Modern systems lead to a more intense degradation process and may lead to a beer with a greener, sometimes unfinished note.  Therefore, it is necessary to correct the base malt by using one with more intense colours such as 3,7 EBC instead of the very bright malts at 2,5-3,0 EBC.   However, such malts are difficult to produce consistently and it is often favourable to adjust the basic malt mix by adding either 2,0% of caramalt (20 EBC) or 0,5% darker caramalt (100 EB). [LN]

Most homebrewers won’t need to bother with this, but when working on recent german mash systems this is something worth keeping in mind.  With these it’s best to adjust the base malt to the value of 3,7 EBC, then proceed with the recipes as normal.

Before deciding what to brew, it is worth to consider the final characteristics, which usually fall into two broad categories.

  1. Very bright with weak maltiness (German Lager)
  2. Stronger coloured, with more pronounced maltiness (Bavarian Helles)

1. German Lager

  • Well modified malt at 2,5-3,0 EBC
  • Malt conditioning before milling
  • Water at 2°dH residual alkalinity
  • Mash pH at 5,5 favours enzymatic activity and allows for shorter mash times
  • pH corrected to 5,1 towards the end of boil
  • Higher grist to water ratio of 1:4,0 – 4,5 further improves the chemical reactions in the wort.  It also yields a finer extract.
  • Mashing often employs a Hochkurz Decoction schedule or a Step Infusion with appropriately adjusted rests. [LN]

2. Bavarian Helles

  • The base malt is often of a darker colour and is often adjusted using 2,0 – 3,0% Caramalt at 25 EBC.  Sometimes an additional 0.5% dark caramalt at 100 EBC or an equivalent amount of melanoidin malt are employed.
  • Water is at a residual alkalinity of 2-3° dH – in rare cases even as high as 4 – 5° dH.
  • Mash pH is expectedly at 5,5
  • pH corrected to 5,2 towards the end of boil
  • A smaller grist to water ratio of 1:3,3 to 1:3,5 yields a thicker mash resulting in more Maillard products.  It also introduces stronger tasting substances such as polyphenols for e.g.
  • Mashing often uses longer Decoction boil times of 20-25 minutes.  Nowadays one often doughs in at 55° C followed by rapid heating to 62° C.   Thereafter a decoction with two boils- or an infusion mash are employed.
  • Final attenuation is often 81% or more. [LN]



  • [LN] Ludwig Narziss/Werner Back, Die Bierbrauerei (8. Ergänzte Auflage)