Recipe: KC Bier Helles Lager

Here is a homebrew-scale recipe for KC Bier’s reverently brewed, Bavarian-style helles, which we here at Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® named one of our Best 19 Beers of 2019.

Steve Holle Jun 30, 2020 - 3 min read

Recipe: KC Bier Helles Lager Primary Image


Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.014
IBUs: 20
ABV: 5.1%

8.8 lb (4 kg) IREKS Pilsner
11 oz (312 g) IREKS Sauer (acidulated)
8 oz (227 g) IREKS Vienna

0.7 oz (20 g) Perle [8% AA] at 60 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [5% AA] at 5 minutes

White Labs WLP835 German X Lager

Mill the grains and follow these steps for a decoction mash: Mash in at 144°F (62°C) and hold 20 minutes; raise the temperature to 149°F (65°C) and hold 20 minutes; raise the temperature to 162°F (72°C) and hold 20 minutes; remove one-third of the mash and boil it for 15 minutes (or remove two-thirds and boil the remaining one-third, depending on what works best for your system); return the boiled portion to the main mash, which should bring the temperature to about 171°F (77°C).

Vorlauf until runnings are clear, then run off into kettle. Sparge the grains and top up as necessary to obtain 6.8 gallons (25.7 liters) of wort—or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 90 minutes, following the hops schedule. After the boil, chill the wort to 46°F (8°C), aerate, and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 50°F (10°C). When the gravity has dropped to about 1.018 (4.5°P), increase the temperature to 54°F (12°C). When beer has fermented completely, decrease the temperature by about 4°F (2°C) per day until you reach 39°F (4°C). Hold there for 4 days, then decrease the temperature to 32°F (0°C) and lager for at least 3 weeks—preferably longer.

Use German malt varieties, or this beer will not taste right. Our supplier is IREKS, based in Kulmbach, Bavaria. Our house yeast is from Klosterbrauerei Andechs in Bavaria (and WLP835 may be from the same source). We pitch 22–24 million cells per milliliter.