Greetings, fellow great brewers! Munich Helles, a kind of beer that is both delicate and smooth, is the subject of today’s exploration. This beer, named after the Bavarian state in Germany, has been satisfying thirst and igniting celebration since the nineteenth century. To satisfy my craving for all things golden and crisp, I keep brewing this one. So, without further ado, let’s start crafting our very own 5-gallon extract version of Munich Helles!
- 6.6 lbs Pilsner liquid malt extract
- 1 lb Munich malt (10L)
- 0.5 lb Carapils malt
- 1 oz Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops (4.5% AA) for 60 minutes
- 0.5 oz Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops (4.5% AA) for 10 minutes
- 1 pack of Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager yeast
- 5 oz priming sugar (for bottling)
- Water to make 5 gallons
- Begin by steeping your Munich and Carapils malts (in a small bag) in 2.5 gallons of water at 150°F (65°C) for 30 minutes. Remove the grains and bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Once boiling, remove the pot from heat and add the liquid malt extract, stirring until completely dissolved. Return the pot to heat and bring it back to a boil.
- Add 1 oz of Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops and let the wort boil for 50 minutes.
- Then, add the remaining 0.5 oz of Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops and boil for another 10 minutes.
- Chill the wort to 50-55°F (10-13°C) and transfer it to your sanitized fermenter. Top off with water to reach 5 gallons.
- Pitch the Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager yeast and ferment at 50-55°F (10-13°C) for 2 weeks.
- Perform a diacetyl rest by raising the temperature to 65°F (18°C) for 48 hours.
- Lower the temperature to 35°F (2°C) and lager for 4-6 weeks.
- Bottle with priming sugar and let carbonate at room temperature for 2-3 weeks before enjoying. Or you can keg and enjoy the brew possibly within 24 hours.
- Original Gravity (OG): 1.048-1.051
- Final Gravity (FG): 1.010-1.013
- ABV: 4.7-5.4%
- IBU: 16-22
- SRM (Color): 3-5
Now, the Munich Helles brewing process isn’t all that different from other lager styles, but the magic lies in the balance of flavors. Our choice of Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager yeast brings out the malty sweetness while maintaining a clean and crisp finish. Plus, it’s a hard worker during the diacetyl rest, ensuring no unwanted buttery flavors sneak into our brew.
Munich Helles means “bright” in German, referring to its lovely golden hue. It was created as a response to the ever-popular Czech Pilsner, which was stealing the hearts of beer drinkers in Germany.
Some popular commercial versions of Munich Helles include:
- Weihenstephaner Original
- Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Helles
- Augustiner Lagerbier Hell
In conclusion, our Munich Helles will be a delightful, thirst-quenching beer with a beautiful balance of maltiness and subtle hop bitterness. You can expect a slightly sweet, bready flavor complemented by a delicate floral hop aroma. Munich Helles is perfect for enjoying on a warm summer day or toasting with friends at your next gathering. As for aging, this beer style is best consumed fresh, so don’t let it sit for too long in your cellar. Prost!