Dinkel (Triticum spelta, right) is a spelt variety, an heirloom
wheat; and ale made from malted dinkel is an heirloom brew. Dinkel, like
all other members of the spelt family, is
a hard-kernel wheat. It was first developed from a cross between Emmer
(Triticum dicoccum; see Emmerbier)
and wild grasses in Mesopotamia some 10 thousand years ago. Emmer, in
turn, was a cross between an even older wheat variety called Einkorn (Triticum
monococcum) and wild grasses. In Europe,
Dinkel is known to have been cultivated at least since the late Bronze
Age, mostly in the region of the Allemans, a Germanic tribe that lived
in what is now the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg and the German-speaking
part of Switzerland.
a few Bavarian breweries still make this old-fashioned beer today.
of its high protein content (up to 17% compared to modern wheat at about
12.5 to 14.5% and modern brewing barley at around 10.5%), dinkel is ideally
suited for bread-making but less so for brewing. In additon, the grain
needs to be dehusked if it is used in the brew house; otherwise the beer
would taste too rough and astringent. The dinkel portion in a dinkel beer,
therefore, seldom exceeds 50%. After fermentation, Dinkelbier needs to
mellow out during a maturation period of several months around the freezing
point. Because beer foam is mostly protein, Dinkelbier throws a very thick
head when it is poured into a glass. Its alcohol content by volume tends
be about 4.5%.
Related beer styles: