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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier | Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla

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BA SCORE
89
very good
368 Reviews
THE BROS
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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles LagerbierAecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
Germany | website

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
Reviews:
368
Ratings:
643
Avg:
3.96
pDev:
15.91%
 
 
Wants:
49
Gots:
36
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 643
Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pale, honey color; huge fluffy long-lasting white head

Aroma: Light malt; bready; slight citrus

Taste: Slightly bitter up front, through the mid and finish; juicy and refreshing, but not balanced with sweetness; much like a Pils, which is not my favorite style

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

 337 characters

Photo of fmccormi
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from a 500ml / 16.9oz pry-off bottle to an oversized wineglass (Tired Hands stemware). No freshness or bottling date is evident on the bottle, but I picked this up the first time I saw it in this area, just a few weeks ago, so I’m assuming it’s still relatively fresh-ish enough.

Appearance (4.0): Pours with nearly three fingers of light, sudsy, bone-white foam that dies down at a moderate pace. The body is a pale golden color, not quite as pale as straw tones and not as rich as honey tones. Just a slight chill haze. Moderate retention, leaving a thin layer of foam on the surface of the beer. It does leave some fat suds all over the near side of the glass—not a ton of lacing, but it’s nice enough.

Smell (3.75): Juicy, modestly sweet bread aromas, like fresh-baked sweet buns with some light grape and pear scents, nice and light and sweet and lovely. Some floral hops, not so much grassy, herbal, or lemony as I might have expected from the style, but nice and veeery lightly floral.

Taste (4.0): Starts off with the same kind of almost floral, lightly sweet bready tones in the nose, but dryer. The pale, grainy malt character is light and bready, like fresh biscuits but toned down (without losing any character). There’s a modest bitterness that comes through in the mid-palate, grassy and slightly herbal, very classic German hop notes. On the finish, there’s just the slightest, but still quite rich in character, smokiness—the kind of smoke character you get from smoked cheese (without the cheese, obviously. Point is, not like bacon or charred grain).

Mouthfeel (4.5): Soft, full carbonation that foams easily but dies out well enough on its own, too. A nice little tingle here and there, but nothing aggressive. The body is well on the light side of medium and finishes juuust barely on the dry side (though there’s nothing about it that’s particularly thick or syrupy, either—just incredibly well-balanced in terms of feel).

Overall (4.25): This is a nice beer, well-crafted and on point for the style. The little bit of smokiness towards the end gets washed away if you’re not careful, but if you pair it with food it gets more noticeable and offers a very nice, unique edge that definitely sets it apart from the field. Very nice, subtle, well-crafted, and refreshing.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
3.84/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured out of a brown 16.9 oz bottle into a pokal glass. No bottling date or "freshness" date, but it does guarantee that it was brewed according to the purity law, etc...

Appearance - Pours a glowing golden body with ample carbonation bubbles rising up through the glass to a pillowy, stark white head. The head gets up to 2-2.5 fingers and dissipates at a leisurely pace, leaving leopard-print lacing

Smell - Grain and yeast are the most present aromas, but there is also a hint of smokiness, like open-fire baked bread.

Taste - Yep, there's fulfillment of the aroma's smoky essence. Notes of smoke-cured light meats, like salmon and turkey, but it's faint. Flavor profile seems a little conflicted between a rich, complex lager and a crisp, refreshing one. I sense elements of both.

Mouthfeel - Again, a bit confusing. Body is medium, reminding me a bit of juice, but finishes crisp and clean, like a lager.

Overall, an odd but strangely tasty beer. I'd label this a gateway for getting into smoked beers, because while it doesn't actually use smoked malts, they boil it in the same kettles and use the same yeast as the other smoked beers, so the smoke element is very much there. However, it's not overpowering, and so very approachable.

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Photo of beergoot
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pale, straw yellow body, crystal clear, with excellent carbonation and a thick white head. Bright, grainy lager aroma. Biscuit and light cracker malt flavors with a crisp hop bitterness near the end. Light bodied with a crisp, clean, dry finish.

An extraordinary German lager that hits all the style marks in excellent fashion. Well-balanced combines with nice, low-key complexity throughout. I've always liked their smoked beers and was hoping their helles lager would provide similar satisfaction. I was not disappointed and would recommend this beer to anyone without hesitation.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was at the beer store purchasing a dimpled German beer mug when I thought it would only be fitting to buy a German lager to dump into it for its first usage. I picked up a Schlenkerla Helles Lager based on a few suggestions and the fact that I generally enjoy their rauchbiers; I figured I'd try one of their non-smoked malt beers.

This one pours a color halfway between yellow and straw with a mild chill haze that settles in the middle and eventually fades once the beer approaches slightly warmer temps to reveal a decent amount of clarity. A puffy and cloudy white head pillows up and shows excellent retention, not to mention the huge amounts of chunky lace it leaves behind. Very nice looking beer, especially in this dimpled German mug. All I need now is a warm pretzel.

Schlenkerla Helles Lager has one of the best aromas in lager-town. Humongous bread and grain filled framework upon which an excellently fresh, crisp, and pure display of aromas is laid out. Barley, thick yeast, mildly musky hops, and an uplifting dose of smokiness. The smoke in this is more akin to a sweet, subtle, liquid smoke aroma as opposed to the heavier, full-force meatiness provided by Schlenkerla's rauchbiers. This beer does not actually use smoked malt, however due to the use of the same brewing equipment between this and the rauchbiers, some of the residual smokiness makes it's way into the helles lager.

The taste follows right along with the aroma as a nice wave a bread-like malts and softly toasted grains wash over my palate. The smokiness is perhaps even a bit lighter on the palate, but still very much an integral part of what makes this beer so great; a nice, light sweet smoke flavor that sets this lager apart from others. Light citrus zest in the finish along with heavy grains and fresh, lager-type yeast. Each sip that goes down leaves your mouth begging for more. Lighter bodied with a tight and crisp mouth feel thanks to a plentiful amount of carbonation.

This beer is so fundamentally simple yet executed so admirably. Drinkability is insanely high - I couldn't get enough of this beer. You can bet that I'll be picking this one up from now on, every time I'm looking for something to sit back and relax with. Definitely one of the best lagers I've had to date, especially considering the helles style. It opened my eyes to what helles lagers could taste like.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.84/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2013-02-16 in Bowling Green, KY

A - Clear golden-yellow with a 2-finger head that fades quickly leaving mild lace.

S - Sourdough, citrus, light earthy spice

T - Yeasty bread, citrus, light smoke, grass, earthy spice. Finishes with a light flourish of bitterness. Not over-the-top but quite tasty.

M - Light-medium body and carbonation. Soft, lightly creamy, finishes on the crisp side.

O - A very nice Helles. Good flavor for low ABV. Wouldn't be a go-to for me but would enjoy it again.

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Photo of foles
4.39/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a world classic for me. An outstanding hell in its own right, with a lovely hint of smoke to complement it. Everything is done in perfect balance here. And having had it at the brewery, and at home in Australia - it travels very well (Pheonix beers are good importers).

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear straw yellow color with almost no head

S: Lager yeast, some wheat, light fruitiness and grains, along with a smooth smokiness throughout

T: Follows the nose. Light fruitiness and grains, some wheat presence, and the smoke throughout. The smoke is nowhere near overpowering. Crisp

M: Light bodied with moderate-high carbonation. Crisp and refreshing

O: A solid helles lager with a nice smokiness to it. The smoke is more of a supporting role than anything else (especially compared to their other beers) and keeps things interesting. Very easy to drink and easy to find. Worth a purchase

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Photo of jsisko01
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a clear straw color with a half inch thick, soapy white head. Leaves a very nice, creamy lacing.

Smell - Has a slight spicy aroma, like a typical helles lager. Along with a weird funk and sourdough bread.

Taste - Lightly spiced. I can detect coriander for sure. There is a strong smoky flavor as well, with a light mustiness/funk. It has a subtle sweetness throughout. Sourdough bread and a light bitterness come out in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall - This is a great beer.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear straw yellow, with a thick fizzy head of white carbonation. Thin, but attractive lace.

Nose is grainy and malty like most lagers, but with a hint of wood-smokiness. Definitely appealing.

Taste is crisp and light, but with that hint of smoky malts again. This is not from the malts being actually smoked (as in Schlenkerla's other noteworthy beers), but simply from this lager being boiled in the same copper kettles as the smoked beers, and perhaps from sharing the same yeasts as the aforementioned rauchbiers.

A delightful lager, full of flavor and with a unique and subtle flavor twist. Wonderful!

 609 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.49/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From: Beertopia, Omaha, NE
Date: None on bottle
Glass: Ayinger willi glass

Schlenkerla's Helles lager manages to evoke slight traces of their other rauchbiers, despite not using smoked malts in this brew. How they manage to do this, I'm not sure, but it makes a marginally interesting contribution to the style (though I preferred their 'Krausen' lager) that was enjoyable enough, though nothing particularly stand-out or exciting. Interesting to have tried, but would I pay $5 for a bottle of this again? Probably not.

Pours a 1cm head of fairly clean, white foam made up of medium-sized bubbles, that has little retentive capability, dissipating with a few moments after the pour. Lacing is minimal, a few spots here and there along the sides of the glass. Body is a golden orange color, light turning the hues paler and bringing out the yellow. Carbonation is visible through the transparent body, not substantial or particularly interesting.

Aroma is like that of a typical helles lager: sweet, bread-like, slight dried lemon peel, but mixes things up by adding smoked malt from the middle through the end of the inhalation.

Tasting opens with sweet, bread-like malts and a bit of pale graininess. Mid-palate is of smooth, sweet, bread-like flavors tempered with mildly bittering hops and modest smoked malt. Back of palate picks up European hop bitterness, a bit of malt graininess, slight dried lemon peel. The subtle smokiness of the malts appears further in the close and aftertaste. Aftertaste is of light, bready malts, lingering bitterness, and more noticeable smokiness.

Beer is medium to medium-light in body with moderate to moderate-low levels of carbonation. The resulting mouthfeel is generally smooth and passes gracefully along the palate, with a light fizziness and foaminess due to the carbonation. Closes quite dry, the feel being rather astringent, actually.

 1,886 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finger of head. Clear, medium straw colored body.
Smells like bread, grain and smoke in that order.
Nice sweet taste, mild bitterness. Smoke in the background throughout. A really nice balance of flavors.
Crisp and light body, moderate carbonation. Short finish.
Enjoyable. A lager with some gentle smoke to it.

 311 characters

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

A: First off, not much in the way of head. At all. One finger, off white. Rapidly dissipating. Ample carbonation with large bubbles racing up the glass. Hazy golden hue. Bottle conditioned. Did not know that as I poured. Now I have floaties in my beer.

S: Spicy metallic hop presence. Noble, definitely. Sweet malts, heather honey and some caramel. Malt dominant aroma.

T: Lemon rind, metallic, bit of sulfur. The malt is fairly cracker like. Hops are much more prevalent on the tongue. Metallic mid taste leads to a slight smoky flavor. Almost like worchestire. No shit. Unexpected, to say the least. Finishes dry with the nuttiness of the yeast coming into play.

M: Ample carbonation, but a pretty smooth mouthfeel. Bottle conditioning makes such a difference. I love it.

O: I probably won't seek this out again. A little different than your standard Munich Helles. The smoked flavor really threw me for a loop. Maybe an off bottle.

Edit: So apparently this beer is known for having a smoky flavor. I had no idea. Still, pretty nice brew.

 1,049 characters

Photo of BhamBeerLover
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Smells vaguely of Caribbean lagers which was offputting. However tastes like a campfire and had fantastic mouthfeel. For something with such smoky qualities I was surprised not to see that on the label. (Although my translation skills are nonexistent or very close to it.) Greatly enjoyed this beer and although I don't look for lagers, would buy this beer again when in the mood. Great work peeps across the pond!

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my crystal mug, the beer is a clear pale yellow, and produced very little white bubbly head. It dissipates fast leaving little lacing.
The smell is not very strong, some malt and citrus .
Tasting the beer, mild fruity hop flavors build the front. The middle balances the fruitiness with notes of malt, bread and grain. In the finish, there is a subtle smokiness noticeable, just a hint.
A very nice medium to light bodied Lager, very drinkable and a fine specimen of its category!

 492 characters

Photo of seanyfo
3.07/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

50cl bottle poured into my Spaten Krug

BBE Aug 2012

A- Medium gold body with excellent clarity. Very poor head retention and lacing, reducing very quickly to leave nothing whatsoever after a few minutes.

S- Lots of sweet malt, no smokiness imparted at all as suggested there might be.

T- Lots of sweet malt character, no hop balance really coming through at all. Finish is clean and refreshing

M - Medium body and carbonation.

D- Didnt look appetizing at all after a few minutes. Aroma and taste left little to be desired. No smoke character as hoped for. Just a standard helles on the sweeter side of the malt spectrum, even for Franconia. Disappointed.

 660 characters

Photo of acevenom
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass mug. Pours pale golden with a white head. I can see a few tiny streaming bubbles. The aroma is of smoky and pale roasted malts. The taste follows the nose. The good malt profile has the right balance of smokiness to make the taste. The body is light with moderate carbonation. The finish is crisp. The drinkability is very high. This is an excellent beer. I just wish the bottle caps weren't on so tight because this destroyed my bottle opener.

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Photo of PorterLambic
2.17/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a foggy, darkish yellow with a white head atop. Retention is pretty good holding at a thick film for quite a long time.
Smell is a faint smoked meat note overridden by a musty hop and malt mix. Not what I was expecting or hoping for. I really like the rauchbiers and hope the flavor is better than the nose.
Taste is malt, hops and a light mustiness, all in decent balance. None of the smokiness sadly.
Almost medium bodied with a tart, sharp carbonation up front. Dry, clean finish. Sadly, I've got nothing to recommend in this beer. That's disappointing considering how much I've liked the other four Schlenkerla brews I've had prior.

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Photo of Gatch
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Crystal-clear golden-yellow with a fizzy, active, white head that builds and fades quickly leaving behind very little lace and retention.

S: Honey, lightly roasted malt, barn/grass, bread/yeast. Very nice.

T: Incredible. What every beer of this style should taste like. Bready, yeasty, grassy, and honey, all with a touch of hops in the finish. Slightly sweet and fully delicious. The quintessential lager. Great straight from the fridge but even better when it is allowed to warm over time.

M: Super smooth, the flavor and body are fantastic, and it's so easy to drink. "Refreshing" is selling it short.

O: When I bought this beer, I built up hopes of what it would taste like. After drinking two other of the brewery's smoke beers (both very good), this is a welcomed departure and a pleasant drinking experience. Highly recommended.

 842 characters

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

This is a very good helles lager.

Broght gold, it has a medium white head slowly shrinking to thin foamy top with a little foamy lace.

Aroma is strong helles aroma, grain, strong herbs, lemon, hint of smoke (even though it's not supposed to be a smoked/rauchbier).

Taste is Nice helles with grain, bread, herb, apple, lemon, mineral with light smokiness again coming on before the finish. It has aftertaste of light grain, herb, apple.

 438 characters

Photo of TheRealBigC
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

It's nice to try a smoked lager, but eh, I don't see the appeal in buying more than one bottle ever. Whereas the brewery's smoked Marzen and Weizen are a little thicker and can stand up to the smoke, I think in some ways the smoke gets in the way of the lager properties. I usually go for a lager as a lighter, more refreshing option. The smoke kills that. I'm trying to be objective with my scores, because I appreciate the uniqueness.

 436 characters

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

This beer pours a light bodied and very clear bright gold in color with a two finger bright white head. The nose is trademarked pale German malt with a touch of smoke. Hey oh! I've had all of Aecht Schlemkerlas other beers but didn't expect any smoke from their Helles for some reason. The touch of smoke is a nice surprise. The flavors are crisp and clean. It features typical pale Munich malt and again has that touch f smoked malt. It definitely makes this one unique. It drinks light in body and is very easy to sit down and drink. I like it a lot. For anyone who is a fan of German lagers this s a must try.

 612 characters

Photo of beerluvr
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled in a Hobgoblin Tumbler..serious lol. This pours with a rich white head, very slightly hazy deep yellow liquid in the glass. Nose is of bready malt and the subtle hint of smokiness...very appealing to my sense of smell. The taste is superb, a complex blend of subtle smoke, malt and hops. Finishes long and hoppy with the smoke cutting thru. This is a fantastic and unique Helles, I doubt I've had better. A gem!

 419 characters

Photo of jonb5
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half litre bottle, golden colour, clear, large head which soon disappeared. Aroma had notes of apple, Saaz hop and a hint of smoke. Tasted apple and a hint of smoke, had the spicy sweetness of Oktoberfest beers. Smooth texture, medium body, light carbonation. Overall a very refreshing beer, the smoke was understated but really gave it some depth that defied the 4.3abv.

 371 characters

Photo of stevoj
3.86/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From 2012: Tasted this alongside other rauchbiers at a work sponsored bierprobe. Although it is a helles, the smokiness known by Schlenkerla was present. A very unique helles, and not out of place if tasting rauchs....

 218 characters

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
89 out of 100 based on 368 ratings.
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