Kirin Tanrei - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

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Kirin TanreiKirin Tanrei

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69 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 69
Reviews: 35
rAvg: 2.72
pDev: 22.79%
Wants: 17
Gots: 7 | FT: 2
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.
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Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 35
Reviews by ZOSO2192:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Weizenmensch
2.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

500mL can of Tanrei, fresh from the convenience store.

Pours a straw yellow with a decent head initially that dissipates to a thin white coating. Head is pure white and looks quite unnatural. Moderate carbonation with some lacing forming. This looks like a typically Japanese take on a macro lager - corners cut (such as replacement of grains with rice) and plentiful adjuncts added to improve the look of the beer. As expected however, it fails and just looks like another artificial Japanese consumer product. Appearance isn't this beer's strong point.

There are definite aromas of sickly sweetness (indicating rice), a metallic odour (perhaps imparted by the can, or maybe just skunkiness), and somewhat surprisingly, an undertone of barley malt. The lack of hop fragrance is noticeable and indicates this is a beer for the masses - cheap, easy to drink and best served ice cold. For the style, this is fairly standard, but I couldn't describe it as acceptable.

Taste sets this aside from the other ubiquitous happoushus here. There is nothing excessively adjuncty about this beer, and perhaps it is the total absence of hop flavour that makes this beer quite refreshing and drinkable. While I'd go for any available European beer in preference, this is an easily-accessible beer that staves off my desire for anything decent for a little while. I didn't come to Japan for the beer, but sometimes you want that malty flavour even if it's done badly. And as far as the tall cans of beer that are available at the convenience store at all hours of the night, this one is probably the best, at least in terms of price/quality balance. So I'll give it an 'average' rating, since it's all right given the circumstances.

I must note that there is a rather pleasant malty sweetness on the palate. While there's certainly a rice taste there too, the malt aftertaste is probably what makes a beer like this at all satisfying.

Having said that, the mouthfeel is odd - while the bubbles on the palate enhance the malty flavour, the slick-like oiliness all over the roof of the mouth and tongue reminds one of the foul play that has gone into producing this almost-beer.

Drinkability is its best feature. It's cold, it's here and it's reasonably cheap. Considering I bought a microbrewed 375mL bottle from the prefecture I'm in for 473 yen, a 500mL can of this, cold, available anywhere for around 200 yen, is pretty decent. I'm going to give this a 4/5 for drinkability because as I've said, it's the best of the lot pricewise vs qualitywise.

Worth a try if you're enduring a humid Japanese summer. Not at all worth drinking if there's a microbrewery near you that produces some kind of cold summer ale or lager.

Photo of Mora2000
2.8/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of Brenden
3.05/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Photo of nickd717
2.58/5  rDev -5.1%
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?

Photo of tone77
2.48/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.18/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Photo of metter98
2.73/5  rDev +0.4%
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.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.33/5  rDev +22.4%
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.

Photo of mullenite
3.83/5  rDev +40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to EinWeizenBitte for throwing this in for me. Very much appreciated on this 90+ degree spring afternoon.

Pours a crystal clear, beautiful gold color with a two finger white head. Poor retention but the seemingly endless bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass are leaving a nice cap on the top of the beer.

Grainy and sweet, lots of noticeable adjuncts but also a residual honey like sweetness that kind of hangs out behind all that. No hop aroma is noticeable.

Very low in flavor, compared to Sparkling Hop anyway. Still a noticeable sweetness though. The grain also comes through.

Mouthfeel is very thin, almost to the point of being watery. Lots of carbonation. Very refreshing.

Overall, I prefer Sparkling Hop but apparently it is no more. This one is still good though and makes me wish I could get it in the US.

Photo of Thorpe429
1.83/5  rDev -32.7%
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.

Photo of AgentZero
1.95/5  rDev -28.3%
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.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.13/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

Photo of womencantsail
3/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Photo of tjd25
2.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Foamy head on a yellow and slightly green transparent color body. It’s hard to get anything from the smell. Maybe some yeasty citrus notes and some hints of wheat.
The taste is fresh, citric, with grapefruit, and hints of fermented peaches.
Mouthfeel is quite round but weak. Dry grassy and salty hoppiness in the end. Average lager.

Photo of portia99
2.44/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.16/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

Photo of Healfdene
2.66/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

head the color of snow on top of mt. fuji
color the mellow yellow of a rice field soon to be harvested
smell the fresh scent of laundry hung out to dry on your balcony
taste so mild yet so refreshing...although a little metallic
KIRIN (happoshu)
for a relaxing time, make it Kirin time.

Photo of thesilverhand
2.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear yellow with a thick white head that dissipates quickly.
Somewhat sweet aroma, no hops. The flavour is mild, with nothing standing out. There's a touch of bitterness, but no strong flavours. The mouthfeel isn't great - it's more prevalent than the flavour itself - and is quite sharp with high carbonation in action.
The aftertaste is very dry and unobtrusive. It's not bad for what it is, but what it is isn't a beer to write home about. But as the can boldly states, they were weren't going for great beer. The stated goal: "Sheer refreshment! Open up the smooth taste that goes perfectly with good times."

Photo of beerwolf77
2.74/5  rDev +0.7%
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!

Photo of Wasatch
2.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean/clear yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy white head, with some minimal sticky lacing. The nose is malty, with some slight hops, mostly ricy. The taste is malty/ricy, very slight hop note. Light body. Not drinkable, would not buy this again.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.7/5  rDev +36%
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.

Photo of shivtim
1.85/5  rDev -32%
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.

Photo of nrbw23
2.16/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

Photo of pettis
3.25/5  rDev +19.5%
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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Kirin Tanrei from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
66 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.