Kirin Lager | Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

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Kirin LagerKirin Lager
Kirin LagerKirin Lager

Brewed by:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Style: Japanese Rice Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 73 | Ratings: 297
Photo of Buckeye55
3/5  rDev +27.1%
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.

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Photo of monkist
3.8/5  rDev +61%
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.

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Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
3.52/5  rDev +49.2%
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.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.75/5  rDev +58.9%
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.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.06/5  rDev +29.7%
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).

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Photo of Annayolei
3.46/5  rDev +46.6%
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.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
2.67/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.23/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.59/5  rDev +9.7%
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.


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Photo of Andrewharemza
2.52/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of Wontonst
2.79/5  rDev +18.2%
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.

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Photo of Brenden
2.11/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

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Photo of tone77
2.79/5  rDev +18.2%
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.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3/5  rDev +27.1%
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.

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Photo of rodney45
1.9/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

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Photo of mynie
1.97/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

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Photo of pettis
2.26/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of Macca
2.36/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of Wasatch
1.53/5  rDev -35.2%
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.

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Photo of dali27
2.03/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
1.63/5  rDev -30.9%
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.

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Photo of soju6
2.6/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of IPAescotch
2.38/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
1.86/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

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Photo of Finite
2.13/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Kirin Lager from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Beer rating: 2.36 out of 5 with 297 ratings