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Helles Belles - Ninkasi Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Helles BellesHelles Belles

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

40 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 15
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 12.89%
Wants: 3
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: cbarrett4 on 08-28-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 15 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Flightoficarus
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

You've got me ringin' Helles Belles!...ok, on to the review :)

A - Pours a rich, clear gold w/a decent, white, single-finger head. Lacing is excellent.

S - Smell is of bready caramel malts, yeast, and subtle hops.

T - Taste is of bready malts, and honey, with lots of mixed grains, and balanced just enough from a subtle, grassy hops.

M - Medium bodied (especially for a lager), medium carbonation. Very sessionable.

O - Overall, the flavors here are a bit stronger and maltier than what I'm used to in a helles lager, but make no mistake, it's a quality session lager I'd come back to.

Photo of TheFlern
3/5  rDev -16%

Photo of djbreezy
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - golden, with a nice frothy white head

smell - hints of wheat

taste - nice bright character of wheat, malt and hops

mouthfeel - medium/light body

overall - nice, refreshing flavor, good session beer, a nice change of pace from Ninkasi

Photo of N3rdM3t4l
3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into pint. Served at 50 F. No freshness date

A: super clear straw yellow, like a helles should look. About an inch of white head that fell to a thin cap of small bubbles. Small streams of bubbles coming from the bottom. It looks like a lager that's for sure.

S: Hoppy on the nose with a touch of sweet pale malts. The hallertau hops in this brew have the distinct noble smell that is a tad spicy. Smells like a good beer.

T: SUPER MALTY. None of the sweetness from the nose though. The hops hit hard too with a little spice and a little resiny note. In true Ninkasi tradition the hops leave a pleasant bitter on the tongue. I like this a lot, I like malty beers.

M: Medium bodied with a hint of carbonation that just tickles the tongue a little. Good beer.

O: I like it, too bad it's limited, good thing I got a 6pack. Not amazing but a well made beer that doesn't fall short in any category but doesn't excel in any either. I would gladly drink it again.

Photo of hannaho
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of vkv822
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours a bright, clear yellow with a thick, foamy white head that dissipates relatively quickly to leave a thin foamy film.

Clean, malty biscuit with grassy hops.

Slightly sweet, cracker malt with light grass hop notes.

Medium body with active, bubbly carbonation and a fairly crisp finish.

Fairly simple, but good for a hot day, with a clean crisp finish.

Photo of Kopfschuss
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty nice one finger head into my standard pint glass. The head is completely white, as would be expected with the style. Pretty fluffy and pillowy looking, maybe even slightly creamy. Head retention so far is pretty good for a lager, I mean about two minutes have gone by and I still have half the head left, not bad at all for a lager. Lacing looks like it wont be too bad, but we will have to see for sure when I get to the bottom of the glass. So far the head is impressing me though. As far as the body, the carbonation looks extremely high and aggressive, possibly over carbonated here, even for the style. The body is slightly darker than an average lager, it may even lean more towards orange than yellow in color. Pretty damn clear and see through, but not completely see through, especially for a lager, this beer doesn't look like water. For a lager this beer is actually pretty darn good looking. The only real downside I see so far is the ridiculous carbonation, other than that it looks good. The head has died down, but it had a good run, and heck there is still a tiny bit of foam left on top of the body. Overall a pretty good looking lager so far, we will have to see how the lacing goes, but it's not a bad looking beer so far. The nose is very nice, really a great bready, calm, malt smell. It's for sure a rich malt smell, full of aroma, but it smells more like pure grain than it does overly sweet or sour, or any other crappy lager aromas. There are some sweet and sour smells, but overall it's just a nice malt smell. Slightly buttery on the nose, but just barely. Really not much at all in the way of hops, but hey it's a lager. Overall the aroma is very small, but that is the style. I would hope for a slightly bigger aroma, but what I am getting is nice. A touch more hops would be good too. I am right in between a 3.5 and a 4. I'm going to give it a 3.5 just because I'm not ecstatic about this beer yet, but let it be known that it does have a very nice malty smell, and it was close to a 4. Well the flavor is interesting, not quite what I expected. You get a very German taste up front, really just kinda punches you in the fast with "euro lager". I don't think I have ever had a Helles lager before, but if my guess is correct, they got the style pretty good. However, just because they got the overall taste profile of the beer right doesn't mean it tastes great. Now does it taste great? No, but it's a good beer, and tasty, it taste good, not great but good. Slightly bready flavor, but like I said, it's more what I would call German lager flavor, kinda hard to describe. Really not overly sweet or sour, really a great balance there. Not a whole lot of hops at all in the initial flavor, however after about 5 seconds after swallowing the beer I get a very noticeable bitterness. I don't know if I have ever had an aftertaste take that long to kick in, kinda impressive really. Yeah I mean there isn't much else to talk about, overall it's just a really nice easy drinking beer. Nice sweetness, but not overly sweet, and a nice malty, german, kinda bready flavor. I'm torn again here, between a 3.5 and a 4. I usually don't give lagers high grades, but I feel like this one did I good job, so I'll go 4. The mouthfeel is surprising, the carbonation is not nearly as high as I thought it would be, for sure on the lower end. I'm not necessarily "upset", just surprised. The body is pretty nice for the style, it's for sure light, but it has some girth to it, to the point where it isn't what I would call watery. The mouthfeel is surprisingly nice for a lager, they did a pretty good job there too, and the bitterness adds an element too. I was thinking 4.5 for a second, but a 4 is for sure high enough for the questionable beer. The drinkability is obviously through the freaking roof. A 5.1% lager with some character? You kidding me, I'll drink myself under the table with these things. Great drinkability. Overall this is a pretty good beer. I think kinda shocked myself with the grade I gave on appearance and mouthfeel, but dammit, this beer deserved it, taste and smell were the only two serious dilemmas, and smell I gave a lower grade, so I guess it all evens out. This beer is still between a 3.5 and 4 overall, no matter how you slice it. I'm going to give it a 3.5, just to balance the ratings out, but let it be known that it could have easily gotten a 4.

The appearance turned out to be pretty good. The lacing followed me all the way to the bottom of the glass. It was pretty damn thick to start out, but got patchy before too long. Like I said in the beginning, the head and body were both pretty nice, and so was the lacing. Nothing was "amazing" the body, head, and lacing all were good, but had a few problems, I think a 4 is fair for appearance.

Photo of shelby415
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of kylemckinnis
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Dunkelhund
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of corylew
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured a straw color with good carbonation and a nice white cap. This was a lively beer throwing off lots of bubbles and it looked very appealing

S: Some light fruit, grass, grains

T: A hint at grass, grains, lighter floral notes.

M: A medium body Lager which pretty coating, tasty

O: Clean, tasty and refreshing

Photo of cbarrett4
4/5  rDev +12%
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!

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Helles Belles from Ninkasi Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.