Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale - Kiuchi Brewery
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Ratings: 371 | Reviews: 236 | Display Reviews Only:
3.63/5 rDev -4.5%
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.
03-28-2008 03:28:21 | More by Sammy
3.69/5 rDev -2.9%
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.
07-15-2013 06:46:02 | More by UCLABrewN84
3.95/5 rDev +3.9%
A: The beer is very hazy yellowish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white dense head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thick head covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of cedar in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, flavors of cedar from the barrel aging stand out in the taste and linger thought the finish. There is also a light amount of bitterness and some notes of herbal hops.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this to be a very interesting beer due to the cedar aromas and flavors—it seemed like just enough cedar was added without being enough to completely overpower the beer.
09-27-2012 01:40:03 | More by metter98
3.28/5 rDev -13.7%
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.
12-12-2005 21:00:17 | More by BuckeyeNation
2.65/5 rDev -30.3%
Appearance: Pours a cloudy overripe peach color with a foamy head that leaves some good lacing
Smell: Spicy, peppery aroma but there is also a tea-like aroma that is not particularly enjoyable
Taste: Starts out with a biscuity, tea-like flavor that closes with an astringent bitterness that has lots of cedar elements to it
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation
Drinkabilty: An unusual beer that I found rather disagreeable
09-17-2006 01:57:24 | More by brentk56
3.63/5 rDev -4.5%
This beer delivers a serious punch in the kisser. The perfumy, woodsy aroma smacks ya upside the head even before you get a chance to look at the glass...(murky rust colored with good head retention, by the way). Smells promise a floral, cider bittering and flavor where the hops should be. Enough malt to make the beer palatable and rounded. But the story here is the solid hop flavors with the cedar amplifying the boquet and offering another bittering character. I've never ate a pine cone before, but now I understand what it would be like.
03-27-2006 21:34:52 | More by BEERchitect
3.6/5 rDev -5.3%
Bottle: Poured a light amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light bitter notes with green hops notes. Taste is not as bitter as expected though hops are clearly noticeable with a nice caramel malt backbone and some light cedar notes rounding things out. Body is slightly below average with good carbonation. Different interpretation of the style with cedar rounding things out nicely.
09-28-2010 02:47:16 | More by Phyl21ca
4.15/5 rDev +9.2%
Appearance: Pours a gorgeous, hazed amber body with a pillowy, sudsy off-white head.
Smell: Aroma of honey-like maltiness, yeast, apricots, and a handful of grass thrown in confetti-style.
Taste: Gentle caramel malt flavor with more sweet, juicy apricots. Hint of lemon. Subtle notes of wood. Refreshing tea-like bitterness. Mildly bitter, but very clean finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Mild carbonation.
Drinkability: Flavor, refreshment, uniqueness... the Japanese Classic Ale is down on ALL of it. Paired remarkably well with some moo goo gai pan, too.
09-10-2007 01:28:49 | More by ChainGangGuy
3.83/5 rDev +0.8%
Quite an interesting brew, this beer poured out as a nice golden color. The head was fluffy and white, it settles in a short period of time. The smell of the beer has some hoppy aromas mixed with the grainy malts. The taste of the beer is where I find this to be the best. The Flavors of wild rice, malts, black pepper and hops all come together here. I never would have guessed that this beer would have that much going on inside it. The mouthfeel of the beer is light and drinkable. Overall I really enjoyed the beer and would probably have it again one day.
08-24-2011 03:35:47 | More by Knapp85
3.48/5 rDev -8.4%
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.
05-02-2006 00:16:38 | More by oberon
3.83/5 rDev +0.8%
A - Poured out a cloudy orange color with a good deal of sediment in the glass. It had a small, off-white head head that left soapy residue.
S - It smelled of cedar, vanilla, floral notes and fruit.
T - This had a really strong vanilla taste and had a powerful sweet caramel flavor, too. There was hints of woody flavors and fruits.
M - It was soft, smooth and creamy. A light to medium-bodied ale.
D - This is a nice brew. It's almost too sweet to have more than one in a sitting.
07-26-2009 22:05:33 | More by zeff80
3.63/5 rDev -4.5%
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.
10-24-2010 03:16:34 | More by biboergosum
3.78/5 rDev -0.5%
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.
03-08-2005 21:33:46 | More by NeroFiddled
3.88/5 rDev +2.1%
Pours a cloudy amber orange. Citric nose with slight bubble gum tones it seems. Flavor is smooth with a touch of bitterness on the tip of your tongue that does not overpower. Even citric tones there as well. Feel is good with a nice bubble to it. Definitely drinkable. A nice smooth brew with even qualities. My first Hitachino. Glad to have gotten to try it. Not sure if Id ever go back to it because of the price, but it was pretty decent.
12-30-2007 15:33:03 | More by RblWthACoz
4.15/5 rDev +9.2%
A - Loud hiss followed by a slow, champagne like, gush when I popped the cap. Pours into the glass a hazy copper color, topped by a massive three to four fingers of foam. The huge, orange-white head sticks around for a long time before settling down and leaving a thick lattice of sticky lace.
S - Clean aroma of malt and some mild spicy, woody notes with just a hint of herbal/citrus hops.
T - Fruity, herbal hop character up front, very round and smooth. This gives way to a weak malty note and charred, mild tobacco notes. The hops reassert themselves in the finish, this time with a citrus bitterness which is complimented by a sweet alcohol note and mild woodiness. All of this settles into a distinct, lingering flavor of apricots.
M - Medium body and high carbonation. There is a noticeable tannic character in this beer that I attribute to the cedar, though I would have blamed it on the hops if I did not know the beer was aged on wood.
D - The abundance of big, but not overwhelming, hop flavor helps to make this a highly drinkable brew. Overall I enjoyed this one, though I am sorry to say that the aroma is a weak point; it is nice but, for some reason, far too weak. I think the cedar adds some distinct flavor components, woodiness and tobacco, but it is subtle enough that it may only be a psychological effect.
02-28-2008 05:59:53 | More by nickfl
4.03/5 rDev +6.1%
Yow! A gusher! Quickly got it and the glass, and went away for a towel or two...
Hazed amber color, enormous, fluffy head, maintains it's dominance for a millenia, it seems...
Aroma broadcasts yeast and malt, long and high...biscuits and gravy...buttery, oaky notes....mellow fruit, a zesty, bready thing, with tidy hops and citric hints...nice. I like it.
A return of the same on the tongue. Spicy, fruity, malty, ...tasty, drinkable. Good. Meaty. A fine pale ale. Can't really feel the effect of this "cedar cask maturation", but that's my fault, I guess.
Can't find a fault with it, but neither is it a socks-knocker-offer...
Good ale, 'nuff said.
(Perhaps my bottle has matured, I think, now that I have read other reviews.)
11-29-2005 04:29:44 | More by feloniousmonk
3.25/5 rDev -14.5%
The beer pours a dark gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades. There are plenty of floaties present. It has a sweet pale and light crystal malt scent that seems a bit peppery. It must be the cedar casks. The flavor is average. It has a very bitter hop taste that is quite citrusy. It boasts of pale malts and has a slightly sweet, yet dry finish. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium bodied beer with way too much carbonation. This is an average English pale. It's way too bitter and overcarbonated. It's one and done for me.
09-20-2005 02:17:03 | More by WesWes
3.75/5 rDev -1.3%
As soon as I pop the cap, the beer tries to escape the bottle. It is incredibly well carbonated with a 4 finger thick head that sticks around for a long time. The beer is a fully hazy, orangish red color that has large chunks of yeast floating in it, hmm healthy. The cedar is immediately evident in the aroma, quite interesting. There is a bit of fruitiness here in the nose as well, but it is almost not perceptible under the cedar. I get aromatic notes of strawberry, tamarind, almost like a rose wine underneath the cedar. The beer is quite spritzy up front, with a fruity acidity. The finish is astringent and hoppily bitter with a long dry note of cedar that dominates the finish. There are notes of cedar (obviously), citrusy hops, and mint. This is quite an interesting beer, it is a mix of solid hoppiness and cedar.
06-25-2005 03:43:45 | More by Gueuzedude
3.98/5 rDev +4.7%
Had at the Old Bay in NJ, and the beer menu claims only 4 kegs of this beer was sent to the US. It was hazy orange / amber in color and a short 1/2" head that quickly reduced to a surface covering. The aroma was of malt and yeast. The flavor was nice as a grainy malt was nicely balanced with the mild bitterness level. Yeast was definitely noticeable but only a tiny hint of any citrus tones. The higher alcohol level added slightly to the taste too.
The mouthfeel was grainy. Smooth at the start with a light crispness at the finish. Nicely drinkable, and a slightly different English style IPA.
08-19-2004 12:07:09 | More by Gavage
Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 371 ratings.