Helga | Matilda Bay Brewing Co.

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32 Ratings

Brewed by:
Matilda Bay Brewing Co.

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Helga was inspired by the Munich “Oktoberfest” lagers — also known as Helles lagers.

Helga pours to a golden amber hue, slightly deeper than mainstream lagers and is capped with a densely packed white head.

23 IBU

Added by vancurly on 10-06-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 |  Reviews: 27
Reviews by doktorhops:
Photo of doktorhops
3.41/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another Matilda Bay brew, I first had this on recommendation of a customer when I was doing a stint working at a bottleshop (I know - a recommendation from a customer!).

Poured from a 345ml bottle into a Guinness glass.

A: Golden with a slight copper colour to the body. The blonde head began at around 2cm and dissipated to fine lacing.

S: There is a sizable stone fruit aroma from the hops, the malt adds a slightly sweet fragrance but obviously is going to be taking a back seat on this ride.

T: There's a rich sweet malt character that surrenders to the stone fruit hops, but the finish is dry and gives off that "one more drink" sensation. It's not a complex tasting beer by any stretch of the imagination but it works well. As far as it compares to the style; it's been a while since I've had a Helles (last Oktoberfest I believe) but it's a decent enough imitator.

M: A bit light on carbonation from what I was expecting... in fact too light, however I've had this beer before and it's been much fizzier so I'm not sure what happened to this bottle.

D: I wouldn't mind drinking this on occasion, though it's not my favourite style I much prefer it to most other ales out there. It's easy to drink with enough flavour to know it's not your average lager.

Food match: Seafood is a perfect match for this lager - calamari, shellfish and lightly battered hoki would go great with Big Helga.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draught at PJ O'Reilly's in Canberra. Sort of a fallback brew, since the only other Australian options were Carlton and VB. Might as well try something else.

Looks like a lager - pale golden, frothy head, decent lacing, usual suspects.

Nose is pale malts - lighter than I would have expected from one that claims to be a Helles - a bit of lemon, floral hops. Still, not unpleasant.

This brew turned out to be fairly drinkable, in that it was mild enough not to be offensive in any way. But as far as Helles lagers are concerned, this was pretty weak. The malt profile was too subdued, and it ended up tasting a great deal like a mass Aussie lager with a little bit of citrus and floral hops to set it apart. Drinkable? Sure. Won't seek it out though.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
2.85/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a large but quickly fading head.
Nose shows light noble hops with spicy and grassy notes. Faint banana shows initially but quickly fades. Biscuity, slightly toasty Munich malt is noticeable, but a slightly disagreeable sweet vegetable note is also present.
More biscuity malt as a flavour and, unfortunately, more of the sweet vegetable note. Spicy hops just detectable.
Carbonation is too high, body too light.

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Photo of Kulrak
2.8/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep golden color with a minimum of head, but what is there clings to the glass. Smells of yeast, banana, flowers and some citrus. The taste is pretty dry, as the bottle mentions. There is a little woody hop flavor, but not much in the way of sweetness. The mouthfeel is thin, watery and a little fizzy, not great. Overall, it's drinkable, just like water. But I was hoping for beer.

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Photo of eric5bellies
1.92/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Pours a golden amber colour wit tight white head tha retains reasonably well. 3.0

S - Absolutely Nothing of note. 1.0

T - There is sopme slight malts and yeasty notes but not much more than that, slightly sweet dry finish. 2.0

M - Full of carbonation and light body 3.0

D - This beer offers very little for anyone seeking a German Beer experience. 2.0

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Photo of pin
1.5/5  rDev -49.3%

Photo of joecast
3.35/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep golden color, medium carbonation. Struggles to form a head. Thin white and wispy.

Light sweet malt aroma. Maybe a touch of spicy hops but only just.

Mild malt sweetness up front met with a nice enough hop character to clean things up. Malt profile could use some beefing up but otherwise not too bad.

A nice enough beer. Won't knock your socks off, but it's probably not meant to.

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Photo of Stavage
2.96/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Looks good, with a nice white foam head on top of a clear straw amber body. The retention was good and left a pleasing lacing.

Grainy malts and a spicy hops and some earthy spicy scent I can't place. Not bad, except there's also a distracting sulfur note which mars the experience.

Taste exhibits light and grainy malts and a spicy dry hops, very light flavours which unfortunately allows a sulfuric twang to be noticeable. It's not enough to make the beer taste bad, but its enough to constantly remind my taste buds of typical Aussie macro lagers.

Carbonation is lively enough to give a somewhat sooth mouthfeel, but I felt it lacking in body (don't know what a Munich Helles should be like in this regard though). Leaves the palate feeling dry.

One beer didn't excite nor offend me, like many light easy drinking beers. But I think the lingering sulfur aftertaste would stop me ever wanting to open a second

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Photo of rjimlad
2.08/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

What a disappointment as I generally like Matilda Bay beers. On pouring there is a clear amber colour with a slight head that dissipated immediately. No aroma to speak of and virtually no flavour. It is all mouthfeel. It's marketed as Munich Helles Lager to appeal to the Australian beer drinking masses who prefer flavourless macros but want to give the impression they are having something exotic. It isn't exotic and is one of the most boring beers I've ever had. The label said "subtle aromas". Dead right. So subtle only an airport sniffer beagle could detect them. It's not offensive by any measure. If it were offensive at least it would be remarkable.

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Photo of Macca
2.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Impressive looking beer. Generous white head that hangs around and some lacing. Clear, dark golden in colour.

Some slight hops on the nose but I can't help think I'm getting some of those awful macro lager aromas as well.

The taste is clean which in other words could be boring. Some nice malt characteristics and the bitterness is very drying but not much else going on.

Definitely not Matilda Bay's best effort.

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Photo of juju7
3.68/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good take on a misunderstood style. I think a lot of people expect too much from helles'. This is not necessarily a true to style helles but it is better than most of the ones that come here via a bunch of other ports and arrive in far from ideal condition. The nose shows some almost weizen style banana notes and some soft yeast expression. Well carbonated and finishes dry and pleasant. A well made beer. Have had on tap but bottle holds up quite well.

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Photo of soju6
3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a bright copper color with a head that fades quickly with no real lacing.

S: Aroma of malt, bit of honey and a bit herbal.

T: Taste of malt with a bit of honey. Mild bitterness and a clean finish.

F: Light body and quite smooth.

O: Drinkable beer good for a couple.

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Photo of Breeza
3.7/5  rDev +25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Clear gold with thin white bubbly head.

S: Sharp sweet smell like honey, hoppy.

T: Sweet, slight hops and bubblegum. Has a lovely bitter finish.

M: Nice amount of carbonation, good body and well balanced feel.

O: Rich beer, very satisfying. Would drink again.

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Photo of magpieken
2.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of maddux91
2.16/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bought a six pack of this from the local bottleshop, had seen this Matilda Bay brew on sale for a while now, and hadn't given it a shot til now.

Drank this around 3 months back, so I can't give a full review, but I will outline some key things I remember about this beer.

A - Looked very nice of the bottle, I remember being impressed.
S - Still alright.
T - Tasted terrible, dry as hell, no flavour.
M - No noticeable smoothness, or pop, just flat.
D - Had to struggle through this 6-pack.

I don't know if it was just the 6-pack I purchased, or if this is how this beer is meant to taste.

Would not buy again.

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Photo of vancurly
2.88/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was advised this is a custom-brewed lager for the Oktoberfest celebrations at the Mean Fiddler Hotel in Rouse Hill, Sydney.

* edit, however recent postings lead me to believe it's more widely available *

Pours a burnished golden honey, strong bubble due to the site-nucleated schooner glass. 1cm white head.

Noticable late hop aromas... but then a smell so familiar I couldn't pick it... not a normal beer smell. It took me probably 5 minutes to put my finger on it... the seaweed used in sushi. I kid you not. Maybe it's a briney, glutinous rice character. A nice enough smell if you like that kind of thing (which I do), but not what you'd expect in a German lager. Some biscuity bready notes as well.

And the taste ? Well, at the risk of scorn from my fellow BAs, I'm going to write it as I saw it... A remarkable flavour that you wouldn't expect in a beer. Not unpleasant, but unexpected.... a light hint of BBQ king prawns in the shell. What ?!?! I dunno... maybe there's a caramalised note that's common.. or is there a briney character (also picked up in the nose) ? If you want some "classic" descriptors, then I'll throw in light munich biscuit notes, off herbal notes. An awkward late bitterness backs it up.

It has a lightly creamy mouthfeel, finishes smoothly and with some lingering body.

Interesting to say the least. Feels like I'm drinking something not quite right, and certainly not Oktoberfest.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Summer Hill Hotel. A more sketchy review, as I was entertaining a non-beer-geek friend while jotting down tasting notes.

Pours a clear golden-brown colour with a slight haze, dense white head of modest thickness, and nice sheets of lace. Pretty good.

Nose is tangy, with a fair amount of hop - grassy, citrusy with a slight sour edge. Light and refreshing, although a bit underwhelming.

Taste is okay, with a fair amount of bitterness that starts early, with earthy and phenolic notes. A hint of maraschino cherry sweetness, soil and pine bark. Some spice as well late in the palate, but a very dour mid-palate lends some unpleasant notes and lowers my overall impression. Quite palatable nonetheless.

A bit dry on the feel, fairly well-textured.

Quite good drinking, a decent German-style lager.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.2/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright deep golden colour, with lively carbonation forming a frothy and solid head of fluffy white foam. Lacing is good, sticking to the edges of the glass in frothy globs, just like a good helles should. Very decent look to it, overall.

Nose is light, with just some fresh grain character and a moderately sharp noble hop fragrance. Very clean, however, with a slight lift of pepper. Quite nice overall, and not a bad replica of the style, if a little heavy on the spice.

Taste is a bit of a letdown. Carbonation becomes too lucid on the palate, overwhelming much of the other sensation, some clear light grain notes and a touch of spicy phenols to it. Quite clean, but almost getting too clean and light by the end.

It's like an Australian macro lager masquerading as a Helles, in essence. Good look to it, no doubt, and there's some stylistic characteristics on the nose, and hiding on the palate, but it ends up just a little too bland.

Drinkable enough for what it is, but certainly missing something.

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Photo of hopnerd
3.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of ADZA
2.49/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I was quite looking forwards to this brew as soon as i heard it was being bottled as i havnt had it on tap and quite like some of this breweries beers apart from their framboise which was a big let down anyways this brew pours a dark golden colour with average carbonation that leaves a one finger creamy head and sporadic lacing,the aroma is not the greatest with a dry malty,grainy aroma to it almost like a macro brew or a flat beer not impressive at all,after the aroma i was expecting the beer to be not much better and i was right it has no body to it whatsoever and it has feint tastes of grainy malts and some weak hops and i mean weak and it finishes a little dry buy not totally dry,unfortunately for me this brew is in the same class as their framboise which i was really looking forwards to but was totally let down and just dont think they have nailed these styles by any means and for the $60 a carton they are asking for this you would be better off buying a macro carton and saving half that,come on Matilda you can do heaps better.

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Photo of philphilphil
3.03/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance was good with good helles colour and decent head.
Smellt of hops, not really in the vein of the style.
Taste was the same as smell, not enough malt and too much hops.
Mouthfeel was fairly average.
Overall, not to style, real helles' focus on the bready malts.

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Photo of heygeebee
2.81/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a straw colour with a one finger head that dies quickly - leaves some lacing.

Aromas of macro lagers, mainly sweet, some hops, crisp n light.

Taste is euro lager, but with an initial big hit of sweet malty flavour that subsides quickly leaving just a dry aftertaste. Some hint of shandy.

Mouthfeel is zingy, very sharp, small bubbles on tongue - almost like lemonade.

Cold summer refesher maybe at best.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Format: a solid very dark brown 345mL bottle with a standard Matilda Bay label. Decent.

Appearance: a solid golden copper colour with plenty of carbonation across the profile. A finger of white head hangs about for a time. Leaves decent lace as it drops to a thin cap.

Aroma: smells of nice floral hops and some very clean grains. Smells pretty good.

Taste: again clean and crisp grains with decent floral hops and a touch of pepper. A nice refresher.

Aftertaste: more the hops and pepper on the finish rather than the grains. A dry finish.

Mouth feel: light to medium in body with a moderate carbonation. Quite nice.

Overall: a decent Munich Helles, a touch Australian lager-orientated yet still quite a decent beer. AU$58 a case.

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Photo of Stew41
2.96/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pretty good beer but I’m not well qualified to opine on whether it’s true to style. Really nice core of Belgian-like sweetness running through the middle of the palate. There’s a sweet mineral / freshly cut river stone note as well that is quite attractive. Munich lager with a touch of steriods I think but works well.

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Photo of jarmby1711
4/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is hard to categorise, as it had some strange qualities.
Each mouthful taken seemed to deliver up a slightly different experience , ranging from really quite pleasant to 'thats sort of ok.
Overall there is a yeasty sourdough flavour with an undertone of ginger.
It is rounded in the mouth.
Happy to try this again as it seems to give one a bit to consider

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Helga from Matilda Bay Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 2.96 out of 5 with 32 ratings