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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier - Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

Not Rated.
Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

356 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 356
Hads: 603
Avg: 3.96
pDev: 12.12%
Wants: 47
Gots: 28 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla visit their website

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: 356 | Hads: 603
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.57/5  rDev +15.4%
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!

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Photo of dar482
4.55/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a golden clear yellow. Very standard looking pale lager. It comes with a foamy two finger white head.

The aroma is really interesting. You get a fresh big pop of grassy hops, sweet lemony citrus, but also an extremely interesting hint of smoke in the back. It’s a bit subtle, but also smokey and meaty.

The flavor is super interesting. It’s refreshing and bright with a punch of grassy hops in the front with a bit of lemon bitterness. Then there’s that sweet bready malt of a well made helles lager. The smoke gives this beer a second dimension with the smokey flavor. A bit acrid, a bit meaty, ashy, and dry.

The refreshing beer on the end combines that grass and smokey finish. What soft, yet complex and delicious flavors that this beer has. It's sweet, it's crisp, it's bitter, it's complex, it's easy drinking, it's amazing.

This is a fantastic beer. I love smoke side that this beer adds to already well made beer. If this was a bit more reasonably priced, I would drink it more. I can definitely see why this gets brought to Torst and Proletariat in NYC.

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Photo of bobarito
4.54/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've really been looking forward to trying this one. Purchased in Seattle and shipped to Alaska.

Pours a clear light golden color with white foam that clings to the glass. Smells awesome. A bready malt aroma with just a hint of hops and that signature beechwood smoke lingering way in the background. There is a definite DMS note in there as well.

The smoky flavor just kind of clouds over all aspects of the flavor, but is never over the top. I read that they don't use any smoked malt in their helles, and the smoke is just characteristic of the yeast and the brewing/fermentation vessels. The malt flavor is perfect for the style: strong, sweet and clean. The noble hop flavor is hardly noticable but the bitterness comes in about mid swallow and balances the malt into the finish.

The Schlenkerla malty flavor and smoke combination has got to be one of the most addicting flavor combinations out there in my opinion. Whenever I open any of their beers, it's tough to make it last five minutes. Awesome brew...

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Photo of EwaldEichstaett
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: I was very surprised by this beer's appearance. It was a light straw golden color with a white head and big carbonation bubbles coming up. In effect, it looked like a regular Helles.

S: Bready malts, hops and some bacon flavored smoke. Apparently, the brewery does not use any smoked malts in this beer, it is just absorbed from the brewing process. Because of this, the smoke smell was a lot more delicate than the other Schlenkerla beers.

T: Smooth delicious malts mixed in with a light smoke flavor. I was expecting more smoke than this(I thought it was brewed with smoked malts), but it was really delicious. Light hop bite at the end. Nails the Helles style!

M: Feels great in the mouth. Good thick body that only German lagers deliver mixed with great smooth carbonation.

D: This is a Helles, naturally it will be about as drinkable as can be. That being said, it is also the most drinkable smoke flavored beer I have ever had. 5 Stars!

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Photo of tectactoe
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was at the beer store purchasing a dimpled German beer mug when I thought it would only be fitting to buy a German lager to dump into it for its first usage. I picked up a Schlenkerla Helles Lager based on a few suggestions and the fact that I generally enjoy their rauchbiers; I figured I'd try one of their non-smoked malt beers.

This one pours a color halfway between yellow and straw with a mild chill haze that settles in the middle and eventually fades once the beer approaches slightly warmer temps to reveal a decent amount of clarity. A puffy and cloudy white head pillows up and shows excellent retention, not to mention the huge amounts of chunky lace it leaves behind. Very nice looking beer, especially in this dimpled German mug. All I need now is a warm pretzel.

Schlenkerla Helles Lager has one of the best aromas in lager-town. Humongous bread and grain filled framework upon which an excellently fresh, crisp, and pure display of aromas is laid out. Barley, thick yeast, mildly musky hops, and an uplifting dose of smokiness. The smoke in this is more akin to a sweet, subtle, liquid smoke aroma as opposed to the heavier, full-force meatiness provided by Schlenkerla's rauchbiers. This beer does not actually use smoked malt, however due to the use of the same brewing equipment between this and the rauchbiers, some of the residual smokiness makes it's way into the helles lager.

The taste follows right along with the aroma as a nice wave a bread-like malts and softly toasted grains wash over my palate. The smokiness is perhaps even a bit lighter on the palate, but still very much an integral part of what makes this beer so great; a nice, light sweet smoke flavor that sets this lager apart from others. Light citrus zest in the finish along with heavy grains and fresh, lager-type yeast. Each sip that goes down leaves your mouth begging for more. Lighter bodied with a tight and crisp mouth feel thanks to a plentiful amount of carbonation.

This beer is so fundamentally simple yet executed so admirably. Drinkability is insanely high - I couldn't get enough of this beer. You can bet that I'll be picking this one up from now on, every time I'm looking for something to sit back and relax with. Definitely one of the best lagers I've had to date, especially considering the helles style. It opened my eyes to what helles lagers could taste like.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a crystal clear golden yellow body with a perfectly creamy snow white head that sticks to the glass and last for the full beer. There is a sea of microbubbles supporting the head.

S- The smell of perfumy yeast gives way to a slightly smoky note and a sweet sulfury hint. There is a light buttery note that increases just a bit as the beer warms. The smoke is very pleasant and balance in with the other aromas.

T- This beer starts with a full clean smokey note that has a slight malt sweetness to it followed by a hint of dry pale malt. There is a very faint peat smoke quality that increases as the beer warms. The finish is a nice noble green hop flavor with a faint lemon hint.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel due to the everlasting head and a full fizz note at the finish.

D- This beer has a great balance of light smoke noble hops and yeasty malt notes. I never though smoke in a helles would work but this beer really has all the flavors working together.

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Photo of malty
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliantly clear pale gold with a bright white loose 1/8" head. Fine visible carbonation at a moderate pace. Nce rings of dripping white lace.

The smell of this beer reminds me of breakfast at my in-laws lake cottage...smoked country ham with the edges a bit charred. Don't get me wrong, the scent isn't intense by any means, but it's the first element that hits the nostrils. Soft, clean malts act as a stage for this smoky seductress.

The flavors of the clean and bready malts taste somewhat sweet, but not overly sweet at all. The light (by Schlenkerla standards) smokiness is well-balanced and organic, not contrived or manufactured. The level of smoke in the nose translates evenly to the level in the flavor. The hops give this beer a nice crisp cleanliness as well as a dry texture to counterbalance the semi-sweet malt.

Mouthfeel is heavenly. A bit oily with a silky feel. The carbonation is light, but still finely felt on the tongue. Between light and medium bodied with a light smokey and dry flavorful finish.

Drinkability is great. This type of beer can be enjoyed by the person who gravitates to this unique style. If paired with any pork or BBQ'ed flesh - it's a match made in heaven.

Overall a stellar beer and should be the standard by which all others (in this style) are judged - just by the malt & hop profile alone, (the smokiness is an added bonus). I've yet to be disappointed by any Bamberg breweries offerings. Now if I could just get Mahrs Brewing closer to my area.

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Photo of kenito799
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a pilsener glass.

Bright dark gold with fizzy white head. Creamy spotty lacing.

I was not expecting another rauchbier here--i absolutely love the other rauchbiers from this brewery. Very happy to sniff that warmly bacony smoke dominating the nose of this beer. A crisp lighly citrusy hop aroma is also there, the smoke not as strong as the marzen, weizen and fastenbier.

The crisp bright wonderfully tiny-bubbles carbonation makes the mouthfeel a joy, and it conveys a fantastically balanced brew...the rich smokiness plays beautifully with crisp, light, tangy malt and spicy lager hops.

Really great beer! I wish I could afford to stock my fridge with this stuff for the summer.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear medium gold. Medium head of crunchy white foam. Lots of carbonation bubbles after the pour, slows to a few steady streams as it sits and the cap fades. Ghostly thin lacing in inky stringed patterms.

Aroma is smokey with a clean, crisp, pale malt profile. Very distinct and peculiar with a tang of smoked meat and grain. Nice.

Taste is broad and lasting with a savory little spiceyness of grasses and beechwood. Topping taste in the middle of the smokey stuff that stays nicely weaved within a pale malt sweetness and mild, easy going tang. Perfect floating finish of leftover smokeyness and a feathery spiced hoppy dryness.

Feel is bold, rounded, smooth, and solidly placed in a medium body. Nice little centering sweetness and one fantastic finish of spice and impressionable length..

One very solid, straight up goodalicious, Helles Lager!

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Photo of Gatch
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Crystal-clear golden-yellow with a fizzy, active, white head that builds and fades quickly leaving behind very little lace and retention.

S: Honey, lightly roasted malt, barn/grass, bread/yeast. Very nice.

T: Incredible. What every beer of this style should taste like. Bready, yeasty, grassy, and honey, all with a touch of hops in the finish. Slightly sweet and fully delicious. The quintessential lager. Great straight from the fridge but even better when it is allowed to warm over time.

M: Super smooth, the flavor and body are fantastic, and it's so easy to drink. "Refreshing" is selling it short.

O: When I bought this beer, I built up hopes of what it would taste like. After drinking two other of the brewery's smoke beers (both very good), this is a welcomed departure and a pleasant drinking experience. Highly recommended.

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Photo of acevenom
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass mug. Pours pale golden with a white head. I can see a few tiny streaming bubbles. The aroma is of smoky and pale roasted malts. The taste follows the nose. The good malt profile has the right balance of smokiness to make the taste. The body is light with moderate carbonation. The finish is crisp. The drinkability is very high. This is an excellent beer. I just wish the bottle caps weren't on so tight because this destroyed my bottle opener.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a .5L bottle to a big mug. The liquid is dark gold with good carbonation. The heat is 2 fingers, very rocky and leaves some lace.

The Smell is sweet and mild smoky like a good BBQ, but no tomato products. LOL

The taste is great, mild smoky flavor rides in after the bready malt makes the first play. This one is clean and fresh. The mild smoke really works well with this style brew.

The mouthfeel is right on, great body good carbonation.

The drinkability is extremely high for a smoked beer. This is a top choice winner for one who wants to try there first smoked beer or a vet that wants to make a night of it.
Prosit und Zum Wohl, MK

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Photo of tai4ji2x
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at deep ellum during the cantillon/de la senne event on april 24, 2009, week's end of the craft brewers conference.

great lacing. otherwise very similar to the bottled version, with fresher aromas and flavors all around. plus just that tiny hint of smoke as well.

very smooth, with tiny trace of astringency. crisp, sometimes creamy carbonation.

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Photo of jsh420
4.44/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

pours straw yellow with a 1 finger head that fades fast and left no lacing

smell has smoked malt/salmon notes to it that i have never picked up in other helles lagers

taste - the smokey notes are not as present but a good amount of bitter grassy hops - also i get some chalky peppermint tums flavors??? - what ever it is i am digging it

mouthfeel is light but not as crisp and carbonated as some helles lagers

drinkability is great - a beer @ only 4.3% and this flavorful - forget about it!!

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- bright shiny clear golden body with a rather picturesque cap of white meringue foam that coats the inside of my pils glass. foam settles the a thin dense membrane floating atop tiny rising bubbles. a real beauty.

S- different, but oddly familiar. pale malt then all at once a soft, dried wood, meaty, savory, campfire smoke eases its way in along with a distinct lightly toasted cereal aroma. a light grassiness is the only indication of hops although the light residual burning paper smokiness of this un-smoked beer creates an interesting profile all on its own.

T- i see how this may be an acquired taste, in a good way. my body tells me "toxic" but my brain knows its not so the first swaller definitely hosted a little apprehension. over that hump however, i can appreciate the lent smokiness in a much different way than something darker like a smoked porter. this is a mild flavored beer, but the smoke flavor matches up to the beer flavor all the way. at first its akin to burning paper or leaves but then its breaks itself down into something woodsy and organic, like burning tree bark on a campfire, and an odd comparison, but it tastes like an early american log cabin on a sunny snow covered morning. aside from all that, the pale malt is crisp and natural, some lemony hops, clean yeast flavor, and woodsy with some lingering smoke. difficult to rate this along other helles, it is unlike anything i've ever tasted.

MF- pretty standard here, nearly light body, medium carbonation, with a filmy smoke coated effect which may or may not be all in my head.

D- after the initial shock of experiencing this unique taste, i found this beer to be thoroughly delicious as well as refreshing on this presidential election morning, and most interesting breakfast i've had in a long while. they say it only picks up smoke flavor from being brewed in the same vessels as the rauchbiers. no doubt that fact characterizes its friendly drinkable nature. i heard someone say BBQ.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful straw yellow with nice carbonation rising to the top and a nice white head that doesnt retain that well. The aroma is excellent, with typical helles scents of biscuit and spicy hops, along with a subtle smokiness (after all they pretty much only brew smoked beer at schlenkerla) that adds another level of complexity to this beer. The flavor is similar to the aroma with normal helles characteristics; biscuit, grainy malt, spicy noble hops, subtle smokiness (resembles bacon), and a slight sweetness (likely residual sugars). The mouthfeel is light and moderately carbonated, with a clean finish and excellent drinkability. This was an excellent beer, seems the perfect marriage of styles (rauchbier and helles lager)...the subtle smokiness is perfect.

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Photo of russpowell
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an effervescent golden/bronze with 1+ finger of eggshell white head. Stays effervescent throughout, above average lacing & below average head retention

S: Breadyness, hay, & a whisper of smokeyness

T: Grassy notes, some bready notes & then a bit of smokey ham up front. Crackery, plus lemon hop notes as this warms. Finishes with honey sweetness, a little bit of grainyness, lemony notes & laid back smokeyness

MF: Light/medium bodied, with lively carbonation & super balance

Drinks very easy, I was really impressed at how low the abv was, but this didn't show any thinness & still packed flavor. One I could easily pound through a football double-header or drink one or 2 & just enjoy its subtleties

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz bottle

Pours a clear golden straw with a small white head that fades. Mild lacing on the glass.

Smells crisp and grainy with a nice smokiness. Smells very good.

Taste is crisp and grainy with a mild smokiness. Finishes dry with a slight bitterness. Very tasty and refreshing.

Light body, good carbonation.

Very nice summer beer. Easy to drink and full of flavor.

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into pilsner glass.

A - Golden and clear in color. A nice two finger head hangs around for a minute or two before falling to a thin cap. Minimal lacing.

S - Biscuity aroma strikes initially, but there is an ever-present smoky aroma as well. Something like fresh baked biscuits and bacon cooking? Very nice.

T - Same bready flavor from the nose, with a slight buttery twinge. Smokiness kicks in as well. Slightly spicy hops hit near the finish; very clean aftertaste.

M - Moderate to high carbonation with a light, borderline medium mouthfeel. Pretty good for a lager, not to mention a helles!

D - The best helles I've had, though it's obvious this has some rauchbier tendencies; not really sure how to classify this guy. All in all, a very good brew with much more character than the average helles.

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Photo of johanvond
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a crystal clear clean golden lager with a white head, you can see why it's a helles. Theres a good sweet malt aroma and cleansing mouthfeel. This beer has an amazing interplay of malt smoke and hops. You start out with a light smoke that returns in the aftertaste with an amazing dance of smoke and hopppy bitternes that inataly clenses but after half the glass just keeps going. I wish i could have this with some lightly smoke salmon or sushi.

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Photo of PhageLab
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - Clear pale yellow colored brew which produced a very mild head. Retention was decent, but the bottle itself, although properly stored, was a foamer.

S - Sweet malts touch the nose first, followed quickly by maple bacon, smoke, and fresh roast. Take it in slowly and enjoy.

T - Nice and refreshingly balanced. Smoky, but also sweet. Some grains and and barley shine through near the end.

M - Light bodied and mildly carbonated. Aftertaste is of smoke, but the finish is fairly clean, as is the body.

D - Brauerei Heller-Trum Schlenkerla. Remember the name. Every beer I've had from them has been nothing shy of delicious. Add this one to the list of great beers they brew.

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Photo of Derek
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I gave my wife a 'blind' taste from my glass... she said "is this from Schlenkerla?". Supposedly not a Rauchbier, but it certainly has a smokey element. Perhaps even more than Spezial's house lager? (though the bottle was obtained in Michigan, so who know's how long it has 'conditioned').

A: Clear, golden yellow; white head, hardly any retention, but it initially leaves some lace.

S: Fresh, floral hops (a bit of a soapy aroma); a slight hint of smoke; a little toffee & bread in the background.

T: Malty bread & toffee up front, moderate floral hop flavour, mild smoke (mostly in the aftertaste). Excellent bitter-sweet balance, with the sweetness fading to a crisp finish. This gets bonus points for its flavour-to-weight ratio!

M: Surprisingly heavy for a 4.3% brew; more body than a lot of stronger lagers. Almost chewy, yet creamy. It's not very dry (seems to be a pleasant amount of residual sugar), but has a crisp finish. Amazing.

D: Plenty of flavour for a 'light' brew. I could certainly session this!

Thanks for picking this up Eric (Frozensoul), I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear pale yellow. Decent amounts of carbonation surface quickly. Thin, bubbly whitish head. Minimal lace. Biscuity and bready malts on the nose reminiscent of fine dortmunders. Faded smokiness and light caramel accent. Fairly crisp mouthfeel with that prickly kind of carbonation. Light to medium in body. Decent all around taste. Biscuity and grain malts form a subdued backbone. Campfire smoke accents...way in the distance. Sweet center. Very slight hop dryness. Good taster. Goes down with no problem.

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Photo of TongoRad
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served at 52F

A squeaky clean white head, at least two fingers, sits atop the brightest clear yellow liquid. A steady stream of bubbles constantly rises from below. The head lasts a minute or two before settling down to a 1/4" layer.

Aroma is a delicate weave of gentle smokiness, bready malt and a touch of herbal/grassy hops. The smoke is more prominent on the super smooth, impeccably balanced palate. Bitterness is clean, carbonation is at just the right level, and the finish is a wonderfully lingering toasty smokiness.

Ultimately you just have to judge this beer for what it is- a 'one-of'. It is truly neither a smoked beer nor a helles, but on its own merits is quite well made and damned enjoyable. After my sixth one (no, not in a row) it became very clear to me that I had found a new favorite thing that I simply must revisit from time to time- it rewards contemplation for sure, but is even better as a quaffer and leaves you thirsting for more when it is gone.

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Photo of foles
4.39/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a world classic for me. An outstanding hell in its own right, with a lovely hint of smoke to complement it. Everything is done in perfect balance here. And having had it at the brewery, and at home in Australia - it travels very well (Pheonix beers are good importers).

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
89 out of 100 based on 356 ratings.