Dec 31 2007

Dunkelweizen – Batch 1

Published by at 3:37 pm under German Wheat and Rye Beer,Homebrew

First brew of 2008, or perhaps last of 2007 depending on how one chooses to look at it. Brewing for the first time a style I really don’t know a lot about, Dunkelweizen. Having only really tasted one or two examples (some time ago). But, is an old time favorite of one of my brewing partners and we’re giving it a shot.

Looking over the BJCP style guidelines and a few of the online recipe databases for direction. In short, Dunkelweizen is a dark German wheat beer; the predominate flavors produced by a Hefeweizen strain of yeast (banana and clove), balanced with some caramelized maltiness (Munich and / or Vienna), and low hop character. It is also suggested that a decoction mash method be employed to increase body.

So here is the recipe (for approx. 13~14 gallons of finished beer):

13.00 lb. Wheat Malt (could only find domestic)
3.00 lb. Belgian Two-Row (Pale)
2.50 lb. German Munich
2.50 lb. German Vienna
0.75 lb. German Carafa Type III
(SRM ~ 18, target gravity 1.052)

1.5 oz. Hallertau (could only find domestic), 3.0 % AA, 60 min.
1.0 oz. Hersbrucker, 3.3 % AA, 30 min.
(IBU ~ 12)

2 viles WLP300 hefewezien ale yeast, 2000 ml. starter on a stir plate for two days

Our attempt at a stepped infusion / decoction mash went fairly well.

Over shot the first “Protease” or protean rest by a few degrees, but I think over all this will not have much effect.

protean rest, target 135° F / recorded 140° F, 15~20 min.
beta rest, target 145° F / recorded 145° F, 30 min.


At this point we removed approximately one third of the gris from the mash tun, and raised the temperature (over direct heat) to 155° F. Note that this should be done very carefully / gradually, for the mash can very easily stick to the pot. Over shot the target here a little, and got some sticking. Held the decoction at temperature for about 20 min., then gradually (lesson learned) rose to a boil for about 5 or 10 min. The decoction is then returned to the mash tun, for the final rest.

alpha rest, target 155° F / recorded 156° F, 45 min.


Have recently become a convert to the batch sparge method. Started by topping off the mash (lauter) tun with sparge water, to collect about 15 gallons of sweet wort (in three batches). Unfortunately, we only collected a cup or two before a stuck sparge! Ugg, underestimated (forgot) how thick that much wheat can get. A quick run to Fermentation Solutions (brewing in the South Bay, and thanks so much for being open on a Sunday!), for 2 lb. of rice hulls. Mixed the hulls thoroughly into the mash and we were back in business. From this point the brew session went more uneventfully.

Finishing a hour boil, crashed the wort into the fermentor. Pitched the yeast into 14 gallons of wort with a specific gravity of 1.052, right on target.


Fermentation – Primary and Secondary:

Our dunkelweizen underwent a pretty standard 1 week / 2 week, primary / conditioning fermentation schedule (perhaps a little elongated). Brian reported that there was healthy activity within a couple hours of pitching. If anyone out there has not figured it out yet, make a starter.

Ten days in Primary, temp. peaking at 68° F Fourteen days in Secondary, temp. at 63° F

Not being all that well acquainted with the weizen strains of yeast, and I suppose also wanting to take advantage of the cooler Winter temperatures, the fermentation temps. are a little restrained. Sneaking a taste while racking to keg, the expected clove and banana esters seem subdued. But then again, admittedly I am not a weizen expert. Should be a very drinkable beer, none the less.

Orig. Specific Gravity 1.052
Final Specific Gravity 1.011
Alcohol by volume ~5.3 %

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Dunkelweizen – Batch 1”

  1. Dave Kon 31 Dec 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Looks like fun! Keep up the good .. um… work?

  2. mr meieron 02 Mar 2008 at 8:59 pm

    This was a great brew session. Easily said after the rice hull recovery… without that, it could have gotten ugly FAST.

    The beer is very very drinkable… however my overly sensitive “Dunkel” taste buds think it’s a tad on the light side. That said, I’m not sure what may “thinken” the spec’d carmel malt base. Maybe a decoction of higher percentage (Prepare more rice hulls!).

    By the way, the Belgian Pale that we brew was amazing. Let’s see what the judges say and we’ll report back. That keg for me is empty… guess we’ll just have to brew some more!

    …mr meier

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