Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ayinger - Altbairisch Dunkel

Another sampling from the Ayinger brewery that I got to try recently and really enjoyed was their Altbairisch Dunkel. The words Altbairisch Dunkel can be translated to mean "Old Bavarian dark Beer" and the style is a Munich Dunkel which is one of the original styles of dark lager beer brewed in Munich, Bavaria. This is a malt focused beer with just enough hops to overcome the sweetness of the malt with very little or no hop aroma or flavor detectable. Lager brewing is believed to began in Bavaria and this style evolved from years of brewing in that region. The water in this area has moderate alkalinity and bicarbonate content, which means it's somewhat hard, especially compared with the water to the northeast of this area in Bohemia. Harder water is better suited to brewing dark beers because of how the darker malts effect the water chemistry in the mash, so it is no surprise that this beer evolved in this area. The Ayinger version of this classic style is considered one of the best examples of a Munich Dunkel which is another reason that I wanted to try it. The beer is deep reddish brown color and although dark it is very clear. I've read that in Germany some breweries have an unfiltered version and the combination of malt and suspended yeast tastes like liquid bread! This one has a great malty flavor, but is not too sweet. The beer is not as thick as you might imagine because of the color and is easy to drink, definitely not a Bock, but a nice beer that would go well with a meal and you could drink a few of at a time. The Ayinger brewery is really moving up on my list of favorites and the Munich Dunkel style is now on my "to brew" list for the upcoming year!

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