Helles is German for "bright". In 1894 Spaten Brewery in Munich, Bavaria, noting the popularity of the Czech pilsners, devised their own version of a pale lager. The name "helles" is used to distinguish it from Dunkelbier (dark beer), which is another type of beer typical for that region.

Commercial examples[edit | edit source]

Style description[edit | edit source]

From the Brewers Association 2008 Style Guidelines:

This beer should be perceived as having low bitterness. It is a medium-bodied, malt-emphasized beer; with malt character often balanced with low levels of yeast produced sulfur compounds (character). Certain renditions of this beer style approach a perceivable level of hop flavor (note: hop flavor does not imply hop bitterness) and character but it is essentially balanced with malt character to retain its style identity. Malt character is sometimes bread like yet always reminiscent of freshly and very lightly toasted malted barley. There should not be any caramel character. Color is light straw to golden. Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be perceived. There should be no chill haze.

Original Gravity (ºPlato) 1.044-1.050 (11-13 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato) 1.008-1.012 (2-3 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.8-4.4% (4.5-5.5%)
Bitterness (IBU) 18-25
Color SRM (EBC) 4-5.5 (8-11 EBC)
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