Czech Dark Lager
Dovetail Brewery

Czech Dark LagerCzech Dark Lager
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Lager - European Dark
Ranked #16
Ranked #11,485
4.27 | pDev: 6.32%
Dovetail Brewery
Illinois, United States
Very Good
Czech Dark LagerCzech Dark Lager
Notes: Inspired by JP's afternoon in Prague drinking at U Fleku — a brewery that’s been making dark lager more than 500 years — Dovetail’s Czech Dark Lager is a malt showcase of chocolate, bread crust, caramel and subtle coffee roast; Saaz hops; and the Czech Republic’s “Heaven’s water.” As they did back then, we employed traditional brewing methods, including a triple-decoction and open-fermentation. It has rich, complex maltiness, that’s balanced by slight bitterness — this is a cozy version of our Dovetail Pilsner, and a memory of that afternoon in a medieval beer garden.
Reviews: 7 | Ratings: 13 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.44/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Thanks to Falloutsnow, can date smudged
Pours a giant frothy foamy off-white 3 finger head with med to lower retention, hints of over carbonation or continued fermentation, no lacing, very hazy mahogany brown color

Nose brings sweet darker malts, toasted biscuity brown malts, a bit of chocolate and toasty bread crust, plenty of toffee and some caramel, sweet molasses, just all around sweet, with hint of herbal hops, some yeasty spicy notes

Taste starts again like the nose, again more American Brown than Czech dark lager, lots of sweet caramel, toffee, toasted biscuity malts, rich bread crust and molasses sweetness, a bit of roast and chocolate notes, into mild spicy earthy hops, and a bit of a yeasty spicy bite again as if it did ferment a bit too much, carbonic acid bite, mild sticky finish, some spicy hop bitterness

Mouth is med to fuller bod, a touch syrupy, higher foamy carb, little carbonic acid bite

Overall eh, much more like American Brown than Czech Dark lager, too intense and sweet overall, not much soft lager, too much heavy malt overall as well, plus the continued fermentation (not infection) that lead to way too much carbonation and a little yeasty spicy bite. It's a decent beer, just not quite what it should be.

May 28, 2021
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown and mostly opaque, the pour is complete with a fat finger of khaki foam. Smells of crusty dark bread, toasted caramel, slight earth, and earthy hops. Taste adds elements of tobacco, molasses and coffee grounds. Feel is chewy, warm, malty smooth and full. Wonderful CDL, goes down easily yet has great depth, better than the sum of its parts. The wife liked it

Dec 12, 2020
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is a mostly clear beautiful chestnut, only lightly foggy, with a bubbly tan foam head settling to a fuzzy blanket.

As the label points out, the first impression is bread crust, for sure. That old world, hard crunchy crust, which is absolutely divine. Next is a touch of sweetness that's got a sort of blackberry tang, but with zero tartness. The slick medium-light body then glides into an herbal and nutty finish that's paper dry and semi-bitter.

This is an overall very pleasant progression that repeats itself after each sip, after which it completes the circle in the exhale back to a breadiness, but this time as a darker, more savory fresh baked expression, with a hint of coffee bean. Very old world and satisfyingly quenching.

Nov 04, 2020
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darktronica from Indiana

4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly the best dark lager I've had, certainly the best locally. Great balance of breadiness, caramel malts, and roasted grains with a touch of floral aromatics and hop bitterness on the finish.

Nov 01, 2020
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eppCOS from Colorado

4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Glows like a red imperial meets a stout; gorgeous deep amber color; foam and lace stick to the glass as it's going down. Lovely. I could get used to this color of beer. 4.25
S: Fantastic roast-malt, quasi-coffee and toffee notes on the nose here. Whiff of dried fruit and pretzel (WTF?) too, if I'm not mistaken. 4
T: More of that gorgeous smell, with a near-smoke roast impression. A little coffeehouse roastiness comes through on the back palate. Damn. I loves. 4.25
M: Feel is great, solid but never (EVER) overblown on carbonation at Dovetail. Subtlety, balance, but liveliness is still there. Great, bready finish on this. 4.25
O: Another stunner in the old style by Dovetail, nailing down the Tmavy style. Woof.
4.25 overall

Those guys nail it. I've yet to have even an average beer from Dovetail.

May 11, 2020
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4DAloveofSTOUT from Illinois

4.44/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz tallboy poured into HF wine stem/balloon.

Appearance: Dark chestnut brown bodied beer with ruby red hues when held up to light. Pours a big, thick, and tall creamy head with great head retention. Incredible looking beer.

Smell: bread crumbs, toasted grains and a lightly roasted malt. Slightly sweet caramel aroma.

Taste: Slightly sweet caramel and bready malt profile. Nice toasted grain notes as well. Finishes with a hint of dark fruits, lager yeast, and light dry / bitter roasty malt presence. Complex and balanced flavors.

Mouthfeel: light bodied lager with moderate carbonation levels. The beer is very soft, smooth, and slightly creamy with excellent drinkability. Finish is crisp and lightly drying.

Overall: Another limited run can from Dovetail. This beer is just a stunner. Haven't drank many European Dark Lagers yet, but this lager is a really well done beer that is very approachable. From the Macro guy all the way to a craft beer fanatic; everyone will love it if they like dark lagers. Lots of great flavors in this lager which are quite nuanced / balanced. Plus its an extremely sessionable lager! You probably won't get bored of this beer after a few pints.

Jan 10, 2020
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FBarber from Illinois

4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown color that appears reddish when held to the light. Opaque due to the color, but again, when held to the light its pretty much clear. Thin tan head dissipates steadily leaving just a thin ring of tan foam along the outside of the beer.

Aroma has notes of bready malts, hints of brown sugar, and some spicy Saaz hops

Taste follows the nose with soft bready malts. There are, notes of crusty rustic bread, some toasted nuttiness and a hint of warm brown sugar - all up front initially. That quickly gives way to a nice pronounced but mild spicy hop bitterness on the back end. As the beer warms there are light notes of tobacco and light hints of coffee grinds.

Feel is incredibly soft and smooth with a moderate carbonation. Very drinkable. Semi-dry finish.

Overall a really lovely example of a černý ležák. The best of the recent Chicago based offerings and any other American brewed examples I've had. Another HR for Dovetail - hope they eventually put this in cans

Apr 19, 2019
Czech Dark Lager from Dovetail Brewery
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 13 ratings