Today I bottled 1st Date Dunkel 2.0 I hate bottling day but oh well, if you wish to enjoy the fruit of your labors you have to put forward a little work.

I thought I’d take the opportunity to provide a few updates on some of my brews.

First of all, the Buckwheat Brown Ale has come along nicely.


Obviously, it really isn’t brown at all. Oh well, it tastes great!

Next, my Red Bamboo Mead is bubbling along like crazy. A couple of days ago I looked at it and I thought, hey, I should put a blow off valve on it and didn’t.  Now some of the fermentation bubbles (what are the official names for this?) are up in the airlock. I’ll clean it out later this week when I make a new mead I have planned.


The mead is pictured with a glass of my Transfiguration IPA. Interestingly, it is nearly the same color!

Finally, regarding the Dunkel. The sample from bottling tasted excellent. The chocolate came through on the finish with an after taste that I think comes from the wood. In a few weeks I’ll be baptizing my youngest and family will be in town. I’ll crack open the Dunkel then and my brother-in-law and I can see how it tastes then!

Here is a picture of my sample:




1st Date Dunkel 2.0

When my wife and I went on our first date we went to Schmidt’s in German Village, Columbus Ohio. This was when I could still eat gluten. I had stuffed cabbage and drank Schmidt’s Dark which was, after my wife, the best thing about that date. It was unbelievably good and stuck with me for some time. I did some investigation when I started to homebrew and learned the beer is a Dunkel.

So a copycat recipe of this was high on my list when I first started brewing. Amazingly, it was a huge success! Here is a link to the thread with the original recipe. Now, when I say huge success I don’t just mean I enjoyed it; I mean EVERYONE who tried it LOVED it. And since I’m basically the only gluten free beer drinker I know, that means people who have access to regular “gluten oppressed” beer loved this beer. I had multiple people ask me for several bottles to take home.

Obviously, I want to make some more. Though it was popular with everyone I found it still lacking and because I’m always tinkering (and cheap) I made a few changes.

1st Date Dunkel 2.0


  • 3lbs 15oz Brown Rice Syrup
  • 8oz Buckwheat honey
  • 8oz Brown Sugar
  • 2lbs D-180 candi syrup

Hop Schedule

  • 1.25 oz Tettnang  @60 minutes
  • .75oz Tettnang @15 minutes
  • 1oz Hallertau @1 minute


  • 8oz maltodextrine
  • 3oz ground coffee
  • 8oz cocoa
  • 2oz dark roasted oak chips (1 week in secondary)

The original recipe used amaranth and millet. Those little buggers are a PITA to deal with so this time I used 2lbs of “chocolate” roasted Buckwheat. The original recipe also used equal parts tapioca syrup and brown rice syrup for the main “malt.” I think that worked great; but tapioca syrup costs a WHOLE lot of money. At that time, I had some extra money from my birthday or something.  I also originally used .5oz of Tettnang at the 15 minute mark and ended up having .25oz of Tettnang that I just threw away. I don’t like doing that because it is wasteful.  In the original recipe I added some chocolate extract I made at bottling time. The chocolate flavor was nonexistent and I really feel this beer needs a hint of chocolate flavor.  I also ended up adding 1/4oz cold coffee to each poured bottle but that made it feel like some perverted Lambic so this time I added the cocoa and coffee to the last 10 minutes of the boil.

I also really want a “roast” flavor so I’m going to rack this onto some dark roasted oak chips. I’ve been wanting to start using wood chips in my ciders so this gave me an excuse to buy some.

Lastly, I’m using S-04 yeast and not a lager yeast which is what a Dunkel technically should use. I had planned on using S-23, which is a lager yeast, but I forgot to order it so now you know.

Update: When I tasted the sample of this, before pitching the yeast, I found it to be very disappointing. Very mild in flavor and little to no aroma. Which is surprising given everything I put into this. I had .5 oz of Hallertau (pretty old) so I threw it in as a dry hop. When I rack it in a week onto the oak chips I’ll leave those hops behind. Hallertau is mild but hopefully it will add something to the beer.

Genesis 43.34:  He gave them portions of the food set before him, but the portion for Benjamin was five times greater than the portions for any of the others. They drank with Joseph until they all became drunk. (NET)

Red Bamboo Mead

For Christmas my wife gave me 2lbs of Red Bamboo honey. This is a honey made from Japanese knotweed but calling it knotweed honey isn’t very appealing, I guess, so it is called red bamboo honey. It is very dark red in color, so the name works. I have never worked with it before but it is supposed to have a pretty unique flavor. However, I need 3lbs for a 1 gallon batch of mead (which is the size I always make) so after asking around I was told to just use clover or wildflower honey. Either one should work well with the red bamboo and not overpower its flavor.

Red Bamboo Mead

  • 2lbs of red bamboo honey
  • 1lb of wildflower honey
  • Approximately 1 gallon of water.
  • 1/2 a packet of Lalvin K1-V1116 yeast

Pour the honey into a sanitized gallon jug and then top it off with hot water to help mix the honey up. Finally, add the yeast and let it go for at least a month, maybe longer.


On Christmas morning one of the presents I opened up happened to be a hydrometer. I looked blankly at my wife. She said, “Well I figured with your blog you needed one.” Incredulously I said, “You read my blog?” thinking of this post about my lack of a hydrometer. She said, “No. But I figured you could use one with the blog.”

So anyway, I know have one. I guess I’ll have to figure out how to use them again since it has been awhile.