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Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,479 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,479
Reviews: 551
rAvg: 2.64
pDev: 23.11%
Wants: 8
Gots: 166 | 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.
View: Beers (46) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,479 | Reviews: 551 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BMan1113VR
2.44/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Suprisingly young, bottled on January 4th, 2008 in Los Angeles. Aroma is moderate malts, light grassy hops along with wet cardboard and urine. Pours with a forced carbonation large soapy white head. Supprisingly it has fair lacing. Flavor is pretty bitter. Goes down dry. I still believe this is the best of the main stream Jappanese beers.

Photo of JDV
3.58/5  rDev +35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light to medium gold with a fair amount of white head. Definite lacing as I drink. Smell is of honey sweet malt mostly. Taste is refreshing, slightly watery, with a touch of bitter and sweet malt up front followed by a smooth lightly sweet rice-like finish. I really like this one, and it is definitely my favorite light lager. Very easy drinking and refreshing with a hot meal, or on a hot day and exactly what I'm looking for when I want a cold beer to cool me off.

Photo of PhageLab
2.92/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

24oz Can. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Transparent golden yellow coloration. Nice bit of froth, but retention and lacing was sub par. Looks like a standard light lager.

S - Grain and corn smells mostly. Nothing bad here, but nothing interesting either.

T - Slightly acidic brun, possible astringency. Pocket change, grains, rice, corn, and lawn clippings. I realize this sounds horrible, but it actually tastes better than most macros.

M - Light bodied, carbonation level is slightly harsh.

D - Could be worse. I can drink it, but most people probably wouldn't like this. No reco's here.

Photo of atrus138
2/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had a bottle of this at the excellent Shogun restaurant (though I had to ask for a glass). Pours a transparent yellow with no real head and no lacing. Could easily see objects through the glass. Did not bode well. I could hardly smell anything, though what I did smell was unimpressive. It tasted just like any old American lager - that is to say there was almost no taste. I noticed some rice notes as it warmed a little bit, but this kind of stuff is better "enjoyed" cold. Mouthfeel is extremely light, but very carbonated. The carbonation at least made it a bit more interesting than stagnant water. The ABV is low enough to make this a good session beer...but why would you want another one?

Photo of tkach
2.23/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I was excited to try this beer upon first seeing it. After trying it I realized I may have gotten too excited as I didn't find it all that great. Always loving to try something new and something different I found this brought me neither.

Appears like any american lager you will find, a clear golden color with a white head.

Smell is essentially the same. I did not find anything significant here and is along the same lines as your average lager.

Taste was crisp and had a clean cut to it with a decent aftertaste in my opinion.

Mouthfeel was ok. Average with a short-lasting aftertaste behind.

Drinkability was good and it is easy to put back. Not a beer to drink if you want to take it slow and have a good flavor to savor for a while.

Photo of Mryup
3.26/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Florescent golden yellow with white head that quickly fades to a thin sheet. Very bubbly. Not impressive.

S: Grassy with hops making their case well. Noble hops maybe? The classic lager smell is a bit more subtle. The malt smells sweet. The smell reminds me of Stella Artois. Not bad.

T: Light. Crisp. Definitely very mellow. The malt makes its case more in the taste. In fact I would say it dominates. Something along the line of caramel malt. Sweet once again. The mellow borders very close to boring and watery. Easy to tell its a rice lager by the "snap" in it. Tastes between Stella and Budweiser. Hopefully it doesn't have the formaldehyde and other preservatives that give me a headache. I have to say I would take this over Bud ANY day. Good for the style.

M: Thin and consistent. The CO2 is slightly too high in my opinion. Acceptable.

D: A very drinkable beer which I think is it's main attraction. What else is there to attract in this beer?

Overall it's good for the style. Great to have with light meals such as sushi...hmmmm...it's a Japanese beer...probably not a coincidence. Also great for sake bombs. You have to rate this beer against other of it's styles.

Photo of csmiley
2.01/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - This beer is clear, light, and yellow. Head was around one and a half inches. Retention was average. Lacing was not there at all.

S - No traditional aromas to speak of. What I did pick up was alcohol, yeast, and what I would consider rice.

T - Alcohol and pale malt barely show up in the flavor. Adjunct is there as well.

M - It was light bodied and very, very carbonated.

D - This one is not very good and one that I won't get again. Even for the rice lager style it just does not come across as very good at all

Photo of avalon07
1.35/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This is a pretty rotten beer. Tastes just like any old American macrobrew, that is to say, it had no taste at all. It's very much like Budweiser in all respects: Light appearance, muted and unimpressive smell and no discernible taste. Should definitely be avoided.

Photo of HardcoreKeith
2.59/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

From a 24 ounce can, which I then poured into a pilsner glass.

Very light straw color with tons of carbonation. Pouring gently into my pilsner glass gave an inch of head. It smells lightly of malt, and otherwise has little smell to speak of. Taste is like american light beer. Mouthful is thin and reminds me of rice. However, I imagine this would be a good chugger for a hot evening in the Pachinko parlor.

Photo of madvoice
2.35/5  rDev -11%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of semihobo
3.94/5  rDev +49.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of billybob
1.88/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of Overlord
1.95/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of nesta
2.19/5  rDev -17%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

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?

Photo of Kulrak
3.13/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of jwc215
2.12/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 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...

Photo of StoutyMcHaggis
2.66/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of sleazo
2.44/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of sloejams
3.15/5  rDev +19.3%
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 JamesS
2.58/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of GrimmReaper
3.53/5  rDev +33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of malibujohnny
2.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of goochpunch
2.9/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
2.03/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of Amalak
2.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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.

Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 1,479 ratings.