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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Reviews: 382 | Ratings: 681
Photo of Fatehunter
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of McStagger
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of BhamBeerLover
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
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 -1%
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!

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Photo of seanyfo
3.07/5  rDev -22.7%
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.

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Photo of acevenom
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
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 -45.3%
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 +12.6%
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.

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Photo of Offa
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

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Photo of aasher
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
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!

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Photo of jonb5
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of stevoj
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
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....

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Photo of nickfl
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with an ample, two and a half finger head of foam on top of a perfectly clear, golden body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice lace on the glass.

S - A grainy aroma of pilsner malt with notes of bread and honey as well as herbal hops and a touch of smoke.

T - Dry malt, honey and a touch of woody character up front. Some herbal character in the middle with more honey and smoke beginning to come out. Finishes with dry malt, light bitterness and wispy, lingering smoke.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry, but balanced finish.

D - A balanced and drinkable Bavarian lager, but with a very subtle touch of smoke that takes it to another level of complexity. Really nice, up there with the best of Schlenkerla.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Served in a pilsener glass, the beer pours a clear straw gold color with about a half inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. The brew smells like grain/bready malt, apples, bananas, smoke, pears, and a bit of herbs. The taste is just like the aroma from what I can tell, I don't notice anything different between them. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit slick and smooth and easy enough to drink. I think it's a good overall beer, although I do prefer their smoked brews. But I'd buy this one again, I liked it.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra.

Pours a very clear golden yellow colour, with a mildly forming head of white film. Some veiny lace forms when tilted. Lots of fine carbonation. Stylistically, it's pretty much spot on.

Nose is grainy and slightly thin, with a faint hint of banana skin and a touch of smoke, but less than I expected, even though they state it's not brewed with the classic rauchmalz. It's more like a slightly tweaked Helles Lager than a beer from Schlenkerla.

Taste is extremely light, with some grainy pilsner malt through the centre leaving a hay-like vegetative or rustic note. It mingles again with a very faint suggestion of smoke, but this leaves a medicinal aspect when mingled with the slightly earthy hop bite on the finish. Feel is light and crisp; quite suitable.

Overall, I found this a little disappointing, even though it's a decent beer overall. It's a reasonable example of a classic style, but there are slight fractures to it which don't really move it off-kilter enough to be interesting.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into pilsener glass, no bottle dating. Pours slightly cloudy golden straw color with a nice 2 finger dense white head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a thick cap that lingers. Some nice lacing on the glass, with plenty of carbonation streaming up retaining a dense head. Aromas of big pepper, bread, light smoke, apple, pear, herbal spiciness, floral, and a light metallic off note. Some pretty nice and balanced aromas with decent strength. Taste of pear, pepper, apricot, apple, grass, biscuit, floral, cracker, toasted grain, and herbal spiciness. Fairly dry on the finish; with some lingering notes of pear, apricot, grass, toasted grain, earth, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a short bit. Very nice and well balanced flavors. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a slightly creamy and very smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol presence is essentially non existent as expected of 4.3%. Overall this is a really nice, smooth, and balanced Munich Helles lager. It probably wasn’t very fresh, but it was still very enjoyable.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a Stella chalice.

A- Pours a light golden with a 2 finger white head. Minimal lacing remains on the glass.

S- Some smoke like all Schlenkerla beers. Sweet malts with some citrus.

T- Crisp apple followed by sweet malts and smoke.

M- Light body, medium carbonation. Nice warm weather beer.

O- Nice lager with some smoke. Smoke not as prevelant as other Schlenkerla beers.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is crystal clear and pale yellow hued with a small, but lasting, white head that leaves sparse lacing on the glass.

The aroma is classic Aecht Schlenkerla campfire, albeit a more subtle scent than in other beers from this brewery. In addition to the smokey notes is a pleasant German lager scent.

The beer is light and smooth, with a balance of smoke and German lager flavors. Exactly what I would expect from this brewery.

I could easily drink a liter or more of this. Refreshing and flavorful. Well done.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Emptied slowly into my Guinness pint. Bright and clear marigold body with a rocky egghell head with great retention. Fills a glass nicely. 4.5

Mild smoke atop clean aromatic grains. Slight suggestion of musty snap could be a Saaz hop character. Bready and toasty. Very pleasing nose. 4.5

There's more beefy smoke pouring through, a perfect complement to this German lager. Grassy hops are more apparent now. However, setting it back is an unmistakable iron taste, like rust or blood. Metallic and off-putting. Love the smoky character, crisp bready grains, and noticeable hop; dislike the metallic middle and subsequent ruined finish. 3.5

Drinks just fine. A little light on carb, perhaps, but smooth at sail. Very sessionable. 4.0

That off-flavor killed it for me. I really wanted to love this beer as much as their rauchbier. Don't get me wrong, I'd drink this again. I enjoy it enough to seek out every once in awhile. I mean, it's still just a helles lager. I love both big and little smoked malt qualities, and this one satisfies that thirst of mine, but it's not without its own big flaw. Have to give it a 3.5

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although the beer itself doesn't use any smoked malts, it's brewed using the same yeast and in the same equipment as their other smoked beers. Pretty interesting beer pours a pale light golden delicate biscuit malt character with a nice spritzy carbonation level. Nice fluffy white head leaves intricate banded lacing. Aroma has a subtle smoke character with hints of smoked meats and a light biscuit malt grain character. Flavor has an interesting smoked nuttiness to it adds great complexity to a light classic well executed German helles. Kind of a one note flavor but a very interesting and tasty one note, makes me wish I had another bottle or two. Mouthfeel is evenly carbonated with a light but not watery body. Overall impression this beer rates high with on my likeability skill, would I consider sharing this with other friends into beer? Absolutely a very interesting take on a German Helles a classic style that doesn't get a whole lotta love around these parts.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color with a 2 inch puffy off-white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Thin foamy rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and slight smoke aromas. Taste is of malt with a slight smoke flavor and some herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good lager that retains some of the traditional smoke aromas and flavors without being in your face.

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

Coming out of the 500 ml format, on to the beer:

This beer has a dark golden hue, head retention that is good, and leaves several rings of lacing around the glass. The nose says helles, but if you sniff a little closer, you can also catch a soft smokiness arising. In addition to the smoke, notes of honey and grassy hops arise.

I enjoy a quality helles lager, and Schlenkerla shows that they can do that. There's a subtle smoke flavor, no surprise that this is coming out off Schlenkerla. Honey, grass/hay flavors, also some bread.The flavors are nicely balanced, which helps make it easy to drink. The body is light, and the carbonation has a bit of a jumpy sensation.

Quality helles lager here. If you enjoy a subtle twist on this traditional Munich style, then grab a bottle of this.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – A light transparent golden color with a beautiful white head.

Smell – Smell is surprisingly nice for a lager. A mild smokiness, malt, and a touch of honey.

Taste – The best lager I’ve had (although I haven’t yet tried the Augustiner Bräu Lagerbier Hell or the Thomas Hooker Munich Style Lager as of this review). It has a pleasant sweet/smokey taste that sticks around a while, but it’s a nice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel – Perfectly carbonated for a lager.

Drinkability – Lagers typically go down easy. Since this is the best lager I’ve tried, it goes down that much easier. My local beer store sells this by the keg; this could be a dangerous drink for a big party.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
3.97 out of 5 based on 681 ratings.
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