Author Topic: Skeleton Helles  (Read 1767 times)

Offline Fighting Buddha

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Skeleton Helles
« on: September 12, 2014, 07:45:15 PM »
Hello fellow Homebrewers!

I'm new to the forum and fairly new to homebrewing. I've mostly stuck to the BIAB process for the last couple years and have just acquired a free fridge so am planning a customized Helles recipe taking ingredients and techniques from the many I have found online. This is a learning process for me and it is my hope to gain some feedback and direction from you all on this recipe and method. Again, I'm an intermediate novice so if there are any errors in my thinking, please point them out.

Thanks for your time and knowledge!

------------------------------------------

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Skeleton Helles

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Munich Helles
Boil Time: 90 min
Batch Size: 5.25 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 4 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.063
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.048
Final Gravity: 1.012
ABV (standard): 4.7%
IBU (tinseth): 16.1
SRM (morey): 4.32

FERMENTABLES:
7 lb - German - Pilsner (81.8%)
1.5 lb - Dry Malt Extract - Munich (17.5%)
1 oz - German - Melanoidin (0.7%)

HOPS:
0.5 oz - Hallertau Hersbrucker, Type: Pellet, AA: 4, Use: Boil for 45 min, IBU: 5.93
0.5 oz - Perle, Type: Pellet, AA: 8.2, Use: Boil for 30 min, IBU: 10.18

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 150 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 2 gal
2) Sparge, Temp: 170 F, Time: 15 min, Amount: 2 gal

YEAST:
White Labs - German Ale/ Kölsch Yeast WLP029
Starter: No
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (avg): 75%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Temp: 65 - 69 F
Fermentation Temp: 58 F
Pitch Rate: 0.35 (M cells / ml / deg P)

TARGET WATER PROFILE:
Profile Name: Long Beach, CA
Ca2: 44
Mg2: 18
Na: 71
Cl: 76
SO4: 123
HCO3: 93
Water Notes:

NOTES:
Heat 2 gallons water to 165F. Add grain bag and mash at 150F for 60 min.

In another pot, heat 2 gallons water to 170F and transfer grain sack after 60 min. Let sit for 15 min covered.

Combine pots by placing grain bag in a sieve over mash water and slowly pour sparge water over grains to rinse.

Bring to boil and set timer for 90 min. T-45 min add Hallertau Hersbrucker. T-30 min add Perle. T-15 min add Irish Moss.

Transfer wort to fermenter and bring volume to 5.25g by adding cold water. Cool to 56F.

Pitch yeast and ferment at 58F for 4-5 days.

Ramp temp up to 65F over the next few days and ferment for 10-14 days / until FG is stable.

Cold crash for 48 hours then rack to keg and carb/condition for 4-5 days.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2014, 07:58:02 PM »
I'm not sure you need the melanoiden malt but it's a tiny amount so it probably doesn't matter.

any reason you're not using a lager yeast for this? you've got the fridge, might as well use it right? at that point you would want to chill to 45 and pitch and hold at ~50 for the first 4-5 days then bring it up to 55 or 60 to finish out.
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Offline gman23

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2014, 08:33:41 PM »
It looks more like a kolsch to me, especially with that yeast. To do a helles, you are going to need german lager yeast. Regardless, it looks tasty.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2014, 08:35:45 PM »

YEAST:
White Labs - German Ale/ Kölsch Yeast WLP029
Starter: No
Form: Liquid


Unless I'm missing something, somewhere, in your post: This is a big problem. You will need a starter for this beer, especially if you want to mimic anything like a lager. For a kolsch yeast you will need something more like a lager pitch. And for a 5 gallon batch and 1 vial of yeast you will need about a 3-4 liter starter. If you don't do this you will have problems with your fermentation (at 58 degrees) and flavors that are not as clean as probably what you are going for.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2014, 08:52:37 PM »
I take it that is the tap water profile in that listing? If so, the alkalinity of that water is going to need neutralization with acid or acid malt. You will almost certainly get some tannins out of the grain bill if you don't neutralize.

In addition, the levels of Na, Cl, and SO4 are kind of high and that might place a bit of minerallyness on the flavor. I don't think it would be horrible, just not ideal. Cutting with distilled or RO water could help.
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Offline Fighting Buddha

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2014, 09:50:07 PM »
Thanks for all the feedback so far!

Sounds like I should rethink the yeast.  My initial reaction was to do a starter, but then changed the recipe once the calculator in Brewer's Friend told me it was unnecessary.  I would, as well, normally think a lager yeast more appropriate, but I'm assuming the intent of using WLP029 (from one of the recipes) was to speed up the fermentation using a higher temp and/or alter the flavor profile.  Wrong assumption?

Which leads me to the Melanoidin. From what I understand, it is there to add some "breadiness" which is what I'm hoping for.  Could the WLP029 also attribute to this flavor?

Thanks for chiming in on the water profile as well.  I've just recently started looking into balancing it, so glad to know that it can definitely adversely affect the final outcome.  I'm unfamiliar with acidifying malts, but this sounds like an interesting direction.  Is it just something I add to the mash and will it change the flavor profile?


Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2014, 10:19:22 PM »
What are you using DME? You are mashing Pilsner malt.
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Offline gman23

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2014, 10:20:53 PM »
I get a subtle fruity, pear, and white grape character from WLP029 when I do my kolsch. I have used that yeast in an amber and IPA with very good results however its character comes through best in a kolsch or light colored beer in my opinion. I have found it to be a very versatile strain and plan to use it for a variety of beers in future. 
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2014, 10:36:57 PM »
FWIW, a helles probably stops being a helles with a kolsch yeast - it becomes a kolsch, which is great too. I too am a bit confused by the 1 oz of melanoidin malt (the tiny amount) and the Munich DME (the use of it given that you're mashing the base malt) .  Just mash ~ 1 lb Munich malt with the Pils malt - NOTHING beats making your own extract with fresh malt, especially a great malt like Munich. Not trying to be critical, just trying to give some helpful feedback. Good luck !
Jon H.

Offline Fighting Buddha

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2014, 11:12:24 PM »
Updated the recipe to drop the DME and Melanoidin and switched the yeast to WLP830.  The calculator is now telling me I need a whopping 6L starter! Will follow morticaixavier's suggestion of just using the fridge for what I'm getting it for... lagering!

FERMENTABLES:
8 lb - German - Pilsner (80%)
2 lb - German - Munich Light (20%)

YEAST:
White Labs - German Lager Yeast WLP830
Starter: Yes
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (avg): 76.5%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Temp: 50 - 55 F
Fermentation Temp: 50 F
Pitch Rate: 1.5 (M cells / ml / deg P)

Questions now are...

1) Will I be able to fit 10lbs of grain and the 2gals of water for the mash in a 4 gallon pot? Guessing I'll need more water to start. (Sounds like I probably get to buy myself a bigger brew kettle too!)

2) At 6L of starter can I even fit everything into 1 5gal carboy? If not, can I split the batch to 2 carboys?




Offline Stevie

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2014, 11:19:07 PM »
At 1.25 qt/pound you would max out the 4 gallons.

You would want to crash and decant the starter before adding to the wort.

Offline Fighting Buddha

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2014, 11:22:35 PM »
At 1.25 qt/pound you would max out the 4 gallons.

You would want to crash and decant the starter before adding to the wort.

Oops. You're totally right... think my brain is on overload now.  For some reason I was picturing it all going into the fermenter.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2014, 11:29:26 PM »
Sorry, you were right - I saw everything except how space limited you are by your pot, which explains the Munich DME. In this case, I would stick with your DME idea to give you a little more space to mash. But definitely (as said) you want to cold crash the starter, pour off almost all the liquid, swirl the slurry and pitch - you don't need the spent starter liquid.
Jon H.

Offline Fighting Buddha

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2014, 12:23:23 AM »
Thanks for all the helpful comments and direction.  Here are the revised ingredients and method.  Hoping this passes muster with everyone, but as always still open to suggestions.

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Skeleton Helles - Revised

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Munich Helles
Boil Time: 90 min
Batch Size: 5.25 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 4 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.062
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.047
Final Gravity: 1.011
ABV (standard): 4.77%
IBU (tinseth): 17.35
SRM (morey): 4.13

FERMENTABLES:
7 lb - German - Pilsner (82.4%)
1.5 lb - Dry Malt Extract - Munich (17.6%)

HOPS:
0.6 oz - Hallertau Hersbrucker, Type: Pellet, AA: 4, Use: Boil for 45 min, IBU: 7.14
0.5 oz - Perle, Type: Pellet, AA: 8.2, Use: Boil for 30 min, IBU: 10.21

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 150 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 2 gal
2) Sparge, Temp: 170 F, Time: 15 min, Amount: 2 gal

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
2 tsp - Irish Mos, Time: 15 min, Type: Fining, Use: Boil
3 oz - Dry Malt Extract - Extra Light, Type: Other, Use: Primary <----- This is for the starter

YEAST:
White Labs - German Lager Yeast WLP830
Starter: Yes
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (avg): 76.5%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Temp: 50 - 55 F
Fermentation Temp: 50 F
Pitch Rate: 1.5 (M cells / ml / deg P)

PRIMING:
Method: Force Carbonation
Amount: 20psi

TARGET WATER PROFILE:
Profile Name: Long Beach, CA
Ca2: 44
Mg2: 18
Na: 71
Cl: 76
SO4: 123
HCO3: 93
Water Notes:
Ask Stein Fillers for recommendations on balancing water.  Acidic Malt or adjuncts?

NOTES:
-- DAY 1 --

Yeast starter

-- DAY 2 --

MASH
--------
Heat 2 gallons water to 165F. Add grain bag and mash at 150F for 60 min.

SPARGE
--------
In another pot, heat 2 gallons water to 170F and transfer grain sack into it. Let sit for 15 min covered.

BOIL
--------
Combine pots by placing grain bag in a sieve over mash water and slowly pour sparge water over grains to rinse.

Bring to a boil and set timer for 90 min.
T-45 min: Add Hallertau Hersbrucker.
T-30 min: Add Perle and rehydrate Irish Moss.
T-15 min: Add Irish Moss.

Transfer wort to fermenter and bring total volume to 5.25g. Cool to 45F.

Crash 6L starter (in same cooling bath as fermenter). Decant, swirl and pitch. Ferment at 50F for 4-5 days.

Ramp temp up by 2 degrees each day (4 days total) to 58F and ferment for 10-14 days or until Final Gravity is stable.

Cold crash for 48 hours then rack to keg and carb/condition for 4-5 days.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Skeleton Helles
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2014, 01:05:52 AM »
I'm not sure you will be able to find Munich DME. I've only seen it as LME. I'd suggest you use some Pilsner DME and mash the Munich instead.

If you do have a source for Munich DME, please let us know. I'd love to get my hands on some.
Eric B.

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