Czech Dark Lager

Tmavý Ležák 13°

It’s that time of year to get the annual dark lager brewed for wintertime drinking. Last year was a Schwarzbier and since I’ve brewed 3 versions of that beer (2 ales, 1 lager) I wanted to try a little bit different sub-style of dark european lagers. This years batch will be a little more malty with a bit more hops than last years batch with some more sweetness from higher roasted crystal malts used.  Yama and I enjoyed a few Croatian Dark Lagers last summer on our trip to visit Plitvička Jezera and this beer should be somewhat similar with a cleaner fermentation (there was a bit of sulfer) with a larger hop and malt character and less alcohol.


OG: 1.053
FG: 1.015
ABV: 4.9%
Mash: 131 (15 min.), 146 (30 min.), 156 (25 min.), 163 (15 min.)
Boil: 75 min.

Water Profile:

Ca: 70
Mg: 1
Na: 15
So4: 52
Cl: 60
BiCarbonate: 85
Mash pH: 5.4

61.2% Munich I (Weyermann)
20.4% Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner Malt (Weyermann)
6.1% CaraBohemian (Weyermann)
4.1% Carafa Special II (Weyermann)
2.0% Blackprinz Malt (Breiss)

0.50 Sterling (8.1%) 60 min.
0.75 oz Sterling (8.1%) 15 min.
2.00 oz Sterling (8.1%) 0 min.

Imperial L17 – Harvest

Made a 1.75 liter starter 5 days before brew day.  Woke up on Saturday with yeast and blow off everywhere, about as bad as when I tried making a big starter with the Westmalle belgian strain.  I figured I lost quite a bit of yeast so I made another 1 liter starter and used my 5 liter flask.

Pitched the decanted yeast slurry into 50 degree wort and set the temperature controller to 52 for the first part of fermentation.  I’m planning to do the main fermentation at 52 and then ramp up for the diacetyl rest.

Kegged on 11/9 and finished right where I wanted at 1.015. Gravity sample tasted malty with a little bit of roast and quite tasty. This one’s going to lager a few weeks until a tap opens up.

Tasting notes – 1.13.16

Aroma: Rich, intense malt aroma. Just a hint of the dark roasted malts in there

Appearance: Jet black with ruby highlights when held to direct light.  Amazing tan head that lingers for a few minutes before fading away.

Taste: Doughy, rich maltiness up front and gives way to a cola sweetness with just a touch of bitterness to round out the taste.  The bitterness seems to be a combination of hops and roasted malts.  There is a tiny bit of roasted malt character that comes in at the end, but is extremely subtle.

Mouthfeel: Medium with medium carbonation.

Overall: I’m quite pleased with this beer.  Very clean fermentation profile and the malt has a chance to shine.  The cola sweetness mixed with a tiny bit of roast character is a combination I haven’t really had in a beer but I like the flavor profile. This one came out pretty much how I was hoping and really there isn’t too much I’d change.  A really nice, malty dark lager for the colder months.  I do think I slightly prefer a schwarzbier as my go to European Dark Lager, but this Czech version is pretty tasty as well.  Cheers!

Update – 2.4.16 – The keg just blew and I have t say this beer really grew on me the longer it was on tap.  It was malty, a tiny bit roasty and super smooth. It was one of those beers that just kept on getting better.  Might have to bring this one back sooner than later.

2 thoughts on “Czech Dark Lager

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