Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

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Cavpilot2000
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Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:00 am

So my absolute favorite German beer is the house Dunkel from Kloster Kreuzberg (Unterfranken, north of Wurzburg).
It is decidedly on the lighter side of Dunkels and is incredibly quaffable in large quantities. My attempts at making something even close have not turned out anywhere close. Now granted, that was before going Low O2, but now that I am brewing Low O2, I am at a loss for where to begin for that light dunkel, bready but not heavy flavor, since I am just getting up to speed on the new flavor nuances brought about by Low O2 brewing.

Unfortunately it isn't available in the States, so I have to go off of memory when trying to compare taste (the last time I had it was December).
The internet has turned up a dearth of information on it, so I was wondering if any of you have had it, or especially have it regularly enough to be familiar with it and offer some insight as to where to start.
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wobdee
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Re: Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby wobdee » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:56 am

Sorry to say I've never had it but it looks delicious. Almost looks kinda Marzen like by the color. Have you tried contacting the brewery? Maybe they would give you some hints. What have you tried so far? I'm guessing it's mostly some kind of Munich malt in the 70-80% range, the rest Pils with maybe a pinch of Cara?
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:14 pm

It's definitely lighter in body than a Marzen and less sweet. Definitely on the bready, bordering on pretzel-like end of the spectrum.
It truly is delicious. Whereas my palate gets saturated pretty quickly with what I perceive as an almost cloying quality of most Marzens, this is not clyoing at all (I still love Marzens, but one or two is my limit, then I'm looking for something cleaner).
I agree, probably mostly Munich with a little Pilsner to lighten it and for complexity, and a touch of cara (but just a touch). That's going to be my next attempt. I think the color likely comes from decoction. I don't know for certain if they decoct, but being a Klosterbier, I suspect that they adhere to traditional practices pretty adamantly.

Previous attempts were really aimed at dialing in some baselines for a house Dunkel, but none of them have been quite right and all of them have been too heavy compared to Kreuzberg.
Here is a simple list of my Dunkel attempts (and results). FWIW, these were my first beers using Munich in any large quantities (other than a small percentage in some lighter Festbiers), so you will see a trend of being all over the place without clear direction of best usage.

Attempt 1 (5 gal):
Munich I 5 lb
Pilsner 2 lb
Munich II 1 lb
Aromatic Munich 1 lb
Carapils 8 oz
Caramunich II 8 oz
Carafa II 4 oz
As you can see, I was all over the place and had waaay too many specialty malts. It was drinkable, but too heavy and too schizophrenic.

Attempt 2 (5 gal):
Munich II 5 lb (45.5%)
Pilsner 5 lb (45.5%)
Caramunich II 8 oz (4.5%)
Melanoidin 4 oz (2.3%)
Carafa II 4 oz (2.3%)
This one was actually quite good as a beer and was very interesting and complex, but still too dark and heavy for Kreuzberg. I also overhopped it a tad, which helped make it a really interesting, complex beer, but too much for any Munuch Dunkel.

Attempt 3 (5 gal):
Munich II 7 lb (63.6%)
Pilsner 2 lb (18.2%)
Arom. Munich 2 lb (18.2%)
So this one went much simpler on the grain bill and I intentionally overdid the Aromatic Munich (which is similar to melanoidin) to see specifically what it brings to the table. After only a month in the keg, it had in intense malty sweetness that was way too much (from the 20L aromatic Munich). Despite being 1.014 FG and with no caras, it tasted sweet. Another month in the keg now, and it has mellowed quite a bit, and is actually really tasty and enjoyable. The Aromatic settled down and is behaving itself these days, but I know it is still too much for a Kreuzberg.

For my next attempt (unless I get some advice here that I should follow), may look something like this:
8 lb Munich II
2 lb Pilsner
6 oz Caramunich III
I may add an ounce of carafa and even a few ounces of melanoidin or aromatic munich (which is a Briess product, and therefore not German).
Any thoughts?
Last edited by Cavpilot2000 on Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Techbrau
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Re: Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby Techbrau » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:24 pm

Munich II is what tastes like pretzels to me.

Your latest proposed recipe looks close to what my immediate gut feeling was. My instinct was to blend Munich II with Pilsner malt at a 60/40 ratio to form the base malt, and then use 3-5% caramunich II on top of that.

Don't bother with the decoction, just brew it LoDO with a gentle boil.

Mind you, I've never tried this beer so I could very well be full of it. This is just the grist that seemed reasonable to me given the color and your description of the taste.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
wobdee
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Re: Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby wobdee » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:08 pm

Your next attempt looks pretty good to me, in fact that is pretty much my Dunkel recipe with the addition of 1% carafa for color but in this case I would leave it out as well as any melanoiden or aromatic. Should be pretty tasty.
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Re: Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby wobdee » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:25 pm

Made me thirsty for my Dunkel
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:34 pm

Wow, that looks tasty!
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Ancient Abbey
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Re: Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby Ancient Abbey » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:10 am

There are many good ways to make a good dunkel. Given your description and my own experiences, the lighter body and less sweet suggests to me a higher use of bruhmalts and less karamalt. I see you switched from Munich I to Munich II in your recipes. Did you make the switch to get more color from your base malt? Was there some other reason? Which do you like better as your base?

I agree with Tech, if you want pretzels then stick with the Munich II. The base malt will be the dominant flavor in the beer, so get this right before tweaking anything else. With such a large charge of Munich II, I would leave out the aromatic and melanoidin malts. Muma, pima and caramunich will make a simple and elegant dunkel in the color range you are chasing.
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:35 am

Ancient Abbey wrote:There are many good ways to make a good dunkel. Given your description and my own experiences, the lighter body and less sweet suggests to me a higher use of bruhmalts and less karamalt. I see you switched from Munich I to Munich II in your recipes. Did you make the switch to get more color from your base malt? Was there some other reason? Which do you like better as your base?

I agree with Tech, if you want pretzels then stick with the Munich II. The base malt will be the dominant flavor in the beer, so get this right before tweaking anything else. With such a large charge of Munich II, I would leave out the aromatic and melanoidin malts. Muma, pima and caramunich will make a simple and elegant dunkel in the color range you are chasing.


I appreciate the input. I am torn between Munich I and II. The choice of II is partially for color, though I suppose I could use Sinamar or a dash of carafa late in the mash.
Maybe pretzel is too much. My palate remembers more like a crusty dark bread, like a good pumpernickel (minus the caraway). I or II?

Here is all the info the brewery offers:
Dunkel
Original wort: 12.5%
Alcohol content: 5.4%
Yeast: Bottom fermented
The secret malt mix gives our dark beer the strong color as well as the spicy and full-bodied aroma.
That, and they use Hallertauer hops.
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Re: Help making Kloster Kreuzberg Dunkel

Postby Bryan R » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:10 am

How big/modern in their brewhouse? It looks slightly hazy as well so is it safe to say they don't filter? All this matters in recipe formulation.

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