Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Kirin Ichiban - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Not Rated.
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Educational use only; do not reuse.

564 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 564
Hads: 1,636
Avg: 2.64
pDev: 39.39%
Wants: 11
Gots: 269 | 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: 564 | Hads: 1,636
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.

 408 characters

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.

 999 characters

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).

 480 characters

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.

 1,184 characters

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.

 293 characters

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.

 916 characters

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.

 362 characters

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.

 352 characters

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.

 1,227 characters

Photo of skynxnex
2.53/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

 760 characters

Photo of unit555
1.9/5  rDev -28%
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.

 288 characters

Photo of utahbeerdude
2.39/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

 859 characters

Photo of iman99
4.24/5  rDev +60.6%
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

 425 characters

Photo of tbone53
3/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

 291 characters

Photo of beer272
2.88/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

 324 characters

Photo of boblinneman
2.15/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

 339 characters

Photo of pojo41
2.83/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

 317 characters

Photo of checkfeet
3.24/5  rDev +22.7%
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.

 428 characters

Photo of avaulteriam
2.26/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

 258 characters

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

 210 characters

Photo of quikfish13
1.35/5  rDev -48.9%
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!!!

 738 characters

Photo of roscoehnj
2.02/5  rDev -23.5%
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?

 427 characters

Photo of BeerLovinWoman87
2.09/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

 401 characters

Photo of supervike
2.75/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 154 characters

Photo of JeffreyG
2.16/5  rDev -18.2%
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!).

 600 characters

Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
63 out of 100 based on 564 ratings.