Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier | Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
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Average: 3.98 | pDev: 11.56%

Reviews: 427 | Ratings: 788

German Helles | 4.30% ABV

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Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

Notes: Year-round availibility. “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”.
Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
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Reviews: 427 | Ratings: 788
Photo of CTHomer
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; medium gold in color; 1+ finger finely pored ivory head that receded to a wispy cap; no lacing;

S: mild smoke;

T: moderate smoke character that dominates any helles character; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: light to medium bodied ;moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: this is an awesome beer; no comparison with a traditional helles - this is in a category all it's own;

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Photo of detgfrsh
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a half liter bottle. Pale golden color with a layer of fluffy white head. Smells of straw and grassy hops. Light feel with moderate carbonation. Crisp taste with light malt, grassy hops, and a light smokiness. Excellent brew from one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Clear gold with a small foamy white head. Okay retention. Some spotty lacing.
The aroma is campfire smoke, grainy sweetness, and hay.
The taste is campfire smoke, burnt ham, honey, cracker malt, cracked grains, green apple zest, hay, and grass. Crisp with a touch of lingering smokiness and subtle sweetness.
Medium-light mouthfeel with a nice medium carbonation.
Fantastic beer! I love this stuff.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium golden amber with a one finger white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of grainy, slightly biscuit malt, light grassy hops and light smoke. Flavor is husky, grainy malt with a little crackery biscuit, light grassy hops, lemon and light smoke. Light to medium bodied with slight creaminess. I was curious how this great brewery would do with a simple helles lager and was not expecting any smoke until I read the description on the BA page (it's boiled in the same vats as the smoked beer, but does not use smoked malts). The classic Aecht Schlenkerla smoke is obvious, although muted, largely due to the mild malt. Although this is a pleasant, lightly smoked lager, the flavors are tame enough that it just made me want an urbock from these guys. Nicely done and delivers what it promises, but mild compared to their big smoked malt beers.

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Photo of Mdog
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From a 16oz can:

Appearance: Clear gold, good head.

Smell: Smoked ham.

Taste: Sweet at first then the smoked ham hits. Light in feel, very easy drinking.

Overall: First can sighting of Scherlenkerla, but it was in Arizona. Just what I want in a smoked beer, good smoked flavor and light enough to have more than one. Great stuff!

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Photo of hokieguy95
2.7/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

I tried to like this beer. It is not a good idea to take a delicate beer style and smoke it. Overpowering smoke smell and flavor in the profile. Smells like a campfire got in my beer. The process might benefit in a heavier style such as a Porter or Stout. Not my thing.

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

a: crystal clear, deep grainy yellow color with a faint hint of amber. frothy, 2 finger white head that seems to fade pretty quickly

s: sweet grains, a touch of floral hops, grass upfront. then the smoke - it's a combination of bacon and campfire. a touch of sweetness at the end. an interest aroma progression on this one

t: those sweet grains and earthy, noble hops on the front of the tongue. a touch of lager spice and lemongrass behind that. the smoke follows that, though it is very mellow. it is mostly campfire charred wood, with a hint of smoked pork. the finish is more of the grains and lager spice

m: lighter side of medium mouthfeel, with pretty strong carbonation

o: this is a very approachable Rauchbier. the smoke is mild and not completely dominant in the flavor. Not the best from Schlenkerla, but this would be a good starter to the style

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Photo of Snowcrash000
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of cardfan212
3.74/5  rDev -6%
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 -2%
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.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -5%
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 +4.8%
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%
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.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Updated 2019:
Poured this into my Stein, because.
Clearly unfiltered, with a cloudy tinge to it. Delightfully smokey, intensely so. The hop bitterness comes across, complementing the campfire notes. Fantastic. I love this stuff.

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.

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Photo of joeseppy
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

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3.82/5  rDev -4%
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 -9.8%
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 doktorhops
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
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 jrc1093
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
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 and 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 ATL6245
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
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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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: brilliant yellow under a 3" blanket of white foam with fair to good retention

S: light smokiness in the aroma along with rich malt, cracker, bread crumb and traces of earthy, spicy hops

T: rich and malty and lightly sweet with a subtle smokiness that pokes out most in the finish

F: body is medium and the carbonation is medium minus

O: a flavorful, interesting classic beer with just a light touch of smoke

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Photo of Lucular
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I always seem to like smoked beers but never really seek them out. However, when this went on tap I knew I had to have some. It looks like any Munich helles lager but with a very noticeable but restrained smokiness. It's kind of amazing how the smokiness comes entirely from the equipment, not the malt. I wonder whether they have to alternate batches to keep the smokiness consistent or whether it doesn't make a difference how many of which type of beer they make in a row?

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Photo of woodychandler
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I was in at Hunger-n-Thirst a little while back to drop off six-pack carriers, something that they CANnot keep in stock, when the counterman, a fellow local homebrew club member, starts showing my all of the new arrivals in CANs for The CANQuest (tm). They had ordered this in bottles, but it arrived in CANs! OMFG. Yes, please!

From the CAN: "Brewed according to the Bavarian Purity Law"; "Unfiltered"; "Schlenkerla [-T]he historic smoked beer brewery"; "Helles Schlenkerla Lager is brewed with fine Bavarian aroma hops and lagered in the 19th century beer cellars underneath the Schlenkerla brewery and maltings. It is boiled in the same copper kettles and bottom fermented by the same yeast as the historic Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. Its subtle smokiness hence makes this Schlenkerla style a unique representative of the traditional German lager beer type 'Helles'.”; "Tank Container CANning Project Brewed in Bamburg & CANned fresh in Connecticut".

I was quite anxious to try this from a CAN & since it was marked as "Unfiltered", an inverted Glug following the Crack! of the vent was fair game. Voila! I got two-plus fingers of foamy, fizzy, bone-white head with good retention as a result. Color was an oh-so-faintly-hazy Gold (SRM = 5). 8=( Nose was lightly smoky, more like their Hefeweizen, which is the most lightly smoked in their line. Still, it was clearly a Smoked Bier aside from being a simple Munich Helles Lager. Mmm. I LOVE smoked beers! I routinely attend the Yards Smoke 'em If Youse Got 'em fests & I have been known to have like-minded people over for smoked cheese, smoked salmon, smoked oysters & smoked beers. Yum! Drool. Mouthfeel was medium, a little big for the style. The taste was great, as long as you like the taste of hickory (?) smoke. It was not overpowering as I could still taste Noble hops and a biscuity maltiness, but it was definitely smoky. What a find in a CAN! I could drink this with barbecue or with the aforementioned snax, but it might be a bit off-putting to fill a cooler. Finish was smoky, dry & entirely satisfying. Mmm!

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Photo of chicagobeerguy
3.69/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A lager that was brewed in a smoked ham's stomach. Thats what it smells like and what it tastes like. Not as pleasant as the marzen or other styles as it doesn't have the body to match the powerful flavor. Worth a try but I think I'll pass next time.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 788 ratings