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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale - Kiuchi Brewery

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

250 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 250
Hads: 419
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 15%
Wants: 17
Gots: 25 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery visit their website

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.
View: Beers (30) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 250 | Hads: 419
Photo of Chaney
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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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Photo of Amalak
3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. It has a dark caramel color, brown, some good white foamy head, with some lacing, it is hazy and completely opaque.

S. It has a malty nut scent.

T/M. It has a malty taste, quite strong. It is a tart and overdone malty. There's a grassy taste. Some sweetness.

O. It is a bit bland. A descent taste, but a bit overdone.

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Photo of TheyCallMeYukon
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The first time I had this beer was out West at a Japanese Style Burger joint. I decided to try something new and picked this from the menu.

Color: It really drew me in and hinted at it's complexity.

Aroma: Smells of hops and cedar and a bit of sweetness. Strong scent, but it's a good scent. Again, it invites you in to take a sip.

Taste: Hits your mouth with a sweet flavor then continues with a mild hop and cedar notes. The finish is dry and it leaves the taste of Sake and Cedar behind. Very Nice.

Overall: This is a great beer, I wish it was more readily available around home. This is definitely a Quality over Quantity beer, not something you can sit down and drink a bunch of but definitely a beer to be enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: A half cloudy dull orange body with a very decent head. Remains half cloudy throughout.
S: Woody sherbet.
T: Dry, herbal and woody with orange peel somewhere in the background. Tons of prickly ginger. Lemonade in the aftertaste. Loads of sandalwood. English in character. Heck, there's even some coffee and chocolate in there. Not sure why a beer of this flavour profile needs to be so alcoholic. It's a profile more suited to 5% and under. Also, it gets very boring towards the end and loses all its complexity.
M: Fizzy and foamy.
O: Started very well but got boring, perhaps due to the over-the-top ABV. Also, shame about the ludicrous price.

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Photo of Tone
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy, dark maize color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, strong citrus hops, floral hops, yeast, slight biscuit, hint of caramel malt, slight pale malt, hint of grass, and herb/spice?. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Fits the style of an English IPA. Tastes of grass, sweet malt, hint of rye, slight pale malt, slight floral hops, hint of pale malt, slight caramel malt, and slight alcohol. Overall, good aroma, body, blend, and decent appearance.

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Photo of JDavidRice
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A beautifully colored beer, cloudy burnt orange with a million tiny bits of sediment floating around. Head is perfect for the style and the lacing is above average. Interestingly enough, I don't smell the cedar that others have mentioned at all. Instead, I get impressions of apricots, wildflower blossoms, a little ground white pepper, and hops. The taste reminds me of a more refined and interesting MH #9; apricot and flowery hops arrive first, but the overall taste is nicely balanced by the finish. Slight lingering taste of citrus left on the palate after each sip. Mouthfeel was a little sharp right out of the fridge, but it is becoming more soft and luscious as it warms up. I'll definitely buy some more.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served out of standard 11.2 oz brown shortneck bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours hazy and rust-colored, with a dark core from the shadow of the the thick (two finger) head. Head is fluffy and smooth on top, like freshly-fallen snow. The color is tan with a hint of burnt sienna and it dissipates to a half-cm of foam that lingers and leaves respectable lacing.

Smell - Intriguing, with notes of cedar, fresh pinewood and notes of malty grains. I also get a hint of steamed brown rice as the head slowly dissipates to the shorter, lingering version of itself.

Taste - Subtle hoppiness, with a hint of sapling or green wood. The mild bitterness from the hops and a finish that has a citrusy-sour essence. Not sour like a capital-S "sour", but a tart quality to it.

Mouthfeel - This one is full and robust, with a resinous feel to it. I sticks around to let you really allow you to fully process the depth of flavor. Balanced.

Overall, a very good drinking beer that has some heft to it. I imagine it would pair well with a lot of different foods.

It's interesting because Japan is further away from England than India (especially by ship), and the mild hoppiness of this beer recalls the fact that IPAs were started by England wanting to put enough hops in the beer that it would still have some kick when it reached the colonies in India. Perhaps if those same IPAs traveled onto Japan after the stop in India, this barely bitter pale ale might be the end result.

Given the price of getting it here in KC, I can't imagine I would drink this one often, but it's a very tasty beer and one I would recommend to someone wanting to delve into the Japanese microbrewery scene.

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Photo of IDontBelieveYou
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

When I tried to relate to people, and promote this beer, I never had to lie, yet I always had to be cheesy. "Would you like to drink the scent of a cigar box?" Honestly, I can't move beyond the cedar nose. And who doesn't love the mysterious scent of their father's cedar cigar box? This is also the only beer I've ever encountered with this flavor profile. So points for originality? And brilliantly, unlike a typical strange or experimental brew, it actually works and is elegant, and challenging. My personal favorite from Hitachino.

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Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first time I tried this beer was after my first bar tending shift in a really nice fine dining restaurant. One of the senior bartenders sat me down and brought out a whole bunch of bottles from our 50+ choice menu and had me taste some. This was one of the more interesting of the selection and the brewery is a personal favorite of mine.

Nice color means better eye-appeal, which leads to an increased curiosity to sip.

Aroma expresses the beer's time spent in the sake-soaked cedar barrels of the family's sake business. Very appealing and inviting.

Taste consists of a flirtatious sweetness and faint hops with a dry finish leaving the palate with notes of that same cedar and sake; most likely the desired effect.

This is definitely a beer to be drank and appreciated in small quantities amongst friends. I can say this is one of the beers that got me hooked on learning more about craft breweries. A real treat.

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Photo of NardiByNature
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dated J. 12. 08: I'm sure the dates are somewhat reversed on this guy...if it were really almost 5-years-old "you wouldn't be able to taste the hops" on this guy, says my man @ the beer store.

Ruby – dark amber in color with a small white head that quickly fades into a collar. Somewhat hazy, minor sediment floating around.

First there’s the malty/resiney scent of a hop-waned IPA, But Wait! There’s More: apple cider, and a really dried woody smell: “matured in cedar casks”? No doubt.

Complex to say the least; I’ll try my best: apple sauce hits first, but an herbal-cedar punch comes through and dries it out. The cedar is very apparent here, this is really interesting, and some wild plays like a mild mushroom.

Mouth is dry, no doubt the cedar is a contributor here. I could use a little more carbo.

This beer is really good. Truly an experience, and what picking out a single bottle is about: cedar? Awesome. Beer from Japan? Out of the ordinary. You should try this because I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Photo of WestCoastLibations
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

While it might be "WestCoastLibations" as our moniker, considerable time in Land of the Morning calm cannot be discredited. And likewise, as it is the WestCoast where we believe the best beers in the world come from, there are still hidden gems located in the Far East, be it Korea, or one of its many neighboring countries. One of these Asian Beauties then, is the delicious "Japanese Classic Ale" from Hitachino Nest.

Probably the widest circulated IPA-styled beer here in Korea, it can be found in many grocery stores, sold in individual 12-ounce bottles. Like any IPA though, it needs to be transferred from bottle to glass, and when it does, it comes out as to be expected, with Amber and Rust fighting each other for naming rights. A "Classic Ale" in that it is that "Classic Color". Nothing too notable either way, be it in the color or smell, but on both accounts, it tries.

Settling into an IPA glass, it provides its Passport to its neighbor to the North, Korea, through its taste and lingering effect, which act as its strongest characteristics. Adhering to its name as a "JCA" instead of an "IPA" there are noticeable differences, but they must be investigated quickly, as unlike seemingly all other Asian beers, this one comes at you with 7% ABV. A reminder I guess that there is a long history between these two nations, and if for nothing else, Japan will win in the Battle of Beers.

Overall, a nice treat, especially giving its regional location. It can act as a great way to start or end an evening, but with APEC assistance needed if the intention is to pull you through the night...

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Photo of Serge
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled. Amber color, big off-white head. Aroma is fruits, marzipan, quite sweet nutmeg like notes as well as some mild spices. Flavor is wood, mild smoked wet things as well as spices and quite nutty. Mild vanilla. Very different, yet pleasant brew.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy golden amber in color with moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation near the surface of the beer. The beer has a finger tall dense off-white head that slowly reduces to a small patch of large bubbles, a very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of sweet caramel malts with moderate to strong aromas of cedar.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of malts upfront with just a hint of sweetness. There is a moderate flavor of cedar in the finish. Also, there are notes of herbal hops which lend a little bit of bitterness which fades quickly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Very enjoyable and the addition of the cedar is very interesting. Not quite sessionable but easy to drink.

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Photo of PeterM
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A little gem of a beer. Wanted something a little lighter to go with a light pasta dish and MAN it fit the bill.
A: warm, golden amber - darker than I expected. Single finger light tan head
S: Light unobtrusive nose - piney?...
T: Ah, starts subtly, and grows to a tangy balanced hops, with lovely full mouth-feel that lingers.
O: LOVE this one - it actually exhibits a balance and details that I prefer to my previous top ale, the Hennepin.

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Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 330mL bottle into a dimpled mug.

Appearance: medium orange hue with a moderate haze and lots of little floaties suspended in solution. Head poured a thin fonger of frothy ivory foam and quickly subsided. Not too bad, I guess.

Smell: sweetish malt with a strong, evergreeny, resiny aroma. The bottle says that this beer was matured in cedar casks, something I'd definitely believe after smelling this beer. It's interesting, definitely, but perhaps not my favorite.

Taste: nice malty backbone which has a little sweetness but is not overly so, plus the pinier hop elements. The weird resiny woodiness is growing on me a little bit, and I will say it works better in the flavor than in the aroma. The more I drink, there are citrus notes popping out; I like the dynamism here. Bitterness is relatively high, but that is again probably the cedar playing a part. This is definitely a unique beer; I think I like it.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and creaminess. Quite nice.

Overall: what a strange beer. It has kind of grown on me, but I feel like this brew could be an acquired taste. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of seand
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy amber with a fair amount of off white head. The foam thins out but doesn't completely dissipate, leaving a solid if thin surface layer and nice lacing.

S: Sweet English IPA with some noticeable complexity. Nothing in particular jumps out, but the blend is quite pleasant. It's a subtle but significant difference from a standard beer of the style.

T: Light sweetness, light bitter IPA notes, mild pleasant grain. Like the aroma, this is good, and a little different, but still close to the style.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation. Well suited to the style.

Overall, I really like this. It would probably be a go-to beer if I could find it easily and at a reasonable price. It's a beer-y beer, without any crazy flavors, with enough complexity to keep me interested.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

OK. I got this for $4 at whole foods in Hallandale Beach, FL...
nice night cap...
Pours a rusty orange with little head. Smells of malty fugle hops, but the cedar really stands out. Taste is of woody cedar which really dominates, mixed with sweet malts a english fugle hop-like taste. Its ABV is hidden VERY well...it actually seems more like a very mild ale. Very dry earthy aftertaste with tanic tones left on the tongue. Its almost too much cedar. In fact...it is too much cedar. I cant finish it.
Overall, a good beer; not amazing, not great, just a good brew, in moderation. I dont think id get again but I did enjoy. But would probably enjoy with a great cigar for sure...

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rusty orange with lumpy soapy taupe head that rims and sheets. Caramel, wood and orange on the nose with maybe a bit of buttery Maris Otter.
Sweet caramel and orangey hops with maybe a bit of sandalwood or vanilla.
Lemon fizz candy finish and orange pith bitter linger. Medium, chewy, some stick.

Historically accurate EIPA, and as balanced as any HN beer. The hops are there, but the IBUs aren’t; it’s the cedar-aging that hold your attention.

I had this down as comparable to Meantime IPA, but it’s not there. Orange and caramel, sure enough, but needs to take the leash off.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.42/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is typically malty with a firm hoppy and woody undertone and a touch of fruit. It pours a clear golden amber with a fairly thick off-white head. Malty flavor has appreciable hoppy and fruity notes and just a hint of hop bitterness. Smooth flavor has about average body and a good amount of ragged fizz. Though not spectacular, still an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of shleepy
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle, bought at Whole Foods (San Ramon), into a snifter. Drank on 3/27/2012.

A: Dark amber / light brown; medium head.

S: Caramel sweetness. Not much else.

T: Honey, caramel (which I don't particularly like). Not much in the way of hoppiness. Some light, indistinguishable fruitiness to go with the honey flavor.

M: Medium body, balanced level of carbonation.

O: I wish it had less caramel flavor, but it's not bad.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.29/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange amber, small foamy white head that leaves good lacing.

This one starts with some light, floral hops on the nose along with some good pine bitterness and a touch of citrus, grain and spice.

Light pine taste with hops and bitterness with an almost perfume like secondary smell. There is some fruit in there as well, perhaps some apricot and there is some cedar too towards the end.

Smooth, refreshing feel to it and carbonation was low. I'd put the body as being medium and a dry finish.

I would rate this one as being an average, English style IPA that could have been a bit more adventurous and exciting but still a descent beer.

1001 Beers Blog:

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Bottle acquired at Hi Time Liquor in Costa Mesa, California. I don't recall the cost. It struck me because the label advertises that it's aged in cedar casks, which I found intriguing. One thing I'm unclear on after reading the label is if the cedar casks used previously contained sake or not; it seems to imply that this could be the case but dances around it. This is me first beer from this brewery, and I'm looking forward to it.

Reviewed live. Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a three finger head of nice cream, decent thickness, and good retention for the ABV. Colour is a murky nontransparent dark copper.

Sm: Clean brewing malt (prefermentation), tame underdeveloped bittering hops, some spices, cream, and clean barley. Caramelized malts. Surprisingly, the spices dominate. Very intriguing, but I don't know that it's a good sign. Still, the aroma is unique - especially for the style. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Certainly cedary yet in a subtle fashion. Spices are present - particularly on the climax, but it's clean bright malts that dominate. Maybe honey malt? The hops are hardly noticeable, and instead lightly impart a vague fresh floral flavour. This is a great approach to the style, and I support it. Here's an IPA that doesn't beat you over the head with imbalanced hops. Nicely structured. Well balanced, if simple. Pleasant and enjoyable. Nicely built. It's experimental without going for huge bold flavours, which I appreciate it.

No yeast or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Light on the palate. Smooth and wet. Not creamy, but that wouldn't suit the style or flavours anyway. Silky. Not crisp. Complements the simple pleasant flavour nicely.

Dr: This one impressed me. I don't usually care for IPAs, but this brewery approached the style in a fresh and distinct way. Not a hop bomb from some American brewery dicksizing IBUs. Hides its ABV very well. I'd have it again, but unfortunately subtlety and complexity just isn't there to make it great.


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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.