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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: 370 | Ratings: 656
Photo of Haybeerman
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear pale gold color. Poured a 2 finger fulfy white head with good retention to a thick skim. Decanted continually. Laced the glas in wide rings.

S: Sweet malts with a hint of smoke. A litle dry grass and faint spice.

T: Smokey and sweet with a nice balance between the two. Wet grain and bready malt just ahead of a mild bitter with a little smokiness lingering.

M: Light body. Ample carbonation; very active. Crips and refreshing. A little ligering smoke, but not overbearing.

D: Very drinkable. Crisp, refreshing and fairly light with good malt character. Mils smokiness is really nice.

 598 characters

Photo of sjccmd
4.34/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours light gold with a hint of haze. Small white head, somewhat fizzy. Decent lacing.

Grainy sweetness with a hint of smoke. Crackers and honey. Grassy and herbal hops. Clean lager character. Smoke is fairly subtle, but is present.

Clean pilsner malts and refreshing lager character. Not as much of the honey sweetness as suggested by the aroma, but it does come up more in the finish. Herbal and grassy. Smoke is even more subtle in the flavor. The smoke's subtle meatiness adds the impression of salt, which is nice.

Medium bodied, but slick, and medium carbonation. Soft on the palate. Very dry and minerally.

Quite good. Not my go-to for Helles or Rauchbier, but a nice place in between.

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Photo of nicnut45
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Dark straw color, minimal foam, nice tiny bright white head.

S-Smells like a smokehouse. Smoked corn beef, bacon, charred wood. In the background I get the unmistakable pilsner scent that blends nicely with the smokiness.

T-Nice, clean, and smokey. But not too smokey. Just the right amount to compliment this beer. Im not too familiar with the helles style but I dont think this smokiness is a normal characteristic. But it is pleasing nonetheless.

M-This beer is not watered down. Great carbonation.

D-I would drink this all the time if it came in 12 packs. The price is kind of high too for a 16 ounce. But I will get this again.

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Photo of Bice4
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent Helles from Schlenkerla. Pours a golden amber color and there was no notice of the "bacon" smell I have experienced with other similar beers. Drank out of my Augustiner Edelstoff lager glass.

A true gem. Still searching for the Augustiner Helles, but very enjoyable this one..


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Photo of stephens101
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Chill-hazed, dark amber topped with a strong and craggy off-white froth. Aroma of peat, malt, straw, light fruit and smouldering wood. On the palate fruit and grain are enveloped by a certain smokiness and a slight bitterness. Light in body. An eccentric lager that does what it does unapologetic and does it well.

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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 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 numenor1
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Crystal clear pale yellow. Forms a rocky head that dissipates to a color leaving beautiful lacing. A very tame nose by schlenkerla standards. All i can pick out is very lightly toasted malts, a faint bready note, faint hops and the slightest smoke. However the smoke perks up in the taste, very restrained compared to their other beers. Brilliantly integrated into the beer. Starts smoky with bready malts and then takes on a grassy note as it dries into a bitter finish with smoke lingering. Just like with all the schlenkerla beers, the smoke builds and builds on the palate as you drink. Incredible helles. Mouthfeel is light with typical medium carbonation. As drinkable as any helles.

This would be an incredible session beer if it weren't $4 a bottle.

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

This beer was purchased at Jungle Jims for $2.89. The beer was served in a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a straw yellow coloration. The head is white and fluffy. The head quickly resolves itself into a thin ring of foam. The beer leaves rings of lacing going down the glass.

Smell: There is a faint hickory smoky smell coming from my glass. The beer has the expected pleasant grainy smells.

Taste: The beer has a toasted biscuity grainyness. The smokyness makes a visit in the flavor. The hops bring a bit of earthness to the beer.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is light bodied. The beer has nice a nice crisp carbonation. This is just an outstanding beer treat. This is definately a proverbial session beer. The beer is easy to consume. I wish that I had more.

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

Undated 16.9 oz purchased at Merchant's in Dearborn and poured into a pilsner.

Clear gold under a couple centimeters of white that hold their ground. Faint lace as it goes down. After a few sips the head is reduced to a fat ring.

The nose has some of the characteristic smokey bacon aromas that are associated with this brewery's other labels. A bit odd for a normal Helles, but I love smoked beers and foods so I'm enjoying it. Smoked Helles? Light malts and some grains underneath.

The malts are more assertive in the taste as they seem to be paired with the smoke and the grains take a back seat. Lightly dry with lingering smoke in the finish. Very nice "light" beer.

The mouth is light with crisp carbonation. This is one hell of a session beer as it perfectly balances flavor with low alcohol and damn near perfect drinkability. I am buying more next week. This would be a great one to sip in front of a camp fire.

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

Found this at Oak Tree Buy Rite in South Plainfield... last one, I couldn't resist.

Served in a nonic at fridge temperature, alongside a nice meatball parmesian. No freshness date.

Appearance- Pours a crystal clear straw, the palest of yellows... with a nice three finger soapy head. Craggy lacing is left behind, looks pure.

Smell- Schlenkerla's signature bacony smoke aroma, just a hell of a lot lighter than their other offerings. Great malts and a whiff of hops, becoming richer and bolder as the beer opens up.

Taste- Great, smooth, tasty brew incorporating the smoked malts into an easy drinking lager. Pleasantly different, and refreshing. A sweet, lush hop character unfurls beneath the malts with terrific balance. Mild smoke and bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Light to medium in the mouth, and effortless to drink. What a great alternative for this summer.

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

1 pint .9 oz. bottle

Poured a clear golden color with a thick but light white head, 2+ finger pour with good head retention that settled into a thin cap that lasted through the beer. Carbonation was noticeably constantly rising to the top.

Very nice malted barley aroma with a hint of smoke.

The taste follows the nose, but perhaps a bit more smokey.

The beer had a light feel to it, exceptionally smooth and easy to drink. Overall, this is a simple beer that is exceptionally well done. This one will be in my beer fridge more often.

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

Presentation - 500 ml bottle. I have now noticed when held to the light European bottles are a greyer, smokier shade of brown than American bottles. Wonder what different they dope it with. Poured into the smaller of my two authentic ceramic german steins. Poured a bit into a crystal glass to check out color.

Appearance - Giant cratered foam cap in my stein! Yow it's bright white indeed. Lasts for five to ten minutes. Once two thirds of the beer is gone it's still fully covered by bubbles. When held to the light in the crystal glass it is a fine yellow gold, sort of goldenrod color. Pale but lovely looking. Legs all up and down my stein, all over the place with white rings of suds.

Smell - At first I didn't smell much. I have bad allergies and I always feel like I miss out on this aspect of beer. But subsequently I realize I'm smelling delicate malts and a slight spiciness which replaces the trademark aecht schlen smokiness when the rauchmalt is used in smaller quantities.

Taste - Definite bready, toasty malts. Delicate, but strong. There's no alcohol note, which I find lovely. There's the usual giveaway lager note, which I realize I don't sample often enough. I need to drink more lagers... anyway there's bready grainy malts, and now there's spiciness from a melding of hops and smoke. The smoke is restrained. I laughed when I read the review by some dude who claims it's unpleasantly smoky. God he would hate regular marzen aecht rauchbier.. I love smoke in cheese AND beer, but it's employed with a light enough touch here that people unfamiliar with it could use this as a nice jumping off point into rauchbiers. The hops add a definite finishing bitterness, almost floral.

Mouthfeel - Lovely carbonation with medium body for such a light lager. I'm pleasantly surprised.

Drinkability - This stuff keeps getting better with each sip, and then I realize I'm not sipping. I'm fucking gulping and my beer is almost gone! Damn that didn't seem like 500 ml.. I could have two more of these if I wanted and be still relatively sober! The low alcohol and easy drinking yet crisp and unusual taste keeps you coming back for more. Watch your sips people, or it will disappear on you.

Altogether this is some good clean fun. A light beer with lovely flavor. I suggest rauch fans try it to taste a less forceful employment of this versatile malt. I could see this level of smoke in plenty of beers. Would be nice in a simcoe IPA or APA for sure!

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Photo of nickfl
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
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 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 Derek
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I gave my wife a 'blind' taste from my glass... she said "is this from Schlenkerla?". Supposedly not a Rauchbier, but it certainly has a smokey element. Perhaps even more than Spezial's house lager? (though the bottle was obtained in Michigan, so who know's how long it has 'conditioned').

A: Clear, golden yellow; white head, hardly any retention, but it initially leaves some lace.

S: Fresh, floral hops (a bit of a soapy aroma); a slight hint of smoke; a little toffee & bread in the background.

T: Malty bread & toffee up front, moderate floral hop flavour, mild smoke (mostly in the aftertaste). Excellent bitter-sweet balance, with the sweetness fading to a crisp finish. This gets bonus points for its flavour-to-weight ratio!

M: Surprisingly heavy for a 4.3% brew; more body than a lot of stronger lagers. Almost chewy, yet creamy. It's not very dry (seems to be a pleasant amount of residual sugar), but has a crisp finish. Amazing.

D: Plenty of flavour for a 'light' brew. I could certainly session this!

Thanks for picking this up Eric (Frozensoul), I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear pale yellow. Decent amounts of carbonation surface quickly. Thin, bubbly whitish head. Minimal lace. Biscuity and bready malts on the nose reminiscent of fine dortmunders. Faded smokiness and light caramel accent. Fairly crisp mouthfeel with that prickly kind of carbonation. Light to medium in body. Decent all around taste. Biscuity and grain malts form a subdued backbone. Campfire smoke accents...way in the distance. Sweet center. Very slight hop dryness. Good taster. Goes down with no problem.

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Photo of TongoRad
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served at 52F

A squeaky clean white head, at least two fingers, sits atop the brightest clear yellow liquid. A steady stream of bubbles constantly rises from below. The head lasts a minute or two before settling down to a 1/4" layer.

Aroma is a delicate weave of gentle smokiness, bready malt and a touch of herbal/grassy hops. The smoke is more prominent on the super smooth, impeccably balanced palate. Bitterness is clean, carbonation is at just the right level, and the finish is a wonderfully lingering toasty smokiness.

Ultimately you just have to judge this beer for what it is- a 'one-of'. It is truly neither a smoked beer nor a helles, but on its own merits is quite well made and damned enjoyable. After my sixth one (no, not in a row) it became very clear to me that I had found a new favorite thing that I simply must revisit from time to time- it rewards contemplation for sure, but is even better as a quaffer and leaves you thirsting for more when it is gone.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful straw yellow with nice carbonation rising to the top and a nice white head that doesnt retain that well. The aroma is excellent, with typical helles scents of biscuit and spicy hops, along with a subtle smokiness (after all they pretty much only brew smoked beer at schlenkerla) that adds another level of complexity to this beer. The flavor is similar to the aroma with normal helles characteristics; biscuit, grainy malt, spicy noble hops, subtle smokiness (resembles bacon), and a slight sweetness (likely residual sugars). The mouthfeel is light and moderately carbonated, with a clean finish and excellent drinkability. This was an excellent beer, seems the perfect marriage of styles (rauchbier and helles lager)...the subtle smokiness is perfect.

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Photo of russpowell
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an effervescent golden/bronze with 1+ finger of eggshell white head. Stays effervescent throughout, above average lacing & below average head retention

S: Breadyness, hay, & a whisper of smokeyness

T: Grassy notes, some bready notes & then a bit of smokey ham up front. Crackery, plus lemon hop notes as this warms. Finishes with honey sweetness, a little bit of grainyness, lemony notes & laid back smokeyness

MF: Light/medium bodied, with lively carbonation & super balance

Drinks very easy, I was really impressed at how low the abv was, but this didn't show any thinness & still packed flavor. One I could easily pound through a football double-header or drink one or 2 & just enjoy its subtleties

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz bottle

Pours a clear golden straw with a small white head that fades. Mild lacing on the glass.

Smells crisp and grainy with a nice smokiness. Smells very good.

Taste is crisp and grainy with a mild smokiness. Finishes dry with a slight bitterness. Very tasty and refreshing.

Light body, good carbonation.

Very nice summer beer. Easy to drink and full of flavor.

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into pilsner glass.

A - Golden and clear in color. A nice two finger head hangs around for a minute or two before falling to a thin cap. Minimal lacing.

S - Biscuity aroma strikes initially, but there is an ever-present smoky aroma as well. Something like fresh baked biscuits and bacon cooking? Very nice.

T - Same bready flavor from the nose, with a slight buttery twinge. Smokiness kicks in as well. Slightly spicy hops hit near the finish; very clean aftertaste.

M - Moderate to high carbonation with a light, borderline medium mouthfeel. Pretty good for a lager, not to mention a helles!

D - The best helles I've had, though it's obvious this has some rauchbier tendencies; not really sure how to classify this guy. All in all, a very good brew with much more character than the average helles.

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Photo of johanvond
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a crystal clear clean golden lager with a white head, you can see why it's a helles. Theres a good sweet malt aroma and cleansing mouthfeel. This beer has an amazing interplay of malt smoke and hops. You start out with a light smoke that returns in the aftertaste with an amazing dance of smoke and hopppy bitternes that inataly clenses but after half the glass just keeps going. I wish i could have this with some lightly smoke salmon or sushi.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier from Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla
3.96 out of 5 based on 656 ratings.
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