Bernard Cerne (Dark)
Bernard Family Brewery

Bernard Cerne (Dark)Bernard Cerne (Dark)
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Lager - European Dark
Ranked #29
Ranked #31,434
3.78 | pDev: 12.43%
Bernard Family Brewery
Czech Republic
Very Good
Bernard Cerne (Dark)Bernard Cerne (Dark)
Notes: This unpasteurised dark lager is all about speciality malts. The combination of caramel, Bavarian, Pilsner, and colour malts results in its roasted character, which is an amazing alternative to the sharp grassiness of good Bohemian pilsners. After the first sip, you will be pleased by coffee, caramel and nutty flavors balanced with the bitterness of noble Saaz hops. The unique experience of this traditional lager is underscored by the EU protected geographical indication “Czech Beer” and several Czech and international degustation awards. Dip your nose into its brown head and enjoy the taste of this deep dark lager.
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Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 166 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of REVZEB
REVZEB from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brownish black body with two fingers of tan foam. Roasted malt, slight nuttiness and earth aromas. Taste takes a turn toward licorice, dark bread, and a hint of leafy hops, with nuts and earth with the roast still grounding, but it clashes a bit and is thin in complexion. Feel is malty, light for style, thin, chewy and warm. Better examples of the style out there

Dec 02, 2020
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JamFuel from Sweden

4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Peas & Honey in Malmö.

Pours a dark reddish brow with thick, creamy head.

Smell is malty and slightly floral. Notes of brown bread, chocolate and leather.

Taste is soft and malty, with some floral hints. Notes of leather, chocolate malt, brown bread and a bit of honey. Soft bitterness, very balanced.

Mouthfeel is medium, creamy and well carbonated.

Overall, a very tasty dark lager, well balanced and drinkable.

Sep 07, 2020
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jonmikel from Spain

3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bought at a Supermarket in Olomouc. 0,5 l poured into a Pilsener glass.
-Thin foam head. Pitch black color. Opaque.
-Smell to fresh coffee. Dark beer smell like Guiness. Freshness. God smell.
-Not fully bodied but is a Good flavour.
-Doesn't leave a lot of after taste.

I don't like too much dark beer but this is fine.

Aug 22, 2020
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Nass from Florida

3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I like the classy looking bottle label artwork, great use of color. The pour is black with some red ruby tinges. The taste is raisin, prune, roasted malts, caramel & pumpernickel bread. Cheers! B

Dec 08, 2019
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.06/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330 mL bottle. Deep brown body. Smells of raisins, caramel, and dark bread. Tastes of dark bready malts, a bit of caramel, and a brighter, almost acidic flavor. Herbal a d slight bitter finish. Medium light, easy drinking. Not that flavorful, but it drinks fine.

Jun 24, 2019
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

11.2 oz stubby brown bottle consumed in November 2018. "Bernard 12" on the cap. BB date stamp of May 2019.
Pours with a slightly fizzy tan head that is semi-durable and leaves temporary sheets of lacing on the glass when tilted.
Plenty of dark roasted grain flavor that lingers on in the aftertaste. Light spicy hops and faint hints of smoke and dried fruits accompany the grains.

Nov 14, 2018
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StJamesGate from New York

4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ruby-black; doughy yeast, tin, raisin + hot-buttered rum; Challah, butterscotch, cola, plum + mild spice; round + low fizz.

4 4 4.25 4 4.25

Surprising - more fruit + less bread than expected. Diacetyl there. Finishes sharp + clean for all there - definitely a lager. Deep; need further exploration.

Oct 04, 2018
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Beginner2 from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A decent schwarzbier.
But, it Looks only average in a not-so-good-looking style. Smells tell me the dark malts have been well-toasted; some chocolate or molasses is in there to make it interesting. Tastes are the same, but slightly better; creating a balanced dryness in the finish. I like the way this sits in my mouth. I found it in June and I hope it lasts until Autumn.

Reviewed in the "1001 Beers To Taste", the reviewer makes a good case for putting it on the list. This Dark comes from a small, regional family brewery and manages to get a good share of the Czech "special" market. It is unpasteurized and lagered for 40 days, creating a clean taste without the shortcut of the flash of heat. Call that old school and craft.

8/18/18 Had the 3rd of the 4-pack because Schwarbiers pair with seared food and it went well with something I burned. Lesson: don't burn your food.... and if you do, have a black lager in stock.

Jul 04, 2018
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FBarber from Illinois

4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark reddish tinged brown almost black color. Thin velvety tan head dissipates somewhat but not completely.
Beer misquote effervescent when held up to the light.

Aroma has notes of dark bread and grains, plum, raisin, and prune.

Taste follows the nose with some notes of dark bread and dark fruits - raisins, plum, prune. A hint of spicy hops peeps through.

Feel is incredibly smooth, almost reminiscent of a nitro beer (but its not nitro). Mild carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Overall a nice easy drinking dark lager. Its a very nice example of a rather obscure Czech style - and one I'll certainly revisit.

Jun 03, 2018
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

L: thin and brown with a dark brown head, but looks black in the glass.
S: sweet malts with slight hops and musty wet grain aroma
T: just like there aroma....this starts sweeter then the hops add bitterness while all along this tastes like grain and water
F: thin and watery with a bitter finish

Apr 03, 2018
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drmeto from Germany

3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

-pours a clear ruby-brown with a small to medium,foamy,sand-coloured head
-medium to high carbonation visible
-medium carbonation
-light to medium body
Not overly complex, but a nice,roasty & bready Czech Schwarzbier.

Apr 02, 2018
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Tone from Missouri

4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, Euro yeast, hint of roasted malt, hint of wood, hint of nut, and a hint of chocolate. Fits the style of a Schwarzbier. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, Euro yeast, slight roasted malt, hint of wood, hint of nut, and a hint of chocolate. Overall, average appearance, good aroma, body, and blend, with a nice complexity.

Jan 08, 2018
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superspak from Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into lager glass, bottled on 4/28/2017. Pours crystal clear very dark brown color with a 1 finger dense and rocky light tan head with great retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, toasted dark bread, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of coffee, caramel, smoke, herbal, grass, pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity of roast/bready malt and light earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big chocolate, cocoa, toasted dark bread, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of coffee, caramel, smoke, herbal, grass, pepper, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/grassy hop and roasted bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, toasted dark bread, nuttiness, light coffee/smoke, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Awesome complexity and robustness of roast/bready malt and light earthy hop flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet balance, and zero acrid/astringent hop/roast flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from hop/roast bitterness. Perfectly clean on lager flavors, with zero yeast notes present. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately bready/grainy, and lightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 5%. Overall this is an outstanding schwarzbier! All around awesome complexity and robustness of roast/bready malt and light earthy hop flavors; very smooth and refreshing to drink with the mildly bitter/drying finish. Clean and rich Munich/roast malts, with just enough hops to balance sweetness. A highly enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

Sep 30, 2017
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josanguapo from Spain

3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From 32 Great Power. In Teku glass. At lunch, with rice soup + san jacobos. Light body, pleasant initial sweetness and a good herbal hop bite to compensante at the end. 5 months after BB date and still in good shape

Feb 19, 2017
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Nismo2 from Greece

4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bernard Černý Ležák 12° (or the Bernard Dark Lager 12°) at 5% abv.

Look: Dark amber body with a 1 1/2 finger brown head. Lots of carbonation

Smell: Strong coffee notes and roasted malts, with hints of vanilla, caramel and dark chocolate kinda like a porter. Also some hoppy-ness going on

Taste: Again, you can taste the coffee and the chocolate characters as well as the refreshingness of a lager. There is a spiciness as well. Balanced bitterness with little carbonation.

A very good beer indeed! For a lager, the complexity of the aroma and the taste is great. It feels like a "light" porter. A must try. Very nice.

Jul 31, 2016
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SCproUA from Ukraine

4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After drinking this beer there was a double impression, poravilos beer with one hand, but on the other lacks the bitterness in the taste, aftertaste lasts long, generally not bad !!!

Apr 16, 2016
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Dentist666 from Russian Federation

4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12,5 % Plato.
Poured into lager glass.
Pours dark reddish/brown beer with thick bubbly beige head, long retention.
Smell - bready, toasted, sauerkraut.
Taste - toasted malts, rye bread, nuts, pleasant bitter finish.
Light body and medium carbonation.
Excellent czech dark lager.

Mar 03, 2016
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davidperez from Mexico

4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a hefeweizen glass, it pours a very dark brown with some red hues when seen against the light, with a two-finger head, sudsy, foamy, with excellent retention. Actually this is one of the nicest heads I've seen in a lager. Good lacing too.

Nice bouquet. Chocolate, toffee, caramel, roasted malts.

The flavor follows the nose. You can taste all those flavors perfectly blended in, rich and rounded beer. There is also a hint of dark fruits and cherry, and at first a metallic flavor but it faded rather quickly. The roastiness blazes the path to the bitterness in this beer, balancing the upfront multifaceted sweetness. There is also a slight earthy quality to its bitterness. Nice amount of carbonation. Long finish, medium to full body, smooth.

A very nice beer.

Feb 25, 2016
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Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.25/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

"Bernard Černý Ležák" 12°. Note that the label for this beer is black; it does not have the white label of Bernard Dark. No English appears on the label.

Brown glass bottle with a black front label and a tan back label; both labels are classic Czech. Branded pry-off crown cap. 33cl format.

5.10% ABV. Best before: 23.07.16.

Served cold into stemware and allowed to come to temperature during the review. Reviewed live as a dark lager per the name. Expectations are above average given the brewery.

HEAD: ~2cm wide head. Has a nice khaki colour. Boasts a creamy, full, supple consistency. Light rings of lacing coat the sides of the glass as it recedes. Retention is average - ~2 minutes.

BODY: Opaque brown-black. Not the solid ink-black of an imperial stout nor the cola brown of a schwarzbier, but somewhere between the two. No yeast is visible within.

Appears adequately carbonated. It's a pretty typical appearance for a dark lager, but the head is above average.


AROMA: Black bread, burnt sugars, cream, dark malts, a kiss of something in the fennel/anise family, some kind of nutty note (walnut, maybe?), schwarz malts, maybe raisin. To style, there's no detectable hop profile. Yeast profile is clean and ester-free - classic lager attenuation.

Doesn't seem too sweet, so I'm anticipating a balanced brew. Suggests a simple straightforward dark lager with some nice burnt attributes but otherwise no ornamentation.

Aromatic intensity is average.

TASTE & TEXTURE: I'd prefer the burnt characteristics played up more, ideally accompanied by some roasted barley. Even coffee roast would help play to this beers strengths. What really works here are the harsher elements - the burnt sugars, the charred malts - and the way in which they're balanced by the comforting creaminess of the mouthfeel. That push-pull between harsh aspects and pleasant aspects is what makes this beer intriguing; it's not your usual schwarz malt sweetness bomb; there's more balance and nuance here. A hint of aniseed and a kiss of nuttiness help bolster the complexity of this brew, but it's still pretty straightforward and simple within its style. Some might call it "plain," but to me that isn't a bad thing per se.

Alcohol is well disguised. Lager yeast is evident from its cleanliness and lack of esters. To style, there're no overt hop notes.

Turning to the texture, it's predictably smooth and wet, with a plump light to medium body. Never too heavy or weighty on the palate, though it does have a "liquid bread" vibe that makes it feel quite filling. Well carbonated. Its sleek creaminess is effective, and the beer never feels too thin like you might find in an equally creamy nitro dispense brew. There's not a perfect harmony of texture and taste, but the mouthfeel does complement the flavour profile rather well - even if it fails to accentuate specific notes or coax out more depth of flavour.

OVERALL: A cohesive no-frills dark lager with enough of a tug-of-war between burnt sugars and creamy bread-like malts to warrant at least one purchase, Bernard's Černý Ležák is a great go-to offering when in central or Eastern Europe even if it isn't amongst the best in its style. It's drinkable for its style, and I could easily see myself buying it again, if only for its classic Euro dark lager taste. Yeah, there's room for more complexity and depth, but this will scratch anyone's dark lager itch. Well worth trying.


Feb 02, 2016
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bark from Sweden

3.01/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

The colour is dark brown (90 EBC), the liquid is clear. The two finger head is pale brown and compact; it sinks quite quickly leaving no lacing.

The smell is roasted with notes of grilled meats, chocolate, weak coffee. Charcoal and dried red berries. Metallic bitterness in the background. It is a bit weak.

The taste is smooth, just like an černý is supposed to be... Medium sweet roasted malts, smooth chocolate and a touch of coffee. Light body. The aftertaste brings more (dark) chocolate, BBQ spices, caramel and mature plums. The finish is a bit sticky with coffee-toffee, floral hops and hints of black pepper.

The carbonation is medium strong, the many small bubbles are long-lived. The liquid is smooth.

Not bad at all, but I want my černý even smoother.

Nov 10, 2015
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clarknova from Germany

4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a first class Schwarzbier with an intense aroma of coffee and roasted malts. Very malty in taste but balanced enough to be a refreshing beer. Overall a full-bodied masterpiece.

Jul 26, 2015
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dcmchew from Romania

3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours black, a few shades of ruby into the light. Rich two finger tan head, that doesn't pop away too fast.
Smells earthy, with dark malts, dusty coffee and cocoa powder, bit of caramel and some spices.
Taste has a Czech lager zingy characteristic, enriched with nice dark malts (roasted grains, dark bread crust), faint dark chocolate and light coffee. Spicy feel, very faint nuts, some grass. Earthy hops in the finish, mild bitterness. Nice dry aftertaste, clean, with just a hint of roasted malt.
Light body, medium carbonation, a tiny bit oily.
Not the most flavorful, but a nice Czech dark that's very easy to drink.

May 07, 2014
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flyingpig from Scotland

3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle from a Prague Mini-Market (35CZK):
Dark ruby to black & a thumb-sized, foamy, tan head that settles about 1cm tall with nice lacing.

Dark roasted malts & light, earthy notes with touches of caramel. Some sweetness comes through but nothing too strong, with some milk chocolate and faint coffee notes with roasted grains too.

Earthy malts and dark, roasted flavours that also features some grain & a combination of light chocolate & coffee. A milk chocolate taste towards the middle & touches of hops and light spice, with some caramel sweetness to compliment the malts rounding at the end.

Light medium bodied with a slightly dry taste and a faint tang on the tongue as well. Well carbonated and quite easy to drink with a nice, well-balanced finish.

Drinkable & fairly enjoyable in a average sort of way, probably because of how easy it was to drink. Not the best Czech dark beer but a nice offering with a decent alcohol content & a well-balanced taste.

Apr 25, 2014
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MarkoNm from Slovenia

3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A nice dark beer pours with a completely black color and a decent dirty (light brown) head which sticks around. The aroma is surprisingly very gentle, slightly sweet and chocolately (+ some hops). The taste is therefore sweet and chocolatey almost completely without the usual roasted feel. The afterfinish kicks in late with its bitterness.
A very drinkable and easy going beer, with just enough taste.

Nov 23, 2013
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

500ml swing-top bottle. Been a while since I've had a beer from the CR, the country that helped me cut my beer teeth way back in the mid-90s.

This beer pours a clear, very dark ruddy brown hue, with sharp cherry cola highlights, and two hefty fingers of puffy, loosely foamy beige head, which leaves some decent sudsy rock arch lace around the glass as things sink away.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, faint bittersweet powdered cocoa, red wine touched dark muddled fruit, a subtle grainy sourness, and earthy, subdued leafy hops. The taste is more toasted, bready caramel malt, gritty baker's chocolate, sour milk and grain notes, a free-radical earthiness, and some lager-friendly leafy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is fairly restrained, or just inert at times, after that somewhat unexpected initial outburst, the body a bare medium weight, and generally quite smooth, hints of both clamminess and smoothness providing the mindfuck of the day. It finishes a bit off-dry, the roasted character of the malt still most prevalent, abetted by the lingering cocoa, all against the remnants of the weak hops that were.

A pleasant enough dark Euro lager, nicely toasted, and complex by the same sword. Perhaps I'd get a bit tired of the increasingly pithy mouthfeel, but if I recall correctly, switching between this style and the local Pils easily obviated that minor quibble, at least when drinking in Prague.

Oct 22, 2013
Bernard Cerne (Dark) from Bernard Family Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 166 ratings