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Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Educational use only; do not reuse.

555 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 555
Hads: 1,609
Avg: 2.63
pDev: 39.16%
Wants: 10
Gots: 250 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited visit their website

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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 555 | Hads: 1,609
Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours an extremely clear light yellow with a 2 inch off-white head that fades to a small cap. Random patterns of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smells of sweet grain and maybe some subtle hop aromas. Taste is of sweet grain and a grape-like light fruit flavor. This beer has low carbonation and is slightly thick in the mouth. Overall, this is a pretty poor beer with a bad mouthfeel. I wouldn't get this one again.

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Photo of kylehay2004
2.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: half finger head with decent lacing on a clear bright golden body.

S: maybe some musty hops with a lot of wet grain and some plae malts.

T: some wet sock musty hops, grains and pale malts. There aren't any off putting flavors but I don't think this is a pale ale.

M: light body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: well it isn't terrible, very simple and therefore drinkable.

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Photo of metter98
2.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer is clear yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin white head that quickly faded away, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of grainy malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of cracker and grainy malts along with a light amount of bitterness, the latter of which lingers through the finish.
M: It feels light-bodied and a bit watery on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish has some dryness.
O: This beer is rather malty for a light-bodied beer but there’s nothing interesting about the taste.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
2.85/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

somehow i think this is better than many other asian beers on offer at sushi places. i had 3 of these with an outstanding dinner at nobu in las vegas. pours a light golden color with a thin white head, lots of bubbles, but very very thin. smells light malty and crisp, which it is in the flavor too. a little bready, but balanced off by some generic hopping. feel is average too, extremely light body with medium to bright carbonation. quite drinkable and palate cleansing between fish courses. overall this is far from a great beer, but when lined up with many of its asian counterparts, it is one of the most tolerable in my opinion.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pale yellow with a small white head that dissipates quickly without any lacing. The aroma is a little bit of grainy sweetness and almost no hop presence. The taste is grainy and mildly sweet. Mouthfeel is light with quite a bit of carbonation. Drinkability is okay in that it goes down easy, but nothing to really bring me back to it.

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Photo of brentk56
2.31/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a clear pale golden color with a modest head that hangs around as a foamy landmass but leaves no lacing

Smell: Awful vegetal aroma

Taste: Starts out insipid and goes downhill from there with a very odd, slightly sweet, vegetal flavor that has lots of grain husks to it as well

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and fizzy

Drinkability: None

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Photo of Knapp85
2.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was one of the first Japanese brews I had. Although this doesn't really differ from any traditional lager that's made anywhere else in the world, this beer had a big rice backbone to it. The aftertaste is all rice. The beer is yellow in color and doesn't have much lacing or head. It looks pretty much just like a miller lite. This isn't much to brag about here.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I think my fellow BAers are way to kind with this one. I think it's horrible beer; expecially since they try to pass it off as if it were a quality brew. Looks promising in the off set with a strong straw color and fluffy retention, but the aromas tell the tale. Smells quite grainy with the malts, light on the hops and with little character. Tastes of cereal grains everywhere with a modest barley malt flavor. All flavors are fleeting leaving a grain and husk flavor and texture. Aftertaste is similar to American Lite beers. In fact, this whole beer resembled American Lagers, but with twice the price. Not worth it.

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Photo of largadeer
2/5  rDev -24%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz bomber depicting a mythical horse/dragon creature on the label - nice packaging, but it's downhill from there. The body is clear yellow with a short-lived fizzy head. The smell and taste are dominated by a thin and one-dimensional sweetness, a bit cloying. Not much of a hop presence, just a brief bitterness in the finish. Thin-bodied with large bubbles that make for a slightly harsh carbonation. Not a particularly impressive lager - best avoided unless you're desperate for a beer.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.03/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

650ml bottle, at a Japanese sushi joint in downtown Toronto. It's the only kind of place where I find it hard to resist a bottle of Japanese lager.

This beer pours a crystal clear, pale golden straw colour, with three fingers of puffy, thinly foamy, and yet mildly creamy bone-white head, which leaves some chunky elongated lace around the tall Sapporo (branding fail!) glass as it readily recedes.

It smells of semi-sweet, grainy white rice, a weird vegetal corn sourness, acetone, stale lemon, and weedy, mildly grassy hops. The taste is more glutenous white rice grain, yeasty corn mash, a faint white breadiness, somewhat acrid citrus pith, wet straw, and floral, dead grassy hops.

The carbonation is on the low side, but still quite frothy, the body a rather light medium weight, generally smooth, and just a tad cloying. It finishes actually pretty clean, with a cheaply innocuous blend of grains, and a suggestion of sucking on a plastic fork.

As usual, hardly something worthy of seeking out on its own, but given a place next to its country of origin's food (especially if it's of the spicy sort), these kinds of lagers seem to work - here, it was a decent enough serving for one when used for washing down some chili tuna maki rolls and beef tataki.

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Photo of emerge077
2.85/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Draft pour in tall pilsner glass.

Pale clear yellow, looks like so many other pale lagers. Smell is grain, apparently rice. Small amount of foam appeared.

Taste is pretty nondescript, it was hard to pinpoint rice from corn, but that seemed to be the only flavor. Very clean & dry aftertaste, not much of anything really. Crisp, prickly mouthfeel, lots of fizzy carbonation. It was easy to drink a pint with Chinese food, but it was definitely not memorable.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.01/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Clear pale amber with almost no visible carbonation. The off-white head is frothy, but not airy, falls unevenly and leaves very little glass garnish. Skunk assaulted me immediately after the cap was removed, but is much less evident now that the beer has had a chance to breathe (like a fine Burgundy?). The nose is sweet and grain-like with a modest amount of hops. Not horrible, not good.

Light body, light flavor. Noble hops and grain, sharply bitter from the former and barely sweet from not enough of the latter. I'm not sure what the rice contributes, but since plenty of American macros use rice (and taste like bilge water) it can't add much that's desirable.

Really, this beer is pretty indistinguishable from hundreds, maybe thousands, of other adjunct lagers, whether they use corn, rice or some other non-barley substance. The body/mouthfeel is thin and watery, slipping away into nothingness along with the flavor. Here one minute, gone the next.

Kirin Ichiban proves that an adjunct lager is an adjunct lager is an adjunct lager, ad infinitum. It really doesn't matter what the nation of origin is or what particular adjunct is used, almost none of them are worth a damn.

(I took one last look at the label before tossing the bottle and saw "brewed under the strict supervision of Kirin's brewmaster by Anheuser-Busch Inc." That explains a lot).

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Photo of zeff80
2.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured out a clear, fizzy golden-yellow color with a white, very fizzy (soda-like) two-finger head. It actually left a little lace.

S - It smelled of grains and rice. There were faint hints of caramel malt.

T - It taste of some spices, caramel and rice. Not great but not offensive.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a dry finish. A light bodied beer.

D - This isn't a great tasting lager but it still quite drinkable for the style. That being said, I wouldn't run out and buy a case.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.03/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dull pale golden yellwo with a big white head, lots of carbonation. No real smell, slightly grainey and bland would be st describe it. The taste followed suit, nothing really to write home baout. It went well with the dinner, but I would definatly not seek this one out on a regular basis, just nothing real special about it at all.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.35/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a light golden straw color with a voluminous white head that settles down to a thin layer.

S: The nose is sweet and lightly grainy with notes of rice in the background that become more prominent as the beer sits in the glass for awhile. Pretty standard and unoffensive.

T: A similar story with the flavor. Plenty of sweetness with a definite adjunct taste, but it's a fairly mild and crisp beer, not like the adjunct lagers of this country.

M: Light in body with a lively level of carbonation.

D: For what this beer is and the meal I had it with, it worked quite well. I don't really think I'll be sitting down with a sixer of Kirin Ichiban all the time, but it's a nice light beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.86/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle - $1.29 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. Bottled on March 2, 2010.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dandelion-hued body with a billowing, white head with some staying power.

Smell: Simple, rudimentary nose of lightly sweet-scented barley, sun-dried grain husks, and a modestly spicy, grassy hops.

Taste: Faint maltiness with a light cereal sweetness and a pervasive, disagreeable husk accent. Noble hop character with a light spiciness and balancing bitterness. Crisp, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation. Mouthfeel is a tad watery.

Drinkability: Unremarkable, unmemorable lager, though, it does serve to provide a modicum of refreshment. Still, it's not particularly pleasant and one I don't see myself revisiting, even at the local sushi joint, as I tend to stick to the sake. It did look nice, but if that was enough, then I could skip the beer store and just cruise Google Image.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.46/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was really hoping for more from this beer that advertises its "special single-press process" - whatever that is!
It pours a crystal clear golden body topped by a full and foamy bright white head that holds very well before dropping to a razor thin surface covering. It leaves next to no lace about the glass. The carbonation is quite fine, leaving thin steady streams of tiny bubbles rising steadily to the surface. Very nice appearance! The nose is limited to a "generic" beer aroma with some lightly grainy malt; low-level, undiscernable hops; some lager-fermentation sulphur; and a thin thread of alcohol. The body is light/medium with a gentle carbonation that's crisp in the mouth. The flavor delivers a clean and straight-forward grainy malt that's delicately touched by hop flavor but backed by a firm bitterness. A mild note of apple or dried golden fruit (pear, perhaps?) adds a hint of character to it. It finishes short and dry with a light note of residual malt and sublime hop bitteress. Refreshing!

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Photo of Kegatron
2.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

24 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear yellow gold with 2 fingers of foamy brite-white head that peters down into a thin looking fizzy retention. Leaves some moderate lacing behind. The aroma is barely there with just a hint of light malt sweetness and hops.

The taste is once again a light sensation of malt and hops that just hangs on the tongue for a slip second before disappearing. The mouthfeel is light and watery with a fizzy carbonation.

Not too much I can say about this. I didn't expect much and didn't get much in return. I paired this up with some take-out sushi and it did little more than wet my whistle. Same thing I could have gotten from a glass of water. Still, its' pretty cheap for a 24 oz can, which probably bumps up the drinkibility a 1/2 notch.

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Photo of jlindros
2.98/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a light fuzzy head that disappears almost instantly with crystal clear golden wheat yellow color.

N: Not much of a nose but light lager malts, macro style extracts, light pilsener aromas, little lager yeast with touh of fruit and crispness.

T: Lighter pilsener with light malts, little toasty, crisp lager, little macro extract, slightly sweet, and little skunky flavor.

M: Lighter body with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes a little bleh with a lingering skunk flavor, little sticky sweetness light lager. Better than most beers of the style but not great.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light yellow color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains lager yeast, light malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a mild malt sweetness which transitions into some breadiness from the light malts and lager yeast. The hops presence is mild and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, light-to-medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Not very flavorful, goes down easily and not too filling since there isn't much to it, mild kick, decent representation of style, it's better than I had expected but there are several other beers in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
2.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light golden color with a pretty large head... not much lacing to be seen here. Faint skunky beer aroma to it. Taste is medium bodied, pretty surprised as I was definitely expecting this to be lighter than ever. But even though it has nice consistency to it, the mouthfeel and taste are non existent. You can swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds and all you taste is a slight tinge of hops, rest of it just a watery mass. Just import swill right here, wouldn't recommend.

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Photo of Slatetank
2.85/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured cold into a Vienna lage mug.
A - The color is pure gold w/ a quickly settling 1 finger white head.

S - Gentle malt scents w/ the crispness of rice.

M - Malty, light fruitiness in the feel w/ moderate carbonation and a clean finish.

T - A very gentle taste of malt w/ a grainy rice flavor not unlike many macro produced lagers. This one seems a tinge maltier, but hasn't much more to offer.

D - A very clean, easy drinkin' sessionable lager that is crisp and refreshing. I could have one as a lawnmower beer - it goes well with just about any pre-packaged food incl. mac & cheese.

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Photo of Jason
1.73/5  rDev -34.2%
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

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Photo of kojevergas
1.9/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into glass. Reviewed from notes.

A: Clear yellow, thin head with fair retention. This is pathetic.

Sm: One note of clear barley. Very meh.

T: Holy malt, batman! No real open, no real finish. A bit like Finnegan's Wake, without any literary genius. (Okay, that metaphor sucked.)

Mf: Too smooth, too wet. A classic flaw.

Dr: Never again - by choice. Is this what they forcefed to the Chinese during the WWII medical experiments? Given the choice, a vivisection might be preferable. It should be said that it's probably better than a lot of American macros, and it's relatively cheap.

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Photo of Rifugium
1.23/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

First had: bottle at Birdland Jazz Club, NYC, NY

For some reason, I thought this was not too bad for a pale lager/pils type beer. But I'd probably never get it again unless I had no choice.

Pours a thin golden yellow color with a fizzy white head that all but dissipates. Mulched grass aroma, and a slight sensation of hops detectable. Overall skunked, but crisp to the point where it doesn't leave an unbearable aftertaste. Grass and stale grains. Light, thin body and not much flavor. There are good light / pale beers out there, but this isn't one of them.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 555 ratings.