Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Lion Stout

The Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC
Sri Lanka

Style: Stout
ABV: 8.0%

Jug’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (World class.)

I first discovered Lion Stout at an Old Chicago. If you’re unfamiliar with Old Chicago, they have a World Beer Tour club. Basically they track all of the different beers you drink and you earn prizes along the way at certain intervals. The final award is, after trying 100 different beers, you get a plaque adorned with your name hung on the wall. Every time I went there I searched the beers by geographic location. Soon the classic European countries had no new brews to offer me so I had to look elsewhere. I worked through the countries one by one until I was near the end of my tour with only obscure countries like Sri Lanka and Mexico left.

I have to admit I wasn’t too excited about what a hot island in the middle of the Indian Ocean could offer me in the way of craft beer, but it had to be better than Mexico. Well, I wanted my name on that wall, so I picked Lion Stout. Man, what a lesson I learned that day.

The Lion Stout pours with an inky blackness that rivals the depths of Mordor. A thick, smooth head of fine tan bubbles rests upon the dark body. You can hear the head fizz as it slowly dissipates leaving just a bit of lacing.

The Lion Stout’s nose is somewhat complex. The first whiff is of molasses and chocolate followed with rich fruity esters. You can pick up a hint of alcohol if you look hard enough for it. No trace of hops.

Not surprisingly, the first flavor is of big rich molasses quickly followed by the complex fruity esters. The esters change and become more dominant as the beer warms with raisin and plum being most dominant. This malty, fruity flavor is quickly followed by semi-sweet chocolate richness, and finally a slight chalky-roasted bitterness. The beer does not finish dry with this bitterness, however. It goes down pretty smooth with a sweet chocolate aftertaste and slight warming affect. No trace of hops. Despite being a rich stout at 8 percent ABV, the body hovers closer to medium than big.

Despite coming from brewing nowhere, this is a great beer. It is definitely not a great choice for a session beer, but disregarding it’s 8 percent ABV and how rich it is, it doesn’t suit me as a snifter beer either. I was wrong to almost dismiss this fine beer just because it wasn’t from one of the great brewing countries, but I’ve learned my lesson and I didn’t have to drink any of that Mexican swill! If you find yourself in the Old Chicago with my name on the wall, tell ‘em Jug sent ya and order up a Lion Stout. Email me a picture of the plaque and I’ll send you a Beerdork’s shirt!

Reviewed by Jug Dunningan on February 12, 2009.
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