Heller Rauch

Brewery: Live Oak Brewing Co
Style: Classic Style Smoked Beer (32A)
Package: 12oz Can
Purchased: Beer-to-go!
Canned Date: January, 2, 2020
Consumed Date: March 26, 2020

Details From the Brewer

ABV: 4.4%
IBU: 20
Heller Rauch is a pale, smokey lager. Beechwood-smoked barley flavor is punctuated by a perfect Noble hop character. Fermentation with German lager yeast leaves the beer dry, but well-rounded. The special harmony of these elements creates a very refreshing and unique lagerbier.


Aroma – 10/12

Smokey phenols hit the nose at a medium high intensity.  The smoke is wood-based and not meaty.  There’s a touch of iodine, but mostly pleasant campfire notes.  A moderate malty sweetness is also present.  Low crackery malt smell and some graininess is there as well.  Subtle floral and spicy hop notes round out the aroma.

Appearance – 3/3

Pours a deep gold colored liquid with brilliant clarity.  Small bubbles compose a densely packed head that lingers with good retention.

Flavor – 18/20

A medium level of smoked wood is tasted first.  This is a pleasant character and not overpowering or sharp.  The midtaste brings a subtle sweet grainy malt note with a touch of honey.  There’s a low bitterness as well.  Low levels of spicy earthy hops appear as well.  All flavors fade towards the finish, where a dry, subtle smoke note lingers in the back of the throat.  The balance is towards smokey malt character.  Slight minerality on the finish.

Mouthfeel – 5/5

A moderate carbonation hits the front of the mouth.  There’s a nice moderate body to the beer throughout the taste.  The finish is quick but has a nice softness to it as it leaves.  No astringency or harshness from the smoked malt.

Overall Impression – 9/10

This smoked Helles is fantastic.  The smoked malt is prominent, yet restrained to not overpower the other elements of the beer.  The delicate Helles notes are present and distinguishable.  I would so see a bit brighter character to the non-smoked malt notes, but that’s a minor quibble.  Similar to their Grodziskie, this is a very easy drinking smoke beer.  It’s bit more approachable for those who haven’t  tried the style before.

Rating – 45/50

This was one of my favorite beer to taste recently.  I enjoyed it a bit more when it was fresher out of the taproom.  It’s still holding up well in the can.  Live Oak really nails their smoke beers.  This is great since there’s few other breweries making them, let alone good ones.  6-packs are being sold for $10 to-go at the brewery now.  Go grab some before they’re gone!