Harbin Lager | Harbin Brewery Group

122 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 173
Photo of yesyouam
1.58/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Harbin Beer is a very clear and sparkling light golden lager. The soft white head fades quickly. It has a funky aroma, like vegetables, melon, alcohol and rotten fruit. It has a medium-light body that's pretty smooth, with a reasonably crisp finish. It has a fusel flavor. It burns my nose. There is, perhaps, a note of citrus. It was a challenge to finish this beer. It comes in a fancy bottle, though!
(rated Nov 28, 2008)

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Photo of pmcadamis
1.6/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A - This comes in the most elegant package. The bomber sized bottle is wrapped in a silky gauzy gown of white material covered in kanji characters. The beer, however, is pretty lame looking. It's yellow, pale, and clear with a fizzy white head. Looks like any American macro. Blah.

S - Not assertive at all, this smells like rice and nickels. I don't like metallic flavors in my beer, and I can already tell that this is going to be a coppery mineral water type brew. Weak, corny, and ricey.

T - Yeah....this isn't very good. I was really excited about this one since it's one of the most beautifully packaged beers I've ever seen, but looks can be deceiving. This is pretty boring and corny with lots of metallic mineral water notes.

M - This is sort of a redeeming quality for this beer. It's thin and overly carbonated, but thirst quenching and palate cleansing.

D - This beer is pretty boring, and almost nasty. In a blind taste test, this could be confused for Natural Light or something of that ilk. Pass.

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Photo of slammo
1.7/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I got this at one of my usual stops. I put it on the counter and the woman who knows I am a good customer and seek good beer did not charge me for it. That was the first sign of something not up to my standards but the packaging was very exceptional to say the least.

I really cannot say something good about this experience other than the bottle looks great and if I just mowed the lawn it would be refreshing. Tsingtao is a better Chinese beer in my opinion but I steer clear of that as well.

Good luck in Beijing but I recommend avoiding this one.

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Photo of DmanGTR
1.7/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Review from notes on 4/17/10.

This is a sad looking piss-yellow beer with no head. Corny and grainy. Not much else here. I'm struggling to find descriptors here. There is just a massive lack of flavor. Ok, I found some DMS, but isn't that unwanted in a beer? This isn't just a bland beer, it has a strange twang to it that I can't put my finger on. Regardless, I'm glad to have gotten rid of this last bottle from my fridge.

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Photo of smcolw
1.73/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

Fizzy starting head that drops to nothing within 10 seconds. The beer looks like a lighter colored Chardonnay. Crystal clear.

The smell is quite mild. What little I could detect, was raw and grainy.

Hyper-carbonated--beyond soda pop. Again the graininess is dominating. No hop. I will not finish this beer. I think it's poor even by most macro standards.

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Photo of allengarvin
1.79/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Crystal-clear light gold color with a small head. Wow, no aroma... none. I can't pick up a single hint of any scent at all. Grainy, corny flavor, no detectable bitterness. Bleagh, this must be the Chinese equivalent of Coors. I could barely finish the whole glass.


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Photo of avalon07
1.8/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: When I poured this from a bottle to a pilsener glass, had a clear texture and a bright yellow color. Hardly any head or lacing.

S: I picked up the scent of some grain, malt, a little hops, but not much else.

T: A thin, watery flavor. A minor amount of hops. Not much else to note.

M: Below average amount of carbonation and a metallic finish.

D: This is just another mass-produced beer. Zero flavor and no personality whatsoever. Pass.

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Photo of BigRedN
1.84/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Purchased as a single as part of a mixed 6 pack.

Appearance: Poured from the 11.2 fl oz bottle into a pilsner glass. The beer is a dark gold. My pour produces a fluffy white head about an inch and a half in height. The head is very short lived, like a soda pop. Nice looking bottle though with the foiled top.

Smell: Sweet adjuncty, some slight skunkiness in the bottle which recedes somewhat as it sits in the glass.

Taste: Nothing too "off". But it is mostly adjuncts, nothing very good. No hops, is there any malt? I'm not too sure. I drank this cold and rather quickly before it could warm and surprise me with any bad flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light in body but not watery. Low in carbonation.

Drinkability: I bought one just to try. As I finish it off there is no need to ever have another. Not very good. There are much better macro lagers available for much less. Skip it.

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Photo of jkdrummer
1.9/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Wow, wrapped in a nice cotton cloth with a gold elastic band - looked so fancy. $2.09 for 24oz -- hmmm -- something's up. Pours a nice frothy fluffy white head, better get a good look, oops, it's gone. MMM flat ricey, hay flavored beer. Where's the hops? It's not even sweet. Ugh, only half a mug to go. Awful stuff -- not recommended.

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Photo of Brad007
2/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a very pale color with a fluffy head. Aroma is slightly skunky with the typical pale lager characteristics. Smooth, somewhat grainy and goes down kind of rough. Tastes of corn in the aftertaste. Very average, unimpressive. This is from China? I'd have a hard time believing that if it wasn't on the label.

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Photo of beerthulhu
2.03/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Poured a brilliantly clear golden-orange with a rocky 1 finger high off white head that settled to a compact layering. No visible carbonation or lacing was to be seen.

S: light in nature with traces of fresh grass and wet grains.

T: The flavor was thin and worty, with a touch of sour mash. Overall was dry, rather bland with light traces of oranges and a slight flower bitterness. Some light grassiness, corn and dried rice were also noted.

M: watery, thin, with a little carbonation fizz. Nothing spectacular to behold.

D: Drinkability was slightly less then average, and macro-like. Wouldn't go out a buy a sixer of this. Wouldn't drink a second one back to back.

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Photo of ExtraStout
2.11/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Had this in Shanghai. Very clear golden color with a tall rocky head, fair retention, medium sized bubbles whisking to the surface. Clumps of lace at the top of the glass not too much lacing the rest of the way down.

Clean, very grassy aroma, a bit metallic, fruity, some slight skunkiness. Clean taste, on the watery side, grassy, metallic, fruity. Finishes with a clean, crisp, tart taste with some slight sourness.

Very light mouthfeel with bits of graininess. Goes down easy enough, like water, just needs more flavor.

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Photo of Skotrat
2.12/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Sweet and Corny. Another fine AB beer.

The display was very good but I must say that that the skunked aroma was a big turnoff.

There are many fine beverages from Asia but unfortunately this is not one of them. I was actually reminded of many of the US malt liquors out there when I sampled this beer. A few sips and it was poured right in the sink

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Photo of Dubbercody
2.12/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received as a present from a non-beer geek friend. I have to appreciate the attempt, even if the result was mixed.

Big fluffy head clear golden. Smells of grass, bread and rice. A bit like the opening of a rice cooker. Mostly grain flavor that drinks down easily.

Interesting beer, too bad it was stocked with the Microbrew Bombers and not the 'imports'/'Macros'.

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Photo of meatmallet
2.13/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Yellow and kind of dirty lookin but clear. Very small white head disappeared quick as I could pour it.

Smell: Rice grain and malt. Not a whole lot there other than a slight skunkiness.

Taste: Barley and rice and nothing more. I really dont have anything else to add.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Clean and kind of crisp which is all the good I can say. I dont plan on trying this again.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.2/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2


Served up at P.F. Chang's- Princeton, NJ

Appearance- Light yellow and heavy carbonation. Fizzy head that disappeared quickly.
Smell- Sweet corn syrup and rice. Your basic adjunct. Light straw detected also.
Taste- Light and sweet corn syrup malt. Very watery.
Mouthfeel- Watery and almost flavorless.

Overall- Blah. Very little flavor. Not worth the time.

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Photo of TerryW
2.25/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

An unremarkable macro brew, inoffensive, but bland.

Pours a soapy white head that disappears to a partial film, no lacing. Clear pale straw coloured beer. Looks like weak-kneed apple juice.

Smell is sweet and corny, on the apple juice side. Also tastes quite sweet and of corn and apple juice. Thin bodied, mild carbonation. Not offensive, just anonymous.

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Photo of ToddT
2.27/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

A- Pale golden yellow with a one finger off white head. Head falls quickly to a ring and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S- Thin in aroma. Grain, adjuncts, malt, and a whiff of hops.

T- Thin in taste too. Minor hit of malt at first, slightly sweet followed by a dry finish. A little presence of hops at the end with a slight bitter twinge to the finish.

M- Thin almost watery, carbonation is good however.

D- Easy drinking but no real standout in any flavor profile. At 5.5% it could be a session beer if it had some flavor going for it.

Cool to try just to say you have had a beer from China, but nothing special and the Chinese are not really known for brewing world class beers, I'll take their food over this beer any day.

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Photo of geexploitation
2.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a yellow apple juice color with a virtually no head. Corny smell hits first off, then slightly sweet malts and an ever so slight dustiness that I'm assuming is some hops. On the palate, bland and a bit sweet, with little in the way of hop bitterness (on a bit comes in at the end). The end finishes with sweet dried corn. Thin mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Overall, not an appetizing beer, and not even really drinkable given that sickly corn smell/flavor.

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Photo of atigerlife
2.31/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 600ml bottle. The bottle is attractive and it comes wrapped in a decorative sleeve with chinese characters and tied with a golden cord [sleeve not shown in the photo I took]. Nice packaging. This beer only became available in the US last month [February 2006] in Hawaii & LA. It is imported by Anheauser-Busch.

Poured a large fluffy white head. Sparse carbonation can be seen rising. A rather light golden color. So far, the packaging and the look are quite nice. Unfortunately, it was downhill from there....

The smell was faint hops. Not a lot going on. The taste was very light hops. Very mild. Really, not a lot of flavor. Very non-descript.

The mouthfeel was very light. No cleansing. Was somewhat "slippery" feeling. Not good. Overall, this beer looks nice in the bottle and in the glass, but there is not much going on after that. Nothing offensive, but no character.

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Photo of Rudgers73
2.31/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Green bomber to a pint glass. Lots of fizz that piles up on the top and it stays for a decent amount of time. The smell is that of a skunky pilsner. Big vigorous bubbles rise up and add to the almost non-existant head now. There is a really nice malty kick to this beer; too bad it only lasts for a second before the bubbly, corny tasting beer bleeds through.

It was such a nice looking bottle too...

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.31/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well, it came in a pretty little sake'-like bottle. At least that was my justification for buying the beer. Afterwhich, I realized that this was not a good beer. Green bottle Euro-type beers almost always promise disaster. The offset of aromas give a tom-catty aroma; pungent and musky; nearly skunked. The look is a near-fizzy carbonation, disapointing retention, but hey; it has a clear straw color. The taste was of grain, rice, and malt. Very sweet, similar to raw corn sugar. Very little complexity or variety. The feel is a slick coating of the mouth. Finishes with a mild hop flavor, earthiness, and pronounced sweetness. The beer was just not that good.

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Photo of dbmcrorie
2.41/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

600ml green bottle with white cloth wrapped around the bottle and a gold string tied around the neck. The cap is covered with that damn foil. I always get little bits of it in my drink.
Poured into imperial tulip pint glass.

Poured a clear golden straw color, with a thick white head that dissipated all too quickly. No lacing or cap left.

There seems to be a tug-o-war between a skunky sea-salt aroma vs. the faint malt -- which is reminiscent of caramel apple. Very little hop presence.

Dry. Oh so dry. Very bland and low-key flavors. Mostly grain, husk, and very slight hop earthiness. Bitterness jumps quickly to the back of the tongue but disappears with a dry chalk like finish. Very watery mouthfeel.

Such an elaborate display would have one waiting in anticipation for the golden elixir within. But then, you remember, you paid less than $2 for a 600ml bottle. Don't get your hopes up.
However, due to it's watery mouthfeel, lack of complexity, and dry finish, this certainly makes a great compliment to Chinese takeout.
Best paired with extremely greasy and/or spicy entrees; including egg foo young, noodles, vegetables, and rice.

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Photo of Reidrover
2.41/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Actually very nice presentation ( if a little odd with it being wrapped in some fancy clean room hair net thing with a gold bow), and the bottle/label is very cool. 600ml Dark green bottle. Reasonably nice looking lager, deeper yellow than usual with a nice sized bubbly pure white head. Aroma ..ohhhh well, I will leave it at the "hairnet" did not stop this beer from getting skunked bad, only other aroma i pick up is a graininess .\taste while nothing special is better than the aroma, just plain lager here, some fruitiness and a touch of grassy hop. Rather watery palate. After all the money and thought they put into the packaging, i would have liked at least some effort put into the beer. Not horrible but far from good.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.41/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Anyone who has ever worked with, and received those small gifts/presents from, Japanese companies will nod doubt see a similarity between those and the decorative packaging of this China brew. For a start the bottle itself is sleeved in a tight fitting paper sleeve, this is secured with a gold colored thread which is tied off. The 600ml green glass bottle is sealed with a dark green crown cap and metallic foil on the neck. The main label is also dark green and has a pale yellow oval with lots of metallic gold designs and text. Listed as “China’s Treasured Lager Harbin Lager” with some Chinese text filling in the main band across the label.

Appearance: For all the fancy-schmancy packaging the beer in the glass looks very ordinary, as I expected. A pale straw body pours out with a massive frothy white head which adds some neat looking lacing. This is your typical looking lager affair, but the longevity of the head and the average carbonation at least lend it a decent overall look.

Nose: Nothing much in the nasal arena. Some light grain malts and a very feint bitterness, but the strength is so low that it is hard to determine exactly what makes up the nose here. Despite its weak strength, the nose is nothing out of line, and it does seem clean at least.

Taste: Middling lager style flavors. Again this is just as low in the tastes as it is in the nose. Gentle sweetness in the finish, light grain and some citric sharpness in the finish all do enough to remind you that this is not water, but it never seems to stamp authority in any flavor area. As with the nose it is clean and unfettered, but rather boring.

Mouthfeel: Clean lines and decent carbonation are a plus but that is it. Nothing here really adds to the body and the clean lines are reflected in the thin feel. Very wanting in the Mouthfeel for sure.

Drinkability: I’m sure this is fine very clean thirst quenching brew on a hot day, but the day has been cool here in Long Beach and this just doesn’t do anything at all for me. Forgetful.

Overall: This was a cheap pick-up during a recent trip down to HiTimes in Costa Mesa. A brew from China, all delivered is some fancy looking packaging. Something different, but nothing exciting.

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Harbin Lager from Harbin Brewery Group
2.81 out of 5 based on 173 ratings.
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