Lucas emailed us recently to say he was very disappointed. He had just purchased “the perfect black and tan tool” and told us that it didn’t work at all. His family was a big fan of Black Velvets (Guinness over cider) and the Guinness was immediately floating to the bottom. He further said that any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I emailed Lucas back straight away as this was a beer layering emergency! I told him that two things might be happening. One was that he may be using Guinness bottles. Guinness in bottles layer well as a top layer but not as good as the Guinness cans. Two, if the Guinness is dropping straight down into the cider, it probably meant that the cider is less dense than the Guinness. If he tried pouring the cider on top of the Guinness with the tool, it may layer in top. (This would be unusual as all the snake bites we've tried had the cider on the bottom.)
His reply confirmed that he was using bottled Guinness and that he would try the cans. For the cider he was using Magners Irish Cider.
I had never tried Magners before so I bought some 'research samples' at a local beer & wine store. To the side is a picture of the resulting black velvet layered beer drink. It layered well.
Above are come other layered cider & beer combinations we had tried before.
My wife surprised me by picking up some new Accumulation White IPA from New Belguim Brewing Co. I thought it had potential as a good middle layer beer. First, I tried it over some Rahr & Sons Ugly Pug black lager. This worked out well. About a week later it tried it under good ol' Guinness. This work our very well too! After some consideration I decided to name them both a "Black Snow".
I see a possible triple layered beer combination here but I've ran out of the beer to try it with.
Here is a collection of great layered beer pictures showing both dark-on-top and dark-on-bottom combinations. See, you don't need Guinness to make a beautiful layered beer!
BOTTOM: Omission Pale Ale* by Widmer Brothers Brewing Co in Portland OR
TOP: Guinness Draught in can
* Crafted to remove gluten
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