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General Category => Beer Recipes => Topic started by: techbrau on October 12, 2015, 01:22:27 AM

Title: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: techbrau on October 12, 2015, 01:22:27 AM
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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on October 12, 2015, 01:53:17 AM
For grist, how about Cologne malt?  It's definitely bready, kinda rich and it's a really nice compliment to pils.  Maybe use it as a substitute for your Vienna?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on October 12, 2015, 02:07:14 AM
About to start my third season down the Highway to Helles. Dunkel too. You are way ahead of me but its reassuring to see that the trajectory of our paths seem similar. I like Best Malz, and Mittelfruh, 50ppm from CaCl only, but single infusion for me, and ive been working 2308. Its got Munich in the name, its gotta work, right?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 12, 2015, 02:25:12 AM
I've tried nowhere near the number of different helles combos as techbrau. My favorite helles so far has been 90% Pils, 10% Vienna, WY2124, 18 IBU HM @ 60, single infusion, 50 ppm Ca (more CaCl2 than gypsum). This makes a good beer, but I'm always open to ways to make it better. I'd like to try the 835 yeast sometime. Never used it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: erockrph on October 12, 2015, 03:34:46 AM
For grist, how about Cologne malt?  It's definitely bready, kinda rich and it's a really nice compliment to pils.  Maybe use it as a substitute for your Vienna?
I'm planning on tackling the Helles style myself this winter and I'm planning on using Kolsch malt in the grist. I agree with the "super pilsner" description. Pilsner malt gives me dry pasta and cracker notes, but I get something closer to the inside of a baguette from a lot of Helles. Big breweries can have malt made to spec, so it stands to reason that they could be using something kilned just a hair beyond a typical pilsner malt.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 12, 2015, 01:28:28 PM
Try blending two Pilsner malts let say Best Pilsner and Castle Pilsner. Weyernman German Pilsner is too clean.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on October 12, 2015, 02:56:38 PM
PM sent  ;)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 12, 2015, 03:09:25 PM
Try blending two Pilsner malts

That's something I haven't done on a Helles, Leos. I may give that a shot on the next one.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on October 12, 2015, 03:14:59 PM
Eric and I were discussing this on another thread. I think a little kolsch malt in the recipe may add that distinct flavor. hoping to try it out this fall/winter.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 12, 2015, 03:15:37 PM
Try a blend of a pils malt and a german Pale malt. Someday I might use some best Heidelburg malt too.

WLP835 Lager X, that rhymes with Kloster Andechs.  ;)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: AmandaK on October 12, 2015, 06:25:51 PM
I'm just here to subscribe and listen to all of your ideas.  8) I think spring will be my next foray into Helles, but I'm still on this dang German Pilsner kick.  :)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on October 12, 2015, 06:32:42 PM
ive used 833, 835 and 838. 835 great yeast-not readily available year round. cant go wrong with 833 or 838 IMO.

I agree with OP-not sure there's any munich or vienna driving that "german Helles flavor and aroma".  Im going to try the 80-85% pils, 15-20% kolsch malt. after all, helles lager is dubbed the sister to kolsch ale. im going with schill kolsch malt on this one.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on October 12, 2015, 06:55:35 PM
ive used 833, 835 and 838. 835 great yeast-not readily available year round. cant go wrong with 833 or 838 IMO.

I agree with OP-not sure there's any munich or vienna driving that "german Helles flavor and aroma".  Im going to try the 80-85% pils, 15-20% kolsch malt. after all, helles lager is dubbed the sister to kolsch ale. im going with schill kolsch malt on this one.

Interesting about the sister beers, I hadn't heard that.  I think I'm going to make a run at this by simply flipping my Kolsch into a Helles by swapping yeast strains.

The Kolsch is 93% Avangard Pils, 7% Schill Cologne.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 12, 2015, 07:11:28 PM
Ok guys, I've never used kolsch malt (need to), but I've used Vienna in helles and liked it.  I assume the two are fairly different then ? I always assumed vienna and kolsch were fairly similar. As I think about it, I use basically the same grist for kolsch as for helles - 90 pils/10 vienna. Just curious.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on October 12, 2015, 07:13:38 PM
ive used 833, 835 and 838. 835 great yeast-not readily available year round. cant go wrong with 833 or 838 IMO.

I agree with OP-not sure there's any munich or vienna driving that "german Helles flavor and aroma".  Im going to try the 80-85% pils, 15-20% kolsch malt. after all, helles lager is dubbed the sister to kolsch ale. im going with schill kolsch malt on this one.

Interesting about the sister beers, I hadn't heard that.  I think I'm going to make a run at this by simply flipping my Kolsch into a Helles by swapping yeast strains.

The Kolsch is 93% Avangard Pils, 7% Schill Cologne.

cousin might be a better relative descriptor  ;D

anyway- i think its worth a shot. ive used the schill kolsch malt and its has wonderful bready/biscuit like aroma to it. they key is figuring out how it plays in and what % with the pils malt.  im leaning towards the 85/15 ratio.

now im all excited to brew!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on October 12, 2015, 07:17:37 PM
Ok guys, I've never used kolsch malt (need to), but I've used Vienna in helles and liked it.  I assume the two are fairly different then ? I always assumed vienna and kolsch were fairly similar. As I think about it, I use basically the same grist for kolsch as for helles - 90 pils/10 vienna. Just curious.

dont get me wrong Jon- ive used the vienna also and its a good helles beer. but i get people chasing that unique helles lager beer aroma/flavor. to me, the kolsch malt was very bready - something very different than vienna.

not sure how it will play out with helles at say 85/15 pils/kolsch malt...but definitely curious to see.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 12, 2015, 07:21:57 PM
I'm definitely game to try it. I'm not set in stone on any recipe. Thanks for the info.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 12, 2015, 07:25:14 PM
Try a blend of a pils malt and a german Pale malt. Someday I might use some best Heidelburg malt too.

WLP835 Lager X, that rhymes with Kloster Andechs.  ;)

Do you mean a pale ale malt? Best and Weyermann don't list a pale malt in their catalogs, but they do both list a pale ale malt.
Yeah, pale ale malt. It will not be like a British pale ale malt, as it is from German Barley varieties and not kilned quit as dark. Use in the 70-80 Pils range, 30-20 Pale range.

One translation of Hell is Pale.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on October 12, 2015, 07:28:45 PM
Try a blend of a pils malt and a german Pale malt. Someday I might use some best Heidelburg malt too.

WLP835 Lager X, that rhymes with Kloster Andechs.  ;)

Do you mean a pale ale malt? Best and Weyermann don't list a pale malt in their catalogs, but they do both list a pale ale malt.
Yeah, pale ale malt. It will not be like a British pale ale malt, as it is from German Barley varieties and not kilned quit as dark. Use in the 70-80 Pils range, 30-20 Pale range.

One translation of Hell is Pale.

great malt. i keep 55#of avangard pale ale malt on hand and use it often.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on October 12, 2015, 07:41:21 PM
I'm definitely game to try it. I'm not set in stone on any recipe. Thanks for the info.

+1

just ordered my schill kolsch malt, and already have slurry of 833 so hope to kick this recipe experiment off 10/24!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on October 12, 2015, 07:46:48 PM
Ok guys, I've never used kolsch malt (need to), but I've used Vienna in helles and liked it.  I assume the two are fairly different then ? I always assumed vienna and kolsch were fairly similar. As I think about it, I use basically the same grist for kolsch as for helles - 90 pils/10 vienna. Just curious.

dont get me wrong Jon- ive used the vienna also and its a good helles beer. but i get people chasing that unique helles lager beer aroma/flavor. to me, the kolsch malt was very bready - something very different then vienna.

not sure how it will play out with helles at say 85/15 pils/kolsch malt...but definitely curious to see.

Agreed.  Bready, bready, bready.  I've made the same Kolsch both ways, one Vienna and one Cologne.  For a subtle style they were significantly different.  The one with the Cologne malt was the clear winner, trust me.  ;)

I might bump it to 10-15% for Helles as you've mentioned.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 12, 2015, 08:15:40 PM
Agreed.  Bready, bready, bready.  I've made the same Kolsch both ways, one Vienna and one Cologne.  For a subtle style they were significantly different.  The one with the Cologne malt was the clear winner, trust me.  ;)

I might bump it to 10-15% for Helles as you've mentioned.

Thanks for the info, man! With the grists being so similar for me (kolsch and helles), I want to brew both styles using kolsch malt. This forum rocks.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on October 12, 2015, 08:15:59 PM
Interesting! Excited to hear how the kolsch malt compares to vienna and Avangard pale ale. I might have to look at ordering some too.

on the hops also- Kai (Braukaiser) says Weihenstephaner Original use Perle for bittering and Hallertauer for aroma additions. I'm going this route on this recipe as well-target IBU 21
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: JJeffers09 on October 13, 2015, 12:45:03 AM
My understanding is this: (And everything I am saying is a matter of opinion)

Might be "Missing" in your process is Decoction Mash will draw the Melanoidin flavor out of your Pils/Vienne/Melanoidin malt, failing to do this process wastes the grain.  Debatable in many styles, however, in Munich Helles I think it is a must.

To read about that:
http://byo.com/hops/item/537-decoction-mashing-techniques (http://byo.com/hops/item/537-decoction-mashing-techniques)  And I def. think that it would require you to use a triple decoction mash to fully capture the "Helles flavor" out of your Pils and total grain bill.

The style does not carry Munich Malt. (weird right)  Here is were It becomes strange, I understand that it is a Munich style, the original is said not to have munich malt. Crazy Right?  So I am told/read that Munich Malt will muddle or muddy up the rich pilsner flavor, because it is delicate and can be overpowered.  Pale ale malt is too thick on your palate and should not be used in the style.  At least (so I read) no more than 3% of pale ale malt.
http://byo.com/mead/item/747-helles-style-profile (http://byo.com/mead/item/747-helles-style-profile) for the nay say to Munich malt in the style.

So because of that, the only experience I have had was not my own beer, but a brew session with a friend that got me into the hobby.

We did this.
Grain
76.67% Pils
9.58% Vienne
2.92% Melanoidin
2.08% Carapils
1.25% Acid
1.25% Honey (arguably not a part of the style but overall flavor was on)
6.25% Candi Sugar (attempt of an Helles Export rather than the traditional)

So here in lies the argument for me: Yeast, and ABV for a Helles

So there is Helles, Helles Export, Spezial Helles, EdelHelles, Urhelles, Urtyphelles, etc...  They all have subtle variations.  Traditionally (I believe) Helles, Helles Export, Urhelles, and Urtyphelles did not included any Munich malts.  They are only Pils.  However the Spezial (Seasonal Breweries Best so to speak) may have included anything the brewery wanted to use that was in season.  Edelhelles however was the noble variety of the style, or to remind the consumer of the "lofty, noble rank of the beer hops"

To read more on where I am getting all of that :
http://byo.com/mead/item/747-helles-style-profile (http://byo.com/mead/item/747-helles-style-profile)

So Yeast to me was a big factor from what was used around that time frame, and what was popularly used in 1894.  Which leans me to learn about Muller Thurgau who was able to isolate the single yeast cell for wine and beer fermentation.  So probably multiple yeasts used to "Birth" the helles style.  So it would be difficult to really match what breweries that have 100+years of tradition.  So possibly a variety of Bavarian Yeasts were used, that were probably funky, fruity, bubblegum, clove, and dark spice characters.

With all of this being said, I think you have to brew to your taste.  Trial and "error", is just the excuse to tell your wife you gotta make another batch right?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: crichards018 on October 13, 2015, 01:39:12 AM
Awesome post, thanks for sharing your progress! In my limited experience with helles I have found that melanoidin malt is really easy to overdo. I'd suggest keeping it to 1 - 1.5% of the grist.

For the yeast, I'm on a kick with 2206 at the moment and get a lot of that bagel type flavor from that yeast. I do have to wonder if getting super fresh malt may be the difference with the German breweries. We are always hearing how poorly hops handle travel and malt may experience the same type of problems to a lesser extent.

Let us know how your future trials go, helles is one of my favorite styles!

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 13, 2015, 01:54:36 AM
My understanding is this: (And everything I am saying is a matter of opinion)

Might be "Missing" in your process is Decoction Mash will draw the Melanoidin flavor out of your Pils/Vienne/Melanoidin malt, failing to do this process wastes the grain.  Debatable in many styles, however, in Munich Helles I think it is a must.

To read about that:
http://byo.com/hops/item/537-decoction-mashing-techniques (http://byo.com/hops/item/537-decoction-mashing-techniques)  And I def. think that it would require you to use a triple decoction mash to fully capture the "Helles flavor" out of your Pils and total grain bill.

The style does not carry Munich Malt. (weird right)  Here is were It becomes strange, I understand that it is a Munich style, the original is said not to have munich malt. Crazy Right?  So I am told/read that Munich Malt will muddle or muddy up the rich pilsner flavor, because it is delicate and can be overpowered.  Pale ale malt is too thick on your palate and should not be used in the style.  At least (so I read) no more than 3% of pale ale malt.
http://byo.com/mead/item/747-helles-style-profile (http://byo.com/mead/item/747-helles-style-profile) for the nay say to Munich malt in the style.

So because of that, the only experience I have had was not my own beer, but a brew session with a friend that got me into the hobby.

We did this.
Grain
76.67% Pils
9.58% Vienne
2.92% Melanoidin
2.08% Carapils
1.25% Acid
1.25% Honey (arguably not a part of the style but overall flavor was on)
6.25% Candi Sugar (attempt of an Helles Export rather than the traditional)

So here in lies the argument for me: Yeast, and ABV for a Helles

So there is Helles, Helles Export, Spezial Helles, EdelHelles, Urhelles, Urtyphelles, etc...  They all have subtle variations.  Traditionally (I believe) Helles, Helles Export, Urhelles, and Urtyphelles did not included any Munich malts.  They are only Pils.  However the Spezial (Seasonal Breweries Best so to speak) may have included anything the brewery wanted to use that was in season.  Edelhelles however was the noble variety of the style, or to remind the consumer of the "lofty, noble rank of the beer hops"

To read more on where I am getting all of that :
http://byo.com/mead/item/747-helles-style-profile (http://byo.com/mead/item/747-helles-style-profile)

So Yeast to me was a big factor from what was used around that time frame, and what was popularly used in 1894.  Which leans me to learn about Muller Thurgau who was able to isolate the single yeast cell for wine and beer fermentation.  So probably multiple yeasts used to "Birth" the helles style.  So it would be difficult to really match what breweries that have 100+years of tradition.  So possibly a variety of Bavarian Yeasts were used, that were probably funky, fruity, bubblegum, clove, and dark spice characters.

With all of this being said, I think you have to brew to your taste.  Trial and "error", is just the excuse to tell your wife you gotta make another batch right?
The original Munich beers were dark, Munich malt worked with the water. Late Helles was the answer to the Pilsner style beers that swept through Europe in the 1840s. Not crazy at all.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: JJeffers09 on October 13, 2015, 02:56:01 AM

[/quote]
The original Munich beers were dark, Munich malt worked with the water. Late Helles was the answer to the Pilsner style beers that swept through Europe in the 1840s. Not crazy at all.
[/quote]

1894
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 13, 2015, 03:14:27 AM

The original Munich beers were dark, Munich malt worked with the water. Late Helles was the answer to the Pilsner style beers that swept through Europe in the 1840s. Not crazy at all.
[/quote]

1894
[/quote]
Yeah later, Pilsners became popular after PU was introduced in 1842. Water chemistry was figured out in roughly the 1880s or so. Then they could brew light beers with the light malts.

Munich malt was for the beers they brewed in before Helles was invented.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: indevrede on October 24, 2015, 03:21:41 PM
To the OP: what a fantastic post! I'm on a similar quest. Re: the 100% pils grists, did you compare brands?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: homoeccentricus on October 26, 2015, 12:04:19 PM

Hahaha, I like the your forum name!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewinhard on October 31, 2015, 10:07:34 PM
After reading through this thread, I have finalized my munich helles recipe and will be brewing it sometime shortly after Xmas for some early spring comps coming up.  I plan on going 84% Pilsner Malt (split 50/50 with German and Belgian pilsner malts) and 16% kolsch malt.  Will keep everyone posted here.  Thanks for the ideas!

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 08, 2015, 07:17:38 PM

After reading through this thread, I have finalized my munich helles recipe and will be brewing it sometime shortly after Xmas for some early spring comps coming up.  I plan on going 84% Pilsner Malt (split 50/50 with German and Belgian pilsner malts) and 16% kolsch malt.  Will keep everyone posted here.  Thanks for the ideas!

Please do. I got my kolsch malt and have it queued up to do.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on November 08, 2015, 07:24:26 PM

After reading through this thread, I have finalized my munich helles recipe and will be brewing it sometime shortly after Xmas for some early spring comps coming up.  I plan on going 84% Pilsner Malt (split 50/50 with German and Belgian pilsner malts) and 16% kolsch malt.  Will keep everyone posted here.  Thanks for the ideas!

Please do. I got my kolsch malt and have it queued up to do.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Me too, next weekend hopefully.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: BrodyR on November 10, 2015, 03:59:54 AM
I'll preface that you seem to have a lot more lager experience than me but I'd probably try softening up the water. From what I've heard lager's don't really need to hit the usual 50ppm Calcium target. I got away with a lot less in a Czech pils and it came out great. The next thing I'd probably do is check the final pH's of the Helles I liked and compare it to mind but that's mostly because that's been something I've had on my mind a lot lately.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: wobdee on November 10, 2015, 02:10:58 PM
I'm going to try a recipe similar to one in Narziss book. Pils with 2-3% Carahell and .5-1% Caramunich I. A few people I know are going this route and I'm waiting to see they're outcome before I fine tune my recipe.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: charles1968 on November 10, 2015, 04:22:22 PM
grainbill from a Munich Helles recipe on the German homebrew site http://maischemalzundmehr.de/:

Pilsener Extra Hell:    3.7 kg (61.7%)
Helles Tennenmalz:    2 kg (33.3%)
Carahell:    0.3 kg (5%)

I think Tennenmalz is an heirloom variety of floor-malted malt made by Weyermann.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 10, 2015, 05:21:03 PM
grainbill from a Munich Helles recipe on the German homebrew site http://maischemalzundmehr.de/:

Pilsener Extra Hell:    3.7 kg (61.7%)
Helles Tennenmalz:    2 kg (33.3%)
Carahell:    0.3 kg (5%)

I think Tennenmalz is an heirloom variety of floor-malted malt made by Weyermann.
Tenne translated to threshing floor. If you look at their products auf Deutsch, you find that it is what we call the floor malted Bohemian malt.
http://www.weyermann.de/ger/gelbe_seiten.asp?snr=1&idkat=1144&umenue=yes&idmenue=2&sprache=1

English page
http://www.weyermann.de/eng/gelbe_Seiten_en.asp?snr=1&idkat=1146&umenue=yes&idmenue=37&sprache=2
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 10, 2015, 05:23:43 PM
In order to brew a proper helles(or any german beer for that matter), you have to pretty much unlearn everything American homebrewing has taught you.

The devil is in ALL the details, and if you think water, hops, malt and yeast are the details, you are SORELY mistaken.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: charles1968 on November 10, 2015, 08:10:25 PM
grainbill from a Munich Helles recipe on the German homebrew site http://maischemalzundmehr.de/:

Pilsener Extra Hell:    3.7 kg (61.7%)
Helles Tennenmalz:    2 kg (33.3%)
Carahell:    0.3 kg (5%)

I think Tennenmalz is an heirloom variety of floor-malted malt made by Weyermann.
Tenne translated to threshing floor. If you look at their products auf Deutsch, you find that it is what we call the floor malted Bohemian malt.
http://www.weyermann.de/ger/gelbe_seiten.asp?snr=1&idkat=1144&umenue=yes&idmenue=2&sprache=1

English page
http://www.weyermann.de/eng/gelbe_Seiten_en.asp?snr=1&idkat=1146&umenue=yes&idmenue=37&sprache=2

That makes sense. What about pilsner extra light though? I haven't come across that before.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: charles1968 on November 10, 2015, 08:11:34 PM
The devil is in ALL the details, and if you think water, hops, malt and yeast are the details, you are SORELY mistaken.

But there must be many different varieties of Munich Helles, all using recipes and techniques that vary around a few core essential points. The key is finding out those essential points - not all the details, many of which might not matter so much.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 10, 2015, 08:30:43 PM
grainbill from a Munich Helles recipe on the German homebrew site http://maischemalzundmehr.de/:

Pilsener Extra Hell:    3.7 kg (61.7%)
Helles Tennenmalz:    2 kg (33.3%)
Carahell:    0.3 kg (5%)

I think Tennenmalz is an heirloom variety of floor-malted malt made by Weyermann.
Tenne translated to threshing floor. If you look at their products auf Deutsch, you find that it is what we call the floor malted Bohemian malt.
http://www.weyermann.de/ger/gelbe_seiten.asp?snr=1&idkat=1144&umenue=yes&idmenue=2&sprache=1

English page
http://www.weyermann.de/eng/gelbe_Seiten_en.asp?snr=1&idkat=1146&umenue=yes&idmenue=37&sprache=2

That makes sense. What about pilsner extra light though? I haven't come across that before.

It is on this page.
http://www.weyermann.de/eng/gelbe_Seiten_en.asp?snr=1&idkat=1013&umenue=yes&idmenue=37&sprache=2

I have used Best Malz Heidelburg, which is in the 1.2-1.6 L range.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 10, 2015, 10:00:16 PM
The devil is in ALL the details, and if you think water, hops, malt and yeast are the details, you are SORELY mistaken.

But there must be many different varieties of Munich Helles, all using recipes and techniques that vary around a few core essential points. The key is finding out those essential points - not all the details, many of which might not matter so much.

RIGHT, hence.. The devil is in ALL the details  8)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: atodd on November 11, 2015, 04:52:13 PM
The devil is in ALL the details, and if you think water, hops, malt and yeast are the details, you are SORELY mistaken.

But there must be many different varieties of Munich Helles, all using recipes and techniques that vary around a few core essential points. The key is finding out those essential points - not all the details, many of which might not matter so much.

RIGHT, hence.. The devil is in ALL the details  8)

Got any tips for a first time Helles brewer on what some of those details might be? 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 11, 2015, 05:36:38 PM
The devil is in ALL the details, and if you think water, hops, malt and yeast are the details, you are SORELY mistaken.

But there must be many different varieties of Munich Helles, all using recipes and techniques that vary around a few core essential points. The key is finding out those essential points - not all the details, many of which might not matter so much.

RIGHT, hence.. The devil is in ALL the details  8)

Got any tips for a first time Helles brewer on what some of those details might be?

Depends, how authentic do you want it? Like sitting in Munich with one in hand. Or getting a "Helles" from some American brewery?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: 69franx on November 11, 2015, 06:03:05 PM
Rabeb, I'm interested in this as well. I've been to your FB page and love the looks of your equipment. I have enjoyed the few lagers I have made, but am interested in better lagers. Never  traveled to Germany, but I can learn
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: atodd on November 11, 2015, 06:34:05 PM
The devil is in ALL the details, and if you think water, hops, malt and yeast are the details, you are SORELY mistaken.

But there must be many different varieties of Munich Helles, all using recipes and techniques that vary around a few core essential points. The key is finding out those essential points - not all the details, many of which might not matter so much.

RIGHT, hence.. The devil is in ALL the details  8)

Got any tips for a first time Helles brewer on what some of those details might be?

Depends, how authentic do you want it? Like sitting in Munich with one in hand. Or getting a "Helles" from some American brewery?

I am looking to bring myself back to Munich, i went last summer and it was incredibly eye opening how far off some American examples are.  I brewed Kai's Munich Dunkel (it is still has a few weeks to go) and am thinking of trying his Helles next but wouldn't mind any other tips and tricks.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 11, 2015, 06:36:51 PM
To quote my mentor "If you allow me to paraphrase, you bought a canvas, paint and some brushes, learned about general composition of the old masters and drawn loads of caricatures of your teachers in class, but then expect to produce a work like Rembrand. The breweries spent generations of owners perfecting their recipes and art.  I think it's OK to give it more time."

I have been chasing this for at least 10 years, with the last year being SERIOUS. Serious, as in Decoding German brewing texts, and getting in contact with some of most illusive people I have even seen. Brewing using methods most of the world has never heard of. For instance today I used the Kubessa Verfahren, which is a mash that you separate the husks from the starches, and utilize a decoction with the starches (fine and coarse grind) while maserating the husks in another mash. I have used malts that people know nothing about. The crazy things about it is, I was not alone. We formed a group, and are all driving after the same thing, brewing authentic German beers, Hell even the group, has a secret group!

The problem is, Americans brew German beers wrong, flat out. We were taught wrong, I am as guilty as the next guy. We always try to do it over the top, and that muddy's everything else. We use the wrong water, at the wrong pH, mash the wrong way, boil and hop wrong( the formulas are wrong), ferment wrong... I could seriously go on for hours. It took me a LONG time to get past it. That being said, I have yet to create what we coined 'it", "it" being that harmonious, out of body experience you get from tasting these fresh beers.

Sorry for the run on, but thats why I ask what you are out to create. If you are serious, this will not be the place for it, but I will get you where you need to be. As I said before you need to "be sheltered" from what you have been taught, and here is not the right place for that. Either way I respect it.

This post was fueled by my latest helles attempt, while brewing another :)

(https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtf1/v/t1.0-9/s720x720/17021_644003145742289_6257212453288815877_n.jpg?oh=414c4be251ce3083f2ffdf847580a24b&oe=56B4BBE5)

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 11, 2015, 07:01:34 PM
To quote my mentor "If you allow me to paraphrase, you bought a canvas, paint and some brushes, learned about general composition of the old masters and drawn loads of caricatures of your teachers in class, but then expect to produce a work like Rembrand. The breweries spent generations of owners perfecting their recipes and art.  I think it's OK to give it more time."


You forgot the T in Rembrandt...the devils in the details I hear  ;D


Seriously-I hope you crack the code and then publish it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 11, 2015, 07:03:54 PM
To quote my mentor "If you allow me to paraphrase, you bought a canvas, paint and some brushes, learned about general composition of the old masters and drawn loads of caricatures of your teachers in class, but then expect to produce a work like Rembrand. The breweries spent generations of owners perfecting their recipes and art.  I think it's OK to give it more time."


You forgot the T in Rembrandt...the devils in the details I hear  ;D


Seriously-I hope you crack the code and then publish it.

Ahh, indeed!

Problem is even if I did crack the code, no one would believe it or follow it! Which is why I think Kai, sort of vanished, he was on to something!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 11, 2015, 07:05:46 PM
Do they mash at a higher pH, say 5.5-5.6, and then drop the pH in the kettle?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 11, 2015, 07:09:05 PM
Do they mash at a higher pH, say 5.5-5.6, and then drop the pH in the kettle?
Yes, and there is a formula when you drop that pH in the kettle as well :)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 11, 2015, 07:30:59 PM
Do they mash at a higher pH, say 5.5-5.6, and then drop the pH in the kettle?
Yes, and there is a formula when you drop that pH in the kettle as well :)

this is one thing i have been doing also.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: AmandaK on November 11, 2015, 10:26:08 PM
Do they mash at a higher pH, say 5.5-5.6, and then drop the pH in the kettle?
Yes, and there is a formula when you drop that pH in the kettle as well :)
What's the formula?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 11, 2015, 10:35:25 PM
Do they mash at a higher pH, say 5.5-5.6, and then drop the pH in the kettle?
Yes, and there is a formula when you drop that pH in the kettle as well :)
What's the formula?

Ahh, its not that easy, it's out there.   8)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 11, 2015, 11:10:10 PM
So, step 1: find out how to brew a perfect Helles. Step 2: brew it. Roger that
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: 69franx on November 11, 2015, 11:13:46 PM
Jim, don't forget to rinse and repeat as necessary
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 11, 2015, 11:16:51 PM
So, step 1: find out how to brew a perfect Helles. Step 2: brew it. Roger that

Yeah, that's my takeaway so far.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 11, 2015, 11:36:01 PM
Next Monday Im brewing an Helles, and an Helles Exportbier. Will be the 4th attempt at the Helles, trying to dial it in.

1.050 | 18 IBU
9.5 lbs Best Malz Pils
1.5 lbs Best Malz Vienna
Mashed at 145F for 2hrs, target 5.3pH adjusted with lactic per Brewers Friend, 50Ca 10Mg 8Na 50CaCl 0 SO4 107 HCO3
28g Mittelfruh @60
28g Mittelfruh @ 10
2 x 1000ml Wyeast 2308 high krausen pitches
50F
Final pH target 4.3
Cold fined with gel
Bottle conditioned at 2.7 volumes, then lager in cases at 38F for a month

I guess time will tell
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 11, 2015, 11:41:19 PM
So, step 1: find out how to brew a perfect Helles. Step 2: brew it. Roger that

Yeah, that's my takeaway so far.

If it were only that easy.  Knowing how is like 1/25 of it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 11, 2015, 11:45:52 PM
Next Monday Im brewing an Helles, and an Helles Exportbier. Will be the 4th attempt at the Helles, trying to dial it in.

1.050 | 18 IBU
9.5 lbs Best Malz Pils
1.5 lbs Best Malz Vienna
Mashed at 145F for 2hrs, target 5.3pH adjusted with lactic per Brewers Friend, 50Ca 10Mg 8Na 50CaCl 0 SO4 107 HCO3
28g Mittelfruh @60
28g Mittelfruh @ 10
2 x 1000ml Wyeast 2308 high krausen pitches
50F
Final pH target 4.3
Cold fined with gel
Bottle conditioned at 2.7 volumes, then lager in cases at 38F for a month

I guess time will tell

If you enter competitions it will have too much hop flavor and aroma from the 10 minute additions according to the judges, who have probably never tasted a fresh Helles in Bayern. If you like it, drink up!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 11, 2015, 11:47:52 PM
It will also be too thin bodied, which will throw it even more out of balance.
Tips:
mash is wrong
Grain bill could be better
Water is wrong
pH is wrong
Hoping is wrong

 8)

But like stated, if you like it, thats all that matters. I'm far from the expert.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 11, 2015, 11:51:35 PM
So, step 1: find out how to brew a perfect Helles. Step 2: brew it. Roger that

Yeah, that's my takeaway so far.

This topic is feeling like finding Keyser Söze   :o

OR Perhaps finding the Holy Grail   ::)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 11, 2015, 11:56:48 PM
The last one was 145 for 90 min, Gambinus Vienna instead of Best, Ca from CaCl and SO4 instead of just SO4, and only Magnum at 60. The notes from several judges including too sweet, too dark, too much hop flavor, and a minerally note. Honey note came from Gambinus, extra 30 minutes ought to dry it a little more, no SO4 ought to drop the minerally note, and since a half ounce of magnum at 60 gave it too much flavor I figure if its going to have hop flavor it might as well be Mittelfruh.

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 12, 2015, 12:00:18 AM
It will also be too thin bodied, which will throw it even more out of balance.
Tips:
mash is wrong
Grain bill could be better
Water is wrong
pH is wrong
Hoping is wrong

 8)

But like stated, if you like it, thats all that matters. I'm far from the expert.
Thanks for the help!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 12:00:54 AM
It will also be too thin bodied, which will throw it even more out of balance.
Tips:
mash is wrong
Grain bill could be better
Water is wrong
pH is wrong
Hoping is wrong

 8)

But like stated, if you like it, thats all that matters. I'm far from the expert.

hmm. here's my issue with this. when you tell someone they are wrong, there's presumption you are right. if you are right (and hell if I know-you may be) then that illustrates being an expert or coming from a position of fact.

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 12:09:17 AM
It will also be too thin bodied, which will throw it even more out of balance.
Tips:
mash is wrong
Grain bill could be better
Water is wrong
pH is wrong
Hoping is wrong

 8)

But like stated, if you like it, thats all that matters. I'm far from the expert.

hmm. here's my issue with this. when you tell someone they are wrong, there's presumption you are right. if you are right (and hell if I know-you may be) then that illustrates being an expert or coming from a position of fact.

^^ This!  This is all I am saying.  None of us can brew an accurate Helles.  I'll be the first to admit it, and I'm on the quest to do it.  And that's ok...we don't need to have the answer, we need to share knowledge and work together to figure it out.  But first thing is admitting there's a problem...there's an element to it we don't know.  All good?  Then let's figure it out!  When it's said it's not an easy style to brew, it doesn't mean "I've brewed an APA that scored 40, I've graduated to brew Helles and can brew the next style on my sheet".  Brewing an accurate Helles means you've figured some stuff out.  That's cool...it's quite an accomplishment to work towards.  I wish people wouldn't trivialize that.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 12:17:05 AM
Next Monday Im brewing an Helles, and an Helles Exportbier. Will be the 4th attempt at the Helles, trying to dial it in.

1.050 | 18 IBU
9.5 lbs Best Malz Pils
1.5 lbs Best Malz Vienna
Mashed at 145F for 2hrs, target 5.3pH adjusted with lactic per Brewers Friend, 50Ca 10Mg 8Na 50CaCl 0 SO4 107 HCO3
28g Mittelfruh @60
28g Mittelfruh @ 10
2 x 1000ml Wyeast 2308 high krausen pitches
50F
Final pH target 4.3
Cold fined with gel
Bottle conditioned at 2.7 volumes, then lager in cases at 38F for a month

I guess time will tell

If you enter competitions it will have too much hop flavor and aroma from the 10 minute additions according to the judges, who have probably never tasted a fresh Helles in Bayern. If you like it, drink up!

I scored 44 in competition on a Helles that had 15 minute hop addition and, to me, tasted slightly mildly reminiscent of a Helles and had the merit that it was light in color.  I wouldn't use the standard every day BJCP competition as the litmus test for Helles.  Really good judges who know the style are key.  And in that case, a 10 minute addition can provide just the right accent and pass muster.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 12, 2015, 12:25:44 AM
No, I am not the expert, claiming to be would only be a lie. However experts did write the rules, and those are what I based my answers on.
Here is my eternal debate. I have dedicated the better part of the last year, almost every free, waking moment to learn about this. This information does not come easy, its tireless work. I have a family, work, a life. Whats the price on that? Do I just give it all up for the sake of science? Would you even do it if I told you (i.e. would I be wasting my breath). My problem also involves me not fully being able to master it as well. Am I going down the wrong path, did I just steer you down the wrong path? I am hesitant, due to all the "paths" I have been put down.




Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on November 12, 2015, 12:26:03 AM
As an outsider looking in it appears the perfect Munich Helles is not attainable. It is the unicorn of beers...
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 12:26:11 AM

Next Monday Im brewing an Helles, and an Helles Exportbier. Will be the 4th attempt at the Helles, trying to dial it in.

1.050 | 18 IBU
9.5 lbs Best Malz Pils
1.5 lbs Best Malz Vienna
Mashed at 145F for 2hrs, target 5.3pH adjusted with lactic per Brewers Friend, 50Ca 10Mg 8Na 50CaCl 0 SO4 107 HCO3
28g Mittelfruh @60
28g Mittelfruh @ 10
2 x 1000ml Wyeast 2308 high krausen pitches
50F
Final pH target 4.3
Cold fined with gel
Bottle conditioned at 2.7 volumes, then lager in cases at 38F for a month

I guess time will tell

If you enter competitions it will have too much hop flavor and aroma from the 10 minute additions according to the judges, who have probably never tasted a fresh Helles in Bayern. If you like it, drink up!

I scored 44 in competition on a Helles that had 15 minute hop addition and, to me, tasted slightly mildly reminiscent of a Helles and had the merit that it was light in color.  I wouldn't use the standard every day BJCP competition as the litmus test for Helles.  Really good judges who know the style are key.  And in that case, a 10 minute addition can provide just the right accent and pass muster.

The must not have been judges named Wolfgang or Fritz


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 12, 2015, 12:28:40 AM
Next Monday Im brewing an Helles, and an Helles Exportbier. Will be the 4th attempt at the Helles, trying to dial it in.

1.050 | 18 IBU
9.5 lbs Best Malz Pils
1.5 lbs Best Malz Vienna
Mashed at 145F for 2hrs, target 5.3pH adjusted with lactic per Brewers Friend, 50Ca 10Mg 8Na 50CaCl 0 SO4 107 HCO3
28g Mittelfruh @60
28g Mittelfruh @ 10
2 x 1000ml Wyeast 2308 high krausen pitches
50F
Final pH target 4.3
Cold fined with gel
Bottle conditioned at 2.7 volumes, then lager in cases at 38F for a month

I guess time will tell

If you enter competitions it will have too much hop flavor and aroma from the 10 minute additions according to the judges, who have probably never tasted a fresh Helles in Bayern. If you like it, drink up!

I scored 44 in competition on a Helles that had 15 minute hop addition and, to me, tasted slightly mildly reminiscent of a Helles and had the merit that it was light in color.  I wouldn't use the standard every day BJCP competition as the litmus test for Helles.  Really good judges who know the style are key.  And in that case, a 10 minute addition can provide just the right accent and pass muster.
Agreed. I am not brewing this just to compete. But it might go. My last attempt had all of those problems I mentioned before, yet took 1st at the Bend Oregon COHO last June. Woo hoo, right? Comps are just fun fund raisers, not really a good test of your beer. Besides, there isnt a comp good enough to prove anything for homebrewers. It all can be argued away. Maybe if you entered WBC and beat all the old Munich breweries... but even then, there will be someone on the Internet brow beating you down. Bottom line, I dont brew to prove anything. Its just for fun. Having said that, continuing to try to come up with MY perfect German Malty Light Lager is fun too
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 12, 2015, 12:30:53 AM

[/quote]

 There are a good number of us out there who all know EXACTLY what each other means when we say a "German" flavor. If you know what it tastes like, you can pick it out in one sip.
[/quote]

To be honest, I don't even need to taste it to know. A smell is all that is needed.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: troybinso on November 12, 2015, 12:31:13 AM
No, I am not the expert, claiming to be would only be a lie. However experts did write the rules, and those are what I based my answers on.
Here is my eternal debate. I have dedicated the better part of the last year, almost every free, waking moment to learn about this. This information does not come easy, its tireless work. I have a family, work, a life. Whats the price on that? Do I just give it all up for the sake of science? Would you even do it if I told you (i.e. would I be wasting my breath). My problem also involves me not fully being able to master it as well. Am I going down the wrong path, did I just steer you down the wrong path?

A forum (be it internet or otherwise) is a place to exchange information. If you have information you would like to share then share it.

If you would like to sell this information maybe you should write a book. Brewer's Association is always coming out with new stuff.

If you want to keep it to yourself, then please do that, but I would suggest not critiquing a recipe without some constructive criticism.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 12, 2015, 12:31:39 AM
Next Monday Im brewing an Helles, and an Helles Exportbier. Will be the 4th attempt at the Helles, trying to dial it in.

1.050 | 18 IBU
9.5 lbs Best Malz Pils
1.5 lbs Best Malz Vienna
Mashed at 145F for 2hrs, target 5.3pH adjusted with lactic per Brewers Friend, 50Ca 10Mg 8Na 50CaCl 0 SO4 107 HCO3
28g Mittelfruh @60
28g Mittelfruh @ 10
2 x 1000ml Wyeast 2308 high krausen pitches
50F
Final pH target 4.3
Cold fined with gel
Bottle conditioned at 2.7 volumes, then lager in cases at 38F for a month

I guess time will tell

If you enter competitions it will have too much hop flavor and aroma from the 10 minute additions according to the judges, who have probably never tasted a fresh Helles in Bayern. If you like it, drink up!

I scored 44 in competition on a Helles that had 15 minute hop addition and, to me, tasted slightly mildly reminiscent of a Helles and had the merit that it was light in color.  I wouldn't use the standard every day BJCP competition as the litmus test for Helles.  Really good judges who know the style are key.  And in that case, a 10 minute addition can provide just the right accent and pass muster.
Agreed. My last one had some friends agreeing with me, and it was a 20 minute addition. Too hoppy according to the judges.

My point is that you will get judges most often who have only had bottled import versions, where the aroma has faded in the months from Germany to their glass. That is all they have for reference.

I won't be in Munich anytime soon,but I will be drinking some Frankonian versions soon. Maybe a Paulaner at the Frankfurt airport high speed train station if that place is still there.  ;)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 12, 2015, 12:42:56 AM
Disclaimer - Never been to Germany (yet). I know quite a few pretty sharp beer people who have been to Germany and talked about the differences between helles from brewery to brewery, town to town. Zero hop flavor or aroma reported most often obviously, with a few helles showing slight hop flavor and/or aroma. Some maltier than others, some drier, slight color variations within reason, etc. In other words, at least some variation within the style.

My point and question is that, if we accept the premise that brewing helles on a par with the ones brewed in Germany is nearly impossible (and that might be the case), is this a generalized, across the board statement given brewery/regional differences in the style ? Or is it based on comparisons to what the helles experts consider to be one or two of their favorite helles beers in Germany? I consider my helles to be good and evolving, and I'm always looking to make it better. But I also completely agree with others that the setting you drink a beer in can't help but influence your perception of it. Anybody honestly believe that drinking a beer in a Munich biergarten on a sunny day tastes EXACTLY the same as that  same exact beer at home on your sofa ? If the extremes are 'nearly impossible to brew an authentic one' on one end and 'setting affects perception' on the other end, I'm betting the truth lies somewhere in between. Still want to make mine better.
.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 12, 2015, 12:48:08 AM
The ability to accurately describe "it" would sure be helful though. If you just write "lacking that German "IT" flavor and aroma" I'm afraid you'll tune up a lot of brewers. Recognizing IT is only 1/25 of the job.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 12, 2015, 12:50:56 AM
Disclaimer - Never been to Germany (yet). I know quite a few pretty sharp beer people who have been to Germany and talked about the differences between helles from brewery to brewery, town to town. Zero hop flavor or aroma reported most often obviously, with a few helles showing slight hop flavor and/or aroma. Some maltier than others, some drier, slight color variations within reason, etc. In other words, at least some variation within the style.

My point and question is that, if we accept the premise that brewing helles on a par with the ones brewed in Germany is nearly impossible (and that might be the case), is this a generalized, across the board statement given brewery/regional differences in the style ? Or is it based on comparisons to what the helles experts consider to be one or two of their favorite helles beers in Germany? I consider my helles to be good and evolving, and I'm always looking to make it better. But I also completely agree with others that the setting you drink a beer in can't help but influence your perception of it. Anybody honestly believe that drinking a beer in a Munich biergarten on a sunny day tastes EXACTLY the same as that  same exact beer at home on your sofa ? If the extremes are 'nearly impossible to brew an authentic one' on one end and 'setting affects perception' on the other end, I'm betting the truth lies somewhere in between. Still want to make mine better.
.

Yes there are differences. Augustiner München was my favorite in Munich. There were differences. Hofbrua was my least favorite, as it was grainy to me. Others have it as their favorite.

Then there are some very good Helles outside of Munich. Ayinger is very good. I must say that the Augustiner in Salzburg was as good or better than the one in München. I need to do another trip to get to Salzburg

The ingredient list is simple. The process is complex. A recipe is ingredients and the process to the end product.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 12, 2015, 12:52:59 AM
Next Monday Im brewing an Helles, and an Helles Exportbier. Will be the 4th attempt at the Helles, trying to dial it in.

1.050 | 18 IBU
9.5 lbs Best Malz Pils
1.5 lbs Best Malz Vienna
Mashed at 145F for 2hrs, target 5.3pH adjusted with lactic per Brewers Friend, 50Ca 10Mg 8Na 50CaCl 0 SO4 107 HCO3
28g Mittelfruh @60
28g Mittelfruh @ 10
2 x 1000ml Wyeast 2308 high krausen pitches
50F
Final pH target 4.3
Cold fined with gel
Bottle conditioned at 2.7 volumes, then lager in cases at 38F for a month

I guess time will tell

If you enter competitions it will have too much hop flavor and aroma from the 10 minute additions according to the judges, who have probably never tasted a fresh Helles in Bayern. If you like it, drink up!

I scored 44 in competition on a Helles that had 15 minute hop addition and, to me, tasted slightly mildly reminiscent of a Helles and had the merit that it was light in color.  I wouldn't use the standard every day BJCP competition as the litmus test for Helles.  Really good judges who know the style are key.  And in that case, a 10 minute addition can provide just the right accent and pass muster.
Agreed. I am not brewing this just to compete. But it might go. My last attempt had all of those problems I mentioned before, yet took 1st at the Bend Oregon COHO last June. Woo hoo, right? Comps are just fun fund raisers, not really a good test of your beer. Besides, there isnt a comp good enough to prove anything for homebrewers. It all can be argued away. Maybe if you entered WBC and beat all the old Munich breweries... but even then, there will be someone on the Internet brow beating you down. Bottom line, I dont brew to prove anything. Its just for fun. Having said that, continuing to try to come up with MY perfect German Malty Light Lager is fun too

Dude, I like your style.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 12, 2015, 12:53:05 AM
There in lies the other problem if you already don't know what it is... You most likely never will.  It is in dang near every lager produced outside of the US.  As described earlier, you don't even have to drink it to know, just a whiff.  I have never even been to Germany, so my "taste perception" can't be influenced.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 12, 2015, 01:00:32 AM
No, I am not the expert, claiming to be would only be a lie. However experts did write the rules, and those are what I based my answers on.
Here is my eternal debate. I have dedicated the better part of the last year, almost every free, waking moment to learn about this. This information does not come easy, its tireless work. I have a family, work, a life. Whats the price on that? Do I just give it all up for the sake of science? Would you even do it if I told you (i.e. would I be wasting my breath). My problem also involves me not fully being able to master it as well. Am I going down the wrong path, did I just steer you down the wrong path? I am hesitant, due to all the "paths" I have been put down.
Just something to think about. If not sharing what you've learned because it might mislead someone is the thought process, is just saying Wrong better? A whole bunch of us spend a lot of time on brewing and share pretty much everything along the way. Some of it is wrong. Its an ongoing process.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 12, 2015, 01:03:31 AM
No, I am not the expert, claiming to be would only be a lie. However experts did write the rules, and those are what I based my answers on.
Here is my eternal debate. I have dedicated the better part of the last year, almost every free, waking moment to learn about this. This information does not come easy, its tireless work. I have a family, work, a life. Whats the price on that? Do I just give it all up for the sake of science? Would you even do it if I told you (i.e. would I be wasting my breath). My problem also involves me not fully being able to master it as well. Am I going down the wrong path, did I just steer you down the wrong path?



A forum (be it internet or otherwise) is a place to exchange information. If you have information you would like to share then share it.

If you would like to sell this information maybe you should write a book. Brewer's Association is always coming out with new stuff.

If you want to keep it to yourself, then please do that, but I would suggest not critiquing a recipe without some constructive criticism.

Ok I'll bite and share one nugget.


Hell Lager
Colour 5-7 EBC (but can be up to 9-10 EBC)
Bitterness 15-22 EBC
Residual Alkalinity at 1-2° dH
Mash in at 58-62° Celsius
Typical Mash Schedule:  Hochkurz
Water to Grist Ratio: 1:3.3
EVG (attenuation): 82-87%
Possible addition of Acidulated malt or biological lactic acid
Base Malt:  Very light (3 – 3.5 EBC)
Possible use of Caramalt in the proportion of 1-2% (Colour 25 EBC)
Sometimes 0.5 – 1.0% Caramalt at 100 EBC
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 01:09:17 AM

No, I am not the expert, claiming to be would only be a lie. However experts did write the rules, and those are what I based my answers on.
Here is my eternal debate. I have dedicated the better part of the last year, almost every free, waking moment to learn about this. This information does not come easy, its tireless work. I have a family, work, a life. Whats the price on that? Do I just give it all up for the sake of science? Would you even do it if I told you (i.e. would I be wasting my breath). My problem also involves me not fully being able to master it as well. Am I going down the wrong path, did I just steer you down the wrong path?



A forum (be it internet or otherwise) is a place to exchange information. If you have information you would like to share then share it.

If you would like to sell this information maybe you should write a book. Brewer's Association is always coming out with new stuff.

If you want to keep it to yourself, then please do that, but I would suggest not critiquing a recipe without some constructive criticism.

Ok I'll bite and share one nugget.


Hell Lager
Colour 5-7 EBC (but can be up to 9-10 EBC)
Bitterness 15-22 EBC
Residual Alkalinity at 1-2° dH
Mash in at 58-62° Celsius
Typical Mash Schedule:  Hochkurz
Water to Grist Ratio: 1:3.3
EVG (attenuation): 82-87%
Possible addition of Acidulated malt or biological lactic acid
Base Malt:  Very light (3 – 3.5 EBC)
Possible use of Caramalt in the proportion of 1-2% (Colour 25 EBC)
Sometimes 0.5 – 1.0% Caramalt at 100 EBC


See...now doesn't that just feel good!


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 01:41:08 AM
The ability to accurately describe "it" would sure be helful though. If you just write "lacking that German "IT" flavor and aroma" I'm afraid you'll tune up a lot of brewers. Recognizing IT is only 1/25 of the job.

This is the closest I can articulate.  Sorry, I really wish I could do better.  Terms are so subjective.  And I do wonder if there's a genetic element to it (after seeing years of threads of folks who know what it means, and folks who don't).  I liken it to the ability to smell asparagus in your urine.  Some folks can, some can't. 

The 5 elements of “it” in German light lagers.

1)   Aroma and first impressions
It: Fresh malt and hop aroma – sign of good things to come.  Very clean, slightly sweet but refreshing
Not it: No aroma. Metallic, plastic, organic off aroma coming from the glass.  Or overwhelming, cloying malt aroma, or strong, pungent hop aroma overwhelming the malt.

2)   Getting intimate - First Taste
It: the “it” we refer to – fresh grain, depth of character and bright notes of a fresh field of grain and flowers.  Sometimes spicy, particularly with Czech and East German Pilsners.  But clean and balanced with the malt.  Sometimes a minerally, salty impression from East German examples.
Not it: Dull, single dimension of malt.  It’s there, but not light, fresh and rich.  Overwhelming hoppiness as either flavor or strong bitterness.

3)   Balance of character
It: the overall impression is of balance between malt, bitterness and hop flavor.  Often floral, slightly sweet, and grainy.  Rich, bright grainy flavor.
Not it: Dull and flat, one dimension maltiness.  Like old malt or darker malt that is heavy on the palate.  Or muddy, overly complex flavors as from too many malts.

4)   Mouthfeel
It: Clean, crisp mouthfeel. Refreshing and you want to take another sip.  Clears out quickly.
Not it: Either thick and sweet or dry, puckering and thin.

5)   Finish  - Ahhhhh
It: briefly lingering malt flavor and aroma.  If you lightly exhale your breath and sniff, you get fresh malt graininess, a bit of hop aroma, and depth of aging character, slight lingering note of sulfur.
Not it: Cloying sweetness or astringent dryness, almost bitter.  Lingering hop bitterness that hangs in your mouth for a long time.  Yeast bite. 

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 01:43:40 AM
I'm drinking a glass of IT right now
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/11/84460897493b23df9bd16f0039fdfb78.jpg)


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 01:45:34 AM
I'm drinking a glass of IT right now
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/11/84460897493b23df9bd16f0039fdfb78.jpg)


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Beauty!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 01:52:40 AM

I'm drinking a glass of IT right now
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/11/84460897493b23df9bd16f0039fdfb78.jpg)


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Beauty!

Granted, it's O'Fest IT, not Helles.





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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 01:54:07 AM
There in lies the other problem if you already don't know what it is... You most likely never will.  It is in dang near every lager produced outside of the US.  As described earlier, you don't even have to drink it to know, just a whiff.  I have never even been to Germany, so my "taste perception" can't be influenced.

yeah, the funny thing here.  rabeb25 sent me an example of his Pils...thinking that ok, he's been to Germany, he knows what German beers should taste like.  And I'm laying down the same kinda talk he's been saying.  I taste his Pils and it tastes exactly like mine.  Clean, well brewed, meets the BJCP specs, but no 'it'.  I tell him that and he's like "right?". So WTF, how do we get 'it'?  We've never met, but we zero in on the exact same thing.  Aside from this bizarre flavor we've picked up (and enjoy) in beer, we have absolutely no reason to know each other, talk to each other or have any reason to cross paths (this is not a conspiracy to piss off the home brewing internet).  I have been all over Germany, consumed all variations of fresh, keller, filtered, unfiltered, big brand, no name, small town German beers and I get what 'it' is.  For folks looking at us like we're freaks...I get it, I totally do.  It's certainly the most frustrating thing I've ever experienced.  I want it, I know what it is, I try to describe it, that doesn't do it justice.  I want you to get 'it' and share in the fun!  But if you can't pick 'it' up, none of what we're saying will make any sense. 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 01:58:37 AM
All kidding aside- I understand what you are both trying to describe. I too have done my best to replicate what I love so much much about German pils, dunkel, Helles, o'fest, dunkelweizen, etc.......it's a quest I enjoy and will continue to travel.


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 01:59:30 AM
All kidding aside- I understand what you are both trying to describe. I too have done my best to replicate what I love so much much about German pils, dunkel, Helles, o'fest, dunkelweizen, etc.......it's a quest I enjoy and will continue to travel.


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OK, cool!  I was going to say, that's a very pretty beer...you've got to get 'it'. :)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 02:09:43 AM
Even Kai struggled to get "it". He gave a talk in Australia titled "The Elusive Taste of German Lagers." I remember him saying that he had gotten it once or twice but couldn't do it consistently.

Indeed...I didn't think I was nuts.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: narvin on November 12, 2015, 02:25:01 AM
Kai mentioned oxidation as a possible factor.  And no, I don't think that "old" German beers in the US that were treated poorly are what IT tastes like.  But I also don't think it's a coincidence that I get that flavor more when my Pilsner has been in the growler for a day to take on a trip for the weekend.  Maybe a decoction pump or grant throws some HSA into the mix...
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 02:26:06 AM
Kai mentioned oxidation as a possible factor.  And no, I don't think that "old" German beers in the US that were treates poorly are what IT tastes like.  But I also don't think it's a coincidence that I get that flavor more when my Pilsner has been in the growler for a day to take on a trip for the weekend.  Maybe a decoction pump or grant throws some HSA into the mix...

Yeah, it's not oxidation from old beer.  Maybe oxidation of beta acids in hops (stuff like first wort hopping would help with it).  But yeah, something like that.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: AmandaK on November 12, 2015, 02:48:46 AM
I'm just going to leave this here: 2012-Present AHA Forum Thread: "That German Lager Flavor" (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=12545.0)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Phil_M on November 12, 2015, 12:15:08 PM
Alright, so help me understand this.

I really enjoy German beer, but can't afford a ticket to Bavaria. (And won't anytime soon...I'm a 29 year old technician trying to pay for engineering school...my funds are spoken for.)

While I do notice many things in bottled German beer that I don't get from American versions, I'm not sure if "IT" is among those flavors or not. Where/how do I go about trying to properly taste these beers at least somewhat locally?

The flavor I think might be "IT" certainly hasn't been present in every bottled German beer I've tried. I guess what I'm looking for is a reliable "IT" tasting method that doesn't involve an airliner.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 12, 2015, 12:27:40 PM
Alright, so help me understand this.

I really enjoy German beer, but can't afford a ticket to Bavaria. (And won't anytime soon...I'm a 29 year old technician trying to pay for engineering school...my funds are spoken for.)

While I do notice many things in bottled German beer that I don't get from American versions, I'm not sure if "IT" is among those flavors or not. Where/how do I go about trying to properly taste these beers at least somewhat locally?

The flavor I think might be "IT" certainly hasn't been present in every bottled German beer I've tried. I guess what I'm looking for is a reliable "IT" tasting method that doesn't involve an airliner.

It, is present in every German beer produced, if you didn't get it from a bottle it was most likely old and mis-treated. You best bet is to try it on tap, or go to a bottle shop that goes though a decent amount. A good way to tell is if the beer is anything but brilliantly clear, that means there are some colloidal stability issues, much likely due from oxidation. It shouldn't be too hard to seek out, its in all beers German, lagers, ales... everything.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Phil_M on November 12, 2015, 12:41:10 PM
If it's reliably found in well-kept bottles I think I may know what you're talking about. Thankfully a local shop down here keeps all their beer (800+ different varieties) in a cool room with nice indirect lighting. (No skunking.)

I buy German beer there enough to know what I think is "IT" is not in every six pack, likely due to handling along the trip. (Or at the distributor...) One things for sure, I've not been satisfied with any craft "Kölsch" after enjoying a great sixpack of Gaffel Kölsch.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 12, 2015, 12:46:43 PM
IT is in a Rauchbier and a Dunkelbock and a Berlinerweis? No wonder people can't describe IT.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Phil_M on November 12, 2015, 12:58:00 PM
What I'm thinking "IT" is I've never noticed in a rauchbier, that's for sure. What I'm thinking "IT" is I can only describe as a fresh hay/grain/wheat field right before harvest sort of character. I've only noticed it in lighter beers, and slightly in a Dunkel, though that could have been a fluke. Definitely wasn't noticable in any of the Schwarzbiers I've tried, and I'm pretty sure I've had a fresh enough example.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 12, 2015, 01:01:55 PM
If it's reliably found in well-kept bottles I think I may know what you're talking about. Thankfully a local shop down here keeps all their beer (800+ different varieties) in a cool room with nice indirect lighting. (No skunking.)

I buy German beer there enough to know what I think is "IT" is not in every six pack, likely due to handling along the trip. (Or at the distributor...) One things for sure, I've not been satisfied with any craft "Kölsch" after enjoying a great sixpack of Gaffel Kölsch.

If you can find a fresh six pack of Weihenstephan original that has been treated well in transit and storage (or if you can get it on tap from a good bar that treats their beer well), that beer is a very good example of having "it"

And great example of a super light beer, with it in spades.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 01:13:51 PM

If it's reliably found in well-kept bottles I think I may know what you're talking about. Thankfully a local shop down here keeps all their beer (800+ different varieties) in a cool room with nice indirect lighting. (No skunking.)

I buy German beer there enough to know what I think is "IT" is not in every six pack, likely due to handling along the trip. (Or at the distributor...) One things for sure, I've not been satisfied with any craft "Kölsch" after enjoying a great sixpack of Gaffel Kölsch.

If you can find a fresh six pack of Weihenstephan original that has been treated well in transit and storage (or if you can get it on tap from a good bar that treats their beer well), that beer is a very good example of having "it"

Agree about craft kolsch. IME it is indistinguishable from a blond ale. The real thing is vastly different.

+1 great example to seek out.


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 01:18:11 PM
I'm pretty sure Kai wrote somewhere that he was fairly confidant that decoction of any kind isn't a prerequisite for IT. References many German beers with IT are produced without it......anyone recall this?


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Phil_M on November 12, 2015, 01:20:11 PM
The local shop I've mentioned often has that beer, I'll have to try it again. While I've tried that beer several times in the past, I've never been impressed.

That being said, when I think "German beer character," the best example I've ever had of it was a very fresh 5L party keg of Hofbräu Helles.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 01:26:15 PM
found it...here's what he said:

 Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #174 on: August 05, 2012, 07:32:38 AM »

    Quote

I read through all the posts here and have a few comments.

I don't think there is any single thing or procedure that causes this German Lager flavor. I believe it is a combination of things and simply a product how Germans brew beer. However, German brewing practices today are very much different from what we think. Most beer is mass produced, especially the big brands like Bittburger, Warsteiner, Radeberger ... Even most of the local brands are produced the same way. Most breweries in Germany are either owned by InBev or the Radeberger Gruppe, which is is part of Dr Oetker, a conglomerate that started out as a baking powder company.

A few month back I got pointed to a very good German TV documentary that highlighted how German beer had lost its way. For posterity, here is the link (http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren!#/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren) there are a few German speakers on this forum for which that might be useful.

I just came back from a trip through the northern part of Germany and I have to admit that most beers in Germany do taste rather bland these days.

Beers brewed in southern Germany tend to be better. For one, they have a better beer culture down there and there is also a bit more variety. Especially when it comes to Weissbier.

As for the brewing processes that can give this characteristic German flavor, I don't think that decoction has anything to do with it. Most German beers are made w/o decoction and I have made many decocted beers that I would say have that German taste. This is not to say that decoction doesn't make a difference, lets leave this for a different discussion.

Warm vs. cold maturation rest? A few times I have tried the cold maturation rest, i.e. where the beer is slowly cooled after primary fermentation is done. The biggest problem was that I ended up stalling fermentation and the beer did not attenuate as expected. These days I often raise the maturation rest temp to 70 F for a week in order to make sure the beer fully attenuates before cold conditioning. The complete fermentation is more important than doing a cold maturation (a.k.a. diacetyl) rest. When I say complete fermentation I mean getting close to the attenuation from the FFT, especially for a Pilsner. A Schwarzbier can be a few attenuation percentage points off and a Doppebock can show 4%-6% lower attenuation than its FFT. Simply judging complete fermentation by the absence of activity may not be accurate enough. The low fermentable sugar content, that you get when the beer ferments to the attenuation of its FFT, is important to get a very drinkable beer.

One major factor in getting the German flavor is the aroma of the beer. German beers have a very subtle aroma. These days many beers don't seem to have any aroma since brewers skimp on good aroma hops. But even the good examples don't have a strong hop aroma. If hops dominate the aroma, its never like sticking your nose in a bag of hops. Instead the hop aroma is more refined. This comes from the fact that German brewers don't add hops late. Even aroma hops are added with 10-15 boil time to go. According to a number of sources I have come across the hop aroma compounds oxidize in the boiling wort and create less volatile compounds. This leads me directly to FWH. FWH doesn't appear to be common in German brewing, but I have had great success with getting that German hop profile into my Pilsner and Helles by using FWH.

Another important part is smooth bitterness and for that I strongly believe that the Kraeusen should not be allowed to fall back into the beer. I make sure that it blows off. Even if that means I have to add more sanitized wort after I realized that I didn't fill my carboy enough to get a blow-off. When I don't do this the bitterness gets a harsh character.

I also started experimenting with CO2 hop extract. The gooey hop resin that NB sells as the Hopshot. A few years back I bought a 150g can and put it into syringes. I know that the use of hop extract is frowned upon among beer geeks, but hop extract is able to add bitterness w/o bringing vegetal matter into the boil that can lead to increased tannins. I have not done a side-by side between a classic bitterning hop like Magnum and hop extract.

While I do have a number of thoughts on this topic, I haven't found that perfect procedure that will always give you the authentic German taste. There are too many variables that would have to be evaluated. Just be open to experimentation and start trying things that you haven't tried yet. This obviously implies that you can brew a clean beer repeatedly and that you brewing process is not plagued by more straight forward issues.

Kai
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 12, 2015, 01:42:06 PM
I was once told by "a guy"  8) that mash is the least important thing on the list. Thats not to say its not important, but its the least in the grand scheme. Thats why people went to step mashes, it saved money, power, and time as the result was similar enough to not matter. With that said, you will NEVER see them do a single infusion ala the English method, as it DOESN'T yield the same results.

The primary reason for the modern day decoction is to increase yield(boiling bursts the hard starches, thus making them now available to the enzymes), and potentially bring some melanoidians to the table( depending on what steps are in the decoctions). A cool trick for those who do decoction do an iodine test during your mash boil ;) .However, That comes with the expense of tannins and color from boiling the husks. The perfect mash (in their eyes) is the endosperm mash. It employs getting completely rid of the husk materials and only using starches. They then use a "mash filter" that uses compressed air to lauter, basically by squeezing, and no, before you ask...this is not BIAB. This yields a product free from husk tannins, and actually less color as the husks contribute to that as well. About .5-1 EBC.

In case you are saying hard starches? That would be these white bits, they will never be fully soluble in a normal mash.
(https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xat1/t31.0-8/12247839_644113589064578_559719202500639464_o.jpg)


Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: indevrede on November 12, 2015, 02:32:07 PM
Can we shift back towards discussing ingredients? Early in the thread there was a well-received suggestion about adding Kolsch / Cologne malt, and another about using German "Pale Ale" malt. I've also found references to the super-light (1.2L) "Best Heidelberg" malt in other threads. And Bryan (Rabeb25) has previously sworn that Chit Malt (NOT flaked barley) was crucial.  I've also seen suggestions of blending in Belgian Pils. I made a Helles with 100% Weyermann Floor Malted Bo Pils and I thought it had a pleasant but assertive graininess (not astringent tannins, but also not soft bread). Can anyone comment about, say, 50% Heidelberg + 50% Weyermann Pale Ale and similarities to fresh commercial examples?

And, to the OP: you mentioned trying Weyermann, Best, and Avangard. But Weyermann makes 3 Pils malts (Pils, Bo Pils, Floor Malted Bo Pils). Which did you try?

And, Re: yeast, the OP said that WLP835 (the Andechser strain) provided the same floral note that the Andechser beer had, but are there important differences between the other strains mentioned? I've seen many posts saying that WLP833 is perfect for malty lagers, while German homebrewers seem to prefer WY2206 for Helles. WLP838 has it's share of proponents too. I'm guessing WLP830 (W34/70) is too attenuative for the 3 beers favored by the OP (Andechser, Augustiner, Weihenstephaner), but might be perfect for drier examples. And what about WLP860? WY2352?

Plus, there's the issue about new vs repitch: Mark V aka S. cerevisiae has said that his beers are best on the 3rd, 4th, 5th generations. German brewers obviously repitch, so maybe that's an important consideration?

Sorry for the long post & barrage of questions. I'm glad to see this thread hasn't died. I had a bottle of Mahr's Hell a long time ago that still brings a tear to my eye...
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: majorvices on November 12, 2015, 02:37:52 PM
If it's reliably found in well-kept bottles I think I may know what you're talking about. Thankfully a local shop down here keeps all their beer (800+ different varieties) in a cool room with nice indirect lighting. (No skunking.)

I buy German beer there enough to know what I think is "IT" is not in every six pack, likely due to handling along the trip. (Or at the distributor...) One things for sure, I've not been satisfied with any craft "Kölsch" after enjoying a great sixpack of Gaffel Kölsch.

I thought Gaffel Kolsch was drinkable but pretty insipid. The kolsch you will find on tap at my tasting roomis far better. AND it has that nice Apple/Pear character you shouldn't be finding in a Helles .... just sayin'.

FTR I do not think the style lends itself to bottling (let alone shipping across an ocean) simply because it is so delicate any amount of o2 pick up simply destroys the nuances.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 12, 2015, 02:40:32 PM
If it's reliably found in well-kept bottles I think I may know what you're talking about. Thankfully a local shop down here keeps all their beer (800+ different varieties) in a cool room with nice indirect lighting. (No skunking.)

I buy German beer there enough to know what I think is "IT" is not in every six pack, likely due to handling along the trip. (Or at the distributor...) One things for sure, I've not been satisfied with any craft "Kölsch" after enjoying a great sixpack of Gaffel Kölsch.

I thought Gaffel Kolsch was drinkable but pretty insipid. The kolsch you will find on tap at my tasting roomis far better. AND it has that nice Apple/Pear character you shouldn't be finding in a Helles .... just sayin'.

FTR I do not think the style lends itself to bottling (let alone shipping across an ocean) simply because it is so delicate any amount of o2 pick up simply destroys the nuances.

FWIW, I find Gaffel the worst of them as well.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 02:44:35 PM
found it...here's what he said:

 Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #174 on: August 05, 2012, 07:32:38 AM »

    Quote

I read through all the posts here and have a few comments.

I don't think there is any single thing or procedure that causes this German Lager flavor. I believe it is a combination of things and simply a product how Germans brew beer. However, German brewing practices today are very much different from what we think. Most beer is mass produced, especially the big brands like Bittburger, Warsteiner, Radeberger ... Even most of the local brands are produced the same way. Most breweries in Germany are either owned by InBev or the Radeberger Gruppe, which is is part of Dr Oetker, a conglomerate that started out as a baking powder company.

A few month back I got pointed to a very good German TV documentary that highlighted how German beer had lost its way. For posterity, here is the link (http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren!#/beitrag/video/1656374/ZDFzoom-Hopfen-und-Malz-verloren) there are a few German speakers on this forum for which that might be useful.

I just came back from a trip through the northern part of Germany and I have to admit that most beers in Germany do taste rather bland these days.

Beers brewed in southern Germany tend to be better. For one, they have a better beer culture down there and there is also a bit more variety. Especially when it comes to Weissbier.

As for the brewing processes that can give this characteristic German flavor, I don't think that decoction has anything to do with it. Most German beers are made w/o decoction and I have made many decocted beers that I would say have that German taste. This is not to say that decoction doesn't make a difference, lets leave this for a different discussion.

Warm vs. cold maturation rest? A few times I have tried the cold maturation rest, i.e. where the beer is slowly cooled after primary fermentation is done. The biggest problem was that I ended up stalling fermentation and the beer did not attenuate as expected. These days I often raise the maturation rest temp to 70 F for a week in order to make sure the beer fully attenuates before cold conditioning. The complete fermentation is more important than doing a cold maturation (a.k.a. diacetyl) rest. When I say complete fermentation I mean getting close to the attenuation from the FFT, especially for a Pilsner. A Schwarzbier can be a few attenuation percentage points off and a Doppebock can show 4%-6% lower attenuation than its FFT. Simply judging complete fermentation by the absence of activity may not be accurate enough. The low fermentable sugar content, that you get when the beer ferments to the attenuation of its FFT, is important to get a very drinkable beer.

One major factor in getting the German flavor is the aroma of the beer. German beers have a very subtle aroma. These days many beers don't seem to have any aroma since brewers skimp on good aroma hops. But even the good examples don't have a strong hop aroma. If hops dominate the aroma, its never like sticking your nose in a bag of hops. Instead the hop aroma is more refined. This comes from the fact that German brewers don't add hops late. Even aroma hops are added with 10-15 boil time to go. According to a number of sources I have come across the hop aroma compounds oxidize in the boiling wort and create less volatile compounds. This leads me directly to FWH. FWH doesn't appear to be common in German brewing, but I have had great success with getting that German hop profile into my Pilsner and Helles by using FWH.

Another important part is smooth bitterness and for that I strongly believe that the Kraeusen should not be allowed to fall back into the beer. I make sure that it blows off. Even if that means I have to add more sanitized wort after I realized that I didn't fill my carboy enough to get a blow-off. When I don't do this the bitterness gets a harsh character.

I also started experimenting with CO2 hop extract. The gooey hop resin that NB sells as the Hopshot. A few years back I bought a 150g can and put it into syringes. I know that the use of hop extract is frowned upon among beer geeks, but hop extract is able to add bitterness w/o bringing vegetal matter into the boil that can lead to increased tannins. I have not done a side-by side between a classic bitterning hop like Magnum and hop extract.

While I do have a number of thoughts on this topic, I haven't found that perfect procedure that will always give you the authentic German taste. There are too many variables that would have to be evaluated. Just be open to experimentation and start trying things that you haven't tried yet. This obviously implies that you can brew a clean beer repeatedly and that you brewing process is not plagued by more straight forward issues.

Kai

I tend to have found the same thing's Kai describes here.  My wife is from Leipzig, Kai is from Halle...so when we visit Germany, we're drinking the same beers.  He's mentioned the exact same brands that my father in law drinks on a daily basis (as well as Bavarian/Frankonian beers)...anyhow, I think my brewing goals are aligned pretty well with Kai's and his experiences. 

I haven't done enough decoctions to have an opinion, but I do agree that German breweries aren't all doing decoctions and that doesn't seem, in and of itself, to deliver 'it'.  I also agree that it's more obvious in lighter beer styles.  My Dunkel is remarkably close to Kloster Weltenberger's, so that says something. 

I don't think it has anything to do with filtering, or necessarily yeast.  Kolsch, Alt, and unfiltered Kellerbier, Zwick'l, Gose, Hefeweizen, unfiltered Pilsner, all have 'it'. 

It's unfortunate (buyer beware) that, at least in my experience, Weihenstephaner original is among the poorest travelers I've come across.  It's very rare that I've had a good bottle of it in the US.  Radeberger seems to do well, Bitburger, DAB, PU in cans.

I agree with Kai about the variability in quality of beers in Germany.  Flensburger (way up north), Stortebecker (also north) leave a bit to be desired. I have a fondness for Radebgerer (Dresden), Ur Kostrizer (Leipzig), Hasseroder (Wernigerode), and others from around Saxony and towards the Czech Republic.  And beers in Franconia like Mahr's, Keesman (anything in Bamberg), Spital in Regensberg.  Then of course Bavaria - take your pick - with my favorites really being the offerings by Ayinger.  There are still some small town breweries that all have their unique takes.  But the prevalence of 'it' can be detected in all of them.  (Stortebecker being the least - it was honestly a beer that made me want American beer instead).  Czech beers all have it, Pilsner Urquell, Budvar, and Polish Lech Pilsner. 

I also agree that it helps to have a very controlled, clean brewing and fermenting process.  If not a creator of 'it', dirty wort going into the fermenter, wrong pH and bad water, just muddies the brew and gets in the way of the clear flavors.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 02:46:39 PM
If it's reliably found in well-kept bottles I think I may know what you're talking about. Thankfully a local shop down here keeps all their beer (800+ different varieties) in a cool room with nice indirect lighting. (No skunking.)

I buy German beer there enough to know what I think is "IT" is not in every six pack, likely due to handling along the trip. (Or at the distributor...) One things for sure, I've not been satisfied with any craft "Kölsch" after enjoying a great sixpack of Gaffel Kölsch.

I thought Gaffel Kolsch was drinkable but pretty insipid. The kolsch you will find on tap at my tasting roomis far better. AND it has that nice Apple/Pear character you shouldn't be finding in a Helles .... just sayin'.

FTR I do not think the style lends itself to bottling (let alone shipping across an ocean) simply because it is so delicate any amount of o2 pick up simply destroys the nuances.

FWIW, I find Gaffel the worst of them as well.


I need to find a way to visit Koln, I've never had a Kolsch I've really enjoyed.  I'd always rather have a Helles or Pils.


Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: homoeccentricus on November 12, 2015, 02:55:35 PM
I need to find a way to visit Koln, I've never had a Kolsch I've really enjoyed

I live in Belgium, 150 miles from Cologne. Never had one.  ::)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 12, 2015, 03:08:42 PM
Can we shift back towards discussing ingredients? Early in the thread there was a well-received suggestion about adding Kolsch / Cologne malt, and another about using German "Pale Ale" malt. I've also found references to the super-light (1.2L) "Best Heidelberg" malt in other threads. And Bryan (Rabeb25) has previously sworn that Chit Malt (NOT flaked barley) was crucial.  I've also seen suggestions of blending in Belgian Pils. I made a Helles with 100% Weyermann Floor Malted Bo Pils and I thought it had a pleasant but assertive graininess (not astringent tannins, but also not soft bread). Can anyone comment about, say, 50% Heidelberg + 50% Weyermann Pale Ale and similarities to fresh commercial examples?

And, to the OP: you mentioned trying Weyermann, Best, and Avangard. But Weyermann makes 3 Pils malts (Pils, Bo Pils, Floor Malted Bo Pils). Which did you try?

And, Re: yeast, the OP said that WLP835 (the Andechser strain) provided the same floral note that the Andechser beer had, but are there important differences between the other strains mentioned? I've seen many posts saying that WLP833 is perfect for malty lagers, while German homebrewers seem to prefer WY2206 for Helles. WLP838 has it's share of proponents too. I'm guessing WLP830 (W34/70) is too attenuative for the 3 beers favored by the OP (Andechser, Augustiner, Weihenstephaner), but might be perfect for drier examples. And what about WLP860? WY2352?

Plus, there's the issue about new vs repitch: Mark V aka S. cerevisiae has said that his beers are best on the 3rd, 4th, 5th generations. German brewers obviously repitch, so maybe that's an important consideration?

Sorry for the long post & barrage of questions. I'm glad to see this thread hasn't died. I had a bottle of Mahr's Hell a long time ago that still brings a tear to my eye...

Floor malt bopils, is too much for me. All beers I have made with it have a signature fresh wet hay, slight apple, I actually find it rather off-putting. Even when cut to 80%.

One has to realize, that all these guys are getting SPECIFIC barley to them.

Malt is in the top 3rd of the Helles pyramid, but its not the top ;) A grain bill would change based on how one mashes, hops, boil, ferments, fines/filters/, etc as well. It's a moving target, and not a 1 size fits all. the picture I posted of the helles I was drinking, is not a recipe you can find "in the achives".

I posted back a page or 2 the guidelines for a helles, I have since went that route.

Yeast is in the bottom 3rd. but I think you are on track think about staying away from anything like 830/34/70, etc. I have been using a blend, of some of the yeasts you mention above. I am seeing good results from that, and only trial and error can get you where YOU want to be. My Helles may be far from your Helles.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 03:13:29 PM

Yeast is in the bottom 3rd. but I think you are on track think about staying away from anything like 830/34/70, etc. I have been using a blend, of some of the yeasts you mention above. I am seeing good results from that, and only trial and error can get you where YOU want to be. My Helles may be far from your Helles.

I just used 34/70 for the first time this year and find it to be very utilitarian/neutral with little character - great for brewing something like Bitburger.  My best Helles have been with 838 and 835.  I have some fermented with 2308 (same as 838?) lagering now.  833 is also too neutral to really provide unique character.  That said, 833 is a more interesting yeast than 830 (34/70). 

I've really liked beers fermented with 802, 838.  I also have a batch of Pils brewed half with 34/70 and half with 2042 and I'm really liking 2042.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Phil_M on November 12, 2015, 03:53:23 PM
It's unfortunate (buyer beware) that, at least in my experience, Weihenstephaner original is among the poorest travelers I've come across.  It's very rare that I've had a good bottle of it in the US.  Radeberger seems to do well, Bitburger, DAB, PU in cans.

+1, I've had it several times, and it's been pretty bland each time. For the record, the Gaffel Kölsch has been the same way, I've bought six packs of it three times. First try was sublime, the last two tries were so crappy I haven't spent the money to try again.

A fresh pack of PU definitely has the character I'm thinking of, and fresh Bitburger as well. Thing is to me any Northern German Pils that isn't fresh to me just tastes like mineral water.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 04:21:43 PM
Can we shift back towards discussing ingredients? Early in the thread there was a well-received suggestion about adding Kolsch / Cologne malt, and another about using German "Pale Ale" malt. I've also found references to the super-light (1.2L) "Best Heidelberg" malt in other threads. And Bryan (Rabeb25) has previously sworn that Chit Malt (NOT flaked barley) was crucial.  I've also seen suggestions of blending in Belgian Pils. I made a Helles with 100% Weyermann Floor Malted Bo Pils and I thought it had a pleasant but assertive graininess (not astringent tannins, but also not soft bread). Can anyone comment about, say, 50% Heidelberg + 50% Weyermann Pale Ale and similarities to fresh commercial examples?

And, to the OP: you mentioned trying Weyermann, Best, and Avangard. But Weyermann makes 3 Pils malts (Pils, Bo Pils, Floor Malted Bo Pils). Which did you try?

And, Re: yeast, the OP said that WLP835 (the Andechser strain) provided the same floral note that the Andechser beer had, but are there important differences between the other strains mentioned? I've seen many posts saying that WLP833 is perfect for malty lagers, while German homebrewers seem to prefer WY2206 for Helles. WLP838 has it's share of proponents too. I'm guessing WLP830 (W34/70) is too attenuative for the 3 beers favored by the OP (Andechser, Augustiner, Weihenstephaner), but might be perfect for drier examples. And what about WLP860? WY2352?

Plus, there's the issue about new vs repitch: Mark V aka S. cerevisiae has said that his beers are best on the 3rd, 4th, 5th generations. German brewers obviously repitch, so maybe that's an important consideration?

Sorry for the long post & barrage of questions. I'm glad to see this thread hasn't died. I had a bottle of Mahr's Hell a long time ago that still brings a tear to my eye...

The closest to a nice Helles I've ever brewed was basically this (brewed in 2013):

90.7% Weyermann Pilsner malt (the regular stuff)
3.8% Acidulated malt
2.7% Carahell
2.7% Carafoam

Mashed at 145F for 30
162F for 45

Bittered with Hallertau Magnum at 12.8 IBU (60)
4.5 IBU Tradition at 40
1.5 IBU Tradition at 15

Water was~ 62ppm Calcium, 67.6 ppm Sulfate, 73.4ppm Chloride, 22.7ppm Sodium, 11.2 Magnesium
I didn't have a pH meter at the time and was struggling with PhastStrips so can't accurately say what pH was

Fermented with WLP838

I brewed it over Christmas holidays and let it ferment slow and cold, then lagered long over the winter.  It turned out very clean, nice touch of malt, not too hoppy, nice balance.  Standing out grilling on a cold night in the snow sipping on this, it tasted like being in Munich.  It had just the right aroma of hops and malt in the glass.  I've been playing around with process and other ingredients, plus trying to brew pilsner for the past 2 years that I haven't done better than this, but simple grain bill with the right yeast and clean fermentation made a really nice beer. (even won silver in my first competition FWIW).

The 838 tasted like ass (sulfur and funk) during fermentation and the first 6 weeks of lagering.  Then it turned a corner into deliciousness.  838 is a unique, but fantastic strain for this kind of beer.  This sold me on upscaling to 10-15 gallon batches because it went way too fast.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 04:35:26 PM
Can we shift back towards discussing ingredients? Early in the thread there was a well-received suggestion about adding Kolsch / Cologne malt, and another about using German "Pale Ale" malt. I've also found references to the super-light (1.2L) "Best Heidelberg" malt in other threads. And Bryan (Rabeb25) has previously sworn that Chit Malt (NOT flaked barley) was crucial.  I've also seen suggestions of blending in Belgian Pils. I made a Helles with 100% Weyermann Floor Malted Bo Pils and I thought it had a pleasant but assertive graininess (not astringent tannins, but also not soft bread). Can anyone comment about, say, 50% Heidelberg + 50% Weyermann Pale Ale and similarities to fresh commercial examples?

And, to the OP: you mentioned trying Weyermann, Best, and Avangard. But Weyermann makes 3 Pils malts (Pils, Bo Pils, Floor Malted Bo Pils). Which did you try?

And, Re: yeast, the OP said that WLP835 (the Andechser strain) provided the same floral note that the Andechser beer had, but are there important differences between the other strains mentioned? I've seen many posts saying that WLP833 is perfect for malty lagers, while German homebrewers seem to prefer WY2206 for Helles. WLP838 has it's share of proponents too. I'm guessing WLP830 (W34/70) is too attenuative for the 3 beers favored by the OP (Andechser, Augustiner, Weihenstephaner), but might be perfect for drier examples. And what about WLP860? WY2352?

Plus, there's the issue about new vs repitch: Mark V aka S. cerevisiae has said that his beers are best on the 3rd, 4th, 5th generations. German brewers obviously repitch, so maybe that's an important consideration?

Sorry for the long post & barrage of questions. I'm glad to see this thread hasn't died. I had a bottle of Mahr's Hell a long time ago that still brings a tear to my eye...

Here's a few of my experiences and thoughts:

I've only used the regular Weyermann pils. Because so many of the lagers have "it" regardless of whether they're a pils or a helles or a marzen and nearly regardless of what brewery they're from, I don't think that there is one and only one base malt that is responsible for the flavor. Weyermann is far too expensive for most German breweries to use exclusively. I think that nowadays they are using stuff more like Avangard.

There are a few caveats with respect to base malt, though. In Der Bierbrauerei volume 2, Narziss does state that many helles are NOT brewed with regular pilsner malt. They are brewed with a malt that is about 0.5 L darker than regular pilsner malt. He says one way to get this malt is to buy "rejected" pilsner malt from several different maltsters what was weeded out for being too dark to produce pils, but is acceptable (and perhaps even preferred) for helles. This advice seems to be targeted more towards smaller breweries which cannot afford to custom order malts from maltsters. A large brewery, or one who malts their own barley, could get this kind of malt very easily. You may be able to simulate this by blending some floor malt, vienna malt, or pale ale malt with regular pils and I think that's exactly what some people have tried. I believe it can bring some interesting flavors to the table, but I don't think it's the sole source of "it" because the brightest pilsners still have "it".

Personally I do not think that yeast choice matters nearly as much as knowing how to work with your chosen strain and get it to produce beer you like. My understanding of the sources of the German strains are:

WY2124 = WLP830 = W34/70 = Weihenstephan 34/70. Used by the vast, vast majority of German breweries.
WY2206 = WLP820 = Weihenstephan 206
WY2308 = WLP838 = Weihenstephan 308
WLP833 = Ayinger
WLP835 = Andechs
WY2352 = WLP860 = Augustiner

They all have their quirks and preferences. Some ferment very nicely down into the 40s, (830) some will stall at 48 and are better at 54. (820, 860). Some produce more sulfur which needs a long time to lager out, but make an excellent final product (838). I also have a feeling that you can manipulate the character that each yeast expresses by changing the relative balance of sugars in your wort composition, so the kind of malt and mash you employ may even change the results you get from a particular yeast.

I agree with Germanbrew that a lot of helles like Weihenstephan Original do not travel well. I'm lucky to be able to buy extremely fresh bottles as well as get it on tap at multiple places where I live. Pilsner Urquell in the new 0.5 L cans is incredible. The old bottles really sucked. Supposedly they are getting really serious about low oxygen packaging, no light exposure, and refrigerated shipping containers for their exports to the US and it really does make a huge difference.

"Weyermann is far too expensive for most German breweries to use exclusively." - yes, keep in mind that Weyermann (as is Best) are tiny malt producers in the grand malt market.  I've seen Weyermann bags stacked at Bayerischer Bahnhof, they were up a flight of stairs so I didn't see what malt, but I'd guess specialty malts.  Weyermann's focus is specialty malts, not pilsner malt production.  And for local breweries, they custom mix and custom roast malts to order.  Delivered pre-blended, in bags, totes (big bags on pallets), or trucks that have separate compartments for each grain.  We have to blend and work with what we've got, but like Techbrau says, most breweries are not buying the same plain old bags of Weyermann Pilsner malt we are.

We agree that 838 is a fantastic yeast.  haha!  Yes.  I am also liking 2042.  But I can't wait to get back to using 838 again.  After my tour of the various strains, I miss 838.  I also want to try 820 sometime.

I agree, too, that even the lightest pilsners have 'it'.  Even aged and shipped to the US, it's still there, even if in minute amounts.  Night and day difference between my beers and from the source.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: indevrede on November 12, 2015, 04:49:03 PM
Can we shift back towards discussing ingredients? Early in the thread there was a well-received suggestion about adding Kolsch / Cologne malt, and another about using German "Pale Ale" malt. I've also found references to the super-light (1.2L) "Best Heidelberg" malt in other threads. And Bryan (Rabeb25) has previously sworn that Chit Malt (NOT flaked barley) was crucial.  I've also seen suggestions of blending in Belgian Pils. I made a Helles with 100% Weyermann Floor Malted Bo Pils and I thought it had a pleasant but assertive graininess (not astringent tannins, but also not soft bread). Can anyone comment about, say, 50% Heidelberg + 50% Weyermann Pale Ale and similarities to fresh commercial examples?

And, to the OP: you mentioned trying Weyermann, Best, and Avangard. But Weyermann makes 3 Pils malts (Pils, Bo Pils, Floor Malted Bo Pils). Which did you try?

And, Re: yeast, the OP said that WLP835 (the Andechser strain) provided the same floral note that the Andechser beer had, but are there important differences between the other strains mentioned? I've seen many posts saying that WLP833 is perfect for malty lagers, while German homebrewers seem to prefer WY2206 for Helles. WLP838 has it's share of proponents too. I'm guessing WLP830 (W34/70) is too attenuative for the 3 beers favored by the OP (Andechser, Augustiner, Weihenstephaner), but might be perfect for drier examples. And what about WLP860? WY2352?

Plus, there's the issue about new vs repitch: Mark V aka S. cerevisiae has said that his beers are best on the 3rd, 4th, 5th generations. German brewers obviously repitch, so maybe that's an important consideration?

Sorry for the long post & barrage of questions. I'm glad to see this thread hasn't died. I had a bottle of Mahr's Hell a long time ago that still brings a tear to my eye...

Here's a few of my experiences and thoughts:

I've only used the regular Weyermann pils. Because so many of the lagers have "it" regardless of whether they're a pils or a helles or a marzen and nearly regardless of what brewery they're from, I don't think that there is one and only one base malt that is responsible for the flavor. Weyermann is far too expensive for most German breweries to use exclusively. I think that nowadays they are using stuff more like Avangard.

There are a few caveats with respect to base malt, though. In Der Bierbrauerei volume 2, Narziss does state that many helles are NOT brewed with regular pilsner malt. They are brewed with a malt that is about 0.5 L darker than regular pilsner malt. He says one way to get this malt is to buy "rejected" pilsner malt from several different maltsters what was weeded out for being too dark to produce pils, but is acceptable (and perhaps even preferred) for helles. This advice seems to be targeted more towards smaller breweries which cannot afford to custom order malts from maltsters. A large brewery, or one who malts their own barley, could get this kind of malt very easily. You may be able to simulate this by blending some floor malt, vienna malt, or pale ale malt with regular pils and I think that's exactly what some people have tried. I believe it can bring some interesting flavors to the table, but I don't think it's the sole source of "it" because the brightest pilsners still have "it". Narziss also emphasizes that not all helles are brewed this way, only the ones which are intended to be a bit deeper in color and richer in flavor. There are plenty of very bright, highly attenuated helles that are probably 98% pilsner malt and 2% carahell.

Personally I do not think that yeast choice matters nearly as much as knowing how to work with your chosen strain and get it to produce beer you like. My understanding of the sources of the German strains are:

WY2124 = WLP830 = W34/70 = Weihenstephan 34/70. Used by the vast, vast majority of German breweries.
WY2206 = WLP820 = Weihenstephan 206
WY2308 = WLP838 = Weihenstephan 308
WLP833 = Ayinger
WLP835 = Andechs
WY2352 = WLP860 = Augustiner

They all have their quirks and preferences. Some ferment very nicely down into the 40s (830), some will stall at 48 and are better at 52 to 54 (820, 860). Some produce more sulfur which needs a long time to lager out, but make an excellent final product (838). I also have a feeling that you can manipulate the character that each yeast expresses by changing the relative balance of sugars in your wort composition, so the kind of malt and mash you employ may even change the results you get from a particular yeast.

I agree with Germanbrew that a lot of helles like Weihenstephan Original do not travel well. I'm lucky to be able to buy extremely fresh bottles as well as get it on tap at multiple places where I live. Pilsner Urquell in the new 0.5 L cans is incredible. The old bottles really sucked. Supposedly they are getting really serious about low oxygen packaging, no light exposure, and refrigerated shipping containers for their exports to the US and it really does make a huge difference.

techbrau, thanks for the detailed response. I'm a bit confused, though. In the original post you wrote "100% pils: Tastes pretty spot on for Hofbrau, Paulaner, etc. but lacking in intensity compared to Augustiner.". There was no discussion about the elusive "it" that fresh German/Czech lagers have. Did the 100% pils versions that you brewed have "it"?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 04:50:22 PM
Can we shift back towards discussing ingredients? Early in the thread there was a well-received suggestion about adding Kolsch / Cologne malt, and another about using German "Pale Ale" malt. I've also found references to the super-light (1.2L) "Best Heidelberg" malt in other threads. And Bryan (Rabeb25) has previously sworn that Chit Malt (NOT flaked barley) was crucial.  I've also seen suggestions of blending in Belgian Pils. I made a Helles with 100% Weyermann Floor Malted Bo Pils and I thought it had a pleasant but assertive graininess (not astringent tannins, but also not soft bread). Can anyone comment about, say, 50% Heidelberg + 50% Weyermann Pale Ale and similarities to fresh commercial examples?

And, to the OP: you mentioned trying Weyermann, Best, and Avangard. But Weyermann makes 3 Pils malts (Pils, Bo Pils, Floor Malted Bo Pils). Which did you try?

And, Re: yeast, the OP said that WLP835 (the Andechser strain) provided the same floral note that the Andechser beer had, but are there important differences between the other strains mentioned? I've seen many posts saying that WLP833 is perfect for malty lagers, while German homebrewers seem to prefer WY2206 for Helles. WLP838 has it's share of proponents too. I'm guessing WLP830 (W34/70) is too attenuative for the 3 beers favored by the OP (Andechser, Augustiner, Weihenstephaner), but might be perfect for drier examples. And what about WLP860? WY2352?

Plus, there's the issue about new vs repitch: Mark V aka S. cerevisiae has said that his beers are best on the 3rd, 4th, 5th generations. German brewers obviously repitch, so maybe that's an important consideration?

Sorry for the long post & barrage of questions. I'm glad to see this thread hasn't died. I had a bottle of Mahr's Hell a long time ago that still brings a tear to my eye...

Here's a few of my experiences and thoughts:

I've only used the regular Weyermann pils. Because so many of the lagers have "it" regardless of whether they're a pils or a helles or a marzen and nearly regardless of what brewery they're from, I don't think that there is one and only one base malt that is responsible for the flavor. Weyermann is far too expensive for most German breweries to use exclusively. I think that nowadays they are using stuff more like Avangard.

There are a few caveats with respect to base malt, though. In Der Bierbrauerei volume 2, Narziss does state that many helles are NOT brewed with regular pilsner malt. They are brewed with a malt that is about 0.5 L darker than regular pilsner malt. He says one way to get this malt is to buy "rejected" pilsner malt from several different maltsters what was weeded out for being too dark to produce pils, but is acceptable (and perhaps even preferred) for helles. This advice seems to be targeted more towards smaller breweries which cannot afford to custom order malts from maltsters. A large brewery, or one who malts their own barley, could get this kind of malt very easily. You may be able to simulate this by blending some floor malt, vienna malt, or pale ale malt with regular pils and I think that's exactly what some people have tried. I believe it can bring some interesting flavors to the table, but I don't think it's the sole source of "it" because the brightest pilsners still have "it". Narziss also emphasizes that not all helles are brewed this way, only the ones which are intended to be a bit deeper in color and richer in flavor. There are plenty of very bright, highly attenuated helles that are probably 98% pilsner malt and 2% carahell.

Personally I do not think that yeast choice matters nearly as much as knowing how to work with your chosen strain and get it to produce beer you like. My understanding of the sources of the German strains are:

WY2124 = WLP830 = W34/70 = Weihenstephan 34/70. Used by the vast, vast majority of German breweries.
WY2206 = WLP820 = Weihenstephan 206
WY2308 = WLP838 = Weihenstephan 308
WLP833 = Ayinger
WLP835 = Andechs
WY2352 = WLP860 = Augustiner

They all have their quirks and preferences. Some ferment very nicely down into the 40s (830), some will stall at 48 and are better at 52 to 54 (820, 860). Some produce more sulfur which needs a long time to lager out, but make an excellent final product (838). I also have a feeling that you can manipulate the character that each yeast expresses by changing the relative balance of sugars in your wort composition, so the kind of malt and mash you employ may even change the results you get from a particular yeast.

I agree with Germanbrew that a lot of helles like Weihenstephan Original do not travel well. I'm lucky to be able to buy extremely fresh bottles as well as get it on tap at multiple places where I live. Pilsner Urquell in the new 0.5 L cans is incredible. The old bottles really sucked. Supposedly they are getting really serious about low oxygen packaging, no light exposure, and refrigerated shipping containers for their exports to the US and it really does make a huge difference.

techbrau, thanks for the detailed response. I'm a bit confused, though. In the original post you wrote "100% pils: Tastes pretty spot on for Hofbrau, Paulaner, etc. but lacking in intensity compared to Augustiner.". There was no discussion about the elusive "it" that fresh German/Czech lagers have. Did the 100% pils versions that you brewed have "it"?

I'm going to take the liberty to respond on behalf of everyone on this quest - that while we can brew very nice beers, none of them have 'it'.


100% Best Pils malt, with WLP830 and 30-35 IBU gets you something like Bitburger, but no IT.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: RPIScotty on November 12, 2015, 06:40:06 PM
I think part of my German beer aversion is the lack of solid examples I have tasted. Besides 2 outliers (a bottle of Weihenstephaner Original fresh from Germany and a nice Ayinger Ur-Weisse) I haven't had a decent exposure.

I do of course love the darker German brews and have had much better examples of the various Dunkels, Bocks and Doppelbocks.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 12, 2015, 06:56:26 PM
I think part of my German beer aversion is the lack of solid examples I have tasted. Besides 2 outliers (a bottle of Weihenstephaner Original fresh from Germany and a nice Ayinger Ur-Weisse) I haven't had a decent exposure.

I do of course love the darker German brews and have had much better examples of the various Dunkels, Bocks and Doppelbocks.

Hey dude...I can understand that.  What do you mostly like to brew and drink?  These light German lagers are super clean, light colored, but not necessarily light flavored.  Typically very rich malt and hop flavor.  Quite decadent and delicious, but often in a more subtle way.  Some are lawnmower beer for the German masses, made with hop extract and considered pretty much along the lines of Bud here.  But they are still much more flavorful and quite well brewed. 

Hmmmm...how to get you some exposure?  I know this sounds cliche, but it wasn't until I visited Germany in 2007 (honeymoon, my wife is German) that it really hit me.  And while there I was drinking stuff like Hasseroder, Radeberger, Freiberger, East German Pilsners that are very hoppy, kind of rough, but still nicely made.  But not the Ayinger, Augustiner and world known beers of Bavaria.  But those East German pilsners have a kind of salty/mineral flavor to them, that compliments the malt.  I dunno, the bug kinda caught.  After a long hiatus (first brewed in 2001), I started home brewing again in 2009 and slowly evolved towards wanting to brew German lagers (several more trips to Germany didn't hurt with that).  Now I'm on a quest to get as nice a beer as I can.

Like any kinds of food or drink, I think there's an event that triggers an eye opening epiphany where we start to really like something.  Like the first time a kid finds they like something they always thought they hated.  Just a matter of creating that right situation.  It's quite possible you'd try something like Jever and be totally grossed out by it and think "WTF are they so uppidy about about this over hopped bitter piss?"  but in the right setting, it's delicious.  Probably same as Belgian beers, I can't wait to visit Belgium and get an appreciation first hand of Belgian breweries.  That said...without proper experience in them, every time I have one I think they are nasty.  I'm positive they are some of the best beers in the world.

Prost!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: RPIScotty on November 12, 2015, 07:12:02 PM
I think part of my German beer aversion is the lack of solid examples I have tasted. Besides 2 outliers (a bottle of Weihenstephaner Original fresh from Germany and a nice Ayinger Ur-Weisse) I haven't had a decent exposure.

I do of course love the darker German brews and have had much better examples of the various Dunkels, Bocks and Doppelbocks.

Hey dude...I can understand that.  What do you mostly like to brew and drink?  These light German lagers are super clean, light colored, but not necessarily light flavored.  Typically very rich malt and hop flavor.  Quite decadent and delicious, but often in a more subtle way.  Some are lawnmower beer for the German masses, made with hop extract and considered pretty much along the lines of Bud here.  But they are still much more flavorful and quite well brewed. 

Hmmmm...how to get you some exposure?  I know this sounds cliche, but it wasn't until I visited Germany in 2007 (honeymoon, my wife is German) that it really hit me.  And while there I was drinking stuff like Hasseroder, Radeberger, Freiberger, East German Pilsners that are very hoppy, kind of rough, but still nicely made.  But not the Ayinger, Augustiner and world known beers of Bavaria.  But those East German pilsners have a kind of salty/mineral flavor to them, that compliments the malt.  I dunno, the bug kinda caught.  After a long hiatus (first brewed in 2001), I started home brewing again in 2009 and slowly evolved towards wanting to brew German lagers (several more trips to Germany didn't hurt with that).  Now I'm on a quest to get as nice a beer as I can.

Like any kinds of food or drink, I think there's an event that triggers an eye opening epiphany where we start to really like something.  Like the first time a kid finds they like something they always thought they hated.  Just a matter of creating that right situation.  It's quite possible you'd try something like Jever and be totally grossed out by it and think "WTF are they so uppidy about about this over hopped bitter piss?"  but in the right setting, it's delicious.  Probably same as Belgian beers, I can't wait to visit Belgium and get an appreciation first hand of Belgian breweries.  That said...without proper experience in them, every time I have one I think they are nasty.  I'm positive they are some of the best beers in the world.

Prost!

Ah, Monk beers. They are my favorite.

I'll keep an eye out for some fresh German examples so, at the very least, I can follow along with your discussions.
Title: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 09:52:11 PM
Little bit of my IT. Thick creamy head, persists all the way to the last sip. Aroma of malt and noble hops. Rich malt taste balanced with noble hops, that finishes very dry and crisp.
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/daa1a9d5bfe9c426c68b524922e21c48.jpg)
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/21372f41a03556cea15dd95274433d2d.jpg)
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/4a4af4529204c94e6e6255da999c37db.jpg)


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 12, 2015, 09:57:26 PM
Is this homebrewtalk forum?
Title: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 12, 2015, 10:08:06 PM
Is this homebrewtalk forum?
I would answer but have no idea what that means.


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 12, 2015, 11:02:37 PM
Little bit of my IT. Thick creamy head, persists all the way to the last sip. Aroma of malt and noble hops. Rich malt taste balanced with noble hops, that finishes very dry and crisp.
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/daa1a9d5bfe9c426c68b524922e21c48.jpg)
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/21372f41a03556cea15dd95274433d2d.jpg)
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/4a4af4529204c94e6e6255da999c37db.jpg)


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Awesome looking beer. Is that your pils ?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 12, 2015, 11:17:26 PM
As near as I can tell from this thread, "IT" would not fit as an element of describing beer in Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, or Mouthfeel. "IT" might go under Overall Impression as an intangible. But it sounds to me that to describe "IT" you need a new category called Mindfeel. "Tastes like drinking beer in Munich" is an example description that, to me, pretty much sums up that this indescribable "IT" you guys are talking about only exists in the minds of a handfull of people who love going to Germany, and talking about that they have been to Germany. I can just about guarantee that I will never know what "IT" is because I will never find myself drinking beer in Germany. So there is zero reason for me to care whether or not my beer has "IT" in it, because I wouldn't know "IT" if "IT" was there.

But, for those who have been to Munich, and who want to recreate that mindfeel, cool. What better way to get your beer-geek on?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: charles1968 on November 12, 2015, 11:44:41 PM
I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 12, 2015, 11:58:53 PM
I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.

I think there's some truth there. Forget about German beers for a minute - we've all tried to clone a favorite beer of some sort. Has anybody here actually nailed a perfect clone, indistinguishable from the target ?  I've been close on a few, but no dead ringers. I guess none of my clones has IT.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: narcout on November 13, 2015, 12:04:41 AM
100% Best Pils malt, with WLP830 and 30-35 IBU gets you something like Bitburger, but no IT.

This is actually what I have fermenting right now (well 34/70 instead of White Labs).  I'll have to try to find some Bitburger for a side by side when it's ready.

I think I got lucky: cilantro tastes delicious, I can smell asparagus urine, I cannot easily taste diacetyl, I believe I can taste IT.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: charles1968 on November 13, 2015, 12:09:48 AM
I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.

See my post directly above. I am pretty certain that at the very least rabeb, germanbrew, and I have done side-by-sides at home and can pick out "it" blindly simply by the aroma alone.

That tells me you're trying to replicate particular beers, which I think is very difficult and usually leads to disappointment.

However, if "it" is something you can definitely smell, you can rule out all the things that only the mouth can detect: acidity, temperature, carbonation, sweetness/dryness, body, bitterness, minerality, maillard reaction compounds (at least the ones responsible for the "umami" taste). That leaves only aromatic qualities - likely from the yeast or the way malt is kilned, since hop aroma isn't difficult to get right.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: charles1968 on November 13, 2015, 12:12:24 AM
Oh and I can taste cilantro, but we call it coriander in England (same name as the seeds).
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 12:26:11 AM

As near as I can tell from this thread, "IT" would not fit as an element of describing beer in Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, or Mouthfeel. "IT" might go under Overall Impression as an intangible. But it sounds to me that to describe "IT" you need a new category called Mindfeel. "Tastes like drinking beer in Munich" is an example description that, to me, pretty much sums up that this indescribable "IT" you guys are talking about only exists in the minds of a handfull of people who love going to Germany, and talking about that they have been to Germany. I can just about guarantee that I will never know what "IT" is because I will never find myself drinking beer in Germany. So there is zero reason for me to care whether or not my beer has "IT" in it, because I wouldn't know "IT" if "IT" was there.

But, for those who have been to Munich, and who want to recreate that mindfeel, cool. What better way to get your beer-geek on?

For the record- I don't think you have to go to Germany or anywhere other than the where you live. You know a good beer when you have it- no matter where your feet are planted!


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 12:28:54 AM
The trouble is that if a thing can not be described, there is no way of knowing what we're talking about, so how do you know if people can or can not detect it? At some point the discussion turns into a type of a mystic séance.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 12:29:20 AM

I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.

I think there's some truth there. Forget about German beers for a minute - we've all tried to clone a favorite beer of some sort. Has anybody here actually nailed a perfect clone, indistinguishable from the target ?  I've been close on a few, but no dead ringers. I guess none of my clones has IT.
Nope- no dead ringers here. I've been using the coined phrase IT somewhat tongue and cheek . To me IT just means those things you really like about a certain beer, that you strive or want to produce for yourself.


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 12:32:57 AM

The trouble is that if a thing can not be described, there is no way of knowing what we're talking about, so how do you know if people can or can not detect it? At some point the discussion turns into a type of a mystic séance.

I don't thinks it's as mystical as its being made out to be. Good process, yeast, hops and malt for whatever style your chasing to replicate.... That's my philosophy. As Jon said- most of us will never get that dead ringer- but close enough that you are proud and happy with results....that's the ticket for me.


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 12:33:38 AM

As near as I can tell from this thread, "IT" would not fit as an element of describing beer in Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, or Mouthfeel. "IT" might go under Overall Impression as an intangible. But it sounds to me that to describe "IT" you need a new category called Mindfeel. "Tastes like drinking beer in Munich" is an example description that, to me, pretty much sums up that this indescribable "IT" you guys are talking about only exists in the minds of a handfull of people who love going to Germany, and talking about that they have been to Germany. I can just about guarantee that I will never know what "IT" is because I will never find myself drinking beer in Germany. So there is zero reason for me to care whether or not my beer has "IT" in it, because I wouldn't know "IT" if "IT" was there.

But, for those who have been to Munich, and who want to recreate that mindfeel, cool. What better way to get your beer-geek on?

For the record- I don't think you have to go to Germany or anywhere other than the where you live. You know a good beer when you have it- no matter where your feet are planted!


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Agreed. But to be able to say that a beer tastes like drinking a beer in Munich...
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 12:35:03 AM

As near as I can tell from this thread, "IT" would not fit as an element of describing beer in Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, or Mouthfeel. "IT" might go under Overall Impression as an intangible. But it sounds to me that to describe "IT" you need a new category called Mindfeel. "Tastes like drinking beer in Munich" is an example description that, to me, pretty much sums up that this indescribable "IT" you guys are talking about only exists in the minds of a handfull of people who love going to Germany, and talking about that they have been to Germany. I can just about guarantee that I will never know what "IT" is because I will never find myself drinking beer in Germany. So there is zero reason for me to care whether or not my beer has "IT" in it, because I wouldn't know "IT" if "IT" was there.

But, for those who have been to Munich, and who want to recreate that mindfeel, cool. What better way to get your beer-geek on?

For the record- I don't think you have to go to Germany or anywhere other than the where you live. You know a good beer when you have it- no matter where your feet are planted!


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Agreed. But to be able to say that a beer tastes like drinking a beer in Munich...

is a lot like saying star wars was awesome in the theater.....true, but very enjoyable on my high def TV also!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 12:37:06 AM
Little bit of my IT. Thick creamy head, persists all the way to the last sip. Aroma of malt and noble hops. Rich malt taste balanced with noble hops, that finishes very dry and crisp.
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/daa1a9d5bfe9c426c68b524922e21c48.jpg)
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/21372f41a03556cea15dd95274433d2d.jpg)
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/4a4af4529204c94e6e6255da999c37db.jpg)


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Awesome looking beer. Is that your pils ?

yes..the batch after the one i sent you that really turned out as the best i've ever made.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 13, 2015, 12:39:32 AM
Nope- no dead ringers here. I've been using the coined phrase IT somewhat tongue and cheek . To me IT just means those things you really like about a certain beer, that you strive or want to produce for yourself.\]


Yeah, I meant the 'guess mine didn't have IT' tongue in cheek, too.  ;)   I agree with you - we know a good beer when we smell and taste it. We all have high standards for our beers - when I really nail what I'm after, that's IT to me. Hard to do, though. BTW, that pils must be damn good - the ones of yours I've tried were killer.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 12:45:17 AM
I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.

See my post directly above. I am pretty certain that at the very least rabeb, germanbrew, and I have done side-by-sides at home and can pick out "it" blindly simply by the aroma alone.

Yes, I always keep German lagers of the same style of mine that I'm drinking, to compare.  "It" is not in the slightest way related to actually being in Germany.  But I think it's more than mindful.  I first detected the flavor in beers I drank in Germany (where I became aware of it, which was really as much about me learning about beer as being in Germany), but imported beers that I drink in the US have it, too. 

I agree, too, that "it" is likely comprised of a combination of factors, not just some additive added (though wouldn't that be funny if it was.  "it" in a bottle). 

Hmmm, yeah, we're kind of at an impass, but it's very fascinating to see a wide range of responses from folks who clearly can identify with each other, and others who have no idea.  It would be fun to get in a room and sample beers together.  I wonder if the 'it'-knowers could better articulate it via everyone sampling. 

I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.  It's really no different than describing a nice barrel aged Chardonnay.  In that case a little oaky, some vanilla, that 'tank' aged character, alcohol.  This is no different, just distinct in German beers. 

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 12:48:11 AM
Nope- no dead ringers here. I've been using the coined phrase IT somewhat tongue and cheek . To me IT just means those things you really like about a certain beer, that you strive or want to produce for yourself.\]


Yeah, I meant the 'guess mine didn't have IT' tongue in cheek, too.  ;)   I agree with you - we know a good beer when we smell and taste it. We all have high standards for our beers - when I really nail what I'm after, that's IT to me. Hard to do, though. BTW, that pils must be damn good - the ones of yours I've tried were killer.

that's the beauty in this craft -right?  I've drank enough beers around this world to know what i like and what i don't like. since becoming a brewer, i now have the potential ability to recreate something similar to my favorites. but if a guy hands me a one of his beers and says"this is the best damn thing I've ever made and its exactly what I want it to be"- I'd never try to convince him otherwise. that's his right, his feelings about it, so good for ya and carry on-even if I don't agree or might change something if i brewed it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 12:50:43 AM
I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.

See my post directly above. I am pretty certain that at the very least rabeb, germanbrew, and I have done side-by-sides at home and can pick out "it" blindly simply by the aroma alone.

Yes, I always keep German lagers of the same style of mine that I'm drinking, to compare.  "It" is not in the slightest way related to actually being in Germany.  But I think it's more than mindful.  I first detected the flavor in beers I drank in Germany (where I became aware of it, which was really as much about me learning about beer as being in Germany), but imported beers that I drink in the US have it, too. 

I agree, too, that "it" is likely comprised of a combination of factors, not just some additive added (though wouldn't that be funny if it was.  "it" in a bottle). 

Hmmm, yeah, we're kind of at an impass, but it's very fascinating to see a wide range of responses from folks who clearly can identify with each other, and others who have no idea.  It would be fun to get in a room and sample beers together.  I wonder if the 'it'-knowers could better articulate it via everyone sampling. 

I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.  It's really no different than describing a nice barrel aged Chardonnay.  In that case a little oaky, some vanilla, that 'tank' aged character, alcohol.  This is no different, just distinct in German beers.

please don't take my use of the work mystical as negative or intended to offed or demean. I just simply mean there is a very clear and definite understanding of what you[and others] want, like, and hope to achieve...and that's ok- I get that.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 13, 2015, 12:51:46 AM
Nope- no dead ringers here. I've been using the coined phrase IT somewhat tongue and cheek . To me IT just means those things you really like about a certain beer, that you strive or want to produce for yourself.\]


Yeah, I meant the 'guess mine didn't have IT' tongue in cheek, too.  ;)   I agree with you - we know a good beer when we smell and taste it. We all have high standards for our beers - when I really nail what I'm after, that's IT to me. Hard to do, though. BTW, that pils must be damn good - the ones of yours I've tried were killer.

that's the beauty in this craft -right?  I've drank enough beers around this world to know what i like and what i don't like. since becoming a brewer, i now have the potential ability to recreate something similar to my favorites. but if a guy hands me a one of his beers and says"this is the best damn thing I've ever made and its exactly what I want it to be"- I'd never try to convince him otherwise. that's his right, his feelings about it, so good for ya and carry on-even if I don't agree or might change something if i brewed it.

Exactly.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 12:55:35 AM
I wonder if IT is in the gap between expectation and reality. It's really tough to clone a beer or nail a particular style when you've formed strong expectations about how it's going to taste. The first glass is inevitably going to taste wrong.

See my post directly above. I am pretty certain that at the very least rabeb, germanbrew, and I have done side-by-sides at home and can pick out "it" blindly simply by the aroma alone.

Yes, I always keep German lagers of the same style of mine that I'm drinking, to compare.  "It" is not in the slightest way related to actually being in Germany.  But I think it's more than mindful.  I first detected the flavor in beers I drank in Germany (where I became aware of it, which was really as much about me learning about beer as being in Germany), but imported beers that I drink in the US have it, too. 

I agree, too, that "it" is likely comprised of a combination of factors, not just some additive added (though wouldn't that be funny if it was.  "it" in a bottle). 

Hmmm, yeah, we're kind of at an impass, but it's very fascinating to see a wide range of responses from folks who clearly can identify with each other, and others who have no idea.  It would be fun to get in a room and sample beers together.  I wonder if the 'it'-knowers could better articulate it via everyone sampling. 

I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.  It's really no different than describing a nice barrel aged Chardonnay.  In that case a little oaky, some vanilla, that 'tank' aged character, alcohol.  This is no different, just distinct in German beers.

please don't take my use of the work mystical as negative or intended to offed or demean. I just simply mean there is a very clear and definite understanding of what you[and others] want, like, and hope to achieve...and that's ok- I get that.

Yep, agreed.  I get wound up myself thinking it's 'mystical' sometimes, because it seems to be so hard to reproduce. 

It's funny, I'm a decent brewer and can nail a lot of styles and recipes pretty well.  Even some German styles, but Helles and Pilsners have been particularly elusive to really get right.  I can brew nice ones, but...for practical explanations...comparing with commercial versions mind land short.  But anyhow, thanks guys for your understanding and emotional support for us OCD German beer brewers. :)

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: RPIScotty on November 13, 2015, 01:00:07 AM
It's hard to say something constructive here without sounding like your taking a jab or poking fun but I'll try.

Take North American Trappist/Belgian Abbey style beers prior to the Candi Syrup revolution. There was an approach that used large, complex grain bills to replicate beers that often contained 2 malts and some syrup. It was the case of inadvertently making something more difficult than it had to be. Now you can consistently taste beers that give the originals a run for their money at the very least and best them given the best examples. I'm not saying this directed at the German beer crowd at all, but it is a case where vast improvements and results were obtained by dramatically simplifying the ingredients and process to a certain degree.

Striving for perfection in anything is difficult when your approaching your goal asymptotically. Great expenditures in effort offer only small bits of improvement. Without insulting anyone's efforts or goals, could it be that your making certain aspects of the process too difficult? Are you overlooking something simple?

Again, grain of salt here, as I am not a lager guy as of yet.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:00:52 AM
I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.

Yes, that's "it". It is a very distinct perfume of "freshness" - fresh grain, fresh flowers.

And this is one of my concerns.  That it's all about super fresh ingredients somehow that we can't get.  Because a good example, even if in bottle for more than 6 months, tastes like the barley and hops were growing in the field the day before, then suddenly became beer...oh, and throw in some sulfur and process notes. 

Oh, I know, here's another descriptor.  It's true about German bread and sausage, too.   It's very 'honest' tasting, as in you can taste every ingredient and step of the process distinctly, but it's overall presentation as a whole is very harmonious.  That said when describing German Pils malt, Noble hops, lager yeast and lager fermentation.  But the distinctness of the ingredients of these beers are flavors that I like.  The way they are individually identifiable in the beer, but part of a whole, is really nice.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 13, 2015, 01:02:11 AM
Jim, we probably sound crazy. Bryan has never been to Germany, but he knows what "it" is.

To 14% percent of the population, cilantro tastes like soap. Fortunately, I'm not one of them.

Between 22% and 50% of the population have a gene which causes them to be able to smell "asparagus urine". I am one of those people, and it's the weirdest smell ever. It's not like anything else, and it's really difficult to explain to people who can't pick up on it.

While most people can taste diacetyl in extremely large amounts, only an estimated 25% of the population can taste it in the amounts that it typically occurs in beer as a fault. The same goes for DMS.

I could go on and on with phenols, acetaldehyde, and a host of other chemical compounds. The fact is that there are a number of us who seem to be able to pick up on a certain character that exists in a lot of German lagers. As I previously stated, I have non-brewer relatives who know little about beer but can still pick up on the flavor enough to know when a beer doesn't have it. I didn't describe "it" to them - I just realized that any beer without "it" does not taste "right" to them.
i have been informed that not everyone has the genes that make aspartic acid, and not everyone has the genes that let you detect it. I am blessed double in that department.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 01:04:30 AM
I really don't mean this to be some mystical thing...good German beer reminds me of fresh grain, a fresh wildflower meadow, a touch of sulfur, aging in a tank, kinda mixed together.

Yes, that's "it". It is a very distinct perfume of "freshness" - fresh grain, fresh flowers.

And this is one of my concerns.  That it's all about super fresh ingredients somehow that we can't get.  Because a good example, even if in bottle for more than 6 months, tastes like the barley and hops were growing in the field the day before, then suddenly became beer...oh, and throw in some sulfur and process notes. 

Oh, I know, here's another descriptor.  It's true about German bread and sausage, too.   It's very 'honest' tasting, as in you can taste every ingredient and step of the process distinctly, but it's overall presentation as a whole is very harmonious.  That said when describing German Pils malt, Noble hops, lager yeast and lager fermentation.  But the distinctness of the ingredients of these beers are flavors that I like.  The way they are individually identifiable in the beer, but part of a whole, is really nice.

likely more true and accurate then we realize.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Joe Sr. on November 13, 2015, 01:06:31 AM
The trouble is that if a thing can not be described, there is no way of knowing what we're talking about, so how do you know if people can or can not detect it? At some point the discussion turns into a type of a mystic séance.

At times, this thread reminds me of Ed Meese and porn.  I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it!

However, unless these guys are having us on - and I don't think they are - they're chasing something ethereal with the hopes of catching it.

Good luck to them.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 13, 2015, 01:08:16 AM
Simple answer. Go grab a 4 pack of Urqell in cans, and tell us what YOU taste.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:08:34 AM
It's hard to say something constructive here without sounding like your taking a jab or poking fun but I'll try.

Take North American Trappist/Belgian Abbey style beers prior to the Candi Syrup revolution. There was an approach that used large, complex grain bills to replicate beers that often contained 2 malts and some syrup. It was the case of inadvertently making something more difficult than it had to be. Now you can consistently taste beers that give the originals a run for their money at the very least and best them given the best examples. I'm not saying this directed at the German beer crowd at all, but it is a case where vast improvements and results were obtained by dramatically simplifying the ingredients and process to a certain degree.

Striving for perfection in anything is difficult when your approaching your goal asymptotically. Great expenditures in effort offer only small bits of improvement. Without insulting anyone's efforts or goals, could it be that your making certain aspects of the process too difficult? Are you overlooking something simple?

Again, grain of salt here, as I am not a lager guy as of yet.

Absolutely valid point, very much so.  And, the simpler I can make this process, the better, as far as I'm concerned (one reason I don't do decoctions - I don't think it's the answer, and I really don't want them to be a dependency).   I started off simple and have been additively increasing complexity in the things I try.  If something doesn't make a difference, I tweak other aspects, to see what they do, step back, and go back to basics.  Sometime, I think some not obvious relationship can be found where two things may interplay with each other...thus the complexity sets in.  So then I'll go back and brew something simple and see how that does. 

But totally, we're always thinking we're missing something simple.  And to the point that maybe it's something German breweries do that they don't even realize or think about.  Something so obvious, we're missing the forest for the trees.

Derek, I think we'll get you sucked in. :)  As Ron Smith, who does the Germany and Belgium tours (each country every other year) always tells me when I scoff at Belgian beer...Belgian and German beers are more in common in many ways than different.  I really need to get to Belgium.  I'd guess they most/all have 'it' as well, just taken in a different direction.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 01:08:52 AM
It's hard to say something constructive here without sounding like your taking a jab or poking fun but I'll try.

Take North American Trappist/Belgian Abbey style beers prior to the Candi Syrup revolution. There was an approach that used large, complex grain bills to replicate beers that often contained 2 malts and some syrup. It was the case of inadvertently making something more difficult than it had to be. Now you can consistently taste beers that give the originals a run for their money at the very least and best them given the best examples. I'm not saying this directed at the German beer crowd at all, but it is a case where vast improvements and results were obtained by dramatically simplifying the ingredients and process to a certain degree.

Striving for perfection in anything is difficult when your approaching your goal asymptotically. Great expenditures in effort offer only small bits of improvement. Without insulting anyone's efforts or goals, could it be that your making certain aspects of the process too difficult? Are you overlooking something simple?

Again, grain of salt here, as I am not a lager guy as of yet.

No no, I honestly, truly believe that you are on to something. It HAS to be something relatively simple, because so many of the German, Austrian, Czech, and Polish beers have it.

As germanbrewer said, I too worry it is simply freshness of ingredients. Is "it" a volatile compound in the malt that dissipates after a month or two of storage? I don't know.

personally speaking-with my pils there were some painfully obvious and simple tweaks that have pushed me close to what i'm after. perhaps more so in retrospect, but nonetheless simple.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 13, 2015, 01:09:00 AM
The trouble is that if a thing can not be described, there is no way of knowing what we're talking about, so how do you know if people can or can not detect it? At some point the discussion turns into a type of a mystic séance.

At times, this thread reminds me of Ed Meese and porn.  I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it!

However, unless these guys are having us on - and I don't think they are - they're chasing something ethereal with the hopes of catching it.

Good luck to them.

That quote was originally from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. Just for the record.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:11:01 AM
The trouble is that if a thing can not be described, there is no way of knowing what we're talking about, so how do you know if people can or can not detect it? At some point the discussion turns into a type of a mystic séance.

At times, this thread reminds me of Ed Meese and porn.  I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it!

However, unless these guys are having us on - and I don't think they are - they're chasing something ethereal with the hopes of catching it.

Good luck to them.

No, we're not messing with you.  But it does feel like we are chasing unicorns.  But I know I've seen one...and it poops rainbow ice cream...and smells like Saaz.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Phil_M on November 13, 2015, 01:13:39 AM
As germanbrewer said, I too worry it is simply freshness of ingredients. Is "it" a volatile compound in the malt that dissipates after a month or two of storage? I don't know.

That's my thought. The "good" German beers I've had have all reminded me of the way one of the local wheat fields smell around when the grain is close to being dried and ready for harvest, but isn't dusty yet. Especially if you drive past a field at night with the windows down.

But what do I know? I haven't even tried to brew a lager.

I do think the German beer home-brew community needs to try and better describe the flavors they're striving for, things like "IT" just confound and frustrate people looking for quantifiable answers.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:13:52 AM
It's hard to say something constructive here without sounding like your taking a jab or poking fun but I'll try.

Take North American Trappist/Belgian Abbey style beers prior to the Candi Syrup revolution. There was an approach that used large, complex grain bills to replicate beers that often contained 2 malts and some syrup. It was the case of inadvertently making something more difficult than it had to be. Now you can consistently taste beers that give the originals a run for their money at the very least and best them given the best examples. I'm not saying this directed at the German beer crowd at all, but it is a case where vast improvements and results were obtained by dramatically simplifying the ingredients and process to a certain degree.

Striving for perfection in anything is difficult when your approaching your goal asymptotically. Great expenditures in effort offer only small bits of improvement. Without insulting anyone's efforts or goals, could it be that your making certain aspects of the process too difficult? Are you overlooking something simple?

Again, grain of salt here, as I am not a lager guy as of yet.

No no, I honestly, truly believe that you are on to something. It HAS to be something relatively simple, because so many of the German, Austrian, Czech, and Polish beers have it.

As germanbrewer said, I too worry it is simply freshness of ingredients. Is "it" a volatile compound in the malt that dissipates after a month or two of storage? I don't know.

personally speaking-with my pils there were some painfully obvious and simple tweaks that have pushed me close to what i'm after. perhaps more so in retrospect, but nonetheless simple.

Whatcha waiting for?  Do tell, do tell! :)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Joe Sr. on November 13, 2015, 01:17:20 AM
Simple answer. Go grab a 4 pack of Urqell in cans, and tell us what YOU taste.

I might just do that.  I don't know that I'll recognize IT though. Worth a try, and nothing to lose.

You do recognize that I said I don't believe you're having us on, right?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Joe Sr. on November 13, 2015, 01:18:18 AM
The trouble is that if a thing can not be described, there is no way of knowing what we're talking about, so how do you know if people can or can not detect it? At some point the discussion turns into a type of a mystic séance.

At times, this thread reminds me of Ed Meese and porn.  I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it!

However, unless these guys are having us on - and I don't think they are - they're chasing something ethereal with the hopes of catching it.

Good luck to them.

That quote was originally from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. Just for the record.

You're older than me, Jeff.  And I was worried people wouldn't know who Ed Meese was.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 13, 2015, 01:22:29 AM
As I have said before, it is in every beer they make.  Ale or lager.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 13, 2015, 01:24:57 AM
The trouble is that if a thing can not be described, there is no way of knowing what we're talking about, so how do you know if people can or can not detect it? At some point the discussion turns into a type of a mystic séance.

At times, this thread reminds me of Ed Meese and porn.  I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it!

However, unless these guys are having us on - and I don't think they are - they're chasing something ethereal with the hopes of catching it.

Good luck to them.

That quote was originally from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. Just for the record.

You're older than me, Jeff.  And I was worried people wouldn't know who Ed Meese was.
Yes, I am old, but pretty cool with it.  :)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:26:52 AM
As germanbrewer said, I too worry it is simply freshness of ingredients. Is "it" a volatile compound in the malt that dissipates after a month or two of storage? I don't know.

That's my thought. The "good" German beers I've had have all reminded me of the way one of the local wheat fields smell around when the grain is close to being dried and ready for harvest, but isn't dusty yet. Especially if you drive past a field at night with the windows down.

But what do I know? I haven't even tried to brew a lager.

I do think the German beer home-brew community needs to try and better describe the flavors they're striving for, things like "IT" just confound and frustrate people looking for quantifiable answers.

You got it, that's a good description of it...smell of a field of fresh grain. 

I've been working on it as the descriptors go.  I've been researching this for several years, and found some buds on the same quest.   Then the German beer market is really odd, with its history and Reinheitsgrebot and Biersteuergesetz, former kingdoms with their own styles (e.g. Franconia and Bavaria), and pretty traditional customer base.  It's not like the US craft beer market.  But that's changing there, too.  Anyhow, it seems to be a fairly insular group (in Germany - maybe largely due to language and culture, the average dude like any of us is not chasing down breweries there to learn how to brew) and not a lot of information is as easily accessible.  Kai Troester and a few others have done incredible work to translate Ludwig Narziss's works into English so we have some theory and practice to go on.  Which causes a lot of the conflict, because German brewing is traditionally different than English and American, so has us on our heads trying to understand what's important and what's not.  Does any of that make any difference?  Who knows...that's what we're trying to figure out.  But it hasn't been the slam dunk I assumed it would be when I started down this path.  2 years into my home brewing I figured 'eh, I can make a nice APA, IPA, brown and dark beers, let's try German lagers'.  And some of mine are really nice.  But the Helles and Pils are not hitting it. 

As was suggested above, grab a 4-pack of PU cans...especially if you can compare it with one of your own light lagers.  I agree 'it' isn't a good description for someone who doesn't immediate know what it means. 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 13, 2015, 01:29:28 AM
If at least a good portion of the 'it' factor is the fresh smell of a field, freshly harvested grain and hops, I can't help but feel that freshness of ingredients and the fact that many of those breweries often have their grains malted to their own unique preferences must be a big factor. The fact that homebrewers typically have access to mostly malt not chosen by breweries would make duplicating these beers much, much tougher, I would think. I wish everybody luck.                                               
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:32:16 AM
Simple answer. Go grab a 4 pack of Urqell in cans, and tell us what YOU taste.

I might just do that.  I don't know that I'll recognize IT though. Worth a try, and nothing to lose.

You do recognize that I said I don't believe you're having us on, right?

I wish we could get together for a beer and the experiment.  I find it vastly fascinating that some folks immediately taste it, and others don't.  It's just as likely that it's a description issue as some genetic ability to pick up a flavor.  I can't imagine it's ultimately really all that complicated, just zeroing in on the same thing we're tuning in to and enjoy.  It may simply not matter to you, so you don't pick it up.  First time I tried it, bingo...instant love and whole new level of appreciation of a region of beer.  Who knows...

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:37:21 AM
If at least a good portion of the 'it' factor is the fresh smell of a field, freshly harvested grain and hops, I can't help but feel that freshness of ingredients and the fact that many of those breweries often have their grains malted to their own unique preferences must be a big factor. The fact that homebrewers typically have access to mostly malt not chosen by breweries would make duplicating these beers much, much tougher, I would think. I wish everybody luck.                                               

Yep.  sad sigh - if this ends up being the case.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 13, 2015, 01:38:36 AM
While it certainly can't hurt. I don't know if I buy it, I was at a Brazilian steak house recently, and got their house Pilsner that was like 3.99 for a 12oz bottle called Palma Louca. Well I'll be damned if it didn't have it in spades. I highly doubt this Podunk brewery in Brazil has access to maltster fresh German malts in Brazil.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 13, 2015, 01:56:22 AM
As I have said before, it is in every beer they make.  Ale or lager.
I have to say having lived in Germany for a year and a half, and after many work trips and personal trips all I can say is not all. Not all beers have "it".  Some beers are defective, sorry, but that is my experience.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 02:01:42 AM
As I have said before, it is in every beer they make.  Ale or lager.
I have to say having lived in Germany for a year and a half, and after many work trips and personal trips all I can say is not all. Not all beers have "it".  Some beers are defective, sorry, but that is my experience.

Defective beer?  In Germany?  Nein nein nein.  hahaha (sarcasm)

Störtebeker, from way up north, doesn't have it.  It's nasty German brew.  Well, the pils might have a little 'it', but it's still nasty.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 13, 2015, 02:02:24 AM
As I have said before, it is in every beer they make.  Ale or lager.
I have to say having lived in Germany for a year and a half, and after many work trips and personal trips all I can say is not all. Not all beers have "it".  Some beers are defective, sorry, but that is my experience.

I'll completly agree, I should have said beers we can get, I think it's a safe assumption you will be getting some of the majors brands here.
Title: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 02:08:57 AM
It's been driving me crazy...the use of the term "IT " and what movie it reminded of. "IT /Quan"
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/38f9a430bce5a82cec3ca5625339cd52.jpg)

Rod Tidwell: Maybe you don't. Because it's not just the money I deserve. It's not just the "coin." It's the... - "the kwan".
Jerry Maguire: That's your word?
Rod Tidwell: Yeah, man, it means love, respect, community... and the dollars too. The package. The kwan.
Jerry Maguire: But how did you get "kwan?"

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: RPIScotty on November 13, 2015, 02:30:43 AM
The German "It" strikes me as similar to the Belgian "It" that many of the North American "Belgian Style" beers strive for but don't reach. The Belgian "It" seems easier to obtain though.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 05:08:04 AM
After listening to Drew and Denny, I am considering marketing "It" extract.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: charles1968 on November 13, 2015, 08:36:07 AM
As Ron Smith, who does the Germany and Belgium tours (each country every other year) always tells me when I scoff at Belgian beer...Belgian and German beers are more in common in many ways than different.

Yes same malt, same hops, different yeast. Sometimes I split a pilsner wort and brew one batch cold with lager yeast and the other room temp with Belgian or saison - works really well and tells you a lot about the importance of yeast.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: charles1968 on November 13, 2015, 08:37:37 AM
As I have said before, it is in every beer they make.  Ale or lager.

"It" is not from the yeast then.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 09:19:09 AM
As I have said before, it is in every beer they make.  Ale or lager.

"It" is not from the yeast then.
Or the grain bill...
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 10:17:26 AM
Alright, this thread, weird as it is, had me thinking. Then I listened to the Denny and Drew show, and Denny says I should do a decoction if its fun. Well, I don't know if its fun so I better find out. Thankfully, the tail end of Kai's article says can do it with my direct fire system like the Germans do, so now I dont even have to work that hard at it.

Up coming brew day will be the recipe I posted earlier, but
142F for 45 minutes
158F for 45 minutes (plus however long it takes to reach 158 without scorching)
It looks like kobalch on Best pils and vienna is high enough that I don't need a protein rest.

If I dont detect "IT", I probably wont bother again. If I do, I might even hochkurz my laundry from now on.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 10:57:51 AM


If I dont detect "IT", I probably wont bother again. If I do, I might even hochkurz my laundry from now on.

That would be a sochkurz, of course.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 11:20:51 AM


If I dont detect "IT", I probably wont bother again. If I do, I might even hochkurz my laundry from now on.

That would be a sochkurz, of course.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Yes, of course.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 12:33:19 PM
The thing im kinda guessing on is the times. Will 45 minutes rests be in the ballpark with 1.048 of 88% Best pils and 12% Best Vienna? Or should I go 60 minutes on both rests? Or 45 min on the maltose rest and longer on the dextrin? See my problem? I dont really have a clue.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 13, 2015, 12:47:39 PM


If I dont detect "IT", I probably wont bother again. If I do, I might even hochkurz my laundry from now on.

That would be a sochkurz, of course.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


Well done.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 13, 2015, 01:17:20 PM
Alright, this thread, weird as it is, had me thinking. Then I listened to the Denny and Drew show, and Denny says I should do a decoction if its fun. Well, I don't know if its fun so I better find out. Thankfully, the tail end of Kai's article says can do it with my direct fire system like the Germans do, so now I dont even have to work that hard at it.

Up coming brew day will be the recipe I posted earlier, but
142F for 45 minutes
158F for 45 minutes (plus however long it takes to reach 158 without scorching)
It looks like kobalch on Best pils and vienna is high enough that I don't need a protein rest.

If I dont detect "IT", I probably wont bother again. If I do, I might even hochkurz my laundry from now on.

I am sorry if this comes off wrong, but trust me, it is in good faith. If you think simply altering your mash (which I have previously stated is at the bottom of the pyramid) and you will get it, it's not going to happen. So you may as well keep your normal schedule and save yourself the headaches, as I guarantee you will have the same outcome.. It's not simply 1+1+=2. It's a radical shift, and completely different approach. The typical American more is better is not valid here ;)

At this point, if you would like I will post my last brew details, if you would like a glimpse of what I am talking about.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 01:25:04 PM
Why 142? I read what Kai wrote. 142-146 he says. My MT is stainless direct fire and the thermometer is about 4" from the bottom. I think the temp at the bottom is a couple degrees warmer than at the probe. Especially when im recirculating and keeping it warm on a low flame. Is this so touchy that 3 degrees will get me kicked out of the club?

Zero RA, my well water is 107. Its what I brew with. I adjust pretty accurately with lactic 88.

Carahell... I dont have any. Im working off my last recipe and trying to multitask. The last batch had Canadian Vienna by mistake. Im going with the Best Vienna this time to see the difference.

Meanwhile, i decided to try the step mash so I can say from experience whether or not it does anything for me. Rather than just quote someone else's experience. But I want to give it a fair shot. So, its the length of the rests that I am guessing at. I'd like to know WHY this length or that length. If I was just looking to be told what to do to clone a german beer, id just go buy one. So im not against trying your time suggestion but, WHY those times?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:28:22 PM
The German "It" strikes me as similar to the Belgian "It" that many of the North American "Belgian Style" beers strive for but don't reach. The Belgian "It" seems easier to obtain though.

I would think so...or at least the flavors we're talking about should be present in Belgian beers, especially given the points charles1968 makes about malt and hops.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: jeffy on November 13, 2015, 01:38:07 PM
I usually do the beta at 148 and then the alpha at 158.  A longer rest at the lower temp is normal in part because those enzymes take longer to work but also because it rests for the entire decoction.
I start at the lower temp, then after 20 minutes pull the decoction and heat it to the higher rest - hold that for 20 minutes, then raise to boiling and boil for another 20 minutes.  By the time you're adding the decoction back to the low temp mash it will have been an hour.
The higher rest doesn't take as long.  For grins you can pull a really thin decoction from the higher rest and boil it to add back as a mash out rest.  Then you can say you did a double decoction. :)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 01:39:55 PM
Alright, this thread, weird as it is, had me thinking. Then I listened to the Denny and Drew show, and Denny says I should do a decoction if its fun. Well, I don't know if its fun so I better find out. Thankfully, the tail end of Kai's article says can do it with my direct fire system like the Germans do, so now I dont even have to work that hard at it.

Up coming brew day will be the recipe I posted earlier, but
142F for 45 minutes
158F for 45 minutes (plus however long it takes to reach 158 without scorching)
It looks like kobalch on Best pils and vienna is high enough that I don't need a protein rest.

If I dont detect "IT", I probably wont bother again. If I do, I might even hochkurz my laundry from now on.

I am sorry if this comes off wrong, but trust me, it is in good faith. If you think simply altering your mash (which I have previously stated is at the bottom of the pyramid) and you will get it, it's not going to happen. So you may as well keep your normal schedule and save yourself the headaches, as I guarantee you will have the same outcome.. It's not simply 1+1+=2. It's a radical shift, and completely different approach. The typical American more is better is not valid here ;)

At this point, if you would like I will post my last brew details, if you would like a glimpse of what I am talking about.
I gather that unless I brew your beer your way its wrong. But Im not hearing WHY from anyone. Im curious, is that how all Munich Helles are brewed in Munich? Same recipe, same water, same method, all beer is exactly the same? Seems goose-steppy to me.

Im trying to learn something here, and it sure seems like I'm hearing my Dad bark at me that I'm not doing it right with no indication of what right is, or why. Frankly, I may just decide that im done with trying to brew german beers if this is a harbinger of things to come.

I mentioned "IT" tongue in cheek at the end of that post. I should clarify, I don't beleive in IT as an articulable thing because no one can describe IT. Not to mention that if IT is supposed to be in every beer style in Germany, including smoke beers, dark beers, light beers, ales, sour beers... than IT is an emotion or some elitist mind set. So obviously I am not trying to create something I dont beleive exists. If someone can describe IT, I may change my mind.

Deep breaths... im not asking for a clone recipe, or trying to get jumped into a beer gang. I'm just looking for a little more insight on this step mash thing.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 01:43:31 PM
I usually do the beta at 148 and then the alpha at 158.  A longer rest at the lower temp is normal in part because those enzymes take longer to work but also because it rests for the entire decoction.
I start at the lower temp, then after 20 minutes pull the decoction and heat it to the higher rest - hold that for 20 minutes, then raise to boiling and boil for another 20 minutes.  By the time you're adding the decoction back to the low temp mash it will have been an hour.
The higher rest doesn't take as long.  For grins you can pull a really thin decoction from the higher rest and boil it to add back as a mash out rest.  Then you can say you did a double decoction. :)
So, I'm not doing decoction. This is step mash on a direct fire recirculation MT. The other guy says 15 minutes, you say 60. Im thinking that I will just stick with 45.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: rabeb25 on November 13, 2015, 01:44:31 PM
Good day ya'll. This is where I bow out.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:46:30 PM
Alright, this thread, weird as it is, had me thinking. Then I listened to the Denny and Drew show, and Denny says I should do a decoction if its fun. Well, I don't know if its fun so I better find out. Thankfully, the tail end of Kai's article says can do it with my direct fire system like the Germans do, so now I dont even have to work that hard at it.

Up coming brew day will be the recipe I posted earlier, but
142F for 45 minutes
158F for 45 minutes (plus however long it takes to reach 158 without scorching)
It looks like kobalch on Best pils and vienna is high enough that I don't need a protein rest.

If I dont detect "IT", I probably wont bother again. If I do, I might even hochkurz my laundry from now on.

I am sorry if this comes off wrong, but trust me, it is in good faith. If you think simply altering your mash (which I have previously stated is at the bottom of the pyramid) and you will get it, it's not going to happen. So you may as well keep your normal schedule and save yourself the headaches, as I guarantee you will have the same outcome.. It's not simply 1+1+=2. It's a radical shift, and completely different approach. The typical American more is better is not valid here ;)

At this point, if you would like I will post my last brew details, if you would like a glimpse of what I am talking about.
I gather that unless I brew your beer your way its wrong. But Im not hearing WHY from anyone. Im curious, is that how all Munich Helles are brewed in Munich? Same recipe, same water, same method, all beer is exactly the same? Seems goose-steppy to me.

Im trying to learn something here, and it sure seems like I'm hearing my Dad bark at me that I'm not doing it right with no indication of what right is, or why. Frankly, I may just decide that im done with trying to brew german beers if this is a harbinger of things to come.

I mentioned "IT" tongue in cheek at the end of that post. I should clarify, I don't beleive in IT as an articulable thing because no one can describe IT. Not to mention that if IT is supposed to be in every beer style in Germany, including smoke beers, dark beers, light beers, ales, sour beers... than IT is an emotion or some elitist mind set. So obviously I am not trying to create something I dont beleive exists. If someone can describe IT, I may change my mind.

Deep breaths... im not asking for a clone recipe, or trying to get jumped into a beer gang. I'm just looking for a little more insight on this step mash thing.


Here's a video with a guy who has been on this quest, too, and is German living in the U.S.  This video gives a good overview of what we're talking about and some of his thoughts on the approach.  There's nothing I'd love to do more than sit down with you guys and taste some German beers.  Personally, I don't mean to be elitist about anything, more than anything I'm humbled that I can't reproduce the beers I love.  I think the fact that this comes down to circular discussion about process is because no one can quite get it. :)

https://vimeo.com/59712178

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Kit B on November 13, 2015, 01:50:43 PM
I'd like to know WHY this length or that length. If I was just looking to be told what to do to clone a german beer, id just go buy one.

Hahaha...You sound like me, in that other thread!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 13, 2015, 01:52:13 PM
Alright, this thread, weird as it is, had me thinking. Then I listened to the Denny and Drew show, and Denny says I should do a decoction if its fun. Well, I don't know if its fun so I better find out. Thankfully, the tail end of Kai's article says can do it with my direct fire system like the Germans do, so now I dont even have to work that hard at it.

Up coming brew day will be the recipe I posted earlier, but
142F for 45 minutes
158F for 45 minutes (plus however long it takes to reach 158 without scorching)
It looks like kobalch on Best pils and vienna is high enough that I don't need a protein rest.

If I dont detect "IT", I probably wont bother again. If I do, I might even hochkurz my laundry from now on.

I am sorry if this comes off wrong, but trust me, it is in good faith. If you think simply altering your mash (which I have previously stated is at the bottom of the pyramid) and you will get it, it's not going to happen. So you may as well keep your normal schedule and save yourself the headaches, as I guarantee you will have the same outcome.. It's not simply 1+1+=2. It's a radical shift, and completely different approach. The typical American more is better is not valid here ;)

At this point, if you would like I will post my last brew details, if you would like a glimpse of what I am talking about.
I gather that unless I brew your beer your way its wrong. But Im not hearing WHY from anyone. Im curious, is that how all Munich Helles are brewed in Munich? Same recipe, same water, same method, all beer is exactly the same? Seems goose-steppy to me.

Im trying to learn something here, and it sure seems like I'm hearing my Dad bark at me that I'm not doing it right with no indication of what right is, or why. Frankly, I may just decide that im done with trying to brew german beers if this is a harbinger of things to come.

I mentioned "IT" tongue in cheek at the end of that post. I should clarify, I don't beleive in IT as an articulable thing because no one can describe IT. Not to mention that if IT is supposed to be in every beer style in Germany, including smoke beers, dark beers, light beers, ales, sour beers... than IT is an emotion or some elitist mind set. So obviously I am not trying to create something I dont beleive exists. If someone can describe IT, I may change my mind.

Deep breaths... im not asking for a clone recipe, or trying to get jumped into a beer gang. I'm just looking for a little more insight on this step mash thing.
Jim, I step mash often using direct heat. My system has a false bottom so the grains are not on the hot metal. The liquid is recirculated with a pump, so the enzymes are not denatured, and the grain bed has even temperature. Pretty easy.

I will have to watch the video. Kai was at the Philly NHC. I wonder if he will make an appearance at Baltimore.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 01:57:53 PM
I'd like to know WHY this length or that length. If I was just looking to be told what to do to clone a german beer, id just go buy one.

Hahaha...You sound like me, in that other thread!
I probably got it from you! Its your fault!

Look, my button got pushed. Its distracting to ask a WHY question and get a response that can be boiled down to You dont need to know why, just do what I do.

Sorry if I vented guys, but "Because I said" just falls short around here.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 01:58:26 PM

I will have to watch the video. Kai was at the Philly NHC. I wonder if he will make an appearance at Baltimore.

I wish he would,  I greatly miss Kai and his posts. 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 02:00:57 PM
Alright, this thread, weird as it is, had me thinking. Then I listened to the Denny and Drew show, and Denny says I should do a decoction if its fun. Well, I don't know if its fun so I better find out. Thankfully, the tail end of Kai's article says can do it with my direct fire system like the Germans do, so now I dont even have to work that hard at it.

Up coming brew day will be the recipe I posted earlier, but
142F for 45 minutes
158F for 45 minutes (plus however long it takes to reach 158 without scorching)
It looks like kobalch on Best pils and vienna is high enough that I don't need a protein rest.

If I dont detect "IT", I probably wont bother again. If I do, I might even hochkurz my laundry from now on.

I am sorry if this comes off wrong, but trust me, it is in good faith. If you think simply altering your mash (which I have previously stated is at the bottom of the pyramid) and you will get it, it's not going to happen. So you may as well keep your normal schedule and save yourself the headaches, as I guarantee you will have the same outcome.. It's not simply 1+1+=2. It's a radical shift, and completely different approach. The typical American more is better is not valid here ;)

At this point, if you would like I will post my last brew details, if you would like a glimpse of what I am talking about.
I gather that unless I brew your beer your way its wrong. But Im not hearing WHY from anyone. Im curious, is that how all Munich Helles are brewed in Munich? Same recipe, same water, same method, all beer is exactly the same? Seems goose-steppy to me.

Im trying to learn something here, and it sure seems like I'm hearing my Dad bark at me that I'm not doing it right with no indication of what right is, or why. Frankly, I may just decide that im done with trying to brew german beers if this is a harbinger of things to come.

I mentioned "IT" tongue in cheek at the end of that post. I should clarify, I don't beleive in IT as an articulable thing because no one can describe IT. Not to mention that if IT is supposed to be in every beer style in Germany, including smoke beers, dark beers, light beers, ales, sour beers... than IT is an emotion or some elitist mind set. So obviously I am not trying to create something I dont beleive exists. If someone can describe IT, I may change my mind.

Deep breaths... im not asking for a clone recipe, or trying to get jumped into a beer gang. I'm just looking for a little more insight on this step mash thing.
Jim, I step mash often using direct heat. My system has a false bottom so the grains are not on the hot metal. The liquid is recirculated with a pump, so the enzymes are not denatured, and the grain bed has even temperature. Pretty easy.

I will have to watch the video. Kai was at the Philly NHC. I wonder if he will make an appearance at Baltimore.
Ya I use it all the time. Ive just not done this hochkurz step mash thing. Im just going to go for it and not get lost in the weeds.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Kit B on November 13, 2015, 02:02:12 PM
I gather that unless I brew your beer your way its wrong. But Im not hearing WHY from anyone. Im curious, is that how all Munich Helles are brewed in Munich? Same recipe, same water, same method, all beer is exactly the same? Seems goose-steppy to me.

Im trying to learn something here, and it sure seems like I'm hearing my Dad bark at me that I'm not doing it right with no indication of what right is, or why. Frankly, I may just decide that im done with trying to brew german beers if this is a harbinger of things to come.

I mentioned "IT" tongue in cheek at the end of that post. I should clarify, I don't beleive in IT as an articulable thing because no one can describe IT. Not to mention that if IT is supposed to be in every beer style in Germany, including smoke beers, dark beers, light beers, ales, sour beers... than IT is an emotion or some elitist mind set. So obviously I am not trying to create something I dont beleive exists. If someone can describe IT, I may change my mind.

Deep breaths... im not asking for a clone recipe, or trying to get jumped into a beer gang. I'm just looking for a little more insight on this step mash thing.

Please, don't think that anyone is telling you that your way is wrong.
Here's the situation...
A bunch of us have spent years chasing this.
We've worked together & shared notes...
We've tried countless mash schedules, grain bills, hopping schedules, etc.
We know which things we have tried that simply do not work.
We know several combinations of things that simply do not work.
No one is telling you that you HAVE to brew this way, or you're wrong.
The approach we are taking is to say, here...Let's eliminate the stuff we've tried that doesn't work.

I believe Brandon said it best, when he described IT, like this:

The 5 elements of “it” in German light lagers.

1)   Aroma and first impressions
It: Fresh malt and hop aroma – sign of good things to come. Very clean, slightly sweet but refreshing
Not it: No aroma. Metallic, plastic, organic off aroma coming from the glass. Or overwhelming, cloying malt aroma, or strong, pungent hop aroma overwhelming the malt.

2)   Getting intimate - First Taste
It: the “it” we refer to – fresh grain, depth of character and bright notes of a fresh field of grain and flowers. Sometimes spicy, particularly with Czech and East German Pilsners. But clean and balanced with the malt. Sometimes a minerally, salty impression from East German examples.
Not it: Dull, single dimension of malt. It’s there, but not light, fresh and rich. Overwhelming hoppiness as either flavor or strong bitterness.

3)   Balance of character
It: the overall impression is of balance between malt, bitterness and hop flavor. Often floral, slightly sweet, and grainy. Rich, bright grainy flavor.
Not it: Dull and flat, one dimension maltiness. Like old malt or darker malt that is heavy on the palate. Or muddy, overly complex flavors as from too many malts.

4)   Mouthfeel
It: Clean, crisp mouthfeel. Refreshing and you want to take another sip. Clears out quickly.
Not it: Either thick and sweet or dry, puckering and thin.

5)   Finish - Ahhhhh
It: briefly lingering malt flavor and aroma. If you lightly exhale your breath and sniff, you get fresh malt graininess, a bit of hop aroma, and depth of aging character, slight lingering note of sulfur.
Not it: Cloying sweetness or astringent dryness, almost bitter. Lingering hop bitterness that hangs in your mouth for a long time. Yeast bi
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 02:05:31 PM
I gather that unless I brew your beer your way its wrong. But Im not hearing WHY from anyone. Im curious, is that how all Munich Helles are brewed in Munich? Same recipe, same water, same method, all beer is exactly the same? Seems goose-steppy to me.

Im trying to learn something here, and it sure seems like I'm hearing my Dad bark at me that I'm not doing it right with no indication of what right is, or why. Frankly, I may just decide that im done with trying to brew german beers if this is a harbinger of things to come.

I mentioned "IT" tongue in cheek at the end of that post. I should clarify, I don't beleive in IT as an articulable thing because no one can describe IT. Not to mention that if IT is supposed to be in every beer style in Germany, including smoke beers, dark beers, light beers, ales, sour beers... than IT is an emotion or some elitist mind set. So obviously I am not trying to create something I dont beleive exists. If someone can describe IT, I may change my mind.

Deep breaths... im not asking for a clone recipe, or trying to get jumped into a beer gang. I'm just looking for a little more insight on this step mash thing.

Please, don't think that anyone is telling you that your way is wrong.
Here's the situation...
A bunch of us have spent years chasing this.
We've worked together & shared notes...
We've tried countless mash schedules, grain bills, hopping schedules, etc.
We know which things we have tried that simply do not work.
We know several combinations of things that simply do not work.
No one is telling you that you HAVE to brew this way, or you're wrong.
The approach we are taking is to say, here...Let's eliminate the stuff we've tried that doesn't work.

I believe Brandon said it best, when he described IT, like this:

The 5 elements of “it” in German light lagers.

1)   Aroma and first impressions
It: Fresh malt and hop aroma – sign of good things to come. Very clean, slightly sweet but refreshing
Not it: No aroma. Metallic, plastic, organic off aroma coming from the glass. Or overwhelming, cloying malt aroma, or strong, pungent hop aroma overwhelming the malt.

2)   Getting intimate - First Taste
It: the “it” we refer to – fresh grain, depth of character and bright notes of a fresh field of grain and flowers. Sometimes spicy, particularly with Czech and East German Pilsners. But clean and balanced with the malt. Sometimes a minerally, salty impression from East German examples.
Not it: Dull, single dimension of malt. It’s there, but not light, fresh and rich. Overwhelming hoppiness as either flavor or strong bitterness.

3)   Balance of character
It: the overall impression is of balance between malt, bitterness and hop flavor. Often floral, slightly sweet, and grainy. Rich, bright grainy flavor.
Not it: Dull and flat, one dimension maltiness. Like old malt or darker malt that is heavy on the palate. Or muddy, overly complex flavors as from too many malts.

4)   Mouthfeel
It: Clean, crisp mouthfeel. Refreshing and you want to take another sip. Clears out quickly.
Not it: Either thick and sweet or dry, puckering and thin.

5)   Finish - Ahhhhh
It: briefly lingering malt flavor and aroma. If you lightly exhale your breath and sniff, you get fresh malt graininess, a bit of hop aroma, and depth of aging character, slight lingering note of sulfur.
Not it: Cloying sweetness or astringent dryness, almost bitter. Lingering hop bitterness that hangs in your mouth for a long time. Yeast bi

And in my description (please feel free to adapt it, add descriptors, etc, I'd like it to evolve into the best description possible, this was just a first shot at it.

I'm watching Kai's video again and he really does a nice job describing 'it' (as best as one could in a presentation without beer to sample) and the various processes and issues we're discussing.  I think achieving the '5 elements of it' is the combination of many process decisions and ingredients.  But getting the right ones and then getting them to harmonize is the art.  Thanks all for a good discussion!  Even if it is a weird thread. :)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 02:08:47 PM
Thats a good description!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 02:17:36 PM
I'd like to know WHY this length or that length. If I was just looking to be told what to do to clone a german beer, id just go buy one.

Hahaha...You sound like me, in that other thread!
I probably got it from you! Its your fault!

Look, my button got pushed. Its distracting to ask a WHY question and get a response that can be boiled down to You dont need to know why, just do what I do.

Sorry if I vented guys, but "Because I said" just falls short around here.

Jim, I did give some reasons why on the last page - you want each enzyme to have enough time to "go as far as it can go" at each rest temperature. You can do this by tracking when SG increases level off at the beta rest, and by using an iodine test at the alpha rest. The amount of time that conversion takes depends on a lot of things, like the particular malt you use, the mash pH, etc. 30 minutes for beta is a "safe" choice, and the same goes for 40 minutes for alpha.
Now were getting somewhere, thanks.

So, Kai's chart of the hichkurz showing it taking a total of 3 hours... way too long I take it? Is that just old info thats not accurate anymore? Seemed long to me.

Anywho, im not trying to tackle that whole package right now, just the step mash and I think im tracking now.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Kit B on November 13, 2015, 02:27:38 PM
So, Kai's chart of the hichkurz showing it taking a total of 3 hours... way too long I take it? Is that just old info thats not accurate anymore? Seemed long to me.

Some brewers even go much longer.
Kai's version is a pretty middle-of-the-road version.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 02:56:35 PM
I'd like to know WHY this length or that length. If I was just looking to be told what to do to clone a german beer, id just go buy one.

Hahaha...You sound like me, in that other thread!
I probably got it from you! Its your fault!

Look, my button got pushed. Its distracting to ask a WHY question and get a response that can be boiled down to You dont need to know why, just do what I do.

Sorry if I vented guys, but "Because I said" just falls short around here.

Jim, I did give some reasons why on the last page - you want each enzyme to have enough time to "go as far as it can go" at each rest temperature. You can do this by tracking when SG increases level off at the beta rest, and by using an iodine test at the alpha rest. The amount of time that conversion takes depends on a lot of things, like the particular malt you use, the mash pH, etc. 30 minutes for beta is a "safe" choice, and the same goes for 40 minutes for alpha.
Now were getting somewhere, thanks.

So, Kai's chart of the hichkurz showing it taking a total of 3 hours... way too long I take it? Is that just old info thats not accurate anymore? Seemed long to me.

Anywho, im not trying to tackle that whole package right now, just the step mash and I think im tracking now.

It shows 3 hours I believe because he is talking about using decoctions to move between the steps. That takes longer, because you typically do a short conversion for the decoction before bringing it to a boil, then spend 5-30 minutes boiling it before adding it back in to the main mash. Direct fired step mashes - which is what I do nowadays - take much less time. I'm done in about 90 minutes usually.
Perfect, I'm on the right road at least. Thanks
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 13, 2015, 03:07:09 PM
I'd like to know WHY this length or that length. If I was just looking to be told what to do to clone a german beer, id just go buy one.

Hahaha...You sound like me, in that other thread!
I probably got it from you! Its your fault!

Look, my button got pushed. Its distracting to ask a WHY question and get a response that can be boiled down to You dont need to know why, just do what I do.

Sorry if I vented guys, but "Because I said" just falls short around here.

Jim, I did give some reasons why on the last page - you want each enzyme to have enough time to "go as far as it can go" at each rest temperature. You can do this by tracking when SG increases level off at the beta rest, and by using an iodine test at the alpha rest. The amount of time that conversion takes depends on a lot of things, like the particular malt you use, the mash pH, etc. 30 minutes for beta is a "safe" choice, and the same goes for 40 minutes for alpha.
Now were getting somewhere, thanks.

So, Kai's chart of the hichkurz showing it taking a total of 3 hours... way too long I take it? Is that just old info thats not accurate anymore? Seemed long to me.

Anywho, im not trying to tackle that whole package right now, just the step mash and I think im tracking now.
The Hochkurz step mash is less time, since you aren't bringing the thick part to a boil.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Infusion_Mashing
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Kit B on November 13, 2015, 03:21:22 PM

The Hochkurz step mash is less time, since you aren't bringing the thick part to a boil.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Infusion_Mashing

True...
When I think of a Hochkurz, I'm thinking of a full-on Hochkurz double decoction.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:Mash_diagram_double_decoction_hochkurz.gif

Direct fired step mashing is a different ball game that I can't do, yet.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 13, 2015, 03:33:24 PM

The Hochkurz step mash is less time, since you aren't bringing the thick part to a boil.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Infusion_Mashing

True...
When I think of a Hochkurz, I'm thinking of a full-on Hochkurz double decoction.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:Mash_diagram_double_decoction_hochkurz.gif

Direct fired step mashing is a different ball game that I can't do, yet.
Jim is talking about the direct fired step mash, no?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on November 13, 2015, 04:49:21 PM
After keeping up with this thread the last couple of days, I'm tweaking my recipe a bit.  I still want to try the Cologne malt here, but I'm backing off a little.  I'll brew it this weekend or next.

Now, if I name the beer Ding An Sich, will I have found "It"?

-----

OG 1.048
FG 1.009
IBU 19
SRM 3.8

93% Pils
4.5% Cologne
2.5% CaraHell
(I might toss in a couple ounces of Carafoam.)

Hm/Tett throughout
100% RO, .75 tsp Calcium Chloride, 0.25 tsp Gypsum in the mash
Mash 148/158 for 60/15

WLP 833
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Kit B on November 13, 2015, 04:53:27 PM

Jim is talking about the direct fired step mash, no?

True.
That was an explanation of my own confusion, when I posted that some brewers mash for longer.
Not saying he needs to do a decoction.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: denny on November 13, 2015, 04:54:23 PM
I'm so glad I don't really care for Helles.  If I did, this thread would discourage me from ever brewing one.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: denny on November 13, 2015, 04:59:19 PM
I'm so glad I don't really care for Helles.  If I did, this thread would discourage me from ever brewing one.

I am sorry to hear that. Nobody forced you to read it, though.

There was some interesting info.  Doesn't change my mind, though.  No need to be sorry..there are a lot of styles that I don't care for or brew.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Joe Sr. on November 13, 2015, 05:02:05 PM
I'm so glad I don't really care for Helles.  If I did, this thread would discourage me from ever brewing one.

This thread has me contemplating picking some Urquell to see if I can taste "it."

I also want to get some Beck's, since I assume that doesn't have "it" since it's brewed in the USA.  But maybe it does?

Either way, it's not likely I'll brew a Helles any time soon.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 13, 2015, 05:11:49 PM
I'm so glad I don't really care for Helles.  If I did, this thread would discourage me from ever brewing one.

This thread has me contemplating picking some Urquell to see if I can taste "it."

I also want to get some Beck's, since I assume that doesn't have "it" since it's brewed in the USA.  But maybe it does?

Either way, it's not likely I'll brew a Helles any time soon.


FWIW, I don't feel like Beck's has any of 'it' but I'm obviously not as attuned to 'it' as some. I will vouch for the Urquell in cans, though. Awesome stuff.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Joe Sr. on November 13, 2015, 05:22:39 PM
FWIW, I don't feel like Beck's has any of 'it' but I'm obviously not as attuned to 'it' as some. I will vouch for the Urquell in cans, though. Awesome stuff.

I'm assuming it (Beck's) doesn't.  But, in a contrarian sort of way it would be awesome if it does.

Regardless, if I have some cans of Beck's in the fridge I know someone will drink them.

And, I enjoyed a couple glasses of my O-fest last night.  Pretty sure it doesn't have it, but it was tasty.

I'm just curious to see if I can figure out what the sturm and drang is about.  Probably not, and if not, I'll go back to not knowing I don't know.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on November 13, 2015, 05:28:41 PM
After keeping up with this thread the last couple of days, I'm tweaking my recipe a bit.  I still want to try the Cologne malt here, but I'm backing off a little.  I'll brew it this weekend or next.

Now, if I name the beer Ding An Sich, will I have found "It"?

-----

OG 1.048
FG 1.009
IBU 19
SRM 3.8

93% Pils
4.5% Cologne
2.5% CaraHell
(I might toss in a couple ounces of Carafoam.)

Hm/Tett throughout
100% RO, .75 tsp Calcium Chloride, 0.25 tsp Gypsum in the mash
Mash 148/158 for 60/15

WLP 833

I would get rid of the gypsum completely. Remember to adjust mash/boil pH to 5.5 and 5.1. What IBU formula are you using? If tinseth, try 14-15

You're probably right.  The Kolsch I referenced back on page 1 or 2 had one tsp CaCl2, no gypsum.  I do typically target 5.5, and I use Rager.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on November 13, 2015, 05:32:33 PM
FWIW, I don't feel like Beck's has any of 'it' but I'm obviously not as attuned to 'it' as some. I will vouch for the Urquell in cans, though. Awesome stuff.

+1 to the cans.  I've had some great DAB cans recently too.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: narcout on November 13, 2015, 05:42:55 PM
At this point, if you would like I will post my last brew details, if you would like a glimpse of what I am talking about.

That would be cool.

There's nothing I'd love to do more than sit down with you guys and taste some German beers.

Come to the NHC next summer.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on November 13, 2015, 05:43:55 PM
You might want to cross reference your hopping with the tinseth formula and see if it comes up around 14-15. IIRC, tinseth and rager can sometimes be very close, sometimes not.

Drops it by ~1 IBU in Beersmith when I switch to Tinseth.  Looks to be coming from the bittering addition.

Right now I've got for 6 gallons final kettle volume:

1 oz Hm (4%) FWH
.25 oz Hm (4%) @15
.5 oz Hm (4%) @0

I use a plate chiller, so the late additions don't stay hot long - I usually get wort from the kettle to conical at pitching temp in <10 min.

But I'm absolutely open to suggestions on the hopping schedule.


Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 05:44:55 PM
You might want to cross reference your hopping with the tinseth formula and see if it comes up around 14-15. IIRC, tinseth and rager can sometimes be very close, sometimes not.

i know beersmith lets you choose-but defaults to tinseth.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on November 13, 2015, 05:48:00 PM
At this point, if you would like I will post my last brew details, if you would like a glimpse of what I am talking about.

That would be cool.

+1

Come back!!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 05:50:10 PM
At this point, if you would like I will post my last brew details, if you would like a glimpse of what I am talking about.

That would be cool.

There's nothing I'd love to do more than sit down with you guys and taste some German beers.

Come to the NHC next summer.

Will do!  It's in Baltimore, so close to me.  Also planning a brewery tour/trip to Munich, Bamberg and Plzn in October for anyone who is interested.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on November 13, 2015, 05:56:37 PM
You might want to cross reference your hopping with the tinseth formula and see if it comes up around 14-15. IIRC, tinseth and rager can sometimes be very close, sometimes not.

Drops it by ~1 IBU in Beersmith when I switch to Tinseth.  Looks to be coming from the bittering addition.

Right now I've got for 6 gallons final kettle volume:

1 oz Hm (4%) FWH
.25 oz Hm (4%) @15
.5 oz Hm (4%) @0

I use a plate chiller, so the late additions don't stay hot long - I usually get wort from the kettle to conical at pitching temp in <10 min.

But I'm absolutely open to suggestions on the hopping schedule.

I would ditch the flameout addition - you don't want the grassyness. Keep the aroma addition at 10-15 minutes.

There are several good hopping schedules for helles. Kai's Edel Hell recipe uses one from the Narziss textbook. Another nice one if you're only using one kind of hop is to add 70-80% of it at 60 minutes and 20-30% at 10 to 15 minutes. Then, scale the total hop mass to get your target IBU.

Cool.  Appreciate it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: stpug on November 13, 2015, 06:49:29 PM
Little bit of my IT. Thick creamy head, persists all the way to the last sip. Aroma of malt and noble hops. Rich malt taste balanced with noble hops, that finishes very dry and crisp.
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/daa1a9d5bfe9c426c68b524922e21c48.jpg)

That picture has me intrigued (and jealous). Is that a recipe you're willing to share?
How long do you bake the meringue on top?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 08:40:19 PM
Little bit of my IT. Thick creamy head, persists all the way to the last sip. Aroma of malt and noble hops. Rich malt taste balanced with noble hops, that finishes very dry and crisp.
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/daa1a9d5bfe9c426c68b524922e21c48.jpg)

That picture has me intrigued (and jealous). Is that a recipe you're willing to share?
How long do you bake the meringue on top?
Northern German Pils
92% avangard pils
4% carapils
4% melanoiden
.75oz magnum (28.8IBU) @ 50min
1oz Hallertauer (3.2IBU), Select Spalt (2.8IBU), Saaz (4.2IBU) @ 10
WLP830

Mash 2qt/lb 147F for 90 minutes. batch sparge 185F water.
Mash PH at room temp  = 5.45-5.50
Mash Efficiency: 92%
Reduce PH in kettle to 5.0-5.1
Boil time 60 minutes.
water profile: RO water w/additions Calcium 35ppm, Mg 17ppm, Sodium 14ppm, Sulfate 90ppm, Chloride 62ppm

OG 1.048
FG 1.008
5.2% ABV
39IBU
SRM 3.5
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 13, 2015, 08:58:59 PM
Ken, are you dropping kettle pH with lactic or phosphoric? This is an area I think I'm ready to try for lagers.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 09:00:10 PM
Ken, are you dropping kettle pH with lactic or phosphoric? This is an area I think I'm ready to try for lagers.

only been using lactic
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on November 13, 2015, 09:01:51 PM
That pils looks delish! I need to get me some of 'it'.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 13, 2015, 09:03:52 PM
Ken, are you dropping kettle pH with lactic or phosphoric? This is an area I think I'm ready to try for lagers.

only been using lactic

Thanks. I assume you check pH drop by drop or do you use a formula?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 09:06:00 PM
and im really looking forward to getting to doing all of this (pils process) with a helles over thanksgiving. pils, carahell, kolsch malt will be my malts.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 09:09:20 PM
Ken, are you dropping kettle pH with lactic or phosphoric? This is an area I think I'm ready to try for lagers.

only been using lactic

Thanks. I assume you check pH drop by drop or do you use a formula?

no formula (yet-must be one). need to check notes, but pretty sure i started out in .5ml increments to see what PH drop would be.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 13, 2015, 09:14:55 PM
Ken, that looks like an outstanding pils recipe.

i'm pretty pleased with the results- not to say it doesn't have room to evolve  ;D

lots of tinkering with almost every variable on this one. that's the stuff that keeps be enthralled with brewing though.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: germanbrew on November 13, 2015, 09:34:53 PM
Little bit of my IT. Thick creamy head, persists all the way to the last sip. Aroma of malt and noble hops. Rich malt taste balanced with noble hops, that finishes very dry and crisp.
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/daa1a9d5bfe9c426c68b524922e21c48.jpg)

That picture has me intrigued (and jealous). Is that a recipe you're willing to share?
How long do you bake the meringue on top?
Northern German Pils
92% avangard pils
4% carapils
4% melanoiden
.75oz magnum (28.8IBU) @ 50min
1oz Hallertauer (3.2IBU), Select Spalt (2.8IBU), Saaz (4.2IBU) @ 10
WLP830

Mash 2qt/lb 147F for 90 minutes. batch sparge 185F water.
Mash PH at room temp  = 5.45-5.50
Mash Efficiency: 92%
Reduce PH in kettle to 5.0-5.1
Boil time 60 minutes.
water profile: RO water w/additions Calcium 35ppm, Mg 17ppm, Sodium 14ppm, Sulfate 90ppm, Chloride 62ppm

OG 1.048
FG 1.008
5.2% ABV
39IBU
SRM 3.5

Beautiful beer!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 13, 2015, 10:15:37 PM

The Hochkurz step mash is less time, since you aren't bringing the thick part to a boil.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Infusion_Mashing

True...
When I think of a Hochkurz, I'm thinking of a full-on Hochkurz double decoction.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:Mash_diagram_double_decoction_hochkurz.gif

Direct fired step mashing is a different ball game that I can't do, yet.
Jim is talking about the direct fired step mash, no?
Yes.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: ynotbrusum on November 13, 2015, 10:34:38 PM
 With this thread, I feel like I waded across a wide swift flowing river that was a bit over waist deep in the middle only to come out the other side with nothing more than wet shorts to show for it.

I think I recognize the "it" and it is the 5 elements with a perceptible "snap, fade" on the aroma (once you perceive it, it fills your olfactory senses and then is gone, at least for the moment, but on the exhale, you get a second chance at it, kinda like a burp after a good meal).  Subtlety to the nth degree, yet perceptible.

I have a good brewing friend who can make "it" happen and he doesn't say that there is only one way, either. He just knows what the German school taught him.  He tells me to use a little Carafoam (half a pound at most for 5 gallons) with Pilsner malt, do an acid rest (I know, it is unnecessary with well modified malts), double decoct, use a teaspoon of Wyeast yeast nutrient at 10 minutes left in the boil (he swears by it), pitch a good starter (2206 or your favorite) at about 62-64F, and slide the temperature down to about 54F over a couple days; then at the end of high krausen, move it up a slight bit (.5-1 degree per day?) over several days to about 68 and let it finish completely at that temperature, then step it down 3-4 degrees per day until at 32F, which is held until the beer is very clear (usually only a couple days at most).  Then rack and carbonate and cellar at 32F for a couple weeks.  He wins with it and I have tasted "it" in it. 

FWIW, I have another friend who flew to Germany 3 times per month for years and always brought back fresh German lagers, usually Helles.  There is something to the freshness, too.  The "field being fresh" and the "snap" to me are how I can attempt to articulate the concept.  But having said all of that, I have tasted some damn good homebrews that don't have "it", but have everything else, which ain't half bad.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: ynotbrusum on November 14, 2015, 01:38:06 AM
Only to the extent he heats it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 14, 2015, 01:50:14 AM
Is it just me that thinks this thread was derailed a long time ago.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 14, 2015, 01:58:21 AM
Some good stuff even though it twisted and turned


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: ynotbrusum on November 14, 2015, 02:15:17 AM
Is it just me that thinks this thread was derailed a long time ago.

Leos - you make good German style beers.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this....
Title: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 14, 2015, 03:24:10 AM
Is it just me that thinks this thread was derailed a long time ago.

Leos - you make good German style beers.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this....
Thank you.

With all due respect. There is no IT in beer overseas. I lived there half of my life and If there was IT in it would know what it is.

Now when we talk about the flavor. First it is barley. Continental barley has more flavor then domestic barley. Yes different maltsters get you a different flavors for the same style of malt. So you need to be maltster specific. You can actually blend base malt. Let say Weyernman Pilsner and Castle Pilsner.

Water is from soft to moderate. So there is a wide range. Adjust your recipe to your water.

Hops. Imported hops are fine quality and correct variety.

Yeast. Please do not tell me that 2124 is too clean and that augusteener is superb. Pick a yeast you like and work with it. You want clean beer with it, make it ferment clean. You want more esters in it ferment it that way. Fermentation flavor is dependent on vessel geometric, pitching rate and temperature. How many of you considered fermenting in open fermenter? Or open shallow fermenter?

Wort production. If you do step mashing it is less error prone and can create more fermentable wort. Not sure if decoction do too much to it. It is a good way to raise mash temp on large scale. If you have 6 vessel Brewhouse you can knock out one batch every 2 hours.

German/Czech beers sold in your local store are old beers that did sit in hot shipping container for couple of weeks. So I would not take it as a reference point. I suspect that PU in U.S. Is brewed in here. When you buy a keg it comes in Miller keg. With beer companies consolidation Europe is suffering from Euro Lager beer. This is a mass produced low flavor lager that compares to domestic mass produced lagers.

If you want to read more specifics about individual beers do a research in European product marks. You will find a lot of good info that is in English from malt modification index to final beer pH. This is on brewery bases that file for this regional mark protection.

Finally. Brew a lot and practice the art. Have fun.

Sorry for the novel.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on November 14, 2015, 03:32:41 AM
Is it just me that thinks this thread was derailed a long time ago.

Leos - you make good German style beers.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this....
Thank you.

With all due respect. There is no IT in beer overseas. I lived there half of my life and If there was IT in it would know what it is.

Now when we talk about the flavor. First it is barley. Continental barley has more flavor then domestic barley. Yes different maltsters get you a different flavors for the same style of malt. So you need to be maltster specific. You can actually blend base malt. Let say Weyernman Pilsner and Castle Pilsner.

Water is from soft to moderate. So there is a wide range. Adjust your recipe to your water.

Hops. Imported hops are fine quality and correct variety.

Yeast. Please do not tell me that 2124 is too clean and that augusteener is superb. Pick a yeast you like and work with it. You want clean beer with it, make it ferment clean. You want more esters in it ferment it that way. Fermentation flavor is dependent on vessel geometric, pitching rate and temperature. How many of you considered fermenting in open fermenter? Or open shallow fermenter?

Wort production. If you do step mashing it is less error prone and can create more fermentable wort. Not sure if decoction do too much to it. It is a good way to raise mash temp on large scale. If you have 6 vessel Brewhouse you can knock out one batch every 2 hours.

German/Czech beers sold in your local store are old beers that did sit in hot shipping container for couple of weeks. So I would not take it as a reference point. I suspect that PU in U.S. Is brewed in here. When you buy a keg it comes in Miller keg. With beer companies consolidation Europe is suffering from Euro Lager beer. This is a mass produced low flavor lager that compares to domestic mass produced lagers.

If you want to read more specifics about individual beers do a research in European product marks. You will find a lot of good info that is in English from malt modification index to final beer pH. This is on brewery bases that file for this regional mark protection.

Finally. Brew a lot and practice the art. Have fun.

Sorry for the novel.
A needed novel. Thanks for the view point of experience. I have no doubt about anything you said.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 14, 2015, 03:40:06 AM
Not exactly sure what all this
Means, but for me it's pretty simple and straight forward


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 14, 2015, 03:52:41 AM
Thanks for all the great info, Leos. Very much appreciated !
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on November 14, 2015, 04:12:01 AM
Mic drop
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Footballandhops on November 14, 2015, 04:14:21 AM
Cliff notes anyone??? Thread too long
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: AmandaK on November 14, 2015, 05:22:51 AM
Thank you Leos.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Stevie on November 14, 2015, 05:28:46 AM

Thank you Leos.
What are you even doing in this conversation? You can't brew a Helles on a Zymatic!

;)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: AmandaK on November 14, 2015, 05:42:16 AM

Thank you Leos.
What are you even doing in this conversation? You can't brew a Helles on a Zymatic!

;)
I'm thinking that there is a lot of chatter, all pointing to the exact same thing: 'Freshness'. Only cursory review has been given to the freshness of malt and hops, which is the most likely candidate for 'fresh fields', 'flowers', and 'freshly milled grain'... aka "it".

We have two excellent "German" breweries in our area, Urban Chestnut and KC Bier Co. They both have what half of this thread is talking about, the "it". You know what they both do? They invest tons of time and effort into getting the freshest malt and hops they can get ahold of, while serving it as fresh as possible. I do believe this is the "it". And I do believe I can try/do it on a tiny scale on the Z. ;) and

Hahahaha. I've enjoyed this thread while drinking my "Kolsch". Good night, boys. Cheers.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on November 14, 2015, 01:19:36 PM
I'm thinking that there is a lot of chatter, all pointing to the exact same thing: 'Freshness'. Only cursory review has been given to the freshness of malt and hops, which is the most likely candidate for 'fresh fields', 'flowers', and 'freshly milled grain'... aka "it".

We have two excellent "German" breweries in our area, Urban Chestnut and KC Bier Co. They both have what half of this thread is talking about, the "it". You know what they both do? They invest tons of time and effort into getting the freshest malt and hops they can get ahold of, while serving it as fresh as possible.

Yeah, that's what I was getting at in my earlier post, too, Amanda. It would make sense why it can be really difficult to duplicate at home since homebrewers typically get the 'rejected' malt and hops that the breweries didn't want for themselves first.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: AmandaK on November 14, 2015, 02:30:02 PM
I'm thinking that there is a lot of chatter, all pointing to the exact same thing: 'Freshness'. Only cursory review has been given to the freshness of malt and hops, which is the most likely candidate for 'fresh fields', 'flowers', and 'freshly milled grain'... aka "it".

We have two excellent "German" breweries in our area, Urban Chestnut and KC Bier Co. They both have what half of this thread is talking about, the "it". You know what they both do? They invest tons of time and effort into getting the freshest malt and hops they can get ahold of, while serving it as fresh as possible.

Yeah, that's what I was getting at in my earlier post, too, Amanda. It would make sense why it can be really difficult to duplicate at home since homebrewers typically get the 'rejected' malt and hops that the breweries didn't want for themselves first.
I saw that and immediately thought of Florian and Steve importing very specific malts and personally flying to Germany to select their hops. FWIW, Steve at KC Bier Co uses *mostly* Ireks malt, shipped in via container every month, for  a 30bbl brewhouse. Florian at Urban Chestnut uses so many different maltsters that I couldn't keep track.

I believe it is a great point you made there.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Phil_M on November 16, 2015, 02:22:51 PM
I feel that malt freshness is likely the case as well.

That being said, with decoction and all these styles seem (to me) to lend themselves to homemade malt more than others...
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: stpug on November 16, 2015, 03:43:04 PM
Little bit of my IT. Thick creamy head, persists all the way to the last sip. Aroma of malt and noble hops. Rich malt taste balanced with noble hops, that finishes very dry and crisp.
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/11/12/daa1a9d5bfe9c426c68b524922e21c48.jpg)

That picture has me intrigued (and jealous). Is that a recipe you're willing to share?
How long do you bake the meringue on top?
Northern German Pils
92% avangard pils
4% carapils
4% melanoiden
.75oz magnum (28.8IBU) @ 50min
1oz Hallertauer (3.2IBU), Select Spalt (2.8IBU), Saaz (4.2IBU) @ 10
WLP830

Mash 2qt/lb 147F for 90 minutes. batch sparge 185F water.
Mash PH at room temp  = 5.45-5.50
Mash Efficiency: 92%
Reduce PH in kettle to 5.0-5.1
Boil time 60 minutes.
water profile: RO water w/additions Calcium 35ppm, Mg 17ppm, Sodium 14ppm, Sulfate 90ppm, Chloride 62ppm

OG 1.048
FG 1.008
5.2% ABV
39IBU
SRM 3.5

Thanks for sharing the recipe. I happen to have everything on hand with the exception of magnum and WLP830, but I have northern brewer and WLP802 ;). I also have planned a string of lager beers being brewed this winter so this recipe (with the couple subs) will be 2nd on my list. I'm also working with water that can accommodate that profile. Nice to see other folks not being overly concerned of requiring "soft water".

Cheers!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 16, 2015, 03:45:42 PM
I'm considering doing step mash for my Helles this weekend-mostly to try it and see if i notice anything different.
I will have to use temp infusions to do this, and beersmith calculated as follows:
(10.3# malt @65F and mash tun at 90F)
3.25gal 160F water for target mash temp of 145F. hold for 40 minutes (1.26qt/lb)
2.5gal of 179F water for target mash temp of 158F. hold for 50 minutes. (final @ 2.23qt/lb)
Target Mash PH 5.5

Drain and then batch sparge with 4.75 gals of 180F water treated with 2ml lactic.
Adjust PH in kettle for final PH of 5.0-5.1.

Any thoughts on the two infusion temps-not sure if they are good or if there is a good way to calculate/check vs. beersmith.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewday on November 16, 2015, 04:14:41 PM
I'm considering doing step mash for my Helles this weekend-mostly to try it and see if i notice anything different.
I will have to use temp infusions to do this, and beersmith calculated as follows:
(10.3# malt @65F and mash tun at 90F)
3.25gal 160F water for target mash temp of 145F. hold for 40 minutes (1.26qt/lb)
2.5gal of 179F water for target mash temp of 158F. hold for 50 minutes. (final @ 2.23qt/lb)
Target Mash PH 5.5

Drain and then batch sparge with 4.75 gals of 180F water treated with 2ml lactic.
Adjust PH in kettle for final PH of 5.0-5.1.

Any thoughts on the two infusion temps-not sure if they are good or if there is a good way to calculate/check vs. beersmith.

I heat the water 5° higher than what Beersmith gives me, and that seems to work for me.  I have the 10G cooler.  If it comes in high, easy to fix.  Too low, PITA.

Edit:  I'm referring to the second infusion.  Obviously treat the initial strike as you usually would.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewinhard on November 16, 2015, 06:22:33 PM
+1 to this ^^^^^^^. Always be sure to have EXTRA treated, boiling water on hand as you will need it when you don't hit your next highest mash temp exactly.  Ask me how I know.....
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 16, 2015, 06:49:26 PM
the dextrinization rest can be 158F +, so agreed should error on hotter and make sure i'm at least 158F. probably target 188F strike water and see how that works.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 16, 2015, 09:03:29 PM
+1 to this ^^^^^^^. Always be sure to have EXTRA treated, boiling water on hand as you will need it when you don't hit your next highest mash temp exactly.  Ask me how I know.....
Unless you can direct fire and raise the temp that way.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewinhard on November 16, 2015, 09:26:06 PM
Of course, but I believe Worthog said he was using infusions to achieve his rests. 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on November 16, 2015, 09:56:32 PM
+1 to this ^^^^^^^. Always be sure to have EXTRA treated, boiling water on hand as you will need it when you don't hit your next highest mash temp exactly.  Ask me how I know.....
Unless you can direct fire and raise the temp that way.

cant do that until i stop using my cooler to mash....someday  8)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: brewinhard on November 16, 2015, 11:59:52 PM
+1 to this ^^^^^^^. Always be sure to have EXTRA treated, boiling water on hand as you will need it when you don't hit your next highest mash temp exactly.  Ask me how I know.....
Unless you can direct fire and raise the temp that way.

cant do that until i stop using my cooler to mash....someday  8)

Heh, heh.  I am in the exact same boat.  That is why it is single infusion mash for me only!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: chrifive916 on November 17, 2015, 05:04:31 PM
I wonder...can German home brewers located in Germany recreate "it"?

Are there any Americans who studied in Germany who can create" it" when they apply their learning back in the US? Way back someone mentioned a couple breweries they thought had "it"... Has anybody asked them what they believe" it" to be,  and if they have recommendations for home brewers trying to capture that essence?

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: stpug on November 17, 2015, 05:29:47 PM
You want it all but you can't have it
It's in your face but you can't grab it

What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?

What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?

You want it all but you can't have it
It's in your face but you can't grab it

It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?
It's it

--Faith No More

They, too, were having this discussion back in the early 90s. Even wrote a song about it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on December 15, 2015, 02:31:26 AM
So quick report out on the Helles. I did use the 15% kolsch malt and that really adds a nice complexity and bready malt aroma. I also went with yellow full profile- and I'm not sure that was a good move. For a 1.008 FG beer, it is super malty and would likely make someone think they are drinking a less dry beer than it actually is. It's a really nice beer that I think many would say was tasty and quite enjoyable, just not sure it's how I'd brew it again.


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Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on December 15, 2015, 03:39:20 AM
So did you go 85/15 Pilsner to kolsch malt? I assume it is somewhere in these 20 pages but I am lazy...
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Footballandhops on December 15, 2015, 03:51:30 AM

I wonder...can German home brewers located in Germany recreate "it"?

Are there any Americans who studied in Germany who can create" it" when they apply their learning back in the US? Way back someone mentioned a couple breweries they thought had "it"... Has anybody asked them what they believe" it" to be,  and if they have recommendations for home brewers trying to capture that essence?

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
Love it! This is probably my favorite post that I've read here to date....
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on December 15, 2015, 01:11:02 PM

So did you go 85/15 Pilsner to kolsch malt? I assume it is somewhere in these 20 pages but I am lazy...
77%pils
15% kolsch
8% carapils


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: blatz on December 15, 2015, 04:08:01 PM

So did you go 85/15 Pilsner to kolsch malt? I assume it is somewhere in these 20 pages but I am lazy...
77%pils
15% kolsch
8% carapils


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

that's a lot of carapils - I'm wondering if that is your culprit more than the water profile you chose.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on December 15, 2015, 04:11:11 PM


So did you go 85/15 Pilsner to kolsch malt? I assume it is somewhere in these 20 pages but I am lazy...
77%pils
15% kolsch
8% carapils


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

that's a lot of carapils - I'm wondering if that is your culprit more than the water profile you chose.

Went off memory. Opened recipe it was 80/15/5%

5% = .5lb


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on December 15, 2015, 05:22:37 PM


So did you go 85/15 Pilsner to kolsch malt? I assume it is somewhere in these 20 pages but I am lazy...
77%pils
15% kolsch
8% carapils


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

that's a lot of carapils - I'm wondering if that is your culprit more than the water profile you chose.

Went off memory. Opened recipe it was 80/15/5%

5% = .5lb


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I'm giving carapils another shot today. Haven't used any in probably two years.
Helles Exportbier
81% Best Pils
16% Best Vienna
3% Carapils
148F for 90 min

The last batch was the three step Hochkurz. Tasty but kinda on the thin side. Added carapils and went with single infusion.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on December 15, 2015, 05:24:27 PM



So did you go 85/15 Pilsner to kolsch malt? I assume it is somewhere in these 20 pages but I am lazy...
77%pils
15% kolsch
8% carapils


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

that's a lot of carapils - I'm wondering if that is your culprit more than the water profile you chose.

Went off memory. Opened recipe it was 80/15/5%

5% = .5lb


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I'm giving carapils another shot today. Haven't used any in probably two years.
Helles Exportbier
81% Best Pils
16% Best Vienna
3% Carapils
148F for 90 min

The last batch was the three step Hochkurz. Tasty but kinda on the thin side. Added carapils and went with single infusion.
That looks like a good one


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on December 15, 2015, 05:33:52 PM



So did you go 85/15 Pilsner to kolsch malt? I assume it is somewhere in these 20 pages but I am lazy...
77%pils
15% kolsch
8% carapils


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

that's a lot of carapils - I'm wondering if that is your culprit more than the water profile you chose.

Went off memory. Opened recipe it was 80/15/5%

5% = .5lb


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I'm giving carapils another shot today. Haven't used any in probably two years.
Helles Exportbier
81% Best Pils
16% Best Vienna
3% Carapils
148F for 90 min

The last batch was the three step Hochkurz. Tasty but kinda on the thin side. Added carapils and went with single infusion.
That looks like a good one


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I sure like the style. I'm leaning toward dennys opinion on Munich Helles, not so sure it's a style that trips my trigger. Pilsner kinda pushes my limit on bittering. This thing is right between the two. I give it about 25 IBUs of German Magnum at 60 and two ounces of Mittelfruh at 5.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: 69franx on December 15, 2015, 06:54:27 PM
Jim, which yeast are you using for this? Dont see it in the last couple posts and dont want to relive the earlier pages
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on December 15, 2015, 07:13:49 PM
Jim, which yeast are you using for this? Dont see it in the last couple posts and dont want to relive the earlier pages
Wyeast 2352 Munich II, I've fallen in love with that stuff. Just my luck it's a seasonal. Hopefully I can keep this latest pitch going for a while. I might have to get a job sweeping floor at wyeast otherwise.

It thrives as a high krausen pitch at 52F. It responds very well to the Marshall/Kai/Narziss quick method. Reaching 50% attenuation in about 4 days, then I bump it to 68 ambient for a few days, then 68 actual. Its done in 7-10 days and ready to crash. Drops brilliant. No fruity, just a very slight and pleasant sulphur note when warmed. Seems to do great malty or hoppy. Fantastic house lager yeast I think.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: 69franx on December 15, 2015, 07:49:53 PM
Sounds great Jim! Might be able to still find a pack, but not getting to the store anytime soon, so we will see
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on December 15, 2015, 07:53:09 PM
Sounds great Jim! Might be able to still find a pack, but not getting to the store anytime soon, so we will see
You got me thinking and I'm sending my lhbs an email to get me 4 more before they shut it off
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on December 15, 2015, 08:55:25 PM


So did you go 85/15 Pilsner to kolsch malt? I assume it is somewhere in these 20 pages but I am lazy...
77%pils
15% kolsch
8% carapils


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

that's a lot of carapils - I'm wondering if that is your culprit more than the water profile you chose.

Went off memory. Opened recipe it was 80/15/5%

5% = .5lb


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I'm giving carapils another shot today. Haven't used any in probably two years.
Helles Exportbier
81% Best Pils
16% Best Vienna
3% Carapils
148F for 90 min

The last batch was the three step Hochkurz. Tasty but kinda on the thin side. Added carapils and went with single infusion.

Looks delish. The pale lager that I have finishing up is very similar

83% pilsner
15% Vienna
2% melanoidin

W34/70

sterling and crystal hops for ~25 IBUs
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on December 15, 2015, 11:54:01 PM


So did you go 85/15 Pilsner to kolsch malt? I assume it is somewhere in these 20 pages but I am lazy...
77%pils
15% kolsch
8% carapils


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

that's a lot of carapils - I'm wondering if that is your culprit more than the water profile you chose.

Went off memory. Opened recipe it was 80/15/5%

5% = .5lb


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I'm giving carapils another shot today. Haven't used any in probably two years.
Helles Exportbier
81% Best Pils
16% Best Vienna
3% Carapils
148F for 90 min

The last batch was the three step Hochkurz. Tasty but kinda on the thin side. Added carapils and went with single infusion.

Looks delish. The pale lager that I have finishing up is very similar

83% pilsner
15% Vienna
2% melanoidin

W34/70

sterling and crystal hops for ~25 IBUs
I need to try some crystal. I haven't yet.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 16, 2015, 12:20:26 AM
I need to try some crystal. I haven't yet.

They're really nice, you'll like them a lot. I'm hoping to brew a helles soon, too. Wanting to try my hand at lowering pH in the kettle, just to satisfy my curiosity. Who knows, maybe it'll have 'it'.   ;)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: klickitat jim on December 16, 2015, 12:20:04 PM
Sounds great Jim! Might be able to still find a pack, but not getting to the store anytime soon, so we will see
FYI morebeer has ten left. I'm waiting to hear back from my local guy. If he's dry I'm going to try morebeer. I might have to get with Mark and learn how to keep this on hand year round.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Ancient Abbey on December 16, 2015, 03:32:56 PM
Wow, quite a thread.  I didn't make it through all 21 pages, so I apologize if this was covered already...

I agree that the Helles has been Americanized; more is better.  Even Gordon uses uses Munich and aromatic malt in his recipe (which is ironic because he fusses over Jamil's schwarzbier being too Americanized and porter-like, but I digress...). 

Some keys I've learned along my Helles journey:

- the maltster makes a big difference.  I've done smash beers from multiple maltsters, cultivars and malting processes.  They all taste like pilsner malt but are subtly different, with some tasting more "german" than others.  They are all delicious, so enjoy the journey even if they don't produce the unique character you are chasing for your perfect Helles.

- while dextrin malt is not essential, if you do use it in your beer, then make sure it is one with diastatic power and not just a really light crystal malt.  They just taste different to me. 

- beta acids are often overlooked.  I listened to a podcast with John Palmer where he said beta acids were more important than alpha acids for authentic german flavor.  I started paying more attention to the beta content in noble hops, and wow, they are really high compared to American and British hops.  I used to avoid low AA hops in favor of high AA hops, as I wanted as little vegetative material extracted as possible.  However, I noticed I enjoyed the flavor of low AA hop (Mittlefurh 2% alpha, 5% beta) that has more beta acids as opposed to using a very small amount of a high AA hop (Magnum).  The foam seemed considerably more stable and long lasting too. 

- 10:1 ratio just always seemed to work.  In trying to think like a German brewer, I decided to be engineering-minded and analytical, hence ratios.  Base 10 seemed to make sense, just look at the metric system, mash profile steps (40, 50, 60, 70C) and the 10C affect on reaction rates.  I use 90.9% base malt with 9.1% specialty malt (vienna, munich, etc.) and it turns out really nice.  I also do the same with hops, getting 90.9% of the IBU from the long boil addition and 9.1% of the IBU from a 15 min addition.  This allows me to tinker with ingredients from a consistent template from batch to batch (i.e., is the difference because I used different malt/hops/yeast, or because I changed the ratios).

- high kilned malts score better in comps, but taste less authentic. 

- carbonation is often ignored.  A 2-3 psi variance in the keg at 32-34F makes a big difference.  Backing off just a touch tends to make the malts softer and produce more delicate notes.  I think this ties in with both overall pH effects and carbonic bite, which masks subtle malt notes as pain receptors on your tongue are overly stimulated.  I think you can see the difference by taking your helles and pouring one with the glass tilted so as not to off-gas CO2, and one using the traditional 7-minute pour where carbonation is driven off.  They taste like two different beers.  (Try this with a Kolsch too for that creamy mouthfeel.) 

- 835 and 860 are my favorite strains so far.  Bavarian strains (833, 835, 838, 860) tend to produce a bit of a grape fruitiness, which I get in some commercial examples. WLP830 makes a nice beer, but is better suited for pilsners IMO. 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 16, 2015, 03:50:23 PM
Wow, quite a thread.  I didn't make it through all 21 pages, so I apologize if this was covered already...

I agree that the Helles has been Americanized; more is better.  Even Gordon uses uses Munich and aromatic malt in his recipe (which is ironic because he fusses over Jamil's schwarzbier being too Americanized and porter-like, but I digress...). 

Some keys I've learned along my Helles journey:

- the maltster makes a big difference.  I've done smash beers from multiple maltsters, cultivars and malting processes.  They all taste like pilsner malt but are subtly different, with some tasting more "german" than others.  They are all delicious, so enjoy the journey even if they don't produce the unique character you are chasing for your perfect Helles.

- while dextrin malt is not essential, if you do use it in your beer, then make sure it is one with diastatic power and not just a really light crystal malt.  They just taste different to me. 

- beta acids are often overlooked.  I listened to a podcast with John Palmer where he said beta acids were more important than alpha acids for authentic german flavor.  I started paying more attention to the beta content in noble hops, and wow, they are really high compared to American and British hops.  I used to avoid low AA hops in favor of high AA hops, as I wanted as little vegetative material extracted as possible.  However, I noticed I enjoyed the flavor of low AA hop (Mittlefurh 2% alpha, 5% beta) that has more beta acids as opposed to using a very small amount of a high AA hop (Magnum).  The foam seemed considerably more stable and long lasting too. 

- 10:1 ratio just always seemed to work.  In trying to think like a German brewer, I decided to be engineering-minded and analytical, hence ratios.  Base 10 seemed to make sense, just look at the metric system, mash profile steps (40, 50, 60, 70C) and the 10C affect on reaction rates.  I use 90.9% base malt with 9.1% specialty malt (vienna, munich, etc.) and it turns out really nice.  I also do the same with hops, getting 90.9% of the IBU from the long boil addition and 9.1% of the IBU from a 15 min addition.  This allows me to tinker with ingredients from a consistent template from batch to batch (i.e., is the difference because I used different malt/hops/yeast, or because I changed the ratios).

- high kilned malts score better in comps, but taste less authentic. 

- carbonation is often ignored.  A 2-3 psi variance in the keg at 32-34F makes a big difference.  Backing off just a touch tends to make the malts softer and produce more delicate notes.  I think this ties in with both overall pH effects and carbonic bite, which masks subtle malt notes as pain receptors on your tongue are overly stimulated.  I think you can see the difference by taking your helles and pouring one with the glass tilted so as not to off-gas CO2, and one using the traditional 7-minute pour where carbonation is driven off.  They taste like two different beers.  (Try this with a Kolsch too for that creamy mouthfeel.) 

- 835 and 860 are my favorite strains so far.  Bavarian strains (833, 838, 860) tend to produce a bit of a grape fruitiness, which I get in some commercial examples. WLP830 makes a nice beer, but is better suited for pilsners IMO. 


Good info. Thanks !
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on December 16, 2015, 04:06:21 PM

- while dextrin malt is not essential, if you do use it in your beer, then make sure it is one with diastatic power and not just a really light crystal malt.  They just taste different to me. 


^^^^ what are examples of diastatic power dextrin malt
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: mabrungard on December 16, 2015, 05:29:49 PM

^^^^ what are examples of diastatic power dextrin malt

Would that be something like Chit malt?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 16, 2015, 05:30:59 PM
Tell us why 835 Lager X (Kloster Andechs), and 860 (some say it is Augustiner's yeast) are not Bavarian strains?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Ancient Abbey on December 16, 2015, 06:38:56 PM

- while dextrin malt is not essential, if you do use it in your beer, then make sure it is one with diastatic power and not just a really light crystal malt.  They just taste different to me. 


^^^^ what are examples of diastatic power dextrin malt

Beer and brewing did an article on it a while back.  The link to it seems to be missing or corrupt, but here is a repost of the article:  https://hellbach.us/blog/food-drink/beer/carapils-the-most-misunderstood-malt/

Northern brewer also lists the diastatic power of Weyermann carafoam: http://www.northernbrewer.com/weyermann-carafoam-malt

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Ancient Abbey on December 16, 2015, 06:42:53 PM
Tell us why 835 Lager X (Kloster Andechs), and 860 (some say it is Augustiner's yeast) are not Bavarian strains?



- 835 and 860 are my favorite strains so far.  Bavarian strains (833, 838, 860) tend to produce a bit of a grape fruitiness, which I get in some commercial examples. WLP830 makes a nice beer, but is better suited for pilsners IMO. 


I don't believe I said they weren't. 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on December 16, 2015, 06:49:26 PM


- while dextrin malt is not essential, if you do use it in your beer, then make sure it is one with diastatic power and not just a really light crystal malt.  They just taste different to me. 


^^^^ what are examples of diastatic power dextrin malt

Beer and brewing did an article on it a while back.  The link to it seems to be missing or corrupt, but here is a repost of the article:  https://hellbach.us/blog/food-drink/beer/carapils-the-most-misunderstood-malt/

Northern brewer also lists the diastatic power of Weyermann carafoam: http://www.northernbrewer.com/weyermann-carafoam-malt

I use weyermann... And that explanation makes sense why I never have had any issues as described.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 16, 2015, 06:54:42 PM
I've never had attenuation issues with 5% or less regular carapils either, but like the article mentioned I don't combine carapils with darker crystal, since there is no need and there can be attenuation issues there. 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 16, 2015, 07:15:32 PM
Tell us why 835 Lager X (Kloster Andechs), and 860 (some say it is Augustiner's yeast) are not Bavarian strains?



- 835 and 860 are my favorite strains so far.  Bavarian strains (833, 838, 860) tend to produce a bit of a grape fruitiness, which I get in some commercial examples. WLP830 makes a nice beer, but is better suited for pilsners IMO. 


I don't believe I said they weren't.

The wording can be interpreted that those are not in the second group called Bavarian.

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: erockrph on December 16, 2015, 07:26:53 PM
- the maltster makes a big difference.  I've done smash beers from multiple maltsters, cultivars and malting processes.  They all taste like pilsner malt but are subtly different, with some tasting more "german" than others.  They are all delicious, so enjoy the journey even if they don't produce the unique character you are chasing for your perfect Helles.

<snip>

- carbonation is often ignored.  A 2-3 psi variance in the keg at 32-34F makes a big difference.  Backing off just a touch tends to make the malts softer and produce more delicate notes.  I think this ties in with both overall pH effects and carbonic bite, which masks subtle malt notes as pain receptors on your tongue are overly stimulated.  I think you can see the difference by taking your helles and pouring one with the glass tilted so as not to off-gas CO2, and one using the traditional 7-minute pour where carbonation is driven off.  They taste like two different beers.  (Try this with a Kolsch too for that creamy mouthfeel.)  .
I know you mention that maltster is a matter of personal taste, but are there any that you prefer that get you closest to the Helles quality you're after?

I'm also glad you mentioned carbonation. I recently rediscovered this style after finding some fresh, cold Paulaner helles at a local store and the softer carbonation jumped out at me immediately.

Lots of good info in your post - thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Ancient Abbey on December 16, 2015, 07:49:05 PM
Tell us why 835 Lager X (Kloster Andechs), and 860 (some say it is Augustiner's yeast) are not Bavarian strains?



- 835 and 860 are my favorite strains so far.  Bavarian strains (833, 838, 860) tend to produce a bit of a grape fruitiness, which I get in some commercial examples. WLP830 makes a nice beer, but is better suited for pilsners IMO. 


I don't believe I said they weren't.

The wording can be interpreted that those are not in the second group called Bavarian.

I listed 860 in parentheses as a Bavarian strain.  It's in the first and second group.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on December 16, 2015, 07:51:15 PM
Tell us why 835 Lager X (Kloster Andechs), and 860 (some say it is Augustiner's yeast) are not Bavarian strains?



- 835 and 860 are my favorite strains so far.  Bavarian strains (833, 838, 860) tend to produce a bit of a grape fruitiness, which I get in some commercial examples. WLP830 makes a nice beer, but is better suited for pilsners IMO. 


I don't believe I said they weren't.

The wording can be interpreted that those are not in the second group called Bavarian.


Agreed. I do believe that 838 makes a fantastic helles with Best Heidelberg, a bit of Best vienna, it gets pretty darn close.
Personally, I think crystal of any variety has no place in a helles.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 16, 2015, 08:33:39 PM
Tell us why 835 Lager X (Kloster Andechs), and 860 (some say it is Augustiner's yeast) are not Bavarian strains?



- 835 and 860 are my favorite strains so far.  Bavarian strains (833, 838, 860) tend to produce a bit of a grape fruitiness, which I get in some commercial examples. WLP830 makes a nice beer, but is better suited for pilsners IMO. 


I don't believe I said they weren't.

The wording can be interpreted that those are not in the second group called Bavarian.

I listed 860 in parentheses as a Bavarian strain.  It's in the first and second group.
i missed that, do you like the grape esters? I find those in Bocks often.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: narcout on December 16, 2015, 08:49:27 PM
Wyeast 2352 Munich II, I've fallen in love with that stuff. Just my luck it's a seasonal.

I like this yeast as well.  I have a pack in the fridge I am planning to use in a Munich Dunkel next month.

Beer and brewing did an article on it a while back.  The link to it seems to be missing or corrupt, but here is a repost of the article:  https://hellbach.us/blog/food-drink/beer/carapils-the-most-misunderstood-malt/

I did not know that; thanks for posting.
Title: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Ancient Abbey on December 16, 2015, 11:09:44 PM
Tell us why 835 Lager X (Kloster Andechs), and 860 (some say it is Augustiner's yeast) are not Bavarian strains?




- 835 and 860 are my favorite strains so far.  Bavarian strains (833, 838, 860) tend to produce a bit of a grape fruitiness, which I get in some commercial examples. WLP830 makes a nice beer, but is better suited for pilsners IMO. 


I don't believe I said they weren't.

The wording can be interpreted that those are not in the second group called Bavarian.

I listed 860 in parentheses as a Bavarian strain.  It's in the first and second group.
i missed that, do you like the grape esters? I find those in Bocks often.

It's really interesting that you say that.  I used to associate that grape character with a malt ester associated with pilsner malt.  However, this summer I did a helles side-by-side (split batch wort) with 830 and 833, and sure enough the bock yeast (833) had that grape note and the 830 did not.  So, I'm leaning towards it being a yeast ester.  Interestingly, I also get it from kolsch yeast. 

Yes, I do like it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: JT on December 17, 2015, 05:13:30 AM
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/12/16/cd5a94c0d1e0d0af3ce5e8c81a9271e3.jpg)
The mention of this beer prompted a purchase tonight, though not in a can it is within date and was cold stored.  Delicious.  I guess I'm in the camp that needs to compare this side by side with other beers to find and put my finger on IT though. 
All in all, pretty entertaining and (at times) educational thread.  I officially have the German/Czech bug and will be brewing one shortly. 

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: atodd on December 17, 2015, 04:38:22 PM
- beta acids are often overlooked.  I listened to a podcast with John Palmer where he said beta acids were more important than alpha acids for authentic german flavor.  I started paying more attention to the beta content in noble hops, and wow, they are really high compared to American and British hops.  I used to avoid low AA hops in favor of high AA hops, as I wanted as little vegetative material extracted as possible.  However, I noticed I enjoyed the flavor of low AA hop (Mittlefurh 2% alpha, 5% beta) that has more beta acids as opposed to using a very small amount of a high AA hop (Magnum).  The foam seemed considerably more stable and long lasting too. 


I find this interesting and look forward to trying it, my first Helles used magnum at the 60 min mark but when I brew it again I will use a lower AA hop.  Thanks for all the great info you provided I look forward to incorporate it in my next Helles.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on December 17, 2015, 04:43:15 PM
- beta acids are often overlooked.  I listened to a podcast with John Palmer where he said beta acids were more important than alpha acids for authentic german flavor.  I started paying more attention to the beta content in noble hops, and wow, they are really high compared to American and British hops.  I used to avoid low AA hops in favor of high AA hops, as I wanted as little vegetative material extracted as possible.  However, I noticed I enjoyed the flavor of low AA hop (Mittlefurh 2% alpha, 5% beta) that has more beta acids as opposed to using a very small amount of a high AA hop (Magnum).  The foam seemed considerably more stable and long lasting too. 


I find this interesting and look forward to trying it, my first Helles used magnum at the 60 min mark but when I brew it again I will use a lower AA hop.  Thanks for all the great info you provided I look forward to incorporate it in my next Helles.

For a kolsch, someone recommended using noble hops for a huge FWH hop addition only. I had previously been using magnum. The change was huge and go me closer to 'it'.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: stpug on December 17, 2015, 04:56:06 PM
The term "it" for a characteristic about a beer sounds so dumb (and snobby) to me.

Ohhh, this beer has "it".
I drank a beer last night that had "it".
My beer is getting closer to having "it".
"It" is too complex to describe in human words that I just call it, "it".

If nothing else, says it's that German quality or German character or kickass smoothness.

My beer has that "kickass smoothness" that you find in quality German beers :D
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 17, 2015, 06:18:35 PM
Narziß has stated that German beer has lost complexity due to hop extract or high Alpha hops being used. Noble hops in three additions is what he advocates.
http://refreshingbeer.blogspot.no/2014/11/narziss-slams-state-of-german-brewing.html
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on December 17, 2015, 06:28:35 PM
Narziß has stated that German beer has lost complexity due to hop extract or high Alpha hops being used. Noble hops in three additions is what he advocates.
http://refreshingbeer.blogspot.no/2014/11/narziss-slams-state-of-german-brewing.html
Interesting. I've been using magnum to bitter, the idea being using less of a high alpha hop to minimize vegetal matter in the wort.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on December 17, 2015, 06:40:27 PM
Narziß has stated that German beer has lost complexity due to hop extract or high Alpha hops being used. Noble hops in three additions is what he advocates.
http://refreshingbeer.blogspot.no/2014/11/narziss-slams-state-of-german-brewing.html
Interesting. I've been using magnum to bitter, the idea being using less of a high alpha hop to minimize vegetal matter in the wort.

many of us have done the same....
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 17, 2015, 06:44:13 PM
I've been the Magnum king for years on lagers, using the 'vegetal mass' argument. I need to start bittering with nobles again.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: jeffy on December 17, 2015, 06:45:19 PM
The term "it" for a characteristic about a beer sounds so dumb (and snobby) to me.

Ohhh, this beer has "it".
I drank a beer last night that had "it".
My beer is getting closer to having "it".
"It" is too complex to describe in human words that I just call it, "it".

If nothing else, says it's that German quality or German character or kickass smoothness.

My beer has that "kickass smoothness" that you find in quality German beers :D
I think you'll find that we all agree with you.  "It" comes from a dead or dying thread, kind of like It Came From the Swamp.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: mchrispen on December 17, 2015, 06:52:53 PM
Fascinating!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on December 17, 2015, 09:21:49 PM
The term "it" for a characteristic about a beer sounds so dumb (and snobby) to me.

Ohhh, this beer has "it".
I drank a beer last night that had "it".
My beer is getting closer to having "it".
"It" is too complex to describe in human words that I just call it, "it".

If nothing else, says it's that German quality or German character or kickass smoothness.

My beer has that "kickass smoothness" that you find in quality German beers :D
I think you'll find that we all agree with you.  "It" comes from a dead or dying thread, kind of like It Came From the Swamp.
I refer to it as the German lager flavor or German beer flavor, as I referred to it in that thread that Amanda alluded to several pages back from 2012. It's most present in lagers, I think.

And I think I'll now stop using magnums to bitter...I do like first wort hopping though. So maybe a FWH and then an addition at 60 would be good.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on December 21, 2015, 08:13:38 PM
The term "it" for a characteristic about a beer sounds so dumb (and snobby) to me.

Ohhh, this beer has "it".
I drank a beer last night that had "it".
My beer is getting closer to having "it".
"It" is too complex to describe in human words that I just call it, "it".

If nothing else, says it's that German quality or German character or kickass smoothness.

My beer has that "kickass smoothness" that you find in quality German beers :D
I think you'll find that we all agree with you.  "It" comes from a dead or dying thread, kind of like It Came From the Swamp.
I refer to it as the German lager flavor or German beer flavor, as I referred to it in that thread that Amanda alluded to several pages back from 2012. It's most present in lagers, I think.



Indeed.. My beer has that "kickass smoothness" that you find in quality German beers.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: RPIScotty on December 21, 2015, 08:51:30 PM

The term "it" for a characteristic about a beer sounds so dumb (and snobby) to me.

Ohhh, this beer has "it".
I drank a beer last night that had "it".
My beer is getting closer to having "it".
"It" is too complex to describe in human words that I just call it, "it".

If nothing else, says it's that German quality or German character or kickass smoothness.

My beer has that "kickass smoothness" that you find in quality German beers :D
I think you'll find that we all agree with you.  "It" comes from a dead or dying thread, kind of like It Came From the Swamp.
I refer to it as the German lager flavor or German beer flavor, as I referred to it in that thread that Amanda alluded to several pages back from 2012. It's most present in lagers, I think.



Indeed.. My beer has that "kickass smoothness" that you find in quality German beers.

Welcome back.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 22, 2015, 02:19:04 AM
Shazam!



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk (http://tapatalk.com/m?id=1)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: RPIScotty on December 22, 2015, 02:46:17 AM

Shazam!



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk (http://tapatalk.com/m?id=1)

Or Kimota! for the Marvelman crowd.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on December 22, 2015, 02:21:05 PM


- beta acids are often overlooked.  I listened to a podcast with John Palmer where he said beta acids were more important than alpha acids for authentic german flavor.  I started paying more attention to the beta content in noble hops, and wow, they are really high compared to American and British hops.  I used to avoid low AA hops in favor of high AA hops, as I wanted as little vegetative material extracted as possible.  However, I noticed I enjoyed the flavor of low AA hop (Mittlefurh 2% alpha, 5% beta) that has more beta acids as opposed to using a very small amount of a high AA hop (Magnum).  The foam seemed considerably more stable and long lasting too. 

- 10:1 ratio just always seemed to work.  In trying to think like a German brewer, I decided to be engineering-minded and analytical, hence ratios.  Base 10 seemed to make sense, just look at the metric system, mash profile steps (40, 50, 60, 70C) and the 10C affect on reaction rates.  I use 90.9% base malt with 9.1% specialty malt (vienna, munich, etc.) and it turns out really nice.  I also do the same with hops, getting 90.9% of the IBU from the long boil addition and 9.1% of the IBU from a 15 min addition.  This allows me to tinker with ingredients from a consistent template from batch to batch (i.e., is the difference because I used different malt/hops/yeast, or because I changed the ratios).

- high kilned malts score better in comps, but taste less authentic. 

- carbonation is often ignored.  A 2-3 psi variance in the keg at 32-34F makes a big difference.  Backing off just a touch tends to make the malts softer and produce more delicate notes.  I think this ties in with both overall pH effects and carbonic bite, which masks subtle malt notes as pain receptors on your tongue are overly stimulated.  I think you can see the difference by taking your helles and pouring one with the glass tilted so as not to off-gas CO2, and one using the traditional 7-minute pour where carbonation is driven off.  They taste like two different beers.  (Try this with a Kolsch too for that creamy mouthfeel.) 

- 835 and 860 are my favorite strains so far.  Bavarian strains (833, 835, 838, 860) tend to produce a bit of a grape fruitiness, which I get in some commercial examples. WLP830 makes a nice beer, but is better suited for pilsners IMO.

So, here we go.

Beta Acids- YUP, at a minimum you want 1:1. Aging the hops(room temp in a paper bag) for some time will also soften the alphas, and allow the betas to come to the forefront. Betas are more robust so bitter off the alpha(but you will be getting beta only), if aging.

No american can think like a schooled German brewer. However, 97% 2%, 1% for an export helles, and 98% 2% for a regular helles would be a good start. Carahell and caramunich being the 2 and 1.

I am sorry but a step mash is THE ONLY option. A hochkurz at 63/70/76 being fairly standard (but this is all based on malt). Using a step mash or a decoction alters the times for the rests.

Low carb will bring out malt.

Yeast is a nuance, use it to your preference. I use a house blend.

But alas, none of this create that "kickass German beer flavor". These are the .5's and 1%'s of the overall.

Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on December 22, 2015, 04:36:32 PM

...
...
...



Indeed.. My beer has that "kickass smoothness" that you find in quality German beers.

Welcome back.

Te he

Dorst Hornbush says Helles MUST HAVE the protein rest for 30 minutes at 122F or 50C. If you choose to skip this rest, he says it is not a true helles. I'm not so sure about that, but whatevs... I plan to include it in my next helles just because. I usually do a Hochkurz step infusion mash, it's easy enough. I've actually been conditioning my grain lately before mashing in as well. I really like what that's doing for the crush and the run off of the mash.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on December 22, 2015, 04:47:42 PM

...
...
...



Indeed.. My beer has that "kickass smoothness" that you find in quality German beers.

Welcome back.

Te he

Dorst Hornbush says Helles MUST HAVE the protein rest for 30 minutes at 122F or 50C. If you choose to skip this rest, he says it is not a true helles. I'm not so sure about that, but whatevs... I plan to include it in my next helles just because. I usually do a Hochkurz step infusion mash, it's easy enough. I've actually been conditioning my grain lately before mashing in as well. I really like what that's doing for the crush and the run off of the mash.

No offense to Horst... Actually I don't really care. You do rests based on malt, not based on style. unless you are getting very green malt, which you are not because it has a shelf life of like days...Overworking the malt will hurt you. Rests and temps are ALWAYS based on this. Infusion/step and decoction will change those times as well.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on December 22, 2015, 04:53:35 PM
Point taken. It's likely out-dated info. But if that's the case, how is Narziss not out-dated? I believe Horst went to Weihenstephan brewing school...
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on December 22, 2015, 05:03:39 PM
Point taken. It's likely out-dated info. But if that's the case, how is Narziss not out-dated? I believe Horst went to Weihenstephan brewing school...

Well, Die Bierbrauerei: Band 2: Die Technologie der Würzebereitung (https://books.google.com/books/about/Die_Bierbrauerei.html?id=KGlULi2NI5gC), is ~3 years old, so it has all the current revisions based on current variables. Horst, is old. ;)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on December 22, 2015, 05:07:29 PM
Point taken. It's likely out-dated info. But if that's the case, how is Narziss not out-dated? I believe Horst went to Weihenstephan brewing school...

Well, Die Bierbrauerei: Band 2: Die Technologie der Würzebereitung (https://books.google.com/books/about/Die_Bierbrauerei.html?id=KGlULi2NI5gC), is less than 3 years old, so it has all the current revisions based on current variables. Horst, is old. ;)
Haha, awesome. Thanks. Now if I could only speak/read German...
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on December 22, 2015, 05:14:16 PM
Point taken. It's likely out-dated info. But if that's the case, how is Narziss not out-dated? I believe Horst went to Weihenstephan brewing school...

Well, Die Bierbrauerei: Band 2: Die Technologie der Würzebereitung (https://books.google.com/books/about/Die_Bierbrauerei.html?id=KGlULi2NI5gC), is less than 3 years old, so it has all the current revisions based on current variables. Horst, is old. ;)
Haha, awesome. Thanks. Now if I could only speak/read German...

Well, I didn't know a lick before I started with that sooo. ;)
Title: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Ancient Abbey on January 04, 2016, 12:10:00 AM

.... I've actually been conditioning my grain lately before mashing in as well. I really like what that's doing for the crush and the run off of the mash.

Would you explain your process of conditioning malt?
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on January 04, 2016, 02:36:42 AM
I have a small spray bottle filled with water that I mist the grain with in a bucket, stir them with my hands making sure to get all the grains mixed well and repeat maybe 6-8 times. Then let sit for 15 minutes or so. By this time, the grains feel dry again after they've absorbed all the water I mixed in. The husks don't shred and there's almost no dust when pouring into the mill hopper for milling. It's quite nice. I also get very few, if any, dough balls when mashing in.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on January 04, 2016, 03:02:45 PM
Here is a video I made some time ago for a person.

https://www.facebook.com/thebeerery/videos/599515566857714/

I average 2-4oz of water per grain bill.


Here are some crush comparisions:
Non-conditioned:
(http://stuff.bryanrabeconstruction.com/BEER/Malt%20Conditioning/nonconditionedhand.jpg)

Conditioned:
(http://stuff.bryanrabeconstruction.com/BEER/Malt%20Conditioning/conditionedhand.jpg)

Apart from better lautering, and dust. A proper wet condition also keeps more tannins out of the wort, and some of keeps some of the nasty enzymes (helps with LOX) out of the wort as well.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on January 04, 2016, 09:13:39 PM
Looks like mine after crushing. I really like how it goes through the mill too. My mill rollers are worn down just enough that with dry non-conditioned grain, it barely wants to pull the grain through. But with conditioning, it pulls it through nicely most of the time, depending how much water I use to condition.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: JT on January 04, 2016, 09:19:39 PM
Tried conditioning for the first time today.  I don't think I used enough water, but still noticed a difference.  Will continue going forward, thanks!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on January 05, 2016, 02:38:51 AM
Tried conditioning for the first time today.  I don't think I used enough water, but still noticed a difference.  Will continue going forward, thanks!
Yeah, with how easy it is, I don't know why more people don't do it. I condition it while the strike water is heating, let it sit and have enough time to mill before mashing in. I imagine it's probably easier on the roller knurls over time versus not conditioning as well. Maybe I'm just making that up...I don't know.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: dmtaylor on January 07, 2016, 03:35:31 PM
Dorst Hornbush says Helles MUST HAVE the protein rest for 30 minutes at 122F or 50C. If you choose to skip this rest, he says it is not a true helles. I'm not so sure about that, but whatevs... I plan to include it in my next helles just because. I usually do a Hochkurz step infusion mash, it's easy enough. I've actually been conditioning my grain lately before mashing in as well. I really like what that's doing for the crush and the run off of the mash.

No offense to Horst... Actually I don't really care. You do rests based on malt, not based on style. unless you are getting very green malt, which you are not because it has a shelf life of like days...Overworking the malt will hurt you. Rests and temps are ALWAYS based on this. Infusion/step and decoction will change those times as well.

For the record... *dmtaylor Likes this*   ^^^^^

Seems I've been missing out on some great discussions recently.  Welcome back (although you sure weren't gone for long... just a few days!? just couldn't NOT participate... right??  ;)  ).
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on January 07, 2016, 03:46:49 PM
Dorst Hornbush says Helles MUST HAVE the protein rest for 30 minutes at 122F or 50C. If you choose to skip this rest, he says it is not a true helles. I'm not so sure about that, but whatevs... I plan to include it in my next helles just because. I usually do a Hochkurz step infusion mash, it's easy enough. I've actually been conditioning my grain lately before mashing in as well. I really like what that's doing for the crush and the run off of the mash.

No offense to Horst... Actually I don't really care. You do rests based on malt, not based on style. unless you are getting very green malt, which you are not because it has a shelf life of like days...Overworking the malt will hurt you. Rests and temps are ALWAYS based on this. Infusion/step and decoction will change those times as well.

For the record... *dmtaylor Likes this*   ^^^^^

Seems I've been missing out on some great discussions recently.  Welcome back (although you sure weren't gone for long... just a few days!? just couldn't NOT participate... right??  ;)  ).

Well yea, I got a few emails and what not asking me to come back. Maybe just maybe I will change someone into a German style brewer and seems some people care about the styles.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: dmtaylor on January 07, 2016, 03:55:42 PM
I achieved "it" once.  "It" was very nice, very very nice........  I have not brewed any lagers in a few years now.  Time to brew another one very soon.

Just don't do a protein rest.  Poor efficiency (on purpose!) also helps (gasp! yes!).
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on January 07, 2016, 03:59:43 PM
I achieved "it" once.  "It" was very nice, very very nice........  I have not brewed any lagers in a few years now.  Time to brew another one very soon.

Just don't do a protein rest.  Poor efficiency (on purpose!) also helps (gasp! yes!).

Care to explain your brew process? Very curious, and I like details.. prefermentation mostly.  8)
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: dmtaylor on January 07, 2016, 05:04:21 PM
Care to explain your brew process? Very curious, and I like details.. prefermentation mostly.  8)

Sure... My "Dave's Double Decoction with Minimal Minutes and Minimal Messing Around Method" is similar to Kai Troester's double decoction method, with personalized tweaks.  Like I said, it's been a few years, so these notes actually date back to 2013 (copy & paste):

0) This is a no-sparge process.  If you don't have enough volume after the decoctions, just add more water.  Expect an efficiency hit for this, and add extra malt up front to compensate.  More malt = more malt flavor!

1) Calculate the strike volume using about 1.5 to 1.75 qts/lb -- maximum for small beers, minimum for bigger beers.
2) Treat the strike volume with salts as necessary, then bring 1/3 of it to a boil.
3) Meanwhile, use the other 2/3 of the strike volume to moisten the crushed grains cold at room temperature.
4) Add the boiled volume into the moistened grains.  Resultant temperature should be 95 to 105 F.
5) Immediately pull 2/3 of the thick mash using a colander, and add heat to hit 154 F for 15 minutes.
6) Add 1-2 qt warm water (exact temperature not too important) to the first decoction per 5-gallon batch size (disregard exactness of preboil volume at this point), then bring to boil for 15-40 minutes -- maximums for dark beers, minimums for light.
7) Add first decoction back into the main mash and rest at average >=148 F for 15 minutes (exact temperature not terribly important, between 148-158 F should be fine).
8 ) Pull 1/3 of thin mash and bring to a boil.
9) Immediately upon the second decoction reaching a reasonable boil, add the second decoction right back into the main mash -- no waiting around.  Resultant temperature should be ~170 F for mashout.
10) Immediately pull the grain bag (if BIAB) or runoff and continue brewing as normal.

Honestly I can't say I've done this process with no sparge yet.  Last time I sparged and it turned out great.  But in future I intend to try it as a no-sparge process, as part of my underlying and continuing theory that less sparging = more malt necessary = more malt flavor in the final beer!

The universe can debate the merits of this process or lack thereof all you want.  This is the way I shall do it for at least the next couple batches, until such time as I might continue to tweak the process again.  To each their own.  8)

EDIT: By the way..... a good 6 months of lagering and/or aging seems to help, too.  Good thing I'm lazy and don't drink heavily.

Oh, and other thing: Boil all your noble hops for a full hour.  Tastes yummy that way.  You don't need any late hop additions.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: BrodyR on January 07, 2016, 05:09:14 PM
Malt conditioning...  add that to cheaper prices, crush control, and more selection (Chit Malt) as yet another reason I need to invest in a crusher.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: JT on January 08, 2016, 04:06:48 AM
Care to explain your brew process? Very curious, and I like details.. prefermentation mostly.  8)

Sure... My "Dave's Double Decoction with Minimal Minutes and Minimal Messing Around Method" is similar to Kai Troester's double decoction method, with personalized tweaks.  Like I said, it's been a few years, so these notes actually date back to 2013 (copy & paste):

0) This is a no-sparge process.  If you don't have enough volume after the decoctions, just add more water.  Expect an efficiency hit for this, and add extra malt up front to compensate.  More malt = more malt flavor!

1) Calculate the strike volume using about 1.5 to 1.75 qts/lb -- maximum for small beers, minimum for bigger beers.
2) Treat the strike volume with salts as necessary, then bring 1/3 of it to a boil.
3) Meanwhile, use the other 2/3 of the strike volume to moisten the crushed grains cold at room temperature.
4) Add the boiled volume into the moistened grains.  Resultant temperature should be 95 to 105 F.
5) Immediately pull 2/3 of the thick mash using a colander, and add heat to hit 154 F for 15 minutes.
6) Add 1-2 qt warm water (exact temperature not too important) to the first decoction per 5-gallon batch size (disregard exactness of preboil volume at this point), then bring to boil for 15-40 minutes -- maximums for dark beers, minimums for light.
7) Add first decoction back into the main mash and rest at average >=148 F for 15 minutes (exact temperature not terribly important, between 148-158 F should be fine).
8 ) Pull 1/3 of thin mash and bring to a boil.
9) Immediately upon the second decoction reaching a reasonable boil, add the second decoction right back into the main mash -- no waiting around.  Resultant temperature should be ~170 F for mashout.
10) Immediately pull the grain bag (if BIAB) or runoff and continue brewing as normal.

Honestly I can't say I've done this process with no sparge yet.  Last time I sparged and it turned out great.  But in future I intend to try it as a no-sparge process, as part of my underlying and continuing theory that less sparging = more malt necessary = more malt flavor in the final beer!

The universe can debate the merits of this process or lack thereof all you want.  This is the way I shall do it for at least the next couple batches, until such time as I might continue to tweak the process again.  To each their own.  8)

EDIT: By the way..... a good 6 months of lagering and/or aging seems to help, too.  Good thing I'm lazy and don't drink heavily.

Oh, and other thing: Boil all your noble hops for a full hour.  Tastes yummy that way.  You don't need any late hop additions.
See how easy that was? No secret squirrel code, no cryptic messages, no translations needed.    Thanks Dave!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: Ancient Abbey on January 08, 2016, 12:27:06 PM
I tried malt conditioning this week.  It was interesting how well the husks remained in tact.  So much so that I may have to adjust my mill to a finer crush, as I actually lost efficiency because so many grains were squeezed through instead of being crushed.  I do have it set for a coarse crush though. 

Seems like a lot of material remained on the rollers.  Do you worry about rust or mold? 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on January 08, 2016, 01:20:45 PM


Seems like a lot of material remained on the rollers.  Do you worry about rust or mold?

You used too much water or didn't wait long enough for the husks to absorb the water. Rollers should be clean.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on January 08, 2016, 01:25:31 PM
Care to explain your brew process? Very curious, and I like details.. prefermentation mostly.  8)

Sure... My "Dave's Double Decoction with Minimal Minutes and Minimal Messing Around Method" is similar to Kai Troester's double decoction method, with personalized tweaks.  Like I said, it's been a few years, so these notes actually date back to 2013 (copy & paste):

0) This is a no-sparge process.  If you don't have enough volume after the decoctions, just add more water.  Expect an efficiency hit for this, and add extra malt up front to compensate.  More malt = more malt flavor!

1) Calculate the strike volume using about 1.5 to 1.75 qts/lb -- maximum for small beers, minimum for bigger beers.
2) Treat the strike volume with salts as necessary, then bring 1/3 of it to a boil.
3) Meanwhile, use the other 2/3 of the strike volume to moisten the crushed grains cold at room temperature.
4) Add the boiled volume into the moistened grains.  Resultant temperature should be 95 to 105 F.
5) Immediately pull 2/3 of the thick mash using a colander, and add heat to hit 154 F for 15 minutes.
6) Add 1-2 qt warm water (exact temperature not too important) to the first decoction per 5-gallon batch size (disregard exactness of preboil volume at this point), then bring to boil for 15-40 minutes -- maximums for dark beers, minimums for light.
7) Add first decoction back into the main mash and rest at average >=148 F for 15 minutes (exact temperature not terribly important, between 148-158 F should be fine).
8 ) Pull 1/3 of thin mash and bring to a boil.
9) Immediately upon the second decoction reaching a reasonable boil, add the second decoction right back into the main mash -- no waiting around.  Resultant temperature should be ~170 F for mashout.
10) Immediately pull the grain bag (if BIAB) or runoff and continue brewing as normal.

Honestly I can't say I've done this process with no sparge yet.  Last time I sparged and it turned out great.  But in future I intend to try it as a no-sparge process, as part of my underlying and continuing theory that less sparging = more malt necessary = more malt flavor in the final beer!

The universe can debate the merits of this process or lack thereof all you want.  This is the way I shall do it for at least the next couple batches, until such time as I might continue to tweak the process again.  To each their own.  8)

EDIT: By the way..... a good 6 months of lagering and/or aging seems to help, too.  Good thing I'm lazy and don't drink heavily.

Oh, and other thing: Boil all your noble hops for a full hour.  Tastes yummy that way.  You don't need any late hop additions.
See how easy that was? No secret squirrel code, no cryptic messages, no translations needed.    Thanks Dave!


Sure follow that... It *might* get you on the same continent.

I actually find it pretty funny that everyone is gimme gimme, and no one wants to even try.That type of attitude may work for others, but that falls on deaf ears for me, sorry.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: JT on January 08, 2016, 01:41:52 PM
Care to explain your brew process? Very curious, and I like details.. prefermentation mostly.  8)

Sure... My "Dave's Double Decoction with Minimal Minutes and Minimal Messing Around Method" is similar to Kai Troester's double decoction method, with personalized tweaks.  Like I said, it's been a few years, so these notes actually date back to 2013 (copy & paste):

0) This is a no-sparge process.  If you don't have enough volume after the decoctions, just add more water.  Expect an efficiency hit for this, and add extra malt up front to compensate.  More malt = more malt flavor!

1) Calculate the strike volume using about 1.5 to 1.75 qts/lb -- maximum for small beers, minimum for bigger beers.
2) Treat the strike volume with salts as necessary, then bring 1/3 of it to a boil.
3) Meanwhile, use the other 2/3 of the strike volume to moisten the crushed grains cold at room temperature.
4) Add the boiled volume into the moistened grains.  Resultant temperature should be 95 to 105 F.
5) Immediately pull 2/3 of the thick mash using a colander, and add heat to hit 154 F for 15 minutes.
6) Add 1-2 qt warm water (exact temperature not too important) to the first decoction per 5-gallon batch size (disregard exactness of preboil volume at this point), then bring to boil for 15-40 minutes -- maximums for dark beers, minimums for light.
7) Add first decoction back into the main mash and rest at average >=148 F for 15 minutes (exact temperature not terribly important, between 148-158 F should be fine).
8 ) Pull 1/3 of thin mash and bring to a boil.
9) Immediately upon the second decoction reaching a reasonable boil, add the second decoction right back into the main mash -- no waiting around.  Resultant temperature should be ~170 F for mashout.
10) Immediately pull the grain bag (if BIAB) or runoff and continue brewing as normal.

Honestly I can't say I've done this process with no sparge yet.  Last time I sparged and it turned out great.  But in future I intend to try it as a no-sparge process, as part of my underlying and continuing theory that less sparging = more malt necessary = more malt flavor in the final beer!

The universe can debate the merits of this process or lack thereof all you want.  This is the way I shall do it for at least the next couple batches, until such time as I might continue to tweak the process again.  To each their own.  8)

EDIT: By the way..... a good 6 months of lagering and/or aging seems to help, too.  Good thing I'm lazy and don't drink heavily.

Oh, and other thing: Boil all your noble hops for a full hour.  Tastes yummy that way.  You don't need any late hop additions.
See how easy that was? No secret squirrel code, no cryptic messages, no translations needed.    Thanks Dave!


Sure follow that... It *might* get you on the same continent.

I actually find it pretty funny that everyone is gimme gimme, and no one wants to even try.That type of attitude may work for others, but that falls on deaf ears for me, sorry.
Here, you asked, he answered.  Others have asked you basically the same thing and received "learn German" as a response. 
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: dmtaylor on January 08, 2016, 01:45:22 PM
Here we go again.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 08, 2016, 01:51:52 PM
I actually find it pretty funny that everyone is gimme gimme, and no one wants to even try.That type of attitude may work for others, but that falls on deaf ears for me, sorry.



You definitely have a unique approach to the brewing forum - show up, tease your expert lager knowledge, then call us lazy for not trying. Utterly and completely the opposite purpose of a good brewing forum. Kudos. I still call trolling.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on January 08, 2016, 02:03:24 PM
Here you go, here is a snippit of a recent non-decoction helles. I add water to grain like everyone else.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kG41xcdiSU
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on January 08, 2016, 02:22:05 PM
Care to explain your brew process? Very curious, and I like details.. prefermentation mostly.  8)

Sure... My "Dave's Double Decoction with Minimal Minutes and Minimal Messing Around Method" is similar to Kai Troester's double decoction method, with personalized tweaks.  Like I said, it's been a few years, so these notes actually date back to 2013 (copy & paste):

0) This is a no-sparge process.  If you don't have enough volume after the decoctions, just add more water.  Expect an efficiency hit for this, and add extra malt up front to compensate.  More malt = more malt flavor!

1) Calculate the strike volume using about 1.5 to 1.75 qts/lb -- maximum for small beers, minimum for bigger beers.
2) Treat the strike volume with salts as necessary, then bring 1/3 of it to a boil.
3) Meanwhile, use the other 2/3 of the strike volume to moisten the crushed grains cold at room temperature.
4) Add the boiled volume into the moistened grains.  Resultant temperature should be 95 to 105 F.
5) Immediately pull 2/3 of the thick mash using a colander, and add heat to hit 154 F for 15 minutes.
6) Add 1-2 qt warm water (exact temperature not too important) to the first decoction per 5-gallon batch size (disregard exactness of preboil volume at this point), then bring to boil for 15-40 minutes -- maximums for dark beers, minimums for light.
7) Add first decoction back into the main mash and rest at average >=148 F for 15 minutes (exact temperature not terribly important, between 148-158 F should be fine).
8 ) Pull 1/3 of thin mash and bring to a boil.
9) Immediately upon the second decoction reaching a reasonable boil, add the second decoction right back into the main mash -- no waiting around.  Resultant temperature should be ~170 F for mashout.
10) Immediately pull the grain bag (if BIAB) or runoff and continue brewing as normal.

Honestly I can't say I've done this process with no sparge yet.  Last time I sparged and it turned out great.  But in future I intend to try it as a no-sparge process, as part of my underlying and continuing theory that less sparging = more malt necessary = more malt flavor in the final beer!

The universe can debate the merits of this process or lack thereof all you want.  This is the way I shall do it for at least the next couple batches, until such time as I might continue to tweak the process again.  To each their own.  8)

EDIT: By the way..... a good 6 months of lagering and/or aging seems to help, too.  Good thing I'm lazy and don't drink heavily.

Oh, and other thing: Boil all your noble hops for a full hour.  Tastes yummy that way.  You don't need any late hop additions.

Have to say... Good on ya! Looks like a solid decoction brew, and I can certainly appreciate that. I can see why you got a little it in it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: beersk on January 08, 2016, 05:18:51 PM
Alright, guys, let's drop that whole business and get past it.

Ancient Abbey, you used too much water as Bryan said, assuming you gave it long enough for the husks to absorb the water. Sometimes I'll have a little left on the rollers, but my roller knurls are wearing down and don't want to pull grain through worth a damn when it's dry. Some breweries do wet mill their grain. Not sure what the settings are on their mill gaps though. I haven't really seen much of a difference in efficiency with conditioning, just better crush and amazing runoff.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 08, 2016, 07:12:46 PM
Alright, guys, let's drop that whole business and get past it.

Ancient Abbey, you used too much water as Bryan said, assuming you gave it long enough for the husks to absorb the water. Sometimes I'll have a little left on the rollers, but my roller knurls are wearing down and don't want to pull grain through worth a damn when it's dry. Some breweries do wet mill their grain. Not sure what the settings are on their mill gaps though. I haven't really seen much of a difference in efficiency with conditioning, just better crush and amazing runoff.

I did pop for SS rollers on my mill, as I malt condition more and more.

I have seen a GEA Huppmann Millstar in action. The rollers are very large diameter, maybe in the 8 inch range. They have small groves on the face, that approximates the shape of a barley kernel. The rollers have slightly different RPM, so that the barley is sheared apart, the husks are intact, and the endosperm is fully exposed and milled. Hot water is sprayed in, and the mash begins in the mill. The mash slurry is then pumped to the mash tun. You can find the web site and read about it.
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: narvin on January 09, 2016, 01:00:24 AM
Here you go, here is a snippit of a recent non-decoction helles. I add water to grain like everyone else.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kG41xcdiSU

Lol, Germans don't mash in a bag!!!!
Title: Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
Post by: The Beerery on January 09, 2016, 02:26:44 AM
Here you go, here is a snippit of a recent non-decoction helles. I add water to grain like everyone else.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kG41xcdiSU

Lol, Germans don't mash in a bag!!!!

 You sure?