AG: Dunkelweizen mashing and Tips, and Are Rye and Munich malts strong enough?

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Jan 31, 2010
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Homies, Brewers, and Talkers,

I am greedy, and I therefore have bunch of questions for the experienced brewers here on the forum:

First, I have assembled the necessary goods for a 10 gal. batch of Dunkelweizen (I think).

Here's the grain bill: (all German Weyermann malts):

8.8 Lbs. (4 kg) Munich malt
8.8 Lbs. (4 kg) Wheat malt, Dark
4.4 Lbs. (2 kg) Rye malt (for a zesty, rye 'zing', but also may provide enzymatic help... question below...)
2.2 Lbs. (1 kg) Caramel Wheat malt

I will be doing a stepped temperature mash on an electric stove...
-15 minute protein rest at a temperature between 114 and 122 deg. F (if this is long enough... may apply to my question)
- heat to 158deg. F over 30 minutes (full heat on two burners under mash tun [the transition time through the Beta Amylase activity range will likely provide plenty of opportunity for Beta Amylase activity for a decent amount of fermentables {if the diastatic power is great enough- the question I'm getting at}, and I'm looking for a full-bodied, almost "thick" beer...
- HOLD at 158deg. F for 60 min (Alpha Amylase Saccharification)
- Mash out at 168deg. F ...hold at 168 for 10 min., then lauter...

Side notes:
-1.76 oz. (50.0 g) Hallertauer Mittelfrueh (4.5% AA) will be added at 60 min. for bittering only during boil. I will use 2 whirlfloc tabs for precipitation at 15 min.
-Will pitch WLP300 (Hefeweizen yeast) after cooling wort to 65deg. F, and after breaking a servomyces caplet into each 6.5 gal. carboy.

Okay, so here are my questions. (I hope that if you're reading this, that you were the type that liked "word problems" in your schoolwork):

#1: Will my combination of grains and mash schedule have enough combined diastatic power to properly convert my starches? If not, will lengthening some of my temperature rest times help? ...Or...(worst case scenario)...Will I have to add a pale malt (2 or 6 row) to my grain bill to ensure that it will 'work'?

#2: I want a banana ester (with the clove phenols) profile in this 10 gallon batch. For a 10 gal. batch, I would normally make at least a 3 Liter starter to split among the two carboys... I have one vial of WLP300... is there a better solution for this particular dunkelweizen batch to achieve the flavors I'd like [like WAY underpitching? -split the vial between the two 5 gal. volumes... I'm being ridiculous, I know, but letting you know where my mind was...](I'm asking, because I know that there are a number of you 'out there' that have already done what I may be trying to do, and have had AWESOME results... Please share..).

...and... finally, the Bonus Question:

#3: Is there a good 5 gallon SMaSH that I can make with Munich malt (I have a 50 Lb. bag) and 1.75 oz. (total) of Hallertauer Mittelfrueh (4.5%AA)? Does anybody have a 'pet' recipe to share for a 5 gallon batch?...


I would like to thank all who take the time to respond... I thank you for your dedication to your craft, and for your willingness to mentor within this community.

1. You should be fine for conversion. I might add a couple ounces of carafa to give it a darker color. With all that wheat/rye some rice hulls wouldn't be a bad idea either.

2. I would pitch a healthy amount of yeast, I've had some "underpitched" and/or hot fermented hefeweizens that come across with lots of banana sure, but also bubblegum, fusel alcohols etc... not worth it. You can ramp fermentation temps up near 70 if you want to enhance the banana, but I've had the best luck keeping the fermentation in the low 60s.

3. Should be a good combo, but I've never brewed with just those two.

Weizens are usually a bit hazy, don't put too much work into making it crystal clear with the protein rest and whirlfoc.

Hope that helps, good luck.

Thank you so much for your reply. -Some EXCELLENT advice.

1. Thanks for the vote of confidence! You are right on the Carafa- I checked my beersmith formulation, and this grain bill puts me on the light end of the dunkelweizen spectrum- amazing eye! It takes skill and experience to pick that out! Thanks!

2. Good call- Don't screw with it too much. I wasn't thinking of all of the other flavors that could exhibit themselves if I strain my yeast. Thanks for the reality check.

3. ...Me too- I figure that it would taste like the embodiment of Bavaria... Hmmm.

Shoot- yeah- What was I thinking? You're right- I should keep it hazy, young, and delicious.

Thank you for the help!!!! I really appreciate it!
Don't forget to post your results so people finding this thread later will know how it turned out. Happy brewing.
First, I would like to apologize for the delay in response.

Regarding this 10 gallon batch of beer, I would say that overall it was a success.

As was accurately predicted by the forum, diastatic power and conversion were not an issue, as I did not use adjuncts, and the malts used had plenty of diastatic power to convert themselves.

I did not get a stuck sparge, but the sparge on this batch took a LONG time. Next time I should use a good deal of rice hulls when working with this much Rye and Wheat malts.

Now the beer:

During brew, I chilled to 70 deg. F before transferring to fermentor and pitching. I used a 3L starter of WLP300, split between two carboys, in relative proportion to the volumes in each. (I lost more during the boil than I would have wanted, thanks likely to a number of boilovers during this batch [d'oh!]). In all, I ended up with ~8 gallons. 5 in one carboy, and 3 in the other.

Fermentation hit hard and fast, and despite the constant 68 deg. F temperature of my basement, the carboys bubbled along for the first two days at 72 to 73 deg. F. The characteristic smell of Hefeweizen filled the fermentation room.

Impatient, and seeing absolute stillness in the carboys, I kegged on day 10.

Cooled, force carbed.

The beer was pretty dang good, right off the bat. As it had time to carb and settle, though, it really came into its own (within the next 7 to 10 days).

This beer was a bit more robust/ (I hate to say "spicy", as I don't mean to propagate Rye malt "spicy" urban legends..) notable character.

The best part of the beer, though (for me) was fortunately/unfortunately the finish. What a creamy, delicious, typical dunkelweizen. As far as the Rye question goes- would I do it again? Well, maybe not before perfecting a classic, delicate Dunkelweizen. I think that the rye is notable enough at this volume in this style (in the mouth at initial 'sippage') that I might not do this again. -Explanation: Don't get me wrong; this was a great beer. However, I knew what I was tasting, and it wasn't a mistake. For a bunch of my buddies who are well familiar with the dunkelweizen style, had the beer not come with a narrative, then it may have tasted a tiny bit "different" than what they were used to (and I can't have people think that one of my beer results was a bad error [good errors I will take full credit for]). Therefore, when serving it to them for the first time, (and they all liked it..) one had to explain how this was not a 'typical' dunkelweizen, and then slightly go into the unique grain bill. ...a great topic for small talk among those interested in brewing; a boring obligatory rant for one who just wants a swig of free beer (I guess this was payment then- listen to the rant).

For those of you who have a "go-to" dunkelweizen and want to "kick it up a notch" and have a delicious dunkel with a beautiful reddish tint, do this recipe!

That was my two cents. I know that I need to study BJCP judging guidelines in order to give a more refined critique, but this was the layman's evaluation.