Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier - Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
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Ratings: 507 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
3.75/5 rDev -5.1%
This is my favorite of the Aecht Schlenkerla smoked beers. The beechwood smoke is not over the top to the point where it tastes like smoked ham. It is definitely there, however. Not a beer for the feint of heart, even though it is a light lager. I can't wait to be evil to the next retarded customer that comes into my store claiming that they don't like "dark beer." Eh... on second thought, I'm not THAT big of a dick.
The beer pours to a clear golden color with only a feint hint of an amber hue. Nice apparent carbonation supports a thick and creamy white head. Retention is pretty good, and lacing forms a beautiful lattice reminiscent of a bee hive.
The smell is good. Plenty of beechwood smoked malt, though beneath lies a typical German lager vegetal aroma. Has a hint of spicy, maple and hickory smoked bacon, but not to the point of disgust such as the other beers from Aecht Schlenkerla. Rauchbier just isn't my thing (though I do like smoked porter), but this one isn't bad.
The taste is crisp and clean up front with a light sweetness and some vegetal lager flavors. The smoke doesn't hit until the finish, and it seems to come in waves. At first, just pure smoky goodness, but later on in the finish it begins to pick up some more smoked ham flavors. The aftertaste brings it all together and actually makes me appreciate what the beechwood smoked malt has to offer.
The body is fairly thin, as expected, though I thought it would be a little more crisp. A little more cleaner than I expected as well, given the smoke. Good overall. I probably won't drink it again, but at least it has helped me to gain a little more appreciation for rauchbier, which is one of the few German styles I have yet to truly adore.
01-28-2007 06:51:47 | More by neonbrown82
4.13/5 rDev +4.6%
A light lager that is pretty (bright, white, rocky head of foam) with spicy, hoppy aroma and a hint of smoke. A very nicely balanced helles lager, so light in fact, that you can taste the minerals (sort of salty?) with a bit more hop bite in the finish than expected. The unusual phenolics (from smoke I'm told) add a funky dimension to this beer that I can enjoy. Love the smoked beers and this one is pretty darn good, too.
01-28-2007 01:00:12 | More by marcobrau
3.58/5 rDev -9.4%
I curiously anticipate this one, thanks again harry!
Neat retro 70's looking looking 500ml bottle. Neat.
Pours an apple golden, head would form somewhat. A little cloudy. Aroma of a peaty cider. Plenty of fireplace like peat, with notes of apple and pear. The smoke takes over the in the taste department, setting it apart from other Munich Helles, giving it much more character. Really distinctive peat smoke. A lot of ripe apple in the taste. A bold malt bill too. Distinct (especially within its style) and quite filling, drinks heavier than a standard German lager. Happy to try!
01-17-2007 03:50:31 | More by biegaman
4.2/5 rDev +6.3%
Color is light gold and clear. To be expected. Head is froathy to an appropriate degree and retention is nice. Lacing makes an appearance as well. Nose is sweet with dry peppered hickory, beachwood smoke, buttery bready malt and some spicy czech hop. Taste has all of the above smoothed together nicely. Creamy coating mouthfeel but carbonation could be a little more energetic for this type of beer. Especially to stand up to the array of spice and smoke flavors. Moderate bitterness fits well. There's a nice push/pull between the hop dryness and lager clarity. Very easy to drink and very enjoyable. I like that distinct hickory flavor that I found previously in the rauchbier marzen.
Good lager and great fall back if you don't know what you want, but prefer something that is highly dirnkable.
12-04-2006 05:07:42 | More by tastybeer
4.22/5 rDev +6.8%
Clean, pale gold with sparse carbonation. The head quickly falls to a whispy, creamy white ring. Sweet grainy malt aroma is very smooth. The smokey side is great...a mild charred, meaty smokiness that doesn't overrun the other smells and produces a bready quality. The taste follows suit with more of a grain bite and less of an obvious smoke presence. Medium-light mouthfeel with low carbonation and a little dry.
Its hard not to like this beer. Its a tasty, super-drinkable lager that I could consume all day long.
12-04-2006 05:07:41 | More by wedge
4.33/5 rDev +9.6%
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.
11-10-2006 15:10:12 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.88/5 rDev -1.8%
Not a bad beer, though I prefer it's more intense and smokier big brothers.
The pairing of a basic, though quite solid Helles Lager with a slight smokiness is quite nice.
The beer upon the pour is pale yellow with a moderate, though shortly lived head. The beer leaves a little bit of lacing, though nothing overly significant.
The smell is slightly smoky and otherwise atypical to what you would expect from the style. Nothing too intense, but classic all the same.
The taste is quite delicious really and the slight smoky aspect really enhances things. Slightly spicy feel and a nice balance between the hop and malt. The smokiness never overpowering things, but letting itself be known.
Another quality brew from these guys.
11-09-2006 05:34:52 | More by JoeyHotrod
2.9/5 rDev -26.6%
Typical appearance of the style, golden yellow with a white, foamy head that dissipates in just about one minute.
Smells like alcohol with some hints of citric fruits and fresh hops.
Taste is clean, dry, hoppy but not really complex.
Mouthfeel is light, would be easy to drink multiple if not for its overall unimpressive taste.
Perhaps it is just because it is not my style, but I found this one to be very unimpressive, and the only Aecht Schlenkerla I will not buy a second one...
10-23-2006 02:19:45 | More by brdc
4.3/5 rDev +8.9%
Found this one at the always worth a visit DeCicco martket in Pelham, NY. Squat German style bottle, w/o freshness indication (seems the Germans are slow to embrace this consumer friendly innovation) this one pour, clear, dull, yellowy, with an initially loose white fluffy head, evolving into a thick loose film and leaving pleanty of scattered drying lacing. Nose here is softly of grass and a hint of smoke. Pleanty of crisp, dry and snappy hops cary the freight here, also more hints of smoke, lime and then the expected bone dry spicy hop finish. Nice, refreshing lager, bring on the smoked meats, creamy cheese and bread.
10-14-2006 13:40:36 | More by Billolick
3.95/5 rDev 0%
500-mL bottle, purchased in the US.
This lagerbier poured a clear, golden color with white foam that persisted a while then dissipated almost completely, though clinging a bit on the glass. There was a good stream of carbonation from the bottom of the glass. The smell was lightly malty with a touch of sweetness. There was perhaps the faintest touch of smoke, but perhaps it was my imagination? The taste was nicely mildly malty with a slight "lager tanginess". The hoppiness was very mild but well balanced with the malt. As with the aroma, there was perhaps the faintest touch of smoke in the flavor. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium body and modest carbonation. There was a mildly hoppy finish. This was a very nice, mild helles lager.
10-07-2006 19:25:16 | More by UncleJimbo
3.65/5 rDev -7.6%
I heard about this beer last night, and saw that ppoitras found it at Julio's, right near where I work. So I went down at lunch today, and damn I am glad I did! I got the last bottle they had out... the shelf was empty and there was just one in the cooler. Don't know if they had more in the back, the guy I talked to had no clue.
This beer poured out clear and yellow, with a noisy, fizzy head. A pratty average lager look, but with a hint of lacing.
The aroma was hoppy, with hints of lemon and a definite pepperiness.
The taste was definitely smoky. But it wasn't overpowering. The hop bitterness was a little bit much, but overall it was mostly balanced.
Mouthfeel is light and crisp. Pretty good.
Drinkability... a little better than average. Would have given it more, but the bitterness was a wee bit too prominent.
10-03-2006 02:01:26 | More by connecticutpoet
4.35/5 rDev +10.1%
16.9oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.
Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" bright white head over the clear light golden brew. Head fades down relatively quickly to white film, with prevalent sticky lace. Aroma is light sweetness with the ever-present Schlenkerla smokiness, although a bit controlled here. Taste is excellently balanced, with the maltiness countered by the moderate hoppiness, and wisps of smoke throughout it all. Mouthfeel and drinkability are excellent. This one's got the best of both worlds, some smokiness, but still easily approachable. This is the Schlenkerla to start someone new with.
09-26-2006 21:09:54 | More by ppoitras
4.13/5 rDev +4.6%
Picked this up in Orlando. I guess now it's available in MN too. Oh well.
Nice sweet (like vanilla) malt aroma with just the hint of smoke way in the back. Very nice.
Brilliantly clear dark gold. Big and full white head that shows a creamy nature as it slowly settles.
Smokiness is a quite a bit more pronounced in the flavor. Never too strong or overpowering but always present. Nice and grainy malt character with less sweetness noted (than in the aroma) but still present right up front. Mild bitterness shows in middle and stays consistent through a relatively short and generally malty finish that shows increasing dryness as warms.
Moderate body (for a lager). Clean. Fair amount of fullness from carbonation, yet continues to go down quite easily.
Ya' know the thing about lagers is they go down so easily and one this good is hard to savor. Tasty with just enough complexity to make it interesting. Very nicely done. This would be very good with grilled food.
09-10-2006 23:54:43 | More by garymuchow
3.95/5 rDev 0%
Pours a crystal clear yellow with a pilfy white head that recedes quickly to nothing. No lace.
The aroma is of smoked brats. No kidding. It really smells of grilled brats.
The beer has a very unique flavor profile. The expected malt, bready and toasty. The unexpected oh so obvious smoked flavor and nice bitter spiciness at the end.
Thin and watery in the mouth.
This is a drinkable summertime beer that offers something different in the smoked flavor.
09-07-2006 03:20:48 | More by wcudwight
4.35/5 rDev +10.1%
I love this beer. I had this for the first time at a tasting with my beer rep at the bar I used to work for. Drinking this beer made me nervous at first seeing as Rauchbier is a once in a while indulgence for me. What a surprise though - poured into a willybacher this beer was a pale straw color with superior clarity (which for some reason I did not expect being as this is a Schlenkerla brew) with a rocky head. The aroma is of spicy hops, sweet bready malt and of course smoke -but much less smoke aroma than I get from the Schlenkerla Rauchbiers. Because this is not listed as a rauchbeir on the label I was torn as to what I should think about the smoke aroma. The mouthfeel is light clean and dry with a light carbonation. The first sip is outstanding - well-balanced malt, very crisp and dry, hops don't come in until the finish and are coupled with a very subtle, very flavorful and oddly refreshing smoke tinge. Who really brewed this? Clearly not Heller-Trum whos other beers are sooo very smokey and intensely robust. The smokiness is so subdued and complimentary to the rest of the beer's flavor profile, that I can hardly believe it's not an added synthetic flavor. Each sip and the smokiness becomes less and less pronounced as my palate grows accustomed. I ended up ordering a case of this and drank half of it myself. Recently I caught up with the local guy who works for the importer and he tells me the brewery uses absolutely NO smoked malt. Apparently they just pass unsmoked malt through the same gristmill as the smoked malt and this adds enough smokey starches to the brew. He also mentioned they use the same yeast strain as the authentic Rauchbier and so these yeast may be passing on smoke flavors from batches past. Either way this is an incredible Helles and very worth your attention, and the attention of your next cheeseburger.
08-28-2006 04:58:28 | More by miskatonic
4.4/5 rDev +11.4%
Crystal clear pale yellow. Forms a rocky head that dissipates to a color leaving beautiful lacing. A very tame nose by schlenkerla standards. All i can pick out is very lightly toasted malts, a faint bready note, faint hops and the slightest smoke. However the smoke perks up in the taste, very restrained compared to their other beers. Brilliantly integrated into the beer. Starts smoky with bready malts and then takes on a grassy note as it dries into a bitter finish with smoke lingering. Just like with all the schlenkerla beers, the smoke builds and builds on the palate as you drink. Incredible helles. Mouthfeel is light with typical medium carbonation. As drinkable as any helles.
This would be an incredible session beer if it weren't $4 a bottle.
08-28-2006 04:21:38 | More by numenor1
3.95/5 rDev 0%
Clear golden bronze color with a medium white head which dwindles to nothing. Slight bubbles to the top.
Toasty malt aroma, very German in style. Slight smoke and a lingering hop bouquet.
Malty body but not too sweet. Lingering smoke underneath seems to cut through the sweeter malts. The smokiness is not near as dominant as in their other offerings but instead provides a nice balance to the lighter body. Longer floral hop finish finishes the tasting.
The body provided balance and base to this offering. Medium carbonation levels seemed to give each ingredient a chance to show itself while creating moderate smoothness and drinkability. Fairly full body, esp. for the style.
This was fairly drinkable but I don't know if I could drink these all day or night. A nicer beer to enjoy but no thirst quencher. Very unique, definitely recommended.
08-14-2006 20:15:45 | More by granger10
4.85/5 rDev +22.8%
$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!
08-02-2006 20:11:41 | More by Mitchster
British Columbia (Canada)
4.43/5 rDev +12.2%
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!
07-28-2006 21:11:43 | More by Derek
4.58/5 rDev +15.9%
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!
07-26-2006 14:05:37 | More by ViveLaChouffe
3.68/5 rDev -6.8%
Looks liek a normal helles. Golden, crisp looking yellow with one column of bubbles making its way to the top. But it doesn't smell like your normal helles. It's smoked. But smoked cyrstal and pale malts. Very lioght smokey aroma mixed with grass and pilsnert malts. Tastes like a distant smokehouse. Light mlating with an equally light smoke flavor. Very unique. One of a kind.
07-22-2006 22:21:13 | More by scruffwhor
4.03/5 rDev +2%
I was attracted by the simple, Bavarian label. I thought it was probably either a really good small-batch German beer or a really bad German macro trying to look the part....I took a chance, and really liked this beer.
Pours a very pale-clear, almost scary color. Reminded me of a domestic light beer. Head dissipates quickly. Aroma is smoky, which was very unexpected until I noticed it was the Aecht Schlenkerla brewery. Didn't connect the name until then.
Taste is classic Helles, with a very slight smoke undertone. Very enjoyable and very drinkable. I'll be buying more of this. Good "summer" beer, if you believe in such a thing.
Edit: Found some more of this finally. Still love it. I could drink this all day, and plan on buying a case to keep around.
07-13-2006 22:24:04 | More by smurfyou
4.22/5 rDev +6.8%
I like the plain and simple label with the Bavarian colors. A 500 ml bottle.
It's crystal clear pale straw with a wonderful fluffy head, lotsa carbonation. Aromas of malt, grassy hops, a sweet nuttiness, slight sulfur. The taste is wow, real interesting. Smoky but not in your face, a beautiful balance of bright hops and sturdy malt, absolutely refreshing and delicious. The smokiness pervades the taste from beginning to end, but doesn't mask any of the other flavors.
This one's a keeper and worth seeking out. Wonderful.
07-11-2006 16:10:51 | More by horndecker
4.28/5 rDev +8.4%
This is great beer!
Stonecrusher stopped by and mentioned that the case I had was not dated and ran the risk of being old, I trust the big lug so we cracked one in the store to test it.
Poured a nice light gold with a thin head, that had me a little worried at first because it died so fast.
The smell was slightly smoky, like a nice western highland scotch, wicked with some hops and a good green leaf hint. Had a hint of rye bread in the nose.
The taste is smooth with a smoky/hickory pepper that would pair well most cheese, and good marbled beefcuts. It finishes with a subtle malt/hop body thats like a sour dough bread.
Best beer I have had in a while. I quote crusher "this beer rocks"
07-11-2006 00:47:16 | More by murrayswine
4.8/5 rDev +21.5%
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.
07-10-2006 13:22:33 | More by keilerdunkel
Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
89 out of 100 based on 507 ratings.