As the beer drinking world gets ever closer to the greatest beer celebrations in the world (Oktoberfest), I will be posting about other great German beers in preparation for the greatest
of them all. This week's Beer Style of the Week is one of the lighter styles of German beer, the Munich Helles. Munich Helles are noted for their light color, sweet, clean malty flavor and aroma, with only a hint of German noble hops (one of 4 or 5 varieties including Hallertau, Saaz, Spalt, Tettnang, and possibly Tradition). The noble hops lend only a slight hop bitterness to beer and are the preferred hop varieties in all German lagers and ales.  Munich Helles is a great starter beer for people wanting to explore German style beer. Light, refreshing, and perfect for hot summer days. Definitely worth a try. First up, the guidelines:

Here are the stylistic guidelines from the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) 2008 Style
Guidelines publication.

1D. Munich Helles

Aroma: Pleasantly grainy-sweet, clean Pils malt aroma dominates. Low to moderately-low spicy noble hop aroma, and a low background note of DMS (from Pils malt). No esters or diacetyl.

Appearance: Medium yellow to pale gold, clear, with a creamy white head.

Flavor: Slightly sweet, malty profile. Grain and Pils malt flavors dominate, with a low to medium-low hop bitterness that supports the malty palate. Low to moderately-low spicy noble hop flavor. Finish and aftertaste remain malty. Clean, no fruity esters, no diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth maltiness with no trace of astringency.

Overall Impression: Malty but fully attenuated Pils malt showcase.

History: Created in Munich in 1895 at the Spaten brewery by Gabriel Sedlmayr to compete with Pilsner-style beers.

Comments: Unlike Pilsner but like its cousin, Munich Dunkel, 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.

Ingredients: Moderate carbonate water, Pilsner malt, German noble hop varieties.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.045 - 1.051
IBUs: 16 - 22
FG: 1.008 - 1.012
SRM: 3 - 5
ABV: 4.7 - 5.4%

Commercial Examples: Weihenstephaner Original, Hacker-Pschorr Munchner Gold, Burgerbrau Wolznacher Hell Naturtrub, Mahr's Hell, Paulaner Premium Lager, Spaten Premium Lager, Stoudt's Gold Lager


Here are the stylistic guidelines from the 2012 Great American Beer Festival.

31. Munich-Style Helles

This beer should be perceived as having low bitterness. It is a medium-bodied, malt-emphasized beer, with malt character often balanced with low levels of yeast produced sulfur compounds (character). Certain renditions of this beer style approach a perceivable level of hop flavor (note: hop flavor does not imply hop bitterness) and character but it is essentially balanced with malt character to retain its style identity. Malt character is sometimes bread-like yet always reminiscent of freshly and very lightly toasted malted barley. There should not be any caramel character. Color is light straw to golden. Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be perceived. There should be no chill haze.

Original Gravity (Plato): 1.044-1.050 (11-12.4 Plato) Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (Plato): 1.008-1.012 (2-3 Plato) Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 3.8-4.4% (4.5-5.5%)  Bitterness (IBU): 18-25 Color SRM (EBC): 4-5.5 (8-11 EBC)

Now some of my tidbits of information, opinion, and recent tastings. This is a very good style of beer. Traditional German beer, but not heavy like many German beers are perceived as being. This beer style is very accessible to all beer tastes. Can be viewed as a session beer (ie. able to
drink many during one session of drinking due to their lower alcohol content and ease on the palette). Goes very well with food often served at backyard barbecues like burgers, brats, hotdogs, etc. A German "lawnmower" beer if there ever was one. One of the tricky things that breweries need to watch for is to not allow the beers to become too fruity in flavor and smell. Careful brewing conditions need to be followed to prevent too much sulfur from the large amounts of Pilsner malt in the grain bill to come through in the final product.

I will try any Munich Helles that I can find. I have had most of the imports on the list above as well as many, many others. Also have had many at many breweries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, etc.  around the country. Munich Helles season is almost over, so get out there and find one or two to drink before the weather starts to get colder and the leaves start falling off the trees.

On to NFL news:

Finally, the NFL regular season is here. The Denver Broncos demonstrated what a revenge game looks like last night against the Baltimore Ravens. What concerns me the most about the game was the complete lack of a Broncos run game, even after they were ahead with a multiple touchdown lead. The Broncos will need a very strong run game when the weather in the Mile High city turns cold and hard at the end of the season.

The San Francisco 49ers coach is whining about the Green Bay Packers defense hurting his quarterback. Why don't you shut up and listen to what the league has to say. Any read-option quarterback outside of the pocket has the intent to run the football making him fair game and able to be hit like a running back. Any read-option quarterback performing a fake (pretending
to run with the ball following a handoff) is considered to be a running back threat and is eligible to be hit. At least Colin Kaepernick manned up and said that is why he wears pads and a helmet. He expects to take hits! Just another whiny little Harbaugh on the sidelines. Can't stand that entire football family!

I am going to give you my picks for the weekend's games. I run a pool at my work (no money involved, unfortunately) where we pick a select number of NCAA and NFL games each week. Historically, I get about 70% correct and have won bragging rights for the last 4 years. We'll see what this year brings.

Patriots at Bill. Patriots favored by 9.5. I take Patriots straight up and to beat the spread.

Titans at Steelers. Steelers favored by 7. I take Steelers straight up but not to beat the spread.

Falcons at Saints. Saints favored by 3. I take Falcons straight up and to beat the spread.

Buccaneers at Jets. Bucs favored by 3. I take Bucs straight up and to beat the spread.

Chiefs at Jaguars. Chiefs favored by 4. I take Chiefs straight up and to beat the spread.

Bengals at Bears. Bears favored by 3. I take Bengals straight up and to beat the spread.

Dolphins at Browns. Even match. I take Dolphins straight up and to beat the spread if there is one.

Seahawks at Panthers. Seahawks favored by 3.5. I take Seahawks straight up and to beat the spread.

Vikings at Lions. Lions favored by 5. I take Lions straight up but not to beat the spread.

Raiders at Colts. Colts favored by 9.5. I take Colts straight up but not to beat the spread.

Cardinals at Rams. Rams favored by 4.5. I take Rams straight up and to beat the spread.

Packers at 49ers. 49ers favored by 4.5. I take Packers straight up and to beat the spread.

Giants at Cowboys. Cowboys favored by 3.5. I take Cowboys straight up and to beat the spread.

Eagles at Redskins. Redskins favored by 3.5. I take Redskins straight up and to beat the spread.

Texans at Chargers. Texans favored by 4. I take Texans straight up and to beat the spread.


That's just the way I am picking em. Just my opinion. If you are a gambler, bet however you want.

Enjoy the weekend! Enjoy a couple of beers! Only a couple of college football games worth watching. Glad I can park myself in front of the TV all day on Sunday to watch any and all NFL games. Go Packers Go!


Just my opinion...


September 6, 2013  08:39 PM ET

I've had a few of this style.. especially the Stoudt's.. always though they were a 'little' fruity with the aroma.. but it never deterred me from drinking my share..
Denver just steam-rolled Baltimore.. though the Ravens would put up more of a fight.. even sat Manning on the bench of my FF team.. still kicking myself over that one


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