Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier | Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
Very Good
767 Ratings
Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier

Brewed by:
Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

Style: German Helles

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 767 |  Reviews: 419
Photo of BlueSpader
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ElGallo
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Snowcrash000
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, golden coloration with slightly visible carbonation and a medium, foamy head. Smell is a little unremarkable, with faint aromas of grainy malt, grassy hops and just a hint of smoke. Taste follows the nose, being a lot less expressive than all the other Schlenkerlas I've had so far. Taste is dominated by sweet'ish, grainy, crackery malt and grassy hops, with a touch of hay and just the merest hint of smoke coming through in the aftertaste. Finishes with a medium bitterness and very mild smoke coming through in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel with a light/medium body and medium/lively carbonation. While I expected there to be less smoke to this than the Urbock or Märzen, I was quite surprised by how little smoke is coming through here. The smokey note really is incredibly subtle, making this almost seem like a Rauchbier for people who don't like Rauchbiers and would rather just have a normal Lager.

 926 characters

Photo of cardfan212
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a goblet.

Look - Pours a pale clear golden straw color with a soft fluffy white head.

Smell - Wet grass, sweet grains, and very light delicate herbal notes. Reminds me of an AAL.

Taste - The nose translates nearly identical to the taste. Tiny wisps of smoke hiding in the corners of this beer, but it's much lighter and easier than other Schlenkerla beers.

Feel - Medium-thin body with a healthy amount of carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

Overall - Everything about this beer makes me think of if Budweiser brewed with love and care. A very easy drink, and could easily be used to get less adventurous drinkers into more exotic beers.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

From a 16oz can

It is an unfiltered/cloudy pale gold. The thick, dirty white soapy head lasts forever.

It smells smoked ham with a sweet cracker or light bread and a touch of earthy hops.

The smoked ham and sausage flavor is up front, and a little stronger than the aroma, but still very mild. Underneath is a slightly sweet cracker like grain and some floral hops. A touch of grassy bitterness.

It is a fairly full body for a Helles. Fairly crisp, dry finish.

Scored to style, this isn’t going to be as high in each category because it is not a typical Helles. Overall, it is outstanding. I read that it is boiled in the same kettle as their Rauchbier and that makes sense because it strikes me as being comparable to cooking a ham in a seasoned smoker without using any wood. Very subtle and works real well for the style.

 835 characters

Photo of Hanglow
3.71/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mothmanscott
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy honey yellow producing 1 inch of slightly off-white, very short-lived head with almost no lacing left behind. Aroma is pale malt, grassy hops, yeast, some honey and grains, faint smoke detectable but very subliminal especially when compared to other beer by this brewery. Taste is lemony up front, pale pilsner malt, Noble hops, smoke (readily detectable in the mouth but much less so than their other offerings) and peppery in the middle and finish. Clean and crisp throughout, bitter and dry in the finish and aftertaste.

 538 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle. Clear golden with an ample white head. Smells of smoke immediately, but has sweet bready notes behind it and a floral hop character. Tastes of doughy malt, light cracker, hammy smoke notes, and a light grassy bitterness with a hint of the floral notes I smelled. Long smokey finish that becomes medicinal as it warms. Medium light. Smoke makes it seem heavier. Amazing that this isn't actually smoked. It's a substantial "residual" smoke profile and really diverts the attention from the helles profile.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: Bottle
No date

Pours a crystal clear pale straw with two fingers of bright white head that sticks around well. Good retention; big, gloppy waves of lacing. (4.25)

Very lightly smoky pale malt, sweet smoke, toast, grass. (4)

Dry, pale, faint herbal hop bite and an mellow wood-fire smokiness that is both sweet and bracing and lingers a little. (4.25)

Fairly light body with crisp carbonation and a dry, subtle, lingering finish. (4)

A very nice beer with an interesting character derived from a subtle smoke presence.
It is indeed helped like with a sweetly smoky compliment that calls to mind clothes after a night around a fire. It never gets in the way and helps the hops give it a nice "abruptness" (for lack of a better term). Beautiful in the glass. Aroma is nice. The flavor is great, with a solid beer to begin with enhanced with a pleasant smokiness. It is quite drinkable and more subtle than you might think at first glance.(4.25)

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is surprisingly hazy for a Helles and dark gold to light amber. A one and a half inch almond head settles from foamy to creamy after several minutes and leaves patchy lacing on a PBGC dimpled mug.

The aroma is light yet undeniably summer sausage with smoke and sweetness. Additionally, dark bread is evident.

The flavor is mild, including the Summer sausage. Malt and white bread are a bit more than expected, and surprisingly, it is dry with a mild, slowly-fading finish.

The beer has a woolly texture and medium body. Light carbonation and absence of any alcohol. Dryness is prominent.

The smokiness is mild throughout, making for an easy entry into the smoked beer styles. This will make a good beer, to be enjoyed with friends and good conversation while watching a ball game. I imagine it would be exceptional with Kielbasa and sauerkraut.

 859 characters

Photo of elNopalero
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a can. Brewed in Bamberg but canned in Connecticut? Ni modo.
Pours beautifully, with a pleasing glow. Lightly smoked. Think campfire, grill, the great outdoors. Love this beer.

 182 characters

Photo of spassalinqua11
4.36/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bready with a touch of smokiness. Crisp and dry with a touch of sweetness. Extremely well constructed

101 characters

Photo of joeseppy
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A touch of sweetness with spicy German hop. Malt is bready. A heavier bit of bitterness coming from the smoky aspect most likely from their fermenting process. Upfront not expecting the smoky aspect but it's well worth a try.

 228 characters

3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz canned on July 2, 2018 (Brewed in Bamberg, canned in Connecticut)
Pours an unfiltered, hazy yellow-gold beer with a pillowy 1" white head on top. Fantastic retention and a persistent, consistent carbonation visibly racing to the top to keep the head afloat. Head keeps at 1/4" the entire way.
Whoa, the inside of a well seasoned BBQ pit or smoker upon first whiff. Fine aroma of smoke. Clay, earth. Hard to detect any smell beyond the smoke but it's a pleasant smell if you like that.
Massive smoke flavor, more than I ever expected. Different flavors become apparent after it warms a little. Mainly malt sweetness but never overly sweet.
Full body, fine carbonation and soft mouthfeel.
I can imagine this would be phenomenal with pretzels/wurst/food as it would add a very different dimension to anything.

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Photo of josanguapo
3.59/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From In Bavaria hefe glass. At lunch, with rice soup + pescada. The smoky touch is well adjusted, not strong enough to saturate but enough to give it character. However, I miss a bit more carbonation, it feels a bit too bland

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Photo of ghooul
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of elamb106
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of doktorhops
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Back to the Schlenkerla: it’s a film idea I had about a mad scientist who invents a barley kiln that can travel back in time… or not. Brauerei Heller-Trum Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier is pretty much the last Schlenkerla I have to review, which makes me sad because I really will miss the feeling of opening a new Schlenkerla, the child-like surprise at the smoky goodness within. Oh well, this Bavarian Helles Lager is their brew that “doesn’t have smoked malt but tastes smoky anyway because nothing within a kilometre of the Schlenkerla brauhaus can shake away the smoke”. Haven’t reviewed a proper Helles in a while either, I’m looking forward to this with bacon breath… or bated breath, one of those 2 things.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a stein.

A: Clear golden-straw body with a massive 1 inch white head that slowly dies back leaving plenty of sticky lace inside the glass. This looks, and forgive my Aussie tongue here; you beaut mate! 9/10.

S: That irrepressible Schlenkerla beechwood smoke comes through with less gusto than usual, yet it’s still quite smoky for this (their un-smoked) brew. Light notes of bread, honey, and a herbal touch come through as well – all classic Munich Helles characters. Still cannot escape how smoky this beer is. 8/10.

T: This is Schlenkerla’s light beer for those of us who are unaccustomed to the Rauchbier (Smoke Beer) world. Flavour profile is all Munich/all Helles with notes of: bread yeast, hints of honey, light cut grass, smoked ham (of course) and a long dry finish that is punctuated by herbal note at the finish. Very flavoursome for a 4.3% ABV brew, this gets my award for “the almost mid-strength beer that actually has flavour”… I’m working on a better title [till then: deal]. Aftertaste has a lingering bitterness that the smoke accentuates, this is a nuanced brew indeed. 8/10.

M: Surprisingly full-bodied too for a 4.3% brew, oh my Schlenkerla you are full of surprises. Medium bodied with a light but dense carbonation, sehr gut! 9/10.

D: I mean this is another great beer from Schlenkerla, the only hard thing to swallow (in comparison to their Fastenbier and more-so their Urbock) is the price: exactly the same as Fastenbier and Urbock at my local. Really if I’m spending $10 on a Rauchbier it’s got to be the Urbock. This however is a nice example of a brewery diversifying their range without alienating the punters, a tasty Lager incursion from those smoky chaps at Schlenkerla, prost! 8/10.

Food match: If it’s pork and stuffed inside it’s own intestine (i.e. a sausage) go for it.

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Photo of Nichols33
2.75/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Gkruszewski
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jrc1093
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

No canning date

Pours a clear golden straw with excellent effervescence and a stalwart finger of pillowy white head; great retention and large amounts of soapy lacing fixed almost relentlessly to the sides.

Aroma of lightly smoked malts (almost a timid type of campfire smell, but still rather potent) to go alongside hints of wet barnyard wood to go alongside vivid but fleeting bits of straw on the finish; a very, very clean and crisp aroma.

Taste brings hefty notes of earthy straw and an incredibly detailed profile of grains, with light hints of bread crust and woody char on the finish; a really well-done flavor profile here, with the evocative grain notes shining through excellently.

Mouthfeel holds a near-perfect body and level of carbonation; it is never thin, but never weighty beyond what suits it. Feels a bit like a meal of a lager, in the best way possible; a beautiful, clean balance of crisp effervescence and hefty malt presence.

Such an impressively well-executed beer; I’m hardly the most partial to smoke, but the refined, balanced nature of this lager is undeniable. Approachable, clean, and touching on many aspects of an earthy flavor spectrum nicely; a lower ABV beer with some high impact.

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Photo of Sulty
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MattSn
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of spoony
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ATL6245
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier pours a pale, straw yellow with a very slight haze (most Munich Helles Lagers are clear, pale yellow).  It features a massive, white meringue looking head that persists for a good while.  Instantly, the smoked aroma hits you.  Frankly, it pretty much overwhelms all the other aromas, except for maybe those who have a very keen sense of smell.  It has a restrained, but noticeable bitterness at the start and finish.  In between is the expected bready, sweet malts flavor of a Munich Helles.  That being said, the smokey flavor dominates throughout and lingers into the aftertaste.  Another unanticipated characteristic is that it finishes on the sweet side - not dry.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 767 ratings