Dunkel is a dark German beer. Dunkel is the German word meaning dark, and dunkel beers typically range in color from amber to dark reddish brown. They are characterized by their smooth, malty flavor.
Dunkel, along with helles, is a traditional style brewed in Munich and popular throughout Bavaria. Ranging from 4.5% to 6% ABV, dunkels are weaker than doppelbocks, another traditional dark Bavarian beer. Dunkels are produced using Munich malts, which give the dunkel its color. Other malts or flavors may also be added.
Dunkels were the original style of the Bavarian villages and countryside. Lighter-colored lagers were not common until the later part of the 19th century when technological advances made them easier to produce.
Most commonly, dunkel beers are dark lagers, but the term is also used to refer to dark wheat beers such as Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Dunkel. Dunkelweizen is another term used to refer to dark wheat beers, which are fruity and sweet with more dark, roasted malts than their lighter counterpart, the hefeweizen.