After getting my hands on a tool called The Perfect Black and Tan I had to give it a shot. I picked up “Into the Black Stout” from Off The Rail Brewing in Vancouver and “Persephone Pale Ale” from Persephone Brewing in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast. I have dubbed it “Into the Pale Ale Black and Tan”.
The beer poured a deep golden colour on top with an opaque black colour on the bottom and a very light brown head. The aroma was obviously dominated by the pale ale on top but consisted of floral hops, roasted malts, tropical fruits, coffee and some oats. The flavour started with tropical fruits, citrus, caramel and floral hops but transitions with every sip into toasted oats, roasted malts, coffee, earth and some mild chocolate. The alcohol content from the Stout was 4.8% and the Pale Ale was 5.5% so it was somewhere in the low 5% range. While the colours were not quite as apposing as I would have liked for this black and tan the flavours actually worked quite nice together. Maybe not the perfect black and tan but a pretty tasty one none the less.
I have always loved a good Black and Tan when out at a pub but had never thought to make one at home as it takes some skill to pour a perfect black and tan.
I guess I should actually explain what a black and tan is for the people that do not know. A black and tan is typically a Lager or lighter ale poured carefully with a stout to make a multiple layer beer. The Perfect Black and Tan device makes pouring a black and tan easy. The only real difficult part is making sure you know what beer is more dense than the other as it will sink to the bottom if poured on top. Do a small scale test of the two beers you want to drink before going for the full glass as to not waste your beer and time.
My first try pouring I did not do a test even though I thought I should.
You can find great instructions on layering beer at The Perfect Black and Tan website. But the basics are to pour the more dense beer into the glass to the half way point. After you have done that you up the Perfect Black and Tan device on top of your cup. Now you are to pour the second beer slowly as it takes a little longer for the beer to pour through the small holes in the device. If you have picked the correct order of the beer then this device will work amazingly well.
Sadly the Pale Ale that I picked for this test was much darker than I expected as I had never had it before so it is not as striking and drastic as it could be. Still you can really get an idea of what this device can really do.
The price of the Perfect Black and Tan is quite low and for how well it works I would recommend anyone that enjoys a black and tan or anyone that likes to experiment buy one.
Top purchase your own Perfect Black and Tan device you have a few different options.
From Nanaimo’s Wolf Brewing comes their “Black & Tan” a mixture of their Golden Honey Ale and Dark Malt Porter. The beer pours a deep brown colour and a red tinge with a tan head. The aroma consists of sweet honey, chocolate, roasted malts and some earth. The flavour is of earth, burnt malts, caramel, chocolate, honey, mild bitterness, coffee and some sweetness in the finish. The alcohol content comes in at 5.5% with an IBU of 25. I have always enjoyed a good black and tan and this one is no different. I actually prefer the ones that are premixed like this as the flavours meld together more instead of just having two distinct beers poured on top of each other.
Commercial Description: Featuring a skilfully blended combination of Wolf Brewing Company’s Golden Honey Ale and Dark Malt Porter, the Black & Tan is the best of both worlds; the resulting blend is an easy-to-drink, medium-bodied, balanced ale offering a wonderfully complex flavour profile from seven different malt varieties.
From Vancouver’s Yaletown Brewing Co comes the “Helmcken Black and Tan” available on tap or through growler fill at the brewpub. Most black and tans seem to be a mix of a lager/pilsner and a stout but this one is different. This Black and Tan is a mix of the “Nagila Pale Ale” and “Warehouse Stout” and is amazing. The appearance of this beer will change if you let it sit but they pour the pale ale first which is a pale amber and then the stout on top which is opaque black. The smell combines both these beer to give you sweet, spicy, fruity tones with a decent hops hit as well as roasted malts and black coffee. The taste also combines all the flavors of orange, citrus, malts and hops with roasted malts, black coffee, dark chocolate and caramel. This beer is a combination of two great beers to create an even better one. I will be having more of this beer in the future. The alcohol content will hover between the 4.5% and 5% of the two respective beer.
From the Mississippi Brewing Company out of New York (don’t ask I don’t know) comes the “Mississippi Mud Black & Tan”. A black and tan is a mix of dark and a light beer. In this case it is a Porter and a Pilsner. You can definitely taste both distinct flavors but they mix to make an interesting mixture for the taste buds! Both me and Steve H. enjoyed this beer and will be drinking it again! I look forward to trying other black and tans from now on. Either in bars or my own creations picking two different distinct beer. The beer sits at a respectable 5% alcohol.