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Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,139 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1139
Reviews: 517
rAvg: 2.61
pDev: 23.37%

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)
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Ratings: 1,139 | Reviews: 517 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dougbassett


2.98/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

One of the "1001 Beers You Should Taste Before You Die" -- #14 of the ones I"ve reviewed.

Japanese lager really not all that different from mass-produced American Adjunct lagers. Maybe a little less sweet and a hair more malt presence, which would maybe put it on a par with something like Pabst Blue Ribbon, although I'm not sure the two taste all that much similar. Still, not a bad thing. Brassy yellow pour, a quickly-vanishing head. Typically soury nose of straw that you tend to find in this style. Pretty generic "beer" flavors with a sour finish, although the aforementioned malt sweetness is pleasant. Docked a little bit for an unusually thin body that yet stays aggressively carbonated, making it somehow especially unpleasant to drink.

Not my first choice of the foreign imports, but not bad.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2013 23:36:48 | More by dougbassett
Photo of JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

2.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up down at Buy-Rite in Jersey City recently. Did not expect much out of this and sure enough, this was a typical American Pale Lager with some Japanese writing on the bottle. It wasn't a drain pour or something I spit out but at one time, I probably would have enjoyed this beer immensely more than I did during my session.

The pour to this was golden, with a fluffy head, and more lacing than I expected to see. Hardly any aroma to this and the taste was what I've become accustomed to - grass, straw, and potato chips. Lots of starch here in taste but without the body to back it up. The back was quite sour and dare I say boozy, for a beer of this style. This didn't feel watered-down but it went down easily like any American Pale Lager does when I pop the top off.

There's not much here to separate this from the other examples of this style and had I not seen the bottle, I would have never have guessed that this came from Japan. The carbonation must have been deceptively high since I had quite a bit of gas as I drank this but it's still not as bad as the big mass-market beers. I wouldn't pair this with Japanese food like sushi but compared to its North American counterparts, this held its own.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2012 09:35:12 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of buschbeer


1.93/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle
Served in a pilsner glass

A - It is pale yellow with a ton of white head.

S - It smells of grain and grass.

T - The little taste that I can discern is grain and some slight bitterness. It is generally an unpleasant taste.

M - Thin

O - It's as if Hirohito pissed in a vat and declared it beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 22:45:36 | More by buschbeer
Photo of Lemke10


3.38/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a clear, yellowish color with only a slight white head. The scent is sweet with malts and grassy grains. The taste is average for a pale lager and actually better than I would have ever imagined being an AB-InBev/Japanese brew. This is a step up from the big breweries that make pale lagers with cheap ingredient fillers. I’m also getting some sweet hints of banana in the taste as well. A pretty decent brew by the Bud guys as painful as that is for me to say lol. But then again it said freshest within 180 days, I'm closer to 400 days so maybe that's a reason why it's better.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 05:12:38 | More by Lemke10
Photo of Jsteez


1.6/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into an American pint glass at a fusion Asian inspired restuarant.

A-Straw and yellow in color. No head, very minimal lace. Carbonation is quite noticeable in the glass. A thin, white line around the rim.

S-Strong malt, some rice, corn, and perhaps a semi-sweet aroma? It is difficult to really pinpoint what the sweet smell was. Perhaps some sweet malt.

T-Quite bland and not really worth discussing, but I will do it anyway. There was a dry and bitter aftertaste. Not complex at all. Fluffy and it gave me a soda water sensation.

M-High carbonation and a wet feeling.

Overall-I was ruluctant to rate this brew because I knew I would not have good things to say about it. I have had this a lot (especially at Japanese retaurants). Objectively speaking, it is good when travelling through Asia. If I had to pick a beer from Northeast Asia it would be this one or Sapporo. Overall, this beer is not the best lager and there are many other good lagers out there.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2012 19:38:28 | More by Jsteez
Photo of Fatehunter


1.88/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Into a pint glass. Clear, golden color with a nice finger and half of foamy head. Lots of bubbles visible.
Grainy smell, little metallic, short.
Medium metallic bitter taste for the most part. It end with a weird sweet note.
Fizzy and light body with a little stickiness to it.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2012 18:58:24 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of heygeebee


2.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From iPhone notes

Pours a very very pale straw, lots of bubbles rise, white head falls quickly

Aromas of a little corn and, well, Japanese lager

Taste is same very crisp and refreshing but medium to light bodied. All malt driven.

Mount fell is appropriate light and zesty but not tangy

Overall an Ok taste of Japan.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2012 05:25:16 | More by heygeebee
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

2.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a bottle at Tonic (Hilton Beijing) in Beijing, China

A: Pours a crystal clear medium golden yellow in color with moderate to heavy amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall bright white head that quickly reduces to a thin film covering the entire surface of the beer and a slightly thicker ring around the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of grainy malts with just the slightest hint of rice.

T: Similar to the smell, the taste has light to moderate flavors of grainy and cracker malts with very light hints of rice. There is a pleasant light bitterness to the beer in the finish which does not linger.

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery with a light amount of dryness in the finish.

O: This beer is easy to drink and a little more malty than I had expected considering the style and lightness of the beer. Not a bad flavor but nothing that really stands out - traditional offering at many Japanese restaurants so I will eventually have it again but not a beer I would seek out.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2012 22:52:01 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of metter98

New York

2.55/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Serving type: can

08-04-2012 23:35:06 | More by metter98
Photo of beer272

New Jersey

2.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just drank out of a bottled dated May 24, 2011 on July 12, 2012.
Label mentions "100% Malt". The beer had also been stored on it's side. I could not find out if it was a ale or lager or the ABV from the label.

A - Pale
S - None
T - Neutral
M - OK

O - OK for quenching on a hot day. I would not seek out to buy this though.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2012 15:06:35 | More by beer272
Photo of jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

3.53/5  rDev +35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank yesterday; reviewed from notes.

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Nov 2012. Japan's prime beer - contract brewed in the UK by Wells & Youngs. Described on the label as made from a first pressing of the finest ingredients - no idea what this is supposed to mean?!

Poured into a straight pint glass. A pale golden colour with good carbonation. Forms a large, fluffy head of white foam with good stability; this slowly subsides to a surface layer. Aroma of light malt with a crisp twang of noble hops.

Tastes of light malt with a crisp, dry finish. Notes of subtle noble hop aroma and mild stewed hops, along with faint sweetness. A whisper of solvent in the background, and a restrained bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and dry, with decent body for the style. Aftertaste of stewed noble hops.

Pretty good - a fair imitation of a German pilsner. Pleasantly dry, with a hint of noble hop character to give it an edge. Goes down easily enough and would quench a thirst on a hot day. Worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2012 20:35:42 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of kylehay2004


2.58/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-18-2012 23:57:13 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of sommersb


2.88/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted On: 06-04-2012
Freshness: Unknown
Packaging: Draft
Glassware: Shaker pint
Purchased: On tap at Genghis Grill

Decided to try this on draft with my Mongolian stir fry

A: Clear beer, with a pale straw color. The head was white and very thin, with little lacing or staying power.

S: Light pale malty sweetness, with a hint of grassy hops.

T: Not a lot of flavor overall - a fairly typical lightweight lager beer, with a balance of slight sweetness and a low bittering element. I found it to be pleasant enough and unoffensive, though. Seemed to be a good compliment to the meal.

M: Crisp and refreshing.

O: Nothing especially noteworthy, but it was a good thirst quencher. I wouldn't go out of my way to find this, but I would drink it again.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2012 03:52:11 | More by sommersb
Photo of PorterLambic


2.13/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pale yellow, the color of straw with a smallish white head. Some lace is left behind.
Smell is some malt, some hops, some skunky citrus.
Taste is similar, some malt, some hops, some skunk, some floral.
Weak bodied, medium carbonation. Watery, drying. Bitterness comes in as it warms. I should have expected that and drunk it faster.
Either my tastes have changed or the tap version is much better. Maybe both.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2012 03:04:08 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

2.28/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - bright yellow; big, white, dense, foamy head; decent retention

S - very grainy, faintly grassy, a hint of lemon

T - very grainy, metallic, lemon, faint grass, very bitter finish, warm

M - crisp, thin, very light, smooth

This is a hrash beer. The metallic, bitter, warm off flavors are immensely off putting. There really isn't anything good to report here. Even the drinkability is slowed by the off flavors despite its light, smooth mouthfeel. I'll avoid this in the future.

Serving type: can

05-25-2012 12:28:14 | More by tdm168
Photo of bluejacket74


2.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle, bottled on 18 Jan 2012, the bottle says freshest taste within 180 days so I think I'm still good there. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a clear gold color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing is average. Aroma is sweet malt and corn, and not much else. Taste is the same as the aroma. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it is light and goes down easy. For the style of beer it is, it's not too bad. Worth a try if you can pick up a single bottle somewhere.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2012 01:28:53 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of scottfrie


2.53/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On-tap with some sushi.

Served a pale straw color in a pint glass. The head was thin and very fizzy. I get crackery grains and crisp lager yeast on the nose. The taste is refreshing and light, and the flavors consist of pretty much just pale malts, bready dough, and lager yeast. I’m not really getting any hops. The body is ultra-light, the mouthfeel is medium-thin and watery, and the carbonation is very fizzy. This beer went well with the fish, and for what it is it’s decent, but I would never drink this regularly.

Serving type: on-tap

05-20-2012 00:21:39 | More by scottfrie
Photo of jojoluvsbeer

2.85/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a pale straw color with a large white head that diminishes quickly and leave no lacing. Aroma of corn, and faint hops. Taste is somewhat sweet with a bit of bitterness at the finish. Taste is fairly clean. Although there is hop bitterness, it's hard to make out any real hop flavor. The mouthfeel is watery. Overall it is not an offensive beer and easy to drink. There is just not much there.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 22:58:46 | More by jojoluvsbeer
Photo of StonedTrippin


2.88/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2012 18:33:45 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of stan66

3.23/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy yellow color on my glass. It has a medium head (white) with medium retention. High carbonation. Taste is too bitter for me, high hops presence. It is not the beer I can drink too often. I prefer beers with less hop amount. It is nice, but I think I never will buy it

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2012 18:12:16 | More by stan66
Photo of ehammond1

2.38/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2


Toro Sushi
San Diego, CA

A clear, golden highly-carbonated beer with a quickly forming but a quickly disappearing white head. Little to no lacing down the glass.

A slight sweet aroma with some corn and grain elements. At least nothing smells off or foul here.

A clean and crisp flavor with a touch of sweetness and some grainy corn flavor throughout.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with plenty of carbonation. Crisp and clean.

It is what it is, and it isn't much.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2012 14:47:00 | More by ehammond1
Photo of jaasen64


2.45/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle from 6-pack

A- Clear yellowish gold, about average carbonation, almost no head.

S- malts, a tiny bit of yeast.

T- Slightly sweet watery, malty taste. Very lightly hopped.

M- A little bit on the light side, goes down smooth, average carbonation.

O- This tastes very similar to what I remember Sapporo tasting like. It doesn't have much taste, it's kind of watery. If you can find it cheap it's not terrible, however I wouldn't pay a lot of money or go out of my way to get it. Definitely better then most of your average cheap mass-produced beers, but doesn't compare to most craft beers.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 01:33:13 | More by jaasen64
Photo of hardy008


1.48/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Pale yellow with a large foamy white head with good retention and lacing. Has a skunk aroma, with cooked vegetables. Nasty.

The taste has cooked vegetables, some floral hops, and something is off. Reminds me a bit of skunk, but not as much as the aroma.

Light bodied, plenty of carbonation, putrid aftertaste which makes me wish I never tried this. Not sure if this is a bad bottle, or if it usually tastes like this. At any rate, not good.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2012 22:10:46 | More by hardy008
Photo of sailorastro


2.2/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Overall: Kirin Ichiban isn't great, but for me it's a quinessential addition to my meal at a Japanese restaurant. It's better than your typical American rice- and corn-based lagers, but not by much.

Appearance: Pale off-yellow body, like green tea steeped for a long time. Thick, creamy white head with

Smell: lightly floral; Wheat Thins; grainy; cornmeal.

Taste: Dilluted malt concentrate, like buttered toast or Cream of Wheat soaked in water. Hoppy notes and fruity notes are almost there.

Mouthfeel: Crisp carbonated stands out above its flavor. Easy to drink as there's little going on.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2012 12:26:47 | More by sailorastro
Photo of calicaliente

2.53/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this with my dinner at a chinese restaurant. It was between this and the Bud family so I gave it a try. Pours a very light straw yellow with a big foamy head that disappears rather quickly. No lacing on the glass to speak of. Aroma of corn, and rice. No hoppy smell. Taste is much of the same with a tad bit of funky bitterness at the end. Better than bud, but that's not saying much.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2012 21:18:47 | More by calicaliente
Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
62 out of 100 based on 1,139 ratings.