Harbin Lager | Harbin Brewery Group

122 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 173
Photo of MTNboy
2.92/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- I thought this beer poured almost perfect. The color was beautiful gold and yellow. A great two and half fingers of white frothy head and lace.

Smell- The smell is where it take a turn it is not bad but it is just below average. A little adjunct smelling and grassy.

Taste- Crisp and somewhat malty. I would say average.

Mouthfeel- Thin with a lot of fizz burn. Very watery.

Drinkability- Average nothing I would go out of my way for.

 452 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.3/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle a clean and clear yellow with a thin white head.

Aroma is heavy on the rice and a touch of light skunk.

This tastes better than anticipated. Sweet and grainy with a bit of hops, malts, and metallic notes. No skunkiness at all. Finishes very clean.

Light bodied and sharply carbonated.

A decent beer for the hot summer months and IMO, better than the BMC out there.

 391 characters

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.

 553 characters

Photo of barefootbrewer
3.06/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear pale golden/yellow with a huge head. The carbonation is big and you could hear the bubbles for a good minute or so after the pour (sounded like a cola - carbonation pops).

S - Initially hoppy and very macro old-school smell (Pabst). It yielded to a more mellow cereal aroma as it sat.

T - Cereal. Very mild. About as light as anything I've tasted in a long time.

M - Thin.

D - Well, it is easy to drink....but then again, it tastes a lot like water. Might be a good choice for someone who is being introduced to world beers.

 539 characters

Photo of Portertime
2.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

So I tried this beer after the Bud girl that stocks my store recommended it. There was my first mistake, it was the Bud girl that recommeneded it! Anyway, I thought I'd give it a go, had some cool Chinese on the label probably means "We pee in beer, you Amercians drink now!" Poured a light watery gold color with a fast fizzling head. Smell was mildly hopped with an even milder vegetable/soggy cereal sweetness. Taste was thin and grassy with a metallic finish. I just stick with the Chinese food.

 499 characters

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.

 443 characters

Photo of kdog630
2.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a little darker than expected. Nice head that quickly dissipated. Aroma wasn't bad. Thought it would be skunky, but it wasn't. Pretty much a typical Chinese lager. Tasted a little better than others I've had, but doesn't compare to a good German lager. Got it because I'd never had it. They were practically giving it away at the beer store. Probably won't get it again.

 377 characters

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.

 1,015 characters

Photo of BeaBeerWife
3/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This Chinese lager is certainly better than most if not all Chinese beers I've had to date. It reminded me of Japanese beers (Kirin, Sapporo, etc.) Some skunkiness but nothing offensive. Not a bad lager, not an awesome one either. Great for Chinese standards!

 259 characters

Photo of Aquavit
2.8/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear golden yellow with white head, minimal lace left and some bubble arise from bottom of the glass.
Smell: Malt aroma with tiny hoppy hint with a fruity odor
Taste: Light body, watery, mild alcoholic taste, mild malt flavor, Crisp and clean at the palate with bitterness at the end.
Note: It is OK for try a North Chinese traditional beer.

 354 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
2.58/5  rDev -8.2%
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 Rootdog316
2.85/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Harbin pours clear and honey colored in the glass. It has a medium white head and a very nice nose full of spicy hops and malt. The flavor tends toward sweetness but there is enough hops in it to keep that under control. It finishes with a really nice lager snap. This brew has a fair amount of depth and character for its style.

 329 characters

Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a luminous gold color, the head average and a creamy white, as it quickly settles, the lace forms a thin coating upon the glass, nose is all malt, lightly sweet and crisp, start has a fair malt profile with the top light to moderate in feel. Finish has a customary acidity, the hops barely there, dry aftertaste, drinkable but just barely.

 354 characters

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.

 311 characters

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 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.

 712 characters

Photo of PhageLab
3.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A - The expected pale yellow with rising suds. Produced a nice bit of head, however, which lasted a while. Managed to even lace a bit as well, this might not be bad at all.

S - Umm, straw or some sort of herbal notes, but nothing really detectable here. Not bad, very inoffensive.

T - Has a bit of an acidic tinge to it, but overall it is a good example of the style, which, in my opinion, means there is a slight bit of "beer" flavor here. Again, nothing strong, but nothing bad either.

M - Light bodied and finishes a bit dry. Carbonation can be a bit much, but I expected that.

D - Not bad at all, I'd choose this over many of the other departures from our beloved selection of beer, but overall it is very forgettable. As far as I'm concerned, if I had to choose between Heineken and this, I'd probably take this.

 869 characters

Photo of Pegasus
3.2/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Medium golden in color, quite clear, with a modest snow-white head, slight carbonation, and moderate lacing.

Aroma: Pale malt and a mild a herbal hop presence, with a chalk-like aroma.

Taste: Clean pale malt at the open, followed by a mild herbal hop note. Some tartness in the malt becomes notable as the taste progresses. The finish is clean and dry.

Mouth feel: Smooth and full, soft and pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A well-crafted, although unremarkable example.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce green glass bottle with a pop-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass.

 603 characters

Photo of goochpunch
2.64/5  rDev -6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a straight up yellow with a thin head that fizzes out to nothing. Looks absolutely still. Smells of pale malts, graininess, little alcohol, and has a pretty strong solvent edge. Tastes pretty much like a lighter Heineken with all flavors subdued. Faint malt, faint, graininess, nearly non-existent hops, and has an odd but somewhat pleasing twang to it at the end that reminds me of all-sorghum beer. Mouthfeel is pretty light and fizzy but a little sticky as well. This is OK and a bit odd, really. Wouldn't buy it again, but as far as Chinese beers available to me, I'd take this over Tsingtao.

 606 characters

Photo of shadow1961
2.68/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Harbin Lager, after a good hard pour, gets a lofty head
over a clear yellow brew. Ohter than the occasional lonely
bubble making it's way to the surface, there's no carbonation.
The nose is asian macro lager all the way- faint grain, lager
yeast, and, because of that green glass, a tiny whiff of skunk
for depth, I guess. The flavor isn't too bad for what it is, a little
corn and rice up front with a tiny bit of grassy hop in the finish.
The mouthfeel is really thin, but fairly clean and crisp. There's
not a lot here, really, to distingush this from any American
macro lager, pick any one you like the best, save the trace of
hop and the pretty green bottle. Meh.

 669 characters

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.

 366 characters

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.

 372 characters

Photo of WonderfulSam
2.95/5  rDev +5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not much to this one, but for a cheap lager, it's just fine. I won't buy another one, but I don't hate myself for buying this one.

A - Light straw color with a foamy head that disappeared right away and left zero lacing on class.

S - Yep, that's beer. Basic. Some vague spice and hops on top of the fermented grain smell.

T - Not bad, but nothing special. For cheap lager, it's actually alright! More of a hop character than many others, so it's got a slight bit of complexity to it.

M - Light, crisp, a bit of a bite due to the high carbonation.

D - Well, I drank it really fast, and I don't think it was to get the experience over with. It actually went down nicely and was quite easy to drink.

 701 characters

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.

 892 characters

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.

 285 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.