Dunkel is one of my favorite styles of all time. It all started with a bottle of Ayinger way back in 1994ish and I was hooked. By 1997 we had perfected our recipe, inspired by the Papazian book and slightly modified to a partial mash with a good dose of Munich malt. This beer took first place in the dark lager category at the World Homebrew Competition sponsored by Sam Adams. We brewed it at the Sam Adams Brewery, but the recipe got lost in translation.
Since then, after more research on the subject, I have discovered that the traditional way to make a true Munich Dunkel is to use 100% Munich malt. Of course, there is both light and dark Munich, as well as Caramunich, so I am not certain of what combo is used at say, Ayinger. I do know that the 100% light Munich recipe that I have been using has the right flavor but is a bit on the light side, and could perhaps be a tad bit richer. So, what to do? I wanted to add Caramunich or even use 30% Dark Munich (was told by a pro to never use more than this amount as your grist), but neither are available at the local shop. As a substitute, I toasted a pound of Munich at 350F for 40 minutes. This will be this attempt’s recipe:
8 lbs Avangard Munich Malt
1 lb Toasted Avangard Munich Malt
1 oz Tetnanger Hops (Mash)
25 IBU American Perle (90 minute boil)
1 whirlflock tablet
Active White Labs German Bock Yeast (pitched from Schwarzbier)
2 30 minute decoctions for mash
mash in at 120F and step gradually up to 152F. Hold for 20 minutes then do the decoctions. Final decoction should allow for a 168F mash out, but add heat as needed.
It appears that this batch is darker than previous 100% Munich batches…
OG 13 Plato
One of my favorite places to visit is also the home of my homebrew club, the Defiant Homebrewers. The Defiant Brewing Company is the brainchild of brewer Neill Acer. He broke in with Mountain Valley Brewpub in the 90’s under the tutelage of the late Jay Misson. This is the first brewpub that I patronized back in 1994, which is when I first began making hombrew. Neill, along with my brewing buddy Mike and myself, formed a homebrew club in 1998 based out of Mountain Valley. My adventures in brewing have since taken me to the very beginning of Defiant. Our club meeting in the empty warehouse shell that was to become the brewery when Neill first obtained the spot across from the railroad tracks in Pearl River.
I have had the opportunity to watch Defiant being built from nothing to the full service brewery, bar, and barbeque joint that it is now. The 100 foot long bar stretching out in front of the brewing equipment and serving tanks is a neat setting to have a couple of beers and some great barbeque. His beers are available around the area as well in bottles and on tap. He does not cut corners with his beers, and brews many unusual styles, some only available in 750ml bottles at the brewery. And the smoker for the barbeque is used by a pro.
My homebrew club meets the first and third Wednesdays of every month @ 8:00PM. Our meetings right now are generally meet, greet, chat, and sample homebrews currently. If you are looking for help, stop by. And Neill is sometimes present for some true expertise.
TGMBA is still in the midst of an ISP battle, as www.thegreatmaibockaddict.com is still down. How is it that an ISP can update software on their servers but not make sure that existing sites are compatible with said software? Hmmm?
At any rate, my first batch of Maibock is ready! Because of the extra yield from the Avangard malt, we started out with a gravity in the 17.2ish Plato range. Nice yellow color, and it cleared rather well after about 2 weeks of ice cold conditioning. The beer has the German Lager snap and rich malty character that I look for. The one true test of a great lager is to pour a glass and inhale the aroma. You should smell nothing but (as I like to call it) COLD. Lager is meant to be served on the cold side, and basically, is not to have any real sort of aroma, other than a hint of malt. I truly get excited when we nail it exactly how we want it! This latest batch also is one where I forgot to add the whirlflock tablet. I suspected that it wouldn’t make any difference and it really didn’t. Came out with the same clarity as any other. The extra gravity translated into a richer malt character where the 35 IBU’s of hops that we calculated at brew day is not as apparent, but was extremely necessary. This batch is also unique because I had to improvise the priming sugar by doing a mini mash of pils malt. Ran out of LDME for bottling and the weather made me need to improvise. Worked out very well! Carbonation is good and smooth, but slightly on the light side, but perfect for this style. Pours like a draft beer.
Maibock Batch #2 was brewed March 8. Here is the recipe:
11 lbs Avangard Pils malt
2 lbs Avangard Munich malt
1 oz tetnanger hops (mash)
35 IBU American Perle (boil-90 min)
OG: 18.1 (!) Plato
Mashed using same method as previous batch, with 2 decoctions. Been fermenting cold now ever since.
Tasting notes on a batch of Czech pils from earlier in the year:
Now crystal clear and very crisp drinking pils, though a bit high in gravity. Saaz hops make for a perfectly balanced brew with that noble Czech character. Has the COLD aroma mentioned above, and I think that the mash hop works very well with this beer. Recipe:
8.5 lbs Avangard Pils malt
2 oz Acidulated malt
1 oz Saaz (mash)
35 IBU’s Saaz hops (90 min boil)
OG: 14 Plato (a bit big, but works well)
Used 2 decoctions in mash