Saranac Helles
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac HellesSaranac Helles
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German Helles
Ranked #235
Ranked #42,361
3.54 | pDev: 12.15%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Saranac HellesSaranac Helles
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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 112
Photo of rodbeermunch
2.5/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pale yellow pour, wheat could be evident from the cloudiness, but that ain't this style of beer, its just, eh, got problems. 1/3" white head. Tiny bubbles. The yellow was really faint, like a dilute urine test or light beer.

Aroma hit corny sweet notes. Something I get in AAL, not usually this style.

Taste didn't give me any reason to think it was a legit Munich Helles. Maybe slightly more toasted pale malt than most lagers. I dunno, maybe if you want to drink something that tastes like not much. Otherwise, below average in every way.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.05/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

light straw colored lager was the first thing noticed. Very clear with a nice amount of carbonation. This converged into a decent sized head of white that faded nearly immediately upon forming.

The aroma was light, very light, to be honest almost non existent at times. After warming it came around a little showing some decent grain and bread like malt tones and a touch of some light earthy hops. The flavor was more of the same, with the key word here being very light in the profile especially. Decent body on top of a mostly grain profile, with more then adequate carbonation making up the bulk of this. Easy to drink I will have to admit, though the flavor was a bit too thin for me at times, it was still more then decent overall.

Overall not a bad little lager, though the subtleties were severely lacking it was still fairly decent

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Photo of jsprain1
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Somewhat bright golden. Head disappates down to a ring. No lacing.
S- Sweet grain, and I am really picking up some apple cide type aromas. A bit spicy, noble hop type spicyness.
T- There is just a touch of tartness up front, but in a good green apple kind of way. A bit spicy in there, and finishes somewhat sweet.
M- Crisp and light, per the style.
O- A decent helles lager, and one of Saranac's better beers. Easy to drink a few in a night.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Off tap at the Ugly Duckling this beer was a pale golden color with one finger of off-white foam atop it. Lots of rising carbonation but the head retention was poor. The aroma was of crystal malt, some toasted malt, caramel malt and pilsner type hops. The flavors were above average for Saranac and, I thought, really quite good. I tasted grainy malts, mostly caramel and toasted with a slight note of corn followed by the crisp Czech hops. It was the use of the hops with finesse that impressed me with this one; it was a very refreshing beer and thus much more drinkable. The mouthfeel was creamy, the body medium and the carbonation average. For an inexpensive locally produced brew in central NY, look to this gem.

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Photo of bourbonbock
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this one with the summer selection box. Poured a 12 oz bottle into my mug.

A. Crystal clear golden body with very little head developing from an aggressive pour.

S. Slightly skunky bready and earthy aromas lead on this one.

T. Wow this is a pretty interesting beer. Tastes like a japanese rice lager with a very faint noble hops, saaz perhaps?

M. Light and buttery with a carbonated bite.

D. I would put a couple back in the sun on the beach but not very many at home in the winter.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of the Saranac Beers of Summer Box - $13.48 at Sherlock's in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a pale golden-hued body with a fine, white head that settles soon.

Smell: Lightly sweet-scented note of grainy, very faintly bready pils malt, with modest notes of lemon, dried grasses, and, yes, a bit of sulphur.

Taste: A grainy, slightly tangy taste of Pilsner malts, a fluttering of powdered sugar, and then some light sulphery hints follow. A drop of lemon provides a hint of citrus. Grassy, herbaceous Continental hop character with a slight, supporting bitterness. Drying, tangy, relatively crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium-light carbonation.

Drinkability: Actually, it's one of the better brews oughta the 2010 Summer Box. Light, easy-drinking refreshment. When Saranac tends to take on somewhat bolder styles, the effort usually ends up a too-light, kinda-bland version of the style, but, when they aim for something light, they tend to hit the mark.

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Photo of Offa
3.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall, this is a good, solid, if simple lager, mostly a good, traditional American lager with a little hint of German helles thrown in.

Gold, it has a medium white head steadily shrinking to a thin ring and no real lace.

Aroma is a full-bodied, honeyish malty grain with some apple and a little nice herbal hop. It is a very full, US pale lager aroma with a hint of German herbally hop.

Taste is similar, nice, crisp full grain character with light apple, grass, hint of herb. It is dryish with a grain aftertaste with a hint of lemon and herb.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- pours a light gold with a one finger white head that quickly fades, and laces decently. Looks like a stereotypical beer...not outstanding

S- getting some weak citrus...and thats all. Maybe some corn. Very mild

T- orangey lemony citrus goodness...decent bit of malt too. Its not bad

M- I think its a little overcarbonated and maybe too malty...fine aside from that, though

D- yeah, I could drink a few of these. Good for the summer. Nice and mild

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.51/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Budweiser pokal.

Just another stop in the Leaving Falls Church uber-bender. It pours a clear pale straw topped by nearly two fingers of white froth. The nose comprises wheat, corn syrup, and flowers. The taste is similar, but sweeter and with a tinge of orange-y citrus in the background. The body is rather light, with a light carbonation and a fairly crisp finish. Wow, that was pretty short, but that's what I took away from this brew. It's good for a quick quaff, but nothing to sit and savor very much.

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Photo of Greenlabel
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a 6-pack at the brewery after taking the tour. This product was not on draft in the tasting room at the time of my visit.

Pours an attractive golden color with a reasonable head. The aroma is definitely of malt, not hops, and the flavor backs that up. There may be a minimal undertone of hops but they don't make much of an impression on the dominant malt. I detected some hints of lemon. Good carbonation.

The finish is dry and satisfying. All in all, a crisp and refreshing Lager and one I wouldn't hesitate to purchase again if I saw it available locally.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.01/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

3/4 pour with a twist at the end for a good inch head. Looked like a wonderful beer...unfortunately the head disappeared in about 1 minute flat.

appearance is a little darker than straw, more the color of an alfalfa honey with decent carbonation

smell...almost negligible, a little malt, close to any other typical lager.

taste is also typical of a lager; taste similar to that of a Coors/Budweiser...not really doing much for me.

feels good in my mouth, easily confused with seltzer (yes that overlaps with its lack of taste), however, does remain smooth and drinkable for sure, but as far as paying the "craft brew" premium for it...I don't think so.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: clear yellow, bubbly; thin head
S: sweet, malty smell; very light aroma
T: a traditional lager, which is to say that it is on the understated side of the beer family. This is rather nondescript: neither sweet nor hoppy, not unpleasant but not memorable, either
M: buzzes nicely in the mouth
D: you might reach for another, just to make sure you didn't miss it the first time.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.2/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let's close out the night with a beer style that's uncommonly made in the US; Munich-style lager. On to the beer:

A little darker than straw color as it resides in my stange glass. There's a little show of bubbles in the body, the head on top crackels slowly to form a creamy white collar. There's a little fresh grass in the aroma, a little nuttiness, and raw grain. We're looking pretty solid.

They're on to something. Tasted blind, I would have thought I was tasting a German brand. It's clean for the most part, crisp, and very refreshing. I'm getting a melon-like flavor I can't put my finger on, but I'm liking it. The flavors are very well balanced, and that's the key to this style. Light flavors of wood, hay, and more intense grapey hops dance around. Some hop bitterness sits around in the aftertaste.

I pulled a rabbit out of my hat with this surprise of a beer from my Saranac variety pack. My curiousity is instantly rewarded; can it happen again with another style?

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Photo of bcm119
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear straw color with a small white lacing. Faint honey-like malt aroma with hints of grass. Honey undertones continue in the flavor, with doughy malt. Hops are light and lemony, and adequately clean up the finish. Creamy body, medium carbonation. Smooth, nice body, good condition. Clean enough for a helles. Actually quite authentic and tasty-- impressively so. I would drink this often if it were available here without the rest of their summer pack.

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Photo of LuthersMug
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear and golden. A nice half-inch head, plenty of carbonation. Nice lacing throughout.

S - Grainy, but not overpowering.

T - Grainy taste with a bit of maltiness. Dry at the end.

M - Crisp and smooth. Slightly dry.

D - I enjoyed it and would have had another.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a golden to light amber color with a white head half inch high. It settles to a thin bubbly layer.

S: Toasted grains, husky aroma, lots of graininess. Slight honey and corn. Hops are earthy and spicy but subdued.

T: Roasted vienna malts, and toasted graininess dominate. Clean tasting and crisp dryness. Hops are bittering with some spiciness too. Finish is clean and dry.

M: Light body with crisp carbonation.

D: Easy to drink and refreshing this beer is a good representation of this classic style.

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Photo of russpowell
3.39/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up the simmer mixed 12, here's the first review from the box...

Pour an effervescent light straw color with 2+ fingers off fluffed up eggshell colored head, Loads of bubble cling to the glass... Not much head retention & lacing

S: Grassyness & metallic hops, plus breadyness

T: Grassyness & breadyness up front, a touch of lemony hops as well. Soft bready sweetness as this warms, along with some more grassy & lemony hops. Finishes with a touch mineral hops, slight grainyness

MF: Light bodied, aggressive carbonation, starts to thin out as it warms

Drinks easy, a okay not inspired take on the style. I could do a few before moving on, next...

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Photo of biggred1
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden, with a pure white finger of foam that leaves fine sheets of lace on the glass. Fresh breadiness in the nose with hay and noble hops. A pretty trad take on the style, untoasted grain and soft fruity esters with a touch dry yeast and noble hops. Finishes squeaky clean. Light, crisp and ultimately easy drinking with no off flavors but no really great flavors either. A good thirst quencher.

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Photo of stakem
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with no indication of freshness poured into a SA perfect pint glass. The saranac helles appears a clear straw yellow color with about a finger of white head composed of some relatively large bubbles that pop and fade away relatively fast. Before even taking a sip there is a formation of lace about the glassware in small patches. A constant stream of bubbles rises from the etching in the bottom of the glass in support of the head.

Aroma of this beer includes a light fresh grain scent that is somewhat bready. Also in the background are some slight sulfuric notes and a faint touch of hops. Taste encompasses the flavor counterparts as highlighted by the nose. Upfront a fresh grainy flavor that is a bit biscuity and slightly sweet but met with a low level of hop bitterness. Finishes crisp with a lingering flavor of light grainy flavor left in the mouth. Light bodied brew with a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall a pretty fair example of the style. It is relatively easy to drink but not something I would normally or regularly choose.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.36/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Situation: Relaxing after celebrating the in-laws' 39th anniversary--cheers to marriage!
Glassware: Celebrator doppelbock pokel...
Appearance: tawny, pilsner body with busy effervesence unfortunately props a head that is thin and inconsistent...
Aroma: light flowery accents with an undercurrent of sweet maltiness--fresh and balanced...
Palate: crisp, clean lager--medium-bodied and easy drinking with mild bubble to retard to sipping...
Taste: subtle hops ping with a mellow malt profile--a light aftertaste makes this a pleasant drink from start to finish...
Overall: a fitting piece in this year's summer sampler... light yet flavorful enough to deserve a second thought, and good enough to be consumed with our without a hot dog...

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another beer in the summer variety pack. Not a real fan of lagers but I will give it a go.

A - Pours bright yellow in color with an inch of white head that dies down quick. Very carbonated.

S - Grain malts and grass smell with slight lemon zest. Really boring.

T - Mostly grainy and dry basic pilsner taste with mild bitter lemon zest bit. Finishes a bit dry and bitter.

M - Light bodied and bitter. Pretty OK Helles

D - Well like I stated before I really don't like lagers only amber lagers and this one was OK. I still have 3 left and they are not bad enough to drain but may be perfect on a hot summer day.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.42/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Would you believe this was one of the better beers in the sample pack?

Had Saranac back in the 90s, wasn't a fan then, not a fan now. Pale yellow pour, tiny bubbles. Like, really pale. Bud 55 pale. Aroma is less than pleasant. Corn syrup.

Taste was just blase BMC likeish. Doesn't really taste like they put more than $2 worth of ingredients in a barrel size batch. The kind of beer for hydration ya know? No hops or malt to get in the way. Sure, its not my fave style, but there are examples I like. Not this one. Too expensive to be too drinkable.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A crystal lemon color easily reveals a good sense of carbonation. An offwhite head, initially a finger high, displays a fair retention rate before lapsing to a patchwork covering. No visible lacing left to be appreciated.

S: Grainy, actually a bit surprised here, with fresh barley stalks and semi-dry lemony hops. A fairly good show strength-wise per style.

T: The flavor was a bit sweet, but still manageable, grainy, with some lemony hops. Smooth with a bit of buttered grains appear on the close. A helles is all about the grains, this is fairly true here, but not as crisp or clean as a german counterpart (Hacker-Pschorr Munich helles) which I think is the standard. This one comes off a bit buttery and sweet but does offer a good dose of hops with a spicy zing.

M: Nice lively crispness with a good texture and fullness per style. Smooth and flows around nicely on the tongue.

D: Drinkability is definitely the strong point here. While a bit sweet, a six pack is doable, on a hot summer day.

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Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pulled out of the summer variety case. I think it's pretty cool that Saranac took on this classic lager style when so many craft brewers might just do a straight up pilsner. Like most Saranac beers, this lager doesn't have a great depth of flavor like a World-Class brew. But that said, they nailed the style and I really enjoy this beer. It has the trademark Helles toasty bread with a nice hint of spicy orange peel hops. I might say this is even on the hoppy end of the style. I wish more breweries made a good helles like Saranac has. This is a great summer beer.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.37/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. brown pry off bottle. A clear golden straw on the pour with a thin cap of foam. Appeared a bit light in carbonation upon cracking the bottle.

Nose is of grassy hops and straw and quite reminiscent of an Old
World Lager. Bit light overall but pleasant nonetheless.

Flavor follows with straw and a touch of lemon hop on the finish. Slightly grainy in texture but not overly sweet as are some of the style. Closer to a classic Pils in fact. Feel is full and bready yet offers a short finish which improves and thickens with a bit with warming. Nose expands with warming as well yet never truly takes charge.

A decent brew and a nice tribute to the style from an American brewer yet not offerings the structure I hoped for.

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Saranac Helles from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 112 ratings