This beer recipe is featured in the May/June 2015 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!
AHA founder Charlie Papazian’s Let It Go Helles is a perfect example of inexperience paired with huge effort that really pays off. He wanted to “walk the walk, not just talk the talk” when it came to creating sessionable lager and ale recipes, and this helles recipe was the outcome. Try it for yourself to see if your walk measures up to Charlie’s!
Let It Go Helles | Munich Helles
- 6.5 lb. (3 kg) Bohemian floor-malted Pilsner malt
- 12 oz. (340 g) Belgian aromatic malt
- 12 oz. (340 g) Gambrinus honey malt
- 4 oz. (113 g) German Sauermalz (acidulated malt)
- 0.5 oz. (14 g) Mt. Hood hops, 5% a.a. (60 min)
- 1 oz. (28 g) German Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops, 2.5% a.a. (60 min)
- 1 oz. (28 g) German Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops (1 min)
- 0.5 oz. (14 g) Santiam hop pellets (dry hop)
- 0.25 tsp. (1 g) powdered Irish moss (10 min)
- 0.75 cup (175 mL) corn sugar (priming bottles) or 0.33 cup (80 mL) corn sugar for kegging
- White Labs WLP1983 Charlie's Fist Bump yeast (fka WLP862 Cry Havoc) or German- or Bavarian-type lager yeast
- Original Gravity: 1.040 (10 B)
- Final Gravity: 1.011 (2.75 B)
- ABV: 4.1%
- IBU: about 21
- SRM: 6
- Efficiency: 80%
Note: this recipe is intended to create a 5.5 gallons (21 L) of wort, yielding 5 gallons (19 L) of beer.
A step infusion mash is employed to mash the grains. Add 8.5 quarts (8.1 L) of 140°F (60°C) water to the crushed grain, stir, stabilize, and hold the temperature at 132°F (56°C) for 30 minutes. Add 4 quarts (3.8 L) of boiling water and add heat to bring temperature up to 155°F (68°C). Hold for about 30 minutes. Raise temperature to 167°F (75°C), lauter, and sparge with 3.5 gallons (13.25 L) of 170°F (77°C) water. Collect about 5.5 gallons (21 L) of runoff. Add 60-minute hops and bring to a full and vigorous boil.
The total boil time will be 60 minutes. When 10 minutes remain, add the Irish moss. When 1 minute remains, add the 1-minute hops. After a total wort boil of 60 minutes, turn off the heat and place the pot (with cover on) in a running cold-water bath for 30 minutes. Continue to chill in the immersion or use other methods to chill your wort. Strain and sparge the wort into a sanitized fermenter. Bring the total volume to 5.5 gallons (21 L) with additional cold water if necessary. Aerate the wort very well.
Pitch the yeast when temperature of wort is about 70°F (21°C). Once visible signs of fermentation are evident, ferment at temperatures of about 55°F (12.5°C) for about one week or until fermentation shows signs of calm or stopping. Rack from primary to a secondary and add the hop pellets for dry hopping. If you have the capability, lager the beer at temperatures between 35 and 45°F (1.5 to 7°C) for 3 to 5 weeks. Prime with sugar and bottle or keg when complete.