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Posted by Insanity , 26 March 2013 · 740 views

beer homebrewing
Dunkelweizen is literally German for dark wheat, and that is exactly what a dunkelweizen is, a dark wheat beer.  A commonality between all the German wheat beers is that typically one half to two thirds of the malt used is wheat, the rest is barley and more rarely other fermentables.

The German Beer Purity Law, or Reinheitsgebot, was established about 1516.  Under this law the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer was water, barley and hops.  As yeast was unknown to play a role in fermentation until the 1800s, it was not included in this law.  The Reinheitsgebot has been replaced by the Provisional German Beer Law, which allows the use of ingredients previously banned, but no longer allows unmalted barley.  German wheats are required to be at least 50% wheat, the remainder can be various barley or sometimes rye malts.

Despite these limitations set by German law, there exists a wide variety of beers in Germany; weizens, bocks, altbier, märzen, and rauchbier are some examples.  The wheat (weizen) beers include unfiltered, filtered and even a few sour styles.  Dunkelweizens fall under the weizenbier/weissbier category.

Dunkelweizens are notable for having prominent clove and banana aromas, less occasionally bubblegum or vanilla.  Whichever aroma is present, it should be well balanced with the beer, and not overwhelm the enjoyment.  The wheat malt may provide a bready or grainy aroma as well.  The German noble hops tend to remain low.

Despite the name suggesting a dark color, the dunkelweizen can range from a light copper to a deeper mahogany brown.

The aroma often suggests what the dunkel may taste like; clove spiciness, bananas, some graininess, along with various caramel characteristics, at times very rich.  The noble hops contribute low amounts of bitterness, meaning the complex weave of cloves, caramels and bananas are the prominent flavor.  The use of a German Hefeweizen yeast is just as important as the use of wheat and barley as this type of yeast produces the signature clove-like phenols and fruity esters.

They are a spicy, fruity, malty, refreshing wheat-based ale, and are typically 4.3% to 5.6% ABV.

The dunkelweizen I brewed had the following grain bill.

58% Red wheat malt
9%  Caramel 40L malt
20% 2-row pale malt
7%  Munich 10L malt
3%  Chocolate malt
4%  Special B malt

Mash at 154F for 60 mins, 1.25 quarts per pound of grain.
Sparge at 168F.

Total boil 75mins

0.75 oz German hallertau hop pellets (4.3% AA) for 60 mins  (3.25 HBU)
0.25 oz Czech saaz hop pellets (3.2% AA) for 10 mins        (0.75 HBU)

Expected specific gravity 1.056.
My results was a wort with a gravity of 1.056
Pitched with White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale Yeast.
Assuming 75% attenuation, the final gravity should end around 1.014, leading to ~5.5% ABV.

*whew* I didn't know so much science went into brewing beer. I'll bet it would be fun, especially when the final product is finally ready for sampling! I have thought of trying to make my own wine, but haven't done it yet.
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You'll get different opinions on whether wine is easier or harder to make than beer.  Wine makers will often say beer is harder, beer makers will often say wine is harder.

I've had success with wine when I used a juice concentrate, and did have a good pineapple wine when I did this.  The times I've crushed my own grapes, I've made some grape vinegar.  Even when using potassium metabisulphite to kill any wild yeasts or bacteria.  Winemaking usually uses a fair amount of sulphites to kill or stunt any wild yeasts as boiling the grape juice really is not an option.

A friend of mine is a winemaker, and we're sort of crosstraining each other.  He uses very little sulphite as he adds boiling water to his juice, which acts as a pasteurization method.  That is something I will try next time I make wine, but there is beer to be made.

Mead is also a fairly easy one to make as well, really just need honey, water and yeast.
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I think I made something like mead one time. Thanks for the information! I tried making wine when I was a kid and the result was a disaster because frankly, I didn't have a clue. The first thing I did was kill the yeast. I think I read somewhere that when wine is fermented in corked bottles, the cork has to be really tight, because tremendous pressure is generated.
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Wine is generally not carbonated, but that is what champagne really is, a highly carbonated white wine.

Sulphite should still be used even if you use my friend's boiling water method, he still soaks his corks in sulphite.  Everything that comes in contact with the wine or beer from start to the bottling should be sanitized.  I use iodophor for glass and metal, and star san for plastics such as tubes.  Having good sanitary methods is just as important as good brewing methods.  No point in making a good batch of beer and having some wild yeast growing in it and having it end up tasting like old gym shoes.
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I hear that!  :)
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Currently at a gravity of 1.017, and the fermentation is still progressing.  Current ABV would be about 5.14%.  Noticeable presence of banana esters in aroma.  Fermentation should be complete in a few days.
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