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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale - Kiuchi Brewery

Not Rated.
Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic AleHitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale

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BA SCORE
85
very good

377 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 377
Reviews: 237
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.87%
Wants: 10
Gots: 10 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 08-06-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 377 | Reviews: 237 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Nutwood:
Photo of Nutwood
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Nutwood, Jul 23, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hugely carbonated pumpkin with a fine haze, that on closer inspection is due to a cloud of superfine yeast. Thanks to the bubble factory on the bottom of the glass, the pale orange, whipped cream head is a stunning creation. Gargantuan, creamy, sticky and as rocky as Mount Fuji, it's everything one could ask for. Whatever else this beer brings to the party, it looks good. Damn good.

My mom has had a cedar chest since before I was born and that aroma has been burned indelibly into my brain. Q: Does JCA, which has been aged in cedar casks, actually smell like cedar? A: Yes, but thankfully it doesn't dominate. There's another, spicier aspect of the nose that reminds me of sandlewood. I have never smelled another beer quite like this one. Even though it's a pleasant scent, it isn't a very beer-like scent. Not only that, but I have to downgrade any IPA that doesn't smell anything like hops on principle alone.

I'll give Kiuchi Brewery this much, they come up with some of the most original, interesting beers in all the world. The only problem is, they seem to miss the mark as often as they hit it. This is the oddest, least IPA-like IPA that I've ever had occasion to drink. A Japanese beer modeled on a traditional English India Pale Ale that uses a quintessentially American hop (Chinook) and is aged in cedar casks to pay tribute to how saki is created. Whew! Could a beer that fits that description actually be any good? Not really.

First of all, disabuse yourself of any notion whatsoever that you're about to drink an IPA. Think woody, spiced ale. There's a sturdy malt base that conveys a mild sweetness that is more than countered by a bracing amount of bitterness and an enveloping blanket of pungent herbs and spices. Chinook may not have been the best choice here, but then I can't taste any Chinookness anyway. Sticking with Challenger and Kent Goldings alone would have worked out better since the bitterness would have been more manageable.

I like the smell of cedar, but it looks like I don't like the taste of cedar. Cutting the amount of cask aging time by half, or even by a third, would stilll have gotten the job done without the spicy, smoldering, white peppery woodiness obliterating everything in its path. Bottom line: this might have been a good idea, but it was taken way too far.

The mouthfeel, unlike the aroma and the flavor, actually matches the stated style. It's roughly medium in heft, although it lacks that sticky, resiny character that I love in the most highly hopped versions. It's as smooth as the day is long and the carbonation is well behaved, despite my reservations after seeing the head attempt to exit the top of the glass.

Kiuchi brews great beer (White Ale), mediocre beer (Red Rice Ale) and not so good beer (Sweet Stout). Japanese Classic Ale occupies that vast middle ground. By its nature, it will be many different things to many different people. I can see how some will love it, even as others will hate it. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it, but it may just be too strange for its own good.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 12, 2005
Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a a hazed peach with a nice tight well retained white head,aromas are somewhat muted in my mind the cedar notes show thru as well as a herbal English hop note but not really anything that sticks out.Flavors seem somewhat muted as well with the cedar dominating but its not overly strong if that says anything,the hop profile is not in your face by any means herbal,grassy notes mainly with a very dry cracker-like malt base.An uninspiring brew but not overly bad just wouldnt buy again.

oberon, May 02, 2006
Photo of RoyalT
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one poured a gorgeous thick but glowing orange in color with a beautiful, off-white head that showed good retention.

Smell – The English yeast and light herbal hopping gave way to a powerful cedar aroma that really dominated this ale.

Taste – The light yeast came out a bit more at the taste, but the hops were absent. The cedar really does define this flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This is almost medium-bodied with some good, healthy carbonation.

Drinkability – This was a decent rendition of cedar-aged English IPA, but I just didn’t much care for it.

RoyalT, Sep 26, 2005
Photo of brownbeer
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 vintage opened on 10-4-09

A- Nearly gushed. Poured sunset auburn with a generous, creamy head and solid retention.

S- Oaky with typical aromas that go with that; cherry, vanilla. There's and underlying almost vegetal feel to it that i'm not crazy about but it does have depth.

T- Matured fruity flavors, a big hit of vanilla, with a sherry-like oxidation. Improves alot as it warms.

M- A lot of carbonation right off the bat. So I let it sit for a while and it smoothed out.

D- Very unusual. I wouldn't drink this a lot or often. I'll say it does age fairly well and if you're into vintage and run across it, it's worth a try.

brownbeer, Oct 05, 2009
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one pours with a....whoa...monster head...it erupts in my glass to form a huge white wall atop a nice deep orange liquid. Quite impressive I must say. Putting your nose anywhere near this brew is like taking a walk into a huge cedar forest...you're forced to do a double take as you inhale the spicy woody aromas. There's a bit of mandarin orange citrus...but the cedar runs the show...so intoxicating and unique.

Cedar is upfront as the brew settles down enough for me to drink. Hints of citrus hops and a slight caramel weave in and out with a nice bitterness on the way down. The cedar imparts an overall peppery spiciness to the brew that is enjoyable. A very unique offering and one of the best beers from Japan I've ever tried.

Mouthfeel is smooth and a bit creamy....nice bubbly carbonation. This is easy drinking and I could easily have a few...however I think I'd get burnt out on the cedar after that. Overall, a very original brew that I highly recommend to one and all!

orbitalr0x, Jan 19, 2005
Photo of FadetoBock
4/5  rDev +5.5%

FadetoBock, Apr 25, 2014
Photo of kuishinbo_tantei
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

kuishinbo_tantei, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of BeerDreadz
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

BeerDreadz, Sep 08, 2013
Photo of csmartin6
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

csmartin6, Feb 10, 2014
Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4/5  rDev +5.5%

SmellsofMahagony, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a new arrival in Tennessee liquor stores, in Knoxville, and Johnson City. Blurb on label says this was modeled after IPAs brought to Japan, in the 19th century. Aged in cedar casks.
Appearance: Pours a hazed, bright golden body with a Godzilla head that takes up most of the imperial pint glass. Consisting of both tiny and large bubbles, the head took forever to settle down, finally leaving gargantuan clumps of ivory lace all over the glass.

Aroma: Cedar fragrances hit the nose immediately, followed by peppery spices and herbal hops. Very understated, malt sweetness lurks underneath.

Mouthfeel: Lots of carbonation, and similar to a hugely hopped, American IPA with a moderate hop bite on the tongue. Cedar presence is also impossible to ignore.

Taste: This tastes much like a hoppy, American IPA, with a chunk of cedar floating in the glass. As it warms, some caramel sweetness creeps into the profile, but the predominant flavor is cedar and peppery hops. Very well put together, overall, but there is a prolonged, cedar aftertaste as if you've been chewing on cedar shavings.

Impression/Drinkability: I enjoyed this one quite a bit. The cedar aging lends a unique character that I've never before experienced. Definitely, this will keep Mothra away! I was not impressed with this brewery's sweet(lacto) stout, but this one is a quality product that is well constructed, in spite of the cedar slapping you in the face.

merlin48, Sep 30, 2004
Photo of henryclay_
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

henryclay_, May 21, 2014
Photo of tigg924
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: copper amber, clear, medium head, medium carbonation

Smell: notes of pear, pineapple, and wood jump out

Taste: pear, pineapple, wood, sweet fruit--maybe lychee, malt

Mouthfeel: very balanced--parts sweet--parts sour--very smooth

Drinkability: I have never tasted another beer quite like this one. To say it is complex in aroma and taste is an understatement. This one grew on me as I tasted it and could have several..I think this is a must beer if not just for its uniqueness.

tigg924, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of Jaysicles
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Jaysicles, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of innominat
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

innominat, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of Tabni
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

For some reason my bottle says that it is 7.5% alcohol, not 7%. Dark orange color with a nice head. Smells of sake and wines. Taste it's just fantastic. It warms up your palate slowly and then you can taste some of the alcohol. This is sake meets beer! This beer is matured in cedar casks that are used in brewing tradition sake.

Tabni, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of virinow
3/5  rDev -20.8%

virinow, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of fionn13
4/5  rDev +5.5%

fionn13, Dec 09, 2013
Photo of chickenm
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

chickenm, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of centbeerfest
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another gift for my birthday so had only one to try. Poured it into a small tasting glass 3-4 ounces at a time. Not like most Japanese beers that I have had and you could tell right from the outset.

Amber cloudy gold color with a nice solid head. It is hard to imagine, but I did smell some of the same characteristics as a sake, but that may have been tainted based on my knowledge of the origin. Perhaps it was the cedar casks that both are fermented in that made the connection.

Nice consistency and a good uniform mouth. High alcohol cis front of center and did not taste like the "pale ale" classification on the bottle. Not necessarily bad, just not what I expected. Some sediment in the final pour.

I enjoyed the beer, but on a take home scale, I would leave this on the shelf for another day.

centbeerfest, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of ADR
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sedimented (yeast locked in suspension) medium bright brown color. Sparking head only rises to 1/4 of an inch but I poured it in a wide goblet. Laces are ample. Apple aromas, medium tart like Granny Smiths, some astringent tones. Good body, a little heavy, lower carbonation. Solid flavor, a little atypical, with fruit and decided pie spices, including a mace-like bittering and raisiny senses. Well-bittered, quite piney, very noticeable in the aftertaste. To me, the malt was adequate and interesting, but the hoppiness slightly harsh. An interesting take on an IPA derivation, while not suberbly drinkable to me, maybe among my favorite of the Hitachino beers thus far.

ADR, Aug 24, 2004
Photo of glid02
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy deep copper color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of muted pale malts with good amounts of leafy hop aromas. Also present are slight amounts of a woody aroma, not easily identifiable as cedar but it makes sense.

Tastes OK. As with the smell muted pale malts kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are leafy and lightly spicy hop flavors. Near the end of the sip slight amounts of woody flavors make a brief appearance before giving way to the malt and hops to carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I found this to be an interesting beer but the flavors didn't work terribly well together. Everything felt like it could be taken up just a notch, including the wood influence. Still, it's worth a shot to see for yourself.

glid02, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a warm amber body that is crystal clear wit a thin off-white head that is pretty creamy. There is a good carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- This beer has a soft pale malt smell with a hint of green hops. As it warm there is a light perfume note to the hops with a hint of yeast in the background. The smell is very light overall.

T- This beer has a soft spicy light toasted malt note with a soft bitter hop note in the finish. There is a hint of dry caramel malt that adds some nice depth and a soft dry spice note in the hop finish. The hops and spice only come through really when it warms and even then they are not very strong.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel that becomes more full with the fizz in the finish. The fizz makes the finish pretty clean.

D- This beer is a nice soft and subtle pale ale with no real notice of flavor from the cedar.

rhoadsrage, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of Auraan
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

Auraan, Mar 23, 2014
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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 377 ratings.