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Hotter Than Helles Lager - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Hotter Than Helles LagerHotter Than Helles Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

105 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 105
Hads: 768
Avg: 3.63
pDev: 34.44%
Wants: 28
Gots: 118 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: PorterLambic on 09-28-2011

Our Munich Lager is a nod to the thirst quenching lagers of Germany. Our Helles has a sweet malt expression that is balanced by floral bitterness from the use of German Hallertaur Mittelfruh hops. A very refreshing beer that will also entice you by its subtle complexity and drinkability.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 768
Photo of DoubleJ
2.3/5  rDev -36.6%

No peppers were added to this lager, just puns. From a 12 ounce can, on to the beer:

A very foamy beer from the opening of the can and the pour, it takes a long time for the head drop to even two finger's thickness. Slightly hazy bright yellow colored underneath the big head.The aroma is part helles and part infection; there's a slightly sweet grain and grassiness, annd also a cidery phenolic note.

The can is less than three months old, but it tastes older than that. With a part infection, the beer isn't completely spit-out bad, but make no mistake; this beer won't take you on a virtual trip to a Munich beer hall. A little sweet, dry, grassy, some sweet and sour cider. It's relatively soft in the mouth.

I'm thinking those peppers would have been a pleasant addition to disguise the off-flavors. It is drinkable to an extent, but I'm not thrilled.

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Photo of russpowell
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an effervescent & slightly chill-hazed, hay colored with 3 fingers of pearl colored head. Faint head retention & better lacing

S: Much breadynesss, pears, some floral notes & grainyness

T: Bready, perfumy, a little bit of white grape & lemon up front. Pears, lemons, wet grains & dryness as this warms. Finishes fruitty, grainy & slightly sweet

MF: Light/medium bodied, delicate carbonation at first, but becomes pricklier as this warms

Easy to drink, but was hoping for more. They aren't gonna put any Bavarian brewery out of bussiness that's for sure, but would drink it again if my helles choices were limited

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.49/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Why so punny? 'Helles' is reman for 'light colored.' Hotter Than Helles is more than just a (very) silly pun; it perfectly reflects the nature of this beer. A lager meant to be consumed when it's truly hotter than hellos outside. So there are no peppers or spices in this beer!" Brewed in the style of a Munich Helles Lager. Available as a year round release in 12 oz. can 6 packs and on draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. can to a pint glass. Served above 56º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp sunny white head that retains below average over a pale golden amber body with specked sediment, moderate haze and plentiful vivacious carbonation. Retention is average at best and lacing is light and spotty. 3.25

(Smell) Light cracker malts with some faint german bready malt undertones. Grassy and floral hop notes create a modest hop bitterness. Some perceived graininess and moderate vinous character can be expected. Altogether a fairly clean and simple lager with a moderate potency. 3.5

(Taste) Cracker malts blend with a touch of german biscuit for some body. Grassy, lightly spicy hops yield a subtle bitterness and a touch of character. Largely clean, although the white grape character is difficult to overlook, some mild graininess is also perceptible at this point. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, a touch oily, mildly creamy. Carbonation is moderate, creating a respectable crispness for a fuzzy mouthfeel. Body is medium for the style, medium overall. Balance is even. Alcohol presence is light, off characters few. 3.5

(Overall) Not my favorite beer by Cigar City although I'm not the biggest fan of the style either, I suppose it does a decent job of keeping true to the roots of this often overlooked German style. As suggested by the brewery, it would make a nice session lager option for those looking for a bit more than macro beers have to offer. 3.5

Cigar City Brewing's
Hotter Than Helles Lager

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Photo of PvtSnowball
3.28/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Purchased from one of the local quick marts.

A: Clear straw gold with moderate head and retention.

S: Balanced malt and hop characteristics.

T: Same as the smell with a bit of sweetness.

M: Smooth and refreshing with decent carbonation.

O: An okay summer brew. Refreshing and balanced but not very complex.

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Photo of tone77
3.44/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Thanks to the creator of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a cloudy, bright yellow color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some sweetness to it. Taste is sweet, malty, very refreshing on a humid summer night. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall makes for a good session beer.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.51/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours pale yellow with thin layer of head that retains minimally. The nose features light grassy notes along with toasted grain, light caramel, and some light notes of citrus. Taste leans towards the sweet side for the style. Sweet grainy flavors up front with some hints of citrus and a light touch of grassy hops. It's not until the finish that there is a slight dryness. Mouthfeel is light and well carbonated. Overall, this drinks nicely but perhaps a touch too sweet for an easy drinking lager.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is straw yellow with a light haze and a small amount of tight white head. Nose is light grain, a bit of yeast, strong lemon notes. Taste is similar, a bit more grain bill to it, yeasty mid palate and lots of lemon in back. A bit of grassy herbal hops in the finish with virtually no bitterness. Body is light but a hint syrupy with moderate carb.

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Photo of hopsputin
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

a: hazy bright golden yellow with a 3 finger marshmallow bright white head

s: sweet lemongrass grains, vanilla, lemon zest, real nice earthy aroma in here. very mellow tea leaf

t: sweet creamy grains, orang & lemon zest - definitely some sweet lemon as well. light caramel. ends biscuity & with something like water crackers. very refreshing, yet the body from the malt makes it satisfying as well

m: its on the heavier side of light - and definitely a bit creamy. carbonation is about normal, not extreme

o: yep, its a solid beer. refreshing, quenching, and satisfying. light and crisp. all the flavors are mellow and balanced. sweet & light. nice summer brew

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Canned 3/28/14.

Pours a hazy golden-yellow with a foamy white head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, white grape juice, and grass aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, grass, and fruit flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.37/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: A finger and a half of clean white color. Bright active carbonation that is to be expected from the style. Straw yellow color with some accents of orange.

Smell: Bananas and straw mix with some light hops. Leafy greens, cloves, and bready yeast pick up on the body. Yeast is very potent on the back end and wins out overall.

Taste: Straw and some medium bodied tropical fruits on the front. The front falls of to a bready yeast backbone with accents of vegetal greens. The back end is a touch watery and forgettable.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation fits a helles lager but doesn't quite have the cleanliness one would expect.

Overall: A touch over okay overall. I love my helles lager and this one is a touch off. I wouldn't turn it down on a hot day but just okay in the end.

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Photo of phideltashaggy
2.9/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a tall pilsen glass. Canned on date was August 2013 (about 8 months ago), so I'm afraid it may be a bit old for a proper review.

Poured a beautiful straw yellow color with just a tiny bit of haze, Thick white head was beautiful and took a few minutes to dissipate.

The nose was very strong on fruit. Grapes and pear in particular.

Tastes similar to smell, lots of white fruit. A twinge of bitter in the back of the taste after swallowing fully. Reminds me of a cheap pinot grigio .

The mouthfeel is ok, some tingly bubbles, but not as much as I was expecting. The bitter aftertaste hangs out in the back corners of my mouth for a while.

Overall, not my favorite beer, but not bad for a rainy afternoon of vidya game playin'. Again, I think it may have skunked slightly, so take this review with a grain of salt.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.37/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the principal venues for scoring CANs to further The CANQuest (TM) is Pinocchio's Beer Garden in Media, PA. I was there last Friday and I found several new CANs to bring back with me. If you have never been, put it on your to-do list.

From the CAN: "No Peppers, Just Puns"; "Drink Fresh! Do not age! Pour gently into a glass."; "Why so punny? 'Helles' is German for 'light colored.' Hotter Than Helles is more than just a (very) silly pun: it perfectly reflects the nature of this beer. A lager meant to be [CAN]sumed when it's truly hotter than helles outside. So there are no peppers or spices in this beer!"

Hmm. I will make the jokes around here, thanks, plus it is misleading. The loud Crack! revealed a brimful craft CAN, but IAW The Old Lady's wishes and the directions on the CAN, the Glug was as gentle as could be. I still managed to create a finger of fizzy, bone-white head with limited retention. Color was a pale lemon-yellow (SRM = 2) with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled like German lager - a honey-like sweetness from the malts underlain by a grassiness from the hops. I prefer Czech-style lagers, but this will do. The CANQuest (TM) was built on a steady diet of AALs and I am very glad to have those days in the rear view mirror. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, more effervescent than I might have expected, and the taste was really sweet. In fact, it was too sweet for my taste. I would not have minded a pepper presence at all as opposed to this. Very honey-like, but I have some Blue Dog mead that will satisfy that craving when the time comes. Finish was likewise sweet and now I found myself looking forward to on of their many CANned IPAs to wash away the taste.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into a medium sized Cigar City snifter glass.

Deep bright shining lemon and gold colored body. Very clear nearly bright crystal glowing. White fluffy head, a little bleached and shocking forms nicely and settles to a thick creamed bubbled collar.

Nose hints at doughy malts, but there's a macro like sweetness to this that begins to dominate. Sweet. Slightly sugary, hinting towards a fake honey sense a little.

Palate comes with a smooth controlled coating mouthfeel. But the sweetness pops out quite noticeably. Dough crisp a bit somewhat on the finish, hinting of baked bread slightly, but has a sweetness that takes over that sort of dominates. Very mild to no bitterness even for a Helles, with little spice character.

It's a fine drinkable brew, but it comes off almost like a Euro lager than a Helles.

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Photo of barczar
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Canned in May 13, so...

Pours a chill hazed golden straw with a frothy white head that leaves spotty lacing as it slowly dissipates.

Grain, cracker-like malt, and floral hops form the aroma. Smells like a pilsner, almost.

Flavor reveals slight sweetness, with a lightly bready malt backbone,a touch of citrus, finishing a bit sweet and even more bready. Malt definitely dominates, but it's fairly clean. Floral hops surface in the aftertaste.

Body is moderate, with slightly high carbonation. Finish is almost crisp.

Surprised this held up as well as it did. Solid offering on a fairly uncommon style. A hint of metallic character emerges late.

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Photo of bsp77
2.66/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Serving glass: Poured from can into glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy, light straw color. Decent white head at first but mostly disappears.

Smell: Very fruity, mostly apple. Light hay and pepper. After a few minutes, it just mildly smells like apple juice.

Taste: Sweet apple mostly, and almost tastes like adjuncts are involved. Some straw, but the hops are minimal - just a hint of pepper. I know this is a Helles and not a Pilsner, but the almost complete lack of hops just means a lack of balance. Bad aftertaste that reminds me of macros.

Feel: Light body, but the lower carbonation and sweet finish means it is not crisp or refreshing.

Overall: I consider Cigar City to be the Surly of Minnesota, but this kinda sucks. Surly Hell or even Maui Bikini Blonde are much better Hells lagers. I'd rather have a Corona.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It's funny how a beer can have very little complexity but truly taste really good. This is dead on the style with a smooth grain flavor, barley and bread, with a slight tinge of hops. This is light and so easy to drink that it can be easily deceptive. I don't expect a lot out of any lager but I find this to be one of my favorites as it has pronounced lager properties and easy lager drinkability.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Christmas present from my Girlfriend's Mom who lives in Florida. Canned November 20, 2013 and consumed Christmas Day 2013. From notes.

A - Poured bright and straw golden with one finger of lagery white head. No lace and a film of retention.

S - Pear, apple, sweet grain. Pleasant.

T - Sweet grain, a little cooked corn, apple, pear, a touch of hop.

M - Strong carbonation, medium body, clean finish.

O/D - Fairly drinkable, but they could have done so much more with this one. Good craft lager, but nothing to write home about in general. Decent.

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Photo of drpimento
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pretty good beer. Poured at a good temperature with a nice size, foamy, off-white head that didn't last and no lace. Color is a slightly hazy yellow amber. Aroma is a bit faint, but has malt, hop,grain, spice. Flavor's like nose, carbonic tang in front, then malt, hop, hint of sweet. Body is good, carbonation a tad sharp. Finish is like flavor, a little short, and very drinkable.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz can. Pours pale straw with long lasting, white head and lively carbonation. Body is medium and slightly crisp. Taste is of bready malt and herbal hops. Finish is medium lasting
and slightly bitter. I could drink this brew a lot during summer time.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a hotel glass, Nov 2013

Pours dirty gold/yellow, touches of white foam atop. Light lemon nose. Very faint. Bright chalky citrus flavor. Clean finish, light hop. Smooth. Slight helles flavor holds. Good Florida beer, good option for a trip to the beach

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.97/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Jan 29 on can poured on Mar 6. Pours a light golden from the can into a pint glass. Not much head or retention. Smells of light fruit with a standard lager aroma. Light mouthfeel with low carbonation. Sweet light fruit and not much to get excited about. Par for the style and easy summer drinking. Just can’t get into the style all that much.

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Photo of TheChef18
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A- Hazy yellow typical of the style

S- mainly just citrus

T- Floral and lemony

M- light with less carbonation than I expected

O- CCBs super drinkable beer if you aren't a Jai Alai fan like me. just too delicate and mundane in my opinion, but if this is your style than definitely worth a try

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Photo of otterbearfla
2.8/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

One finger head

Appearance: lemon yellow and slightly cloudy

Smell : Very little aroma, citrusy

Taste: Almost absent of taste, lightly lemon

Mouthfeel: Watery with little body

This beer might be better on tap or in a bottle. I have generally like Cigar City beers so this is may least favorite.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- pours a hazy pale golden-yellow color with a small fizzy white head that reduces quickly, leaving no fizz or lace behind.

S- sweet and bready malt with some lemony-citrus zest, subdued floral hop notes and some candy-like sugar

T-malty sweetness up front gives some grainy flavors, followed by lemon and coriander. Floral hop notes are noticeable in the back end that transitions into a lightly sweet malty finish

M- medium body and carbonation produces a foamy mouthfeel that finishes crisp, very drinkable

O- a grat option on a hot summer day. It's very refreshing and drinkable, while not sacrificing taste

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Photo of Chaney
4.09/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a clear glass in my hotel room in Tampa.

A: Poured crystal clear, wussy yellow, and with a slight bubble formation posing as a head.

S: A bit on the weak side but still nice. Fresh baked bread in spades.

T: There was an overall honey-like quality about this that I simply couldn't get enough of. Nice, crisp bitter slap on the finish.

M: Infinitely drinkable, especially on a 90+ degree day. No lacing and the palate came out clean.

O: This was a true "wow beer" in its style class. Bravo!

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Hotter Than Helles Lager from Cigar City Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.