Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier | Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

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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

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Ratings: 688 |  Reviews: 384
Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
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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Photo of jera1350
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
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 -1%
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 +2.3%
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%
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 +0.5%
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 -13.9%
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%
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 -8.3%
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 -0.3%
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 +7.8%
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.

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Photo of wcintula
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of DerBayer
4.82/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best schlenkerla yet other than maybe the urbock but this really is amazing.

A perfect helles with a slight smokey punch. not faint but slight it is definitely present with a surprising faint honey aroma as well

i had this both from bottle and on tap and it s always superb. if you get a chance a definite must.

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Photo of dbossman
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice white, foamy head with steady retention and good lacing

S: A combination of lemon/citrus and an eathy hay quality; pleasant but quite subtle

T: A smoky meatiness is most prevalent and that blends nicely with the earthy guality and subtle citrus from the hops

F: Very even balanced

D: A great beer for grilling; this is a nice, slightly smokey lager

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear straw-yellow hue with nice white head and spots of lace.

S - Sweet floral, honey-ish and grassy lager aromas, surprisingly no real smoke.

T - Okay. Here's the smoke. And also a clean mineral taste with a ton of hop flavor (for a lager) on the finish. A very nice brew, subtle and understated.

M - Real smooth, lighter-bodied and softly carbonated.

D - Very enjoyable. I prefer this to most lagers.

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Photo of Errto
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliantly clear pale gold color with very active - even audible carbonation, and a loose head that settles to a thin layer.

Smell starts off with a distinctive German-style maltiness but later a very distinctive smoke comes through. It overpowers the other smells only because they're quite subtle - it's not nearly as thickly smoky as I was expecting (compared to, say, an island Scotch).

The flavor is more like what I'd expect from a Munich Helles. Light, crisp, refreshing, a delicate balance of malt with a small punch of hops. As with the smell, the smoke comes through only later and makes an interesting contrast. A little alcohol in the finish.

Very dry, but it does coat the tongue a bit. Overall, a really interesting mix of flavors that imho comes out just right.

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Photo of udubdawg
4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gold color capped by a thin head. It doesn't look as bright as I expected so I take a closer glance. I see a fine haze of tiny particles in the glass, though I only poured in half the bottle. I wonder briefly about the age of the bottle and move on.

Very nice aroma, malt surprising me at first as I expected overwhelming smoke. Smoke is there but if I didn't know the brewer it wouldn't have been in my first impression. Very well done...perhaps wish the overall aroma was just a little bigger.

A balanced well-done lager. Tasty, doesn't seem very bitter but it does seem a proper level. Quite drying, just enough to demand another sip but not quite to actually make my mouth parched. faintly sweet lingering malt flavor in the aftertaste. Smoke grows on my palate but never overwhelms.

Soft carbonation could be slightly higher, but there is little to quibble with here. Nice balance of sweet/bitter/dry without high alcohol makes this extremely drinkable. Even many of those who try to avoid the harshness of some smoked beers need to give this a try.

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Photo of turkob
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My first review! Studying for the BJCP so here goes

A: Very translucent and absolutely filled with bubbles. Pours a thick, cloudy white head that subsides slowly and looks beautiful. Golden with a hint of amber.

S: Little smell at all. A little sweet, I can pick up a hint of malt and even less noble hops, but really almost completely without aroma.

T: Very crisp. A mild but distinct malt profile with a hint of hops on the finish. Grainy but mostly sweet.

M: Finishes dry. Lots of carbonation makes the beer tingle in your mouth. Not a lot of body, but not thin either.

O: A refreshing and light beer with plenty of flavor to keep you wanting more. I'd like a little more hops on the finish, but you can definitely drink a couple of these without blinking.

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Photo of smcolw
3.46/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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Photo of Greggy
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a thin bright white head with little lacing. The body is a hazy straw color.

S- Some graininess, light fruity hops and some honey notes, and a tiny suggestion of smokiness.

T- Starts out with a big malty whack with notes of honey, minerals, cereal grains, and some drying hops at the end, with again, a tiny bit of smoke.

M- What a nice full body for a beer of 4.3%. Carbonation is light and almost spritzy.

D- A pretty drinkable brew. I thought this was a smoked beer but from what I understand, it is not. At almost $5 for the bottle, I probably won't buy again.

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Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After multiple drafts at Map Room, i've only had a bottle of this once before. There's a newer label now with red & black accents to the lettering. If you still have a blue label, you can be sure its old.

Bright gold, lazy ascending bubbles, creamy cap of foam becomes a delicate skim after some time. Concentric, drippy rings of lace are left after each sip. Looks good for a Helles.

Aroma is clean, and lightly sweet and malty. A bare trace of smoke, really only apparent as it warms. Slightly husky and earthy. Fairly delicate and subtle.

Gentle apple bread sweetness at first, becoming very dry and slightly bitter with noble hops in the end. A very light smoky element is there in the aftertaste, lingering in the background. It's simple, yet has an understated elegance with the smoke traces. There is some weight to it, but it falls just around medium on the mouthfeel scale.

A fine Bavarian lager to usher in the Spring and it's warming weather...

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Photo of maltlikker
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden straw color with a substantial fluffy white head which leaves thick lacing as it retreats.

Aroma is floral and light citrus with a hint of fresh bread and a wisp of smoke.

Flavor is mildly sweet biscuit and light smoke finishing with clean citrus and cleansing carbonation.

A really delightful beer - this would be a good brew for those who are put off by a rauchbier (many seem to be) but are intrigued by the idea of a smoked beer.

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

this is a nice yellow gold, but it is definitely not crystal clear, as others have experienced. it's not at all the haze you might find in a double IPA, but there are some fine particulates suspended throughout. i'm not entirely sure that they're supposed to be there, but let's keep moving.

there is a hint of smoke in the nose, but obviously much less than the rest Schlenkerla's offerings. otherwise it's all malt and no hops - cereal grains mostly. taste is equally malty. the style description for Helles Lager talks about more subdued spicy hop notes than Pils, and in this case i would say "absent" rather than "subdued" when it comes to spicy hop notes.

lately i've been all about lagers, but this one just doesn't do it for me. there's nothing wrong with it, but at the same time, i can't pick out anything about it that i love.

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Photo of Mcculler
4.57/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Needed a more vigorous pour so I'm being conservative on the appearance, but the colour was nothing truly exceptional - clear golden.

Smell - molasses, smoke, and autumn leaves.

Taste - tea, teaberry, smoke, dry autumn leaves, herbal finish.

Nicely carbonated.

At 4.5 or thereabouts very drinkable.

Beautiful, intriguing beer.

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

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier. On tap @ DBGB

Honey golden in color with a 1" frothy snow white head and little bubbles from carbonation perpetually streaming up the side of the glass. Inviting but not remarkable.

Some smokey, oaky notes to begin with. There's definitely light malt in the nose as well.

Oh wow! This is where it really shines and outperforms my wildest expectations. The sommelier at DBGB informed me that the beer is stored in wood casks and produced with machinery that imparts the smokiness. The initial flavor of biscuity malts and fruity esters in not immediately impressive. But the addition of the very slight woody taste makes all the difference and brings it into perfect balance. It tasted fresh, refreshing, but also soft and inviting.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Medium-bodied, decent amount of carbonation (I'm glad this one wasn't too carbonated as it would have overpowered the woody, smokey flavor). Very much a session beer at 4.3%, and the woody flavor in conjunction with its solid Munich helles lager attributes make this one a pleasure to consume in scalable quantities.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
3.96 out of 5 based on 688 ratings.
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