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Velas Helles - Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant

Not Rated.
Velas HellesVelas Helles

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
76
okay

71 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 71
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 3.26
pDev: 19.33%
Wants: 0
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant visit their website
Tennessee, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-06-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 71 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.05/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A solid pour into my 25cl glass yields a billowing, initially four-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head. The beer is a clear, gold copper color that shows an almost brilliantly clear, lighter version of the same color when held up to the light. The aroma is a mix of herbal honey malt notes, a touch of grassiness and a lemon herb hop character. There is a touch of grassy grain in the finish as well. This has a fairly nice aroma for a Helles that is pretty spot on for the style (except for that herbal honey note perhaps).

This beer is dry tasting up front, with an almost tart note that lingers into the finish. There is a light bitterness that mingles with the tartness in the finish; the tartness seems to be just a bit more noticeable than the hop bitterness though. The beer is also a bit over-carbonated, which is why it started to foam up as soon as I popped the cap, the effervescence is a bit too much for this beer to stand up to, but luckily this is easily remedied. A touch of tart green apple flavors up front seem to be what the herbal honey notes in the nose have turned into. This is quite light bodied, though not out of style.

The tartness in this beer is quite light, but it is distinct, this would certainly point to an infection of some sort (the over-carbonation could be a sign of this as well), and it certainly does take this beer out of style. As the beer warms up the honey notes in the nose start to take on a bit more fruitiness. Not bad, but certainly not what I was expecting or hoping for; in many ways it reminds me of a Berliner Weiss, it is not quite there though as the sourness would need to be a bit more gripping. Actually if this was labled as a Berliner Weiss I would have enjoyed it quite a bit more as it does have a nice, clean tartness to it.

Gueuzedude, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of atsprings
2.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a Lucifer tulip pours a crisp pale gold with a thin diminishing off-white head. Aroma is just a trace of sweet malts. The taste is a slight amount of sweet malts and and just a hint of hops. The beer is light and crisp, but a bit on the watery side. This is one textbook mediocrity.

atsprings, May 11, 2009
Photo of witster18
2.17/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First know that my previous review was extremely positive...B+ I think.

I had to come back and review this beer because SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED....either I got a bad keg or this one has really gone downhill in that past 2 years.... one or the other...

unlike the last growler this was VERY flat....
the last one had less of a copper hue...
this one was VERY winey and overly sweet
the last one was crisp and refreshing and virtually no strong alcohol bite to the flavor..
the last one was one of the better Hellas styles I'd ever had....
this one was flat out TERRIBLE!

NOw...I would have dismissed it and not written another review if it weren't for the fact that I filled this sucker AT THE BREWERY!!! OUT OF THE BAR KEG!!! so there were NO excuses!

Next time I go back I'll revisit a pint just to see if it was a bad keg or if this thing has truly fallen off the 'good beer' map....

note to brewer
Marty,
I always enjoyed my trips to Gatlinburg... Playing a game of Adam's Family Pinball and picking up a growler of your Hellas were two of the biggest reasons...
take it from someone who's drank alot of your beer.... the last growler was embarassing.
Before I buy another I'll have to taste it first. Here's to hoping something just 'went wrong'.

witster18, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of PorterLambic
3.38/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Arrived at the table a dark yellow with negligible head, just a ring, really. No lace left behind.
Smell is just hops and light malt, nothing more.
Taste is malt, hops, a light yeast note, lemon. Malty aftertaste.
Medium body & effervescence. A solid helles but not a standout.

PorterLambic, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
3.2/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at the Brewgrass festival in Asheville, North Carolina. Consumed on 09/20/2008 and reviewed from notes taken at the time.

The pour was ok, a light straw colored lager was the first thing noticed. Very clear with a nice amount of carbonation. This converged into a decent sized head of white that faded nearly immediately upon forming.

The aroma was light, very light, to be honest almost non existent at times. After warming it came around a little showing some decent grain and bread like malt tones and a touch of some light earthy hops. The flavor was more of the same, with the key word here being very light in the profile especially. Decent body on top of a mostly grain profile, with more then adequate carbonation making up the bulk of this. Easy to drink I will have to admit, though the flavor was a bit too thin for me at times, it was still more then decent overall.

Overall not a bad little lager, though the subtleties were severely lacking it was still fairly decent. I would see no issue with throwing this down on a hot day, though I am sure there are much better lagers out there for sure. I am not really sure what to take away from this one as it is a hard style to really having any different in but I still feel even given that this is barely above average in any regard.

mikesgroove, Sep 28, 2008
Photo of Misfit138
3/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into my Sweetwater Blue pint glass.

A- Fizzy yellow beer with minimal head, that did manage to leave lacing along sides of glass.

S- Mild malts with hints of hops

T- Mild malt and grain flavor, maybe a a slight tart finish

M- Light body with fair carbonation

D- I would say its about like a typical mainstream domestic lager beer, but slightly better than most. Its not my favorite style, I was impressed with the porter that Smoky Mountain Brewery made and took a bottle of this home as well just to try. I think its a good beer for those that don't stray far from the Miller Lite and Coors kind of beers.

Misfit138, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of nem2006
3.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Came out a clear, pale yellow with a slight head and medium carbonation visible.

The nose was sweet with floral notes. You can definitely catch the hops.

The taste was smooth and sweet. It almost tastes like a white grape juice, in my opinion. For a lighter beer I would say it was quite flavorful. I would take this over any main stream light beer any day.

nem2006, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of meechum
3.38/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this as part of the sampler. Sample of 5.5 oz I thought was enough to review. Has a lighter than normal color for a Helles and little to no head with no lacing. The taste was good with a nice malt character to it..some biscuit with a bit of a nutty taste also. Hops were very underwhelming but left a bit of citrus finish.

Overall it's a good beer and certainly better than any macro you could get a hold of but nothing special

meechum, Dec 11, 2007
Photo of TheBierBand
3.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My third beer at the Pigeon Forge location.

Arrived in a pint glass with a thin cap of bubbles. The color was lighter than any Helles Lager I've ever had. I would call this a dark yellow.

The scent was hardly there.... just a faint lager smell, but more robust than any macro out there. Was there some lemon citrus in there?

Taste: Not much going on here. Faint malt, non-existant hops, and that lemony twinge.

Mouthfeel: Nice and refreshing... but a bit too fizzy for my taste.

Drinkability: A good summer-time beer. Although, the carbonation detracts from this beer.

TheBierBand, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of Beeryce
3.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle that my sister brought me from a trip she took.

White head is average with decent retention, produces no lacing. Very pale straw yellow color and crystal clear with slightly higher carbonation level.

Nice citrus nose, that fades quickly, with a clean maliness behind. The aroma of untoasted pale malt continues to develop with time.

Much more complex and full flavored than I anticipated. The taste starts slightly sweet with a touch of citrusy hops. Then the hops bite, with some spice, and cut the sweetness to reveal the overall maltiness; which is very raw in character.

The mouthfeel is thin, very suiting and finishes a little dry.

Drinkability is high as the beer feels light but is very flavorful.

Beeryce, Mar 03, 2007
Photo of Tuey13
3/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at the brewery in Pigeon Forge. The bartender told me this was comparable to Corona although I thought it had more flavor and was a bit fuller in body than a corona. Has a light golden color with a small white foamy head that was gone rather quickly. Has a faint aroma with a bit of citrus at the end. The taste was very light and sweet with a bit of malt and hops but nothing overpowering. This could definately be a session beer or one to drink on a hot day of doing yard work. But still it is just an average brew compared to the brewery's other offerings, but still a nice fizzy refreshment at the right time or to give to someone that might be scared off by a heartier brew.

Tuey13, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of veech
3.85/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This is a beer that I feel the brewmaster intends to mimic a Corona for the macro crowd. It is much better than a Corona, but I do see tourists drink this with a lime, which is not required. It has a standard straw yellow look with low carbonation and thin head. A very mild aroma that hints at a very mild sweet grain nose. Taste has a smooth grain accent with the lightest touch of hops on finishing. Mouthfeel is thin and somewhat watery. Drinkability is big as it seems to quaff better with each successive pint. Not my first nor second choice from this brewpub, but a pretty nice option in warmer months. This beer has been watered down to appease the masses as it had much more character and taste when it was first brewed (Gold medal Helles at the GABF in '99).

veech, Sep 24, 2006
Photo of Enola
3.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is very light in color. There is a small head. The smell is very slightly of hops. The taste is pretty bland with few flavors showing up. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth and a little bit oily. The drinkability is good. I could session this beer no problem. Not a bad beer, just plain.

Enola, Jul 29, 2006
Photo of wcudwight
2.05/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours the color of any BMC. Might as well be Bud, Coors, Miller, PBR, or the Beast in my glass. No head, no lacing.
Smells of buttery corn
I really don't see how you could call this any other style, other than American Marco Lager. It's your pretty much run of the mill BMC beer. Taste is of corn and rice.
Very light bodied and watery.
So far this is the worst that I have tried from Smokey Mountain Brewery. It could be a lawn mower beer. But, if that's what you want why not go to the local grocery and get the cheapest Macro in cans.

wcudwight, Jul 20, 2006
Photo of weeare138
1.13/5  rDev -65.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to hopdog for this...
Appears a hazy light gold. Some scattered, white lace.
Smell is of buttered rotton corn and other skank ass vegetables.
Taste is of sour creamed corn...blech!!!
Mouthfeel is of rancid, gross, sour malt that isn't impressing me in the least. In fact...it's sour and plain out gross!
F this brew! I hate it!!!

weeare138, Jan 13, 2006
Photo of SixpointJMH
3.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad tasting brew at all here. It purs a Heineken-esque golden colour with a frothy head. The appearance wasn't what I expected and needless to say, was average at best.

The smell was slightly sweet and hoppy but had some grass notes to it as well. Again, pretty basic stuff here.

The flavour is very much in line with the smell, but more pronounced and enjoyable: hop, grass and some juiciness intermingle nicely throughout. The mouthfeel was right on with carbonation levels as they should be.

This one was fairly enjoyable, though not great, overall. Fix the appearance and smell a bit first (i.e. make them bolder) and they may be on to something here.

SixpointJMH, Jun 04, 2005
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - light golden color with wisps of sediment floating around mid-glass and up, slowly spreading to the rest of the pint glass.

Aroma - caramelly and malty, but not sweet. Smells wonderful.

Taste - tastes buttery and lemony. Kind of a weird combo, like an English ale meets hefe/summer cooler thing. Curious mix, I'm really not all that banged up about it, but it's tasty enough that it's already gone...

Mouthfeel - smooth, buttery and full of carbonation.

Drinkability - while well crafted, the flavor is too lemony for my liking. Still, it disappeared awfully fast.

brewdlyhooked13, May 12, 2005
Photo of mntlover
2.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very pale yellow with small white head that falls way to quick. Aroma is light some malt some grassy hops not much going on here. Taste is a little more maltier then their pilsner maybe a touch more hops also but overall just as soon have the Thunder Road not much diffrence between the two. Mouthfeel is light and drinkability is ok goes down quick and is refreshing. This brewery is making their stuff to appeal to Bud drinkers. None of their beers are very taste intensive made not to offend anyone I guess.

mntlover, Jan 24, 2005
Photo of Brent
3.38/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Perhaps the least personality of the beers I've had from this brewery. Very mild, with some malt caramel flavors. Hopping was modest, but the overall flavor profile was fresh and clean. Nothing wrong with this beer, it just really does not distinguish itself in any way.

Brent, Oct 11, 2004
Photo of Dogbrick
3.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to johnrobe for sending me this. The guy with the funny hat on the label is worth the price of admission. Billed as a "light German style lager" which doesn't really tell you much. Pours a gold color with a medium off-white head and mild effervescence. No lacing. Very light and sweet aroma of honey and even a little bubblegum. Very light-bodied with an unimposing hops flavor, with some malt and citrus as well. Finish is lightly sweet. Complexity is not a factor but this stuff is insanely easy to drink.

Dogbrick, Mar 22, 2003
Photo of johnrobe
2.42/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Update 8/17/04: Wow! This brewery has gone steadily downhill over the past few years. Velas Helles was once a tasty, spot-on domestic Helles, but my last sample had a perceptible amount of diacetyl. Yuck!! Not undrinkable...but I can do better with my homebrews.

A straw colored, extremely clear brew with a densely knit white head that shrinks to 1/4 inch and leaves some lace. The smell consists of a pleasant graininess along with some herbal Saaz and/or Hallertau hops. The taste is slightly dominated by candy-like sweet malt but the hops appear nicely in support. The mouthfeel is a bit creamy yet light at the same time. Not quite as full-bodied as it could be, but I'm being nitpicky. It is billed as a "Light German Style Lager". The finish is very clean and the drinkability is dangerous. Prosit!!
The visage of Smoky Mtn.'s brewmaster, Marty Velas, appears on the label appropriately in traditional German garb. I guess if you're gonna put your name and face on the label, you're gonna make sure it's one tasty brew.

johnrobe, Feb 06, 2003
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Velas Helles from Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant
76 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.