Bavaria's Dark Secret by Jay S. Hersh

copyright 1996 Jay S. Hersh all rights reserved

This article originally appeared with pictures and captions in Brewing Techniques, Vol. 4, No. 1, Jan/Feb 1996. At some point in the future I hope to make the images which appeared in the published version available online as well, but for now that will have to wait.

Trying to research the roots of a beer style can be a daunting task. Where does one start? So many factors have come into play in the development of the styles as we know them today (and which even now continue to evolve). The confluence of politics, economics, trade and technological advance are intertwined threads which can be difficult to unravel and follow. Woven together they have yielded the beer culture we have today.

To understand some of these influences on the development of Brown Beer brewing it is useful to understand something of the political structure of Germany and its economic and technological development over the last 1000 years. Space limitations however require I be very brief although I will endeavor to touch upon some of the most major considerations.

After the death of Charlemagne, Europe was partitioned into three realms, France, the Rhineland, and Germany. Charlemagne had bound the Lords of far flung estates to his court via a feudal political structure. When the line of direct descendants from him died out in Germany, around the beginning of the 10th century, the Dukes, Princes, Lords, etc. of the more powerful German feudal states banded together and elected a new King from then on. This King also took the title of Holy Roman Emperor.

Also around this time, Germany which heretofore had been principally an agrarian state, began to develop fortified towns, known as Bergs, for defensive reasons. By and by these towns became trading centers and the wealth derived from trading enabled many of them to purchase concessions from time to time from the German King (who as Holy Roman Emperor needed to finance partici[ation in the Crusades) or local Lords (who needed to finance themselves in smaller wars they fought among themselves). Purchase of such concessions allowed the towns increased rights to control many of their own affairs. Among them was the brewing right. Many towns even achieved the status of Free City states with nearly complete sovereignty. Nuernberg was one such town in Bavaria. Many of the Hansa League towns were also free cities. Towns which were not free cities may still have had town councils which oversaw town business, but those towns, such as Munich, were very much under the control of the sovereign.

The role of the church is also not to be neglected. The Romans, prior to the time of Charlemagne, exercised great influence on all of Europe, establishing churches and spreading Christianity to the pagan European tribes. City states such as Freising, Mainz, Koeln, Bamberg, to name a few, sprang up around these centers of religious influence, and in general were controlled by the Church. Some of the earliest records of brewing in Europe are from monasteries and other focal points of church life [1, 17].

Thus by the 15th century when evidence of commercial scale brewing begins to become prevalent Germany presents a complicated political landscape. Feudal Lords held sway over regions varying in size from Manors to modern German states. Within the larger divisions there was often some hierarchy of fealty. Likewise the church had holdings ranging from individual towns to vast estates. Clashes between and among nobles and church leaders are the stuff of legends. Added to this is the additional dimension of the Free Cities trying to protect their trading interests and prosper. In all it was a complex political landscape and not one that truly fostered economic development.

The Black Plague of the Middle Ages followed by the 30 years of religious wars of the Reformation in the early 17th century wreaked havoc on Germany. Her population was decimated by these events and the famine which accompanied them. In comparison, despite many other European wars of the period, the 18th century saw relative political stability and by its end the scientific roots of the 19th century's industrial revolution were being laid and the growth of commerce beginning.

Relaxation of certain brewing regulations by the Bavarian nobility in the late 18th and early 19th centuries contributed greatly to the growth of factory scale brewing. White beer (ie wheat beer), which was once favored by the Bavarian royal court (which also sold it to the general public as a great source of revenue), underwent a long decline in popularity during the 18th century and by the end of that century the court had released its monopoly on brewing this style. By the early 19th century the Bavarian sovereign allowed brewing to be freely licensed. By this time Brown beer, which had become available to common people in 1703 [8], was the predominant style produced [17].

Technological developments further enhanced the ascendancy of Brown beer. Introduction of the thermometer into Bavarian breweries (~1810s)[7,17,18, 20]; smoke free malt kilns (~1810s) [8, 18]; steam power (first unsuccessfully introduced at Spaten in 1818 by Gabriel Sedlmayr I, then again there for good in 1844 by Gabriel Sedlmayr II ) [14]; the saccharometer ( 1830sby Gabriel Sedlmayr I I) [14,17]; harvested ice for cooling cellar (1830s) [14]; artificial refrigeration, first for producing ice to cool the breweries, then later used for cooling directly (1873) [9, 14, 17]; Pasteur's conclusive work on fermentation and bacterial contamination (1857) [ 15,16]; and Emil Hansen's isolation and cultivation of strains from a single yeast cell (1872) [15], all fueled the growth of Bavarian brewing during this century.

No less important, other factors such as the opening of transcontinental railroad lines (beginning in the 1840s); the Zollverein, or German Customs union, (1842) which eliminated tariffs between most German speaking areas [6,10,]; and German unification (1872) which brought a single currency to the new German Federation, all expanded the markets available to Bavarian breweries, helping to drive their growth, and all at the time when Brown beer was the predominant style. Hence in the 19th century when Bayerische beer is touted at various places in Europe and Russia (London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Scandinavia) it is the Bavarian Dunkel beer which was being praised [3, 5, 13, 21].

A more detailed accounting of these many political, economic and technological changes and how each effected the manner in which Bavarian Dunkel evolved would take an entire book. In the space available to me here I can only endeavor to recount my experiences on a recent trip to Bavaria to relate how this style is presently brewed in Germany and to some extent the Czech Republic. Those interested in the larger tale of the fascinating history of this style will need be patient.

A Taste is Worth a Thousand Words

With nomenclature (sse sidebar) and a brief history out of the way let's move on to the task of describing present day Bavarian Dunkel beer. Even among those beers I'd class as Bavarian Dark beers there was a major difference in flavor profiles. This difference owes itself to the use of filtration. Unfiltered Bavarian Dark beers (sometimes referred to as Naturtrub Kellerbier) are far less prevalent than the filtered version owing to the increased product stability achieved via filtration. The increase in product stability comes, in my opinion, at the expense of a change in the flavor profile. Two of the breweries I toured recently; the Schlossbrauerei Kaltenberg (8 SchlossStrasse, Geltendorf, tel. 08193 8071), brewers of König Ludwig Dunkel; and the Privatbrauerei Inselkammer, a.k.a. Ayinger (1 Zornedinger Strasse, 8011 Aying tel. 08095 8815), brewers of Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel, offer both filtered and unfiltered versions of their products. The unfiltered versions were available only at the brewery tap rooms, in the traditional one liter gray stoneware mugs, while the filtered versions are bottled and thus more widely available.

The unfiltered versions of both breweries' products bore similar flavor profiles. If you have ever heard beer described as "liquid bread" before, it is likely from someone who has had a taste of an unfiltered Bavarian Dunkel beer. These beers pour a dark brown color and are murky, not bright or clear, with a rich tan colored head. The aroma is big. Rich, malty, sweetish and even a bit of earthy/yeasty smells to it. On tap it has a very low carbonation level, reminiscent of that of British bitters served from the beer engine (this owes to the fact that these beers are typically served on tap from the more traditional wooden kegs). The flavor of this beer is both malty and sweet, with chocolate and sometimes nutty notes as well. The flavor will also generally posess both a slight astringency and a mild chalkiness, which come from decoction mashing, and carbonate water respectively. It is always a quenching, filling beer with a full, dextrinous mouthfeel.

The profile of the filtered versions show some appreciable differences. Filtered versions are generally a deep reddish brown in color and are clear and bright with a light to medium tan colored head. The aroma will be sweet, though only occasionally cloying, slightly malty, often with hints of caramel. It will not have the richness of the unfiltered versions nor the earthy/yeasty notes. The taste itself will be sweet, though not overwhelmingly so, and often possess malty notes and hints of caramel, chocolate or nuttiness. The mouthfeel is typically dextrinous and often a mild bitterness and/or slight astringency is present which will linger pleasantly into the aftertaste. Buttery notes are also sometimes present but not as a primary flavor.

Packaged and/or filtered beers in Germany bearing designations such as Münchner Dunkel, Alt Münchner Dunkel, Alt Bayerisch Dunkel or Alt Fränkisch Dunkel are the most widely available. In America the most widely available examples are Ayinger's Altbairisch Dunkel or EKU Rubin, unfortunately, these products are not always at the peak of freshness in our market and may not always exhibit the true flavor profile. I know of no widely distributed US packaged product that fits this style though the draught product by Gordon Biersch of the San Francisco Bay area is noteworthy. In Munich itself, Paulaner, Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr and Spaten all offer fine examples. Others of note come from Kaltenberg, Weihenstephan, Andechs and of course Ayinger nearby Munich. Still farther afield the beer region of Franconia offers several worthwhile products from EKU, Kulmbach Mönchshof, Kulmbach Reichelbräu and Tücher, to name a few. For the adventurous traveler, Bavaria, particularly both the regions around Munich in the South and Nurnberg-Bamberg-Bayreuth in the North offer a wealth of brewery guest houses and small local breweries, many of which produce products in this style.

The Brew

Observations on brewing procedures for this style are based upon tours taken at the Kaltenberg Brewery (Geltendorf), Ayinger Brewery Inselkammer (Aying), and EKU (Kulmbach) all in the fall of 1994. These breweries represent both mid-sized and large segments of the spectrum and employ equipment dating mostly from the latter half of this century, including some very modern state of the art designs. While not exhaustive, this sampling is surely representative of the techniques employed in present day Dunkel Beer brewing. Out of courtesy to the brewers I won't identify details of recipe or technique at any specific brewery, but rather a composite portrait.

In many respects the brewing of Bairisch Dunkels is similar to that of Bock beers, in fact at one of the breweries which produces both styles the brewer indicated the recipe is the same but the brewing process differs. The soul of the Bavarian Dark beer is the Dunkles malz, or as we call it here, Munich malt. Recipes of the commercial brewers visited used no less than 2/3 Munich Malt in the grist, and as much as 99%! The balance of the grist is composed of a pale malt, typically a German 2 row Pilsener malt, with a final 1% of color, or in German, Farbemalz. The color malt used for this is typically known as chocolate malt here, but Black Patent malt is also known to be used. Other malts such as Cara-Munich and Brumalz (used for added dextrin and pH adjustment respectively) are sometimes used at around 1% of the grain bill.

Being a Bavarian style, the tried and true method of decoction mashing is utilized among the commercial brewers. I must confess that as a homebrewer I have in the past avoided decoction mashing, choosing instead a direct fire stove top method in the interest of reduced time and effort. Direct heating at a rate of 1°F per minute with constant stirring has proved for me to be a good compromise in that it does achieve an acceptable level of the Maillard reactions which form melanoidins and the characteristic reddish brown color of the Bairisch Dunkel.

More recently I've had excellent success with double decoction. A critical concern in decoction mashing is to account for the volume of the grain when determining how much decoct to draw off. I typically employ 1/3 to 1/2 of the total mash volume in the decoct. Some experience is definitely necessary to determine the right volume to use in order to achieve the target temperatures when recombining the decoct with the main mash, as it will vary with your equipment. No matter which approach you choose for mashing I suggest utilizing between 1 and 1-1/4 quart of mash water per pound of grain to acheive a workable mash thickness (ie one where stirring is not too difficult) for either approach.

The commercial brewers, having access to commercial equipment, of course utilize decoction mashing. However they diverge in their technique with regard to the rest temperatures employed. One brewery uses a 100F acid rest (38C), then directly heats the main mash to a protein rest at ~122F (48-50C). This rest is held for 60 minutes and a 1/3 decoct is drawn off, heated to 70C for 20 minutes then added back to the main mash to raise it to 68-70 for a saccharification rest. It is held there until conversion is done (the time this takes varies), then another decoct is taken, boiled at 100C for 15 minutes and added back to the main mash to raise its temperature to 76-78C, where it is held for 60 minutes before being taken to the lauter tun and sparged with water at the same temperature.

A second brewer uses a somewhat different approach. No acid rest is performed. The first grist is mashed at a 45°C protein rest for 50 minutes, a decoct taken off and boiled, then added back in. The second mash is then held at 76°C for 105 to 120 minutes, before a transfer to the Lauter Tun for the 90 minute sparge.

Still different, the third brewer visited starts the mash at 62°C, heats the decoct to 65°C, 68°C, 72°C, for 5 minutes each, then boils for 10 minutes before returning to the main mash. The decoct is added back to the main mash heating it to 68°C where it is held for 10 minutes. The main mash is then heated via steam jacketing to 76°C and pumped directly to the Lauter Tun for sparging.

So what should the homebrewer do? Well if your water pH is fairly high (8.5 or higher), as many municipal waters are, then a mash in and acid rest at around 100°F for at least 20 minutes is useful but not necessary as the small amount of dark grains employed will modify mash pH somewhat. If you have the patience your beer will suffer no detriment from a protein rest at 122°F for a maximum of 30 minutes, however as the modification levels of modern malt is fairly good it is possible to skip this step entirely and proceed to the saccharification rest. The saccharification rests practiced by commercial brewers are at a high temperature range, 158-168°F, which lends to the beer a lower level of fermentable sugars and a richer more dextrinous mouthfeel. As a homebrewer I have in the past made Bavarian style beers with saccharification rests in the more common 148-156°F range with quite excellent results. As the commercial breweries have, for the most part, a better grade of equipment and in general achieve a better rate of extract than my humble home brewery (witness Figure ??, the computer controlled Lauter Tun at the EKU brewery which adjusts sparge flow through pipes spread across the entire Lauter Tun bottom to achieve optimal extract). I'd suggest utilizing a saccharification temperature in the 154-158°F range for most homebrewers.

Typical mash lengths are on the order of 2:1 water to grist, by weight, though sometimes as much as 3.4:1 is used. Post boil volume yields are on the order of 6:1 wort to grist, by weight. Thus depending on how thick the initial mash is the sparge volume may be twice the volume of mash water used. I've had good success using about twice as much sparge water, at 172F, as I've used in the mash. This seems to produce a wort of proper sweetness and astringency, and boiling will reduce the wort to the proper final volume.

When sparging is done the boil commences. Boiling approaches also differ. While two of the brewers used 90 minute boils the third varied the time using volume reduction (9-10%) as the guide as to when boiling was complete. Steam jacketed boilers are most common however the ultra-modern EKU brewery employs a system whereby wort is pumped out of the "boiling" vessel, boiled in line, and pumped back in. This system is much more energy efficient for the over 600 Hectoliter batch sizes.

Bavarian Dunkel is of course not a highly hopped beer, nor one with much hop aroma. Hops used are from the Hallertau region, from towns like Hersbruck or Spalt (all near Nürnberg), and their additions are calculated as grams of alpha acid (% alpha acid times weight in grams) which for known utilization rates provides the most consistency. For the homebrewer Tettnang, Perle, Saaz, or any of the Hallertauer varieties all make good choices. British or American varieities have distinctive flavor and aroma profiles which are not traditional for this style so I recommend avoiding them.

Of the boiling hops roughly half are added at the beginning of the boil, and the balance during the boil, but always at least 30 minutes prior to knock out. Aroma hops are added 5 minutes before the end of the boil and comprise ~20% again as much as the boiling hops by weight, or ~16% of the total hops added. Bittering units (IBU) for this style range around 20-25 [ 12, 11] and among the brewers visited 10g alpha acid per Hectoliter, which amounts to 0.38g alpha acid per gallon, was typical. Assuming hops at 4% this amounts to about 1/3 oz per gallon, or about ~1 2/3 oz bittering hops for a 5 gallon batch, although my most successful recipes have used slightly lower hopping rates of about 1 to 1.5 oz of comparable hops.

The wort should be boiled for a minimum of 60 minutes to allow sufficient extraction of the alpha acids from the boiling hops. I typically utilize at least a 90 minute boil since this reduces the wort volume and provides some additional color via caramelization. It also allows a longer period during which to vary your bittering hop additions while still insuring they are all boiled for a minimum of 30 minutes. Also since Munich water is fairly carbonate, it helps to add 1tsp. of Calcium Carbonate (per 5 gallon batch) to the boil if your water is "soft" (ie lacking dissolved solids, especially Calcium and Carbonate ions), as this adds a very slight chalkiness to the aftertaste of the beer, which is appropriate for the style.

When the boil is done the wort is chilled, centrifuged to remove trub, and transferred to the fermenter. Both open and closed fermenters were in use at the breweries I visited. Each of the breweries maintained their own strains in the yeast banks at Weihenstephan or Berlin. A typical process for handling yeast would be to obtain a starting culture from the yeast bank. A portion of this would be worked up to a pitching volume. The commercial breweries visited typically pitch a very dense slurry at a rate of 1% of total wort volume! This pitched yeast is reused up to eight times bearing designations A1 to A8. Subsequent pitching volumes derived from the same master culture would be labeled B through H (ie 8 pitching volumes derived from the master culture), and each reused up to eight times, for a total of 64 batches from a master culture. Commercially, starting fermentation temperatures may be as low as 4°C, although at all the breweries visited the heat released by fermentation typically raised ferment temperatures as much as 6°C over 7 days. In general ferments were conducted between 6° and 10°C. One brewery used a 7 day ferment allowing the temperature to gradually rise from 4C to 10C in that period, then lagering for 6 weeks at 0°C. Another fermented 12 days gradually lowering the temperature from a peak of 9.5°C (which rose from an initial 6.5C during the first 24 hours of fermentation) down to 2.5°C, then lagering 8 weeks at 2°C. The third used a more complicated schedule which also involved lowering the temperature from an initial ferment at 8C for the first 4 days down to 4°C for the next three, then racking the beer to a blending tank for 2 more weeks ferment at 4C before lagering 3 to 4 weeks at 0°C. So from a commercial standpoint there are no firm rules.

As mentioned above the commercial breweries visited pitch a very dense slurry (about 1 part medium to 4 parts sedimented yeast by volume) at a rate of 1% of total wort volume. This would amount to 200ml of slurry for a 5 gallon (~ 20 liter) batch! I've tried this in my homebrewery with excellent results.The yeast had no lag phase (ie it didn't need to undergo reproduction in the wort medium), instead it went right to work fermenting the beer. Unfortunately for the homebrewer liquid yeasts are not presently sold in such large volumes. The alternatives are to plan ahead and use successive starters to build up the yeast volume, or to pitch what is available. I recommend the former as it will reduce both lag time and fermentation times. In practice I have found that even 1/10th this amount (20ml per 5 gallon batch) will work well, though this still requires building up yeast volume from that present in the package. If it is not possible to substantially build up your yeast volume then expect to compensate by employing longer fermentation times since even in a well aerated wort the level of yeast reproduction will mean a smaller number of yeast cells with more work to do.

Which ever approach you choose reasonable results can be achieved with a good yeast strain.

As a homebrewer I've had great success with WYeast products number 2124 and 2206, finding them both well suited to this style. Other suppliers may have comparable yeasts, check their descriptions. If you travel, another possibility is to do as I sometimes do. Bring some sterile sample tubes and pour some unfiltered beer (including it's yeast) into them to bring home. I've recently been experimenting with a yeast captured at Aying with great results. In my early attempts at recreating this style I employed a 3-4 week fermentation at 48°F. This was primarily out of necessity due to low pitching volumes which resulted in slow fermentation. More recently I have continued utilizing 48F as my fermentation temperature but, as mentioned previously, by employing larger pitching volumes have shortened the fermentation times down to around 10 days with excellent results. However you approach this, trust your hydrometer readings, be patient, and don't be afraid to pitch more yeast if you feel it is necessary.

When trying to emulate the flavor profile of the filtered products a subsequent 6-8 week lagering at 32-36F was used after primary fermentation. To emulate the unfiltered products I've simply stored the beer at serving temperatures (48-54F) and tapped it immediately since this prevents the dissolved proteins from settling out of solution before you can drink it and is the source of the rich earthy aromas and flavors cited earlier. Commercially the filtered versions are filtered via diamataceous earth or a combination of both paper and diamataceous earth filters, depending on the brewery. In two of the breweries the bottling lines are housed in separate buildings. One located theirs a 1/2 Kilometer away due to a lack of space for expansion in the town center where the brewery is located! However with modern clean in places systems this poses no problems. In no event are these beers pastuerized. At the breweries I visited, even when brewed for export markets, pasteurization of the beer is frowned upon as the brewers felt that this would destroy the flavor of the beer. Thus even with packaged products freshness is a consideration and stale flavors can be evident in very old products.

Whichever way you choose to go, filtered or unfiltered, you'll find the results quite enjoyable. Bavarian Dunkel, when brewed properly, is a hearty, full bodied beer, rich in flavor and one which accompanies traditional Bavarian foods such as Pretzels, Wursts or Schnitzel quite well. Additionally, as it is not a particularly strong style it is well suited to being enjoyed in good quantity, and many a Bavarian has been known to make a meal of it alone. However you choose to enjoy it, you'll see why this is the style which made Bavaria, and in particular Munich, a world famous brewing center. Prost!

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Recipe Profile (a composite from several breweries)

Grain bill - while I've brewed great Dunkel beers with 48% Dunkel malt (typically known as Munich malt here in the U.S.), tours at three breweries revealed proportions of 66%, 75%, and 99% Dunkle malt. Typically 1% color malt ("farbemalz" in German, usually called chocolate malt in the U.S., due to its color, not flavor) and the balance (0 to 33%) of a 2 row malt, typically a German pilsener variety is used. Occasionally up to 1% of Cara-Munich or BrewMalz (a malt used for pH and dextrin adjustment) are also used.

Hops - Hallertau Mittelfruh, Hallertau Perling for boil. (I've also mixed Tettnang or Perle with these). Hallertau, Hersbruck and/or Spalt for finish.

Water - Total hardness 18.8d, carbonate hardness 15.7d, CaCo3 178 mg/L, CaO 130 mg/L.

Fermentation - 4 to 10 C, i.e. 39 - 50 F for 4-7 days.

Second ferment 7-14 days at 2.5 -4C (36 - 39F)

Lagering - -1 to 2 C (30 to 36F) for 3 to 8 weeks

O.G. : 12 - 13 degrees Balling (1.048 - 1.052)

Attenuation: 70-80%

Alcohol: 4.5 - 5.5% vol.

Color: 40-80 EBC

pH: 4.4 - 4.6

Bitterness: 20-25 IBU

## Jackson [12] lists Ayinger at 52EBC, but personal communication [11] lists it as 70-80. Jackson also lists Kaltenberg at 40, so this would indicate the range of 40-80 which I note here.

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A beer drinker arriving in Germany today finds both preservation of regional styles in a range of locally distributed labels, as well as styles found via labels with nationwide distribution. Terminology can be confusing since naming can be local (like kölsch in Köln), have specific regional meanings (like Alt which used in Düsseldorf refers to a specific style but more generally means "old") or be truly generic (like "dunkel", which means "dark", and can be applied to Bock, wheat or other beer styles as well as simply designating its own style). As one can guess, confusion can abound to the uninitiated, yet a wider sampling can show that in typical German fashion there is some order that can be found in naming.

Based on a good sampling of beers as well as discussion with brew masters, here is what I perceive to be the currently important descriptors for dark beer found in Germany today.



Alt - (literally) old

Bairisch, Bayerisch, Bayrisch - all meaning from Bavaria

Braun - (literally) brown, a more historical name for what is now generally termed dunkel

Dunkles, Dunkel - (literally) dark

Frankisch(es) - from Franconia

Kloster - monastery, cloister (referring to where beer is/was often brewed)

Keller - cellar

Münchner - from Munich

Naturtrub - naturally cloudy

Schwarz - (literally) black

Ur - origin, source

urquell - original source/spring

urtyp - original type or style

urbier - original beer

The following are how I categorize the styles of Dark beer presently found in Germany today, and while naming conventions are not exact nor is there any appellation control, these seem to be fairly common naming conventions.

(Alt)Münchner, (Alt)Bairisch, or (Alt)Fränkisch Dunkel (or similar variations on naming)

These beers are generally brewed to emulate the old Bavarian Dunkel style, See the article for more detail on this.

Export Dunkel - These beers are typically a dark version of the usually blond "Export" style beers. Generally they are brewed to a blond beer recipe with some amount of colored malt (in German, "Farbemalz") added to the grain bill. In some cases a separate colored beer is brewed and simply mixed with a blonde beer in line during the bottling process.

Dunkel - some beers bear no designation other than Dunkel (except perhaps a town of origin). These are often simply a dark version of a Pilsener beer (see Export Dunkel above) but other times they are a brewery's interpretation of the old Bavarian style. In the latter case the additional designation "Alt" on the label may serve as a hint, label artwork may serve as a hint, or only the drinker's palette can discern.

Schwarzbier - literally meaning "black beer". I have yet to encounter one that was a truly dark beer, as dark as a porter or a stout. Of the commercial examples known to me one hails from [SW of Stuttgart], another near Heidelberg and the remainder from either Thuringen or Franconia. Research indicates that this is a regional name originating in the towns of Bad Kostritz in the south of Thuringen [3] (close to the historic brewing town of Jena), and at Kulmbach in northern Franconia [13] & [19], and that historically the style is within the range of the flavor profile used to describe Altbairisch Dunkel beers. The examples I've tried from the Mönchshof brewery of Kulmbach, and the Kostritzer Scwarzbierbrauerei of Bad Kostritz support this theory.

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Extract Recipe (5 gallon)


9 lbs. light M&F Syrup

1.5 lbs. Pils malt (grain)

1/2 lb. chocolate malt (grain)

2 oz. Northern Brewer (7.5% AA) (60 min. before end of boil)

1 oz. Saaz (2.6% AA) (30 min. before end of boil)

1 oz. Saaz (2.6% AA) (5 min. before end of boil)

Wyeast #2124

Put crushed grain in muslin grain bag, place into one gallon hot tap water (~122F). Heat to 160F then remove grain and add extract syrup. Bring to boil. At boil add hops at specified intervals. Total boil time 75 minutes.

Cool to 65F, add yeast, then ferment at 52-55F. Original gravity 1.040, final gravity 1.012.

Notes: For extract only beers, substitute 3/4 lb. dark extract syrup for the grain.

Konig Bayerische Unfiltered Dunkel (5 gallon)


6 Lbs. Munich malt

2 lbs. Pilsner malt

1/4 lbs. chocolate malt

1/2 teaspoon CaCO3 in mash water

1/2 teaspoon CaCO3 in sparge water

1 teaspoon Irish Moss, 30 minutes boil

1 oz. Hallertauer 75 minutes boil, 2.5% AA

1 oz. Hallertauer 5 minutes finish, 2.5% AA

~200ml Ayinger Yeast Slurry

mash grains with 10 quarts water for 30 minutes at 123F. Decoct 1/3 to 158F hold five minutes then bring decoct to boil. Add decoct back into main mash to raise to 145F and hold 20 minutes. Draw another 1/3 decoct, raise to 158F hold for five minutes, then bring to boil. Add decoct back into main mash to raise to 162F and hold for 30 minutes. Sparge with five gallons 172F water.

total boil time 90 minutes.

OG 1.042 FG 1.014

1993 AHA National Competition 1st Prize Winner (3 gallon)


3/4 lb. Ireks Vienna

2 lbs. Ireks Munich

2 lb. Ireks Pils

1/2 lb. DeWolf & Cosyns Aromatic

1/4 lb. CaraPils

1/8 lb. Chocolate

1/2 oz. Tettnang (4.5% AA) (boil)

1/2 oz. Styrian Goldings (5.3% AA) (finish)

2/3 tsp. CaCO3 per 3 gallons

Wyeast 2206

Mash 4.5 qts. of water with grain at 130F for 30 minutes. Add 2 qts. boiling water to raise to 152F (use direct heating of mash if target temperatue not achieved by boiling water infusion) hold for 90 minutes. Sparge with 3 gallons of 172F water. Collect 4.5 to 5 gallons.

(losses in homebrewers' systems will likely vary, adjust water volumes as needed, ensuring temperature rests are met) Boil for 90 minutes, addin hops with 60 minutes left in boil, and 1 tsp. Irish moss with 30 minutes left. Ferment at 48F.

Original Gravity 1.046 Final Gravity 1.014

About the Author


Jay Hersh has been an award-winning homebrewer since 1985, winning awards for his Bavarian Dunkels (among other styles) at the local, regional and national levels. He achieved the rank of BJCP Master Beer Judge in 1993, having begun beer judging in 1987. He has taught courses on beer brewing and beer tasting at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, M.I.T and the Boston Center for Adult Educationn, as well as teaching sensory evaluation seminars to local homebrewers and at the American Homebrewers Association's national conference. In addition he is a part-time author who chronicles his beer related travels in various publications.

This article was written with the assistance of the DragonDictate speech recognition system. The author would like to thank the following people for their kindness and assistance: Prince Luitpold and Frau Hildebrand of the Kaltenberg Brewery; Franz Inselkammer and Jans Jurgen Iwan of the Ayinger Brewery; H. Hamacher and M. Gelbart of the EKU Brewery; Christa Miller for her help in translating German language source material utilized in researching this article; and Joyce Miller for technical assistance with image capture.


1. Arnold, John P. Origin and History of Beer and Brewing. Chicago, Illinois : Wahl Henius Institute : 1911

2. Baring-Gould, Sabina. The Story of Germany. New York : GP Putnam & Sons : 1887

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6. Corran, H.S. A History of Brewing. London : Newton Abbot : 1975

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8. 400 Jahre Hofbräuhaus München, 1589 - 1989. Munich, Germany : Carl Gerber Verlag GmbH : 1989

9. Hård, Mikael. Machines are Frozen Spirit. Boulder, Colorado : Westview Press : 1994

10. Henderson, W.O., The Industrial Revolution on the Continent, 2nd Edition, Frank Cass & Co. 1967

11. Iwan, Jans Jurgen, Brewmaster, Ayinger Brewery, Personal Correspondence, November 7th, 1994

12. Jackson, Michael. Beer Companion. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania : Running Press : 1993

13. Kingston, W. Beatty. A Journalist's Jottings. London : Chapman Hall : 1890

14. Merk, Gerhard. Das Münchner Bier : Frisinga Verlag GmbH : 1991

15. Moritz, Edward Ralph : Textbook of the Science of Brewing : ??? : ??? : 1891

16. Nicolle, Jaques. Louis Pasteur, The Story of his Major Discoveries : New York : Basic Books, Inc. : 1961

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Munich 1814, reprinted by George Olms Verlag, New York 1976

19. Schlener, Dr. Aug. Der Practischer Bierbrauer : Leipzig, Germany : Verlag von J. J. Urnd : 1908

20. Seifert, Johann Albert Joseph. Das Bamberger Bier: Bamberg : 1818

21. Vizetelly, Henry. Wines of the World. London : Ward, Lock & Tyler : 1875

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