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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Trying a twist on a Helles, need a little help
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:49 PM   #1
MetzgersBrauhaus
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Default Trying a twist on a Helles, need a little help

Okay guys, I've been wanting to design a Helles, but with some sort of unique twist. I think I have a good idea on one, but I still need a little help, since I know these kinds of lagers are all about subtlety, and I don't want to foul it up.

Here's what I have so far:

Good Land Lager

3lbs Pilsen DME (90 min)
3.15lbs Munich LME (90 min)
.5lbs Belgian Caramel Pils (steep)
.25lbs Melanoidin (steep)
.25oz Citra Hops whole flower (60 min)
.25oz Citra Hops whole flower (30 min)
1oz Hallertau whole flower (10 min)
1pkg White WLP833 Bock yeast

That's giving me these calculated vitals:
OG: 1.049
FG: 1.013
IBU: 18
ABV: 4.70%
SRM: 6

So here's where I'm having a few issues.

1. I'd like to get the ABV a little closer to 5-5.1%, but I'm already on the top of the style range for OG (1.051), and already a hair over the style range for FG (1.012). My IBUs are perfect, and I'm hoping the Citra hops provide the mango/papaya/pineapple twist they're supposed to, and the SRM is just a hair dark (by a point), but I'm okay with that.

2. I was aiming to make this a little more malt-forward than your typical pilsner, but still try and keep it crisp and drinkable. Do you think I'd get there?

3. I currently have only 2 fermentation vessels, and usually something in both. That is actually one less than the number of refrigerators I have on hand (shrug). How necessary is it to rack into a secondary for the lagering, or can I get away with leaving it all in one place? Or am I going to have to drop some coin I don't really have and get another bucket or better bottle or something?

4. Any other thoughts?

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
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I'm not an expert with extracts, but that seems like a lot of munich for a helles; i'd dial the munich down maybe to 5-15% if you're set on using it. Munich extracts are typically a 50-50 blend of pale malt and base malt. I didn't do the math, but you're probably around 20-25% munich now.

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Old 11-27-2012, 11:05 PM   #3
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"guide·line/ˈgīdˌlīn/
Noun:
A general rule, principle, or piece of advice."

I'd go for #3

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Old 11-28-2012, 02:01 AM   #4
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I don't think you need to do a 90 min boil with DME/LME. Is there a reason behind it?

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Old 11-28-2012, 01:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetzgersBrauhaus View Post
2. I was aiming to make this a little more malt-forward than your typical pilsner, but still try and keep it crisp and drinkable. Do you think I'd get there?
I suggested reducing the Munich a little which I think will make the beer more Helles like because I thought that's what you were going for, but that's certainly not required. I think if the beer attenuates properly it will be "crisp and drinkable". In order to attenuate, you'll need to pitch the proper amount of yeast. I don't know how much experience you have with lager beers, but they need a lot of yeast, about twice as much as ales. Definitely consult mrmalty.com or yeastcalc.com to determine the proper starter size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetzgersBrauhaus View Post
3. I currently have only 2 fermentation vessels, and usually something in both. That is actually one less than the number of refrigerators I have on hand (shrug). How necessary is it to rack into a secondary for the lagering, or can I get away with leaving it all in one place? Or am I going to have to drop some coin I don't really have and get another bucket or better bottle or something?
Truthfully, I don't know I've not used the WLP833 strain before. In general, most lagers seem to benefit from at least some amount of lagering which will occupy your ferm fridge unless you intend to lager in a kegerator or some other place. Some people lager in the primary and some lager using a secondary. There are various opinions and posts about which vessel can/should be used for lagering. Given your current equipment constraints, I'd just lager in the primary don't worry about it.

Also, I agree with chitowngator, you don't need to boil pilsner DME for 90 minutes, 60 is fine. It's my understanding the pilsner malt has already been boiled in order to make the extract and thus there is little concern about DMS.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pie_Man
In order to attenuate, you'll need to pitch the proper amount of yeast. I don't know how much experience you have with lager beers, but they need a lot of yeast, about twice as much as ales.
+1 Pitching the right amount of healthy yeast, aerating well, and controlling temps will go a long way in helping attenuation.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:03 PM   #7
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Okay, so taking some of your all's advice, I switched the recipe to this:

Good Land Lager

5lbs Pilsen DME (60 min) 73.5%
1lbs Munich DME (60 min) 14.7%
.5lbs Belgian Caramel Pils (steep) 8.1%
.25lbs Melanoidin (steep) 3.7%
.25oz Citra Hops whole flower (60 min)
.25oz Citra Hops whole flower (30 min)
1oz Hallertau whole flower (10 min)
1pkg White WLP833 Bock yeast

That's giving me these calculated vitals:
OG: 1.052 (highish)
FG: 1.014 (highish)
IBU: 18 (target)
ABV: 5.0% (target)
SRM: 5 (high end of target)

So that solved the low ABV problem I was having, but increased the OG and FG a little further, when they were already high (per style guidelines). I don't know how much that matters, but I defer to your experience, guys.

Here's what I'm really trying to create: A Helles-style lager that is a little more malt-forward than usual (hence the Munich malt), has some hop-provided fruit notes (which is why I used Citra for bittering hops), but still has an ABV close to the traditional Münchener Helles (i.e. Hofbräu, Spaten, etc).

Do you guys think this will get me there?

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Old 11-28-2012, 06:15 PM   #8
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using citra at those times won't give you the tropical fruit notes, you need to use it later in the boil. i'd just dry hop with them.

also, pils DME already has carapils in it, so i wouldn't bother adding more. i like the melanoidin add tho

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Old 11-28-2012, 06:27 PM   #9
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Helles is already about as malt forward as you can get within its gravity specs. The melanoidin will probably help, but to be more malty (esp without the control of going to AG) I think you may have to live with increasing gravity. You could lessen the hops to bring forward the maltiness, but don't take it too far - you need some for balance. Just to be sure, you're not confusing malty and sweet are you?

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Old 11-28-2012, 06:49 PM   #10
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My two cents, I'd drop the carapils as was already suggested. I think with the extracts, it'll be tough to get down to FG with additional cara malts. 833 is a great choice (my go to lager yeast) for a malty beer.

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