looking for Munich Helles recipe feedback

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MarsColonist

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doing my first Helles tomorrow; going to do 12gal batch.:rockin:
OG: 1.050
SRM: 4.5
IBU: 20

14.0# German Pilsner (72.3%)
3.5# CaraFoam (18%)
1.44# Munich (7.4%)
0.42# Melonoiden Malt (2.2%)

1.5oz Tettnang (6.1%) [60min]

IBU/SG:387

4L starter of WLP810 San Fran Lager

50% Austin municipal water {Ca-10 Mg-17 Na-19 SO4-32 Cl-35 HCO3-70} +
Reverse Osmosis

6.5gal strike - mash @ 154°F @ 60min (.75g CaSo4 and 1.75g CaCl)
[Target {Ca-100 Mg-17 Na-19 SO4-32 Cl-60 HCO3-30}]

collect 14.5gals during sparge
add .85g CaSO4 and 2g CaCl to maintain target water
90 min boil

cool wort to 45°F, drop trub, oxygenate, pitch. Ferment 47°F till done (~2weeks); keg and lager @ 35°F for at least 8 weeks :mug:

Any thoughts?
 

shamrock

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We've been working on a Helles for a little while. We've done 4 20gal. batches so far and this last one is the best yet. We're no experts, but I'll pass along what we've discovered.

We like Spatan and Weihenstephan so that's what we're going for. Our recipe is quite a bit different from yours. I can't remember where it came from originally - probably here in the recipe database - but we've been adjusting it along the way.

The areas that have had the biggest impact for us are yeast choice, mashing procedure, and hop balance.

Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager is our choice. It provides a fruity/citrus nose that we detect in other Helles', especially Spatan.

Decoction Mashing did... something. Something good. We just started doing decoction mashes, and this last batch was our first decocted Helles so I can't say much more than that. The beer just has a more complex flavor than it ever did before. Right now it's magic instead of science for us. But tasty magic.

Hop balance. This is obvious, but it took us a while to get it right. We kept under-hopping giving us good but slightly sweet/malty brew. Once we hit that balance it was like "DING!!!" If you end up over hopping you'll just have a Pils instead of a Helles so big deal - you can impress your northern German friends instead.

We have yet to do a 90 minute boil, but we will next time as it supposedly helps with DMS.

Here is the recipe we've been using. It's for our system, efficiency (83%), and yields, so YMMV.

83.33 % Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain
5.56 % Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain
5.56 % Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain
5.56 % Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain
20.4 IBU Hallertauer (60 min) Hops
Bavarian Lager (Wyeast Labs #2206)

Ferment @ 50F with a 24 hours diacetyl rest at the end. Secondary for 4 weeks minimum @ 38F.

Good luck. It's a tough beer to make but it sure is fun trying!
 
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MarsColonist

MarsColonist

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Why the acid malt? I would drop it and cut the Carafoam back to a lb or less (5%) and add more Pils. Also use a German yeast if you want a Helles.
Our local brew club has a very prolific brewer that has several comp wins with his Helles, and I know he uses acid malt... just not sure how much.

I know the German and Bavarian lager yeasts are the bees knees for this style, but I have heard that it can be done with the SF lager as well. Supposed to be big and malty with a nice clean yeast. No diacetyl, no esters.
 

Beerrific

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Traditionally this beer is made with 100% German Pilsner malt. IMO, that and a touch of munich or melanoidin to simulate the flavors of a decotion is all you need. (Or you can do the decoction.)
 

Saccharomyces

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Our local brew club has a very prolific brewer that has several comp wins with his Helles, and I know he uses acid malt... just not sure how much.
You should ask Kerry but as I recall he uses about 1/4# to offset the hardness of the water and doesn't use any brewing salts.

I have a recipe in my dropdown which is almost identical to shamrock's. Best beer to ever come out of my brewery. Period. Unfortunately I have not been able to replicate it because I don't have a lagering fridge, but that will change soon...
 

SpanishCastleAle

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Traditionally this beer is made with 100% German Pilsner malt. IMO, that and a touch of munich or melanoidin to simulate the flavors of a decotion is all you need. (Or you can do the decoction.)
^^^^^^This^^^^^^

My 2 cents...worth half what you paid for it:D:

At the very least I would cut the Carapils way back, like 1/4 of what the recipe says above, max.

The acid malt will help lower your mash pH which is usually needed for such a light-colored beer. It can add a slight lacto sourness but at the level you're using it I doubt you'd even taste it.

Also, FWIW the Weyermann Munich Type I (their 'light' Munich) malt is closer to 6L and their Munich Type II is around 9L. Many brewing spreadsheets/software just assume Light Munich malt is 9-10L and Dark Munich malt is ~20L. I saw a recipe above with 9L listed for the Munich malt and thought I'd mention it.
 

TexLaw

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I agree with everything everyone has said above. Cut far back on the Carafoam, if you use it all. Don't go messing with acidulated malt unless you understand what you are doing with it and why (and Kerry Martin, an excellent brewer, does). Go with a German lager yeast, again, unless you know what you are doing with it and why (the SF lager yeast is, pretty much, a German lager yeast transplanted to the U.S., but it will not be the same). Watch the malt/hop balance, as it is largely what the style is all about (as alluded to, above, it may take some fine-tuning in later batches).

As for the decoction mentioned above, you will not get that character any other way. The Munich and melanoidin malts get you part of the way there, but there is no substitute for decoction. I'm not saying you won't make a good Helles, but your beer will miss something that the traditional German ones have. Think about trying a decoction down the road, sometime.


TL
 
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MarsColonist

MarsColonist

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Well, the carafoam went in before I saw responses, but I cut the acid malt completely.
Since Im attempting to adjust the water chemistry, there didnt seem the need.
Thanks for the advice! Ill know next time. Ill try a decoction next time I do this.

Any speculation what that amount of carafoam will do to change the flavor profile?
 
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MarsColonist

MarsColonist

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ive been doing the fast ferm test (3day stir plate with finished wort and an appropriate sized portion from the starter) to predict final gravity, usually so I know when to dry hop. I guess Ill see the result then.
 
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MarsColonist

MarsColonist

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Update: FWIW, I mashed 151->149°F over the course of an hour; fast ferm test indicated 1.010 as final; fermed at 45°F first week (really slow), then bumped to 50°F for the remainder. after a 2-day diacetyl, FG is 1.011. Racking to kegs to lager today. Samples are quite tasty, but cant wait (but will have to) for the final lagered result. Excessive Carapils didnt have near the affect I was expecting.
 
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