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The Diverse World of Dark Lagers

Not all dark beers—and most especially not all dark lagers—are the same. Take some time to parse the different dark lager styles out there and consider not only how they differ but also how we can modify our brewing approaches to produce them.

Josh Weikert Jul 3, 2019 - 12 min read

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Despite the common, proverbial warnings about what happens when you assume, “assuming” isn’t an inherent evil. Our prior experiences, our knowledge, and our biases influence our expectations, and in many situations, those expectations are perfectly reasonable.

The sun is out—I probably need sunglasses. There’s a car coming toward me—it will probably stay on the right side of the road. My Philadelphia Eagles are playing—they’ll probably blow a fourth-quarter lead. Without those everyday kinds of shortcuts, we’d be too busy, terrified, or exhausted to get much productive activity out of our lives. Some assumptions, though, aren’t efficient—they’re just lazy.

For example, people make all kinds of assumptions about a beer, just by looking at its color. But not all dark beers—and most especially not all dark lagers—are the same. They represent different approaches, flavor profiles, histories, and styles. They deserve more than our lazy assumptions, such as “it’s dark, so it’s probably roasty.” That might be true of stouts and porters—though there, too, I recommend developing an appreciation for nuance—but when it comes to dark lagers, that kind of stereotyping is more likely to be wrong than right.

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