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?

11 comments:

Velky Al said...

If I may ask the geeky question, do you do a decoction mash when you make German style beers?

Beerme said...

I have only done a decoction mash once, when making German beers, and it was not during these three. Everything I read says that it is not necessary, and it is a pain in the ass...I do make certain to boil an hour and a half on any beer that is supposed to be heavy on the malt profile or is expected to benefit from maillard reactions and the like. I boiled all three of these beers for 90 minutes.

I haven't been keeping up on my reading lately with teaching and working and making beer and all. How's the new digs in the US?

Hawkeye® said...

Cool! As you probably remember, I've been to Germany (including East Germany shortly after they opened the border). See HERE.

So as you might imagine, I can truly appreciate a good German beer. Just wish I could have been there to share one with ya.

(:D) Best regards...

Beerme said...

Hawkeye,

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Of course I remember that post of yours. I wonder if the former DDR's broken down and dilapidated appearance has changed in the past twenty years?

Velky Al said...

Things are good here in Charlottesville! Plenty of good local beer to enjoy, nice town to live in and I now have a good job, so things are looking up indeed.

If there is a downside though it is the absence of really great pilsners - but that is probably a case of having been spoilt by ten years in Prague!

Beerme said...

I can certainly see that as a problem! There is a dearth of really good pilsners in this country. Victory Prima Pils comes to mind as one good example and, of course, there are countless good homebrewed examples (Jack Duncan in Attica, Michigan, take a bow!).
That is the wonderful thing about homebrewing. You can't find a good style example? Make it!

camojack said...

OOH...a new post! And on my birthday, no less.

Here I thought you'd actually gone to Deutschland; going there was an epiphany for my palate back in the early 90's, but fortunately the popularity of microbreweries was about to begin here in the U.S., and not a moment too soon. I remember sampling Lowenbrau Dark in Munich, and liking it. A lot...

Beerme said...

Camojack! Happy Birthday! Oh, and some day I will visit Munchen, and all the other wonderful beery places in Europe...someday soon, I hope!

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