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Kirin Ichiban | Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

581 Reviews
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Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Brewed by:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Japan | website

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Kirin Ichiban is one of the world's most unique premium beers. The Ichiban shibori process uses only the most flavorful portion of the finest ingredients.

100% Malt.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2001

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Reviews: 581 | Ratings: 1,716
Photo of jrsqc7
2.88/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Meh. I had high hopes for this initially but once I realized what it was I can appreciate it for what it is. It's light and frothy with some genuine malt lingering on.

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Photo of DoubleMalt
3.17/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

You just never know....thought I was trying a beer brewed in Japan.
On the bottle though, it says: Brewed under Kirin's supervision by Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles or Williamsburg, VA"

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Photo of matuto
2.74/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

355 ml bottle, exp. 08/2016, brewed in Brazil. I poured it in a pilsner glass. Yellow and clear liquid with tons of carbonation, with a bubbling white foam that leaves some laces. Nice aroma of fresh hops, despite not very strong. Some skunk off notes showed up after a while. Flavor is disappointing, no interesting notes whatsoever. A plain white sugar note may be felt in the last sips. Mouth feel is overwhelmed with carbonation. It has moderate bitterness, which at first is all that stays on mouth, giving a not well balanced result. Light to watery body. I will put more effort in not getting another of this for a longer period of time, as it ain't that cheap in my area.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.32/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright pale straw color with lots of pearly activity. Foamy white 2 finger head, lasting around 5 minutes, with fiant lacing. Flavors of corn, sweet grains, rice, lemon, red liquorice. Good sharpness with lots of sugars, not too syrupy and doesn't feel too adjunct. Slick and smooth medium body with prickly and crispy carbonation. Light finish, slightly dry rice feel, lingering roasted malts, and slightly skunky. Very crispy and the malt is of good quality. Accessible and refreshing in a hot summer day. Decent flavors, well intensified, and balanced. Overall good quality craft.

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Photo of Beginner2
2.65/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

This is on the "1001" list along with 22 other beers from Japan... it is not like the editors were desperate for diversity.
Also reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

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Photo of Squire123
2.34/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

The rising Sun also sets.

I've had this one just enough to form an opinion, which is either I'm missing the subtlety or there really isn't much there. Light colored, light flavored food beer that tries hard not to give offense and doesn't.

Worth trying.

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Photo of SurferEric
4.48/5  rDev +69.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This review is not intended to be compared to any craft beer of the style, it is intended to compare with AALs that flood the market. Kirin and Pabst are my go to's as far as cheap beer goes that I like to enjoy after a few truly good beers once taste isn't my number 1 priority and I'll admit it helps that i can get a case of bottles for $14.

Plus, considering its brewed by Anheuser, it kicks the shit out of Bud.

Cheers to the beers that keep you from going broke!

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Photo of bwood06
3.09/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

A - Moderately heavy pour produces a head that is 1 finger high and is white in color. The head is a light froth and dissipates rather slowly to an ultra thin lacing. The beer itself is clear and a bright light golden hue that seems to glow. Carbonation appears to be moderate in nature with bubbles rising moderately paced towards the surface. 4/5

S - The beer gives off a major grassy hop profile from a distance but then as the nose comes closer to the beer the sweetness of the beer settles in with notes of sweet corn, light cereal malt, and a very light caramel. Very clean and light smelling. 3/5

T - The first 2/3 of the tasting profile is rather sweet. Sweet corn, light cereal malt, and a bit of caramel provide a rather heavy does of sweetness, although it is not overpowering by any means. A bit of buttered biscuit comes out as the beer warms. Grassy hops show up on the very back end of the flavor but really do not provide much flavor, this is more of an undertone. Little to no bitterness and certainly no lingering bitterness. 3/5

M - Light bodied and crisp with a bit of smooth creaminess at times. Very light carbonation tickle up front. Slight drying on the back end which lingers slightly after swallowing. 3.25/5

O - Not near as bad of a beer as I would have expected based on the scores here on BA. Goes to show you that no matter how bad the reviews and scores, you might as well try it anyway so you know for sure. Good beer to pair with food, especially sushi. Unbalanced with a heavy lean towards sweet but still nice and light even with this sweetness. 3/5

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Photo of rarigney
2.41/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried this beer many years ago on a visit to Tokyo, so my review is solely from memory. I was not at all impressed. An average to poor representation of the style.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
1.7/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

Straw yellow, white head 3/4", vanishes quickly. Aroma was that muted corn and rice sweetness.

Taste was as the nose went, not hoppy, not barley, just some cutter ingredients. Lots of carbonation and a thin body.

I dunno if I've had this since Oct. 2010, furthermore, "all malt" means . . . it could still be less than 100% barley, thats for sure.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
2.57/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Color: light yellow, clear, white, good-sized head.
Quite pleasant aroma, crisp floral notes and delicately fruity.
The taste is far worse, a lot of soap, light malt.
The loading medium toward high. high watery.

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Photo of EMH73
2.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Quite an unremarkable beer, but it does go well with sushi. Most Japanese restaurants I have been to have very poor beer selections so this tends to be my go to beer with sushi.

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Photo of Tele
3.08/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Serving Type: Can (Dated 10.20.15)
Consumed: 1.19.16

A: 4.25 Pours a clear, yellow-gold with an airy, off-white head. Carbonation looks nice, but not much in the way of head retention or lacing.

S: 3 Starts off quite sweet, smelling of corn, grain, and candy with very mild hops in the background. As the beer warms, some fresh baked bread comes through making the aroma slightly pleasant.

T: 2.75 Starts off sweet and gradually fades into nothingness. Some mild grain and corn from the nose, but really lacks flavor. The finish has a slight, grassy bitterness.

M: 4 Definitely an easy-drinking beer with nice carbonation. The finish is kind of sticky feeling, not making the next sip very desirable.

O: 3 Definitely not the worst larger out there, but pretty flavorless and what flavors/aromas that are present are not that great and reminiscent of most AALs.

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Photo of msmith13773
1.48/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This stuff is really awful. I drink it on occasion when I am in Japan, and I buy it once in awhile at the Japanese market in San Jose when it's really cheap, but it's really nothing more than a back-up beer when I am out of anything drinkable and don't feel like going out to buy more.

Really a bad beer amongst other bad beers in Japan. They don't have micro brews there; only macro brews, so they drink what's available.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.09/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Number one? From the bottle, it poured golden into the glass with a small head. Not much to the nose, and very mild in flavor to me, with a slight aftertaste. Went well with the sushi.

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Photo of Gregaroo
3.21/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

11/27/15 - Large bottle poured into pint glass at Wokano Sushi in Los Angeles. Went very well with our sushi and rolls the day after Thanksgiving. A fine lager for a sushi meal, but doubt I'd have this one without.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.23/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a signature Kirin pint glass from a 22oz bomber.

Appearance: Gold color with heavy bubbles on the body, creates a thin head maybe rising half a finger's length upon initial pour and settles very quick before the first sip.

Smell: Average hop scent, little sour citrus lift floral feel. Super light and nothing that will catch your attention.

Taste: Smooth malts and feels a bit like white rice type of taste.

Mouth: Medium to heavy carbonation, little dry and feels a touch bready.

Overall: not a bad brew at all, personally I think the bomber costed 3 bucks and is very well deserved. In the end all you need is a glass and a few bucks, you'll thank me later...Salud!

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Photo of staubot
2.99/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pale Yellow, fair bit of carbonation, small head is gone before you drink it.
Has a boozy sweetness but flavor is very subdued
Bit too much carbination but otherwise goes down well with a bit of an aftertase

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Photo of stcules
2.34/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Clean yeallow, a decent off-white foam.
So and so smell. Macro lager, a bit of metallic, and, anyway, quite banal-
A bit worse in the mouth. Nothing interesting.
Standard macro lager.

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Photo of drmeto
2.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Bought in Poland
Contract brewed at Weihenstephan, if the label is to be believed

-pours a clear golden with a medium,foamy,white head
-medium carbonation visible
-grainy,sulfur,honey,spicy,slight skunk
-no bitterniss whatsoever
-medium carbonation
-light body
Typical "Premium" Lager.

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Photo of Ale_Dog
3.21/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this with spicy Chinese food and was thankful for the smooth,
sweet taste. Reduced the heat immediately. Was quite surprised by this beer. Thought it would taste like Bud but was way better. Could tell there was no rice or corn which gives it an actual backbone. The criticism that there is minimal hop flavor is true. It's not a very "flavorful" beer overall, but subtle is not a bad thing sometimes. I go with the notion that there is a time and a place for almost every beer.

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Photo of Kevin_Langford
1.55/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

I tried this beer while my wife and I went out for sushi. I hadn't tried it and lately I've been trying more and more beers that I've always assumed aren't my preference without trying them. So, needless to say, I got one. This beer was the Japanese equivalent of a Bud Light or Natural Light. It was a light, golden color with a lot of carbonation. The foam head quickly disappeared after pouring into a glass. The smell left a lot to be desired, as did the taste. It didn't have a strong flavor to me, and the aftertaste was a little bitter in my opinion. I probably won't get this one again.

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Photo of hophead723
3.89/5  rDev +47.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Consistent clear straw gold color with a fluffy white head. Lots of carbonation rushes to the top, fueling the head and providing excellent crispness.

Smell: The aroma is simple malted grain and a touch of corn. This is an all malt beer so you don't get that added complexity to the aroma but it is doughy and delightful nonetheless.

Taste: The taste is subtle, mildly sweet, and grainy overall but with doughy notes in the lingering finish. The aroma and taste go hand in hand.

Feel: This is superbly crisp and drinkable with a mildly dry finish, excellent with sushi of course.

Overall: Its either this or Sapporo that is brewed by a macro brewery like Coors or something but I don't care with this beer; it is enjoyable and I love all good craft beers and IPAs out there. I am surprised by the reviews on here by the bros, too low it seems to me.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.26/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Served at a ramen restaurant on Ramen Street at Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan on the first night we arrived. I was given a can and proper glassware to drink out of.

Poured a light yellow body, one finger white head that fit the glass perfectly, lots of lacing. Good retention. It's as if the glass was designed for the beer. Smells of a mild skunkiness, light bready grain, mild noble hop, crackers. It's not complicated, but about what I expected from a macro lager. Flavour is similar; less skunky, nice grainy breadiness, a bit of earthy noble hops, biscuit, cracker. It's drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium-thinner bodied, good carbonation, refreshing when cold. Overall, as expected for a macro lager. It drinks great with hot ramen, I'll tell you that much.

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Photo of mmmbeer89
2.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

it's not the greatest taste but it's pretty smooth. i paid $3.29 for a bomber and thats probably too much to pay for this beer but i have no complaints.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 581 ratings.