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A glass of Helles

Helles or Hell is a traditional German pale lager beer, produced chiefly in Southern Germany, particularly Munich. The German word Hell can be translated as "bright", "light", or "pale".

Flavor profile[edit]

Helles-style beers typically are full-bodied, mildly sweet, and light-colored, with low bitterness. The beer is clear due to filtration prior to bottling,[1] although some restaurants and breweries do offer an unfiltered version.[2][3] Munich-style Helles is a yellow beer brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast, bitter hops such as Hallertau hops, and a specific gravity between 1.044 and 1.053 (11 to 13 degrees plato, and between 4.5 and 6% alcohol by volume. Helles has a less-pronounced hop flavor than pilsner beers.[1]


Until the 1960s, Helles were universally available in German-speaking regions. In many regions, Helles was slowly replaced by Pilsner-style beers,[4] which was also driven by changing consumer preferences from draft beer to bottled beer. In regions outside of Southern Germany, Helles is regaining popularity, particularly Berlin, where the beer's traditional image has become trendy.[5]


Helles enjoys great popularity in the Southern German regions of Bavaria, Franconia, and Baden-Württemberg. It can be referred to as "Helles", "Spezial", "Landbier", "Munich Lager", or "Export". No clear distinction is drawn between Lager and Export, although Export typically is closer in style to Dortmunder Export, which has a slightly higher ABV of 5.5% for extended shelf life.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Jositz, Sigrid (n.d.). "Kleine feine Bierkunde". legalimage.de. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  2. ^ "Helles & Dunkles: Die besten Berliner Bier-Brauereien, Brauhäuser & Biergärten". Berliner Morgenpost. 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  3. ^ Schanzenbräu Hell
  4. ^ Geyer, Tim (n.d.). "Pils oder Helles: Wo liegt der Unterschied?". derberater.de. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  5. ^ Baumstieger, Moritz (2010-06-20). "Augustiner in Berlin: Ein Helles, bitte". tagesspiegel.de. Der Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 2015-10-22.