Exploring the Differences Between Helles and Pilsner Beers

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When it comes to craft beer, there is no comparison between helles vs pilsner. Both styles of beer have a unique history that dates back centuries, and both require an intricate brewing process to achieve their distinct flavor profiles.

While they share some similarities, such as color and alcohol content, the subtle differences between these two beers are worth exploring further when considering which one you should try next!

In this blog post, we’ll look at the history of Helles vs. pilsner, compare the brewing processes used for each style, compare taste and colour differences, talk about alcohol content and calorie counts, and give examples of popular brands on the market today.

Table of Contents:

History of Helles and Pilsner

History of Helles and Pilsner

The origin of Helles beer dates back to the late 19th century in Bavaria, Germany. The style was created because pale lagers from neighboring Czechoslovakia and Bohemia were becoming increasingly popular. It was meant to be a lighter alternative to the dark beers that Munich is known for, like Dunkel and Marzen. Helles is made with pilsner malt and noble hops, which gives it a light body and a slight bitterness and sweetness from the malt.

The origin of Pilsner can be traced back to Plzeň (Pilsen), Czech Republic, in 1842 when Josef Groll created the first golden lager using local ingredients like soft water, Saaz hops, and Moravian barley malt. This new style quickly gained popularity throughout Europe due to its crisp flavor profile that had never been seen before. Modern pilsners are still brewed using similar ingredients but have evolved by incorporating different malts or hops for more complex flavors or aromas.

Helles and Pilsner are two popular styles of beer that have been around for centuries, each with its unique history. Now let’s look at the brewing process for Helles and Pilsner to understand how they differ.

Brewing Process for Helles and Pilsner

Helles and pilsner beers are two of the most popular beer styles in the world. Both have a long history, with Helles originating in Bavaria, Germany, and pilsner coming from Plzeň, Czech Republic. While both styles are similar in many ways, there are some distinct differences between them regarding their brewing process.

Ingredients Used in Helles

Helles is brewed using pale malts such as Pilsner malt or Vienna malt, along with small amounts of darker malts like Munich or Caramunich for color and flavor. Hops can range from noble varieties like Hallertau Mittelfrüh to modern hops like Saaz or Tettnang. Yeast strains vary but typically include lager yeasts that produce clean flavors without too much fruitiness or esters.

Ingredients Used in Pilsner

Pilsners use a base of pale malts such as Pilsner malt and small amounts of specialty grains for color and flavor complexity. Hops used tend to be noble varieties such as Saaz, Spalt Select, Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, or Tettnang, providing subtle bitterness and floral aromas without overwhelming the delicate malty character of the beer. Yeast strains used tend to be more significant yeasts that produce clean flavors without too much fruitiness or esters.

Brewing Helles and Pilsner beers require different ingredients and processes, resulting in two distinct beer styles with unique flavors. In the next section, we’ll compare the taste and color of these two popular styles to see which one comes out on top.

Key Takeaway:Helles and pilsner beers are similar but distinct, with Helles brewed using pale malts, noble hops, and lager yeast, while pilsners use pale malts, specialty grains, noble hops, and lager yeast.

Taste and Color Comparison Between Helles and Pilsner Beers

When comparing the taste and color of Helles and Pilsner beers, the two styles have some distinct differences.

Flavor Profile of Helles Beer

Helles beer is a light-bodied lager with a slightly sweet malt flavor and low hop bitterness. Its subtle notes of bread, cracker, and honey give it a smooth finish. The aroma is typically mild, hinting at floral hops or citrus fruits.

Flavor Profile of Pilsner Beer

Pilsner beer is also a light-bodied lager but tends to have more hop bitterness than its counterpart. Its flavor profile includes biscuit-like malts and grassy or herbal hops that provide a slight spiciness on the palate. The aroma can range from floral to earthy, depending on the type used in the brewing process.

Color Comparison Between the Two Styles

Regarding color comparison, both styles tend to be pale yellow in hue. However, pilsners can sometimes appear slightly darker due to their higher hop content, which gives them an amber tint when held up against light sources such as sunlight or fluorescent bulbs. Helles beers usually have less clarity than pilsners because they contain more proteins from wheat, making them appear hazy or cloudy when poured into glasses for consumption purposes.

The taste and colour comparison between Helles and Pilsner beers shows they have distinct flavor profiles, colors, and alcohol contents. Moving on to alcohol content and calorie counts for both beer styles will help you decide the suitable type.

Alcohol Content and Calorie Counts for Helles and Pilsner Beers

Alcohol Content Comparison of Helles and Pilsner Beer

Both types of beer have a relatively low alcohol content compared to other styles, making them an ideal choice for those looking for a lighter drinking experience.

Alcohol Content of Helles Beer Compared to Other Styles of Beer

Helles is a light-bodied lager that usually has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of between 4% and 5%. Compared to other styles, like IPAs or stouts, which can have up to 8% or more alcohol, this makes it one with minor alcohol. Despite its lower ABV, Hell still has plenty of flavors thanks to its malty sweetness and subtle hop bitterness.

Alcohol Content Of Pilsner Beer Compared To Other Styles Of Beer

Pilsners also tend to have a lower ABV than many other styles, usually between 4% and 6%. They’re often slightly more bitter than Helles due to their use of noble hops, but they still retain some maltiness that helps balance the flavors. The crispness and refreshing nature make pilsners great choices for summertime drinking sessions.

Calorie Counts of Helles vs Pilsner

Regarding calories, both Helles and pilsners are relatively low compared to heavier beers like imperial stouts or barleywines, which can contain upwards of 200 calories per 12-ounce serving. On average, you can expect around 120–140 calories per 12 ounces for both hisses and pilsners, depending on the specific recipe each brewery uses. So if you’re looking for something light yet flavorful without all the extra calories, either style could be perfect.

Whether you are looking for a light and crisp beer with low calories or a full-bodied brew that packs more alcoholic punch, both Helles and Pilsner beers suit your tastes. Let’s look at some popular brands producing these types of beers today.

Key Takeaway:Both have relatively low alcohol contents (4–5% ABV) compared to other styles, such as IPAs or stouts, making them an ideal choice for a lighter drinking experience. Additionally, they contain around 120–140 calories per 12 ounces to enjoy the flavor without all the extra calories.

Popular Examples of Helles and Pilsner Beers

When it comes to famous examples of Helles and Pilsner beers available on the market today, there are a variety of brands producing both styles. Popular brands producing Helles beers include Spaten, Hofbräu München, Augustiner-Bräu, Paulaner, and Hacker-Pschorr. These breweries have been making Helles beer for centuries and continue producing some of the best examples in the world.

Popular brands producing Pilsner beers include Warsteiner, Bitburger, Beck’s Brewery, Heineken International, and Staropramen Brewery. All these breweries make excellent pilsners that can be found in many countries around the world.

Price Comparison of Both Beers

Both types’ availability and price points vary depending on where you live or shop, but generally, you can find them at most liquor stores or online retailers. For example, if you’re looking for a good quality Helles beer, Spaten is one widely available brand, with prices ranging from $7 to $10 per six-pack, depending on your location. Similarly, if you’re looking for a good quality pilsner, then Warsteiner is another widely available brand, with prices ranging from $8–12 per six-pack, depending on your location.

No matter which type of beer you prefer—Helles or Pilsner—there are plenty of great options, so take some time to explore what is available before deciding which one to buy.

FAQs in Relation to Helles vs Pilsner

What makes a beer a helles?

A Helles is a lager beer originating in Bavaria, Germany. It is characterized by its light golden color and mild hop aroma. The flavor profile of a Helles typically includes notes of sweet malt, breadiness, and subtle hops. This beer style has an ABV (alcohol by volume) ranging from 4-5%, making it one of the lighter styles available. A Helles should be served cold to bring out its crispness and refreshing qualities.

What is difference between pilsner and lager?

Pilsner and lager are both types of beer, but they differ in their brewing processes. A pilsner is a pale lager made with bottom-fermenting yeast and typically has a light body, golden color, and crisp flavor. Lagers are also brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast, but fermentation takes longer than pilsners. This results in a darker color and a fuller body than pilsners. Also, lagers tend to have more complex flavors due to their longer aging period than pilsners.

Is Helles a light beer?

Yes, Helles is a light beer. It is a pale lager from Bavaria in Germany with an ABV of 4.7–5.4%. Helles is known for its smoothness and subtle sweetness with notes of malt and grain and a low hop presence. Its color ranges from golden to straw yellow, making it an ideal choice for those looking for something lighter than the traditional dark beers but still full of flavor.

Is Heineken a Helles?

No, Heineken is not a Helles. Helles is a type of German lager beer originating in Munich with an ABV of 4.7–5.4%. Its light color, mild hop bitterness, and malty sweetness characterize it. On the other hand, Heineken is a pale lager with an ABV of 5%, brewed in the Netherlands since 1873. It has a slightly bitter taste and a fruity aroma from the added hops during brewing.


In conclusion, Helles and pilsner beers have a long history of brewing traditions still alive today. While both styles share some similarities regarding ingredients and the brewing process, they differ in taste, color, alcohol content, and calorie count. Famous examples of Helles and pilsner beers available on the market today offer beer lovers a wide range of choices to explore when it comes to enjoying these two classic beer styles. No matter which one you choose – whether it’s a Helles or a pilsner – you can be sure that you’re getting an enjoyable drinking experience every time!

Are you looking to find the perfect beer for your next night out? Are you curious about what sets a Helles apart from a pilsner? Do you want to learn more about today’s brewing techniques, equipment, and subscription services? Then Brew Publik is here for you! With our reviews and insights on all things related to craft beer, we can provide guidance and solutions that will make finding great brews easier than ever. So join us as we explore the world of craft beers – cheers!

Also See: Exploring the Differences Between Bock and Stout Beers

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