Helles Belles | Ninkasi Brewing Company

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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:
100
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
18
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 100
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.

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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 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 keep parrying with 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.

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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 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.

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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 LiquidAmber
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Celebrator pokal. Pours a clear, light golden amber, Half finger fine white head with good retention due to active carbonation; lacing. Looks nice. Aroma of bready malt and yeast. Taste is nicely melded bisquit malt and light hops, a hint of citrus. Finishes a bit astringent and slightly sour, but with enough of the malt to pull it through. Light to medium bodied. This is one of my first Munich helles lagers, but if the idea was to give a bit of Czech hops kick to a nice malty lager, this is a nice job. Not too exciting, but seems to style and is enjoyable.

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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 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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple 12oz'ers of this last night at the Boise COOP... Finally getting around to giving it a proper review...

Pours with a decent white head... 3/4"... okay lacing and retention.... the brew is very clear dark golden....

Nose is pretty damn malty... almost too much, and I love malty lagers.. slight background of some spicy hoppiness.

Bitterness backbones the entire palate... but doesn't seem as clean as I would expect... maybe some hints of sulfur.. a bit of DMS.. pale malts come out swinging later than expected... the bigger grassy hoppiness is nice but is definitely "American"..

For a "Helles", it is too malty... but I dig it... Nicely done and I hope PNW breweries start making more "every day" lagers. Looking forward to Ninkasi's coming lagers.

3/3.5/3.5/3.5/3.5

I will buy this again and again.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: pale golden hue with a light effervescence and a touch of haze. Head is a thin layer of frothy white foam. Not bad.

Smell: light malt aroma with a nice sweetness and a hint of sour graininess. Not too bad.

Taste: mild malt flavor with a nice sweetness and a light but present amount of spicy noble hops. Bitterness is light but balanced. To-style and quite tasty; that sour grain from the aroma is absent in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: light body with a surprising carbonation given the mild effervescence. Quite a bit of creaminess comes out of this beer -- great!

Overall: this beer is quite decent. I was wary at first, but it turned out to be flavorful and fulfilling. Good stuff, I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured a straw color with good carbonation and a nice white cap. This was a lively beer throwing off lots of bubbles and it looked very appealing

S: Some light fruit, grass, grains

T: A hint at grass, grains, lighter floral notes.

M: A medium body Lager which pretty coating, tasty

O: Clean, tasty and refreshing

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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 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 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 Reidrover
2.71/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz single from "Lifesource" Salem $1.89 Clear corn oil yellow beer with a goodly sized frothy white head. Buscuity,cardboard,wet grass aromas..rather like a typical macro. Taste is quite malty but has a astringency that seems out of place ( and cheap beerish) Mouthfeel is average at best. Not impressed.. there has been some good lager type beers coming out of the PNW recently this is not one

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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.

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Photo of woemad
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Main Market Co-Op in Spokane for $1.49. According to the label (which sadly features no freshness date), this is part of Ninkasi’s “Prismatic lager series.” This beer is apparently named for (besides being a Helles Lager) the all-female Ac/Dc tribute band that always seems to be playing somewhere in the western U.S.

Pours a shade of gold just darker than straw with an inch of bone-white foam that didn’t stay long but didn’t entirely recede, either.

Mild floral hops first greet the schnozz, with a few peppery notes mixed in for good measure. Further back is a faint, biscuity malt scent.

The hops arrive first at the taste bud beachhead, but they are soft and restrained. The malts don’t dominate the flavor much aside from giving the beer some backbone. A very softly dry note makes up the fade-out of this beer.

Fairly light bodied for something over 5% alcohol, with a very clean finish.

This makes for an outstanding summer beer – easy to drink yet still possessing enough hop flavor to give it character. I would definitely drink this again.

 1,097 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.

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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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Photo of vkv822
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours a bright, clear yellow with a thick, foamy white head that dissipates relatively quickly to leave a thin foamy film.

Clean, malty biscuit with grassy hops.

Slightly sweet, cracker malt with light grass hop notes.

Medium body with active, bubbly carbonation and a fairly crisp finish.

Fairly simple, but good for a hot day, with a clean crisp finish.

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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.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.11/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Reviewed from notes.

A- Two-finger cream-colored head. Light brown color with high clarity. Nice retention.

S- Noble hops, some sweet malts and the strange smell of meat. Quite odd really. Wheat finishes the smell off.

T- Some slight bitter noble hops that die off with the very sweet malts. Crisp.

M- Some bite, but fairly light with a reasonably dry finish.

O- Decent beer with nice drinkability but otherwise no standout qualities.

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Photo of djbreezy
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - golden, with a nice frothy white head

smell - hints of wheat

taste - nice bright character of wheat, malt and hops

mouthfeel - medium/light body

overall - nice, refreshing flavor, good session beer, a nice change of pace from Ninkasi

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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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Helles Belles from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 100 ratings.
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