Harbin Lager | Harbin Brewery Group

174 Ratings
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Harbin LagerHarbin Lager

Brewed by:
Harbin Brewery Group

Style: Euro Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by atigerlife on 03-20-2006

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Ratings: 174 |  Reviews: 123
Photo of MikeInIowa
4.44/5  rDev +58%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Harbin Lager is a Chinese import. Buying a sixer of Harin will not worsen the trade imbalance that the US has with China, so why not try this dandy little brew on for size. It's gorgeous!

Look: With its pale but opulent golden color and its honorable mention head and lacing, Harbin probably has an average lager appearance to it, but then appearances can be deceiving, can't they?

Nose: It has the light hint of hops the tend to invite drinker in for a sip.

Taste: I felt that this lager's taste was exceptional for the style. Robust taste of hops without residual tastes. How did they do that anyway?

Mouthfeel: Thin, without being watery.

Drink: Exceptional drinkabitity. Careful! This beer could be habit forming.

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Photo of eb003
4.2/5  rDev +49.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like I'm rating this one a bit higher than the others that reviewed it. I really enjoyed this beer. It's a nice, light, and refreshing lager. There could have been more lacing of the glass, but overall I think the appearance was good. The smell is typical of most lagers. I thought the mouthfeel was also good and light. I found the taste to be very good. It has a better flavor than other Oriental Lagers and really left little aftertaste.

I rate this pretty high on drinkability because I truly enjoyed this one.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.1/5  rDev +45.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pale golden color with bountious white puffy head. Great retention.
Smell is mild with a slight griny malt note detected.
Taste is crisp and fruity sweet. Very refreshing.
Nice smooth finish in the mouth with a long-lasting refrshing character.
Very well-made. A very nice beer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.97/5  rDev +41.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harbin pours a golden body with yellow highlights beneath a creamy head of bright white. The retention is fairly good, and it leaves some nice strings and splashes of lace behind.

The nose expresses softly sweet and grainy malt alongside a gently herbal and lightly floral hoppiness.

In the mouth it's crisp with a median, fine-bubbled carbonation; and medium-light bodied with a bit of a dextrinous edge.

The flavor follows the aroma, and it's very nicely balanced with an initial malty sweetness that's immediately pounced on by herbal hops and a solid bitterness. The hops blend with the grainy malt across the middle and into the finish, and the bitterness rises at the swallow, leaving it dry despite some residual malt. Herbal and spicy hops enjoy a fleeting moment or two in the lingering finish.

Really well-made. Superbly balanced. Quite nice.

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Photo of valkyre65
3.96/5  rDev +40.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I used to get this beer in a 22oz bottle from our local sushi joint and it was one of my favorite lagers. Unfortunately when that place closed I was forced to seek it out at our local suppliers for purchase and can now definitely understand the low reviews it is getting here on BA. All of the Harbin I can find to buy is in 12oz bottles only and tastes nothing like the larger ones I used to get at that restaurant. Maybe they got them imported directly from China in lead lined shipping containers to protect them? ;)

The 22oz variety I used to get had a wonderful crystal gold shine to it and when poured would create about a one and a half inch micro foam head. The head provided nice lacing through almost the entire time there was still beer in the glass. There was a very clean and mildly astringent smell to this beer with just a hint of the Qindao Dahua hops and German lager yeast. The taste was very mild but crisp and refreshing, interestingly what you thought would be an impending aftertaste simply vanished before it could really develop. This beer had a big carbonation profile which lent nicely to the overall mouth feel/crisp note which made long draws very rewarding.

I will continue to seek out these larger(fresher?)Harbin's and hope that anyone aware of a direct supplier of them please let me know, as I really enjoyed this beer but refuse to drink the sub-standard 12oz variety that seems to be the only thing available at this point to me. So if you can find a source of the 22oz Harbin's, definitely chill one good and give it a try...goes great with sushi too :)

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Photo of botham
3.88/5  rDev +38.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pours a crystal clear, pale straw color with a couple fingers of white frothy head. looks just like a great pale lager should.

aroma contains the basics. sweet malts are the most prevalent, with a touch of hops and a floral base. well balanced in the nose.

taste is lightly sweet and full of malts in the front, followed by a floral bready finish. all flavors are somewhat watered down, which only lends to the brews lack of richness. good balance here as well.

aftertaste is semi-dry, with residual floral yeast and a subtle light hop character.

mouthfeel is light-bodied, with a slight bite from the carbonation, and a semi-smooth finish. nothing special here.

drinkability is great. this is a brew that has a good balance of aroma and taste, while remaining refreshing and light on the stomach. that being said, nothing stands out about it, it is just your run-of-the-mill pale lager.

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Photo of Offa
3.84/5  rDev +36.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fairly good, tasty lager.

Golden and slightly on the bubbly side, it has with a thin, fizzy white head that disspitaes soon to leave a permanent thin foamy ring around the glass but this lasts.

The aroma is fairly strong, pleaantly aromatic grass and nutty grain.

The taste is similar, with grassy grain, nuts. It's a little sweet with a light, brief, grassy and herbal bitterness with a hint of citrus at the end. It has a rather full feel and somewhat long, pleasant grain aftertaste. it's highly drinkable and has nothing off.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.79/5  rDev +34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is strong, typical of a lager - malty and with a bite - but better than most lagers I have tried. Color is a typical lager yellow with a fairly thick and not persistent white head. Flavor is malty and rich, with hints of hop flavor and bitterness, as well as a good alcohol zing. This lager seems to fill the mouth as few lagers, especially American macro-brews, do.

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Photo of freundnam
3.75/5  rDev +33.5%

Photo of guitarmage
3.6/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Super clear pale golden, about a half inch of white foam has decent retention, a thing ring of lacing is left. A few bubbles in the glass.

Smell: Not especially aromatic, clean, fresh cut grass, faint malt sweetness.

Taste: Very light malt sweetness, the beer is tart as well, a hint of lime citrus, more predominantly is a nice dose of citrus hops, dry.

Mouthfeel: This beer is light to medium bodied, a fizzy rolling carbonation keeps the beer crisp and refreshing, a very dry finish.

Drinkability: A really clean lager, lighter on the malt, pretty heavy hops, and a very dry finish would it make it good to pair with any meal where the flavors would not over power this beer.

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Photo of WesWes
3.53/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a crisp, clean pale malt and adjunct scent along with a dry lager yeast aroma. It seems to be maltier than some Asian lagers. The taste is decent as well. It has a smooth pale malt and adjunct flavor. It goes down easy and finishes clean with a bit of malt sweetness. It's dry with a slight green bottle skunkiness, but nothing too off putting. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a pretty good Asian lager. Like I said, it's got more malt flavor than most, which seem almost entirely made with rice and corn. It's smooth and clean; an easy drinker.

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Photo of matjack85
3.5/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of endless1408
3.5/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of JeffSuttonTX
3.5/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of Kopfmeister60
3.5/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of mrfrancis
3.5/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of cokes
3.48/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden with a moderate cap of white foam that depletes itself over a minute or two.
Dry maltiness, likely adjucted with rice, with a twinge of green-bottled light-induced skunk, vague green grape notes, and a minor grassy/floral hop bite.
Crispy dry as it hits the mouth. Soup crackers and rice cakes. A minor grapeyness arrises midway, along with some mineral water bitterness. Hops continue along the dry motif, and add touches of hay and dried flowers at the end.
Light bodied and well carbonation, but short of vapid and fizzy. This has a bit of character to it, albeit subtle. Its biggest asset is its thirst quenching ability. It's better than quite a few true "Euro" lagers out there. Better than expected, but still about mediocre.

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Photo of tempest
3.36/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Caught somewhere between German pilsner and American macro, not quite enough yeast character for a Euro pale lager. There’s a touch of hops and bready grains, there’s hints of adjunct, but the corn or rice doesn’t dominate the beer like most macros. If this were cheap and not in green bottles, I might have it again.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.36/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brilliant gem-like white gold. Tall crunchy capping of stark white foam that dissolves quickly to an ever present foamy collar and a steady slow stream of bubbles within the gold. Minimal to no lace however.

Aroma is bland and nearly non existant with a soft sweetened haze of starch and old white bread.

Taste is lightly sweet with a starchy, run-of-the-mill, lager flavor. Slight breadyness and a tiny lift of dull citrus makes for the rest as it does coat the palate with a clean, semi cloying malt that actually lasts long enough for it to matter some.

Feel is respectfully clean and rounded off in a small malt tone within a lighter, mediumish body.

A drinkable lager, yes, perhaps a bit boring, but could easily have a few when in the mood for a simple lager in the slower summer months.

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Photo of MarvinSnyder
3.35/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from 6-7-10 - poured into a personalized pilsner glass - 1 pint/ 4.3 fl. oz. (600ml) capped bottle

Appearance: Pours a dull, pale yellow with a nice white head. The head quickly dissipates to a thin ring. Lacing stays fairly close to the head.

Smell: Aroma is very representative of the style. On the nose are grain, sweet malt, corn syrup, and some lager-type skunk.

Taste: Syrupy malt sweetness with a very slight hop bite, with a dry finish. A hint of lemon is also present. This beer has no real aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation. Even though it can be thin and watery, the sweet malt is delivered well over the palate.

Drinkability: This beer could be an easy-drinking session beer. However, it is a little too sweet for me.

Comments: All in all, this is an enjoyable, albeit average beer with some decent attributes.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.34/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, this brings back memories. The last time I had this one was seven years ago at the ice festival in Harbin. I don't remember it being very good, but since it was about negative twenty most of my stay, it's possible my brain was frozen. This is among China's most popular beers among domestic drinkers, and I'm not surprised it's one of the first to make it to the US (the partnership with AB probably is also a factor). However, despite the gaudy packaging (I can assure you it doesn't have golden twine and a protective sleeve on the bottle when sold in its hometown) and slick marketing, I assume this is just another drop in China's sea of cheap, minimally drinkable yellow lager.

Pours a thin, pale straw with almost no head at all and a weak, watery look to it. The nose is sweet with hints of noble hops that give it at least a whiff of complexity.

The taste is plain, basic, lager but surprisingly satisfying, with just enough hops to keep me interested. Texture is thin and spineless, as anticipated.

For a run of the mill Chinese macro, this was a pleasant surprise. An alternate theory is that the only reason my expectations were exceeded was because they were so low. Worth a shot for the curious.

 1,218 characters

Photo of wiseguy142
3.33/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes in a big green bottle with some extremely Asian looking paper around it. Interesting.

Pours bright yellow with a sturdy white head. Aroma of pilsner malt. Taste is slightly sweet with most of the flavor coming from the malt, but it's very well balanced. Sort of like Miller Lite if it was good at all.. and from China. Lots of carbonation, very refreshing and easy to drink.

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Photo of genog
3.33/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsener glass a straw golden color with a thick white head that builds up and then dies down quickly. Smell is some spices, and rice. The taste is a little sweet wit some Honey and maybe a little ginger as well. Mouth feeling is light and a little smooth creamy as well.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.33/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Inspection: Large green 1 pt. 4.2 fl. oz. (600 ml) bottle covered in a plastic rice paper looking bottle condom.

Aroma: Euro Lager! Complete with skunking and a mild dusty note.

Appearance: Clear gold glass with a ¼ finger white head that lasts and laces.

Flavor: Euro Lager! Which means grainy malt with a peppery and earthy hop leaning toward bittering rather than flavoring.

Mouthfeel: Bit heavy in the carbonation, medium body.

Overall Impression: Yawn. Standard issue Euro Lager Heineken knock off.

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Photo of Drew966
3.33/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Harbin pours a golden yellow with a white head from a six hundred ml green bottle. I feel the need to describe the packaging of this beer, there is a green bottle with a foil neck cover and a white paper/plastic with chinese script tied around the bottle by a gold cord. Very fancy presentation. Typical Euro lager aroma, hoppy bordering on skunky. Not bad, taste is in the same vein as Heineken. Pretty good for an Asian lager.

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Harbin Lager from Harbin Brewery Group
2.81 out of 5 based on 174 ratings.
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