Kirin vs Sapporo: Comparing Two Great Japanese Beers

Kirin and Sapporo are two of the biggest beer brewers in Japan. Having visited Japan several times and tried a variety of Japanese beers, I can tell you that these beers are fantastic, especially when drunk together with some freshly made tempura.

In this post, we will look at Kirin Vs Sapporo and see how these two Japanese beers compare in terms of style, taste, alcohol content, calories, and ingredients. First, here’s the key information about these two beers.

Kirin vs Sapporo: Key Details

FeatureKirin IchibanSapporo Premium Lager
Beer StyleJapanese LagerJapanese Lager
Alcohol Content5% ABV4.9% ABV
Calories (Per 12 oz)145140
IngredientsWater, Malt, HopsWater, malted barley, rice, hops, yeast.
ColorClear pale golden.Clear pale golden.
Kirin Vs. Sapporo

As you can see, Kirin Ichiban and Sapporo Premium Lager have a lot in common. They are both Japanese lagers with around 5% ABV (Alcohol By Volume) with a similar calorie content. The main difference between these two beers is their flavor profile, which we will turn to next.

Kirin vs Sapporo: Taste

Kirin Ichiban is brewed using a method called “First Press,” meaning only the wort‘s first press is used, which leads to a cleaner, purer taste. Kirin beer has a mild, sweet maltiness and a light, refreshing feel. It has a subtle hop bitterness, but this is not the dominant flavor. The overall taste is crisp and well-balanced, making it easy to drink and enjoy with a variety of foods.

Sapporo Premium, on the other hand, has a slightly bolder taste. It has a well-rounded richness and a somewhat more pronounced hop character compared to Kirin Ichiban. Sapporo’s flavor is a bit more complex, with a balance of sweetness and bitterness, and it has a slightly fuller body. Sapporo has a clean, crisp finish and a slightly dry aftertaste, making it particularly refreshing with fried foods like tempura.

Kirin vs Sapporo: Calories

Kirin Ichiban has 145 calories per 12 oz serving, while Sapporo has slightly less at 140 calories per 12 oz serving. This amount of calories is typical for a lager-style beer.

Kirin vs Sapporo: Alcohol Content

As with the calorie content, the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of these two beers is quite similar. Kirin Ichiban has an ABV of 5%, while Sapporo has an ABV of 4.9%. Again, this is typical of a lager-style beer which usually has a ABV between 4-5%.

Kirin vs Sapporo: Which Is The Better Beer?

Now, the important question: Which is the better beer, Kirin Ichiban or Sapporo Premium? Obviously, this is a personal choice, and while some people prefer the sweet maltiness of Kirin, others might like the crisp, slightly dry taste of Sapporo more.

For me, although I like both beers, I much prefer Kirin Ichiban as I can enjoy this beer on its own or paired with a large variety of foods. The sweet, malty taste and refreshing feel of the beer always leave me wanting another one. Sapporo, on the other hand, due to its slightly dry aftertaste, leaves a persistent dry sensation in my mouth, and I can never quite quench my thirst, no matter how many Sapporo beers I drink.

Which one do you think is the better beer? Let us know in the comments below.