First time brewing a Helles

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by mrskittle, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. mrskittle

    mrskittle Active Member

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    I finally have temp control and a ferm chamber with heat, there is room in the beer fridge to lager, and the basement floor is consistently around 50F. Its finally time to try my hand at lagering. After I named my amber ale after my son, my daughter wanted a brew with her name. It took a while to find a style that worked with Eloise but I finally came up with Elle's Helles.

    For a few reasons I'm only going to brew a 2.5 gal batch instead of 5 gal. I plan on doing no-sparge. It'll be like BIAB but in my regular mash tun. I'll mash on the low end of the range, around 150. I have Safale lager yeast for fermentation.

    Now a few questions:

    What are folks' feelings about a 90-minute boil? My understanding about the extended boil is that it helps drive off some of the compounds that can lead to off-flavors. Its still new enough to me that I don't remember the details.

    Should I treat my yeast starter differently than an ale yeast? Do I need to do it at a lower temp? Should I do a stepped starter to ensure enough yeast to finish the job?

    I think I have a decent idea on the fermentation schedule.

    Any other advice would be appreciated as how brewing a helles is different than ales.
     
  2. Steve Ruch

    Steve Ruch Active Member

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    What's your recipe?
    60 minutes is enough.
    You don't need a starter for 2.5 gallons. One pack is enough. Starters are counter productive for dry yeast
     
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  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Good luck.
    Don't over think it.
    I agree 60min is fine but if you wish no harm in boiling longer. I find the break is better after a long boil.
    I've brewed helles but twice so am in no means down with the style. But all I've found is it's a delicate style and delicious.
    I'd probably mash mid range if you can only do one step that way you'll leave a few gravity points of lovely maltiness but if doing pilsner I'd just run it low.
    You just risk dropping too low in temp if you start it low in mash range (I don't know how many degrees your tun drops in mash but)?
    Doing full volume mash will help keep temp stable though...
    Looking forward to how you fare with this
    I'm keen to get a helles in the fermentor too.
     
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  4. mrskittle

    mrskittle Active Member

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    Here's the recipe!
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    QUOTE="mrskittle, post: 128349, member: 42099"]I finally have temp control and a ferm chamber with heat, there is room in the beer fridge to lager, and the basement floor is consistently around 50F. Its finally time to try my hand at lagering. After I named my amber ale after my son, my daughter wanted a brew with her name. It took a while to find a style that worked with Eloise but I finally came up with Elle's Helles.

    For a few reasons I'm only going to brew a 2.5 gal batch instead of 5 gal. I plan on doing no-sparge. It'll be like BIAB but in my regular mash tun. I'll mash on the low end of the range, around 150. I have Safale lager yeast for fermentation.

    Now a few questions:

    What are folks' feelings about a 90-minute boil? My understanding about the extended boil is that it helps drive off some of the compounds that can lead to off-flavors. Its still new enough to me that I don't remember the details.

    Should I treat my yeast starter differently than an ale yeast? Do I need to do it at a lower temp? Should I do a stepped starter to ensure enough yeast to finish the job?

    I think I have a decent idea on the fermentation schedule.

    Any other advice would be appreciated as how brewing a helles is different than ales.[/QUOTE]
    90 mins is mt standard boil. It's sometimes recommended for pilsner malts due to DMS. Do your starter at room temperature and decant the beer before pitching.

    Helles is hard to get my just right.
     
  6. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    That is actually a wives tale. Dry yeast can be used in a starter, however once it's been in a starter, it must be treated as a liquid yeast. Dry yeast has lipids ands sterol reserves that help a lot in low oxygen situations. Once the dry yeast has been through the starter it needs a lot more oxygen, up to 15ppm.

    As far as a 90 minute boil, it's what I do, but if it's your first lager or Helles, concentrate on the fermentation above all else. It's the most important part of any lager. 2.5 gallon beer could use two packs of 34/70 dry yeast rehydrated or a 2.5 liter starter, decanted and a diffusion stone with pure oxygen to aerate the wort. Rehydrated dry yeast can tolerate not aerating with pure oxygen. It's pretty tough to use too much yeast in a lager, it's fairly common for home brewers to use too little yeast. If you don't use enough yeast, your esters will increase.

    Personally, I would pitch 2 packs of rehydrated 34/70 and pitch at 45F, let it rise to 50F. If you can keep it closer to 46-48 for a few days, it would be better. Your brewing a beer that normally doesn't have any esters. Good luck.
     
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  7. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    To agree with those above I think the only reason my lagers have been good (to me of course) has been that I over pitch and get paranoid with fermentation temp. 1 pack of 34/70 worked well for a 2 gallon batch for me.
     
  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    So am I blind or... ;)

    upload_2021-1-23_19-40-6.png
     
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  9. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I haven't read everyone's suggestions and thoughts, so apologies if I am repeating here, but...

    You never need a starter for dry yeast.
     
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  10. mrskittle

    mrskittle Active Member

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  11. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I respectfully disagree. There is no reason a starter can't be made from dry yeast. I use 34/70 in starters all the time. The reason I do it is the same reason it's done in liquid yeast, to build cell count up. A single 11 gram batch can be used to increase cell count from 220 billion cells to nearly 800 billion cells with a single 4 liter starter of 1.035 wort. The advantages are that costs are lower and the yeast isn't dormant when pitched, reducing the lag time. I also pitch a single pack of rehydrated SO4 in a 1/2 liter starter when I start a mash for an ale. The small starter wakes up the yeast. I then pitch the whole thing 4-6 hours later in cooled, aerated wort. The lag time are reduced by half.

    Once dry yeast is used in a starter, it needs to be treated as a liquid yeast and aeration is needed to insure the yeast will have a healthy fermentation.
     
  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You're both right, actually. What matters is the number of cells, whether you get them from multiple packs of dry yeast or by making a starter out of the yeast. I've started using dry yeast where I can, it needs no oxygenation and in general, it's so cheap I can get to the number of cells I need without making a starter. By taking that process step out, I eliminate one more chance for something to go wrong.
     
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  13. Steve Ruch

    Steve Ruch Active Member

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    1 pack S-189 (not rehydrated) IMG_20210124_163606.jpg in 2 gallons of 1.050 dunkel looks like this after five hours
     
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  14. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Nice looking dunkel. Not tried that yeast.
     
  15. Steve Ruch

    Steve Ruch Active Member

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    It's a good one, although can be difficult to find at a decent price. I got two in my last order from Williams for $4.99 each.
     
  16. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    I’ve used diamond and 34/70 for lagers. Like 34/70 better but I also got better at brewing and used diamond first.
     
  17. Steve Ruch

    Steve Ruch Active Member

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    I liked diamond the one time I used it.
    I'm planning on doing a stout for Saint Paddy's day this year using 34/70.
     
  18. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    The Killian’s approach? It’s a lager right?
     
  19. mrskittle

    mrskittle Active Member

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    Speaking of price, I was a little surprised that the packet of 34/70 was $8 at my LHBS. That's about $4 more than a packet of S-05. What gives? Is lager yeast typically more expensive?
     
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  20. Steve Ruch

    Steve Ruch Active Member

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    Shop around, the price of dry yeast can vary quite a bit. Williams also has 34/70 for $4.99. S-23 and several mangrove jack lager yeasts for $3.99.
     

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