1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale - Kiuchi Brewery

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

563 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 563
Reviews: 309
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 14.86%
Wants: 27
Gots: 37 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-01-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 563 | Reviews: 309 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I've seen these around the are and finally decided to plunk down a few bucks for this. Pours a deep red/orange color quite different from your average ale. Has an odd grainy sweet smell, not too overwhelming. Tastes a bit like raw slightly musty grains(rice?) some sweetness in the background which finishes sweet. Overall, it's different but really exciting or overly appealing. Worth a shot for people who like to try something different, but I can't see myself going back to this one.

Manosbeeroffate, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of lpayette
1.85/5  rDev -50%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Listed as 7.0% ABV on the label and on the Kiuchi website, not the 8.5% stated above. 11.2 oz. bottle. Brewed with red rice.

Appearance- Pours a cloudy peach color with about 1 finger head initially- dies down to just a ring very quickly. Just a little bit of lacing.

Smell- This definitely isn't up my alley at all smell-wise. I knew that as soon as I popped the top off. By the way, I love the little round owl on the label and the cap... back to the review. I actually had to read some other reviews to confirm that the smells here were not an indication that this had gone bad. At 7% I figured it should be pretty good to hold up. Smells are sake, strawberries, salmon!???, and rotten rice. It made me nervous to even try drinking it. Not a good combination for the nose.

Taste- Disappointingly- the taste is much like the smell. It does get better as you get used to it though. Still, salmon, sake, earthy notes, and rotten rice is just not a very appealing combination. Some phenols and strawberry flavors are in there too.

Mouthfeel- This is about the only thing that impresses. The mouthfeel is just like it should be. Good carbonation, and a bit of drying yeast effect at the end.

Drinkability- After warming to near room temperature, I could almost manage to suck the remainder of this down. This beer reminds me of a liquid sushi... too bad I don't like sushi. I'm sure that some people will like it, but it's just not for me. This would probably pair really well with lots of Japanese foods including sasimi... that is, if you like sasimi. All-in-all, an extremely interesting beer, but one that I obviously won't be buying again.

lpayette, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of Jwaks
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving 12oz bottle

Couse bubbles speed up through a hazy copper orange shaded beer to a surprisingly impressive copper tinted froth whice lies just below an appetizing ring of lacing.

Wild aromatics soar from the glass filling the huge bouquet with aromas of cooked wild rice, white wine vinegar, fermented strawberries, young bright red fruits and dark malts with hints of sake. The scents are unmistakable and nearly fill the room, if only all beers had such a potent, robust and aromatic nose! It gets extra points for putting on such a great, aromatic performance.

Soft notes of rice vinegar, juicy strawberries and tart red berries come through on a smooth entry persisting toward a more aggressive sour fruit driven mid palate. Well integrated malts support interesting sour fruit from the mid palate to a smooth, sake like finish. Hints of fruit and vinegar persist on a moderately long aftertaste. Acohol is neatly tucked under layers of flavor, this beer gives the drinker no indication of it's impressive strength. Damn, this is one tasty little brew in a big way though it could be much better without the odd sour flavors.

Deceivingly smooth, this light to medium bodied brew is only a bit watery but oh so slick with a pleasing grip. Off flavors and vinegary flavor keep drinkability near average but mouthfeel makes this go down so easy.

A damn nice surprise in a small package, I went into this thinking it would be awful but how wrong I was. This is the first beer of this style that I've had the pleasure to try, it isn't my cup of tea but you have to hand it to the brewers, this is a delicious and smooth rice based brew.


Jwaks, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of dpool
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice red color with a light pink head
S: Smells a little like sake with the fermented rice, and soft notes of sweetness
T: Strange but good, has a little after tast of orange zest and a little spice
M: Very cabonated and bounces in your mouth
D: Great beer, I enjoyed mine with sushi and it fit nicely.

dpool, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330ml brown bottle from Joka's in Waterville. Murky red-amber body with a quarter inch of off-white head. Smells like cooked rice. Tastes sweet and grainy, similar to wild rice. Flavor has hints of almost a roasty quality to it. Not detecting any alcohol, which surprises me. Rather full-bodied. I'm surprised how much I like this one. Not something I'd have everyday, but I'm very glad to have tried this one. May get again sometime - perhaps to pair with some sushi.

MrHurmateeowish, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of budsboy
3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy, with a drop of red, thinnish head has a unique red hue.

Yeasty, bready smell with earthy, vegetal smell. A sweet, candy surgar aroma is in there as well. The alcohol is well hidden.

Taste is interesting for sure. Crisp, biting and metalic mixed with malt, phenolic-medicinal taste, slight whisper of alcohol. Altogether it is better than it sounds.

Medium body, bordering on thin, and bright, clean.

I like this beer, but not nearly as much as the brewery's wit. I'm feeling the alcohol after a half glass, which went down quickly enough. All in all a worth-a-try brew.

budsboy, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of jpagewatts
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

interesting bottle. pours a murky copper. smells distinctly of the rice it was brewed with. the taste is thin, though, with no pronouced hop character. and more of the rice flavor reminicent of sake.

the good parts of this beer is the appearance, which is a beautiful color and nice presentation, and it's drinkability.

jpagewatts, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of warmstorage
1.8/5  rDev -51.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

11.2 ounce bottle from BevMo Sacramento (Arden Way), poured into a wide-mouthed wine glass (similar in shape to a Belgian chalice), cellar temp. Bottles states 7% ABV, no date.

BA listing for this beer states 8.5% ABV, but everything else about the name fits, and Kiuchi doesn't seem to make any other rice ales, so I *think* I'm reviewing the right beer. (Label art is also consistent with Kuichi's web site.)

Pours with a light fizzy white head which dissipates rapidly, leaves no lacing. Initially looked bright pink on pouring, in the glass it's a cross between deep orange (think honey) with a slightly pink tint. No carbonation bubbles visible.

Aroma is light and lager-like, with notes of slightly sweet grain, no hops noticeable.

Tastes like a lactic acid Belgian abbey style, a light one. The 7% isn't evident, I'd have guessed more like 4% or 5%. Acidic and sharp, lingers with a tingly acid taste. Not pleasant at all. I don't get sake or fruit flavors in it: mostly lactic acid.

Mouth is a slightly coating viscous feel, light, but present on my tongue. Also unpleasant.

Unlike the suspected-to-be brettanomyces infected White Ale from Kiuchi that I reviewed last night, I don't suspect this one of being infected: just of being pretty bad beer.

I'm glad I engaged in a little experiment in trying two of Kiuchi's beers; I won't be experimenting this way again on my own nickel. I was ready to drainpour it, but Ms. Warmstorage likes it enough to drink it. Just goes to show how subjective taste is...

warmstorage, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Beautiful reddish-gold color, very clear, with a small white head, and somewhat scattered lace.

Aroma: Spicy, fruity aroma, very sweet, a bit reminiscent of candied cherries and juicy fruit gum, and subtle vinous notes.

Taste: Opens with a wave of intense spices, midway through, herbal hop bitterness appears. Later in the taste, there is a mild earthy surge. The finish is comprised of a faint, lingering herbal hop bitterness, and slight phenolic alcohol.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite pleasant, and full.

Drinkability/note: A most excellent and enigmatic example, as befits a Belgian ale style brewed in Japan. Well worth the effort to obtain. Many thanks to BA HardTarget for generously sharing this rare example.

Pegasus, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of thelagerheads
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It smells like beer but has a menthol coughdrop-like kind of taste about it. This isn't really a problem though since much of it is a peppering of honey and ginger type lightness(probably the rice). Then again it isn't overly flavorful and flavor accounts for most of the reasons a non-drunk imbibes in spirits. Yet it's very drinkable, smooth and includes an owl on the bottle and afterall we are all servants of Moloch in this life and next aren't we?

thelagerheads, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of Cadyfatcat
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big frothy pinkish head, candy apple red body, 65% opacity

Smells has some red Robitussin qualities, also sour, like a Flemish or Flander’s ale

Not many traditional beer tastes at all. Pretty much none actually. Very strange taste. Initially some bitter citrus notes, then I get a little pomegranate mixed with a slight pineapple, plentiful strawberries. Not overly sweet, and has an unfamiliar fading grainy taste. 7% ABV I would have guessed hardly 3%.

I feel beer on the tongue…A little too light and fizzy on the tounge for these flavors.

A very strange and distinct brew, which I frequent at four dollars for a 12oz bottle when I am feeling sassy. Only qualm is a little rough medicine quality. Weird…Good

Cadyfatcat, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of
2.98/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bomber. Slightly hazy gold, with a faint hint of pink. Large off-white head, which dissolved rapidly.

Aroma was spicy, almost Belgian-like. It was quite phenolic/medicinal in smell.

Taste was tart and citrusy. This led to a good bit of bitterness in the aftertaste. In keeping with the aroma, there was a medicinal flavor which mellowed as it warmed, but never really went away.
Finish included some pepper/spice, probably due to alcohol.

Light in body and highly carbonated. Had quite a nip to it, almost like champagne.

Overall, OK. My second beer from Hitachino, and I haven't been that impressed. Might go well with sushi, though, given it's champagne like qualities.

, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.95/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep pink body with a bubbly white head. Definitely looks like pink champagne!

Smell: A compelling aroma of grains, strawberries, and perfumy jasmine blossoms. Slighty medicinal.

Taste: Seemingly sweet at first, the taste abruptly shifts to tart and sour. Flavors of strawberries, watermelon Jolly Rancers, and ginger. It does indeed share some characteristics with sake. And yes, there's more hair-raising medicinal properties.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: A unique, if slightly unsettling beer experience. It's medicinal, lactic qualities aren't too endearing to me, either. I'll stick to their Celebration Ale instead.

ChainGangGuy, Sep 05, 2006
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 strawberries...no 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.

IntriqKen, Sep 04, 2006
Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: reddish orange in color with a 1" head. Light lacing develops during the session.

Smell: simply put - flowery and fruity.

Taste: a grainy maltiness with pears and apples sweetness, a bit of dryness of edible flowers, and a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: crisp from start to finish. Short fruity aftertaste. Medium body.

Drinkability: definitely unique but enjoyable. Worth trying this one.

Gavage, Aug 27, 2006
Photo of LordChesterfield
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this at hyvee not knowing what to expect seeing as how real beer is a luxury in japan. It has a delicious fruity smell full of spices like nutmeg and ginger. It also has a buttery feel in the nose. A very complex appealing smell. The taste is kind of like brown rice, sadly I've never actually eaten brown rice so I wouldn't know if it's similar. It tastes sweet and well rounded. I can't detect any hops whatsoever. What are they using for a bittering agent? Could it be that the rice can provide both silky sweetness and enough bitterness that hops are rendered unnecessary? I must investigate. The appearance is like rust. That's the best I can do on that front. I don't really care about that anyway. As for drinkability and mouthfeel... It slides easily down the throat and I could drink it for a long time. It's just a little expensive. Maybe when I go to Japan.

LordChesterfield, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of Drew966
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale pours a hazy orange with a white head from a brown twenty one ounce bottle. Aroma is a little sweet, alcohol is noticeable too. Taste is fairly complex, with some odd notes. The malt is quite noticeable, and there is some sweetness, but not a lot. A bit of tartness is present too. This beer is fairly hard to describe. It has a light body, and there is some alcohol warming. The aftertaste becomes medicinaI as the beer warms. I don't think I would buy it again, but it was worth trying.

Drew966, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of Damian
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Interesting and cute bottle design.

As for the beer itself: It poured a deep crimson-brown with a tall, fizzy head that quickly faded. No lacing.

Smell was intense but not overly pleasant. Toasted rice and barley with a subtle hop presence came through.

Taste was very earthy and strong. Sake was obvious with a strong hop flavor and a dry finish. Hops lingered on the palate along with an intense roasted flavor. Nice alcohol warming in the back of the mouth and the throat.

Mouthfeel was quite thin and over carbonated and did not settle. The beer seemed to turn to instant foam when it hit my tongue.

Damian, Aug 19, 2006
Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.15/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy cloudy orangeish color with a very slight pink tint. Poured a three finger head that only lasted a couple minutes.

Smells fruity, yeasty and has an alcoholic tinge to it. Almost sour in odor. Smells reminicent of a Sake.

Taste is actually pretty refreshing and definately different in flavor from any other beer I have tasted. The mouthfeel is substantial because of the high ABV. Not a session beer in my mind however.

This beer would really be an interesting pair with food. Maybe seafood or even a dessert that has fruit in it.

BeerAmbassador, Aug 09, 2006
Photo of waughbrew
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Splotchy medium-sized light-pink head. No retention or lacing. Hazy ruby iced-tea body. Aroma is smoky caramel with a sharp grainy aspect which seems to be the rice, as it reminds me of sake a bit. A bit of alcohol and nail-polish. Perfumy. Flavor is medicinal rotten strawberries with cinnamon. Thin and soda-like until the yeast is added, which helps things to smooth out a bit. Interesting. Makes me think of gently sweet flower petals at its good times, but medicine at its bad times. Overall just not very pleasing to me.

[Arigato gozaimasu to Yoshiyuko Sato for this gift]

waughbrew, Aug 06, 2006
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very unusual and delicious beer from an always reliable Japanese brewer. I don't think it really fits in the Belgian Strong Pale category, but then I guess it would have to have a category of its own. This is a unique melding of the sake and western beer brewing styles.

Pours a hazy, thick plum color with pink highlights. Short white head that quickly disappears.

Smell is yeasty and waxy with definite sake overtones. Red rice sake I've had in the past has that same waxy smell.

Taste is quite nice and complex- even better than expected. An earthy bitterness up front, followed by a red rice waxiness, and finally a lingering hop bitterness that blends with the delicious waxiness. Very complex- I can see now the Belgian connection. The same kind of yeasty funkiness with unusual flavors that are hard to pin down. A big beer, a little spicy, but not the same flavor component you usually see. Fascinating!

Mouthfeel is great- creamy and thick without any stickiness or cloying presence at all. Fairly highly carbonated, but that cuts through the thickness.

Very drinkable. For me, that waxy rich taste keeps leading me down this road. Very balanced and even though fairly high abv, no discernable alcohol.

Georgiabeer, Jul 29, 2006
Photo of numenor1
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy pinkish colored, respectable white head. Smells a bit spicy and definitely of sake. Distinictly tastes of fermented rice (ie sake) with a supporting malt sweetness and noble hops. Really interesting and quite complex. Yeast dominates the flavor profile. A bit spicy, and creamy through the finish. Subdued fruit esters. On the dry side, with bitterness just to balance. Light bodied and satisfying, I love it.

numenor1, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Wow, looks like strawberry juice except more vibrant. Wasn't expecting that. Head is a nice pillowy, Belgian looking head except a pronounced pink tinge runs through it. Extremely sticky, leaving webbing everywhere on the glass.

S: Interesting aromoa. Smells sort of like tea, very floral, wet hay, berries and almonds.

T: Where to begin...Reminds me of red bean icecream. Very herbal with a certain soy sweetness to it. Lightly tart and fruity, little bit of melon. From there a very minor citrus hop profile is present and stays with the drinker through the remainder of the process. Finishes with more red bean flavors.

M: Medium bodied with a fluffy carbonation.

D: Interesting brew. Not one of my favorites but I'm glad I had an opportunity to try it.

Westsidethreat, Jul 23, 2006
Photo of ypsifly
4.4/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undated 11.2oz purchased at Holiday Market in Canton and poured into a tulip.

Dark, hazy peach under a finger of white that falls to a ringed veil with some blotches of lace left in it's wake.

Has an interesting mix of aromas including earth, flowers, grains(rice), and sweet malts. It also has a suggestion of wood that is close to the cedar aromas from their cedar aged IPA. At first it seemed a bit odd, yet it grew on me rather quickly. Very unique and enjoyable nose on this one.

Tastes very flowery with some of the grains and a pleasant sweet/sour flavor. The wood and earth notes are there again as well. Nice bite from the hops and a juicy citric flavor leads into the dry and bitter finish. Almost tannic. Again, very unique and enjoyable.

The mouth is rather dry and somewhat tart to prickly due to the abundance of carbonation. It really works for this beer. Solid drinkability if only for its unique yet pleasing character.

ypsifly, Jul 07, 2006
Photo of Freshie
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very nice amber colour with creamy head, with some decent lacing.

Aromas of rice, some kind of fruit tartness, and spicy hops. Very interesting and different.

The first think I noticed about the taste is that the carbonation hit me in the mouth. A nice bite, that adds to the spicy/sweet flavour. Finshes with a sweet flavour in the back of your palate, probably a wild rice.

Never really tasted anything like it. I was pleasantly surprised, because I have expected it to be awful.


Freshie, Jun 23, 2006
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 563 ratings.