Founders DKML

Val and I have been watching “Pose,” which is an absolutely amazing series. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it. It’s incredibly heart-wrenching and the dialogue is so poignant. Anyways, let’s get to this beer, which I picked up in bomber size.

ABV: 14.2%

Style: American Malt Liquor

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Here you have what could be the first malt liquor worthy of a glass. Typically a slighted style, we thought we would class it up with a stay in the wood and a healthy dose of dry-hopping. A huge hit of corn gives this one a smooth sweetness while its time spent aging in bourbon barrels will give you reason to share. Be warned: this one’s a pry-off, not a twist-off.”

Random: This was a special release in 2017.

The beer poured with a gigantic, five-finger, slightly off-white head. It dissipated very slowly, but didn’t leave much lacing on the glass. The body was clear, but light brown in color with a lot of carbonation. The nose had a touch of caramel and a significant booze note. The taste started with a significant booze burn. There was a little bit of caramel malt and a touch of warm oak and vanilla, but really nothing else. The body was thick with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with hot booze. This bottle was $12, which came to $.47 per ounce. I give Founders credit for trying to make a malt liquor more nuanced, but this was a miss for me.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0


Tonight’s selection is something I purchased out of complete nostalgia. Although I wasn’t of drinking age when this was originally out, I remember all of the commercials and thinking the bottles looked cool. This was finally my opportunity to give it a shot.

ABV: 5%

Style: American Malt Liquor

Trivia: According to, “Zima means ‘winter’ in Slavic and Polish languages. David Placek, at Lexicon Branding, working with the company’s Russian linguist came up with the name. It was launched nationally in the United States as Zima Clearmalt in 1993 after being test-marketed two years earlier in the cities of Nashville, Sacramento, and Syracuse. The lemon-lime drink was part of the ‘clear craze’ of the 1990s that produced products such as Crystal Pepsi and Tab Clear. The slogans used in early advertisements for Zima were ‘a truly unique alcohol beverage’ and ‘Zomething different.’ Zima offered an alternative to the then-successful wine cooler category, and it became very popular. Coors spent $50 million marketing Zima in its first year, persuading nearly half of American alcohol drinkers to try it. Brandweek magazine reported that at Zima’s peak in 1994, 1.2 million barrels of the beverage were sold. Originally popular among young women, Coors made its first attempt at attracting young men to the brand in 1995 by marketing Zima Gold (an amber-colored beverage that promised a ‘taste of bourbon’). The drink was unpopular and disappeared from store shelves within the year. In describing ‘The Long, Slow, Torturous Death of Zima’, writer Brendan Koerner cited Zima’s perceived reputation as a ‘girly-man’ beverage and its persistent parodying by late-night TV host David Letterman. The Chicago Tribune reported that distributors were asked to stock ‘caffeinated alcoholic beverage Sparks on retail store shelves to make up for Zima’s absence.’ In the late 2000s, the beverage was marketed in three additional flavors: citrus, tangerine, and pineapple citrus. In addition, blackberry and green apple flavors were also marketed. On October 20, 2008, MillerCoors LLC announced that it had discontinued production of Zima in the U.S., choosing instead to focus on other ‘malternative’ beverages. Zima is still sold and marketed in Japan. In February 2017, MillerCoors announced that they are in negotiations to bring Zima back to the U.S. market. On June 2, 2017, it was announced the Zima would have a limited release beginning on July 4th weekend.”

Random: My first beverage like this was a Smirnoff Ice.

This beer poured with absolutely no head on top of a crystal clear body. There was significant carbonation visible. The nose was filled with notes of lemon-lime soda and a syrupy sweetness. It had a citrus candy note as well. The taste was really sweet. It had lemon-lime soda as well, but also had a lot of artificial candy sweetness. There was very light citrus as well. The body was thin with a lot of carbonation. It had a quick finish with artificial sweetener. A bottle of this was $1.50, which broke down to $.12 per ounce. I bought this beer because of the nostalgia, but this was a miss. I don’t think I need one for another 10 years.

Untappd Rating: 1.5/5.0

Bud Light Lime-A-Rita

Since I was in Ohio for so long, I tried a different hotel my second week. This was a mistake. I stayed in the Holiday Inn, which apparently had a lot of truckers who liked to play cornhole outside of my window until 2 AM, while drinking and smoking cigars. If I didn’t have to be at work at 4:45 AM, I may have been into this. I bought one of these hoping that it would help me sleep. Needless to say, it didn’t.


ABV: 8%

Style: American Malt Liquor

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Exciting margarita flavors mixed with a twist of
Bud Light Lime for a refreshing finish. Best served over ice.”

Random: Tomorrow’s beer is no better. Spoiler alert.

The beer poured with a quarter of a finger of white head that dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the plastic cup. The body was a cloudy, greenish-yellow and had light visible carbonation. The nose was filled with artificial lime juice and sour mix. To say that the scent was off-putting would be an understatement. The taste wasn’t any better. It was the same artificial lime note and syrupy with white sugar. It had a cheap tequila note with salt. Alcohol was very apparent on this one. The body was thin with light carbonation, which didn’t add to the drinkability. It had a lengthy and sticky lime finish. A can of this was $2.49, which came to $.10 per ounce. Despite the low price on this, it was terrible and I couldn’t finish this. Avoid this one.

Untappd Rating: 1.5/5.0

Smuttynose Smuttlabs Granite State Destroyer

I like corn, especially in the summer. The best is when you can get sweet, white corn from the local farm stand. It’s still a bit early in the season to get it, so this beer will have to do.


ABV: 8%

Style: American Malt Liquor

Trivia: This is billed as an “Imperial Corn Lager.” There is absolutely no information on it on the brewery website.

Random: On house shows, they show some really ugly choices in granite in countertops.

This beer poured with a two and a half finger white head that dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. It also left a crown as well. The body was a straw yellow color with moderate carbonation. The nose was filled with grain and corn and booze. It had a honey sweetness as well. The taste was also incredibly sweet and had a lot of corn and honey. I couldn’t pick up much more than that. The body was moderate thickness (although thicker than I’m used to for the style) with high carbonation. The finish was long with corn and light sweetness. This beer was a gift, so I can’t speak to how much it cost. This beer was just interesting to me. For the style, it’s a stand-out, but that’s not saying much when you’re competing with Olde English or Mad Dog. It also said on the bottle to drink this fresh, and I’m not exactly sure why. I’m glad I got to try it, but it’s still a boring beer to me that I won’t have to consume again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Stillwater Forty Faave

During my brief conversation with the brewer of Stillwater, I asked him for some recommendations of what beers to have while I was there. This was one he suggested. He told me that it was brewed as a bit of joke (because who brews a Malt Liquor with brett, it seems like opposite sides of the beer spectrum) and probably never be brewed again. Needless to say, I had to order it.


ABV: 9%

Style: American Malt Liquor

Trivia: Since this was a one-off, I couldn’t find much about except that it was released at a few exclusive beer bars like Max’s in Baltimore and also during an event at New York City Beer Week.

Random: I love the glass that this was served in too. I think I will have to invest in some new glasses.

This beer poured with a half a finger of white head. It was slow to dissipate and left little lacing on the glass. The body was a slightly cloudy yellow color. There was some light carbonation visible, but not as much as I’m used to for the style (although I can’t profess to be an expert in “malt liquor). The nose was all Brett, teeming with funk. There was a touch of grain too, but this was definitely funk-dominant. The taste was unexpectedly amazing. I got lots of clean malt with some light hops and subdued Brett, especially when compared to the nose. The body was on the lighter side with moderate carbonation and had a quick and clean finish. I’m not sure what I expected from this beer, but it was really unique and a great sipper. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Steel Reserve 211 (High Gravity)

This is another one of those beers that I would have never considered buying except for review purposes. I’ve never had an “American Malt Liquor,” but from my understanding, the only purpose of these is to basically get blasted quickly and cheaply. Yeah, really not my style. Pouring this into a glass even seems a little odd. I feel like I should be drinking this out of a brown paper bag on a corner. Obviously, I don’t have high hopes for this brew. I doubt that it will let me down…

ABV: 8.1%

Style: American Malt Liquor

Trivia: According to, “Steel Reserve is an American lager brand owned and produced by Steel Brewing Company. MillerCoors is the company listed on Steel Reserves’ Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions pages. The drink comes in ‘Black’ and ‘Silver’ varieties, also known as ‘Triple Export Malt Liquor’ and ‘High Gravity Lager,’ respectively. Its claim to fame is its unusually high alcohol content (typically 8.1% ABV) and low price.”

Random: I thought that this would definitely be brewed by a macro company. I was obviously wrong.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow color with lots of active carbonation visible through the body. The nose had some sweet honey notes with grain and some booze. It basically smelled like a macro with extra booze. Funny, that’s what I assumed the beer was. The taste was actually more awful than the nose. The sweetness was even more pronounced and the booze was very apparent. The beer was towards the thicker side and had heavy carbonation. The finish was longer than a macro with lots of cloying sweetness. This brew was just awful. The only reason that you’d drink this is to get blasted. I’d take any macro over this. Avoid. Seriously…even if there are no other options, this just isn’t worth it. Even if it comes in a tallboy can…not worth it.

Untappd Rating: 1.0/5.0