Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Full Schilling - druhý díl

A quick recap...this happened:

Those 2 cases/trays of Schilling beer in 16oz cans consisted of:

  • Malý 8° - Czech style session pale lager
  • Nordertor - Northern German style pilsner
  • Paulus - Munich style helles
  • Rennsteig - schwarzbier
Schilling beers already in my fridge when I got home were:
  • Palmovka 12° - Czech style pale lager
  • Augustin 13° - Czech style amber lager
  • Karlův 13° - Czech style dark lager
To round out the selection nicely, I popped into Beer Run and picked up a four pack of Alexandr as it is most reliably available Schilling beer in this neck of the woods. For this here second installment of The Full Schilling, I made sure all the Czech styles were suitably refrigerated...

Having made sure that suitable glassware was clean and ready for use, I didn't buy a Schilling glass while I was up there as the style I wanted was not available, I set about going from left to right...starting with Malý 8°.

Malý 8°

  • Sight - crystal clear golden, inch of beautiful white foam, great retention
  • Smell - spicy hops, lemongrass, crusty bread and crackers, second son Bertie thought it smelt "peppery and juicy"
  • Taste - crusty bread, lemony zing, clean hop bite to finish
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Bitter - 2.5/5
Simply magnificent beer. Medium-light body, not watery or thin in the finish, this is a drinker's session beer, the kind of thing that you can sit on your deck in the sun and guzzle all afternoon and evening without ever getting bored, the voice of experience may be speaking. The finish is clean, dry, and just pulls you back for more, and more, and more. I almost wish I had bought 2 cases...

  • Sight - dark straw, white foam, beautiful clarity and excellent head retention
  • Smell - citrus, lemon and key lime, hay, water biscuits
  • Taste - dollops of citrus bittering, bordering on pithy, more crackers and some floral notes in the background, like a summer meadow
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Bitter - 3/5
Again a beautifully balanced beer, the bitterness is very much front and centre, but it doesn't overwhelm the malt character. Has the snap that I expect of well made lagers that brings everything into sharp focus and then demands you have another mouthful. I just love this beer, it is right up there with anything I drank in Czechia.

Palmovka 12°
  • Sight - rich golden, white foam that lingers well, again beautiful clarity
  • Smell - toasted crusty bread, spicy hops, freshly mown hay
  • Taste - juicy sweet decocted malt, crusty bread, specifically like the crusty end of a loaf, grassy hop with a clean hop bitterness
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Bitter - 3/5
This is not hyperbole, but there is something about Palmovka that reminds me of Pilsner Urquell, though a little stronger. That crusty bread character coupled with a very light butterscotch note just feels so much like Prazdroj that I fear if I had to try both side by side and blind I would struggle to guess which was which - there may be a blog post in the making right there. The bitterness, again, is firm, clean, and finishes off the beer delightfully.

Augustin 13°
  • Sight - light red, ruby highlights, off white foam that stays the course
  • Smell - brioche, subtle hay, floral hops
  • Taste - ovocní knedlík, stone fruit, breadiness in the background
  • Sweet - 3/5
  • Bitter - 2/5
This is quite a complex beer, with lots of malt flavours floating around. I realise that ovocní knedlík, fruit dumpling in English, is not particularly helpful if you've never had them, but imagine a plum wrapped inside a yeast dough, enriched with egg and milk, simmered and then served with a touch of sugar and cinnamon, and you kind of get what I am saying. It's complex, but clean in the finish and maybe a little thin for a 13° lager, but that's me quibbling, it's still a grand beer.

Karlův 13°
  • Sight - very dark brown, mahogany edges, solid inch of tan foam
  • Smell - bitter chocolate, toasted brioche, subtle floral hop notes
  • Taste - dark chocolate, nutty, imagine bitter chocolate Nutella, sachertorte, some grassy hop notes
  • Sweet - 2.5/5
  • Bitter - 2/5
A wonderful way to nightcap my little Schilling Czech tasting. Not stodgy in the slightest but with plenty of sweet malt flavours. The finish is somewhere between the soft sweetness of a dunkel and the dry crispness of schwarzbier. Again a very moreish beer that is an excellent interpretation of the Czech tmavé/černé "style".

I seriously considered trying to rank this set of beers by preference, but it would be a fool's errand to bother. They are all excellent examples of the kind of beers I love to drink, and this is what makes Schilling such an exciting brewery for me, they do everything so damned well that it is almost irrelevant what is in your glass, it will be superb.

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