Sunday, February 13, 2011

Munich Helles

In today's news: I finally went out and got my chest freezer for lagering! I've been procrastinating since this fall. Lagers are something I've wanted to brew for awhile though. Back when I bought my chest freezer for kegerator purposes I was going to get a really big one to hold four-ish kegs plus room for a carboy. It turned out that a medium and a small chest freezer together were maybe $10 more total than buying one big one. So, I got my wife to agree that I'd just get a medium (7 cu. ft.) for the kegs with the understanding that I'd be getting another small one (5 cu. ft.) in the future to use as a lagering chamber. Somehow I managed to keep putting that off until now.

A few weeks ago I went over to my friend Jim's house to hang out and brew while he did his first decocted lager. He recently racked it and was nice enough to save half of the yeast slurry for me. He even gave me 10 lbs of spare Best Pils malt on top of it. With both of these in hand today, I set out to brew my first lager. I've been wanting to try brewing a Helles. Jim gave me Czech lager yeast, but I went ahead with the Helles recipe anyway. I'm not sure if it's appropriate or not (I haven't read up on lager yeast nearly as much as ales/bugs) but I figured even if it wasn't a spot on Helles, it'd hopefully at least be a nice drinkable light lager of some sort and that's good enough for me for now! Here's the recipe:

Munich Helles
brewed on: 2/13/11
OG: 1.045
IBUs: 18.5 IBUs
mash temp: 150F
expected color: 3.8 SRM
7 gallons


10 lbs. German pils malt
1 lb Cara-pils
6 oz Vienna malt

Hops (loose pellets):
1 oz Hallertauer @ 3.9% - 60 minutes

0.5 oz Hallertauer @ 3.9% - 20 minutes
0.28 oz Hallertauer @ 3.8% - 20 minutes
0.5 oz Hallertauer @ 3.9% - 5 minutes* (see below)

Czech Lager slurry from Jim's German Pilsner

Ferment at 52F.
 Mashed in at 1.1 qts / lb.
Protein rest 130F - 15 minutes
Decoction - 40% weight (15.8 lbs)
Sacch rest - 60 minutes
90 minute boil

I forgot to add he 5 minute hop addition. No huge loss in IBUs, but I do like Helles with a bit more floral hop nose than is probably traditional. 

Also, I planned on a 6 gallon batch, but didn't realize until after the fact that I'd get better efficiency from decocting. Thus, I ended up at 1.052 and diluted the wort with a gallon of distilled water while chilling.

More little mistakes on this one than usual, but I expected some since I wasn't used to the step-mash, decoction process.

2/21/11 - SG: 1.010. Raising to diacetyl rest. Clean malty taste w/ very slight floral background.
2/23/11 - Lowering to lager temp.

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