Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier | Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
Very Good
712 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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Ratings: 712 |  Reviews: 392
Photo of foogerd
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
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 +2.5%
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 +7.8%
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 -25.1%
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 -5.6%
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 -5.1%
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 -10.1%
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 -7.6%
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.

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Photo of largadeer
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
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 +17.2%
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 +8.9%
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%
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.

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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.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 712 ratings
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