Saranac Helles | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac HellesSaranac Helles

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-18-2009

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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 112
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.42/5  rDev -31.8%
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 rodbeermunch
2.5/5  rDev -29.6%
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 KenC411
2.76/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a straw colored beverage with a two finger head, which remains for five minutes leaving minor peaks and some lacing along the side of the glass.

Smell: Fresh and crisp aroma of grain and corn, though not off putting. Also smells a bit floral.

Taste: Light, crisp sweetness, with a kiss of hops at the end. It seems to be missing body though.

Mouthfeel: A bit watery and overcarbonated.

Drinkability: Enjoyable upfront but missing on the full picture. To watery to look for another one.

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Photo of Gmann
2.78/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear toasted straw color with a wispy white head that quickly settled into a light ring. The aroma is very faint, all I pick up is some slight sweet bready malt. Taste is similar to the aroma, just some slight bready malt. I can taste some of the munich malt but it is lost in the watery, grainy flavor. There is a slight grassy hop in the end. The feel is light and water with fizzy carbonation. This is merely a below average Helles lager. There is barely any munich malt presence and very little noble hops. The feel is too light as well.

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Photo of goblue3509
2.79/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a crystal clear golden color with a thick fluffy head that gives way to some okay lacing. You can see a great amount of carbonation activity through the glass. The smell is very weak with a hint of hops in it. The taste is the same it is slight hops but it is slightly watery. The mouthfeel is very harsh, it is totally overcarbonated. The drinkability is okay, the beer is watery and it has a harsh mouthfeel. You wouldn't drink alot of these.

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Photo of yesyouam
2.97/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac Helles is a clear pale golden beer with a thin white head that leaves some lacing. It has a fruity aroma that's faint and mellow. It's light, maybe medium-light bodied and pretty smooth with a dry finish. It is mellow and well balanced; a little funky, with notes of pretzels and grass. It's pretty uneventful.

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Photo of squirrelpirate
2.98/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The Saranac Helles poured a clean gold hue with a thick white head. No lacing leftover on the glass. The aroma has a touch of bready malt with a slight hop character that comes through with a faint flowery smell.

Right off the bat you get a balance of citrusy hop flavor and sweet bready notes, which trails off into a nice hop dryness on the back of my tongue.

It has a medium body, but is overcarbonated and somewhat abrasive. I can understand why Saranac packages these summer beers together. They are refreshing and very drinkable as a whole, but they fail to stand out individually.

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Photo of originalsin
3.01/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a totally transparent straw color with a full inch of frothy white head that retains well and laces a bit.

S: Light grains and floral hops as well as a heavy corn husk aroma.

T: Crisp, clean sweet malt followed by some floral notes.

M: Somewhat watery, too heavily carbonated. Drinkabilty struggles because of this.

For the price, I'll likely pick up the variety pack again. Can you blame me?

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.01/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

 657 characters

Photo of Berthold
3.04/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out clear and brite. Color yellow (SRM4) with a full white head supported by high carbonation. Aroma has a moderate amount of DMS that dissipated but came back slightly when roused. Though DMS is to style, it was a bit too much (especially as sample warms) .Low hop aroma. Moderate spiciness to flavor with a clean malty finish that dries out at the end.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.05/5  rDev -14.1%
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 greengorilla
3.05/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. It is a pale golden yellow with a white head that disipated quickly.

The smell was mostly of grains and I was not that impressed with the taste.

The mouthfeel was decent. It was drinkable but I wouldn't really recommend it. I was a little disappointed by this one.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my pilsner glass. Pours a clear bubbly light gold with a big white capper on top. Great retention; leaves some spotty lacing. Smells of grassy hops, sour lemon zest, and some grains. The mouth is crisp and bubbly, but still smooth. Flavors of mild bitter hops, fresh greens, and tart fruits on the finish. This is decent. A great refresher that went very well with my pizza. "Saranac" has done it again. I have yet to find one of their brews that I wouldn't have again.

 481 characters

Photo of kegger22
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Looked like a lager, smelled like a lager, tasted like a lager. Yep, it's a lager. Poured a clear yellow with a moderate head that quickly faded to a collar. The aroma was freshly scythed hay. The taste was sweet and undistinguished (i.e. lager). The feel was light bodied with sufficient carbonation. Drinkability was very good. Pretty decent example of style.

 361 characters

Photo of tone77
3.22/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pale yellow color with a small head. Smell is mostly of malts. Taste is crisp, malts, slightly sweet,with a touch of bitterness. Feels light in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a decent but unremarkable beer.

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Photo of DannyS
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - clean, clear orange amber, thin head that dissipates into a thin foam collar, decent lacing.

S - very little, maybe some grain and hops, with a slight spice character.

T - Kinda bitter on the hops and carrying lots of grainy taste. Slightly peppery on the finish.

M - Light and fizzy. Decent, but nothing substantial.

D - definitely drinkable, albeit bland and fairly uninteresting.

overall - Quaffable, but hardly great. probably the disappointment of the saranac summer pack.

 533 characters

Photo of AgentZero
3.3/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Very light golden, straw yellow color. One finger white head that left the sides of the glass clean. Pretty clear, with bubbles coming up from the top.

S - Malty grains, little bit of citrus, a little pilsnerish.

T - Not bad, very malty, somewhat lagerish with a sour finish. Slight bit of hops that gets buried by the malts.

M - Light bodied and crisp. Very carbonated.

D - Well, I slammed this one down very easily. It's not great, but for a session beer if it were cheap I'd drink this over the BMC's any day.

 521 characters

Photo of Arithmeticus
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
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 LilBeerDoctor
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a clear yellow with a small white head and lively carbonation. Aroma of sweet fruits and pale lager malts. Flavor of lots of bready/wheaty malt with some light sweetness in the finish. Again, a decent offering from Saranac although certainly on the boring side.

 275 characters

Photo of skinny0ne
3.34/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is a good medium golden. The aroma has some malt and honey. It's got a good carbonation level to it giving it a crisp mouth feel. There's a bit of malt sweetness upfront. Under it is some good earth flavors of straw. The hops in the end have a bit of a copper flavor to it. Some lemon left on the tongue. For a Helles, I'd say it's not sweet enough. It's more bitter than sweet. But forgetting that, a pretty good brew.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saranac- Helles

A- Light bright clear yellow with a big frotyh head. Light lacing.
S- Sweet sugary corn syrup, lemon, and grass.
T- Sweet with a touch of lemon and grass. Light grain malt with earthy hops.
M- Starts of with a light sweet maltiness and switches over to a creamy malt and finishes off with a dry hoppiness.

Overall- Very light but easily drinkable and eventually perks up.

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Photo of animalchin
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.

A - Straw/golden color. No head at all really. Some minimal lacing apparent.

S - An unusual occurrence happened - the first thing that hit me was apples. To make sure my sense of smell wasn't messing with me, I sniffed coffee grinds (clears up your sense of smell actually)...but I keep smelling apples mixed with mostly malts. Very bizarre.

T - Mostly malty with slightest hop. Sensing cider and a little bit of bitterness in the aftertaste. A nice blend. There is a bit of tartness happening as well that lingers for a while. The hops struggle to fight through but get overshadowed by the high use of malts.

An easy working beer. I haven't had a helles from any other brewery - but I generally like what's happening here. It's a more fruity/tart lager that's manageable. Would I keep it around? It's doubtful. I'd like to try another of this style.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

The color is a slightly hazy light gold with a slight white head and some slight lacing.

The smell is of lager yeast with a slight bit of malt. A little apple skin flavor as well.

The taster is sweet with some light fruity flavor and some hops in the way back end. Some slight bready flavor keeps this from going south.

The feel of this beer is quite easy drinking. It goes down well and has a good amount of carbonation. Not a bad summer beer.

 494 characters

Photo of dacrza1
3.36/5  rDev -5.4%
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...

 736 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.37/5  rDev -5.1%
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
3.55 out of 5 based on 112 ratings.
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