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Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,320 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,320
Reviews: 528
rAvg: 2.63
pDev: 23.19%
Wants: 9
Gots: 76 | 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: 1,320 | Reviews: 528 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drabmuh
2.23/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Its CANtastic, sorry woody. I was at a sushi restaurant with my wife wiggle tonight and I was drinking this beer and realized that I just like beer. Its the texture maybe that I like but even when drinking a shitty macro knock off adjunct clear lager like this, I love beer. Sure I could go home and drink a 5 year old Cantillon Kriek, but would that pair well with raw fish and sticky rice? Maybe not. There is so much rice in the dinner and in the beer, they are like the yin and yang of this culture. I doubt many Japanese are pleased with this beer but who cares. I'm home now and drinking homebrewed IPA and loving it. Off to the review, as if even I care.

I had 1 pint 8 ounces of this beer served to me in a shaker pint out of a rather ornamental can (tall boy). Beer is yellow and clear with high carbonation and a head of medium and small bubbles that will eventually break leaving no lacing on the glass. This what a 6 year old that watches too much TV would draw if asked to draw "beer"...looks like beer to me.

Aroma is weak and has this biting grainy edge to it. Hmmm....

Beer is medium to light in body, actually has more body to it than I expected. Interesting. I've had a lot of cheap lagers and I can say without hyperbole that this is the bottom of the barrel. Its acrid and harsh without an aftertaste but the dry finish reveals this horrible bitterness from what I can only assume is rice and corn. Its not a drain pour kind of accident but its about there. I doubt I will venture into the Kirin world again.

drabmuh, Jul 12, 2010
Photo of rootbeerman
2.93/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: somewhat of a heavy pour into a duvel tulip produces a three finger white fluffy head. body is pale gold in color. a small amount of lacing.
S: rice and not much else, very plain maybe a bit of a dry hop earthiness
T: very light on taste, probably what cold carbonated rice tea would taste like. not really and hop flavor noticeable. overall just very light on flavor.
M: also light in the mouth, sort of watery and light carbonation was medium high.
D: poundable due to light mouthfeel and flavor.

rootbeerman, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of tjsdomer2
2.98/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear yellow with flat carbonation. Flat appearance in the bottle at a sushi restaurant I visited. However, a canned version I had later showed good head retention and foam though.

Smell: Mostly rice with a bit of hops and lemon.

Taste/Mouthfeel: A bit too much like tonic water. This bottle is definitely expired, so I'm sure it can be better. Tastes like creamy rice and lemon sourness. Definitely an alcoholic bite.

Drinkability: Nothing offense or special either way. Great with sushi.

Overall: See drinkability.

tjsdomer2, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of kneeland
3.65/5  rDev +38.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like most Japanese beers, maybe because a lot of them don't taste like Japanese beers. I've heard Kirin is overseen by Anheuser-Busch, so that explains a lot.

It is a tasty, lightly colored lager with a malt palate and a semi-dry hop finish. I really enjoyed, and will order another one some time.

kneeland, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of bsp77
3.45/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from draft into pint glass.

Appearance: Light pale yellow with stark white head.

Smell: Very mild, with dry malts and very light spicy hops.

Taste: Dry grainy malts that are slightly Pilsner-like, some spicy hops.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, light body, nice crisp, dry finish.

Drinkability: Quite good for a Japanese Rice Lager. Easy to drink with a nice dry finish, leaving you begging for more.

bsp77, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.28/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle picked up at Brewforia over the weekend... ehhh... I had to tick this style at some point.

My first beer of the night.. poured into my small Grolsch goblet... 1" stark white head... very clear golden brew.

Nose is pale malts with a twist of lemon zest.. nothing really going on here..

Flavor has watery pale malts... slight spicy malts and again something that I can only describe as lemon..

Body is light... carbonation is pretty high... For the style, this is pretty much what I expect... High Praise is it is not skunky and is pretty refreshing while I water misc. flower pots around the backyard... refreshing on a hot spring night.

Will I ever buy this again, NO.... I would rather have iced tea... but really... what do you want?


JohnGalt1, Jun 01, 2010
Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle - $1.29 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. Bottled on March 2, 2010.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dandelion-hued body with a billowing, white head with some staying power.

Smell: Simple, rudimentary nose of lightly sweet-scented barley, sun-dried grain husks, and a modestly spicy, grassy hops.

Taste: Faint maltiness with a light cereal sweetness and a pervasive, disagreeable husk accent. Noble hop character with a light spiciness and balancing bitterness. Crisp, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation. Mouthfeel is a tad watery.

Drinkability: Unremarkable, unmemorable lager, though, it does serve to provide a modicum of refreshment. Still, it's not particularly pleasant and one I don't see myself revisiting, even at the local sushi joint, as I tend to stick to the sake. It did look nice, but if that was enough, then I could skip the beer store and just cruise Google Image.

ChainGangGuy, May 24, 2010
Photo of KTCamm
2.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a tall pilsner glass at Go Fish in St Helena CA.

Pour is a dull clear golden yellow, see through, with little white foam. Smell is absent - bland, if that is even something one can smell. But nothing noteworthy.

Taste is very clean, almost watery, with a mild hop conclusion. Very little going on here.

Its not that this is a bad beer, but there certainly isn't anything memorable about it. Just so so.

KTCamm, May 14, 2010
Photo of wahhmaster
2.2/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a 1 pt. 8 oz. can into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a pale, translucent yellow color with lots of carbonation bubbles. Has a thin, fizzy head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing. Standard macro lager territory here.

Smell: Sweet and grainy. Once again, this is standard macro lager territory.

Taste: Slightly bitter up front. Develops into a sweet, grainy taste with a strong metallic twinge to it. I'm not impressed. Leaves an unpleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Hardly any body to speak of and way too carbonated.

Drinkability: Not the worst beer on the market but definitely nothing worth having often. It goes down easy and isn't THAT offensive in taste. Pretty standard macro lager, in my opinion.

wahhmaster, May 13, 2010
Photo of tjd112
1.3/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Presentation - Poured into pint glass

Appearance - Yellow body, slightly less pee looking than your average adjunct lager, fizzy head that leaves some lacing

Smell - Almost nothing at all, faint riciness

Taste - Tinny with a hint of rice

Mouthfeel - Like water

Drinkability - Could barely get through one

Overall - Ick!!

tjd112, May 05, 2010
Photo of TXAggie
3.23/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance 3.0: Light, fairly typical golden color. Head retention is considerably low. Lacing is moderate to low.

Smell 3.0: Light bitter smell to it, and doesn't have a particularly distinct aroma.

Taste 3.5: Fairly average and though it isn't noteworthy, it is appealing. Nevertheless, there isn't any qualities to it that would make it better than the average beer.

Mouthful 3.0: Respectable, justly carbonated and adequately smooth

Drinkability 3.0: One or two beers could definitely be consumed in one sitting, but it would probably not be my preference. However, I do respect it as a quality brewed beer.

TXAggie, Apr 26, 2010
Photo of mralphabet
2.78/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 Bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Yellow with a touch of orange, translucent. About a fingers worth of head that dissipates quickly leaving no lacing.

S: Not much here.... What I do smell is sweet and grainy.

T: Not as bad as I was thinking it would be considering the smell. Just a touch of hoppy bitterness at the start and leveled out with a sweet finish. I am getting a hint of rice in the aftertaste.

M: Light crisp and clean.

D: Nothing big or different here, pretty boring over all. The ABV is pretty good and I could have a few of these with no problems, but why would you.

My first Japanese beer... nothing to special but worth a try to get my feet wet in Japanese beer... I might try a few more of these...

mralphabet, Apr 12, 2010
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.28/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass. Bottled on 10FEB10, no other info.

A - Crystal clear pale yellow straw color lets a few carbonation bubbles rising be seen clearly. The cloud-white, pillowy head started at two fingers and dropped considerably fast but left clumpy fingers of lace all over.

S - Lofty aroma of skunkiness, dry, husky grains and rice. Very crisp and light in the nose. Small pilsner malts and a mild hop scent in the background.

T - Pilsner malts and a light floral hop flavor is immediately evident but becomes over-shadowed by rice and a dry husky graininess. Better served colder.

M - Smooth and light-bodied with a refreshing, thirst-quenching finish that's moderately carbonated.

D - Reasonably drinkable with decent flavor for what it is. It'll pair well with most Asian food and that's generally when I have it. Definitely sessionable.

BeerFMAndy, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of kflorence
2.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 24 oz. can of this at BevMo. The can looks enticing and predominantly features the mystical Kirin deer-dragon frolicking over the white and gold Kirin Ichiban logo. Unfortunately I failed to read the fine print -- "brewed by Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles, CA." I couldn't help but feel a bit let down. Anyways...

A: Drank this bad-boy out of the can, though poured I would imagine it would look like any other macro-lager, pale straw in color with some foamy head.

S: Not much to smell here. Mostly sweet corn, rice and grain. Some metal and skunk, but much less than other lagers. Really reminds me of my photography teacher in college who used to drink this religiously.

T: Nothing special here either, though it does bring back memories. The flavor is better, in my opinion, than some other American macros (Budweiser, Miller, Keystone, etc.), but it's nothing to write home about. Mostly sweet corn, rice and grains (just like the smell). The aftertaste isn't overly obtrusive, nothing off-putting here.

M: I rather like the mouthfeel of this brew. It's super smooth with a good amount of carbonation and even some resemblance of body. A light beer for sure, feels nice on the way down.

D: I could drink a few of these. The flavor isn't anything special, but it's not disgusting either. If this were cheap I might have a few in my fridge on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there are other beers out there that are far superior for the price. If only this had been an import from Japan, it would at least lend it some cultural novelty. Instead, it's just another American macro.

kflorence, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of FreshHawk
2.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Light golden yellow. Large, fluffy white head. Recedes about average with a bit of lacing.

S - Slight sweet, cooked grain malts.

T - Lots of sweet grain malt taste. Not a lot else, really. A little bit of grassy hops. Very adjunct lager tasting.

M - Light and crisp. High carbonation, and fizzy.

D - Alright. Light and easy to drink, but the flavor isn't really great. Not much flavor, just sweet grain corn/rice flavor.

Notes: Taste a lot like a macro. A bit more sweet and grain taste than other Macros, but that's not necessarily a good or bad thing.

FreshHawk, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of TX911
2.17/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

So basically, imagine going out and eating the worst food ever. I mean like rotted eel in Cambodia, having a horrible intestinal infection, shitting all over yourself for a week, letting the excrement bake in the sun for a few days, then mixing it with water and bottling it. That's pretty much the taste that Kirin offers. I'll just leave it at that.

TX911, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of PEIBeerGuy
2.88/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very pale, very clear, apple-juice-yellow beer. The short head, which left some traces on the glass, is gone quickly.

The smell is pretty much a non-smell. Pretty generic. Similar to some mass-market green-bottled Euro beers.

The taste isn't bad, but there isn't much there, either. Kind of reminds me of a bland version of the Keith's draft I used to drink in university. No real complaints, no real character.

Feels fine in the mouth. Average.

Pretty drinkable. This'd be a great beer in university if it was really cheap. Not too much to it, and goes down easy.

PEIBeerGuy, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of biboergosum
3.03/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

650ml bottle, at a Japanese sushi joint in downtown Toronto. It's the only kind of place where I find it hard to resist a bottle of Japanese lager.

This beer pours a crystal clear, pale golden straw colour, with three fingers of puffy, thinly foamy, and yet mildly creamy bone-white head, which leaves some chunky elongated lace around the tall Sapporo (branding fail!) glass as it readily recedes.

It smells of semi-sweet, grainy white rice, a weird vegetal corn sourness, acetone, stale lemon, and weedy, mildly grassy hops. The taste is more glutenous white rice grain, yeasty corn mash, a faint white breadiness, somewhat acrid citrus pith, wet straw, and floral, dead grassy hops.

The carbonation is on the low side, but still quite frothy, the body a rather light medium weight, generally smooth, and just a tad cloying. It finishes actually pretty clean, with a cheaply innocuous blend of grains, and a suggestion of sucking on a plastic fork.

As usual, hardly something worthy of seeking out on its own, but given a place next to its country of origin's food (especially if it's of the spicy sort), these kinds of lagers seem to work - here, it was a decent enough serving for one when used for washing down some chili tuna maki rolls and beef tataki.

biboergosum, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
2.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal-clear and extremely light straw-yellow with a thick pure white head.

No hop smell whatsoever. The faint malt aroma is overridden by a stronger clean ricey smell.

Tastes of a hint of cereal grains, and a definite sake-ricey taste, similar to a tart apple, but without the appeal. A little metallic taste, like cafeteria silverware.

The body is decent in this brew, I suppose due to being absolutely packed with rice. With a nice mouthfeel, the only thing detracting from it is its prickly carbonation.

I'd call the Kirin Ichiban at least as drinkable as Budweiser. It is not a good beer by any stretch of the definition, but it is not offensive either.

MrHassellYaHurd, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer’s namesake is not just any dragon-deer-fish-ox-lion hybrid, but Japan’s most powerful (and peaceful) beast.

With that in mind, its time to drink some rice beer.

A – Bright brassy gold, bubbly, with a fair head that quickly dissipates. Average macro-lager looks.

S – The abyss; a void; space; nothingness; non-existence. This beer has achieved Zen, in terms of aroma. Obviously, that is not a good thing.

T – It tastes pretty good poured out of this 22 oz. can, to be honest. I do not like it on draft. Generally non-descript flavor, mostly populated by impressions of clean malt and dryness and bitterness.

M – Sharp like the teeth of a dragon, the antlers of a deer, the gills of a fish, and the claws of a lion. I am sure this is what was intended for the mouthfeel. I say, why shun the ox?

D – It is on the better side for macro-beer, but certainly not anything to be excited about. Passable, not desirable.

ktrillionaire, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of WakeandBake
2.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle , Brewed By AB in the US . A clear light straw color pour with a thin fizzy short lasting white head , no lacing , medium carbonation . Aroma is slightly grainy ,a little corn and a hint of sweetness in the background , faint hops . Flavor is light and crisp , again a very light sweetness with some faint hop notes , nothing offensive , light body , thin watery mouthfeel typical of the style , light grainy finish , sessionable and drinkable , a good try but probably nothing I would buy again . . . meh

WakeandBake, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of CRichardsMN
2.13/5  rDev -19%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Crystal clear straw yellow with a very pillowy 1.5" white head that falls to a film and leaves a good deal of lacing behind.

Pretty sweet grain with a mild funky hops typical of a lager.

For a darker than average lager (AAJ or Rice, whatever...), this is meek at best. There is so little flavor, I think I might taste the glass... I guess the taste of my mouth might be clouded by grain and a little dryness but I'm not entirely convinced.

Very thin and very carbonated.

Glad this was a freebie. Let's be honest, I wouldn't buy AAJ or Rice Beer for myself but maybe for a frat party... In that case, I would just buy local as it is relatively the same thing (poor) and local is cheaper.

Yet another disappointing Japanese brew... Anyone know of anything better from there as I am unwilling to write off the whole country (and don't say Hitachino, not impressed there either).

CRichardsMN, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of allforbetterbeer
2.35/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, brewed on date clearly marked on bottle. Good lacing.

A: Soft white fluffy head that sticks surprisingly well over a pale straw body.

S: Light grain adjuncts, a bit of astringent off smell, and some rice.

T: The taste is very singular, rather clean, and mild. Straw like light malts with a slight hop note in the beginning and a bit of biscuit at the end... a metallic off taste comes very late in the aftertaste and hangs around. This kind of ruins everything...

M: Average carbonation, thin and though it is not watery necessarily, it is kind of limp.

D: Very drinkable but not very satisfying.

Overall: Another so-so rice lager. I have yet to try an example of this style that is unique from a mediocre light macro lager. This example however isn't even brewed in Japan, so it does not even get credit for being a culturally interesting import.

allforbetterbeer, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of bismarksays
2/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Served in a 10 oz mug

Appearance: Straw colored, nice head and lacing. A promising start

Smell: Oh dear. Not a good follow. Smells of skunk and..I don't know...cabbage maybe/rotten vegetable medley.

Taste/Mouthfeel: A bit like it smells. Grainy and strange, not well balanced at all. I guess carbonation was okay.

If all I had to judge this beer by was a kinda nifty sumo tap handle and the looks, it would probably do alright. Sadly, the smell and taste really brought down the overall experience of the beer.

Drinkability: No. Just no. Never again.

bismarksays, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of Gambrinus1184
2.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a fluted Sapporo glass at Noble Japanese Steakhouse in Southington, Conn.

A: Poured a clean, pale yellow color with a thin, fizzy head of carbonation which left no lace.

S: Smells a little like expired Cheerios and an open can of corn. Seriously, little in the way of malts or hops here, just adjunct aromas.

T: Lightly sweet and fizzy adjunct flavors as well. Cooked corn and rice combined with the light, dry flavor of herbal hops. A little peppery and metallic in the finish.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty clean and crisp but on its own it was a little seltzery.

D: Maybe one could use this to cut through Japanese cuisine, but I think it'd actually wind up hurting the dish. Can't really recommend it on its own, but if you're like me, you're willing to try any brew at least once, right?

Gambrinus1184, Jan 18, 2010
Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
62 out of 100 based on 1,320 ratings.