Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dunkel and Ambrée

After a solid two months of waiting, the lagers I brewed at the beginning of the summer went on tap last week.  I brewed a Bavarian Dunkel and a Bière de Garde, two styles that are pretty unfamiliar to me, and both of which have a distinct regional association and following.  Dunkel originated in Munich and is popular throughout Bavaria.  Bière de Garde is a product of Northern France where Belgian influence is strong.  All in all, I'm very happy with the results.  Here's a quick review of both:

Peacesteiner Bavarian Dunkel

AROMA  Browned toast and sweet crusty barley.  Muted hop aroma, almost not existent.  Aromas intensify and the bread notes become more pronounced as it warms.

APPEARANCE  Deep umber in color with slight garnet tones when tilted.  Creamy, but short-lived slightly tan colored head that leaves rings on the glass with each sip.  Very clear but not quite brilliant.

FLAVOR  Clean and bready with a rich, complex undertone of bread crusts.  The Munich malt is intense and melanoidin-rich.  Hops compliment and balance well, taking a decided back seat to the malt, which reveals significant sweet character.

MOUTHFEEL  Medium-full body and creamy smooth, with only the slightest hint of alcohol warmth present.

OVERALL IMPRESSION  A uniquely German and surprisingly thirst-quenching dark brown lager that showcases the bready aromas and flavors associated with Munich malt used in force.  The balance is very nice, and the the beer is to style without off-flavors in all categories.  I'm very happy with this beer.

Ambrée - Bière de Garde 

AROMA  Noble hops and malt in equal portions with distinct Pilsner and Munich malt aromas blending together well.  A small mustyiness, not unpleasant, in the background.

APPEARANCE  Somewhat clear, strong red in color with a wispy tentative off-white head.

FLAVOR  Cool and complex on the tongue, with malt complexity almost making it convoluted, but not quite.  Hops are present but in nominal quantities and low in bitterness.

MOUTHFEEL  Medium-bodied and crisp.  Some alcohol warmth detected and almost too thin.

OVERALL IMPRESSION  All the elements of a bière de garde are present in this beer and are mostly in balance.  The alcohol content and thinner body could be slightly adjusted (down and up, respectively) to give this beer a little more malt backbone.  Hop presence is delicate and clean.  A very nice beer that lagered beautifully.

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