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February 17, 2009 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Where can I get malt liquor in Australia? Specifically, Brisbane?

posted by turgid dahlia to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You mean, like the quintessential ghetto 40oz?

(a) brew it yourself
(b) find someone helpful who's about to visit (or return) from the USA and can wander into a corner store before their flight
(c) they have the internet on computers now, though this isn't really what I think you're after
(d) dear gods, why?
(e) pop some crushed barley and rainwater into the bottom of your sack, let the natural yeasts ferment it, then suck it out through a straw.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 8:00 PM on February 17, 2009

A negative answer. I've never seen it for sale anywhere in Oz. I'd be interested too, if it is available somewhere.
posted by bystander at 8:02 PM on February 17, 2009

for clarification, do you mean american malt liquor or would something like delirium tremens work?
posted by phil at 8:16 PM on February 17, 2009

T-dawg, just as a data point, in my years spent representing around various parts of Victoria, NSW and the AC-motherfuckin'-T, I never once saw anything even remotely similar to malt liquor. Godspeed.
posted by barnacles at 8:17 PM on February 17, 2009

Best answer: There would be no point to malt liquor in Australia. The whole reason malt liquor exists is because American liquor laws require a domestically-brewed beverage to be below a certain alcohol by volume in order to be sold as "beer". "Malt liquor" was invented in order to circumvent this and sell beer with a higher ABV. The beer you buy in Australia is probably what would be called malt liquor in the US anyway.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:24 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

Hello, I am an Australian. Despite hearing numerous cultural references, I have no idea what malt liquor is. DecemberBoy's explanation has enlightened me. Thankyou, internets.

So, DB, does it taste like beer? Ale? Stout?
posted by Tixylix at 8:59 PM on February 17, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah phil, I mean stuff like Colt 45, Olde English 800, etc., mainly I'm curious about the taste, and I like the idea of something called "malt liquor" because it sounds yum, like "buttermilk" (Butter AND milk? Fuck yeah!). I realise it's just basically beer, but, y'know, beer's pretty good.

Also it would be nice (I use the term loosely) to try some Bum Wines. Those bleedin' Yanks sure know how to get trashed.

I figured the search was pretty fruitless, but sometimes you come across some weird and interesting stuff in specialty liquor stores, and there's always a chance.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:03 PM on February 17, 2009

Response by poster: By which I mean: "a'ight".
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:05 PM on February 17, 2009

Not quite accurate there DecemberBoy.

It's state by state, and quite a few (most?) states allow high ABV brews to be sold as beer. Malt Liquor is more specifically a high alcohol lager, which really isn't desirable by many. The beer you buy in Australia is generally on par with most beer here isn't it? I know Victoria Bitter for instance is around 5%, just like your standard American piss-lager (Bud, Miller, Coors...) whereas Malt Liquor is generally 7-8%, and generally low on hops.

I'm sure it's sold there, it probably just has a different name.

That said, I'd be surprised if Elephant weren't available there.
posted by piedmont at 9:06 PM on February 17, 2009

tixylix: it tastes like crap generally. Imagine the worst swill you've ever had, with a little more burn and a lot more sugar.

Our local brewery makes a Quad on the other hand at 10.5% that will kick anyone's ass swiftly, and it's oh so tasty.
posted by piedmont at 9:09 PM on February 17, 2009

As a recent visitor of Australia, I was hard pressed to find anything but lager anywhere I went, and I am an ale drinker. I implore you unless you have a strong stomach and nothing to do for the next two days afterward do not get drunk on fortified wine, you will be better off drinking nyquil or some other type of cough syrup.
posted by kanemano at 9:14 PM on February 17, 2009

Response by poster: piedmont, I actually have seen Elephant in a few places. It's about the same deal huh?

kanemano, stop being a spoilsport.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:20 PM on February 17, 2009

Best answer: The whole reason malt liquor exists is because American liquor laws require a domestically-brewed beverage to be below a certain alcohol by volume in order to be sold as "beer".

The legal requirement is not solely based on ABV (we have specialty barley wines sold as beer with ABVs of 11-14%, although not in some states). The legal definition of beer here involves the fermentation of malt without any distillation. Likewise, there are sometimes legal requirements on what ABV may be labeled beer.

Malt liquor is a hack, using a number of relatively sophisticated brewing tricks that result in a high ABV beverage that may legally be sold in the same stores as regular beer. This makes a huge difference, since in many states a gas station or grocery store may sell beer (and sometimes wine), but only a licensed (or state-owned) liquor store may sell distilled spirits (and sometimes wine)--with legally mandated hours of operation. The tax rate on spirits is also very frequently much higher than on beer and wine. But, it's called "malt liquor" as much to indicate its potency to potential consumers as it is to dodge the few states where ABV defines labeling.

Anyway, I doubt that you're going to find it in Australia. It's not exported... there's simply no market for it elsewhere in the world. It tastes too awful to be drunk by beer lovers, and most places already have high-alcohol lagers and fortified beers available.

I'd also like to point out that you're really not missing anything. Malt liquor tastes like sickly, unhopped lager... mostly devoid of any flavor that makes a beer drinkable. It's not crafted to play on subtle malt flavors, either. They usually use a bit of malt, and then dump in corn syrup and dextrose for the yeast to feed on. It really, literally tastes like puke smells. Its sole purpose is to get you fucked up--one 40 usually gets you there, two takes you over the edge. You get exactly the same effect, and a very similar taste, by buying those giant cans of shitty lager.
posted by Netzapper at 9:26 PM on February 17, 2009

Yeah, Elephant is possibly the best Malt Liquor I've tasted. That doesn't mean squat though, it still sucks. Grab a couple bottles and you'll have the general idea of what you're missing out on.
posted by piedmont at 9:35 PM on February 17, 2009

I speak from experience turgid, Old E isn't too bad but do not drink Cisco or MD2020 they are hard to find anyway unless you go into the most unsavory of neighborhoods
posted by kanemano at 9:41 PM on February 17, 2009

Response by poster: Well this was depressing.

Thanks for the information anyway guys, very enlightening!
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:51 PM on February 17, 2009

Yeah, this is just the highly local "nasty shit to get you drunk." Americans have the 40oz because of licensing laws. It tastes like shit. Brits have Diamond White, alcopops and (for the older, more discerning bench-sleeping drunk), "British sherry". It tastes like shit. Aussies have the 5 litre cask of goon / Chateau Cardboard. To be honest, you're not doing badly out of that arrangement.
posted by holgate at 11:17 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

We mightn't get malt liquor here, TD, but some of the bigger liquor chains like First Choice and Tipsy McStagg er... Dan Murphy's do tend to sell nasty-ass British "super strength" beers in pint cans with flavours that seem to come close to what other posters have described.

I made the mistake of buying some when a mate from back home in Adelaide came for holidays last month. Tasted like West End Export blended with JP-4 (shudder).
posted by MarchHare at 2:58 AM on February 18, 2009

great Info. I never got what the deal was with Malt Liquor in the US. I did try quite a bit of it when i was over. it was nothing particularly special - but somewhat amusing to buy 1 bottle of each differnt one I could find as an experiment.
posted by mary8nne at 5:45 AM on February 18, 2009

The only reason one would buy malt-liquor (and fortunately, in Canada, they have 40's of non-malt liquor beer, like Molson) is to play Edward Forty-hands. You tape two cold 40's to your hands, and you are not allowed to take either off until both are empty. Which means you either drink two 40's quickly, so it doesn't get warm, or you end up drinking warm 40's. Both of which leads to some funny situations, especially if you made the mistake of not going to the bathroom first. Also will get you very very drunk.
posted by Grither at 6:56 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

"buttermilk" (Butter AND milk? Fuck yeah!)

Oh dear. Don't let your expectations about this one get too high, either!
posted by bcwinters at 8:20 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could try what the other half and I refer to as MegaBoozeMart behind the Regatta on Coronation Drive. I have no idea what it's really called, but it's a frikkin massive boozeorium. And being so close to the uni, too, I image if cheap and foul is what you're looking for, they have all that and more. If you're on the northside, try the equivalent hugemungous bottle-o on Lutwyche road near the Good Guys. But I also doubt that Queenslanders would sully their palates with crappy american sludge when we have good local sludge to get us fershnickered.

Failing that you could just mix some Milo into a bottle of kerosene.
posted by Jilder at 11:17 AM on February 18, 2009

Response by poster: Oh dear. Don't let your expectations about this one get too high, either!

Oh, I've been there, believe me. Mum brought a little carton of the stuff home once, many moons ago. I was mooching through the fridge one night looking for a tasty snack, and with my tasty snack I used to pour myself a nice big glass of milk. Something was odd about this one, but I figured, how bad can it be?

Jilder: Yeah I know the place you mean, it's a First Choice. It has some good stuff but nothing along these lines.

For reference, I call Dan Murphy's "Uncle Dan's". "Where are you going?" "Uncle Dan's, my blood alcohol is getting dangerously low."
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:52 PM on February 18, 2009

I've had malt liquor in the states and also tennants super lager and some assorted high alcohol lagers and they're surprisingly similar. If you really want to give them a shot just get some tennants super or some carlesburg special or whatever they have for cheap crappy lager that is really strong.
posted by koolkat at 6:09 AM on February 19, 2009

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