Overview for the Munich Helles Lager

The Munich Helles Lager was first crafted back in 1894 at the Spaten brewery. It was meant to compete with the popular Pilsener-style beers of the region and today is the most popular beer style in Southern Germany. It pours a yellow to deep golden hue and is topped by a persistent, creamy white head. The aroma and palate are typically malty and sometimes backed by low to moderately spicy, floral, or herbal hops. The sweetness shouldn’t be overpowering. Its feel should be smooth, clean, well-lagered with a medium body and moderate carbonation. Comparatively, the Munich Helles Lager should be similar to the balance and bitterness of the Munich Dunkel. It will have more body but less hop character than the German Pils.

Style Expectations

A clean, malty, gold-colored German lager with a smooth grainy-sweet malty flavor and a soft, dry finish. Subtle spicy, floral, or herbal hops and restrained bitterness help keep the balance malty but not sweet, which helps make this beer a refreshing, everyday drink.

Appearance

Medium yellow to pale gold. Clear. Persistent creamy white head.

Aroma

Moderate grainy-sweet malt aroma. Low to moderately-low spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma. While a clean aroma is most desirable, a very low background note of DMS is not a fault. Pleasant, clean fermentation profile, with malt dominating the balance. The freshest examples will have more of a malty-sweet aroma.

Flavor

Moderately malty start with the suggestion of sweetness, moderate grainy-sweet malt flavor with a soft, rounded palate impression, supported by a low to medium-low hop bitterness. The finish is soft and dry, not crisp and biting. Low to moderately-low spicy, floral or herbal hop flavor. The malt dominates the hops in the palate, finish, and aftertaste, but the hops should be noticeable. There should not be any residual sweetness, simply the impression of maltiness with restrained bitterness. Very fresh examples will seem sweeter due to the fresh, rich malt character that can fade with time. Clean fermentation profile.

Mouthfeel

Medium body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, well-lagered character.

Reviews

Spaten Premium Lager (Münchner Hell)

Munich Helles Lager  •  Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

Spaten Premium Lager (Münchner Hell) is a Munich Helles Lager by Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu that balances cracker malt and noble hops. Read More

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Fresh As Helles

Munich Helles Lager  •  Boston Beer Company

Fresh As Helles is a German-style Munich Helles Lager by the Boston Beer Company that’s sweet with orange, melon, and apple; balanced lightly with spicy hops. Read More

Tampa-Style Lager

Munich Helles Lager  •  Cigar City Brewing

Tampa-Style Lager, a German-style Munich Helles Lager by Cigar City Brewing blends grass, floral, and citrus hops with doughy bread and honey. Read More

Hell

Munich Helles Lager  •  Surly Brewing Co.

Hell is a German-style Munich Helles Lager by Surly Brewing Co. that brings ample hoppy bite to this sessionable lager. Read More

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