Author Topic: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles  (Read 27908 times)

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #270 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.

Ancient Abbey

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #271 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. 
« Last Edit: December 16, 2015, 07:57:35 PM by Ancient Abbey »

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #272 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 !
Jon H.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #273 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
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #274 on: December 16, 2015, 05:29:49 PM »

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

Would that be something like Chit malt?
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #275 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?
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Ancient Abbey

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #276 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


Ancient Abbey

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #277 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. 

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #278 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
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

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Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #279 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. 
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #280 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.

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #281 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!
Eric B.

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Ancient Abbey

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #282 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.

Offline beersk

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #283 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.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2015, 08:00:28 PM by beersk »
die Schönheit der bier...

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« Reply #284 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.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2015, 09:38:59 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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