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Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,461 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,461
Reviews: 546
rAvg: 2.64
pDev: 23.11%
Wants: 9
Gots: 150 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,461 | Reviews: 546 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scottyshades
2.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had as a part of our macro tasting. This beer ended up losing in the first round, then again in the first round for the losers bracket.

A: Pours a transparent pale straw color. The head was actually better than I thought- pretty thick with decent retention.

S: Very plain and generic. The only notes I could pick up was slight honey, rice, and grain. Not too much else to say, I was not too impressed. I have found that the nose in macros can really set create a positive difference.

T: The flavor was pretty bland with an overall watery profile. The flavors are all extremely subtle and light. Slight honey again, along with some rice.

MF/D: Light in body, highly carbonated, and very difficult to drink more than one (I can see drinkability being higher in social settings though)

Notes: This did not stand up to the other beers in our bracket (Kalik Gold, Red Stripe, Stella, LaBatt's, Brooklyn Lager, Fosters, and PBR). The best way to describe the flavor, as my dad put it so eloquently, is sour dishrag (which we also found in PBR and Fosters).

Photo of JoKo
4.08/5  rDev +54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured a bright gold, slightly hazy color with lively carbonation, the head is about a centimeter.

Smell: Citrus hop aroma, pretty clean typical lager.

Taste: Dry, crisp with a nice hoppy bitterness that doesn't linger, there are some bready malt notes in the background.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, dry light bodied lager.

Drinkability: Easy drinkability, very good.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.1/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

$2.86 for the 22oz bottle, May 3, 2010 is the bottling date.

A light golden colour, it has a good 2 finger head of foam. It does look pretty average overall.

The nose is light..some sweet notes, some grain, a bit like most of the macro lagers but not as offensive.

The taste is lightly sweet with some grainy notes, and not a bad bit of bitterness especially near the finish. A decent taster.

The body is close to medium with fairly brisk carbonation.

Drinkability is pretty good with this one as it is fairly smooth and fairly refreshing. I wouldn't turn one down if offered.

Photo of jrallen34
3.12/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Whenever I'm at PH Changs this is my go to beer. Its light straw and way to fizzy. The aroma is lighte with a hint of skunk but not as bad as much macros. The taste is a little skunk as well with a bite at the end that on its own would make it undrinkable, but have some spicy chinese and this is fine to drink.

Photo of womencantsail
3.35/5  rDev +26.9%
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.

Photo of mynie
2.96/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I went to a sushi place where my only choices were Kirin Ichiban or Sapporo. Since only sissies drink water, and since my last Sapporo had an unpleasantly milky aftertaste (I don't mean the body was full, either, I mean it tasted like old milk), I opted for this.

Bomber was reasonably priced, for a restaurant. Artwork was pretty class. The pour was dark golden and reasonably heady. Much nicer looking than Sapporo (which I'm going to reference a lot, since it's the only other rice lager I've ever had). Whereas Sapporo is as light as water--or Coors--this is more along the lines of a craft all malt, shadewise.

Smells like... barley? Hmm. No, not quite. That's the kind of heavy adjunct that so overwhelms the barley that it's often mistaken for barely, especially at very cold temperatures. When it warms, all you smell is rice. And it's really not bad, kind of like a Bud Heavy only a little bit tart.

Tastes, again, not at all bad. A good degree sweeter than your average American macro--maybe even a little more sweet than Grain Belt--but it's nearly hopless and there's only the tiniest bit of generic bitterness near the backend, which doesn't do a very good job of balancing things out.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.5/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a golden orange with yellow highlights with a finger of head that left good sticky lacing on the glass.

S: I did rice aromas after the first whiff that also had various grain notes alongside slight citrus and wheat malt notes; pretty simple nose on this one.

T: the malts and rice flavors dominate the palate with citrus and grain accents. There is a slight booze character as well.

M: the brew was light in body with a good amount of prickly carbonation tha had a grainy crisp refreshing finish.

D: very drinkable beer that was really good paired with sushi and teppan grill chicken and shrimp.

Photo of Jemonster
3.47/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a stein. Thick white lasting head and pale gold, clear body.

S: Smells like an American beer to me, malt and hops. Nothing particularly interesting and worthy of note, but no funky, off-smells either.

T: A bit bolder than I thought it would be. Some decent bitterness, no real sweetness, and nothing else in particular. Simple flavors... It really does taste like beer flavored beer.

M: Light and actually pretty refreshing. Not enough acidity to be a great summer beer, but I wouldn't turn it down on a hot day either. Thin and cooling on the palate.

D: I could session this. Not a beer to drink for the sake of drinking great beer, but not the typical cheap offerings either.

Photo of flagmantho
2.98/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 24oz can into a pint glass. Apparently the Kirin Ichiban you buy in the US is brewed by Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles, at least according to this can.

Appearance: light golden-yellow hue with two fingers of somewhat rapidly dissipating white foam head. Fits well enough to the style.

Smell: very light sweet malt with a bit of grain and a touch of some kind of sour/skunk aroma. It's in a can, so it's not light-struck; it must just be that way. Ehhh.

Taste: very light, very plain. Malt is sweet and there are hints of earthy, maybe noble hops. Still, the hints of off-aroma aren't present in the flavor. It's simple and clean, if boring.

Mouthfeel: light body with a pretty decent level of carbonation. Pretty watery, but I like fizziness; so this is, surprisingly, not too bad.

Drinkability: though it is a very low-flavor beer, it's pretty light and refreshing. For me, this is filling the bill right now.

Photo of jlindros
2.98/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Photo of Mora2000
2.8/5  rDev +6.1%
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 adamette
2.26/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Live review. Poured from the 12 oz. bottle that I bought as a single from World Wines & Liquor in Mentor, Ohio last week for $1.35 into my Brewery Ommegang Witte tumbler. I had enjoyed one of these at a local Hibachi Steakhouse about 3 years ago and I thought that it went really well with my meal. I saw it last week for a reasonable price and have decided to buy it, drink it, and rate it properly. "Freshest taste within 180 days: Bottled on 06APR10" printed on the lower left side of the label. Looks like I am enjoying this one "fresh." I really, sincerely, enjoy the label which features a stylishly drawn classic appearing dragon with shiny, golden highlights. The image here on BA does not do it justice (at least the one that appears here as of my review).

A Absolutely translucent, yellow water under a brief, white "Budweiser like" head. Boring look. 2.0

S Very distant, light corn and barley. I had to sniff 4 or 5 times to get that much description. 1.0

T There is more to the taste than the smell offered but unfortunately only marginally more. More prominent is the corn and barley (vs. the smell) but the taste is brief and fleeting. Several more sips and each one provided that same experience. 2.0

M Very, very thin and very close to the water that makes up most of this beer. I realize that this is very much in step with the style but it is very boring, too close to that water. 2.0

D What it lacks in other categories it makes up for in drinkability. You could drink 5 of these in a sitting, especially if you were at a sushi bar or Hibachi grill which is the only place that I would likely order one of these. Really though, the light feel, minimal taste and low ABV lend themselves to drinkability very nicely indeed. 4.5

Notes: Looks like the label is the best that this beer has to offer!

Photo of Mjoepp
2.17/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Light golden, international lager style. White foam, creamy, medium sized bubbles.

S: Malt and bread.

T: Malt and bread. Aftertaste is a bit bitter, but disappears quickly. Letting the beer be a little warmer a sour aftertaste appears, as if the beer would be old.

O: Would be decent if it was cheap. Now that it isn't I would choose something else since the taste is nothing speical.

Photo of Bookseeb
2.24/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance is a light golden straw with a thick crisp head and surprised by the lace left behind. Smell of very light adjunct grains and hops. Taste has a light graininess leaving an undesirable bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light with a good spike of carbonation. I'll just say that I've had much better Japanese beers.

Photo of Sudsy89
2.31/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

24oz. can, poured into highball glass

This was the first "Japanese" beer I've tried, though it's brewed in California and is very similar to American macro lagers. Pours a pale straw-colored, thin. Has an average-sized foamy head that dissipates quickly, not much lacing on the glass. Taste and smell is not very pleasant, has a bitter skunkiness to it at first, and the best comparison I can make would be a cheap Budweiser or Coors, maybe a bit of rice flavor in the background. Mouthfeel is average of a lager, a bit watery. Drinkability could be OK for someone who is a fan of this style,but I'd have to pass.

Photo of Trapiste389
1.8/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The only good thing about this beer is the appearance. Pale and light with an okay head. Inhale the scent of this beer and you will unlock a light-struck mess, very Heinekenesque. the taste is astringent, quickly bitter, and unpleasant. When I drank this beer, I had bought to bring to friend's houde who only likes light, crappy beer, he loved it, I hated it. Probably one of the worst beers I have ever suffered through.

Photo of drabmuh
2.27/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Its CANtastic, sorry woody. I was at a sushi restaurant with my wife wiggle tonight and I was drinking this beer and realized that I just like beer. Its the texture maybe that I like but even when drinking a shitty macro knock off adjunct clear lager like this, I love beer. Sure I could go home and drink a 5 year old Cantillon Kriek, but would that pair well with raw fish and sticky rice? Maybe not. There is so much rice in the dinner and in the beer, they are like the yin and yang of this culture. I doubt many Japanese are pleased with this beer but who cares. I'm home now and drinking homebrewed IPA and loving it. Off to the review, as if even I care.

I had 1 pint 8 ounces of this beer served to me in a shaker pint out of a rather ornamental can (tall boy). Beer is yellow and clear with high carbonation and a head of medium and small bubbles that will eventually break leaving no lacing on the glass. This what a 6 year old that watches too much TV would draw if asked to draw "beer"...looks like beer to me.

Aroma is weak and has this biting grainy edge to it. Hmmm....

Beer is medium to light in body, actually has more body to it than I expected. Interesting. I've had a lot of cheap lagers and I can say without hyperbole that this is the bottom of the barrel. Its acrid and harsh without an aftertaste but the dry finish reveals this horrible bitterness from what I can only assume is rice and corn. Its not a drain pour kind of accident but its about there. I doubt I will venture into the Kirin world again.

Photo of rootbeerman
2.94/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: somewhat of a heavy pour into a duvel tulip produces a three finger white fluffy head. body is pale gold in color. a small amount of lacing.
S: rice and not much else, very plain maybe a bit of a dry hop earthiness
T: very light on taste, probably what cold carbonated rice tea would taste like. not really and hop flavor noticeable. overall just very light on flavor.
M: also light in the mouth, sort of watery and light carbonation was medium high.
D: poundable due to light mouthfeel and flavor.

Photo of tjsdomer2
2.98/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear yellow with flat carbonation. Flat appearance in the bottle at a sushi restaurant I visited. However, a canned version I had later showed good head retention and foam though.

Smell: Mostly rice with a bit of hops and lemon.

Taste/Mouthfeel: A bit too much like tonic water. This bottle is definitely expired, so I'm sure it can be better. Tastes like creamy rice and lemon sourness. Definitely an alcoholic bite.

Drinkability: Nothing offense or special either way. Great with sushi.

Overall: See drinkability.

Photo of kneeland
3.65/5  rDev +38.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like most Japanese beers, maybe because a lot of them don't taste like Japanese beers. I've heard Kirin is overseen by Anheuser-Busch, so that explains a lot.

It is a tasty, lightly colored lager with a malt palate and a semi-dry hop finish. I really enjoyed, and will order another one some time.

Photo of bsp77
3.41/5  rDev +29.2%
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 JohnGalt1
3.28/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle picked up at Brewforia over the weekend... ehhh... I had to tick this style at some point.

My first beer of the night.. poured into my small Grolsch goblet... 1" stark white head... very clear golden brew.

Nose is pale malts with a twist of lemon zest.. nothing really going on here..

Flavor has watery pale malts... slight spicy malts and again something that I can only describe as lemon..

Body is light... carbonation is pretty high... For the style, this is pretty much what I expect... High Praise is it is not skunky and is pretty refreshing while I water misc. flower pots around the backyard... refreshing on a hot spring night.

Will I ever buy this again, NO.... I would rather have iced tea... but really... what do you want?


Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.86/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Photo of KTCamm
2.7/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a tall pilsner glass at Go Fish in St Helena CA.

Pour is a dull clear golden yellow, see through, with little white foam. Smell is absent - bland, if that is even something one can smell. But nothing noteworthy.

Taste is very clean, almost watery, with a mild hop conclusion. Very little going on here.

Its not that this is a bad beer, but there certainly isn't anything memorable about it. Just so so.

Photo of wahhmaster
2.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a 1 pt. 8 oz. can into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a pale, translucent yellow color with lots of carbonation bubbles. Has a thin, fizzy head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing. Standard macro lager territory here.

Smell: Sweet and grainy. Once again, this is standard macro lager territory.

Taste: Slightly bitter up front. Develops into a sweet, grainy taste with a strong metallic twinge to it. I'm not impressed. Leaves an unpleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Hardly any body to speak of and way too carbonated.

Drinkability: Not the worst beer on the market but definitely nothing worth having often. It goes down easy and isn't THAT offensive in taste. Pretty standard macro lager, in my opinion.

Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 1,461 ratings.