Crystal Lager Beer
První Budějovický Pivovar Samson

Crystal Lager BeerCrystal Lager Beer
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Pilsner - Bohemian / Czech
not listed
3.29 | pDev: 13.07%
První Budějovický Pivovar Samson
Czech Republic
Retired (no longer brewed)
Crystal Lager BeerCrystal Lager Beer
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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 23 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3.16/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 500ml brown glass bottle, a standard in Czech Republic. Silver foil napes the neck in a v-shaped cloak. Dark metallic green label lists the beer as ‘Premium Imported Crystal Lager Beer’, brewed in the famous town of České Budĕjovice; it sports an elongated Czech flag at the base of the label. Crystal is actually a US name, and this beer is the same as Samson Premium Svetlý Ležák Budweiser Bier in the Czech Republic. Weighs in at 4.9% ABV.

Appearance: Light yellow golden body, nice thick creamy white head that produced a monstrous rock carving on the initial pour but soon settled to a decent ½” thick collar that lasted a while and left some nice lacing. Bulbous milky carbonation on the swirl.

Nose: Sweet Pilsner malts can be a tad sickly when it warms, so sup this one cold to avoid them. Served chilled as it should be the nose is softer and has a low floral profile that includes some light hop character. Not the best part of the brew though for sure.

Taste: Clean tasting when chilled, sweet Pilsner grainy malts and a delicate floral bitterness fills the front end. Spicy hop feel emerge one in a while from the sweet malts which tend to dominate. Crisp and clean when chilled but a sweet sickly mess as it warms. Soft Czech finish partly due to the quality of the water used no doubt.

Mouthfeel: Buttery feel at times, slick and clean at others. Body does enough to make this one a decent average Pils and a satisfying drink in the Californian heat.

Drinkability: Above average but only when served chilled, leave this one to hang around and the smell alone will be enough to have you dump this one.

Overall: Best drunk chilled, as it warms the odors, tastes and Drinkability fall off exponentially. Not bad, given the price it’s a fairly decent offering, but I will not be investing in this one again. Very average. There are much better Czech lagers out there. Much better in its homeland on draft.

Mar 13, 2005
More User Reviews:
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Todd from California

3.7/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Tall 1 pint light brown European-style bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Bright, clear yellow/gold with lively carbonation and a creamy white head that fades to a thin lace.

Smell: Distinct metallic and light grain in the aroma.

Taste: A rich and thick medium body with an even smooth mouthfeel. Loads of malty fruit-like sweetness up-front. Light biscuit flavours and a strong raw honey qualities follow. Hops lend a snap of coarse lemon/lime bitterness that attempts to push through the unique malt character, but is forced to retreat with a tasty herbal tea flavour that blends nicely with the brews continuous sweetness. Finishes with honey and a touch of herbal flavours that linger with a stealthy alcohol presence.

Notes: Perhaps one of the most interesting and robust lagers that I have tried from the Czech Republic. Without a doubt, a world-class beer and an inspiration to many brewers, and imbibers.

May 06, 2001
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Brent from Kentucky

3.3/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This may top out as the maltiest lager I've had thus far that was not a dark style. Aroma and flavor are both chock full of caramel malt, with reasonably reserved sweetness. At first I was a bit taken aback at the level of malt and sweetness, but, to my surprise, the flavors remained reasonably interesting throughout the beer, with more depth than one expects on first pass. Seems to push the limit of the style, and somehow seemed more like something that would come out of England.

Jul 31, 2004
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mattmaples from Oregon

4/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very well put together Cezch Pilsner. ALthough I didn't get the honey flavors that Todd mentioned I found it does have a nice sweetness to it with a citricy/herbal hop that keeps the sweetness in good check (pun intended). It is good start to finish, malty then hop flavor then bitter and finishes back at the malty side. If you like the Urquell you should at least give this one a try

Oct 12, 2001
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garymuchow from Minnesota

3.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Boy bottle upon opening. Pours with big full head, dark gold and crystal clear. Head settles to about 1/2 inch with slight lacing, then finally is gone. Rather non-distinct aroma of flat malt, that variably became light and pleasantly sweet for short moments. Taste is like aroma in that is seems rather flat, yet not necessarily tasting old. Mild malt taste in front that moves to hop bitterness in back and leaves a fairly long dry finish. Too dry to have a nice thirst quenching quality. Mouthfeel is about right. I had hoped for more.

Nov 24, 2002
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beerguy101 from California

2.88/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium gold color, medium head. A crisp, mildly hoppy lager. Some maltyness. Crisp flavor. Good balance. Mouthfeel is full. There is a touch of "green bottle skunyness&amp". Finish is crisp. Aftertaste is slightly bitter. Typical euro-lager.

Aug 08, 2003
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Pegasus from Texas

3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Medium gold color with a solid white head, fades to a paper thin layer fairly quickly, moderate carbonation, nice lace.

Aroma: Rather hoppy, slightly sweet aroma with grain.

Taste: Flavor begins with a malty sweet flavor, hops then assert themselves, malty sweetness returns, finishes with a mild hop bitterness.

Mouth feel: Soft and pleasant, fairly full.

Drinkability/notes: I would like to try this side by side with Pilsner Urquell, I think that Crystal may be the equal of that very good Pilsener.

Presentation: Package reviewed is a 12 oz green longneck bottle with a foil neck wrapper, served in a standard pint tap glass.

May 26, 2002
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brakspear from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Czech pilsner from the same city that produces Budvar.

Looks very nice in a tall pilsner glass. Deep golden body topped with a soft but generous white pillow of a head. Carbonation very evident.

The aroma is a soft floral hop blend with a malt sweetness in the background. Nice, pleasant, and unassuming.

The taste is a bit grainy, followed by a malty honey-like sweetness but not cloying, very little hop flavor or bitterness noted. Smooth and soft all around.

The body is medium with little backbone, which is fine for the style.

A decent and refreshing Czech pilsner.

Mar 03, 2004
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psugrad98 from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep golden in color with a quickly disappearing head. Lack of brussels lace. Fresh smelling with a smell of malt. Malt character is somewhat nutty with a light hop backbone. Seems to coat the mouth like a smooth stoudt, and goes down refreshing.

May 29, 2002
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Gusler from Arizona

3.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours the quintessential lager/pils translucent golden yellow color, the head modest in size, white in color and frothy in texture and as it desiccates, leaves behind a decent sheet of lace to cover the glass. Prototypical lager nose, crisp and clean, sweetly malt, as is the start and the top skeletal. Finish is as expected moderate on the carbonation and the hops apropos to the style, dry aftertaste, “Typical”, “Average”, “Drinkable”, nothing more and nothing less, which for most beers ain’t half bad!

Mar 31, 2003
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Redrover from Wisconsin

3.45/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500 ML brown bottle. Nice to see freshness dating on an import.

The beer pours a fairly dark gold with a large initial but quickly collapsing head.

The aroma is of some spice from the saz hops, a bit of grain and a wee bit of grass. Nice bouquet, but there could be more.

The taste is also a bit washed out. Slightly bitter with some grassy sweetness. No off or bad tastes. Don‘t pair this one with anything remotely spicy. Becomes a bit more earthy late and that pushes-up the score past average.

The mouth is slightly soggy, I expect a bit more crispness in a Czec beer. Still and easy enough drinker. I would love to try this one fresh at the source!!

Jan 25, 2006
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DrewBeechum from California

2.85/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled at the BJ's Beer Appreciation Night for Bohemian Pilsners

One of the recent additions to the imported pilsner market. When fresh this is a really amazing beer. In this particular example, the beer was off.

The beer poured a hazy yellow with fair cloudiness obstructing the light.

Aroma is sour and oaty with a light hop note.

Flavor is maltly and fruity with a large bubble gum flavor washing over any subtle flavor in the brew.

Overall a bad example of what has seemed in the past to be a decent and inexpensive brew.

Jun 07, 2003
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RoyalT from Ohio

2.96/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – A very pretty clear yellow body with a nice but cheap-looking head that went down quickly.

Smell – The grainy aroma doesn’t do much for me. I can pick up some floral hopping though. The sweetness is subdued and, again, inferior.

Taste – It tastes better than it smells. The light grain is softened as the sugars pick things up, making this one seem almost malty. From the smell of things I thought this was going to taste like saki. The light hops add to the experience, raising the bar on this Pils to “average.”

Mouthfeel – Light with pleasant carbonation and refreshing enough when eating a spicy Thai dish.

Drinkability – I managed to finish it, so it couldn’t have been that bad, but definitely not one that I’d buy again.

Dec 31, 2003
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Orangish amber with a modest dusting of tiny particles that remain in suspension rather than work their way to the bottom. As it falls, the small, off-white head becomes crimped on the edges, like a floury, unbaked pie crust. An underwhelming amount of sudsy froth sets up temporary residence on the glass.

Contrary to expectations, the nose is fairly decent. It's equal parts sweet, untoasted malt and lightly floral, softly herbal hops. Although I'd consider it to be slightly above average, let's not get carried away.

The malt backbone is on the wobbly side without being out of line for the style. Noble hops are present in much greater quantity and clearly dominate the flavor profile. The sharp, rough bitterness of the hops outpaces their actual flavor contribution. Crystal is saved, however, by the fact that the malt is able to hang on by its fingernails and effectively blunt what could have been a too hoppy, too bitter beer.

It's a balancing act carried out on a razor's edge, with just enough sweetness to bring the bitterness to heal. None of it really matters though since the beer is no better than average in the end. The light body holds up well throughout.

Crystal Lager is an okay effort, especially if your bitterness tolerance is on the high side. It's a little better than this brewery's dark lager and, on a more relevant note, is better than most macro lagers that I can think of. But in the end, I rarely drink this style and will not be buying another bottle. Kudos for the brown glass.

Mar 21, 2005
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Zorro from California

3.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden brew, as a proper lager should.

Smell is a bit sweet with a perfume scent and a hint of bananas.

Taste is mildly sweet with a flavor of mild flowers and orange circus peanut.

Mouthfeel is OK, needs more body to it.

An OK lager, but no Pilsner Urquell.

May 25, 2004
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Gagnonsux from Texas

3.92/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a typical golden expected of a pilsener with little flecks of sediment suspended in the brew. Carbonation is excellent, but only produces a tiny head. The aroma is surprisingly of bready malts and not the saaz hops I was expecting. The taste has a rounded bready malt body which produces an almost honey-like sweetness. A hint of spicy hop flavor is noted along with just a touch of bitterness. Mouthfeel is somewhat crisp, but could be a little more bracing. Drinkability is great, this is a session beer. Recommended.

May 24, 2005
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emerge077 from Illinois

2.73/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

"007" inkjet on lower portion of label.

Pale golden yellow pour, a flurry of tiny bubbles generates a thin head, but it rapidly fades down to a ring.

Smell is almost smoky, which is interesting, but there is also a vegetal component that is off-putting.

Taste has a vague earthy, herbal hop in there, but it's overshadowed by a watery mouthfeel and artificial sweetness that hangs around way too long. Odd astringent character develops, possibly from the hops in a big swig.

Drinkability is hampered by the sweetness and blah feeling on the palate. Overall, this is an inferior Pilsner, and B.B. Burgerbrau is the winner from this brewery so far.

It's worth noting that this was the former "house beer" at (now closed) Johnnie's Lounge in Chicago (3425 N. Lincoln Ave.), now replaced by the similar Samson Czech Beer. Visit Johnnie's and ask for the Czech beer! 2010: RIP John, cheers all at Johnnie's.

Mar 22, 2007
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matjack85 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +21.6%

Jan 28, 2013
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pmcadamis from Illinois

2.57/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - This one is caramel/honey gold with a nice two finger bone white head that reduces to a collar and haze within two minutes. Some spotty wet lace is left on the glass.

S - Pepper, celery, tomatoes, and seafood. Whoa! This is quite unique! It almost reminds me of V8 juice or something, with a shellfish aroma too. The hops are peppery and spicy and that adds to the bloody mary notes in this brew. Odd....but I like sort of like odd!

T - Again, big time pepper and vegetables. This tastes a lot like those mixed vegetables that you get in grade school cafeteria trays. You know, with peas, cubed carrots, and potatoes. There is also some caramely sweetness that also reminds me of sweetened canned carrots. This is friggin' wierd!

M - Light bodied with a crisp carbonation and a dry finish. This is about the only part of the beer that tells me it's a Czech pils.

D - No thanks! I like the fact that it's really odd and unique, but I can't really drink a lot of a beer that tastes like beef stew. Worth trying for the experience though.

Dec 13, 2007
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srandycarter from California

3.24/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Tea like amber... thin looking. Not much head. Minimal lacing.

S - Sweet malt, but subtle. Also, looking at other reviews in an attempt to describe it, vegetable beef stew notes.

T - Taste matches smell...falls drastically at end of sip.

M - Thin, unimpressive.

D - Check please!

Oct 28, 2008
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orangemoustache from Illinois

2.98/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This thing looks like I poured Cream of Wheat in my beer, the most sediment I have ever seen hands down, big chunks, small chunks, this would have to look horrible to others without a trained eye like myself(haha). This is a bright gold with lots of yeasty crap floating around. The cap is slightly off-white and retains for a mere second or two, leaving no lace. The nose is a extra sweet and smells of some hops as well. The aromas are very inviting and fragrant. This Lager has a solid malt base that is slightly bitter and fruity sweet offsetting one another in a very positive way. A nice core of honey and light graininess is way beyond the flavor of any BMC. The mouthfeel is light and clean, not anything that would keep me coming back. This was better than expected, a borderline easy drinker if you can get past the chunky pour.

Jan 17, 2009
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Chronark from Norway

2.71/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Mar 13, 2015
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smi69 from New York

3.2/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Jun 08, 2020
Crystal Lager Beer from První Budějovický Pivovar Samson
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 23 ratings