Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier - Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier

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BA SCORE
89
very good

351 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 351
Hads: 585
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.59%
Wants: 41
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla visit their website
Germany

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: rastaman on 09-29-2003

“Schlenkerla Helles” is brewed with fine Bavarian aroma hops from the area around the city of Nürnberg. It's lagered in century old caves underneath the historic Schlenkerla brewery and maltings. Schlenkerla Helles is boiled in the same copper kettles and bottom fermented by the same yeast as the historic Schlenkerla Smokebeer. Its subtle smokiness without using smoke malt makes “Helles Schlenkerla Lager” a unique representative of the classic lager beer style “Bavarian Helles”.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 351 | Hads: 585
Photo of RBCIPA
4.95/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, this is a fantastic beer. Poured into a pilsner 0.5L glass, drinking on my back porch in the warm sun

A: clear golden. thick white head

S: malty, slight smoke but hard to tell if I can actually smell it or if it's power of persuasion knowing how this beer is brewers (see edit)

T: super clean, crisp, good carbonation, again slight smoke but see above(see edit), great malt taste

MF: full of flavor but light bodied

F: bubbly maybe slightly dry maybe

O: fantastic beer I'm very much enjoying this


Edit: halfway through this beer and smoke is for real. Very faint but it's there (590 characters)

Photo of ncvbc
4.89/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a straw golden color with medium white head and some spots of lacing down the glass. Smell is just excellent. More of a smoked presence than from the bottle, that's for sure. It is just as prominent as anything else in the nose. Taste carries on in that fashion. For such a light brew, there is a lot going on. Biscuity, cereal like malt. Faint fruit and earthy, grassy hops. A touch of honey. Nice light mouth with a crisp snap in the finish. Just an all around excellent and memorable beer. One of my favorites of any style. (532 characters)

Photo of crossovert
4.83/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After having the Rauchbier and thinking it was ok but not something I would buy again, this one intrigued me, perhaps it would be the right balance of smokiness, here it goes.

Poured into a 0.4 liter mug/Stange hybrid for export lager, it will do until I get a good Bavarian crystal mug. It has a nice white one finger head. The color is amazing, it is nice darker helles color with a tiny bit of haze, almost like a Dortmunder, with a nice amount of bubbles. Very nice lacing as well.

Alot of people got bacon scent in the original Rauchbier Maerzen, but all I smelt was burnt wood, this one smells a bit more like bacon, especially when I popped it open and i got a huge bacon whiff. After the pour the smokiness/bacon dies down and it is a nice malty sweet smell with some breadiness. I am also getting a slight bit of hops that blends with the smoke scent.

Wow great taste woweee. Starts off quite sweet with the malts, and they last quite a bit, its a long flavor. Hops come in with a smoky bite, some spice, and some citrus flavors. The lingering flavor is smoke and hops, it has a slightly dry finish. A very complex and satisfying taste. The carbonation is perfect, has a nice bite on the tongue. This almost reminds me of a Dortumunder Export with smokiness and some Bavarian Helles charm, I guess I picked the right glass too then hah.

As it warms the smokiness on the palate intensifies but it never gets to the slightly offensive levels the Maerzen got too. The drinkablity is pretty high but I probably couldn't down more than 2 of these big bottles. The 4.30% abv make's me think a couple of liters of this would be feasible, if only this were in the mini-kegs they sell here and not the Maerzen.

This was a lovely surprise, this beer is just packed with flavor, but it isn't a big, bulky brew just light and flavorful. They ave succeed in creating a whopper of a low abv beer that I would stack up against many big beers. If you want a reprieve from your everyday Bavarian Helles this is the way to go. (2,022 characters)

Photo of meeekyh
4.83/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the 16.9oz bottle into a belled flute. I will note that the label is a bit different than the one pictured. I believe it is a new label, as I found it behind a bottle with a label that did match the one pictured as of this review. Basically there is additional red ink.

The pour reveals a very light straw colored, very clear beer wearing a pure white fluffy head with a bit of lacing.

Nose is tame but slightly smoky. There is a bit of grain and that is about it. Interesting, I just read the label and it notes the smokiness comes 'without using smoke malt', OK.

Taste carries that same smokiness, really interesting and somehow more refreshing than I imagined. It has a peat-smoked notion that reminds me of Scotch. There is tartness and a profile much like a German pils but that is swallowed by the smoke as the finish comes on. It ends spicy.

The feel is light and sparkly but heavily carbonated. The smoke and spice add to the dryness and make this a ridiculously drinkable beer.

I have never had this style before but for the overall tastiness, the novelty of the non-smoked-smokyness, and the uber-quaffability I give it very high marks. It was a bit on the pricey side though...
Prosit! (1,213 characters)

Photo of DerBayer
4.82/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best schlenkerla yet other than maybe the urbock but this really is amazing.

A perfect helles with a slight smokey punch. not faint but slight it is definitely present with a surprising faint honey aroma as well

i had this both from bottle and on tap and it s always superb. if you get a chance a definite must. (313 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
4.82/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

$3.49 for a 1pt 0.9 flu oz bottle at Merchants. Pours out to a sparkingly clear pale blond, forming a small white head with zero retention or lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Despite the lack of head, this is still an interesting looking beer due to it's crystalline sparkle. The nose is gorgeous. It's a very well balanced combination of delicate smoke mixed with a very cleanly fermented Europils, complete with grassy hop notes and pale malts. Wonderful nose. The mouthfeel is lively and clean with a brisk wellwater crispness and light body. Taste begins with grassy hops, followed by a delicate whiff of smoke, light pale malts, and mild grassy bitterness. All of this is expertly crafted to form a cohesive whole that is greater than the sum of it's parts. Minerals tickle the tongue in the semidry clean aftertaste. Belches of Hallertau. The bitterness is just perfect, making this soooo easy to drink.

It's interesting that reviewers say they love it and then give it a 3.5. I think it has to do with the uniqueness of the style and our non-German taste buds. You love rauchbier or you don't. I'm completely floored. This is the best of both worlds when it comes to an awesome Europils/Helles and a rauchbier. Heaven sent. There is something magical about this beer, infusing one with the spirit of old Bamberg. Schlenkerla is an experience beyond the beer. Try it! (1,376 characters)

Photo of Rennpferd
4.8/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It poured pale yellow and crystal clear. It had a two finger head. Moderate carbonation was present.

I could smell a great balance of malt and hops.

It had a mild malt and hop flavor. It was lite bodied and very smooth. It had a very lite dry malt and hop finish.

Very drinkable. A great example of this style of beer. (321 characters)

Photo of keilerdunkel
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love this beer.

pours a very pale yellow with a small 1/4-1/2" head. Aroma and taste is classic munich helles. Malty with good noble hop (Saaz?) backbone. BUT in addition there is smoke both in the aroma and taste. This is not an in-your-face smokiness (think campfire) but more subtle - think a nicely balanced smoked cheese.

-Perfect. I could drink these all night. If you are looking for a gentle introduction to the obsession that is rauchbiers - this is it. (470 characters)

Photo of klewis
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a light golden with a modest, frothy head. Modeate lacing.

S: Honey, freshly baked bread, and a light, fruity aroma contribute to a very nice bouquet.

T: A taste of honey with a strong ginger flavor. Malty with just a touch of hop bitterness in the finish for a perfect balance. A very unique taste.

M: Light-bodied with soft carbonation for a lager. Nice and smooth.

D: This beer is pretty much awesome all around, and I would have no problem spending a day drinking nothing but this. Outstanding. (511 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Deep Ellum, served in a pilsner glass (why?). I loved this beer, it makes me feel like I'm in a Munich beer hall, with smoke. The beer was clear and straw colored, with a good amount of foam. The smell is malty with a hint of smoke (not near as much as the other Brauerei Heller-Trum beers, but just enough of a hint to make it meaningful). I know "German" isn't a good decription of aroma or flavor but it really comes to mind when drinking this beer, it has the feel of authenticity. The taste is nearly perfect for a Helles Lager, malty and sweet but not overly flavored, and spiced up by a touch of smoked wood. Absolutely delicious. The mouthfeel is medium as the style should be, and this is very easy to drink quickly. I want a liter instead of the pilsner glass Deep Ellum gave me.

I recommend this beer strongly to any lover of Helles Lagers or Rauchbiers. It's not a true rauchbier of course, but has just enough to satisfy for this style. (971 characters)

Photo of bentpages
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Interesting taste of subtle smoke paired with lager-style freshness. It's unique to create a rather light lager beer with so much flavor. Compared to the original "Aecht Schlenkerla" this is the best solution because you will be able to enjoy a toned down smoke flavor with a not so heavy beer. It is unfortunate that it costs me $5.99/bottle here in San Francisco, whereas it costs $1 in Germany. (397 characters)

Photo of snafui
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from 16.9 oz bottle into a pint glass. Chilled to about 59 degrees, next time I will serve colder.
Very clear gold appearance. Nice big white head, lacing the glass as it dissipated.
I had a difficult time placing the smell. I wanted to say peppery but not, and something like old wood but not in a bad way. I read a few other reviews and immediately identified it as the beech smoke that others suggested. It's intoxicating.
The taste is very clean with a light smoky flavor. I was very surprised by how easy drinking this beer is. The mouthfeel is nice and full with a lingering smokiness.
As I drink through the glass I feel like I keep getting more smoke in the smell, likely from the lacing of the head on the glass. It's much more identifiable as smoke now.
At 4.3% I think this is a fantastic session beer. I raise my glass to taking a chance on a label I've never heard or read about before. What a home run! (928 characters)

Photo of jebert
4.69/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The typical 500ML bottle came from one of my favorite breweries on the planet. This is, by far the one brewery I have left on my bucket list.

I was SO CLOSE to Bamburg (30KM) during my trip to Germany in 2002, but I never quite made it there. In any event, I've ru'ed the day. Let's move on.

The pour was so so. A little quaint head, but such a great appearance, I rated it very high. The head might have been better, but the golden clear soft amber begged to be tasted.

The nose on this beer rocks. I know that's not very scientific, so please indulge me for a moment. Faint apple (wood) smoke flavor with undertones of sweet cherry (wood) is forward. It's not ostentatious, but subdued and superb. I'm certain the malts were smoked with this wood. If not, I'll withdraw my membership in BA.

Beyond the nose, tasting this is exceptional. I rated a 4, but only because this is a Helles and somewhat less than the perfect Helles. Since this is my first smoked Helles, I may rescind this next week. Don't be discouraged.

The taste includes a nice malty flavor, contributing to the mouthfeel. Big and clean with a dry finish, I'm loving this. The balanced carbonation and somewhat subdued smoke flavor reveals a beer I'm so glad I finally found this. Although the hops were a bit subdued, hops are NOT the reason to buy this.

Smoke smell, silky smooth taste and feel, and drinkability are awesome. Ii can't imagine how to improve this, but it's possible it may happen. (1,473 characters)

Photo of Jacobob10
4.68/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Original review of 4.51 on 8/24/2014:

Clear gold in color with a large, frothy, white head. Excellent retention and a fair amount of lacing. Clean looking lager. Subtle but pleasant aroma of bready malts and just the slightest hint of smoke. Medium bodied with low bitterness. Perfectly carbonated.

If you are a fan of lagers but are avoiding this beer because you don't enjoy the flavor of smoked malts, do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle immediately. There are no smoked malts used in this beer. The hint of smoke is delivered via the yeast and is barely noticeable. If anything, it rounds out the flavor profile and adds a bit of body.

Overall, this was one of the most enjoyable beers I have had in a long time. No longer will I keep walking past it and passing it up in the store. This might be the perfect BBQ beer to pair with grilled foods.

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Edited on 2/10/2015:

I have had this beer several times now since my original review and I'm consistently impressed by it. Each time I pop one open it's like having it for the first time. A beer I could just drink endlessly. I'm increasing my ratings for taste and overall for each as I really can't see this beer improving in those aspects. (1,216 characters)

Photo of Bierfreund
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got a portion to try while in a bar meeting other beer afficionados for a beer trade.

Light coloured, white head.

I found the taste very surprising: a very slight (really tiny) hint of smoke came with it!

I would like to have a full bottle of this, but I have not figured out where to get this in Pennsylvania. The guy giving me the portion bought it in New York state.

This is very drinkable, feels light. Medium carbonation gives a prickly mouthfeel. (459 characters)

Photo of CharlieMopps
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a transparent, pale golden hue, producing three fingers of bubbly head that actually sticks around for a while leaving some lace behind on its way down (which is quite the opposite of the American/Euro macro lager category). This beer looks damn good.

S: A clean and grainy smell, the pale malt and subtle hopping is very enticing. Even though the style is known to have a much more subdued bouquet, this one is still quite assertive.

T: Starts off with a smooth pale malt introduction, semisweet and a good base for the hops that enter the picture. Very well-hopped, as it straddles the line between too much and not enough... perfectly in the middle for a great bittering flavor. At first, I didn't actually notice the smokiness, as its quite subtle, but I definitely picked up on it in the aftertaste after a few sips.

M: Carbonation is great, and the beer has a wee bit of a heavier body to it than expected, but keeping in mind this is in reference to the helles lager style. I actually enjoy that fact, and furthermore, the hops provide a bit of slickness with a slightly creamy aspect from the carbonation. Great in this category as well.

D: Overall, an insanely drinkable beer. With only 4.3% abv, a light (but not ultra-light) body, and enough hops to keep the palate interested, this would make a great session beer. Fans of German lagers, especially the Helles style, will definitely appreciate this one. Very well done. (1,445 characters)

Photo of Givemebeer
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Clear golden yellow with a huge frothy head with sticky lacing. Pretty beautiful.

S: grainy and grassy with a hint of smoke.

T: Biscuity, bready, grassy, grainy. Taste starts with the biscuity grass then switches to being a touch smokey before going back to a bready grainy grassy taste. complex and wonderful.

M: Light bodied, crisp, refreshing.

O: Its amazing that this beer isn't talked about more. It has great balance, it's refreshing, crisp, packed with flavor, and 4.3% abv. Doesn't get much better. (513 characters)

Photo of BeerNinja007
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up this 500mL bottle back in September for $4.50 at The Wine Thief in downtown New Haven CT. No date or code noted. Served at 50F in a pisner glass at the same temperature.

A: Thick sediment at the bottom of the bottle had already started to move, but I was able to pour slowly and avoided getting any in the first half. Clear bright yellow brew of medium color density (halfway between pale and solid yellow). A steady stream of medium-sized bubbles rockets upward, suggesting low viscosity. Thin off-white head settles to a single sticky layer that likes the glass.

S: Nice bit of that characteristic beechwood smoke gives it a modest air of well-worn leather. Mild backbone of light sweet malt, and also some lemon/ grassy hop detected as well. Overall not hugely aromatic, but what's there is a diverse and pleasing bouquet.

T: Everything in the nose comes through just as expected with the intensity turned up a few notches. Super tasty leather/tobacco backbone from the smoked malt, just a hint of honey sweetness comes through, and a moderate bit of lemon herb hop blends seamlessly into the mix.

M: Crisp, light, bubbly... just as it should be. Finishes with lingering leather and bitter herb hop.

D: This is a very tasty and classy brew. The smoked malt gives it a big added twist that levels a huge impact on this lighter style. It is a lighter helles, not as malty as most, but the smoke makes up the difference nicely. I feel like I should be sitting in a classy leather chair in front of a fireplace in a library full of old books with a warm dog at my feet. A great balance of cozy and elegant. "Alfred, kindly bring me another, and put another long on the fire." "Yes sir, right away, sir."

Swirled the yeast in at the end and it didn't have much effect; it blended almost imperceptibly with what was there before. Though it did help the head stand up quite a bit better. (1,902 characters)

Photo of jsisko01
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a clear straw color with a half inch thick, soapy white head. Leaves a very nice, creamy lacing.

Smell - Has a slight spicy aroma, like a typical helles lager. Along with a weird funk and sourdough bread.

Taste - Lightly spiced. I can detect coriander for sure. There is a strong smoky flavor as well, with a light mustiness/funk. It has a subtle sweetness throughout. Sourdough bread and a light bitterness come out in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall - This is a great beer. (537 characters)

Photo of Nipitato
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased a bottle at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Medium yellow hue with brilliant clarity. Visibly effervescent. Pours with a creamy white head with sticky lacing.

S: A very full aroma for a light lager. Sweet grainy aroma with a good smattering of smoke - but not overpowering. Besides that very crisp and clean.

T: Sweet and malty. Grainy. Smokey character pervades throughout adding a unique twist. A little hop bitterness on the back end with a malty sweet finish. Quite nice overall.

MF: I can say that I have never been more impressed by a beer's mouthfeel - outstanding. Creamy and full without being cloying or heavy. Medium carbonation.

D: A very good beer. Good nose and flavor and an outstanding mouthfeel. What a light lager can taste like. Supremely drinkable. (801 characters)

Photo of adamette
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Purchased yesterday at Lina's Beverage in Painseville, Ohio for $3.99. Seems like a good deal to me.

A Pours a classic straw with short lived bubbly head. True to the style. Not that inspring but there was visible sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

S Love to smell a subtle smoke that I was hoping for from this brewery so well known for its Rauchbiers but the predominent smell is that of a Lager, grainy with barley. The smoke smell carries a bit of sweetness with it. Smells very inviting.

T The smoke that I had hoped for has carried over into the taste. Carrying nowhere near the intensity of smoke of the Rauchbiers the sweet smoke taste is certainly there in a much more muted way. The sweet syrupy smoky taste is a great backdrop to a great lager taste. Sweetnes lingers well into the aftertaste, some 5 minutes after my last sip. Great taste.

M Light with carbonation, very appropriate to the style.

D Very high, maybe the highest rating I can give it since the nice subtle smoky sweetness is a great deal maker for a low ABV munich lager from Bamberg.

Notes: Loved it and the Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla again demonstrates their mastery of the styles that they brew. Highly recommended. (1,212 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Deep Ellum in Boston, MA.

This one pours a light golden yellow, with a half inch head, and not a whole lot lacing.

This one smells like grassy hops, a bit of biscuity malt, and some light pleasant smoke.

This is a beer that probably could not be duplicated anywhere else in the world, as it gets its smokiness from simply being brewed in the same place as many intensely smoky beers. The lager yeast character is not very noticeable. There's a bit of light honey sweetness, some bready, biscuity malt, and some lightly herbal grassy hop flavor. This is a really cool and interesting beer, and definitely the best Helles I've ever had.

This is light bodied, with a crisp, and slightly smoky mouthfeel, along with a moderate level of carbonation. It's so drinkable and so tasty, and goes down really easily.

This is one of the best lagers I've ever had. It's so unique and tasty. (892 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap

A- On-tap at Redlight Redlight in Orlando. Poured into a .5L mug. Pours a golden yellow color with a large off-white head.

S- The aroma like all beers from this brewery has a very pleasant smoked malt smell. I can't get enough of this aroma!

T- The taste like the aroma features delicious pale smoked malts with a finish that leaves you craving more.
 
M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This beer is the definition of a session beer for me, very tasty and extremely drinkable. (525 characters)

Photo of Mcculler
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Needed a more vigorous pour so I'm being conservative on the appearance, but the colour was nothing truly exceptional - clear golden.

Smell - molasses, smoke, and autumn leaves.

Taste - tea, teaberry, smoke, dry autumn leaves, herbal finish.

Nicely carbonated.

At 4.5 or thereabouts very drinkable.

Beautiful, intriguing beer. (331 characters)

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a crystal clear gold with a wispy thin ivory head. Some faint fine lacing. Smell is smoky. Smoked peat. Some lightly grassy malt.

Taste is smoky, of course and a rich grassy malt. Noble hop finish with a faint fruitiness. Mouth is crisp, if a bit thinnish. This is just so heavenly good. One of the better beers I've had all year. Yummy! (346 characters)

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
89 out of 100 based on 351 ratings.