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Cristal - Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston


Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

117 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 117
Reviews: 85
rAvg: 2.77
pDev: 21.3%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-19-2002)
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Ratings: 117 | Reviews: 85 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of maddogruss

New Jersey

2.7/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2006 04:00:25 | More by maddogruss
Photo of jmbranum


3.48/5  rDev +25.6%
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).

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2006 18:49:49 | More by jmbranum
Photo of BuckeyeNation


2.5/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2006 12:46:02 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Drew966


3.13/5  rDev +13%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2006 22:29:57 | More by Drew966
Photo of jwc215


3.9/5  rDev +40.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2006 02:14:22 | More by jwc215
Photo of HoustonTX


2.25/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2006 21:29:44 | More by HoustonTX
Photo of acrawf6


3.43/5  rDev +23.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2006 05:29:07 | More by acrawf6
Photo of jameaterblues

New York

2.88/5  rDev +4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2006 20:55:09 | More by jameaterblues
Photo of shererjt


3.15/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2006 02:34:47 | More by shererjt
Photo of zeff80


2.8/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2006 18:35:32 | More by zeff80
Photo of karst


3.08/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2006 21:26:54 | More by karst
Photo of DogFood11


2.58/5  rDev -6.9%
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...

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2006 19:02:12 | More by DogFood11
Photo of VoodooBrew

South Carolina

3.03/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2005 19:33:37 | More by VoodooBrew
Photo of tgbljb


3.38/5  rDev +22%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2005 01:16:31 | More by tgbljb
Photo of BillyB

New Jersey

3/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2005 22:04:07 | More by BillyB
Photo of beergeek279


3.1/5  rDev +11.9%
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,

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2005 03:05:06 | More by beergeek279
Photo of whynot44


2.98/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2005 04:47:38 | More by whynot44
Photo of Gagnonsux


2.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2005 03:24:08 | More by Gagnonsux
Photo of ybnorml

Rhode Island

2.58/5  rDev -6.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2005 01:30:08 | More by ybnorml
Photo of Knuckles


2/5  rDev -27.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2004 19:42:41 | More by Knuckles
Photo of aracauna


2.78/5  rDev +0.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2004 01:17:32 | More by aracauna
Photo of Guinness4me


2.5/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Complex? Not at all. Wet and alcoholic? Yes! If you keep this attitude, you'll have no problem putting away several of these lovlies who seem to be South America's King of Beers.

It's a clear, lemon yellow with a quickly disappearing head and no lace. The smell was a bit skunky at first but aired out nicely. The taste was not at all offensive but not at all full of flavor either. It's mouthfeel was average and although I didn't rate it highly on taste, it's very easy to drink and I would drink again on a lazy day in the keys.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2004 02:50:35 | More by Guinness4me
Photo of filabrazilia


3.45/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a pale straw gold with a thin white head that leaves good lace on the glass.

Pretty mild grainy aroma with notes of corn and alcohol.

The taste is pretty mild as well. Light malt and grain with a hint of malt.

The mouthfeel is carbonated to the point of tickling the nose. The beer is a little too dry in the finsih.

Not bad overall. It can be drunk when the weather is warm. I'm in Houston, it's August, and it's hot. Good beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2004 01:57:03 | More by filabrazilia
Photo of bditty187


2.65/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear, gold in hue, dull and ordinary in color. Minimal animation raced towards the bubbly white head. At the apex of the head it was a half finger in height. The head retention was pretty good; it took a while before it faded to a cap and then to a long lasting collar. There was no subsequent lacing. Still, at no time did this beer look dead in my glass; this is a major plus when it comes to Pale Lagers. The nose is sharp, with unpleasant acidity. There are also notes of grain and sweetness, maybe corn? Intertwined are suggestions of herbal grassiness. The bouquet is fair, I don’t find it inviting but it fits the parameters for the style. Good potency. The palate is decent and it matches the nose to the letter. This is both good and bad. I don’t care for the acidic twang, it is really off-putting but the hops add a moderate amount of flavor, mainly hay, grass, and herbal qualities. In this regards it has a European Lager vibe going. Solid bitterness. The maltiness is thin and flavorless, weakened by adjuncts I assume. There is some trace sweetness but the beer is pleasantly dry. If there were any sort of malt backbone this beer would be decent. The mouthfeel is light and watery, mind you carbonated water. This aspect of the beer is ordinary and it allows the beer to be consumed quickly, as if the lack for flavor wasn’t enough. Maybe that is a little harsh, still the body is thin. It is easy to drink but there is no enjoyment in quaffing this, it is too simple and dull. I am sure this is a once in a lifetime purchase. I bought a single 12-ounce bottle in Lincoln, NE for $1.25. Moving on…

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2004 18:51:26 | More by bditty187
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

3.95/5  rDev +42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me begin by saying that I have never in my life had anything quite like this. Almost had a smell reminicent of a wet dog, but had other attributes as well that made it marginally appealing via smell. The taste, at first kinda reminded me of the way my basement smells, but finishes with a BIG corn taste that somehow tastes toasted like a corn tortilla, and is really tasty.
NO, I am not consuming orally, injecting, or smoking any kind of illicit street drug, this is just how peculiar this beer is. The way I described it would most assuredly turn most away from trying it out, but please, don't count this out. I encourge folks to try this stuff. It's strange, but quite good. Not alot of carbonation makes it fairly easy to kill these in decent numbers.
My first brew from south of the equator.(Foster's comes from Canada, not Australia). I'm a sucker for stuff from Spanish speaking countries anyway.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2004 06:27:14 | More by SilentSabre
Cristal from Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston
66 out of 100 based on 117 ratings.