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Harbin Lager - Harbin Brewery Group

Not Rated.
Harbin LagerHarbin Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

159 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 159
Reviews: 120
rAvg: 2.82
pDev: 18.79%
Wants: 1
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harbin Brewery Group

Style | ABV
Euro Pale Lager |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: atigerlife on 03-20-2006

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 120 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tzieser
3.26/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from a 660ml bottle into a SA perfect pint glass.

A: first off, I thought the packaging presentation was really cool. It was wrapped in a rice paper-esque sleeve with Chinese characters lining the side. Cool. I almost don't want to open it. Pours a golden color, crystal clear with a thick white head that settles quickly. Extra points for packaging.

S: typical adjunct aroma. corn, barley, cereal like character. no hops noticible. I'm not surprised.

T: well...its definitely not an euro pale lager. slightly sweet grain/corn flavor. a bit of barley, faint hop flavor for balancing. finishes clean. I guess my expectations were very low. I'm surprised this doesn't taste awful.

M&D: ok mouthfeel; decent drinkability.

Beer Advocate desperately needs a "Asian adjunct lager" category. I think this beer wouldve got better ratings of they expected a euro pale lager. I think this is one of the best Asian adjunct lager I've had. Better than sapporo or sing ha or whatever its called. Give it a shot if you want something cheap tasting.

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

consumed 02-06-2009, bottle into pint glass.

appearance: pours your typical golden straw color. managed to get a 2 finger head that quickly dissipated.

smell: sweet malts, grain & skunk. typical for this style.

taste: very bland. somewhat malty with a rice taste. some DMS, followed by a skunky finish.

mouthfeel: heavy-medium on the carbonation with a thin light body. somewhat of a crisp finish.

drinkability: easy drinker but i'd pick others over this (of the style)

Photo of DmanGTR
1.7/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Review from notes on 4/17/10.

This is a sad looking piss-yellow beer with no head. Corny and grainy. Not much else here. I'm struggling to find descriptors here. There is just a massive lack of flavor. Ok, I found some DMS, but isn't that unwanted in a beer? This isn't just a bland beer, it has a strange twang to it that I can't put my finger on. Regardless, I'm glad to have gotten rid of this last bottle from my fridge.

Photo of MarvinSnyder
3.35/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from 6-7-10 - poured into a personalized pilsner glass - 1 pint/ 4.3 fl. oz. (600ml) capped bottle

Appearance: Pours a dull, pale yellow with a nice white head. The head quickly dissipates to a thin ring. Lacing stays fairly close to the head.

Smell: Aroma is very representative of the style. On the nose are grain, sweet malt, corn syrup, and some lager-type skunk.

Taste: Syrupy malt sweetness with a very slight hop bite, with a dry finish. A hint of lemon is also present. This beer has no real aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation. Even though it can be thin and watery, the sweet malt is delivered well over the palate.

Drinkability: This beer could be an easy-drinking session beer. However, it is a little too sweet for me.

Comments: All in all, this is an enjoyable, albeit average beer with some decent attributes.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.22/5  rDev +14.2%
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 Beerandraiderfan
2.78/5  rDev -1.4%
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 PatrickJCavanaug
2.51/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Compared to other beers in China its one of the better ones, but still quite poor compared to beers from the rest of the world. Taste is very inconsistent, usually its fine, a basic light larger. I have found on many occasions that its can have a stale taste. In that case its time to switch to something else because the whole batch is bad, and every Harbin in the bar will taste the same. Other times It seems overly hopped for the style, which is a pleasant surprise due to the fact that chinese beers hardly have any hop flavor at all. Also I found a fly in one of mine, so drink with caution.

Photo of kegger22
3.23/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Harbin Lager was a brilliantly clear yellow with a modest white head that rapidly faded to a collar.

The aroma was skunk, initially but that quickly faded and a lagerish malt/grain smell replaced it.

The taste was malty sweet; good, but not head and shoulders above a long line of euro lagers. Just a slight bitter hops after taste.

The mouth feel was light bodied with sufficient carbonation.

Drinkability was good for this reasonably priced, lower ABV beer.

Harbin was a good lager, nothing exceptional, but solid.

Photo of cokes
3.48/5  rDev +23.4%
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 ruckus232
3.15/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 Ounce green bottle poured into a mug

Appearance: Golden yellow color with a quickly diminishing white head

Smell: It has a corn/rice smell to it, very similar to what I would expect from some of the macro Mexican beers

Taste: A little bitterness at first that leads into a slight sweetness. There are no strong flavors either way but they are fairly balanced to make a good, not great, taste.

Photo of ToddT
2.27/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

A- Pale golden yellow with a one finger off white head. Head falls quickly to a ring and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S- Thin in aroma. Grain, adjuncts, malt, and a whiff of hops.

T- Thin in taste too. Minor hit of malt at first, slightly sweet followed by a dry finish. A little presence of hops at the end with a slight bitter twinge to the finish.

M- Thin almost watery, carbonation is good however.

D- Easy drinking but no real standout in any flavor profile. At 5.5% it could be a session beer if it had some flavor going for it.

Cool to try just to say you have had a beer from China, but nothing special and the Chinese are not really known for brewing world class beers, I'll take their food over this beer any day.

Photo of jwhawkins81
2.58/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

600 ml bottle

Aroma - Typical skunky lager aroma. No noticeable hop aromas.

Appearance - Clear yellow big white head but just a trickle of carbonation.

Taste - Watery with a dry finish. Not really any detectable hops but not overly sweet either.

Notes - The bottle came in a plastic cloth like cover that was nicely tied around the neck of the bottle and had Chinese writing on it. They should have invested more in the beer flavor and less about what the packaging looked like.

Photo of tone77
3.28/5  rDev +16.3%
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 BeardedBoffin
2.93/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours a crystal clear light golden color with decent cap of white foam above it. Somewhat bready aroma, but some adjunct (rice, maybe corn) as well. Light on the palate, slightly carbonated. Malt with more adjunct in the flavor. Finishes snappy with a little bitterness. Not terrible, but could do with out the adjunct. Fairly average for the style.

Photo of dbmcrorie
2.41/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

600ml green bottle with white cloth wrapped around the bottle and a gold string tied around the neck. The cap is covered with that damn foil. I always get little bits of it in my drink.
Poured into imperial tulip pint glass.

Poured a clear golden straw color, with a thick white head that dissipated all too quickly. No lacing or cap left.

There seems to be a tug-o-war between a skunky sea-salt aroma vs. the faint malt -- which is reminiscent of caramel apple. Very little hop presence.

Dry. Oh so dry. Very bland and low-key flavors. Mostly grain, husk, and very slight hop earthiness. Bitterness jumps quickly to the back of the tongue but disappears with a dry chalk like finish. Very watery mouthfeel.

Such an elaborate display would have one waiting in anticipation for the golden elixir within. But then, you remember, you paid less than $2 for a 600ml bottle. Don't get your hopes up.
However, due to it's watery mouthfeel, lack of complexity, and dry finish, this certainly makes a great compliment to Chinese takeout.
Best paired with extremely greasy and/or spicy entrees; including egg foo young, noodles, vegetables, and rice.

Photo of colts9016
2.83/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass at 41 degrees.

Appearance: A pale golden yellow color. There is a monster 3 finger head that is white and creamy. There is a lot of effervescence in the beer. The clarity of the beer is brilliant. There is a lot of lacing on the glass.

Nose: A sweet like malt in the beer with some floral and citrus notes on the end. There is some spiciness in the very tail end of the beer.

Taste: A sweet like malt in the beer with some floral notes.

Overall: A carbonated mouth feel that is a little dry. The body of the beer is very light and the finish is nil. This beer is nothing special. To me it taste like a hopped up Budweiser.

Photo of wiseguy142
3.33/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes in a big green bottle with some extremely Asian looking paper around it. Interesting.

Pours bright yellow with a sturdy white head. Aroma of pilsner malt. Taste is slightly sweet with most of the flavor coming from the malt, but it's very well balanced. Sort of like Miller Lite if it was good at all.. and from China. Lots of carbonation, very refreshing and easy to drink.

Photo of MikeInIowa
4.44/5  rDev +57.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Harbin Lager is a Chinese import. Buying a sixer of Harin will not worsen the trade imbalance that the US has with China, so why not try this dandy little brew on for size. It's gorgeous!

Look: With its pale but opulent golden color and its honorable mention head and lacing, Harbin probably has an average lager appearance to it, but then appearances can be deceiving, can't they?

Nose: It has the light hint of hops the tend to invite drinker in for a sip.

Taste: I felt that this lager's taste was exceptional for the style. Robust taste of hops without residual tastes. How did they do that anyway?

Mouthfeel: Thin, without being watery.

Drink: Exceptional drinkabitity. Careful! This beer could be habit forming.

Photo of giblet
2.6/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured a pale yellow into the glass. about one half inch head that settled quickly. light steady carbonation. smells of grain and a bit skunky, not bad skunky. taste is much the same. some malt body to it. nothing much to brag about. a bbq beer if it was based on limited choices. for the price and availability it wont be sought after by me.

suckem up and movem out.


Photo of meatmallet
2.13/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Yellow and kind of dirty lookin but clear. Very small white head disappeared quick as I could pour it.

Smell: Rice grain and malt. Not a whole lot there other than a slight skunkiness.

Taste: Barley and rice and nothing more. I really dont have anything else to add.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Clean and kind of crisp which is all the good I can say. I dont plan on trying this again.

Photo of aforbes10
2.53/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from one of the sacramento BevMo!s that i picked up because it looked fancy and happened to be cheap. Pours a clean yellow brown with a soda-like white head. Head falls off to a white ring fairly quickly. Laces fast and wetly. Smells of rice, malt, ethanol, vague apple-y esters. Flavor is reasonably clean up front, with an apple tang that grows. Sour ethanol is a bit much, making the drinking experience reminiscent of a malt liquor. Thin bodied. Mot worthwhile to seek out, nor worht mentioning particularly besides the fancy and slightly odd packaging....not terrible overall, just slightly less than ok.

Photo of Dubbercody
2.12/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received as a present from a non-beer geek friend. I have to appreciate the attempt, even if the result was mixed.

Big fluffy head clear golden. Smells of grass, bread and rice. A bit like the opening of a rice cooker. Mostly grain flavor that drinks down easily.

Interesting beer, too bad it was stocked with the Microbrew Bombers and not the 'imports'/'Macros'.

Photo of yelterdow
2.84/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Rich for this beer that I'm looking forward to reviewing tonight.

Served in a pilsener glass at just above fridge temperature. There's a very long code lasered onto the back of the bottle: 20060905B1710.

Appearance- Pale, clear yellow gold... a three finger heads stands atop the surface. No lacing here, just a few streams of carbonation racing upwards.

Smell- A noseful of corn or rice is all I'm getting here, with a hint of metal or ice cold chrome... sweet and creamy, and vegetal.

Taste- Flavors of metal, adjuncts of one type or another, and then the most subtle suggestion of malt and bread in the finish. The good news is that it isn't cloying, as others of the style might be. This would actually go great with sushi.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The saving grace of this beer, I'm loving the wonderful texture. Thin and unassuming on the outset, it quickly effervesces and becomes almost perfectly suited for drinking alone or with food. I'm happy to have had the opportunity to sample this.

Photo of aval89
2.8/5  rDev -0.7%
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 ABOWMan
2.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light in color with a nice 3 finger head as poured. Head was long lasting. Unfortunatley, the flavor, like most lagers is mild and non remarkable. Still, for a Chinese lager, I feel it is quite good. Clean malt flavor but mild. Very drinkable. Bbeautiful bottle is a beautiful emrald green. Almost worth saving.

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