This brew has received unbelievably high marks from craft beer reviewers and is considered to be a cult classic, so I figured I better try this thing.
The website, brauerei-weihenstephan.de, had this small description.
Soft, malty and full-bodied. The well-balanced taste is our dark weiss beer’s great strength. Not only a good accompaniment to hearty meals.
Not a whole lot to go on there, so they must let the beer do the talking. Let’s see for ourselves.
This Dunkel came in a 16.9 oz. bottle and had an ABV of 5.3%.
The beer poured to a dark amber/dark burgundy color that appeared quite cloudy with an off white head. The cap was fluffy, mostly creamy and of very nice size. It had better than average retention and it left some pretty good lacing behind for me to enjoy. Some very faint light orange highlights appeared at the very bottom of the glass.
The smell revealed some prevalent hints of banana and dark wheat grains. The fruit aroma is similar to the smell of a banana that is just starting to brown right before it begins to rot. The grain bill is a bit toasty with a slight nutty aroma. Some yeast and a spicy clove came off a bit stronger than what I had anticipated, thus making it seem a touch unbalanced to me.
The taste was more of the toasted yeasty/grain with, again, more fruity banana. It seemed to have a very earthy and dark hop presence. Almost “dirty” and “gritty” tasting. Hmm. I didn’t find that to be too attractive. Some nutty flavors popped up in the form of dried, chalky walnuts. The cloves started to come on relatively strong as the beer warmed, which again seemed to make the taste less harmonious in my opinion.
The mouthfeel was medium, sort of smooth, a touch crisp and chalky. It does leave a hefty amount of flavor behind on the palate however.
I’m not quite sure what to think of this beer. It could be that I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with Dunkels, but I did not find this to be the “world class” beer that other reviews I’ve read seem to think. I realize that I’m still in the early stages of the “craft beer reviewing game” to question more experienced brewers and tasters, but I was not overly impressed with the flavor. The “dirty” flavor was somewhat of a distraction and made the drinkability a bit lower than what I was hoping. I did finish the beer with no problem at all, but I didn’t find myself wanting another one. This is probably a beer that I should try again in a few years and see if my palate has adjusted enough to appreciate this style and this brewer. Heck, who am I to argue or question a brewery that has been in existence for nearly 1000 years!!! Don’t take my word for it…. pick it up and give it a shot. It just may be the beer that you are looking for.
Thanks for reading and commenting everyone. I truly appreciate it.
Score: 3.35 out of 5