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Cut it!

Las year I wrote a post about řezané, the Czech custom of mixing a pale and dark beer, something like the English black & tan, and I never spoke about the subject again.

I used to drink a lot more řezané than I do now. In fact, since I have become some sort of "beer hunter" I almost don't drink "cut" beers at all, and if it wasn't for this pot by Ron Pattison, I don't think I would have thought about doing what you will see below.

I decided to mix some beers at home, but not as it is usually done, i.e. a pale and a dark beer from the same brand or brewing group, I wanted to cut beers that are different from each other, always keeping the pale+dark concept. These were the pairings:

First cut: Svijanský Rytíř + Pardubický Porter. 12° balling - 5%ABV for Svijany, 19° Balling - 8%ABV for Porter. The former, with a classic Bohemian pale lager bitterness to which some almost pale ale like fruity notes are added. The latter, with prunes, chocolate and port.
I poured a bit too much Svijany in the first pint and the result was a very boring beer. Instead of complementing or contrasting each other, both beers did their best in drowning each other out.

Maths dictated that the second pint should have more of the Porter. Things improved considerably. Licorice, coffee and burnt sugar stepped forward. All by themselves they wouldn't have been very pleasant, but with the support of the fusion of the fruit in both beers, the resulting drink acquired a very interesting complexity. A slow drinker.

Second cut: Janáček Comenius + Primátor Double: 14° Balling - 6%ABV for Comenius, 24° Balling - 10%ABV for Double. The biggest gravity difference and also a pretty large difference in flavour, dry herbal in the former, licorice and chocolate in the latter.
The result, however, was awful. Tasted like medicine with sugar. I had a hard time finishing the glass, and I still had two half bottles to mix. I Thought better and decided to drink them separatedly instead.

Third cut: Opat Bitter + Herold Tmavé. 11° Ballig - 4.2%ABV for Opat, 13°Balling - 5.2% ABV for Herold. The former, a light, pretty bitter session beer with cold hopping. The latter, perhaps my favourite Czech dark beer, with intense roasted notes.
The result was that Herold crushed the abbot, and while he was down on the ground, kicked him a bit more for good measure. The only effect on Herold was that it tasted a bit tired. Tried adding some more of the Opat, which resulted in a further beating and in a more tired dark beer. I thought that the contrasting flavours of these two beers would work in an interesting way, but I didn't consider the differences of the bodies of both.

Fourth cut: Polička Záviš + Herold Tmavé. After Herold's domination of the previous cut, I had my doubts about how this one would turn out. Though I was also hopeful, Záviš comes with 12°Balling and 5%ABV and with a rather fruity profile.
The result was a Herold a bit more tired than before, but still dominating, leaving only a tiny space for the fruit from Záviš.

Neither of the cuts with Herold worked as I had expected. Maybe I should have mixed it with Svijanský Rytíř, or something similar, after all, that one managed to hold its ground very well with Porter, a much stronger beer. I will try it out one of these days.

Fifth cut: Primátor Weizenbier + Primátor Stout. The original plan was to recreate a black & tan with Primátor English Pale Ale, but I couldn't find it, so instead of going to look for it somewhere else I picked a bottle of Weizen. And why not? wasn't it the idea of this "study" to mix very different beers? And what can be more different than a Stout and a Heffeweizen.
I didn't know what to expect, but whatever it would turn out to be, the very idea of mixing these beers was a lot of fun. Fortunately, the result was fantastic. I poured the weizen first in the first pint. The taste of the blend was reminiscent of a rauchweizen, with some chocolate. Primátor Stout is brewed with some smoked malts, I don't know in what proportion, but I'm sure it isn't too big since their contribution is limited to an undertone that adds a bit more complexity to the drink. Here they took a more protagonist role, becoming a perfect duo with the fruit from the weizen.

The second pint was even better. This time I poured the stout first. The yeast sediments of the weizen formed a golden cloud that almost managed to totally separate both beers. The taste, very ripe bananas with espresso coffee and some chocolate. Here the smokned notes went back to the background and the coffee gained in intensity as the glass went down, without ever managing to fully dominate. When I finished this beauty I regretted not having bought another pair of those beers. I wanted to cut them again, this time in a pitcher and sit down to sip them slowly as the sun went down. That is something I will definetively do soon.
I want to keep on cutting beers. The possibilities are endless. Besides, it is something really fun and interesting to do, which also gives me some material to write about Czech beers, which I've kind of neglected lately.

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  1. Wow. Those are some wild science experiments. I'm a fan of Primator Weizen, but I somehow expected that that mix would work poorly. So much for assumptions. Sounded great.


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