Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
63
poor

551 Reviews
THE BROS
44
awful

(Read More)
Reviews: 551
Hads: 1,576
rAvg: 2.64
pDev: 22.35%
Wants: 10
Gots: 231 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited visit their website
Japan

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: 551 | Hads: 1,576
Photo of TheHammer
2.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 1.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Looks that pale yellow, typical of rice lager. Wait...this isn't rice lager? What the heck Kirin?! A fairly aggressive pour gave a half finger of head without lace or retention. Alt least the body boasts ample carbonation.

Smell: Uhh, smell? I'm catching a slight barley aroma and not much else. Warming brings out a slight corn note. Not a lot to see here.

Taste: Uhh Taste? Once again the beer falls a bit flat in this regard. It's not very often I have a beer where the earthy taste arrives at the start of the beer and departs for the taste of low roasted barley. That's it. Nothing else to see here.

Mouthfeel: It's not quite as smooth as a beer that has this low a flavour should have. The carbonation has a seltzer quality to it that doesn't really help the flavour of the beer. Apart from that, there's just not a lot here due to the lack of aftertaste.

Drinkability: A beer like this had better be drinkable, given the lack of other aspects. It's a little gassy, but it's the kind of beer you can just put back without any problem.

Final Thoughts: I can't up but think of the wrestling Curry Man when I see this beer, because Curry Man is ICHIBAN! Although seriously, this was a disappointment. There's not a lot to this beer. Nothing outrageously bad mind you, but nothing wondrous. Pass (1,314 characters)

Photo of rickyleepotts
1.38/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.25

I am not too excited about this beer. I have had it several times before, but usually order it when we eat. Ra Sushi carries this. It's boring, but it was fun learning about the brewing process. It was also fun learning that this is the most expensive beer in the world. I mean… not literally. But in regards to the brewing process. I also didn't realize they had high taxes in Japan. The more you know!

I am not eating with this. I had a turkey wrap earlier today, but I felt bloated after I ate. Not sure I am going to have dinner. It's weird, because my last three meals I have felt horrible… bloated and really full regardless of what I eat. Maybe I need to stop eating. I did gain weight last week. I'm a mess. Let's drink!

In the Glass: It looks like any domestic beer you have ever had. The beer does have a nice white head that lingers, and then a decent lace as the head settles. I am seeing a ton of bubbles in this one, too. I would see more, but Sheryl turned the light out. She must hate lights!

When we review a beer, I put more focus on my experience with the beer. Speaking of beers, we have over 30 beers in the kitchen to review. I told Sheryl I am not buying any more beer until all of those have been reviewed and consumed! Here's to a few weeks of good craft beer.

Nose: They use maize in this, which makes me think of a rise IPA. With a rice IPA, you get more mellow flavors, and a polished almost fluffy mouthfeel. I hope that is what they mean by "chewiness". In regards to the aroma, not much going on. I love how the tasting notes will drop words like "citrus" and "green apple". I am not getting any of that. Grass before green apple. I doubt it, but I hope the flavor delivers.

Flavor: It didn't. This beer is pretty boring. There isn't much flavor at all. It is VERY drinkable; I will give it that. But this isn't a beer that I would order again. I take that back… if I am having sushi for lunch or dinner, I might order this. But even though this beer is made with 100% malt, I am not impressed with it at all.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel does remind me a of wild rice IPA. I wouldn't call it chewy, but it has a nice fluffy thing going for it. I tried to swish this around a little but, but got hit with a ton of bubbles. Doing that also made me taste the alcohol in it… which didn't help the overall experience. I am glad that beers like this are on our list, but the education is the only thing that I can appreciate. I don't care how they brew it, this beer just isn't very good.

Aftertaste: If there is anything to write home about here, it's the aftertaste. If I did write home, it wouldn't be a long letter. There is a subtle dryness in the finish, but it's a dryness that leaves me wanting to drink something else. I am not sure how big the craft beer industry is in Japan, but they are missing out if this is a beer they are known for. Like I said, this pairs well with food… but that's about it. Unless you are eating, skip it. You can thank me later! (3,009 characters)

Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.25/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pale golden; effervescent; big frothy head, long lasting

Aroma: Malty; bready; grassy

Taste: Sweet juicy malt on start; zippy in the middle and a good balance of hops on the end; mouthfeel is almost like ginger ale; not bad overall; good thirst quencher/quaffing beer

Remarks: Drank this after a day of hard work; I was hot, tired and very thirsty; 650 ml bottle

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores (444 characters)

Photo of delta490
2.34/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A- looks nice. Clear pale gold with a short lived fizzy white head (About one finger's worth). Not much carbonation visible.

S-Not much once the head goes down. Like, almost nothing not much.

T- again, not much bad good or in between. Slight bit of sweetness followed by a slight bit of bitterness. But nothing discernible or memorable in there at all.

M- For how little carbonation you see, it's pretty fizzy. But the body of it isn't bad.

O- there isn't anything to recommend this because there isn't anything there. Other than it looks like a lager. Everything else that makes a lager a lager is lacking. (653 characters)

Photo of Andrew041180
2.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Not going to bother with a full review here. Very mediocre beer with a faint sweetness that I didn't particularly care for. Beer arrived with no head, minimal carbonation, and no retention. Not much smell here at all. Sad that this was the beat option available. (262 characters)

Photo of Brenden
3.03/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This one is a pale-medium yellow, somehow a bit bright but with a chill haze. A large enough clean white head is actually surprisingly dense, fluffy and creamy. It deposits sturdy patching well down the glass.
The smell isn't bad, it just isn't much. I'm assuming any rot/cabbage, etc., is due to bad batches; there's nothing offensive here. Sort of a leafy / woody thing is present against a nondescript sweetness. Bland would describe it, but not bad, per se.
Grains, the same nondescript sweetness, and a vinous note make up the flavor.
The feel is similarly bland, just a touch of crispness livening things up in this light-bodied brew. It's not as bad as a lot of what I've read. (684 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
3.05/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a pale gold/yellow with minimal head and nice clarity. The nose comprises of faintly sweet malts, bread, corn, and a light hoppy grassy bitterness. Taste is again malty and a touch sweetness. Relatively clean flavor for the style, no off putting qualities that I typically find. Mouthfeel is light with high carbonation. Not a bad brew to pair with some sushi when it's all that available on the menu, but I'm certainly not going to seek this one out. (457 characters)

Photo of John_Henry
2.53/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Note: This is the Japanese version Brewed in Japan, and fairly fresh (Brewed in December drank in February). May vary if purchased outside of Japan.

A. Very clear, good initial head, which remains a little leaving a little lacing. Nothing interesting or exceptional.

S. Little smell, but slight lager note, not unpleasant. (Opposite to what I've heard of the US version)

T. Fine lager taste, nothing unpleasant, a bit of a dry bite to it. Some malty notes.

M. Not bad, but a tad sharp from over carbonation in my opinion.

O. Here is what I said about Asahi and the same goes for this; "Easy drinking beer that is quite refreshing. This is served all over Japan, and whilst being very dull isn't at all offensive. Can't really go wrong with it, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it if I wasn't living in Japan." I tried this alongside Asahi and there is a slight difference, very slight, a little more malt, but really not much difference.

I should also mention that whilst being a big lager drinker (due to that be the only thing on offer beer wise in most places here), I'm not a big lager fan, so the numbers may reflect this.

If your in Japan you'll struggle not to try Kirin and Asahi, if not, I wouldn't bother. (1,227 characters)

Photo of tm82
2.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Bottled; 33cl, poured into a Budvar tankered.

Appearance: Lacing is prominent and white, golden with solid clarity, extremely clean, no sediment, a standard pilsner image.

Smell is straw; lemongrass, floral, copper-iron, metallic, nectar and light, fain perfume.

Taste is lemons; flowers, iron, metallic, lemongrass, some sharp off-residue of green apples, moderately bitter in the hoppage but not intimidating and extremely quaffable

Mouthfeel is peppery, rather harsh and metallic, with a medium finish of lemon and floral elements.

A solid easy-drinking pilsner which works better on keg and is definitely a go-to when not much choice is on at macro establishments. I'd like to have it off the FV at Kirin when I expect the off-tastes will not be there. (765 characters)

Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
1.42/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Light straw appearance. Not much aroma. Tastes like a fruity floral carbonated lager. Tastes almost like a light beer--tastes like beer. Remember college? No depth at all. Finishes as it starts. Moderately carbonated. Pretty much no real redeeming qualities that we can write of. (279 characters)

Photo of dougbassett
2.98/5  rDev +12.9%
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. (808 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
2.28/5  rDev -13.6%
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. (1,221 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
1.98/5  rDev -25%
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. (309 characters)

Photo of Lemke10
3.35/5  rDev +26.9%
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. (590 characters)

Photo of Jsteez
1.62/5  rDev -38.6%
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 restaurant.

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. (975 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
1.92/5  rDev -27.3%
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.
Meh. (284 characters)

Photo of heygeebee
2.82/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (320 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
2.71/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (1,120 characters)

Photo of metter98
2.55/5  rDev -3.4%
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. (689 characters)

Photo of beer272
2.88/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (324 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.53/5  rDev +33.7%
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. (1,019 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
2.58/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (388 characters)

Photo of sommersb
2.85/5  rDev +8%
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. (751 characters)

Photo of PorterLambic
2.13/5  rDev -19.3%
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. (417 characters)

Photo of tdm168
2.32/5  rDev -12.1%
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. (483 characters)

Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 551 ratings.