Kirin Lager
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Kirin LagerKirin Lager
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Lager - Japanese Rice
Ranked #23
Ranked #49,290
2.37 | pDev: 24.47%
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Kirin LagerKirin Lager
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Reviews: 73 | Ratings: 303 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Buckeye55
Buckeye55 from North Carolina

3/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had a few of these with dinner at a Japanese restaurant several years ago. I don't remember anything special either good or bad about it. It went well with the food and tasted ok. Hence the average rating of 3.

Apr 24, 2019
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monkist from Hungary

3.8/5  rDev +60.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In Japan you have to drink a bottled beer to enjoy the real taste, at least that is how ai felt. Cans here have a sort of metallic taste and beers on tap can also be somewhat strange.
Now the first time I had this was in a 500 ml bottle and it was better than expected! It has quite a full taste without any disturbing bitterness, it is by far better than the Ichiban Shibori that Kirin is pushing so much. Might even say that this is the best Japanese lager... or maybe I just have to try everything in a bottle.

Mar 21, 2019
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The_Kriek_Freak from Pennsylvania

3.52/5  rDev +48.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a fairly simple and easy to drink example of a rice lager, with just about enough flavor to complement a Japanese meal without overpowering it. Refreshing and quite thirst-quenching too.

Jul 14, 2018
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.75/5  rDev +58.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well, here we go, just what I needed, a beer style I'm not entirely enthralled with but will try to say some positive words the best way I know how.
Poured into a pilsner glass, the appearance was a clear yellow color with rapidly rising carbonation bubbles trying to fill a rapidly dissipating little white head. Barely any lace.
The aroma had corn syrup, sweet rice, light floral hop tones and light tones of alcohol.
The flavor copied the aroma fairly spot on. I'd say mostly corn syrup in the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about light bodied, perhaps just a pinch above. Carbonation felt decent. ABV felt as projected. Mild sweet corn/rice finish.
Overall, though not a style I seek often, this actually isn't a bad beer. One thing it does have going for it is there aren't really known flaws to this.

May 25, 2018
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doktorhops from Australia

3.06/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is it: The real Kirin, made in Japan with malt, rice and corn, in all its 334mls of glory. If you’ve ever had that other crap they sell here in Australia - Kirin Megumi or whatever it’s called - you might think that you’re not missing out on anything. But you are: Real Japanese Lagers are a delightful crispy treat - like Peking duck. Problem is if want a real Japanese Lager you need to shop at a Japanese boutique grocery store, and they’re few and far between. I shop at Genki Mart Alderley, they have a small but decent selection of real Japanese beers... it’s a shame the powers that be at Kirin feel that they have to brew their Lager as a crappy Aussie Macro Lager under licence - there’s got to be a real market for authentic Japanese Lagers now.

Poured from a 334ml bottle into a stein.

A: Hazed light golden body with a 1 centimetre white head that compacts down to a lace blanket. Looks fairly good as far as Lagers go, not sure about the haze though - a bit uncommon with this style. 7/10.

S: Aroma is quite Sake forward, which is to be expected whenever rice is on the malt bill. Grainy notes, along with a touch of sweet corn round out a brew that is almost entirely malt-driven, again: to be expected. Overall the aroma is nothing remarkable, however real Japanese Rice Lagers tend to be average in this department. 5/10.

T: Dryyyy, malty/grainy/Sake from the get-go. Mid palate accentuates that dryness with - you guessed it: more dryness, hint of sweet corn as well. Finish is like a crisp winters day in the Sahara - long and dry. Did I mention dry? Yes? Ok, glad I covered that off. Taste couldn’t be further from the crap that’s brewed under licence that I’m starting to wonder if they even try to follow the original recipe. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, none of the wateriness of the Australian brewed version, and a thin but active carbonation. Heaps better than expected. 7/10.

D: This is not a bad beer at all, not Yebisu Premium good, not Koshihikari Echigo good either, but a nonetheless decent example of a real Japanese Rice Lager which has been completely distorted by this “brewed under licence” crap. Why not just come out and say it - we Kirin brew under licence because we can trick consumers into thinking that they’re actually drinking a Japanese Lager when they’re really just drinking an [insert country name] Lager instead? #drinkrealjapaneselagersnotcrap 7/10.

Food match: Get some salted edamame beans and go for gold(en beer).

Apr 14, 2017
Photo of Annayolei
Annayolei from California

3.46/5  rDev +46%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Honestly, one of my favorite beers. Tastes much better from tap than a can. Warm, nutty flavor, goes with everything. It's worth a shot if you can find it anywhere in the US.

Dec 29, 2016
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Red5StandingBy from Maryland

2.67/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 16oz can with canning date of NOV16 into stein.

L: Yellowy yellow! Little thin layer for head.

S: Malt, some hops. Plain smell.

T: Lots of rice grainy flavor, not very much malt to it with a decent amount of hop flavor.

F: Light-Medium body, easy on the palate.

O: Meh, Japanese Budwesier.

Dec 08, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

2.23/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Super clear colored straw yellow diet looking beer. While it foamed up big temporarily, it gets an F for a retention grade. Aroma was like an industrial warehouse.

Taste, metallic. Water. Heavy water. Lacking hops. Full of carbonation. I guess if you're just trying to have an unassuming beer with some kind of exotic cuisine, you might reach for this. The rice usage definitely keeps it super light.

Nov 15, 2016
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Louisiana

2.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

(As Kirin Beer, though it does say `Draft Beer`on the label). Brewed and packaged by San Miguel Beer Thailand under supervision of Kirin Brewery.

Notes below are regrettably brief:

Translucent transparent yellow colour. No lacing left in the wake of the brief head.

Aroma and taste are straw, barley, and rice. Fairly insipid.

Smooth and wet, light-bodied, crisp but not overcarbonated.

Highly drinkable, though forgettable and insipid. There are worse Asian macrolagers.


Jun 03, 2016
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Andrewharemza from Australia

2.52/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

from a 650ml bottle another average macro lager very faint malt aroma & a sweet mild fruity malty lightly bitter taste quite drinkable just not much too it.

Jul 20, 2015
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Wontonst from California

2.79/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours a pale golden color with a head that disappears into a ring fairly quickly. The aroma on this one isn't as strong as lagers but the taste and feel are decent.

Jun 27, 2015
Photo of Brenden
Brenden from Ohio

2.11/5  rDev -11%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

This might be the palest beer I've seen yet; if not, it's pretty close. Some style (Kolsch comes to mind) are quite pale but have plenty of substance, but this just looks watery. It does have some color, a white-yellow hue. The head, clean and white, is never more than foam but does keep that. It also manages very light spotting.
Raw grains, almost harsh, an earthy must, some rice and a whiff of grass are all I get in the nose.
Some herbal leaf minerality under a bite of grains with an oddly astringent note hit the tongue. There's a little tanginess to it, though it's mildly sweet as well. It's extremely light, but it's so far from clean as to be harsh, and some corn husk isn't exactly vegetal but doesn't help the astringent aspect. If anything, there's a sort of almost sulfuric taste, something more noticeable than in the aroma.
The feel isn't as bad as the flavor would portend; it actually feels less harsh and grainy than it tastes, which is unusual. It dries out much too hard for a light-bodied beer, though, and despite a thin texture it's fairly bright. It certainly is crisp, at least.

May 13, 2014
Photo of tone77
tone77 from Pennsylvania

2.79/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Goodbye Hong Kong. Hello Tokyo. Time to try a few Japanese beers on my travels. Poured from an 11.2 oz. can. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is very mild, a touch of malts. Taste is light, some malts, rather bland and boring. Feels light in the mouth and overall, while nothing offensive, just left me wanting more.

Jun 19, 2013
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Cavanaghty from Maine

3/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap in pint glass.

Appearance: Yellow color with about one finger of white head, some lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Banana, mostly. Maybe some malts and rice.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth light bodied. Taste like banana and rice, at least that is the best way I can describe it.

Overall: Not a bad beer, goes well with hibachi and sake.

Oct 22, 2012
Photo of rodney45
rodney45 from New York

1.9/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Had on tap at DOJO, NYC.

A: Straw yellow, with a surprisingly lingering head.

S: Very little smell, possibly malt, more like the smell of a freshly printed xerox copy paper.

T: Light malt flavor and it has an off astringent chlorinated water taste. Slight hop bitterness, but very fleeting. Dry finish.

M: Light body with little bitterness and no content.

O: This is a below average lager by any definition. Really has no character, and its awfully boring. I wouldnt recomend.

Jan 23, 2012
Photo of mynie
mynie from Maryland

1.97/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Can I just write the word "eh" and be done with this review?

It goes fine with sushi, because the flavor of sushi is pretty light compared to most of the highly salted and cheese-laden foods I eat, and this basically tastes like beer-flavored water.

Like, if KoolAid made a "Beer" flavor and your poured it into seltzer, this is what you would get.

There are no off nodes. Absolutely nothing unpleasant. But it's basically yellow water.

Nov 27, 2011
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pettis from Virginia

2.26/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very thin yellow with lots of carbonation, though little to no head remains after a minute or so. Pale straw, starch, and rice in the nose with only the faintest hop spice...yep, this is a "rice lager" all right.

Taste is...ok, I suppose if you want something cold, fizzy, and beer-y to go with food or pub snacks. The rice and starch have really cut the taste of the malt, and there isn't much of a hop presence.

Nov 02, 2011
Photo of Macca
Macca from Australia

2.36/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This is the genuine article, brewed in Japan, and is 5% abv.

This pours a clear straw colour with a fluffy white head that drops away quickly.

Normal boring clean aromas that you expect from Japanese macro. Slight bit of sulphur.

The palate is the same as the aroma. Clean and boring. Nothing offensive.

Thin in the mouth.

There's nothing really wrong with this other than it's boring.

Aug 31, 2011
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch from Colorado

1.53/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a pale yellow color, some carbonation, little fizzy white head, with not much sticky lacing left behind. The nose is grainy, ricy, skunky. The taste follows the nose, not much going on at all. Light Body, mostly water. A big dissapointment, would not recommend.

Aug 03, 2011
Photo of dali27
dali27 from Illinois

2.03/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into bar glass.

A: Clear, very pale gold color. Thin white head.

S: Light grainy smell. Nothing much else.

T: Metallic tasting. Very watery. Not much flavor.

M: Thin, like water.

D: Easy to drink, however nothing that you would actually want to drink.

When the choice at the sushi place is Kirin or Sapporo, I'm choosing Sapporo. Or actually I think I'm choosing the iced tea. Iced tea and sushi really go great together and it tastes so much better than this.

Mar 21, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove from South Carolina

1.63/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

the only beer left at shogun i had night tried, had this when i went out to dinner with my wife a couple weeks ago.

super light in every aspect i swear it poured out almost clear with no color at all. aroma is pure light rice and corn with just a hint of something stale or off in the back, but seriously soo light nothing was really noticeable. the taste was ore of the same, soo light i could not even tell it was there. gone in a flash i had this one down in no time.

overall just not even a beer to me, i not compliment dinner and was more just a waste of 3 bucks.

Mar 05, 2011
Photo of soju6
soju6 from Missouri

2.6/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had with Japanese meal in Fussa, Japan.

A: Pours a very pale yellow color with large head that fades quickly.

S: Basicly no real aroma just a trace of grain.

T: flavor is on the light side, just a bit of grain and light bitterness and fairly dry finish.

F: Light body, crisp and clean.

D: A non offensive beer, best when served with Asian food.

Jan 10, 2011
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IPAescotch from Ohio

2.38/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Maybe a little the average AB product, more or less the same.. Smells like nothing at all, maybe slight wheatiness. Tastes of rice adjuinct. No esters or bitterness. Light sugar and barely perceptible malt role. Refreshing like water or instant lemonade, easy to drink. Reminds me of mexican beer, particularly tecate. I could be wrong but im betting they both use rice.

Sep 02, 2010
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

1.86/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Poured almost clear, a little yellow coloring, big head, withers away quickly. No aroma other than hydraulic fluid and metal.

Taste, more metal, and that's about it. Metal water. No hops, lots of carbonation. This stuff is $7 a 6 pack, are you kidding me? They charge less for water at concerts or sporting events. A decent beer with food I guess, if you don't want to have anything competing flavor wise with the food.

Jul 30, 2010
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Finite from Australia

2.13/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Overall very light and clean.

So watery its I found myself double taking a few times that it wasnt really water.

Not much really to say other than its very easy to drink. Aroma and Taste is non-existant. Very simple rice lager. Washed down a meal I guess but really for $7 a bottle you need to offer a bit more than that.

May 16, 2009
Kirin Lager from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Beer rating: 59 out of 100 with 303 ratings