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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier | Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
Very Good
701 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 701 |  Reviews: 391
Photo of nanertak
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours very clear pale straw, very little head or retention.

Smell - smells like pale sweet malts, very very floral.

Taste - clean. Sweet at first, fades to a subtle floral maltiness, then to a subtle smoky flavor that lingers. Finishes very dry.

Mouthfeel - very thin, but appropriate. Would like a little more body personally, but nothing to complain about. Carbonation is on point for a lager.

Drinkability - very interesting style. I'd like it on occasion, perhaps as a segue to getting someone to try a rauchbier. Overall, good beer.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Thanks Chris!

A: Hard pour into a snifter reveals a bright pellucid straw golden body with a two finger frothy white head. Retention is pretty good and lacing is scattered.

S: Displays a grainy malt profile with a notable sweetness. Noble hops are lightly spicy with grassy notes, and a touch of DMS is present. Aroma is clean and balanced, with a mild sulfuric quality. The smoke character is restrained and well integrated, adding depth to an already nice aroma.

T: Lower moderate bitterness with a pleasing and harmonious lower moderate smoky quality, a very interesting addition to the traditional Munich Helles Lager characteristics. Malt is grainy and lightly sweet. The finish is clean with notes of smoke.

M: Upper light body with moderate carbonation and a soft, smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: Good stuff. The smoke character is pleasant and an interesting addition, but I think I prefer the style without it.

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Photo of rootbeerman
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from notes 12/18/10

A: pours clear golden yellow with a strong white lacing head.
S: compared to others from this brew house, it is much less smoky, yet is still smoky with a little grainy malt.
T: lighter smoke, more noticeable malt profile, and is lightly grainy. hops and smoke combine in the aftertaste.
M: smooth and crisp. carbonation is good.
D: would make for a good starter into the rauchbier style.

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Photo of steveh
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Snapped up a bottle of this at a local Binny's. I've had it in Bamberg proper, and in the past few years at the Map Room in Chicago, but it's been a long while. Love all the Schlenkerla Ruchbier, this one being just a little different with it's smokiness coming as a lingering after effect of the actual smoked malts used in their other beers.

A -- Slightly hazy, straw gold color with a slow-settling, sudsy, eggshell white head.

S -- Aroma of spicy noble hops and light smokiness -- some soft bready malts eeking through too.

T -- Interesting light smokiness up front, blends into a mild, bready -- Pils malt, character, finishes dry and spicy with a crisp hop bitterness. I'm rating this good because I like the smokiness. It's not definitively correct for a Helles, unless that Helles is from Bamberg!

M -- Body is light-medium with a soft, smooth mouthfeel.

D -- I'm a bit iffy on the drinkability of this beer from the bottle. I think the smokiness could become fatiguing after a while, it's just not as good as fresh draft. On the other hand, it does go down nicely -- and it's easy to session at 4.3.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 1 pt 9 oz bottle.

A - Pours a clear pale straw color with slight golden hints. The head is about half and inch and has some nice dense bubbles and some bigger ones mixed around. There is some nice retention and nice carbonation racing up the side of the glass.

S - Sweet grainy malt up front with nice grassy and earthy tones coming through from all directions. Nice slight noble hop aromas round out a very nice smelling beer.

T & M - Starts off with some nice malt and bread notes. Grain, grain and more grain and actually has some of the smoke that characterizes some of this breweries Rauchbiers. Very nice bready notes are accompanied with this smoke almost like freshly baked toasty bread. The hop character is there and gives a nice grassy finish to the beer. The grain notes in this beer is what makes it such a delicious lager. Great light mouthfeel with good carbonation. The smoky notes in this beer really bring it all together. Delicious.

D - Very enjoyable and refreshing lager. I would definitely have many of these beers.

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

This beer pours a hazy golden sraw color with a fluffy white head.

The aroma is very buscuity with a pilsner malt sweetness. I get very subtle hint of smoke but it is more like a wood smell that is hard to place.

I get the smoke a little more in the flavor but it is still hard to place as smoke. I also get a lot of buiscuty flavor and kind of hop twange.

This is a very light smooth beer with an interesting flavor.

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

.5L, Germany, best by 2/11.

Beautiful, rich and clear gold with a big, fluffy head. Retention and lacing are average.

Aroma is decidedly smokey, but not nearly as much as this brewery's other beers. Touch of bready malt as well.

Flavor is more Helles than Rauchbier, even though the smoke is still apparent. This beer is not brewed with smoked malts, but it still acquires a touch of Rauch from the brewery's equipment and environment. Grainy, bready malts come through along with a tangy hop flavor. Bitterness hits the back of palate and lingers, as do the woody notes of beechwood. Mouthfeel is supple and light, with creamy medium-low carbonation.

When you think about all of the flavor that is packed into this 4.3% ABV beer, it becomes apparent that this is an awesome session beer. Though it won't knock off Augustiner as my fave for the style, the Schlenkerla is still an excellent Helles.

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Photo of hansgruber
3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear yellow that's a touch darker than a standard pils. Small head with no lacing or retention. 

Smoky, slightly sweet aroma.

Same as nose. The smokiness is just there enough to make it interesting. There's a nice spicy bite from the hops with a pretty good flavor too. 

Pretty crisp semi-dry finish. 

Nice easy drinker. I love their festenbier and this can hold me over until it's available each spring. 

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Photo of scottakelly
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark gold in color with a thin white lace. Carbonation is fairly low. There's a lot of sediment in the glass. Aroma is light smoke with no malt or hop aroma noticeable. Flavor is delicious, on its on it's a well-made helles with a light, slightly bready malt flavor. Then there is the added layer of smokiness that melds perfectly with the malt flavor. The smokiness is present, but subdued compared to other rauchbiers. Drinkability is fantastic.

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Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, gold color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, pale malt, smoke, hint of citrus, hint of hops, hint of yeast. Fits the style of a Munich Helles Lager. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of slight sweet malt, slight pale malt, slight metallic (only initially, fades very quickly), slight hops, hint of wheat, and hint of yeast. Overall, good appearance, smell, mouth feel, body, and blend.

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Photo of EwaldEichstaett
4.52/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: I was very surprised by this beer's appearance. It was a light straw golden color with a white head and big carbonation bubbles coming up. In effect, it looked like a regular Helles.

S: Bready malts, hops and some bacon flavored smoke. Apparently, the brewery does not use any smoked malts in this beer, it is just absorbed from the brewing process. Because of this, the smoke smell was a lot more delicate than the other Schlenkerla beers.

T: Smooth delicious malts mixed in with a light smoke flavor. I was expecting more smoke than this(I thought it was brewed with smoked malts), but it was really delicious. Light hop bite at the end. Nails the Helles style!

M: Feels great in the mouth. Good thick body that only German lagers deliver mixed with great smooth carbonation.

D: This is a Helles, naturally it will be about as drinkable as can be. That being said, it is also the most drinkable smoke flavored beer I have ever had. 5 Stars!

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle shared with bobsy, thanks man!

Pours a light hay-like golden, massive chunks floating in the bottle, light tight white head.

First whiff gives off a surprisingly strong smoke character but as it warms and the nose adjusts it integrates much better. Joined by a clean biscuity malt and a hint of pepper.

At first the smoke is also not integrated into the beer - hit of smoke and then the clean lager, seemed like two beers in one. As it warms, it grows together with a light bitterness, hint of fruits, a rounded grain sweetness. Sharp carb that I wish was tamed down a bit.

Really an unusual beer that works through, not something I would drink pints of but it is a nicely crafted, full flavored lager.

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Photo of bobsy
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light golden pour with a tight white cap that laced well. Even in the bottle there were evident floaties. Slight bandai aroma married to smoke. Supposedly no smoked malt is used in this, but you'd never know. Plastic and mild fruit is okay.

Flavour sets it apart. Smoke leads off and adds the complexity lacking in many helles. Beyond that its soft lager malts. Still some light plastic, but less noticeable and more fruity as it warms. Pleasant soft mouthfeel hits the spot.

Nice beer and an interesting helles. Immenesely flavourable for 4.3% and highly recommended.

 570 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 500mL bottle into a Pilsner glass.

Appearance: medium-pale golden hue with three fingers of frothy foam and lots of apparent effervescence. Head has good retention and sticks to the glass pretty nicely.

Smell: when I first cracked this bottle there was a big whiff of skunk. It's packaged in a brown bottle, but a fairly light brown bottle, so maybe that's the culprit. After letting the skunk dissipate a bit, this beer has a pretty well-rounded dry malt and grain aroma. Perhaps it's just the power of suggestion, but I feel like I can also smell just the smallest hints of smoke; perhaps centuries of Schlenkerla rauchbiers have rubbed off some of their goodness on the brewhouse equipment over there in Bamberg.

Taste: dry but not at all over-attenuated; a nice malt flavor with just a touch of grain and no sourness. Hops are minimal but there is a little earthiness and a fair bitterness at the end. Actually, the more I drink, the more the lingering bitterness builds on the palate. This is turning into a solidly tasty beer.

Mouthfeel: medium density body -- damn fine for such a light lager -- combines with a very good carbonation to result in a creamy, though not too heavy, mouthfeel. I dig it a lot.

Drinkability: a lack of too much sweetness helps here; this is a nice dry lager. Mouthfeel is good and flavor is good, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say the drinkability is good too.

 1,419 characters

Photo of jera1350
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Blue Nile.

Champagne like appearance. Light golden color with a miniscule highly head.

Light sweet and wheaty smell. Bit of Belgian yeast scent.

Complex for the style. Lightly sweet and fruity. Nice smoke presence with a grainy, musty taste.

Some prickly carbonation with a lighter body.

Easy to drink and a unique beer for the style. Glad I tried it.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pale straw with lots of streamers of bubbles and a cottony head that puckers and laces. Nose has light smoke - more like ham than sausage - that doesn't mask sweet grain and dried hay hops. Cream cracker malts and mild grass and cumin hops with the same light smoke from the nose overlaying the whole thing. Light, soft, clean, some oil.

(But why isn't this a rauchbier?)

Nice balance with the smoked malts, but I'm not sure it's a great Helles underlying the whole affair. Still, probably the best entry into smoked beers for the uninitiated.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured into my glass to two fingers of white head. It is a clear golden yellow. The aroma is sweet, bready malt with a hint of their famous smoke. The taste is sweet malt and crisp. There is a slight smoke finish. This is an easy drinking beer and the smoke just makes it better.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear and golden yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin head that quickly died down.
S: The aroma has an interesting resemblance to bacon and contains notes of smoke and bready malts.
T: Smoky flavors are immediately apparent in the initial taste; these aren't very strong but stand out from the flavors of bready malts and a mild amount of bitterness from the hops in the finish. There are also some notes of malty sweetness in the initial taste.
M: The beer feels light- to medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. It has a clean finish.
D: I definitely want to try this beer again because its subtle smoky flavor is rather unique and makes both the smell and taste rather interesting. You would never expect the smoke from the appearance of this beer.

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Photo of glid02
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a crystal-clear straw color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of light pilsner malts with hints of breadiness. Also present are mild amounts of sulfur and earthy hops. As it warms the sulfur aromas fade and good amounts of smokiness waft out.

Tastes good. Smooth pilsner malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of bready flavors. Joining in shortly thereafter are solid amounts of muted smoked malt flavors and hints of earthy hops that temper the smokiness. The combination of the aforementioned flavors carries through to a crisp and moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without any problems and could have another.

Overall I wasn't expecting a whole lot after getting a whiff of this beer but the complexity added in the flavor profile more than made up for it. A very interesting and subtle beer that's well worth a shot.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml. bottle with no freshness date.

Very light yellow color with a good stream of bubbles leading to a dusting of a white head.

The aroma is yeasty and dough-bready, with a very small hint of smoke. Overall, it doesn't seem "clean", and the yeast profile didn't pick up much from the smoke beer.

The flavor is moderatley malty and sweet, with more yeast flavor than I'd prefer. It reminded me of the beer version of taffy candy. Again, not clean, and not very smokey.

The mouthfeel is a standout in this beer, with a gentle carbonation and a sweet finish. Overall, the "smoke yeast" both took away from the cleaness of the lager, and didn't add enough of a twist to make it great.

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Photo of evanackerman
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a nice golden color with frothy head that dissipated fairly fast.

Aroma is smoky malt, hints of caramel.

Taste is very malty and a bit smoky, very interesting and different than any other Helles lager I've tasted.

Mouthfeel is quite viscous for a Helles, very nice.

Overall, a very unique Helles lager, the smokiness adds a pleasant touch, definitely worth a try at least once, I would gladly drink again.

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Photo of BogleHill
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a hazy golden color in appearance. Frothy head dissappears fast. Stagnant particles remain. The aroma is of slightly sweet smoke. The flavor is very roasty caramel with a slight smoke finish. A quite drinkable brew - I would get this again.

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Photo of donniecuffs
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the South Philly Tap Room. Poured a cloudy yellow/straw with two fingers of white head, and good retention. Picked up smoke in the nose, but less so than in some of the other Schlenkerla styles. Tasted very smokey initially, then more malty, and then a nice hoppy/malty finish, with smoke/malt in the aftertaste. Nicely carbonated medium/thin feel. Very sessionable.

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Photo of beeragent
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass from a bottle.

A - Light gold forming a 1/2 inch white head which quickly faded. Light spots of lace on the glass.

S - The nose is definetly dominated by the smoked malts however there is a slight hop presence, giving a light hop floral aroma.

T - Again, the smoked malts dominate the palate, but not overpowering. The hops appear towards the finish before the malts dominate in the aftertaste. Not really complex but extremely delicious.

M - Light and crisp. Good carbonation level and smooth finish.

D - This is definitely not the norm for a Helles lager, but if this is what they all tasted like, I would be drinking them alot more often. Great flavor and aroma. The smoked malts add a unique twist to the flavor while not being overpowering. Full flavor without being too heavy, and retaining that crisp lager mouthfeel.

 849 characters

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

Had at the Schnitzel Haus in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Nice choice of German, Austrian, and Belgian beers.

I didn't get to watch the pour but it was served to me in a weizen glass. Nice golden, straw colored body with lots of carbonation contributing to the two-finger, off-white, foamy head. My nose is picking up smoke only. It's more than the predominant smell here. The taste is a different story. Contrary to what I remember about the Marzen, the smokiness sits back a little and though, while ever present, lets the malts do more talking. There's a fine carbonation to this beer with medium body, it's excellent. I wish I weren't on a budget, because I'd order another. I enjoyed this beer with snails and venison.

 716 characters

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 701 ratings
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