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Dunkel Brew

September 7, 2012

I have a bunch of Munich Malt from my bulk malt purchase so I’d like to make a Dunkel.  I’ve still got a full keg plus an unknown amount in my “tapped” keg of ESB, but the long fermentation/lagering of the Dunkel means I might want to get to brewing it soon.

Like the ESB, I think I’ll shoot for a 10 gallong batch to reduce the brewing sessions.


BeerSmith Recipe


Properly pitching this thing is a challenge.  A proper pitching rate for a 10 gallon lager requires quite a bit of yeast.  While it would probably be best to start with a low-gravity lager to start, I didn’t feel like making a Munich Helles like I did before (though a Dortmunder Export is sounding kinda good right now…).  Since I only have a 2L erlenmeyer and my gallon jugs don’t work on my stir plate (the rounded bottoms throw the bar), it would have to be quite a few steps. Luckily I found a site that helps calculate the steps needed for proper growth at, since Mr. Malty doesn’t show steps.  According to the site, I need ~770 billion cells.  Given the oldish yeast I got from the brewshop and limiting myself to 1.6L starters, it’s more than 3 steps.  While at first I thought 3 steps would get me close enough, I didn’t get to brewing on the weekend I first expected, so I might have time to do a couple more.  Extrapolating the calculations out, I got the following information (note, this is a GIMP’d graphic with steps 4 & 5 resulting from some “Liquid Yeast Properties” manipulation, YeastCalc only calculates for 3 steps).

All-in-all, YeastCalc is a pretty neat tool that I expect to continue using.

Brew Day (9/30/12)

Double decocted lagers are pretty labor intensive.  Between a late start, the mash taking >2 hours, and a very slow lauter, it was dark before I ran off to the fermentors.  Not having light in my brew shop (i.e., garage) I lugged the >100 lbs. of brew kettle and wort to my porch to settle.  Altogether a pretty tiring event and I think I’ll be paying with it in back pains for a while.

Ended up starting a few weeks later than I expected, but finally got my Crankandstein mill ready to go and got to some brewing.

Ended up with ~85% efficiency and >1 hour lauter so I can obviously make the gap bigger.  The crush looked pretty good, but I guess my eye isn’t that great.  I could also – or in addtion to – look at malt conditioning (essentially misting the malt prior to the milling to make the husks more pliable and less likely to shred/break.

  • Ground up 12 oz. of Carafa II in the coffee grinder


Along with the workout on the brew day, I got a little more the next morning.  I only have 3, 5-gallon fermentors, so siphoning 10 gallons of wort from the trub that settled overnight took a little bit of logistical planning:

  1. Sanitize glass carboy and gallon jug
  2. Pour 1/2 yeast into glass carboy (should inoculate @ ~18.5 mill/mL)
  3. Siphon 6-gal BB to glass carboy
  4. Siphon what’s left (and clear) to erlenmeyer (up to 2000 mL) and remaining to 1-gal jug
  5. Put erlenmeyer back on stir plate
  6. Rinse out and sanitize 6-gal BB
  7. Pour 1800 mL yeast into 6-gal BB (should inoculate ~16.5 mill/mL)
  8. Siphon 5-gal BB to 6-gal BB
  9. Oxygenate carboys
  10. Transfer erlenmeyer contents to gallon jug for fast ferment

In the end, I don’t think it was worth it.  The fermentors hardly had any sediment and I’m worried that my tiredness might have made me lax in the sanitation department.  Hopefully it all turns out alright.

Fast Ferment:

  • ~1.020 after 8 days
  • ~1.020 after 13 days

Transferred to kegs after 13 days.  OG reading 1.024.  No noticeable diacetyl.  Nice, rich dunkel.  I think this will turn out well.  Since the gravity is pretty close to the fast ferment, I think it’s a good time to transfer to the kegs and free up my carboys for some brewing.  I will likely tap into one pretty soon since it tastes so good (and I’m out of beer), but let the other mature as much as I can.  If I brew an ale (I’m thinking a stout) soon, hopefully it will keep me from raiding the second keg too soon.


From → All-Grain, Brews, Lager

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