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Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,390 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,390
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 2.64
pDev: 23.11%
Wants: 9
Gots: 106 | 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: 1,390 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DaveBlack
2.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Pale straw color. Little head with no retention or lacing.

S: Grains, some sweetness and alcohol. Not a whole lot going on and also a bit of an off-putting aroma.

T: Taste pretty much like it smells. Grains, sweetness, but not in a malty sort of way, followed by same off-putting flavor that came up in the aroma. Not sure what it is, but it is reminiscent of typical BMC beers. I would say adjunct grains, but it says 100% malts.

M: Light, low carbonation, but still kind of coats the mouth in a sugary or oily kind of way.

O: Really not a good beer. Could stick with typical American macro-brew and get about the same beer.

DaveBlack, May 03, 2011
Photo of chicagoabbot
2.65/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz into a pint glass. I am probably going to be more generous to this beer than I ought to be, as I have fond memories of drinking it on a trip to Japan as a teenager.

Pours a bright clear golden with a head that doesn't retain exceptionally well. Good color and clarity, a hallmark of this style.

Not much going on in the smell department. Would like to see more yeast character. No real hops character. Malt is not that complex either.

Taste is boring. Clean but boring.

Mouthfeel is equally clean and boring.

A lager does not have to be boring! Lagers can be full of flavor and character!

Brewed by AB now for US sales? Jeez...too bad.

chicagoabbot, May 02, 2011
Photo of RuudJH
1.9/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Imported Japanese beer, 33 cl. bottle.

Looks good: clear golden, with creamy head, nice carbonation.

Smell from the bottle: massive malts and corn, grassy hops.
Taste identical, but more faint. Instead, next to it being pretty watery, the aftertaste has something chemical to it. Soap and metallic. It's terrible.
Light mouthfeel, but the taste is not something you want more of.

Very disappointing encounter with japanese beer. The widely available macro lagers are better even.... and cheaper.

RuudJH, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of samie85
2.73/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

24 oz. can. Dated Jan 22 2011, which I hope is the brewed on date.

A-Pours a clear, golden color with tons of carbonation bubbles.

S-Light, biscuity malt with no noticeable hop characteristics.

T-Dry, light malt with a some slight bitterness and more dry malt on the finish.

M-Heavily carbonated with light body and a dry mouthfeel.

D-Not bad on drinkability, but this could be the blandest beer I've tasted so far.

samie85, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of evlu1441
2.73/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

650ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

Looks decent! Typical golden lager colour, but slightly hazy. A solid finger of soapy head that lingers a little bit.

Aroma is skunky off the bat. Not usually a fan of that. There are also some grainy elements, but they're a bit lost in the skunkyness.

Starts out with some nice hop flavour! I wasn't expecting that. It moves moves towards some mellow malty stuff and finished with a characteristic Japanese dry hop bitterness... As I drink more, I'm getting more of a chemical aftertaste.

Light Body and a good amount of carbonation...Don't get me wrong, there's lots of carbonation, but it works.. It gets a bit tough to drink after a while though

Overall, this isn't as bad as I expected it to be. Maybe it's because I tend to like Japanese lagers. Still not super impressed, and I'd still rather have a Sapporo.

evlu1441, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of bastardface
3.03/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have never really tried oriental or Japanese beers. The only other Japan beer is Sapporo. This was a dark beer that really wasn't all that fond of. It had a pretty good taste without a lot of bite or bitterness. It is average at best. As expected it was very dark but without the dark taste. I don't believe I will have this beer again unless I feeling frisky.

bastardface, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of Erish
2.95/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a pilsner glass. Bottled on 22 JAN 11.

A: brilliant pale golden color, massive fluffy head falls into a thick cap with good lacing.

S: mainly grassy/herbal with some lager yeast funkiness in the background and a dry, cracker-like malt.

T: the light, dry malt quickly gives way to a floral/herbal hop character, the finish is grassy/herbal with a mineral bite.

M: light-bodied, watery, plentiful carbonation.

O: As American pale lagers go, it is o.k.

Erish, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of IntriqKen
3.58/5  rDev +35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden pils color with a half inch of white tight bubbles on top.

Aroma is malty and slightly sweet but no hint of hops.

Mouthfeel is smooth...could definitely use a little more bite either from hops or the carbonation.

Taste is smooth and surprisingly clean but has a slight cloying sweetness that could have been balanced with the addition of hops at the beginning of the boil...another addition at the end would have helped with the aroma as well,

Overall a clean tasting Lager without any adjuncts leaving strange aftertastes but pretty non-descript and a bit too cloying to be really refreshing on a hot summer day.
I'm editing my review and more importantly my rating of this brew,
Ive had several different brews tonight after starting with the Kirin.
Trying this brews I tried to go from lighter to heavier/stronger in order to get a fair appreciation of each brew knowing that each heavier or stronger/more intense brew would ruin it for the lighter ones.
Now I go back to a Kirin because that was all that I had left in the fridge.
I can still taste the sweet malts, the rich but mellow and light flavors...that this brew has to offer,
I change my ratings 'up' for the simple reason that very few 'light' or lager type brews can still hold their own or be impressive after a night of indulging in the heavier, darker side.

IntriqKen, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
2.6/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was one of the first Japanese brews I had. Although this doesn't really differ from any traditional lager that's made anywhere else in the world, this beer had a big rice backbone to it. The aftertaste is all rice. The beer is yellow in color and doesn't have much lacing or head. It looks pretty much just like a miller lite. This isn't much to brag about here.

Knapp85, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of biegaman
3.33/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't mean to sound racist, but all these Asian beers look alike to me. Yellow, filtered, steady bubbles and a head that appears eternally in a state of near-total collapse. Kirin Ichiban does, however, looks a little cloudier than most; its chill haze doesn't damper any of the glimmer but it does make my fingers appear fuzzy on the other side of the glass.

Anyone who bought this beer with the intention of tasting something exotic or unusual is bound to get a rude awakening in the aroma. No exotic impressions of Japan here. I had expected the crude, cheap, commercial stench of American industry, but I too was surprisingly mistaken in my assumptions. This actually smells... good?! Really good.

And indeed it tastes that way too. The maltiness is crisp and toasty, like you'd find in a quality American lager or traditional German pilsner, and has a slight biscuity profile. The finish is complimented by a very perceivable hop presence, a subtly pithy and earthy bitterness that puts the exclamation mark on what is a flavourful and quenching lager.

I initially sighed at the fact that I had to fork out the money for a full 650ml to review this. Now, I couldn't be happier that I did. And I'd do it again! This is an enjoyably, easily drinkable lager that has just the right amount of sweet, grainy flavour and brisk, enhancing carbonation. Best of all: I'm not tasting anything that isn't supposed to be in there.

Pale lager is not a style that I (nor most people) have a tough time appreciating, that is if it's done right. There are a few brands of pale lager that comprise some of my favourite, most frequently drank beers, but they resemble nothing like the diluted, corrupted, bastardized examples that most Asian breweries put out. Kirin Ichiban, on the other hand, as much as it surprises me to admit, actually does. Don't assume too much about this one...

biegaman, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of sixerofelixir
2.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle. Sampled during a Japanese hibachi-style dinner. freshness date located on label.

Pours a lite, golden yellow. Very clear. Whitish head soon rings up. Smell is faint and biscuity, and a bit of mineral and bitterness. Taste is decent at best. Not a whole lot of complexity at all, and even the basic profiles were just.. lite. Slightly bitter aftertaste. Even tho my bottle was fresh, the beer felt a bit flat. Overall, while by no means terrible, I wouldn't seek this out again.

sixerofelixir, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of Fatheranderson
1.4/5  rDev -47%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The pinnacle of what a "premium" beer should avoid being. It tastes kind of like that shredded wheat breakfast cereal in beer form... in fact, I use the term "beer" very lightly, and crave forgiveness for using it on such an inferior malt beverage.

Appearance: looks just like ever other generic lifeless brew on the market. Golden yellow with just a basic hint of carbonation. No life, no spark, no fizzle.

Smell: Shredded wheat. No seriously. It smells just like the breakfast cereal, but with soured milk. Maybe even a hint of rotting corn or rice or something unholy...

Taste: Cardboard, that shredded wheat again (actually, don't get me wrong, I love shredded wheat. It's a great cereal. Unfortunately, it's a terrible malt beverage). Also, it seems to taste vaguely like a penny I ate when I was 5... It's in a bottle, it's not supposed to taste like metal!!

Mouthfeel: Water. Water with some syrup in it...

Overall: Wouldn't buy it if it was the last beer on earth. At that point, I'd actually consider switching to wine (consider is the key word... I'd more than likely just figure out how to brew my own). This stuff is the Japanese equivalent of Budweiser or Coors... though somehow worse because I expected better out of Japan...

Fatheranderson, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of TheBrewo
1.9/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

We pour a brew of faint yellow. It holds a two finger head of soft white bubbles that disappears at an average speed. Patchy lacing is left as it goes. The beer is entirely translucent and carbonation looks to be standard. The aroma is full of corny, skunky adjuncts. The malts used inherit a dry and cereal-like essence, with a powdery flouring finish. As we sip, the palate is bombarded with a metallic bitterness. Malts and barley are abundant, adding very little in the way of flavor. Moving through the middle relieves the palate a bit, washing with cleaner malts. The finish is more of the same, with a revival of that coppery coin action from the very beginning. The aftertaste breathes with stale apples, grain, and untraceable bitterness. The body is light and the carbonation is in the middle. The feel to each sip is extraordinarily watery, but somehow the mouth is left bone dry and puckered. There is no froth, creaminess, or slurpability. The abv is standard and the drinkability is hindered by the flavors, or lack thereof.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the look. It appeared potentially refreshing or thirst quenching, and light enough to cool off with on a warm evening. The taste, however, was offensive from the beginning. There was an extreme bitterness to it, but not describable to any flavor in particular. It was bitterness in its purest, obtrusive form. Other than that, there was little recovery in any aspect to make up for its initial misgivings.

TheBrewo, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of JohnnyS17
2.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this at dinner last night, and I wrote the notes in my phone. I was served the drink in a Pilsner glass and I am pretty certain that is a bad choice.

A - It looks like any light beer, a very clear yellow with carbonation rising around the edges. No head when it arrived at my table. It was very inviting, but I had a long day and any beer would have been.

S - A faint sweet barley aroma. Nothing to write home about.

T - What did you expect? It tastes like any light beer. Weak on taste with a slight hop bite.

M - Very light body with a small bite. A bit dry.

D - I thought it went well with my meal at P.F. Chang's, but their meals are so salty that any beverage is refreshing. I had two, but again...long day.

JohnnyS17, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
1.88/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into glass. Reviewed from notes.

A: Clear yellow, thin head with fair retention. This is pathetic.

Sm: One note of clear barley. Very meh.

T: Holy malt, batman! No real open, no real finish. A bit like Finnegan's Wake, without any literary genius. (Okay, that metaphor sucked.)

Mf: Too smooth, too wet. A classic flaw.

Dr: Never again - by choice. Is this what they forcefed to the Chinese during the WWII medical experiments? Given the choice, a vivisection might be preferable. It should be said that it's probably better than a lot of American macros, and it's relatively cheap.

kojevergas, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of droomyster
2.9/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear gold with a soda-fizz head that quickly dissipates. Aromas are subdued and simple - I only detect a faint graininess. Flavor is boring. There's nothing offensive about it, but neither is interesting in the least. Characterless malts linger longer on the finish than they're welcome. Pass.

droomyster, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.1/5  rDev +55.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kirin Ichiban has a very thick, white head and a clear, golden appearance with lots of bubbles streaming up and a good amount of lacing left behind. The aroma is of typical, run-of-the-mill beer, and the taste is semi-sweet, grainy, and it also has some mild hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is light and watery, and Kirin Ichiban finishes crisp, refreshing, and mostly dry. Overall, this is a delicious beer, and I highly recommend it.


RonaldTheriot, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of jeranbrews
2.83/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - served in a big frosted mug. Big creamy puffy head that crawls down leaving sediments of light bathroom shower scum lacing. Color is a bubbly very very clear brass yellow

S - pale weak straw and hay. Not much hop and not much malt although there is a lot if barley in there. No yeast.

T - initial hoppy snap that trickels to a simple pale malt and an aftertaste of pilsner cascade hop

M - refreshing. A bit dry and light but smooth enough.

D - A beer for a days hard labor. Not outstanding but fills a need for the overworked salary men that fill this land

jeranbrews, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of renolayton
2.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

I wish I had read the reviews before buying this beer. Oh well, you live and you learn.

It looks awful even in the bottle. There was nothing smell-worthy about it, but then again, it didn't smell like anything in-particular, which made it smell quite average. It tasted like fizzy alcoholic water. It had an average mouthfeel, and was entirely drinkable because it was only marginally different from water.

Summary: A good beer for beer-pong.

renolayton, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of rarbring
3.55/5  rDev +34.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clear straw colored beer,a white high and firm head that leaves good lacing.

The smell is fragrant citric, fresh grass and nettles.

The taste has a pure dextrose sweetness, the lemon and lime juice, finishing with bitter nuances newly mowed grass.

Rather small carbonation, small bubbles, soft and a fresh texture, a rather small body, but a smooth dryness.

A nice well balanced beer, went well with sushi.

rarbring, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
2.42/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Very clear straw colored. Bright white head that was very fizzy with little retention or lacing. This looks like a "macro" for sure. Several bubbles streaming to the top. The aromas was corn and grain. Some malt character. Maybe a faint biscuit. Everything was very faint. The taste was of a cereal grain and corn. Some minute bitterness. Not a real pleasing taste. Tastes like a "macro" also. Getting a stale, metallic taste too. The mouthfeel was light and watery. It is refreshing and crisp yet I will only have when dining at an asian establishment.

CuriousMonk, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of dbaker61
2.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark yellow color. Pours with a half finger head which dissipates relatively quickly. Leaves a little foam lacing.

Smell: Cooked cereal.

Taste: Has a little hops bitterness, decent balance with the malt. A bit more flavor than many other adjuncts.

Mouthfeel: Refreshing, clears well off the palate. Medium body.

Drinkability: I could have more than one. This beer compares well with similar beers of the style.

dbaker61, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of secondtooth
2.35/5  rDev -11%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This adjunct lager pours a cloudy golden, with an average head and minimal lace.
Scent is clean...with overtones of rice and corn.
Flavor is light, without any guts.
I get some toasted rice, but no followthrough or depth.
Complexity = 0.
Kirin is an easy-to-drink light beer, and would probably be fine alongside a nice spicy Thai noodle dish, but as a drinking beer, this one fails.

secondtooth, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.65/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light yellow color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains lager yeast, light malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a mild malt sweetness which transitions into some breadiness from the light malts and lager yeast. The hops presence is mild and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, light-to-medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Not very flavorful, goes down easily and not too filling since there isn't much to it, mild kick, decent representation of style, it's better than I had expected but there are several other beers in the style that I would choose first.

TheManiacalOne, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of jadpsu
2.58/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Has a bottled date of 30 March 11.
Pours a pale straw yellow with an abundant white head that held up pretty good and provided some decent side glass lacing.
Aroma: Corn husk and maybe a earthy smells.
Reminds me of many economy american macros.
Taste: Not too good but not terrible. Nothing comes across under the label of enjoyable. Has some crispness and on the dry side but also skunky for sure.
This is my second try on this beer and the first only got a score of 2.13. This score will probably be better but not by much.

jadpsu, Jan 28, 2011
Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 1,390 ratings.