Munich Helles Made with L28 Urkel

What is a Munich Helles?

Helles is the German word for “bright” or “pale” and Munich Helles is just that: a light, mild, drinkable beer that is golden straw in color with rounded hop flavor and smooth, malty flavor.

I brewed a Munich Helles recently using David Heath’s recipe and Novalager as the yeast choice. However, after some feedback, the red apple esters produced by Novalager were a bit much for this style, so this time, we’re going to use a “traditional” European lager yeast.

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One Way to Brew Munich Helles

The BJCP guidelines list these vital statistics for a Munich Helles:

BJCP Category4A
Original Gravity (OG)1.044–1.048
Final Gravity (FG)1.006–1.012
Color (EBC)6–10 (3–5 SRM)

One Way to Brew A Munich Helles

For this brew, I’m using the Munich Helles recipe found in Brewing Classic Styles.

My local home brew store (LHBS) didn’t have the yeast I was looking for (Imperial Yeast L17 Harvest), so I picked up some Imperial Yeast L28 Urkel. Probably not the best yeast for this style, but I’ve got some Czech lagers planned for the future, so this Munich Helles will be a great “yeast starter” batch for future brews.

Batch Vital Statistics

Batch Volume15 L
ABV5.4 %
Color8.1 EBC
Boil Time60 minutes


Water Profile


To reach the target water profile, I added half of a Campden tablet and 3 mL of lactic acid to my source water.

After heating the water to 65 °C, a portion was removed to reserve as sparge water.


903.277.2Briess Pilsen Malt
7250 g0.5BestMalz Munich Malt
3113 g0.25Weyermann Melanoidin

Mash Profile

Milled grains were slowly added to the strike water while thoroughly stirring the grain into the water to ensure all of the grain was wet.

After 10 minutes into the mash, I took an aliquot and cooled the sample to 20 °C. The pH measured 5.6.

Saccharification Rest6515060

After mashing out, the grains were sparged, or rinsed, with water.

The wort was then heated to a boil.


HopAlpha AcidTimeIBU
Hallertau Magnum12.5%60 min18


I used L28 Urkel from Imperial Yeast for this recipe.

The wort was chilled to 10 °C and transferred to a Kegland Fermzilla All Rounder 30L fermentor. The wort was aerated using an aquarium pump and aeration stone for 1 hour before pitching the yeast into the wort.

Fermentation Profile

For this batch, I performed a Forced Fermentation Test. The result: 1.010, making this beer have the potential to be 5.4% ABV. I used this target FG value as an approach to the fermentation profile below.

Total Gravity Points41
% Complete Target[OG*1000 – (Total Gravity Points x % Complete)]/1000

Using a modified Narziss fermentation profile, I monitored the gravity of the fermenting beer using a hydrometer before raising the temperature. When the gravity reached the step target, I proceeded to the next temperature step of the profile.

Pitch and Hold13553 days1.051
50% Complete14571 day1.031
75% Complete17631 day1.020
90% Complete
Until the End of Fermentation
19665 days1.014

L28 Urkel took off like a rocket. I originally thought I’d have 3 to 4 days between temperature steps in the above profile.

After the initial temperature step in the profile, the yeast was chewing through the wort so fast that most of the temperature holds were held for just 1 day before raising the temperature for the next step.

Conditioning and Carbonation

After fermentation, the beer was transferred to a keg, fined with Cellar Science Silafine, pressurized to 12 psi CO2, and left to lager for a few weeks.

Conditioning3 °C/37 °F14 days
Carbonation12 psi2.5 volumes of CO2

Recipe Impressions

This Munich Helles is a clear, pale gold beer with a creamy white head.

It has grainy malt aroma and flavor with a soft, refreshing finish. There is low bitterness with low floral hop flavor.

This is one of my best beers yet. Several members from my local homebrew club complimented the beer as “one of the best homebrew lagers we’ve had!” I’m sad I only made this recipe as a 15 L batch! I’ll have to brew this one again soon.

Do you enjoy Munich Helles? Let me know what you like or dislike about this style in the comments below!

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