Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier | Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
Very Good
725 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: 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 725 |  Reviews: 399
Photo of CrellMoset
4.06/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed out of a proper Schlenkerla glass from a bottle purchased fresh at the brewery while I was in Bamberg last week.

Appearance: Pours a crystalline and bright straw gold, absolutely transparent, and replete with some of the most vivacious effervescence you've ever seen. It's lively, bright, and vivid, but not overly mercurial, suggesting this beer has definite substance and body. The bubbles - mostly average sized - stream slowly upwards towards a pure white head, fluffy, about one finger and change high, with remarkable clarity, retention, and structure. It's rocky, alabaster-like, perched atop the surface of this beer like a snowy crown. Creamy, slippery dots and blots of lacing hang lazily along the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Very faint. Indiscriminately crisp, sweet, in that corny, pilsener-y sort of way. Not this beer's best quality - faint bitterness and just the memory of a kiss of smoke exist at the edge.

Taste: A soft and subtle blend of soft and smoky, bitter and bright, earthy and heavy and airy and wholesome. A faintly sweet but largely balanced malt backbone provides pure malt notes, nothing fancy, almost bracing in its simplicity. A faint hoppiness compliments the wholesome gritty earth of the malt backbone, adding hints of grass and leafyness, and, ah yes, the smoke. I didn't think I'd really be able to detect it - maybe it's all those years of vegetarianism that makes me oddly in tune to hints of smoke - but it's here, and it's nice. Crisp earth, like after a late spring snowfall, dirty but not rugged, the balance here is pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. An incredibly light and airy body augments both the soft, subtle, smooth sweetness of the malt body as well as the sweet, woody, smokiness that lingers just around the corners of this beer.

Drinkability: A light, pleasant, flavorful beer, one of the more interesting hells I had the opportunity of sampling while in Germany. A definite standout.

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Photo of Redrover
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Engine company 15 in Jax Beach. – It was served in a 10 oz. snifter. Beer is gold with just a light chill haze. It has an off-white head.

I get smoke, malts and a bit of spice in the aroma.

The smoke flavor does not overpower the base beer. It is slightly sweet with a bit of band aid at the finish. I like the subtle grain and spice notes.

The mouth is sharp with active carbonation.

I thought this was pretty solid.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a yellow color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of bready malt with some grassy hops. A nice, clean smelling German lager. The flavor is mainly bready and biscuit malt with some grassy hops mixed in. I also get a little bit of light grape notes but they are pretty faint. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Another good beer from a great brewery.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Golden clear body, single finger white head. Minimal lacing.

Honey on the nose, not much else.

Dryish honey lager... trace of smoke. (Schlenkerla, go figure)

Standard mouthfeel, not over-carbed.

Decent lager, but pales in comparison to the rauchs.

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Photo of crnipeter
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours relatively thin yet well formed creamy white head that sets to a firm cloth atop of effervescent yellow body with good clarity. The nose is dominated by Pils malt sweetness while smoke is virtually nonexistent. Flavor is pils malt sweetness with woody smokiness and towards the dry finish mild spicy noble hops and hop bitterness show up. Light bodied with moderate carbonation and somewhat creamy sensation.

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Photo of atis
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle from Bamberg

Pours light yellow with half finger white soft head, downsliding lacing. Aroma is light malt, bits of honey and faint notes of smoke.

Taste is crisp light smoked malt with spicy hops and sweetish citrus (mostly lemon) in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light with less than moderate carbonation.

Overall, the beer is simple, unassuming and very refreshing, but I have to admit I was expecting something better.

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Photo of drseamus
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at monks cafe.

A: Hazy straw body topped with a one finger thick white head. Good visible carbonation.

S: Quite impressive that no smoked malt was used to make this beer because the nose is all smoke and malt.

T: Crisp malt, but with that smokiness overlaying everything. Even with all the smokiness it still manages to be a light and crisp beer.

M: Nice and light visits with just a bit of thickness from the smoke. Very classic german lager feel.

D: Very good summer drinker. The smoke adds a perfect amount of punch to differentiate out from an ordinary lager.

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Photo of InsolublePancake
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Clear gold with a decent head. Quite appetizing.

S- Sour malt and grassy hops. A little honey sweetness comes through as the beer warms.

T- Sweet, bready malt and, there it is... the smokiness. I don't think this beer uses smoked malt, but it's there for sure, just a subtle hint of that distinctive Schlenkerla smoke. The hops add add a nice herbal bite. The finish has a little residual sweetness and a moderate bitterness.

M- On the light side of medium-bodied with a moderate dose of carbonation. Slightly slick on the palate.

This is a very good lager that is kicked up a notch by that hint of smoke. I really enjoyed that, and the combination of the interesting taste with the light body and the low ABV make this a very drinkable beer. I'd definitely get it again. Recommended.

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Photo of aaron12
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

love it! beautiful pale hazy yellow, with a white head. the smell is of honey almonds, and a bit of wet grass. the taste is dry, and lightly smokey. crisp, with the sweetness in the mid-pallet, which then fads nicely and ends with a pipe tobacco finish. this beer's the shit! this might be what happens to lagers when they die and go to heaven.

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Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Farmers' Cabinet. For no rauch, pretty damned rauchy.

A: The lager is a golden yellow color, hazed a bit but still translucent. A white head, right in line with the lightness of the ale, leaves a few strands of lace behind.

S: The lagerbier has a sturdy smokiness ingrained in it, even if it doesn't include the normal Bamberger smoked malts. The helles lager drips of the Bamberger scent, even with no smoked malts included. A tribute to subtlety.

T: The lager is a light, chewy beer, one that picks up more smokiness by accident that most can muster up intentionally. The biscuity grains are bready; hops are an afterthought. Between the start and finish, the lager's smoked body takes hold. That smoke, meaty as it is, is significantly lighter than Schlenkerla's other offerings. That reduced flavor makes the lager much more palatable, more enjoyable to sip through.

M: The smoke makes the beer, a full flavor that doesn't scorch the earth. A beer that paired nicely with several of the cheeses throughout the night.

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Photo of cbutova
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dirty Truth.

A- Gold body with a small foamy white head. Good retention. Sticky suds but a lack of lace.

S- Smoky light malt with a noble hop backdrop, floral and earthy.

T- Nice and smoky but the malt is nice and light, allowing a good drinkable smoked beer. Some hop notes and spice.

MF- Light body with a nice creamy feel.

Light body and smoke makes for a refreshing beer, not usually what I get in smoked beers.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a nice clear golden yellow. It has a nice fluffy 2-finger white head on it. The head had good retention, and it left a nice sheet of lacing behind.

S - It smells of Pilsner malts and some sweetness up front. There is an earthiness aroma to it, and some hop character as well. Also, I am getting a tad bit of smokiness.

T - The taste is very malty, and there is some sweetness and a bit of smoke. There is an earthiness to it, as well as some notes of caramel, hops, and bread. The finish is pretty clean, it just leaves a bit of lingering bitterness behind.

M - It has a medium body and average carbonation. It goes down smooth and is quite refreshing. Good feel for the style.

O - This beer has pretty good drinkability. It has a nice flavor and goes down easy. I think this would be a nice beer to have while sitting outside on a hot day. Overall, I enjoyed it, and I would pick it up again.

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Photo of lionchow
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear pale straw yellow. with a nice white head that recedes quickly.

Aroma is richly malty with a hint of smoke. Some sweetness and straw as well.

Flavor is beautiful sweet munich malt, and again dry straw flavor. Smokiness is subtle and comes across as a slightly meaty flavor. There is a mellow but well balanced and clean hop bitterness that follows the other flavors.

Mouthfeel is nice, with a slight weight from the malt and slight brightness from the carbonation.

Overall very good. Easy drinking but still with enough unique points of interest to make me want another some time.

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Photo of foogerd
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a- Light golden yellow clear body with a small white head.

S- Light grainy smoke, hay , light grassy hops.

T- Very drinkable tasty lightly toasted and smoked malts with a light touch of hops that lend a touch of spice.

M- Nice tickling carbonation light body.

O- Very quaffable brew.

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Photo of Amalak
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had out of a 25 ounce bottle.
A-this has a crystal clear gold color to it. Good head and real bubbles.
s-smells like a crisp pilsner, no bacon scent.
t-despite lack of a Smokey scent it, it has a Smokey taste. Crisp and refreshing. Kind of a mix between bitberger and schlenkerla smokey.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle,

A: Pours a crystal clear yellow with a medium white head, great retention and lace.

S: Sweet malt, grassy hops, no real smoke here.

T: Great bready malt flavour with a hint of smoke. Some good minerality, complex and interesting flavour. Has a keller sensibility.

M: Light-bodied, crisp, and very drinkable. Smooth, soft but biting carbonation.

O: A fantastic lagerbier. The smoke is definitely toned down from the regular Marzen, but this is just as fantastic in its own right, a definite pick up.

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Photo of ksimons
2.96/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-clear golden with about an inch of white head that disappears quickly and leaves some lacing around the top

S-slightly sweet and malty, subtle smoke,

T-picking up more hops than anything, lightly malted, spicy finish, picking up a little smoke towards the end but not much. Tastes more like a pilsner than anything else

M-light to medium body, very light and refreshing, moderate carbonation

A nice light beer, but I was expecting more, more taste, more smoke, something to make the taste different from a pilsner.

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Photo of imbibehour
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A very large 4 finger white head is created that falls normally. Body is a real buttery fourteen carat gold. Much noticeable carbonation from the bottom. Some head retention but not much. Manages to leave a small puck and minimal lacing while drinking.

Smell is light malt, no smoke. Just smells like a good simple lager.

Taste is slight smoke, a bit sweet though. Smoke hits more on the finish. There's a real decent malt body in this for such a low abv, the head bubbles actually feel quite nice in the palate strangely enough.

Overall not bad, but I prefer this breweries other offerings.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours straw yellow with over an inch of fluffy white head. It reduces slowly, leaving spotty lacing.

S-Pale sweet malts, cereal grains, smoke.

T/M-Tastes like a well made helles with smoked malts! They've pulled back on the smoke on this one, compared to their other beers. It's appropriately integrated into the base beer, but it's a little bit of a tease.

O-Would've preferred this to be smokier, but it's a well made beer.

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Photo of macpapi
3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a .5 liter bottle.

Pours a light copper to straw-like color with a full and fluffy white head. The clarity of this brew offers a good medium for rising bubble activity throughout the glass.

Smells of smoked malt. This smokiness reminds me of bacon or treated ham. There is also a bit of straw on the nose.

Taste, like the smell, is dominated by smoked malt. There is also a bit of bitterness, just a touch, and a slight touch of bacon--though not as prominent as some of the other beers Schlenkerla brews. Finishes a bit dry.

Moderate carbonation, sharp bitterness, and a nice and full flavor define the mouthfeel.

On the whole, this beer packs a good deal of smoky flavor, and is well-balanced. It is a nice and pretty drinkable brew.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of largadeer
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle purchased at Gourmet Haus Staudt in Redwood City. No discernible freshness date on the bottle.

The beer is a pale effervescent gold, crowned by half an inch of resolute pure white foam.

There's a reserved smokiness to the nose, which I understand is the result of the beer being brewed on the same equipment as the brewery's rauchbiers rather than the actual addition of rauch malt. The combination of faint smoke and lightly sulfuric lager yeast makes me think of matches - it's more pleasant than it sounds. There's a crisp breadiness from the malt; overall it's a very gentle and clean aroma.

The palate, like the nose, features a pleasantly subdued smoke character that's very complementary to the crisp breadiness of the malt. Light in body, quite balanced in all respects and very clean, this is one of the most quaffable beers I can recall having in recent memory. The mouthfeel is soft, and there's little bitterness or bite to the finish, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable and flavorful beer, especially given the modest ABV.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up this 500mL bottle back in September for $4.50 at The Wine Thief in downtown New Haven CT. No date or code noted. Served at 50F in a pisner glass at the same temperature.

A: Thick sediment at the bottom of the bottle had already started to move, but I was able to pour slowly and avoided getting any in the first half. Clear bright yellow brew of medium color density (halfway between pale and solid yellow). A steady stream of medium-sized bubbles rockets upward, suggesting low viscosity. Thin off-white head settles to a single sticky layer that likes the glass.

S: Nice bit of that characteristic beechwood smoke gives it a modest air of well-worn leather. Mild backbone of light sweet malt, and also some lemon/ grassy hop detected as well. Overall not hugely aromatic, but what's there is a diverse and pleasing bouquet.

T: Everything in the nose comes through just as expected with the intensity turned up a few notches. Super tasty leather/tobacco backbone from the smoked malt, just a hint of honey sweetness comes through, and a moderate bit of lemon herb hop blends seamlessly into the mix.

M: Crisp, light, bubbly... just as it should be. Finishes with lingering leather and bitter herb hop.

D: This is a very tasty and classy brew. The smoked malt gives it a big added twist that levels a huge impact on this lighter style. It is a lighter helles, not as malty as most, but the smoke makes up the difference nicely. I feel like I should be sitting in a classy leather chair in front of a fireplace in a library full of old books with a warm dog at my feet. A great balance of cozy and elegant. "Alfred, kindly bring me another, and put another long on the fire." "Yes sir, right away, sir."

Swirled the yeast in at the end and it didn't have much effect; it blended almost imperceptibly with what was there before. Though it did help the head stand up quite a bit better.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Will for sharing the bottle.

Pours a clear golden body with a white head.

Bready aromas are sweet and subdued. No sign of smoke here.

The palate starts bready, grainy, and toasty with hints of honey. On the finish a mild but unmistakable smoke flavor creeps in. Very balanced overall. Hop flavor is low with just enough bitterness for balance.

Medium body. medium carbonation.

Cool beer, glad I finally got to try one. As interesting as the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbiers are, I might actually want more than one glass of this offering. Its hard to believe a beer with such restrained smoke flavor is made by same brewery that makes those smoke bombs.

This is the perfect way to introduce people to smoked beer without scaring them. Its also the perfect beer for a Summer BBQ. Smoke flavor is great for food pairing and the beer is still mild enough to provide refreshment.

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Photo of nanertak
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
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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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 725 ratings