Beer Review: Heineken Imported Lager Beer

NEXT in my look at little green bottles of cheap beers from the north-west corner of the continent is another big name. If you’ve ever looked at a shelf of beers in a shop, you’ve probably seen the name Heineken. Well, here’s a little green bottle of Heineken Imported Lager Beer.

Heineken Imported Lager Beer bottle

The neck label says everything you need to choose this bottle over the domestically produced equivalent.

Heineken Imported Lager Beer neck label

The most prominent word on it is “Imported”. It is perhaps the best word ever to be printed on any beer bottle, as you know you’ll be getting the genuine article. Apart from with ales. We definitely make the best ales in the world.

Back to the neck label, and it holds other positive information too. The Heineken red star name and logo help you recognise it. But I must be totally honest with you; the green-ness of the colour scheme always makes me confuse it with Carlsberg.

Again I digress. Back to the welcome information on the neck label. The date 1873 gives it some heritage. The alcoholic volume is that publicised continental 5%. But with so many other beers being at least that, this one hardly stands out from the crowd any longer.

Down to the front label, and we get a traditional green roundel.

Heineken Imported Lager Beer front label

Starting from the outside and working in, the outer-outer-outer border has some tiny words written on it. And those words are “The Original Quality” and “Brewed with Natural Ingredients”. The border inside that describes it as “Heineken Lager Beer” and “Premium Quality”. Inside that, is another border formed, I think, of French language text. This being a Dutch lager, that threw me at first. Until I realised that the text, medals and other bits of writing were referring to some awards won in Paris. Apparently, it won the “Medaille D’or Paris 1875” and the “Grans Prix Paris 1889”. Plus some other things I can’t quite interpret in 1883 and 1900. A prize is still a prize, but nothing for the last century?

The back label keeps things simple.

Heineken Imported Lager Beer back label

Around the outside is much welcome confirmation of this bottle’s origins: “Brewed and Bottled by Heineken Brouwerijen B.V., Amsterdam, Holland”. Besides the barcode, logo and 5% volume, one of the most prominent things on this side is their sponsorship deal. If you already enjoy watching a few men running up and down a field, trying not to dirty their haircuts, you probably already know that Heineken are the “Proud Sponsor of” the “UEFA Champions League”.

Also fairly prominent are this bottle’s vital statistics. This little bottle is the typical 330 millilitres in size. And because of it’s 5% volume, it has 1.7 UK units of alcohol. Thoroughly unremarkable.

The ingredients list mentions water, malted barley and hops. Little unusual there. What is unusual is that they give two different web addresses. The most prominent, and one that say “Please visit:” is at“. An address that re-directs you to Heineken International homepage at The other address on the label, re-directs you to the homepage of their draught keg product at

At this point, I would normally say “that’s everything on the label, now time to open it”. But something caught my eye on the Heineken International homepage. That is because, it’s big industry news. With Belgian brewing giant InBev making moves on American brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, this one slipped under the radar. It appears that Heineken recently made a successful offer on our on big brewer, Scottish & Newcastle plc. It’ll be interesting to see how this consolidation plays out. As far as I know, S&N spend most of their time making licensed versions of foreign beers. It would be nice if this deal brings more innovation to the market place. Sadly, all this consolidation can’t be good news for out numerous favourite little breweries up and down the land. How do you think it will work out?

A paragraph later than normal, it’s time now to get to the fun bit. To open this bottle and discover what Heineken Imported Lager is like. Is it better than Carlsberg or will I find their tastes as identical as their branding?

Heineken Imported Lager Beer poured into a glass

In the glass, you get a good, controllable head. No uncontrollable frothing, nor patchy bubbles here. And because it’s lager, it has a weak yellow hue. There is however, next to no smell at all. This has possibly the weakest smell of any beer of lager I’ve tried.

And the taste isn’t much stronger. It has a light tasting blend of malted barley and hops, leaving a slight, lingering hoppy bitterness. It is all very mild stuff.

There are things to like about Heineken Imported Lager. I liked how mild and inoffensive the flavours were when compared to the cheaper and nastier lagers. I liked how easy to drink it is, and how crisp and refreshing it is.

But that is all the usual faint praise you can give a premium lager. That’s because this, like every other premium quality continental lager can only ever be an average beer. The taste, though drinkable, is not one many people, myself included, would choose over something better. And, over the course of a few drinks, it would quickly stop being refreshing and start leaving a nasty taste in my mouth. It’s rather gassy too. Then there’s the question of what makes Heineken stand out. Not much as far as I can tell.

Rating: 2.55

A good quality premium lager. But barely distinguishable from other premium quality continental lagers. And distinctly average as a beer.

Have you tried Heineken Imported Lager? How does it compare to regular Heineken?
Leave your corrections, opinions, thoughts, ideas, suggestions and recommendations with the world here please.

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13 Responses to “Beer Review: Heineken Imported Lager Beer”

  1. Karolis Says:

    I love it. As far as my taste (and pocket) goes, there is no better lager that Heineken.

  2. Bookmarks about Imported Says:

    […] – bookmarked by 4 members originally found by oriolvespa on 2008-07-23 Beer Review: Heineken Imported Lager Beer – […]

  3. Stephan Says:

    I tried this and was very disappointed. Seemed to be a manufactured rather than brewed. I find Heineken Bland and boring.

  4. Cristiano Says:

    Hi Hywel!
    I forgot to add, when saying that I liked Heineken, that I’ve been drinking it in Italy for a while, and when I drank it here in the UK, I found it different. It tasted a little more bland and with a “rust” aftertaste, if you know what I mean. It’s weird and possibly also just my impression..
    Great blog by the way, you’re a real beer otaku! 😛

  5. Adrian Says:

    “Imported” Heineken is not necessarily brewed in Holland. They also produce out of England, Sweden, Russia, and South-East Asia. There is a distinct difference between the “Imported”and the type sold in The Netherlands.
    The green bottle doesn’t help either. It doesn’t protect the beer against light, which damages the beer’s taste and colour as a consequence.
    In the Netherlands it is sold in brown bottles, on tap, or from kegs.
    “Imported”is much more carbonated, and can’t maintain it’s head.

  6. Tom Says:

    I drink the imported Heineken from a can and find it very good but a little overpriced when you compare it to the Bavaria at half the price. 6 out of 10!

  7. Adam Says:

    Stephan I have to agree with you. Heineken is a Dutch brand, I’m Dutch, and I rarely drink Heineken. Like you said it feels manufactured. I drink other Dutch brands like: Grolsh or Hertog Jan. Those are brewed beers and not manufactured 😛

  8. Bryan Says:

    Nice site. I found it while trying to find a beer similar to Heineken but costing less. I live in the USA and the price for me is 15 dollars (on sale…it’s usually on sale) for 12 bottles…they are 355ml. The front of the bottles are a close look-alike to the pics you posted except they don’t say the alcohol percentage (anywhere on the bottle) and where yours says “The Original Quality”, mine says “Original Recipe”. Lower down instead of “Premium Quality” mine says “Brewed in Holland”. The back of mine is pathetic compared to yours. It’s mostly covered with useless government warning’s and no ingredients nor date listed anywhere. It does say once again.. “brewed and bottled in Amsterdam Holland”.
    I love Heineken…our grocery store domestics, Bud/Coors/Miller and the like are undrinkable in comparison.

  9. jorge Says:

    this person don’t know shit about beer.

  10. charles Says:

    I used to live in Germany where the have “the reinheitsgebot” – the purity law.No chemicals are added to the fermentation process whatsover!!!! – same goes in france and french beers as in holland and belgium.Now we get to the good bit.All these beers with the exeption of german ones are “brewed under licence in the uk”
    these brewed here taste absolutely nothing like the originals and are brewed here using chemicals to speed up the fermentation process (to get it done quicker and more economically). The result is that they dehydrate and induce headaches the day after!!!
    Is it any wonder that Germany does not let it;s beer be brewed elsewhere and in fact does not import any british beer – except Guinness brewed in Ireland und the same “purity law.
    As far as i am concerned this is a total rip off and should be stopped.


  11. Mario Says:

    we do sell Heineken Lager Beer here in Hungary
    very good for export

  12. Mario Says:

    contact us for more info about sales..

  13. ken ful-ton Says:

    i six full bottle from 1980 for sale

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