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Kirin Ichiban | Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

581 Reviews
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Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Brewed by:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Japan | website

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Kirin Ichiban is one of the world's most unique premium beers. The Ichiban shibori process uses only the most flavorful portion of the finest ingredients.

100% Malt.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2001

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Reviews: 581 | Ratings: 1,716
Photo of tone77
3.01/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Virtually no smell here, some hints of rice. Taste is crisp and mild, finishing dry. Not a whole lot of flavor here. Feels light in the mouth and has pretty good drinkability. Overall a fairly average beer.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
1.08/5  rDev -59.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pale yellow body, not much head, just a film of loose bubbles on the top. Not particularly inspiring.

Nose is a sickly sweet grainy smell, with a hint of something slightly rancid. It smells a bit like a rubbish bin that's been left in the sun. This is a really disgusting smelling beer.

The taste is again, very sweet and cloying. Leaves a rather unpleasant sugary taste in your mouth. There's no bitterness there to create some sharpness; it makes you feel sick in your stomach. Mouthfeel is watery. Truly awful.

This is an atrocious beer. I mean really, really awful. One of the worst beers I've ever tasted. Offensive and undrinkable. I cannot recommend enough that you stay away from this shit.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.16/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours with a two-finger white head that leaves some lace. Clear pale amber color. Very light bodied and light carbonation. Slightly hoppy nose. Starts sweet with some hoppy overtones, finish is bland and watery. Works as a lawn mower beer and not much more. $1.60 for 12 oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, Ma.

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Photo of wl0307
2.7/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Coming in a 350ml can, produced on 14/06/2011, BB 13/06/2012, served chilled in a slim pilsner glass.

A: pale straw in colour, coming with lively fizziness mainly consisting of medium-large bubbles, while the thin off-white beer head lasts pretty well.
S: very light lager malts’ aroma flows with a mild edge of lager’s sourness, while a gentle whiff of hoppiness stays behind. A swirl brings out more doughy aroma, while the malts underneath also manifest more. Not like other Japanese adjunct-rich lager, this one seems to stand up to the promise of “100% malts”
T: the foretaste is a bit weird, at first hop-bitter, a bit dry, then an intriguing flow of sour grain-mash ensues, followed by more rough bitterness… Malts pretty much disintegrates amidst these elements, rendering only a faint trace of grains in the very end. Hops, in both bitterness and aroma, seem to retain a rather low level, showing random fruitiness also in the very end.
M&D: due to the low serving temp., the fizziness doesn’t seem to bother that much, overall refreshing anyway. This beer’s promise lags way behind its performance, I’m afraid. Albeit adjunct free, the taste and body don’t seem to benefit directly from this fact, while the alc. content stands out where the flavour wanes, which is a critical failure in terms of production and balance, IMO.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.98/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(Served in an imperial strange)

A- Pours a very pale yellow with a slight orange hint. Almost no carbonation visible in this crystal clear body and a big creamy head.

S- Very crisp clean aroma with a faint hint of fragrant rice. It also has the very faint hint of decomposing leaves that is not a pleasant smell.

T- Very light hop bitterness at the initial sip and then a unique taste of rice. It is a almost sweet rice finish but it is very light and delicate.

M- Very light watery mouthfeel with no carbonation and no astringency at all.

D-This is very unique even from other adjunct beers. It accents the rice in the beer instead of masking it. The smell kind of puts me off but the taste in surprisingly interesting. I didn't find the beer all that well rounded just unique. I didn't notice any malt and only faint hints of hops.

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Photo of akorsak
3.68/5  rDev +39.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a pint glass, served on-tap and in a pilsner glass, at PF Chang's restaurant, a Chinese-American chain. The lager is cold.

Appearance: The lager has a nice golden color, a little deeper than a pilsner, but still crystal clear. Must be the pour, but there is no head.

Smell: The lager has a nice malty aroma. The light aroma clearly supports the inclusion of rice on the brewing. There is no appreciable hop aroma.

Taste: The malts (including the rice) give the lager a very pleasing taste. The flavors are not too overwhelming (a drawback for some, perhaps), but they go very well with the delicate flavors and spices of Asian food (yes, this is Chinese food, but there was no Tsing-Tao on tap).

Mouthfeel: The malts are pleasant and low-key, although I'd love just a little hop kick.

Drinkability: This is a very good beer, ably representing its style. I could have had many more, if only I weren't driving...

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Photo of beerthulhu
1.71/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Label reads "brewed under the STRICT supervision of Kirins Brewmaster by Annheuser-Busch". Well let me tell you something I think the someone fell asleep during this batch.

A: Any hoot, poured a clear, pale straw color with a short lived fizzy white head. Visible carbonation was fairly strong and aggressive.

S: light cabbage aromas.

T: The flavor was stale rice grains, with a slight green vegetable bitterness. A light aluminum taste was always observed. Odd as rice usually imparts a neutral crisp flavor while this was anything but. Green vegetables and sour celery stalks only add insult to injury for this beer.

M: watery, thin, dry , fizzy and otherwise repulsive.

D: not on my life. Cleaned my sink drain pretty good.

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Photo of puboflyons
2.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle marked 07JAN14 so this may be a bit old as I am sampling it on May 16, 2014.

It looks like the style should with a pale yellow color building up to an enormous white fizzy head that lingers for some time.

I picked up a brown bottle but it had that green bottle skunkiness, which was a disappointment. However, on second sniff I do pick up a modest sweet malt character and a clean crisp hope bite.

Light body.

The taste expresses itself a bit better than the aroma with a notable barley and pale malt character kicking in. Sweet. Clean, crisp finish. Easy to drink. It is not as bad as all that.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.1/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

$2.86 for the 22oz bottle, May 3, 2010 is the bottling date.

A light golden colour, it has a good 2 finger head of foam. It does look pretty average overall.

The nose is light..some sweet notes, some grain, a bit like most of the macro lagers but not as offensive.

The taste is lightly sweet with some grainy notes, and not a bad bit of bitterness especially near the finish. A decent taster.

The body is close to medium with fairly brisk carbonation.

Drinkability is pretty good with this one as it is fairly smooth and fairly refreshing. I wouldn't turn one down if offered.

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Photo of Haybeerman
2.44/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Pale straw color. Poured a 1 finger stark white head that dissipated quickly to a broken skim. Decanted lightly. Laced in inconsistent thin rings.

S: Wet grain maybe some hay. Muted honey or apple note that was very faint. Not much there.

T: Wow. In another word: bland. Watery and wet with little sweetness coming from someting. Despite the wet start, finishes crisp and a litte dry.

M: Light (thin) body. Ample carbonation. Thats about all I can say.

D: Its not like I can't drink it, but why. Has little to offer.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.1/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle poured into pint glass sept14 2009

A crystal clear straw yellow with little head and no lace

S a little sweet with some rice crispy cereal and a little grass

T as it smells, quite bland really

M thin but with good carbonation

D not bad overall, pretty easy too drink but nothing worth looking for

Nothing offensive but worth mentioning

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Photo of spinrsx
2.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz Bottle

Appearance - Clear gold/yellow colour with a large size fizzy white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is a fair amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Grains, malts, corn, hops

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an above average amount of carbonation. I can taste grains mixed with malts and some cooked corn. There are also some fruit flavours.. apples mixed with lemons and a slight amount of hop bitterness.

Overall – The beer is not offensive and it's fairly drinkable. The taste is well balanced and although I wouldn't buy it again - I also wouldn't turn one away if offered.

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Photo of bluejacket74
2.72/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of DrDemento456
2.9/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Looks pretty good so far. Half inch of head with no lace to speak of and a beer as yellow and clear as any. Ow man I hope it doesn't suck...

S - Smells of vegetables, slight cooked grain and rice with a bit of hops.

T - A bit bitter and kind of sweet, with a lingering flavor of butter. It's not so bad. Weird lingering taste must be band aid.

M - Light to medium. Man this is beer for men. *spit*

Overall I got this when I mixed and matched at my local place and man was I pissed on this one. A slight side step to typical BMC, but not much as its just as hard to keep down. Average beer at best.

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Photo of Brad007
1.71/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a light golden color with a one-finger head and lots of carbonation into my pint glass.

Aroma is light with the strong hint of rice and sweet malt upfront. Certainly seems on par with the style.

Taste is crisp with mild bitterness and rice showing through in the middle. Seems a bit unpleasant and harsh. A bit sweet as well.

Mouthfeel is full of the lingering bitter and rice flavors. Pretty harsh and not easy to enjoy.

An average rice beer here. You probably should avoid it if rice isn't your thing.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
1.41/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Weak yellow color, no head, but somehow there was lace left on the glass. Aroma was lacking, had some of the blandness of rice and crap vegetable beer, mixed with the efficiency of an industrial area and boiling water (metal, hydraulic fluid).

More of the same in the taste, cooked rice and frozen veggies, the shitty kind, that is like chock full of lima beans. Extremely thin body amounting to nothing in terms of taste from a positive standpoint.

I can't think of any scenario where I would recommend this. No wait, mortal enemies.

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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.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.12/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Whenever I'm at PH Changs this is my go to beer. Its light straw and way to fizzy. The aroma is lighte with a hint of skunk but not as bad as much macros. The taste is a little skunk as well with a bite at the end that on its own would make it undrinkable, but have some spicy chinese and this is fine to drink.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.7/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It seems impossible I've never rated this beer, I've had it so many times during trips to Japan. I had it again last night with a dinner of ramen and gyouza so here's a recent review.

The beer looks like any mass produced lager, crystal clear and the color of straw with a thick white head. The aroma is mostly neutral, but on the malty side if anything. Paradoxically the flavor is on the hoppy side of neutral, if only from the bitterness in the after-taste. Everything about this is neutral but that's the style so I'm not scoring it too low. The drinkability is high, as is the drinkability of water.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.56/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Straw color with a huge white head and very active carbonation which lasts. All adjunct "cooked rice/corn" aroma and flavor but it is thirst quenching. Medium-light bodied with a light smooth creaminess with a crisp biting dry finish.

Pass on this and spend a few more dimes to get some Sapporo.

Per Can: "Anheuser Busch Inc, Los Angeles, CA"

Packaged: 12/20/04
Tasted: 03/12/05

($2.29 / 24 oz. tall can)

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Photo of tigg924
1.65/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appearance: one inch frothy head, high carbonation, bright yellow color

Smell: grass and malt

Taste: grass and malt.not much going on here

Mouthfeel: very high carbonation, smooth, and semi-sweet

Drinkability: I am not against the style, but I could not finish this one. This was my first drain pour in a long time. The taste has some bitter that is very off putting. Two sips are sadly enough.

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Photo of Gusler
2.26/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The beer has the typical lager/pils color, a cloudless golden straw, with a pertinent white head and adequate lace. Malt dominates the nose, the start lightly sweet, the top skinny in feel, with a bitingly acidic finish, the hops detectable, dry aftertaste. Is it me or all these beers "One Dimensional", I've tasted dozens of Pacific Rim Beers, and the only difference is the label, or is it that I'm and "Anti-Lager" Snob?

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Photo of Stevedore
3.26/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Served at a ramen restaurant on Ramen Street at Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan on the first night we arrived. I was given a can and proper glassware to drink out of.

Poured a light yellow body, one finger white head that fit the glass perfectly, lots of lacing. Good retention. It's as if the glass was designed for the beer. Smells of a mild skunkiness, light bready grain, mild noble hop, crackers. It's not complicated, but about what I expected from a macro lager. Flavour is similar; less skunky, nice grainy breadiness, a bit of earthy noble hops, biscuit, cracker. It's drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium-thinner bodied, good carbonation, refreshing when cold. Overall, as expected for a macro lager. It drinks great with hot ramen, I'll tell you that much.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.28/5  rDev +24.2%
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.

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Photo of AgentMunky
2.7/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a glass.
Limpid yellow with good white head. It smells like a rice lager. Sweet and a bit foul. It tastes okay! Not overly sweet. Lagery and watery and lightly hopped. Well carbonated. Aftertaste is slightly metallic. A pretty palatable rice lager.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 581 ratings.