Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale - Kiuchi Brewery

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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic AleHitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale

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BA SCORE
85
very good

411 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 411
Reviews: 247
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.87%
Wants: 16
Gots: 22 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery visit their website
Japan

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottum on 06-27-2004

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 411 | Reviews: 247
Photo of Shemmy
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Another solid and quite good beer from Hitachino. Reference points that this beer touched on for me was as a kind of Fuller's London Pride that is moving towards being a quad. Many similar flavors and aromas to London Pride but more fruitiness and heavier mouthfeel. Not my top Hitachino quaff, but nice enough to be sure. Quite a nice orangey brown color, beautiful even.

Photo of Czequershuus
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a gorgeous brown color, darker than most IPAs, more reminiscent of the color that many DIPAs have. Very little in the way of aroma, other than a slight bready, yeasty smell. The first sip hits you with a blast of flavor. Tropical fruits, mango, pineapple, a little candied citrus peel and berry flavor as well. It is a bit sweet, but not cloying or syrupy. This is definitely a digestif rather than aperitif beer. Very creative and fulfilling IPA.

Photo of janubio
3.42/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Orange amber colour, with a head that fades soon, leaving some lace. Smell of wood, strong alcohol (I guess it's the barrels used to brew sake that you read in the description. Caramels, malt, spices. Medium body, sticky palate and rough in your throat. Taste of caramel, malts alcohol, some hot spice (something like chili). Far better than I expected.

Photo of interzen
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a tulip glass

Look: Deep, amber orange with a hint of sediment and a few floaties - about an inch of tightly packed off-white/lighter orange head with good retention and lacing, finally settling down to about half a fingers-width.

Smell: The bottle proclaims that this is matured in cedar casks and yep, you sure can smell cedar in there. As well as that, there's a positive car-crash of malty, yeasty smells, peppery spices and the usual pine resin/grass/grapefruit aromas associated with hops. Hops and cedar notwithstanding, the smell is quite 'sweet'.

Taste: In short, cedar and hops - pretty much everything else is driven into the background. There's also a hint of bitterness not unlike stewed green tea but cedar and hops dominate with the malts creeping in at the finish. The finish itself is dry, long and almost astringent.

Feel: Medium body but lacks the sort of punch that, say, an American (or even British) IPA would have. Something to accomodate the Japanese palate, perhaps? As mentioned above, the finish is long and bitter.

Overall: Another interesting brew from the Land of the Rising Sun - I'd probably describe this as a Japanese take on an IPA, since it's trying very hard to be like an American IPA but not quite getting there. It's not really a great deal like an English IPA ... it just ... is. Not Hitachino's best by any means (Espresso Stout holds that accolade) but well worth a try if you get the chance and want to try something genuinely different.

Photo of SierraFlight
3.02/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into nonic. Hazy orange liquid with a a pillowy head that settles to a finger of foam. The aroma is packed with cedar wood and white pepper then there’s malt, bread, grass, and doughy yeast. Flavor is perfumed bitterness from the cedar, tea and white pepper, followed by citrus hop and caramel malts. Medium body, slightly thick but sadly without a resinous/sticky IPA character, lively carbonation, and a bitter, nearly astringent finish.

Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Copper orange and cloudy with some large visible bubbles, 2 fingers of orange beige tinged head.


S: Orange, spicy hops, caramel, candy orange, berries like strawberries.


T: Berries, strawberries, orange candy, spice like sandalwood, getting some of the barrel age in there but its floral again like cedar or sandalwood.


M: Medium syrupy body with a solid foamy powdery carbonation.


O: Really enjoying this one. I think it wasn’t intended to be an ipa, and if its thought of outside that box its really unique, labeled ‘Japanese Classic Ale’ for a reason. Got on Wishbeer, don’t regret it as I’ve never seen it in stores. Drank in Kunming, Jan 26th, 2015.

Photo of doktorhops
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yes, yes, Hitachino Nest! This time I’ve got my hands on their Japanese Classic Ale, done in an English [read: less hops, more malt than an American] India Pale Ale. Once again Hitachino Nest brings a unique Japanese craft brewers eye to the classic English IPA style by introducing American Chinook hops, German Munich malt, and in a日本人 twist: Maturing in cedar barrels. Well I’m sold. Let’s see if Hitachino has maintained its remarkable sense of idiosyncrasy along with exceptional quality and flavour [yes I have little doubt this will be anything other than outstanding].

Poured from a 330ml into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazy, dotted with yeast particle deep tangerine body with a thin cream coloured lace for a head. Because yeast particles and I get along my score for this is perhaps higher than it should be. 8/10.

S: A big toffee note on this one, with hints of wood from the cedar, earthy tones, the toffee is quite sweet with nuttiness as well... again Hitachino cannot be accused of being ordinary. Cedar is awesome, I’m surprised it isn’t used in more brews. 8/10.

T: Complexity is again Hitachino’s strong point - the notes of sweet nutty toffee mingle with cedar wood, earthy/piney Chinook hops finish with a hint of bitterness... then throw in a hint of black pepper. Yes this one has characters of an English IPA but with a smattering of other tastes to elevate this to a new level. If you don’t like this brew or you think it needs more hops - you need a tongue transplant, because damn this is fantastic! 9/10.

M: Mid to light, borderline medium bodied with a nice creamy carbonation. Body is good, not great. 7/10.

D: So the big question, for me at least, is how does it compare to other Hitachino Nest brews? Well it’s up there with their White Ale, Red Rice Ale and the Celebration Ale, but again it is a different (quite woody) take on a classic style, so they’re really all “must try” brews - if you, like I, have tried hundreds upon hundreds of beers and you haven’t had a Hitachino brew - then expect the unexpected... but not too much - I don’t want to overhype the beer [you should never overhype the beer: I guarantee I’ll be disappointed with my first Westvleteren XII now]. Get this beer. 8/10.

Food match: I know I have a habit of recommending cuisines from the same country as the beer but this would really hit the spot with green bean and shiitake tempura with ponzu mayo, kampai!

Photo of silverking
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- a deep, rich hazy amber with a lot of suspended debris. Thin light tan head that fades fast. After a minute or so, the need appears completely lifeless. No carbonation is visible.

S- cedar, pine, brandy, figs. That cedar note is so defined, I love it.

T- a fair amount if caramel surrounded by notes of dense pine. Actually quite enjoyable. The finish is pure pine needles.

M- almost no carbonation, medium bodied. Lackluster.

O- mixed feelings on this one. Try it.

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single bottle poured into a tulip. A cloudy orange-red with two fingers of creamy beige foam. Aroma is a compelling mix of brittle toffee, orchard fruit (peach and pear), earthy/slightly woody forest floor hops, nuts and pretzels ... Palate is similarly unique. Does come across as an English IPA but with a moderate degree of plum fruitiness, a rich toffee maltiness, unexpected almond and pecan notes, and more expected cedar or sandalwood aromatics. Some diacetyl apparent. A stark contrast between the dry woodiness and the rich sweet malts, somehow it works. Body on the thick side for the style, moderate carbonation and a malt-forward finish seasoned with a dash of woody spice. Unique brew like many of this brewery's other offerings. Not well-integrated yet one can switch between the dry floral fruitiness, the woody spice, and the sweet dessert backbone and not get the least bit bored.

Photo of MLichtwardt
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

A nicely balanced pale ale. Wouldn't consider it a big enough brew to be labeled as 'IPA'. Nice and crisp, easy drinking. I tasted pear and mild vegetal qualities.

Photo of titvs
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

Review based on the BJCP2008 guidelines (style 14A adapted). Bottle 33 cl - Batch J.14.02. AROMA: no hop notes with sweet malt aromas reminiscent of caramel. very low fruitness. APPEARANCE: amber color and hazy. moussy tanned head with good retention. TASTE: medium bitterness that lingers into a dry finish with no hop flavours. unbalanced high malt flavours. PALATE: medium-light body with moderate carbonation. OVERALL: although the comercial description says it is a IPA, this beer is unbalanced towards a sweet malt profile but its not that bad.

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.42/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle at 40 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of grain and yeast
Head large (5.5 cm), off white, frothy, VERY slowly diminishing – can’t wait for it to die, must drink NOW
Lacing good – broken rings and islands of various size bubbles
Body light to medium amber, hazy (yeast sediment)
Flavor OK, grainy and some yeast phenolics, a little alcohol; no hops, no dicetyl.
Palate medium, oily, soft carbonation.

This is an OK ale – not something I’ll ever seek out again, but one I’ll drink if someone offers me a free one.

Photo of avalon07
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a hazy consistency. There was a two inch, foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A severely muted aroma of malt, hops, and a little fruit. Not bad, but too underplayed.

T: Tasted of light hops, a good dose of malt, a bready quality, and light citrus notes. There's not a whole lot going on here with the flavor. It's not bad, but it leans toward the mild side.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: The problem here may lie with the English IPA style itself, which is a bit on the thin and uninteresting. Kiuchi tries with this, but it doesn't succeed all around.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(bottle of indeterminate age, depending on how long the case was sitting at the distributor - this bottle was stored chilled right out of the case, having put it in the fridge myself )

A: I remember this from the keg being a lot clearer - the bottle content here is fairly hazy, bordering on cloudy - likely from hop residue, yeast sediment(?), or improper handling, who knows?... the liquid's color is a caramel-ish amber... big stand of sudsy foam on the pour - does hold a full cap most of the way down, some trails of lace... looks like nothing other than a British ale, though, I must say

S: earthy, leafy hops - mostly Fuggle in nature, but a good bit of the Goldings floral character mixed in... hops dominate while any clear malt aromas are very much hidden... moderate-intense showing of floral(?) esters - only vaguely fruity, if at all... likely a bit of oxidation has set in, giving on light overtone of burlap or brown paper bag (the cedar?)... the hop aromas are nice, if a bit frayed

T: very much in line with my ideas of and experience with English-style IPAs... compare this with Meantime's IPA - that being more orange-fruity hops, this being more floral and earthy... I was going to also say 'woody', but that may very well be the aging in cedar this ale had - cedar has a distinct, 'forest'-y flavor and this quality can be detected on the sides of the palate - no vanilla here!, just dark bark, wood grain, mossy soil - but it's mellow... the hops are front and center, potent, but soft, rounded with an understated bitterness - lots of leafy matter... the malt, and alcohol as well, merely underlies - perhaps a touch of biscuity flavor far in the background

M: fairly medium-bodied and grainy-creamy with hop polyphenols... has a feel similar to that of a bottle-conditioned Bavarian hefeweizen... not crisp and clean like say a Fullers... let's just say it's a real ale texture, a week in

O: the bottle version didn't quite match the more distinct, dynamic flavors of the tap version I had years back - that being the first time I had tried the beer - it was a Hitachino event for charity, right after the tsunami - 7 or 8 of their beers on tap at Kraftwork... I could see flashes of that beer's greatness in this.... definitely one to seek out - it's different

Photo of spoony
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 330 ml bottle (code says J 13 07) into a tulip.

A-The beer is light amber in color, clear and still-looking in the glass. My normal pour produces about one and one-half fingers of dense, off-white head. The retention is poor as the head fades in less than a minute. It leaves some spotty lacing.

S-The aroma is heavy on the malts for a beer billed as an IPA (even an English IPA). I get lots of caramel sweetness, in fact. There are some citrus and floral notes, but they are hidden behind an odd woody scent that I can only assume comes from the cedar casks advertised on the bottle.

T-The taste is a bit more dry than smell, but this beer is still malty and sweet for the style. A flavor mixture of caramel, citrus, cedar wood, and a bit of medicinal alcohol makes for an interesting brew.

M-The feel is slightly fuller in body than an average IPA with a moderate amount of carbonation that settles pretty quickly on the palate.

O-This is a unique beer in both good and bad ways. I suspect that my bottle was old because it lacked any semblance of a hoppy punch and even the cedar had faded a bit into the background. That being said, I think I could get into this beer if I could find a fresh example because the citrus/cedar aspect is really intriguing. It seems like a good summertime combination.

Photo of Auraan
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a gorgeous fully cloudy amber with a thin white head that leaves some lacing. It looks like gorgeous, natural, earthy unfiltered apple juice. Just looking at it makes me want to drink it. Scents of caramel, earthy, herbal hops, earthy yeast, grape, slight citrus aromas in the background and faint undercurrents of cedar. A very nice, earthy, sweet, fruity aroma profile, different from a lot of IPAs, even English style IPAs, that I've had. Its pleasant and inviting. Taste begins sweet with caramel, moving into some nice herbal hops and a tea-like flavor. Throughout there is a nice musky, earthy, yeasty presence that compliments the herbal and tea flavors of the hops wonderfully. There are also slight undercurrents of cedar in the background throughout the sip and some light citrus peel bitterness on the finish. The aftertaste is mildly bitter, but not overwhelmingly so. A good, earthy, sweet, balanced flavor that avoids being both too sweet and too bitter. Very well executed. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth and with low carbonation. It feels like a good, classic style ale should. Quite nice. Overall this is a very good take on an English IPA. It's balanced and malty, but with a good underlying bitterness and an aroma that is flat out amazing. Very highly recommended.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a finger of head on a hazy straw colored body..
The aroma is mild smells of grains and grapes. A little surprising but nice.
The taste is mild bitterness balanced with some honey sweetness and spice with a latent dry bitterness finish. Good profile.
The texture is soft with moderate carbonation.
A light and enjoyable beer.

Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice light golden brown with a 1/2 inch head that quickly dissipates. Very mild lacing on the glass. First sip is fairly sweet and you can taste a little bit of cedar from the casks. Lots of yeast particles are visible through the glass. Has a great hearty mouthfeel. Some slight bitterness at the end and after awhile you can start tasting the alcohol at the end. Some slight citrus scent and taste. A very nice beer that's got some character to it.

Photo of nychrislin
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very great beer, I love the spice and malty smell. The cedar lingers in your mouth, it's like sitting in a library with this beer, the 7% alcohol level really is hidden. It's a very effervescent beer, and that's pretty rare for a Japanese beer, but it also still retains a dry aftertaste.

Photo of damndirtyape
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Date stamp: J.13.07

Appearance: Cloudy dark amber with the barest level of foam ring at the edge. Some occasional tiny strands of lacing.

Smell: Sweet - malty (caramel notes) and orange citrus.

Taste: Sweetness up front with some hints of Belgian fruitiness. After that sweet start, the beer then moves into some herbal hop flavors and a definite cedar / woody bitter finish. The sweet and the bitter are distinct flavors - one begins and the other one finishes it, but never muddled or fighting with one another.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and nicely thick. Carbonation just right.

Overall / Drinkability: With its unique taste, a sipping beer - and yet very drinkable as well. I could easily have another, or at least would not mind it if it came in a bigger bottle. I wonder how this beer is on tap. I definitely would buy this again. Overall it has aspects of a Belgian Pale Ale, and American IPA, and that distinct cedar aging that is like no other style. Well done!

Photo of kemoarps
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The pour is an opaque amber colour, like a good apple cider. A little more orange when held up to light. Not much of a head, but a small crown of bubbles remains.

The nose starts off sweet. Vanilla leads off a clean, but reserved nose filled in by some earthy hops. I was hoping for a more readily apparent cedar, as that is a wood that is near and dear to my heart having grown up amongst them.

The cedar comes through more on the tongue, taking a solid if a bit sweet english IPA into an interesting twist. As noted, the sweetness leads the way on the tongue as well, though it takes a more honey and bread character than the vanilla I felt was on the nose. The hops come in again on the earthier side of things, and the third period is really where the cedar makes its presence known. It compliments the earthiness of the hops quite well, giving it an almost vinous bitterness. The sharp bitterness lasts through to the aftertaste, which finishes with kind of a little dance between the bitter, a slightly sweet woodiness from the cedar, and a hint of that honey sweetness that lead things off.
God medium body and the carbonation accents instead of distracting, this is a well constructed beer.

While I wished there were more cedar in the aroma, it came through stunningly towards the back of the tongue. This is definitely a unique IPA (at least as far as I've tasted), but it's one that I certainly find myself enjoying. Cedar is a tree/aroma/...flavour I guess? that holds great personal significance, so I may enjoy it more than others because of the intangibles it evokes. Definitely worth your time, though, if you find yourself curious.

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Was shown this in Denver a few months back and could not pass up when I noticed it was aged in cedar casks. Just sounded really interesting.

Pours a rich copper to rust shade, very beautiful with slightly off white head that lingers as a thin film for a long time. Has a very nice haziness to it. Looks great, just what I hoped for when I read this IPA sort idea on the back label.

Smell is quite subtle and a bit musty. You can really smell the earthy hops and malts in it, but it is kind of odd with what I recognize as a damp cedar sort of smell... which can be good and bad... in this case it is a bit odd for me.

Taste is interesting and yet traditional for an IPA. A mellow, sweet earthiness invites you into a spicy and herbal hop with a more pronounced sweet and sticky malt backbone that balances the mild bitterness very well. The malt has some burnt caramel, the hops shine with a variety of citrus, herbs, and pine. Then the beer is layered over with a unique vanilla woodiness, the cedar tone, which just fits so well and so refined into the spicy hops.

The cedar has a nice residual tone the lingers in the mouth long after.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Creamy, lower carbonation, smooth, and just a tad dry. The fullness in the medium body is really great. This part of the beer is wonderful through and through.

Overall, I was a bit put off by the malt in some way and the nose was a bit odd for me. It was unusual in a way that I was not sure of. Otherwise this was a fantastic English style IPA. I would buy this again, as I would many other beers from Hitachino.

Photo of Chaney
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Hitachino beer ever served in a port city glass.

A: Poured an amber-orange color with lots of flakes floating around in the vat of goodness. The head was a mere bubble formation.

S: Very potent and quite excellent. One might even be fooled into tagging this a sour. It does have that sort of funk. Very bright fruit with plums, sour apples, and some oranges.

T: This thing is unusual! Holy hell! I did get the cedar poking through the other ingredient and didn't think I actually would based on the nose. This reminded me more of a saison than an EIPA.

M: Infinitely smooth due to the cedar aging, with a scrumptuous mouthfeel and no booze detected.

O: This brew totally blew me away. It was worth the $4.99.

Photo of goochpunch
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Amber body with thin head. Vanilla, caramel, and nuts in the smell. Taste is really sweet. Just very caramelly and malty. Some vanilla. Not getting much cedar (which I'd like to taste more). Too sweet. Mouthfeel is pretty thick and sticky, but some stinging carbonation helps with that. This is not so great. If the cedar were more prevalent, I'd like this more.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Small particles of sediment are seen floating around in the beer after the pour. Smell is of malt, grain, biscuit, and earthy and slight citrus hop aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and citrus fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a fairly subdued smell but the flavors are solid and tasty, especially as the beer warms up.

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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 411 ratings.