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Kirin Tanrei - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin TanreiKirin Tanrei

Educational use only; do not reuse.

35 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 35
Hads: 74
Avg: 2.75
pDev: 33.45%
Wants: 19
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited visit their website

Style | ABV
Happoshu |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tjd25 on 06-16-2004

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (50) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 35 | Hads: 74
Photo of Brenden
3.05/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very clear pale yellow in color, the thin white head dies down quickly but does leave just a bit of a thin ring at the edges of the glass.
There's lots of rice in the nose, a little biscuit by way of malts, and it's husky without being very dry. It does run semi-dry, particularly as the vaguest note of grass comes in. Some grains run through and some fruit notes I assume are esters, darker but with something less sweet and more crisp like pear that hasn't ripened yet.
It's a little pale on the tongue, yes, but that's the style. There's a bit more of a twang in the taste, tart green apple skins and a bit of lemon zest. The rice is used well in this brew, integrating a soft flavor that doesn't put down the strongest foundation to put much on, but works for a very light brew.
It's a light body for sure, and runs a touch thin, but I have to assume that, since it holds up a good crispness, keeps pretty clean and without any grainy astringency, and has at least a modicum of smoothness, it's pretty good for the style though not overall.

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Photo of metter98
2.73/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer is clear light yellow in color and has a slight amount of carbonation. It poured with a short white head that died down, leaving wispy patterns of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas that resemble skunk are present in the nose—I'm not sure if these are from the sweet potatoes because it doesn't taste like rice or corn.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and tastes a little skunky, but is a different type of skunk than one you would associate with a beer that comes from a green bottle and is more subtle.
M: It feels light-bodied and clean on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems a lot like an American Adjunct Lager, but doesn't have much of the adjunct flavors that you would normally expect in the taste and aftertaste.

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Photo of tone77
2.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Yay, another Japanese beer to review. Poured from an 11.2 oz. can. Has a pale yellow color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is virtually nothing, a faint hint of malts. Taste is light, bland and boring. Some malts, an unusual aftertaste. Feels light in the mouth and overall is not an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.16/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another can smuggled in country by my sister in law, thanks Terry!
Pours a crystal clear pale golden color with a huge fluffy white head that shows moderate retention and some lace. Smells grainy and a bit sweet with malt. Smells like a PBR if you asked me. Taste is a bit sweet with a grainy malt edge, light pomme fruit, floral hops provide enough balance, but leave little flavor behind. Medium to thin body with a spirited level of carbonation and a sweet grainy mouthfeel. Very clean, nothing objectionable here, but nothing exciting either. If I had a hankering for some pale lager and I was in Japan I might reach for one of these, but its certainly nothing I would go out of my way for.

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Photo of shivtim
1.85/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Grabbed a can of Tanrei Draft from Family Mart. It's themed to the national soccer team ("Samurai Blue"). I wasn't expecting this to be any good, but was happy to try a new style of beer.

Another clear brew. Light yellow. Small white head. Quite effervescent.
Nose is grains and aluminum.

The taste is very bland. Maybe a slight hint of malts... mostly just watery indistinct rice/corn (?) and an iron-ey tinge. Even a bit of weird ethanol burn. Really not that good, verging on bad.

Mouthfeel is OK. Slightly watery, but well carbonated.

Overall not good. To be avoided.

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Photo of pettis
3.25/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Essentially a low-malt take on the Japanese lager/"rice lager" style, Kirin Tanrei is a classic "happoshu" (see note below). For what it is, it's not bad.

A: Sparkling gold with a thin bubbly head
S:it gives off a grassy, grain-like aroma.
T: The lack of malt leaves this beer lacking in favor, though I wouldn't say it tastes bad. The use of rice really comes through and lingers in the aftertaste.
M:Mouthfeel is thin, but in an easy-drinking way suitable for a pilsner-esque beverage.

This (near-) beer is very drinkable if you looking for something along the lines of a lawnmower beer. Should only be of interest to one-time curiosity seekers or those living in Japan and on a budget (roughly $0.50 less per can compared with the typical Japanese lager).

*[As mentioned in the style summary for "happoshu," this isn't so much a clear "style" as a separate alcohol tax category created by the Japanese government for malt beverages with less than 67% malted barley content or that contain adjuncts beyond those stipulated in the tax code (this includes rice and corn but not, for example, coriander--thus many imported Belgian witbiers are legally classed as "happoshu"). Major brewers began producing these low-malt "rice lagers" when the tax on legally define beer was raised, thus creating a market for happoshu as a cheaper substitute. The biggest-selling happoshu varieties actually contain less than 25% malt, since this places them in the cheapest of the three "happoshu" tax brackets.]

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Photo of woosterbill
4.18/5  rDev +52%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Einweizenbitte for hooking me up with this can; review #900, style tick #93. Shared at a tasting. NB: I've obviously never had this style before, but I'm going to try to review according to what it's trying to be - obviously any style that mandates that 2/3 of the fermentables be non-malt won't live up to my own tastes for beer, but that doesn't mean the beverage isn't exactly what it's supposed to be.

A: Clear straw body under a finger of fine, frothy, bubbly eggshell head. Great retention, plenty of delicate lace. Gorgeous Happoshu.

S: Well, it smells like rice and lightly sweet pilsner malt. Much more rice. Maybe a touch of grassy hops. It's definitely very rice-ish, but that's the whole point of the style, right? Very crisp + clean.

T: Lightly sweet, very lightly hoppy, and very, very ricey. The flavors are never too intense, but the finish lasts for...e...ver, and is pure fermented rice. It really has nice depth of flavor, even if it's a flavor I don't personally enjoy.

M: Light, water, smooth body. Not fizzy enough to make the rice pop as much as I bet it could.

O: I can totally understand why this beer (and every other one in this style) gets slammed mercilessly: it tastes terrible to anyone who truly enjoys good beer. I firmly believe, though, that it's perfectly valid to make products for people who don't possess refined tastes (insert "Twilight," NASCAR, or other joke of your choice here; sorry for any offense), and for people who want a beer that tastes more like rice liquor than beer, Happoshu is perfect; it's just a guess on my part, but I have a feeling that this one gets the style just about right. I'll die happy if I never have a sip of Happoshu again, but this was a terrific experience.


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Photo of AgentZero
1.95/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Golden colored beer with a little bit of a white bubble head. A lot of carbonation, but no real stick on the sides.

S - Grain, malt sweetness, some apple, not a ton else.

T - Thin, watery, rice, grain. I'm not sure what this style is exactly, but I hope this is not what they are going for.

M - Thin, carbonated, watery.

O - I don't like this beer, not sure if I just don't like the style or if it is this beer, but nothing I care to have again.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.18/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz can split and poured into a Central Waters tulip.
5.5% ABV, Best Before 2011.06, Produced on 2010.10

I've gotta send a massive thanks out to EinWeizenbitte for a big hook-up with this beer. Not only is he generous for sending it my way, he was very nice to chat with!

A - Brilliant clarity shows the vibrant gold color nicely! A stout white head with good retention leaves lace caked to the glass. Nice start!

S - Good old malt liquor aroma; pale malt and lots of adjuncts to add fermentable sugar without boosting body. Sweet corn and rice with a subtly hop balance. Considering my expectations, I'm pleasantly surprised thus far.

T - More or less pretty bland. Pale malt is near absent while the clean finish ends with a wisp of floral hops.

M - The body is surprisingly fuller than I expected with a medium feel and crisp, clean finish. Lingering sweetness battles the mild bitter and dry hops.

O - Let's not kid ourselves here, for what this beer is, to style, it's really not bad overall. It's not much different from any other malt liquor out there. Not truly offensive, just bland.

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Photo of portia99
2.44/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz can courtesy of my ex-wife who was doing some scientific experiments on a bunch of Japanese beers and had some leftovers to share. Poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours a mostly clear, but chill-hazed pale wheaty straw golden color. A finger of rocky white foam barely lingers for a moment and falls quickly to the surface and leaves some foamy lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - I'm not sure I've ever encountered a beer (or a water even) that has less aroma to it. I am struggling to find something in here. I think I am getting a bit of a soft, sweet malt aroma, but this is really a push...

T - Has the distinct Japanese lager flavor that I come to expect. Somewhat sweet and sugary up front, grainy, soft maltiness. Hops are a passing thought only...can't really say there is much noticeable bitterness or flavor. Pretty watery and not at all distinctive - this could be any nondescript Japanese lager that I've had at sushi restaurants over the years.

M - Light in body with ample and fizzy carbonation. Soft, sweet, watery...feels like I could drink 100 of these...goes down like water. Not sure this has a place in my drinking repertoire outside of the sushi restaurant.

O - Pretty bland and non-distinct. Side by side with any number of Japanese beers...I'd be hard pressed to pick this one out. It has its place as a clean, easy drinker...and probably would complement a sushi dinner, but as a standalone drink, it is lacking a lot of character.

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Photo of beerwolf77
2.74/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Huge thanks to the two BA's involved in acquiring this insanely elusive tick. EinWeizenbitte for the leg work and BeerFMAndy for sharing. I am forever grateful.

A: Pale golden straw color. Solid finger of stark white head fades quick and leaves soapy lace.

S: Sweet grassy grains are the main component here. No surprise. A touch of bitter hop profile comes through as well. I pick up a faint burnt rubber aroma as it warms.

T: Fairly unoffensive flavor. Sweet malt and cooked vegetables. There is a decent bitter hop bite with each sip. Dry and acrid finish.

M: Light body with sharp and biting carbonation.

O: It wasn't the worst beer of the night. Although it could have been rams piss for all I cared. It's a Happoshu tick. Hell yeah!

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Photo of THECPJ
3.11/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes

A: pale golden yellow in color with a 2 finger head

S: all that is noticeable are the malts, leading to a biscuity like scent

T: a very weak flavor profile overall, weak malts, more bitterness than anything

M: mild carbonation, thin

D: glad to have the opportunity to try it, but not rushing out to find more


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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.33/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to my buddy Hiroshi for bringing this back from Japan for me! 8 oz can pours a crystal clear yellow color with a stark white head. Surprisingly, it displays some nice retention, not much lacing though.

Nose is fairly pleasant with slightly sweet grains and rice abound. Not much else, but it smells fresh and there are no off-aromas.

Taste is extremely light, but very clean. Dry finish makes it disappear on the palate almost before it arrives. This makes the alcohol more noticeable than a 5.5% beer has a right to. Decent bitterness is surprising. Overall, Id say this is at least as enjoyable as an AAL, and with the different tax bracket, I would probably drink my fair share were I to find myself in the land of the rising sun.

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Photo of nrbw23
2.16/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- Pours a bright pale yellow color and is crystal clear. A thin white head pops up, has pretty much no retention and leaves on lacing at all.

S- Smells of stale crackers and a bit of a metallic smell. Nothing really else here.

T- Taste is also pretty boring. A bit of cracker, grains and a bit of an off taste almost sour or funky.

M- Very light in body and high in carbonation.

D- Overall, pretty boring and nothing really going on here. Reminded me of quite a few macros here. Probably something that I wouldn't seek out again, but glad I got to try it.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
2.37/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This experience was made possible by EinWeizenbitte. Can shared by drabmuh. A huge thank you to both Todd and Matt.

Served alongside Asahi Honnama Red

A: The beer is transparent and light yellow in color. The head is light, white, fluffy and stands in at about a half inch tall. As it fades, it manages to leave some faint traces of lacing on the pint glass.

S: An odd, off sweetness lurks. Hmm...

T: The taste is of grains and corn with a cheap, macro lager flavor. Overall, there is an odd flavor that basically seems off kilter.

M: The beer is thin in body, with adequate carbonation. The aftertaste fades quickly, which happens to be a good thing, for the most part.

D: This being the first time I have ever tasted a happoshu, I was thrilled at the opportunity to indulge in this very elusive beer style. While it was very cool from an experience standpoint, the beer itself wasn't that enjoyable.

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Photo of Thorpe429
1.83/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Can thanks to EinWeizenbitte. Shared by drabmuh. Served in a Four Peaks Kiltlifter pint glass. Thanks all around for assisting me in reviewing the elusive 104th style.

Pours a straw color with a single-finger white head that is pretty bubbly. There is plenty of visible carbonation. No lacing and some light retention. The nose is some really light grain and husk plus some under-ripe pear.

The flavor goes way downhill. Any fruity note is gone and all that remains is a bunch of rice and a lot of grain husks. The mouthfeel is quite thin and watery. Not a beer I really enjoyed but I am glad to finally try this style and see what it's like.

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Photo of drabmuh
2.21/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Again, thanks to EinWeizenbitte. Beer is yellow and clear. It has a nice head of white bubbles, no lacing, moderate carbonation.

This beer has an odd aroma, its sweet and grainy but also kind of fruity...plasticy its odd.

The beer is light and flavorless. Its like a gross glass of water. nope.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Mader's 0.5L glass boot.

Big thanks to EinWeizenBitte for his generosity!

And I finally get to try a happoshu! Victory...I guess... In the boot, the pour results in what looks like a Wolverine workboot with a stark white sock sticking out of it. The nose comprises light corn syrup, rice, and a combination of air and glass (though that last one may have just been the boot...). The taste is pretty much the same, though some flowers and a slight sweetness help out a bit...just not much. The body is quite light, with a light carbonation and a watery feel. Overall, an interesting brew, ridiculously easy to drink, but not much goin' on in the smell/taste department.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.04/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to EinWeizenbitte

A- Pale clear golden, big snowy white head. Perhaps the tulip is doing this favors, a nice 2-finger head lingers. Final pour has it settling to about a half-finger.

S- Undefined mild sweetness and.. not much else.

T- Pale bready grains. A bit drier than expected and some lingering rice flavors.

M- Impossibly light, very carbonated, refreshing.

D- It's easy to drink, I'd have another. An interesting style, but one not too far removed from some pale lagers from the states. Points for not having any real flaws or off-notes, though.

And, as stated on the can and in other reviews, this beer was 'brewed for good times'. Can't get much better than that.

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Photo of Vdubb86
2.34/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint Glass

Thanks to EinWeizenBitte for his generosity in providing this can

This beer is something I was warned about in advance, but I must taste it to learn more about it. It appears to me as a pale golden straw with a frothy white head. The smell wasn't kind to me at all. There is a bit of sour rice mixed with some body odor as if sweat from Japanese laborers was used in the canning of this product. The taste isn't really all that good either. It reminds of old apple cores, but is not really all too bad. It's just really not a flavor that is desirable. The mouthfeel is rather dry for my liking, I'm unsure if that is to the style, but it's not pleasant due to my cottonmouth. This drinks ok, not really all that bad, but I really am okay with these beers staying in Japan.

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Photo of nickd717
2.58/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, another happoshu. I find myself drinking too many of these these days. Can thanks to EinWeizenBitte.

Pours clear bright yellow with a decently formed white head and slight fizziness.

Aroma is grainy and adjunk with pale malt.

The flavor is also pale malt and adjunk, rice really, along with water. A little bitterness to it.

Clean crisp mouthfeel, but thin and watery.

Another not very impressive happoshu, but I guess it's fine for what it is. I have to give it to this one though: Like the labe states, it is a pretty good pairing for good times. An extra half-point for that. I like good times, don't you?

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Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First happoshu tick, wahoo. Thanks, Nick.

Clear, pale, yellow. The thin head quickly retreats. Smells like apple juice, rice, lager yeast. Palate is grainy, thin, distinct apple character with a touch of lemon. Mild bitterness in the finish. Not particularly bad, this is refreshing and clean.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.7/5  rDev +34.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Einweizenbitte for this happoshu tick

A: poured a pale golden orange with pineapple yellow highlights that had a very thin head and left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: at first I got the various grains alongside big malts and citrus notes . It kind of seemed to have rice character as well.

T: like the nose malts pretty much dominate the palate with citrus accents and slight rice, bready, wheaty, and grainy notes.

M: the brew was very light in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a slight sweet but grainy, citrusy, and crisp finish.

D: it drank really really good due to how light it was in body and flavor but will definitely be tasty paired with sushi or sashimi. I would like to try some happoshu with some japanese food one day for sure.

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Photo of Mora2000
2.8/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big thanks to EinWeizenBitte for sending this beer my way. I never thought I would get to try this style. This is style 102 of 103. Only need English Pale Mild.

My Japanese is non-existent but I think the can lists this beer at 5.5 percent ABV.

The beer pours a clear yellow color with a white head. The aroma is strong corn with some rice and grain. The flavor is very sweet corn with some grain and grass notes as well. Thin mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Overall, this tastes about like an American Adjunct Lager, only sweeter.

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Photo of womencantsail
3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Jer for sharing this one.

A: The pour is an incredibly pale yellow with a short lived white head.

S: A lot of rice in the nose with just a bit of sweetness. Not really too much going on here.

T: The rice gives this beer a really mild sweetness and almost a soft coconut flavor. Maybe a light bitterness.

M: The body is about as light as you can get with plenty of carbonation.

D: Usually adjunct lagers taste plain bad, but this one is just really light and easy to drink and no offensive tastes at all.

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Kirin Tanrei from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
69 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.