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Victory Helles Lager | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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364 Reviews
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Victory Helles LagerVictory Helles Lager

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Victory Lager

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-17-2001

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 364 | Ratings: 874
Reviews by Tsrohnek:
Photo of Tsrohnek
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.04/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale, milky sunshine yellow with a fine yeasty haze. The bone white cap is decent, but isn't up to Victory's usual high standards. The foam is neither creamy nor sticky and doesn't look all that impressive as it deflates. A squeaky clean glass doesn't help.

Back on track. The nose is a wonderful combination of fresh, sweet grain and bright, lightly spicy, fruity hops. It's exceptionally well-balanced. I haven't had that many, but I don't recall a better Munich helles lager nose than this one. If the flavor follows the aroma, I'll be a happy man.

It does. The first thing that hits me is how much flavor is packed into each mouthful. Victory Lager is well-malted with loads of golden, flame-kissed grain that is deliciously, lightly sugary sweet. Thankfully, the flavor is as finely tuned and as balanced as the nose. A generous amount of German hops provides floral, spicy and herbal flavors with very little grassiness.

The beer stays balanced to the very end. I would have liked a longer finish (it's perfectly clean and crisp by the way) since the flavor is so much to my liking. The light mouthfeel is appropriate for the style and does nothing but enhance drinkability. A somewhat vigorous amount of carbonation keeps things lively all way to bottom of the bottle.

Victory Lager is what American macro lagers should taste like. This bottle contains a simple, straightforward, extremely well-crafted beer that is enjoyable solo and should match up well with all manner of foods. Along with Ayinger Jahrhundert Bier, it's my new favorite version of a style that I don't usually pay much attention to. Victory brews good beer!

 1,646 characters

Photo of futureman69
5/5  rDev +38.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok, ok....you guys (and gals) are looking at my ratings and thinking "how could this brew possibly be as good as he claims..?"...well, there are a few things you need to know first:
1) You need to be a Helles Lager fan
2) See item #1...
3) You get the picture. Helles lager is a VERY exclusive beer club; it's definitely NOT for the faint of heart or for the hop-enthuiast. Helles-style lager has its own beer-aesthetic - and not one that can be easily explained - but let's just say I live within 45 minutes of the Victory brewery in wonderful Amish-laden Pennsylvania and I can say with utmost confidence that - straight out of the tap or the bottle - this IS the most delicious example of this variety of beer I have ever had.
Do yourself a favor: try it. If you don't like, set it aside and don't think about it for several months...
Then pick it up again - give it another try. If it still doesn't appeal to you, set it aside. Talk with friends. Play pinball. Shoot skeet...take a walk.
THEN - come back and drink it again. Ok..."Wow!", you'll say...or "huh.." or something.
Ok. At this point, change your life. Go back to school and get that post-graduate degree. Or, maybe, propose to that high-school sweetheart and finally get married and settle down. Something. SOMETHING! Do something with your liffe, Goddam-itt! Then, after you've changed, come back and try Victory Lager again. Perhaps you will have found a place for it in your life - at last. Perhaps not.
Ok, several more decades have past; the family's good, the kids are grown, the wife's got some 'growing pains'...says she wants to try life on her own for a while - out in the Pacific Northwest - without you - so you let her go...you trade in your stocks, sell the homestead, flip over your long-held socio-political ideology and find life anew as an ascetic new-millenium warrior monk. God bless you! Now, go to your local beer retailer and purchase a fresh case of Victory Lager. Chill it. Open it. Sip it. Savor it. Delight in life, because (God knows) your days are numbered and good lager (like this) is a rara avis - a scent of life blown on an ocean breeze.
...try to grasp it for a moment and know life as few others live it...

Victory Lager. Indeed.

 2,243 characters

Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice deep golden color with nice rocky head,a slight malty sweet aroma not much to speak of.taste was nice and fruity witha good malt backbone,very drinkable.A real nice lager not to wimpy but realy drinkable,I would seek it out again when i wanna drink something a little lighter but with some real substance.

 319 characters

Photo of JacobMutberg
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.69/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle into a pint glass producing minimal head that diminished to practically nothing very quickly. No discernible lacing to note. Color was a mostly clear light yellow gold.

S: interesting aroma that seems to be a cross between a light yeasty smell and fresh milled grain.

T: A touch more than light bodied with hints of fresh bread and grain, more so than a 'malt' flavor. Hops seem light and fall second to the other flavors. Finish is relatively quick with a slight touch of lingering sweetness.

M: Sort of a 'faux' light, more of a medium body with a light flavor. Carbonation is very light with no visible bubbles but you catch them on the tongue.

D: Pretty good. Nice 'general' sort of drink that can be enjoyed anytime with most foods.

Nice brew. I was expecting something a little bit lighter in body and taste but this was a pleasant surprise. Good flavor, body, and finish.

 908 characters

Photo of joel_bou
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of muskiecf
4.65/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Smooth! Refreshing and light. Grassy hoppiness. Has a strong yeast bite that is dry and very pilsner like. I am impressed with how complex it can be yet so simple. A great session lager in the old world style! Victory keeps making some of the best brews in the Eastern US. Cheers!

 280 characters

Photo of SunDevilBeer
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of shapudding
3.14/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the drafting room. Clear and very light golden with a small amount of white head that left a creamy ring. Floral and fruit scents, little bit of white grapes. Very light tasting, clear and watery, lightly reminiscant of fruit. I want to say it is one dimensional, but I do catch alot of fruits and flowers in it... No body to speak of, but drinkable.

 360 characters

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Twifiter
3.25/5  rDev -10%

Photo of Jason
3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date. Blurb about the beer on the label.

Fluffy foamy off white head, a touch of haziness from either a chill haze or yeast on a dull yellowish straw hue. Head retention is decent.

Aromas of a hay like grainy malt, lemony herbal hop and a faintness of yeast.

Light crispness, more smoothness, on a moderate body. Raw snap of grain upfront with a doubling of hop bitterness that wants to linger. Soft graininess with a powdery, almost doughy character. A kiss of yeast in the back with hints of alcohol and a drying husky grain.

I bet you this brew on tap is lovely, pretty good in the bottle to say the least. A raw lager, not like most at all … light yet flavourful. As others have noted this could be a great crossover beer if not just a brew for macro drinkers to enjoy.

 828 characters

Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Fort Worth Flying Saucer Fall Beerfest.

Golden pour with a large white head. The aroma is grainy with a little bit of corn and some bready malt. The flavor is more grain with some fruity hop characteristics. I get a little bit of grape in the flavor as well as some grassy and spicy hops. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

A nice, easy drinking Helles Lager.

 392 characters

Photo of GreenMountainBoy
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
2.95/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Bright golden-blond color with no head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Grainy and malty with a little citrus in the background.

Taste: Not very appealing to me. The first thing I thought of when I tasted this beer was "Budweiser". Too much of a "grainy" flavor and it lacked substantial sweetness, too.

Mouthfeel: Not a lot to get excited about here. Barely any carbonation to speak of detracts somewhat.

Drinkability: Not a beer that I cared for. I was too reminded of a macro beer. It's interesting to read the other reviews of this beer. Most seem to think that it is a very good example of this beer style. Given that this is the first beer of this style I've reviewed, I am probably not fully appreciating what this beer has to offer, but I just didn't care for it. One positive thing to take away from this is that I like hops (and lots of 'em) in my beer.

 881 characters

Photo of jakester
2.6/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is from a sampler case I got at Shelbourne Beer Distributor. The date (Nov 13 '05) is clearly marked on the case. On the label is marked "Enjoy by Nov 14 05". However, there is something clearly wrong with this beer.

Pours a medium yellow with millions of tiny floaters in there. The white head seems bubbly and lasts about one minute, then drops to nothing. Uh-oh.

Aroma is pilsner malt, with some spicy hops in the back. There is some kind of off smell in there, like it's old. Kind of cardboardy, and not pleasant. It's in date, so something is awry.

Flavor is like the smell. Tastes ok at first, nice pilsner malts and spicy hops, but there is a definite wet cardboard taste. As I drink this, the off flavors get worse. Very disappointing beer from Victory.

Mouthfeel is ok, sort of medium bodied, with soft to medium carbonation. The finish is on the dry side.

I know Victory laughs at the idea that their beers are not as good since they installed their new brewery, but in my opinion, they are not. I've never had so many bad beers from Victory as I'm getting now. This beer is in date, and it's shot. A damn shame.

 1,144 characters

Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.84/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the beerwif for this bottle. Pours almost clear into my pint glass and the head settles quickly to almost nothing. Decent enough smell of hops for a lager. Again, tasty but subtle hops within the limits of the style. Very, very drinkable which is why I am drinking this while packing some beer and waiting for the Super Bowl.


 346 characters

Photo of bsp77
3.42/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into dimpled mug.

Appearance: Bright but pale straw with decent white cap.

Smell: Straw and hay mostly, with some dried out apple.

Taste: Malty with apple, pear, cereal grains, and straw. There is some light peppery spiciness at the finish. Some grainy aftertaste that macros often have as well.

Feel: Very light bodied with carbonation more in check than expected. Smooth and crisp but only semi-dry.

Overall: Decent Helles that would be a good crossover beer, but I have had better Helles Lagers, or I would just reach for a crispier Pilsner.

 583 characters

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.75/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass,beer was light golden,straw color.Lots of carbination,white creamy head dissapated quickly. Has a bread-like aroma. no real hop presense.Grainey,bread taste,not much of a hop bitterness.It tasted thin, not much body.Would be a good beer served cold on a hot day,not a filling beer at all.Not what I'm used to from Victory.

 345 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
3.18/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into an altbier glass.

Pours a very clear light yellow - reminiscent of BMC lager - with a big fluffy white head that's nice and creamy. Nose is slightly hoppy and smells like BMC.

Mouthfeel is very full due to nice carbonation and solid barley. The taste is like a high quality PBR or something, very light bitterness with some light sulfur. Finish is pretty crisp.

Overall I'd say this is worth skipping, better than BMC, but skip this and go to Prima Pils.

 481 characters

Photo of Eriogonum
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of DrunkenPanther
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a sparkle caramel color with a head that goes away just as fast you can pour the beer.
The smell is interesting...at first, the heavymalt/hop smell reminded me of straight wort, but not as potent.
I found two different tastes with this one depending on whether it was consumed very cold or as it warms a bit. If consumed very cold, it hits with a strong malt flavor with a fairly strong bite on the tongue (not a bad bite, just not one you would expect with a very malty beer) and finishes off with more traditional lager flavor. As the beer warms, the malt taste lingers more and smooths out. Definitely an easier brew to drink as it is not really overpowering with malt as one might expect.

 701 characters

Photo of tuowl74a
4.27/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dogfishandi
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle pulled from the fridge poured into an imperial pint glass. enjoy by oct 10 2010 on bottle, so a month over freshness, but i dont think itll matter much.

pours out a pale straw yellow with a fizzy white head that faded to nothing almost instantly. just a slight touch of sediment visible if you look hard.

not huge in the aroma. mostly grain husks and lager funk.

much better taste than the aroma would suggest. a nice balance of grains and lemon citrus hops. lager yeast throughout. simple, but well crafted.

very light in body, good carb for the style, most are overdone.

excellent drinkability. id love to session this beer but its hard to find in sixers, picked this up as a single. worth a try if you can find it, but i wouldnt really go out of my way to drink it again.

 791 characters

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Victory Helles Lager from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.61 out of 5 based on 874 ratings.
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