Great review and analysis, Amanda. That beer was brewed mid February. After bottle conditioned it sat in a chest at 39º till I boxed it up. Same with the dunkel I sent. Its reaching its best by for sure. Thats my 3rd attemot, tweaking along the way. It won 1st place at Bend Oregon's Springfling. Probably because Randy didnt enter anything lol.
Malt bill was 9lbs Best Pils and 2 lbs Vienna, which I later learned to be Gambrinus. A light went off above my head when I learned that, regarding that honey note. Hopping was 1/2 oz of US Magnum at 60 in a 90 min biil. Thats it. Wyeast Munich 2308 at 50º till a stepped up d rest.
Helles is up next on my calendar. I'm going to drop the OG from 1.058ish to 1.050. 9.5 lbs Best Pils 1.5lbs Best Vienna. Im going to mash at 145 for 120, rather than 150 for 60. 60 minute boil thanks to Marshall, that might drop the color down where it should be. Hops this time will be an ounce of Mittelfruh at 60 and an ounce at 10. Going to pitch two 1L starters at high krausen and get it really rocking, hopefully. Plus I've learned a lot about water and pH since February so im amped to get after it.
Glad you enjoyed it. Im looking forward to continuing my journey toward my perfect Helles. The Dunkel needs help too. Too sweet in my opinion. I'll see what you think.
Edit: regarding the unexpected buzz, its about 5.5% so I dont know. But it was brewed in Washington, so who knows? Contact high?
Interesting. I'm almost always hesitant to point to a flavor or aroma and point out how it was formed, but it seems like my training/practice has paid off a bit here. At NHC this past year, I got a lot of experience in malt oxidation which was spurred on by judging the light lager category. Nathan Smith and I had this Dortmunder Export that was light gold in color, but was just a wallop of toffee and honey. It was crazy. During that mini-BOS, Bob Hall and I discussed malt oxidation in what was probably entirely too much detail for normal people. Talking with Bob led to him dragging a New Belgium brewer over and talking with him about types of oxidation that people don't really know about. And when we were leaving, I had the opportunity to ask John Mallett about it. Problem is that oxidation of paler malts can taste a lot like what higher/longer kilned malts taste like. :/
So it looks like you went from 1.058 to 1.016 with this one? It seems like a good idea to start lower and finish lower with this one - 1.050 OG like you say and then aim for 1.010 or 1.011. I have had some issue in the past with WY2308 finishing a bit on the sweeter side, but I've had good luck pitching a crap ton of it and warming it up as fermentation slows (similar to Marshall's fast lager ferment). The finish on that beer did seem a bit, I don't want to say flabby, but it wasn't crisp. I'm sure you'll nail that down now that you know more about water/pH.
I'll see if I can find time to kick back a couple tonight. The dunkel is next up on my list.