Czech Black Lager by Pivovar Herold
What the bottle says:
Herold Czech black lager was created in Breznice, Bohemia where beers are lagered for 70 days in the cellars of the 500 year old castle brewery. The beer is dark with a dense creamy head and an oily richness. Its flavours are reminiscent of bittersweet chocolate with a cedary, smoky, dry finish. Herold Czech Black Lager is excellent with marinated meats and a perfect ingredient in beef stew. 5.2%.
What I say:
Now I’ve read enough beer reviews to know that there is a set standard of how you are supposed to describe beers, I’ve never had a go at that before, but then I’ve only been blogging for a week, so let’s follow the standard for now and see how many weeks it lasts. To be honest it feels a bit pretentious but I’ll try my best to take the process seriously
Appearance: Black as the name suggests, it’s called a black lager, no surprises there. It looks like a porter with a more substantial, creamy brown head.
Smell: It smells like a dark beer, like a porter and mostly what you would expect by looking at it, others say it smells malty and of dried fruit but I guess my nose isn’t that advanced yet.
Taste: This doesn’t taste like a lager, it tastes like a porter (bit of a theme here I know) or a light stout but somehow richer, that said there is an undertone that hints at lager in its DNA which gives a surprising level of complexity to the palate.
Mouthfeel: It has more viscosity than a lager and even has more mouthfeel than a porter, not as heavy as a stout or a creamflow like Caffreys or Calders. Nice.
Drinkability: Um, well, I bought 4 and drank them all in one sitting, that speaks a lot, I’ve tried lots of European beers of differing strength and usually can only handle a couple before wimping out and going back to a British brew but I could genuinely, happily drink this as a regular brew.
I like this beer, I was confused by the use of the word Lager as even the brewery’s website calls it a stout, so I did my research and apparently lager comes from the German word “lagern” which means to store. A lager beer is in cold storage while it ages in the conditioning phase. Ale Beers are generally stored at a higher temperature and go to the bottle or keg conditioning stage much quicker, the lower fermentation temperature of lagers decreases the rate at which the yeast work and lengthens both the primary and secondary fermentation times. The primary phase for ales is often 2 – 5 days, but 1 – 3 weeks is normal for a lager. This one states its lagered for 70 days.
In a blind taste test I wouldn’t have said this was a lager, or a European beer for that matter. I can see how it would be good to cook with, in moderation as it is a fairly strong tasting beer.
I bought the Czech Black Lager for £1.49p per bottle in LIDL who are beginning to sell some more interesting ale and are well worth a visit as they stock two of my mainstay beers, Hobgoblin Ruby and Bishops Finger Kentish ale at a ridiculous price of £1.17p per bottle.
for more details of Pivovar Herold visit their website at www.pivovar-herold.cz it’s quite quaint and like going back to websites in the late 90’s, google translate will be your guide.
Next week’s beer will be Hobgoblin Gold from the Wychwood brewery, spoilers: It’s lush!