Staropramen Černý Lezak

Staropramen: Černý Lezak (Dark) (Czech Republic: Tmavý : 4.4% ABV)

Visual: Very dark cherry red to brown. Large loose bubbled milk chocolate covering coloured head.

Nose: Malt chocolate. Coffee. Roasted.

Body: Roasted. Liquorice. Treacle and chocolate. Smooth chocolate liquore. Slight black cherry. Coffee. Toffee touched.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Roasted. Chocolate liquore.

Conclusion: This is a very smooth take on the style, a beer with pretty much no harsh edges. The middle comes in like chocolate liquore, lighter in feel but with the same slickness. There is a roasted character there, but never heavy enough to be harsh, just instead acting alongside the coffee to create a coffee cake like drying character to keep it from being sickly.

This combination of characteristics makes it very easy to drink, though it is not all positive, it doesn’t really have any textual complexity, and worse still that means it doesn’t quite bring the flavour complexity of a great dark beer either.

It does make for a nice, or pleasant beer, two words that can be seen as damning with faint praise, but appropriate here, it is a beer that does not overly stand out. It does deliver that chocolate liquore flavour without either the heaviness or booziness that seems to often come with that element, which is enough to keep it from bland. Also it does mean that it is a beer that has one of two possible uses that stands out. A) As a gateway beer, it doesn’t have a challenge that could put off someone who is not used to dark beers, and so can be used as an introduction to this end of the spectrum . B) As an easygoing middle of the day beer, when you want to be able to kick back and have something with flavour, but are more focussed on talking with friends and the like.

So, yeah, relaxing, but without the class to go with it for a great beer. Not bad, but defined by where it doesn’t push the limits rather than by where it does.

Background: Something a bit more mainstream to round off the Prague run. Back in the day Staropramen Dark was one of Michael Jackson’s 500 great beers. I don’t know how this version compares, though MolstonCoors do own Staropramen now. Still thought I would give it a try. This was drunk at the hotel, using the beer glass left for us to drink very expensive beers from the hotel fridge. Sod that, this was bought for less than a quid at a local shop.

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