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Munich Dunkel Brew

June 21, 2011

After my Mild brew session last weekend, I’d kinda like to take a break from brewing for a while.  It’s too hot right now.  In order to help make that possible without running out of beer too soon, I’m gonna go one last time and make a Munich Dunkel.  It was short-lived, but I’m not really digging the dry, hoppy beers.  In response, I made the mild last weekend and will make another malty beer for this.  I figure it can get a reasonable time to ferment and age while I go through my Pale Ale and Mild, too.

Once again, I’m starting with Jamil’s recipe from The Jamil Show.  It’s nice and simple and I already have the hops and Carafa Special II for it.  One thing not reflected in the recipe is that I want to grind the Carafa into a powder with a coffee grinder before adding it to the mash.  Jamil suggests halving the 6 oz. in the recipe if this is done.  Since the Carafa Special is huskless, there’s no astringency issues with grinding it as there would be if it had a husk.

Also, I’m going to use Gordon Strong’s Hochkurz double decoction method to make sure I have a nice malty beer that can still ferment relatively low.

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day (6/26/11)

  • Only boiled first decoction for a minute or so.  I was worried about boil over (because I made the mistake of using a 2-gallon pot).  For my 2nd – thin – decoction, I used my 20-qt. pot.
  • Used ~2/3 Mittlefrue pellets and the rest “German Hallertau” whole leaf for bittering; whole leaf constituted all of flavor (20 min) addition.
  • Only 0.28 oz. hops for flavor (20 min) instead of intended 0.5 oz, because that’s all I had left (poor job of evaluating what I had before my supply run)

Fermentation

Sample after 2 wks, 2 days:

1.010.  At first, I thought this number was ridiculously low, but since I was 2 points low on my OG, maybe it’s not too crazy to be 3 points low on the FG (especially considering BeerSmith’s poor ability to estimate FG).  The flavor is pretty melanoidin-rich, though probably not as much so as my Dunkelweizen.  There seems to be a bite in the finish that I’m not sure on.  It may be hop bitterness and/or alcohol.  The sample is flat and room temperature, and I’m not so great at estimating the final product in those conditions.

I think I’ll ramp up the temperature in the keezer by 1 degree per day for the next couple days (to get to 50 F) to make sure it has time to clear up any unpleasant stuff.  I really don’t think it needs to sit for another almost 2 weeks (to get to my normal 4 week fermentation for lagers) but I probably should let it just to be safe.  This could be a real test of my patience.

Sample after 3 weeks:

1.007.  I think this is actually closer to the previous gravity than it seems.  I didn’t take the temperature of the sample before and I was in denial at how low it seemed, so it may be 1 – 2 points higher than it really should have been.  That still results in a reading at least 1 point higher than this, but I’ve commenced the cold crash to keg it tonight.  Like I’ve said before – I think with my Dunkelweizen – even if it has farther to go, it can’t be much and it will be in the keg.

Flavor-wise it was really melanoidan-rich.  No disputing it this time.  Also, the head was really creamy and lasted forever.  Like my last sample, I poured it into a bottle and shook the heck out of it to get the carbonation released so I could sample it.  Once I did that, the head just stayed for quite a while before I could take the reading.  Unlike last time however, I drew quite a bit more than I needed for the sample, so I was able to drink some that was still cold and carbonated to make my determination.  The fact that it tasted so good without any noticeable off-flavors is why I’m going to bottle it now instead of wait another week.

Kegging (7-18-11)

Used my mostly-closed transfer again (from my Mild brew) and it worked pretty well.  Also washed my yeast per this thread again.  I collected 3 pints of yeast and think I will combine them to 1 once they’re all nicely compact.  It seems like the nice creamy yeast settle out too quickly for me to wait the 20 minutes suggested by the poster before pouring off.  I think I get plenty of separation from trub in much less time than that.  I think it may be due to the cold crashing my beer went through prior.  If all I try to do is get the thin stuff at top, I think I’ll miss out on a bunch of good yeast.

First Impressions

Very malty yet dry.  I have a feeling that my decoctions are resulting in beers that are drier than desired.  I would like to have a little more residual sweetness.  If I were to do a Doppelbock with this method, I think I’d get well below the 1.020 FG that is recommended for the style.  Considering I got this method from a Gordon Strong recipe for a doppelbock, I wonder why that is.  I’m thinking I need to cut the maltose rest at 144.

More Impressions

My brother-in-law really liked this beer, calling it “the dessert beer.”  While it’s pretty melanoidin-rich, I’m not sure it qualifies for dessert, but he can call it what he wants.  In any case, I think I’ll try to brew some up in the fall since he’s thinking about coming out again around Thanksgiving.  I hadn’t been planning on making anymore, but it’s a good enough beer that I won’t mind drinking it again.

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From → All-Grain, Brews, Lager

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