We wanted to brew our first lager for the inaugural Ology Oktoberfest – so, we brewed a Helles. Helles Lager is a style that hails from Germany and was created late in the 19th century to compete with the Czech’s Pilsner. Helles translates to “bright”. The balance is slightly malt forward with a light toasted caramel flavor and touch more body than what Pilsner drinkers might be used to.
Lagers and ales are the first separation when classifying beer styles. Ale yeast is what craft drinkers drink the most of. It is fermented warmer and usually has a larger impact on the finished beer’s flavor profile. Lager yeast is fermented around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and is known for leaving the beer clean and crisp. Due to the fermentation temperature and the strain of yeast used – young lagers can have fairly strong sulfur aromas and diacetyl (buttery) flavor. In the event of Diacetyl, the beer is warmed up post fermentation to help the yeast reabsorb the byproduct. Sulfur compounds will fade during the "lagering" stage. Lagering is the next step and essentially just long, cold storage.
The casual beer drinker might not realize how wide of a variety of lagers there are. They range from the light colored Pilsners most drinkers recognize, to wheat lagers, all the way to dark stout colors. Some American “lite” lagers can clock in at less than 3% ABV and some specialty lagers go all the way up above 15%. Craft lagers have taken a resurgence over the past couple years in the craft drinking community. Come try our Helles this Saturday on tap in a stein and take some home in cans!