Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale - Kiuchi Brewery

Not Rated.
Hitachino Nest Red Rice AleHitachino Nest Red Rice Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

626 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 626
Reviews: 319
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 14.86%
Wants: 34
Gots: 60 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-01-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 626 | Reviews: 319
Reviews by doktorhops:
Photo of doktorhops
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hitachino - the finest of Japanese brewers (from previous drinking experiences) have crafted many fine and intricate ales of variety from a Wit Bier that competes with the best of Belgian Wits [pun intended] to the lowest of lows; Ginger beer (yeah I'm obviously not a fan of Ginger beers). With Red Rice Ale we have what could be considered their most enticing sounding of brews, Kampai!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a St Feuillien chalice.

A: Presents with a cloudy tangelo body and off-white thin lacing for a head.

S: Interesting malty rice wine aromas mixed with sweet honey, sour yeast and bitter melon. It's quite a fusion you would expect from a Japanese ale (not the Lagers, they usually smell like other Asian Lagers).

T: It's a tangy nutty Sake flavoured roller-coaster ride we have here. Such is the difference to a Western style ale it could be off-setting for some. For me it's quite expected within the flavour-profile Japanese tend towards. We have a hint of sweet berries upfront, not as much as expected, followed by a tangy citric edge, dry rice malt centre, nut and earth flavours finish off with an almost umami aftertaste (I swear the Japanese always figure out a way to slip umami into everything). The end result, apart from an excellent flavour balance, is an ale that is quite unique and very, very Japanese.

M: Mid to light body with light carbonation.

D: Judged on the flavour alone I would have a section of the fridge portioned off for this along with Duvel, La Chouffe, Orval, Gueuze (which is a type of beer I know), Gulden Draak, and Little Creatures Pale Ale (had to have an Australian beer somewhere)... however the price! I'm not a millionaire, although I should be - I have millionaire tastes, however at this stage I can only dream of affording this quirky but tasty ale on a regular basis... those are some mighty fine dreams right there.

Food match: Japanese food + Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale = Brain Sensory Awesomeness Overload (or BSAO for short). Specifically a Yakiniku rice burger would be ace with this brew.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light orange color with a light head that leaves some light lacing,aroma is of grain alcohol and some green apple.I have had saki only a few times but I pick up a big saki flavor to this brew in the finish along with a light smokiness and like a few others a light olive juice flavor as well.A real odd and perplexing beer but it kinda grown on ya after a few drinks,glad I gave it a try.

Photo of RoyalT
3.06/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This one has a pretty, hazy yellow body with a full head.

Smell – The strong, ricey grain was balanced by some surprisingly soft, floral hops.

Taste – The sharp grain and rice defined this ale. I caught some good sweetness at the end, though.

Mouthfeel – This one is light to medium in the body with some good, tingling carbonation.

Drinkability – This one was OK. It went well with my Kaisershinken ham and Swiss cheese sandwich.

Comments – The style classification has to be wrong. This isn’t anything close to a BSPA.

Photo of explosivebeer
3.19/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a hazy light plum color with a very thin head. My bottle was fairly settled but there seems to be a larger-than-normal amount of yeast in suspension. Some nice sour aroma with a little funkiness in it, apparently from the rice. The body is a little thin and has a little underlying cherry.

Photo of BeerDreadz
2.41/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2 onz amber bottle with 7%

A: Bone white head and a mix between orange and amber color

S: Kind of cooked vegetables and soy sauce

T: Bitter sweet taste,not crisp , the taste of red rice is like veggies

M: Carbonated, bitter and not smooth

Drinkability: Different beer, good to try something new

Photo of Todd
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Short, stubby 11.2oz brown bottle with that cute little owl on it. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours a crazy cloudy golden with peach hues and a massive white lace that has a wierd pink hue to it. Head is creamy, foamy, sticky, clingy and retains pretty well too.

Smell: Smells of starch, bean, light strawberries, but no real hop or malt characters. Sake characters in the nose. Aroma is strange, but in a nice/wierd way.

Taste: Thin flavours of strawberries, large dose of a spicy medicinal alcohol that can be likened to sake (typical of rice brews). Slight bitterness around the edges; like kiwi fruit. Malt flavour is high, but the rice / starch flavours seem to take the foreground, and rightly so. Nice strong malt sweetness provides a smooth medium to full-body and nice balance. Loads of fruitiness in this beer too ... that all seems to mix with a flat Sprite-like flavour. Finish goes bitty on the palate and a bit dry. Alcohol fumes fill the mouth and nasal passage (sake all the way).

Notes: What an odd little beer. I love it! Who would have thunk to brew such an unusual little gem of a beer? The flavours are very unusual, to say the least. I also want more. Now.

Note: be respectful of this beer. It'll kick your ass with its unique type of alcohol and its content.

Photo of Schmit
3.23/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes in a bottle with a whimsical label featuring an owl or maybe some kind of native Japanese snow fowl. The most striking thing about this beer is its color: other reviewers call it amber, but I swear this stuff has a deep magenta tinge to it. There is a lot of sediment floating around in it like a snowglobe (I assume this is the reason for the snowy owl on the label?) and this beer, if nothing else, looks really great. Didn't like the smell, which I can only say struck me as a sour pilsner smell. Taste was not bad, different somehow (which I guess is the rice?), but just pretty so-so. Pricey and not something I'll necessarily seek out in the future, but definitely worth a try.

Photo of Jason
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Odd golden beige hue with evident haze, real nice off white lace that stays for a while due to the active carbonation.

Smells of cooked wild rice, mild tartness, spicy sweet alcohol and earthy yeast.

Slightly viscous carbonation has bit of body to roll through. Tad slick in the mouth, crispness build as the spicy alcohol and sharp bitterness hit. Mild tartness middle to end, yeast tones soften the palate a little. Wild rice flavours throughout meld with the yeast and go both earthy and nutty. Alcoholic esters are only faintly fruity but quite warming. Finishes on the dry side.

This is one of those off the wall yet extremely interesting brews. Not something I’d buy all the time but for more of a treat or a conversational brew. Paired well with my tuna sushi roll.

Photo of merlin48
3.14/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one of those kooky breweries, based on my third sampling of their ales. This one pours from a 330ml bottle a pinkish burnt orange body with a small, big bubbled head that is offwhite in color. Active carbonation is apparent, with lots of bubble action. Rings of patchy lace form atop the hazy body.
Aroma is restrained, thankfully, as what I notice is not overly pleasant. Very adjunct like, with notes of sake and rice.
Mouthfeel is light bodied and highly carbonated.
Taste is interesting. Begins sweet and yeasty, and morphs into a dry, sour, and acidic sake taste. Some sharp notes are present, and it's difficult to discern whether it's from the hops or alcohol. Finishes dry and vinous, very akin to sake.
Well, this was another unique offering from Hitachino. This one is going to be an acquired taste, but at the high price I probably won't bother. I like their Classic Ale, aged in cedar, much better. Try this one if you want some sake and rice in your beer.

Photo of Homebrew35
3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$5 12 oz bottle.
Upon opening I smelled some vanilla, cherry/fruitiness, oak.
Pours a one finger head that quickly disapates to nothing but some clingy bubbles. In the glass I smell fruit strawberry and sne other tart fruit, bubble gum, lager yeast character, sweet oak, apple. Tastes like tart strawberry, lager grainy notes. Drys out on the finish. Medium carbing, light body quite drinkable for this abv, not for this $..

Photo of schrutality
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

tasted a bit like a fruity sake. really good

Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a red/orange/brown color with a white head. The aroma is smoke, toffee, tobacco, leather and toasted malt. The flavor is similar. I still get a lot of tobacco and smoke, but I also get some meaty notes. There is also some rice, grass and fruit notes in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of bsp77
3.41/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Pilsner-like glass.

Appearance: Cloudy fiery-orange with large initial head, but recedes fairly quickly.

Smell: Okay, this is weird. There is an earthy sweetness that makes me think of millipedes, which give off a distinct odor.

Taste: The earthy sweetness dominates the taste as well, so now I know what millipedes taste like. However, it's not that bad, as there are also some raisin and plum characteristics. The finish reminds me of sake.

Feel: Relatively low carbonation, as it could have been a little more lively. Somewhat light body.

Drinkability: Just a weird beer, although I did warm up to it after a little while. Plus, it did go well with the sushi I was having.

Photo of kingcrowing
2.73/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured in a DFH pint glass. Thanks to theghost3 for this extra!

Pours a cloudy red color. with almost no head or lacing. Smells like Salami... very interesting.

Taste is not too pleasant, kind of harsh and leaves a deli meat after taste. I'm not really sure what's going on here but It's not a great taste. It's a bit over carbonated. Interesting to drink but I'd go with their white one over this.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.29/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A 330ml bottle with a BB of March 2014, so it's a bit out of date. Acquired a while back from Trembling Madness in York and then lost in a cupboard. The label states that it contains an ancient variety of red rice that gives it a pink tinge.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A deep, hazy orange-amber hue with plenty of floating sediment and medium carbonation. Maybe a very faint pink. Yields a decent head of creamy white foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a patchy surface layer. Aroma of grainy malt with hints of husks, rice, fruity ale yeast, stewed leaves and a touch of cardboard. Has a slight whiff of adjunct lager. Uneventful.

Tastes of husky malt with a prolonged dry finish. Notes of grainy malt, husks, mild rice, vaguely fruity yeast, stewed leaves, earthiness and a hint of harsh cardboard in the background. Perhaps a twinge of lurking alcohol. Highly attenuated, followed by a slightly acrid herbal bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and dry, with soft carbonation and good body. Somewhat astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of harsh stewed leaves/cardboard, earthy yeast and faint rice.

Hmmm - not brilliant. That said, the age of the bottle probably doesn't help. Looks OK if rather cloudy; the aroma and flavour are pretty lacklustre. Husky malt and stewed leaves are the main course. Body is alright and relatively thick. Drinkable but unexciting - it just doesn't have that much going for it. No need to seek it out.

Photo of ADR
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy bright nectarine color, red hued. Palish head, not much height or duration. Just a few dots in the lacing department. Sweet aroma, vaguely cherry with a light yeast tone. Pale in flavor and body, barest grape and some wandering cloviness. Aggressively carbonated, too spritzy for my tastes. Bitters at the close, good sense of dryness. Attractive, nice finish, this is just not the kind of beer that strikes me that well.

Source: Liquid Solutions

Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a clear amber color that has a slight amount of a pink hue. Capping it off is a half-finger slightly off-white head that recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of muted medium malts with slight amounts of red fruit - strawberries mostly with hints of tart raspberries. Also present is a slightly stale aroma that's not disagreeable that I attribute to the rice.

Tastes more robust than it smells. Slightly dry medium malt flavors kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are strawberry flavors that are equally sweet and tart. The fruit flavors fade out near the end of the sip, allowing the malts to carry through to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with very fine carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this was an interesting beer that didn't really seem to fit in a specific category. Both the fruit and the malts were subtle and it would have been entirely forgettable if not for the fine carbonation. Not worth seeking out but it's not worth turning down either.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A-This beer pours a coppery orange hazy body with a dense carbonation of tiny-tiny bubbles. It has a head of a slightly pink hue that is big and creamy.

S- The aroma of dry mead comes through on a faint note in an otherwise very clean smell. Notes of lightly toasted malt and some very faint citrus notes follow.

T- This beer has a slightly bitter taste that is a bit peppery in the beginning with a light pale malt note. The finish is a bit dry with a hint of hop bitterness.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel with no alcohol warmth or astringency.

D- This beer is very soft and mild. I didn't pick up the fruity notes as strong as I would expect in this style. For 8 1/2 % ABV this is a very smooth and drinkable beer. It would be nice to see a bit more complexity.

Photo of sloejams
3.32/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer garners the widest range of scores imaginable. It's an odd one.

I purchased just a single stubby 11 oz. (or so) bottle. I'm fond of the Hitachino Nest beers I've had, just wished they were cheaper than $5 for each wee bottle.

I poured into a chalice, it looked great: a cloudish red with a nice pink head. The smell was outstanding: yeasty sour aromas - very similar to the fan-fucking-tastic La Folie. This had to be unbelievably delicious - no?

The taste was so different from what I expected. Where did the sour go? I could taste the red rice and some yeast but the tartness from that brilliant smell were diluted to almost nothing. Shame, I was very excited.

Working through it, all I wanted was a Flanders Red. I'm glad I gave it a try - it's definitely interesting. I think I'll stick to the Nests for repeat visits.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a strange dark amber with very definate reddish peach hues and a nice half finger white head that has an unusual pink tint to it. Head melts to a somewhat sticky lacing.
Aroma is sort of like hops, no rice to me..just strawberries with a hint of amber malt.
Taste is starchy I suppose from the rice...fruity strawberries still in the flavors and sort of a sticky rice roll taste coming towards the end. Strong alcohol presence as you swallow. Mouthfeel is sufficient due to solid fine carbonation.
This is a very unusual brew and I am enjoying it's uniqueness without really being able to tell if I like it. I definately can't rate this to style as the style is supposedly a Belgium Strong Ale and I see, smell, nor taste anything even close to Belgium in this glass.

Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

720ml, very sturdy, contoured bomber, this one is. Cute/creepy Hitachino Nest owl insignia, for this 'RR' ale.

This beer pours a cloudy dark golden amber colour, with two fingers of weakly puffy, bubbly, and generally soapy dirty white head, which leaves a bit of random mitochondrial lace around the glass as it quickly recedes.

It smells of wine yeast, that robust, starchy dark rice that my gf likes so much, grainy pale malt, some musty citrus, and earthy root vegetables. The taste is toasted rice, white sugar, pale malt, dry, sour yeast, an isolated herbal spiciness, and mildly floral, earthy hops. Very sake-like.

The carbonation is quite soft, and generally lilting, the body a decent medium weight, smooth and even a little creamy. It finishes well off-dry, a clean, yeasty non-store-brand rice-pudding essence persisting.

A very satisfying, well balanced, and interesting in its mirror world character strong yeasty ale. Another Hitachino offering that defies current BA classification - I suppose this would require the existence of a 'Japanese Rice Ale' category or the like, one better befitting this beer than any particular Belgian shoehorning that seems to be going on here.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this bottle at Myers and Chang in Boston.

A: Poured a pink/red color with a light pink head on top, very sudsy, about one inch in height. The head faded rather quickly leaving behind little bits of side lace.

S: Fruity for sure, some sort of red fruit, almost like fruit punch (but not in a sugary way), as well as a little bit of apple. Can pick out the rice a little bit.

T: The berries are a bit subdued in the flavor profile, but there is some strawberry and raspberry as well as a little bit of apple and tangerine. Lots of sweetness from the malt and rice.

M: On the light side of medium bodied with nice carbonation. Slightly dry finish. No sign of this being 7% either.

O: An interesting beer, pretty tasty. Didn't know it was a BSPA until I logged onto BA when I got home, kind of surprised me, but wasn't sure what style I thought it would be anyway. A nice change of pace beer.

Photo of asabreed
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. stubby bottle into a wine glass. Had this bottle in the cellar for a while, so I hope it holds up. No freshness date that I can see.

Appearance: Pale wheat golden color with nice bubbles and a nice white head that gives some good rings and raindrops room to stick.

Smell: Interesting fruit and white wine aromas. Maybe some Sake in the mix too? Definitely some citrus also. There seems to be some sourness somewhere too. Something that I can't put my finger one also, maybe it's the Sake or the fermentation of the rice. Interesting and pretty aromatic overall.

Taste: Fruit esters and sourness is what I get mostly, but I'm not sure if there's anything else that I can really describe. Sourness from the red rice and white wine characteristics are here the most. Finish is almost like rock candy sugar with some woody sourness. Still a bit bland in some ways, or should I probably say that I was expecting a bit more overall.

Mouthfeel: Fairly good and creamy for a bigger bodied brew. There's a good smoothness and carbonation from the sip to the finish that seems to work really well.

Drinkability: Hitachino brews are always so damn expensive, and unfortunately this doesn't cut it for me. It's interesting and easy drinking, but I feel like the complexity is lacking. Again, maybe this isn't meant to be cellared, though it was by accident in some ways. I'd like to try a fresh bottle, but am I going to pay $5 to see what the deal is? I'm not sure.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

They're not kidding about the "red", as this pours a blood orange/copper-red color, with a big fluffy, soapy head that holds for a couple minutes before reducing to thin skim. Super-tiny sediment, despite a careful pour and a ton of bubbles, and a thin web-like spread of lace. (I'll rarely dock points for floaters or sediment...I dig that.)

Aroma is...interesting. Maybe it's the red rice, but this doesn't smell like any other beer that I can recall. Aside from the unfamiliar and hard-to-define main element, it also smells of pink grapefruit juice, sea salt and pineapple. Elusive and interesting.

Flavor has the sourness of grapefruit, the sweetness of pineapple, a highly mineral quality, pretty salty, with a very tart finish. Obvious why Sweet Tarts candy comes to mind. There's a softness to the palate that must be the rice, being on the thin side but with enough carbonation to carry things through.

This is interesting stuff, certainly unique, but unfortunately not all that drinkable on any kind of regular basis. There's something lacking here, which is only partially made up for with it's more unorthodox characteristics. It stands alone, as I've never had another beer like it, but probably won't need to revisit anytime soon.

Photo of cokes
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Salmon-tinted copper, blurred and sporting a trim, stark white head.
Nose of cloved sake, bologna, and and pepper.
Begins with a notion of baked clove-sprinkled honey ham, one that is quick and fleeting. Sake is dominant at this point, and lingers for a long while. Turns doughier and grainier, with an undercutting pear and green apple tartness. Finishes with a burst of spicy hops and not a legit trace of ABV.
A different brew for sure, and a bit score-defiant of that reason, but it's one that I'd get again on occasion.

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Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 626 ratings.