Beer Review: Jamaican Dragon Stout

Stout. Why do I persist with it? I’ve never been much of a stout drinker, yet I keep giving it yet another try. Why then did I decide to give Jamaican Dragon Stout a go?
Bottle of Jamaican Dragon Stout
Well look at it. It is tiny. By far the most diminutive bottle I have yet seen. It holds only 284ml which barely fills a half-pint glass. Unlike others where a small bottle is a drawback, for me, here, it could be a benefit if it means there is less drink to get through.

Dragon Stout front label

But let’s not write it off so hastily. At 7.5% volume, it’s the most potent beer I’ve yet tested. And I’ve tested some strong beers over the last few weeks. And then there’s the price. At my local off-licence, it’s only £1.09. It mightn’t be long then, until the teenagers of the land gather in parks late at night to down bottles of cheap and strong Jamaican stout.

The labels tell us almost nothing. Other than the facts I have just mentioned, we are only told that it has been established since 1920, and that it comes from Jamaica. A million miles from our home-grown ales boasting heritage dating back centuries. I like to know what I’m drinking. Or thinking about drinking, while looking at the bottle while standing in a shop. To that end, I’d warmly welcome more information on the labels of this enigmatic drink.

Dragon Stout back label

Once emptied into a shockingly small glass, everything looks problem-free. The head is white and frothy, and liquid is the right colour. Unlike a famous Irish stout however, it takes no time at all for it all to settle. Useful, if you’re in a hurry. Which anti-social teenagers in parks late at night are prone to be.
Dragon Stout in a glass

You better like the smell of barley. Should you happen to inhale whilst your nose is in the same hemisphere as this drink, you may detect more than just a hint of the stuff. This is no bad thing if, unlike me, you’re already a stout drinker. I, on the other hand found it repellent in a cough medicine way.

Does it taste as strong as it smells? Without a doubt. But does that make it revolting? Not exactly. There’s no denying the super-strong taste, and aftertaste of barley that you’d expect. But there’s something else in there too. Something hotter or spicier than you’d expect. Not much of it, but I’m nearly certain that it’s there. Like someone added a tiny drop of Worcester or Tabasco sauce.

I’m surprised as you are to find myself reporting that this strong and violent Jamaican is actually drinkable. Somehow, it managed to be light and crisp. How? How does it manage that? This soon led to the contents of the miniscule bottle vanishing all too quickly. Despite my indifference to stouts.

All in all, an interesting experience. Not to my taste, but I still enjoyed it. Like with Innis & Gunn’s Oak Aged Beer. That said, Jamaican Dragon Stout isn’t perfect. To be different, Dragon Stout needs to up the ante on the spiciness and fruitiness. Play more on the on the theme of being an unusual Caribbean take on a traditional old brew.

What do you think? Would my plan lead to big things for Dragon Stout?

Rating: 3.25. But if I was a fan of stouts, you could bring it up to 4.25.

Have you drink Jamaican Dragon Stout? What did you think of it?

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22 Responses to “Beer Review: Jamaican Dragon Stout”

  1. The Beerman Says:

    Sounds like you need the holy bible of Caribbean beers. It’s avaliable on and it’s called McKenna’s Guide to Caribbean Beers: All the islands, All the brews

    The Beerman

  2. Paul Says:

    I’m usually not a big stout fan, but I was at this Caribbean restaurant and tried this dark beer. I actually REALLY liked it. It’s a little sweet and has hints of caramel. Drunk cold it had blenty of body and I could feel the 7.5% after 2 bottles! (ok so I’m a light wieight).
    I think this is much more authentic than other so called “Caribbean beers” and eminently drinkable if you are ok with a slight sweet taste. It’s not too gassy and you can easily manage to have it without filling up your belly!
    Will be looking for this in my local supermarket.
    BTW, I didn’t find any of the hot stuff the other reviewer mentioned, but maybe he was having it with a vindaloo!

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  4. Jasmine Says:

    Oh I died and came back to Dragon heaven. I love this dark beer and when we go out on the town a couple of Dragons down and all the boyz seem much more attentive! Drink lots, drink slow, drink fast, it all tastes good. Word to the wise: don’t chug ‘cos it will hit you if you have it too quickly. We also do Dragon milkshake, when we mix it up with milk, or condensed milk.

  5. Fixup Says:

    “By far the most diminutive bottle I have yet seen. It holds only 284ml which barely fills a half-pint glass.”

    284ml is half a pint. So if the bottle barely fills your half pint glass (as opposed to exactly filling it), then your ‘half pint’ glass is bigger than half a pint.

    Two bottles of dragon stout actually overfills my pint glass at home.

    I am a dragon stout lover myself – Here’s a true (but not partiularly interesting) story about my favourite dragon stout memory.

  6. Jerry Says:

    I had my first Dragon Stouts on a trip to Jamaica in ’07 and loved it!
    Never could find it in the States until I came across it in a liquor store in Macon, GA in November 2009. Alas, that store now says it can’t get it anymore! How can I get some sent to Knoxville, Tennessee??

  7. Thomas Sparks Says:

    I found this beer in florida, I love it. I live in Kennesaw, Ga. Where can I find it here??

  8. Says:


  9. Alex Says:

    This stuff is absolutely beautiful, and a really iconic drink among West Indians. If this were sold by the pint, each would be alcoholically equivalent to about three pints of Foster’s, so I doubt we’ll ever see it on tap anywhere in the UK!

    It’s a rare beast: a very strong beer that isn’t a bit of an ordeal. Unlike the stronger lagers (e.g. Duvel and Leffe) which make me feel a bit queasy, almost as if I’m drinking Special Brew, I find this very drinkable, and I can knock it back as if it were Guinness or Caffrey’s.

  10. starbwoy Says:

    this is a great drink with carrot juice sweetend to taste with condensed milk….. a staple in the Jamaican household

  11. satya Says:

    Can I gain weight If i drink this beer

  12. Jamaican stout | Millerslandsca Says:

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  13. Gail Jeffries Says:

    Hello my hubby is looking for a store in mn. that sell Jamaica dragon stout, Thank you for all you help Mon!!!!!!!!

  14. Jaap Winius Says:

    Isn’t it amazing how such a little bottle can contain so much goodness? It makes me want to book a flight to Jamaica and a room in a hotel near a bar where they have this stuff on tap. And then I will listen all evening to a local tell me the story, in a wonderful Jamaican accent, of how several generations of his family worked so hard at this brewery, night and day, eventually to make it famous. (Disclaimer: I just drank one).

  15. Anonymous Says:

    i drink two bottle every night its all over Canada

  16. Wolfe Says:

    Jaap Winius,
    Even in Jamaica you won’t find it on tap.
    Sad !!

  17. John Says:

    I agree.

  18. Royce Marshal Faina Says:

    The first time I drank this was in the late 80s & early 90s at B&J’s in Corpus Christi, Texas. They have beers from around the world. Back then it was a whole different world. They were the only place with a wide variety. Other places carried the usual mass produced light lagers (Coors, Budweiser, Molsen, LeBatt, Michelob, etc.) with the only exception being Red Horse, San Miguel due to the Filipino enclaves around the N.A.S. I had a few Guinness stouts and extra stouts but when I had my first Dragon Stout it instantly became my favorite beer period! I remember the label being yellow. GREAT beer and memories.

  19. JM Says:

    I had three and my wife had one Srafin Stout. We are still sick, burping up this sweet, perfume fruit flavoring that’s in the beer and throwing up foam. If I could afford an attorney, I would take them to court for endangering our lives. I would never drink this or any beer from Jamaica until I know there are inspections being done to safeguard beverages imported to USA

  20. Mike Says:

    Brewed by Desnoes & Geddes (Jamaica) of Red Stripe fame, this stuff is widely regarded as cat-piss; the sort of thing 104-year old Japanese women drink each day with milk to see 105. (‘The sprightly Miss Watanabe, 109, attributes her longevity to a glass of Dragon Stout each morning at dawn”, etc, etc). Camera pans to 40lb corpse with shrivelled lips gumming away at a glass of this. After you, pal.

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