Author Topic: Tour De Bohemia  (Read 920 times)

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Tour De Bohemia
« on: November 25, 2010, 12:48:04 PM »
Recently I visited Czech and Slovak republic.
I sampled as many beers as possible and visit as many breweries as possible.
Book “Good Beer Guide Prague & the Czech Republic” was a great help:
http://www.amazon.com/Good-Guide-Prague-Czech-Republic/dp/1852492333/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290289479&sr=1-1
These are my thoughts about it.

I visited two large and two small breweries and sampled over 30+ beers.
They were from 10 Plato (4% ABV) to 24 Plato (10% ABV).
Most of the beers were fermented with lager yeast but there were some that were fermented with ale yeast.
Beer market is quite versatile.
You can find Czech Pilsners 10, 12 and special 16.
Dark Beer 11 or 13.
Kvasinkove pivo (Unfiltered, unpasteurized with live yeast mostly cloudy).
Some Ales like ESB...
Non alcoholic beer.

Taste of Bohemian Pilsner vary by brewery from VERY malty to watery. Most of them are in balanced area. A few of them are balanced and bright. Only one had slight lingering bitterness. Aroma is mostly malty. Hop aroma is non present.

Most of Dark beers are too sweet even for natives but there are some dark beers like U Fleku that are restrained with sweetens. Dark beers have very little or no roast.

When you drink 10 or 12 beer from the same brewery you almost can not say the difference.
Czech drinkers prefer low alcohol beers and most of the beers you find are about 4.5 ABV.

Breweries do at least double decoction brewing process.
Most people in breweries fallow the traditional process and do not know exactly why they are doing it.

In one brewery I was told they use three different hops: extract, plugs and pallets but they did not know the variety. In another brewery I was told that “we use pallet hops and they come from Germany”. They also did not know the hop variety.

I tasted a malt from two maltsters. I was surprised that Pilsner malt was more chewy. It felt like it was not dryed enough but it had nice rich taste with pleasant sweetness. In one brewery I saw grain bags with Cyrillic letters.

Lager breweries have modern equipment and they are VERY proud of their packaging lines.
After EACH bottling they do preventive maintenance and they disassemble, inspect and clean packaging machinery. May be the brewery on “Brewmasters” TV show should take a notice. Smaller breweries still use wood fired brewhouses.

Open fermenters are used most of the time. You can find some breweries with conical fermenters.
I have seen one small brewery that beer was fermented in open wood barrels and lagered in closed wood barrels. Beer was fantastic.

Most of large breweries were bought up by InBev, SAB Miller or Heineken. There are still smaller regional breweries in Czech republic that are independent. In Slovak Republic it is bleaker. There are only 3 independent mid size breweries left.

Microbrewery trend is picking up and they produce great beers.
Pilsner Urquell (owned by SAB Miller) is still highly regarded beer and is available all over the country.
Budvar (owned by Czech state) survived only because of it's ownership.

If you made it down here, thank you for reading.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline tom

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2010, 01:14:47 PM »
Thanks for the info!
Brew on

Offline svejk

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 01:48:58 PM »

Open fermenters are used most of the time. You can find some breweries with conical fermenters.
I have seen one small brewery that beer was fermented in open wood barrels and lagered in closed wood barrels. Beer was fantastic.


I'm heading to the Czech Republic in May and would love to know the name of this brewery so I can be sure to visit it.  Any other "must visit" places are also greatly appreciated.  Thanks for posting!

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2010, 08:54:07 PM »
I would say "must see" are new micro breweries and brewpubs.
"Spolek Pratel Piva" has a great list of all breweries by region.
http://www.pratelepiva.cz/pivovary

If you want to visit brewery you have to arrange it in advance.
Most breweries have fee of about $10.
You can buy great beer glasses in brewery gift shop for about $2.
They might not speak English.

U Fleku is Tourist trap and beer is overpriced but worth to go there once in lifetime.

Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2010, 09:45:12 PM »
Thanks for that report.

I wonder how much the traditional equipment has to do with the lack of investments for brewery updates. Not that this is a bad thing but it can be one reason why a brewery uses such traditional techniques like open fermentation.

Kai

Offline joeysmokedporter

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2010, 05:31:25 AM »
Did you visit Pivovarsky Klub in Praha?  They had a great selection there with many harder to find beers.  I had a few of the dark beers there that were more balanced and had great complexity. 
R. Lorber
Westminster, MD

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2010, 08:21:22 PM »
Kai,

No I do not think it is lack of money in the breweries.
I have seen newly expanded fermentation room with classical open fermenters.

Wood fermentation barrels were part of themed medieval complex.
I will post some pictures later.

No I did not visit Pivovarsky Klub in Prague.
We walked in Prague for 5 hours thou.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline bendbrew

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2010, 08:22:58 AM »
+1 on the great beer "pivo" in Praha.  I went there with my wife and a daughter in 2004 (the one hundredth anniversary of my great grandmother's arrival to NY from Praha).  I would remember my great grandmother sticking her tongue out after drinking a mass produced American beer and say "Not good like pivo back home."  She was right.

I encourage anyone with the means to travel there to do so.  Great city, people and pivo.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2010, 12:24:59 PM »
U Fleku:


Wood fired brewhouse with hand pump:


Wood fermentation vessels:


Wood lagering barrels:


Modern micro brewery:


Is that a Sinemar?


Fermentation log:


If you want to see bigger pic of fermentation log:
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5203/5212351702_f56855d095_b_d.jpg
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 12:35:11 PM by Thirsty_Monk »
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline joeysmokedporter

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2010, 05:22:31 AM »
great pics! thx for sharing.
R. Lorber
Westminster, MD

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2010, 06:31:45 PM »
I do like the fermentation log a lot. It has a lot of detail. Note the temperarure profile that they are running. They let it peak at 11 C by are down to 7 C after 7 days. It would be interesting to know how much longer it takes for the beer to reach FG.

Kai

Offline resto3

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2010, 09:32:51 AM »
Very cool.  Thanks for sharing!!

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Tour De Bohemia
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2010, 04:15:34 PM »
. It would be interesting to know how much longer it takes for the beer to reach FG.

To my knowledge they ferment in "primary" vessel till it is done 75%. Then beer is transfered into lagering tanks where it slowelly mature and reach the terminal gravity. The log shows 12 Plato beer so it is in the lagering tanks for another 6 weeks or so. The lagering temp is 2C. Beer is also carbonated at this time.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer