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: 295
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.03/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Although this is brewed by Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles, they must be sticking to the actual Kirin guidelines as this beer is far below their normal quality.

Its slightly hazy golden body is topped by a decent-sized head of creamy white foam that diminishes shortly but leaves some thin lace in its wake. The nose displays some lager yeast sulphur over a bit of grainy malt and a drop of floral hoppiness. The body is light, and it's gently crisp with a fine and median carbonation before warming to become slightly creamy across the palate. But apart from its sulphur constituent, the flavor is not much different than most mass-produced American lagers. Its lightly grainy, but obviously adjunct-influensed, character is balanced by a firm bitterness and some dull, leafy, herbal, and grassy hops. It finishes short and dry - almost like a light beer! There's not alot going on here.

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Photo of mwrseeley
2.18/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The Kirin Lager I purchased was brewed and canned in Japan and contained an alcohol level of 5%. I found the ABV surprising because the beer came across as much lighter.

The head, made of big, frothy bubbles, was initially large but quickly receded into a thin film; the lace made a valiant effort to stick and wasn't entirely unsuccessful. There was a touch of citrus and cereal to the aroma but there really wasn't anything noticeable or noteworthy about the smell. Therefore, it wasn't surprising, after taking the aroma into consideration, that the beer was virtually flavourless. The aftertaste was skimpy, lemony and slightly bitter. I suppose Kirin is drinkable (perhaps, as a palate cleanser when you put an extra large dollop of wasabi in your mouth) but I don't see much point in trying another.

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Photo of SetarconeX
2.02/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured that yellow, urine color which always gives me a sense of foreboding. The head vanished without a trace in less than a second. I was impressed here. This one's got read Houdini head.

Tastes horribly astringent, with a slightly bitter finish. Much more flavor than your average mass-produced lager, which I value, even if it's an odd, tangy, mildly unpleasent flavor. Better than than no flavor at all. We're not talking about a vodka here.

In 2/3rds of the sushi bars I've ever been in, your beer choices are confined to this, and Sapporo. Drink the Sapporo. It's not great, but it's better than this.

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Photo of beerguy101
2.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Medium gold color, small white foamy head. Aroma is grainy and very slightly sweet.Medium bodied lager. A hoppy, somewhat malty lager. Full bodied, malty. Mouthfeel is full and round. Good balance. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly bitter

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Photo of Beastdog75
2.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

There is nothing really Japanese about this beer, as it's brewed in L.A. by Anheuser-Busch. I wonder if the real Japanese brewed version of this stuff is any better. The label makes a big deal about the mythical beast "Kirin" which is half deer/half dragon, and how this has been around since 1888. What's inside the bottle is a disappointingly thin pale American lager.

Kirin Lager pours a bright straw/light gold color with a 1 finger foam head that disappears in under 30 seconds. The smell is quite clean and in some instances similar to Bud. Crisp, clean light malt and dry fruity aroma with some light husky/papery smell. The mouthfeel is thin and fizzy. The dry grainy flavor is the main emphasis in this beer, but it isn't that prominent. Kind of bland. There is a decent amount of dry, fruity bitterness in the finish, and somewhere amidst the flavor there is some stale ryebread notes as well. Aftertaste is some continuing dryness and bitterness, with some creamed corn flavors becoming noticable. This all finishes out with no alcoholic warmth.

A rather weak lager that reminds me somewhat of a mixture of Bud and some weak Euro-lagers. Unimpressive.

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Photo of TerryW
2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pretty dull. Plain white head that bids, "Sayounara", early on. Nice lace with the first swallow, but then that's it. Yellow. Some bubbles.

Thin aroma and taste of fruit and hops. No particularly noteworthy characteristics, just factory beer. Simply unremarkable stuff without being actively disagreeable. Yawn.

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Photo of TheDM
2.64/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This brew poured a medium head of fine to medium sized off-white bubbles that quickly disappeared. It had a medium strength aroma of fruit and a smooth fore and after taste. Its flavor contained notes of malt, bread and roasted nuts.

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Photo of hotstuff
2.79/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

When poured, this brew had a small white head that consisted of small bubbles that completely diminished. There was a fair amount of lacing with this brew. The body was clear and the hue was yellow. It had a light hoppy and fruity aroma along with a bitter flavor from start to finish.

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Photo of Rocko
2.08/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

My expectations was low on this one as I've seen earlier reviews on it, I just had to try it out of that cause. Could it really be that bad? Unfortunately it could, it is bad, even though I had ultra low expectations.

It pours clear yellow, like any lager. Poor, big bubbly head that you can hear crackle loudly like coco pops or what ever cereal... The head is gone after 60 secs. No lace.

No smell. Oh wait, there is some smell here...hmm...I think it

A bit sweet tasting, slightly slightly bitter, but not much really. The mouth feel is quite watery, no carbonation either.

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Photo of Shiloh
2.56/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Kirin Lager brewed under contract by A-B in the US and imported into Canada is nothing special, but is not a bad brew, is just not rreally all that good either..
Apperance is very nice, medium light colour, medium head, nice lace with exceptional glass cling..
Sadly it goes downhill from there..body is weak, taste is mildly of the hops and wanting..leaves you asking "whats next" please?

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Photo of Morris729
1.71/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a clear very pale golden straw color with a foamy white head that quickly dissipates into a thin lace. Nose is grain and rice with some faint sulfur notes. Taste is an overly processed grainy husk flavor and is a bit astringent. Very light in body. This is simply a bad beer. Several other reviewers mentioned that it goes well with certain foods, and that might be true, but I drank it by itself, and it’s not good alone.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.28/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks like unhealthy piss in a mug. Not a horrible beer, unless you enemy is boredom. This beer is furiously boring. An aroma that can be described only as beer-y. Color was gold, head rapidly evaporating and the lacing reminded me of toilet paper on the inside of my glass. The Japanese macros produce some really fun beers, especially Kirin. This, however, is crap. If I imagnine beer without character, this will come to mind.

And no, I do not know what healthy piss in a mug looks like.

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Photo of BeerGlassesCollector
2.24/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

tasted this beer in a Japanese restaurant with food. This beer poured a golden colour topped by a very poor head that dissapears very quickly. No aroma and nothing special on the flavour. Very poor Japanese beer. Next time i'll look for alternatives on the menu

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
1.43/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Comes in a 21.4 fl.oz (63.3 cl) brown glass Bottle. Wharrttt?? After Billy BetaMax got sacked by the VideoTape company he decided to design completely useless sized bottles instead it appears.

Pours with a really thin “whispy” white head, has a broken ‘scummy’ appearance and a thin white rope, halo head, around the edges of the Glass.

Looks are of a beautiful golden lager, or is that reminiscent of a pool of warm urine? I get confused this late on a night.

Aromas are very clinical, almost like being stood in a hospital ward and inhaling the disinfectant cleansed ward floors. Also, has a ‘sickly’ biscuit grain smell that is not endearing whatsoever and unpleasantly reminds me of a night on the town.

Initial taste is clean, like that time I drank bleach when I was 4 years old.

Mouthfeel is poor. The complex Cardboard introduction gives way to a Paper pulp middle that teases you, is it multipurpose paper, or premium choice Laserjet paper? Hoprate is 20lb or the equivalent of 75gm/sq.m.

Wow, horrible beer that I imagine is only bettered by the colored paper offering.

Unimpressive, a beer that is, “ideal for printing or copying memos, e-mails, faxes, drafts and reports”.

Very Average, or is that “Velly Avellage”. LOL.

It won’t be on my shopping list again!!!

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Photo of JISurfer
2.07/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This looked like it was going to be really good. Boy was I wrong! It smelled and tasted like a skunk! The beer was a nice golden color with a little bit of a white head to it. It had a nasty aftertaste of skunkiness. All in all, it's a bad brew, maybe I got a bad batch of it. Oh well, I'm defiantely not going to waste my time on this anymore.

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Photo of Pegasus
2.26/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a medium golden color with a decent off-white head, lots of carbonation, decent broken lace . Aroma is grainy with some skunkiness. Taste begins with mild malt sweetness and citrus hops, towards the middle the flavor turns to an astringent medicinal bitterness, finish is harshly metallic and lingering. Not much to like here, I'm afraid.

Born on date is 21-Aug-02, so alas, this is a resonably fresh sample.

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Photo of Gusler
2.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On the pour a crystal clear bright gold color, the head impressive in size, white in color with decent lace to coat the glass. Malt nose, clean and crisp the front is sweet, top skimpy. Finish is hop spicy, middling in its acidity, droughty aftertaste, drinkable as “Lagers” go, but not a real hit me, but then nine out of ten lagers/pils elicit that reaction from this old Stout and Belgian strong lover. I think these bad boys have corrupted my “Buds” as in taste.

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Photo of Jason
1.72/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12 oz brown long neck bottle with an A&B “Bottled On” date on the back label. Brewed by Anheuser-Busch in the US. Problematic head retention but the clarity is fine and throws a pale yellowish hue.

A “too clean” aroma of faint grain and cereal addjunk(rice).

Astringent up the ying yang with a huge drying husk flavour, not a taste that you want at all. Hops are there but placid in flavour and bitterness is very processed.

Here is my Enlgish-Haiku review:

This beer brings me pain
The taste hurts from tongue to mind
Down the drain it goes

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Photo of BillyBrew
2.03/5  rDev -14%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Not a striking sight with a golden straw colour and foamy, white head. The smell is a turn off that is musty short of stinky/skunky. Taste too metallicy for a bottled brew, but has hoppy tones. Aftertaste lingers a bit much. The feel is pleasantly light and airy but a shade too biting. It drinks better than it looks or smells. Would be best suited for post-lawn mowing thirsts. I do not know about the sushi thing as I would prefer a better beer for such a meal. I would not trun my nose up to it, it is beer afterall.

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Photo of StevieW
2.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Free leftovers... I feel better than I didn't buy this. More golden in color than the Ichiban, which I thought was more tolerable. This one had a weird biting acidic smell, then a simialer taste. No really positive tastes. Mostly some acidic finish tastes, very harsh. (Is it the rice ?) I didn't care for it. If presented with a choice, I prefer the Ichiban. Owned by AB, but tried not to let that influence the tasting.

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Photo of ADR
2.32/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pale color, big bubbled head that splits in an instant. Very weak in most categories, head, color, flavor. Watery to the extreme, though I taste no corn characteristics. But with such little malt flavor, it might benefit from a little sweetness. It is dry but the hops are uninteresting. I had a lot of Kirin's in Japan as well and it doesn't come off well there, either, IMO...

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Photo of jackndan
2.13/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I've got to question the brewery: the bottle I'm holding says Anheuser-Busch, L.A. Cali. The bottle has a bottled on date. The beer looks every thing like an American macro-lager. Head collapsed into soap suds within a few seconds. Tastes like Bud Dry. Awful.

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Photo of Todd
2.42/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle. Label has the mythical Kirin on the front, half deer and half dragon, bringer of good fortune. Bottled on date on the back.

Appearance: Pale golden, slightly hazy with a foamy crisp white head. Falls to a thin lace with some stick.

Smell: Faint sulfur, light musty raw grain and foral aroma.

Taste: Slightly bitty, creamy mouthfeel, light body. Hop bitterness strikes first as a weak tea-like citrus flavour (lemony) with a slight raw hop flavour and twang. Malt is nearly non-existent with a light dextrin sweetness and some dry grain flavours that lend to the crispness of the brew. Finishes with residual hop rawness that coats the palate, metallic notes and some grain husk dryness.

Notes: A run of the mill lager. Certainly not impressive, but also not revolting. A very commercial example of a modern day American Lager. I must admit that it pairs extremely well with sushi -- so it's true, each beer has its time and place.

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Kirin Lager from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Beer rating: 2.36 out of 5 with 295 ratings