Kirin Ichiban | Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
63
poor
580 Reviews
THE BROS
44
awful
Read the review
BEER STATS
Reviews:
580
Ratings:
1,706
Avg:
2.64
pDev:
39.39%
 
 
Wants:
10
Gots:
314
For Trade:
0
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban
BEER INFO

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: 580 | Ratings: 1,706
Photo of LordChesterfield
3.48/5  rDev +31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is decent beer. There's absolutly nothing outstanding about it but it's better that most American macro brews. It pours a deep gold color with weak head and decent lacing. It smells very crisp to me, not really like vegetable matter like some other have said. It has a dry lagery taste that's typical of beers from nihon. The mouthfeel is a noticeably smooth though. I like it. It's a little hoppier and not quite as dry as asahi super dry.

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Photo of Sudsy89
2.31/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

24oz. can, poured into highball glass

This was the first "Japanese" beer I've tried, though it's brewed in California and is very similar to American macro lagers. Pours a pale straw-colored, thin. Has an average-sized foamy head that dissipates quickly, not much lacing on the glass. Taste and smell is not very pleasant, has a bitter skunkiness to it at first, and the best comparison I can make would be a cheap Budweiser or Coors, maybe a bit of rice flavor in the background. Mouthfeel is average of a lager, a bit watery. Drinkability could be OK for someone who is a fan of this style,but I'd have to pass.

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Photo of Safa1
4.13/5  rDev +56.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Okay. This shits made in Los Angeles. It's all malt. Listen. All malt. Usually 8.99 a 12 pack 5% and all malt. It's delicious. I just drank an old chub Oskar Blues then cracked this one. It tastes silky smooth. No nasty aftertaste. It's pretty fucking premium tasting and it's a god damned macro. I keep a few cold. When you just don't want fuck my mouth flavor(hetero but not hateful) it's the perfect beer. I will drink this over any other macro. Period. Think again if you think this has rice round eye.

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Photo of matuto
2.74/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

355 ml bottle, exp. 08/2016, brewed in Brazil. I poured it in a pilsner glass. Yellow and clear liquid with tons of carbonation, with a bubbling white foam that leaves some laces. Nice aroma of fresh hops, despite not very strong. Some skunk off notes showed up after a while. Flavor is disappointing, no interesting notes whatsoever. A plain white sugar note may be felt in the last sips. Mouth feel is overwhelmed with carbonation. It has moderate bitterness, which at first is all that stays on mouth, giving a not well balanced result. Light to watery body. I will put more effort in not getting another of this for a longer period of time, as it ain't that cheap in my area.

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Photo of thesilverhand
2.55/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bright, clear yellow, with a white foam head. Enh.

Sweet, grainy malts. No complexity, but nothing off-putting. No hop aroma at all. There's a but of grassiness.

Mostly sweet, with a bit of straw-like grassiness. Quite bitter after the initial sweetness, but still no real hop profile. No complexity, but again, nothing bad either.

The mouthfeel is a bit strange. It's very highly carbonated and has an almost "sharp" feel on the palate. Almost painful, until it flattens a bit.

Overall, not worth drinking if you want good beer. As an easy-drinking beverage, it's not awful, though. Decent macro.

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Photo of CRichardsMN
2.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance:
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.

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

Taste:
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.

Mouthfeel:
Very thin and very carbonated.

Drinkability:
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.

Comment:
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).

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Photo of Thisdrinkinglife
3.75/5  rDev +42%

Review: Can of Kirin Ichiban Pale Lager, 5%ABV

Kirin Ichiban, my first time having a Japanese beer, was impressive on its first showing. In general it was pretty nice and quite drinkable

On pouring, the appearance was of a pale yellow colour with a very big creamy head that lingers for some time, and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass. Had a nice look to it.

Aroma: A pleasant sweet smell of a light grain and malt aroma.

A nice light beer to drink and went down easy enough.

The taste had some initial sweetness followed by a very enjoyable bitter aftertaste of hops, kind of creamy. Tastes of hay, wheat, and light floral hops.

A good clean, crisp beer, smooth, I liked it. Recommended for someone who is looking for a nice light beer to relax with

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Photo of dbmcrorie
1.71/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Presentation:
12 oz. brown long-neck bottle poured into an American pint glass. Label states: "The Authentic First Press Beer," which is misleading to those who don't realize that "First Press" means "single wort," and is not - in fact - the first "Press Beer" in the world (as it would seem to state).
Asian dragon on front with Chinese writing: seems like an Asian beer until you realize it's an Anheuser-Busch product; enough to tell you what will be in the bottle. Bottling date: 20-APR-09. "Freshest Taste Within 180 Days". Well if that's the case, then this review counts as reflecting the "freshest taste"...

Visual:
Straw gold body with few bubbles to rise. Foamy white head with little retention. Decent lacing clings to the glass, leaving bubbly caps on top.

Aroma:
Lots of hay-like straw. Awkward malt with a funky sourness. Some lagerish skunk mixed with cooked veggies. With such a golden ale/lager (which is it?), I wonder: where are my hops?

Taste:
Weird astringent bitterness here, reminiscent of burnt corn. Very weak and watered down malt provides a stale/husky grain flavor. There are also some dry yeast flavors in here. Minimal carbonation provides a fizzy first sip that dissipates quickly into a flat texture with a watery mouthfeel; dusty mouthfeel at the end. Leaves a dry bitterness in the finish with a rind/cereal-like aftertaste.

Overall:
I personally would never buy this brew again. Most Asian/Asian-style beers are not considered "higher quality", but can definitely be considered better than this - especially since it's not even Asian (Anheuser-Busch).
This STYLE would be best paired with heavier sauced dishes and/or take-out Chinese food; especially cooked veggies or light game. But I seriously would advise against this beer, especially to pair it with anything.

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Photo of wages
3/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This bottle was bottled on February 28th 2011 and drank on January 14th 2012. It says to drink within 180 days of bottling, so it's a bit past its prime, so that may need to be taken into account for this review.

Appearance - 3/5 - light, clear color

Smell - 3/5 - Very subtle skunky smell, probably from age. Not distracting, but there.

Taste - 3/5 - Nothing real special about the flavor. Just a crisp clean lager flavor. Very slight bread aftertaste that dissipates quickly and cleanly.

Mouthfeel - 3/5 - Crisp. Clears out quickly.

Overall - 3/5 - I would drink it at a Japanese restaurant if they had no nigori sake, but would never buy it as it just isn't very interesting.

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Photo of JoKo
4.08/5  rDev +54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured a bright gold, slightly hazy color with lively carbonation, the head is about a centimeter.

Smell: Citrus hop aroma, pretty clean typical lager.

Taste: Dry, crisp with a nice hoppy bitterness that doesn't linger, there are some bready malt notes in the background.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, dry light bodied lager.

Drinkability: Easy drinkability, very good.

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Photo of Romulus141
2.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Came from a 24 oz can that I poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a moderate colored yellow. There is very little head retention. Nothing impressive.

Smell: Does not contain much of an aroma. Has a very slight grain smell, but it is hard to detect. What I did smell, however, did not smell bad.

Taste: Very light taste, with a slight aftertaste of hoppy bitterness that quickly dissipates. Typical rice beer flavor overall.

Mouthfeel: Not much weight to the beverage. Cleanly washes over the tongue.

Drinkability: This is good for a multi-session beer, and I could probably drink a bunch of these in succession. However, this is not something I would drink for flavor or enjoyment. Very average overall.

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Photo of malmquna
2.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours effervescent into the glass, with a burst of white head that readily dissappears. Carbonation starts and ends with a flash as well. Looks typically golden yellow and clear, clear, clear. Smells of adjunct-based alcohol and little else. Flavor agrees with the color and the smell. Thinking hard enough, there is some very light malt flavor in the aftertaste, covered up with some non-hop bitterness. This beer is rather drinkable however, with asian food (of course) or anything spicy.

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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.

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Photo of Mjoepp
2.17/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Light golden, international lager style. White foam, creamy, medium sized bubbles.

S: Malt and bread.

T: Malt and bread. Aftertaste is a bit bitter, but disappears quickly. Letting the beer be a little warmer a sour aftertaste appears, as if the beer would be old.

O: Would be decent if it was cheap. Now that it isn't I would choose something else since the taste is nothing speical.

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Photo of stevecee2003
1.93/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I bought this beer strickly to write a review. Almost immediately after tasting I didn't want to bother. But I was committed, so I now forge on. Dare i say.. the Budweiser of Japan?

Poured from a 24 oz. can, with a fair lace, for a few fleeting moments. The color is light amber. I say "light" because to me it comes off as a cheap immitation of an even cheaper lager beer. But then thats me.

Smell. Can't tell. Cabbage and rice maybe. Maybe.

Taste. Slight. Very. It is a liquid, I'll give it that.

And the feel is simply.. simple. Nothing going on. Perhaps if I played Death metal while I drank it, it might bring it up to an illusiion of some sort of goodness. No, not even then would that help...

Overall, it was worth a try, if only because now I know.. Never again to spend my hard-earned cash on this "water with slight amber food coloring added" beer.

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Photo of HardcoreKeith
2.59/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

From a 24 ounce can, which I then poured into a pilsner glass.

Very light straw color with tons of carbonation. Pouring gently into my pilsner glass gave an inch of head. It smells lightly of malt, and otherwise has little smell to speak of. Taste is like american light beer. Mouthful is thin and reminds me of rice. However, I imagine this would be a good chugger for a hot evening in the Pachinko parlor.

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Photo of TeeCee
3.67/5  rDev +39%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Quick review - on tap, this was quite interesting. I could drink several of these. Definitely a niche beer. On tap, it was much better I remember in bottles. I had no idea that it was a rice lager, but I could taste the sake in it. It wasn't until I came here and saw the listing that I realized it was.

Color - golden yellow (not pale) honey brown. The pour had almost no head and left small traces of foam on the glass on the way down. The head it did make was very tight, almost like a Guiness head.

Smell - light malt and some fruitiness, also something rice or bread pudding; maybe sake.

Taste - same light malt again and frutiness, just how it smelled, but some bitterness at the end. No hop flavor I can recognize, but some bitter balance is there.

Mouthfeel - although the beer looked not far from flat, I can feel some bubbles as I drink it. Overall, the mouthfeel is medium-thin.

I could really knock back a few of these on a hot day (or any day). This is defitely a sessionable beer.

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Photo of powellmg
2.55/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Slightly hazy gold color with a very thin head. Subdued aroma of honey, herbs. Taste is bitter with a damp dishrag flavor. Slight sweetness.

According to the "bottled on" date, this one is a year and a half old; it has the sweet taste of stale beer. I'm going easy on it for that reason.

This is the only Japanese beer I've tried, unfortunately. I hear Japan has a burgeoning craft beer scene, so I look forward to trying more from there (and maybe trying Kirin again, fresh).

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Photo of Mryup
3.26/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Florescent golden yellow with white head that quickly fades to a thin sheet. Very bubbly. Not impressive.

S: Grassy with hops making their case well. Noble hops maybe? The classic lager smell is a bit more subtle. The malt smells sweet. The smell reminds me of Stella Artois. Not bad.

T: Light. Crisp. Definitely very mellow. The malt makes its case more in the taste. In fact I would say it dominates. Something along the line of caramel malt. Sweet once again. The mellow borders very close to boring and watery. Easy to tell its a rice lager by the "snap" in it. Tastes between Stella and Budweiser. Hopefully it doesn't have the formaldehyde and other preservatives that give me a headache. I have to say I would take this over Bud ANY day. Good for the style.

M: Thin and consistent. The CO2 is slightly too high in my opinion. Acceptable.

D: A very drinkable beer which I think is it's main attraction. What else is there to attract in this beer?

Overall it's good for the style. Great to have with light meals such as sushi...hmmmm...it's a Japanese beer...probably not a coincidence. Also great for sake bombs. You have to rate this beer against other of it's styles.

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Photo of bierschmecktgut
2.48/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pale pretty clear, lots of carbonation with bright head that fell immediately.

distinct hop smell

hoppy taste but not overpowering

crisp pop on tonge with carbonation, slightly more difficult to down that other lagers.

tried this for first time lat night, not something i would get again.

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Photo of mghotbi
3/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle. Clear straw color with ample carbonation. Practically no head but lots of lacing. Says on the bottle it's brewed by AB in Los Angeles.

Some reviewers have commented on foul smell, but they must have had an old bottle. This sample smells like most macro lagers - nothing distinctively pleasant or foul - some grassy and pine aromas predominate.

Thin and watery mouthfeel with a bit too much carbonation. Probably would be quite refreshing on a hot sunny day, but we don't have those in San Francisco.

Taste is very light - fairly average macro lager - a bit of malt sweetness with some grassy tones. No real off-flavors, smooth dry finish with just a touch of citrus acidity.

Overall, another consistent but unchallenging macro lager. I see no real reason to order this over Bud or Bud Light at the local Sushi bar. Thankfully, I only paid a buck for a 22 oz bottle on sale.

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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.

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Photo of JWFokker
2.79/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Kirin Ichiban, even the Special Premium Reserve, is a very average, extremely nondescript lager. If you've had Sapporo, that's pretty much Kirin Ichiban. It pours gold with minimal white head and minimal lacing. It tastes the same as many macro lagers that use rice and has the same thin mouthfeel. It goes down easily, but it's completely forgettable.

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Photo of staubot
2.99/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pale Yellow, fair bit of carbonation, small head is gone before you drink it.
Has a boozy sweetness but flavor is very subdued
Bit too much carbination but otherwise goes down well with a bit of an aftertase

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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.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 580 ratings.