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Old 09-07-2009, 11:33 PM   #1
Shoemaker
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Default My Munich Helles isn't very helles...

I made an extract Munich Helles, John's Munich Helles from morebeer.com. Primary for 2 weeks, then lagered it for 2 weeks in my fridge. However, the beer isn't very light in color, but actually an amber color. Now, I'm not complaining, the beer tastes fantastic, but it doesn't really look or taste like a Helles.

I think I know why, which is that I didn't lager it long enough, but I wanted to hear everyone's opinion. Also, its pretty high in alcohol content it feels...I'm feeling a buzz right now after two beers...haha.

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:56 PM   #2
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Lagering won't lighten it. Most likely, the beer is darker because of the extract. Did you do a concentrated boil or full volume boil? A concentrated boil will darken the beer because of increased Maillard reactions (the same reactions that make toast brown).

There's a technique called "late extract addition" which will keep the color increase to a minimum. I've never done it, but the idea is that by adding the bulk of your extract near the end of the boil, you minimize the length of time of the concentrated boil, thereby reducing the darkening.

-Steve

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Old 09-08-2009, 01:55 AM   #3
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Interesting. Thanks for the response. I did do a concentrated boil and I think thats what caused this. I'm switching to all grain so I don't think I will have this issue in the future.

By the way, nice photo. Jerry Garcia was the reason I started playing guitar 8 years ago!

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Old 09-08-2009, 03:26 AM   #4
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Not knowing what you used I would guess liquid malt. It's always too dark from the beginning.

Switching to DME and doing the Late Addition Method really lightens most brews.

Where are you from in Jersey?

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Old 09-08-2009, 07:33 PM   #5
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I live in Lebanon, in Hunterdon County.

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Old 09-08-2009, 07:43 PM   #6
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Not sure what kind of a beer drinker you are, but IMO you are aiming really high. Helles is one of the most difficult styles to do well in the world. It is really light with very simplistic flavors and almost nothing to hide behind. All those things make it difficult, then add the layer of subtle flavors and notes that a good Helles has and it becomes a very illusive beer to do well. The intangibles are what set a good Helles apart from one that falls flat on its face.

I just started my quest to brew a great Helles and my first attempt was a fail as well. I brewed an extremely light blonde lager. Tweak process, brew, drink, repeat.

There is a reason it is almost impossible to get a good Helles in the US, don't be dissapointed.

I would suggest brewing some ales first. Ambers, browns, porters, pale ales, etc. Something that gives a little more leeway and has a wider flavor definition.

The problem with Helles is that any discerning beer drinker will easily be able to say, 'this is a good Helles' or 'this Helles has problems x, y, and z'. It is a pretty clear cut style so the discussion about what is and isn't a good beer is severely cut down.

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:53 PM   #7
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Well, since this is my all time favorite beer, I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me some tips, information on the brewing techniques for making this beer you have read so far. I spent 4 months in Germany a few months ago and couldn't get enough of this beer.

I'm moving to all grain soon so I think I will be able to control the process more as well.

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Old 09-08-2009, 11:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoemaker View Post
Well, since this is my all time favorite beer, I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me some tips, information on the brewing techniques for making this beer you have read so far. I spent 4 months in Germany a few months ago and couldn't get enough of this beer.

I'm moving to all grain soon so I think I will be able to control the process more as well.
haha you sound like me and my BIL. I love Helles too and he is borderline obsessed about it.

I have a thread about my Helles if you search in the advanced search for "Helles" and put in my user name you will get it. I think I have been involved in a few discussion about it.

IMO you need to go all-grain to brew this style. Maybe not, but I think so. I think a decoction is important (a traditional German mashing technique) and beyond that I don't really know. As someone who has consumed many Maß, I am sure you know what I mean about the subtly and intangibility of the style. It is a fun beer to try and do well because of the challenge.

If you have any questions, menschmachine is my resident Helles Guru. He has been brewing them for a long time. I will be more than happy to give you my experiences too.

I wish I could tell you more about how to do one with extract, but I don't have much experience with extract, sorry.

good luck!
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