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Imperial | Cerveceria Costa Rica

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192 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: 192 | Ratings: 522
Photo of gkunkle
3.07/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My wonderful girlfriend brought this to me on her return from s semester abroad in Central America. Pours a pale golden color with a 1 finger white head that slowly dissipates to a ring between glass and beer. Smells slightly of adjuncts and I think I caught a whiff of alcohol. My first sip was pretty cold and there wasn't a lot of taste to it, but as it warmed it actually displayed some nice flavors. Once it warmed a little you could taste the sweet malts and little bit of hops. Light bodied, with a bubbly carbonation and a crisp mouthfeel. At 4.6 ABV its pretty sessionable. Overall, this is not a good beer compared to many of the exceptional styles of beer on this website, but it certainly held my interest more than a Bud or any other Adjunct Lager I have tried.

 774 characters

Photo of flexabull
3.08/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The Unofficial "National" Beer of Costa Rica.

Pours very light and a bright yellow color. The head is very good and there is actually a bit of lacing.

Aromas are creamy and sweet. Not bad... but what is there is really faint.

Flavors are light and refreshing. Crisp, dry, mildly creamy. But like the aromas, the flavors are faint, but they certainly aren't bad.

Nothing special about the mouthfeel. A bit below normal, this is pretty lean in the mouth.

Drinkability is pretty good on this one. I wouldn't turn a cold one down, especially in the heat and humidity of Costa Rica. But I prefer Pilsen.

 613 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
3.08/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pilsener glass at villa blanca (outside of san ramon, costa rica).

pours like a good pilsener should--with a clear, well-carbonated golden body and a frothy, towering white head. nice retention and average lacing, but still impressive considering the style. smells clean and a bit sweet, with some grainy huskiness and cereal malts thrown in the mix.

i actually enjoyed this beer more than my rating would suggest. for a pilsener-esque lager, it was very clean and refreshing with only a slight hint of cereal adjuncts. the malts were evident, but not too flavorful, while hops were nowhere to be found. mouthfeel was obviously light, bubbly, and crisp, and the finish was so clean that it nearly evaporated off the back of the palate. great after a long day of hiking in the costa rican sun, but nothing special if you´re expecting a flavorful lager.

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Photo of Luigi
3.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light straw color and a thin white lace for a head. The aroma is clean with grains and a slight maltiness. Light bodied with a good amount carbonation.
Grassy hops and sweet grains dominate the flavor. Finishes clean and malty. Great drinkability also. Goes perfect with any spicy foods.

 289 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a typical clear straw-yellow, but it does have a fairly thick white head that hangs around for a bit. Aroma is not strong but malty. Flavor is fairly malty and has a decent yeasty undertone. Texture is fizzy and lively, this brew's strongest point. Average overall, but drinkable.

 286 characters

Photo of Pegasus
3.11/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear medium golden body, surmounted by a large, somewhat coarse white head, with good retention. The carbonation is profuse, and fast-rising.

Aroma: The aroma is quite faint, rather like mineral water, with a little corn and grassy hops.

Taste: Opens with a good measure of cooked vegetables and corn. Soon after, grassy hops assert themselves, turning a bit metallic late in the taste. The corn malt contributes a slightly sweet undercurrent. Finishes with a lingering, slightly earthy bitterness.

Mouth fee: Thin, with fairly soft carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Drinkable enough, certainly not offensive, but there isn't a lot there. Its fine on a hot summer day. Occasionally, Imperial is offered in twelve=packs for $8.99. That's an appropriate price.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce aluminum can, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

 880 characters

Photo of nrbw23
3.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A crystal clear pale gold color with a large amount of a white bubbly head.

S- Nothing fancy here at all. Little hops and grassy.

T- I would compare this to a Bud or Miller with a little more flavour and taste.

M- Good amount of carbonation in this one. Really crisp and clean

D- Well, I was there on my honey moon and drank a ton of these. Very drinkable

Nothing fancy or special going on here worth a try for sure.

 426 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Imperial is a pale golden color with a high level of carbonation. The tall, foamy head has good retention for the type of beer. The aroma has a typical macro lager sweetness with, fortunately, no nasty off-smells and just a hint of herbal hop. A sweet lager taste dominates this beer and is aided by some nice grain flavor. Adjuncts are apparent, but don't provide off-flavors. A nice dash of herbal hop gives this more character than I expcted. For a macro style lager this is a good choice with an overall "fresh" flavor that I don't find in most American beers in this category.

 581 characters

Photo of brendan13
3.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Light golden colour with a few centimetres of off white head that falls away quite quickly. Patchy lacing.
S - Sweet maltiness with some light grass & spice notes.
T - Along the same lines as the smell.
M - Smooth, medium to light mouthfeel. Fairly high carbonation.
D - A pretty good beer. Could see it being great in the tropical Costa Rican climate.

 360 characters

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.

 941 characters

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

Picked up a sixer for $7 from Publix in Miami and brought it down to South Beach. This was a great beach beer, sure it didn't taste like much, but it was refreshing and clean. Really, it's just a plain, light bready water taste with very light touch of hops in the aftertaste. Really, this beer is the ideal adjunct lager - no flavor flavor, with absolutely no off-flavors. I'd take this over Miller Lite or Budweiser any day.

 426 characters

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 ;)

 398 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.17/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thin white head that fades to spotty lacing. There are lots of floaties present. The aroma is decent. It has a light pale malt scent along with some adjuncts. It's rather sweet smelling. The taste is average. It has a dry lager taste that is light and easy drinking. There is little malt flavor. It goes down smooth and finishes clean. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a low bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an average light lager. It's devoid of any malt character. I suppose it's a great beer for those living around the equator.

 583 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.18/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cerveza Imperial pours a crystal-clear straw gold body beneath a finger-sized head of bright white foam that holds well and leaves some nice lacing about the glass.

The nose is that of a clean lager beer with a touch of sulphur coming out over a mild maltiness that's laced with background hops.

In the mouth it's surprisingly creamy and just lightly tingly with a fuller than expected medium body and somewhat restrained carbonation.

The flavor is more malty than might be expected as well, backed by a gently firm bitterness, and dried even a bit more by a snap of yeasty sulphur. A combination of hay-like malt and drying, herbal and somewhat spicy hops linger in the finish.

Overall, this is not a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact, it could stand side by side with many European lagers.

 825 characters

Photo of patre_tim
3.18/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Golden filtered, moderate random rising carbonation, a finger of white head.

S: Malts like a Helles Lager, skunk, sweet corn.

T: Light and crisp, light malt, light canned corn, light offal.

M: Light body, foamy carbonation. Crisp dry finish.

O: A typical beer for this style, I’ve never had a beer from Costa Rica before, so when I found this at Whole Foods in Savannah, I was glad to have a chance to try it. Well done for the style, just nothing outstanding in a craft beer world. Drank at Cocoa Beach, FL, July 10th

 527 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.18/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Budweiser pokal.

pours a pale golden straw with a thick white froth of a head that leaves a bit of soapy lacing behind. The nose is faint corn, rice, and grasses, with a hint of light citrus thrown in for good measure. The taste is a general light bitterness combined with a light malty sweetness, with corn syrup the predominant feature. The body is light with a good carbonation, a watery texture, and a crisp, dry finish. Overall, an OK brew, definitely not a favorite, but also not all that objectionable.

 522 characters

Photo of happygnome
3.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My friend brought back a couple cans for me when she went to Costa Rica

a: pours a golden yellow generic beer color with about a half inch of white head that disapears fast leaving no lacing at all
s: generic corn and grain malts no hint of hops, crisp freshness
t: very similar to the aroma, adjunct corn maltrs and no hint of hops
m: light bodied beer with a lot of carbonation

overall, i am thankful to be able to sample this because i love trying beer form all over, but i dont think that i will seek this one out

 519 characters

Photo of mithrascruor
3.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a dull gold/straw color. Clear and a bit darker than most beers of this style. Surprisingly, it has a fairly nice white had and leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Generally some corn and somewhat sweet malts. Much better than what I had expected.

Taste: Similar to the smell with the malts and corns, but less distinct. Some light hops are present as well, and give it a mildly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied, smooth beer. Light tingly carbonation.

Drinkability: Not the best session beer as it gets a tad stale on it's own, but no real complaints...

I was actually relatively surprised by this beer -- it's much better than other Central American beers that I've had in the past. Nothing spectacular, but for something so cheap it's a good one, and the corn elements in the smell and taste are a nice change from the usual. Probably goes best with some food; I would certainly consider getting this again with some take-out Mexican food.

 1,034 characters

Photo of spoony
3.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

From a 355 ml bottle (dated October 20, 2013) into a globe glass.

A-The brew is light, yellowish gold in color and crystal clear. There are a few active streams of thick carbonation. The head is thin white foam that recedes quickly to a cap then to a collar.

S-The smell is mostly sweet corn and grains with some grassy straw and a light bitterness. Pretty typical.

T-The taste loses a touch of corn, but that is still the predominant flavor. As with the smell, there is a slightly bitter grassy straw flavor that lingers on the palate.

M-The feel is light with a chunky carbonation that prickles the roof of my mouth. It matches the style and flavors well. An easy drinker, for sure.

O-Is this a good beer? No, not really. Is it a beer that I drank repeatedly on my vacation in Costa Rica a few years back? Yes. Was it appropriate for said Costa Rican vacation? Absolutely. In all seriousness, this is a light-drinking AAL with very little going on smell or taste-wise. I can suggest this brew as a beach/pool beer, but not much more.

 1,042 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.22/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown pry off into a pint glass. Best by July 30, 2010. This Imperial pours a light clear straw with a thin white head. Light volcanic boil keeps a cap longer than expected initially, offering some brief sip lacing throughout.

Nose is light with a bit of light malt, some corn notes and a hint of Euro. hops, more earthy when agitated. Somewhat light but without the thick corn notes common at the latitudes.

Slightly sweet in flavor with a moderate viscosity on the feel. Standard malt profile with a good carbonation and a slightly bready texture. Rather easy drinking as the beer treads lightly on the palate yet offering enough flavor to keep from distracting.

 673 characters

Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.22/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Taste: mild hop and thin for the most part, some sweet notes do come out. Not much nose. Gold, clear in apperance, with a foamy head. Lite body go better on a hot day.

 167 characters

Photo of TheEremite
3.23/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Living in California, I'd never seek out a beer like Imperial on a daily basis. But, if I lived in a climate as hot as Costa Rica, I'm sure I'd suck these things down by the case load. It's a very light lager, refreshing and very clean. It's not sweet or hoppy, just refreshing. I won't ever crave one again, but if I go back to Costa Rica, I'll happily drink my share of them.

 377 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.23/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a yellow golden color with a nice carbonation and a fluffy white head. Nose is grainy, lightly hopped and some malts. Taste is sweet, malty, light hops and grain. Pretty fizzy beer and has some good mouthfeel for the style. Not my favorite style, won't drink again but not half bad.

 289 characters

Photo of GPHarris
3.23/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick bubbly white head into a tumbler. left some sheeting and lace and the body was a clear straw gold color.
s - metallic with some floral hops present.
t - bready with a slight hop bite.
m - crisp and dry.
d - goes down smoothly and overall not a bad refreshing lager. more going on than i expected and if i had to choose b/t a lot of those "imported" lagers you get at mexican restaurants, this would be the one.

 440 characters

Photo of colandese
3.27/5  rDev +16%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 5

Brown bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a light straw color, nothing extraordinary.

Smell is nothing to write home about, neither good nor bad.

Taste is light, and I consider it to be quite refreshing. I'd easily reach for this over some more readily available beers.

Very thin, watery mouthfeel. Just a slight bite of carbonation, which makes for a very drinkable beer. After a few heartier, tastier beers, this one is ace to help you keep going in a session.

 468 characters

Imperial from Cerveceria Costa Rica
2.82 out of 5 based on 522 ratings.
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