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.
Here are some step-by-step instructions for finding and making a great 3 layer beer.
(1) Find a good dark-on-bottom layered beer combination
(2) Test if the potential middle-layer beer will layer under Guinness. If it does, you may have a winner!
(3) Try making the 3-layer combination. Be careful not to pour the first bottom layer too high. You don't want to run out of room for the Guinness top layer
All the triple layer black and tans I've found so far were of the light/dark/light or dark/light/dark variety and I had been searching for a dark/light/lighter layered beer for a while. Well, I finally have a really nice one!
A few weeks ago I found a nice light/lighter combo with a Franconia Wheat and a Tap Room #21 Copper Lager on the top. Later I tried Guinness over the Copper Lager. Both these combinations layered very nicely, so A + B = C, right? You can see the final result in the third picture... a great triple layer!
Now on to finding a lighter/light/dark combination... ;)
Whenever I find a new stout or porter I like to try it with many lighter top and bottom beers. Here are some nice black and tan layered beer combinations using Double Brown Stout from Deep Ellum Brewing (Dallas TX).
I love finding triple layered Black and Tans! I picked up some New Belguim 1554 Black Lager the other day and tried some Blue Moon over it. The layering was really nice. Then I remembered that Guinness Draught layered well over Blue Moon. So, a few days later, I tried making a triple layer and it turned out great. See pictures below.
These triple layer black and tans worked out very nicely with great layer separation. We had both dark/light/dark and light/dark/light combinations.
Saint Arnold Winter Stout under Alaskan White contradicts my recipe rule that stouts 'generally' work as top layer beers. The exception to the rule... ;)
I had a 12 pack of Shiner White Wing so it was a constant in my black and tan experimentation over the past week or two. Also used Breckenridge Vanilla Porter a few times. I think I had a bit of success.The pictures speak for themselves.
I inadvertently tried the Session Black Lager as a bottom layer with the Shiner White Wing and it was only later that I realized that it shouldn't have worked. One of my 'rules of thumb' was that black lagers generally worked well as top layers. By 'generally' I had meant that they either worked or they didn't but here the Session worked as a bottom layer... WTF? So much for rules of thumb! You can see, however, that the Session and Shiner did mix a bit as its coloring is darker than the Breckenridge and Shiner combo.
FULL DISCLOSURE: No spoons were harmed in the making of these layered beers.
This blew my mind! John sent me an email saying that he was having problems with the layering tool he had just bought. He said he was trying to layer Guinness over Miller Lite for a black and tan and it wasn't working. I had never tried that combination so I picked up some Miller Lite and tried it. Sure enough, the Guinness mixed into the Miller Lite almost immediately. Then, on a whim, I tried layering the Miller Lite over the Guinness. This is the first time I'd tried layering something over the Guinness as I had assumed that the only liquid that would work would be something like Champagne. Well guess what?... It worked and actually layered nicely. Unbelievable!
My next step, a week later, was to try a triple layer with Murphy's stout in a can as a middle layer. As you can see it worked well too.
This turns my world upside down. Aren't stouts (and especially Guinness) always supposed to be the top layer?? Not anymore.
Note that there was a lot of foaming with the Guinness as I was pouring the Miller Lite over it. Had to stop a few times to let the foam settle down before continuing with the Miller.
Let me know if you have any comments to this. Other than the obvious of how could I ruin a perfectly good stout... ;)
I picked up a 6-pack of Black Butte Porter the other day and started trying it with some other beers in my fridge. It worked out great as the bottom layer with Sam Adam's Belgian Session and Shiner Kosmos. Nice distinct layers with both. I had never tried the Belgian Session before but I knew the Shiner Kosmos worked well as a bottom layer with Guinness Draught (See my March triple layer using Kosmos and Guinness). OK... Could this be a new triple layer??... YES!!
So a few days later, after picking up some Guinness, I gave it a try. It turned out really well. Great dark - light - dark layer separation.
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