Lion: Stout (Sri Lanka: Foreign Stout: 8.8% ABV)

Visual: Opaque black. Medium coffee brown head that dissipates to dust in but moments.

Nose: Roasted nuts, chalky and gritty. Praline. Hint of smoke and slight fish oil.

Body: Rough texture initially. Praline. Mocha. Bitter. Diced nuts. The initially quite gritty feel in the mouth smoothes out somewhere around the half way point to a much more pleasing texture. Dates. Mussels.

Finish: Slightly oily. Tobacco and smoke. Liquorice. Black coffee. Peanuts and bitter chocolate.

Conclusion:  I’m not quite sure where I stand on this beer, so I’m going to talk it out and see where it takes me.  For the abv you would expect a beer with a more obvious character and bit of a showy style.  Guinness foreign export stout has its very cloying style for example.  This however plays things a little differently.

I would never describe the flavour as understated, for one it would be a blatant lie, but the beers character could best be described as resolute.  Like a brick wall it stands, with the flavour building slowly on the tongue brick by brick.  The longer your hold it the more it builds, but never changing the base character.

Apparently a beer designed to complement spicy foods well. Ok I can see that. The bitter and slightly oily body shifts for nothing.

Hmm, in the end I think I’m on favour of it.  Solid chocolate and coffee as expected, with a hint of seafood oils and smoke to make it a tad different. Definitely a beer of set purpose, and does that well. Not modest, not showy. It is what it is, tautological as that may be, and for that it has no regrets.

Background: Another of Michael Jackson’s 500 recommended beers. In fact a picture of him with corresponding quote adorns the back of the bottle.  The abv seems to shift a lot, I’ve seen four different abvs listed for this beer over the past few years.