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 mikesgroove
2.46/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Saw this sitting in the world beer shelf and had not seen it before so I decided to give it a try. Nice foil covered twist off cap on the top.

A - Poured a very clear, extremely pale golden, hay colored yellow. One of the palest beers I have ever seen. Big white frothy gead formed on the top and actually hhad some damn fine staying power. Tons and I mean Tons of carbonation bubbles were rippling up from the bottonm of the glass.

S - Typical light lager smell, very light grain and malt smell, maybe a hint of yeast, but very light.

T - Very bland and muted. Did not even have that typical light grain flavor that a light lager has. Only a someht muted grain taste, anda weird moldy bread like back to it. A rather odd taste, it almost had like a seltzer water flavor to it, very very bland.

M - Feel was not too terribly bad. Had pretty decent carbonation feel on the tongue and was smooth, Not very crisp though as it had a kind of oily feeling when drinking.

D - Its definatly a sessionable macro like lager, however the taste really doesnt do it for me so I wouldn't really want to drink alot of them, even though I probably could.

Overall very forgettable. Not sure I would really order or ever really try this one again. I am sure there are better beers out there that would better justify the country, this one is just simply blah.

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Photo of geexploitation
3.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours very light in color, more yellow than gold, with a light white head that forms a collar around the liquid. Smell is very, very slight, even for the style -- just a tiny hint of hops and a touch of cerealish sweetness from the malts. Close to water, though. On the palate, minor, but surprisingly firm, bitterness crops up first, followed by a downshift into metallic mid-palate and slightly acrid, dry finish. Pretty decent palate for a macro. Mouthfeel is typical -- light in body, low in hop oils, and medium carbonation. Overall, this is a decent macro. I was impressed with the palate given the nose. Not half bad.

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Photo of dstc
3.23/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle with Best Before date of 04/Sep/2007.

Very clear, pale yellow appearance with full white head that lasted a fairly long time leaving a fine lace behind. Quit bubbly.

Clean sweet grainy smell, maybe a little hoppy.

Nice clean taste but with a bit of flavor to it. Not light a typical light Macro brew.

Very carbonated and light in the mouth.

Fairly good beer. Another nice refreshing beer for the hot Florida summers.

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Photo of Foxman
2.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

It pours an absolutely clear and rather carbonated pale, pale, pale straw yellow. A finger of tight white head settles soon to a spring-fed froth quilt. Scarce runes of lacing mystify the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, a mild sweetness wafts about from Adjunct City, with Mayor Birdseye delivering boiled frozen corn. A pepper-fed skunk was apparently run over as well.

Upon tasting, there's actually the briefest flash of sweet malt that shape-shifts into a muddled hash of corn and rice. The hops are metallic, skunky, and barely bitter. The finish is a quick leap from crisp to pretty much nothing. The key here is the incredible speed with which the flavor appears and then disintegrates.

Very light bodied, the carbonation makes it feel like fizzy mineral water.

Maybe beer like this is why the Incas fell from grace. I didn't pour it down the drain-that's the best I can say. It drinks like water minus the blissful lack of flavor, or what passes for flavor in this case. In deed, in this case, no flavor would beat this flavor. Sure, I'd be willing to travel to Peru, but if I ever do, I think I'll drink the wine.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
1.98/5  rDev -29%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Trying to make my way through a "Beers of the World" sample pack I received from my mom-in-law. This is number 3 out of 8 and by far the worst one yet.

Pours a clear, very pale golden yellow with a big white head. Wait a minute...where did the head go? I know I saw one. Oh well.

The aroma is of a skunky sweet pils. There is a slight hop scent coming through when that damn skunk keeps his tail down.

The taste...well...this one is a drain pour. I made it half way through the glass, but I can't take anymore. Not much of a flavor besides sweet skunky rotten hops. Yeah, it's that good.

Thin body with decent carbonation. Probably the best part of the beer is the mouthfeel. I can't finish this one and would never get another one even if I was in Peru.

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Photo of kimcgolf
2.42/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was a slight step above some of the latin American Imports or cheaper US Macro brews, but not much. Poured to a pale golden yellow, with snow white head that dissipated quickly to little lacing. Aroma was slightly hoppy, as was the flavor, but not much else there. I actually enjoyed the mouthfeel, which was tingly and the finish was fairly long and somewhat pleasant.

Okay from an area not known for beer, but doubt that I’ll have many more.

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Photo of BrewAskew
2.92/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours to a thin white head. Pale yellow-gold color with a slight haze. Aroma is sweet , grainy and hoppy, similar to a Heineken. Flavor is grainy-sweet continental pils flavor with balancing bitterness. Finishes dry and hoppy. Not a terrible beer but not anything I would buy again.

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Photo of dfried
2.67/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear yellow, foamy white head. Sweet pils aroma, skunky hops, like a Heineken. The taste was again sweet, grainy. Skunky hops again, like Heiny but sweeter. A lot of carbonation, light body.

Verdict: I got this for novelty sake while eating at a Peruvian resaurant, and that is about the only time I would again. More noticeable hops than some macros made it a bit more tolerable, but it is what it is, a macro lager.

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Photo of maddogruss
2.7/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a glass mug. The beer poured a light gold color with a half-inch white head that receded after a couple minutes. A ring a head maintains throughout the beer with decent lacing. It smelled very much like a macro lager although slightly maltier. It tasted very bitter; similiar to a mix between a pilsner and budweiser. A pretty thick mouthfeel; I was expecting it to be as thick as a light beer. Pretty drinkable if you are looking for a thick macro but keep in mind that it has a bitter taste. I could not see myself drinking this beer for long periods of time.

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Photo of jmbranum
3.45/5  rDev +23.7%
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 BuckeyeNation
2.5/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Exceedingly pale amber that I'd like to be able to say is Cristal clear, except that it isn't. Within the liquid is a sparse cloud of fine particulates and a few slightly larger flakes that don't look too concerning. The bright white cap appears cheap and confirms that impression by falling rapidly and leaving no more than a smattering of smeary lace on the glass.

The nose isn't aromatic enough to be offensive. It consists of grain, neither fresh nor stale, with a modicum of musky noble hops. A little corny sweetness might actually have improved things; or would at least have given my nose something to work with.

Cristal is hoppier (more bitter anyway) than the vast majority of American macro lagers. That makes it different, but it doesn't necessarily make it good. I blame a lack of malt rather a surplus of hops. If you like your obscure 'world lagers' to be snappily bitter, clean and drying, then this just might be your beer. The aridity might becoming tiring after more than a few bottles however.

Given the lack of malt, the body/mouthfeel isn't as bad as expected. Positives include a lack of deterioration on the finish or with warming, and a generous amount of carbonation that tries its best to make the beer interesting in the mouth.

Cristal just isn't very good beer. Still though, it manages to avoid any serious sins; which, in turn, keeps it running down my throat rather than down my drain. My theory about the drying bitterness negatively impacting drinkability will have to go untested since this is the first and last bottle that I ever plan to drink.

 1,586 characters

Photo of Drew966
3.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cristal pours a light golden color with a white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle that is foiled and marked twist off. The aroma seems to have an odd almost metallic thing going on. Taste is inoffensive, a little malty and grainy. That metallic note is somewhat noticeable in the flavor, but it's not really distracting. Kind of average, which isn't bad compared to other Latin and Caribbean beers.

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Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev +39.1%
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 HoustonTX
2.2/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Reminds me a lot of Corona. In the bottling and flavor. Here goes the review.

A - Golden yellow, small head on pour, decent retention. No lacing, and carbonation is severly lacking.

S - Adjuncts fill the nose.

T - Ultra sweet unripe corn, with stingy hops, and light malts. No bueno.

Better then a Corona, but not by much. Way too sweet for my tastes. Couldn't even finish 12ounces.

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Photo of acrawf6
3.42/5  rDev +22.6%
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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Photo of jameaterblues
2.86/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The brew from Peru....the distributor brought samples of this into our store and I ordered a case because I had some customers asking about it...well its good for a summer day, but I would probably drink water instead...
A-It all kinda went down hill from here, but the pour was great a huge white fluffy foamy head(diminished surprisingly quickly) and a sticky white lace.
S- Light sweet malts, a hint of hop, and cereal grain(corn most likely).
T- Not much too it....corny, very mild hops...crisp and refreshing.
M/D- High carbonation, watery, very light...not awful but there are better refreshing beers for summer days.

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Photo of shererjt
3.17/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer from Peru? Sure, why not!

Poured a clear yellow with an average, white head and moderate carbonation. Nose had some faint hops, crisp malt, and that's about it. Still nice, though. Flavor was about normal for a macro-type with maybe a bit more bitterness and fairly dry. Mouthfeel was lively with a bit of a prickly feeling and quite clean. Drinkability was average.

Wasn't expecting much from this one, but it's really not bad. On the dry side, so if it's malt you want, look elsewhere.

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Photo of zeff80
2.75/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle from Hemmingway's.

Poured out a slightly cloudy, yellow. There wasn't much of a head and it didn't last long. The smell was a little skunky to me. I asked my wife if it smelled skunky and she disagreed. Corn taste was noticed, but basically it tasted like a standard lager. It was fairly smooth drinking. Not bad overall. If I'm ever in Peru (yeah, right) I'd grab a bottle or two.

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Photo of karst
3.08/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best befor 19 04 2006
Startling ultra pale yellow with a two finger cap of snow white head falling to leave a naked surface in about a minute or two.

If you try a Cristal "extra fina" and your not on some S. American beach resort then you must visit the website - a sure way to increase you enjoyment of this Peruvian version of an American Macro Lager. Sex sells beer!

When the beer is not delivered to your beach side cabana as you enjoy the three essential B's (Babes, Beach, and beer) something is lost in the translation.

I thought the initial aroma a little skunky but was surprised considering the expert handling by HyVee of Osage Beach / Lake of the Ozarks and its stated freshness date. Could this have been added by the Chicago Importer?

Handsome label and foiled neck.
I am drinking the beer at about 10°C (50 F) that is much warmer that recomended by the tips on the web site "Asegúrate de que tu cerveza esté entre los 3° C y 6° C, antes de consumirla." but does bring out any faults.

A mild sweetness with good malt flavor and some corny DMS from adjuncts.
Little discernable aroma hops and just enough bittering to cut the sweetness in the finish. Mouthfeel is superior to most Macro Lagers.

Drinkable but not something that I will necessarily seek out.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Golden to yellow color, Clear, Massive amounts of racing carbonation support this pillowy tight white head, leaves ring like lacing.

Cooked vegetables, grain, corn husk, drying hops actually play a role in this south american lager. Its what you would expect although I will add that this one ends up being somewhat interesting in that at its finishing crispness there is a slight hop twinge that lets you know there is potential here. Mostly adjunct, astringent and crisp.

Notes: Nothing earth shattering here but I would not hesitate to drink this while on vacation...while in rome...

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Photo of VoodooBrew
3.01/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is what it is. A Macro Lager, light in color and flavor, easy to drink, and refreshing when the situation calls for it. And it's Peru's #1 beer, so come on, we're not talking Unibroue stuff here.

This beer actually looks quite good. Crystal (right?) golden with a big fluffy head, if it were a German Pils it would look lovely, if perhaps a touch on the light side.

While the flavor of most domestic Macro Lagers falls on the disagreeable side of neutral, I'd say Cristal actually tilts just to the good side. There's something about it that reminds me more of the macros I've had in Europe versus your Western Hemisphere macros. This is a good thing.

If you make no assumptions about Cristal you'll be in good shape. This is not beer I'd buy for myself but if company were coming over, you could at least buy Cristal and drink it with them. But the best part is, in the bottle it's cheaper than Bud. Case closed.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.35/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a crystal clear light amber color with large white puffy head, that quickly disappeared. Smell is minimal, with a moderate sweetish texture to be found. Taste is also very light, with a little maltiness. Finished nice and refreshing, but not much else. A decent beer, good as a spacer.

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

I tried this beer at a Peruvian Resturaunt with Arroz con Pato (rice and duck).
It was a typical adjunct heavy pilsner. Golden/straw color. Nice frothy white head. Medium bitterness. More Bitter than sweet but smooth overall. Strong corn taste.
Nothing special about this beer. It wasn't horrible. Pretty drinkable.

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Photo of beergeek279
3.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from the 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The color is still a light gold, but a touch darker than a light lager, with a nice foamy thick head. The smell is sweet with barley and doesn't smell too much of adjuncts. The taste is nicely sweet without much of a hint of DMS in the flavor, without much in the way of hops to it, but still nicely refreshing. Mouthfeel is average. As for drinkability, really not bad.

Well, honestly, I went into this one with a closed mind thinking "ohh, great....another boring macro lager". I was honestly surprised by this one being fairly nice. While it's not exactly Trappist in quality, it's a better-than-average adjunct lager with a nice sweetness and almost no DMS to speak of in the beer. I wouldn't go out of my way to have this, but if it were there, I might have one again,

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Photo of whynot44
2.97/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very clear pale yellow color with a moderate foamy white head that does a fast disappearing act with no trace of lacing.

The aroma is corn, fresh grass.

The taste is pretty much typical American mass market brew, slightly sweet, only a hint of malt, a bit of corn, very light bodied, but it does finish with a slight hops note.

Still, it is light and crisp, refeshing and easy enough to drink ice cold. Nothing that special but should be a decent cooler for hot weather activites.

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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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