In England and other parts of the world more often than not you can tell the difference between ales and lagers by looking at them. In most cases ales are darkly colored beers and lagers are lightly colored. In a predominantly lager drinking country like Germany this isn’t the case. If someone puts a dark colored beer in front of you it’s more than likely you’re still looking at a lager. The German Dunkel is a prime example of this rule.
Dunkel is a lager named after the German word for dark. Dunkels are of typical strength for a lager, coming in around 5% abv. Dunkels sport a deep, reddish brown color and a sturdy tan colored head. Dunkels are also flavorful thanks to the dark grains used to make them. You’ll often see flavors of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, and coffee. Personally, I find a well crafted dunkel to be a rewarding lager and worth seeking out.
Not only has Warsteiner been brewing outside the German town of Warstein since 1753 but has been in the Cramer family since then as well. Warsteiner boasts a long brewing history, even managing to stay unscathed during bombing in WWII. Today, Warsteiner produces four beers including their dunkel, a hefeweizens, and a non alcoholic beer. Here in Canada Warsteiner offers their dunkel in tall cans instead of the green bottles as so many European brewers do.
After letting my Warsteiner warm up a little, I grabbed my favorite beer glass and poured myself a beer. Warsteiner fills my glass with a dark, brown lager with hints of copper. Modest carbonation supports a dense, off white head with good retention.
Aroma starts out with offerings of malt, raisins and rye bread. From there aroma moves into earthy aromas of hops. Aroma is pleasingly balanced and enticing. Warsteiner is a medium bodied lager with a smooth mouthfeel. Flavor follows the aroma giving me flavors of earth, leather, and raisins. Faint sweetness in the center moves into a dry finish that coats the back of the tongue. Finish is lasting without lingering past its welcome.
I’m giving Warsteiner Dunkel an 8.9 out of 10. Warsteiner is smooth, flavorful, and drinkable. Normally, you’ll find a beer like this supporting a greater alcoholic presence. Without the alcohol I was worried this lager would lack character. Not the case. Warsteiner dunkel stands up nicely on its own as a flavorful, character, session lager. Warsteiner seems to be made for roasted meats of all kinds. Sausages cooked on the barbecue or hearty beef stews would also be good meals to serve with Warsteiner.