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Munich Dunkel, more like Munich Drunkle (see what I did there?)

Munich Dunkel, more like Munich Drunkle  (see what I did there?)

By KevinIsAwesome      

It was a day like any other, except it was Labor Day.  My beautiful young fiancé was out of town preparing for our impending wedding.  Not impending.  Umm, impressive.  Yes.  Impressive.  Good.  No one will know...  Besides, my wife doesn’t read this.  Does she?  OK, to the point.  Labor Day.  Right.  I had the day off and I wanted to brew, because I like brewing.  I was going to leave for my wedding 2 days later and I wouldn’t be back for 3 weeks.  I didn’t want to leave an ale in the fermenter for that long, but I really wanted to brew.  I have a lager fridge, and it is fall, so I decided to brew a Munich Dunkel.  It was going to be awesome, just like when I was a kid. 

When I brew bocks and Dunkels, I like to use a decoction mash. A decoction mash is where I remove some of the wort from the main mash, boil it, and add it back to the main mash to raise the temp.   I like to think it gives the beer a nice roasted flavor.  Plus it makes me feel superior to C-4. 

It was one of the coolest weekends in Dallas for, what seemed like at least 5 years.  It only got up to 90° F.  I hadn’t brewed at this cool of a temperature in quite a while.  The mash tun lost a lot of heat, so my mash temperatures dropped a lot more than I expected.  I also heated the one of the decoctions a little too quickly and had a wicked boil over.  It was spectacular.  It wasn’t the first problem I had that day…

Note the scorch marks on my pot.  My camera wasn't readily available as the pot was boiling over. 

When I was ready to sparge, my sparge arm was broken.  A sparge arm is an upside down sprinkler that slowly and gently sprays the top of the mash with sparge water.  If the sparge is just allowed to dump on the mash bed, it could make a hole or compact the grain bed.  My sparge arm has a little rubber nipple, that covers an opening that is easily removed for cleaning.  That nipple was lost, which made my sparge arm into an open stainless tube.  I decided to do what is most important to furthering brewing science: improvisation.  That and daring.  I put a lid of a small plastic bucket on the top of the grain bed and had a tube drain directly onto it.  That way it wouldn’t puncture or compact the grain bed.

Also, when I started to pump the sparge water, I realized the pump was broken.  It doesn’t have an off switch.  When it’s plugged in, it goes.  Thus, there’s a lot of pulling out the pump chord from the wall.  This apparently had damaged the plug.  If I wiggled it just right, I could get it to work.  I again, decided to improvise.  This time was a bit more dangerous.  Especially because the main ingredient of beer is lots of water.  Also, I had been drinking since noon.  I clipped the plug of an extension cord, stripped the wires and electrical taped them together.  I then put a wrench to weigh it down so it wouldn’t fall over and put stress on the tape.  It was awesome.  *Spoiler* I didn’t die. /Spoiler

The rest of the brew day was normal:  Awesome.  It was full of surprises, but still it was laid back.  I attribute that to drinking heavily.  Since then I got married, travelled around Europe, and realized I’m broke.  That last part is ok, because I make my own beer.

Daring Munich Drunkel:

Batch Size:  10 gal
Type:  All Grain Decoction Mash
Boil:  90min
OG:  1.077
FG:  1.028

Grain Bill:
Lt. Munich:  26lbs
Carafa II:  1lb

Hallertauer 3.8% AA:   60min
Hallertauer 3.8% AA:  15min

Wyeast Munich Lager

2tbsp yeast nutrient
2tbsp 5.2 pH stabilizer


2 comments on this page. Add your own comment below.

Oct 16, 2011 9:07pm [ 1 ]

"Plus it makes me feel superior to C-4. "

You're a dumple.

Oct 17, 2011 7:30am [ 2 ]

Nice improv sparge arm. Last time that happened to me I batch sparged after my arm got tired of waving a nylon tube around for 15 minutes.

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