The Corona brand is possibly the biggest Mexican beer brand in the United States and the rest of the world at that. The flagship beer of this brand is the Corona Extra, shipping about eight million barrels of the beer in 2020 alone. Despite the impressive high heights the beer has hit, many still don’t know what the beer tastes like and if it’s really worth all the hype. Let’s address that real quick.
Corona Extra is a balanced premium American lager with a crisp and clean finish. The beer has a citrusy and honey-like flavor. It does not have a bitter aftertaste and has an alcohol content of 4.6%, contributing to its high drinkability. There may be a bit of skunkiness when drinking takes too long.
There’s far more to Corona Extra beyond this statement. And in this article, we will examine beer characteristics, like the flavor, mouthfeel, smell, and appearance. Also, we will consider the reason for the beer’s taste and how you can best enjoy it. Finally, we will look at what other beer overs think of the beer. Let’s dive in!
Corona Extra is the most flavorful beer in the Corona brand lineup. It has a fruity-honey flavor. There is a nice balance between the hops and malts used in brewing, although the beer is more toward the malts side. Corona Extra has hints of corn.
This beer has no bitter notes, either while drinking or as an aftertaste. In fact, many drinkers claim Corona Extra is one of the sweetest beers they’ve had. That’s not a stretch at all, and you will enjoy this beer if you are a fan of less bitter traditional beers.
Furthermore, Corona is a low to medium-character beer. Let me explain what that implies. The character of a beer consists of a lot of properties, including the flavor, bitterness, carbonation, and alcohol content of the beer. It is simply the general tasting experience of the beer.
Beers with more intense flavor profiles, high bitterness, high alcohol content, and elevated carbonation levels have higher beer character. In this case, Corona Extra has medium carbonation, low bitterness, and relatively low alcohol content, making it a low to medium-character beer. Is that a good thing?
Well, that depends. Some people like their beers to have a high character and feel like strong beers, while some prefer lower character beers. Corona Extra is in the middle of the spectrum, although it tends slightly towards the lower end.
Corona Extra has a clean, dry finish and no bitter aftertaste. Those properties alone are positives in the eventual mouthfeel of the beer. However, the beer may get skunky if exposed to sunlight for too long or if it takes a long time to drink.
In addition, it has an alcohol content of 4.6%, which is certainly not too high for its beer style. The finish and the alcohol content, alongside the medium carbonation and crisp feel of the beer, make it quite refreshing. While it may not hit the heights of light beers, it is one of the more refreshing premium and standard American lagers.
Corona Extra does not have an easily observable smell, which is not bad in a beer. However, that doesn’t mean it has no aroma profile at all. The beer has subtle citrusy flavors, with some sweet malt notes. You may miss its individual flavor altogether if you take the beer with lime.
Corona Extra has a golden yellow color, strikingly similar to Corona Premier and Corona Light. Although Corona Extra seems to be the more vivid of the beers under extremely focused inspection, you will not be able to tell them apart in normal circumstances.
The practicable way of telling these beers apart is their containers. While they all have transparent bottles, Corona Extra has a black-themed label, Corona Premier has a silver-themed one, and Corona Light has a gold-themed one.
The use of a transparent bottle is undoubtedly interesting and is unconventional for beers in the United States. However, Grupo Modelo has adopted this bottle right from Corona Extra’s very launch to show the world their aesthetically pleasing golden beer. Many people spoke against the move as it was unprecedented back then. The bone of contention was that the beer would become skunky after exposure to sunlight. Grupo Modelo, however, argued that they had nothing to worry about because they used the finest ingredients for their beers.
Since then, there have been complaints about the beer getting skunky from prolonged exposure to sunlight. Despite this, the clear bottle has remained, and I see no reason why Grupo Modelo would actually change it, as it is literally a part of the brand. Bar the skunkiness allegations, though, the bottle is excellent.
Why Does Corona Extra Taste Like This?
Corona Extra has four major ingredients: water, barley malt, hops, and non-malted cereals. Considering many beers use these same ingredients, one would expect they all taste the same, but they don’t. Here are some of the reasons for the differences.
The first three ingredients stated are common in all beers and are actually necessary for brewing beer. But different beer brands may use different variations and amounts of these ingredients. This applies to Corona beers too. The final ingredient is non-malted cereal, which is just another way of saying beer adjunct.
Beer adjuncts are common in American lagers and are usually added to boost certain features in the beer. Corn and rice are the two common adjuncts brewmasters use for American lagers. Corona Extra, like other Corona beers, uses corn adjunct in their beers. This contributes to the light color and crisp flavor profile of the beer. Ultimately, the beer does not have a complex taste.
Corona Extra tends towards being sweet, with some drinkers even proclaiming it the sweetest they’ve ever had. This is because the beer adds cane sugar and dextrose during the fermentation process of the beer.
Aside from contributing to the beer’s sweetness, the added sugars also translate to more calories. Let’s quickly draw up a comparison with other Corona beers. Corona Extra has 148 calories per 12 fl oz, Corona Light has 99, while Corona Premier has 90 calories. The inference from this is simple – the more the sugars, the more the calories.
The other basic ingredients are water, hops, and barley malt. The exact amount of each ingredient that Corona uses in manufacturing Corona Extra is not available to the public. However, it is expected that the company makes slight adjustments with the other Corona beers to effect the differences in properties.
Because of the relatively sweet nature of the beer, it is expected to have higher amounts of barley malt than normal. This is also reflected in the beer tilting more towards the malt side in its overall balance.
What Is The Best Way To Enjoy Corona Extra?
Corona Extra is almost exclusively marketed today with a wedge of lime. The truth is, no one knows for sure when the practice started or why it did. All we know is the practice first became a thing in bars when bartenders would clean the rim of beer glasses with lime wedges before serving consumers. The possible justifications for this practice then are:
- Boosting The Beer’s Flavor
Naturally, Corona Extra has citrusy flavor and aroma profiles. It is believed that bartenders would improve both the taste and aroma of the beer by adding lime to the neck of the bottle or rim of the glass. It worked fine too, so the practice stuck.
The second plausible reason has little to do with the flavor of the beer. Bartenders could simply have been adding lime to sanitize the neck and rim of the glass. The logic behind this is that citric acid in the lime was strong enough to kill off bacteria.
Regardless of the reason for this practice, Corona liked it and even targeted its ads toward it. Nowadays, you often get lime wedges with the bottle in bars. For even better accentuation of the flavors, you can add salt. Be careful, though, as adding too much can overwhelm the flavors.
What Do People Think of Corona Extra?
Corona Extra is the second best-selling imported beer in the United States today, meaning it catches the attention of beer lovers across the country. The table below outlines what the beer scores on five of the commonest beer review platforms on the internet.
Corona Extra has a very decent rating from this table, as this score will put it among the highest among the significant brands. The first four platforms reflect the views of seasoned drinkers, while the final platform represents the opinions of younger drinkers.
While many rate Corona Extra very highly, others aren’t too convinced by the beer, usually citing its lack of flavor. One online review states, “My feeling is that if a beer needs citrus fruit to be drinkable, they are brewing it wrong. Most of the popularity of this beer is a good PR campaign.”
Corona Extra also does well with the less-experienced platform and is a common sight on beaches and outdoor summer gatherings.
I think Corona Extra is a great beer. The beer is very drinkable and also quite refreshing. It has a nice and subtle flavor that is even better with lime. However, the lack of pronounced flavors without lime does not appeal to many. Still, I would definitely recommend having a chilled bottle.