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Munich Helles for Spring

Brewing this next Wednesday.

Mineral-wise my well water is surprisingly close to the Munich water profile in Brunwater except it’s more alkiline so I’ll just hit it with lactic acid to get the pH to 5.4 for the 150F mash then lower it to 5.2 for the boil by treating the sparge water accordingly. This is what I’ve been doing with my lagers and I’m happy with how it’s been working out.

I just made a 2L starter with Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager yeast. I’ll swirl it as often as possible and then step it to a 4L which I’ll cold crash and decant before pitching at 50-52 for 5-6 days then let tthe temp rise for a D rest.

I’m so far resisting the temptation to throw more hops at this later in the boil since a helles just needs to be balanced and more about the malt.

This is loosely based on the Helles recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. They had light munich in theirs. I only have dark munich which I was afraid might throw some caramel flavor into the mix. So I went with vienna just to get some more biscuity, doughy flavor and a little more fullness. The mash temp comes from their recommendation. I’m still considering going a couple degrees higher but I don’t want it to be sweet.

Recipe: Munich Helles

Recipe Specifications

Batch Size (fermenter): 5.25 gal
Estimated OG: 1.047 SG
Estimated ABV: 4.8
Estimated Color: 4.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 19.2 IBUs
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Efficiency: 80%


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
8 lbs 8.0 oz Avangard Best Malz Pilsner Malt (1.9 SRM Grain 1 91.9 %
12.0 oz Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 2 8.1 %
1.25 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %] - Boil Hop 3 19.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Bohemian Lager (Wyeast Labs #2124) [124. Yeast 4 -


I love this beer style one of my favorite beers. Alot of people say that a step mash is not needed with modified malts these days. I like to argue that with this style of beer. Everyone all ways adding Munich and vienna to a Helles to gain that bready flavor. I know I been guilty of it of doing it and there is nothing wrong with it either. But the best Helles recipe that I brew that’s won me best light lager. Is the most true to style. 100% German malt. Step mash. Most important is the protein rest. . If you don’t step mash I highly recommend at least a protein rest. Also a low boil This is what brings this beer to life and adds that flavor we love in a Helles.

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Actually I was originally thinking of a decoction mash for the reason you state, pure pils grist…Adding the vienna makes it look kind of flabby to be honest and makes me want to lower the mash temp on a single infusion to get better conversion…still thinking…step mash is easy since I BIAB. I’m not really intimidated by the decoction though I’ve never done one. It’s more about the time involved I guess…Sounds kinda fun though. I’ve got a 9 gallon kettle I could decoct with on the second burner so it wouldn’t be hard.

I’d heat 4.5 gals strike, mash in at 135, rest 30 minutes, pull 1/3 of thick mash heat to 160 rest 15 minutes then boil 15 mins, add back to the mash to raise temp to 145, rest 20 minutes, pull half the mash repeat the decoction and add back, should raise temp to 160, rest 20 minutes then repeat decoction of 1/3 mash to raise temp to mashout, pull the bag, sparge for preboil volume.

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I don’t think it makes looks flabby adding those malts. They do add flavor to the beer that we love too but more like a dortmunder than a helles. If your comfortable doing decoction mash. I would do a three step mash and decoction They do take little more time and is not hard. Carefill not to darken the finished beer doing decoction. If it does you could always call it Dortmunder or Helles export. I recommend the low boil this will also help keep the beer light and in the srm range if you want to keep it to style guide lines.

I don’t think that looks too bad with the Vienna. I’ve added some chit malt recently which gives it a little malty profile.

I’ve never done a decotion. I brewed a hefeweizen today and thought about it. Not sure if I want a three or four hour mash though. Still, think I need to try one…

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Go on…experiment.

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I use Vienna in a maibock also 25%

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This was much like the maibock recipe I came up with earlier…just lower abv. I would’ve used the dark munich in the maibock though.

Only reason I keep playing with the idea. My biggest concern is that it will produce an awesome beer and my lager brew days will just get longer. The guys in the german brewing forum swear by decoction mashing.

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Thing is they drive the OG up and the abv down unless you lower the mash temp. I guess it makes sense because you want a less fermentable wort than with a pilsner. It just looks weird in BS2 for me to see OG almost off the chart for the style to get abv within the lower range. Hence my “flabby” label. That’s what gives it the helles mouthfeel I guess.

Since I do BIAB, the step mashing, if you will, is something I’ve been doing with most of the lagers I’ve been doing as of late. I’ve never taken the time or effort to do a decoction… I think if you do your best to get to a certain style, then, as what you are going to do, a decoction is in your future … Will you let us know your thoughts, and if possible, your perception of the brew after its packaged? I do enjoy your thoughts and writings. Sneezles61

I worked on this style for long time decoction might benefit some styles [ decoction debate] those that believe and those that dont but for a helles the most beneficial things I found brewing this beer is the step mash and a low boil a protein rest is a must.

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Crazy you tell of your experience Damien and step mashing, I just listened to Beersmith this AM, with Charlie Bamford, #147. He explains somewhat about the reasons why a step mash is beneficial… Sneezles61

I step mash all my lagers, and any other German beers, like hefeweizen. It will help with body. I skip the protein rest though. I would only do that if I was using under modified malt.

Just cause malts are modified doesn’t mean a protein rest is not needed. Just that with modified malts conversion is more easy with. I’m not saying I do a protein rest with with every beer I brew just that a helles binifits doing a protein rest. The protein rest is important because protein are nitrogen base substances that form dozens of molecules structures (simple amino acids) and larger chains and enzymes like carboxypeptidase and endopeptidase This why it binifits a helles is it helps yield the maximum proteolytic conversion. You want plenty of proteins to show up in this beer not just in the the turb. This is what gives a helles the flavor we all love and how to achieve it with just German pilsner malt with out adding Munich or vienna malt

Here’s one
5# German pils
5# German Munich
2# German wheat
.25 mag 60
.5 mag 30
1 mittlefruh 15
1 mittlefruh 5
154 mash temp

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Don’t see why all the late hopping.

Arent’ helles’ all about the malt. with little/no hop aroma/flavor?[quote=“dannyboy58, post:1, topic:24038, full:true”]
Brewing this next Wednesday.

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I hop it like a German pilsner. Don’t really like a malt bomb

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Haha…so it’s a fluffy bohemian pils which I love too…I’ve had a lot of those labelled as helles…they’re good…I brew them…but they’re not a helles

there I go with that guideline stuff again huh…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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It’s what I brewed up last month with the rest of my sack of pilsner and old mittlefrue. Not enough pilsner malt for a Helles I expected. Don’t have a copy of the guidelines I just call it a bock

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