Das Helles-Projekt

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Nosybear, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Was reading through a new book on brewing, "The Secrets of Master Brewers" by Jeff Alworth, when an idea for a project hit me: I want to brew a Helles, basically a German lager SMASH of base malt and Hallertau hops, with every base malt my LHBS can get their hands on. Since I'll be doing mostly nothing but Helles, I'll be doing 2.5 gallon batches, the stupid-simple recipe is 4.25 pounds of base malt, 0.25 pounds of acidulated malt, 0.25 ounces Hallertau (4% AA) at 90 minutes, 45 minutes and 10 minutes, boil 120 minutes. Yes, I intend to brew a Helles with Maris Otter. And Avangard Pils (one of my favorites), maybe even Munich and Vienna, since both will self convert.

    I can brew basically anything I want. This is to take my brewing a step farther through gaining a thorough knowledge of base malts and their contribution to the beer. By reducing everything to as simple as possible, I think I'll learn the characteristics of the malt and be able to select the exact base for the beer I want to brew. Thoughts?
     
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  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    That sounds like an awesome idea. A while back I did something similar to isolate the tastes of base malts, hop "regions", and a few different yeasts. I don't think it improved my brewing per se, but it definitely helped me to better create recipes and envision the final product

    Really wish I could get into a bit of regimented brewing schedule like that. But then those darn metric squirrels come by

    Good luck with the experiment!
     
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  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Great idea! I've wanted to do something similar pitting various Pilsners against basic 2-row American malt. I've got a local Pale Ale malt that definitely makes a killer American lager so I know that would work and it's very similar to MO in a lot of ways. I'll bet all your beers will turn out great and will be nice to have on hand for summer drinking as well.

    It's hard to do big experiments as a single brewer so I organized a workshop series where at least a half dozen brewers do the same beer with a particular variable and then get together to try the results. It's been a great source of information and inspiration. We've done brews exploring system consistency (trying to brew exactly the same SMASH beer) and different Belgian yeast strains and we're brewing now to explore some specific hops and late-hopping techniques.
    I think we'll definitely have to put the Base Malt Blow-out on the agenda.
     
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  4. nzbrew

    nzbrew Active Member

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    What a great idea - takes the general smash idea for learning hops and gives it another slant.

    I'm trying to perfect my lager brewing atm - focusing on process - but will definitely think about trying this too.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Cheers Nosey do fill us in on your brewing project.
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If I could get to our homebrew club this afternoon, I'd pitch the idea to them (life's getting in the way of beer again, damn it!). But to the point, supplies, at least most of them, for the first batch are in the house. Recipe is here: https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/477133/das-helles-projekt
    along with my notes about process, water treatment for each batch and so forth (eating my own cooking here). I'm looking to get a pound of Hallertau Hersbruecker to start so I eliminate variability in the hops. Next weekend is Easter so I may not get to it then but soon, I'll have the first batch made with Avangard Pilsner. And will keep the group here posted.
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    #7 J A, Apr 9, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
    I've been getting hops from these guys:
    https://www.yakimavalleyhops.com/1PoundImportHops_s/1975.htm
    And check out their Super Sale page while you're there. I'm always buying extra just to reduce shipping cost per ounce.

    They have Mittlefruh, too...it's not always easy to find. They were out of it just a week or two ago.
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I have the LHBS looking into this for me but I likes my Hallertau Hersbruecker - ordered a pound just to keep on hand!
     
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  9. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Go for it! I did the same thing with my "IPA" recipe, because I wasn't ever really 100% happy with the malt bill.
    I brewed 4 SMaSHes with Pilsner, Pale Ale (German, not Maris Otter), Munich and Vienna.
    Pilsner was too light and made for my taste a much too dry of a beer.
    Pale Ale was okay, but what I had been using mostly up until then, so just not "quite right".
    Munich was way too malty. Might work for an IIPA with a butt-load of hops, but was too much for my "standard" IPA
    Vienna turned out so perfect for my tastes, that I have been using it almost exclusively ever since.
     
  10. BoomerBrian

    BoomerBrian Active Member

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    Great idea. I have been doing the same thing with my pale ale and different combinations of hops.
     
  11. newmanwell

    newmanwell Active Member

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    I'm doing a Maris Otter vs Golden Promise SMASH project. It is for a for an educational segment that we are doing for my home brew club meetings. I need to get on that soon.
     
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  12. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Hey any chances you could post the results of the educational segment one here:).
     
  13. newmanwell

    newmanwell Active Member

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    You got it. It's going to be for our June club meeting so it's a couple months out.
     
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Okay, update. I have versions 0 through 2 in various stages of completion. Version 0 - Avangard - was more of a test run to get recipes and so forth dialed in. It's bottled, should be conditioned next week. Version 1 is Bohemian Floor-Malted Pilsner (Weyermann). It's lagering. Version 2 is Golden Promise. It just hit the lagering fridge tonight. One thing I've already learned - parallels what I can read on the subjedt - that certain German something IS malt. The Golden Promise version is green but even so, it's one of the best Helles I've tasted. Version 3 is Vienna malt but versions 4 and 5 will be two local versions of pale ale malt.

    This is taking longer than I expected but life, and depleting stocks of beer, keep getting in the way.
     
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  15. LlewellynBrewHaus

    LlewellynBrewHaus Active Member

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    Are you going to be able to run a batch with malt from Root Shoot Malting up in Loveland ?
     
  16. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Should be next in the lineup. I need a helles for an Oktoberfest party so may choose to make a full batch from it, either that or the Colorado Malting Co's Pale Ale. Both are yummy.
     
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  17. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Here's Helles 0 - the shakedown batch made with Avangard Pils. I learned a lot of things about brewing from this one batch of beer. The color is the result of a 120 minute boil. Clarity and flavor are the result of controlling mash pH. And it's a delicious beer! Balanced nearly perfectly, bread and malt up front, no apparent sweetness, very slight hop finish. Based on this beer, I'll temporarily suspend testing - I brewed the same beer with Vienna Malt yesterday - and brew the full version with 75% Avangard, 25% Colorado Malting Pale Ale, same hopping, for Oktoberfest.
     

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  18. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Looks delicious there Nosey looks like a nice tight foam head on top tiny carbonation bubbles. What ph did you aim for in the mash 5.2?
     
  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    5.2 it was. I actually undershot a bit, ending up about 5.1 but that might have been because the wort was a bit warm when I measured the pH. I fined it with gelatin but was amazed at how clear it came out!
     
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  20. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    How long did you condition this helles for Nosey. As we know good conditioning time should most times get a nice bright beer.
     

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