Helles Rauchbier should have beech wood smoky characters that range from detectable to prevalent in the aroma and flavor. Smoke character is not harshly phenolic, but rather very smooth, almost rendering a perception of mild sweetness to this style of beer. This is a medium-bodied, smoke and malt-emphasized beer, with malt character often balanced with low levels of yeast produced sulfur compounds (character). This beer should be perceived as having low bitterness. Certain renditions of this beer style approach a perceivable level of hop flavor (note: hop flavor does not imply hop bitterness) and character but it is essentially balanced with malt character to retain its style identity. Helles Rauchbier malt character is reminiscent of freshly and very lightly toasted sweet malted barley. There should not be any caramel character. Color is light straw to golden. Noble-type hop flavor is low but may be perceptible. The aroma should strike a balance between malt, hop, and smoke. Fruity esters, diacetyl, and chill haze should not be perceived.
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