What’s a Dunkelweizen?
The hefeweizen's older, darker brother.
Written by Evan Malachosky
Image by Kinsley Stocum
Here’s a quick German lesson: Dunkel means “dark.” Weizen means “wheat.” So, it makes sense that dunkelweizen, a traditionally southern German beer, is rather dark and wheat-y.
However, you shouldn’t let the appearance scare you. Typically, dunkelweizens contain hints of vanilla, banana, apple, clove, and nutmeg. The grain that goes into dunkelweizens is roasted and caramelized, which gives the beer its dark appearance and smooth flavor.
Spiegelau Wheat Glasses
Dunkelweizens should be poured into a tall, rounded glass with plenty of room for the head.
Although we commonly think of hefeweizens when we think of German beer, historically the dunkelweizen was more popular. The hefeweizen only became more common at the end of the nineteenth century when technological advancements made the lighter beer easier to brew.
If you’re somewhere where the beer is served, save yourself the embarrassment of mispronunciation and simply ask for a “dunkel.” But take note: if you say this in Germany, the bartender will serve you the dark beer that is currently on tap or whichever dark beer sells best.