Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Helga | Matilda Bay Brewing Co.

27 Reviews
no score
Send samples
For Trade:

Brewed by:
Matilda Bay Brewing Co.
Australia | website

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Helga was inspired by the Munich “Oktoberfest” lagers — also known as Helles lagers.

Helga pours to a golden amber hue, slightly deeper than mainstream lagers and is capped with a densely packed white head.

23 IBU

Added by vancurly on 10-06-2009

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 32
Photo of Andrewharemza
3.08/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a bright copper color with a head that fades quickly with no real lacing. Aroma of malt, bit of honey and a bit herbal. Tatse of malt with a bit of honey. Mild bitterness and a clean finish. Light body and quite smooth. Drinkable beer good for a couple.

 259 characters

Photo of SmashPants
3.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Format: a solid very dark brown 345mL bottle with a standard Matilda Bay label. Decent.

Appearance: a solid golden copper colour with plenty of carbonation across the profile. A finger of white head hangs about for a time. Leaves decent lace as it drops to a thin cap.

Aroma: smells of nice floral hops and some very clean grains. Smells pretty good.

Taste: again clean and crisp grains with decent floral hops and a touch of pepper. A nice refresher.

Aftertaste: more the hops and pepper on the finish rather than the grains. A dry finish.

Mouth feel: light to medium in body with a moderate carbonation. Quite nice.

Overall: a decent Munich Helles, a touch Australian lager-orientated yet still quite a decent beer. AU$58 a case.

 737 characters

Photo of Breeza
3.7/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Clear gold with thin white bubbly head.

S: Sharp sweet smell like honey, hoppy.

T: Sweet, slight hops and bubblegum. Has a lovely bitter finish.

M: Nice amount of carbonation, good body and well balanced feel.

O: Rich beer, very satisfying. Would drink again.

 266 characters

Photo of soju6
3/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a bright copper color with a head that fades quickly with no real lacing.

S: Aroma of malt, bit of honey and a bit herbal.

T: Taste of malt with a bit of honey. Mild bitterness and a clean finish.

F: Light body and quite smooth.

O: Drinkable beer good for a couple.

 282 characters

Photo of joecast
3.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep golden color, medium carbonation. Struggles to form a head. Thin white and wispy.

Light sweet malt aroma. Maybe a touch of spicy hops but only just.

Mild malt sweetness up front met with a nice enough hop character to clean things up. Malt profile could use some beefing up but otherwise not too bad.

A nice enough beer. Won't knock your socks off, but it's probably not meant to.

 389 characters

Photo of heygeebee
2.81/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a straw colour with a one finger head that dies quickly - leaves some lacing.

Aromas of macro lagers, mainly sweet, some hops, crisp n light.

Taste is euro lager, but with an initial big hit of sweet malty flavour that subsides quickly leaving just a dry aftertaste. Some hint of shandy.

Mouthfeel is zingy, very sharp, small bubbles on tongue - almost like lemonade.

Cold summer refesher maybe at best.

 414 characters

Photo of Stew41
2.96/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pretty good beer but I’m not well qualified to opine on whether it’s true to style. Really nice core of Belgian-like sweetness running through the middle of the palate. There’s a sweet mineral / freshly cut river stone note as well that is quite attractive. Munich lager with a touch of steriods I think but works well.

 325 characters

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.11/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draught at PJ O'Reilly's in Canberra. Sort of a fallback brew, since the only other Australian options were Carlton and VB. Might as well try something else.

Looks like a lager - pale golden, frothy head, decent lacing, usual suspects.

Nose is pale malts - lighter than I would have expected from one that claims to be a Helles - a bit of lemon, floral hops. Still, not unpleasant.

This brew turned out to be fairly drinkable, in that it was mild enough not to be offensive in any way. But as far as Helles lagers are concerned, this was pretty weak. The malt profile was too subdued, and it ended up tasting a great deal like a mass Aussie lager with a little bit of citrus and floral hops to set it apart. Drinkable? Sure. Won't seek it out though.

 756 characters

Photo of philphilphil
3.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance was good with good helles colour and decent head.
Smellt of hops, not really in the vein of the style.
Taste was the same as smell, not enough malt and too much hops.
Mouthfeel was fairly average.
Overall, not to style, real helles' focus on the bready malts.

 270 characters

Photo of doktorhops
3.41/5  rDev +16%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another Matilda Bay brew, I first had this on recommendation of a customer when I was doing a stint working at a bottleshop (I know - a recommendation from a customer!).

Poured from a 345ml bottle into a Guinness glass.

A: Golden with a slight copper colour to the body. The blonde head began at around 2cm and dissipated to fine lacing.

S: There is a sizable stone fruit aroma from the hops, the malt adds a slightly sweet fragrance but obviously is going to be taking a back seat on this ride.

T: There's a rich sweet malt character that surrenders to the stone fruit hops, but the finish is dry and gives off that "one more drink" sensation. It's not a complex tasting beer by any stretch of the imagination but it works well. As far as it compares to the style; it's been a while since I've had a Helles (last Oktoberfest I believe) but it's a decent enough imitator.

M: A bit light on carbonation from what I was expecting... in fact too light, however I've had this beer before and it's been much fizzier so I'm not sure what happened to this bottle.

D: I wouldn't mind drinking this on occasion, though it's not my favourite style I much prefer it to most other ales out there. It's easy to drink with enough flavour to know it's not your average lager.

Food match: Seafood is a perfect match for this lager - calamari, shellfish and lightly battered hoki would go great with Big Helga.

 1,400 characters

Photo of maddux91
2.16/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bought a six pack of this from the local bottleshop, had seen this Matilda Bay brew on sale for a while now, and hadn't given it a shot til now.

Drank this around 3 months back, so I can't give a full review, but I will outline some key things I remember about this beer.

A - Looked very nice of the bottle, I remember being impressed.
S - Still alright.
T - Tasted terrible, dry as hell, no flavour.
M - No noticeable smoothness, or pop, just flat.
D - Had to struggle through this 6-pack.

I don't know if it was just the 6-pack I purchased, or if this is how this beer is meant to taste.

Would not buy again.

 615 characters

Photo of jarmby1711
4/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is hard to categorise, as it had some strange qualities.
Each mouthful taken seemed to deliver up a slightly different experience , ranging from really quite pleasant to 'thats sort of ok.
Overall there is a yeasty sourdough flavour with an undertone of ginger.
It is rounded in the mouth.
Happy to try this again as it seems to give one a bit to consider

 365 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright deep golden colour, with lively carbonation forming a frothy and solid head of fluffy white foam. Lacing is good, sticking to the edges of the glass in frothy globs, just like a good helles should. Very decent look to it, overall.

Nose is light, with just some fresh grain character and a moderately sharp noble hop fragrance. Very clean, however, with a slight lift of pepper. Quite nice overall, and not a bad replica of the style, if a little heavy on the spice.

Taste is a bit of a letdown. Carbonation becomes too lucid on the palate, overwhelming much of the other sensation, some clear light grain notes and a touch of spicy phenols to it. Quite clean, but almost getting too clean and light by the end.

It's like an Australian macro lager masquerading as a Helles, in essence. Good look to it, no doubt, and there's some stylistic characteristics on the nose, and hiding on the palate, but it ends up just a little too bland.

Drinkable enough for what it is, but certainly missing something.

 1,018 characters

Photo of eric5bellies
1.92/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Pours a golden amber colour wit tight white head tha retains reasonably well. 3.0

S - Absolutely Nothing of note. 1.0

T - There is sopme slight malts and yeasty notes but not much more than that, slightly sweet dry finish. 2.0

M - Full of carbonation and light body 3.0

D - This beer offers very little for anyone seeking a German Beer experience. 2.0

 359 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
2.85/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a large but quickly fading head.
Nose shows light noble hops with spicy and grassy notes. Faint banana shows initially but quickly fades. Biscuity, slightly toasty Munich malt is noticeable, but a slightly disagreeable sweet vegetable note is also present.
More biscuity malt as a flavour and, unfortunately, more of the sweet vegetable note. Spicy hops just detectable.
Carbonation is too high, body too light.

 428 characters

Photo of madvoice
2.47/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a golden colour with a very thick creamy head that lingered and left lacing all down the glass.

Had the odour of banana and peach with a hint of citrus. Up to this point it seems to be a promising beer and then I decided to take a generous mouthful.

The taste was rather flat and unimpressive. It was a lot sweeter than expected and much lighter on the palate as well. I would say the mouthfeel is decidedly lacking. There is very little fizz. In all honesty I've had brews of tea that have had more substance than this beer.

It is drinkable but the same way tea and water are drinkable. I expected more body and a better product from Matilda Bay and alas I was let down. I now know why this beer was 'on special' at the restaurant I was dining at. I suppose it didn't help that I had a Carlsberg beforehand and my palate was sullied by a far superior beer.

 867 characters

Photo of Kulrak
2.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep golden color with a minimum of head, but what is there clings to the glass. Smells of yeast, banana, flowers and some citrus. The taste is pretty dry, as the bottle mentions. There is a little woody hop flavor, but not much in the way of sweetness. The mouthfeel is thin, watery and a little fizzy, not great. Overall, it's drinkable, just like water. But I was hoping for beer.

 391 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
3.33/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Summer Hill Hotel. A more sketchy review, as I was entertaining a non-beer-geek friend while jotting down tasting notes.

Pours a clear golden-brown colour with a slight haze, dense white head of modest thickness, and nice sheets of lace. Pretty good.

Nose is tangy, with a fair amount of hop - grassy, citrusy with a slight sour edge. Light and refreshing, although a bit underwhelming.

Taste is okay, with a fair amount of bitterness that starts early, with earthy and phenolic notes. A hint of maraschino cherry sweetness, soil and pine bark. Some spice as well late in the palate, but a very dour mid-palate lends some unpleasant notes and lowers my overall impression. Quite palatable nonetheless.

A bit dry on the feel, fairly well-textured.

Quite good drinking, a decent German-style lager.

 815 characters

Photo of Stavage
2.96/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Looks good, with a nice white foam head on top of a clear straw amber body. The retention was good and left a pleasing lacing.

Grainy malts and a spicy hops and some earthy spicy scent I can't place. Not bad, except there's also a distracting sulfur note which mars the experience.

Taste exhibits light and grainy malts and a spicy dry hops, very light flavours which unfortunately allows a sulfuric twang to be noticeable. It's not enough to make the beer taste bad, but its enough to constantly remind my taste buds of typical Aussie macro lagers.

Carbonation is lively enough to give a somewhat sooth mouthfeel, but I felt it lacking in body (don't know what a Munich Helles should be like in this regard though). Leaves the palate feeling dry.

One beer didn't excite nor offend me, like many light easy drinking beers. But I think the lingering sulfur aftertaste would stop me ever wanting to open a second

 918 characters

Photo of LittleCreature
3.24/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Note: This beer is 4.7% alcohol by volume, but 6.5% as stated.

Appearance - 4.5
One thing is for sure; Big Helga is a looker. Pours a domed two fingers of dense, white head over a clear golden amber body. Dark for a helles, lightish for a (traditional) Oktoberfest, left plenty of lace on the inside of the glass.

Smell - 3.0
Subtle aroma of dusty grain and husk, and a mere suggestion of spicy noble hops.

Taste - 3.0
Light grainy, cracker-like malt base with a suggestion of banana, very crisp, hops provide moderate bitterness and a spicy taste, leaves the mouth bone dry with little aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - 3.5
Light body, moderately carbonated, could be smoother.

Drinkability - 3.5
An easy drinker, particularly in hot weather, but many will be bored after (or before) one.

I feel that this is a generous score for a beer that quite frankly, has disppointed me. I was hoping for a great session lager to rival those of Germany, but ultimately Big Helga is a nice enough, rather bland beer. I've heard that it is better on-tap, but based on the pint I had last week, that is not the case.

 1,114 characters

Photo of ADZA
2.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I was quite looking forwards to this brew as soon as i heard it was being bottled as i havnt had it on tap and quite like some of this breweries beers apart from their framboise which was a big let down anyways this brew pours a dark golden colour with average carbonation that leaves a one finger creamy head and sporadic lacing,the aroma is not the greatest with a dry malty,grainy aroma to it almost like a macro brew or a flat beer not impressive at all,after the aroma i was expecting the beer to be not much better and i was right it has no body to it whatsoever and it has feint tastes of grainy malts and some weak hops and i mean weak and it finishes a little dry buy not totally dry,unfortunately for me this brew is in the same class as their framboise which i was really looking forwards to but was totally let down and just dont think they have nailed these styles by any means and for the $60 a carton they are asking for this you would be better off buying a macro carton and saving half that,come on Matilda you can do heaps better.

 1,048 characters

Photo of Macca
2.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Impressive looking beer. Generous white head that hangs around and some lacing. Clear, dark golden in colour.

Some slight hops on the nose but I can't help think I'm getting some of those awful macro lager aromas as well.

The taste is clean which in other words could be boring. Some nice malt characteristics and the bitterness is very drying but not much else going on.

Definitely not Matilda Bay's best effort.

 416 characters

Photo of rjimlad
2.08/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

What a disappointment as I generally like Matilda Bay beers. On pouring there is a clear amber colour with a slight head that dissipated immediately. No aroma to speak of and virtually no flavour. It is all mouthfeel. It's marketed as Munich Helles Lager to appeal to the Australian beer drinking masses who prefer flavourless macros but want to give the impression they are having something exotic. It isn't exotic and is one of the most boring beers I've ever had. The label said "subtle aromas". Dead right. So subtle only an airport sniffer beagle could detect them. It's not offensive by any measure. If it were offensive at least it would be remarkable.

 659 characters

Photo of dgilks
3.18/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Quite sulphury with a crisp, clean malt aroma. A moderate amount of spicy noble hop comes through.

Fairly clear amber colour with a big, fluffy off white head. Decent head retention.

The flavour falls down a little bit. The malt profile is too laid back lacking the forwardness expected of a good Helles. The bitterness is about right. The main problem is that there are far too many fruity esters which lend the beer an almost candy-like character. There are some nice late hops which add interest. The finish is very dry.

The body is medium-light with moderate carbonation. It is actually quite smooth.

Look it is drinkable but in reality that is due more to a lack of flavour that anything else. This seems to be a cross between an Australian Lager and a Munich Helles which is okay but disappointing really.

EDIT: A second bottle proved disappointing coming across with the grainy, dull malt profile reminiscent of an Australian Macro Lager. The score has been tweaked down to reflect this.

 999 characters

Photo of juju7
3.68/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good take on a misunderstood style. I think a lot of people expect too much from helles'. This is not necessarily a true to style helles but it is better than most of the ones that come here via a bunch of other ports and arrive in far from ideal condition. The nose shows some almost weizen style banana notes and some soft yeast expression. Well carbonated and finishes dry and pleasant. A well made beer. Have had on tap but bottle holds up quite well.

 457 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Helga from Matilda Bay Brewing Co.
73 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.