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Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,295 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,295
Reviews: 525
rAvg: 2.63
pDev: 23.19%
Wants: 9
Gots: 68 | 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:
Confirmed that this beer is "all malt" as of Oct. 2010.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,295 | Reviews: 525 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of madvoice


2.33/5  rDev -11.4%

I was hoping that this beer was going to be something akin to Asahi in taste but it fell dismally short. It poured a light amber colour with a finger width of head that almost disappeared instantaneously. It strongly smelled of hops and not much else. Tastes very ricey and it is very fizzy. Mouthfeel is a little light and it is really watery. I wasn't so impressed with this as I was with Asahi beer. I don't think I'll be actively seeking this one out again.

11-27-2007 13:26:49 | More by madvoice
Photo of semihobo


3.95/5  rDev +50.2%

24 oz can of this to kick off the weekend (and when the weekend starts on Wednesday night life is good). Purchased at Trader Joe's. 21JULY07 stamped on the bottom, an arrow points to it with a very small note that says "FRESHEST TASTE WITHIN 180 DAYS - PACKAGED ON" ... I guess I'm still well within my window. Nice to include that.

Pours with an aggressive head that is composed of enormous, anything-but-fine bubbles. Implodes quickly, leaving an uneven mess before disappearing, but the initial burst is solid for the style. Lots of bubbles clinging to the sides and bottom of the glass. Color is a light amber. NOTE: I thought I heard something so I stuck my ear in the glass. Sure enough, this fella is crackling.

Smell is a fair amount of grass hops with a touch of pine, mixed with adjuncts and a small but perceptible amber malt base. Given that this is a rice lager and I'm reviewing within the style, it is pretty nuanced.

Taste is ricey, lagery, right on the money. Hops are reminiscent of a euro lager with that "skunky" smell but they are not offensive here. As it comes from a can, there has been no light damage. Very dry and crisp finish. Minimalist. I've had a lot of macro lagers in my day, and this is about as good an adjunct profile as I've ever tasted (what a backhanded complement).

Mouthfeel is very light bodied, works well with with the intense carbonation and dry finish and is crisp in the way that a dry sparkling wine might be.

Drinkability? Well, the taste is not huge, but it has a pleasant rice flavor and a definite hop presence. Price wasn't even that bad and I get a kick out of cans. The only thing damaging the drinkability is the intense carbonation... if you tried to session Kirin Ichiban you would probably toss your cookies after three tallboy cans, when that "omg so many bubbles in my stomach and not much flavor or body or anything else" feeling hits. A perfectly good example of the style, which is what it is being graded against.

Edit: didn't even notice that this is brewed by AB, well good for them that they brewed this, stop the prejudice...although I will try to sample some authentic Japanese competition.

11-22-2007 02:37:12 | More by semihobo
Photo of billybob


1.85/5  rDev -29.7%

pours a clear straw color with a white head that fades quickly to just beer. smell of spoiled veggies . taste the same thats all i wish to say about that. mouthfeel is light, carbonation is ok. way over priced for a maco brewed beer and not a very good one at that definitely will not buy again.

11-18-2007 22:28:13 | More by billybob
Photo of Overlord


1.95/5  rDev -25.9%

This is even worse than Sapporo.

Completely a macro lager, but strangely tasteless. Pours with a pale yellow appearance, startling lack of head. A skunky smell is the only aroma. Thin, watery, just plain bad.

Suitable perhaps for sake bombing, just to get into the spirit of things, but pretty awful.

11-17-2007 01:14:15 | More by Overlord
Photo of nesta


2.15/5  rDev -18.3%

allow me to preface this review by stating that i have only tried japanese beers twice before, both times with one of the large, oddly shaped cans of sapporo draft. an acquaintance with a taste for light, crisp general macro-style beers had spent some time in japan studying aikido and teaching english. he said sapporo was alright, but that asahi was better. i dont remember if he expressed an opinion on this, but as it appears to be the most common japanese beer other than sapporo that is carried by stores in my area, it was my decision to try this today when i decided to give japanese beer another shot.

let it also be known that while i love the finer beers of the world (many belgian, german, english, and american craft brews as well as homebrews my father and i have made) my budget will not allow me to drink strictly craft beers, and as of late i have found some cheap beers and even malt liquor that i can actually enjoy drinking. so long as its not undrinkable and the price fits the quality, i will enjoy a beer.

as for this, however, i am sad to say the price is far higher than justified by the quality. clearly the bulk of the price is due to the fact that this beer comes to me from the complete opposite side of the globe. i paid over 7 dollars for a sixpack of this, and i could have gotten a 6pack of strohs for five bucks and i think stroh's is higher quality as well as being more affordable.

on to the actual review....

i poured it from a chilled 12oz bottle into a glass mug. the appearance is virtually identical to most american macro brews...light golden color, completely transparent and only hinting at visual carbonation. with the pour it developed about 1" of head, which very quickly disappeared.

the smell was pretty average compared to macrobrews.
the taste is unimpressive, similar to many american macros, but with a distinctive tangy, off flavor. i'd say its most similar to budweiser. very light bodied and not malty, fruity, or hoppy at all. not an entirely unpleasant flavor, but not impressive by any means.

in the mouth it is a bit more viscous than i'd imagine, and leaves my mouth feeling a bit sticky...also find it to be far more carbonated that its appearance would lead me to believe.

i could drink a couple of these, but i will not purchase this beer again as the price is unreasonably high. there are beers that surpass this in quality from the US and canada that are still less expensive.

while my second japanese beer was as unimpressive as my experiences with sapporo draft, i am not completely closed to the idea that there are good japanese beers out there. looking on this site i notice both sapporo and kirin make a wide range of beers of various styles, and some of the beers are given pretty respectable ratings by other beer lovers.

but as i dont anticipate any of the good ones being locally available in the foreseeable future, i am not likely to drink japanese beer again for a long while after this sixpack is gone. in fact i may actually go get more beer today so i have something to drink other than cheap-tasting expensive beer.

if you're like me and can only get kirin ichiban and sapporo draft, and occasionally asahi in your area but want to try a nice japanese drink, i'd recommend going for a good quality sake or even some simple japanese teas (matcha is wonderful!) rather than the beers that are more commonly imported to the US. perhaps people on the west coast can get the good beers?

11-15-2007 18:43:24 | More by nesta
Photo of Kulrak


3.13/5  rDev +19%

Pours a pale golden color with a decent amount of fluffy white head that fades away leaving a thin layer on top. Smells faintly of hops and a little of yeast. No malty aroma there. The taste is fairly clean, some nondescript sweetness. There's also some hop bitterness there as well, but it's hard to make out any real hop flavor. The mouthfeel is a little tingly, but mostly watery. Overall, it's very drinkable, only because there's not much to object to. Pretty standard asian macro beer.

11-13-2007 10:04:31 | More by Kulrak
Photo of jwc215


2.1/5  rDev -20.2%

Pours straw yellow with a thick white head with an impressive retention.

The smell is of grain and husk. Something akin to cooked veggies mixes in.

The taste is of sweet grain and a growing husk flavor - more like an American macro than a Japanese rice beer. Hops are overwhelmed with adjuncts and bland malt. It's not very clean.

This says "full-bodied"... Are they kidding? It has something of a body I suppose, but fits into the "light and fizzy" category pretty well.

Whatever...It's a macro-like beer that is hurt by an unusual astringency. Why bother with this one...

11-10-2007 17:40:10 | More by jwc215
Photo of StoutyMcHaggis


2.7/5  rDev +2.7%

A-Looks like a commercial lager, maybe a little hazy.

S-Smells like it was imported, skunky, with a faint smell of hops.

T-I think this tastes a little better than most commercial lagers and some European imported lagers.

M-Good, foams a lot(more than usual.

D-The funky flavors(probably due to importing) would get old fairly quick.

I'm glad I tried it, definitely not the best Japanese beer I've had, but pretty decent.

11-08-2007 02:42:42 | More by StoutyMcHaggis
Photo of sleazo

New York

2.45/5  rDev -6.8%

I had a bottle of this at a good sushi joint tonight.

A-Pours a clear straw with a two fingered head. Lacing is surprisingly good.

S-A raw grainish aroma with some hints of skunk and grassy hops.

T-More of that raw grain. There are hints of hops, but it is very subtle. There is a slight skunkiness as well.

M-Typical light bodied lager with an agressive carbonation.

D-Not particularly offensive or notable in any way. Typical mass produced lager with a certain industrial feel. I sometimes have this when I am not in the mood for sake. To be honest anything with too aggressive of a flavour profile would get in the way of the delicate raw fish.

11-04-2007 01:24:02 | More by sleazo
Photo of sloejams


3.15/5  rDev +19.8%

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.

10-29-2007 00:22:15 | More by sloejams
Photo of JamesS


2.58/5  rDev -1.9%

Pours out a pale golden color, with a little head, no lacing, and a fair amount of carbonation. No real scent to speak of, just a general malty scent, but rather bland. Same for the taste, it's quite bland and nothing really speaks out. It goes down fine, and this could possibly be a thirst quencher on a hot day, but water would work just as well without the expectations. Worth a try if you want a Japanese beer, but that's about it.

10-26-2007 00:37:33 | More by JamesS
Photo of GrimmReaper

British Columbia (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev +34.2%

Pours a nice golden hazy yellow with good size white bubbly head and decent retention and some very nice sticky lacing.
The nose is skunk right off the pour,which sticks around and lingers lightly the whole time your drinking this brew.Some mild grass and maybe grains or rice kinda smell in there also.Taste is crisp and refreshing with the mild grass coming thru,goes down nice and easy with some mild bitterness and has a mild carb feel to it.Kinda thin on the way down but very high on the consumable list.Not a bad beer at all.

10-23-2007 04:05:58 | More by GrimmReaper
Photo of malibujohnny


2.15/5  rDev -18.3%

served in a bottle at Buddha Sushi in the USVI. Pours like a common macro from the states.Has a big brew smell,nothing that stands out.Carbonation is good for this brew.Minor malt detection with the hint of hops and way too much rice flare.I'm sure this is a very common beer in Japan as Bud,Miller and Coors are here.This is nothing special at all and has no home in my fridge.

10-22-2007 04:28:06 | More by malibujohnny
Photo of goochpunch


2.93/5  rDev +11.4%

Pours out a golden straw without much carbonation in the body. Head is thin, but leaves specks of lace. Nose is really faint and clean. Hints of cooked rice. Malt is weak in the flavor, but has a very VERY clean overall flavor profile. Nice subdued sweetness and a finish that is dry. Slight bitterness in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is really light and fizzy. This is refreshing, I'll give it that, but, even for a beer made with rice adjuncts, this is kind of lacking. Not bad, really. I'd take this over a Pabst.

10-13-2007 05:00:38 | More by goochpunch
Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy


2.03/5  rDev -22.8%

Appearance- Pours a distinct yellow color with no head and very little carbonation.

Smell- Hints of malted rice, very weak smell.

Taste- Weak malt flavor and rice water mark the flavor of this beer.

Mouthfeel- Watery on the palate, very indistinct.

Drinkability- Basically the japanese version of BMC, not recomended.

10-05-2007 03:15:05 | More by Bowdoinbeerboy
Photo of Amalak

New York

2.9/5  rDev +10.3%

A: Light gold, but bright. Nice, bubbly head.

S: Citrusy.

T: Very nice, tangy, kind of wheat beer. While it is tangy, it is a flattened tangy if that makes any sense.

M: After taste isn't that good. Drys out real fast.

D: Honestly, I liked the original taste, but it dried out really fast and lost its original tangy flavor.

This beer started out good, but lost it. I really think that this could've been an excellent beer, but lost it late.

10-03-2007 02:40:11 | More by Amalak
Photo of jasonjlewis


3.15/5  rDev +19.8%

Very light tasting beer with an adjunct flavor. Tastes like a cheap macro, not super bad, but not good. Has a decent appearance, an adjunct filled smell. Taste suffers slightly from a little bit of out of control tannins, but the flavor is just light shit with adjuncts to appeal to the masses. Take a pass on this beer, there are better beers out there by far.

09-16-2007 06:35:59 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of Slatetank


2.83/5  rDev +7.6%

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.

09-12-2007 22:34:11 | More by Slatetank
Photo of Floydster


2.93/5  rDev +11.4%

12 ounce can from Trader Joe's in Manhattan Beach

Poured yellow into my pint glass with a large thick head surprisingly, must have been all the rice

Smell is not bad and taste is average, but pretty good for the style of beer

Taste does not last long, not too heavy and not light either

Not a bad Japanese beer

09-12-2007 17:18:42 | More by Floydster
Photo of franksnbeans


2.6/5  rDev -1.1%

Pours a yellow straw with a soapy foam head that laces. Smells of faint warm sake and grain. Tastes of watery malt and not much else. A little bite that reminds me of hops. Light in the mouth and drinkable for colored water. To be honest, its not that bad it just doesnt boast craft beer flavor. It does compliment my sushi very well being that its refreshing and renews the palate for picking out the subtle delicious flavors of the nigiri at hand.

09-01-2007 03:00:05 | More by franksnbeans
Photo of genog


2.98/5  rDev +13.3%

Brought to me in a pilsener glass with a white head that died down to leave lacing around the top of the glass. Smell has some sweetness, and smells a little bit of rice and grains. At first I did not taste much but then I tasted some hoppiness with a bittering mouthfeel that follows. Highly carbonated and tastes watery.

08-31-2007 02:23:35 | More by genog
Photo of pojo41


2.85/5  rDev +8.4%

Pale straw color with a fluffy white head. Highly carbonated. Slight malt flavor with no real hop character. Bland aroma of straw. Just another run-of-the-mill pale lager. Might be OK after a day working in the yard or as a session beer while grilling.
Described as "rice lager." That's really all you need to know.

08-25-2007 04:26:02 | More by pojo41
Photo of biggmike


2.45/5  rDev -6.8%

Poured pale yellow with white head that dissipated quickly. Typical pale lager smell, mostly benign, nothing notable. Mouthfeel was thin and watery while carbonation was very noticeable and high. Taste was bland with no real hops character. Not much different than a typical macro and just found out this is brewed by Anheuser-Busch

08-03-2007 19:21:21 | More by biggmike
Photo of quikfish13


1.35/5  rDev -48.7%

My very first Japanese beer. So I shall so this entire review as if I was an anime character. OKAY!!

A: Oh no! The fizzy yellow is attacking! With no head and clear golden color we must use powers of great smell to counteract it!

S: OH NO!! We have failed again as bitter vegetable smell with no hops! AHH! Taste is to surely save us!

T: Drat! Foiled again by the inferior taste compared to beer that actually tastes like beer!. Still getting bitter vegetable tastes and no hops or malt flavor to speak of!

M: Watery to the extreme!! Feels like I drink water that get you drunk with no carbonation to speak of!

D: We are doomed!! American consumer should rather spend less money on Bud light rather than drink this! Ahhh!!!

07-27-2007 08:36:12 | More by quikfish13
Photo of dstc


2.85/5  rDev +8.4%

Pours a clean, clear yellow with full white head. Head falls slowly leaving little or no lace behind.

The smell has a subtle sweetness to it and a rice beer aroma to it. Other than that nothing special.

Ok, it doesn't taste horrible. Not like a typical product coming out of AB. It has a tinny/metallic quality to it. Very clean, crisp but then again, nothing special.

Thin and watery in the mouth with lots of carbonation.

Not a bad beer but not a great beer. Very average and fairly drinkable (but not overly so).

07-26-2007 18:18:43 | More by dstc
Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
62 out of 100 based on 1,295 ratings.