Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier | Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
BA SCORE
3.95/5
699 Ratings
Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
Germany
schlenkerla.de

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#5,083
Reviews:
390
Ratings:
699
pDev:
11.9%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
48
Gots:
49
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 699 |  Reviews: 390
Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bamberg is known for its smoked beers, and Schlenkerla has been keeping that tradition going for over five-hundred years.

There are five styles now (a new "oak" beer is coming in December 2009). The Fastenbier is a seasonal, and less well-known. And although the Ur-bock is also a seasonal, along with the Weizen and Maerzen, it's better known. All get a fair amount of play - although the Maerzen is probably their best known. But what of the Helles? It seems to get passed by? (At least here in America). Is it that it's just a basic style? Or is it that the smokiness is just too much within such a simple malt base?

Based on my experience, that answer may never be known. I've had people tell me, "Oh, and it's not smoky like the others", while others have pushed it back across the bar.

I find it malty, and hoppy, and smoky, with the smoke building on the palate, as does the solid bitterness. It may be a helles, but it's not a helles for those with an inexperienced palate.

And with that said, unless you go to Bamberg to sample the wares, there's not a lot of other examples to try in the U.S.

 1,110 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dbrauneis
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
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 TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 8/3/09 at Julian's in Providence, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep yellow color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of lager yeast, light malts and some hops.

T: The taste is bready up front with flavors of grain and lager yeast. The malt character is hearty but not heavy at all. There's a good hops presence for the style that brings a nice balance. There's a touch of spice in the background. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is very clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not filling at all, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a really nice simple beer that is worth drinking for a long time.

 804 characters

Photo of oberon
3.42/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a .5 liter stein a dull lemon yellow with a bit of chill haze a very thin wispy head atop,lighter aromas I picked up faint smoke and toasted grain with light iron/mineral.Taste is sweeter than expected some defienent honey malt and a touch of spice with the smoke coming thru but not overbearing not much hop presence.A light to medium mouthfeel and a low ABV makes it very drinkable but its a little dull on the palate and a little sweeter than expected.

 467 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle picked up at Chevy Chase in DC. Served in a tulip.

Pours a light straw color with a thin white head and not too much lacing, even after a good swirl to raise the head back up. The nose brings a good amount of smoke along with mild lager characteristics lingering in the background. The smoke definitely overwhelms the lager, which which basically just means a lightly-smoked carbonated beverage. This creates problems for both the nose and the taste. The feel is redeemed is the Helles' crispness is still there and fits well with the smoke. Fairly good, but not my favorite of theirs.

 593 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with an ample, two and a half finger head of foam on top of a perfectly clear, golden body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice lace on the glass.

S - A grainy aroma of pilsner malt with notes of bread and honey as well as herbal hops and a touch of smoke.

T - Dry malt, honey and a touch of woody character up front. Some herbal character in the middle with more honey and smoke beginning to come out. Finishes with dry malt, light bitterness and wispy, lingering smoke.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry, but balanced finish.

D - A balanced and drinkable Bavarian lager, but with a very subtle touch of smoke that takes it to another level of complexity. Really nice, up there with the best of Schlenkerla.

 741 characters

Photo of dcmchew
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pale golden with a white one finger head in an Austrian mug, lots of fizziness.
Grainy smell, some faint wood, smoke.
Smoked biscuity malts, lots of grain. A little too lemon zesty, aside for some nice acidic apple. Grass towards the finish, then some unwanted metallic hops.
Light body, almost watery, crisp, almost refreshing.
Never had a smoked helles before, it was interesting, although with a few off notes. I guess Schlenkerla are really great at crafting dark liquid bacon, but this helles was a bit of a let down.

 528 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

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

Photo of smcolw
3.46/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great start to the head--nearly pure white. Some spotty lace. Pale gold color and nearly clear (slight haze). The head does settle to nearly nothing.

Slightly skunked...otherwise a grainy, malty aroma. There's a mild touch of hop in the background.

Slightly sour from the skunkiness. Mostly malty with a mild hop spot in the swallow. Creamy finish. Good body for the style. Not the best light malted lager, but it holds its own.

 430 characters

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of russpowell
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an effervescent golden/bronze with 1+ finger of eggshell white head. Stays effervescent throughout, above average lacing & below average head retention

S: Breadyness, hay, & a whisper of smokeyness

T: Grassy notes, some bready notes & then a bit of smokey ham up front. Crackery, plus lemon hop notes as this warms. Finishes with honey sweetness, a little bit of grainyness, lemony notes & laid back smokeyness

MF: Light/medium bodied, with lively carbonation & super balance

Drinks very easy, I was really impressed at how low the abv was, but this didn't show any thinness & still packed flavor. One I could easily pound through a football double-header or drink one or 2 & just enjoy its subtleties

 711 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm filled with nothing but regret and utter compunction for never having reviewed anything at all from the Schlenkerla Smoke Inhalation Series. I'll get right on that. Let's start off with the Helles Lagerbier!

Appearance: Lightly hazy, pale copper body with a foamy, frothy, white head.

Smell: Sweetish honey and toffee maltiness with only a background, though still obviously present note of smoke.

Taste: Sweet maltiness, perhaps a pinch of crisp pilsner malt, along with flavors of toffee and clover honey. Hint of biscuits, maybe a bit of ripe peach fruitiness. Mild, spicy hops and bitterness along with the very restrained smoke character assist to balance the sweetness. Finishes crisp with a remaining light blend of smoke and sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Well, that really was a breath of fresh air! Schlenkerla lite, I dare say. Overall, highly drinkable and a very good way to casually introduce yourself to Schlenkerla's wares.

 995 characters

Photo of ZEB89
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Classic amber with a flawless interior disturbed only by a slow parade of superfine bubbles seeking higher ground. Those bubbles contribute to a cap that is a shade or two darker than bright white and has a quality look about it. A wide ring of delicate lace completes the picture of a fine looking German lager.

Like all the Brauerei Heller-Trum beers, this one features smoke to the near exclusion of all else (In fact, it's difficult to tell what style they are by the nose alone because beechwood smoke is all one is treated to on the sniff. They only differ in the intensity of the smokiness). That's more than fine with me since smoke, given its dominant nature, would have to be too laid back for anything else to be evident.

Helles Lagerbier is a helluva good lager beer. I love how each one of this brewery's offerings shares an obvious similarity, yet each one is also distinctly different. They wouldn't work nearly as well as they do if the brewers relied on the fragrant, woodsy smoke to paper over inferior beer. These guys are true craftsmen who just happen to love rauchbier and have decided to share it with the world. Good for us.

The key, of course, to this beer's success, and to the success of the entire lineup, is the balancing act between malt, hops, yeast and smoke. The hops provide a modest bitterness and the lager yeast doesn't provide much of anything at all in terms of flavor; nor should it. That leaves lightly sweet golden malt and beautiful beechwood smoke. Delicious.

The mouthfeel is right where it needs to be in terms of size and in the amount and character of the carbonation. While nothing about it stands out as exceptional, it's perfectly calibrated to the task at hand, that of delivering the devilishly good flavor to the expectant taste buds, while refreshing the drinker at the same time.

I've been looking for this offering for quite some time now and I'm glad that I finally found a bottle. It's a great addition to the Aecht Schlekerla series of beers and is easily the equal of my other favorites of the Munich Helles Lager style, the versions from Brauereien Aying and Weihenstephaner. Helles Lagerbier is a light, smoky treat and should be on the 'must try' list of all who consider themselves connoisseurs of smoked beer.

 2,291 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up on my last trip through Ohio. I had not seen it around before so I figured I would grab one to try it out. Been sitting in the fridge and grabbed it tonight to compliment some nice chicken. Served chilled in a tall pilsner glass, this one was consumed on 09/14/2008.

The pour was decent with a very clear, and highly carbonated light golden amber lager shaping up before my eyes. A small, maybe a half an inch of white head came up over the top and settled down quickly into a light veil across the top.

The aroma was light. Some small amount of smoked in it, with lots of grain and bready malts, though I have to admit, not much here to really pick up on. The flavor was a bit better. Lots of campfire like smokiness in it, with a subtle, yet easily definable bready malt base. Some sweetness, caramel maybe and a light peach flavor when cold that quickly gets burnt out by the smoked and roasted malts. Way too light of a feel, almost makes the flavor get lost as it comes across a bit watered down. Easy to session though as it goes down pretty much like water.

Overall I would have to give this one an average. Definitly not the best thing I have ever had by a long shot, but nowhere near the worst. I would try it again if nothing else were around, but not at the 2.99 I paid for it.

 1,310 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Downeast Beverage in Portland ME, poured chilled in a pils glass shared with brew partner Tim Diener.

A - A very clear straw golden w/ visible carbonation and tiny beading. The lager creates spotty laced and the retention is very good

S - A slight smokiness is noted which is sweet w/ light hints of malt aroma

M- A light grainy feel w/ subtle smokey accent. The lager is mildly sweet with a moderatly low level of carbonation and mild spice. The lager finishe w/ a light toasted note

T - A subtle pilsner taste w/ slight sweet grainy flavor and mild cereal note and toasted flavor. The lager has a mild slight smoke but is married well and lets the malt stand on its own - no need to overwhelm with smoke as it still has a gental touch of herbal hop flavor in the finish

D - I love the complexity of the lager and the smoke compliments in every way and really addss to the Helles - Excellent drinkability!

 931 characters

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

The beer is crystal clear and pale yellow hued with a small, but lasting, white head that leaves sparse lacing on the glass.

The aroma is classic Aecht Schlenkerla campfire, albeit a more subtle scent than in other beers from this brewery. In addition to the smokey notes is a pleasant German lager scent.

The beer is light and smooth, with a balance of smoke and German lager flavors. Exactly what I would expect from this brewery.

I could easily drink a liter or more of this. Refreshing and flavorful. Well done.

 519 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.49/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Redstone
Pours a fairly clear medium golden color with a decent sized bubbly white head that slowly dissipates to a ring on top. Rich sweet caramelized pilsner malt dominates the aroma. Rich dried fruit, prunes and raisins come to mind. Non existent hop aroma. Lightly spicy and almost smokey component shows up in the aroma as well. The flavor is rich with lots of caramelized sugary maltiness and plenty of dark dried fruits. There is a hint of herbal hop flavor and a bit of sweet cardboard. Medium body with a fairly dry finish. Moderate level of carbonation and a sweet slick mouthfeel. Love the aroma here, but the flavor suggests this bottle my be less than fresh. One day I will make it over the ocean to try some great lagers the way they were meant to be drunk!

 783 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although the beer itself doesn't use any smoked malts, it's brewed using the same yeast and in the same equipment as their other smoked beers. Pretty interesting beer pours a pale light golden delicate biscuit malt character with a nice spritzy carbonation level. Nice fluffy white head leaves intricate banded lacing. Aroma has a subtle smoke character with hints of smoked meats and a light biscuit malt grain character. Flavor has an interesting smoked nuttiness to it adds great complexity to a light classic well executed German helles. Kind of a one note flavor but a very interesting and tasty one note, makes me wish I had another bottle or two. Mouthfeel is evenly carbonated with a light but not watery body. Overall impression this beer rates high with on my likeability skill, would I consider sharing this with other friends into beer? Absolutely a very interesting take on a German Helles a classic style that doesn't get a whole lotta love around these parts.

 974 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rolltide8425
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 699 ratings
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