My favorite beer on the planet is the Hofbrauhaus dunkelweizen. I was lucky enough to enjoy several liters straight from the source in Munich back in 2015, complete with fresh sausages and live music. It takes the already sweet, spicy, banana-y hefeweizen and with a little roasted malt adds a beautiful, dark color and a touch more flavor complexity. All while still being incredibly drinkable, though maybe not always by the liter-ful.

One of many liters of dunkelweizen enjoyed at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany.

So, staring down a long, isolated winter, it was a no brainer to brew one of my favorite styles to get me through. To make sure it came out excellent, I once again turned to Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer. And, as with all recipes based on this book, it did indeed come out great!


Styles Dunkles Weissbier (BJCP 10B)
Recipe Type Extract
Batch Size 3 Gallons
Original Gravity 1.054
Final Gravity 1.014
ABV 5.25%
IBUs 16.1
Color 18.7 SRM


Nothing fancy here, just grains, hops, and yeast!

Kind Amount Color
Wheat DME 3 lb 8°L
Munich Malt 1.25 lb 10°L
Crystal 40 0.25 lb 40°L
Special B 0.25 lb 180°L
Carafa II 1.6 oz 412°L
Kind Amount % AA Time
Hallertau 0.6 oz 4.5% 60 min
Kind Amount
White Labs WLP300 (Hefeweizen Ale) 1 package

The wheat extract and Munich malt gives the beer its signature sweetness, and the German yeast strain provides the classic “banana and clove” flavor. The Special B and Carafa II add some roastiness and darken the beer without being overpowering. And if you can’t find Hallertau hops, substitute for any other noble hop (I used Tettnang this time around).

The Special B and Carafa II add the dark color and a touch of roastiness without taking over the flavor profile.


This one is about as simple as it gets! Bring 2.5 gallons of water to 155°F and steep the grains for 60 minutes. Remove the grains, stir in the wheat extract, and bring the wort to a boil. Add the Hallertau hops and boil for 60 minutes. Chill the wort down to ~72°F, transfer to your fermenter, and top off with cool water to 3 gallons. Don’t forget to take your starting gravity reading, then pitch your yeast and seal the fermentor.

Pro tip: don't add the extract while the burner is on to avoid burning the sugar!

In order to get the most yeast flavor, it’s recommended to ferment at ~67°F. Optionally you can transfer to secondary after a week, and after two weeks of fermentation it should be ready to bottle.


I messed up slightly by fermenting the beer in my basement, which often hovered around 63°F. As a result it didn’t fully attenuate, even after an extra week of fermentation upstairs. But I bottled it anyway and after a few weeks it really came together. My patience paid off, it was definitely worth the wait!

Dark but not roasty, sweet but not syrupy, a balanced and delicious beer!

This beer seems a bit darker than a typical dunkelweizen, likely thanks to the Carafa II. But it isn’t roasty like a stout or syrupy like a brown ale. It’s sweet, smooth, and absolutely delightful. And my fermentation “mistake” left it at session strength, a bit shy of 5% ABV, making it even more drinkable. My house isn’t the same as a crowded German beer hall, but with a glass of this dunkel it’s close enough!

Appearance Dark, almost stout-like in a full glass, thin off-white head.
Aroma A bit sulfury, but mostly sweet and spicy, a hint of coffee.
Mouthfeel Fizzy but smooth, not cloyingly sweet.
Flavor Sweet, caramel, malty, classic banana and clove, roasted coffee on the finish.
Overall A solid wheat beer, hits all the notes, reminds me of Munich.