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When Summer Solstice rolls around, we at Proximity are thinking Oktober.
No… not the tenth month, badly spelled by a Happy Hour blogger…but Oktober, as in Oktoberfest bier, the seasonal lager marking the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. In the old country, it was the beer to be enjoyed with a slab of bread after a long day of harvesting the ripened grains.
According to the Oxford Companion of beer, Munich Malt was first developed as a color and aroma malt by the Spaten Brewery of Munich, Germany in the late 1830s. It was dried using a then-revolutionary, indirectly fired kiln, a change from the direct-fired kilns of the day, and a precursor to modern malting technology. The first beer style made with the new Munich malt dates back to1841, and is now known as Märzen, which is also the forerunner of the Oktoberfestbier.
Gabriel Sedlemayer, Sr., Spaten Brewery, Munich – circa 1839
Munich malt isn’t only ideal for Marzen and Oktoberfest – it’s also right at home with darker lagers, like Dunkel, Schwarzbier, Bock, Dopplebock, Brown ales, Vienna Lagers, Porters, and even Stouts -any beer that’s looking to anchor in genuinely malty characteristics. In fact, Munich is also now commonly used to provide a nice malt backbone and balance for highly hopped Pale Ale and IPA styles now so popular in the U.S. and worldwide.
Munich malts can range in color from 5-30 Lovibond color. The intensity of the additional malty sweetness increases as the maltster escalates the color, eventually providing flavor and amber or red hues to the wort and the finished beer. All Munich malts have lower enzyme content (DP and Alpha) than base malt, due to the more aggressive kiln times and temperatures the maltster applies to produce the additional color and ‘malty’sweetness. Moreover, true Munich malts are lower in available FAN, as the free amino groups are consumed, and converted to Maillard end products (Maillard reaction, a non-enzymatic browning procedure that usually imparts flavour to starch-based food products).
Now that summer’s in full swing – we know our brewer friends are thinking…and planning…for fall, which means Oktoberfest. When we at Proximity think Oktoberfest, we think Munich malt – the toasty, sweet, downright maltiest of all malts that creates the quenching lager’s signature flavor.