Light lager is a category of fairly light-colored, cold-fermented beers that range from low calorie and light flavored to rich and flavorful. Lite, standard and premium American lagers are similar to the beers brewed by the large, macro breweries in America. The other styles are typically more malt focused German-style lager beers, sometimes with more apparent hop character then the American versions.
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!
This beer recipe is featured in the January/February 2007 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!
Looking for something traditional and unique? This version of a classic Dortmund Export by Bruce Stott is definitely a challenge but delivers a refreshing German-style brew that's worth all the effort.
Russell Berger of Portland, OR, member of the Portland Brewers Collective, won a bronze medal in Category #2: Pale European Beer with a German Helles Exportbier during the 2019 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Providence, RI. Berger’s German Helles Exportbier was chosen as a top three entry among 394 entries in the category.Read More
Metts Potter of Browns Summit, NC, member of the Battleground Brewers Guild, the winning club of the 2019 Gambrinus Club Award, won a silver medal in Category #2: Pale European Beer with a Munich Helles during the 2019 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Providence, RI. Potter’s Munich Helles was chosen as the runner-up entry among 394 entries in the category. Read More
Brooks Conley of Stevenson Ranch, CA, won a gold medal in Category #1: Pale American Beer with an American Light Lager during the 2019 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Providence, RI, with the help of Greg Gustin & Jackie Flynn. Conley’s Pale American Beer was chosen as the best among 330 entries in the category.Read More
Gregory Irving of North Royalton, OH, won a gold medal in Category #2: Pale European Beer with a Helles Exportbier during the 2019 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Providence, RI, with the help of Mike Yingling. Irving and Yingling’s Pale European Beer was chosen as the best among 394 entries in the category.Read More
This beer recipe is featured in the November/December 2010 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Members enjoy exclusive access to the Zymurgy online archive, National Homebrew Competition winning recipes, and much more. Start a 30-day free trial today (no payment info required) to access all these resources!
This Munich helles lager earned Kerry Martin the best of show title in the 2010 Lunar Rendezbrew XVII homebrew competition. A member of the Austin Zealots club, Martin used his brewing experience and resources to mimic a recipe from the Brewing Network's Jamil Zainasheff. Martin adds that he "...added acidulated malt and [he] thinks it gives it a little zip and helps with keeping the mash pH in the optimum range with the light malt bill..." Try this recipe out and let us know what variations work for you!
This export helles from Earth Rider Brewery was inspired by Augustiner Edelstoff, which founder Tim Nelson fell in love with on a trip to Bavaria. It's alcohol percentage is above what a standard helles would be, and the hop character is also slightly elevated compared to a typical helles.
This hopped-up take on a classic American lager from Parleaux Beer Lab is whirlpooled with lemongrass and then dry-hopped with Lemondrop hops, lending it a rich, bright aroma with a smooth lemon candy-like finish.
The following recipe is featured in the January/February 2019 issue of Zymurgy magazine.
This recipe courtesy of Chris Allen uses a single-infusion mash, but you can also perform a decoction mash, as Little Harpeth Brewing Co. did in the pro version. If you want to skip the decoction mash, include the small amount of optional melanoidin malt to introduce some of the malt complexity that decoction brings to the table.