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Make Your Best Dunkelweizen

This dark wheat beer is not only a great “back-to-school” beer, but it is surprisingly refreshing during the hotter summer months, too!

Josh Weikert Jun 19, 2016 - 7 min read

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Sometimes, being impatient for beer can yield some surprising results. I first made my Dunkelweizen in the middle of a heat wave (hence its name, Hitzewelle, which is German for heat wave) because the malt profile made me think of the great beers of autumn. Throughout the brew day I was thinking how great this would be as a “back-to-school” beer, and I had every intention of letting it sit in the cellar for a few weeks—I do love a little delayed gratification.

But then I had a party, and my guests drank the fridges dry, and a week later all I had on hand was my Hitzewelle. Out-of-season beer is better than no beer, so I opened one—and was blown away by how well it worked on a warm summer night! So while I’m writing this with an eye toward making your Dunkelweizen for that September-ish “shoulder season” before the Oktoberfests come out to play, don’t be afraid to brew it and drink it now.

Style

Dunkelweizen (or Dunkles Weissbier) is, as its name states, simply a dark wheat beer. Practically speaking, it’s the German Hefeweizen, plus a richer malt flavor. The characteristic flavors of banana and clove are present, as is the tendency to allow the yeast to remain in suspension, and the beers are largely indistinguishable in their brewing processes. They’re also both very easy-drinking, with a soft mouthfeel and high carbonation. But the Dunkels version differs from its lighter sibling in that it also adds a richer bread and toast flavor. It shouldn’t make the beer “heavy,” but it certainly adds an element that’s absent from the Hefe.

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