Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Munich Helles, 8-9-10

Ahhh, helles yeah!  Time to break-in our new Lager Cave with a number of brews where chillindamos is a necessity.  I'm stocked in German malts and hops right now and would like to get 6 lagers underway by the end of the month.  I'm hoping to use September as a lagering month with kegging and dispensing ready for Oktoberfest.  I've never brewed this style before but got a fairly decent scope of the beer design from some reading and a focused podcast on the style (The Jamil Show - Munich Helles).
As with any new brewing adventures, I like to do thorough "research".  I picked up a couple of commercial examples of the style and damn, this beer is awesome.  I could truly drink Munich Helles all day!  The bready, toasty, malt profile is just my thing.  The flavor is balanced with a nice noble hop bittering and subtle flavor.  It dries gently, demanding your palette to beg for more.  Dangerously, I can drink lots of this and that's probably why the German's drink this beer style by the liter.  I first had the Weihenstephaner, their Original Premium.  They claim to be the world's oldest brewery with a date on the bottle "Siet 1040".  Obviously, they had plenty of time to perfect this brew.
Weihenstephaner Original Premium, a commercial example of Munich Helles.
Weihenstephaner, the world's oldest brewery, since 1040.
Weihenstephaner Original Premium Munich Helles.  Awesome looking beer! Not all fizzy-yellow-stuff is bad.
I also had a Paulaner Original Munich.  Paulaner and Spaten both claim the title to have brewed the first lagers.  The profile of this beer was similar to that of the Weihenstephaner though more focused on the slightly sweet pilsner malt flavors.  Very balanced and extremely drinkable.  I certainly enjoyed the Weihenstephaner more but would readily go through a few liters of either of these fantastic brews.

Paulaner Original Munich, a commercial example of Munich Helles.
I'm digging the neck labels of these two beers.  Their shapes are similar.  Any reason?

Another great looking Munich Helles, Paulaner Original Munich.

Munich Helles, 8-9-10
BJCP Category 1D. Munich Helles
5 Gallons, All Grain, Single Infusion Mash, 90 Minute Boil

9 lbs. German Pilsner
0.75 lbs. Munich
2 oz. Melanoidin

90 Minute Single Infusion Mash 150°F

1.35 oz. Hallertauer 60 min.
1 Whirlfloc tab 20 min.

White Labs WLP830 German Lager Yeast (thanks, Kara!), Vial to 900ml Starter
Primary Ferment at 52°F

OG: 1.050 @ 68°F
FG: 1.010 @ 46°F
ABV: 5.5% (temperature corrected)

Update 8/24: Racked to secondary.  Current gravity is 1.0105 @ 71°F (diacetyl rest).   Lagering will begin in a couple of weeks.

Evaluation: I took this to QUAFF's evaluation panel on November 17th.  Of the 5 beers I brought for feedback, this one seemed to be the best example of the style.  Harold searched for signs of improvement but only suggested to re-brew this in January for NHC first round.  That was good news to hear!

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