Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale - Kiuchi Brewery

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

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very good

390 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 390
Reviews: 239
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.87%
Wants: 11
Gots: 13 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 08-06-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 390 | Reviews: 239 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerDetective
2.88/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got a bottle of this on Sunday, cracked it open, and wow, smelled like Grandma's house with the cedar chests for keeping the moths out. I am not really much for wood emphasis beers so this one left me kind of ambivalent, but it had an interesting sake aftertaste for me that kept me interested enough to finish it. Not a bad beer, just not a great beer.

Photo of dolemite77
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I know that we are supposed to rate based on "true to style", but what the hell kind of style is this? It says IPA, and it looks like a double IPA, but that's about it. I got a bit of hops at the end, but overall... this one should be classified on its own. Pours hazy pumpkin color, with a nice head, but it was a bit cold and my pour was weak, so I'm not going to take off for that. The aroma of cedar makes it smell like a closet... and I mean that in a good way. The taste is initially sweet, like many strong IPAs can be, but then it gives way to earthy, cedar. It's interesting, and somewhat nice, but I doubt I would have more than one of these in a setting... A very good beer to experiment with to get different flavors than you would ever imagine in a beer.

Photo of oakbluff
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared via fisherman34. Pours a brown straw colour with vigorous head. Nose is strong ripe pears. Taste- again significant pear taste then sweet malts followed by a dry wood finish. Minimal hops are present. Very unique brew and drinkability is good. Alcohol well hidden.

Photo of fisherman34
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark orange in colour with medium to strong carbonation. Strong pear-like aromas mix with some aromatic wood (although not distinctly cedar), and sweet pale malt notes. Fairly malt forward in the mouth, with more orchard fruit and wood. There's a touch of roasted malt character, and some latent drying bitterness. Not really hoppy enough for me to consider it an IPA (or to consider buying it again), but an interesting and fairly tasty beverage regardless.

Photo of corby112
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: bottle.

This review pertains to the aged 2002 version. Pours a cloudy orange/ golden amber color with a foamy cream color. Aroma of oak, apple and spice. Flavor is quite tart and is dominated by apple because of the aging in cider casks.

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

a: This was a slightly hazy golden color with reddish coppery highlights. It poured with a medium sized, craggy, off-white head that left some lace in it's wake.

s: I got spicy notes of cinnamon and/or corriander. I also got some toffee and herbal, flowery hops. There was a little cedar as well, but not much.

t: This starts off sweet, with flavors of smoky toffee. The finish is where this gets interesting. Dry, peppery, and floral hops mingle with some cola (??) flavors. At the very end is a lingering cedar taste.

m: The carbonation is gentle, creamy, and long lasting.

d: This ranks as one of the most unique beers I've tried. It isn't necesarily something I'd reach for often, but I'm definitely glad I tried it.

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

Poured a cloudy orange. Frothy head, that dissipates to wring around rim.

Smell was very woody, with the unfamiliar cedar in the nose.
Sweet flowers, Earthy notes, Medicinal hops.

Taste started with small woody notes of clean cedar. Slightly bitter in the middle. An odd tasting hop varietyy tasting medicinal. Some sake characteristics in the yeast. Finished clean. Mouthfell was frothy and smooth.

This beer was very drinkable. Would have loved to had more bittering hops. A bit pricey, but a very unique ale. Had to try it!

Photo of JBogan
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper color with a creamy one finger head which stayed around for the duration and left good lacing. Good looking beer.

Smelled of malt and some nuts.

Tasted as it smelled, along with some wood overtones. Not super complex, but quite delicious.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and creamy.

This was a very drinkable beer, and would be more so if it wasn't so darned expensive (almost $5 for an 11 oz bottle). All in all I really enjoyed it other than the price.

Photo of bheilman
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm not blown away, but it isn't offensive or anything. Tastewise it is just a little sweet and heavy for me, aftertaste is pretty good though. This is a great looking beer in a glass. The aging didn't add a ton of flavor, but you can taste it and it does add to the diversity of the flavor.

Photo of jenitivecase
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky dark orange, with floaters and a moderate head. Decent retention; breaks down into a crown. Small amount of lacing.

S: Alcohol-y, and strangely chemical. Lots of pepper, too. Weird spices, and a little bit of glue..?!

T: SUPER peppery, with some nutmeg and cardamom in there. Aftertaste is distinctly nutmeg-y. The alcohol is relatively silent in the taste, and the weird smells in the nose have dissipated significantly. Slightly tangy... hints of sake-esque flavors.

M: Smooth yet bubbly, with a medium to light body and a creamy feel. Refreshing.

D: It won't be difficult to finish this one, but I'm not sure if I could drink more of this.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An IPA aged in cedar casks.

A: Pours a dark caramel orange color with a moderate lacing.

S: Light citrus hops are detected on nose with some fresh oranges and malt.

T: Body is light, but nicely hopped with some floral and grassy bittering that compliments the unique woody character of the beer produced by the cedar casks. There is some peppery pine notes as well. Flavor is nice, body is smooth and well balanced. Some creamy caramel and oranges round out the palate. Very good flavor, unique spicing and woody character along with a decent drinkability factor. Hard to believe it's a Japanese beer.

M: smooth with a light creaminess, light carbonation.

D: good drinkability overall and worthy of seeking out.

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

23.4 oz. bottle. Pours a cloudy orange-red color with a big, creamy off-white head, fair lacing. Aroma is cedar, caramel, apples, and pine/spruce hoppiness. Flavor is sweet caramel/toffee malts, citrus (orange), apples, and a finish of spiciness. Medium bodied, lively, and a slight astringent finish. Pretty good beer, bottle was a slight gusher, but it appears not to have affected. Very fruity, complex for an IPA. I enjoy the cedar aging. I hope to have this one again.

Photo of bearcamp
2.23/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked this bottle at the local liquor store. A bit pricey for a single 11.2 bottle but it was pay day so I thought I would splurge.

Outside of the bottle the label had brewed in 2002. So that makes this beer 6 years old?

Poured into a snifter glass. Immediately after opening very high carbonation and some got on the floor. The is very carbonated. Maybe because of the age.

I don't know why they call this a pale ale. Didn't really taste like one. It had more of a champagne taste to it. Maybe it was the strain of yeast they used. Couldn't smell the hops as much in this one as compared to other IPA's. It was still very drinkable. However, it was more of a champagne or a Saison style beer

Overall, I enjoyed trying this beer. It had a very unique taste that was new.

Go try one. You wont regret it.

Photo of timtim
4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

another great one from kiuchi!!! glowing burnt orange with a slight haze and a cream colored head that has decent retention and lace. cedar hits my nose first, with a grassy lemon herbal tea hop behind itand a sweetness in the back that is 2/3 malt and 1/3 cedar wood. the sweetness reminds me of sticky rice or rice pudding made with brown rice wrapped around those sugary chalky funsticks dippers from childhood. slightly sweetened woody herbal tea with lemon emds up being the taste to me. kind of complex, and very well balanced. like voltron. a bunch of very unique seperate parts that all have their own personalities, but end up uniting to make one bad ass vessel. very good medium body with a near perfect carbonation level for an ipa. soft and silky. minor and very pleasant bitterness. flavors dance and linger nicely, producing a nice long finish. cedar is very pleasant, and a nice change from oak aged beers. still smoky, but not heavy. like beautiful, delicate, oriental cedar incense. more please.

Photo of popery
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hitachino's Japanese Classic Ale has a fairly surprising flavor, and it would be a bit unfair to review the beer strictly as an IPA. Maybe, I'm missing something, but I can't find any direct reference to IPA on the bottle or brewery website. I like to believe that this is a sign of Kiuchi's acknowledgment of the beer's nature. All that aside, the beer tastes pretty good and has great feel and appearance.

This beer pours a deep, cloudy golden amber with yeast suspended throughout and produces an excellent, thick head, an indication of its prodigious carbonation. Unfortunately, the aroma was a bit lacking for me, more for its lack of presence than its specific qualities. There is a pleasant, slight cedar-scented hops scent, but it's more sweet than strong.

Fortunately, the beer has more depth of taste than smell. There are some nice hoppy notes and a unique flavor that is rather hard to place. It's woodsy and bitter, which comes out pretty well-balanced. There's not quite enough of the hops for me, but the flavor is definitely interesting and enjoyable. The feel is quite good as well. The beer is well-carbonated, but the bubbles don't prick much at the tongue. It's a a fine, calm carbonation, which adds to the flavor well.

Ultimately, the beer is a little sweet over the course of the 24.3 oz bottle, but there seems to be a smaller version out there in the great big world. I don't love this beer, but it would be great for a tasting of unique or unusual beers. Wit a lot of sweetness and its funny cedar influence, it probably wouldn't make for the greatest beer for food pairings, but I know little about the subject of food pairing and am not even sure why I'm giving an opinion.

Photo of gmcfarre
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into Saison Dupont glass

A - Pours a nice slightly cloudy orange color with a dense 3/4 inch sand colored head. Head lasts well, lacing is mild.

S - Cedar (from the cask maturing process) contibutes a nice light woody flavor that is some ways dominates the scent. A bit of pine with a good balancing sweetness.

T - Starts with a bit of grainy sweetness and quickly the cedar adds a certain woody, rice flavor reminiscent of sake. Bitter, hoppy finish.

M - Medium balanced with low to moderate carbonation. Smooth with a slightly tacky, bitter and drying finish.

D - Very interesting take on a pale ale. Easy drinking even for a 7% brew. I'm thinking I'd like to see more breweries use cedar for aging.

Photo of gubbt
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful hazy orange with a small white head that dissipates into a thin lace.

Aroma is an interesting mix of citrus (orange/lemon peel) and resinous wood. A bit of ginger.

Not much sweetness up front, but transitions to a fairly clean bitter finish with some citrus notes and a bit of metallic tinge. There is also a bit of bready malt underneath.

Mouthfeel is quite good and creamy.

Drinkability is fair, as it wouldn't wear on me too much. Overall a nice beer that is kind of interesting, but for $5 for an 11 oz bottle, I think I'll pass next time.

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

330 ml bottle into a Unibroue tulip.

An aggressive pour builds a tall tan head that slowly recedes to a thin lid of tiny bubbles. Some nice carbonation rises up through a murky, yeasty, bright orange body that fades to a burnt amber when not in the light. The aroma is interesting, to say the least. The cedar aging is unmistakable, adding a peppery wooden note that gets balanced by some spicy, citrus hops and sweet malts. I've gotta admit, when I first saw "Cedar-Aged" on the bottle, I was afraid this beer would smell like a hampster cage, but it's a nice touch and something to keep in mind for aging American-style IPA's, homebrewed or otherwise.

The cedar is present in the taste as well, but isn't quite as strong. A boozy, saki-like alcohol heat follows a good hop presence, some vegetables, and earthy malt notes. Mouthfeel is a bit over-carbonated, and the medium-thin body finishes dry and crisp, with a nice hoppy bite. This was a decent "JIPA", but I'll probably be reaching for my fail-safe american counterparts the next time I'm in the mood for a hoppy one.

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 USCTrojanBrian
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle served at Victoria Gastro Pub (MD)

A - A darker amber pour (for an "IPA"), massive cloud of bubbles in the liquid. One finger head. Thin cloudy white sediment at bottom of bottle.

S - Dank bottle musty smell, odd aromas.

T - Honest to goodness, the first thing I thought after my first sip was "this tastes like root vegetables!". That never really relented, I was thinking a beet or carrot or turnip or some combination of the above.

Sweetens up later to improve to respectable drinking levels, slight citrus (lemon?).

M/D - Weird aftertaste. Odd aroma, nothing like an IPA whatsoever, more like a vegetable ale.

Not sure if making it in cedar casks is the culprit, but something wasn't right. I didn't pick up much cedar, nor IPA flavor and the overall product couldn't rescue this beer no matter the style. I didn't "hate" this beer, but it was a challenge to finish and enjoy.

Photo of JDV
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a glowing orange pour with a moderate offwhite head. Smell is musty, woodsy, and perhaps a touch fruity. Taste is dry, musty, and woodsy overall with a nice bitterness in the finish. Mild hop flavor overall for an IPA and it definitely has a unique woody flavor from the cedar cask aging. Interesting.

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 Maudite
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oh man. Second Hitachino brew, second homerun.

A- Small bubbled, copper-orange brew, near the appearance of a muscat, white head tinged with brown, about 1 finger thick, lasted but for a moment. Little laces, no residual head.

S- Yum. Comes on with grapefruit, goes very woodsy and earthy, yet subtly sweet... A citric hoppiness, tart hop bitterness, near grassy...The closer to room temp. it got, the more it just smelled like a bag of fresh hop flowers. Excellent nose on this little guy.

T- The cedar is definitely apparent, in a good way. Comes across almost like a rye malt, tangy, slightly bitter, woodsy. Great hop presence, tart, citric, floral. Across the tongue, the hops go like this: Bitter>tangy>sweet>floral. Mmm. A very light, crisp, dry, almost oaky brew. The cedar casks lend a great extra note here, but the hop complexity is wonderfully executed. A great example of an English IPA, oddly from Japan.

M- Dry, thin, low carbonation. Not as gripping on the buds as an IPA could, or should, be, but good enough.

D- Sherry-like. Great beer. I could drink one after another and not get bored. Perhaps not a session beer, but great to sit and drink a few and discuss with beer friends.

Photo of nickfl
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of dsa7783
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have always been somewhat intrigued by Hitachino beers... Altough they may represent a given style, they usually tend to take on a whole new different perspective of the genre they intend to represent...
Case in point - Hitachino's Japanese Classic Ale, which, according to the back logo, is brewed following the original India Pale Ale brought to Japan in the 19th Century and slowly matured in Japanese cedar casks...
The appearance was really excellent, pouring a dark-copper colored hue with a full, five-fingered frothy and foamy head that had a difficult time receding and displayed visible rising carbonation...
Smell was somewhat nondescript, and faintly resembled an IPA... there was a noticeable hop aroma, but that seemed to be smothered by the unusual smell departed from the time left lingering in cedar casks, which left a citrus-like smell...
Taste was indeed full of hops, but also included a citric, lemon zest full of fresh florals, strong acidic grapefruit, and pears... Very different and distinct flavor from many other IPAs that I've sampled...
As usual, Hitachino manages to depict a certain style in a totally new and different way...
If you want a new take on an old classic, this one is certainly recommended...

Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 390 ratings.