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Munich Dunkel

Maybe the lads over in the Czech Republic have their own substyle going. Compared to the stuff made in Germany, would you say the Czech beers are malty and just darker on average or is there something else entirely going on there? For some reason what popped into my mind was a lower hopped Schwartzbier but having never tried it myself of course I’m just guessing. Also, could they be using really soft water to make their dark beers? I’ve never messed with making a Swartzbier but maybe it’s time I changed that. :shock:

They definately do thier own thing. I’ve never had a Czech dunkel; seems like every Czech beer I’ve tried has been either a variant of a Shwartzbier or a generic lager with coloring - basically an American Dark Lager. But I haven’t made it to the Czech Republic, so I can only report on what gets imported here, which may not be representative.

Hard to tell here but this is cell phone shot I took in questionable lighting of the Czech Dunkel at U Fleku in Prague. These were darker than the German versions…

Yeah those are dark; very nice head also I must say. Well to me yoyoing the color around is not really a big deal although at some point if you don’t want roast flavors it becomes a chore to keep them out of a beer which is really black. The Dunkel I make is really more of a brown color, not nearly that dark and I want toast but absolutely no roast flavors. I know the guys that make black IPA’s struggle as the roast flavors tend to mess up the over-the-top hop flavor you are going for in that style (really not my thing though, I’m more of a purist). I really need to fool around and try making a Swartzbier; what you are looking for there is essentially a black pilsner, sounds like a challenge to me. :smiley:

[quote=“BryanH”][quote=“CTDan”]It’s time for my first lager. I am looking at brewing a dunkel.

AHA lists this recipe on their website as the winner for category 4 in 2010. There are several things that don’t add up.

  1. The OG is too high for the style.
  2. The OG with with the malt bill would require an insane 90% efficiency.
  3. The colour is too light.
  4. The use of wheat malt instead of pilsner is interesting, but I might roll with it.
  5. The IBUs are too low.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/r ... am-dunkel/

Am I missing something here?

If I were to use this as a template for a beer, I might brew the following.
9 lbs Munich
2 lbs Wheat Malt
1 lbs pilsner
10 oz chocolate

1.25 oz Hallertau for 60 minutes
.5 oz Hallertau for 15 minutes

90 Minute Boil.

BYO suggested using about 10% dark Munich. I could also use dark versions of the wheat and pilsner. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Dan[/quote]

15% wheat in a Munich Dunkel??? Yes the style guidlines are just that, guidlines, and you (or anybody else) can do what they want. However, the guidelines were derived from traditional examples of the style(s) and from what the better commercial brewers use. Sorry but 15% wheat, actually any wheat, is whacko IMO. Wahoo makes excellent points on your questions. I’d say there are lots of beer judges who suffer from Beer Advocate Syndrome and who are too often impressed with brews because they are bigger, bolder and hit harder than they perhaps should. That doesn’t make them bad beers but it doesn’t always mean they are the better expamples of the style.

Like Ken and damian I look to the better German versions for inspiration in this style. A simple list of German ingredients and attention to details are the way to go with a German lager.

Here is my take on Munich Dunkel.

Munich Dunkel
10 Gallons

13.5 lbs Munich malt (Weyermann Type II or similar)
3.5 lbs Pilsner malt
.375 lb Carafa II malt
.75 lb CaraFoam malt

Decoction mash; 128F, 148F, 168F mashout

1 oz Spalt + 1 oz Saaz @ 60 minutes
1 oz Spalt @ 20 minutes

Estimated OG 1.050, IBU 24

White Labs WLP-838 Southern German Yeast[/quote]

This recipe looks more on track to me. Mash schedule looks good, depending on times of those rests. Decoction is optional for me, you’ll get a good Dunkel either way but a Decoction helps bring out the Munich flavor more (maybe even just a single decoction towards mash out). And I personally don’t see the need for carafoam (just mash a little higher or spend more time on alpha-rest if you want more body). My only use for any kind of cara dextrin malt is that I like 7% Carahell in my Helles and German Lagers, the rest Pilsner malt and acidulated to adjust pH. Just rounds out the flavor.

Personally, I find 100% Weyermann Munich 2 and 20IBUs of Hallertau (18 at 60 minutes, 2 at 10 minutes), fermented with WLP-838 (right on with that choice!) to make a great Munich Dunkel.

You did say Munich Dunkel. Personally, my favorite is Ayinger’s Old Bavarian.

No idea why you’d want Wheat or chocolate malt in a dunkel, unless you want to make a Dunkelweissen.

Just enough Weyermann Carafa Special 2 (dehusked) to get you to 17-19 SRM. Any more roast or color and you’re verging on Schwarzbier. Too much (to me, that’s any) caramel malt and you’re leaving Munich and heading for a Czech dunkel.

That said, there’s a LOT you can play with and make an awesome German/Czech style Dunkel or Schwarzbier that you will really enjoy, but it won’t be what they’re drinking in the Englischer Garten on a typical Munich evening. :slight_smile:

Depends what you’re after. I believe BJCP styles should be clear and specific in what they’re describing and more than ‘guidelines’, but there needs to be more granularity and specificity. If you’re making a Czech dunkel, call it that. But a Munich Dunkel is a Munich Dunkel. Just like a 2" nail is a 2" nail. It’s not a 3" nail. Be precise, like a German. :slight_smile:

I’d be skeptical of any judge judging a German beer who hasn’t extensively tasted in Germany and knows regions, styles, etc. There’s a lot of subtle variation to what basically sounds like the same thing…even in Bavaria between Munich, Southern Bavaria/Alps and Frankonia/Bamberg.

Can somebody in the know tell me the difference between a German and a Czech dunkel? Unfortunately I have not ever been to Europe so I don’t have first hand experience. All I can gleen from the discussion so far is the the Czech version is quite a bit darker. Are there any other differences?

I’m probably loosely using the term ‘Czech Dunkel’, Maybe also Bohemian Dunkel. See:

http://byo.com/stories/item/245-bohemia ... le-profile

I was just trying to lend some comparison of the variations in styles as I understand them. I suspect many folks in the US brew Dunkel’s that are really Schwarzbiers, etc.

When I was over there, I had Hofbrau Dunkel, Augustiner Dunkel and Hacker Pschorr Dunkel in Munich. Those versions seemed like dark amber lagers to me. If you held them up to the light, you would see a brown-reddish tint and you could see that it was pretty clear and “amber”. The taste was smooth, not very roasty, balanced and delicious. The Augustiner Dunkel was outstanding. In Prague, I had Master Polotmavy and also the glasses of U Fleku Dunkel and the flavor is similar but the Czech versions were darker… almost opaque. But they weren’t really “roasty” either. I assume the yeasts were different but similar. My guess is that making a German Dunkel would employ German Lager yeast and less dark grains so that the SRM is slightly lower but still pretty high. The Czech version would be darker (pretty much black or very dark brown) and use a Czech yeast. Both had about the same amount of hop character… not much. Just enough to balance the beer and that’s it. It’s possible that the German versions had just a smidge more in the hop department. Both were good but I think I preferred the German versions I tried.

When I was over there, I had Hofbrau Dunkel, Augustiner Dunkel and Hacker Pschorr Dunkel in Munich. Those versions seemed like dark amber lagers to me. If you held them up to the light, you would see a brown-reddish tint and you could see that it was pretty clear and “amber”. The taste was smooth, not very roasty, balanced and delicious. The Augustiner Dunkel was outstanding. In Prague, I had Master Polotmavy and also the glasses of U Fleku Dunkel and the flavor is similar but the Czech versions were darker… almost opaque. But they weren’t really “roasty” either. I assume the yeasts were different but similar. My guess is that making a German Dunkel would employ German Lager yeast and less dark grains so that the SRM is slightly lower but still pretty high. The Czech version would be darker (pretty much black or very dark brown) and use a Czech yeast. Both had about the same amount of hop character… not much. Just enough to balance the beer and that’s it. It’s possible that the German versions had just a smidge more in the hop department. Both were good but I think I preferred the German versions I tried.[/quote]

I have been working on a range of house German lagers, standardized on Weyermann Grains (why not choose a maltster planted right in the middle of the regions of these beers…Saschen, Thuringen, and Bavaria), same yeast(s), faily similar hops. Styles are German Pilsner, Munich Helles, Vienna Lager, Munich Dunkel, Schwarzbier.

Weyermann Pilsner Malt
Weyermann Acidulated
Weyermann Carahell
Weyermann Carafoam
Weyermann Vienna
Weyermann Munich 2
Weyermann Carafa Special 2

These are the baseline recipes I’ve brewed in the past two months:

Pilsner - 3SRM, 35 IBU, WLP 830, various Nobel hops, 148F single infusion mash, pilsner, acidulated (4%, depending on pH needs), 7% Carahell

Helles - 3 SRM, 20 IBU, WLP 838, Hallertau hops, 152F single infusion mash (though did a Hochkurz step mash last time), pilsner, acidulated, Carahell 2.7%, Carafoam 2.7%

Vienna - 11SRM, 24.5 IBU, WLP 838, Hallertau hops, 152F single infusion, 86% Vienna malt, 12% Munich 2, 1.3% Carafa Special 2

Dunkel: 16 SRM, 22IBU, WLP 838, Hallertau hops, 154F single infusion mash, with decoction before mashout, 98.5% Munich 2 (9L), 1.5% Carafa Special 2

Schwarzbier: 24.4 SRM, 27.7 IBU, Perle and Tettnang hops, WLP 830, 151F single infusion mash, 70% pilsner malt, 20% Munich 2, 6% Carafa Special 2, 3.2% Caramunich 3.

All fermented at 48F

I am trying to make these all compatible so when held next to each other they represent distinct color and unique flavor, match each style, and reflect a house style character. I haven’t brewed the Dunkel yet, but the rest are lagering and are all great so far. I may add in 30% Pilsner malt to the Vienna to tone down the Vienna flavor. But right now it’s a tasty beer reminiscent of Shiner Bock.

I am also putting together a Marzen recipe, but it’s not ready yet.

Point is, simple recipes, slight variations but end up with very different results. I wouldn’t add wheat or anything else to these, different crystals, etc, there is plenty of flavor and variation among them.

That said, I’m sure I’ll mix them up in the future and experiment, but it’s fun to try to simplify as much as possible and learn what simple recipes and slight variations in mash temps or different yeast strains do.

When I was over there, I had Hofbrau Dunkel, Augustiner Dunkel and Hacker Pschorr Dunkel in Munich. Those versions seemed like dark amber lagers to me. If you held them up to the light, you would see a brown-reddish tint and you could see that it was pretty clear and “amber”. The taste was smooth, not very roasty, balanced and delicious. The Augustiner Dunkel was outstanding. In Prague, I had Master Polotmavy and also the glasses of U Fleku Dunkel and the flavor is similar but the Czech versions were darker… almost opaque. But they weren’t really “roasty” either. I assume the yeasts were different but similar. My guess is that making a German Dunkel would employ German Lager yeast and less dark grains so that the SRM is slightly lower but still pretty high. The Czech version would be darker (pretty much black or very dark brown) and use a Czech yeast. Both had about the same amount of hop character… not much. Just enough to balance the beer and that’s it. It’s possible that the German versions had just a smidge more in the hop department. Both were good but I think I preferred the German versions I tried.[/quote]

I have been working on a range of house German lagers, standardized on Weyermann Grains (why not choose a maltster planted right in the middle of the regions of these beers…Saschen, Thuringen, and Bavaria), same yeast(s), faily similar hops. Styles are German Pilsner, Munich Helles, Vienna Lager, Munich Dunkel, Schwarzbier.

Weyermann Pilsner Malt
Weyermann Acidulated
Weyermann Carahell
Weyermann Carafoam
Weyermann Vienna
Weyermann Munich 2
Weyermann Carafa Special 2

These are the baseline recipes I’ve brewed in the past two months:

Pilsner - 3SRM, 35 IBU, WLP 830, various Nobel hops, 148F single infusion mash, pilsner, acidulated (4%, depending on pH needs), 7% Carahell

Helles - 3 SRM, 20 IBU, WLP 838, Hallertau hops, 152F single infusion mash (though did a Hochkurz step mash last time), pilsner, acidulated, Carahell 2.7%, Carafoam 2.7%

Vienna - 11SRM, 24.5 IBU, WLP 838, Hallertau hops, 152F single infusion, 86% Vienna malt, 12% Munich 2, 1.3% Carafa Special 2

Dunkel: 16 SRM, 22IBU, WLP 838, Hallertau hops, 154F single infusion mash, with decoction before mashout, 98.5% Munich 2 (9L), 1.5% Carafa Special 2

Schwarzbier: 24.4 SRM, 27.7 IBU, Perle and Tettnang hops, WLP 830, 151F single infusion mash, 70% pilsner malt, 20% Munich 2, 6% Carafa Special 2, 3.2% Caramunich 3.

All fermented at 48F

I am trying to make these all compatible so when held next to each other they represent distinct color and unique flavor, match each style, and reflect a house style character. I haven’t brewed the Dunkel yet, but the rest are lagering and are all great so far. I may add in 30% Pilsner malt to the Vienna to tone down the Vienna flavor. But right now it’s a tasty beer reminiscent of Shiner Bock.

I am also putting together a Marzen recipe, but it’s not ready yet.

Point is, simple recipes, slight variations but end up with very different results. I wouldn’t add wheat or anything else to these, different crystals, etc, there is plenty of flavor and variation among them.

That said, I’m sure I’ll mix them up in the future and experiment, but it’s fun to try to simplify as much as possible and learn what simple recipes and slight variations in mash temps or different yeast strains do.[/quote]
Looks reasonable and something I would like to try. I am mostly a German-inspired brewer. I can’t seem to make ANY style without some sort of German characteristic sneaking into the recipe!

Okay. Lets simplify the recipe.

11lbs Munich II
3oz carafa
3oz chocolate rye (I am still stuck on this one…)

1.25oz Mittelfrüh 60 minutes
.5 oz Tettnanger 15 minutes
.5 Tettnanger flame out

Decoction mash seems to be essential to this recipe. 20 minutes each at 122, 148, 154, and then a wort only boil to bring it to mash out?

Water Profile… This is also new to me. I just finished reading John Palmer’s Water book.

            My Profile.   Munich (Boiled) Difference

Calcium 8 ppm 12ppm +4 ppm
Magnesium 2.6 ppm 17ppm +14ppm
Sodium 11 ppm 4ppm -7ppm
Sulfate 12.6 ppm 18ppm +5.4 ppm
Chloride 13ppm 13ppm -5.4 ppm
Bicarbonate 26.8 ppm 26ppm +68 ppm

Does anyone have thoughts on how to adjust my water?

Dan

My approach here is to keep the mash temp deliberately low to gain a clean, dry finish and add a touch of dextrin malt to to add a bit more mouthfeel to the body of the beer. :cheers:

That’s a great approach. I started doing that with my dark, crystal, and roasted malts some years ago at the suggestion of a pro-brewer friend and it does indeed work great…still great color contribution and enough roasted flavors coming through, but not overpoweringly so and without any unpleasant astringency. That method really helps to keep everything in balance.

[quote=“CTDan”]Okay. Lets simplify the recipe.

11lbs Munich II
3oz carafa
3oz chocolate rye (I am still stuck on this one…)

1.25oz Mittelfrüh 60 minutes
.5 oz Tettnanger 15 minutes
.5 Tettnanger flame out

Decoction mash seems to be essential to this recipe. 20 minutes each at 122, 148, 154, and then a wort only boil to bring it to mash out?

Water Profile… This is also new to me. I just finished reading John Palmer’s Water book.

            My Profile.   Munich (Boiled) Difference

Calcium 8 ppm 12ppm +4 ppm
Magnesium 2.6 ppm 17ppm +14ppm
Sodium 11 ppm 4ppm -7ppm
Sulfate 12.6 ppm 18ppm +5.4 ppm
Chloride 13ppm 13ppm -5.4 ppm
Bicarbonate 26.8 ppm 26ppm +68 ppm

Does anyone have thoughts on how to adjust my water?

Dan[/quote]
Why is decoction essential? I’ve done a lot of decoction multistep mashes in the past, and I’m starting to accept the fact that for modern fully-modified malts, a single infusion mash is just as good. If you want to experience the traditional methods, fine, but if you are just trying to make the best beer possible, there isn’t a need for decoction. And even if you do decide to use the decoction, get rid of the 122 protein rest. That will hurt the beer (unless you have undermodified malts, in which case it is essential). The mash out is needed if you are fly sparging, but not if you are batch sparging or BIAB.

Forgot to add, the simplified recipe looks good. For water, you may want to bump your calcium a bit, perhaps up to 30 ppm. If you decide to do so, use CaCl. Everything else looks like it is close enough as is.

I would have to agree, decoctions are not essential. I do however decoct almost all the German beer I make. Especially if I am trying to make something really malty, I do it because I am trying to generate melonodins which I think add complexity and interest to the beer. For some reason which I can’t explain it seems to especially improve a German Heffe; seems to really help out with the body and mouthfeel (and I know I am not the only soul who believes that since I have read it in several publications). I think homebrewers have an advantage over commercial brewers in that we really have no profit motive. Because of that, we can invest time and money in ingredients and processes that aren’t necesssarily cost effective but which do improve the product. Since I put most of my beers into competitions I try very hard to take full advantage of that and tweek my stuff just a bit so it stands out just a little. Naturally all this is just my subjective opinion and we all know how much that’s worth. :shock:

I like the challenge of a decoction mash. I am also a masochist who likes to make things more difficult than they need to be. :wink:

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