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

408 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 408
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.87%
Wants: 16
Gots: 20 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 408 | Reviews: 244
Reviews by Risser09:
Photo of Risser09
4.19/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce beer into a tulip · March 2011 bottling · fridge temp

Appearance: Golden orange color with a tad bit of haze after swirling. A nice 2.5" head builds and shows off it's retention by sticking around for a few minutes. Tons of lace cling behind on the glass, a thick webbing.

Smell: Interesting malt aroma with mostly biscuity characteristics and some other cereal grains. A fresh aroma of hops that is best described as floral. Nice.

Taste: This beer has some great flavor. Herbal, English hops create a bitter earthiness. Envelope that with clean, biscuity malts and you have a great English IPA. I am trying to find the cedar somewhere and think it might be lingering on the very finish of the beer with a dry sensation.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, sweet, creamy, and a slight wood finish provide plenty to chew on. This beer has great mouthfeel.

Drinkability: The best Japanese beer I've ever had, though it is my fist craft beer from that country. Great use of ingredients, good method and subtle wood experience make this beer a great drinker that I would seek out if available.

More User Reviews:
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.13/5  rDev +9%
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!

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

Photo of oberon
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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.

Photo of brownbeer
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of merlin48
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of tigg924
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

Photo of Tabni
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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.

Photo of ADR
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of glid02
3.8/5  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.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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 IntriqKen
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a massive head atop a cloudy golden orange. Takes forever for the white 4 finger head to melt to sticky lacing.
Aroma is sort of woodsy...cedar is definitely present with a drying scent.
Taste is an unusual sweet amber malt that is slightly toasty but with none of the bite I usually find in toasted malts...this one stays very sweet throughout....again with the woodsy taste...cedar according to the bottle...very noticeable. Only a very slight citrus hop on the tale end of the swallow.
Mouthfeel is good although aftertaste doesn't dry out completely. A little of the sweet cloying lingers on.
I preferred drinking this beer very cold.
Very interesting and pleasant but too expensive for merely an interesting and pleasant brew.

Photo of biboergosum
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml squat-ass bottle. Aged in cedar barrels. Say whut?

This beer pours a dark, cloudy golden apricot hue, with three fat fingers of puffy, and tightly foamy off-white head, which leaves some very consistent webbed lace around the glass as it gradually settles.

It smells of peppery, leafy hops, generic pale and caramel malt, a rather prominent red and white grape fruitiness, and some understated herbal woodiness. The taste is still dominated by the peppery spice, strangely, with more children's grape juice fruitiness, subtle field honey, an astringent cedar woodiness, and a bit of languishing caramel malt.

The carbonation is on the soft side, just a gentle, rather unassuming frothiness manifesting, the body medium-light in weight, mostly smooth, yet with an inherent spicy edginess that takes a large chink out of any otherwise sedate creaminess. It finishes off-dry, peppery, earthy, and herbal - deconstructed, yes, but that's just how this one seems to roll.

A very unusual, and hard to describe (for the style) beer - the pepper essence obfuscating a lot of what is actually going on. In the end, the cigar-friendly wood conditioning helps to mollify the peppery astringency, making for a rather drinkable, if still weirdly intense offering. Might have to try this again, to really grok what's going on here. No idea why this is classified as any sort of IPA.

Photo of soper2000
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this in Ohio of the weekend. Even though I was warned about excessive carbonation I was not expecting the gusher that I received from this little bottle. The gushing really tests ones patience. Eventually the beer settled down a little yielding an extremely dense white foam head atop a cloudy orange body. Smell has has wood notes which fight for dominance with the hops. Nose is a tad dry as well. I really got a large dose of woody/saltyness from my first few tastes. The saltyness eventually fades away to reveal a very crisp hop bite that ends up being quite refreshing and belies this beer's potency. There's no doubt that this is a very interesting IPA and if it weren't for the carbonation issues I would be sure to pick more of this up.

Photo of daftafne
2.93/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served very cold and poured into a tulip. Two fingers of resilient billowing white head formed supported by the glass and lively effervescence. Dull copper colored liquid with visible yeast sediment. The cedar smell is surprisingly obvious and strong. Also smells of grapes, and apples. Taste is tart with cedar and and some finishing hops predominating. Just a hint of malts near the end. A pretty straightforward beer in taste. Dry and light mouthfeel. Interesting beer to try for the cedar, but not really the most pleasing.

Photo of cokes
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Blurry sandstone amber with tornadic swirls of carbonation. The head is monumental, forming a mesa that sits a good 4 inches above the surface of the liquid and barely moving from there.
Apple peel nose twisted with lemon, hay, and peanuts. The cedar ony arrives after the beer has warmed to room temps.
Begins with an lazy biscuit malt structure on top of tart green apples. This is joined instantly with the barrel tannins to form earthy nut skins. The middle is continually earthy and dank, with mossy wet limestone and flint. Tartness resume near the close with a likeminded acidic lemon oil hop notation and flakes of dried grass. Barrel tannins re-enter post-swallow with a general woodsiness, a la burnt coconut and sake impressions.
Lightish bodied with a rapid-fire CO2; one that over-aerates the mouth and disintergrates much of the flavor.
It's drinkable, yes. Interesting? I suppose. But many parts of this are a wreck, and beneath it all lies a pretty weak stab at an IPA.

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge, pocketed, pillowy head atop an amber brew, with carbonation bubbling up amongst a fair amount of suspended sediment.

Aroma is familiar yet somewhat unique, with strong yet mellow hops and a dry, cedar element. In the mouth, this beer is big and bubbly, with a tangy hop nectar quality that is very nice. Tart and bitter, it has just enough pucker factor to make you smile.

This is a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy yellow-orange with some significant white crown that laces. Musty basement smell. Taste of woodened and decent English IPA, I do not know the vintage. Dry and drying, with hops and cedar. Sour finish. The bottle said 5% next to Japanese symbol. Bits of wood sediment at the end of the glass.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On first tasting Hitchino Nest's JCA I was reeled in by its spiciness, and blown away by its uniqueness! This has got to be one of the most original beers in the world! It's hazy dark amber boddy teems with zesty bubbles beneath a huge head of frothy off-white foam that has amazing staying power and leaves rings of thick, fluffy lace about the glass. The nose is amazingly distinct and cedar-like, but there are other spice aromas in there as well including some nutmeg, a pinch of black pepper, a brush of cinnamon, a sprig of pine, and a spritz of citrusy fruit juice. Wow.... it's really interesting. Once it's settled a bit it's airy in the mouth rather than bristling (as the sight of the bubbling carbonation and rocky head might suggest) with a medium-light body that's slightly dextrinous and moves smoothly across the palate. In the flavor, the spices hit you right upfront; followed by a bit of gently fruity yeastiness (or is that citrusy hop?) and a delicately sweet maltiness that's similar to a glazed doughnut - and wham - there's the dry bitterness as some pine and a slap of cedar re-appear. As the botterness fades from the long finish some more maltiness becomes evident, and some prickly spice appears. It's intriguing and complex, but not particularily drinkable. I prefer the cedar in the nose.... but I guess the two go hand in hand. It's astonishing and mesmerizing in one serving.... let's just leave it at that.

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, paired with chef's sushi lunch at muramoto - downtown

appearance: served in a glass, roughly the heigh of the bottle - pilsner style...hazy amber body

smell: bready, adequately hopped, cedar, mellow fruit

taste: counteracts the wasabi burning sensation quite well - mild "english ipa", cedar casks are a nice touch. i find all of the hitachino beers pretty interesting, this one no different

mouthfeel: medium-light, best paired with the hotter japanese dishes

drinkability: good

Photo of cjgator3
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a murky orangish amber color with a creamy off-white head that possesses some solid lacing and retention qualities. The aroma is a bit sour and musty with some noticeable wood characteristics from the cedar aging. The cedar is very apparent in the taste as well, but really not in a bad way. Overall, I enjoyed this brew for it's uniquenesses. It is not something that I would want to drink very often, but it is really unlike any other beer that I have tried which gives it points in my book. Definitely worth a try.

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.

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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 408 ratings.