Cristal - Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston

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89 Reviews

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Reviews: 89
Hads: 155
rAvg: 2.8
pDev: 15.36%
Wants: 2
Gots: 13 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 89 | Hads: 155
Photo of Imstillthegman
1.98/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Trying to make my way through a "Beers of the World" sample pack I received from my mom-in-law. This is number 3 out of 8 and by far the worst one yet.

Pours a clear, very pale golden yellow with a big white head. Wait a minute...where did the head go? I know I saw one. Oh well.

The aroma is of a skunky sweet pils. There is a slight hop scent coming through when that damn skunk keeps his tail down.

The taste...well...this one is a drain pour. I made it half way through the glass, but I can't take anymore. Not much of a flavor besides sweet skunky rotten hops. Yeah, it's that good.

Thin body with decent carbonation. Probably the best part of the beer is the mouthfeel. I can't finish this one and would never get another one even if I was in Peru. (766 characters)

Photo of kimcgolf
2.42/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was a slight step above some of the latin American Imports or cheaper US Macro brews, but not much. Poured to a pale golden yellow, with snow white head that dissipated quickly to little lacing. Aroma was slightly hoppy, as was the flavor, but not much else there. I actually enjoyed the mouthfeel, which was tingly and the finish was fairly long and somewhat pleasant.

Okay from an area not known for beer, but doubt that I’ll have many more. (457 characters)

Photo of EagleTalon
2.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours to a thin white head. Pale yellow-gold color with a slight haze. Aroma is sweet , grainy and hoppy, similar to a Heineken. Flavor is grainy-sweet continental pils flavor with balancing bitterness. Finishes dry and hoppy. Not a terrible beer but not anything I would buy again. (282 characters)

Photo of dfried
2.67/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear yellow, foamy white head. Sweet pils aroma, skunky hops, like a Heineken. The taste was again sweet, grainy. Skunky hops again, like Heiny but sweeter. A lot of carbonation, light body.

Verdict: I got this for novelty sake while eating at a Peruvian resaurant, and that is about the only time I would again. More noticeable hops than some macros made it a bit more tolerable, but it is what it is, a macro lager. (421 characters)

Photo of maddogruss
2.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a glass mug. The beer poured a light gold color with a half-inch white head that receded after a couple minutes. A ring a head maintains throughout the beer with decent lacing. It smelled very much like a macro lager although slightly maltier. It tasted very bitter; similiar to a mix between a pilsner and budweiser. A pretty thick mouthfeel; I was expecting it to be as thick as a light beer. Pretty drinkable if you are looking for a thick macro but keep in mind that it has a bitter taste. I could not see myself drinking this beer for long periods of time. (588 characters)

Photo of jmbranum
3.45/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light-gold clear brew with a 3/4 inch white head.

Basic pilsner style with little hop bite. Not good, but not interesting either.

Heavily carbonated.

Compared to other Latin-American lagers, it is a above average. (which is why it is rated as high as it is). (276 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.5/5  rDev -10.7%
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. (1,586 characters)

Photo of Drew966
3.06/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cristal pours a light golden color with a white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle that is foiled and marked twist off. The aroma seems to have an odd almost metallic thing going on. Taste is inoffensive, a little malty and grainy. That metallic note is somewhat noticeable in the flavor, but it's not really distracting. Kind of average, which isn't bad compared to other Latin and Caribbean beers. (402 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev +38.6%
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. (714 characters)

Photo of HoustonTX
2.2/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Reminds me a lot of Corona. In the bottling and flavor. Here goes the review.

A - Golden yellow, small head on pour, decent retention. No lacing, and carbonation is severly lacking.

S - Adjuncts fill the nose.

T - Ultra sweet unripe corn, with stingy hops, and light malts. No bueno.

Better then a Corona, but not by much. Way too sweet for my tastes. Couldn't even finish 12ounces. (394 characters)

Photo of acrawf6
3.42/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a light straw with tons of carbonation bubbles. I guess this glass isnt so clean. Head is small, but the amount of bubbles keeps a small amount of head present.

Smell. Sweet with malts with jsut a little bit of pepperyness to it.

Taste. Interesting malt character. sweet at first, then dries up to an astringent mouthfeel. I also am getting a rye taste to it. strange. finishes slightly sweet.

Mouthfeel. does give me an astringent feeling in my mouth. Body is moderate, lot of carbonation.

Overall. A nice one to try, but forgetful since i dont think there is enough to make it stand out as a great beer, but above average for the style. (660 characters)

Photo of jameaterblues
2.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The brew from Peru....the distributor brought samples of this into our store and I ordered a case because I had some customers asking about it...well its good for a summer day, but I would probably drink water instead...
A-It all kinda went down hill from here, but the pour was great a huge white fluffy foamy head(diminished surprisingly quickly) and a sticky white lace.
S- Light sweet malts, a hint of hop, and cereal grain(corn most likely).
T- Not much too it....corny, very mild hops...crisp and refreshing.
M/D- High carbonation, watery, very light...not awful but there are better refreshing beers for summer days. (628 characters)

Photo of shererjt
3.17/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer from Peru? Sure, why not!

Poured a clear yellow with an average, white head and moderate carbonation. Nose had some faint hops, crisp malt, and that's about it. Still nice, though. Flavor was about normal for a macro-type with maybe a bit more bitterness and fairly dry. Mouthfeel was lively with a bit of a prickly feeling and quite clean. Drinkability was average.

Wasn't expecting much from this one, but it's really not bad. On the dry side, so if it's malt you want, look elsewhere. (498 characters)

Photo of zeff80
2.75/5  rDev -1.8%
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. (397 characters)

Photo of karst
3.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best befor 19 04 2006
Startling ultra pale yellow with a two finger cap of snow white head falling to leave a naked surface in about a minute or two.

If you try a Cristal "extra fina" and your not on some S. American beach resort then you must visit the website - a sure way to increase you enjoyment of this Peruvian version of an American Macro Lager. Sex sells beer!

When the beer is not delivered to your beach side cabana as you enjoy the three essential B's (Babes, Beach, and beer) something is lost in the translation.

I thought the initial aroma a little skunky but was surprised considering the expert handling by HyVee of Osage Beach / Lake of the Ozarks and its stated freshness date. Could this have been added by the Chicago Importer?

Handsome label and foiled neck.
I am drinking the beer at about 10°C (50 F) that is much warmer that recomended by the tips on the web site "Asegúrate de que tu cerveza esté entre los 3° C y 6° C, antes de consumirla." but does bring out any faults.

A mild sweetness with good malt flavor and some corny DMS from adjuncts.
Little discernable aroma hops and just enough bittering to cut the sweetness in the finish. Mouthfeel is superior to most Macro Lagers.

Drinkable but not something that I will necessarily seek out. (1,343 characters)

Photo of DogFood11
2.56/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Golden to yellow color, Clear, Massive amounts of racing carbonation support this pillowy tight white head, leaves ring like lacing.

Cooked vegetables, grain, corn husk, drying hops actually play a role in this south american lager. Its what you would expect although I will add that this one ends up being somewhat interesting in that at its finishing crispness there is a slight hop twinge that lets you know there is potential here. Mostly adjunct, astringent and crisp.

Notes: Nothing earth shattering here but I would not hesitate to drink this while on vacation...while in rome... (592 characters)

Photo of VoodooBrew
3.01/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is what it is. A Macro Lager, light in color and flavor, easy to drink, and refreshing when the situation calls for it. And it's Peru's #1 beer, so come on, we're not talking Unibroue stuff here.

This beer actually looks quite good. Crystal (right?) golden with a big fluffy head, if it were a German Pils it would look lovely, if perhaps a touch on the light side.

While the flavor of most domestic Macro Lagers falls on the disagreeable side of neutral, I'd say Cristal actually tilts just to the good side. There's something about it that reminds me more of the macros I've had in Europe versus your Western Hemisphere macros. This is a good thing.

If you make no assumptions about Cristal you'll be in good shape. This is not beer I'd buy for myself but if company were coming over, you could at least buy Cristal and drink it with them. But the best part is, in the bottle it's cheaper than Bud. Case closed. (933 characters)

Photo of tgbljb
3.35/5  rDev +19.6%
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. (292 characters)

Photo of BillyB
3/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I tried this beer at a Peruvian Resturaunt with Arroz con Pato (rice and duck).
It was a typical adjunct heavy pilsner. Golden/straw color. Nice frothy white head. Medium bitterness. More Bitter than sweet but smooth overall. Strong corn taste.
Nothing special about this beer. It wasn't horrible. Pretty drinkable. (318 characters)

Photo of beergeek279
3.1/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from the 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The color is still a light gold, but a touch darker than a light lager, with a nice foamy thick head. The smell is sweet with barley and doesn't smell too much of adjuncts. The taste is nicely sweet without much of a hint of DMS in the flavor, without much in the way of hops to it, but still nicely refreshing. Mouthfeel is average. As for drinkability, really not bad.

Well, honestly, I went into this one with a closed mind thinking "ohh, great....another boring macro lager". I was honestly surprised by this one being fairly nice. While it's not exactly Trappist in quality, it's a better-than-average adjunct lager with a nice sweetness and almost no DMS to speak of in the beer. I wouldn't go out of my way to have this, but if it were there, I might have one again, (825 characters)

Photo of whynot44
2.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very clear pale yellow color with a moderate foamy white head that does a fast disappearing act with no trace of lacing.

The aroma is corn, fresh grass.

The taste is pretty much typical American mass market brew, slightly sweet, only a hint of malt, a bit of corn, very light bodied, but it does finish with a slight hops note.

Still, it is light and crisp, refeshing and easy enough to drink ice cold. Nothing that special but should be a decent cooler for hot weather activites. (492 characters)

Photo of Gagnonsux
2.65/5  rDev -5.4%
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. (443 characters)

Photo of ybnorml
2.6/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A clean bright yellow beer. Has a big bright white head, with some lace. There is a distinct bready character to the aroma with a light grassy background. The flavor starts with a light grassy sweetness before quickly ending with a metallic bitterness on the finish (265 characters)

Photo of Knuckles
2/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

"Bobby Bob beer, best beer in Vietnam."

There is a whole lot of something going on with the aromas in this beer, but I'll be damned if I could tell you what in the hell they were. It reminded me of walking into high school biology class on the first day, and being greeted by the smell of old formaldehyde from the specimen jars (yes, I too dissected a fetal pig). Formaldhyde nose, formaldehyde finish, and very little going on in between. (443 characters)

Photo of aracauna
2.78/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

It’s really not all that bad. It’s got a bit of corn in the aroma and flavor, but is backed up by a little bit of citrus and tingly hops. Sweet but not cloying (a pale lager would find it hard to find enough body to be cloying). Not a bad little beer, but far from interesting either. (286 characters)

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