A question for all of you Helles aficionados out there:
In a perfect world, how long would you lager this style before packaging? I’ll be brewing my first try at this style later this week and want to be sure to give it enough time in the lager fridge after primary fermentation.
The old German rule of thumb was 1 week of lagering per degree Plato. So if it is a 1.048 o.g., 12 weeks of lagering.
Personally I would lager it for about one month and call it good. I don’t know if a couple of extra months really matters but my guess is not.
Thanks to you both. I’ve read a couple of places that 1 month is the minimum, but was just curious to know if there was some standard practice for lagering this style. At this point I’m leaning toward a shorter lagering time.
I’d never heard of the 1 week/degree Plato rule – thanks for passing that along!
Personally, I think it matters…admittedly, the difference may be subtle, but I think it’s worth the extra time.
I have never made a lager that was not better at 8-12 weeks of lagering than it was at 4-8. Some more-so than others - but they were all better. Nothing wrong with lagering and having it on tap a the same time and trying it every week or two, starting at week 4, and finding out for yourself. I would think a Helles might not need quite as much time as another lager perhaps, but 4 would be the absolute minimum in my opinion.
I lagered my last helles for a month and by the time the keg was finished (about a month later) it was really getting nice.
If only you’d been able to try a sample at 4 weeks against a sample at 8 weeks…
I’d say 4 weeks at minimum, the longer the better. But I think for a helles, it’s not going to make a HUGE difference to let it lager 12 weeks versus 8. For a 4-5% abv helles, 4-6 weeks ought to be plenty.