Dunkel and Stout are some of the oldest beers in the world, created by selecting and brewing only the finest ingredients. Millions from different parts of the world are often torn when trying to pick between these two. But which is better, and which should you go with? Here is a short answer to both questions:
Dunkel is a dark lager with a heavy maltiness and an undetectable hop presence. In contrast, Stout is a top-fermented ale with a rich, history-backed taste and a moderate hop presence. Dunkel beers have medium carbonation, while Stout beers have high carbonation levels.
In this article, we’ll talk about other factors you can use to identify different, unique characteristics of this beer. Some of these factors include both beer’s flavor, mouthfeel, and alcohol volume. Knowing these will allow you to make a more informed decision when picking between these century-old beers.
Origin Of Both Beers
Of all the beers available in the market, the history of dunkels and stouts remains among the oldest and richest. Dunkel is a type of dark lager that originates from Bavaria, a state southeast of Germany.
Like many other dark lagers also created in the 15th century, it is characterized by a dark, almost roasted color. Benedictine monks are the first people recorded to have brewed this dark lager.
Due to its high popularity and fantastic feel, it became one of the drunkest beers in Munich. Over time, word of its excellent mouthfeel and quality got out to other countries, and multiple breweries started producing this beer commercially.
Due to its abrupt commercialization, two laws—the Bavarian Beer Purity Law in 1515 and one other in 1553, aimed at maintaining quality control—were put in place which fast-tracked its journey to global success.
The convenience in brewing periods, abundant hop supplies, and a sharp increase in lager demand led to Dunkel’s recognition as one of the world’s first-ever beer styles. Gabriel Sedlmayr II, who owns Spaten Brewing, used new kilning technology in the 1800s to mass-produce this beer style, which remains in high demand today.
On the other hand, Stout has an equally rich history that dates back to the 1700s. You can’t mention the history of Stout without including porters. In fact, the histories of stouts and porters are so intertwined that they are often mistaken for the same thing.
One of the famous behind this beer is its ability to make its drinkers “stout.” Although this can easily be believed, it’s not the case. No special ingredient in a bottle of Stout makes beer drinkers overweight and fat. As with other beers, overconsumption is the culprit behind the heavy builds of overindulgent people.
In the 1600s, stouts were popularly called porters. Interestingly, the heaviest, darkest-brewed porters were often called “stout porters.” Its ridiculously low prices and distinct character made it a fan favorite among dark beer drinkers worldwide.
Stout has its origins deeply rooted in London. Another reason it became so popular was its high preservation periods and its resistance to environmental effects such as heat.
Arthur Guinness, who owns Sir James’s Gate Brewery, monopolized the production of Stout by mass production and distribution to hundreds of millions worldwide.
Its monopoly on the stout market remains to this day. And this is evident when you consider the fact that virtually the whole world subconsciously links stout to Guinness. But don’t let this fool you; there are other types of Stout. These include Oatmeal Stout, milk stout, dry Stout, chocolate stout, and oyster stout.
Flavor is another criterion when determining which beer has the upper hand. If a particular beer tastes terrible and is undrinkable, then it doesn’t have a good lifetime value.
Due to the high amount of malt in this dark lager, Dunkel has a rich, malty taste with a lack of hop presence. When you drink it, you will also notice a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingers on your tongue for only a few seconds.
If you look at the ingredients closely, you’d realize that both include the use of barley malt. This is because barley malt is an extremely helpful tool that helps to reduce the amount of sugar and fat in each 12 oz of beer. Because of this, barley malt is popularly called “the brewer’s ingredient.”
These beers have completely different mouthfeels. Dunkels have bitterness levels that range from 16-25, depending on the manufacturer. From looking at other beer IBU levels, this is on the high side. Simply put, IBU level is the amount of bitterness a beer has.
Conversely, stout has IBU levels of 20-35.
Also, both beers have a decent amount of carbonation. As you may expect, both Dunkel and Stout have a high level of character.
Dunkel comes with a decently fierce roasted malt smell with a hint of dark chocolate. Some people have also said that Dunkel has a background vanilla smell.
Similarly, many stouts have a roasted malt smell. However, unlike Dunkel, it also has slight hints of coffee, honey, and chocolate. Beer drinkers also say that this beer smells like tobacco.
Brewing Process And Ingredients
Dunkel is a type of lager. They undergo a bottom-fermenting yeast process. Compared to stouts, Dunkels are brewed way longer and at lower temperatures—between 32°F and 36°F. Asides from malts, Dunkels are made with a small number of ingredients; yeast, water, and a small number of hops.
Comparatively, Stout is brewed using a top-fermenting process at relatively higher temperatures (between 64-67°F). Stout’s ingredients popularly include barley malt, water, hops, and yeast. At the end of this top-fermenting brewing process, you would get Stout which is currently loved by millions worldwide.
ABV volume is a metric used to measure the amount of alcohol in a particular volume of beer. Most alcoholic beverages have ABV volume percentages that range from a low value of 1.2% to a high value of 40%.
Beers typically have ABV volumes of 3% to 13%. That said, stout’s ABV volume is between 5-8%, depending on its manufacturer and brewing conditions. Back in the day, Stout was specially brewed to include a lot of alcohol to get people drunk faster. At these ABV percentages, all you need to do is drink between 3-5 cans of beer.
On the other hand, dunkel commonly have alcoholic percentages of 4%-6%, depending on brewing conditions. Looking at this percentage range, it can be deciphered that you would need about 6-10 cans of Dunkel beer to get drunk.
So, beer drinkers and enthusiasts who love to get drunk fast tend to go for Stout. On the flip side, people who like beers lighter on the tongue and in alcoholic percentage tend to go for Dunkel.
As you may expect, this makes the Dunkel more acceptable for social gatherings and other events. Lots of people stock up on this beer for special holidays like Christmas, Easter, and so on.
The appearance of both beers has slightly changed throughout history. Dunkel’s appearance ranges from a deep copper to brownish-red color, and this color depends on what brewery’s making the beer.
Due to its moderate level of carbonation and low hop presence, you may only notice a small bubble profile. Interestingly, this character is one of the reasons why so many people love this beer.
On the other hand, the top-fermenting process of Stout makes it assume an intense color. Stout’s deep color is one of its most striking features, which is, not surprisingly, one of the reasons behind its massive amount of fame. In fact, some people on beer review sites even state that Stout often appears “roasted” and “malty.”
Stout is commonly known to have high and sometimes harsh amounts of carbonation. As such, this highly fizzed alcoholic beverage is tailored towards people who like beers with character.
Popular Examples Of Each Beer Style
As mentioned earlier, these beer styles have century-old histories. Stout started being produced by several breweries in London and was popularized by Guinness. In fact, many people’s minds subconsciously go to Guinness whenever they hear the word “stout.”
And as you can already see, Guinness has become a household name in many parts of the world, as they produce about 850 million liters a year, and sell almost as much!
Asides from Guinness, other examples of this beer style include Irish stout, English stout, American stout, Oatmeal stout, Milk stout, and Oyster stout.
Asides from Guinness, other popular examples of Irish stout include Black Rock Irish Stout, O’hara’s Irish Stout, and Porterhouse Oyster Stout.
Heart of darkness, Organic Chocolate Stout, and Dragonhead stout are all examples of English stout.
Majorly brewed in America, examples of American stout are Deschutes Obsidian stout, Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin, and Avery Out Of Bounds Stout.
Russian Imperial Stout
Brewed in Russia, Old Rasputin, Parabola, and Dark Lord are all examples of Russian Imperial Stout.
Remember that at some point, Dunkel referred to a group of dark lagers. Two main types of Dunkel beer include:
Munich Dunkel was initially produced in Bavarian villages. Some Munich dunkel beers include Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel, Hofbrau Dunkel, and Spaten Dunkel. You can get these Dunkels from stores around you. Alternatively, you could get these Dunkels from Amazon.
Franconian Dunkel is a type of Dunkel created solely by Franconia Brewing Company. These brewers are situated in Mckinney, Texas, using a unique brewing process to make all their beer.
They must be doing something right because this brewery company has recorded millions of can and bottle sales since its inception in 2008.
That said, picking between these two beers can be pretty tricky. Regarding origin, these beers match each other and give their loyal fanbase end-products backed with century-old market research.
If you want a lager with a little hop presence and lots of malty sweetness, it’s best to go for Dunkel beer. Conversely, if you wish for a rich-tasting ale with lots of roast flavors, you should go for Stout.