4A. Munich Helles
Overall Impression: A clean, malty, gold-colored German
lager with a smooth grainy-sweet malty flavor and a soft, dry
finish. Subtle spicy, floral, or herbal hops and restrained
bitterness help keep the balance malty but not sweet, which
helps make this beer a refreshing, everyday drink.
Aroma: Moderate grainy-sweet malt aroma. Low to
moderately-low spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma. While a
clean aroma is most desirable, a very low background note of
DMS is not a fault. Pleasant, clean fermentation profile, with
malt dominating the balance. The freshest examples will have
more of a malty-sweet aroma.
Appearance: Medium yellow to pale gold. Clear. Persistent
creamy white head.
Flavor: Moderately malty start with the suggestion of
sweetness, moderate grainy-sweet malt flavor with a soft,
rounded palate impression, supported by a low to medium-low
hop bitterness. The finish is soft and dry, not crisp and biting.
Low to moderately-low spicy, floral or herbal hop flavor. The
malt dominates the hops in the palate, finish, and aftertaste,
but the hops should be noticeable. There should not be any
residual sweetness, simply the impression of maltiness with
restrained bitterness. Very fresh examples will seem sweeter
due to the fresh, rich malt character that can fade with time.
Clean fermentation profile.
Mouthfeel: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Smooth,
Comments: A fully-attenuated Pils malt showcase, Helles is a
malt-accentuated beer that is not overly sweet, but rather
focuses on malt flavor with underlying hop bitterness in a
supporting role. Export examples can quickly lose some of the
rich malt character that often suggests sweetness. Helles in
Munich tends to be lighter in all aspects than those outside the
city, which can be more assertive with more body, flavor, and
History: Created in Munich in 1894 at the Spaten brewery to
compete with pale Pilsner-type beers. Currently the most
popular style in Southern Germany.
Characteristic Ingredients: Continental Pilsner malt,
traditional German Saazer-type hop varieties, clean German
Style Comparison: Similar in malt balance and bitterness to
Munich Dunkel, but less malty-sweet in nature and pale rather
than dark. More body and malt presence than a German Pils,
with less hop character throughout. Similar malt profile as a
German Exportbier, but with less hops in the balance.
BJCP Beer Style Guidelines – 2015 Edition 7
Vital Statistics: OG: 1.044 – 1.048
IBUs: 16 – 22 FG: 1.006 – 1.012
SRM: 3 – 5 ABV: 4.7 – 5.4%
Commercial Examples: Augustiner Lagerbier Hell,
Bürgerbräu Wolznacher Hell Naturtrüb, Hacker-Pschorr
Münchner Gold, Löwenbraü Original, Paulaner Premium
Lager, Spaten Premium Lager, Weihenstephaner Original