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Hell - Surly Brewing Company


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very good

696 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 696
Reviews: 284
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.2%

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
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.

(Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 08-26-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 696 | Reviews: 284 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of gvarsity


4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm not a huge fan of lager beers because of their general lack of flavor and body. Hell is an amazing beer. Hell is one I would reach to over many other beers of styles that I prefer at any time.

In the warm summer months when refreshment as well as flavor and beer enjoyment is required HELL is unmatched for me. This is my favorite summer beer. Everything you want from a sit on the deck beer in lightness, refreshment and drinkability but with taste.

Grab one I think you will be surprised.

note: I rated this comparing it to what it is supposed to be not in comparison to other styles such as DIPA and Imperial Stouts etc.. For a lager beer it really hits on all cylinders.

Serving type: can

01-28-2011 19:50:38 | More by gvarsity
Photo of paladinjoe


4.78/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I know I'm in the minority when I say this, but this is my overall favorite Surly Beer. The taste is full, without being overpowering. The after taste has what they call a bread like flavor, and to me it goes well with anything from Pizza, to Steak, an absolute winner!! This is a Beer I could have everyday. If only Surly could bring the price down a buck or so.

Serving type: can

01-05-2014 18:57:37 | More by paladinjoe
Photo of bmike86


4.73/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I picked up a 4 pack from Edina Liquor off of York Ave across from Southdale.

Appearance --- a nice light golden yellow with about a finger worth of white head

Smell --- malts, a bit of grass and grain

Taste --- bread like, malts, with a faint citrus

Mouth feel --- crisp early and finishes soo smoothly, has a light body and a bit of carbonation

Overall --- when the weather warms up during the year, this is the style I look for and Surly did a great job with their take on it… I will be coming back for more and more! I am thankful to live in the Twin Cities, where this is a fairly accessible beer in the liquor stores out here. I may not be the biggest fan of Surly’s year-round line up, but they hit some real home-runs with their seasonals

Serving type: can

06-28-2012 18:45:20 | More by bmike86
Photo of rayjay


4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

from kegatron

Rich golden brite beer with superb foam.

Rich fresh malts galore. Toasty, with some lager sulphur compounds. Simply delicious. Clean, just about as sweet as grainy bread. Zippy Saaz bitterness that lets the malts win in the end. Simple and to the point, I like it!

Mouthfeel is light crisp and refreshing. Great balance of lightness and simplicity with refinement and thought-provoking challenge. Another knockout from a great brewery. Cheers!

Serving type: can

12-18-2009 07:26:25 | More by rayjay
Photo of dfillius


4.63/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass
Sold out in one hour from the Four Firkins? Let's see what all the fuss is about.

A: Aggressive pour yields 3 fingers of pillowy white head with great retention. Crystal clear pale straw liquid. Love all the head!

S: Assertive herbal hop triumphs over a still noticeable bready malt. Very clean. Delightful.

T: OMG! Complex and flavorful hearty bread to start. Perfect amount of bittering to balance it. Best lager I've had to date? Top 3 definitely. No distracting tastes like I've experienced in other lagers (metallic especially).

M: Crisp, bright, well bittered.

D: Strong. Gimme more! I would order another and definitely buy another four pack or two. I do see what all the fuss was about. This is a beer to be tracked down and enjoyed on a warm day in the sun.

Serving type: can

09-05-2009 22:42:35 | More by dfillius
Photo of ZAP


4.63/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this as an easy drinking lager with flavor and character in the summer. It is a little bready but has some pronounced citrus hop flavor ( a lot of orange and tangerine).

Excellent texture and body....almost creamy but still crisp...lower ABV makes this perfect for sessioning...the only issue I have is the pricing. I'd love to buy this by the case for the summer if it was priced along the lines of what Summit EPA is but it is priced like a DIPA, etc and I just can't afford to buy this because I will drink too much of it at that price. A DIPA I can rationalize because those are sippers...2-4 a night tops....shit this I could drink 10-12 of throughout the day and would if it was priced like Summit EPA (12 pack of 12 ouncers for 10.99 at some places).

I realize this probably takes a lot of skill to produce this type of quality lager and the price in theory may be justified but I really think this could really become a go to beer for many if it was priced a little lower and marketed to the macro crowd. I could see this being Surly's Spotted Cow but only 100 times better....

Serving type: can

07-03-2011 00:28:43 | More by ZAP
Photo of pmccallum86


4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a golden yellow straw color with a small white head the dissipates quickly.

Smell is very earthy and grassy with a light bready malt aroma in the background.

Taste is very clean and crisp with a big pilsner flavor. Very good flavor for the style. Light hops and bready malts in the finish, very good.

Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp. Medium carbonation with a light body.

Very drinkable, perfect beer for a hot summer day.

Serving type: can

07-23-2010 04:14:29 | More by pmccallum86
Photo of garymuchow


4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh Hell. Let's give 'er a go.
Gee, what do ya' know, a Surly beer that's hopped up. Nicely of course and really probably in the in the end rather balanced, but hopped up nonetheless. It's the first impression.
Pretty darn clear, if it's to be considered a keller bier. Brilliant I'd say. Full very white head that is as loud as they come. A piercing golden yellow.
Quite a grainy aroma with the hops actually rather subdued in this one area. Pretty straight-forward and uncomplicated.
Good malt flavors on this one, high in grain quality and holding a bread like flavor. Bitterness starts slow and build gradually, yet eventually rather fully by the time the extended flavorful finish comes around with a tongue penetrating dryness. Nice hop flavors show forth, but not in every drink, and of a highly distinctive style. Noted on the can as American hops, but I'm unclear via flavor profile as to what they may be. Tasty anyhow.
Nice light body without being watery (how do you do that?). Excellently carbonated with just enough fullness, but not too much and the finest of fine bubbles. Exquisite.
This is an exceptional summer lager, made in right here in good old MN. So fresh. So tasty. So nicely balanced. So damn good.

Serving type: can

08-27-2009 02:08:15 | More by garymuchow
Photo of EwaldEichstaett


4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Got a pint on tap, great looking pour. Nice color and carbonation. Foam remains on the top of the beer throughout. Foamy side of the glass when finished.

S: Malty smell a little bit like bread. There is something a bit sour about the smell as well.

T: Malts are the predominant flavor- this is a (Hell)es of course. The sour taste is present, although it is not strong or unpleasant. think it adds a bit of character to the brew. Nice bit of hop presence at the end.

M: Nice and thick feel in the mouth, decent carbonation. This is a lager beer that makes you actually feel like you are drinking something.

Supremely drinkable!

Serving type: on-tap

08-03-2010 18:10:14 | More by EwaldEichstaett
Photo of Ryan011235


4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass on 9/15/10

Many thanks to biglobo8971

Pale & straw colored, Hell hath but a soft haze when held to the light. Poured an ample, one inch head with a high count of rising bubbles. The head is porous & visibly agitated while it recedes to a patchy skim. A few minor strings of lace.

Grass & grains comprise a good majority of the aroma. Lemongrass, toasted grains & a faint yeast note. It smells reasonably hoppy; earthy with hints of citrus - lemon & orange peel. Very, very nice.

The hops are showcased upfront. Moderate bitterness; somewhat earthy with citric accents throughout. Grassy overtones manifest for a brief spell, as large swaths of toasted grain & Pilsner malts sweep in on the latter half. The taste is clear & well-balanced.

Maybe a little more than light bodied. Carbonation is fairly low; there's just enough to complement the flavors. The finish is more of a soft landing than a crisp, sharp ending; I find it quite befitting. Subtle malts & ghosts of lemon lest make for pleasant, lingering residuals.

Hell is top notch for drinkability. Incredibly flavorful & balanced. The American hops do wonders for the beer without over-shadowing the finer aspects. If possible, this would have regular visits in the old beer fridge. Recommended.

Serving type: can

09-28-2010 02:33:19 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of Pitmonkey


4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hell? Hell yes!

That is damned good beer.

Kellerbier, Munich Helles, German light lager... whatever... this is what American lagers should be like.

Mine was surprisingly clear for an unfiltered beer, no haze and no floaties but the light wasn't the best so maybe there was a light haze I wasn't able to see. It looked yellow and clear to me. Head was thin but persisted on glass as the beer went down.

Primary smell was grain.

Taste was sweet and... you got it, grain, malt yum. Smooth, finishes with hints of bitterness at the corners of the tongue. Reminds me of a legendary local lager only better.

Lightly carbonated, light, refreshing but a lot of flavor and balance.

Did it knock me over with flavor? No, but I didn't really expect it to. It was malty, balanced and refreshing. I am sad that is likely the only glass I will get but I'm glad I searched 5 places for it.

Serving type: on-tap

09-18-2008 04:54:08 | More by Pitmonkey
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I would almost like to call this one a Macro done right! A very kind and courteous BA sent me a good bit of this one and I am very glad that he did. Served cold and poured into a pint glass.

The pour was the best I could see. Clear, rich golden amber in color with tons of carbonation bubbling up toward the surface. Massive looking I have to say. Aroma at first is dominated by notes of wheat and light earthy hops, but warming brings out much more complexity and in fact a good bit of richness. Hints of almost lavender and jasmine, more then likely not, but that same floral kind of aroma is there. Smooth, clean, crisp, and a bit heavier then I would have expected given the style. Rich flavor abounds here. Tons of malt up front but very nicely balanced against a big hop finish and a grainy and earthy aftertaste.

Overall a wonderful addition to their lineup. This is damn near a perfect summer brew, I could have drank ten of these without batting an eye, it was just that smooth. Go get this one.

Serving type: can

09-14-2009 00:26:08 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of david131


4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a slightly hazy yellow with a bit of orange for good measure. The white head settles to the tiniest small splotch.

S- Light fruits and some bready malt. Very clean and simple. There is something special to this that I can't put my finger on.

T- Sweet malt and some fruit. Very clean on the finish. The sweetness is definitely kept in check and there is no strange lasting flavors.

M- There is a perfect amount of carbonation that keeps it light without providing too much bite. The finish is extraordinarily clean.

O- Extremely drinkable. Simple and very well made. I would make,this a regular if I could.

Serving type: can

07-23-2011 05:33:41 | More by david131
Photo of TastyTaste


4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Surly's first foray into a traditional German lager. I will be the first to admit that what I like about Surly is the usual intense dosage of hops, malt, or some other ingredient to make an assertive, strongly flavored beer.

This is a very good German-style lager. It tastes fresh and crisp, has a beautiful malt backbone, and only a flirtation with hops. I have nothing to complain about with this beer, it is up to the standards of having "Surly" on it's label.

Serving type: can

07-16-2012 18:04:10 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of brewdoc75


4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to my buddy's wife, I got 8 of the beauties.

A: Straw yellow with golden hues. Strong carbonation. Minimal head.

S: Sweet malts with a hint of biscut. I get some faint fruitiness as well. Faintly floral hops in the end. Not super aromatic, but pretty good for a lager.

T: Maltiness is strong with this one. Faintly sweet and tons of grains. There is a mild fruity tone as well. I can't put my finger on it though. I taste hops towards the end with some spiciness and a pleasant balancing bitterness.

M: Light on the tongue. Crisp, clean and lovely.

D: This is an exceptional lager. I'm not super familiar with the style, but it is definitely one I want more of. This beer is the epitome of drinkability. This should be a summer seasonal for Surly. It would be in my fridge all summer long. A great companion on golf outings and fishing trips or just after a night mowing the lawn...which I should get around to.

Serving type: can

08-31-2009 01:33:01 | More by brewdoc75
Photo of KarlHungus


4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear spun gold color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into nice sticky lacing. The aroma very bready, slightly spicy, and has a nice faint metallic thing going on that reminds me of a lot of good beers I drank while living in Germany. For a golden lager this beer has a very robust aroma. The taste is as bready as the aroma with a hop presence that is noticeable, but certainly plays second fiddle to the malt. The nice metallic taste from the aroma is present in the taste too. Again, like the aroma, the taste is larger than one would expect from a golden lager. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a very nice beer. It is sessionable, flavorful, and has good complexity in more taste and aroma. I would really like to see Surly making this into a year-round beer.

Serving type: can

08-28-2009 21:21:23 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of cpolking


4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a glowing yellow-honey golden in color with three quarters inch of pure white head. The head dissipates with medium rapidity and leaves very light lacing on the glass.

The aroma is fresh and clean, aromatic, zesty in a citrus way, fresh tall grass, a bit sweet, and somewhat fruity, with a touch of lager funk.

The taste is honey sweet, citrus zest, on a subtle but solid malt grain base, and a nicely refreshing finish that is bitter, but not so much to cancel out the other flavors. As the beer is consumed it leaves a bit of a flat feeling on the tongue and needs just a touch more carbonation to last throughout the beer and finish a bit more refreshing.

It is hard to do justice in describing just how awesome this beer tastes and smells.

Serving type: can

07-01-2011 23:18:26 | More by cpolking
Photo of samie85


4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

Serving type: can

06-12-2012 04:16:04 | More by samie85
Photo of esch


4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Brilliant clarity, dark straw color. Almost no head to speak of. 2mm compact off-white bubbles ring the glass.

S: Very grainy. Malt is dominant but still not overwhelming. Hints of hop aroma, honey-like... Some DMS.

T: Grainy-sweet. The first thing I think of is Honey Comb Cereal. Again, only the vaguest hop contribution. Malt sweetness is countered mid-palate by just enough bitterness to keep the malt in check. Finish is quite even, perfect balance of sweet and bitter; leaving the palate clean with the aftertaste of pils malts.

M: Medium body. A bit more than I expected. Medium carbonation. No alcohol heat, astringency or creaminess.

D/O: If Mild didn't, this should shut the Surly critics up pretty quickly. While it's not something I'd expect to see as a year-round, this is a knockout session lager. Proving once and for all that Omar, Todd and crew can produce solid beers from 100 IBU IPAs to century old German recipes.

Serving type: on-tap

08-28-2008 04:05:27 | More by esch
Photo of kruse


4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at my local.

Golden with a nice white head.

Lovely hop aroma with substantial fruitiness.

Good hoppy flavor, but not overpowering. Some flavor from the grain, but could have been a bit more pronounced.

Decent mouthfeel.

Overall a very drinkable and refreshing beer. Good for a summer afternoon.

Serving type: on-tap

09-23-2009 16:32:10 | More by kruse
Photo of corby112


4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear golden yellowish orange color with pale golden banana yellow when held to a light source and a one finger frothy soapy white head. Very good retention, only slowly fading into a thin cap and lasting ring that leaves rings of soapy lacing in it's path.

Sweet pilsner malt aroma with nice bready yeast notes, light fruit, toasty biscuit malt and subtle hops. The pilsner malt provide a slight golden apple presence as well as a very nice toasty biscuity nose.

Lots of crisp light flavor but not watered down at all. Refreshing slightly creamy medium body with a nice amount of bready yeast and crisp light fruit. I'm picking up a lot of apple, first in the aroma and now in the flavor. There is a lot of sweet pilsner malt that is countered by a slight zest spiciness and an amazing crisp floral hop presence as well as a pleasant toasted biscuit malt character. This is an insanely drinkable, very flavorful session beer that I wish that I had constant access to.

Serving type: can

11-06-2009 05:15:23 | More by corby112
Photo of bennetj17


4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bright straw/gold, super clear, with nice streamy carbonation. The head reaches a half-inch of white foam and takes several minutes to settle. Leaves behind a healthy lace. Light grainy malt nose, not loaded with extra hops as you would expect a Surly beer to be. Very clean and bready.

Clean, toasty malt taste, has an almost nutty dryness and doesn't get very sweet. The malt flavors are bright and delicious, with a hint of lemon zest, and there is just enough hop balance to pair. What's interesting is how much complexity seems to come from the malt flavor for such a light brew. This could be a great session. The mouthfeel has pretty decent body, it's very crisp with the carbonation, and holds up well.

Very drinkable, highly recommended. Thanks to Arsenal04...

Serving type: can

09-05-2009 05:35:45 | More by bennetj17
Photo of optiontwo


4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours a pretty golden yellow with a nice half inch head out of a sweet looking can.

S: Scent consists of bready sweetness, lemon peel, and hay/grass. Simple. Great.

T: The first flavor that hits my tongue is slightly richer than I expect but still well within the style. A nice full bread flavor with slight spice that stays throughout after being followed by some of that light lemony citrus flavor. The finish is also quite satisfying with a great blend of all aforementioned flavors and a slight dryness.

M: Light, bubbly (but not too effervescent), with a touch of real body towards the end that is still quite light but enough to blanket the tongue with wonderful tastes and finish smooth.

D: Incredibly drinkable and perfect for a hot summer MN day like today. The only problem with this beer's drinkability is that one might be too inclined to chug it down, but the truth is as great as it is cold if you let it warm ever so slightly the flavors become more pronounced. I feel like I've said this about another beer, but now, this is the best lager I've ever had. Once again, Surly is awesome.

Serving type: can

07-20-2010 20:24:04 | More by optiontwo
Photo of scanny79


4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The appearance is a very light tan with a slight head that does disappear.

Smell: Slight hop smell with a very pleasant sweetness to it. Nothing that will blow your nostrils away for sure though. Very nice.

Taste: The taste is slightly sweet with a nice undertone of the hops which I really enjoyed. It is one of the smoothest beers I have had to date. I had to watch myself not to drink the whole can on the first drink. Incredible re-drinkability.

Mouthfeel: Slight carbonation and sweetness resonates. But very very smooth.

Overall: Hoping this sticks around the shelves for a while because I would make this a staple beer even at the around $11 per 4 pack of 16 oz. cans that it costs.

Serving type: can

09-16-2011 03:47:53 | More by scanny79
Photo of homebrew311


4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can poured into SA sensory glass. Appearance is straw colored with a faint amount of haze. Dense white head forms and retains well, considerable amount of lacing left behind. The nose starts with lemon and bread. The bready component features notes of wheat and yeast and gives a biscuit like quality to the aroma. Light herbal hops make a presence at the finish paired with mellow lager yeast. The taste starts with mellow malty sweetness, notes of lemon, grain, and corn. This is followed by huge bready dryness that off sets the mellow sweetness and provides a great balance. The finish features one last wave of lemon zest. Tons of delicate flavors here balanced terrifically. Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. This is a terrific lager, definitely worth seeking out, even for the ale heads.

Serving type: can

08-06-2012 01:25:05 | More by homebrew311
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Hell from Surly Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 696 ratings.