Review: Killian's Irish Red, UniBev Ltd.

Killian's Irish Red
Unibev Ltd. — Golden, CO

  • Style:  Irish Lager
  • Bitterness:  Not available
  • ABV: 4.98%
  • Calories:  162 per 12 oz. bottle
  • Malts:  Not available
  • Hops:  Not available 
  • Sampled: 12 oz. bottle

Description:  "George Killian’s Irish Red is an authentic Irish lager based on an original family recipe that dates back to 1864 in Enniscorthy, Ireland. George Killian Lett’s great-grandfather first brewed a ruby ale that later became the inspiration for George Killian’s Irish Red. He used only pure spring water and the finest caramel malts roasted longer and slower to give his brew a rich red color and distinctive taste. The brew is still known for its rich amber color and thick, creamy head." — Unibev Ltd. 

Random thoughts:   This is part five of my tribute to St. Patrick's day—also known as Four Guinness and a Coors.  Unbev is owned by MillerCoors, so Killian's is the Coors to which I have been referring.  I have a personal connection to Killian's.  When I lived in Illinois in the early 90's, I didn't drink beer because I loathed the options (Miller, Bud Light, etc.).  At the time, Killian's was an "exotic" beer in my mind and I liked it.  I wasn't crazy about it, but it was better than the other beers in my universe.   I haven't tasted it in ages, but thought I'd revist this old acquaintance on St. Patrick's Day.  After all, it's supposed to be Irish....

The tasting:   Reddish-orange / amber in color (crystal clear) with a white head that dissipated very quickly leaving no lacing on the glass.  The head was essentially gone by the time I framed the shot below and focused my camera.  Aside from that, the color of this beer is gorgeous!  Aroma is not very strong, but I picked up some toasted malts—that's it.  Flavor of toasted and cereal malts.  It's light bodied, has medium carbonation an has and effervescent mouth feel.  If finishes dry and goes down easily.

Rating:  2 star.  Drinkable, but not sure I want to.  What can I beer tastes have changed since I moved to Portland.  Killian's is not a bad beer.  It's definitely in a better league than Bud Light, Coors, Miller, and the rest of the industrial lagers.  However it's still junior varsity because there's really not much flavor to it.  Call me a beer snob if you like.

What do you think of Killian's Irish Red?  Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!  Have fun, be safe, and don't drink and drive!!!

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  2. Good review. Agree that this is not the best tasting red beer in the world but i choose it over any other American mass produced lager. It's fairly cheap, good beer to have with a meal, not something to savor per se but it has more character and more flavor than cheap light beers. I grew to like the roasty flavor, goes great with a cigar and fishing. If I want a beer to savor I would go with some craft brewed stout but this one is hard to beat in the price range.

  3. "Agree that this is not the best tasting red beer in the world but i choose it over any other American mass produced lager."

    -Note that this beer is made by MillerCoors, so it is an American mass produced lager

    1. "any OTHER American mass produced lager." This makes it clear we all know it's industrial.

  4. note that he said "any other American mass produced lager", and so did not even suggest that it is anything other than one

  5. It's a good beer. Drink it on occasion.
    Like the roasted malts and clean after taste.
    Would rate it better than most domestic beers.
    Fits perfect for someone on a budget.

  6. Not bad. Tastes decent on its own, not as good with food for some reason. I'm no beer expert, but after drinking it was sorry I didn't leave the grocery store to go somewhere where Sam Adams summer ale was available.

  7. I love this beer, however I'm finding it more difficult every day to find it, seems as if it's not a good seller for whatever reason but its certainly better than most of the common commercial brands, try it and educate your palate, cheers!

  8. Sometime around 2009 the recipe for this beer was changed and some sort of quirky "twang" the beer had disappeared and the flavor became unremarkable. I still buy it but it's nothing special now. Anyone who has been drinking it since the late '90's knows what I'm talking about.

    1. I agree - can't say as to the exact time change, but I feel it is less special than it used to be

  9. I like it better on tap. Smooth, good malt flavor, nice dinner beer.

  10. I like it. My preferences are light lager such as Miller's High Life - don't boo me. I have been drinking beer for approximately 90 years. Would like a little higher alcoholic content

  11. Bought it for St. Patrick's Day. Hadn't had it since the 80's. All I can say is barf. Bitter off taste, not much flavor, hard to finish one bottle. I'll stick with the craft beer, thank you.


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