Lagers Easy Does It -- Munich Helles

Discussion in 'Homebrew Recipes' started by utahbeerdude, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Devotee (408) May 2, 2006 Utah

    Easy Does It -- A Munich Helles Recipe and Process
    All Grain
    5 gallons into keg

    OG: 1.050
    FG: 1.016
    ABV: 4.6%
    IBUs: 22 (Tinseth)
    SRM: 4.4

    Grain Bill (exact amounts should be based on system efficiency)
    80% Weyerman Pils (2 deg L)
    20% Weyerman Light Munich (8 deg L)

    Hallertau Mittelfruh 4.4% AA, 1.5 oz, 90 min
    Hallertau Mittelfruh 4.4% AA, 0.5 oz, 10 min
    Hallertau Mittelfruh 4.4% AA, 0.5 oz, 0 min

    White Labs WLP838 (Southern German Lager)
    Pitch rate: 1.6 mil/mL/deg P (calculated)

    9.4 gallons RO total, treated as indicated
    Mash: 4.9 gallons RO treated with 3 gm CaCl2 plus 4.2 oz Weyermann Acid Malt.
    Predicted mash pH is 5.40 (using MpH Calculator)
    Sparge: 4.5 gallons RO treated with 2.5 gm MgSO4

    Single infusion mash, 149 F, 60 min
    Mashout at 169 F
    Continuous sparge with 190 F water for 45 min
    Boil 90 min total
    Aerate the wort (I do this by rocking the fermenter for 5 minutes)
    Ferment 50 F for three days, then linearly raise temperature to 64 over 10 days. Hold at 64 for 7 days. Cold crash to 45, then keg. Lager for 6 weeks (if you can stand it!)

    I strongly recommend either (i) adding gelatin at packaging or (ii) lagering a sufficient amount of time to make sure this beer is very clear. Any residual haziness from the yeast most definitely interferes with a clean malt character, which is the hallmark of Munich Helles. The 20% Munich malt gives this beer a great (IMHO) malt character without the need for decoction. The finishing gravity of 1.016 (that I got the one time I made this beer) might raise an eyebrow or two, but the beer was definitely not on the sweet side, and the body was awesome.

    If only corporate macrobrewers would make something like this rather than their typical adjunct swill, there might have been no need for the craft-beer movement. Well, maybe not.

    OldBrewer, MorningDew72 and psnydez86 like this.
  2. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Champion (863) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia

    Nice easy recipe. All in process and water. I'll give this a try!
  3. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (492) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    Do you really use 190º sparge water? If so, are you monitoring grain bed temp/pH? . . . and do you allow the sparge water temp to decrease as you complete sparging?
    #3 PortLargo, Jul 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
  4. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Devotee (408) May 2, 2006 Utah

    Good question; I should have been more clear. It is 190 F to start, but I periodically use a transfer vessel (sauce pan) to transfer the water to a rather small (1 gallon) uninsulated container from which the sparge water slowly drains into the mash. The sparge water cools quite a bit during this process. Also, my stainless mash tun is uninsulated during sparging, so it tends to lose heat. For my system, then, sparge water initially at 190 F is what works to keep the grain bed temperature where I want it. In the summer time (vs winter) I'll set the initial temperature a bit lower, also.

    I do monitor the grain bed temperature during sparging; it stays below 170 F. I don't monitor pH, but I always use low carbonate water for sparging. I do take a gravity reading of the last runnings. For this beer they were 1.007, a bit on the low side of the standard recommendation of 1.010, but given the small level of alkalinity in RO, I don't worry about it. I've not had issues with astringency.
    MorningDew72 and PortLargo like this.
  5. TheBeerery

    TheBeerery Initiate (96) May 2, 2016 Minnesota

    If I may add my 2 cents.
    If you want a helles much like you would normally get over there, something like Paulaner, I would...

    Drop munich to 10% so 90% pils 10% munich

    Drop all those hop additions,60 minute only to 16-18 ibus, Mitt is a solid hop. Only boil for 60 minutes

    Drop gravity to 1.048, have it get down to 1.009

    pitch at 2.5ml.

    Ferment at 45-47, don't raise it. When you are 4 points left from final gravity, transfer to keg and cap it.
    MorningDew72 likes this.
  6. Soneast

    Soneast Champion (841) May 9, 2008 Wisconsin

    Looks tasty! Been thinking about brewing a Vienna lager or Helles soon, will definitely keep this in mind.
  7. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Devotee (408) May 2, 2006 Utah

    I'm 100% with you on changing Munich to 10%. I happen to like some hop flavor, so I prefer some late hop additions in favor of authenticity. Cheers!
    Soneast likes this.
  8. MorningDew72

    MorningDew72 Initiate (48) Aug 15, 2014 North Carolina

    I like this thread. I read the Brewing Helles book or whatever it's called a few months ago and am planning on brewing my first helles in a couple months.

    Any particular reason for only boiling for 60 minutes? I was kinda planning on a 2 hour boil when I brew it. I'm worried about DMS. I don't have the capability to take a sample easily and frequently enough to cap it at the right time, but I am thinking of transferring it to a corny keg when it appears to be mostly done and spunding it it for natural carbonation.

    One more thing, why such a high pitch rate?
    utahbeerdude likes this.
  9. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (298) Jan 13, 2016 Canada (ON)

    @utahbeerdude How did this turn out? I made something similar but found that even the addition of 9% light Munich malt was too much. Next time I might drop it to about 5-6%.
  10. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Devotee (408) May 2, 2006 Utah

    I rather liked the recipe as written, but I like it even better with the Munich at 10%, as suggested by @TheBeerery. I guess it comes down to preference of taste. Cheers!
  11. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (298) Jan 13, 2016 Canada (ON)

    Absolutely! It's all about each person's personal taste. I definitely intend to reduce the amount of Munich malt to about 3/4 pound next time, to reduce the mouthfeel.
  12. Jasonja1474

    Jasonja1474 Initiate (185) Oct 15, 2018 Tennessee

    Hey @utahbeerdude i know this thread is a few years old so hopefully you get this. I’m doing this recipe right now and I’m at the stage of letting the fermentation free rise to 64°. Once I hold it here for 7 days then cold crash to 45° do I remove it off the yeast before cold crashing or just crash in the primary? Wasn’t sure what to do here.
  13. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (298) Jan 13, 2016 Canada (ON)

    Cold crash in the primary. Then let the yeast drop out for a few days before kegging and lagering.
    Jasonja1474 likes this.
  14. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Devotee (408) May 2, 2006 Utah

    I would follow OldBrewer’s advice. Cheers!
    Jasonja1474 likes this.