Helles Belles | Ninkasi Brewing Company

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Helles BellesHelles Belles

Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States | website

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cbarrett4 on 08-28-2011

User Reviews
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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 70
Reviews by corylew:
Photo of corylew
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Bier One. Poured in a standard pint glass.

Looks like a pretty standard helles lager. Yellow, crisp and clear.

Smells like a pretty standard helles lager. Yeasty, bready, slight malt and hops but nose is dominated by the lager yeast.

The taste is good. Let's be honest, it's a standard lager but it does what it was meant to do. Be a lager. It's light, drinkable, and the small flavor it does convey is good.

For the style, the mouthfeel is perfect. Just enough malt to pack some flavor as you slurp it down while dancing to oompa music.

Overall, this is a good Munich style helles lager. If I were looking for one, this would probably be my go-to lager. I just don't look for one very often.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of MattSlem
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I don't think this one gets the credit that it deserves. Fantastic representation of the style, eyes closed, I would have guessed that this was from an old world brewery. Ninkasi's lagers (Prismatic Series) are on point, hard. Damn. My only criticism is that I get a faint astringent alcohol note.

 299 characters

Photo of dertyd
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Fatehunter
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin head on a clear golden body.
The aroma is straw, grain and a little metal.
The taste has mild bitterness, then a longer sweet finish.
The texture is crisp and fizzy.
A sweeter lager but good.

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Photo of DOCRW
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of rfreed
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Tolnik
3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of hannaho
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.47/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple 12oz'ers of this last night at the Boise COOP... Finally getting around to giving it a proper review...

Pours with a decent white head... 3/4"... okay lacing and retention.... the brew is very clear dark golden....

Nose is pretty damn malty... almost too much, and I love malty lagers.. slight background of some spicy hoppiness.

Bitterness backbones the entire palate... but doesn't seem as clean as I would expect... maybe some hints of sulfur.. a bit of DMS.. pale malts come out swinging later than expected... the bigger grassy hoppiness is nice but is definitely "American"..

For a "Helles", it is too malty... but I dig it... Nicely done and I hope PNW breweries start making more "every day" lagers. Looking forward to Ninkasi's coming lagers.


I will buy this again and again.

 828 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Celebrator pokal. Pours a clear, light golden amber, Half finger fine white head with good retention due to active carbonation; lacing. Looks nice. Aroma of bready malt and yeast. Taste is nicely melded bisquit malt and light hops, a hint of citrus. Finishes a bit astringent and slightly sour, but with enough of the malt to pull it through. Light to medium bodied. This is one of my first Munich helles lagers, but if the idea was to give a bit of Czech hops kick to a nice malty lager, this is a nice job. Not too exciting, but seems to style and is enjoyable.

 577 characters

Photo of OregonGrown7
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kylemckinnis
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of GeorgeAKeim
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of cbarrett4
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass during Portland Mighty Mites small beer festival~

Pours a pale straw hue with some gold highlights, good head that quickly dissipates to a decent lace.

Very clean, fresh, and fruity on the nose. Not terribly complex, but appealing nonetheless. More complex on the palate with a faint fruity pebbles like cocktail of fruit flavors, mildly bitter German hops, and a fresh grassy note.

Light body but with decent texture and good grip, lots of acidity to cut through the fruity flavors and refresh the palate. The German hops and yeast definitely take over on the finish.

Very clean, very refreshing, and pretty darn good. Beware the 5.1% abv, it doesn't seem like it!

 700 characters

Photo of grnmtnman
3.84/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of RobertDBrase
4.01/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear golden color with a thin soapy white head that disappears quickly and a hell of a lot of carbonation.

Typical malty smell that has that bready odor and a faint smell of hops.

Taste follows the nose with some lightly sweet malt with some peppery beer playing across mid tongue. Just a hint of hops up front.

Mouth feel is light and has a very crisp finish.

First off the ABV is off on here because it is listed as 5.10% and on the bottle they list it as 5.3%. This however is a moot point. What we have here is a very light and crisp finishing beer that is full on flavor. This is my first beer in this style and I am very impressed. Being a pilsner lover this style is very similar if this beer is any indication of the style. Maybe minus some of that extra hoppiness of the pilsners.

 802 characters

Photo of primocarnerra
3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This bad boy tastes like a Budweiser. If I want a Bud, I will buy a Bud, and it will be cheaper than this lager monster.

Okay, I drank the second half of my beer, and then had another, and I have decided this is just a bit better than Bud, but not super significantly. What's the deal with lagers? There must be someone doing something micro special with lagers ------- something unique and Brooklydish, artisanal, vegan, Earl Grey lager with a hint of mustard seed and smells just like Alaska --- that sort of thing. Anyhow, anyhow, I am into my third Helles Belles, and I am going to finish this and go down to the 7-11 and get a six pack of Bud Light and watch some NCAA Basketball. The wife is away, so it is a good day. I will finish the expensive Ninkasi (what's up with that name?) when I am sober.

Oh yeah, this stuff is a nice pale yellow, with a good 2 fingers of head and delicate lacing. It smells of light hops and has certain sweetness to it. I sense a little unripe pear and overripe grapefruit. The malt is balanced out by the light bitter hops. The mouthfeel is TASTY TASTY!

 1,099 characters

Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.76/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Furious bubbles course up through an extremely pale, pallid, straw-gold limpidity. Good wet-straw, grain-husk, and yeast-fruit aromas. Big grassy taste; very soft lemon-sugar and grape-fruit pith, with good carbonic and super-extra-dry-malt bite. Bit of a sticky mouthfeel, but it's mild, and overall the textural impression is refreshing.

Very true-to-style—but maybe too much, to a certain extent, as it's very much just bubbly, grassy bite, mild malt, and thin thirst-quenching. Those descriptors don't sound bad, but I wanted just a little bit more from a Ninkasi product. Their Venn, for instance, is a bit better beer in a similar weight-class.

 659 characters

Photo of Justin-m
4.28/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of hophopandaway14
2.75/5  rDev -23.2%

Photo of jwc215
3.31/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle:

Pours dull, hazed, yellow with a thin head that becomes a wisp. Minimal carbonated bubbles rise to the top. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of yeast, hay, some lemon. (Too yeasty).

The taste is of yeast - sweetened lemongrass. A bit of a chalky dryness in the finish.

It's pretty smooth and appriopriately light-bodied.

In the end, it's not "bad" - but it's too yeasty for what it is. It has potential - but needs better filtering (IMO).

 465 characters

Photo of Smurf2055
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of monk2021
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Reidrover
2.71/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz single from "Lifesource" Salem $1.89 Clear corn oil yellow beer with a goodly sized frothy white head. Buscuity,cardboard,wet grass aromas..rather like a typical macro. Taste is quite malty but has a astringency that seems out of place ( and cheap beerish) Mouthfeel is average at best. Not impressed.. there has been some good lager type beers coming out of the PNW recently this is not one

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a dull straw yellow color. a finger or so of a white head with weak retention and leaves behind little to no lacing. crystal clear and with a strong brightness.

Smell: bready and slightly sweet grain. light floral to peppery hops.

Taste: opens with a little bit of hop bitterness and a lightly floral taste. malts take over with a light breadiness and quite a bit of grainy sweetness. some peppery hops on the back end. some light sulfur in it.

Mouthfeel: nice light bitterness. could be a little bit more crisp. mostly clean finish. nice and light.

Overall: a nicely done Helles. nice clean and crisp flavors, good balance. some minor flaws in appearance and elsewhere though keep it from being in the upper tier.

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Helles Belles from Ninkasi Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.