Andechser Spezial Hell | Klosterbrauerei Andechs

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Andechser Spezial HellAndechser Spezial Hell
BA SCORE
3.83/5
Very Good
131 Ratings
Andechser Spezial HellAndechser Spezial Hell
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Klosterbrauerei Andechs
Germany
andechs.de

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Its clear gleaming look and firm, fine pored head goes hand in hand with its fresh and pure aroma. Malty nuances are the first impressions.

Spezial Hell is pleasantly tangy with a full, round malt body that cannot fail to fascinate. The soft flavour carries a distinctive balance of sweet accents and bitter hoppiness.

It concludes on equally soft malty nuances – a classical festival beer in the tradition of old Bavarian brewing.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-18-2002

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#14,957
Reviews:
67
Ratings:
131
pDev:
10.44%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
15
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 131 |  Reviews: 67
Photo of millelacsmark
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of millertime371
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of Pelicanrocks
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of falloutsnow
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Worldwide Spirits
Best before 19.06.12 (just made it)
Poured into an Ayinger willi glass

Andechser's Spezial Hell is a fine helles lager, bringing in balanced malt and hop components for an at-once sweet, spicy, and slightly bitter beer that hits all the right notes for someone who enjoys lagers. The only component to be worked on would be the aroma, which I found to be a bit less expressive than desired.

Pours a clean white head of 2-3cm that gradually fades to a thin (0.2cm?) cap atop the body, leaving very modest amounts of lacing as it does so. Body is a golden orange color, light bringing out a pale yellow-gold throughout. Carbonation is substantial and noticeable in its never-ending rise to the top.

Aroma features strong, sweet maltiness, with a bit of a yeast and bread-like tint. As the beer warms, there's a bit of flowers-with-pollen scent, likely from hops, as well. Not bad, but could be more upfront and robust with its bouquet (of course, this could be an age thing, since the bottle is best by today).

First flavor across the tongue is some light grain (like hot cereal) and sweetness. Front of the palate continues the sweetness and adds a bit of honey and gentle noble hop character. Mid-palate continues in bolder strokes of grain and bread-like malt components, honey, and noble hop components that are both a bit floral and spicy. Back of palate is sweet and bread-like malts well-balanced with bitter and slightly spicy hop characters. Aftertaste has a nice balance between malty, bready flavors and spicy hop characters.

Beer is medium to medium-light bodied, with active, refreshing carbonation that is slightly prickly on the tongue, but pleasing and effective with the beer's nature. Overall mouthfeel is crisp and smooth, with a dry finish that makes taking another sip pleasant. As to be expected, no ethanol warmth.

 1,870 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Thirstybird for bringing this one back from Germany. 500ml bottle served at 48 degrees in a pilsener glass. 12 09 12 indicated on the back label. Pours a translucent gold with a loose, two inch, off-white head that sizzles and pops as it slowly recedes. Tiny bubbles effervesce from the base of the glass to the underside of the cap. Nose expresses cereal grains and a light grassiness - fairly clean. Taste consistent with nose - very clean and refreshing with a light, lingering German yeast character at the back without the skunk. There's also just a kiss of noble hops to keep it from coming off as overly sweet. Mouthfeel is light and lively with a fairly clean finish. Overall - wow. I'm not too familiar with the style but this beer really hits the spot. Light and refreshing with a great balance. Really easy drinking and although not really a session beer per se, I could see myself having a few of these in a sitting.

 938 characters

Photo of klipper
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of ThirstyBird
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of stevoj
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden on pour with fast fading head. Minimal lacing on glass. Taste of bread, hay, cereal. Light body and mouth feel, but overall decent flavor. Marked down a bit form my

 177 characters

Photo of banjofred101
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of GrandpaGeorg
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I get the Reinheitsgebot. I really do. And this was proof to me that there's something to it besides economic success for grain growers in 16th Century Germany. 500 ml bottle hand-carried just a day ago from Germany by C,N & E (Thanks!!). Part of a multi-pack souvenir selection. They got to go to the Andechs Monastery, but this was the next best thing for those of us that didn't go to Oktoberfest. The bottle had a May 2012 freshness date. Yeah, that fresh. Deep gold in the glass with a nice frothy lemon-tinged head. Taste was rich, slick malt with a hint of fruity hops and a nice, rounded lager flavor that ended with just a touch of bitterness. Exactly the kind of beer you'd expect from a legendary German brewery. That said, there was a hint of residual oxidation (cardboard-like) flavor that surprised me because the bottles are so fresh. A common "off flavor" in bottled Germans, it's almost unheard-of in kegged beers. But the bottom line was that this one was fantastic; rich mouthfeel (much more so than their regular lager) and my favorite from this multi-pack. Made me wish I could taste it on tap myself someday.

 1,130 characters

Photo of Forb
4.39/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured on-tap at the Kloster Andechs...

Appearance: Pours a beautiful light and lively golden hue with a mouth wateringly inviting head.

Smell: Fairly middle-ground with a neutral kick of grassy, grainy, hoppy deliciousness. It leaves you to be surprised by it's delicious taste.

Taste: Utter beauty. This is by far the most drinkable and delicious of helles lagers I have tasted. My all-time favorite for this category. Worth a trip back just to get this beer alone.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation livens the palate along with the smooth highly drinkable consistency that is this oh so special beer.

Overall: A must have with a trip to the Holy Mountain! Alongside the plethora of beer that this monastery pumps out this is a good base for the magnificence that this place will bestow upon your taste buds. Gogogogo!!

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Photo of ikats
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is bright yellow in color, clear and with nice fluffy white head that disappears without leaving much. Aroma is filled with clean malt sweetness with bright grassy hops. Taste is very similar to aroma - clean malt with some refreshing bitter hops. Very nicely balanced. Low to medium body with low carbonation. Very drinkable (surprisingly so given 5.9% abv).

I find this beer to be a very drinkable refreshing lager. I can see getting in trouble drinking too much of it (too drinkable for this higher alcohol beer).

 528 characters

Photo of gameface23
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light, golden yellow with a fizzy white head. Amazingly clear. This is probably the cleanest looking beer I have ever seen.

S: Rustic bread crust and herbal hop notes. Again, it's a very clean beer.

T: There's a nice noble hop character that is balanced with pils malt graininess.

M: It's light-bodied and finishes bone dry, but there it is smooth.

D: A very nice beer. I mention the fact that I don't generally like lagers on every lager review I have ever done, but I have respect for this one. It's clean and flavorful.

 530 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500mL bottle purchased in Frankfurt 2 weeks ago, dated 13-06-11. So considered fresh per the monks' dating system.

I love Munich Helles lagers and this is one I've been wanting for a while. It pours a light golden color, clear, with a wet-looking layer of foam that never dissipates. In other words it looks like it should. The aroma is neutral, what comes through is light malt, mostly bread dough. Subsequent whifs bring in more of the same, plus some light grains.

It tastes a little sweet upfront, slightly bitter in the aftertaste, and mildly grainy throughout. Very good for the style, if a little subtle. Maybe harder to tell from others of the style, which is a shame, but still a very solid flavor for the style.

Decent carbonation, maybe a little less than usual, with a full mouthfeel, silkier than usual. Overall I like this but don't feel the need to search it out again, there are others I can find in the USA that scratch the itch just as well.

 963 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner glass.

Color is a light golden color with a slight amount of haze, though there is still plenty of visible carbonation. Two-finger white head eventually falls down and leaves some nice bubbles around the edges. Really nice lacing around the edge of the glass. Nose is a bit of grain with a very mild fruit presence. Some light pear.

The taste is mostly just grain with some faint white bread. A bit of very light fruit. Feel is a bit light and creamy with low-ish carbonation. Some nice flavors throughout, but fairly plain without much to really draw me in.

 583 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Kostrizer stein. Beer is yellow and clear with moderate carbonation and a big white head that leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma sweet and grainy with a mild to moderate level.

Beer is light in body and pretty bitter from the grains on the back end. Its mildly sweet up front. This is the least favorite of the three lagers from Andechs I've had recently. It lacks a little bit of something, its too thin, too bitter, finishes too dry. Still a good helles though.

 483 characters

Photo of washingtonydc
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Germans are known for many things, but surely chief among them is an exacting, disciplined focus on technical pursuits, whether it's Bauhaus or automobiles. But BMW can't claim a monopoly on such successes--one needs look only a half an hour west of the ultimate driving machine's distinct headquarters to find a band of monks doing the lord's work by marrying German precision with beer.

The Andechs special helles is poured from the tap into a half-liter stein. It's a pale straw, crystal clear with a healthy head. Grains and honey, with just a hint of flowers, waft from the mug. A deep pull of the beer offers a slightly spicy (by German standards) bitterness and a crisp, sweet finish. It rolls in the mouth lightly and refreshingly--this is a beer you can spend a summer day drinking by the maß.

But in a Gestaltian sense, it's more than the mere components--it's perfectly balanced, expertly tuned, and a paragon of craftsmanship. It's simply one of the best beers in a country skilled in the art of brewing. It's as German as apple pie is American--and no less delicious

 1,088 characters

Photo of FreshHawk
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Very clear, crisp golden color with plenty of bubbles. Fairly large, thick, light, rocky, foamy white head with decent retention and a thin layer of bubbly lace.

S - Good grainy base with plenty of grassy, herbal, and floral hops. Slight sweet and bready malt is well balanced with that hop aroma. Hint of mineral aroma on the finish.

T - Similar to the nose. A nice grainy and bready malt base. Mid sip to the finish there is a nice floral and herbal hop flavor. Not too strong or overly bitter, but it provides a nice counter to the malt. A nice balance between the two, the malt is stronger, but the hops provide a nice little kick. A touch of mineral and spice flavors toward the end.

M - Medium body with a healthy amount of carbonation. Pretty smooth and refreshing with a bit of a spritzy feel. Quite refreshing.

D - Very easy to drink beer with a good amount of hops and carbonation to give it a bit of a kick with the malt. An easy and enjoyable drink.

Notes: Best before 18/10/10. A very nice, easy to drink beer. Well balanced with a good amount of flavor. Made for a great beer to sip on a sunny and warm day. Refreshing and has just the right amount of hops to keep it interesting. Definitely worth a try if you can get it.

 1,245 characters

Photo of jmhart
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this from the barrell at Kloster Andechs.

Deep golden in color with a creamy head that remained for just the right amount of time. Zero sediment.

Highly malty with a strong aroma of typical german hops. Minor elements of straw and yeast are present, as well as other earthy aromas. Very crisp on the nose.

Maltier than expected in taste. The hops that were present on the nose are balanced nicely with the sweetness of the taste creating a surprisingly mild lager. Acid is high creating a bite that isn't altogether pleasant.

Mouthful is rich and creamy with a bite.

Overall, an average lager. I'm glad I had it but would choose other brews from Andechs before selecting this one again.

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Photo of smanders
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - clear golden body with a white, thin head.

Smell - sweet malt with the smell of grain in the background.

Taste - mellow bitterness with a slight sweetnessl.

Mouthfeel - very light and crisp.

Drinkability - Very high. Like everything else from this kloster, enjoy whenever available.

 299 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.64/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Matt for bringing back all these hard-to-find Andechs brews. Best before February 18th, 2010 - served in a Pilsner Urquell flute-style glass.

A - Transparent golden straw body with no visible bubbles. Three fingers of off-white foam that dissipates slowly to a nice half-finger cap. Excellent retention and attractive splotchy lace rings.

S - Pretty generic lager smell - very clean, with obvious grain/barley malt, and a bit of fruity esters. There's also a bit of spice, which I'm guessing is from the noble hops, but it felt kind of faded.

T - A little better in this department - more light fruitiness and biscuit and less overt graininess. Very clean finish and aftertaste.

M - Slight carbonation tingle, medium body, very smooth, slightly dry finish. Clean and refreshing.

D - Very easy to drink, due to the light flavor profile. The excellent feel helps the drinkability quite a bit, as it goes down easy and without any unpleasant side effects (aftertaste, bloat, etc.). Still - it's a little too bland for me to use as a lawnmower beer.

 1,060 characters

Photo of californiakulak
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at the Monastery in Germany. A very cool place.

A. Large white head. The beer was golden and clear.

S. It had a nutty malt aroma. Very pleasing. It almost smelled sweet.

T. A very good representation of the style. A sweat malt flavor. It had a bready flavor. Very good.

M. This beer was very refreshing. Good carbonation and aftertaste. Not much hop bitterness.

D. Very drinkable. My wife and I polished off a few in a short time.

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Photo of czfreeman
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the monastery last week.
Pours out a light,golden color, light active carbonation, makes a very nice effervescent head.
Smells a bit weak, but after warming, clear dicernable biscuty malts, light bitter hoppiness, unsmoked tobacco, the high mineral content of the water here comes through in the sharp tartness of the aroma. Light musty grains, citrusy lemon aromas, finishes with a hoppy-pilsner refreshing quality.
Flavors are clean, light, and another exibition of the perfectionistic execution and restrain´ment of a well made German beer. Begins light, bitter, malty, and ends with a lightly pungent hoppiness married with a citrusy malt note. light, highly drinkable, and clean, it is easy to see why this is such a popular summer beer. the overall bittering hop quality sets the flavor apart into a clarly dicernable catergory than a Pils. Would pair great with light seafood, or grainy bread. tasted pretty good with the monastery's cheese and freshly baked pretzels.
--As an edit: after several months, this beer truly is the best of the Munich Helles. Augustiner Pulls a close second, but the Andechs holds a slightly spicer peppery edge that really puts it out on top. The sweetness is in perfect check, and now after drinking a perfectly fresh bottle made 2 days ago, Im editing the review for top place.

 1,336 characters

Photo of Bierfreund
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My german wife's birthday came, and shortly afterwards (late as usual) the parcel from Germany arrove, where her sister had compiled a nice bundle of goodies we cannot buy here. of course the main things were for my wife, but there was a gift for me, too: this beer!!!

I had Andechser quite often while in Germany, you could buy it even in the smallest small-town beverage store or supermarket. But I usually went for their outstanding Doppelbock. I never had this one before, and now I am glad that I had the chance to try it.

It poured very light-yellow ("hell" means just that, and the ending "-es" is just a grammtical bending due to the subject!), and its thick foam was almost white (not quite though).

The foam desolved very quickly, leaving just a tiny lacing on the glass.

The nose was promising, very fresh. But no tartness. Hm, shouldn't that be tart?

The fist taste was indeed very refreshing, a bit on the hoppy side.

Not much carbonation, that made it of course very smooth in the mouthfeel.

My wife and I shared this bottle, so each of us had a small glass of it. We both felt that, while this was a great beer compared to the american crap like BMC, this was not Andechser's best.

We've had their "crown", the Doppelbock, and after the winter holidays we had received a Bergbock Hell. THAT latter one was indeed outstanding and absolutely in the same league as its famous "brother", the Doppelbock.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about this Munich Helles.

Of course it is a very good beer, and there was nothing wrong with it. We just expect more from an Andechser, that's it.

 1,612 characters

Photo of Domingo
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While they serve the normal helles in town during the summer, this is what's typically at the Monastery.
This is a deep golden color with a pretty big fluffy head. Straight from a large wooden keg. It always amazes me how they can give you what looks like such a rush-job pour, but 2 seconds later you see that the beer is at the exact line on the glass and the head's perfect. Practice makes perfect!
Smells normal for the style. Toasted grain, mild hops, lager yeast.
The flavor's pretty much the same thing. No real booziness present, but it also lacks the hop overtones that make their helles unique. Not bad, but nothing special.
In general, the export/spezial beers can be either wonderful (Edelstoff) or boring. This one's not quite boring, but it's headed in that direction.
The normal Andechser hell is pretty damned good, and I'd honestly rather see that beer than this one. This one isn't bad, but with so many better options at the Monastery, it's at the bottom of my personal list.

EDIT: This holds true for the bottled spezial hell as well. Not bad, but a little bit "meh." In a lot of ways, I think the spezial/export style might just be a little too straightforward (boring?) with only a few exceptions. It just feels like the hops are lost in most examples and the malty sweetness seems 1-dimensional. I'd love if there were more dunkel exports, though.

EDIT 2: On my visit during 6/11 I had the opposite reaction. I definitely preferred this one to the normal hell and enjoyed it quite a bit. Maybe this time I'd had more pilsners and wasn't burt out on helles beers, but I found this to be outstanding.

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Andechser Spezial Hell from Klosterbrauerei Andechs
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 131 ratings
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