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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

355 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 355
Hads: 598
Avg: 3.96
pDev: 15.91%
Wants: 48
Gots: 27 | 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: 355 | Hads: 598
Photo of Givemebeer
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

(on tap at Brauhaus Schmitz, Philly - poured into a flared pils flute)

A: yellow gold, curious mild haze.... thinnish, fizzy head (unclean lines/faucet here?) - no lace

S: mild, blandish malt... light amount of phenolic smoke coming through... not particularly hoppy (just as an observation).... smells like a Helles, alright, just with subtle, flat aromas

T: vague clove phenolics.... only a light presence of smoke - was kinda curiously hoping for much more... not one particular element stands out.... blurry, flat malt and bready yeast flavors - seems "washed out"

M: quite light and clean.... not particularly effervescent... fine for what it's bringing flavor-wise which, if it were to have more flavor, it would need more body

O: was hoping for a bit more out of this, considering how wonderfully flavorful some of their other beers are.... the low level of smoke flavor wasn't necessarily a bad thing.... come to think of it, the last time I had a bland Schlenkerla on tap (the Lent beer) it was at Brauhaus, hmmm...

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Photo of Omnium
3.81/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Clear yellow with a finger of fizzy white head, no lacing.
S - Grainy, a little woody, lots of grain, dried flowers, a touch of smoke.
T - Slightly sweet malt, a little hop bite underneath, then the smoke comes in mid way, and doesnt overpower, its light touch but very nice.
M - Clean, crisp and light bodied. Very refreshing.
O - Good Lager with just a touch of smoke, I think it could use more, but its quite refreshing.

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Photo of JMD
1.59/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Smoked Helles Lager? This beer sucks. Smoke a porter. Smoke a stout. But a helles? Fuck outta here with that.

Look, i love german beer. I love Munich Helles Lager. I've been to Munich many times. Helles is a delicate beer that is often misrepresented and under appreciated.

That said, this beer sucks. The smoke over powers the already soft flavor of the helles. This was a drain pour for me

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Photo of Westler
3.96/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very interesting stuff. A clear, light Bavarian Helles with fine and firm head. The subtle smoke aroma makes this a unique beer. Much more drinkable than the Schlenkerla Rauchbier. Malty and satisfying finish, considering it’s relatively low alcohol level.

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Photo of FLima
3.61/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Light golden color with a thin head.
Mildly smokey aroma with floral and herbal notes.
Flavor of slightly smoked malt with its sweetness, nevertheless it is quite clean as a Lager should be. Notes of grassy hops and bread. Hints of minerals.
Light body with good carbonation.
Decent helles with an elegant smokey touch. But don’t expect bacon or any heavy ash smokness, and you will be fine.

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Photo of silverking
3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pale hazy gold with a thin white head. Decent retention, excellent lacing.

S- floral, smokey, fresh cut timber. Very inviting.

T- hardwood smoke, biscuit, very subtle and elegant.

M- crisp, clean, refreshing. Slightly watery finish.

O- very nice.

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Photo of stella77artois
3.91/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into wine glass.

A - A very pale yellow with a bit of haze. A fair amount of carbonation, seemed alive. ~ 1" head formed which stuck around. A bit of lacing left behind on the glass. Good looking lager.

S - Very, very unique. Up front, there's a sweet smell, almost like cinnamon. Not exactly what I search for in my favorite style of beer. Noble hops poke through slightly at the end, as does some mild malt.

T - I was apprehensive after the aroma, but thankfully none of that "cinnamony" aroma could be noted in the taste. Mild, slightly sweet malts up front, along with a slightly fruity, almost pear-like taste. Unique and enjoyable. As with the aroma, noble hops can be noted in the aftertaset. And as a good lager should be, very crisp and clean tasting. Slight bit of breadiness, too.

F - Good as Helles lagers should be. Enough carbonation for your fizz fix, and it's easy on the throat and tongue. Absolutely positively a session beer. It would be one in the future for me, but this stuff is expensive in my neck of the woods.

O - A solid Helles, and a good representation of the style. I still think there are better Helles', but this is absolutely worth a try. Crisp and clean with a mild fruity and hoppy taste, could be an excellent session beer. Highly recommended to lager fans.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.49/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Redstone
Pours a fairly clear medium golden color with a decent sized bubbly white head that slowly dissipates to a ring on top. Rich sweet caramelized pilsner malt dominates the aroma. Rich dried fruit, prunes and raisins come to mind. Non existent hop aroma. Lightly spicy and almost smokey component shows up in the aroma as well. The flavor is rich with lots of caramelized sugary maltiness and plenty of dark dried fruits. There is a hint of herbal hop flavor and a bit of sweet cardboard. Medium body with a fairly dry finish. Moderate level of carbonation and a sweet slick mouthfeel. Love the aroma here, but the flavor suggests this bottle my be less than fresh. One day I will make it over the ocean to try some great lagers the way they were meant to be drunk!

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Photo of BethanyB
3.72/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: A massive, cotton candy ball of a head sits atop a very clear, pale gold brew. Light lacing is left on he glass, and the creamy foam is very long lasting.

Smell: Pils malt is apparent, with its yeasty, bready smell and faint background of DMS. Light floral hops are also detected. In all, very appropriate for the style.

Taste: Light and clean--this is definitely a lager. Bready malt dominates, but a very mild hop bitterness exists to balance things out. All these aspects are very true to style, but even for a light lager, the flavor seems a bit lacking. A slight metallic taste that I would expect in a Dortmunder export, but never this, pops out from time to time.

Mouthfeel: Too light and watery. Should be medium-bodied. The carbonation is also less than medium, which is the standard.

Overall: A traditional, well done Munich Helles in many ways, but with a watered-down character that keeps it from making a truly positive impression.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

draft at sams in Durham, into a duck rabbit pint glass.

pours a crisp yellowish gold with a nice inch thick head. the smell is very pronounced with malts and hops and even a bit of smoke, though this isn't one of their smoked beers. the taste is very flavorful with typical lager characteristics and tastes ALMOST smoked, but not quite. I very much dig it. light bodied, mild carbonation.

overall one of the better lagers out there. recommended.

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Photo of safaricook
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured it in a Seidl mug and had some eggs with smoked and fried bacon on the side. I am not a particular fan lager beer or not at all of smoky malts. I bought it because it is a restrained Rauch using just the same equipment and yeast as the beers of this famous brewery. I thought I give it a try with a decent food pairing.

Look is straw yellow with a thick head white head that got coarse to fine bubbles. Bubbles are medium to fine size. Head reduces after while to nothingness. Looks like summer in a glass.

Aroma is grassy and noble hops with some campfire. I took a while to identify the smokey flavor as it is well balanced with the hops. Even when you have nailed it, it never gets overpowering as it sometimes does with regular Rauchbiers.

Taste is just a touch of pilsner malt sweetness and I hardly get any smokiness, but I do get a good amount of nice late hoppy bitterness that is pretty intense for a Helles and probably intensified by the smoke.

Light body and a bit too fizzy. Certainly refreshing and to the style.

I am still not convinced of the smokey flavors but I do think this is a nice beer and good for pairing with BBQ or any smoked food. It is a refreshing thirst quencher and sessionable like any other Helles. This beer definitely gots its place in the world and I might come back to it.

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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 IchLiebeBier
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pale, honey color; huge fluffy long-lasting white head

Aroma: Light malt; bready; slight citrus

Taste: Slightly bitter up front, through the mid and finish; juicy and refreshing, but not balanced with sweetness; much like a Pils, which is not my favorite style

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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Photo of fmccormi
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from a 500ml / 16.9oz pry-off bottle to an oversized wineglass (Tired Hands stemware). No freshness or bottling date is evident on the bottle, but I picked this up the first time I saw it in this area, just a few weeks ago, so I’m assuming it’s still relatively fresh-ish enough.

Appearance (4.0): Pours with nearly three fingers of light, sudsy, bone-white foam that dies down at a moderate pace. The body is a pale golden color, not quite as pale as straw tones and not as rich as honey tones. Just a slight chill haze. Moderate retention, leaving a thin layer of foam on the surface of the beer. It does leave some fat suds all over the near side of the glass—not a ton of lacing, but it’s nice enough.

Smell (3.75): Juicy, modestly sweet bread aromas, like fresh-baked sweet buns with some light grape and pear scents, nice and light and sweet and lovely. Some floral hops, not so much grassy, herbal, or lemony as I might have expected from the style, but nice and veeery lightly floral.

Taste (4.0): Starts off with the same kind of almost floral, lightly sweet bready tones in the nose, but dryer. The pale, grainy malt character is light and bready, like fresh biscuits but toned down (without losing any character). There’s a modest bitterness that comes through in the mid-palate, grassy and slightly herbal, very classic German hop notes. On the finish, there’s just the slightest, but still quite rich in character, smokiness—the kind of smoke character you get from smoked cheese (without the cheese, obviously. Point is, not like bacon or charred grain).

Mouthfeel (4.5): Soft, full carbonation that foams easily but dies out well enough on its own, too. A nice little tingle here and there, but nothing aggressive. The body is well on the light side of medium and finishes juuust barely on the dry side (though there’s nothing about it that’s particularly thick or syrupy, either—just incredibly well-balanced in terms of feel).

Overall (4.25): This is a nice beer, well-crafted and on point for the style. The little bit of smokiness towards the end gets washed away if you’re not careful, but if you pair it with food it gets more noticeable and offers a very nice, unique edge that definitely sets it apart from the field. Very nice, subtle, well-crafted, and refreshing.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
3.84/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured out of a brown 16.9 oz bottle into a pokal glass. No bottling date or "freshness" date, but it does guarantee that it was brewed according to the purity law, etc...

Appearance - Pours a glowing golden body with ample carbonation bubbles rising up through the glass to a pillowy, stark white head. The head gets up to 2-2.5 fingers and dissipates at a leisurely pace, leaving leopard-print lacing

Smell - Grain and yeast are the most present aromas, but there is also a hint of smokiness, like open-fire baked bread.

Taste - Yep, there's fulfillment of the aroma's smoky essence. Notes of smoke-cured light meats, like salmon and turkey, but it's faint. Flavor profile seems a little conflicted between a rich, complex lager and a crisp, refreshing one. I sense elements of both.

Mouthfeel - Again, a bit confusing. Body is medium, reminding me a bit of juice, but finishes crisp and clean, like a lager.

Overall, an odd but strangely tasty beer. I'd label this a gateway for getting into smoked beers, because while it doesn't actually use smoked malts, they boil it in the same kettles and use the same yeast as the other smoked beers, so the smoke element is very much there. However, it's not overpowering, and so very approachable.

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Photo of beergoot
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pale, straw yellow body, crystal clear, with excellent carbonation and a thick white head. Bright, grainy lager aroma. Biscuit and light cracker malt flavors with a crisp hop bitterness near the end. Light bodied with a crisp, clean, dry finish.

An extraordinary German lager that hits all the style marks in excellent fashion. Well-balanced combines with nice, low-key complexity throughout. I've always liked their smoked beers and was hoping their helles lager would provide similar satisfaction. I was not disappointed and would recommend this beer to anyone without hesitation.

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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 Tucquan
3.84/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2013-02-16 in Bowling Green, KY

A - Clear golden-yellow with a 2-finger head that fades quickly leaving mild lace.

S - Sourdough, citrus, light earthy spice

T - Yeasty bread, citrus, light smoke, grass, earthy spice. Finishes with a light flourish of bitterness. Not over-the-top but quite tasty.

M - Light-medium body and carbonation. Soft, lightly creamy, finishes on the crisp side.

O - A very nice Helles. Good flavor for low ABV. Wouldn't be a go-to for me but would enjoy it again.

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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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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear straw yellow color with almost no head

S: Lager yeast, some wheat, light fruitiness and grains, along with a smooth smokiness throughout

T: Follows the nose. Light fruitiness and grains, some wheat presence, and the smoke throughout. The smoke is nowhere near overpowering. Crisp

M: Light bodied with moderate-high carbonation. Crisp and refreshing

O: A solid helles lager with a nice smokiness to it. The smoke is more of a supporting role than anything else (especially compared to their other beers) and keeps things interesting. Very easy to drink and easy to find. Worth a purchase

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Photo of jsisko01
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear straw yellow, with a thick fizzy head of white carbonation. Thin, but attractive lace.

Nose is grainy and malty like most lagers, but with a hint of wood-smokiness. Definitely appealing.

Taste is crisp and light, but with that hint of smoky malts again. This is not from the malts being actually smoked (as in Schlenkerla's other noteworthy beers), but simply from this lager being boiled in the same copper kettles as the smoked beers, and perhaps from sharing the same yeasts as the aforementioned rauchbiers.

A delightful lager, full of flavor and with a unique and subtle flavor twist. Wonderful!

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.49/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From: Beertopia, Omaha, NE
Date: None on bottle
Glass: Ayinger willi glass

Schlenkerla's Helles lager manages to evoke slight traces of their other rauchbiers, despite not using smoked malts in this brew. How they manage to do this, I'm not sure, but it makes a marginally interesting contribution to the style (though I preferred their 'Krausen' lager) that was enjoyable enough, though nothing particularly stand-out or exciting. Interesting to have tried, but would I pay $5 for a bottle of this again? Probably not.

Pours a 1cm head of fairly clean, white foam made up of medium-sized bubbles, that has little retentive capability, dissipating with a few moments after the pour. Lacing is minimal, a few spots here and there along the sides of the glass. Body is a golden orange color, light turning the hues paler and bringing out the yellow. Carbonation is visible through the transparent body, not substantial or particularly interesting.

Aroma is like that of a typical helles lager: sweet, bread-like, slight dried lemon peel, but mixes things up by adding smoked malt from the middle through the end of the inhalation.

Tasting opens with sweet, bread-like malts and a bit of pale graininess. Mid-palate is of smooth, sweet, bread-like flavors tempered with mildly bittering hops and modest smoked malt. Back of palate picks up European hop bitterness, a bit of malt graininess, slight dried lemon peel. The subtle smokiness of the malts appears further in the close and aftertaste. Aftertaste is of light, bready malts, lingering bitterness, and more noticeable smokiness.

Beer is medium to medium-light in body with moderate to moderate-low levels of carbonation. The resulting mouthfeel is generally smooth and passes gracefully along the palate, with a light fizziness and foaminess due to the carbonation. Closes quite dry, the feel being rather astringent, actually.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finger of head. Clear, medium straw colored body.
Smells like bread, grain and smoke in that order.
Nice sweet taste, mild bitterness. Smoke in the background throughout. A really nice balance of flavors.
Crisp and light body, moderate carbonation. Short finish.
Enjoyable. A lager with some gentle smoke to it.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
89 out of 100 based on 355 ratings.