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Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
63
poor

1,531 Ratings
THE BROS
57
awful

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,531
Reviews: 573
rAvg: 2.65
pDev: 23.02%
Wants: 9
Gots: 198 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited visit their website
Japan

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2001

Confirmed that this beer is "all malt" as of Oct. 2010.
View: Beers (48) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,531 | Reviews: 573
Reviews by John_Henry:
Photo of John_Henry
2.53/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Note: This is the Japanese version Brewed in Japan, and fairly fresh (Brewed in December drank in February). May vary if purchased outside of Japan.

A. Very clear, good initial head, which remains a little leaving a little lacing. Nothing interesting or exceptional.

S. Little smell, but slight lager note, not unpleasant. (Opposite to what I've heard of the US version)

T. Fine lager taste, nothing unpleasant, a bit of a dry bite to it. Some malty notes.

M. Not bad, but a tad sharp from over carbonation in my opinion.

O. Here is what I said about Asahi and the same goes for this; "Easy drinking beer that is quite refreshing. This is served all over Japan, and whilst being very dull isn't at all offensive. Can't really go wrong with it, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it if I wasn't living in Japan." I tried this alongside Asahi and there is a slight difference, very slight, a little more malt, but really not much difference.

I should also mention that whilst being a big lager drinker (due to that be the only thing on offer beer wise in most places here), I'm not a big lager fan, so the numbers may reflect this.

If your in Japan you'll struggle not to try Kirin and Asahi, if not, I wouldn't bother.

More User Reviews:
Photo of KYGunner
2.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Despite the claim of 100% malt this smells like an adjunct lager. Corny, with bubblegum sweetness there is some barley malt aroma.

The flavor tastes like an adjunct as well. Very corny, sweet and some grain it's easy to drink but I'd dispute the malt claim.

As far as Japanese beers go I find this to be less attractive than Sapparo but better than Asahi.

Photo of RoyalT
3.33/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Light yellow in color and a bit of carbonation to the body. The head actually came up nicely, showed some good retention, and left a very pretty lacing on the inside of my glass.

Smell – Light grain in the nose with a touch of floral hopping and a bit of sweetness.

Taste – The sweets really come out at the taste. Thankfully, they aren’t the “gag sugars” that usually send me heaving towards the toilet. Mind you, this is not a “good” lager by any means, but there is a bit of hops to this one which is better than most examples of the style.

Mouthfeel – Not bad. It’s light-bodied, of course, but the carbonation plays well with the taste and this one is even a touch on the dry side.

Drinkability – I’ve found that I seem to appreciate Japanese beers a little better than most on the site. Again, I wouldn’t call this one a “winner”, but I think it’s much more drinkable than the 2.45 average that it has on the site.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
2.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This crystal clear beer has a light yellow tint. There is a thin white layer with some mottling and the aroma is faint hops, rice, and mostly old penny smell. Tastes like rice, booze, and sugar, but you have to concentrate to really taste anything. Grippy mouthfeel, chalky aftertaste. Whatever.

Photo of orbitalr0x
2.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

As I type I am preparing to do battle with the brutal and mystical half deer, half dragon. What perils lie ahead of me on this heroic journey into battle....I know not. The beast is not very big, weighing in at only 21.4 ounces...however it has decimated and humiliated many good men before me and I fear for my life. As I approach the beast I pull out my blade and make the first move. Lunging with cat like stealth my blade rips through the abdomen of the creature, spilling its clear, piss yellow golden blood on the cold ground...the blood begins to froth until it's covered by a bubbly white substance an inch deep. I inhale deeply trying to catch my breath, noticing the sweet, grainy aroma of the creatures blood. The smell is all too familiar...with hints of grassy spiciness as well.

Oh shit...I'm hit...the creature has cut me with its powerful tail. Darting forward I slash the vile half deer, half dragon's throat, rendering it lifeless in a massive pool of blood. Intrigued by the scent of the blood and dehydrated from my journey I bend down and cup my hand taking a large sip. It's light and watery with very little flavor. Grainy, rice like sweetness with subtle hints of grass and herbal spice. I was expecting more from such a mythical creature. It flows into my stomach like water with tiny bubbling carbonation. I may have won the fight, but my reward is not very sweet. I fear it is time for me to move on, as there are many other creatures to do battle with. I am proud to have conquered the fabled half deer, half dragon...but I am left wondering if it was worth the fight and nearly losing my life.

Photo of dill
2/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served on draught into a mug.

I want to make clear that this was consumed in California and likely brewed in LA as opposed to Japan. I have had it in Japan before and it was better than this.

A - a decent yellow color with a white head with lots of lacing.

S - at first there was a strong yeasty, grainy smell.

T - not very strong with a bit of hops although not very pleasant.

M - medium carbonation, a bit thin.

D - i ordered this at a japanese restaurant as it was the only draught option. i've had it before and never quite enjoyed it, but often it is the only option. i think i've probably had it in america for the last time though.

Photo of twi1609372
2.53/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer used to be at a bar me and my friend go to. When they first had it, we had it off the tap. It really wasnt bad. It had a bit of a different taste, but wasnt bad. sort of smooth, nothing bad. However about a week later, we had another one, and yuck, it tasted foul, smelt off, just wasnt good. So i guess if your going to try this, try to amke sure it's fresh, otherwise dont expect much.

Photo of Jason
1.73/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with an A&B “Bottled On” date on the back label. Brewed by Anheuser-Busch in the US.

Appearance: Very good lacing, stick white and foamy. The clarity is fine in a yellow coloured brew.

Smell: Smells of skunk and cooked cabbage … well perhaps the skunk and cabbage smell mixed together smells like rotten cabbage. Horrible aroma and I dread even drinking a sip.

Taste: Light body with a medium level of carbonation. Husk flavour upfront grows to overwhelming and needless to say becomes astringent with little flavour. Hops are all used up with a bitterness that is not natural. More and more astrignet grain flavours come and make it harder and harder to drink.

Notes: I had to pour this out after four sips, perhaps the worst beer this year. As the comic book guy on the Simpson’s would say “Worst Faux-Japanese beer ever.”. This is not the beer I remembered at the numerous Asia restaurants I frequented back in the day.

Here is my English-Haiku review:

It is hot outside
I tried this beer to quench thirst
Made me want to ralph

Photo of Weizenmensch
2.81/5  rDev +6%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

330mL bottle with a label that's really hard to read in direct light.

Appearance: Pale, pale straw yellow, pours with a foamy head that dissipates way too fast. Not especially effervescent. Urine has more head retention than this.

Smell: I think the hops went hella skunky. Don't know much about Noble hops, the kind the label says they use.

Taste: Really belies the smell. Refreshing. Really unusual nice sweet, starchy aftertaste on the palate. Don't know if this is a quality of a 'rice lager', or, indeed, if this even is a rice lager. Only barley is mentioned on the label. I'm breaking with convention and giving this a pretty good taste score.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thin. No acidity because there's a major lack of fizziness. Not so bad, at least it's not an offensive mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Better than most Asian macros. For the style, quite good and refreshing. I'd have another one, only I've got a Polish beer to review. Bye.

Photo of tigg924
1.65/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appearance: one inch frothy head, high carbonation, bright yellow color

Smell: grass and malt

Taste: grass and malt.not much going on here

Mouthfeel: very high carbonation, smooth, and semi-sweet

Drinkability: I am not against the style, but I could not finish this one. This was my first drain pour in a long time. The taste has some bitter that is very off putting. Two sips are sadly enough.

Photo of Mora2000
2.8/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a straw yellow color with a white head. The aroma is rice, corn and some grassy hops. The flavor is very sweet. I get a lot of grass along with some corn and bready malts. Thin mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Not as bad as expected but not something I care to try again.

Photo of bsp77
3.41/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from draft into pint glass.

Appearance: Light pale yellow with stark white head.

Smell: Very mild, with dry malts and very light spicy hops.

Taste: Dry grainy malts that are slightly Pilsner-like, some spicy hops.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, light body, nice crisp, dry finish.

Drinkability: Quite good for a Japanese Rice Lager. Easy to drink with a nice dry finish, leaving you begging for more.

Photo of magictrokini
2.1/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I guess this would be my frist Japanese Rice Lager. Pours clear yellow, white head, nothing unexpected. Aroma is ricey and sweet, nothing different froma a Bud Light. Very dry beer. Instead of being heavily sweet, it is more starchy-rice-dry. This is a decent Japanese lager, perfect to have with Asian food. Light but sharp flavor, dry aftertaste. Nothing exciting.

Photo of Bigalduncan64
4.83/5  rDev +82.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Based on the category this beer was placed in, this is the best there is. I can't think of another beer this style that has a better flavor and drinkability. I'm very very surprised Kirin Ichiban has such low ratings.

Photo of ehammond1
2.37/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle

Toro Sushi
San Diego, CA

A clear, golden highly-carbonated beer with a quickly forming but a quickly disappearing white head. Little to no lacing down the glass.

A slight sweet aroma with some corn and grain elements. At least nothing smells off or foul here.

A clean and crisp flavor with a touch of sweetness and some grainy corn flavor throughout.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with plenty of carbonation. Crisp and clean.

It is what it is, and it isn't much.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.53/5  rDev +33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank yesterday; reviewed from notes.

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Nov 2012. Japan's prime beer - contract brewed in the UK by Wells & Youngs. Described on the label as made from a first pressing of the finest ingredients - no idea what this is supposed to mean?!

Poured into a straight pint glass. A pale golden colour with good carbonation. Forms a large, fluffy head of white foam with good stability; this slowly subsides to a surface layer. Aroma of light malt with a crisp twang of noble hops.

Tastes of light malt with a crisp, dry finish. Notes of subtle noble hop aroma and mild stewed hops, along with faint sweetness. A whisper of solvent in the background, and a restrained bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and dry, with decent body for the style. Aftertaste of stewed noble hops.

Pretty good - a fair imitation of a German pilsner. Pleasantly dry, with a hint of noble hop character to give it an edge. Goes down easily enough and would quench a thirst on a hot day. Worth trying.

Photo of ellenleclere
3.06/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Golden, with a thin head.

Smell: Dull grainy aroma that I attributed to the rice, and also a surprising zest that reminded me of citrus.

Taste: Bright and zesty, with tones of grains and rice - hard to pinpoint because the taste of the beer dissipated almost immediately.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and bright acidity, but dulled quickly.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this beer, but it did not stand out as having any significant flavor or mouthfeel. It's a good lager for a warm day and moderately priced.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
1.41/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Weak yellow color, no head, but somehow there was lace left on the glass. Aroma was lacking, had some of the blandness of rice and crap vegetable beer, mixed with the efficiency of an industrial area and boiling water (metal, hydraulic fluid).

More of the same in the taste, cooked rice and frozen veggies, the shitty kind, that is like chock full of lima beans. Extremely thin body amounting to nothing in terms of taste from a positive standpoint.

I can't think of any scenario where I would recommend this. No wait, mortal enemies.

Photo of ADR
2.23/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pale lightish yellow with a short lsting macro head of about 15 seconds of gas. No real lace generation. The smells are understated and vaquely vegetal overall, similar to Miller High Life. Flavor is thin, straight sucrose malt countered by an aggressive carbonation and a drying but lighly metallic hop. Vapor-like mouthfeel. Not a lot here, not a disagreeable aftertaste but I can't see choosing this over others in ordinary Lager category.

Photo of KrissyKat6
1.85/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

I am required to write this review. Not a fan.

Photo of rhoadsrage
2.98/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(Served in an imperial strange)

A- Pours a very pale yellow with a slight orange hint. Almost no carbonation visible in this crystal clear body and a big creamy head.

S- Very crisp clean aroma with a faint hint of fragrant rice. It also has the very faint hint of decomposing leaves that is not a pleasant smell.

T- Very light hop bitterness at the initial sip and then a unique taste of rice. It is a almost sweet rice finish but it is very light and delicate.

M- Very light watery mouthfeel with no carbonation and no astringency at all.

D-This is very unique even from other adjunct beers. It accents the rice in the beer instead of masking it. The smell kind of puts me off but the taste in surprisingly interesting. I didn't find the beer all that well rounded just unique. I didn't notice any malt and only faint hints of hops.

Photo of Brenden
3.03/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This one is a pale-medium yellow, somehow a bit bright but with a chill haze. A large enough clean white head is actually surprisingly dense, fluffy and creamy. It deposits sturdy patching well down the glass.
The smell isn't bad, it just isn't much. I'm assuming any rot/cabbage, etc., is due to bad batches; there's nothing offensive here. Sort of a leafy / woody thing is present against a nondescript sweetness. Bland would describe it, but not bad, per se.
Grains, the same nondescript sweetness, and a vinous note make up the flavor.
The feel is similarly bland, just a touch of crispness livening things up in this light-bodied brew. It's not as bad as a lot of what I've read.

Photo of SetarconeX
1.85/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Something is definately wrong with this beer. Poured it out of its can, into a glass...and the color was....I guess it's kinda gold, with an eye towards....green? This doesn't instill confidence. Figured it was one of those "mythical Japanese creature" things (Yea, I know it's brewed in L.A.). Gave it a sniff, and it smells a doctor prescribed it for a heinous infection. Took a sip. Tastes like it could give me a heinous infection. I'm not really sure this is beer. In fact, I'd be prepared to just label it a by-product of a hollywood face-lift lab. Simply a nasty, foul smelling brew.

Photo of sloejams
3.15/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No doubt about it, this is no stellar beer. But when enjoying some sushi or izakaya, it does you right. It's subtle flavors don't overwhelm the palate when eating high quality fish. It's light, refreshing and crisp. It's easy drinking, esp when on draught.

I ain't mad atcha, Kirin.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.51/5  rDev +32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden pils color with a half inch of white tight bubbles on top.

Aroma is malty and slightly sweet but no hint of hops.

Mouthfeel is smooth...could definitely use a little more bite either from hops or the carbonation.

Taste is smooth and surprisingly clean but has a slight cloying sweetness that could have been balanced with the addition of hops at the beginning of the boil...another addition at the end would have helped with the aroma as well,

Overall a clean tasting Lager without any adjuncts leaving strange aftertastes but pretty non-descript and a bit too cloying to be really refreshing on a hot summer day.
***
I'm editing my review and more importantly my rating of this brew,
Ive had several different brews tonight after starting with the Kirin.
Trying this brews I tried to go from lighter to heavier/stronger in order to get a fair appreciation of each brew knowing that each heavier or stronger/more intense brew would ruin it for the lighter ones.
Now I go back to a Kirin because that was all that I had left in the fridge.
I can still taste the sweet malts, the rich but mellow and light flavors...that this brew has to offer,
I change my ratings 'up' for the simple reason that very few 'light' or lager type brews can still hold their own or be impressive after a night of indulging in the heavier, darker side.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 1,531 ratings.