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Sudwerk Helles - Sudwerk Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sudwerk HellesSudwerk Helles

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

24 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 24
Hads: 37
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 13.49%
Wants: 5
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sudwerk Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 24 | Hads: 37
Photo of ssam
3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A good drinkable lager. Good looking, clear and golden with a nice head and solid retention. Not a lot of lacing down the glass however. Has a lot of bready characteristics with light hoppiness. I got it locally so it was nice and fresh. Goes down easy, you can drink two or three without thinking twice.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
2.87/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazed straw color with a bit of sediment. Aroma of green apple bread fruityness and cereal grains. In the taste, biscuity malt and apple tartness, more than likely an old sample. Mild grassy hop character still holding on. Smooth medium to light bodied feel. Overall, this is a decent lager.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this is #13 on the "Top Beers - Munich Helles Lager" list on beeradvocate.com. Poured into a tulip pint glass. Beer is yellow and clear, dark yellow, white head, moderate to low retention. Looks good.

Aroma is weak, sweet and yeasty, mild Munich malt character.

Beer is clean with a nice finish, a little thin weak on the front but a wet finish, very "chuggable" as a beer. I love craft lagers and this is a good one. I"d have it again, light a clean with a wet finish.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 10/12/11.

Pours a clear golden color with a 1/2 inch foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Thin broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grains/malt and some light fruity aromas. Taste is of grainy malt and a sweet fruity finish. There is a very slight bitterness that quickly fades after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good lager that is very easy drinking and very refreshing.

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Photo of russpowell
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent apricot with a pinky of ivory colored head. Above average lacing & average head retention

S: Bready with apple skins, slight bit of lemon as well

T: Follows the nose, nice pear notes and floral hops up front, some leafy & metallic hop notes as well, they blend together nicely. Pear & white grapes, plus a nice touch of grainy/bready sweetness as this warms, along with lemony hops. Finishes crisp, grainy & with a hint of King's Hawaiian Bread sweetness

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation, great balance as well

So easy to drink, as good as many of the Helles I enjoyed in Bavaria. Only Augusteiner & a handful of others best this. Well done Sudwerks!

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Photo of tempest
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a real pleasant surprise. It's never easy find well-made, fresh helles lagers. This has the classic character with an aroma and flavor of caramel, toasty bread, and a hint of earthy hops. It's clear, flavorful, and very drinkable. So much so, I had a hard time writing this review before my glass became empty. I'll take another.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Pilsener glass.

Look - light golden color, fairly clear, with about three fingers worth of off-white colored foam that dissipates somewhat slowly.

Smell - fairly typical pilsner type of smell, but lighter. Slightly sweet, and ever so subtle hints of hops.

Taste and Mouthfeel - Not at all a pilsener type of taste. It's much sweeter, and reaches the back middle of the palate better than a pilsener does. The mouthfeel is very light and smooth, the texture being a little more on the watery side.

Overall - a refreshing change from the normal Pilsener taste. I liked it and would come back for more.

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Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a light yellow color, no head and no lacing.

Smell: malty with a slightly hoppy smell.

Taste: grassy and a dab of hay.

Mouthfeel: smooth and light-bodied

Overall: A good interpretation of this style might be the best beer I've had from this brewery.

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Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S: The nose has a sweet honey and malty breadiness to it

T: A very good beer, it has a distinct breadiness and toastiness to the malt, and a nice citrusiness to the hops. It is a very smooth and flavorful brew.

A: It has a very beautiful gold hue to it, with a small foam.

Overall, this is a great beer for any occasion. This definitely hits the spot. I really enjoyed the breadiness from the malt and the citrusiness from the hops. It is really a great beer, my hats off to the Sudwerk.

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Photo of vacax
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewpub. Pours clear gold with a tightly bubbled head displaying good retention and better than average lacing for a helles lager. Aromas of straw with a light malty sweetness. Tastes strawlike, earthy, moderately bitter with a slight bit of grain. Medium body with a smooth medium to higher carbonation. This is probably one of the most plain types of beer, but Sudwerk does this one probably the best of all their beers. A very solid regular and appealing lager, plenty of people drinking liter steins of this at the brewpub for good reason.

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Photo of Zorro
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden colored lager with a small white colored head.

Smells mostly of toasted grain with a mild noble hop scent, mostly grassy with some green herbs. This is mildly spicy but nothing special.

Starts out mostly grain in flavor with a slight bitter hop bite in the finish. Bitterness and herbal flavor comes on strong from the hops. Good noble hop bite in this one a beer that really fights back. There is a spicy note to this one.

Mouthfeel is good.

Very high drinkability. The hop bite is what makes this beer, quite strong and crisp.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At 3 fires lounge for a sudwerks demo for sac beer week. Bottles now say "Lager," but in small print below it says helles style.

A - Poured golden with 2 fingers of white head. Dissipated moderately slow and left nice lacing. Medium to high carbonation.

S/T - Crisp and clean honey with some pilsener grains working their way in also. Nice hearty and lightly fruity finish with some German hops.

M - Medium bodied and slightly malt dominated. Finish is slightly dry.

D - Good overall. Could easily session this beer.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a deep golden colour, soft white head, lightly hazy.

S: Sweet malt, real light hops.

T: Great noble hop flavour, grass, hay, soft bready malt.

M: Crisp, smooth, light-bodied, needed a bit more carbonation I thought at times.'

D: This is a tasty fresh Helles, probably closer to what Germany gets, but from a CA brewery I can get it when its not 9 months old, a real nice lager.

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Photo of Offa
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Sudwerk, this is a great helles-type lager, full-bodied, well-rounded and with firm, lasting character. It is definitely on par with good German or Czech lagers in terms of the strong charscter and malt and hop elements but ultimately its aroma and flavour profiles are more like a very good, characterful American-style lager.

It's bright, deep gold with a smallish-medium white head steadily shrinking to a nice ring and wisps with a little lace.

The aroma is a nice, full-bodied lager with lots of grain, hints of herb, citrus, and bread. It is like a really full-bodied, characterful take on traditional US elements.

The taste is similar, a very full-bodied lager with strong malt and hop character, nice balance of sweetness with light bitterness and a nice zestiness with hint of spiciness in the finish. It has a lot of grain, some fresh apple, with a lot of lemon, some grass, hints of herbs and green apple peel, the latter elements stronger in the finish. The character holds up well.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle is labled as "lager", with "Munchener Helles" in smaller print underneath. I assume this is the same beer as what is listed here, but a change in name perhaps? On to the beer:

Poured hard into a stange, the beer glows dull yellow. A sturdy, healthy head is on top, and two figners thick. Great froathing acting on the glass. Smells like...a helles lager! Rather delicate in intensity. My nose catches aromas of pinneapple, bread crust, cereals, and sweet pale malt. I am a happy camper so far.

Balanced and interesting. Clean and refreshing. Assorted cereals dominate here until sharp hop oils hit the palate, a little distracting at times, but that's not going to make this beer unpleasant. The malt level is light in flavor. The pinneapple found in the nose is noticed again in the flavor as it exits down the hatch.

Who said American craft brewers can't make good golden lagers? Not Sudwerk. This would be great on warm days, merely good on a mild evening like this.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Date of 07.31.07, Sampled September 2007
The beer pours with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, fairly large bubbled consistency, light tan colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, rich gold color. The aroma has a nice mix of spicy hops and clean malt notes. The hop character provides aromatic notes of fresh cut herbs, some grassiness and a touch of lemon zest. The malt character provides aromas of toasty grain dust, soda crackers, biscuit, and lightly toasted grain.

Quite crisp up front, with a solid hop bite. The beer finishes with a slightly astringent, almost herbal, bitterness that lingers on for quite some time. There is also some bready malt notes in the finish that are quite dry and austere in some ways, but does provide a quite noticeable note of toasty-bread flavors as well as touches of fresh cooked soda crackers. Up front there is a very light malty sweetness, which provides a touch of honey flavors. This has a fair amount of body to it; it is of course quite light feeling and easy drinking, but it does have a noticeable body and does not seem thin at all. The hop flavors at times contribute notes of mint, fresh cut / slightly green hay, and a definite herbal note.

This is quite hoppy and I am enjoying the interplay between malt and hop flavors quite a bit. I will admit that at first I thought this beer was a bit week, but I think that was due to just having woken from a nap. The beer certainly has a decent body to it and I like how both the malt and hops cling to the palate at first, but then cleanly disappear. This is a really solid example of a Helles.

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Photo of Matthew
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle pours a bright golden yellow with a small white covering that fades into some patchy bubbles that float around on top of the beer.
Grainy cereal with a nutty undertone and a backdrop of some lemony zest fills out the nose.
Crisp lemony grain flavors dominate the initial palate followed by a slight spritz of hop bitterness. The finish is clean and contains some a light walnut type flavor similar to the nutty character initially perceived in the nose.
The mouthfeel is light with good carbonation.
Easy beer to sit back and sip or drink with a bowl of chili like I chose to.

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Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An offering I didnt expect to open today but I think starting the day off with lighter helles lager is the way to go.Poured a clear spritzey rich golden with a thinner white head that was gone pretty fast,big honey sweet esters in the nose along with some toasted grain I dected an almost cider-like note in there as well.Again the honey sweetness is big upfront it as actually quite sweet a lightly toasted malt base keeps it from being cloying as it warms a little a spicey note emerges into the finish.A nice helles lager a bit on the sweeter side but there is some subtle complexities,I like the pilsner better from Sudwerk.

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Photo of watermelonman
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This arrived as a bright gold with a thin head that lasted well. Lace is minor but looks nice.

The smell is fairly light with plenty of pale malt. The taste brings a solid clean flavor that finishes with just the right amount of hops. These are simple flavors held together with expert craftsmanship. The mouthfeel is nice and crisp while drinkability is very good.

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Photo of germaniac
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Helles Lager is the only year-round Sudwerk offering not available in my area, so I was more than happy to hoist a half liter at the brewery. A clear, dark gold with a bubbly of white head. The aroma is of malt, with a little hoppiness. Smooth and delicious, the malts and hops subltly combine to make an easy drinking beer from a great brewery.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Medium orange color. Small head. Aroma is nutty and bready. A medium bodied helles/dortmunder. Malts are nutty and a touch fruity. Spicy hops, with a touch of honey sweetness. Well balanced. Light and refreshing, very drinkable. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a crystal clear golden yellow color with the head modest in size and frothy in texture, the color off white with a nice coating of lace upon the glass. Nose is crisp and clean, fresh and sweetly malt as is the start, with a fair to middling top. Finish has a light acidity, the hops apropos to the style, dry and a drinkable is light beer for me, an s with several others, and a sure candidate for the hot Arizona summer afternoon beer list.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this in the 12 oz brown bottle.
The appearance of this beer is attractive..nice darkish golden colour to the beer..with a clean white head that disapates to some lacing.
The smell for me was pretty run of the mill lager..though I may be coming down with a cold!
I like the taste of this beer..has big hoppy taste above the malt..i like this.
This beer feels good and smooth on the palate only the back of the throat getting "hit"
All in all a good solid Helles...surprisinglly its getting better as it gets hotter! strange indeed

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Photo of Mark
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Easily the best lager I have had recently. I have been trying more of them so as not to forget my roots. Most of the time I have been neither turned on or totally bummed out, this was an exception. A very clear golden liquid was topped by a nice white head that retained well. Lacing was wispy but lasted all the way down the glass. Malty aroma was inviting, taste was ultra smooth and refreshing. It had a nice soft malt presence with subtle hopping. A very quaffable beer, I can see having this more often when summer comes.

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Sudwerk Helles from Sudwerk Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.