Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale - Kiuchi Brewery

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

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586 Ratings

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Ratings: 586
Reviews: 310
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 15.14%
Wants: 32
Gots: 45 | 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
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Ratings: 586 | Reviews: 310 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of whynot44
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hazy light amber with a pinkish undertone and a moderate coarsely foamy pinkish head that disipates fairly quickly with only a trace of lacing.

The aroma is unique, fruity, grassy, olives. Not like anything you expect out of a beer glass.

The taste is just as unique. Light malt, earthy, straw and olives again with a grassy grainy finish. Medium bodied, a little bland and low on carbonation.

Could go well with Japanese cuisine and possibly mediteranean. Could take a little getting used to.

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

OK, 'nuther one where you can throw the numbers out. To reference another Japanese interpretation of something the country is not necessarily known for, Hitachino Nest Red Rice ale is like Shonen Knife. When you want a standard, baseline experience in this style, you will not turn to this product. But you simply must try it if your mouth has never tasted a Japanese-brewed Belgian.

The pour and the aroma give little hint as to the taste and mouthfeel to come. Hue is on the cranberry red side of amber. White head with decent retention for something that has been shipped so far.

Taste: sour fruit nearing that wild yeast quality of a true belgian, but then the rice quality steps up and the sensation of sake takes over. It simply is completely balanced between the Belgian characteristics and the Japanese characteristics. As such, I bet it really goes well with Japanese food. It may seem a really stupid thing to say, but this site's margin gives it a recommendation of pairing with salmon. Make it a maki and we're talkin'.

I found the mouthfeel a little thin and unsprightly for the Belgian style it is approaching, and had to numerically rate it down accordingly.

I would love to attend a talk on the cultural importance of this brew.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Heavily dusted amber. I was led to believe there would be a light pinkish blush, but... nada. The big-bubbled, bone white head has a surface that resembles a cheese grater. Languidly popping bubbles lead to a languid descent despite the near absence of visible carbonation. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lotta lace (in my best Robert Plant voice).

The nose is disappointing. I'm not sure what I was expecting from a BSPA brewed in Japan from red rice, but this isn't it. There's a hint of spicy yeast that has the suggestion of a hint of a shadow of Belgian yeastiness about it. It's too muted to appreciate much, so the above (pathetic) description will have to do.

Okay, given the flavor profile, we can now throw all aspirations toward the stated style right out the window. Whatever HNRRA is, it isn't a BSPA. It's pale malty, slightly sweet, earthily hopped, undercarbonated... and ultimately uninteresting. I didn't have a clue what red rice tasted like prior to drinking this beer and I still don't. There's nothing exotic or different on the palate that would lead me to believe that it's brewed with anything other than the usual four ingredients.

Whereas a true BSPA, at least a good one, zips and zings around the mouth, colliding with taste buds left and right, this one just sort of lies there flavorwise. A mildly sweet fruitiness emerges on the finish, but the strawberry flavor that is claimed by the brewery (like the pink color), is nowhere to be found. Perhaps I got the strawberry-free version.

I don't have too many complaints about the mouthfeel, although it isn't a standout. It's closer to light than to medium. The fine-gauged carbonation exhausts itself before the beer leaves the mouth, lending a somewhat flat feeling to the finish.

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale doesn't impress me. I love Kiuchi's White Ale. Sweet Stout (Lacto) and this one leave a lot to be desired. According to my three minutes of Google research, red rice lowers cholesterol, so at least I can take something positive away from this experience. At $3.49 per 12 oz. bottle, however, Lipitor is considerably more cost effective.

Photo of kgotcher
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle 7% abv. Not familiar with this style of ale but I am very familiar with sake so I thought I would give it a try. A little shocked at the price $3.50 for one small bottle.

Pours a light hazy orangy amber with pinkish tint and some sediment. White foamy head that fades quickly and some nice light lacings.

Aroma is kind of malty which surprised me, some hint of strawberry. Taste is a bit strange, malty pale ale, fruity sweet alcholic sake, and a mild smooth hop flavor. Reminds me a bit of a fruit beer. Dry and a bit sour aftertaste.

Can't really say how this stacks up against anything else since this is the only one I have had of this kind. Seems a bit of a novelty beer but could be a good match with sushi or for someone who really enjoys sake. It does kind of grow on you and by the end of the bottle I was thoroughly enjoying this. Very drinkable with a unique flavor. Still a bit too expensive to be included in my normal stable of beers.

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 Frozensoul327
2.68/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

For some reason, this beer just reminds me of oriental food. Appropriate, considering it's from Japan. Poured out to a slighly cloudy amber golden color with a nice head and some lace around the glass. Smell reminded me of sweet rice, almost rice pudding. Flavor was bland, slightly sour and dry. Some maltiness noted, but it was kind of like spoiled milk. Finished watery, and slightly grainy. A unique experience, but not one I would want to have again anytime soon.

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

I was surprised to see how low the reviews are for this beer. I loved it.

My sample poured with a pillowy, off-white head that lingered all the way down the glass and left nice lacing.

The aroma was sweet and inviting, with a spicy, fruity yeast nose. There was also a very distinct sharpness to it.

The taste was awesome. Perhaps it was the red rice, but there was definitely a unique flavor that made an impression.

The mouthfeel was medium-bodied, and seemed to have a contribution from a sugar source other than barley.

A very drinkable brew, and I will definitely order one sometime with my sushi.

Photo of Quaffer
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle. My bottle was labeled 7% abv as opposed to the 8.5% listed on this site.

Appearance: This brew was very much peach colored as it was being poured. In the glass, it was more or a ruddy amber, though a little bit of peach still came through. It was hazy and had a lot of suspended "stuff". The white head rose up easily and was coarse and fizzy. It dissipated quickly, considering its size, until only a few patches of bubbles remained when the beer was gone. There were some thin strands of lace left behind on the side of the glass.

Smell: Maybe the peach color from the pour influenced my nose, but I thought that I could detect peaches and nectarines on the aroma. This was combined with sweet malt and a very raw, grassy smell. Occasionally, a clean and cool hit of menthol was present. As the beer really started to warm, it picked up some hints of sulphur. Overall, very odd but not offensive. Just odd.

Mouthfeel: Initially light on the tip of the tongue, but it gained body as it moved back into the mouth. A little chewy, with a definite, slightly foamy, carbonation.

Taste: Damn, just as odd as the smell. The overriding flavors were menthol and wildflowers combinded with a very raw, very green, grassy component. It wasn't chewy and thick like wheat can be, just grassy and stark. There was defintely some sweet malt underneath that was most evident when the beer first hit the tongue. This seemed to develop into butterscotch in the middle (huh?). A light bitterness arose on the finish, and the aftertaste actually became a little grainy, which was nice. Subtly complex.

This beer was very different from anything that I have had before and, therefore, tough to rate. It went down quickly, but I'm not sure if that was because it was highly drinkable, or that it had my curiousity so highly piqued. It's not bad at all, though I think it would take a few before it would really start to grow on me. I'm confused.

Photo of packetknife
2/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This was an unpleasant and somewhat pricey experience. Pours a dark cloudy orange with lots of sediment floating around. Average white-ish head that held all the way down. The smell was horrid and I have nothing I can compare it too. Perhaps a waxy wet leaf or something but something really weird. It was about as bland as you can be without being offensively bland and it was thin. The acidity was noticed and it was a dry-ish clean finish. I guess it's drinkable but it's not really likable. That smell was horrid though and I'm wondering what those floaters were I swallowed.

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is a pink tinted amber with a moderate amount of haze. Head is ultra white and a little below average in size, but fortunately has a nice retention for the short layer of foam. Aroma is sweet, almost sugary sweet, with just a touch of spice. Taste is interesting and for some reason reminds me a little bit of New Belgium's Biere De Mars. A moderate tartness begins a sip and is joined by a light sweetness. The sweetness has a fruity quality. but of exactly what fruit I do not know. The interplay between the tart and sweet elements is interesting. Tartness seems to diminate at first, however after the brew warms up more sweet character is apparent. Just a bit of spice is noted towards the middle of the sip. Finish is milder and has an interesting grainy, yet wine-like quality which I guess is the rice. Red Rice is definently an interesting concoction, but not something I think I'd want very often. Though this is usually expensive, it is well worth a try.

Photo of TheJudge
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pink is the word. Pink and cloudy, with a small pink head. pink beer. gotta get past that. pink rice beer at that. Well, here goes.

I don't know what to make of the smell. Not bad, but I didn't know what iwas expecting. there was very little flavor at first, sweet but not annoyingly so. A cherry type flavor dominates. Good carbonation, decent aftertaste, this isn't bud rice beer. But it is still rice beer. While the flavor grew on me by the end, I don't think I could have had too many more.

Photo of GClarkage
1.38/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

05/13/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in Redwood City, CA

Presentation- 11 oz bottle with an unclear date stamped on the back label. Poured into my LaChouffe tulip.

Appearance- A cloudy golden pour with a small head and adequate lacing.

Smell- Ugggghhhh, at first I couldn't put my finger on the scent, but I knew it was one I have smelled before and did not like. After tasting one sip I knew what it olive or a martini like drink.

Taste- I took two sips of this and regret both of them. The first was to determine what the smell was (I pretty much knew this was going to get dumped from the smell) and the second just to make sure. Pure martini with loads of green olives. Two things that I despise most in the world and makes it even worse when it's in my beer. I am literally going to have nightmares about opening good beers and having them taste like this now. Thanks Hitachino!!!

Mouthfeel- Seeing how I almost vomited after drinking these two sips, the mouthfeel doesn't hold up to well. Pretty heavily carbonated too.

Drinkability- I guess if you like beer that tastes like martini's this is your style. I read lots of reviews that said it tasted like saki at first taste. I have never had saki, so I can't judge on that point. But, I did read at least one person who had the same exact smell and taste experience that I did. This is 100% not my style and I apologize if this brings down the average. The only positive things I have to say about this beer is that it doesn't look that bad in a glass and at the very least it's way better than Crazy Ed's Chili Beer. Which truthfully means you can eat human excrement and it would still be better than Crazy Ed's. So, I guess that's not saying much at all. I'll remember this beer for a long time, but I'll try my best not to hold it against Hitachino because I have had a few of their beers that have been just fine if not actually dare I say....good!

Photo of granger10
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This offering pours a hazy pale auburnish color with a nice fluffy, creamy egg white head. The head holds up well. Lots of carbonation going on. Aroma is really fruity and has a 7-grain bread note going on. There's also some acidity in there and a little alcohol punch. Might be some floral bitterness as well. The body on this beer is really smooth and creamy. Almost too creamy as the flavors takes a backseat, like it came from a nitrocan or something. Starts out sweet with rice notes and some grainy malts. Then it really dries out with yeasty flavors. A vinegar like flavor is there. Finish is really dry, honestly reminiscent of sake. I could see how some people love this beer but its just not my thang. Props for originality though.

Photo of RedDiamond
2.85/5  rDev -23%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I have no experience with this style and therefore can’t determine what the taste parameters should resemble. Could it be that it’s supposed to taste as funky and sour as it does? I’m sensing some bacterial encroachment here. It that by design or accident?

And what about this red rice? Is it malted? How much is used in the wort? I can’t seem to get through to their website, but what I’m tasting is something akin to a submissive ginger ale whipped by a dominant sourness. Is this ale crying for help, or more corruption? I can’t say.

Without an ideological framework to reference, I can only assign the rest of it simple descriptives. The brew has a clouded, yeasted body of washed yellow. The carbonation is persistent, though the head is indifferent and the lace is a no-show. Clumps of yeast float haplessly.

In the end, I’m non-committal. If I want a sour beer, I’ll look to Belgium. One small item of note though: the bottle is considerably heavier than most American 12 oz. bottles.

Photo of dauss
2.85/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: oddly shaped 720ml capped dark green bottle. A silk screened label owl or some sort of bird on the front. Lots of japanese on the back with the importers sticker. When I had the Hitachino White Ale, the back said 5%, which incidentally happened to be the alcohol % listed on BA, but this Red Rice ale also said it was 5%, not 8.5%. I dunno.

Appearance: slightly hazy light straw color with a tint of orange. Small white head with good retention.

Smell: Not much there, smells a little soapy and some sort of weird sweetness. I think I also detected a tiny bit of phenolic aroma.

Taste: Not much here either. Moderate carbonation with a light flavor I can't pick out, slightly sweet with a dry finish. Very faint phenols and acidity. Body is really thin. Its a little on the bland side.

Notes: I don't know exactly what type of beer this is, but its definitely not a belgian strong pale ale. It was an odd beer, definitely drinkable.

Photo of JoeNobody
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a beer a local micro carrying bar just got in. I've seen the bottles of it in a local beer retailer before but never thought much of it. Poured into a tulip glass it has a very clouded honey color to it. It poured with almost no head and slightly swirled left no lacing. The thought on my first taste was "interesting, this beer has a very unique flavor to it". Then after a while the flavors started coming through. It has a unique underlying strawberry tone to it. The taste is almost bitter but it leaves a fruity pleasant finish. I would say it's an okay and interesting to try brew, but I don't know if I would rush out to get more. Though I would gladly accept one if offered one for free somewhere!!!

Photo of SwillinBrew
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this from an 11.2 oz bottle. It poured a light copper with yellow hues. Mine had a thin while head which left a faint lace if any.

The aroma was a faint spice with some orange/citrus... i think. When I tasted it, I couldnt quite place it. Maybe it was the red rice??? I couldnt taste much hop nor much malt but did taste a sourness. Not a bad sourness,... just not something i'm used to. It was different, yet pleasant.

The body was light and dry. I dont think i'll be drinking more of this... not because it's bad but rather I dont think this is my style... (I do love their anniversary ale).

Photo of Hibernator
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a single of the Hitachino Red Rice Ale. I had it out of 330 ml short, brown bottle. I have seen this beer just a few times and I've always been interested in seeing what its all about. The label states that the ale is brewed with a special red rice. There is also, what I assume to be a freshness date on the front label for RR.3.8 in black ink.

I served the beer in an imperial pint glass. It pours a hazy orange color with a nice head on top, but the head quickly vanishes to a thin ring lacing.

Chalky yeast scent in the nose with some fruit in the background. I also get a little bit of spices or cloves.

Sweet and crisp mouthfeel. Fairly intense carbonation prickles the tongue. Rasberry or strawberry fruit flavors are blended with a Belgian like yeast. The finish is dry and clean. At 8.5% ABV, it's very well hidden. I would have no clue that this little beer would pack such a punch.

The first question that comes to my mind is where is this beer when I go out to Japanese restaurants for sushi? I would love to order this over the typical macro Japanese adjunct beer options. This is an interesting beer. I like it.

Photo of merlin48
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
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 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.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured golden amber (definite reddish hue) with a very slight haze. The head was just off-white and frothy growing tall and falling slowly to coat the glass.

The aroma was fruity and had a strong soy/miso presence when opened. The fruity presence was banana and there was a slight clove much like a hefe.

The flavor was sour and that would explain the soy/miso aroma. The flavor also had a trend toward miso. Behind those flavors was a slight chocolate flavor, and the same slight banana fruitiness and just a hint of clove spice. As the beer warmed, the sourness became less apparent or the palate became fatigued. In either case, the beer should be consumed after warming a bit.

The finish was dry with no lasting sourness, but there was a lasting fruit presence. The body was medium light.

24.3 ounce silk screened bottle. Opened this one because I thought it would be light. Had no idea it contained such a high alcohol level and that it would be sour and then it would transform into something completely different. My first taste said to pour it out, later I found myself strangely drawn to the bottle...

Photo of Gusler
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer disembarks the brown 330ml bottle a murky reddish-brown with a minimal frothy off white head that depletes quickly leaving a blotchy coating of lace. Nose is sweet, plum like, fresh and clean with the start sweet and the grain profile moderate as is the feel at the top. Finish is pleasantly acidic and the hops forthright in their spicy presence, quite dry aftertaste that covers the palate, also appears to be some alcohol bitterness at the back, a drinkable beer and a change of pace from the normal malt laden beers, a new beer and brewery to me.

Photo of oracle
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

10 oz draft pour in a chalice glass.

Wow, this is one unusual beer.

Beer arrived looking somewhat peculiar, a deep bronze tinged with redness. There was no head to speak of, just a very thin film that left no lacing.

Smelled like no other beer I've ever tried. Kinda sweet with definate wine-like sourness.

Taste was also extremely unusual. You could taste rice in it right up front along with slighly sweet notes, but the finish came hard, fast and very wine-like. It had a stinging, almost burning quality to it. The first sip was so shocking, I almost put the beer down and didn't finish it. I'm glad I didn't. After 4 or 5 sips, I got adjusted to it. The taste started to smooth out somewhat and the very unusual flavor of sake started to come in.

That's right, I said sake. I have since found out that they use sake yeast in the brewing process, which would account for the some of the very unusual flavor here.

It's very rare to find this on draft in Southern Indiana (thank you Roger), but if it comes around again, I will order it again

Photo of AlexJ
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, pale, funky color that there is no name for: yellow + pink=?? Airy, white head dissapears quickly, minimal lace. Funky aromas of belgian yeasts, lemony citrus, wheat-malt, and slightly sour apple. Tastes...odd to say the least. It's like a wheat beer trying to go Belgian. Fruity, soft and effervescant with crisp flavors of apple, pear and apricot. Light mouthfeel, dry finish. Does not taste like an 8.5% beer at all. I really don't know what to think, there's not another beer on the planet that this reminds me of. Worth trying for the sheer weirdness of it.

Photo of ybnorml
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A cloudy darkish yellow beer. Has an off white head that dissapears quickly. There is a very nice fruity sweet character along with an inviting spiceyness in the aroma. The flavor is sour, dry and reminds me of fruit going bad. None of the Belgian spiceyness promised in the aroma. More like a gueze than a strong ale.

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 586 ratings.