Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale - Kiuchi Brewery
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Ratings: 196 | Reviews: 170 | Display Reviews Only:
3.9/5 rDev -3.7%
Poured from the 11.2 oz. bottle a cloudy, dark brown with a bit of gold. The bubbly, cream-colored head on this beer was huge and took some time to settle.
The smell is very mild with a touch of sweetness, almost candy-like.
What a mix. This ale is sweet and spicy, yet tart and fruity with a sour finish in every sip.
Sharply carbonated for sure. Oily to the tongue.
This is a very interesting beer and would expect nothing less from Hitachino. Definitely worth a try.
03-19-2007 21:06:12 | More by Monkeyknife
3.25/5 rDev -19.8%
Fresh 2007 bottle pops with vigor, and pours into my tulip a hazy ruby color, with a bit of mahogany towards the center. Three finger head has nice retention, and leaves behind a bit of lacing.
Aroma is big time spicy, and well rounded. the nutmeg and cinnamon blend nicely, while the vanilla stands out a bit. Smells slightly sweet and delicious.
Flavor is another story. Malt flavors are nice, and accentuate the orange peel which jumps out immediately. From there, it takes a turn for the worse. The spices are not well balanced on the palate, and jump out in different waves that seem to clash with each other. Not melded together well, and poorly balanced. Finish is dry and with a lingering stale spice type of flavor. Mouthfeel is oddly thin, and with heavy carbonation. Drinkability is decent.
Overall, this beer looks and smells pretty great, but the flavor just doesn't deliver. Hitachino is definitely a hit or miss brewery in my opinion, and this is no exception. There are much better spiced winter warmers out there, and considering that this one was lackluster and almost $4 for 12oz, I think I'll be sticking to those others. Personally, I won't be buying this again, although I probably will try next years vintage. Perhaps this one just needs some serious cellar time...
02-28-2007 00:40:37 | More by phisig137
4/5 rDev -1.2%
My first impression of this beer was how spicy it was! It was hard to describe or pinpoint. The flavor was bright floral and almost soapy. I would describe this as tart, rather than bitter. And the tartness balanced the delicious sweetness very well. I don't have much to compare this to, it was so unique. So far, I love the beers this brewery is putting out!
02-14-2007 02:37:24 | More by Jessefive
3.63/5 rDev -10.4%
11.2oz bottle of 2004 vintage from unknown source, be it old BIF or self-purchase, I really can't remember.
Poured into pint mug, formed 3 1/2" of tan head over the clear dark copper brew. Head fades down reasonably quickly for its size, you can see the huge bubbles popping before your eyes, but it still takes a while to fade down to a reasonable height, with actually somewhat minimal lacing for the head presence. Aroma is predominantly sweet and spicy. Taste is sweet upfront, equal parts spices and tartness in the middle, and a slightly warming close, but nowhere near where the abv would indicate. Mouthfeel and drinkability are okay ont his one. It's interesting, I'm just not sure it's something I would revisit often. But since it's a holiday seasonal, maybe it's supposed to be a one time annual treat or something. Worth a try regardless.
02-06-2007 02:25:24 | More by ppoitras
3.68/5 rDev -9.1%
330ml stubby brown bottle dated 2006.
Pours cloudy red & brown. Small tan head disappears rapidly, leaving tendrils of thin lace. Heavily over-spiced aroma. Orange, nutmeg, and pine hops on a sugary malt base. Flavor displays much better balance and depth. Starts sweet and fruity before introducing a good dose of pine-needle and orange hops. Finishes with tart alcohol, spices, vanilla, and plenty of dry hops. Very full in the mouth. Forceful carbonation keeps it feeling relatively light despite the chewy malt base.
02-02-2007 01:26:57 | More by dgallina
3.75/5 rDev -7.4%
Drank from a 11.2 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Whole Foods Market, West Hartford, CT
First, I must comment on the amazing bottle graphics. Hitachino always does a great job with their cute and quirky designs but this bottle, complete with gold leaf-like Japanese lettering, complete outdoes all the rest.
As for the beer itself: It poured a murky, copper mahogany with lots of white, floating particles. The three-finger, light tan, sea foam head lasted a number of minutes before fading to a thin film of lace. Sparse amounts of drippy lacing trickled down the glass.
Aroma was fragrant, smooth and sweet. Rich malts, brown sugar and spices dominated, while notes of vanilla lingered in the background.
Taste was similar to the nose but a bit more sharp. Malty rich with spices, brown sugar, citrus and a slight alcohol bite. As the beer moved along the palate, some oaky and woody nuances came out as well. A slight hoppiness on the back end helped to balance things. Finish was a mix of leafy hops and residual sweetness.
Mouthfeel was quite disappointing. The body was medium and quite good but the excessive amount of carbonation was almost stinging.
As for drinkability, this beer was a mixed bag. It was quite tasty and the 9% ABV was hardly noticeable in the taste (yet it did warm the mouth and throat), but the carbonation made this beer almost difficult to drink at times.
Overall, this beer was rather good, albeit very unique for the style. (It looked, smelled and tasted like a Belgian tripel yet was somehow labeled as a "winter warmer.")
01-27-2007 04:02:27 | More by Damian
4/5 rDev -1.2%
330 ml, 2007 bottle purchased from Whole Foods. I have to mention first, as I cracked this, before it was completely open foam started spewing out. There was a little lump of foam about a half an inch out the lip of the bottle before I even began to pour. Extremely over carbonated or over primed the head was mammoth and uncontrollable, but once it subsided it lingers about a centimeter off the surface in a slightly creamy off white color. The body is a muddy opaque caramel with tons of variant shades and visible bubbles flowing through it. Looks like some sort of mucky iron rich riverbed.
The bottle states spiced ale, with coriander, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla bean. A mix of coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe orange peel are present, up against a sort of sticky malt backbone. I cant really pick out the hops on this, maybe because of the spice. The spices sort of give this a sharp character, as it warms fruitier esters become apparent a mix of strawberry, banana, tart plum and the non-ester orange peal.
The taste is crisp, complex, and at times reminds me of a sort of tart unsweetened applesauce. Carbonation is present with a sort of tartness coming toward middle of the flavor alcohol warmth is present on the finish. This is a fun winter warmer sort of murkier, thick cider like, spicy brew worth picking up once a year.
01-23-2007 20:38:40 | More by mmcave
4.43/5 rDev +9.4%
Explodes out of bottle filling mug with foam took forever to pour but off-white head vanishes without a trace. Cloudy amber color with yeast at bottom of bottle. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Strong spicy plum nose. Starts sweet almost cloying, spicy toffee flavor balanced finish. High ABV is not noticeable. $3.99 for 2004 330ml bottle from John's Grocery Iowa City, IA.
01-14-2007 23:39:10 | More by jdhilt
3.88/5 rDev -4.2%
2004/2006 editions tasted simultaneously.
'06 bottle pours a deep rusty orange-brown. Opaque with a light skim of foam that settles to a ring around the chalice.
Smell is great. Spicy, similar to a Tripel, fresh fruit and spice create a heady aroma. Orange peel and nutmeg are the biggest, then cinnamon folows up.
Taste is a little bracing, big overripe orange, boozy with spicy accents. A thick but not quite syrupy mouthfeel makes it a sipper for sure. Almost like room temp. grapefruit juice, which doesn't hold much appeal. It may be difficult for me to finish both of these for the comparison.
2004 bottle notes:
In comparison to a fresh version, the aged bottle comes out ahead. Different vintages have different recipes most likely ('04 was classified as an Eisbock).
It retains a better head with way more carbonation, and has a darker, burnt umber color. Spotty eruptions of bubbles surface in the foam, similar to a Belgian trappist. Smells sweet, candi sugar and dark malt mostly. Dried apricot and nutmeg are there too. The taste has a distinctly different sweet bready confection element going on, almost like a cookie or French toast. Less citrusy, but still bitter with spice. Malt seems a little spent, which tells me that cellaring for 2+ years takes something away from it.
From this experience, the best option would be to cellar it for a year and drink it for the following new years...
2007 bottle notes: Took the above advice, and just opened the '07 bottle with the Mt. Fuji sunrise. It exploded when I opened it, and lost at least 1/3 of the bottle. Crap. It was more full-bodied than I remembered, still alot of vanilla and nutmeg, some dull citrus. Didn't leave the glowing impression i've had in years past.
01-12-2007 02:25:55 | More by emerge077
3.08/5 rDev -24%
Pours a brownish-orange in color with a light khaki head. Nose consists of malt, ginger, and it has an ale fruitiness to it. The aroma also has hints of feint cinnamon and an odd medicinal smell lingering in the background. Full-bodied mouthfeel with ample carbonation. Malty front with flavors of spicy clove and light cinnamon. Midway a citrus fruitiness arrives. The finish has an unsettling medicinal taste to it. As the beer warms the carbonation lessens, which softens the taste and makes it somewhat more palatable. There are some unique flavors going on here, but the odd medicinal taste is rather off-putting. After one, I didn't desire another.
01-10-2007 04:59:21 | More by Winter
4.5/5 rDev +11.1%
2006 Vintage, Consumed in Japan on premises.
Pours a slightly cloudy peach with a tanish head that leaves sticky lace all over. Syrupy and alcoholic looking when it runs down the side of the glass.
Aroma is slightly indicitive of spices and the orange peel, the alcohol also comes through.
Nice caramel sweetness upfront and a generous dose of hop bittering that finally gives way once again to the alcohol and sweetness. The exhale is sweet with hints of the spices. This beer is an interesting example of the winter warmer style and I feel that they nailed it with the amount of spicing and the higher alcohol.
Very well done, and I imagine that the trip abroad does hurt this beer a little bit.
The folks at Kiuchi can pride themselves in the fact that they make what is most likely the best beer in Japan.
12-16-2006 02:49:23 | More by beersarang
4/5 rDev -1.2%
Poured at the Falling Rock in Denver. A good amber color, hints of golden haze. Nice medium head, retained well with a bit of lacing.
Taste had some hints of caramel and coffee, but mostly tasted of citrus and basil. Orange peel and some alcohol was also present.
Felt a bit thin, but it covered well and finished crisper than I thought it would. Still left a bit of alcohol aftertaste, but not so much as to burn.
A nice brew, but no cause for Celebration
12-02-2006 00:36:08 | More by Mebuzzard
3.88/5 rDev -4.2%
Pours a pretty deep orange color with golden highlights, and a touch of yeast suspended in the body due to a less-than-careful pour. Nice carbonation yields a solid inch of off-white creamy head that sticks around for a while, leaving some nice lacing as it recedes. Aroma is spicy and yeasty, with lots of holiday spices (clove, nutmeg, allspice). Palate is full of sweet malt and tangy spices, along with a good bit of astringency. Body is nice and creamy, but the astringency leaves a tingly, antiseptic feeling in the mouth. A nice winter warmer, particularly if you like spiced ales.
11-27-2006 07:14:23 | More by ElGordo
3.23/5 rDev -20.2%
Thanks to Chris at Ebenezer's Pub for getting me this. It was a cloudy amber color with a small head. Wonderful spicy aroma, as well as some vanilla. The taste was disappointing. A nice citrus tang, spice (mainly clove), but I felt overwhelmed by the vanilla. The more I drank, the more the vanilla predominated. Not a very exciting beer.
11-04-2006 14:22:46 | More by lordofthewiens
4.15/5 rDev +2.5%
S - 11.2 oz 2006 bottle.
A - A deep toasted caramel hue. Almost looks kind ofsugary and syrupy. Head hits about a finger then reduces to a 18 inch of off white head.
S - Caramel, vanilla, slight zesty citrus hit, spiciness. Almost reminds me of a tripel but deeper and roasty. Slight hits of roasted malts and mocha scents as well. Very nice.
T - Tartness, caramel, slight spiciness maybe clove or nutmeg, slight roasted character, orangey element, hop bitterness is very well balanced with the rest of the characters. Nice warming element buried deep in my chest.
M - Sugary, syrupy feel. Didnt really expect it but I have to say I was happy with it. The only thing is that it didnt really hold on to my tongue as much as I would have liked it to, otherwise its perfect.
D - Above average. kind of tires out my tongue after one, not bad though.
10-11-2006 02:50:34 | More by rsyberg01
3.93/5 rDev -3%
A fluffy off white head piles in the pour in spite of being the 2005 edition, so close to a year old. The aroma jumps up with an assertive vanilla and spice, cinnamon is evident and the underlying spice I think is the nutmeg list on the side of the bottle. Coriander is in the taste more, and the orange peel seems to be light at this point. Also, a bit of a musty taste, not bad, but the beer definately aged and mellowed some of the flavors. It is has a slight oily mouthfeel, creamy in the front and side until it hits a dry spicy finish--not bitter--just strong spice. Overall a pleasant beer, though it didn't warm up well, became a bit cloying with the sweetness.
09-16-2006 02:19:24 | More by FightingEntropy
4.13/5 rDev +2%
Apperance: pours a hazy orange color with a 1" head that falls to a surface foam. Some spotty lacing develops.
Smell: spices galore here as cinammon, vanilla, and pepper are easily detectable.
Taste: light malt backbone flavored with cinammon, vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, and a dash of pepper. Decent bitterness. Alcohol is noticeable, but not offensive.
Mouthfeel: crisp at the start and finishes dry and crisp. Short aftertaste. Medium bodied.
Drinkability: nice spicey brew here that is esily quaffed since the malt profile is a bit lighter than other winter warmers and alcohol doesn't drive the flavor profile.
08-27-2006 19:41:07 | More by Gavage
3.48/5 rDev -14.1%
2004 edition. I'd been sitting on a couple bottles of these, and it's time to crack one.
Sedimented cinnamon orange, topped with a mountain of off white foam. Good head retention. The bottom of the bottle looks like it's got little flecks of ginger in it, with the orange tinted bottle conditioning. Ginger dominates the aroma, with honeyed, caramel maltiness and a veritable spice rack going on. Some doughy, wooden yeast notes. An odd, mellowed aged quality underscores everything, a bit of sweet, barleywine-like sherry. Crazy. Taking a sip, my entire mouth is immediately assaulted by supercharged carbonation, fizzing so much it makes my eyes water. Tons of burps. Underneath all that, ginger seems to dominate the flavor, along with a bevy of other spicy flavors. Rather peppery into the finish. Fruity and sweetish, though quite dry in the end. With the dryness and ginger overtones, the yeast creates a flavor not unlike chewing on a piece of wood. Not particularly appealing. Fuller medium body, though the amped-up carbonation makes it feel lighter.
I wasn't super crazy about it when fresh, and it's still not really jiving with me. The ginger dominates the flavor, and the high levels of carbonation seem to add to that feel. I like ginger well enough, but it seems to interact oddly with the malt, not meshing particularly well. The wooden flavor is rather unappetizing. This brew seems to be at odds with itself, wanting to be sweet, but spicy and peppery as well. I think I liked it better when it was young, so the scores are a half and half.
07-11-2006 11:39:16 | More by UnionMade
3.5/5 rDev -13.6%
Interesting nose with lots of yeasty esters and a spiciness that I get as ginger and candied citrus (not hop citrus but like what I would associate with a lemon drop.) Good malt nose of pilsner malt. Some other fruity fermentation too.
Color is orange with a persistant but small head. It's pretty cloudy though.
Flavor is a little lacking. There's good malt character of pilsner and maybe some caramel. Also spice character but it's not very strong. It has a slightly perfumy aftertaste. There's just not a whole lot going on beyond the base malt. The complexity I got in the aroma doesn't carry over to the flavors.
Full bodied with a very nice medium carbonation level. Feels very creamy on the palate.
A good strong ale. Not overwhelming or palate challenging but at 9% I'd like to see more character in a beer.
07-11-2006 06:31:30 | More by czechsaaz
4.58/5 rDev +13.1%
Appearance: Pours a clouded coppery-brown color capped with a dense, foamy cream-colored head.
Smell: Good gracious, me. What a rich, dense aroma! The nose is exceptionally malty, and abundant with potent scents of caramel, cherry, ginger, and orange zest.
Taste: The rich malt bases delivers a very clean, pure caramel flavor further enhanced and rounded out by notes of orange sorbet, vanilla, brown sugar, and various other spices. Yet, it still manages to finish slightly dry. It's delish!
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with a smooth, velvety texture. A bright effervescence helps to prevent the beer becoming syrupy.
Drinkability: Definitely a palate pleaser with such a depth and range of flavors. Particularly wonderful.
07-03-2006 19:58:00 | More by ChainGangGuy
4.83/5 rDev +19.3%
This beer was purchased at Belmont Party Source. The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet.
Appearance: The beer pours a clear bronze coloration. The head was a thick and creamy biege coloration. The head had pretty good staying power. The beer left thick creamy rings of lacing around my glass.
Smell: The beer has a apricot caramel bready base. The beer lays out a fantastic combonation of spices. The spice bill as I can smell consist of peppery coriander, spicy cinnamon, vanilla, ceder, oakey wood, citus zest. This is a great combo and never ventures into over spiced.
Taste: The beer delivers on the smell big time. The beer has sweet and sour maltyness and plenty of spicyness. The beer never goes into a cloying sweetness. The alcohol is definately a spicy component in the taste but never offensive.
Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is full bodied. The alcohol is well incorporated in the beers flavor and smell. This is a dam fine strong ale. I will actively seek this beer treat out. This beer was hard not to guzzle. This is a first class beer offering from Kiuchi Brewery.
The beer vastly improved as it approached the warmer side. The beer took on a pineapple, starfruit tropical fruit mix of smells and flavors. I would recommend serving this with just the lightest chill possible.
06-27-2006 10:19:14 | More by nlmartin
4.47/5 rDev +10.4%
2004 edition. Equal parts red, orange and bronze with a small numbers of fine particulates and a large number of furiously uprushing bubbles. The head would make some of the most explosive Belgian beers proud. It's golden light caramel in color and, unfortunately, has that airy softness that doesn't leave much of a lace signature on the glass. I love the look though, mostly due to the color of the beer and the majestic nature of the foamy crown.
I've been enjoying the nose ever since the pour even though my nose was nowhere near the glass. This one is aromatic with a capital 'A'. Good thing it smells great. It's toffee sweet, spicy and fruity, just like Christmas dessert in a glass. It's also sour and a bit woody, but in a good way. Unique, complex, outstanding.
If I didn't know any better, I'd have bet my beer stash that Celebration Ale hails from Belgium. The shape and depth of the flavor footprint and the degree of powerful complexity that are on display with each sip scream Belgian Strong Dark Ale. There's no doubt that my fondness for this beer is directly related to the list of flavor additives (orange peel, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla bean) each of which I absolutely love.
The best features of the 'spice bill' are that it isn't overpowering (I'm sure that some will disagree with me on that point) and the fact that the various flavors work so well together without one being dominant. I might have cut back a tad on the cinnamon, but that's just me. Sweet, sour and bitter are all present and accounted for, especially the first two.
I'm amazed at how complex this beer is. I've never tasted anything quite like it and I continue to be endlessly fascinated at the ever-changing constellation of flavors as I drink. Sticky toffee mixed with sour apple flecked with cedar shavings? Toasted brown bread slathered with bitter orange marmalade sprinkled with nutmeg and clove? Cinnamon-spiced peaches covered in caramel and macerated in vanilla liqueur? I could go on and on and on.
As in the best BSDAs, alcohol is noticeable on the palate while being a valued contributor to the flavor profile. It tastes and drinks every bit of the 9% ABV and I wouldn't change a thing about the way that the alcohol interacts with the rest of the beer as a whole. Sipping allows one to (attempt to) appreciate the innumerable flavor elements while permitting the warmth of the alcohol to seep in gradually.
The body/mouthfeel holds up its end of the bargain quite nicely. It's definitely full without being heavy or sticky. The still generous amount of carbonation provides a certain levity and keeps the tongue scrubbed cleaner than it would be otherwise. The beer is lush and lightly silky in the mouth as opposed to being viscous or syrupy.
Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale is wonderful beer. I had some doubts about how this 2004 iteration has held up over the nearly 3 years since bottling, but I needn't have. I'm happy to report that it's outstanding at the moment and will likely last for a while longer. This is far and away my favorite Kiuchi beer and I'll be sure to buy every bottle that I can lay my hands on if I'm lucky enough to run across it again.
06-11-2006 15:38:52 | More by BuckeyeNation
United Kingdom (England)
4.22/5 rDev +4.2%
Appearance: The first thing I notice is the utterly gargantuan, airy, stained ivory head. In fact, the head is too big, but thankfully it is fairly volatile and breaks down rather quickly, still retaining a thick mess of bubbles atop the deep, dark, garnet-brown body. Tiny chunks of sediment are visible swimming about in the near-opaque murk.
Smell: Resiny hops, toasty caramel malts. Spicy yeast and cinnamon. Mild umami aromas, similar to dashi. Sweet notes of toffee, apricot, vanilla bean, orange zest, and dark fruits - dates, figs, prunes, etc. Probably the closest a beer has ever come to fruitcake!
Taste: Tart, dry apple cider, clove, coriander, raisin, vanilla extract, spicy alcohol, mild metallic twang near the finish. Very well-balanced and complex, but the brilliant malt character is really the star of the show here. Interesting bittersweet finish with unexpected mocha notes. Subdued orange peel, nutmeg, and cinnamon characters throughout. Not unlike a pumpkin pie in many ways, and the combination of vanilla, cinnamon, and citrus almost reminds me of cola.
Mouthfeel: Chewy, somewhat zippy, acerbic, and frothy. Fairly clean finish.
Drinkability: This is not my favorite beer from Kiuchi, but it is damn good. Big, bold, complex, and quite warming. Very enjoyable!
05-21-2006 22:07:22 | More by soulgrowl
3.93/5 rDev -3%
a murky orangey brown ith a thin tan head.
the aroma contains a good amout of malt, but also a lot of dry herbal hops. i also find nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, also some orangy fruitiness
the taste has lots of spicy caramel malts balanced well with some drying herbal hops. the cooking spices are in there too, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and vanilla again. this has some wheat characteristics too along with a little bit of the citrus juicyness from the aroma.
fullish medium body with moderate sharp carbonation. i could use a little less in here.
good drinkability with a very well hidden 9% abv.
05-12-2006 21:03:09 | More by kmo1030
4/5 rDev -1.2%
An interesting brew, and a fine example of the style. Overall, I have enjoyed the hitachino beverages, but I think moreso for the japanese take on western styles than for the actual taste. this one has a ton of spices - i feel like i was on a journey through the Cape of Good hope to meet marco polo to bring back spices, but instead I decided to dive into the barrels a bit on the way (does this mean I was on the wagon, or off the wagon - 2 points for the reference). Anyway, that's really what you will get out of this brew - extremely balanced however. You can tell some time was put into this in choosing the spice levels, unlike some more popular winter beverages, cough (sam adams).
05-06-2006 04:17:50 | More by Lnedrive14
Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.