Tag Archive: Sri Lanka


Tasting Notes: Lion: Lager

Lion: Lager (Sri Lanka: Pale Lager: 4.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale clear gold. Moderate small bubbled carbonation and a good sized loose white bubbled head.

Nose: White bread hop character. Clear. Flour.

Body: White bread. Slight hop oils. Moderate bitterness. Vanilla. Prickly mouthfeel. Slight dry toffee. Brown bread.

Finish: Bready. Lightly bitter. Lightly chalky. Fluffy hop feel. Sulphur touch to the air. Lightly earthy,

Conclusion: This is a fairly bready, fluffy hopped lager. Nothing too out of the normal but it has a greater than normal hop bitterness. Still fairly gentle, but gives a present bitter character throughout, especially out into the finish which helps it last longer than a lot of the “Wet air” like lagers that exist.

It is not an unusual take on a lager, unlike a lot of the craft beer takes, nor the super polished, lightly oily feel of the polished pilsners but similarly it does not feel like a lot of the more mainstream lagers – and, for Sri Lanka at least this is pretty much their mainstream lager best I can tell so, the fact it rocks a bit higher hop character and bitterness makes it stand out when compared to them. It helps that there are no real evident rough spots and the bitterness work pretty well. It is not stand out but it is more enjoyable than most mainstay lagers.

It is a gentle lager base, with a heavier than expected hop style and feel. Not a must have or even one to hunt out, but if you are in Sri Lanka it will do you reasonably.

Ok, if not special.

Background: Thanks to Mushroom who bright this back from Sri Lanka for me – (Also a can of the Lion Stout, which I have tried before and quite enjoyed). He really does spoil me. Not much more to say, a lager from Sri Lanka. Tidy. I put on Laura Jane Grace: At War With The Silverfish as background tunes. My music choices are having less and less to do with the beer as time goes on.

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Not A Tasting Note: Old Keg

Old Keg (Sri Lanka: Whisky?: 38% ABV)

First of all, this is not a a tasting note.

I was visiting my friend Mark who had brought this back from Sri Lanka and offered to let me try some – Many thanks! I had eaten some spicy food earlier so was not really in tasting note form, but thought it worth commenting on as it is a tad unusual.

First of all – it is called Old Keg, which is odd in itself. Whisky is generally aged in wooden casks, not kegs. Hopefully just a translation error, if not this is doubly strange! Though considering Sri Lanka doesn’t follow the rules for whisky that Scotland, Ireland, etc follows who knows? How can I be so sure they don’t follow those rules, when I have no idea what rules they follow? Simple, this is 38% abv – not legally whisky in the UK as it is below 40% abv, so I am fairly sure they differ in at least that one fact.

So, an example of those whiskies I keep hearing about from other countries that don’t match UK whisky rules – so, do we have a delicious different whisky?

Eh, not really – They call it Old Keg but this tastes very young – it is hard to say exactly as warmer climes age very differently (depending on where in Sri Lanka this aged of course) – but it tastes very raw and spirity, quite viscous in its alcohol character and quite raw – I’m guessing a lot of grain whisky in here as well.

I didn’t try with water, may have helped, but I did not try – My bad.

Generally this had fairly standard toffee and vanilla whisky notes behind the rough character but that alcohol character was at the forefront.

So, interesting, but not one I’d recommend for having to savour the flavour of.

Still thanks for letting me try Mark, much appreciated!

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.

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