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Thoughts on dunkels.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by RochefortChris, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. I know this isn't the most exciting style but, it's one I'm starting to fall in love with. Why aren't they very popular with American craft breweries? I know of a few. To be honest I prefer German imports at the moment. Thoughts, opinions?
  2. Good question. Dunkels have always confused me as they seem like a style I would like, yet I don't. Whenever I try a dunkel I am never excited about the results. It's hard for me to even describe what I don't like about them. Perhaps it's not so much that they don't have good characteristics, perhaps it's that they lack the things that I do look for in a beer.
  3. socon67

    socon67 Advocate (600) New York Jun 18, 2010

    I think you answered your own question. They are not a particularly exciting style. And, the best best examples are imports which are often easy to get and not expensive.
    BeerKangaroo likes this.
  4. I'm with you- it's too bad that there are precious few quality examples these days. I can't say that I've had an American one that made much of an impression (though I see Old Mecklenberg seems to make a good one), and usually the imports are a crapshoot in terms of freshness.

    Thankfully Ayinger Altbairisch is plentiful and seems to move (new labels, too- keep an eye out for them), and is about as good as the style gets. They not only get the melanoidin-like malt character correct, but more importantly they nail the balance and drinkability so that it is pleasurable even after a few.
    RochefortChris and yemenmocha like this.
  5. Munich dunkel or dunkelweizen? For the former I think American craft breweries find stouts and porters styles more easy to experiment with. For the latter wheat styles don't get much respect in general.

    I like 'em both.
  6. Domingo

    Domingo Champion (945) Colorado Apr 23, 2005

    Been wondering this forever. I absolutely love a good dunkel. They're easy drinking and relatively low ABV-wise, but still have a ton of super-malty flavor. Lots of American breweries play around with the Schwarzbier style, but I still find dunkel to be more approachable since schwarzbiers have a lot of the same roasty acidic notes that scares the general public away from stouts.
    I'm sure one reason they aren't super common is that they're a lager (which take more time), but more and more we are starting to see craft brewers making more lagers.
    I dunno.
    Funny enough, a lot of the "American bock" beers resemble a dunkel far more than a bock. Not sure if they sell well universally, but Shiner certainly seems to.
    jgluck, RochefortChris and yemenmocha like this.
  7. Most U.S. craft versions take numerous short cuts -- the most egregious one being adding chocolate malt to get that "dark" character. The resultant roastiness ends up tasting more like a watered down porter...which is understandably disappointing. True German Dunkels have a toasty, rich, bready character that results from using large amounts of Munich and Pilsner malts and decoction mashing. If you can get your hands on a fresh, authentic version (which, I admit, is tough here in the U.S.), you'll probably be duly impressed. This year's Olde Meck Dunkel was very nice. And I have heard excellent things about Prost's Altfraenkisches Dunkel as well. The Ayinger one TongoRad mentioned is probably your best, most readily available bet, though.
    jgluck, kojevergas, tronester and 4 others like this.
  8. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    I've said that about a few American Bocks too -- try Anchor's Bock (if you were approved for that loan). Haven't had Shiner Bock in a long time, but I may have to try it again -- their Schwarzbier is just about perfect to style.
  9. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Savant (465) Missouri Sep 14, 2011

    Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel is the bees knees.
  10. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Which Dunkel imports have you been drinking? I was disappointed in Spaten's introduction into the market. Its lackluster character is probably due to what HerrB mentions about freshness. When you have a Dunkel in Munich proper it's so damn good.

    Here's a pretty decent example that's available in a lot of places.
  11. Anyone I have ever made try a good Dunkelweizen has absolutely loved it! It is one of my fav style.
  12. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poobah (1,005) Arizona Jun 18, 2002

    PROST Dunkel in Denver is fantastic and is the only American attempt I really like. I'm with the others above in going with Ayinger and reserving praise for the authentic German examples.

    It's a lager so it's not cool to a lot of people, both brewers and self-styled consumers. Lagers in general can often show flaws easily. Even if most American brewers tried it, they would screw it up by making a chocolate one or a Lapsang Souchong one or a Birch Syrup one or a Maple Syrup one or an Oyster one - exactly as they try to "innovate" the doppelbock style. :rolleyes: Brewer, please. :rolleyes:
  13. Victory Moonglow is really good
  14. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poobah (1,005) Arizona Jun 18, 2002

    That's a weizenbock though. :)
  15. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (305) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel is sublime...at the source anyways. This is a style that I brew at home quite often and is definitely not boring when fresh and served in very large mugs.
  16. At the source, I agree. I find the bottled version to verge on the slightly cloying. If I were introducing someone in the U.S. to the style, I'd definitely point them toward the Ayinger first. Now, if they were to make it even remotely close to Weltenburg, that's a different story. What a great place to enjoy that beer!

    [​IMG]
    yemenmocha likes this.
  17. Ettaler Kloster Dunkel is fantastic. Warsteiner Dunkel was one of my first go-to craft beers.
    Willbfun and yemenmocha like this.
  18. grantcty

    grantcty Aficionado (235) Minnesota Feb 17, 2008

    Was just going to mention this one too. A really, really good dunkel.
  19. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (305) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    [​IMG]

    I must admit - I'm drinking the Asam Bock in this photo...
    I agree that the flavor characteristics should come from the high percentage of Munich base malt.
    yemenmocha and herrburgess like this.
  20. True, was thinking it was a dunkelweizen for some reason
  21. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (480) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    Lagering time.
    Uniobrew31 likes this.
  22. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Really? Do you mean the bottles in Germany (opposed to vom Faß), or the ones you had here? Because I've never found it near cloying to my palate -- and I'm no big fan of sweet beer. In fact, I've often found Ayinger downright stale -- probably because it sits on shelves too long. :rolleyes:
  23. To name a few:
    Hirschbrau
    Augussteiner
    Graft Stolberg
    Ayinger.
    Most other ones have thick German names I can't remember.
    yemenmocha likes this.
  24. Domingo

    Domingo Champion (945) Colorado Apr 23, 2005

    For German imports, like everyone else, I really enjoy the Ayinger. Barock is another really good one.
    Another good one that isn't as common would be Reutberger. Even though they aren't Bavarian, the one from Pinkus is also top-notch. It reminds me a lot of the one from Augustiner, which is probably my favorite.
    HB's is the one I buy the most of, but because of that green glass I only buy it in unopened/dated cases. Cases are usually not too expensive, so I don't mind.
    Not sure why they don't bottle them, but Paulaner and H-P both send kegs of theirs stateside. Paulaner's is a little on the sweet side, but it's enjoyable.
    yemenmocha likes this.
  25. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    I saw that one on the shelves for the first time in a long time last weekend -- guess I'll have to grab one up.
  26. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Nice. How expensive is Augustiner in SC? Up here its price is usually a big turn-away (something close to $12 a six pack -- and you often don't know the freshness).
  27. herrburgess likes this.
  28. sarcastro

    sarcastro Savant (405) Michigan Sep 20, 2006

    I love Munich Dunkels. Just because they are not talked about doesnt mean people dont like them.
  29. Yes. That is a good one that you will likely be able to find fresh. Good call.
  30. Domingo

    Domingo Champion (945) Colorado Apr 23, 2005

    Does the Ludwig dunkel make it to the US? I see their weiss here and there, but I've never seen the dunkel.
    I'll always remember that beer as being the only good thing about that damned castle Neuschwanstein. They were serving the Ludwig dunkel at the base of the hill and it was a welcome site after wasting a day at that tourist trap.
    mjtierney2 and sergeantstogie like this.
  31. I got the pleasure of wasting it with a screaming 2 year old! Though I think I feel about Castles as my wife feels about anywhere beer related.
  32. Starkbier

    Starkbier Savant (260) Maryland Sep 19, 2002

    Agreed with herrburgess on the approach, thats how we make Victory Dark Lager, which happens to be vom Fass at the sudhaus now. Not one of the best selling beers we make, but we love it so we keep on making it. Nice session bier too. Lots of Bamberger Munich malz.....

    Cheers,

    Jim
  33. Cyrano41

    Cyrano41 Savant (275) Virginia Aug 7, 2009

    Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel I'm a big fan. Like has been said, the imports take it easily. Franzikaner, Erdinger and Ayinger, yum! Fish brewing company's Levenworth Blind Pig isn't bad and you can't beat Trader Joe's Dunkelweizen for the price.
  34. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

  35. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Dinkel-Acker used to export their Dunkel to the U.S. and it was pretty darned good -- sort of like a Doppelbock without the kick. I bring this up because there are rumors going around that D-A is supposed to return to the U.S. Hopefully the Pilsner and the Dunkel.
  36. BeerKangaroo

    BeerKangaroo Initiate (0) Alaska May 30, 2011

    Correct me if I`m wrong, but isn`t that a weizenbock?
  37. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (835) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    A dunkelweizen isn't a lager.

    Edit: or were you talking about the Ayinger Munich?
  38. klaybie

    klaybie Savant (275) Illinois Nov 15, 2009

    I'm for 'em! Ayinger Altbarisch if we're talking Munich Dunkel or Hacker-Pschorr Dunkelweizen if we're talking well...dunkelweizen.
    LambicPentameter likes this.

  39. I liked Spaten Dark the one time I found it with less than 6 months of age. I would buy more if I could find it like that again.
  40. Bottles here and there. I'd need to revisit to give an honest appraisal, but I definitely recall it being sweeter than the Ayinger, which I seem to be able to find relatively fresh around here, luckily.

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