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Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Educational use only; do not reuse.

555 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 555
Hads: 1,610
Avg: 2.63
pDev: 39.16%
Wants: 10
Gots: 250 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2001

Confirmed that this beer is "all malt" as of Oct. 2010.
View: Beers (50) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kirin Ichiban Alström Bros
Reviews: 555 | Hads: 1,610
Photo of John_Henry
2.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of skynxnex
2.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at a Chinese chain. Served in a iced pilsner glass. Even came with a small piece of icing floating. I let it warm up some to see if it any smell would come out. Appearance was pale yellow, but not as pale as some. Small bubbles, no head. Tiny bit of lacing.

Smell was almost all alcoholy when it was ice cold, as it warmed it expressed a very slight malt/grain smell. No real hop smell noticed.

It tasted... ok. Nothing of note. Maybe very slightly alcohol. Some malt with a hint of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel was fine. It was thin, but not over carbonated.

I was able to drink it with no problems as I had my somewhat spicy Chinese food. Went fairly well with it. By no means a good beer, but it was, over all, ok. Probably won't have again.

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Photo of unit555
1.9/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pale color with a head that disappears immediately. Had a yeasty smell that made me think it would almost be "chewy" when I tasted it. However it turned out to be thin with a flat aftertaste. I'm not familair with oriental beer so maybe it is supposed to be this way. I was not impressed.

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Photo of utahbeerdude
2.39/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Visual: Nice, fairly deep golden color, darker than I expected, given that it is an An. Busch product. Head diminished to a thin layer rather quickly.
Aroma: Pils/light-lager aroma at very first, but diminished in intensity quickly and some iron emerged in the aroma.
Flavor: Not seemingly bitter at first, but it builds in intensity with each successive sip – bitterness then lingers quite a long time. Definitely more bitter on back end than front. Not a lot of maltiness going on. A lot of "adjunctness" in the middle somewhere. Overall seems rather clean with emphasis on fairly smooth bitterness, if not the most smooth. Bitterness quality slightly reminiscent of Steinlager. After warming it goes downhill a bit, best at 40 F.
Mouthfeel: Decent body.
Overall: A strange brew overall: a kind of unbalanced combinaton that makes it rather unpleasant.

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Photo of iman99
4.24/5  rDev +61.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just drank a 25 oz got it from the store in florida at Publix for 2.13 after tax its 1.99 before tax its a nice morning drink.

this is an amazing beer, really nice taste and gives you a nice feeling doesn't give you the real cheap feeling like some other high gravity beers give you, doesn't make you have all kinds of weird things going on in your head like some of the cheap beers do, really pleasant

highly recommend

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Photo of tbone53
3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

this is what i remember it tasting like when i was a young sailor.nothing spectacular here.comes in a brown long neck bottle with a born on date.you can taste the alcohol i think it is higher than listed.pours and has moderate head.even lacing down the glass.taste ok i wouldnt turn it down.

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Photo of beer272
2.88/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of boblinneman
2.15/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewed by Bud, and guess what taste like Bud. This is not a dry beer, it leaves an aftertaste on your tongue that you will try to scrap off. This beer taste like it smells, so do yourself a favor smell it first, I'm sure you will go no further. Wish I could say more on the flavor characteristics, but I don't know what the hell they were.

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Photo of pojo41
2.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pale straw color with a fluffy white head. Highly carbonated. Slight malt flavor with no real hop character. Bland aroma of straw. Just another run-of-the-mill pale lager. Might be OK after a day working in the yard or as a session beer while grilling.
Described as "rice lager." That's really all you need to know.

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Photo of checkfeet
3.24/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I think the version brewed in Japan must be better than the one in North America.

Pours clear and straw-like, nothing you wouldn't expect.

There is actually more to the nose than most macro lagers: pineapple and grapes, reminiscent of some white wines.

Crisp, clean bite with kind of a starchy, bitter aftertaste.

Not incredible, but I'd choose it over other Asian macro lagers (maybe not Yebisu) and any North American one.

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Photo of avaulteriam
2.26/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This one was pleasant when paired with other lagers, but I'm not a pale lager fan. At any rate, easy to drink, reasonably balanced with minimal hops/malt. ok beer. A bit biscuity and again, very easy drinking. Pale yellow with same soapy head. Soft at least.

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Photo of quikfish13
1.35/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

My very first Japanese beer. So I shall so this entire review as if I was an anime character. OKAY!!

A: Oh no! The fizzy yellow is attacking! With no head and clear golden color we must use powers of great smell to counteract it!

S: OH NO!! We have failed again as bitter vegetable smell with no hops! AHH! Taste is to surely save us!

T: Drat! Foiled again by the inferior taste compared to beer that actually tastes like beer!. Still getting bitter vegetable tastes and no hops or malt flavor to speak of!

M: Watery to the extreme!! Feels like I drink water that get you drunk with no carbonation to speak of!

D: We are doomed!! American consumer should rather spend less money on Bud light rather than drink this! Ahhh!!!

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Photo of roscoehnj
2.02/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

From an 18 ounce bottle at a sushi bar with the usual poor selection (why can't they at least carry SNPA?). Not much to look at - pale and watery looking, closely matching the taste. Mouthfeel was very thin. The beer was light and slightly nasty. Would have been better off with the budweiser - I guess I like corn better than rice for my macro beers. The Japanese make some nice sakes - why are there no decent Japanese beers?

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Photo of BeerLovinWoman87
2.09/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Kirin was one of the first beers I tried. I haven't had one in many months, so I decided to see what it tasted like now that I have tried other beers.

This beer has almost no flavor. It pours a pale yellow with a quickly fading head. If I had wanted yellow water I would have drank a bud light. Definitely not worth the price, and not as good as I remember.

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Photo of supervike
2.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light flavored American style lager. All the malt and taste is up front and has a smooth clean finish. It tastes better than it's slightly skunky smell.

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Photo of JeffreyG
2.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I ordered this beer in a Japanese Tebanyaki Steak house. I figured I would have a Japanese beer (I didn't know until I read the label it was brewed by AB). I was disappointed by this beer. It was pale in color (looked like a macro) and just didn't have much flavor. It did remind me a little of other imported lager's like Heineken or Amstel, but it's not quite on their level (and that's not saying much). I did however enjoy the meal so much that it didn't even matter that I had an uninteristing beer, and in fact it did go well with the meal (in that it knew better than to get in the way!).

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Photo of StuFox
2.76/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Everyone mentioned the weak taste, and I'll agree, but with two caveats. The first is that the Ichiban is better tasting than the regular Kirin. It has a deeper flavor that is hoppier with hints of wheat and a some malt. Second, think of it as a tool for the meal. Sushi in particular, and much japanese food in general, has a delicate taste to it. This is a beer that will refresh you with some carbonation and not overpower the flavor of the dish. Would I buy a six pack of this at the store? No, but I wouldn't want to drink an Expedition stout while eating Toro either. Kirin plays a role in the culinary arena, and it does it well.

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Photo of CalhounJohn
2.84/5  rDev +8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

What a mistake. I was eating sushi and wanted an imported Japanese beer to drink with our meal, so in a rush and without first consulting BA, I ordered this because of the label and, alas, it was very disappointing and had very little value as a beverage. other than it was coid. So, this American made drink is an average beer at best and something I hope to avoid in the future.

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Photo of Fatheranderson
1.44/5  rDev -45.2%
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...

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Photo of Strand
1.73/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Well, this is a difficult beer to review. I guess I'll start with a brief disclaimer - I have never had Japenese beers before. I don't know much about rice beers. And the time it took to ship it from Japan to North Dakota probably didn't help matters.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, let me tell you about Kirin Ichiban beer. It's one of those beers that you save up in the back of your fridge and give to that annoying girl at the party that you want to go home. It's just got a really unusual, un-refreshing taste. For a similar taste, might I recommend A) licking the carpet, B) eating your own belly button lint, or C) tasting the unrecognizable food matter that you found between the cushions of your sofa.

I'm not trying to be funny. I'm not trying to be mean. And I'm not familiar with Japanese beers, so I don't know if this is good Japanese beer or not. But I am saying that I will not be buying Kirin Ichiban in the future.

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Photo of Zebus0
2.86/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Something new.

A- Overall I think it's a good looking beer. Nice gold color, nice frothy head on it that dissipates in a reasonable amount of time. Pretty standard really.

S- Not impressed. Kind of malty, a real BEER smell to it that I'm not very fond of. Seriously, try something different. In any case, little hoppy, I'm almost getting a wiff of pine from it?

T- Pretty crisp really. Light body, just a tad of hops. It's like the Japanese Budweiser really. Dry finish on it, I appreciate that, extra .5 points.

M- Light, surprisingly pretty frothy, really average.

D- Eh. I like this as it is, for what it is, but it's not something I'll probably buy again. Getting this again is pretty unlikely unless I pair it with some sushi, but my favorite sushi bar has Xingu so not likely. Average, but just not that great.

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Photo of calicaliente
2.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of malibujohnny
2.15/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

served in a bottle at Buddha Sushi in the USVI. Pours like a common macro from the states.Has a big brew smell,nothing that stands out.Carbonation is good for this brew.Minor malt detection with the hint of hops and way too much rice flare.I'm sure this is a very common beer in Japan as Bud,Miller and Coors are here.This is nothing special at all and has no home in my fridge.

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Photo of jpBeerGuy
2.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This was the first Japanese beer that I actually started to like. Had it on tap at a "toriyaki-ya" (chicken restaurant). It matches salty and greasy food well.

Appearance - Nice golden color. Difficult pour. Very carbonated and produces a fast dissipating head which leaves some glass lacing near the beer line.

Smell - Eh, it smells like Japanese beer but a little more sour. You can detect the rice and corn and malt but the hop is difficult to detect.

Taste - A draft beer that is more like a light lager with extra sugars and starches to thicken it. *It's a good thing that Kirin decided to remove those extra ingredients for the re-release.*

Mouthfeel - A bit sticky and thick but not too bad. Once the carbonation is 50% removed from a good pour, it is pretty smooth feeling.

Drinkability - I can drink a bunch of these in a single session. However, like Asahi SuperDry, it tends to make you want to spit afterward. Not too good when there is nowhere to spit.

NOTE: This beer has recently been re-released!! The NEW Ichiban Shibori is 100% malt!! I was so gung-ho when I first read the news! However, this review is for the "old style". I've only had it a few times since then. I'll add the new type Ichiban Shibori and review it for you later. It's a bit different!

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Photo of Bobdope
2.4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This is what it is. I find in some oriental restaurants it is very difficult to find a "good" beer. Sometimes you need to play the hand you are dealt. This seems to be a better end of the common beers you may find in such a place. Of course your other option is Sapporo in most cases. Personally I think this is just a hair better on my taste buds. So why do I keep going back to these restaurants you may ask. I love sushi. Maybe it is safer to stick to the saki though.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 555 ratings.