Recipe: Fast as Helles

You, too, can brew a quaffable, enjoyable, malt-forward lager beer—in relatively short order.

Drew Beechum Sep 15, 2020 - 2 min read

Recipe: Fast as Helles Primary Image

All Access Subscribers can download the Beersmith and BeerXML version of this recipe. Subscribe today.

You can brew a great lager faster than you think—but not too fast. For more on demystifying and streamlining lager brewing, see How to Stop Worrying & Lager.

Batch size: 5.5 gallons (21 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.049
FG: 1.008
IBUs: 21
ABV: 5%

9.5 lb (4.3 kg) German pilsner
8 oz (227 g) Weyermann Carahell

0.25 oz (7 g) Magnum [12% AA] at 60 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Willamette [4.5% AA] at 30 minutes

Fermentis SafLager W-34/70

Mill the grains and mash at 153°F (67°C) for 60 minutes. Raise the temperature to 168°F (76°C) for 10 minutes and mash out. Vorlauf until the runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge the grains and top up as necessary to obtain 6 gallons (23 liters) of wort—or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil 90 minutes, following the hops schedule. After the boil, chill to 50°F (10°C); make sure the beer is at temperature before pitching the yeast. Ferment at 50°F (10°C) for 3 days; raise the temperature to 55°F (13°C) and ferment for 3 more days; raise the temperature to 60°F (16°C) and ferment 2 more days; raise the temperature to 65°F (18°C) and ferment 2 more days. Check the beer’s gravity and, if ready, proceed to packaging. If not, allow to sit 2 more days and check again.

Use low-mineral water—ensure at least 50ppm of calcium to convert the mash correctly. I prefer to add a little calcium chloride to add “fullness” to the beer. Keep the chloride above the sulfate. To achieve ultra-clarity, use gelatin (or another fining agent) to clarify before packaging.