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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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very good

402 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 402
Reviews: 243
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.87%
Wants: 16
Gots: 19 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 402 | Reviews: 243
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
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
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
3.45/5  rDev -9%
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
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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
2.54/5  rDev -33%
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
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
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
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
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
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
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...

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance was a hazy, glowing amber, with a moderately diminishing creamy white head and lacing. lots of sediment chunks left behind stuck to the bottom of the bottle. a bit of a milkly swirl of haze near the top. cedar dominated the nose with some light stone fruits (apricots?) and floral notes. alcohol presence was noticeable. interesting bouqet. taste was light/moderately sweet malts with a smooth, somewhat subtle, yet almost moderate hop bitterness creeping in later. mouthfeel was kinda thin for a 7% beer and there was a bit of a woody astringency noted. i think i may have had this one just past it's prime.
update: better on tap, both in appearance and nose in particular.

Photo of clickpush
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 750ml bottle to tumbler at Swirl on Castro in SF. Thanks to Timmy Lou the buyer there for the sample. The beer has a nicely rounded amber body with plenty of large bubbled carbonation and a small off-white head that forms a constant smattering of lace during the whole of consumption. The nose is hugely floral - tons of perfumy hops like crushed marigolds and citrus rinds. Taste is also has a well rounded body, showing depth and character. Floral and aromatic hops throughout, bitter finish like a tangerine rind. Mouthfeel is well carbonated and stimulating. Malt body is light but present. Are these unique characteristics from rice? If so, more breweries should take up this practice. A very nice beer.

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

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 I’d ever go back to it because of the price, but it was pretty decent.

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

Pretty Orange Haze right out of the bottle; not too much sediment; I let it sit for weeks in the fridge; poured it to control yeastage. I t had a nicely disapating head that left no stickyness.

You could smell a very clean alcohol and wood(apparently cedar) smell right from teh get go. Super clean first taste. No aftertaste but a citrusy sweet flavour hop. All about the big woody notes that blend into hop flavour. Perfect carbonation. Nice and snappy with the subtlest amount of piney flavours coming through as it warms. In that sense it screams English rather than American IPA. Some breadiness as well. Alcohol is masked beautifully in the finish.

You cannot sense that this is high gravity ale. There is certainly an art to this; a clean oak cedar taste prevalent; a smoothness, a lack of big distracting low end that screams for a sashimi combo and some negimaki.

Photo of aluskungs
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow bizarre, maybe the most bizarre beer I've had.

I poured the whole bottle into my glass and there was a lot of sediment. Now my beer had floating black specs in it, not that appealing. The color of this hazy beer is like apple cider. The head on it is very bubbly and effervescent, like the beer.

The smell is definitely cedar, like a sauna. Also there is a dry dirt smell to it. The cedar is pleasant but the dirt smell isn't to nice.

The spicy cedar gives it a crisp bite like a hop but not as bitter. A bit medicine in flavor, but that's OK.

A very clean taste that begs to be drunk some more. Hey! my glass is empty already! Defiantly a beer to drink after a sauna session.

Photo of vtfan77
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Hazy brownish orange with a nice off-white head that sticks around for quite some time.

S- Aromas of berries, ginger, wood, and slight alcohol are present with a strong malty backbone.

T- The initial taste brings a slight malty sweetness, but that is soon overshadowed by the hops and cedar. While the cedar contributed only a slight woodiness to the aroma, it contributes quite a bit to the flavor. The finish is quite dry with a moderate hop bitterness and a nice woody finish.

M- Decent medium body with a good carbonation level.

D- While the alcohol does peek through from time to time, this doesn't seem like a particularly strong beer. I might have one more, but it certainly doesn't lend itself to mass consumption.

Another interesting beer from the good folks at the Kiuchi Brewery. I never would have thought that a cedar-aged IPA would work, but it definitely does. This beer is quite complex and tasty. It's not one that I will be drinking frequently, but it would be nice for an occasional change of pace. I'd suggest trying it for it uniqueness if nothing else. Recommended.

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

A solid amber color brew with a big white foamy head and very good lacing. The aroma is a pleasant light flowery cherry scent. The first taste is a refreshing mouthful of biscuit and dry grapefruit hops. The more I drink the more I get the sweet cherry suggestion which occasionally notes other fruit flavors while holding a nice, subtle ale maltiness. I thought this was intriguing. Not sure how much I would want to drink at one sitting, probably not more than a couple based on the unique flavor, but I definitely enjoyed this first experience and will want to try it again, along with some more selections from this Asian brewer. Recommended for a try, although you may find it a little pricey.

Photo of flowerysong
3.89/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy amber body with hardly any head.

Smell: Spicy, with a bready malt backbone, hints of cedar and sandalwood, and an underlying fruitiness.

Taste: Basically follows the nose, but the woody cedar influence is much more pronounced. Nice mild bitterness, a bit of sweetness comes through on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Spritzy carbonation on a smooth, light body.

Drinkability: Not an everyday brew, but I definitely like the effect of the cedar and overall the beer is quite complex.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.14/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Viggo
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Kyoko and Chris for giving me some of this one.

Pours a very cloudy amber, yeasty looking, very thick off white head forms, lace spots, thick layer. Smell is very spicy, woody, yeast, caramel, some floral, nice malts, can really smell the cedar. Taste is bready, touch of caramel, floral, lots of yeast and pine/cedar, spicy alcohol, nice. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation, dry peppery dry tea-like finish. Pretty interesting, very different, cedar adds a whole different element, would like to try again. Thanks K&C!

Photo of jdhilt
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Explodes out of bottle all over the counter, five+ finger light brown head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Cedar nose. Flavor is sweet cedar and apple with spices - NOT apple pie, clean finish. $3.89 for a 330ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME.

Photo of mortarit
4.36/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Someone at the store suggested this because he saw that was sampling beers. He pointed out that this one was cedar aged.

It does resemble an English style head from looking at it. I haven't tasted it yet.

Orange-Brownish in color, cloudy
If you look closely you can tell that it has partials floating around so I guess thats from the barrels.

Now the taste, Ol man that was pretty darn good for the first taste. I typically don't like English styles. But this might be an acceptation to the rule.

It smooth but has that hop texture like the American style. Thats really why I don't favor English styles because of the mellow texture.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy orange color with a tan head. In the nose, cedar wood and slightly lactic. In the taste, a nice small presence of a grapefruity hop, and a woody/ cedar taste. A smooth beer with a nice bitter aftertaste. It actually taste bigger that it is in alcohol. Interesting flavors with cedar.

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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 402 ratings.