Hofbräu Dunkel | Hofbräuhaus München

very good
341 Reviews
Hofbräu DunkelHofbräu Dunkel

Brewed by:
Hofbräuhaus München

Style: Munich Dunkel Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-18-2003

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Reviews: 341 | Ratings: 1,176
Photo of MattBeer
4.21/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

This is a great smelling and tasting beer, held back only by its watery feel. Perhaps that's its lager character--and the 3 for feel would be offset by a 5 for drinkability; you'll be on your third before you realize you've started your second. A great respite from an IPA-heavy world.

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Photo of harleyridr63
3.12/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Probably the most disappointing of all Hofbrau I've tried.Winter Spezial, Maibock are exceptional. This beer is lacking in taste for the price.I wouldn't purchase it again.

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Photo of rapayn01
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not a big fan of the style, but I was at a German restaurant and it seemed like the right thing to do. I liked it well enough, but it was not especially memorable. Drinkable with reasonable flavor for the style.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.39/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

DATE TASTED: December 5, 2015 ... GLASSWARE: Celebrator doppelbock pokal... OCCASION: easing out of the annual Sheridans' Christmas party... APPEARANCE: cola black body; off-white, fizzy half-finger head that settles to a reasonable ring; lacing is sweeping in arches... AROMA: sweet hints of chocolate and peat; slight roasted elements; hops are light and floral... PALATE: medium-bodied, smooth and mellow in its intensity; a late weight holds the throat; otherwise, oily and dry...TASTE: the taste profile is agreeable in its mellowness, with the sweet malts pleasing in its chocolate and candied sugars--as such, the balance in hops keeps the experience from being one-sided, and the light, aromatic hops welcome the next sip... OVERALL: a sessionable accompaniment to an evening, as either a nightcap or a main course...smooth enough to swig, but just flavorful enough to slow it all down...

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Photo of biegaman
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'Dunkel' is German for 'dark', a descriptor for which Hofbräu Dunkel barely qualifies. Its chestnut complexion is laid against a perfectly clear backdrop and is well lit with glossy auburn highlights. The official hallmarks of dark beers - black colour and opacity - are nowhere to be found in this one.

The rich toasty qualities of Munich malt are surprisingly accompanied by an underlying Noble hop presence. The smell has an earthy, spicy bitterness that is vaguely cabbage-like. Or maybe that's just my stomach putting ideas in my head - this one certainly suits the traditional wurst and sauerkraut.

Hofbräu Dunkel sends a clear message to those weary of dark beers: there's nothing to be afraid of! Nevermind the deeper complexion, this lager - yes, lager - drinks every bit as easily as the Helles and has a similarly crisp, clean malty flavour. There's no heavy or bitter chocolate or coffee notes, I swear.

The palate is instead occupied with hearty flavours of toasted pumpernickel crusts and thick, crunchy almond butter, both lightened by a lemon-like acidity on the finish. There may be a small pinch of cocoa powder but it's more an imagined off-shoot from the inherent nuttiness of the malt.

I worry that today's generation of craft beer drinkers don't have an appreciation for more understated styles or iconic producers. Hofbräu Dunkel falls into both those categories - there's scarce few breweries with as much history as this one and Dunkel Lager isn't exactly a sexy style or currently in vogue.

But Hofbräu Dunkel is the essence of the German beer tradition: quality, quaffability, consistency. Anyone truly passionate about beer - and especially brewers - need to explore the portfolio for Hofbräu as well as the likes of Ayinger, Weltenburger, and Paulaner to get a sense of what a truly great lager is.

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Photo of Dirtyhands
3.64/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A deep, Amber, ruby red appearance. Frothy head with active carbonation giving a prickle to the tongue (draught). A toasted bread character with faintest note of caramel and biscuit. It's refreshing and toasty, but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of wisebier
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's not a bad beer but it's not a great dunkel. Bottle to glass.
L: dark brown with ruby tints. Poured in glass and almost no head. Disappointed with that.
S: a lot of caramel and Malt
T: malty and caramel . Rather smooth but not much going on and it was really low carbonated (would be better on tap).

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Medium shade of brown, or deep copper. Clear, bubbling from bottom. Fluffy, biscuit colored cap with moderate retention and weak and sparse, but fine, lacing. Parts roasty, toasty, tart, and barely sweet, aromatically. Lager is tart with first inspection, but as and after it fizzes and foams, reveals roasted and caramel malt notes of slightly overdone toast (the way I like it), mild toffee sweetness, creamed coffee, and a subdued amalgamation of smoke, leaf matter, menthol, and iron. Lighter in body than a fair amount of other darker German brews, with lots of fine, sudsy bubbles making for smooth drinking. Finishes relatively clean apart from metallic aftertaste (faintly bitter, I suppose, but not from hops).

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Photo of kevinlater
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into nonic pint. best before 03.06.2016. consumed oct 19 2015

a: transparent dark brown-ruby-caramel-mahogany kind of hue. two fingers of tan head

s: grains, raisin, bread, and a hint of chocolate. not much going on, smells good though

t: sweet caramel and raisin bread in the front. turns into a kind of chocolatey, nutty mid-palate. has a lingering caramel sweetness as well as nutty notes. low bitterness

m: light with moderate carbonation and a slighty sweet, sticky finish

o: love the caramel and nutty notes in this. good stuff

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Photo of GOBLIN
3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice dunkel. Pleasent aromas, feel was a little thin otherwise it's a solid German lager through and through. Delicious and a terrific example of the style.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Jun 3 2016. Not a style that I consume particularly often.

Pours a deep, clear copper-amber hue, stirring up one finger, of loose, soapy, light beige-coloured head. It dissipates entirely over the next couple of minutes, leaving behind a small ring of lacing, in addition to a narrow cap of creamy foam and a bubbly film on the surface. The nose is a tad underwhelming; it's a blend of caramel sweetness, figgy dark-fruitiness and some toasted malt notes that suggest bread and biscuit. Approachable enough, but a bit, well... blah.

Thankfully, the flavour profile is less subdued. Fairly malt-forward, which should not be a big surprise for this style - lightly roasty, with notes of bready, biscuity malts, caramelized sugar and treacle sweetness, with hints of toasted nuts. Notes of dark fruit (fig, date) are present too, though less dominant than they were in the aroma. Finishes bittersweet; thanks to some earthy, grassy hops that help counteract the sweetness, the aftertaste is not at all saccharine. Light-medium in body, with lively carbonation levels that agitate the palate and result in a crisp, prickly mouthfeel. Pretty well-balanced, and quite easy-drinking, though not necessarily something I'd want to session.

Final Grade: 3.77, a B+. I've had a handful of Munich dunkel lagers, and I'm starting to think that this style just isn't for me. I will say that Hofbräu Dunkel is one of the best examples I've had so far, but it still strikes me as a fairly straightforward, two-dimensional beer. Keeping my personal biases in mind, I'd call this a relatively good Munich dunkel that I would consider drinking again, but not a beer that I'd be inclined to seek out in the future. Anyone unfamilar with this somewhat neglected German lager style should consider Hofbräu's Dunkel to be a safe, worthwhile introductory selection.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber brown, thin layer of head with some retention and lacing. Nose has loads of toasted grains, burnt toast and grassy hops. Flavour are alike with burnt grains, hints of molasses and a solid dose of earthy, grassy hops. This brew nails the style and goes down easy. Well worth seeking out as a prime example of the style.

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Photo of TLS28
4.55/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

An amazing dunkel. If this was rated to style it would be in the 90's. It is one of the best dunkels I have ever had. Count on the Germans to do it right. The beer pours nicely, leaving a firm head. It assaults your nose with various malt aromas and tastes nearly how it smells. The flavor is sublime and cuts off just quick enough to keep you coming back for another sip. It drinks easy, like most lagers, but is very flavorful. It's also a great price point and is usually very cheap. You can't really go wrong with this one and I would highly suggest trying it out if you are looking for a tasteful, sessionable drink.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500 ml brown bottle served cold into a St. Pauli Girl mug. Purchased from the LCBo for $3.15 CDN.

Appearance - Clear, honey brown colored beer with some reddish hues. Nice two plus fingers of fluffy light tan head, fairly good retention and some nice lacing rings left around the glass.

Smell - Light graniness, with a faint chocolate and roasty malt bill, but decidedly subdued compared with others in the style.

Taste - Mildly sweet, clean with the chocolate and malted grain flavors shining through quite clearly now. Bitterness is at a minimum, but sufficiently present to prevent from describing this beer as "sweet".

Mouthfeel - Smooth and clean, fairly light body and average carbonation.

Overall - A solid dunkel lager, all the pieces are there to be a mainstay, although the nose is a little lacking. Still a very solid beer, worth of this brewer's significant reputation.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for around $3.50 or so for a 500ml bottle. Served at 5deg C in a tulip.

A- Opens well and pours a 1/2 inch high white head that lasts for a minute or two before film out. Medium brown color and filtered clear

S- Not a lot but there is some good caramel and fig notes

T- Rich caramel and a nice smooth malt base. Nothing overpowers but nothing stands out either exceptional or bland. Just an in between dunkel. In between good and not so good.

M- Dry and crisp

O- Ok but not great. Will not buy again. It's just average. Missing the slight cinnamon and other good spices found in other's dunkel's.

Food Pairing

This half decent brew went well with........ Grilled cheese sandwiches using a more a cheese with extra bite like a provolone or a Havarti. Mix that in with a vegetable such as roasted pepper and voila!


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Photo of hopphead31415
4.11/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I’ve really started to love Hofbrau. Their Oktoberfest is absolutely exquisite. I grabbed a chilled six pack of this Dunkel and poured it into a tall Pilsner glass that I had available. It is the first beer ever brewed by Hofbrau and has 5.5% ABV. This bottom-fermented Lager is great so let’s see what it has to offer.

Look-It pours a very dark chestnut brown that gives up its clarity in the light. It has hues of copper, mahogany, and cedar in the light. The head is rich and foamy with the slightest off-white tinge. Lacing is moist and full.

Smell-It has strong aromas of fig newtons. The bready buttery crust of a fig newton is very noticeable and comes from the malt bouquet.

Taste- The taste follows the nose. There are the dark fruits like plums and prunes and the associated esters that come through strongly. The fig is the best way to describe the fruity components, but it also has some noticeable molasses flavor as well.

Mouthfeel-It’s smooth and crisp as well as on the lighter side of medium-bodied. It almost drinks like a lagered porter which is amazing, because of the malt content and the resulting clear brilliance of this brew.

Overall-The crisp and refreshing nature of this brew reminds me of the superb Oktoberfest. These brilliant Bavarian brews are excellent any time of the year, but even if I were to drink this Dunkel in the middle of the summer, it would make me dream of Christmas and that is a huge compliment.

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Photo of invertalon
4.83/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On draft at Hofbrahaus Pittsburgh.

Poured into a liter stein... A solid 2"-3" of head. Beautiful rub hue, excellent clarity.

Aroma is sweet malt and caramel. Taste follows the nose with wonderful malt, biscuit and caramel sweetness. Well carbonated, mouth feel is excellent.

Very delicious and easy drinking beer. It has been a few years since I had this one and I was very impressed on the re-visit.

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Photo of nhopkins24
4.41/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh off the tap, this is one of my favorites. Great dark amber color with thick head. Medium body with some malt and light hoppiness early, with a touch of bitterness at the finish. Great beer.

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Photo of safphoto
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I first had this at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich a fews years back. I loved it. When I got back to the US, I picked some up at the local beer and wine shop and it wasn't quite as good. Okay, so actually being at the Munich Hofbrauhaus might have had something to do with it, but not completely. This beer is much better when on the tap, right at the source.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From bottle brought from coolwines, Pours a dark brown color with white head. Bread, toast, malty aromas, taste is much the same as the aroma. It's not to bad.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.99/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Easy drinking lager, albeit a bit pedestrian: ("underwhelming" as one reviewer noted.) Although at times, an understated beer isn't necessarily a bad thing. Would most certainly choose this hands down over an adjunct, particularly if I didn't want the beer to compete with the meal, but wouldn't go to extremes to secure another. Did pick-up on a slight skunk note in the nose, which isn't one of my favorite things. Would like to try a few others in this style + other HB's as well.

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Photo of TheRock7755
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

One of my favorite Dunkel's. Best on tap or freshly brewed at one of their brew houses (Rosemont, IL). I am happy you can get it in most major cities now.

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Photo of EMV
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, served in a 1L stein.

L: Pours a deep clear mahogany color with thick off-white head that leaves ample lacing.

S: Malts and light hops. Slight molasses and brown sugar notes.

T/F: Clean and clear. Malts up front with mild sweetness and molasses. Hop bitterness at the finish. Moderate carbonation.

O: A very easy to drink Dunkel and a solid representation of the style. Great to experience first hand in Munich.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer is average out of a bottle, good on draft and excellent in Munich. If you can drink it in the states on draft, get it and enjoy. If you can get to Munich for a litre, even better!

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours brilliant dark amber under a sturdy cream colored foam cap. Bread and light caramel flavors and aromas. No dark fruit or roast flavors. Medium body and medium low carbonation.

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Hofbräu Dunkel from Hofbräuhaus München
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,176 ratings.
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