5 reasons to brew helles

Munich helles is a low ABV, low IBU, low SRM German lager with delicate flavours and a sparkling appearance. I think it’s a decent style to drink, and an even better style to brew. In case you needed a reason to brew yourself some helles, here’s 5:

  1. The recipes for these beers are typically very simple, possibly consisting of just some pilsner malt and a 60 minute hop addition. Because of the simplicity in their design, it’s probably a beer you can brew with ingredients on hand.
  2. If it’s brewed well, this lager should to appeal to almost everyone. It’s delicate and quenchable; a safe bet for any homebrewer’s tap list. It’s also a great gateway beer – to craft beer, and to homebrewing.
  3. Because of it’s delicacy, it’s a very good beer to hone skills on. There are no huge malt or hop flavours that potential off flavours can hide behind – excessive dimethyl sulfide, diacetyl, acetaldehyde, fusel alcohols, astringency, oxidation, esters, the whole lot! If they are there, they should be immediately noticeable.
  4. As it is a lower gravity style, it’s an excellent beer to harvest yeast from. If you want to brew a high gravity lager, which require a huge amount of healthy yeast, perhaps brew a helles immediately prior.
  5. Also due to it’s lower gravity, it’s a lager that can be turned around quite quickly – check out the lager fermentation schedules over at Brülosophy, for some guidance… and hey, while you’re there, also check out Marshall’s Munich Helles recipe.

My helles’ recipe is not unique, but I’ve included it below anyhow. Cheers!




Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11.5 gal 60 min 18.4 IBUs 3.8 SRM 1.048 1.011 4.9 %


Name Amount %
Pilsner (2 Row) Ger 15 lbs 83.33
Munich I (Weyermann) 2 lbs 11.11
Carafoam (Weyermann) 1 lbs 5.56


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Hallertauer 4 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 2.7


Name Amount Time Use Type
Whirlfloc Tablet 2.00 Items 15 min Boil Fining


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Southern German Lager (WLP838) White Labs 72% 50°F - 55°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 149°F 60 min

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