If only effort equaled success
A Review of Lion Imperial Premium Malt Pilsner by Lion Brewery / Ceylon
Posted on 12/31/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
From time to time, we all need to take a break from our ''go to'' style of beer. Call it a palate break if you will. Something to keep our tongue from falling into a familiar taste rut. Any way you look at it, filling your glass with something different than the norm can always make for an interesting session. For me, putting anything other than a stout near my face means that I am venturing into a non-comfort beer zone. Today I decided to take a step outside my beer box and give the Lion Brewery Imperial Pilsner a spin.

Now in overall terms, if any style of beer could benefit from the ''imperial'' kick in the tush, it has to be the pilsner. While there are some exceptional examples of the pilsner style widely available, for the most part, the makers of the mass produced toilet waters have done little to give the style a good name. So right off the bat, I have to give a tip of the cap to anyone who is willing to give it some assistance.

In the glass, the Lion Imperial Pilsner has a slightly darker than usual golden straw appearance that is normally associated with the pilsner style. The fluffy white head that initially appears with a mildly aggressive pour, ends up nothing more than a slightly soapy looking film that leaves little to no lacing. When the first smell of it hits your nostrils, you really get a confusing blast of apples mixed with a few very sweet pears. There is an incredible resemblance to a cider that is hard to get past. It's slightly pungent, but not stomach turning. With some very deliberate digging, notes of lemon grass, and general floral hops can be found, but all in a very muted way.

The first taste almost makes one want to reexamine the bottle to make sure they didn't grab a hard cider by mistake. The flavor and mouthfeel both get dangerously too close to the cider feel. In my opinion they completely cross that line. Sweet apples and pears, mixed with an extra sugar blast fill your mouth and are very hard to get past. Believe me, I tried. It takes one more than half of the glass to even find any other flavors, and again, what one does find is very muted. Faint pepper notes, and maybe a very thin layer of honey offer only a slight break from the fruity frontload flavor. And while the initial feel of it might be considered thick or sticky to some, a very high carbonation level and amazingly dry finish once again yell out ''Cider alert!''.

If we here at BrewChief.com had a category for ''Effort'', Lion Brewery would get an ''A+''. They ventured into some very scarcely populated territory and gave it a go. But since that category doesn't exist here, their Imperial Pilsner faces the same ratings and recommendations requirements as everyone else. As far as rating it goes, it ranks a little above average if only due to its unique flavors and extra alcohol content. Now, who would I recommend it to? I guess any level of drinker could give it a spin. It's definitely different in the flavor department, though not completely inline with stylistic requirements. If you have a cider drinker in your life, put in in their glass. Granted, its far from a world class cider. It probably would rank just above barrel bottom in that realm, but it would definitely make for an interesting observational session. More experienced drinkers might take it as an interesting take on the pilsner style, and the newbies could probably use it as a decent introduction to the better beer world. It's not mind blowing, nor it is palate scarring. I probably wouldn't advise anyone to actively seek it out, but at the same time, consider it a safe alternative to any mass produced swill you may come across when out and about.

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Lion Imperial Premium Malt Pilsner by Lion Brewery / Ceylon
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