Cristal | Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston

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191 Ratings

Brewed by:
Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-19-2002

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Ratings: 191 |  Reviews: 94
Photo of John_O
4.11/5  rDev +48.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of LeapintoBeer
4/5  rDev +44.4%

Photo of foghornleghorn22
3.94/5  rDev +42.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SilentSabre
3.92/5  rDev +41.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me begin by saying that I have never in my life had anything quite like this. Almost had a smell reminicent of a wet dog, but had other attributes as well that made it marginally appealing via smell. The taste, at first kinda reminded me of the way my basement smells, but finishes with a BIG corn taste that somehow tastes toasted like a corn tortilla, and is really tasty.
NO, I am not consuming orally, injecting, or smoking any kind of illicit street drug, this is just how peculiar this beer is. The way I described it would most assuredly turn most away from trying it out, but please, don't count this out. I encourge folks to try this stuff. It's strange, but quite good. Not alot of carbonation makes it fairly easy to kill these in decent numbers.
My first brew from south of the equator.(Foster's comes from Canada, not Australia). I'm a sucker for stuff from Spanish speaking countries anyway.

 913 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev +40.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twist off cap under a foil wrapper ... Well, that's... different.


Pours straw yellow with a well-retained white head that left rings of lacing down the side of the glass.

The smell is of mild hay. Slightly thin, but clean.

An initial mild bitterness is soon mixed with a gentle grassy sweetness. Light and refreshing, with some body to it.

The flavor holds up pretty well in the mouth. It leaves a clean, refreshing feeling.

This really hits the spot on a warm or hot day. It's a good, basic "session" beer. It's one of the best beers of this style that I've had from Latin America. It's also better than most macros, which what I based my rating on. For the style, it's better than most.

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.84/5  rDev +38.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a Libbey style pilsner glass.

Bold and shiny brass body, not quite straw or pale colored. Lost of nice floating carbonation, reaching to a soapy bleach white and tall bright head. Nicely held up on the head as well with some staying power making for a nice looking lager.

Clean nose, with lighter grains and minimal sensing adjunct sweetness. Does come off a bit flour and airy a bit, but does manage a solid almost chewy sensing malt quality. Very minimal if non existent hop sense.

Palate makes no big surprises but manages to stay in the zone. Soft light sweet sensing malts and grains, with a touch of mild sugars in the mid palate. Clean crisp finish, slightly wet actually but not terribly compared to most adjunct lagers. A mild sense of adjunct sweetness on the finish, and forgoes a lot of overly sticky flavors as well.

Definitely one of the better imported adjunct lagers I've had in some time.

 944 characters

Photo of thekanna
3.83/5  rDev +38.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at a beer tasting tent at the Crystal City Wine Festival on 9/19/10.

A: Clear yellow with a good amount of effervescence and less than a finger of head.

S: Some sweet malts, slight yeast, relatively undetectable.

T/M: Starts off with crisp, sweet malts which spike in a peak of carbonation before resulting in a smooth, creamy, almost fruit- or egg-tart-like aftertaste.

D: I'm not usually a fan of South American beers but this one was definitely an exception. Nice, flavorful, and relaxing to drink.

 512 characters

Photo of owlieeyes
3.77/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev +35.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cristal has a standard, white lager head, a clear, yellow-golden, bubbly appearance, and low-to-moderate lacing left behind. The aroma is of pungent, slightly skunked, bread aroma. Taste is of yeasty, bready malt with slight sweetness and bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, and Cristal finishes crisp, refreshing, and highly drinkable.


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Photo of jsisko01
3.58/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a clear golden-yellow color with a centimeter thick head that dissipates instantly. Has decent lacing.

Smell - Very skunky. I could smell it right when I opened the bottle. Grainy and corn. Not really anything else in here..

Taste - Quite bitter with a strong grassy/skunk flavor. Grains and corn as well. Exactly like the smell..

Mouthfeel - Pretty light in the body with mild carbonation.

Overall - This can be easily compared to Lowenbrau, except more refreshing. Not too bad

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
3.54/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Crystal clear golden-yellow body with no head.

S- Lots of corn smell going on. Other grainy and metallic tones also noticed

T- Tastes like corn and metal. Not bad but not good

M- Clean watery feeling and excellent carbonation

D- Beautiful carbonation and light feeling make for easy drinking

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.52/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle. Crystal clear, golden straw in color with a bright white head that drops quickly but leaves a good collar and some very minor lace. The aroma is of a sweet, grainy maltiness entwined with a lightly earthy and grassy hoppiness. The body is light and crisp in the mouth. The flavor starts sweet, reveals and odd lightly acidic "twang", and then some light hop flavor as it crosses the palate, and finishes on the dry side with some lingering malt notes. Refreshing and enjoyable. An interesting malt character makes this beer somewhat intriguing. Paired with an excellent balance, some decent hop flavor, and a very good drinkability - it's one of the better South American lagers.

 693 characters

Photo of matjack85
3.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Photo of R11415
3.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Photo of cuy50
3.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Photo of shigg85
3.5/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty decent adjunct lager throughout

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Photo of bootsandbeer
3.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Photo of anaids
3.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Photo of ChristopherWIU-UTPA
3.48/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I did not have high expectations of South American beers after visiting Central American and Colombia previously, but I was pleasantly surprised by Cristal. It pours smoothly, has a golden texture, has little carbonation sparkle, and has medium white head. It has a lightly pleasing malt aroma, no hard after taste, and goes down smooth without any edge.

This is Peru's leading export beer and I have had in a variety areas of the US, but I have this all over Peru as well.

Lima/Jauraz/Moche, Peru December, 2013-January, 2014

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Photo of Mr3dPHD
3.45/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a small stemmed pokal glass from the bottle. Enjoyed with a delicious Peruvian beef and pasta dish.

A - Bright yellow, crystal clear. Head was quite fluffy with decent retention. Not very much lacing however once the head began dying down.

S - Hint of lime right up front. Some nice bright citrus hops with no real malt present. A bit more interesting than your run of the mill adjunct.

T - Flavor was a tad disappointing after the nice aroma, although certainly not bad. Some dry bitterness trails throughout...sort of a crisp white wine dryness in the finish. You can definitely get some corn sweetness on the palette. Not a whole lot of malt character at all. The mild sweetness seems to be all filler. Should be noted that it was quite muted when compared to most adjuncts however, so that's a plus.

M - Light body. A bit watery with medium carbonation.

O - You have to go into a beer like this not expecting a whole lot, and in that sense, it actually did pretty well. When stating preference in the world of adjuncts, you can't really get too picky because they're all so similar...but I'd say this is on the higher end as far as quality goes. Not a great beer, but a pretty damn good adjunct. If you want a Peruvian lager and you have options, try a Franca if they have it (which they probably won't)...if not, this is a good second. A little better than Cusqueña at least, in my opinion. Enjoyable to say the least.

 1,439 characters

Photo of jmbranum
3.45/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light-gold clear brew with a 3/4 inch white head.

Basic pilsner style with little hop bite. Not good, but not interesting either.

Heavily carbonated.

Compared to other Latin-American lagers, it is a above average. (which is why it is rated as high as it is).

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Photo of filabrazilia
3.45/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a pale straw gold with a thin white head that leaves good lace on the glass.

Pretty mild grainy aroma with notes of corn and alcohol.

The taste is pretty mild as well. Light malt and grain with a hint of malt.

The mouthfeel is carbonated to the point of tickling the nose. The beer is a little too dry in the finsih.

Not bad overall. It can be drunk when the weather is warm. I'm in Houston, it's August, and it's hot. Good beer.

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
3.45/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice golden straw color, with a nice frothy white head that fades to a good lace. On the nose the aroma is earthy grainy and grassy. On the palate it is sweet at first then bitter and sharp in the mouthfeel, nice malt backbone, grassy, grainy and slight tang to it. Overall this brew is not that exciting but definitely drinkable…refreshing and crisp and easy to drink... more of a thirst quencher.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.44/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 ml. brown bottle with a twist off cap and served in a pint glass. The 'Beer from the Andes' pours a clear light straw with a porous white cap. Retention is typically brief for the style yet keeps a light surface cap.

Nose is quite grainy and with a bit of lemony hops. Adjuncts aren't prominent and there is a light sweetness. Neutral again in flavor with a moderate bready texture and a light hop finish. Grainy nature gives a decent feel and the drink is unencumbered by negative factors.

This beer warms to reveal its true identity as a Pilsener as opposed to an Adjunct Lager in my view.

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Photo of acrawf6
3.42/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a light straw with tons of carbonation bubbles. I guess this glass isnt so clean. Head is small, but the amount of bubbles keeps a small amount of head present.

Smell. Sweet with malts with jsut a little bit of pepperyness to it.

Taste. Interesting malt character. sweet at first, then dries up to an astringent mouthfeel. I also am getting a rye taste to it. strange. finishes slightly sweet.

Mouthfeel. does give me an astringent feeling in my mouth. Body is moderate, lot of carbonation.

Overall. A nice one to try, but forgetful since i dont think there is enough to make it stand out as a great beer, but above average for the style.

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Cristal from Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston
Beer rating: 2.77 out of 5 with 191 ratings