Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Castle Lager - South African Breweries plc

Not Rated.
Castle LagerCastle Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

93 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 93
Hads: 145
Avg: 2.47
pDev: 29.55%
Wants: 6
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
South African Breweries plc visit their website
South Africa

Style | ABV
American Adjunct Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-07-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (9) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 93 | Hads: 145
Photo of Sammy
2.23/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Nothing to look at, don't smell it, overly carbonated, some malts, drinkable in place of pop on a hot summer night. When I say metallic, that's its best quality.

Honest, I would not have bought it unless there was no beer left in the house and this was it, and I was stuck and thirsty in South Africa. It was a gift from a South African. Of course he bought it at the LCBO where pale lagers reside. I know South Africa can do better (at least a bit)than this.

 462 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
1.18/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to travlr for sharing this. Consumed in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a very light-colored brew without any head or lacing. The nose is approaching awful, with some creamed corn, canned vegetables, and quite a bit of metal. The taste is even worse; the beer was quite hard to swallow. Slightly-rotten vegetables along with loads of aluminum. Pretty gross. Really thin with a metallic finish.

 398 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
1.59/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Can: Poured a super pale yellow color lager with a medium size pale white foamy head with minimal retention and not much lacing. Aroma of corn adjunct with lingering sweetness. Taste is also dominated by weal malt profile and some adjunct. Body is thin with good carbonation. Nothing too exciting here.

 302 characters

Photo of biboergosum
2.61/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

440ml can, at the Remedy Cafe off-campus, my better half's favourite hangout, and a decent enough beer destination for yours truly, so well, win-win!

This beer pours a clear, pale golden yellow colour, with two pudgy fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and maybe even a tad creamy off-white head, which leaves some random sea spray lace around the glass as it quickly subsides.

It smells of semi-sweet, weirdly cheap whiskey-tinted pale grain, corn grits, stale apple skins, and skunky, stewed vegetal hops. The taste is more husky pale grain, an indistinct, yet increasingly predominant corn sweetness, subtle fusel oils, a metallic flintiness, and weedy, skunky, and vegetal hops.

The bubbles are average here, just innocuously frothy, the body closer to medium weight from below than I might have imagined, a bit oily, yet approachable in its smoothness - go figure. It finishes off-dry, with some lingering Frankenstein malt, and more muted cooked veggie stank.

None too pleasant, sure, and about bang-on for the style, the exotic origin locale not really doing much for it. Plain, ineffectual, and good only for engendering poorly rendered 'Sooth Afreeken' gentle mockery on my part.

 1,190 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
1.86/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Lightly dusted medium gold with a paltry amount of carbonation leading up to a respectable looking off-white head. The cap has some character and sticks around longer than the style average. It doesn't stick to the glass as well as it might, though. This is an average looking beer at best.

The nose is unimpressive. It smells primarily of grain that isn't sun-ripened fresh, nor is it old and musty. It just... is. It also has a pervasive mineralness (hard water?) that is in no way metallic. If the aroma is any guide, Castle Lager will be unappealing on the palate. So far, it's completely devoid of pizzazz.

Unfortunately, this is a worse than the run-of-the-mill macro lager. We've now escaped the realm of lacking in good qualities, to enter the realm of possessing bad qualities. The stale grain flavor that is a major part of many (actual) American macro lagers is in full flower. So much so that I'd have a hard time distinguishing this beer from some of the best sellers from this country.

South African Breweries boasts of using 'sun ripened South African maize'. While that might sound poetic, it doesn't make for good beer. Actually, a little more corny sweetness would help to cut the bland flavor and modest bitterness that is currently boring my taste buds to tears (the better to wash away the watery dreck that I keep flooding them with).

Speaking of watery and lackluster, welcome to the mouthfeel. I've had worse, but not much worse. More bubbles might have given more mouth interest. Then again, they might have simply turned bad beer into fizzy bad beer.

The label contains the words 'the taste that's stood the test of time'. I beg to differ. Castle Lager's taste can't stand up to anything even remotely resembling good beer. It possesses all of the worst characteristics of its style and isn't worth my time, your time or anyone else's time.

 1,882 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.58/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep gold body with a half-finger-high head of bubbly, white foam.

Smell: Ah, a sweet-smelling aroma of light corn syrup generously brushed over some simple, basic barley.

Taste: Then, it's flavor time! Lightly grainy, excessively pale malts with sweet hints of sucrose and corn syrup. There's a lacking hop presence and accompanying bitterness, leaving the beer to finish somewhat sweet.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A bit of a disappointment. Particularly adjunct-laden and I'd prefer it to finish a bit drier. Ah well!

 582 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I had a good buddy from South Africa and he always told me that he would bring back a case on one of his trips back from South Africa, however I think I will save him the trouble and pass on this one. Appearance: Golden straw thin white head lackluster appearance, lacing is thin. Aroma: Grainy sweetness alcohol and a touch of hops overall I had to really concentrate on finding these characteristics but they are there. Taste: Adjuncts once again corn in my beer, why? Semi wheat graininess nothing flavorful not horrible but c'mon I didn't mind Tusker from Kenya it had some positive traits this one is just lacking. Mouthfeel: Thin body low carbonation what can I say nothing special, another yellow fizzy brew. Drinkability: In my humble opinion, a beer I could live without too many great beers out there, at least in the US.

 831 characters

Photo of mdfb79
1.94/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

From 03/27/11 notes. The third canned beer from Africa shared by Travir (RB).

a - Pours a clear golden color with an inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of corn, grain, and bready malts. Not good, but not as offensive as the Ndovu.

t - Tastes of grain, corn, bready malts, light sourness. A step down from the nose and a bit like a skunked BMC adjunct.

m - Light body and high carbonation.

d - Not as bad as the Ndovu, but not a good beer at all. Wouldn't want to have again.

 505 characters

Photo of GClarkage
2.68/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Consumed in October 2004 in a 12 oz bottle purchased at a beer and wine specialty store in Palo Alto, CA. Poured a yellow gold pee color with the slightest of head and zero lace. Smelled of grain and corn. Tasted like a decent Bud. And even a decent Bud is bad. It was fairly easy to drink. I would drink it over Bud in a minute, but that's not saying a whole lot. I would take a Tusker in a milisecond over Castle. I remember really liking Tusker and want to try it again so I can review it. I think they brewed Castle using the water in the moat....

 551 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.58/5  rDev +44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours yellow, with a pretty long-lasting head, good lacing for a lager.

S: Very malty, sourdough, some corn, a hint of DMS, but definitely a more concentrated smell than your average macro.

T: Taste is all malt upfront, a hint of diacetyl. Hop presence is considerable for this style, noble hops give a great counterbalance to the malt, notes of grass and wet earth, a bit of pine.

M: Light in carbonation, which is a nice respite, since this style can be all carbonation. Not as crisp as I'd like, but light-bodied and smooth, easy to drink.

D: This is quite a good lager, it can be on par with the best of the Euro lager style. Don't know why it is rated so low on BA, I thought it was quite good.

 722 characters

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.33/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I am not a great lager/pilsner fan, but this was OK.

Brown 750ml bottle, from Morrison's supermarket, best before 2007, drank in March 2007.

Poured into two Hoegaarden Grand Cru tulip glasses, looks like a lager. Clear golden yellow, straw blonde when held up to the light. Large white head straight after the pour, soon dispersed to almost nothing.

Lagers don't really have much aroma to my thinking, this was no different, a slight hoppy, wheaty, nothingy smell.

Crisp dry taste, hops are in there, not a bad taste, thirst quenching in my opinion.

Watery mouthfeel, but this is a lager, what do you expect? It holds it's hop flavour and dryness.

This is not a great beer, but it was just what I needed this evening, something light to go with a salad meal. I have no problems with it and would be happy to have another if asked, wouldn't buy another, but I'd drink one!

 889 characters

Photo of Zorro
2/5  rDev -19%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

GAH! I paid $2 for one bottle of this Crap!

Pours a clear urine yellow color with no head.

Smell is a little sour and corny.

Taste is bland corn and a little bit of lemon tartness.

Mouthfeel is THIN.

Drinkable but I can't help thinking I paid 4 times too much for a bottle of Budweiser! Thin mass-produced American beer clone NOT WORTH THE MONEY!

 361 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.06/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Landed in Johannesburg and headed to the conference in Sandton. Had a 500ml draght Castle with dinner. The beer was golden clear with good carbonation that gave a nice finger thick head...which laced down the entire 500ml pilsner glass. The smell was mostly grain and no-descript. The taste was along the same lines a Becks, Pils Urquell, etc. This beer had some sweetness to the grain and was very crisp, meaning it came off the pallete clean. This beer ranks with most of the big american brewers.

 499 characters

Photo of jdhilt
1.47/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

From my notes 6/12/07 pours a three-finger white head that quickly goes to a thin layer, leaving a good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Skunky nose. Light carbonation and light bodied. Flavor has occasional sweetness mostly bitter, dry finish with some bitterness. S.Fr. 3.30 ($2.68) for a 330ml bottle from Drinks of the World Lucerne, Switzerland.

 350 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.38/5  rDev +36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle brought back from S. Africa by my sister on a recent visit.

A: The lager is pale and yellow, with a bit of carbonation, not more than 1/2 a finger, that quickly recedes to a small white band atop the glass.

S: The nose is grainy with some sweet corn notes, and that is a result of searching for any noticeable aroma.

T: The body is all malts, grainy with a dry yet sweet element. The finish is almost medicinal with hints of tartness. The body lacks a hop presence, but the malts are sweet enough, with a big enough body, that they are not missed. I was going into this expecting the worst and yet I am pleased with the sweet body.

M: The mouthfeel is thin without hops, but the corn and grain sweetness makes this an easy drink.

D: This is a good post-lawn mowing beer, light and refreshing.

 822 characters

Photo of wordemupg
2.62/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

440ml can poured into pint glass oct15 2009

A straw yellow with crazy amount of carbonation that makes this one look alive. big fluffy two finger head that slowly falls forming an island leaving a fair amount of lace well down the glass

S corn, grass and skunk

T as it smells and that's not the greatest thing

M thin and too much carbonation

D perhaps I drank a bad beer, this one just looked so good I find it hard to believe I was so weak in other areas

I doubt I'll be drinking this one anytime soon, it looks much better then it tastes

 546 characters

Photo of Viggo
1.71/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a pale yellow/gold, big fluffy white head, some decent lacing and retention. Smell is almost non existant. Some sweet maltiness, little bit of citrus and floral, maybe some vanilla. Doesn't really taste like anything. Little bit of malt, some iron flavour but otherwise completely devoid. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation. Completely tasteless, but as refreshing as water.

 392 characters

Photo of bark
2.06/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Colour is pale straw yellow; the compact low white foam sinks slowly leaving some lacing.

The smell is very sweet with a distinct note of corn. I found some alcohol and syrup, too.

The taste is very light with notes of adjuncts. The aftertaste is extremely short wit a sweet touch and some alcohol.

The carbonation is pretty strong; medium sized bubbles.

This is probably a typical “tropical” lager: So gulpable that it becomes hard to gulp. There must be better brews to carry from the other side of the world than this one!

 542 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
2.38/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass the beer pours a clear pale gold color, with about an inch white head. It smells mainly like corn, with a faint skunk smell. It has some malt sweetness in the taste, but mainly it tastes like corn/grain, but it also has a very small sour and bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is very light and thin, and also a bit oily. Drinkability is a bit below average. Not a very good beer at all.

 408 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
2.53/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a bright, egg shell white that leaves a film on top of the brew. Color is a bright hay mixed with pale yellows. Some small lacing intermingled.

Smell- A little tinny with some light grainy aromas and cut grass thats been laying in the hot sun too long.

Taste- A little tart bitterness mixed with almost nonexistent malt sweetness. Water, dry hops, and crappy malts. Taste the way my high school gym locker smelled.

Mouthfeel- Tart, tangy, alkaline, but it leaves the palate quickly.

 510 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.2/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, hilton-sandton bar

a very widely available mainstream lager

appearance: clear piss-golden, light beige foam

smell: macro lager - corn, grain, mild sweetness

taste: better than many other miller products and easy enough to drink but nothing worth remembering

mouthfeel: light - watered down

drinkability : easy

 328 characters

Photo of drpimento
2.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sure looks good with the pour! Which is a huge, foamy, frothy, sudsy, billowy, white with lots of lace. Color is a clear yellow gold with several small bubble trails. Aroma is a scant scent of bitter hop. Flavor is a mild corn beer with slight bitter sweetness and a hint metalic. Body is ok and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor and over quick. Best thing about this beer is having it in South Africa!

 409 characters

Photo of Brenden
2.03/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A completely clear bright gold color, this brew throws up a layer of foam that, to its credit, does stick around for a moment before falling to just what can cling to the edges. A few little spots of lacing can be seen here and there.
The aroma isn't offensive; there's not much at all going on. I get grains, a little syrupy sweetness, and a lightly mineral note.
The flavor is primarily grainy and sweet with a dusting of pale malts. Take away the sweetness and it's almost palatable.
The caronation holds up and the very light body actually keeps something going, while crispness keeps it from going flat. For the style, the feel is average.

 644 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
1.98/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Another country, another non-descript Lager. Pale golden color with tiny bubbles and a thin white head that was gone in the blink of an eye. No lacing apparent. Sweet aroma. Light-bodied with vague sweetcorn and malt flavoring. The finish is short with musty hops. Needless to say I won’t bother getting this again.

 316 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.39/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 330ml brown glass bottle, with a neck, obverse and reverse label. The neck label says that the ingredients are “Barley Malt, Maize, Hops and Water”, it also list this brew as alc. 5.0% vol. The shoulder of the neck states ‘Mfg: 18/04/06 – Exp: 18/04/07’, so it is a fresh sample.

Appearance: What I immediately notice is the fact that the super white head is very creamy and forms a rather expansive head on the pour which slowly settles to reveal a crusty iceberg like surface. Nice lacing above the head stays around also. The body though is your archetypal pale golden straw affair, though the clarity of the body with the quality of the head makes for a great looking clean quenching brew that would slake any thirst.

Nose: Nothing much of anything, too clean and far too refined. I honestly could not find anything here except very, very feint hints of grain and a soft sweetness. Completely lacking in aroma rather than having anything off-putting.

Taste: The malts are light, soft grains, low sweetness and a under the radar bitter finish. It has a little of everything, but not much anything, if that makes sense. However, on redeeming feature is the complete lack of any skunky, corny, metallic elements so attributable to these offerings. That at least bolsters a 2.5. It’s hard to get excited about this one but it is clean, and the finish is crisp too boot.

Mouthfeel: The brew exhibited a slight creamy texture when slaked in gulps at first, but closer examination reveals a thin body, one that feels lacking. However, if this one is supped cool whilst partaking of other activities you could be forgiven for “missing” the thin body, but body is there though, or rather isn’t.

Drinkability: A no-brainer beer this one. Nothing at all to detract you, nothing to keep you returning, except for that fact that you’re probably far too busy cutting the grass to “think” about your next brew and will just grab the next Castle from the cooler to keep going. But, this one will keep your thirst in check whilst doing so. An average all-round libation with a decent Drinkability.

Overall: My second SAB beer review and like the Milk Stout I have to admit to finding nothing really wrong or distasteful here, but it certainly does not shine either. True, it wasn’t half as bad as I expected, it’s a crisp easy going brew that drinks fresh with a super thirst quenching ability, clean flavor set and finish. BevMo stiffed me all of $1.69 for the privilege of a single bottle, but I have paid much more for worse brews though.

 2,576 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Castle Lager from South African Breweries plc
61 out of 100 based on 93 ratings.