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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 Sammy
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Substantive creamy head. Medium body, with cream and grain, smokey and hops in finish as well as metallic. Drinkable, but I thought the smoke was more than I would want next time. suitable carbonation. Surprisingly decent find , Court Liquor, near the New Jersey ocean.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color with a 2 inch puffy off-white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Thin foamy rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and slight smoke aromas. Taste is of malt with a slight smoke flavor and some herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good lager that retains some of the traditional smoke aromas and flavors without being in your face.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear and golden yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin head that quickly died down.
S: The aroma has an interesting resemblance to bacon and contains notes of smoke and bready malts.
T: Smoky flavors are immediately apparent in the initial taste; these aren't very strong but stand out from the flavors of bready malts and a mild amount of bitterness from the hops in the finish. There are also some notes of malty sweetness in the initial taste.
M: The beer feels light- to medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. It has a clean finish.
D: I definitely want to try this beer again because its subtle smoky flavor is rather unique and makes both the smell and taste rather interesting. You would never expect the smoke from the appearance of this beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a rocky white head that sticks nicely and leaves a few strands of lace

Smell: Grainy lager aroma with subtle hints of smoked bacon

Taste: Opens bready, with undertones of grain and a developing smoked bacon flavor that offsets the lager twang; after the swallow, the expected crispness is conjoined with the smokey flavor, such that the smoked meat aspect lingers at the expense of the malt

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: As I generally don't care for the style, it is hard to get excited about this; it does drink nicely, however, and the smoke adds an interesting dimension

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle picked up at Chevy Chase in DC. Served in a tulip.

Pours a light straw color with a thin white head and not too much lacing, even after a good swirl to raise the head back up. The nose brings a good amount of smoke along with mild lager characteristics lingering in the background. The smoke definitely overwhelms the lager, which which basically just means a lightly-smoked carbonated beverage. This creates problems for both the nose and the taste. The feel is redeemed is the Helles' crispness is still there and fits well with the smoke. Fairly good, but not my favorite of theirs.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured clear golden yellow color lager with a medium white foamy head with average retention and limited lacing. Aroma of floral malt with some sweetness also noticeable. Taste is a mix between some floral malt with some sweet notes but I could not distinguish any some at all. Body is quite full and slightly oily with some medium carbonation. Interesting but not really smokey.

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Photo of largadeer
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle purchased at Gourmet Haus Staudt in Redwood City. No discernible freshness date on the bottle.

The beer is a pale effervescent gold, crowned by half an inch of resolute pure white foam.

There's a reserved smokiness to the nose, which I understand is the result of the beer being brewed on the same equipment as the brewery's rauchbiers rather than the actual addition of rauch malt. The combination of faint smoke and lightly sulfuric lager yeast makes me think of matches - it's more pleasant than it sounds. There's a crisp breadiness from the malt; overall it's a very gentle and clean aroma.

The palate, like the nose, features a pleasantly subdued smoke character that's very complementary to the crisp breadiness of the malt. Light in body, quite balanced in all respects and very clean, this is one of the most quaffable beers I can recall having in recent memory. The mouthfeel is soft, and there's little bitterness or bite to the finish, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable and flavorful beer, especially given the modest ABV.

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

500ml bottle - so not actually made with smoked malt, but created in the same vessels and with the same yeast as their other products, so this should be interesting.

This beer pours a clear, bright pale golden yellow colour, with a thin cap of generally just loosely bubbly dirty white head, which leaves some splattered mitochondrial lace around the glass as things slowly sink away.

It smells of meaty campfire smoke, grainy, doughy pale malt, wet saltine crackers, a subtle earthy honey sweetness, and leafy, weedy, and mildly floral hops. The taste is bready, grainy pale malt, a lessened (relatively) smoked porcine meatiness, singed dark honey, a wavering crackery pithiness, and more earthy, leafy, and weedy noble hop bitterness.

The carbonation is soft and understated, but adequate for the supportive and tingly job at hand, the body a mostly solid medium weight for the style, and surprisingly smooth, the wafting cinders not really all that threatening, somehow. It finishes off-dry, the underlying malt still having to parry the lingering ashiness making time with my various palates.

I know that this is a whole lot less smoky than its full-on, charred beechwood fire brethren, but even dumbed-down in that respect, it still resonates. The underlying Helles lager at least has some more wiggle room in this offering, which can be used as a teaching aid, to remind us all of what not torching your input ingredients has done for the world of beer over the past century or so.

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Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After multiple drafts at Map Room, i've only had a bottle of this once before. There's a newer label now with red & black accents to the lettering. If you still have a blue label, you can be sure its old.

Bright gold, lazy ascending bubbles, creamy cap of foam becomes a delicate skim after some time. Concentric, drippy rings of lace are left after each sip. Looks good for a Helles.

Aroma is clean, and lightly sweet and malty. A bare trace of smoke, really only apparent as it warms. Slightly husky and earthy. Fairly delicate and subtle.

Gentle apple bread sweetness at first, becoming very dry and slightly bitter with noble hops in the end. A very light smoky element is there in the aftertaste, lingering in the background. It's simple, yet has an understated elegance with the smoke traces. There is some weight to it, but it falls just around medium on the mouthfeel scale.

A fine Bavarian lager to usher in the Spring and it's warming weather...

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Photo of oberon
3.42/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a .5 liter stein a dull lemon yellow with a bit of chill haze a very thin wispy head atop,lighter aromas I picked up faint smoke and toasted grain with light iron/mineral.Taste is sweeter than expected some defienent honey malt and a touch of spice with the smoke coming thru but not overbearing not much hop presence.A light to medium mouthfeel and a low ABV makes it very drinkable but its a little dull on the palate and a little sweeter than expected.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Classic amber with a flawless interior disturbed only by a slow parade of superfine bubbles seeking higher ground. Those bubbles contribute to a cap that is a shade or two darker than bright white and has a quality look about it. A wide ring of delicate lace completes the picture of a fine looking German lager.

Like all the Brauerei Heller-Trum beers, this one features smoke to the near exclusion of all else (In fact, it's difficult to tell what style they are by the nose alone because beechwood smoke is all one is treated to on the sniff. They only differ in the intensity of the smokiness). That's more than fine with me since smoke, given its dominant nature, would have to be too laid back for anything else to be evident.

Helles Lagerbier is a helluva good lager beer. I love how each one of this brewery's offerings shares an obvious similarity, yet each one is also distinctly different. They wouldn't work nearly as well as they do if the brewers relied on the fragrant, woodsy smoke to paper over inferior beer. These guys are true craftsmen who just happen to love rauchbier and have decided to share it with the world. Good for us.

The key, of course, to this beer's success, and to the success of the entire lineup, is the balancing act between malt, hops, yeast and smoke. The hops provide a modest bitterness and the lager yeast doesn't provide much of anything at all in terms of flavor; nor should it. That leaves lightly sweet golden malt and beautiful beechwood smoke. Delicious.

The mouthfeel is right where it needs to be in terms of size and in the amount and character of the carbonation. While nothing about it stands out as exceptional, it's perfectly calibrated to the task at hand, that of delivering the devilishly good flavor to the expectant taste buds, while refreshing the drinker at the same time.

I've been looking for this offering for quite some time now and I'm glad that I finally found a bottle. It's a great addition to the Aecht Schlekerla series of beers and is easily the equal of my other favorites of the Munich Helles Lager style, the versions from Brauereien Aying and Weihenstephaner. Helles Lagerbier is a light, smoky treat and should be on the 'must try' list of all who consider themselves connoisseurs of smoked beer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.48/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up on my last trip through Ohio. I had not seen it around before so I figured I would grab one to try it out. Been sitting in the fridge and grabbed it tonight to compliment some nice chicken. Served chilled in a tall pilsner glass, this one was consumed on 09/14/2008.

The pour was decent with a very clear, and highly carbonated light golden amber lager shaping up before my eyes. A small, maybe a half an inch of white head came up over the top and settled down quickly into a light veil across the top.

The aroma was light. Some small amount of smoked in it, with lots of grain and bready malts, though I have to admit, not much here to really pick up on. The flavor was a bit better. Lots of campfire like smokiness in it, with a subtle, yet easily definable bready malt base. Some sweetness, caramel maybe and a light peach flavor when cold that quickly gets burnt out by the smoked and roasted malts. Way too light of a feel, almost makes the flavor get lost as it comes across a bit watered down. Easy to session though as it goes down pretty much like water.

Overall I would have to give this one an average. Definitly not the best thing I have ever had by a long shot, but nowhere near the worst. I would try it again if nothing else were around, but not at the 2.99 I paid for it.

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Photo of nickfl
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with an ample, two and a half finger head of foam on top of a perfectly clear, golden body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice lace on the glass.

S - A grainy aroma of pilsner malt with notes of bread and honey as well as herbal hops and a touch of smoke.

T - Dry malt, honey and a touch of woody character up front. Some herbal character in the middle with more honey and smoke beginning to come out. Finishes with dry malt, light bitterness and wispy, lingering smoke.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry, but balanced finish.

D - A balanced and drinkable Bavarian lager, but with a very subtle touch of smoke that takes it to another level of complexity. Really nice, up there with the best of Schlenkerla.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.84/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm filled with nothing but regret and utter compunction for never having reviewed anything at all from the Schlenkerla Smoke Inhalation Series. I'll get right on that. Let's start off with the Helles Lagerbier!

Appearance: Lightly hazy, pale copper body with a foamy, frothy, white head.

Smell: Sweetish honey and toffee maltiness with only a background, though still obviously present note of smoke.

Taste: Sweet maltiness, perhaps a pinch of crisp pilsner malt, along with flavors of toffee and clover honey. Hint of biscuits, maybe a bit of ripe peach fruitiness. Mild, spicy hops and bitterness along with the very restrained smoke character assist to balance the sweetness. Finishes crisp with a remaining light blend of smoke and sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Well, that really was a breath of fresh air! Schlenkerla lite, I dare say. Overall, highly drinkable and a very good way to casually introduce yourself to Schlenkerla's wares.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bamberg is known for its smoked beers, and Schlenkerla has been keeping that tradition going for over five-hundred years.

There are five styles now (a new "oak" beer is coming in December 2009). The Fastenbier is a seasonal, and less well-known. And although the Ur-bock is also a seasonal, along with the Weizen and Maerzen, it's better known. All get a fair amount of play - although the Maerzen is probably their best known. But what of the Helles? It seems to get passed by? (At least here in America). Is it that it's just a basic style? Or is it that the smokiness is just too much within such a simple malt base?

Based on my experience, that answer may never be known. I've had people tell me, "Oh, and it's not smoky like the others", while others have pushed it back across the bar.

I find it malty, and hoppy, and smoky, with the smoke building on the palate, as does the solid bitterness. It may be a helles, but it's not a helles for those with an inexperienced palate.

And with that said, unless you go to Bamberg to sample the wares, there's not a lot of other examples to try in the U.S.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 8/3/09 at Julian's in Providence, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep yellow color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of lager yeast, light malts and some hops.

T: The taste is bready up front with flavors of grain and lager yeast. The malt character is hearty but not heavy at all. There's a good hops presence for the style that brings a nice balance. There's a touch of spice in the background. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is very clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not filling at all, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a really nice simple beer that is worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Downeast Beverage in Portland ME, poured chilled in a pils glass shared with brew partner Tim Diener.

A - A very clear straw golden w/ visible carbonation and tiny beading. The lager creates spotty laced and the retention is very good

S - A slight smokiness is noted which is sweet w/ light hints of malt aroma

M- A light grainy feel w/ subtle smokey accent. The lager is mildly sweet with a moderatly low level of carbonation and mild spice. The lager finishe w/ a light toasted note

T - A subtle pilsner taste w/ slight sweet grainy flavor and mild cereal note and toasted flavor. The lager has a mild slight smoke but is married well and lets the malt stand on its own - no need to overwhelm with smoke as it still has a gental touch of herbal hop flavor in the finish

D - I love the complexity of the lager and the smoke compliments in every way and really addss to the Helles - Excellent drinkability!

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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 superspak
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into pilsener glass, no bottle dating. Pours slightly cloudy golden straw color with a nice 2 finger dense white head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a thick cap that lingers. Some nice lacing on the glass, with plenty of carbonation streaming up retaining a dense head. Aromas of big pepper, bread, light smoke, apple, pear, herbal spiciness, floral, and a light metallic off note. Some pretty nice and balanced aromas with decent strength. Taste of pear, pepper, apricot, apple, grass, biscuit, floral, cracker, toasted grain, and herbal spiciness. Fairly dry on the finish; with some lingering notes of pear, apricot, grass, toasted grain, earth, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a short bit. Very nice and well balanced flavors. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a slightly creamy and very smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol presence is essentially non existent as expected of 4.3%. Overall this is a really nice, smooth, and balanced Munich Helles lager. It probably wasn’t very fresh, but it was still very enjoyable.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although the beer itself doesn't use any smoked malts, it's brewed using the same yeast and in the same equipment as their other smoked beers. Pretty interesting beer pours a pale light golden delicate biscuit malt character with a nice spritzy carbonation level. Nice fluffy white head leaves intricate banded lacing. Aroma has a subtle smoke character with hints of smoked meats and a light biscuit malt grain character. Flavor has an interesting smoked nuttiness to it adds great complexity to a light classic well executed German helles. Kind of a one note flavor but a very interesting and tasty one note, makes me wish I had another bottle or two. Mouthfeel is evenly carbonated with a light but not watery body. Overall impression this beer rates high with on my likeability skill, would I consider sharing this with other friends into beer? Absolutely a very interesting take on a German Helles a classic style that doesn't get a whole lotta love around these parts.

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Photo of smcolw
3.46/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great start to the head--nearly pure white. Some spotty lace. Pale gold color and nearly clear (slight haze). The head does settle to nearly nothing.

Slightly skunked...otherwise a grainy, malty aroma. There's a mild touch of hop in the background.

Slightly sour from the skunkiness. Mostly malty with a mild hop spot in the swallow. Creamy finish. Good body for the style. Not the best light malted lager, but it holds its own.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Dem Bayerischen Reinheitsgebot entsprechend gebrautes" Say it, over and over again. Don't know what it means, though. Maybe "Mmm, mmm, good"?

Crystal clear pale yellow appearance, under a generous dollop of snowy white froth, slowly dwindling down, and leaving lace. Nice, classic look for the style.

Aroma is empty at first, with slight suggestions of pepper and grain. Dry, smoky malt. Well, this is Schlenkerla.

Taste: smokey from the start, then crisp, clean malty flavor. Easy-going down the throat, light-bodied, meager, but appreciated fruity, malt character, and ever-present smoke.

So easy to drink, and so refreshing. Classic lager, with the hit of smoke an extra treat. Yum, I'm liking it better as I go.

A unique offering, a terrific treat.

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Photo of jwc215
3.47/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours light straw yellow with a thin white head.

The smell is of sweet grain and some smoke.

The taste is of sweet grain and smoke. Other than a slight metallic tinge, not much else is going on here.

Light-bodied, pretty smooth with lingering smokiness.

Easy to drink for a smoky beer. Still, if I wanted a smoky beer, I would choose something else from this brewery. This is pretty much a run-of-the-mill Munich Helles Lager with this brewery's Rauchbier characteristic.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.01/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear medium golden yellow in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and faint hints of brassy highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy white head that reduces to a medium to large sized patch of thin film and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of bready malts and smoked malts (similar to the smoke used for smoking meats).

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of bready malts with just a hint of sweetness. That is followed by moderate flavors of smoke and the finish has just a hint of herbal hops flavors. Hops add a light amount of bitterness which fades away pretty quickly.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp and clean, smooth.

O: Light and refreshing with a light presence of smoke. Very interesting and definitely one to grab again - these guys make some phenomenal smoked beers.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.31/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Saw this beer on draft at a local beer bar and couldn't resist. I am not a rauchbier fan and I have tried the other beers from this brewery. I was excited that they made a non-Rauch beer but in hindsight, what exactly was I expecting?

Beer is yellowish and has a slight haze to it. White head and good lacing on the glass.

The aroma of this beer put me off of it almost immediately. It smelled acidic and terrible. Like spoilage. I swirled the beer and smelled it again and this time it was greatly improved. Could pick up on some sweetness and the malt. I'm still penalizing it for the first whiff.

This beer has (SURPRISE!) a slight aftertaste of smoke. Seriously, what did I expect? The brewery responsible for making 5 beers, 4 of them are the world's best Rauchbiers and this one, they couldn't escape it. I wonder if the smoke flavor is intentional or just ingrained in everything they produce. Like they will never be able to make a beer without a slight bit of smoke in it, just because their equipment is coated with it.

Overall the beer was smooth and kind fo bland. The smokey aftertaste was unnecessary and abbreviated my pleasure of this beer. Sorry Schlenkerla. Not interested.

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