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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

401 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 401
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: 401 | Reviews: 243
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours a hazy amber with lees in the bottle. Its got a rocky beige head.

Very prominent nose of cedar with a little earthiness and sourness behind that. Any hops are obscured by the cedar.

Very interesting flavor! Starts just a tad sour, then immediately there is an earthy, almost barnyard flavor, followed by a powerful blast of woodsy cedar and finally a long pine sappy finish.

Spicy and creamy with a very dry almost astringent finish from all the wood. Pretty highly carbonated as well, but not unpleasantly so.

Hard to say about drinkability. On the one hand this is a truly unusual beer, and very flavorful. I'm glad I tried it. On the other, the cedar is really a little too intense for me to have more than one at a time. That doesn't mean I won't be back for more, though. I rank this as one of the more unique brews currently being produced. If this is an English IPA style, its like no other I've ever had- not even close.

Photo of czechsaaz
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice woody aroma, I would think pine if I didn't know from the bottle that its cedar. The aroma is very strong. There's a good malt balance in there too but it does smell a bit overwhelming like a cedar chest.

Nice Amber color with a thick light tan head that's got serious staying power and nice lacing.

Has a pretty sour start. Lemony tartness right off. Afterwards there is good sweet malty backbone and some spice that I can't quite identify. Nice hop bitterness too. But on the other hand, the wood character is kind or over the top. I get the feeling like I've got pencil shavings in my mouth. It's not really unpleasant but I'm not crazy about it either.

Nice full bodied and very creamy. There does seem to me a touch of alcohol in the back of my mouth.

Definitely a unique beer. I've never really had anything like it, but it's flavors are somewhat harsh and unblended. It's a sipper and not easy to get through.

Photo of Westsidethreat
2.81/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: The second the cap was off, the foam came POURING out of the bottle, and I mean pouring. I grabbed my glass and saved as much as I could....then the foam BURST over the sides of my glass. GRRR...

OK, I'm back.

Body is a cloudy tangerine bronze with a bit of sediment. Head was a towering mess of sticky froth but since has died down to a gentler wisp with a nice ring around the glass. Webbing is covering all wides of the glass where the foam once was.

S: A whole lot of cedar on the nose, pungent and sappy. Herbal and floral. Rememiscent of a forest floor after a good rain.

T: Certainly based on an English style. First impression is loads of diacetyl. Next up is the cedar flavor which is dominant above all other flavors. Some sweet bay leaf notes....very floral. The hops show themselves and add more to the piney profile. Very herbal and spicy.

M: Medium bodied with a decent carbonation.

D: Cedar flavor is a bit over the top and won't leave the palate. Didn't care for this beer. Started out on the wrong foot and never really got good.

Photo of hero27
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle.
7% abv
"J.5.11" stamped on it..possibly a 'best before' date? no idea..

Pours a hazy, burnt orange with plenty of particles floating about. Huge, off-white head sticks around forever.
You can easily pick up the cedar in the aroma, with some pepper and subtle citrus also. Quite different.
Some woody notes in the flavor, mixed with apple and some light spices.. nutmeg, oily hops, and pepper reside in the finish.
Certainly unique..and I'm glad I tried it. This isn't something I'd regularly spend $3.50/bottle for, but a solid beer out of Japan.

Photo of ypsifly
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undated bomber purchased at Merchant's in Dearborn and poured into a pint glass.

Light, clear amber under two inches of white that shows very good retention and leaves webby rings and sheets of lace as it goes down.

Cedar wood, fruity hops that are a bit skunked at first but that quickly wafts away revealing some floral notes and a malty sweetness. Odd at first, but I like it.

I can taste the cedar and it is not unpleasant as it seems to bring out the juicy fruit flavors from the hops. Quite dry with a splash of malt sweetness and a lingering spice and wood finish. I'm quite surprised at how much I like this beer. The combination of cedar and fruity hop flavors sounds odd, but it really makes for a unique and refreshing beer. I'm giving this a rare 5 for taste!

The mouth is moderate upfront but dries towards the end. I like the transistion.

A very unique and pleasing beer. Well worth the $9 a bomber. I'm glad I went out on a limb for this one. You should do the same.

Photo of TurdFurgison
2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I had this on tap at the Map Room in Chicago. It was pale orange colored with an off-white thin head and it smelled wierd, like some exotic incense. I guess it's the cedar which makes it smell and taste this way, but I conclude cedar is not a good flavor in a beer. It tasted like licking a hippie, made me feel a little sick.

It was strange and unique, and I don't really want to try it again.

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 scottoale
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes in a stubby 330ml. brown bottle, pours an orange-copper with some murkiness from sediment particles. Two-finger, bubbly white head with plenty of initial lace, looks good.

First wiff, straight off the bottle, reveals a rather strong odor of cedar, no doubt due to the fact that it's aged in cedar casks. Same aroma from the glass, with some floral sweetness of the malt, orange fragrance and Japanese green tea...smells intriging.

Taste is very unique, with a mildly sweet, orange/black pekoe tea like flavor, blended with a handfull of cedar sawdust up front, turning from floral to mildly citrus fruity, mainly of orange, then tapering off to a pleasing, slightly bitter superbly clean finish. The cedar leaves a strange but pleasant aftertaste, very different from the average IPA.

Medium body, decent ABV, good carbonation and a slippery, smooth mouthfeel make this an ale that's easy drinkin' and worth try for it's uniqueness.

Photo of JayTheFinn
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very tasty Japanese beer. The ones I've tried have not been impressive so I was a bit surprised at the complex flavor in this one.

It had a orangey brown look. Beautiful smell of lighty citrus, cedar and caramel all blended well. The taste is the same as the smell, all three blended well and arriving on the tongue in waves. Creamy feel in the mouth. Almost too drinkable! I just wish the price tag was a little lower. $5 for 12oz is too high for me to make this a habit.

Photo of Jredner
4.67/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The aroma is strong with cedar notes and then very faint notes of caramel malt. Dark cloudy amber color with a firm and lasting thumb thick white head. Smooth caramel malt in the fore is quickly followed by spicy cedar notes that affect both sweeter Italian vanillin flavors as well as medium spiciness. The wood flavor is sharp and pervasive and adds an element I’ve not found in any other beer. There is a fair amount of hoppiness, but it melds together with the cider notes as they both touch on resiny and piney flavors thought there is no mistaking the cedar presence. This was a truly unique and rewarding suprise. Damn nice beer. Vastly underrated in my opinion.

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

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.

Photo of Crosling
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange leather. Large, bubbly and frothy white head that lasts. Fresh aromas of cut grapefruit, cedar, mango and lemon rinds. Wow. A simply wonderful, coating hop and fruit flavor. Notes of pineapple, fruit and grapefruit but not the overlybitter and resinous kind of hop flavor in American IPA’s. A unique and lovely beer that I hope to enjoy many more times.

Photo of soulgrowl
4.95/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Very picturesque. Body is a glowing, translucent, rusty, peachy red-orange. I cannot express how amazing the head is; tall, firm, and the color of rich French vanilla ice cream... and it WILL NOT GO AWAY!

Smell: Wow, cedar. And lots of it. It smells like an old, wooden, Japanese ryokan, and I like it. Fresh, peppery (is that cilantro?), citric hops and sweet malts add fruity depth.

Taste: This is an exceptional beer, truly unique. I find it difficult to describe. It's quite hoppy, but still well-balanced. The cedar taste is there, but it isn't overwhelming. Finish is the best kind of dry, bitter along the sides of the tongue but still kind of sweet on the back of the palate. A touch of yeast comes through as well. All I can say is... wow.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, clean, full-bodied. Quite nice.

Drinkability: Seeing as how this beer is quite nearly perfect, it is extremely drinkable. I had reservations about the price when I bought it ($10 a bomber), but nevermore. It is worth every penny.

Edit: Try this with a very old Cheddar or a smoked cheese and it will blow you away!

Photo of Rastacouere
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Nice bottle-conditioned murky muddy yellow to amber. Plenty of lacing results from the initial gushing. Off-white head resolves to a cover after a few minutes. Incredible nostrils punching pineapple and cedar aroma. Pure spruce.. incredible. As if it weren’t enough, that funky yeast reminds me why I love beer (one needs that every once in a while, eh?). Lots of citrus notes, orangey, very soft hops.. A treasure of an aroma, unarguably unique, yet it feels like an old friend immediately. Highly fruity, floral.. makes me think of spinach even and definitely algae. Firm and mellow bitterness at the same time.. Incredibly tasty and aromatic, lots of different range of flavours that you’d never think match together, but you needed Japan’s advanced beer science to come ahead with that. Very small bubbles procure a biting bite everywhere at once, but it is comfortable if only for the flavors.. I want more in my mouth with every sip. Light-medium body… Quaffable…Ok, maybe not what most of us have come to expect from IPAs, but let’s face the facts (or my biased opinion), it tastes better than any IPA I’ve had. Tremendous beer!

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

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.)

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 Lnedrive14
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A cedar aged IPA eh? Sounds interesting:

Appearance: Deep amber with a massive white head. The head actually reminds me of Duvel's, in that it stays in odd formations for quite a while after the pour. Kind of looks like a root beer float on top.

Smell: Absolutely delicious. The hops really fused well with the cedar in this case. Spiciness offset by a wooded subtlty. Love it.

Taste: It is a very sharp flavor. Malty, with little hop bitterness. It almost seems like you get the aftertaste at the beginning. It's grown on my as I've continued to drink. The hop presence comes out with a bit of time out of the fridge. It has a verve bittersweetness to it.

Mouthfeel: Sugary and light. It sort of dissipates quickly but small bits of it penetrate into corners of your mouth you didnt know were there.

Drinkability: One's enough. For a while.

At the very least, it is quite an interesting beer. Not something that I would drink every day, but I'm glad I tried it once.

Photo of whynot44
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy orange color with an impressive off white head that stays around for the duration and even leaves a bit of lace. Lots of floating yeast chunkies.

The aroma is heavy on the cedar with a bit of sweet malt and citrus almost undetectable.

The taste is heavy on citrusy, floral hops with a slightly sweet malt base. The cedar really hits in the spicy, hoppy finish that lingers.

Light/medium bodied and very interesting and nicely drinkable.

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 WesWes
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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

Brown bottle, 11.2 ounces. Pouring reveals a cloudy oak, with some very, very acceptable head-retention. The retention is definitely where this beer shines.

Hoppy, slight sweetness balances out an initially striking bitterness, followed by more hoppiness. This is solid. A fine example of the capabilities of the IPA, but nothing outstanding. I always find Hitachino beers really quirky, and this beer has impressed me more than the rest of the line. I don't go for IPAs, but this one is pretty swell. The mouthfeel is full, but not overwhelming. Carbonation is moderate, and drinkability is good. The relatively high alcohol content is very well-balanced, especially with the lingering hoppy aftertaste. Worth a look.

Photo of MrSeth
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Monster size tan head, just keeps coming. dark copper color, murky and mysterious..

Cedar has a strong presence in the nose, dominating it. reminds me of so many airplane modeling kits.. hahaha..

The cedar starts to mimic a cinnamon and other spicy aromas, making it more obvious why this wood might be chosen for a cask. As the head settles to a meager 1/2 inch size, there is a musky character coming out in the nose.

Starts very malty, fills in with lots of pucker. Surprisingly the cedar waits its turn in the profile, and makes a very appropriate appearance when it's time. There is a very alcoholic undertone here. It's creeps in at first, but jumps out at me by the end.

Like a few reviewers before me I'm not exactly sure what to make of this ale. It is interesting if nothing else.. but when would this ale be best enjoyed? It doesn't strike me as a session ale, it is too spicy and puckering, not to mention the 7% ABV. If it goes well with food, which foods?

If you are more familiar with this style of ale and/or type of finish, feel free to drop me a line.

Photo of DogFood11
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24.3oz bottle purchased at hi-times near Newport beach, served in a pilsener glass.

great head and retention, copper color. Waves of whisping carbonation support this humongous head. Borderline perfect appearance for this style in my book.

Cedar jumps out at first, very earthy. Lots of clove spicyness, sugary/cinnamon with some spicey notes.

this pup really smacks me around a bit, hard woody/earthy up front with just insane spices at the end. I'd have to have this beer everyday for a year to figure out all the complexity. This is one of those beers that i'm definately intrigued by and would by again for no other reason than to try and figure out what they were trying to accomplish. Very nice beer and one I'll pursue.

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

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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 401 ratings.