Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier | Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier

Brewed by:
Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
“Schlenkerla Helles” is brewed with fine Bavarian aroma hops from the area around the city of Nürnberg. It's lagered in century old caves underneath the historic Schlenkerla brewery and maltings. Schlenkerla Helles is boiled in the same copper kettles and bottom fermented by the same yeast as the historic Schlenkerla Smokebeer. Its subtle smokiness without using smoke malt makes “Helles Schlenkerla Lager” a unique representative of the classic lager beer style “Bavarian Helles”.

Added by rastaman on 09-29-2003

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Reviews: 370 | Ratings: 655
Photo of aleigator
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear, bright golden color, with a huge, stable white head.

Smells of wet straw, soft hay and a light herbal whiff. A cakey malt profile gets recognizable among the more pronounced garden herb qualities.

Has a light, well nuanced mouthfeel with a medium carbonation, slighly bubbly during the mid palate, with a calmer, malt focussed finish and a herbal dryness prevailing.

Tastes of sun dried straw, gently accompanied by garden herbs and a lingering, subtle dough malt profile. A pleasant leaf dryness comes up during the mid palate, finishing with an aqueous softness, guided by slighty sweeter toffee malts.

Wow, this is masterfully balanced with a very enjoyable, well nuanced hop presence, making this very refreshing. For me, ligher beers' most important quality is their balance, since its got to be clean brewed or it becomes a mess, and this one is a winner.

 888 characters

Photo of Lingenbrau
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

How this doesn't have a higher rating is beyond me. This beer is amazing. Rauchbiers are clearly not for the faint of heart, but this could be a perfect gateway for the nay-sayers. Wonderful campfire aroma upon opening, with a well rounded flavor showcasing smoke with the sweetness you'd expect of a classic Helles coming through. Absolutely wonderful. Prost!

 365 characters

Photo of Bruno74200
4.01/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smoked lager. What more to say? Very balanced and drinkable. The smoke is fine and brings some roundness to the lager crispness. History in a bottle. Classic

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Photo of stephens101
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Chill-hazed, dark amber topped with a strong and craggy off-white froth. Aroma of peat, malt, straw, light fruit and smouldering wood. On the palate fruit and grain are enveloped by a certain smokiness and a slight bitterness. Light in body. An eccentric lager that does what it does unapologetic and does it well.

 318 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pours a clear gold with over a finger of foam.

Smells like a hoppy Lager with a touch of smoke.

Malty and lightly smoked taste up front with a bit of hop bitterness for balance.

Medium body, light carbonation.
The smoke intensifies as the session goes on but never reaches over done. A real joy to drink.

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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.87/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I got this beer from the brewery and it is their one beer that I have never seen anywhere else, so I’m looking forward to trying it out even though a smoked hell seems a little weird to me. This hell pours a medium yellow color with a slight orange tint, a quite thin white head, and some large carbonation bubbles that consistently evolve. The smell is fairly mild and is of grains. The flavor is heavily of malts for a light beer. Roasted grains is for sure the dominant flavor with this beer with a subtle smokiness that makes an appearance. The low smokiness sets this beer apart from the other offerings of this brewery, but in this case I think it might be a good thing. I don’t think heavy smokiness would really work with a beer this light. The finish is extremely dry, akin to a kolsch. There is also a little hop bitterness in the finish. The body is medium, which is heavier than you would guess based on the color. This is a nice well rounded light lager beer and more interesting than most I have tried from this category. For me it’s not as life changing as other beers from this brewery, but it might be a good introductory beer for those not used to beers with smoked or roasted flavors.

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Photo of FBarber
3.72/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pors a crisp clear straw yellow. Tons of bubbles race up the beer initially, but eventually subside. Three finger white head dissipates

Smell is initially kind of skunky, but it quickly is overridden by a pungent aroma of smoked malts, smoked wood sort of like a BBQ smoker scent.

Taste is smoky. Everything about this beer is smoky. Its rather unique and kind of odd. There are also flavors of straw, smoked malts, smoked wood.

Feel is crisp, thin, light. Medium carbonation provides a slight tingle.

Overall this is a really unique beer. As some people have said, I think is best paired with food. I found it hard to get through.

 637 characters

Photo of acelin
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a bright golden, with small white head. Somewhat darker than the southern Bavarian Helles.

The nose is certainly rich smoke, reminds me of BBQ that's been smoked with far too much straight up wood.

The taste is certainly unique. This is a real food beer. Light breadiness with smoke int he finish, it's just dying to be served with some pork or any smoked meat.

 371 characters

Photo of JayQue
3.79/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear gold color with a good sized foamy white head. Head retention is good and there are bands of foamy lacing on the glass. Aroma is mostly grassy hops and a very faint smokiness. Taste is mostly grassy hops but there is a malty presence too as the beer seems much more solid than a typical lager. The smoke is light but still noticeable. Mouthfeel is crisp and soft. I describe most helles lagers as "pillowy" softness. More solid and less light than a lot of lagers. A little hops bitterness keeps it interesting. A good lager.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.68/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This pours a beautiful golden straw color with a thin white head and much carbonation. Great yeast and hop smell with your usuall German twang smell. This may be the best tastin Helles I have ever had. Makes me want to go there and have fresh. Simply awesome!

 263 characters

Photo of dd43
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A nice finger of white foam greets the drinker upon the initial pour. Brilliant clarity, beautiful gold in appearance making my glass look like a golden chalice. The smell is divine. Big grassy notes and a subtle smokiness are the first things I notice. There's also a bit of some BO here I'm not going to sugar coat things. But that isn't a complaint, for some styles it's appropriate in measured quantities. The flavors are more of that field grass and a definite earthy sort of rye like vegetal thing. I just love the bready qualities of a good lager, and this is a great one. There is a vague spicy quality here, shy of black pepper but headed in that direction. The mouthfeel is quite crisp. I really enjoy how refreshing and thirst quenching this is. Equally adept on a hot day or on a cool day when something more robust than a watery session beer is warranted. I'm hard pressed to name many other sub 5% beers that have this level of clean maltiness and noble hop bite. Fantastic.

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Photo of Sheppard
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent pale straw, minimal head, but it is white. Aroma of beachwood smoke. The smoke isn't as pronounced, it tastes mostly like your typical helles. The smoke is subdued and not overwhelming. I'm getting some cooked sausage in it. It is very drinkable but the smoke lingers and I wonder whether I'd want this to be a little weightier or chewier. Like an actual meal. Regardless, I really enjoy this beer.

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Photo of Roguer
4.49/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful, beautiful beer: big, fluffy white head from a fairly modestly paced pour; great retention and tons of nice lacing; perfectly clear and vibrantly golden-hued straw body; transparent with tons of action.

There is, perhaps, a touch of smoke in the aroma, but the dominant scent is that of a floral, spicy bread. Peppery, sweet. Really phenomenal aroma for a Helles: bright, deep, complex, and perfectly balanced.

Quite sweet on the palate, with just a bit of herbal hoppy bite to keep it fairly balanced. Malt driven but very drinkable. Very nice hit of smoke on the back-end, just enough to remind you who brewed this beer, but not enough to overwhelm or change the quality of the brew from a Helles.

Slight smoke character is more woody (and less meaty), on both the nose and palate. Flavor is just a touch too sweet, being slightly less balanced than the aroma, which is near perfect.

Smooth, lively, incredibly easy drinking, slick.

This is a fantastic overall brew. It's not going to be a huge hit with many of the IPA-and-stout-obsessed craft segment, but its near-perfect balance and true depth of character are superb.

 1,139 characters

Photo of James954
3.62/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L: Clear golden with carbonation rising from the bottom
S: Small skunk that fades ...not much else
T: light smoke that reminds me of beef jerky, finishes with a taste that hints towards bacon bits!
F: Good carbonation but remains a little watery.

Overall: Just making a beer as unique as this is accomplishment enough. Not a favorite. But if you're looking to get a slightly smokey flavor and some unexpected notes of cured beef or pork, this is your beer!

 459 characters

Photo of headlessparrot
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

What an unusual little beer.

Pours a pretty straightforward clear gold colour, topped by a solid two fingers of foam that recedes quickly to some islands but does leave a lot of lacing. Not a huge amount of visible effervescence.

Smells . . . meaty, smoky. Despite this being unsmoked, and really only just brewed using the same vessels/yeast (and stored in the same place) as Schlenkerla's smoked beer, the smoke flavour actually comes out in a big way, to my taste buds. Beneath that, a nice crackery/biscuity malt backbone and some decent noble hopping--greens, slight piney-ness.

Taste is more smoke. Like bacon fat or smoked meat more generally (as opposed to a woodier "campfire" kind of smoke). But beneath that, again: decent noble hopping and some nice malt spine. Fairly crisp in carbonation and nice moderate body--bigger than the ABV would suggest.

I almost don't know what to make of this. It's good, but there's a weird gap between the way it looks (and the style it inhabits) and the way it actually goes down. It's disorienting, but delicious.

 1,063 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.01/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear medium golden yellow in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and faint hints of brassy highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy white head that reduces to a medium to large sized patch of thin film and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of bready malts and smoked malts (similar to the smoke used for smoking meats).

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of bready malts with just a hint of sweetness. That is followed by moderate flavors of smoke and the finish has just a hint of herbal hops flavors. Hops add a light amount of bitterness which fades away pretty quickly.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp and clean, smooth.

O: Light and refreshing with a light presence of smoke. Very interesting and definitely one to grab again - these guys make some phenomenal smoked beers.

 1,016 characters

Photo of drmeto
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

-pours a clear golden with a small to medium,foamy,white head
-high carbonation visible
-grassy,floral,spicy,honey,very faint smoke
-spicy,grassy,metallic,faint smoke,zesty
-too hoppy for a Helles
-medium to high carbonation
-light body
Fantastic Malt Base.
The smoke is very faint,so non-Rauchbier Fans don't have to be scared about trying this.

 361 characters

Photo of RBCIPA
4.95/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, this is a fantastic beer. Poured into a pilsner 0.5L glass, drinking on my back porch in the warm sun

A: clear golden. thick white head

S: malty, slight smoke but hard to tell if I can actually smell it or if it's power of persuasion knowing how this beer is brewers (see edit)

T: super clean, crisp, good carbonation, again slight smoke but see above(see edit), great malt taste

MF: full of flavor but light bodied

F: bubbly maybe slightly dry maybe

O: fantastic beer I'm very much enjoying this

Edit: halfway through this beer and smoke is for real. Very faint but it's there

 590 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.84/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle - so not actually made with smoked malt, but created in the same vessels and with the same yeast as their other products, so this should be interesting.

This beer pours a clear, bright pale golden yellow colour, with a thin cap of generally just loosely bubbly dirty white head, which leaves some splattered mitochondrial lace around the glass as things slowly sink away.

It smells of meaty campfire smoke, grainy, doughy pale malt, wet saltine crackers, a subtle earthy honey sweetness, and leafy, weedy, and mildly floral hops. The taste is bready, grainy pale malt, a lessened (relatively) smoked porcine meatiness, singed dark honey, a wavering crackery pithiness, and more earthy, leafy, and weedy noble hop bitterness.

The carbonation is soft and understated, but adequate for the supportive and tingly job at hand, the body a mostly solid medium weight for the style, and surprisingly smooth, the wafting cinders not really all that threatening, somehow. It finishes off-dry, the underlying malt still having to parry the lingering ashiness making time with my various palates.

I know that this is a whole lot less smoky than its full-on, charred beechwood fire brethren, but even dumbed-down in that respect, it still resonates. The underlying Helles lager at least has some more wiggle room in this offering, which can be used as a teaching aid, to remind us all of what not torching your input ingredients has done for the world of beer over the past century or so.

 1,495 characters

Photo of Silke_Neryn
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful beer.

It's more bitter than your regular Helles, but the bitterness has such a lovely smokey and salty touch to it that it never feels unwanted. Instead it's part of what makes this beer into something of its own. And at 4.3%, it's remarkably drinkable, full of flavours both classic and new.

 306 characters

Photo of mmesce2
3.18/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow. I have been trying to diversify my tastes in beer, and sours and smoked beers are on the outskirts of my tolerance. This is quite palatable though. Please try it if you are looking to diversify your beer tastes.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.34/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours light gold with a hint of haze. Small white head, somewhat fizzy. Decent lacing.

Grainy sweetness with a hint of smoke. Crackers and honey. Grassy and herbal hops. Clean lager character. Smoke is fairly subtle, but is present.

Clean pilsner malts and refreshing lager character. Not as much of the honey sweetness as suggested by the aroma, but it does come up more in the finish. Herbal and grassy. Smoke is even more subtle in the flavor. The smoke's subtle meatiness adds the impression of salt, which is nice.

Medium bodied, but slick, and medium carbonation. Soft on the palate. Very dry and minerally.

Quite good. Not my go-to for Helles or Rauchbier, but a nice place in between.

 697 characters

Photo of Beric
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into pint
Served: 20 April 2015

Appearance: Pours a mostly-clear light goldenrod color with a hue that sustains its deepness even around the edges. Huge foamy 2 finger head when poured that stuck around for a while and left some great lacing.

Smell: Sweet, bready notes from the malt and a solid assertion of smoke, despite not using any smoked malts directly.

Taste: A great combination of a helles and a Rauchbier, in my opinion. This Schlenkerla offering has the bready, crisp, semi-sweet lager backbone of a Helles with a soft assertion of the smoke that makes the brewery famous. This beer's smoke is a meatier smoke, rather than a campfire smoke- more like the Märzen than the Urbock.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium-high carbonation.

Overall: Another incredible beer from Schlenkerla, and one that could well serve as a softer introduction to the Rauchbier style due to its inherent smokiness, but a smokiness that is toned down compared to the true Rauchbier offerings from this brewery. Great beer.

 1,031 characters

Photo of majorbase2
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden-straw color with a big foamy white head with good retention. Thin head still remains after 15 minutes. Good lacing. Lots of visible carbonation.

Aroma is grainy with grassiness and some floral hops. A bit of smokiness.

Tastes of smoke, grain, spices, and some light lemon notes. A little bit of metallic taste that fades as it warms. Definitely has some wheat beer characteristics. Pretty subtle tastes, but its all done quite well.

Mouthfeel is light bodied, crispy, with a tiny amount of resin which lingers on the tongue just a bit. Very easy to drink.

A very good lager with some nice flavor, and just a overall solid effort.

 648 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Deep Ellum in Boston, MA.

This one pours a light golden yellow, with a half inch head, and not a whole lot lacing.

This one smells like grassy hops, a bit of biscuity malt, and some light pleasant smoke.

This is a beer that probably could not be duplicated anywhere else in the world, as it gets its smokiness from simply being brewed in the same place as many intensely smoky beers. The lager yeast character is not very noticeable. There's a bit of light honey sweetness, some bready, biscuity malt, and some lightly herbal grassy hop flavor. This is a really cool and interesting beer, and definitely the best Helles I've ever had.

This is light bodied, with a crisp, and slightly smoky mouthfeel, along with a moderate level of carbonation. It's so drinkable and so tasty, and goes down really easily.

This is one of the best lagers I've ever had. It's so unique and tasty.

 892 characters

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
3.96 out of 5 based on 655 ratings.
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