At 13° Plato, around 5.2% ABV, Vratimov 13° has a full flavour and like most Czech lagers it is very accessible. It is also very light and refreshing to drink, with a subtle mix of flavours which come to the fore, then fade to make way for new ones as you smell, taste, swallow and savour. In the long run, it’s nicely balanced and therefore I’d treat it with a bit of caution because it wouldn’t be too hard to go overboard on – I reckon this could do you a bit of damage if you let it!
Very dark but clear when held up to the light. A nice dense, white head which lasts throughout the drink. If the head has gone flat, it’s a sign that the beer was poured a while ago and won’t be at its best any more. The lace is not intricate but definitely present.
Malty and a bit smoky. Possible hints of caramel or some other sweetness lurking at the back for the true connoisseur to argue over. Maybe even some spiciness… or perhaps my imagination was running away with me.
Bitters to the fore. Boldly, unashamedly bitter, just the way I love Czech beer! Not in any way aggressive, just proudly Czech and no more. Wonderfully balanced with a caramel sweetness, as a black beer should be, with a dash of chocolatey and an oh-so-elusive hint of fruitiness which you can chase to the bottom of the glass but never catch.
Light and refreshing, bubbles fizz and dance on the tongue before giving way to the full flavours. Smooth but not creamy, more like a sharpness to open the tastebuds which doesn’t linger at all.
The initial bite soon fades, allowing the hops and malts to play with each other at leisure. Any possibility of dryness is nipped in the bud by a final dash of sweetness as the taste fades. The chocolatey flavours seem to come more to the fore as you drink more. Unlucky for some? Not Vratimov 13°!