YESTERDAY’S Erdinger Weißbier from the German brewery Erdinger Weissbräu was excellent. So I’m even more looking forward to it’s darker, even more premium looking cousin; Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel.
First impressions are that it looks so much better than. With the labels matching the colour of the bottle this time, it looks classy. And a little foreboding.
Again, I’m almost totally lost with the language. So, if you can translate anything, do please leave a message in the comments at the end of this post. For the time being, you’ll have to put up with my clumsy attempts and translating the words that happen to look a little like their English counterparts.
The neck label, this time, says “Dunkel”. I’m going to guess that “Dunkel” translates to “Dark”. Is that right?
The little label on the shoulder is identical to that on regular Weißbier. Saying something about fine ingredients. I think.
And just like the labels above it, the big front label sticks to the Weißbier formula. Apart from being coloured almost entirely black. Obviously.
Nevertheless, it looks good. In fact, it’s even easier to see the Erdinger Weissbräu logo thanks to this colour scheme. And you can’t escape how much they’ve put wheat and hops in the centre stage. They are everywhere. Not just propping up the roundel either side of it. But prominently, right in the centre of it too. No other beer or rural brewery imagery here. Just wheat and hops. From “Bayern”.
They do leave off some of the details that were on the front label of regular Weißbier however. One of the dates is missing. As is the signature. And the all important bottle size and alcoholic volume. Looks like we’ll be turning to the back label for those titbits.
The back label helpfully answers some of the mysteries surrounding this dark coloured “Dunkel” wheat beer. That said, it’s still a hard to read block of multi-lingual text. But that’s what you get from enjoying imported beers.
And what do you know, my attempted translation seems to be right! The open the back label by describing it as “Wheat Beer ‘Dark'”. Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel is a dark wheat beer. Whatever that turns out to be. This will be the first that I’ve tried.
Looking through the block of text, I look for more answers. First to turn up is the alcoholic volume. This weighs in at 5.6% volume, very slightly more than its cousin. Like its cousin, the bottle is the ever-popular half-a-litre. And it was made by “Erdinger Weissbräu Werner Brombach GmbH” in Erding, Germany.
Where it does differ is in the ingredients. The water, the wheat malt, the barley malt, the hops and the yeast are the same. But it must be the addition of roasted malt that makes this “Dunkel”. And if memory serves, which it usually doesn’t, that’s an ingredient you normally see in stouts and dark ales. Which would explain a lot.
Lastly, the web address they give is the same as before. www.erdinger.de will take you to their German website. But if you’re reading this in English, you’ll probably prefer their English language version at www.erdinger.com.
That’s it. All that remains is to open this bottle; to very very very carefully pour the contents into an enormous glass and try to answer some questions. Namely, is this tastier than regular Erdinger Weißbier? And will be indifference to stouty drinks ruin it? You know the drill by now.
The head was much more controllable. Amazingly, it all went in, in one go. No pausing between pours this time. The head falls away quite quickly too. At this stage, it’s now a layer of from about half-an-inch thick, with a surprising amount of glass empty at the top. The colour of the drink itself is no real surprise. That is to say, it’s completely black.
The smell is no big surprise either. It smells mainly of roasted malt with a hint of the wheat and barley. If you’ve had a dark ale or stout before, it will immediately remind you of that. That’s what it doing to me right now. I think it smells delicious. But it could put off the lager drinkers out there.
A couple of gulps in, and first impressions are that this is seriously rich and strong. That could be because I’ve hardly had any stouts or dark ales to compare it with. Or it could really be because it’s rich and strong. The best thing to do is leave your own thoughts on the matter if you’ve tried this drink, in the comments at the end of the post.
So we’ve established that I think it tastes rich and strong. But what does it actually taste of? To my untrained palate, I would say that the first taste is malty. Not all that pronounced though. And I must be getting used to it already because it no longer feels as strong. It could also be the wheatiness evening out the taste. The taste of wheat is harder to find this time, but I’d say it’s there. Hiding behind, and evening out that initial maltiness. After that, you get a nice, mildly tingly hoppy bitter aftertaste.
About half-way through now, and I seem to have gotten used to the richness amazingly fast. Maybe that’s the benefit of having done so many of these posts. Or maybe Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel has a taste that is simply easy to get used to after the initial shock. Either way, half-way through, I’m finding it balanced, smooth and easy to drink.
What am I enjoying about Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel? In short, lots. The tastes and flavours have grown on me. It tastes malty and wheaty and a little bit hoppy. And, once you get used to it, they’re not overwhelming or too strong. I could be wrong, but it feels like each ingredient is balancing out the flavour. So I’m going to say that it tastes well balanced without one flavour dominating. Because that’s not something I’ve seen before, I’ll also give it brownie points for having character and distinctiveness. Ultimately, it’s rich, smooth and quite drinkable.
What don’t I like about it? It’s just possible that all the things I just wrote about it, are because I’ve become used to strong flavours. In which case, it won’t be all that accessible and easy to drink for lager fans. Or girls. Indeed, even if my mind isn’t playing tricks on me, there’s little chance that the strong-ish tastes will be everyone’s cup of tea. It made me burp a little, so it is mildly gassy. And at £1.75 pence from just one shop on Bethnal Green Road, it’s expensive and hard to find. Stout and dark ale fans might be better off then, choosing a home grown ale or stout. I hear that there’s a popular Irish brand out there for example.
Where does all this leave Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel overall? Well I enjoyed it. But that could be because I’ve become used to strong flavours. It had a taste and flavours that were strong, but easy to get used to and ultimately very, very drinkable.
In the bigger picture, I would have to say go for regular Erdinger Weißbier. It’s even easier to drink and a little more interesting, even if it does lack the dimension of taste that Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel has. Unless of course, you love stout. In which case you’ll thoroughly enjoy sampling this. But probably go back to Guinness or Dragon Stout or your favourite dark ale when you realise how expensive this it.
Have you tried Erdinger Weißbier Dunkel? Can you translate anything written on the bottle? What reputation does it have in Germany?
Leave your translations, corrections, opinions, thoughts and recommendations in the small boxes below please.