DINKELBIER

Pronunciation guide
for English-speakers:

"Ding-kell-beer"

Definition:
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.

Only a few Bavarian breweries still make this old-fashioned beer today. Because 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 to be about 4.5%.

Related beer styles:
Weissbier, Emmerbier

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Illustrations courtesy of Neumarkter Lammsbräu, Gebr. Ehrnsperger e.K.