Helles Lagers (Hell, Urhelles, Urtyp-Hells)
Words by Simon Difford
Helles are full-bodied, light coloured, slightly sweet rich style of pilsner from Munich with a distinct maltiness. Hell means light in German and Helles means ‘light one’, referring to the beer’s appearance rather than body: straw blond with a thick creamy head.
German Helles are typically 4.5%-5.5% alc/vol. with very low hop bitterness 18-25 IBU, but Helles can range from 4.7% to 7.5% alc./vol. and 18-35 IBU. Helles over 5% alc./vol. are often termed Export Helles.
The first Helle beer was brewed at Munich's Spatan Brewery on 21st March 1894.