Cristal | Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston

93 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 93 | Ratings: 180
Photo of smakawhat
3.84/5  rDev +37.6%
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.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
2.65/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Light, crisp and not very flavorful. Pretty standard AAL. Some slight caramel malt flavor, but mostly flavorless. Drink iced cold. Perfect for a hot ass day!

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Photo of puboflyons
2.46/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

From the can received in trade from a non-BA member.. Sampled on May 11, 2016.

The pour is golden yellow with a long lasting foamy white head.

The aroma is of toasted bread, biscuits, rice, corn, and grass.

Light body.

Same sort of breaded taste with a bigger grassy hop finish than I expected. Like any other nationally brewed beers in its style.

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Photo of tigg924
2.9/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours clear gold in color with one inch head and high carbonation. Taste is grain, sweet malt, and light skunkiness. Overall is an average adjunct lager.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev +34.4%
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 josanguapo
2.73/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From Carrefour. Watching Game.of Thrones 5x01. Maybe its because I had low expectations, but Ive been pleasantly surprised. peculiar taste for a pilsen. Unpleasant aroma. Much better than the typical spanish macro beers.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.16/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Enjoyed from the 11.2 oz bottle from a friend at work who bought this for his Peruvian goddess, and still managed to save me one---THANKS KEVIN!

Pours a crystal clear light yellow with a very quickly dissipating white head leaving no ring, lacing, nothing.....surprised really. Nose of light grains, light sweet honey, and floral hops. Flavors actually exceed the nose in quality and feel with lightly sweet grains and honey mingling with a light floral hops note tot he rear and a grain aftertaste that is rather pleasant. Crisp carbonation that is not present to the eye is fairly effervescent on the taste giving it a substantial lift in appeal. Overall a very nice lager with a good grain background and light honey sweetness. Perfect summer brew.


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Photo of generallee
3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 11.2 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: The body has a clear golden yellow color with some visible carbonation. The head is small and it fades out quickly leaving only a few bubbles at the edge of the glass.

Smell: Not much going on here. It has the basic light cereal and grassy/straw like hop notes.

Taste / Palate: The flavor is of pale malt, hay like notes and light cereal grain with mild bitterness from the hops. The feel is light and easy drinking with average carbonation.

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Photo of ChristopherWIU-UTPA
3.48/5  rDev +24.7%
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

 529 characters

Photo of Samp01
2.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Pours a pale yellow with a medium white head. Aroma and Taste of sweet grains, cereal, some grass notes. A lightly carbonated brew, mildly crisp, light and sweet on the palate. Not too bad for what it is, good to try new beers. Good for a hot humid summer day.

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2.41/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle. Pokal glass. Golden color, crystal clear appearance. White & brief crown leaves some lacing. Floral & yeasty aromas & slight sulphur & cabbage odors. Grainy & crispy at first followed by dried rice sensation. Light body. High carbonation. Watery texture. Clean floral bitterness. Dried finish. Avoid !!

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Photo of Mr3dPHD
3.45/5  rDev +23.7%
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.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
1.8/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

330ml bottle served in a small chalice.

A: Pours a pale yellow color forming a small white head. Low retention an few lacing left

S: Sweet on the nose. Quite corny with far notes of hops. Lager yeasts

T: Sweet corn upfront. Really weak. Watery with a faint carbonation. Adjunct malts giving terrible caraboard notes. Very mild bitterness in the end. In overall, a dry mouth sensation

M: Light watery body and medium carbonation. Malty and cardboard aftertaste

O: Please avoid it. One of the worst ones I've ever had

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Photo of metter98
2.78/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer is clear light yellow in color and has a very slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin white head that quickly died down and left a bit of lacing on the surface.
S: There are light aromas of skunk in the nose along with some hints of adjunct malts.
T: The taste has flavors of adjunct malts—corn seems to stand out in particular. A light amount of bitterness is also noticeable.
M: It feels light-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer tastes rather bland and is nothing overly special.

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Photo of dbrauneis
2.41/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a crystal clear medium golden yellow in color with some light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall creamy white head that quickly reduces to a thin film covering almost the entire surface of the beer with a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: A fairly strong aroma of skunk with a lighter underlying aroma of sweet corn adjunct malts.

T: Light flavors of adjunct malts, specifically grain and corn but the main flavor of this beer is bitterness (which I can not attribute to anything specific).

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: Easy to drink but really nothing special - very similar to a lot of other semi-macro American Adjunct Lagers from South and Central America. Would be a really refreshing beer on a hot summer day but not a beer I would go out in search of finding to have again.

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Photo of jsisko01
3.58/5  rDev +28.3%
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 DoubleJ
3.2/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Cristal is labled as "Beer from the Andes", yet this is bottled in Lima, which is not in the Andes. From a marketing standpoint, Cusqueña is the truer beer of that long mountain range. But what about the beer itself? Here comes 330 ml. On to the beer:

Grassy yellow with a hint of gold. There's a small head formed on top, but it shows good head retention on top and spotty lacing.. The nose is nothing to be shameful of. There is a small dose of DMS, but it's got a pleasant hay and grass note and some sweet maltiness.

It's a surprise that this tastes less like an adjunct lager more like a watered down helles lager. There's dry hay at the begining, and it continues as a seltzery bitterness creeps in. Dabs of wood hit. In general, the overall flavor is on the lighter side, but with little nastiness, I can live with that. The body is very light and seems watery despite small bubbles bursting.

Now that the beer part is over, I can state that Cusqueña is the better of the two. But let's not laugh at Cristal, which is still better than many other nation's top-selling lager. At least I know that the one day I vacation in Peru, the macro options won't completely suck.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.05/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear lighter yellow with a 1 inch puffy white head that settles to a thin cap. Broken rings and spots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grains, corn flakes, and some grassy aromas. Taste is solely of grains and corn flakes. There is a tasteless bitterness on the palate after each sip (no hop flavors). Mouthfeel is pretty good with a crisp and clean quality. This is probably the beer's best characteristic. Overall, this is a pretty average lager coming out of Peru and something I wouldn't probably ever get again.

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Photo of wordemupg
2.96/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml bottle poured into pint glass 30/7/11

A clear golden yellow with a short lived finger of foam that leaves a random ring of lace

S rice crispies, corn and faint skunk

T no skunk but not much of much really, more corn then I could smell nothing offensive though just not much at all

M thin but lots of bubbles, very clean finish and almost refreshing in this humid heat

O drinkable but that's about it, nothing worth bragging about but I had no problems sinking a few of them

smelled slightly off but didn't reflect on other aspects, not bad for Peru but If I had options I'd take it

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Photo of Mora2000
3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first beer from Peru.

The beer pours a very clear, light yellow color with a white head. The aroma is fairly one dimensional and is full of grain. I also get a little bit of grass but the grain is overpowering.

The flavor is more of the same. I get some grain and grass notes as well as some bread from the malt. No real hop bitterness, causing the beer to be pretty sweet.

Light mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of WoodBrew
2.4/5  rDev -14%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On layover in Lima trying to get back home from Sao Paulo and taking advantage of the time to try Peruvian beers. The second beer I tries was Cristal and it was OK.

A-2 pale golden color no head and seemingly no carbonation
S-2 no much happening
T-2.5 carbonation become present once on the palette. Grain powers the
M-3 is easy to drink!

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.22/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle (no date) poured into a glass mug.

Appearance: Clear pale yellow with a white foam that died down to a few strands of foam across the top and an occasional strand here and there. Nothing special.

Smell: Mild grassy hops with clean lager beer smell. Fairly appealing.

Taste: Clean crisp lager with some mild grassy hops at the end. Just a simple lager. Not grainy or corny.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation with a thickness just a bit thicker than water. Average.

Overall / Drinkability: Just right for washing down a meal at a Peruvian restaurant - didn't get in the way of the food at all. Easy enough that I had two with no problem. Quite drinkable, but nothing special.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.44/5  rDev +23.3%
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 deadliest
2.31/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: The clear yellow of an adjunct lager, but with a head that lasts quite a while and leaves a good bit of lacing.
S: Not a lot of smell. Sweet grain, a little corn type smell.
T: Light malt and sweet graininess, barely. Just nothing going on in any quantity. Lacks enough flavor to have any bad tastes to bump the score down.
F: Crisp light feel. A little bit of stinging carbonation.
D: I was able to finish it, but I won't be finishing another.

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Photo of TheDeuce
2.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4 a Bar Paya in Manhattan NYC....

Appearance-pours a clear yellow with a light white head lots of carbonation, dirty blond finish to the carbonation, leaves a trail of lace at the end as it goes away.

Smell-grain, musty smell, not the heaviest aroma nor the best

Taste/Mouthfeel-light mouthfeel, grainy upfront with a touch of alcohol, adjuncts come through on the back end. Nice smoothness, finishes with a touch of clean and then disappears completely.

Drinkability-no real issues, not spectacular, somewhat refreshing.

Overall-not really sure why to seek this out unless you are looking for something exotic. It's a passable adjunct lager, nothing more.

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Cristal from Union De Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston
2.79 out of 5 based on 180 ratings.
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