Brewed by Brauerei Heller
Style: Dortmunder/Helles
Bamberg, Germany
Serve in Lager glass


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 818   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.37   IBU: 30   EST. CALORIES: 129   ABV: 4.3%
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“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”. Editor’s note: Since this is not intended as a smoked beer, and is not billed as such, it has been classed here as a Helles, despite some samples having residual smoke character.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
after4ever (6088) - Brier, Washington, USA - JUN 26, 2006
Bottle. Pours yellow fizz with a laughable white head, but you know what they say about judging by appearances. Some corn and malt in the nose--not very interesting. Great crisp clean super-drinkable body, though. As nice and refreshing a summer beer as you could ask for. Good thing it’s late June outside. Crisp, clean, dry finish--just a hint of smoke there at the end, not very prominent in the mid-palate unless you really swish it around. Easily the best pale lager I’ve ever had.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Kinz (3257) - Glen Allen, Virginia, USA - JUN 25, 2006
Light gold, yellow, a bit fizzy even. Pleasant, lightly smokey aroma with a touch of a spicy floral touch. Flavor is a great balance of smokey light malts and a gentle, floral hop finish. The smoke enhances here, rather than dominates as is so common in the Heller-Trum beers. This was really good stuff.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Ibrew2or3 (6782) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - JUN 24, 2006
Crystal clear golden color with thin white head. Aroma is mildly smoky with some sweet lager and grainy malts. Malty taste from the lightly roasted to sweeter malts. About midway a small bolt of smoke flavor surfaces and then disappears leaving a refreshing grainy malt flavor that lingers to the next sip. There is also a noticeable bitter hop presence throughout the taste profile. This beer manages to create a balance between the malts, hops and the smokiness. Excellent tasting beer. A great choice from Schlenkerla if you’re in the mood for a mild smoky beer as opposed to the pure smoky, smoldering embers they have managed with a few other beers.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
beervana (781) - Libertyville, Illinois, USA - JUN 22, 2006
(05.19.06) 4.3% ABV. One pint. 0.9 oz brown bottle from DiCarlo’s, Mundelein, IL. Poured clear golden yellow with small white head. Soft carbonation. Smoky aroma. Light-to-medium bodied lager that starts dry with smoky malt flavor. Finishes dry with light hop bitterness. An interesting smoky tasting lager and a pleasant surprise to find in a lager.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JoeMcPhee (8314) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - JUN 22, 2006
Bottle. Pale golden beer, spritzy carbonation and a creamy white head. Smokey beechwood aroma is the dominant note over a very clean pale malt backbone. Flavour is well balanced as well, soft pale malt, light grassy noble hop flavour and a soft but insistent smokiness. Who knew smoked could be refreshing.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
mds (2200) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JUN 22, 2006
Bottle. Pours a clear yellow-gold body with a fluffy/bubbly white medium head. The aroma is quite nice - earthy with woody smoke notes, even some light fruit, and then wafts of sweet malt. Lightish body with sweet and smoky malt. Interesting character and superbly drinkable. Purchased at Merchant’s Fine Wines in Dearborn, MI in April 2006.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
hophead75 (2008) - Largo, Florida, USA - JUN 22, 2006
Golden with a small off white head. Carbonation on the light side. Aroma is smoky with some spicyness. Taste is lightly smoky, with some spicyness showing in the palate, smooth watery finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
heemer77 (5098) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - JUN 21, 2006
The body was medium yellow with a thin white head. The aroma was lightly smoked with some carrots and a little bit of pork. The taste was smoky with some celery. There was also a little bit of black pepper spice. Decent beer, but I have had better from Schlenkerla.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
MartinT (7746) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUN 17, 2006
UPDATED: JUN 20, 2006 Any first impressions?
-A veil of head disappears into the pale yellow clarity.
-A timid aroma produces a slight hop accent, and mild wooden smoke.
-A rising herbal, leafy hop flavor buries the smoke residue.
-A very lean maltiness creates an aqueous mouthfeel aimed at long sessions.

What if you dig deeper?
-The herbal hop bitterness is proficient and moreover very pleasant.
-My bottle doesn’t have much smoked character to it, with reason, since there is no smoked malt at all in here!
-Maltiness is quite underwhelming, and not nearly as well-developed as most basic Franconian lagerbiers I’ve had over there.

Bottle bought at the brewery; best before August ’06.

A second bottle, bought in the US recently, produced more smoke in the aroma and flavor, thus hinting this time at a smoked lager. But the nearly anemic maltiness and easy finish still couldn’t wow me. 3.4/5, compared to the 3.2/5 I had in the first bottle, mostly aroma points going up.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
DYCSoccer17 (3302) - Woodland, California, USA - JUN 15, 2006
Bottle purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle. An appropriate breakfast beer for an East-coast schmuck like myself who is still jet-lagged. Slight corn, malty aroma with some moderate smoked flavors, not unlike bacon. There appears to be a slight DMS component. An interesting aroma. Transparent dark straw color with a small whitish head and nice lacing present. Spritzy, peppery biscuit grainy malty start. Finishes with some milder, subdued smoked flavors than the rest of the Schlenkerla beers. This beer is very refreshing and balanced. For once, the smokiness doesn’t kill the other flavors of this beer. Well-done.

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