Dark Munich Malt

Written by Justin on March 4, 2011

The first in my new line of posts about the ingredients that go into beer is this post about Dark Munich Malt.  I’ve got 1 pound of dark munich for a dark lager I’m going to be making pretty soon here.  Obviously at 1lb it’s a specialty grain for my recipe but from what I’ve read most people claim you can use 70% and some even claim you can use 100% in your grain bill.  Dark Munich is most often used in Dark Lagers, Oktoberfests, Stouts, Schwarzbiers, Brown Ales and Amber Ales. I also did some reading on people using them in APA’s as well.

So getting into the grain, when I laid it out on a piece of paper the grain is a light color that looks only lightly kilned. From my reading Dark Munich can have anywhere between about an 8 to 20 Lovibond.  A quick explanation of Lovibond.  It’s a scale for measuring that estimates what color the grain is going to give to the final beer, which we measure in Standard Reference Method (SRM). A very light straw pale color would land around 1-2 Lovibond while a dark roasted malt might fall in the 300 – 400 L range. To the taste the Dark Munich has a great malty flavor that instantly makes me think about chocolate covered malt balls. After I got over that taste I can also pick up a touch of biscuit, a nice hint of honey and a faint bit of carmel.

So the next step in my tasting experiments was to steep my grain tea. I was able to steep it at 140° for about 15 minutes.  The temp dropped through that steeping but I think it still released some of the flavor and the color.  As a note my amazing wife noted later on that evening that I should do this step in a insulated mug, I went duh.  Once the tea cooled down I tried it.  On the nose it smelled strongly of honey to me and not a honeysuckle wine kind of honey, straight up honey. I really wasn’t able to distinguish any other aroma from it.  When I tasted it it had a nice honey like flavor.  As I sipped through my tea I searched out for other flavors but found few. There wasn’t much of a carmel flavor and even that big malt ball flavor I tasted dry was not as distinguishable in the tea.  The one thing I did note was how well the flavor hung on.  It coated the mouth really well and just hung for minutes after the last little sip.

Overall I’m really excited to try this with many more malts and additions.  Hopefully it will help me to further define my palette and also give me a new set of tools for recipe creation.  I’m looking forward to trying to distinguish the flavors of the Dark Munich Malt in my Dark Lager once it’s finished.  Have you used Dark Munich in the past? What are you’re thoughts about it?

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