Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1D. Munich Helles

I mentioned not-to-long-ago that my 2013 brewing goal is to expand my resume of beer styles. I want to have at least one beer brewed of each of the 23 BJCP style categories. After my 7C Düsseldorf Altbier, I now have 10 more categories to brew.

Next up, is Category 1 — Light Lager. Specifically, I have decided to brew 1D. Munich Helles. A Helles is a light-colored German lager. It has a clean, slightly sweet, malty flavor with low to moderately-low spicy noble hop flavor and aroma. It is low in hop bitterness. It is low in alcohol and easy drinking, making it a great session beer. It is also one of those beers that will ease non-craft-beer-drinkers into more flavorful craft beers (aka gateway beer).

All of the commercial examples of Munich Helles lagers that I have had are brewed by local small brewers here in Colorado. The one that I jumps to mind is Mountain Mama Helles from Lonetree Brewing Company, which is probably the most local brewery to where I live. I do enjoy drinking this style of beer, and think it will be great on tap at SheppyBrew Brewery.

You can see the recipe I came up with for my Helles at Snowball's Chance (in) Helles. As you can see from the recipe, true to style, the beer is malt focused. It's base is a German pilsner malt with a significant amount of Munich malt and a bit of Melanoiden malt to give the beer a malty toast accent. My ABV is less than 5%, and the low mash temperature should make it extremely easy drinking.

Like my Sasquatch Hunter, I am adding White Labs' "Clarity-Ferm", which eats up Gluten proteins, making it safe for our friend "Gretchen". Hopefully she will have an opportunity to help me drink some of this beer.

As I have mentioned, "Snowball's Chance (in) Helles" is going to be the first of a series of German lagers that uses the same lager yeast. I will brew this beer, harvest the yeast and use it in a Schwarzbier. After the Schwarzbier, I will harvest the yeast again and brew a Mailbock. By the time I get to the high-gravity Mailbock, I should have lots of healthy yeast to handle the job. I was planning on using Wyeast Labs #2124 Bohemian Lager, but yesterday, neither of my local home-brew shops had it. I came home to do some research and found that White Labs WLP 830 is pretty close, so today I will see if they have it. Not sure what my backups will be if they don't have the 830 in stock.

My plan is to brew Snowball's Chance (in) Helles this weekend. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

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