Dunkel (or Dunkles) is a dark German beer. Dunkel is the German word meaning dark, and dunkel beers typically range in colour from amber to dark reddish brown. They are characterized by their smooth malty flavour.
Schwarzbier, a much darker, almost black beer is mainly brewed in Saxony and Thuringiawith a chocolate or near liquorice flavour, similar to stout.
Dunkel, along with helles, is a traditional style brewed in Munich and popular throughoutBavaria. With alcohol concentrations of 4.5% to 6% by volume, dunkels are weaker thanDoppelbocks, another traditional dark Bavarian beer. Dunkels are produced using Munich malts which give the Dunkel its colour. Other malts or flavours may also be added.
Dunkels were the original style of the Bavarian villages and countryside. Lighter-coloured lagers were not common until the later part of the 19th century when technological advances made them easier to produce.
Dunkels have a distinctive malty flavour that comes from a special brewing technique called triple decoction.
In some parts of Germany, such as North Rhine-Westphalia, Dunkelbier (also Kinderbier) refers to a sweet malt beer containing no alcohol (0%).
Most commonly, dunkel beers are dark lagers, but the term is also used to refer to dark wheat beers such as Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Dunkel. Dunkel weizen is another term used to refer to dark wheat beers, which are fruity and sweet with more dark, roasted malts than their lighter counterpart, the hefeweizen.
Also, Dunkel has been used as a surname for members of the German Diaspora.