“We like to call our Czech Dark Lager ‘our Pilsner in a sweater,’” says Jenny Pfäfflin, brewer at Chicago’s Dovetail. “Czech dark lagers should be an expression of the complex and rich malt bill but still showcase the spicy flavor and aroma of Saaz. Subtle roast should be there, but make sure it’s not too roasty. Otherwise, you’re just making a nice bottom-fermented porter. As with all Czech lagers, drinkability is key—it should go down easy and in multiple rounds. A normal ABV of 4.5–5.5 percent should be the target.”
Why the third decoction? “I was feeling ‘extra’ that day,” she says. “That’s literally the only reason.”
The results speak for themselves.
For much more on brewing a great Czech-style dark lager, see Tmavé Pivo: The Czech Republic’s Uncommon Dark Lager.
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%