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Helles Belles | Ninkasi Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
83
good
40 Reviews
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Helles BellesHelles Belles
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
ninkasibrewing.com

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cbarrett4 on 08-28-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
40
Ratings:
106
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
19
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 106
Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Bottle
Best By: Sep 01, 2016
ABV: 5.3%

Pours a pretty nice clean/clear pale yellow color, nice carbonation, with a quick/fizzy small white head, which leaves minimal sticky lacing behind. The nose is pretty nice, malty, slight yeast note, grassy/wheaty, some citrus. The taste is pretty nice, malty, slight yeast, grassy/wheaty, nice citrus note. Medium body. Overall, a pretty nice thirst quencher.

 407 characters

Photo of metter98
3.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is slightly hazy light yellow in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a short bright white head that died down, leaving a patch of bubbles in the center and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of grassy hops are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of grassy hops along with hints of bready malts. There is a light amount of bitterness and the grassy flavors linger into the finish.
M: It feels light to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and has a nice amount of grassiness in both the smell and taste. However, the taste reminds me more like a pilsener than a helles lager.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of dreamincelestial
2.76/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Honestly not that impressed. First discovered Ninkasi from Dawn of the Red (one of my VERY favorite beers of all time), and this is way too light for me to even decipher from a Bud or Coors light. Disappointed tbh

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Photo of ricke49
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clean as can be, but still with enough flavor to satisfy. I appreciate a local brewer creating a European variety, which can be enjoyed without wondering how long it was at sea, or sitting on a dock. Lager freshness so important! Grassy, with definite hop and malt presence. Refreshing as all get out. Makes me glad it's summer.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear light golden color with white head. Cereal grains, bread, and some hay on the nose; follows onto the palate. Light bodied. Finishes pretty crisp and clean. Nice summer beer.

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Photo of Bulabeers
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Pale on tap no head no lacing no bubbles streaming up
S: Spicy and herbal hops pale malts
T: Earthy herbal hops spicy hops but not too bitter they just carry the brew along with pale malts and a yeast element
F: Crisp well carbonated.
O: Nice full flavored rolling rock

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Photo of mactrail
4.02/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear, bright pale golden with a modest foam in the Affligem chalice. Pleasant aroma of honey and the pollen smell of fruit trees blooming. Fragrant with soe kind of European hop that is perfumey with just the slight hint of a skunk. Tangy and spritzy on the tongue. One gulp invites another.

The honey taste is distinct to me. There's just a whiff of the Kölsch style of perfumey hops. I didn't have a cheap lager to compare this too, but the Ninkasi tastes both crisp and complex. The lingering honey malt flavor reminds me of a Blonde Ale, but the crisp lager taste makes this better. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at the Community Co-op in Bellingham.

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Photo of Lagerdetoro
3.08/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Not to waste a lot of time: I cracked open a twelve ounce bottle, poured it into a pint glass, smelt it and sipped and drank- I finished it and cracked open a can of Rolling Rock- poured it into a fresh pint glass; smelt, sipped and drank. By Golly! The Rolling Rock looked and tasted better! At half the price. Surely, Ninkasi can do better that this.

 357 characters

Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very, very, very pale yellow in color with a white head.

S: Very light aroma, crisp with light bread notes, and some light straw.

T: Light and fruity, with citrus notes and a slight earthy flavor in the finish. Lightly bready. Nice.

M: Light, crisp, and somewhat dry. Carbonation is medium.

O: Overall a pretty decent beer.

 336 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear, straw yellow in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is straw, grass, and faint honey. Nice light bodied sessionable lager. I have others I prefer in the style, but this is good.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle - wow, I just did a Jude-themed review, and now one that is an ode to AC/DC? You can't see me flippin' the horns right now, but you can imagine it!

This beer pours a clear, very pale golden straw colour, with two chubby fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly bone-white head, which leaves some white lightning flashing across the sky lace around the glass as it quickly abates.

It smells of bready and doughy pale malt, white saltine crackers, aged lemon flesh, a hint of earthy yeast, and grassy, herbal, and slightly skunky green hop bitters. The taste is gritty and grainy pale malt, dried white bread, muddled acrid citrus notes, some tame Euro gasohol, a still wayward son yeastiness, and more herbal, weedy, and yup, skanked-up hoppiness.

The bubbles are adequate in their lifting and parting frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and more or less smooth, the nature of the hops not of the douchey, interfering for no reason sort. It finishes off-dry, just, as the robust cereal malts continue to parry the lingering tainted green hop astringencies.

Overall, this seems to be striving a bit too hard to attain a mixture of Continental pils/lager 'character'. The petrol, yeast, and skunkiness are certainly all familiar notes, but, c'mon, dial it back, because as it stands now, they're taking me down and dragging me around.

 1,363 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

5.3% ABV per the label.

Pours a hazy lazy yellow with a foamy off-white head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of grain, earth, grass, hay, and slight skunk aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, cracker, and grass flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is smells decent, but the taste on this one is slightly better.

Serving type: bottle.

 595 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle:

Pours dull, hazed, yellow with a thin head that becomes a wisp. Minimal carbonated bubbles rise to the top. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of yeast, hay, some lemon. (Too yeasty).

The taste is of yeast - sweetened lemongrass. A bit of a chalky dryness in the finish.

It's pretty smooth and appriopriately light-bodied.

In the end, it's not "bad" - but it's too yeasty for what it is. It has potential - but needs better filtering (IMO).

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Photo of BeerBobber
4.01/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear golden color with a thin soapy white head that disappears quickly and a hell of a lot of carbonation.

Typical malty smell that has that bready odor and a faint smell of hops.

Taste follows the nose with some lightly sweet malt with some peppery beer playing across mid tongue. Just a hint of hops up front.

Mouth feel is light and has a very crisp finish.

First off the ABV is off on here because it is listed as 5.10% and on the bottle they list it as 5.3%. This however is a moot point. What we have here is a very light and crisp finishing beer that is full on flavor. This is my first beer in this style and I am very impressed. Being a pilsner lover this style is very similar if this beer is any indication of the style. Maybe minus some of that extra hoppiness of the pilsners.

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Photo of dmnota
4.04/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brilliantly clear, pale and golden. White head quickly dissipating to lacing across the top. Banana, water from a garden hose, slightly sweet, little in the way of hops. Brightly carbonated but easily drinkable. Too dry to be a go-to thirst-quencher. Great for the style but a little disappointing personally.

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Photo of vladdswrath
2.82/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear yellow gold with little if any head. Smell is dull and grainy, not much going on besides sweetness. Taste is much better than the previous two categories, but still fairly dull in the scheme of things. This is like a improved version of the usual commercial american lagers, although it still isn't anything I would actively seek out. (and to be fair, lagers in general aren't really my cup of tea. Mouthfeel is fairly light, although again, a little beefier than your typical commercial lager.

 508 characters

Photo of primocarnerra
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This bad boy tastes like a Budweiser. If I want a Bud, I will buy a Bud, and it will be cheaper than this lager monster.

Okay, I drank the second half of my beer, and then had another, and I have decided this is just a bit better than Bud, but not super significantly. What's the deal with lagers? There must be someone doing something micro special with lagers ------- something unique and Brooklydish, artisanal, vegan, Earl Grey lager with a hint of mustard seed and smells just like Alaska --- that sort of thing. Anyhow, anyhow, I am into my third Helles Belles, and I am going to finish this and go down to the 7-11 and get a six pack of Bud Light and watch some NCAA Basketball. The wife is away, so it is a good day. I will finish the expensive Ninkasi (what's up with that name?) when I am sober.

Oh yeah, this stuff is a nice pale yellow, with a good 2 fingers of head and delicate lacing. It smells of light hops and has certain sweetness to it. I sense a little unripe pear and overripe grapefruit. The malt is balanced out by the light bitter hops. The mouthfeel is TASTY TASTY!

 1,099 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin head on a clear golden body.
The aroma is straw, grain and a little metal.
The taste has mild bitterness, then a longer sweet finish.
The texture is crisp and fizzy.
A sweeter lager but good.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a dull straw yellow color. a finger or so of a white head with weak retention and leaves behind little to no lacing. crystal clear and with a strong brightness.

Smell: bready and slightly sweet grain. light floral to peppery hops.

Taste: opens with a little bit of hop bitterness and a lightly floral taste. malts take over with a light breadiness and quite a bit of grainy sweetness. some peppery hops on the back end. some light sulfur in it.

Mouthfeel: nice light bitterness. could be a little bit more crisp. mostly clean finish. nice and light.

Overall: a nicely done Helles. nice clean and crisp flavors, good balance. some minor flaws in appearance and elsewhere though keep it from being in the upper tier.

 736 characters

Photo of stevoj
3.01/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from the Co-op. Incredibly dull pour, absolutely lifeless. Light grain aroma, hoping this gets better. Taste picks up a bit, mildly tangy mouthfeel and finish. Body is OK, but overall ruined by the initial presentation (aroma and look).

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.76/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Furious bubbles course up through an extremely pale, pallid, straw-gold limpidity. Good wet-straw, grain-husk, and yeast-fruit aromas. Big grassy taste; very soft lemon-sugar and grape-fruit pith, with good carbonic and super-extra-dry-malt bite. Bit of a sticky mouthfeel, but it's mild, and overall the textural impression is refreshing.

Very true-to-style—but maybe too much, to a certain extent, as it's very much just bubbly, grassy bite, mild malt, and thin thirst-quenching. Those descriptors don't sound bad, but I wanted just a little bit more from a Ninkasi product. Their Venn, for instance, is a bit better beer in a similar weight-class.

 659 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.32/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Clear, pale yellow body with a small white head. Rain, German lager aroma. Classic flavor. Thin body, with a hint of tangy hops. Easy drinking, though not on par with the standard German examples.

 196 characters

Photo of MattSlem
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I don't think this one gets the credit that it deserves. Fantastic representation of the style, eyes closed, I would have guessed that this was from an old world brewery. Ninkasi's lagers (Prismatic Series) are on point, hard. Damn. My only criticism is that I get a faint astringent alcohol note.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.74/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated BB 4/2016:
Pours crystal clear and almost the palest of yellow-golden. Classic fluffy white head sustained by easily visible steam of tiny bubbles.

Nose surprised me a tad, bready initially but with an interesting little funk. Not sure if intended, but I liked it even though it seemed out of what I would think the norm - a review just before mine said meat and that might fit. I also get a little grass and some soft pitted fruit like maybe apricot in some sniffs.

The taste starts crisp, but has a white bread sweetness to it. I get a taste reminiscent of the strange smell but it is much more fruity floral in nature. I am getting just an ever so light grass and spice bitterness, mostly clean that almost brings the beer back to balanced.

Light, not as carbonated as I expected, little more heft than I expected, but my expectations were low.

That odd scent is the only weird thing, along with maybe not as much bitter balance or hop bite as I'd thought given what I read about the style. Fine easy drinker I wouldn't turn down again.

 1,061 characters

Photo of delta490
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Looks like they brought this one back. It's a pale gold it's a thin creamy white head. No lacing. The aroma is light grains and a little grass. The taste is the same but it has a little bit off. Hard to describe what but it's there and noticeable. The body is lighter, with a crisp finish.

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Helles Belles from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 106 ratings.
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