Friday, January 01, 2010

Doing Deutschland!

Over the past couple of months I've been visiting Germany in my beermaking. I purchased some German malts and hops and decided to make a series of German beers with the same yeast. I started with the Munich Dunkel style. This is a moderately light-flavored beer, medium copper to dark brown in color, with a decidedly sweet, falavorful malt character. Very little hop flavor or bitterness is perceived and the beer is fairly easy to quaff, though it is a showcase for rich, flavorful Munich malt.

I decided to build a bigger beer on top of this yeast when the beer finished and settled on the Traditional Bock beer. This is the classic German liquid bread originating in Einbeck. Nearly as dark as the Munich Dunkel but much heavier and maltier, this beer is a showcase again of the toasty, bready Munich and Vienna malts. Caramel, chocolate, toasted bread and delicious crusty flavors abound in this classic beer.

Finally, after thinking long and hard about making a doppelbock on the yeast of the bock, I decided to go with a lighter, more drinkable (though certainly no less flavorful or interesting) beer and settled on the little-known style of Dortmunder Export. This beer is similar to a malty Helles but with some of the hop character of a German Pilsner. A very tasty, maltier, heavier version of the German Pils would probably be a good description. It came out a bit strong for the style but the flavor and the clean character the yeast provides it masks this a bit.

So we began our German trip in Munich, making a beer that originated in that city and flourished all over Bavaria. This dark (dunkel) beer is malty, toasty and delicious! From Munich we headed to Einbeck (near Hannover), the birthplace of the great, Traditional Bock beer. This beer was much appreciated in Munich and actually was adopted by that area and is now fairly considered to be a Bavarian beer. Big, malty and strong, it is a great warmer for the Bavarian winters! We finished our trip in the manufacturing city of Dortmund, where the style of Dortmunder Export was born. A substantial beer for working men, it is thirst-quenching and strong.

My three German lagers were fun to make, delicious to drink and a kick to share with friends and family! Where do I go next?