This Imperial Lager pours a light-to-medium straw color with a healthy mane of a head that’s rather plentiful for a lager of this ABV (higher alcohol content can kill head retention, especially in lagers). You can expect to take in notes of fresh cut grass, apples and caramel malt sweetness on the nose, with faint impressions of Scotch whisky. This lion’s alcohol content remains docile, but be warned, it will prey on you as it lurks—so be alert! Flavorwise, we have here an amped-up lager that brings full-bodied flavors. Alcohol really doesn’t roar the way you’d think it would at nearly 9%—it’s more of a gentle purr motoring in the background and its sharpness actually serves as a counterbalance to the sweeter notes from the heavy malt character. There are some over-ripened orange, citrus notes, and cereal huskiness in the middle, along with honey, sugar, and an oily slickness in the mouthfeel. Look for it to finish with a gentle hoppy spiciness and a lick of alcohol, presenting a mead-like fade (mead, for those unfamiliar, it a beverage made from fermented honey). Malt liquor is sort of a dirty phrase to us, but it has, nonetheless, evolved into a distinct “style” (with the name forced on us by bureaucratic alcohol enforcement entities to distinguish it from other beers due to higher alcohol content… Because of this, many of the craft-brewed beers you enjoy today are “technically” classified, in the US, as malt liquor, but despite the overreaching technical definition that can be applied to a huge number of beers of various styles, there’s a range of beers that truly fit into what beer aficionados consider to be the stylistic parameters of malt liquor). Lion Imperial Lager is a very nice example—a sexy, refined malt liquor, with more elegant, noble hop notes than your standard US or “European macro” strong lagers. The King of the jungle, if you will, of malt liquors, “Imperial Lager” is a fitting reference.