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Hell - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

756 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 756
Reviews: 288
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.23%
Wants: 120
Gots: 60 | FT: 0
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:
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: 756 | Reviews: 288 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alexgash


4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. can. Canned on 8/19/11.

Partly cloudy golden lemon body. Two fingers frothy, long-lasting, eggshell-white head. Nice lacing. Refreshing nose of floral, peppery hops, sea air, honey, and bready malts.

Lightly toasted grains up front, tailed by spicy, peppery hop bitterness (light). Bready, cracker-y malt fills up the palate, with a sweetish honey edge. Doughy malts and slight mineral water bitterness into the finish. Finish is dry, with some snappy, peppery bitterness and lingering sweetbread malts. Moderate to light body, with a crisp, lively feel (but not seltzer-y). A very tasty, easy drinking lager.

Serving type: can

10-13-2011 00:48:25 | More by alexgash
Photo of fo5s

District of Columbia

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz can split into a sam adams perfect pint. Can dated 7/15/11, but resided in the refrigerator for the majority of time since then.

A- pale gold with some clouding from the yeast, but fairly clear throughout. Limited head - maybe 1 finger and receded quickly.

S- sweet breadiness, mild hop bitterness.

T- dry breadiness with a long, bitter hop finish. A touch of spiciness and a bit of yeast that's tough to find.

M- medium to thin body as expected. Lively carbonation. Easy drinker.

O- overall a pleasant beer, better suited for summer than October, but this paired nicely with an 80+ degree day. Worth buying if you're in surly's distribution area, but nothing special and not worth hunting for.

Serving type: can

10-09-2011 19:58:40 | More by fo5s
Photo of Alieniloquium


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into a British pint glass. Thanks to biglobo8971 for hooking me up with this.

Appearance - Slightly hazy yellow body with a small white head. Not a lot of lacing.

Smell - Grainy and a bit grassy. Smells like wheat with some bright hop flavors. Difficult to discern, though. It also has that distinct lager smell, but it's subdued.

Taste - I'm impressed. The hops come through nicely with some grassy flavors. The malt follows with a grainy, bready flavor. The finish is fascinating and difficult to place. It's not quite bitter, but it's something. Almost like a spice I can't place.

Mouthfeel - Light, but enough of a body to keep the flavors tingling. I could gulp this down if I didn't want the flavors to last. Really well weighted beer.

Overall - I was amazed at how much I liked this. I usually don't like lagers, but I could drink this for hours.

Serving type: can

10-09-2011 17:35:05 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of BradLikesBrew


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

Serving type: can

10-05-2011 04:55:25 | More by BradLikesBrew
Photo of ForWhatAlesYou


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

16 oz can into a pint glass

A: Clear, nice golden yellow color. Small white head. Fades. Nice.

S: Slight toast notes in the malt. Sweetness in the hop profile.

T: Delicious. Rich with a bready toastiness. Crips and golden. A little pretzel or bagel. Hops are balancing and spicy.

M: Right about perfect for the style (or nearly any style). Great richness with necessary crispness.

D: Not my preferred Surly but it really shows their versatility. Nice lighter brew.

Serving type: can

10-04-2011 16:12:56 | More by ForWhatAlesYou
Photo of burnstar


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty light gold. Crystal clear. Lots of visible carbonation. Good sized and very persistent head. Smell is grassy hops and a little light malt. Taste is biscuity light malt. Pleasant sweetness. Herbal hops. Nicely balanced. Medium to full bodied. Well carbonated. Very easily drinkable. Very solid beer overall.

Serving type: can

09-25-2011 17:22:17 | More by burnstar
Photo of warnerry


3.98/5  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.

Serving type: can

09-19-2011 23:32:10 | More by warnerry
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Serving type: can

09-18-2011 03:56:48 | More by Sammy
Photo of scanny79


4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
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 zimm421


3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up on my recent fishing trip to Minnesota.

Poured from a 16 oz can into a standard pint glass. Appears a fairly clear yellow, just a slight haze here. Has a frothy white head that has some pretty good staying power, but not much lacing.

Smells strongly of bread. Tons of pilsner malts, lots of yeast and even some nice lemony scents. The taste is light and refreshing. Very similar characteristics of the nose, but more breadiness. Goes down great, very sessionable.

The mouthfeel is light bodied, high carbonation and just works great. Overall, this is a nice, sessionable brew. I've had better, but this is something that works great for MNF, and I'll be finishing off the 4 pack next weekend for college football.

Serving type: can

09-12-2011 22:23:06 | More by zimm421
Photo of SWMeyer4141


3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-Very vibrant, nice hazy, sunshine yellow body. Head was white with little retention and some nice lacing. Very nice appealing looking.

Smell-Smells like a lager. Malt, some light citrus and hops. Bready.

Taste-Wow, talk about a session beer. When it first hits the tongue you think standard lager. Sweet malts then turns into a nice citrusy, light hop finish. Nice balance of flavors.

Mouthfeel-Nicely carbonated, light bodied. Just feels great in your mouth, near perfect mouthfeel

Overall-First beer of the style so I'm not going to go crazy. However, this is definitely a top 5 session beer that I would drink If I could access it, but I can't. bummer.

Serving type: can

09-11-2011 18:32:56 | More by SWMeyer4141
Photo of Sean9689


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Might as well crack open a lager to enjoy the start of the 2011 NFL season. Thanks to iowahawk for the can. Poured into nonic.

A - Pours a slighty hazy golden yellow color, white head, thick collar, thin cap, sticky lacing. Looks like a larger, but better.

S - Very light and subtle. Hay, straw, pilsner malts, bready notes. Really grassy with a nice pilsner malt backbone. Just a touch of hops, if any.

T - Grassy up front, malts follow, some herbal notes. Like the nose, all very delicate and subtle. Nice bready finish with a touch of hoppy bitterness.

M - Light, crisp and refreshing, clean finish.

O - An enjoyable lager, to say the least. Very easy to drink and a great way to start the 2011 NFL season. This would be the beer to tail gate with, no doubt about it. Recommend.

Serving type: can

09-09-2011 00:34:00 | More by Sean9689
Photo of GPHarris


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a - poured a two-fingers thick eggshell colored head into a pilsner glass that settled into a thin ring that was gone halfway through. the body was bright golden and bubbly.
s - straw, earthy hops, lemon zest.
t - grainy, bready with some lemon flavors underneath.
m - clean and medium thickness.
o - nice offering and very refreshing.

Serving type: can

09-06-2011 14:18:14 | More by GPHarris
Photo of beagle75


3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, pale golden color with one finger of diminishing white foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass and a lone stream of bubbles rises lazily in the column.

S: Crisp and grassy, with a heavy pilsner malt presence as well. Carbon dioxide is detectable, making the beer smell a little metallic.

T: Begins dry, with intense bready and honeyed malt that is hoppy with Noble qualities. Carbonic acidity is moderate and lingering, but is felt more than tasted. Flavors sweeten in the uninteresting middle, where malt is bland and slightly chalky. Bitterness is moderate during the finish, going from green and herbaceous to dried hay.

M: Thin viscosity, wet on the palate but the lingering acidity burns, with moderate to heavy carbonation.

D/O: This does not seem like a beer that should fatigue the palate, yet it does so in capable fashion. The taste is authentic, losing some refreshment to the boldness of the early flavors and even more to the harsh burn of acidity. In its defense, it would probably go down more easily in the presence of savory food.

Serving type: can

09-05-2011 14:34:16 | More by beagle75
Photo of russpowell


3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thrilled to get to try this, big ups to kenm2118, who threw this in as an extra. Cheers Ken!

Pours an effervescent gold with 2 fingers of rocky pearl colored head. Clearer than any keller bier I've ever tried, some head retention & above average lacing

S: Bready & grainy, some perfumy hops late as this warmed up

T: Grainy, with lemony & metallic hops, grassyness up front. Slight apple peel presence as this warms, along with more lemony & metallic hops & grainy doughyness. Finishes slightly wet with grainy bitterness, a touch of lemon rind & some white grape

MF: Light bodied with slight carbonation

Pretty drinkable, but to be honest a bit of a let down. So far Surly's German iterations ( the few I've tried ) haven't wowed me. I would happily take St Geargen Brau or Bischof Keller bier over this any day. Was looking for a bit more fruittyness. I could drink this all day, but do not se it as a bencmark for the style by any any means.

Serving type: can

09-03-2011 23:43:34 | More by russpowell
Photo of Phelps


3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

xx Enjoyed inside a tall, narrow pint glass.

Goldenrod, almost perfectly clear. Topped with a furry finger of off-white froth that becomes a thick, pillowy top layer that never goes away.

Crisp, light aroma. Clean graininess with a soft touch of apple and earth.

Flavor opens up nicely. Light bit of pear sweetness, perhaps some green apple as well. Very lightly toasted bread, a bit of citrusy and spicy hops. Finishes mostly dry and cleaner than a new tooth.

Smooth medium-light body just nails it. The carbonation is mild, peppering the tongue with tiny bubbles. Holds together well as it moves. The dry finish encourages constant refills of the mouth.

The lightness and finish lends drinkability; the soft hops and smooth fruits flavors make it tasty. I'd call this more of a helles that a zwickel/keller, and would love to see this in my Mass anytime.

Serving type: can

09-02-2011 05:01:45 | More by Phelps
Photo of bashiba


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly hazy golden yellow with a light thin white head.

The smell has nice Belgian Auromatic bready malt classic german noble hops.

Nice sweet and bready, very malty up front with just a light hint of the noble hops breaking through in the finish with a light grassy citrus quality.

The mouthfeel is heavily carbonate, very zippy and tingly with a fairly light body.

Nice session lager, very light and easy to drink yet it has enough flavor to keep you interested and coming back.

Serving type: can

09-01-2011 02:52:42 | More by bashiba
Photo of stakem


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint, this brew appears straw yellow in color with a light amount of haziness to it. A finger of white head sits atop the brew supported by constantly streaming bubbles of carbonation. Despite the support from the rising bubbles of carbonation, it isn't long before the cap recedes to a thin film across the top with more bubbles holding tight around the edge of the glass.

The smell of this brew has spicy herbal hops that almost have a lemony appeal about it. There is a light touch of sulfur and some bready grain notes filling out the rest of the nose. Overall it is well balanced and very clean and enjoyable for the style.

The taste is sweet with a bready to biscuit fresh grain flavoring that sits overtop some lightly spicy herbal hops that provide just enough bitterness to keep the grainy sweetness in check. There is a light inclusion of sulfur and the faintest hint of buttery diacetyl in the aftertaste. As the brew comes up to temperature some of the lemony aspect to the nose comes forward in the flavor as well.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. It is crisp on the finish which encourages you to continue with the consumption and the alcohol is fairly well integrated for 5% with a light warmth down the back of the throat. Overall this is a fantastic take on the style, very well done. This is not a style of beer I reach for often but if this was readily available for me, I would drink it quite frequently throughout the summer.

Serving type: can

09-01-2011 01:57:14 | More by stakem
Photo of mcallister


3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My "light" Surly day continues. Pours yellow and fairly clear with a brilliant white head of a half inch. Very sticky lace consumes my tulip as it fades. Carbonation bubbles ride up the side of the glass looking for freedom only to find a layer of foamy head.

Fresh baked bread, biscuits, noble hops, earthy with some light lemon and freshly mown grass in the back ground. Love the malt.

Light and zesty. Cereal grains, fresh baked bread, flakey buttermilk biscuits, noble hops, earthy and herbal, with a slight floral quality in the finish. A nice flavor to this helles. However the body is a bit off. Lacking in cabonation leaves things watery, need more zip.

Serving type: can

08-31-2011 20:40:15 | More by mcallister
Photo of Bitterbill


4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a hazy straw yellow with a large head of foam(still at cellar temp). This was canned Aug 8th.

It smells very Pilsener like; some lemon citrus, some floral aromas, all backed up by a solid malt presence. Nice.

It may smell like a Pils but it doesn't taste like one. At least, not to me.

I'm getting some notes of bread, a bit of grass, an underlining bitterness that is slightly aspirin in nature. Some sweetness way in the background. Dang, quite tasty an overall, very smooth.

Light bodied with the carbonation on the high side of light, the mouthfeel is just about perfect for this beer and I find it very drinkable.

Ahh, and the more I sip, the more Pils flavours shine on in. I love this brew!

Serving type: can

08-29-2011 22:51:02 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of jm1229


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

Big thanks to schmoopsbeer for adding this in our trade. This is my first Surly beer and I can't wait to try it.

Can dated 7/15/11 opened on 8/27 and poured into my Alpine pint glass. Served at 50 degrees.

A- Aggressive pour yields about three inches of head. When it finally goes away, nice retention is left on the glass. The beer is a straw colored gem. A bit hazy, almost looks like a saison.

S- Smells like an Eastern European bakery. Fresh bread. Some lemon. Yeasty and light.

T- A very light beer, but it's extremely tasty. It's like a sweet bread with some mild lemon notes following close behind. Nice aftertaste.

M- Light bodied and perfect carbonation. No alcohol taste.

O- My very first beer was Pilsner Urquell in Czech Republic when I was 18. It was on tap and paired along a traditional Czech dish. There was nothing more refreshing than that pairing. Then again, I can imagine having this beer on a hot summer day with some svickova (bread dumplings and meat) or even some duck. This beer took me by complete surprise and is a total delight. Perfect for pilsner style beer lovers.

Note: I don't have any qualms with beers being canned opposed to being bottled, but the design on the can is not alluring to me at all. TenFidy, an amazing beer from Oskar Blues, is canned, yet has a design that doesn't reek of FourLoko or another cheap energy drink/alcohol hybrid. Not that this has anything to do with the beer itself, it's just a note.

Serving type: can

08-28-2011 10:51:17 | More by jm1229
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

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

Thanks to UMNbeerhunter for sending this one along. It was canned on 7/26/11 and poured into my Duvel tulip.

Hell pours a slightly cloudy goldenrod color, lightening to straw in places when held directly to light. There's close to two fingers of white foam crowning the beer, and it shows moderate head retention and lacing. The nose is redolent of freshly baked white bread and crackers, with a hint of delicate spiciness from the Sterling hops. The flavor is a carbon copy of the nose, there's really not much too add. Everything comes across very crisp, and there's a nice balance between all the flavors. The body is firm for a sub 5% beer, and the carbonation has just a little bit of kick in it to keep things interesting. I really enjoyed my can of Hell, it's got a great combination of good flavor and being very easy drinking. I can see myself buying this in bulk to go along with Allagash White as my go to beers next summer.

Serving type: cask

08-28-2011 00:17:05 | More by axeman9182
Photo of antlerwrestler19


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

Vigorous pour brings out a golden straw colored beer with a one finger head of fluffy foam that fell relatively fast - little haze. Smells doughy and bread-like just as the can suggests, really grainy with a light maltiness - not getting a whole lot of hops. The taste follows the nose with a bitter bread-like punch up front and finishes off sweet - crisp and refreshing! The mouthfeel is as expected - a nice amount of carbonation that accompanies the light to medium bodied beer. I gave this beer 4 4s because I felt that is exactly what it deserved. It didn't stray away from its claims on the can and was just spot on - nice session beer and a million steps up from Budweiser (just as the store clerk said) not that the two can even be put in the same category.


Serving type: can

08-26-2011 04:42:18 | More by antlerwrestler19
Photo of jsprain1


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- It's not as cloudy as I would have expected based on style and advertising. Head is thin and doesn't last long. No lacing.
S- Smell is intensely bready. Props to Surly for proper advertising. It really does smell like bread dough. Sweet grainyness through and through.
T- Sweet dough with just a light hop presence in the finish. There's a slight yeasty character to it, but not quite as much as I would have thought from an unfiltered beer. That being said, it's very well rounded and balanced.
M- Very low carbonation but the body is medium. It sits on the tongue quite a long time and the flavors really linger.Somewhat sticky, I would say.
O- A very solid beer. Other than the lackluster appearance, this is one of my favorite lagers. So drinkable. Flavorful, but not at all fatiguing.

Serving type: can

08-20-2011 22:07:40 | More by jsprain1
Photo of woosterbill


4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pint can into a Weyerbacher tulip. Thanks to the dormant BA markhvizdak for picking this up for me. My first Keller/Zwickel tick, style #95 for me.

A. Clear gold body under a finger of fine white head. Decent retention and lace. Pretty simple, and just fine.

S: Intense, lively aroma of pilsner malt and vibrantly bready yeast. Light, herbal hops. The yeast character is particularly fascinating, as it's totally free of any sulfur or typical lagery faults, but still a dynamic presence. It's almost citrusy, a trifle sour, and almost a bit salty - reminiscent of what I imagine a Pilsner/Gose hybrid would be like. Awesome.

T: A little less bizarre than the nose - much more of a bulked-up pilsner. Bready malt, herbal hops, and bright yeast. A little sweet, a little bitter, and very tasty.

M: Medium body, low carbonation. Soft, but a little sticky.

O: From the intensity of the malt flavors I really thought this one was higher than 5.1% (the can didn't give any indication) - maybe 6 or 6.5. I really appreciated that this pale lager had more going on than most, and would gladly drink can after can. I really want to track down some more examples of this style.


Serving type: can

08-19-2011 15:10:02 | More by woosterbill
Hell from Surly Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 756 ratings.