Denison's Dunkel | Denison's Brewing Company

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Denison's DunkelDenison's Dunkel
Very Good
23 Ratings
Denison's DunkelDenison's Dunkel

Brewed by:
Denison's Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada

Style: Munich Dunkel Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A Munich style dark lager, Dunkel, was also brewed at the brewpub on Victoria Street from 1989 to 2003. It was reintroduced in early 2005 at Black Oak, and is now also brewed at Cool Beer Brewery. It is enjoying popularity amongst aficionados and those who have discovered it more recently.

Denison’s Dunkel is an authentic bottom fermented Dark beer (lager) in the Munich style. It is characteristically a little sweet in the start, followed by a good malty character and continuing with a long, complex finish. It is brewed with a majority of Bavarian malt, including special dehusked dark malt from Bamberg to give it unusual smoothness.
It's a great "session" beer.

Added by baiser on 03-08-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 23 |  Reviews: 20
Photo of mick303
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of yancot
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of hopsolutely
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of jrenihan
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Volo.

Beer is dark brown with a small but very stable off-white head. Good retention.

Smell is quite light. Caramel malt. I don't get a lot.

Caramel malt in the taste, as well as toasted flavours. A "light" flavour that I find hard to describe but associate with lagers. Perhaps a function of the yeast. A bit of molasses. A bit on the sweet side, but fairly balanced. A bit astringent.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Bready.

Overall, nice. Fairly simply but flavouful. Not one of my favourite styles, I will admit, but a decent beer.

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Photo of kwjd
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a thin brown colour with tan head and some small lacing around the glass. Smell is huge maltiness with some raisin, chocolate, nuttiness and caramel. Flavour is quite sweet. Mouthfeel is a little bit thin and almost had this grittiness to it. A nice beer, I don't like it as much as Weiss from Denison's though.

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Photo of biegaman
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beer Bistro, in Toronto.

Five different people could give five different answers for describing the colour of this beer and it's very possible that all would be correct. It has hues of both deep copper and dark brown and a sharp, gleaming tint of garnet. It is perfectly clear although its dark complexion curbs clarity. Its minuscule amount of head barely warrants a mention.

The aroma allows for the beer's profound maltiness to speak for itself. The yeast and hops stay undetected while acutely sweet notes of dark fruits, toasted bread crumbs and caramel, molasses and chocolate coated, heavily roasted pecans force themselves up into the nose with the equivalent force of a sledgehammer smashing a fly.

That the beer is brewed majorly from imported Bavarian malt, including special dehusked dark malt from Bamberg, not only speaks to the brewer's commitment to quality ingredients but also explains how the beer could be so complexly flavourful. Dominated by an exceptionally rich maltiness, the beer boasts a nearly endless ensemble of flavours...

Including: melanoidins reminiscent of bread crusts, dark toffee, raisin and fig and prune purees, musty hops, a touch of debittered chocolate and caramel coated, heavily roasted pecans. There's so much going on; the beer drinks like a classic thriller novel: exciting plot twists, a huge cast of distinct characters and a climactic buildup to a gratifying finish.

Denison's brewer, Michael Hancock, is a German-trained brewmaster who's been brewing this Dunkel for over 20 years - as if there was ever any chance this wasn't going to be one of the most flavourful, sessionable, true-to-style examples found outside of Deutschland. Indeed, this is just that and I'd confidently put it up against any challengers.

Denison's recipe for a Dunkel is equal to the best ever devised. There are few locally conceived beers that qualify as benchmark, world-class examples of their styles (Denison's Weissbier being one of the only others) and I truly wish the world could be exposed to the quality and craftsmanship of this brewer - it is a point of local beer-geek pride.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer appears a clear dark russet color, with two fingers of creamy off-white head, which leaves a minute amount of specked lace around the glass in its wake. It smells of bready malt, and orchard fruitiness, mostly apple. The taste is caramel/toffee malt, some breadiness, and crisp, but muted, grassy hops. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight and smooth, and it finishes off-dry, the malt continuing to mix with the fleshy fruitiness.

A pleasant tipple - soft, round, and balanced.

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Photo of eat
3.06/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brought to my table at Volo with a light cover of off-white head, which receded to a solid ring around the class. Bits of lacing. Opaque, mahogany body. Nice.

Tons of molasses in the nose. Some apple and apple pie spice. It's hard to smell anything else other than molasses, it just smells like a big carton of molasses. Too sweet.

Very sweet...too sweet. Molasses, apple cider and light spice. There's some bitterness to the finish but it's not exactly balanced. It would take a ton of hops to balance out this sweetness. There's also no complexity, as I would like to find in a dunkel. Pretty much just molasses/apple sweetness.

The feel is similar to their weiss, but as a dunkel it doesn't really work too well. Medium body. Where the high carbonation feels refreshing in the weissbier, here it just seems out of place.

This is the second time I've had this beer and I felt the same way both times. I won't be buying this again. Bolder-line cloying; mostly just sweet without anything else to back it up. I don't feel this is all that drinkable.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beer Bistro in Toronto. Served in a stange.

A - A finger of light tan foam that dissipates to a thick cap. It's hard to gauge true head volume as the fill things to the top at Beer Bistro. There are a few fingers of lacing left behind. Transparent attractive ruby-mahogany color when held to the light, but otherwise appears as dark brown.

S - Roasted malts, milk chocolate, rum-cake and caramel, a touch of coffee and molasses, perhaps some nuts and berries. Quite pleasant.

T - Taste has more caramel and dark fruit character, with a little noble hop bitterness intermingling with the roast coffee notes. Very clean finish.

M - Slightly gritty with some light residual stickiness. Prickly, but not not overly harsh carbonation, and a medium, slightly chewy body.

D - A half-liter is a good serving size, but this isn't the German style I'd choose for sessions. While the ABV is low, the flavor is a little too intense and the feel is a little to harsh. Still it's a pretty nice lager that is worth a spin once in a while.

 1,038 characters

Photo of ritzkiss
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Volo. Arrives a dark brown/mahogany. Some decent head that slowly dies.

Nose is biscuity, roasted malts, a hint of spice.

Looking for something lighter, but yet holding some depth, on this sweltering day and this beer disappointed slightly. Chocolate, biscuits, a faint nuttiness, hints of roasting malts. A dash of hop bitterness with finish along with a slightly off sourness. Flavors didn't mesh as well as hoped and was certainly still too rich for this day. Not to say that it has an overwhelming body (it doesn't) but was still too much for this day. Nice, smooth carb, ample depth to the body.

Can't say I would order this one again. Not that it was terrible (it wasn't), it just didn't seem to jive together as well as hoped and dunkels only seem to grab me when well executed. Still, not a terrible beer - simple and worth trying once at least!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap at C'est What: Deep clear burgundy color lager with a small foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of nice caramel malt with some light roasted malt. Taste is also a nice mix between some caramel malt with lightly sweet roasted malt. Full body with good carbonation and easily drinkable. Well done and easily drinkable with limited complexity.

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Photo of Antilochus
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Alex P Keaton in London, Ontario. Poured into a Maudite glass. Unknown abv.

Dark brown, almost black look, ruby accents, with a hint of tan/offwhite head.

Roasted malt, dark fruit, licorice, lightly sweet with some bitterish coffee notes. Nice.

Very moderate palate, great smooth feel, well balanced notes on palate leaning towards fruitiness. Denison's has the magic touch.

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Photo of cyrenaica
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

550ml draught <br>
5.0% abv <br>
I tried this beer on May 16, 2008 at "C'est What Restaurant" in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The beer poured a dark reddish brown with a creamy tan coloured head. The aroma was sweet malt, roasted malt, some sugar, and a little hoppish tone. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with medium carbonation. The flavour is sweet and has a nutty character to it. An excellent beer.

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Photo of bobsy
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint at C'est What?: The dunkel arrives at the table with a rich mahogany body and an off-white head which provided some lacing before disappearing. Aroma gives off a fruity caramel sweetness, but seems a little muted. Nice biscuity flavour, jiving with caramel and apricot, to provide a very satisfying blend. Soft mouthfeel with medium carbonation and great drinkability. A worthy companion to the renowned Denison's weisse.

Edit: Had the pleasure of drinking this from a wood barrel, tapped and poured by Michael himself. While the flavour was much the same, the warmer serving temperature certainly enhanced the aroma drastically, and I've upped it to the average of my sum experience. One thing i got from speaking to Michael is that he's a huge stickler for quality, and a very committed brewer. Hopefully we'll see this canned one day.

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Photo of tatterdash
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Renaissance Cafe... I've heard Mr. Hancock is going to stop brewing this for a while to focus on his Weissbier... sad. A wonderful dark garnet with a foamy whitish head. Aroma of raisiny malt and a bit of spicy hops. Taste was fantastically malty sweet up from, with a strong balanced middle and finish. Very smooth medium carbonation. A wonderful beer for fall.

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Photo of FiguredMaple
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-tap at Volo.

When hit with bright sunlight, a dark burgundy colour was apparent. Not much density to the head that had a little retention and produced a slight lace.
It's smell and taste was malty sweet and plum like. It has a moderate body that is smooth & silky. Due to the right amount of carbonation, this was an easy one to drink.
Very tasty and smooth.

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Photo of Derek
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Volo.

A: Dark brown; off-white head; very little retention, slight lace.

S: Plenty of malt in the aroma (dark bread, nuts & hints of dark fruit).

T: Bread, nuts, brown sugar, hints of chocolate. Balanced bitterness with a slight hint of spice.

M: Moderate body is smooth & silky. Moderate carbonation.

D: Very drinkable.

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Photo of grub
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

sampled on tap as part of the volo cask days 2006. thanks to ralph and all involved for putting together an awesome fest. even this non-cask beer was great.

deep ruby red colour with thin dense head.

nice aroma. smokey and malty. biscuits and an open fire. a bit of dried fruit.

great taste. nice malty biscuit body and a hint of smokey middle. nice moderate bitterness level.

mouthfeel is good. good body. carbonation feels a bit high.

drinkability is great. really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of crwills
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Beerbistro in Toronto. Tough environment to review a beer in -- noisy and lots of suits after work in the evening. Nevertheless...

I expected a lot from this beer after trying the Weissbier, which is my favourite of the style bar none. The Dunkel was "pretty good," but not fantastic.

Poured into an unlabeled stange, nice looking beer with a decent head that lasted quite a while. Served at the perfect temperature as well.

Smell was nothing special... a bit of roasty malts, some starchy fruits, and maybe some grains.

Taste is an improvement... you can definitely taste the roasted malts and it seems as though there might be some wheat content to this beer (not sure if this is the case or not). Some bananas or plantanes, a bit of sugar, and some light chocolate flavours round it out. Pleasant aftertaste, and a very drinkable beer. I can imagine it would be great with some of the food offered at Beerbistro, but I much prefer the fantastic Denison's Weissbier. Can't wait for both of them to be bottled though!

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Photo of Viggo
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the almighty Volo! Since the weiss is so good, I figured can't go wrong with Denisons. A dark red/brown, head dissipates pretty quickly but leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Smells like dark sweet malts, dark fruits, a little sugary and a little roasty. Taste is chocolaty malt, dark fruits and molasses, roasty and satisfying. Mouthfeel is pretty thick and chewy, good carbonation and very smooth. Would not hesitate to try this again.

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Photo of DrJay
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, dark brown with a bit of chestnut highlights. This was topped by a rich, creamy, light tan head composed of very fine bubbles. Excellent head retention and plenty of foam lined the sides of the glass all the way down. Malty aroma with a bit of caramel and a delicate noble hop character.

Malty sweetness is followed by caramel and light roasted flavours. Some bread and grain character is evident as well. It has a light noble hop flavour and a delicate bitterness. Dryness starts at the midpoint and continues through the finish. Light body without being thin, with lively carbonation and a smooth, creamy texture partly due to the fine bubbles. I found this to be an excellent session beer, very tasty and a little on the light side.

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Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yeasty aroma, initially some sweetness and grainess from the nutmeg or whatever. creamy mouthfeel though with thinness. It may have been nitrotap without C'est What telling us. Sourness, yet Satisfying bitterness in aftertaste. Chocolate brown colour.

Had it on tap at Volo Cafe and it was smoother, with all-gas co2, however prominent edges also removed. easier drink, slightly raised raiting.

Minimized sourness on tapp at Volo Cask Days. rating increased based on it.

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Photo of baiser
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cafe Volo, I was extremely satisfied with this dunkel. So tasty and delightful. Chewy, bready, roasty and hints of chocolate, grain and caramel. Moderate body, extremely drinkable and a great session beer. Great to see MH come out with another classic in addition to his weissbier.

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Denison's Dunkel from Denison's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 23 ratings