Hell - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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very good

865 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 865
Reviews: 295
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.26%
Wants: 119
Gots: 78 | FT: 2
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)
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Ratings: 865 | Reviews: 295 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sender
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of tbeq00
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of sirosler
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A beautiful clear yellow-gold color with a quickly-dissipating two finger white head and no lacing.

S: Grainy and sweet with a clean, bready aroma and a scent of apples.

T: Bananas was the first thing I though of, with a lot of sweet malt. Fresh, simple, and clean with some bitterness.

M: Smooth with medium body and carbonation.

O: A good lager that's refreshing and easy to drink. The style has personally never done much for me but, as always, Surly makes a valiant effort.

Photo of kbuzz
2.73/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 16 oz can into a glass. Date on bottom of can says 6/30/11...not the freshest. I am not a fan of lagers at all, so keep that in mind...

A: You know...fizzy, light golden straw/copper color. Half finger head that faded quickly. Fairly clear. Not a bad looking beer, but not overly appetizing.

S: Yeasty breadiness hits first...some detectible floral/herbal/grassy hop notes. A bit of orange rind.

T: Tastes like a lager. Sorry, but I don't really have much more to say here. Mild hops, mild malts, and just a dominant bready/funky lager yeast flavor. Kind of a mildly funky saison quality actually.

M: Not a bad mouthfeel...this might be the only thing that distinguishes this from an average lager. It's a medium-bodied beer and where most lagers are ultra-fizzy w/o any flavors to balance out that bite, this is appropriately carbonated.

O: Sorry folks, I'm just not a fan of lagers. This is definitely better than most, but that's not saying much - just take a look at the scores I gave it. If you like lagers, I'm sure you'll dig this...but I think there are significantly better beers on the market by this brewery.

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 kawilliams81
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured 2 different times into pint glass.

A- 1st pour-poured clear light pilsner with 1 finger white head.
2nd pour-poured cloudy honey color (sediment in can) with thing white head.

S- Sweet honey malts

T- Sweet pilsner/honey malts, with crisp light hop finish.

M- Light bodied, crisp, very easy drinking.

O- Pretty good pilsner like beer. Went down very well with some pizza.

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

A - Poured a golden color with a white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of bready malt and grassy hops

T - Has a pretty light taste but it follows the nose fairly malty with a grassy hop flavor

M - This beer has a medium body with higher carbonation to it

O - This is a pretty good beer thats easy to drink the taste is smooth and refreshing that keeps me coming back for more overall worth picking up if you have the chance

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

Received as an extra in a recent trade. (Cheers!)
Poured from 16oz can into shaker pint.
(No date to be found on the can.)

Aroma: Grain husk, a light metallic note, flour, and a vegetal corn note. Not saying this one's brewed w/ corn. Just noticing some possible DMS.)

Appearance: Almost crystal-clear (very impressive, as this one is unfiltered) golden body. Nice, white, two-fingered head falls slowly. Lacing is not present.

Flavor: Some good honey sweetness up front. Again, a bit of a corn-like vegetal note. Floral hop flavor and bitterness are pretty low. I, personally, could use more hops, and expected more in a Surly brew.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation. I would have enjoyed a little bit more to cut through the sweetness. Medium-light body. Actually, a bit more body there than I'd expected.

Overall: This one is pretty drinkable, as the can conveys. I could see the sweetness, though, getting to be a bit too much after a can or two. I would enjoy this one more if the sweetness were turned down a notch, and if more hops were thrown in. Not a bad one, just not my style.

Photo of flexabull
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can courtesy of maximum12, thanks again!

Pours a hazy gold color with a pretty nice head.

Aromas are spicy, floral, mineral like, with some grassiness as well.

Taste is bready, slightly sweet, with some cracker like flavors and general creamy malts. Finish is crisp, lightly bitter, with some mineral like hoppiness.

Mouthfeel is full, clean, and smooth, with plenty of body.

Overall this is a nice and well made lager. Refreshing and very drinkable. Another very good Surly brew.

Photo of alexgash
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Photo of fo5s
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.05/5  rDev +6%
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.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of burnstar
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of warnerry
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
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 Sammy
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
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 scanny79
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

Photo of zimm421
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of SWMeyer4141
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of Sean9689
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of GPHarris
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of beagle75
3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
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.

Photo of russpowell
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Photo of Phelps
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Hell from Surly Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 865 ratings.