Dunkelweizen (extract)

My girlfriend loves wheat beers.  Her birthday was a few months ago and I decided to make her a beer (how romantic, right?). I made this while I was still doing extract so I’d done a few Hefe’s in the past, but, as a twist, I thought I’d try and make it “dunkel” (German for “dark”) because, hey, what’s the point of making a beer without trying something new?

  • 6.6 lb wheat LME
  • 1 lb wheat malt grains
  • 0.5 lb munich malt
  • 0.5 lb carapils
  • 0.25 lb special B
  • 0.15 lb chocolate malt
  • 1 oz Hallertauer (4.5% aa) 60 min
  • 0.5 oz Hallertauer (4.5% aa) 10 min
  • WYeast 3068 Weihenstephan
  • 1 tsp irish moss (15 min)

All of the hefeweizens I’ve made have been fairly decent.  Easy-drinking, flavorful beers that are perfect for summer.  When I think of a really excellent wheat beer, though, none of mine have quite hit the mark.  I feel that even though I’m using all I can to get the maximum wheat-y, clove-y, banana-y flavors.. the finished product tastes about 75% of the way there. It comes out 3/4 hefeweizen, 1/4 generic beer.  It’s definitely on the right track. I think the key to making a super delicious weizen might be to go all-grain with it (something I plan to do very, very soon). Als0, maybe having fine control over mash temperatures will hopefully bring out different flavors and make for that utopian hefeweizen.

Steep the grains @ 150 for 30 minutes, remove/rinse with hot water, then stir in LME and bring to boil. Add hops / irish moss at the times above. Cool to 75 degrees F, aerate and pitch.  I gave this beer a full week in the primary @ 65 degrees F. Next time I might even go 2 weeks in the primary to soak in some of that yeast-y flavor. Typically I try to avoid this flavor by racking earlier, but actually kinda find it desirable in wheat beers. Since I was in a rush to keg this kegged and carbed for her birthday, I only gave it 3 days in the secondary to let the final yeast settle out.

Like I said, all of my hefeweizens have been OK, so naturally this one tasted just fine. The addition of Special B and Chocolate malt was just right.  It gave the beer a much darker color, and just a *hint* of flavor difference.  All-in-all, it tastes like you’re still drinking a standard hefeweizen, with a slightly darker roasty finish.

The other night I had the pleasure of dining again at the Old Stein Inn. Among the terrific selection of draft beers they had Franzikaner Dunkel, so I ordered one and gave it some serious concentrated tasting. To my surprise, (for having used malt extract) I think mine was pretty damn close! Color-wise theirs was a bit darker, but other than that, tastes and aromas were very similar. Theirs was a bit more clove-y and wheaty.  We then ordered a regular Franzikaner and tried it next to the dunkel.  Again, very similar tastes but the dunkel only having a darker finish.  Until I go all-grain, this recipe goes on the shelf.  But, success on the “dunkel” part. Hopefully the beer gods are smiling down on me.

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