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Beerlao Dark | Lao Brewery Co.

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76 Reviews
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Beerlao DarkBeerlao Dark

Brewed by:
Lao Brewery Co.

Style: Euro Dark Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Beerlao Dark is an award winning beer brewed with the finest ingredients and roasted malt. A full-bodied tasted experience with a golden brown color.

Added by Jason on 12-31-2005

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 156
Photo of thekanna
3.46/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear chestnut brown with about 2 fingers of white head.

S: Sweet malts and adjunct grains with a bit of clove; maybe a little anise?

T/M: Great honey sweetness and malts; crisp, effervescent and enjoyable. Slightly medicinal aftertaste.

D: Decent, and I can see it complementing Laotian food well by providing respite from the strong flavors.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Budweiser pokal.

Apparently the easiest beer from Southeast Asia for me to acquire out here in NoVa. Huh. Anyway, it pours a clear dark tawny with about half a finger of light ecru mini-foam on top. The nose is dark wheat, cinnamon, and nutmeg; a helluva lot better than I was expecting (I blame Thailand and 'Nam for this). The taste doesn't deviate too far, with notes of dark malts, wheat, and a slight underlying sweetness. Honestly, this may be the best-tasting Euro Dark I've had in a long goddamn time. Who'da thunk it? The body is light, with a lightly moderate carbonation and a rather watery feel. Not an optimal feel, but a surprisingly highly drinkable brew nonetheless. Right on, Laos.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.14/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger cream head that fades quickly to a thin layer, leaving some lace. Nice crystal clear amber color. Mystery bits in bottom of glass that may or may not be yeast. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Faint malty nose. Flavor reminds me of honey cough syrup. Far better than their Lager. $1.85 for a 330ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, rich, garnet color with a fluffy off-white head. Dissipates to a thick film and leaves good lacing.
Smell is malt, dark fruit, cane sugar hops and kool-aid.
Taste is most of the same without the kool-aid and adding alcohol. Some oak note after warming.
Dmooth, light effervescence, medium-full body. Some hops in aftertaste after warming. Quite a good beer

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Photo of Jesstyr
3.33/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, like most people here this is my first Laotian beer. Honestly, it wasn't bad at all...just wasn't a go to. Enjoyed in a Palm tulip glass.

Pours a chestnut brown with deep amber tones. Head is two fingers, and fizzles immediately into light patching. Nose is metallic, with subtle malty tones. My fiance noted a bit of salt water in there, and I tend to agree when it was pointed out, but perhaps its more salt toffee.

The body on this beer is a bit light for the style, it initially feels medium, but really is a bit too watery on the way down. Flavor has an earthiness to it, and exhibits a decent malty character. Weakness is the lack of any balanced sweetness. Makes you wonder how water from different regions affects the beer - in this case, its a negative to me. Overall a fairly drinkable beer, and better than any other asian beer I've had.

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Photo of sprucetip
3.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

UPDATE: revisiting this one after a couple of months in SE Asia. It is far superior, head and shoulders above, anything else sold in bottles in the region.

From notes. Pours a clear light mahogany with ample off white head and good retention. Moderate activity, and looks good, similar to but lighter than a brown ale.

A bit nutty and malty sweet, but faint and hard to find. What little I can find is pleasant. Would increase the score if it were any stronger.

Malty sweet body balanced pretty well by a few hops. Almost but not quite tea bag grainy, and light roasty flavors contribute to a generally earthy character. Extraordinary for where it comes from.

Nice carbonation level, and legitimately medium bodied. Pleasant, almost rich texture, vague bitterness emerging for the finish.

With exponentially more body and flavors than the other beers made in this region, for now, this is the go to beer in SE Asia (other than any imports you can find, which are scarce but increasingly available in some places). Overall, it is pretty easy drinking, wherever you may enjoy it.

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Photo of Parrotbeak
3.94/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a patchy, white head.
Smell is malts, caramel, cinnamon, and dark fruits. Corny, bready notes as well.
Taste is slighty sweet and spicey malts. Figs, plums, and brown sugar come in after, as well as some more dark fruits.
Mouthfeel is nice and crisp, with a fairly dry finish. Medium-light body.
Good drinkability. Compared to most others I've tried in this style over the past, this one stands out.

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Photo of alkemy
2.19/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark brown with a hint of orange under nary a finger of beige head. Smells of skunkiness and caramel malts. There's a metallic thing going on in the taste as well as a sour overtone. This is really quite bad. It's thin and drinkable if you can overcome the flavor. Not for me.

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Photo of buschbeer
2.94/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured into a pint glass to a half inch of head. It is a dark rust color. It has a kind of skunky import smell with a side of roasted malt. The taste is mainly of roasted malt. It tastes better than Beerlao because of the malt. It's not that bad of tasting beer. It has an almost cocoa taste to it. It is an average beer. I could probably session it if I had to, but let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Can chen!

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is fruity and a bit fruit-sweet with a malty undertone. Pours a slightly hazy cinnamon- brown with a decent cream-colored head. Flavor is crisp, malty, slightly yeasty and just a little fruity with just a tiny bit of sweetness. Texture is rather smooth and fizzy, rather typical. Worth a try.

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Photo of Vancer
3.33/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The label notes this is a "dark" beer, hope it ain't "heavy" too. Har.

Pours a clear mahogany into the tulip glass, thin ivory head. Light aromas of caramel and malt, along with a hint of the infamous euro skunk. Nothing wrong with the taste, easy drinking sweet caramel and nut mixed with a decent malt backbone.

This would make for a respectable drinker in the hotter weather. Not the greatest, not the worst ever drank.

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Photo of Otterburn
3.5/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This a tasty dark beer for the Asian beer

Beer in Asia is pretty light

this one is a bit tasty

color is dark amber

white head

smell a bit roasted

taste pretty good for laos..

Mouth feel, good inside on a warm night in Vang Viang after a hot after noon of tubing down the river stoping for whisky shots all the way

drinkability is alright, its hot humid and this dark beer lao is easy to drink and a bit more tasty than other brew

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Photo of farrago
3.05/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly white colored head given the deeper brown to amber hued liquid, you get about a half finger with average retention, good tenacity in what lacing there is. Fully transparent. Direct and simple nose based in caramelized brown sugar, cola bean, rice and processed flour, some okra or greens notes, over time a strong earthiness comes out, not much by way of fruit or citrus, for what it's worth clean dissolve. Light to medium-bodied, the carbonation has a tough edge to it, adds some turbulence. Not that sweet, however, the caramel, honey, brown sugar the most prominent part by default. Can't shake that vegetal edge, maybe, just maybe some orange peel. More of the earthy, sort of minerally, stuff. You can drink it without pain nor suffering but once the glass is empty you hardly remember it.

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Photo of Domingo
2.44/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to a buddy of mine who brought this back from Laos. Not sure about the imported version, but this one is from the source.
Pours more of an amber color than I expected. It's darker than a pale lager, but no darker than something like Yuengling.
Smells sugary...but not in a good way. In general the smell isn't really very appealing. It reminds me a little of a malt liquor.
The taste is so-so. There are elements of a caramel malty flavor, but there's also a really rough overcooked rice flavor that comes across as bitter and makes the finish harsh.
As it warms it actually get better, but it's never really "good."
Not quite a drain pour, but nothing I'd want again.
Skip this one, even if you are in the area.

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Photo of albern
2.09/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

In fairness, the Beerlao that I tasted was bottled almost a year prior, so it really is far from fresh. The beer pours a nice amber mahogany color with not much head no lacing. The nose tastes really processed and artificial, like a very bad adjunct lager.

The taste is caramel and a bit nutty. The overly processed taste to the beer and what appears to be a cheaply made beer, is enough for me. This isn't good enough to suffer through. Perhaps with a fresher Beerlao, I would think differently, but I only have the one to rate and it isn't good.

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Photo of BDLbrewster
3.41/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very nice woody bark color with a nice amber hue that glares in the light. Small bubbly head with no retention and almost no lacing.

The smell is very sweet, and somewhat rich. Brown sugar and rice adjuncts. Light, bready malts and fruity esters. Very fragrant for the style.

The malt character is much heavier that I anticipated. Somewhat rich, nutty tasting malts along with that familiar rice induced sweetness. The hops are also amazingly noticeable, not bittering but a tad spicy and welcome. There is a ricey, slightly astringent aftertaste but it does not really hamper the overall taste.

Mouthfeel is not quite as watery as expected, and the carbonation level is ample enough to make it feel light on the tongue.

Overall I dig Beer Lao. The light is better than the dark in my opinion, but this is something I wouldn't mink having every once in a while.

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Photo of paulieatworld
2.88/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

just got handed this from my wisdom beverage rep. laosian??? sweet.

yeah, anyways, this one's just kinda there for me. has that kind of skunky smell that all important green bottles, or anything from the south pacific has. kind of a syrupy mouthfeel with a sweet, no roast flavor. this is pretty much how dark beers from warm climate breweries always taste! yeah, we'll probably shelve this at the store cause it will attract about a months worth of curiosity purchases but i doubt this will hang with other beers from its region like singha or tiger.

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Photo of yesyouam
2.82/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beerlao Dark is a very clear brown lager with a fluffy off white head that leaves nice lacing. It has a faint aroma of grain and vegetables, with a hint of sweet and a hint of sour. It has a smooth medium body with a watery finish. It tastes slightly sweet, like dark malt extract, with no roastiness, really. There's a touch of chocolate and caramel and maybe squash or yams. It's relatively inoffensive.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.85/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours dark brown with a thick white head that dissipates quickly.

Bretanomyces nose (which I expect is not intentional) with an underlying vegetal character that is not unpleasant and which turns to burnt carmel when in the glass a few minutes.

Thin mouthfeel that thickens and improves. Flavors of burnt carmel and light coffee with a high acid character and a malty fruit mid palate and goes to coffee and cooked fruit in the back palate and initial finish.

Finish then "finishes" with long pleasant malt and hops. End palate and finish is strength of this beer. Not what I would call "drink" friendly.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.15/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

BeerLao Dark pours a clear dark-chestnut body beneath a short cap of creamy white foam. The fact that the head is so light in contrast to the darkness of the body beneath says something. The head retention is fairly good, and it leaves some partial rings of thin, bubbly lacing as it goes.

In the nose it's fairly malty with a bit of nuttiness and caramel. That carries over into the flavor as well, but it's not nearly as malty or flavorful as you'd expect. It's backed by a harsh, somewhat acidic bitterness that cuts through what malt is there and takes you abruptly to the finish before you've even had a chance to swallow it. Fortunately, a sweet dollop of nutty and caramelish malt remains on the tip of your tongue as the back of your mouth is coated in acidic dryness.

Overall, this is much better than the standard BeerLao, and I guess if I was stranded there I'd go for this.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a caramel coffee color, although visibly transparent; this gives it a dark but watery appearance. It leaves a 2 cm grayish head, which fades and leaves tiny lacing around the glass.

Smell: Caramel and maple malt, along with light, earthy hops and some rice.

Taste: Definitely taste some caramel and molasses in the malt. The rice distracts from the otherwise pleasant flavor, and in my opinion, results in a more watered down taste. The hops have much less control over the end of the sip in the dark Laobeer compared to the regular. Just a slight hop bitterness to finish out the sip, with no bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat smooth, but a little bit watery for a dark lager. Like the Laobeer regular, it is somewhat heavy on the carbonation.

Drinkability: Especially for Southeast Asia, this is one of the more drinkable options. Being a dark beer, which in itself distinguishes it from other options, it displays a few dunkel characteristics as well, making it a good change of pace from the Singha variety beers.

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Photo of weezyfart
3.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark, opaque and typically dunkel in apppearance. I love the malty aromas with roasted coffee bean and toffee that isn't too overbearing. It's just right. The taste is a liitle bit of a letdown unfortunately. I mean, again, it tastes like a usual dunkel beer from Germany, but I feel that it is lacking character considering I've never had a beer from Laos before and was hoping for some ingenuity. I don't consider rice additives ingenuity by the way. The finish has enough bitters to keep me reaching for my glass, though the length is slightly short.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.22/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish-brown body with a thin, wispy, off-white head.

Smell: Light toasty maltiness with maybe, just maybe, a faint touch of chocolate.

Taste: Lightly toasty malts and more of that world-famous Laotian rice with a slight sugary sweetness. Small hint of cocoa powder. Very light hop bitterness. Finishes relatively sweetish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium-high carbonation.

Drinkability: Delightfully tolerable! And here I was worried a tolerable beer from Laos would be as incredibly rare a find as the Laotian Rock Rat.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
2.08/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

From a twelve ounce bottle - Pours a clear brownish red. Below average carbonation, and lacing. Smells of mild malts and mild hops...maybe some rice or other adjuncts? First sip is surprisingly lighter than expected, some mild bitterness. Weak malt backbone. On a whole not very good but better than their lager

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Photo of Raligitano
3.31/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Wow!! It's possible to find a dark beer in in Southeast Asia? That alone thrilled me when I first saw the label "DARK" in a cooler in Vientiane, Laos. The tan and orange-tinted liquid is a pleasure to look at. The foam lingers for a long time but it has a rather sickly grey brackish color instead of clean white.

Ugh, smells like typical SE Asia beer but with a touch more richness. There's a few maple scents that hold promise. I opened this bottle after returning to the States so the airplane altitude pressure may have altered this baby. I remember it smelling far better in Laos...no gag reflex.

Tastes malty and greasy in the mouth. There's flavors of sour maple, nutty pucker and the everpresent Asian additive, ricericerice...think I should've let this one warm up more outside the fridge. Feels light and airy. It leaves a distinct burn on the finish and has high carbonation.

This is a dark beer that goes down easy in hot weather by the Mekong River. I did this review after finishing a delicious beerfest here in St. Louis, so it faired poorly compared to what I'd been drinking. The truth is it's a damn good brew for the part of the world it's from. You're lucky to find any other commercially produced beer in Asia that's not just headache-inducing formaldahyde-brewed piss. Plus it's cheap... Cheers Communist Comarades!

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Beerlao Dark from Lao Brewery Co.
3.24 out of 5 based on 156 ratings.
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