#9 Wiener Helles

Eureka, it is time for yet another recipe from the past. This time, one of my favorite recipes. I really like Vienna malt for the maltyness it contributes to a beer. And this character is most suitable in either Munich or Vienna style beers. Although “Helles” refers to bottom fermenting beers in general, this particular beer is fermented with a top fermenting yeast strain. In this case S04, a dry yeast. I know this is not a very suitable yeast strain for such a beer but the variety of yeast strains back then (2007) was quite limited and if a liquid yeast strain was available, it was very expensive. Luckily, this is very different these days (although still expensive). I can now purchase nearly every strain from Wyeast. White Labs strains are still not available around here…

Anyway, let’s go through the recipe. I added some Caramunich to give it some color and used some acidified malt to lower the residual alkalinity of my water. The Vienna malt backbone should lead to a very malty beer and the Carapils improves the head. Some information about the mash schedule. The first rest at 45°C is a protein rest to improve the head of the beer. Then followed by two different saccharification rests. Finished with a mash out at 78°C.

Recipe: Wiener Helles
Numbers: Volume [L] 25 (6.6 gal)
Original gravity 12.8°P
Terminal gravity 4.5°P
Color Around 13 EBC
ABV 4.5 %
Grains: Vienna malt (8 EBC) 5 kg
Carapils (4 EBC) 0.34 kg
Caramunich 1 (90 EBC) 0.34 kg
Acidified malt (5 EBC) 0.1 kg
Hops: Tettnanger (4.5% AA) 30 g and boil for 70 min
Tettnanger (4.5% AA) 8 g and boil for 1 min
Yeast: Saflager S04
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 25 L (6.6 gal), sparge: 17 L (4.5 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @45°C (113°F), 20 min @45°C (109°F), 30 min @61°C (142°F), 30 min @72°C (162°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 70 min
Fermentation: Primary 7 days @ 20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary None
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2
Maturation time 3 weeks

Fig 1: Mash is resting

04/28/07: Brew day number nine. I had a 25 L lauter bucket and a 28 L kettle back then and this recipe filled the bucket and kettle up to the very top (Fig 1 and Fig 2). However, all went according to the protocol and no overflows and such happened. At the end, I collected 25 L of wort after the boil. I originally planed to get 20 L but hey, more beer is always appreciated.

Fig 2: Ready to lauter

Fig 3: Filling up the cooling bucket

05/05/07: Bottled the beer after a primary fermentation of seven days. Added cane sugar to get to a carbonation level of 2 vol. Then left the beer mature for nearly 4 weeks before I did a first tasting. Please remember, my tasting skills were very limited back then…

Aroma: Very malty aroma and some hop notes as well. Smells pretty awesome. Can’t remember if there were any ester notes from the English yeast strain (S04).

Appearance: The beer is clear and a appears in a very golden color. Pretty nice white head. Looks like a Vienna Helles should look like.

Flavor: Very rich malt backbone with some hop notes and a hint of bitterness. The balance is more on the malt side than bitterness. I could drink pints of this stuff…

Mouthfeel: Medium body, average carbonation and a malty finish. This makes it very easy to enjoy.

Overall Impression: Pretty solid beer. I just thought about to do another batch of this particular recipe sometimes. It seems to be really refreshing and easy enjoyable. Although, I would probably change the yeast and go with either a bottom fermenting or a clean top fermenting strain. Maybe Wyeast’s #2112 California Lager strain would work as an alternative. Please leave a comment below if someone gives this recipe a shot. I am very interested how the beers turn out… Stay tuned for further recipes!