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Cristal - Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

89 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 89
Hads: 161
Avg: 2.79
pDev: 27.6%
Wants: 3
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston visit their website

Style | ABV
American Adjunct Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-19-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (7) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 89 | Hads: 161
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.05/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear lighter yellow with a 1 inch puffy white head that settles to a thin cap. Broken rings and spots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grains, corn flakes, and some grassy aromas. Taste is solely of grains and corn flakes. There is a tasteless bitterness on the palate after each sip (no hop flavors). Mouthfeel is pretty good with a crisp and clean quality. This is probably the beer's best characteristic. Overall, this is a pretty average lager coming out of Peru and something I wouldn't probably ever get again.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.95/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark yellow with a thin pure white head.

Light nose of white bread yeast and balanced nose of cooked stone fruit with a hint of sugar.

Mouthfeel is thin and without real character.

Flavors are single dimensional light yeast, light hops. Very simple but clean. Flavors, while simple are pleasant, although very short. There is nothing complex about this one.

Short light grapefruit finish. A pleasant lighter beer.

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Photo of metter98
2.78/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer is clear light yellow in color and has a very slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin white head that quickly died down and left a bit of lacing on the surface.
S: There are light aromas of skunk in the nose along with some hints of adjunct malts.
T: The taste has flavors of adjunct malts—corn seems to stand out in particular. A light amount of bitterness is also noticeable.
M: It feels light-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer tastes rather bland and is nothing overly special.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.5/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Exceedingly pale amber that I'd like to be able to say is Cristal clear, except that it isn't. Within the liquid is a sparse cloud of fine particulates and a few slightly larger flakes that don't look too concerning. The bright white cap appears cheap and confirms that impression by falling rapidly and leaving no more than a smattering of smeary lace on the glass.

The nose isn't aromatic enough to be offensive. It consists of grain, neither fresh nor stale, with a modicum of musky noble hops. A little corny sweetness might actually have improved things; or would at least have given my nose something to work with.

Cristal is hoppier (more bitter anyway) than the vast majority of American macro lagers. That makes it different, but it doesn't necessarily make it good. I blame a lack of malt rather a surplus of hops. If you like your obscure 'world lagers' to be snappily bitter, clean and drying, then this just might be your beer. The aridity might becoming tiring after more than a few bottles however.

Given the lack of malt, the body/mouthfeel isn't as bad as expected. Positives include a lack of deterioration on the finish or with warming, and a generous amount of carbonation that tries its best to make the beer interesting in the mouth.

Cristal just isn't very good beer. Still though, it manages to avoid any serious sins; which, in turn, keeps it running down my throat rather than down my drain. My theory about the drying bitterness negatively impacting drinkability will have to go untested since this is the first and last bottle that I ever plan to drink.

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Photo of zeff80
2.75/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle from Hemmingway's.

Poured out a slightly cloudy, yellow. There wasn't much of a head and it didn't last long. The smell was a little skunky to me. I asked my wife if it smelled skunky and she disagreed. Corn taste was noticed, but basically it tasted like a standard lager. It was fairly smooth drinking. Not bad overall. If I'm ever in Peru (yeah, right) I'd grab a bottle or two.

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Photo of mikesgroove
2.46/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Saw this sitting in the world beer shelf and had not seen it before so I decided to give it a try. Nice foil covered twist off cap on the top.

A - Poured a very clear, extremely pale golden, hay colored yellow. One of the palest beers I have ever seen. Big white frothy gead formed on the top and actually hhad some damn fine staying power. Tons and I mean Tons of carbonation bubbles were rippling up from the bottonm of the glass.

S - Typical light lager smell, very light grain and malt smell, maybe a hint of yeast, but very light.

T - Very bland and muted. Did not even have that typical light grain flavor that a light lager has. Only a someht muted grain taste, anda weird moldy bread like back to it. A rather odd taste, it almost had like a seltzer water flavor to it, very very bland.

M - Feel was not too terribly bad. Had pretty decent carbonation feel on the tongue and was smooth, Not very crisp though as it had a kind of oily feeling when drinking.

D - Its definatly a sessionable macro like lager, however the taste really doesnt do it for me so I wouldn't really want to drink alot of them, even though I probably could.

Overall very forgettable. Not sure I would really order or ever really try this one again. I am sure there are better beers out there that would better justify the country, this one is just simply blah.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.08/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served in a Budweiser pokal.

Pours a...normally I would call it a clear pale straw, but there's hardly any straw in there at all, more like a clear sallow, a clear jaundice. The head is thick and solid for a decent while before disappearing into the pale, leaving some nice thick lacing behind. The nose is burnt rice and toasted grains, a hint of vegetation creeping from the undergrowth. The taste follows, but pushes the notes from the nose to the back, reserving the van for a sharp aluminum foil. Seriously. I apparently chewed some foil while drinking my adjunct lager. Damn. And I was gonna do that afterward... Anyway, the body is decidedly light, with highly active carbonation and a very watery texture. Overall, a very disenchanting brew, whose drinkability necessarily falters with the highly objectionable taste. Come on, Peru!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.52/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle. Crystal clear, golden straw in color with a bright white head that drops quickly but leaves a good collar and some very minor lace. The aroma is of a sweet, grainy maltiness entwined with a lightly earthy and grassy hoppiness. The body is light and crisp in the mouth. The flavor starts sweet, reveals and odd lightly acidic "twang", and then some light hop flavor as it crosses the palate, and finishes on the dry side with some lingering malt notes. Refreshing and enjoyable. An interesting malt character makes this beer somewhat intriguing. Paired with an excellent balance, some decent hop flavor, and a very good drinkability - it's one of the better South American lagers.

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Photo of Jason
3.37/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown twist off that is foiled … very odd. No freshness date.

Appearance: Perfect clarity but that does not make up for the thin ring of lace that seems to leave quicker than the beer.

Smell: Sweet grain and adjunct aroma with a flowery hop in the back … clean nose to say the least.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Spot on lager crispness within the light body. Light on the malt with grain overtones all over the place. Quick rose water like flavours linger middle to end. Mild hop bitterness with more astringent grain in the finish.

Notes: A decent south-of-the-border lager. Certainly better than most North, Central and South American macro lagers … went great with a plate of Peruvian roasted chicken and fries.

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Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev +39.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twist off cap under a foil wrapper ... Well, that's... different.


Pours straw yellow with a well-retained white head that left rings of lacing down the side of the glass.

The smell is of mild hay. Slightly thin, but clean.

An initial mild bitterness is soon mixed with a gentle grassy sweetness. Light and refreshing, with some body to it.

The flavor holds up pretty well in the mouth. It leaves a clean, refreshing feeling.

This really hits the spot on a warm or hot day. It's a good, basic "session" beer. It's one of the best beers of this style that I've had from Latin America. It's also better than most macros, which what I based my rating on. For the style, it's better than most.

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Photo of dbrauneis
2.41/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a crystal clear medium golden yellow in color with some light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall creamy white head that quickly reduces to a thin film covering almost the entire surface of the beer with a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: A fairly strong aroma of skunk with a lighter underlying aroma of sweet corn adjunct malts.

T: Light flavors of adjunct malts, specifically grain and corn but the main flavor of this beer is bitterness (which I can not attribute to anything specific).

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: Easy to drink but really nothing special - very similar to a lot of other semi-macro American Adjunct Lagers from South and Central America. Would be a really refreshing beer on a hot summer day but not a beer I would go out in search of finding to have again.

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Photo of Mora2000
3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first beer from Peru.

The beer pours a very clear, light yellow color with a white head. The aroma is fairly one dimensional and is full of grain. I also get a little bit of grass but the grain is overpowering.

The flavor is more of the same. I get some grain and grass notes as well as some bread from the malt. No real hop bitterness, causing the beer to be pretty sweet.

Light mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.2/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Cristal is labled as "Beer from the Andes", yet this is bottled in Lima, which is not in the Andes. From a marketing standpoint, Cusqueña is the truer beer of that long mountain range. But what about the beer itself? Here comes 330 ml. On to the beer:

Grassy yellow with a hint of gold. There's a small head formed on top, but it shows good head retention on top and spotty lacing.. The nose is nothing to be shameful of. There is a small dose of DMS, but it's got a pleasant hay and grass note and some sweet maltiness.

It's a surprise that this tastes less like an adjunct lager more like a watered down helles lager. There's dry hay at the begining, and it continues as a seltzery bitterness creeps in. Dabs of wood hit. In general, the overall flavor is on the lighter side, but with little nastiness, I can live with that. The body is very light and seems watery despite small bubbles bursting.

Now that the beer part is over, I can state that Cusqueña is the better of the two. But let's not laugh at Cristal, which is still better than many other nation's top-selling lager. At least I know that the one day I vacation in Peru, the macro options won't completely suck.

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Photo of plaid75
3.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a light straw hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light cereal and adjunct malt with a smattering of flowery hops.

The taste consisted of a light cooked corn sweetness, a light doughiness and some subtle hop spice.

The mouthfeel was toward the thin side with a vigorous carbonation.

Overall an average Latin American macro lager.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a two-finger white head that leaves an even lace. Light golden amber color. Light bodied, medium carbonation. Starts sweet, finishes crisp. This would be a good beer for the summer better than the usual lawn mower beers but nothing to write home about. The ABV is 5%.

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Photo of WoodBrew
2.4/5  rDev -14%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On layover in Lima trying to get back home from Sao Paulo and taking advantage of the time to try Peruvian beers. The second beer I tries was Cristal and it was OK.

A-2 pale golden color no head and seemingly no carbonation
S-2 no much happening
T-2.5 carbonation become present once on the palette. Grain powers the
M-3 is easy to drink!

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Photo of flagmantho
3.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 330mL bottle into a Pilsner glass.

Appearance: light golden hue with a crystal-clear body and a fair helping of effervescence. Head is one thick finger of pillowy white foam. Actually a decent-looking beer; the color is not so insipid as most.

Smell: grainy, with just a hint of sourness, and with a fair bit of sweet malt aroma. As adjunct lagers go, it's not too bad.

Taste: light, sweet malt with just a touch of bitterness but no really discernible hop flavor. Not bad; pretty middle-of-the-road.

Mouthfeel: body is quite light but there is a boatload of carbonation here. Call it faux-creaminess, since it winds down pretty quickly. Still, this puts it a step ahead of a lot of its competition.

Drinkability: a lightly refreshing brew. I'm actually relatively impressed by Cristal; though I probably won't seek it out again I'd choose it over a whole host of other similar beers.

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Photo of tone77
3.04/5  rDev +9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a very pale yellow color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some corn. Taste is light, some grains and corn, not bad, but not much to it. Feels light in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a mediocre offering.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
2.65/5  rDev -5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is of pale straw with good carbonation. The head is below average in size and soapy. The aroma is of macro grainy sweetness with just a little husk smell. The flavor is pretty good in a generic way. Sweet grain flavors dominate and provide a tasty, but one-dimensional taste. This is better than most adjunct lagers, but still has far to go to keep me interested. This is probably something I'd only buy again if I were ever in Peru.

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Photo of wordemupg
2.96/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml bottle poured into pint glass 30/7/11

A clear golden yellow with a short lived finger of foam that leaves a random ring of lace

S rice crispies, corn and faint skunk

T no skunk but not much of much really, more corn then I could smell nothing offensive though just not much at all

M thin but lots of bubbles, very clean finish and almost refreshing in this humid heat

O drinkable but that's about it, nothing worth bragging about but I had no problems sinking a few of them

smelled slightly off but didn't reflect on other aspects, not bad for Peru but If I had options I'd take it

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Photo of stcules
1.53/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A very pale yellow color. Big bubbles, in carbonation, and even in the scarce foam.
The smell is, well, unpleasant. Very. Shoddy malt, corn, just a hint of hop, if you try to find it very hard.
Even something chemical.
Well, awful. Almost undrinkable.

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Photo of mltobin
2.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into a glass.

It pours a light clear yellow, tiny white head on this beer that hails from Peru.

Smell is skunky sweet, not very pleasant.

The taste is some grain, small presence of hops, little character to it and is not particularly enjoyable.

MF is bland and lifeless, works to was down food, but not much else.

I will not order this again if I have some other option on the menu.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.35/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a crystal clear light amber color with large white puffy head, that quickly disappeared. Smell is minimal, with a moderate sweetish texture to be found. Taste is also very light, with a little maltiness. Finished nice and refreshing, but not much else. A decent beer, good as a spacer.

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Photo of koopa
2.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Nice crisp clear appearance but under carbonated which shows through in the lack of head retention and lacing.

Smell: Clean nose with smells of a light flowery hop, grain, and adjunct material.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Not much malt to it, good light bodied lager crisp aspect. The beer is under carbonated in my opinion.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev +34.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cristal has a standard, white lager head, a clear, yellow-golden, bubbly appearance, and low-to-moderate lacing left behind. The aroma is of pungent, slightly skunked, bread aroma. Taste is of yeasty, bready malt with slight sweetness and bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, and Cristal finishes crisp, refreshing, and highly drinkable.


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Cristal from Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston
67 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.