Hell | Surly Brewing Company

very good
1,146 Ratings
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Not unlike a Zwickel Bier from Germany, Hell is not filtered and fermented with lager yeast. American hops takes a back seat to the Pils malt sweetness and fresh bread aroma. The color is well... hell (Deutsch for light). It's fiendishly drinkable, and you don't have to sell your soul to get another.

Added by feloniousmonk on 08-26-2008

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,146 |  Reviews: 332
Photo of Philcassella
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of gobuccos
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of younger35
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a pint of this at Bavarian Lodge on Friday while enjoying some tasty ass potato pancakes. I went specifically to drink as much Coffee Bender as I could fit in my belly but thought I better start with this. Drank from a normal ol' pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a light yellowish orange with excellent clarity and a nice half finger bright white head. Lots of fizzy bubbles permeate throughout maintaining a nice cap and collar that leave some spotty lacing.
Smell- Has a very light grainy sweetness that seems par for the course. Very light floral aspect and soft fruity peach skin. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect a light lager to smell like, inoffensive and fairly neutral.
Taste- Much like the nose it's very crisp and clean. Lightly sweet and bready with a bit of raw graininess and malty bite. The hops do come into play with a grassy start and slightly (stress, slightly) citric finish. The slight bitterness continues into the finish with a some yeasty tones.
Mouthfeel- After seeing all the bubbles fizzing throughout the beer it's surprisingly lightly carbonated. Smooth and clean and super refreshing.
Drinkability- Great! Nice easy drinking lager that does manage to not be totally lame and bland. Nice and malty with the slightest kiss of hops that I really enjoyed. It was very drinkable and could easily be sessioned for hours and hours. Without getting crucified for blasphemy, this would be an EXCELLENT beer for Sunday morning bloody beers. Tasty football beer that accompanied my potato pancakes wonderfully.

 1,536 characters

Photo of Spider889
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of SD-Alefan
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of MNBeer1017
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of steve8robin
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 5

Got this on a trip to MN. Glad to get to try this brew. 16oz can...

A: Crystal clear golden yellow with a small half inch white head that quickly fades to a lace atop the brew. Decent.

S: Some breasy malt upfront with hints of sugary bubble gum, banana, and light fruits. Seems very belgium-esque here. Decent.

T: Very watery bread with hints of rye. Hints of bitterness on the backend. Hints of floral bitterness hidden in the middle. Very one dimensional. Kind of disappointing.

M: Very light bodied with very light carbonation. Eh.

D: Drinkability is perfect on this one. Goes down so very easy!

This was a disappointing brew. It's very 1-sided. What you taste initially is what you get, nothing else emerges as you drink. Don't bother hunting this one, not worth you time.

 784 characters

Photo of Beerasaurus
3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can into half-liter Giessener mug that my wife brought back from her year in Germany back in college, more than ten years ago, which is my go-to vessel for anything bigger than 12 oz but smaller than 22 that isn't a hefe. Another huge thank you to Matt (Drabmuh) for hitting another big want that he didn't even really know was as big as it is.

Pours a beautiful golden-straw color, just shy of crystal clear, with a beautiful, creamy white head of about one-finger, very nice retention and excellent lacing. Loads of effervescence streaming from the bottom of the glass keeping that head stoked.

Nose is lightly sweet pils malt, just a bit bready, with a nice layer of fresh-cut hay on top, and a wee bit of citrus that just barely peeks through.

Taste is what you would basically expect - beautifully balanced, subtle pils malt sweetness, bready and with that signature German richness despite the whisper-light body, with a light balancing hoppiness. The one difference is that the light hop presence is very clearly American in origin. Just a bit of citrus, with a bit of a coarseness that, while it doesn't distract too much, clearly marks this one as a bit off the beaten path. As a result, this one feels just *barely* less polished than a quality example from the style's mother country. Finish is long, light lingering bitterness, exhales of that beautiful malt note. Quite good though, and in most ways, this one is spot on.

Mouthfeel on this one is, like the appearance, excellent. Light in body and with a nice, balanced carbonation, this one really hits the right notes.

Honestly, the only thing that keeping this one at 4 in the drinkability category is the style - this style practically defines the term for me. Thus, any bit of coarseness is a bit of a hit, even a minor one as in this one.

 1,817 characters

Photo of JimGlonke
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of chugalug06
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Canned 5/17/12

Reserved, two-figered, foamy, white head. Brew is very light (piss) yellow with nice clarity.

Smells thin. Papery and rusty scent. Not much there.

A refreshing Lager, but thin, watery, and bland. Wet with HIGH carbonation. Mild crisp murky bread flavor.

Nothing memorable. No noticeable standout flavors or scents, a typical light Lager.

 358 characters

Photo of CityofWind_brew
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of fuzzcherry
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of RyanTheLion13
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Taybeh
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

Straw in color, and a decent off-white head; Nice nose of bready pilsner malt, faint grassy notes, something a bit floral too; taste follows the nose, with the bready biscuity taste even more pronounced. This is a great summer brew, and a refreshing break from the intensely hopped ales I'm often pulled towards. I don't have access to enough good helles or zwickels to be sure about how this holds up against the best in class, but this is miles better than the macro lagers.

 478 characters

Photo of Beertracker
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of SuperHop18
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Gambyt20
2.82/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Photo of craigbelly
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Opinions are all over the place on this one. It's bud light all the way to it's to hoppy to be a lager. Don't get hung up on the category this beer falls in. It's light, it's a little hoppy, and it's delicious. Elements of many styles come to play here. Alot happening for what some call Surly's light beer.

 307 characters

Photo of freduardo
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Rand_ale_Thor
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of BuckTuckian
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of DrAnnaNemis
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of sideshowe
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Hell from Surly Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 1,146 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.