Harbin Lager | Harbin Brewery Group

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Harbin LagerHarbin Lager
176 Ratings
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: 176 |  Reviews: 123
Photo of jaydoc
2.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of spycow
2.79/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Knapp85
2.61/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours out as a golden color with some quick fading head. The smell was hardly noticeable at all. The Taste was just about the same as the aroma, very light. The mouthfeel was carbonated and light. Overa this beer wasn't that great. Nothing to rave about.

 264 characters

Photo of biboergosum
2.46/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500ml can, 4.3% ABV, a not unsexy Oriental-lite presentation. Apparently imported by the Budweiser China Sales Company, from a different city than listed here. I'm too tired to actually look up or investigate that shit right now.

This beer pours a clear, pale straw colour, with two thinly foamy fingers of off-white head, which leaves a very low ebb of bubbly lace around the glass as it quickly fades from sight.

It smells of mineral water, a mild grainy corn grist, slight plastic essence, and little else. The taste is a fair bit sweeter, increasingly so in the same gulp, geez, of the sugary corn variety, natch, alongside a mild indistinct fruitiness, and thankfully very soft industrial metals.

The carbonation is more or less there, just there, the body a relatively meaty medium weight for the style, and generally smooth, nothing really egregious in the offset. It finishes on the sweet side, but hardly overly so, putting it a mile or so ahead of its average competitor, unfortunately with the tiniest of lingering, indicative plastic wrap twinges.

Probably the best lager, so, beer, that I've tried from China, and while it saddens me that it's from the AB/Inbev arm there, it also doesn't surprise me. This is pretty much Bud, since the usual runoff skank I get from this country's beers seems to be absent. So, considering the many degrees of degradation, um, good?

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.31/5  rDev -17.5%
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 zeff80
2.73/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured out a straw yellow color with a very foamy, white, one-finger head. No lace.

S - It smelled skunky and of some corn.

T - It tasted of grains and corn. There is a very subtle hop presence.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light-bodied beer.

D - This is an okay beer. Fairly typical for the style. I don't recommend it unless you are a big fan of Euro Pale Lagers.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.97/5  rDev +41.8%
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.

 865 characters

Photo of smcolw
1.73/5  rDev -38.2%
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.

 358 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.19/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this a Thai joint before dinner;

Pours golden, efferervescent and with a 1" white head. Minimal lacing & no head retention

S: Sweet perfumy nose & a hint of honey. Finishes dry with hints of

T: Sweet up front. then a little maltyness & a hint of rice dryness. Finishes dry with a little sweetness & fruittyness

MF: Light bodied & softly carbonated, skews a little thin

Drinks okay, nothing special, but better than BMC

 438 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
2.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

18-karat gold with lemonade edges. The large cap is a shade or two darker than brightest white and is dense enough to last for more than a few minutes after the pour. A little watery lace sticks initially, but doesn't last. Keeping in mind the fact that the competition isn't exactly world-class, this is one of the better looking Chinese beers that I've seen.

The nose is a dead ringer for a Euro pale lager; never might that Harbin is a Sino pale lager. There's no malt contribution that I can detect. The only aroma emanating from the glass is the typical musky, musty, semi-skunky hoppiness that one can find on a thousand and one lagers from Eastern Europe.

This isn't terrible beer. In fact, it's pretty okay beer. The straightforward, no-frills flavor profile is dominated by untoasted barley and more noble hops than expected. Their grassy, lightly spicy flavor and their surprising bitterness is keeping me drinking. I don't have a preferred EPL blueprint (I don't care enough about the style to think in those terms), but the dry, crisp finish of Harbin is appealing to me at the moment.

The mouthfeel is probably a shade lighter than the style average, even as the carbonation is more spirited. All those bubbles keep mouth interest on the high side without stepping over the line into fizziness. Although this may not be great beer, it isn't lackluster, boring beer either.

I had no idea what to expect from Harbin Lager. What I got was the best Chinese beer I've ever had. I assume that 'affiliated with Anheuser-Busch' means the boys from St. Louis made sure the brewing standards were up to snuff. If so, it definitely shows in the final product.

 1,673 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Decent AB backed option when eating sushi, remember they have stakes in Kirin as well and I'm sure somebody as a piece of Sapporo products but here it goes. Appears a clear bright straw golden hue with an eggshell white colored head dwindles quickly leaves specks of sporadic lacing. Aroma some mild sweetness cooked veggies, corn and rice, herbal hop presence mild skunk "green bottle" effect very mild though. Flavor mild bitterness light herbal grassiness hops cleanse the palate well sweetness is backed by corn and rice very light but blends nicely with the sushi, wasabi, and ginger flavors. Mouthfeel is light bodied moderate sturdy carbonation industrial lager in all it's mediocrity. Drinkability decent for what it is give it a shot if eating some sushi goes well I must say.

 785 characters

Photo of ejimhof
2.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of RblWthACoz
2.58/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours an expected clear straw gold. Nose right from the open was with a touch of sweet, but it quickly faded to basically nothing. Flavor is more of what you’d expect. Mild and smooth, though there is a touch of slight sweet to it and a fresh taste. Mouthfeel is standard. Drinkability is high since it is so light and goes down easy. For the price, not really worth it. Might as well drink a Tsing Tao. Overall, it’s beer. Nothing to run out and try. (I can see how AB would be affiliated with this brewery)

 510 characters

Photo of tone77
3.28/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a green bottle into a weizen glass. Has a pale yellow color with a 1/2 inch head. There is a slightly skunky aroma. Taste is light and dry. Not much flavor. Feels light and watery in the mouth. Drinkability is good. Overall an average beer.

 252 characters

Photo of tempest
3.36/5  rDev +20%
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.

 320 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
2.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Usual macro yellow color and thin white head 1/4". Aroma was more like hay moreso than malt or hops.

High carbonation, low ingredients. Spritzy. Its a very light beer in every aspect. Rice? Lacks the skunkiness I like from a green bottle Euro lager style beer. Mild grain feels. Noble hops in a small way.

 315 characters

Photo of avalon07
1.8/5  rDev -35.7%
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.

 443 characters

Photo of BillRoth
2.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of WesWes
3.53/5  rDev +26.1%
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.

 712 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
2.93/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Elegently wrapped bomber which I found at Pacific Ranch Market, and one I appropriately drank while watching the Beijing Olympics. On to the beer:

It's a soapy sud head on top this pale golden straw colored beer. The aroma has a little skunk, with some veggie and floral notes. The beer starts off sweet tasting in the mouth. It stays that way until the beer makes contact with the back of the palate. As that happens, spicy hops flavor comes out of it. In between it all comes a pinch of sulfur and alcohol. The hops linger on the back of the paalte in the aftertaste.

Well...it is better than Tsingtao, the nation's other mass-marketed beer available in the US. I do have to admit that although this beer is simply average, the outside wrap engraved with Chinese writing, then tied to the bottle like wrapping paper to a gift, gives the eye the impression it's something special.

 884 characters

Photo of Latarnik
2.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Zorro
2.68/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Well it certainly comes in a fancy enough bottle. But it also cost $2.69. I am going to guess this isn't the best lager ever made.

This is a clear yellow colored beer with a momentary decent white head. It is a shade darker than Coors in the glass.

Smell is slightly sweet with a slightly soapy hop aroma. Not much more that I can say about this, it smells like mostly nothing more than Budweiser.

Taste is slightly sweet with a decent hop bitterness to it. This tastes better than it smells. Pretty much just a clean lager flavor with a decent hop level and that is about it.

Mouthfeel is OK.

OK drinkable and a notch above the usual microbrewery lagers but that doesn't really make this a great beer. I can't see buying this again; I would buy Pabst Blue Ribbon first.

 785 characters

Photo of wordemupg
2.42/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

500ml can poured into pint glass 7/12/12

A clear straw yellow with a few tiny particles and some giant sized bubbles feeding a finger of foam that sizzles out like a cola leaving zero lace and no evidence at all that there was foam.

S cardboard and soggy cracker with a little sweet malt and a faint chemical aspect that's hard to place with a little dry hay

T tastes like our macro lagers, much like the smell but everything's toned down, perhaps not a bad thing

M watery and the bubbles quickly pop in your mouth leaving it feeling flat, not much for aftertaste and I'm not sure if that's good or bad

O hey at least its not skunky, no real reason to bother with this one just another macro only this ones from China

it could be worse but it could be better, everything's faint and boring, don't bother

 811 characters

Photo of BlackHaddock
2.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Green 600ml bottle, no sock type wrappings for us Brits, plus the ABV is only 4.8% according to my bottle.

It was not until I got the bottle home that I read the small print and discovered the beer is distributd in Europe by AB.

I have been cutting my grass and it is still warm and sunny, which is very unusual for England, so I am now on the patio and about to open the beer, it is best before 22 Feb 2008, it is going to be drank on a Sunday in may 2007.

I have Leerdamer, a strong chedder, some radishes cut up and a bowl of lemon flavoured green olives to have as I review (I won't eat anything until I am half way though the beer).

Poured into my Hoegaarden Grand Cru glass, it looks OK, clear, golden light yellow, with a good white head.

The aroma is very Italian lager, not a lot to smell, but there is that half beery, yeasty, hoppy hint that lets you know there is some alcohol in the liquid.

The taste is also Southern European, again not a lot of flavours, it is softer than a German Pilsner, nothing to get excited about, but no unpleasant either.

Because there isn't much going on, there is very little mouthfeel, no body to cling in your mouth, no huge alcohol kick that lingers, just a drink that has made me burp!

This is a beach holiday beer. In an already saturated Lager market (in the UK), this is not strong enough in any department to make an impact. This review is now over, I am looking forward to having the cheese and stuff with the second half of the bottle, it might enhance the beers good points and bring out some extra flavours.

PS. It didn't.

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Harbin Lager from Harbin Brewery Group
Beer rating: 2.8 out of 5 with 176 ratings