Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale | Kiuchi Brewery

324 Reviews
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Hitachino Nest Red Rice AleHitachino Nest Red Rice Ale

Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery
Japan | website

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-01-2002

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Reviews: 324 | Ratings: 673
Photo of GinaBeerInc
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy, golden-amber body with a big yeast load and a soapy white head. Unusual and distinct aroma reminds me of cocoa, nuts, guava, and cherry plus an underlying adjunct signature. Lightly sweet, waxy flavor with rye notes and hop characters suggesting dry tea leaves. Also has some acidity as if from tart berries. Finish is drying and moderately bitter. Interesting beer.

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Photo of kenito799
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1/2 pint pour into a tall Hitachino Nest glass at Talde, Brooklyn.

Light amber color with rosy teh color my imagination since it's called red rice? Thin wisps of foam on teh surface that do lace the glass finely as you drink.

The aroma is very fresh, mildly yeasty, some mild hoppiness...I am not getting any typical Belgian yeast aromas, not sure why this is called a BSPA.

The palate is so light crisp and fresh, this must be the rice. Zinging across teh palate with hints of sourness, balanced really well with that crisp malt and just enough bitterness in teh finish. Unusual and very refreshing and delicious. This is a great and much more flavorful alternative quaffer to go with your yakitori or grilled hamachi collar...I wish more Japanese places would serve it.

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Photo of CHickman
3.59/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer notes from 1/18/2012, on tap in NYC at Taproom 307: pours hazy amber copper color with a 1 finger creamy off white head that faded slowly, leaving excellent creamy lacing coating the sides of the glass. This brew leaves great rings of lacing, which shocked me since I thought that rice is a big part of it.

Smells of rice, grains, malt and sweet caramel, but overall the nose is soft and mellow – almost non-descript, but still OK.

Tastes sweet overall with sweet malt, caramel, rice, roasted grains, herbs, tea leaf, light floral hops, mild spices like pepper and either cinnamon or coriander; no strong in your face flavors, but nice balance and complexity. Sweet, roasty and smooth tasting overall, almost like a warm sake that cooled down.

Mouthfeel is light, smooth and yet crisp, with a light body, light crisp carbonation and a light feel. The aftertaste is roasted, and this went down smooth and easy, hiding the ABV very well. A very nice beer that was quite enjoyable and very different.

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Photo of ckollias
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this 11.2oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy, orangish-pink hue with a white, 2-finger, thick head that quickly dissipates into a wispy lace leaving a nice lace 360 all the way down the glass.

S: Sweet malty aroma with hints of strawberry and sake in the background.

T: Malty flavor with almost like a wine-like sake flavor in mixed in. I taste hints of strawberry in there too.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: This is an interesting beer. I really wouldn’t consider it a Belgian strong pale ale though. But is was tasty – and this brewery continues to impress me with it’s unusual brews.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.54/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured out with a really cool looking red color. It almost looks artifical. The head is fizzy and with a pinkish color to it. The smell of the beer was decent, I wasn't really able to get much out of the aroma on this beer besides some light spicy notes. The taste of the beer was a bit on the spicy side with some sweet malts in the back end. The mouthfeel was light and drinkable. Overall I thought the beer looked really cool but the rest of the beer was kind of a let down. I would still drink it again though.

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Photo of litheum94
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle stamped "RR.11.03"

Red tinged, golden body, like a weakly brewed raspberry tea. Bubbly, pink tinged head that settles to a faint cover.

Aromas of spicy, glutanous rice and a sweet, rice milk essence. The nose is dominated by the red rice.

The exotic rice is the most evident flavor, following the nose very closely. There's a very starchy feel to the body, but also creamy like milk. The body is actually pretty good for a rice ale. Very light floral hopping on the finish, just enough to give it a bite.

This is the first rice based beer that I've actually enjoyed. Good flavors and the body actually holds up well. It's a little pricey, but worth it.

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Photo of champ103
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice hazed golden/orange/red color. A two finger white/pinkish head forms with good retention. Plenty of lace is left behind. Very unique coloration going on here.
S: Minty, spicy, earthy. Lightly sweet with some citrus rind aromas lingering.
T: Big minty flavor with is slightly sweet and tart. Slick and oily hops. Light peppery notes.
M/D: Medium body with crisp carbonation. A slick and oily feel. Surprisingly hot, and add the slick/oily feel that I am not a fan of and this is a bit harder to drink than I would like.

Not bad, certainly worth a try. Interesting to say the least. Though probably not a repeat purchase.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle (RR 11 08 stamped on side) poured into a Tulip glass.

Appearance: Much as others have described, the beer is a cloudy red-orange with a hint of pink to it. The pink color is quite notable when you first pour it. The foam pours an off-white/faint pain rocky head that dies back to leave just a thin skin across the top. Some tiny strands of lacing here and there. I noted that some sediment came along despite a careful pour, so that may be coloring my review a bit.

Smell: Cooked rice, some fruity esters (grape mostly), very mild skunk, but that skunk goes away as it warms up. Definitely has some Belgian character to the smell, barest hint of herbal hops with the malt and sweetness among the dominant grain smell (rice).

Taste: Complex with lots of flavors blending together quickly. Hops - bitter/earthy, sweetness - fruit/grape/berry (raspberry?), grains - barest flavor of rice and some malt in there. The hops and sweet flavors dominate.

Mouthfeel: Just right carbonation - a tiny bit prickly on the tongue but then gone. Nothing sticking to the teeth. Slick and thicker than water, but just barely.

Overall / Drinkability: Neat to try out. At first when I had this I thought that putting into the category of a Belgian strong pale ale was incorrect, but as I drink more of it, I think that's a reasonable place for this beer which is distinctly Japanese and very unique in flavor and style. Glad to try, but not sure I would call this highly drinkable. It's an acquired taste - interesting, challenging to define, delicate and complex, and to that end good overall. But I can't see myself going out of my way to get it again. Still, as I look at the other ratings, I think this is a good beer and so despite my counter-arguments on only trying it once, I'll rate this as good overall.

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Photo of hoppyweasel311
3.46/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a grapefruit juice like color with no head.
Smells sweet and floral with hints of citrus
Tastes a bit sweet, with subtle hints of strawberries, little alcohol, finishes very dry.
Mouth feel is a bit thin with medium carbonation.

Very interesting beer... I would drink this if I was out having sushi. Not something I would drink on a regular basis.

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Photo of weizenbob
4.27/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 500 ml bottle was purchased at Beertopia in Omaha, NE for $4.59. Hitachino Nest's website describes this as "an intriguing mix of sake, malt and bitter notes in the finish." Being culturally retarded, I have no idea what sake tastes like. This could be a new experience for me. I popped the cap and poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A moderate pour yields about a finger of blush foamy head. Retention is decent. Moderate lacing holds steady. The brew is deep amber in hue. There is quite a lot of haze. The head is intriguing, but otherwise there is nothing to distinguish the visual aesthetic from any other amber ale.

The aroma comes on with a soft fruity character. It's the aroma of beer that has been brewed with actual fruit, rather than fruit aromas that manifest as a result of malt complexity. Mild cardboard and soy sauce characters appear but are oddly pleasant. The scent is unusual, and in writing it doesn't sound all that appealing, but it works.

The first sip reveals one of the most exotic ales that I have encountered. The initial impression is of berries, again, the taste of a beer brewed with actual berries (Short's Soft Parade is the closest approximation that comes to mind). After that, the beer is a strange concoction of tobacco and spearmint. The faintest creamy impression of marshmallow acts as the glue that ties everything together in a way that is somewhat similar to fruit chewing gum, or fruit gelato. Those descriptors are still completely inadequate in describing the flavor on my tongue. It feels like fruit beer and tastes like nothing else I've encountered. Despite claiming 7% ABV, the alcohol is nowhere to be found in the taste. Hop bitterness is nonexistent. I'm loving this.

The beer is medium bodied, but feels light and refreshing due somewhat to the mildly stinging carbonation and fruity profile. This is my first Hitachino Nest brew, and though I was hoping my first would be Hitachino White, this is a very pleasant surprise. It's a good thing that this is not readily available to me because I would buy this all of the time. Cost be damned!


The Two-Schlitz Scale: (see my profile for an explanation)
I give two Schlitz for this awesomely unique ale from Japan!

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Photo of Neorebel
3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at an Asian restaurant in Boston. Pours a reddish brown tint with little to no head. In the nose I was picking up some malt sweetness and dried fruit aromas. The taste was very 'floral' with a little tartness as well. Pleasantly light. Can't tell this is a 7% ABV beer. The rice really comes through in the finish - as an avid sake drinker - I really enjoyed this.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a reddish, copper color with about a finger and a half of very white, foamy head.

S: Smells sweet with some lighter malt, honey, some trace hop bitterness and faint lemon zest.

T/M: It’s strongly carbonated and sweet again up front, like straight sugar flavored with red berry syrup followed by a mild, lingering bitterness. The experience is very much reminiscent of a soda, but not quite as sweet. The excessive carbonation, the gratuitous sugar sweetness and almost artificial fruitiness combine to form something more akin to a Fanta than a Hitachino.

It wouldn’t be that bad on a warmer day and the 7% is masked quite well, but if you want something that tastes like beer, you might want to look for something else.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Very nice! Poured into a nondescript tulip glass, a slightly hazy orange-peach color with a golden-hued, fluffy head that retained well throughout the session. Aroma was pretty much what I'd expect sweet rice to smell like, notes of citrus zest, a bit grassy. Nice crisp taste, somewhat reminiscent of sake up front, with tones of lemon zest, apple skin, peach, and white grapes; just a touch of sourness. Bready and grassy, very light and enjoyable. Light-bodied and very drinkable.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an appetizing hazy reddish copper with a fairly thick, fine-bubbled, light tan head. Aroma is somewhat malty and a teeny bit fruity, if not strong. Flavor is - hmmm, this is interesting. Not malty, really, rather fruity, quite different from other beers I have tried, not sweet and not bitter, just tasty. Some yeasty hints. Texture is smooth and fizzy, above-average body. An interesting beer.

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Photo of bramsdell
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into imp pint glass.

A: Nice white head over a dark golden/red body. Tons of very small particles floating around in the body, too. Not the typical pale, yeasty stuff; this is finer but coarser. Looks like cinnamon floating around. Retention is pretty decent, with light lacing all the way around the glass.

S: Aroma is light malt, first and foremost. Definitely a hint of caramel to add to the light sweetness. Some fruitiness, too. There is a little booze behind all the sweetness.

T: Well, despite calling itself a red ale, this definitely tastes like a Belgian PA. It's got the earthy characteristics in the yeast to clearly deem it Belgian. The malty, caramel notes of the nose are most present. There is also a thinner flavor here that must come from the rice used. This beer has the initial flavor of a BSPA, but the finish is not quite as robust as is typical of the style. Highly drinkable, just a little different.

M: It's lighter than a BSPA should be, I think. Thinner and easier to suck down. It's not great, it's not bad.

O: This is a decent beer, but nothing to write home about. I was challenged by my guy at the beer store to enjoy it, and I did. It's not great, but I'm glad I finally had my first Kiuchi.

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Photo of isitsavage
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a wine glass.

Murky orange/peach in color, two fingered billowy white head that fades slowly and clings to the glass. Spotty lacing sticks to the glass.

Smell is yeast and a touch of funk, light citrus and some spice, a little medicinal. Something I can't quite pick out, I want so say a kind of musty rice smell. Not too familiar with sake so it could be there. Cheated a little bit and checked the breweries website, they say there is a hint of strawberry in the nose, I can see that...

Taste is yeast and very light hops, light lemon tartness, I do get the strawberries in the taste here. I really like the hop taste here actually, a lot of flavor without being overbearing at all. It comes out mostly in the end and provides a nice balance to the initial sweetness, not bitter at all just great hop flavor.

Medium mouthfeel, smooth and drinkable, not prickly or numbing.

Overall I liked this beer a good bit. The taste is really great, very subtle but complex and well balanced. I think I'm in the wrong season for it though. First time I had seen single 12 oz. available so I picked it up, would enjoy this in the summer months a little more I think.

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Photo of mclaughlindw4
4.5/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass from small bottle. A nice hazy golden color.

This beer has a pleasant and mild aroma,like banannas and toffee.

More toffee and fruitiness in the flavor and it is very well balanced and easy to drink.

This has everything I love in a belgian beer. I am not good with adjectives but this beer has what I like.

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Photo of danieelol
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have had this sitting in my fridge for a while. Was honestly a bit reluctant to open it.

Appearance is gold with _almost_ the red hues promised on the label. Decent head and lacing.

Smell is actually quite a lot like a macro (lol), unsurprisingly. There's a nice candyish red bean smell behind that though.

Taste is similar. Bit of red fruit- red apple, watermelon. Some strange bitterness on the palate.

Mouthfeel is medium with moderate-high carbonation.

Overall this beer was interesting as an experiment. Wouldn't buy it again at this price point. As a side note; it didn't exactly scream "sake" to me, but I'm not a connoisseur.

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Get over the creepy/cute owl and start trying this beer! I have yet to be less than amazed by anything I've poured from them.

Poured into Unibroue tulip. Pours with a 2 1/2 inch head that stays persistently, never really dissipates all the way, but settles to about 1/2 inch head with good, frosty, off white lace. Nice opaque copper/amber hue. Very pretty.

Very complex and well defined nose. Lots of sake like aromatics, that fermented rice note. Really nicely framed with a hint of yeast, some apple and other red fruit, and very mellow spice.

Flavors settle around the sake like note with a great malty note, some more spice, and that apple.

Texture is lovely, with the slight coarse feel from brewing with rice. Alcohol is there but is well integrated. Finish is medium to long with decent balance of alcohol, acids, and tannins.

Overall this is a fantastic little gem of an ale. The rice really adds a lot without masking or detracting from the inherent quality of the base beer. It tastes authentically Japanese (since it is) and not artificial like many of the American attempts at this (or similar Japanese) style(s). A must try, if nothing else so you can say you had a red rice ale!

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Photo of bluHatter
4.01/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This has long been my favorite Hitachino Nest variety, but rarely in stock anywhere in my area. When I saw my shop had been restocked, I jumped at the opportunity. Upon tasting this again after so long, my opinions have changed slightly, but it is still an exceptional ale.

A: Dark, muddy red, almost apple-cider in color. Poured with almost no head. The lacing looks like soap suds.

S: floral, deep musky scent.

T: Refreshing, rich, complex and ultimately tart - the red rice adds a unique flavor, which I personally love.

M: Smooth, nice carbonation

O: I'm not sure if my taste buds changed over time, or if the freshly imported batch tastes different than what I'd had previously, but I was stricken how different it was from what I remembered. However, I still love this ale. I relish any opportunity to taste this fine complex ale as often as I am able. It is just superb.

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4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served into a Tulip glass.Enjoyed on apr´11.
Orangish light amber in color.Foggy.Yellowish white head.Foam layer is dense but quite brief with medium size bubbles.Fresh fruit -apricot & peaches- aroma.Yeasty & bready notes.Spicy,bready & gentle fruity flavors.Smooth sour mouthfeel, light carbonation,light body too.Coriander & apricot aftertaste.What a nice refreshing experience!Very well balanced flavors & aromas.Very good drinkability.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, this is a moderately hazy brown-amber beer with a very small head. The nose is somewhat vinous, very fruity, with some sweet malt. Flavor is not terrible, but not very interesting either: strong, sweet malt, with moderately high bitterness (not even a hint of hop flavor, though). Alcohol is lightly hot, but it doesn't detract from the taste. Highly fruity yeast character, as the aroma indicated. I've had sekihan, but this doesn't resemble the flavor, far as I remember. Do they mean purple rice? It doesn't taste like that either. I don't think the rice contributes much to the flavor, but I'm not sure. Absent the label, I would have guessed this is just a strong, undistinguished ale.

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Photo of weller1js
4.42/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: pours a orange-red with a slight pink hue, clear with dense sediment floating throughout, foam is 1-2 fingers thick, white with pinkish tinge, settling to slight ring and film of lacing.

smell: bold malt/rice base, with overlying floral hop notes that is a faintly-spicy but more tangy-sweet in character.

taste: begins with a slight spiciness which remains throughout, sweet rice/malt notes are bold and sweet, enhanced by the characteristics of floral, tangy hops, finishes with a balance everything, with a spicy-bittersweet lingering.

mouthfeel: medium bodied with maltiness of the red rice strikingly unique.

overall: unique with some complex attributes, decent abv, very pleasant to drink.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of chefelf
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, my first from Kiuchi Brewery. It was far lighter than I'd imagine a beer at 7% ABV would be. I guess that could be dangerous but I only had one so it wasn't an issue.

Oh, and it features a cartoon owl on the label so that immediately boosts the score right there.

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Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 324 ratings.