Munich Dunkel in a Mug

Munich Dunkel

The Munich Dunkel originated in Munich, Germany, as a darker and maltier beer compared to the other Lagers of the region. Its color ranges from a deep copper to brown but is usually red and quite clear. Its palate and aroma is predominantly malty with toasted bread, and may also consist of caramel, toffee, chocolate, and even hints of spicy, floral or herbal hops. Its feel is soft with a medium to medium-full body and moderate carbonation. Though malty, the feel shouldn’t seem heavy or cloying as it palate should have a clean fermentation profile. Its alcohol strength is sessionable to moderate. Comparatively, the Munich Dunkel isn’t as malty as the Bock and isn’t as roasted as the Schwarzbier. It has a richer malt character and is less hoppy than the Czech Dark Lager.

Style Expectations

The Munich Dunkel is characterized by depth, richness and complexity typical of darker Munich malts with the accompanying Maillard products. Deeply bready-toasty, often with chocolate-like flavors in the freshest examples, but never harsh, roasty, or astringent; a decidedly malt-balanced beer, yet still easily drinkable.

Appearance

Deep copper to dark brown, often with a red or garnet tint. Creamy, light to medium tan head. Usually clear, although murky unfiltered versions exist.

Aroma

Rich, elegant, deep malt sweetness, typically like bread crusts (often toasted bread crusts). Hints of chocolate, nuts, caramel, and/or toffee are also acceptable, with fresh traditional versions often showing higher levels of chocolate. Clean fermentation profile. A slight spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma is acceptable.

Flavor

Dominated by the soft, rich, and complex flavor of darker Munich malts, usually with overtones reminiscent of toasted bread crusts, but without a burnt-harsh-grainy toastiness. The palate can be moderately malty, although it should not be overwhelming or cloyingly sweet. Mild caramel, toast or nuttiness may be present. Very fresh examples often have a pleasant malty-chocolate character that isn’t roasty or sweet. Burnt or bitter flavors from roasted malts are inappropriate, as are pronounced caramel flavors from crystal malt. Hop bitterness is moderately low but perceptible, with the balance tipped firmly towards maltiness. Hop flavor is low to none; if noted, should reflect floral, spicy, or herbal German-type varieties. Aftertaste remains malty, although the hop bitterness may become more apparent in the medium-dry finish. Clean fermentation profile and lager character.

Mouthfeel

Medium to medium-full body, providing a soft and dextrinous mouthfeel without being heavy or cloying. Moderate carbonation. The use of continental Munich-type malts should provide a richness, not a harsh or biting astringency.

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