer than malt.

T- The mils sweet malt note is gentle with a note of bread as it opens. The finish is nice and clean with just enough sweetness to give it a fresh character without being sweet. A hint of pungent pith is very soft for a moment on the after taste. A cracker character grows in the malt flavor as it opens up.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a gentle fizz making the mouthfeel more full and no alcohol heat.

O- This is a nice sessionable beer that is clean with good malt character. More full that a typical German Munich Helles but just as nice. However after drinking a 16 oz can of this I fell like had just eaten a meal.

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A big white head quickly dies above a clear straw golden colored beer.

Straw, week malts, light corn syrup blended in a light aroma.

Light sweet corn syrup mixes with a light sourness and some malts for a distinct tasting Keller Bier.

A medium bodied beer with a drying aftertaste that seems to harbor some of the light corn syrup tastes.

This beer has a decent taste, although to much of the light corn syrupy taste for me, other than that some goodness going on here.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a clear golden color with a sudsy one finger head, pretty fast dissipation leaving behind only a few sparse bubbles on top. No lacing.

S: Even though the can said it does not have lager yeast, it smells like it does, almost like a pilsner. It has a slightly musty aroma but also some sweetness.

T: Plenty of grain and some sweet malt, with light citrus/lemon. There is some biscuity malt and slightly herbal.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinks rather smooth.

O: Vastly different from the last Keller Bier I had, with the other one being my preference. Not bad, but probably my least favorite beer from Surly thus far.

Photo of cuttlery
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Perfect summery type beer, good head, lite in color.

Photo of GilGarp
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz silver can with green flames. Packaged on 7/8/11.

Served cold from can to imperial pint glass. Hell has a slightly hazy pale golden yellow color. The head is creamy white but short-lived.

Aroma is sweet and mild like a light wheat beer. The yeast is probably the primary contributor to the smell.

Flavor is a little more dominant than expected. A mild grainy taste with more than a little bitterness to balance things out. It's not a real hoppy flavor but the bitter bite is there. It must be all early additions and nothing towards the end of the boil.

Mouthfeel is balanced and clean, crisp and refreshing after an outdoor activity or project.

Overall a solid beer. Nothing to get really excited about but it's well made.

Photo of cokes
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lightly hazed yellow bodied with traces of white lace on top.
Doughy aroma spiked with peppery hops and crushed pill astringency.
Doughy again on its onset in the mouth. Wet bready and generally bland. More bread and more wet and more bland as it rests a while with no real lagered clarity. Hops bring herbs, florals, and, especially astringency, in a smashed Tylenol sense, twisted with lemon.
Doughy, wet, fatty, and plump through the gullet with no relief from the stunted CO2.
The astringency prevents an otherwise pedestrian brew from achieving its goals. If they tried to hop it up, it failed. If they're looking for mass appeal, look again.
This just isn't very good.

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis into a Surly pint glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy deep golden, almost amber, color with a nice white foamy head that didn't last long, but left a little lacing behind.

Smell: Malty goodness with some floral hops mixed in. Slight citrus notes. Nice.

Taste: Slight sweet, but dry, floral hops flavors up front. Tasty sweet malts in the middle and a good bitterness on the tounge for the finish. Nothing overpowering, a great balance.

Mouth feel: A fair amount of carbonation but nothing that distracts from the crisp flavors. Light to medium body.

Drinkability: HELL yeah! This is a damn tasty beer with a moderate ABV and a crisp clean taste that makes it very easy to do a session with. I had a few off the tap and they went down very easily.

Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasty stuff.Straw colour. Fresh, hopped light and tasty. Great drinkability, although so dainty that the carbonation, though not aggressive, is obtrusive.Moderate citrus.Thanks John for bringing back. Something that I can drink pint after pint of.Spot on.

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can, pilsener glass, no canning date. Great extra Shango42!

Flows out a slightly hazed pastel yellow, the perfect helles, with a starkly white head that has above average retention for a lager.

Lots of doughy and grainy aromas. Grass, soap, and a little noble hop.

Fulfillment of the pils malt promise; less grainy and more malty, doughy. The hops still yield some tasty pepper and earth to the whole. After chewing on a cracker you get a pop of bitterness to the back of the tongue that lays down with a matte texture.

A non-Bock with body, this lager is crisp without overcarbonation.

The crisp bitterness satisfying, as is the malt. I can't say this is something I'm after again, but I wanted to try it. It is leaps and bounds in front of macros.

Photo of ElGordo
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found on tap at Bailey's Taproom. Body is a bright golden color, rather still and without much head. Crisp, slightly sweet malt on the nose, with a decidedly bready character. Palate is crisp with a slight tang, I'm never sure how to describe it, but it's a telltale marker of the Helles style. Notes of light fruit, bready malt, and mildly fruity hops are present as well. Body is light and airy, although some more carbonation would not be a bad addition. A decent beer for the start of an evening in late summer, that's for sure.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Matt (mtunnell) for this one. I've been looking for this one for a while! Poured from a 16oz. can into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Gentle pour yields a foamy, white 1 finger head with decent retention. Beer is a clear yellow with a slight orange tint. Lacing is very spotty with decent cling.

S: Big malt presence with a hint of lemon and wheat in the background. Simple but surprisingly aromatic.

T: Very one dimensional. Hop bitterness is missing entirely. Lemon and wheat opening and lasting to the middle and end. Adjunct-ish (corn, rice) with a big, bold, spicy finish. No aftertaste.

M: Light bodied, carbonated, and lively and watery in the mouth. Accented finish with no aftertaste.

D: The perfect summer session beer. Incredibly refreshing but gives you almost nothing to think about when drinking it. Goes down easy as hell though. I'll be needing more of this as the football season kicks into gear!

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Hell from Surly Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 958 ratings.