Imperial | Cerveceria Costa Rica

194 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Cerveceria Costa Rica
Costa Rica

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-31-2002

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Reviews: 194 | Ratings: 537
Photo of BryanCarey
2.42/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Imperial Cerveza pours to a light straw color and it does manage to produce a small head of foam that eventually subsides, but does maintain a thin coating of bubbles. The aroma of this beer is sweet, with cereal grains, corn, a dash of pepper/spice, and a little bit of sulphur coming through each time you inhale.

Moving to the taste, it is much like the aroma would lead you to believe. It offers flavors of cereal grains, light pale malt, corn syrup, a touch of biscuits, and some mild spice. The body of this beer is light, completely clear, and lacks much sophistication, just like the taste.

Imperial Cerveza is a simple, basic beer and it isn’t likely to win many supporters among those in the craft beer crowd. I include myself among the products non- fans, but I will admit that this beer isn’t as bad as many of the cheaply made adjunct lagers in the United States. For one, the nose isn’t too bad. It’s not anything terribly interesting, but if I had to compare it to a typical American macrobrew, it would rate a notch better. It also manages to maintain a thin coating of bubbles and it even leaves some lace on the sides of the glass. Again, this is nothing amazing, but it is an improvement compared to many of the beer’s mass- produced American counterparts.

Would I purchase Imperial Cervesa again? I doubt it, as I cannot get past the adjunct character and the flavor of corn syrup. The taste is too bland to recommend, but its generally non- offensive nature makes it a possible choice for Miller/Coors/Bud fans who want something light and crisp but would like an occasional change of pace.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imperial has a thick, fluffy, stark-white head, almost no lacing, and a clear, bubbly, yellow-golden appearance. The aroma is of sweet grain and a touch of stinging hops. Taste is of sweet malts, grain, sugar, clean water, and there is a kiss of the hops to balance it. Mouthfeel is light and watery, and Imperial finishes crisp, clean, refreshing, and super drinkable. Overall, this is a standard, good lager. Naturally, it’s worth a try.


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Photo of jsisko01
3.76/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a clear golden color with a thin white head that dissipates quickly. Has some nice, creamy lacing.

Smell - Sweet, skunky, and slightly corny.

Taste - Pale malts, very corny and bready, with a little skunk. It has a nice bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with mild carbonation. The carbonation gives it somewhat of a creamy texture.

Overall - I like this beer a lot. It's very crisp. Perfect for a barbecue.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.14/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The label looks oustanding the cap looks like some sort of craft beer I would have never guessed this was a Costa Rican swill beer. Pale fizzy apple juice like appearance with a large high carbonated white head, dwindling slowly. Aroma is of "farts and burnt rubber", seriously it kind of stinks and it has a crazy unpleasant chemical smell about it. Hidden within the embalming fluid like smell are some cooked veggies and grain accented notes coming through. Flavor is actually quite pleasant especially for a mass produced Costa Rican adjunct lager, full bodied sweetness, corn, rice additions are ample. Nothing cloying finishes semi balanced with a generic chemical/hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with enough flavor and refreshing qualities to create an enjoyable experience. Overall other than the chemical band aid like smell this isn't horrible beer it has character and I could definitely drink it on the beach.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
2/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light yellow almost clear with a thin white head.

Smell: Light grains and grassy notes, almost no smell.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth light bodied. Taste of corn, wheat, and very light hops.

Overall: Not very good, will not bother with this one again.

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Photo of woodychandler
3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My trip around the world from the comfort of my kitchen seems to continue unabated. I am unsure if this was part of the Tone77 drop-off, but it fits with the theme of the last couple of weeks. Now, if I could just get this in a CAN ...

Man, just pouring this into a glass and it was AAL City, baby! Phew, but I haven't smelled that special admixture for a while and here I was getting a full frontal assault. I had two rocky fingers of bone-white head topping the experience. Color was a pale lemon-yellow with NE-plus quality clarity, allowing me to see into an unpleasant future, drinking crappy beer. Nose smelled like silage and cardboard, a combination that makes me wonder why anyone would bother to import such dreck when so much of it is domestically available. Oh well. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium and it tasted like dumbed-down lager that hearkens back to the great mistake known as Prohibition. It had a simple lager flavor embedded in whatever corn and rice adjuncts they saw fit to add to the mix. It was not unpleasant, per se, just boring as all get-out. It was like one more go-'round with the Old Lady in the Missionary Position. Bland, vanilla, lacking any variety of any stripe. Finish was total snooze time. Utterly boring.

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Photo of mnrider
2.67/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. brown bottle

A: Pours crystal clear. Almost no color. Light carbonation and a small white head, which does not last.

S: The aroma is of light grains and some sweet malts. A hint of some fruits.

T/M: Not much going on here, some light grains and sweetness. Hops are almost none existent. Altogether light bodied with little carbonation.

O: Pretty average for an Adjunct Lager. This ones from Costa Rica. I wish they brewed better beer than this.


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Photo of FriarPrickly
2.58/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into plastic glass at pool swim up bar in RIU in Guanecaste, Costa Rica.
Pale yellow with little head that quickly disappeared with no lacing.
Smells like wet hay. Tastes like wet hay with no layering of tastes. Finishes quickly with little aftertaste. Watery mouth feel with little carbonation.
My sample size for this review was large and over several days with little change to smell or taste.
My observation is that the large group at the swim up bar were enjoying the Imperial immensely in the 90 plus degree heat and given that there were no other beers available, the drink fit the situation just fine. I bet I drank a half barrel myself along with the paella.
I would be hard pressed to buy a case of this here in Milwaukee however.

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Photo of metter98
2.83/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is crystal clear yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high white head that quickly died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a ring around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of grainy malts and apple juice in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of grainy malts and a light amount of sweetness.
M: It feels light-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems to be a little more balanced compared to others in the style as it has a light amount of bitterness and isn’t that malty.

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Photo of dbrauneis
2.95/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a crystal clear yellow in color with some light visible carbonation. The beer has a 3/4 finger white foamy head that reduces to a thin layer over the entire surface of the beer with thicker patches and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Strong aromas of grainy malts with very little sweetness and a hint of apple as the beer warms up.

T: This beer has some more hops than I was expecting and not as sweet as many others in the style. There is a good amount of grainy malts but not a ton of sweetness from them. The hops balances out the flavor.

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

O: Probably one of the beers I was surprised by the balance of flavor since that is not common in the style. Definitely easy to drink and sessionable.

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Photo of LiquidSanity
3.73/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ap: Hazy, golden yellow color with apparent carbonation throughout. 1 inch head that quickly fades away. A tiny bit of lacing is present. Looks like cider.

Ar: Skunky corn adjunct odor. Meh. Worst part of the beer. But it is misleading.

Ta: Wait is this cider? This sure tastes like it. This has a very pleasant sweet flavor. Apple flavors are present but the skunk and metallic aftertaste is not. Very impressive for an adjunct. It is very tasty.

Mf: mild carbonation. Semi-watery texture. Still very refreshing however.

Ov: This may just become my go-to adjunct cheap fix. It has a much better flavor than Bud, smoother texture than Busch and PBR while still refreshing like a Miller High Life without the heavy carbonation. This beer is a winner. And it's cheap. I still have 5 more to go. Cheers!

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Photo of kenito799
2.58/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into chilled glass

This brew is refershing and inoffensive...standard Latin American mass produced macrolager. The aroma is grassy, the malt is crisp with standard slightlager bitterness. Nice and refreshing in Costa Rica, better than Budweiser.

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Photo of tdm168
2.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from the bottle. I had this with dinner at Tacos and Tequila in Raleigh.

The smell is grainy and faintly grassy. The flavor is light, grainy, and lightly grassy. The mouthfeel is light and crisp but smooth.

This is a light lager that's easy to drink, unoffensive, smooth, and refreshing, but unfortunately, forgettable.

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Photo of far333
3.27/5  rDev +16%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pale yellow, very clear with steams of fine bubbles rising quickly to the top. A bright white head of tightly bubbled foam sizzles down to nothing. Aroma of honey malt, some floral notes, grainy.

Flavors of biscuity malt, some floral hops, mild bitterness, subtle corn and buttery notes. Very smooth and even flavors, well balanced. Doesn't have that acrid aftertaste that so many adjunct lagers seem to have. Somewhat thin mouthfeel, but full enough. Overall not a bad beer, totally drinkable. One of the better adjunct lagers I've had.

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Photo of rwrk42
2.23/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Decent head at first pour but settles very quickly.

Smell: Very light & mild hop aroma. Other than that there is not much to it.

Taste: Very Light bodied but clean and smooth. Not much taste or flavor. Typical lager like similar to a mexican beer like Sol or Corona
Good for days when you know you will drink more than you should and it is 100 degrees outside

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Photo of beerme626
3.43/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Here's the thing about Imperial: it's Costa Rica's beer. There's not much beer choice in Costa Rica. If you have more money than a college student on study abroad, you could afford Heineken (if you really want it). If not, it's Pilsen (made by Imperial), Rock Ice, and Imperial.

Imperial is not a super beer. It tastes like adjunct lager. It's yellow, it smells like beer, it feels like beer, and it is beer.

However, compared to other Costa Rican beers like Pilsen and (God save us) Rock Ice, Imperial is very decent. Maybe I would not purchase it in the US except for nostalgia's sake, given that adjunct lager is not my first choice, but if I'm in Costa Rica, I'm going with Imperial every time.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.04/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served into a pint glass
Presenting the latest installment of the critically acclaimed series, "Reaper Drinks Beer that People Left After a Party."

Pours a sickly pale yellow color. It's kind of the same color as the yellow on the beer's label, only desaturated a bit. I'm scoring it a 4.0 because I score to style, and this beer has some awesome head retention for the style. Most adjunct lagers have a nice bubbly head but it dissipates in a flash (see: High Life, Miller). Not Imperial. Large bubbles and lots of lacing.

I think I smell blood. It's smells like some old rusted coins. Steely hops meet some old musk grain aromas. Some light candy aromas too -- like apple-flavored cotton candy or something. It's more interesting than your standard adjunct lager, though it isn't anything that I really want to be smelling.

Imperial is one of the better adjunct lagers I've tasted in a long time. There's flavor here! Imagine that you cooked some rice and then you sauteed some yellow appleskins and then you garnished that dish with some powdered donuts. Voila! Imperial!

The mouthfeel is as thick and luxurious as tapwater.

Overall, this is kind of an alright beer. It's better than Budweiser. It's certainly better than the Corona/Sol/etc. school of Latin American lager.

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Photo of Samp01
2.03/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle pours a pale yellow with a thin short lived white head. Aroma and Taste of grassy grain, some fruity notes. Palate is a light body with low carbonation. Finish is grassy, grainy with a somewhat funky aftertaste. Not much else. Overall aroma and taste quickcly fades and is quite bland, would not drink this again.

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Photo of ronniebruner
3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Oversll this is an extremely bland brew. The beer pours a yellowidh gold color with a light amount of head, carbonation and lace. The aroma is of cheap hops, but not horrible. It goes down smoothly on a warm evening. All in all there is nothing good nor bad about this beer... It is amazingly mundane. Worth a try if you come across it though. But buy a single bottle.

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Photo of Duff27
3.15/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Three inch white head on a golden cerveza. Surprisingly good head retention and clumpy lacing.

S- Not much to the smell...straw, bread.

T- Pale pilsner malts. Good balance with the hops, not too sweet.

M- Decent carbonation. Medium-thin mouthfeel.

D/O- Not as bad as I thought it'd be. Refreshing. On par with other adjunct lagers commonly found...but better because its a Costa Rica tick ;)

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Photo of JayS2629
2.58/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pale, hazy yellow with a fizzy, soapy head that fades fast and leaves minimal lace.

The aroma is of toast, faint bready notes, clean malts, and earthy-grassy hints.

Very clean and watery, with faint bready notes, grassy elements and some earth tones.

Very thin, fizzy, and boring. Will not buy again. They call this imperial?

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear yellow with a 1 inch fizzy white head that settles to a thin cap. Random small areas of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grains, corn flakes, and some grass notes. Taste is somewhat watery with grain, corn, and grass flavors. A decent carbonation level makes for a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average lager all around with nothing special whatsoever.

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Photo of DrJay
2.92/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Crystal clear and straw yellow with a lasting thin cap of fine white bubbles. Spotty lacing. Mild aroma, a bit of sweet malt, faint cereal notes - clean, but that's all I could pick up. There was a bit more going on in the flavour. Mild bitterness with dry malty sweetness, a hint of grassy and spicy hops in the finish. Medium bodied, creamy carbonation, a bit dry. Overall, it was pretty clean and had a better texture than most in this style.

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Photo of Paincane
2.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a pint glass. Yellowish straw in color. Corn and grain aroma. Light bodied and watery with corn flavor and moderate carbonation. A yellow fizzy beer that is best consumed on hot days and can be refreshing served cold. This is THE beer in Costa Rica and is ubiquitous.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.26/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Yellow macro lager, very thin white head, less than 1/4" I'd say, nothing to look at by any means. Aroma was cooked corny, a little bit of sweetness, not terrible by any means.

Taste, bland watery, lightly sweet, nothing in terms of hops, fizzy, highly carbonated. Total hot weather beer, nothing going for it otherwise really, had worse, had much much better.

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Imperial from Cerveceria Costa Rica
2.82 out of 5 based on 537 ratings.
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