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Harbin Lager - Harbin Brewery Group

Not Rated.
Harbin LagerHarbin Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
67
poor

159 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 159
Reviews: 120
rAvg: 2.83
pDev: 19.08%
Wants: 2
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harbin Brewery Group
China

Style | ABV
Euro Pale Lager |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: atigerlife on 03-20-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 120 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by ChrisCage:
Photo of ChrisCage
2.68/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 5

I've had this while in China, but this was a present given to me from a trip made Aug '10....canned product, still fine! This is also direct from China, and the can states that this brew is greater than or equal to 3.6% alc/vol.

A- Love the logo and coloring on the canPours with a clear grassy color...very clear, and with lots of big bristly looking carbonation. The head is thick and super white in color initially but fades quickly into virtually nothing...just a half ring around the glass....nothing special here...just another standard looking Chinese lager.

S- Dry, very adjunct-ish...primarily of boiled corn water, dry graininess, and not much else. I suppose there is some sweet malt noticeable but it seems unnatural. No hop bitterness to be smelt for miles!

T- More of the same here....just lots of sweet corn adjunct goodness! This flavor lingers after the swallow as well. Mixed in here there is some mild malt sweetness as well but is overshadowed by the corn. Absolutely no hop bitterness available to the palate.

M- Very thin, and with lots of palate scrubbing carbonation. These two characteristics keep this a crisp, relatively clean tasting brew, but there is the aforementioned aftertaste. There is also a bit of a cloying oiliness that gives this a real unique feel...watery yet oily....

O- Honestly, I remember this being better while on vacation, but then again, it was humid and warm. Again, like pretty much all other Chinese lagers, this one isn't anywhere near special, but for thirst quenching purposes, this hits the spot. It's pretty standard fare, but I'd drink it again and will at some point I'm sure

More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
2/5  rDev -29.3%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.25/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine April 2007.

This brand is trying to come out of the gate during the Year of the Pig with a bang. Marketing is heavy on this beer, so we're guessing you should be drinking it at your local pan-Asian eatery soon. Brewed with both Chinese and European hops.

Snap, crackle and pop, the fizzy white lace dissipates into a thin ring around the glass. Perfect clarity under the dull, pale yellow color. Lemony hops with a ghost-like cooked veggie-and-cabbage aroma. Semi-crisp; has just enough carbonation to get by, with a slick, medium body. Cereal grain and malt flavor has a bite to it; clean snap of hop bitterness tries to clear the palate as everything goes dry. Very little aftertaste.

This is one of those "When in Rome ..." beers, meaning you'd be lucky to find a pan-Asian eatery that has a diverse beer selection, so this will suffice in the meantime. Perhaps one of the cleanest Chinese Lagers to date, and a sure pick when put up against the rest. Kung pao beef with a side of Singapore fried rice would be sizeable enough to tangle with this beer.

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.63/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

poured into a nonic glass from a long neck dark green bottle with a crimped cap.

Very clear golden color with a tall rocky head,fair retention,medium sized bubbles whisking to the surface. Clumps of lace at the top of the glass not too much lacing the rest of the way down.

Clean,very grassy aroma,a bit metallic,fruity,some slight skunkiness. Smells reminds me of Pilsner Urquell.

Clean taste,on the watery side,grassy,metallic,fruity. Finishes with a clean,crisp,tart taste with some slight sourness.

Very light mouthfeel with bits of grainyness. Goes down easy enough,like water, just needs more flavor.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

You know, I don't mean to be 'harbin' on pale straw yellow beer and all, but this didn't start out lookin' so good. Aroma was even worse. I dunno, something not barley or hops.

Seemed to have some kind of zest equated with hops though and a slight enjoyable bitterness. I mean, it grows on you, what looked doubtful, made a return back to acceptable and beyond. I dunno what they used as a barley malt substitute, but its very light. Its a light beer, but its pretty enjoyable, don't think its corn, not that kind of sweetness.

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Decent AB backed option when eating sushi, remember they have stakes in Kirin as well and I'm sure somebody as a piece of Sapporo products but here it goes. Appears a clear bright straw golden hue with an eggshell white colored head dwindles quickly leaves specks of sporadic lacing. Aroma some mild sweetness cooked veggies, corn and rice, herbal hop presence mild skunk "green bottle" effect very mild though. Flavor mild bitterness light herbal grassiness hops cleanse the palate well sweetness is backed by corn and rice very light but blends nicely with the sushi, wasabi, and ginger flavors. Mouthfeel is light bodied moderate sturdy carbonation industrial lager in all it's mediocrity. Drinkability decent for what it is give it a shot if eating some sushi goes well I must say.

Photo of valkyre65
3.98/5  rDev +40.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I used to get this beer in a 22oz bottle from our local sushi joint and it was one of my favorite lagers. Unfortunately when that place closed I was forced to seek it out at our local suppliers for purchase and can now definitely understand the low reviews it is getting here on BA. All of the Harbin I can find to buy is in 12oz bottles only and tastes nothing like the larger ones I used to get at that restaurant. Maybe they got them imported directly from China in lead lined shipping containers to protect them? ;)

The 22oz variety I used to get had a wonderful crystal gold shine to it and when poured would create about a one and a half inch micro foam head. The head provided nice lacing through almost the entire time there was still beer in the glass. There was a very clean and mildly astringent smell to this beer with just a hint of the Qindao Dahua hops and German lager yeast. The taste was very mild but crisp and refreshing, interestingly what you thought would be an impending aftertaste simply vanished before it could really develop. This beer had a big carbonation profile which lent nicely to the overall mouth feel/crisp note which made long draws very rewarding.

I will continue to seek out these larger(fresher?)Harbin's and hope that anyone aware of a direct supplier of them please let me know, as I really enjoyed this beer but refuse to drink the sub-standard 12oz variety that seems to be the only thing available at this point to me. So if you can find a source of the 22oz Harbin's, definitely chill one good and give it a try...goes great with sushi too :)

Photo of SetarconeX
3.23/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Basic clear golden lager color, perhaps a shade darker than some, and a decent froth. Sweetness and a bit of skunk on the nose, which I almost expect. God knows how long this thing took to get here from north China. Beneath that's the strange clove-like mustyness that you get on the big euro-lagers. Actually reminds me a bit of Peroni on the nose.

Tastes almost exactly like it smells, only sweeter. The hops are there, but seem to almost impart an herbal tone instead of bitterness, which just blends in with the malt.

A really easy to drink beer, if not a great one. I actually rather like it.

Photo of WonderfulSam
2.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not much to this one, but for a cheap lager, it's just fine. I won't buy another one, but I don't hate myself for buying this one.

A - Light straw color with a foamy head that disappeared right away and left zero lacing on class.

S - Yep, that's beer. Basic. Some vague spice and hops on top of the fermented grain smell.

T - Not bad, but nothing special. For cheap lager, it's actually alright! More of a hop character than many others, so it's got a slight bit of complexity to it.

M - Light, crisp, a bit of a bite due to the high carbonation.

D - Well, I drank it really fast, and I don't think it was to get the experience over with. It actually went down nicely and was quite easy to drink.

Photo of biboergosum
2.48/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500ml can, 4.3% ABV, a not unsexy Oriental-lite presentation. Apparently imported by the Budweiser China Sales Company, from a different city than listed here. I'm too tired to actually look up or investigate that shit right now.

This beer pours a clear, pale straw colour, with two thinly foamy fingers of off-white head, which leaves a very low ebb of bubbly lace around the glass as it quickly fades from sight.

It smells of mineral water, a mild grainy corn grist, slight plastic essence, and little else. The taste is a fair bit sweeter, increasingly so in the same gulp, geez, of the sugary corn variety, natch, alongside a mild indistinct fruitiness, and thankfully very soft industrial metals.

The carbonation is more or less there, just there, the body a relatively meaty medium weight for the style, and generally smooth, nothing really egregious in the offset. It finishes on the sweet side, but hardly overly so, putting it a mile or so ahead of its average competitor, unfortunately with the tiniest of lingering, indicative plastic wrap twinges.

Probably the best lager, so, beer, that I've tried from China, and while it saddens me that it's from the AB/Inbev arm there, it also doesn't surprise me. This is pretty much Bud, since the usual runoff skank I get from this country's beers seems to be absent. So, considering the many degrees of degradation, um, good?

Photo of NJpadreFan
2.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Harbin

Served up at P.F. Chang's- Princeton, NJ

Appearance- Light yellow and heavy carbonation. Fizzy head that disappeared quickly.
Smell- Sweet corn syrup and rice. Your basic adjunct. Light straw detected also.
Taste- Light and sweet corn syrup malt. Very watery.
Mouthfeel- Watery and almost flavorless.

Overall- Blah. Very little flavor. Not worth the time.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.28/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

600 ml Green bottle with a fancy plastic/foam sock tied with a little golden elastic tie. obviously i'm a sucker for fancy packaging.

AP: totally clear, pale wheat color with big carbonation, many little bubbles swirrling quickly to the top displaying a creamy and full-frothy style head with good retention qualities. a few tiny clumps of lacing are left behind.

nose: Herbal with sour-wheat notes at first then a solid buttery maltiness, yeast, and some mild pine-pitch qualities in the hop scent and pretty dang aromatic for the style.

taste: a very hearty malted flavor with wheat and grain effects over a earthy and mild hop and pleasant yeast edge. The malt is mildly sweet with some nutmeg like flavors; starts out wheaty and herbal and becomes mildly sweet at the end.

Feel: Light body, crisp and clean and down-right sparkly. There is a rather slick feel going down though. This one seems to keep it's overall feel-quality throughout the life of the beverage.

DA: for an imported asian lager this one was way above expectation.

DA:

Photo of cokes
3.5/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden with a moderate cap of white foam that depletes itself over a minute or two.
Dry maltiness, likely adjucted with rice, with a twinge of green-bottled light-induced skunk, vague green grape notes, and a minor grassy/floral hop bite.
Crispy dry as it hits the mouth. Soup crackers and rice cakes. A minor grapeyness arrises midway, along with some mineral water bitterness. Hops continue along the dry motif, and add touches of hay and dried flowers at the end.
Light bodied and well carbonation, but short of vapid and fizzy. This has a bit of character to it, albeit subtle. Its biggest asset is its thirst quenching ability. It's better than quite a few true "Euro" lagers out there. Better than expected, but still about mediocre.

Photo of aval89
2.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

picked one up today, had never heard of this beer before. I just pretty much grabbed it cuz of the wrapping.. when i got home I realized it was Chinese and a pale lager. When i saw the green bottle I had a good idea what this beer was gonna taste like.

Pours a golden color with a 2 finger head. Smells of malts and a bit skunky. The taste was very bland malty and a bit of rice and skunky after taste. Mouthful was very carbonated for me. The drinkability isnt all that great. Just didnt do it for me.

Photo of pmcadamis
1.6/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A - This comes in the most elegant package. The bomber sized bottle is wrapped in a silky gauzy gown of white material covered in kanji characters. The beer, however, is pretty lame looking. It's yellow, pale, and clear with a fizzy white head. Looks like any American macro. Blah.

S - Not assertive at all, this smells like rice and nickels. I don't like metallic flavors in my beer, and I can already tell that this is going to be a coppery mineral water type brew. Weak, corny, and ricey.

T - Yeah....this isn't very good. I was really excited about this one since it's one of the most beautifully packaged beers I've ever seen, but looks can be deceiving. This is pretty boring and corny with lots of metallic mineral water notes.

M - This is sort of a redeeming quality for this beer. It's thin and overly carbonated, but thirst quenching and palate cleansing.

D - This beer is pretty boring, and almost nasty. In a blind taste test, this could be confused for Natural Light or something of that ilk. Pass.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.98/5  rDev +40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harbin pours a golden body with yellow highlights beneath a creamy head of bright white. The retention is fairly good, and it leaves some nice strings and splashes of lace behind.

The nose expresses softly sweet and grainy malt alongside a gently herbal and lightly floral hoppiness.

In the mouth it's crisp with a median, fine-bubbled carbonation; and medium-light bodied with a bit of a dextrinous edge.

The flavor follows the aroma, and it's very nicely balanced with an initial malty sweetness that's immediately pounced on by herbal hops and a solid bitterness. The hops blend with the grainy malt across the middle and into the finish, and the bitterness rises at the swallow, leaving it dry despite some residual malt. Herbal and spicy hops enjoy a fleeting moment or two in the lingering finish.

Really well-made. Superbly balanced. Quite nice.

Photo of Rootdog316
2.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Harbin pours clear and honey colored in the glass. It has a medium white head and a very nice nose full of spicy hops and malt. The flavor tends toward sweetness but there is enough hops in it to keep that under control. It finishes with a really nice lager snap. This brew has a fair amount of depth and character for its style.

Photo of WoodBrew
2.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of tempest
3.4/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Caught somewhere between German pilsner and American macro, not quite enough yeast character for a Euro pale lager. There’s a touch of hops and bready grains, there’s hints of adjunct, but the corn or rice doesn’t dominate the beer like most macros. If this were cheap and not in green bottles, I might have it again.

Photo of cliff1066
2.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of russpowell
3.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this a Thai joint before dinner;

Pours golden, efferervescent and with a 1" white head. Minimal lacing & no head retention

S: Sweet perfumy nose & a hint of honey. Finishes dry with hints of

T: Sweet up front. then a little maltyness & a hint of rice dryness. Finishes dry with a little sweetness & fruittyness

MF: Light bodied & softly carbonated, skews a little thin

Drinks okay, nothing special, but better than BMC

Photo of bditty187
3.13/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, pale-gold in hue; I hate this color of beer. White foam, at the apex the head was a half finger tall. The bubbles rapidly faded to a thin collar, naked in the middle. No lace. Boring appearance, you’ve seen this beer before.

Faint graininess; yeasty, lemon bread start the nose. No hops, no skunk. Moderate potency, not very chatty… in other words, it doesn’t say much. I found it inoffensive but not inviting. Meh. For what this beer is I can’t complain much.

Clean palate, lightly grainy with lemon bread flavors, bland white bread notes. Clean. Clean. Clean. No apparent hop flavors or bitterness. Lightly malty + lightly hop = a balanced beer! Wow zero plus zero does equal zero! Crisp finish, clean… pleasant (I guess). There isn’t much to this beer. No skunkiness (Neat!). If there are adjuncts used it must be minimal or really well brewed. Not bad… all in all (for what it is).

About medium in body, low but natural carbonation, the mouthfeel is just as plain as every other aspect. However, the mouthfeel fits this beer very well.

Harbin is a respectable beer. If I was faced with a poor beer selection at a Chinese restaurant I would order this over BMC, Heineken, or most other Asian lagers. I would never consider buying a six-pack of this beer even though every damn grocery store carries it. Thank you AB! I purchased a snazzy 600ml “Chinese New Year” bottle with rice paper covering. I couldn’t say no. Maybe it was going to be good? And, in some ways, it is. I’ll finish my bottle. It is worth a try in a pinch. Not that bad.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.23/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

600 mL bottle at 42 degrees into a pint glass. $2.99 @ Vineyard.

A: It pours a coppery-yellow color with a two-finger head of egg-shell color that turns rocky yet does not hold or lace very well.

S: Sweet grains, light berry fruit, and a little toast.

T: Sweet grains (I'm noticing a trend), faint noble hops, and a dry, lightly bready finish.

M: The body is medium-thin with average to high carbonation and a crisp finish.

O: It is easy drinking and is not offensive enough to mind downing the entire large bottle.

Photo of tone77
3.28/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a green bottle into a weizen glass. Has a pale yellow color with a 1/2 inch head. There is a slightly skunky aroma. Taste is light and dry. Not much flavor. Feels light and watery in the mouth. Drinkability is good. Overall an average beer.

Photo of goochpunch
2.68/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a straight up yellow with a thin head that fizzes out to nothing. Looks absolutely still. Smells of pale malts, graininess, little alcohol, and has a pretty strong solvent edge. Tastes pretty much like a lighter Heineken with all flavors subdued. Faint malt, faint, graininess, nearly non-existent hops, and has an odd but somewhat pleasing twang to it at the end that reminds me of all-sorghum beer. Mouthfeel is pretty light and fizzy but a little sticky as well. This is OK and a bit odd, really. Wouldn't buy it again, but as far as Chinese beers available to me, I'd take this over Tsingtao.

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Harbin Lager from Harbin Brewery Group
67 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.