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Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale - Kiuchi Brewery

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

601 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 601
Reviews: 314
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 15.18%
Wants: 33
Gots: 54 | FT: 1
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: 601 | Reviews: 314 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of soulgrowl
4.02/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Bold, brickish, ruby red, nearly opaque. If memory serves me correctly, it's very similar in color to New Glarus's famous Belgian Red, just a little bit more dense. Yeasty bits are visible in the light. Head barely forms, then disappears. How sad.

Smell: Very complex and very different. Rice, red tea, tart berries, rhubarb, rubbery phenols, pickled plums... I dare say I have never smelled anything like this in my life.

Taste: As with other Kiuchi beers, I'm kind of at a loss here. It's good, that's for sure, but what the hell? It's damn near impossible to describe. Strawberries, I suppose, along with sweet malts, red tea... you really just have to see for yourself with this one.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy as hell.

Drinkability: No wonder I'm a Japanophile.

Photo of EPICAC
3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I purchased an 11.2 oz. bottle at Downtown Wine & Spirits. The clerk asked me if I'd had any other Hitachino Nest beers. The bottle says "Ale brewed with red rice". I let this warm to around 50º F and served it in one of my Duvel Tulips.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy deep red color with hints of orange. The white foamy head dissipates to a thin layer, but reemerges readily upon swirling.

Smell: The nose is primarily tart like a sour ale. There are slight hints of phenols, yeast and alcohol.

Taste: The beer is sweet upfront and moves into a fruity and acidic tartness in the center. The finish is mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation, smooth, light-bodied with a dry finish. I thought this beer was a little too watery.

Drinkability: Pretty easy to drink, but the hidden alcohol might get you.

Overall: This beer reminded me a lot of a toned down Flanders Red Ale. It was interesting, and fairly enjoyable. This was a really hard beer to pin down. I wavered a bit on the scores, but in the end I think the overall score comes out about right.

Photo of sleepingbear
3.66/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Konichiwa Hitachino!

The bottle poured naturally reddish amber with a small Japanese head- that was small but fierce and hung around for a while.

The aroma was similar to a sour lambic- bitter and acrid.

The mouth feel starts out with a very mellow rice softness almost like sake; then the beer bitters come crashing the gentle disposition of the sake moment- leading to aromatic hop eruption that finishes with elusive sweet notes. The sake mouth feel can be known to flash a little skin in the finish too.

The Red Rice Ale would be great with Creole food- like jambalaya or sweet potato fries and an alligator pooy boy.

A great and unique beer to keep around!

Photo of Faustgeist
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As a resident of San Francisco for ten years, I was anxious to try this Japanese beer now that I live here in the Carolinas. A taste of home, perhaps?

The bottle poured a super clear, red-orange drink. The carbonation seemed light, and the glass developed no head.

The bouquet, well... wow. Tangy with seaweed while the hopps are 'farmy' with notes of (literally) Japanese vegitables. woah, different.

The flavors were equally strange, salty with a touch of sour rice. The sweetness, which was delicious, was sneaking around the background of the palate. The sugars indeed were coming in and out of focus through my sences.

The mouthfeel was good, with carbonation well intergrated in to this beer.

As far as the drinkability... I can only take one of these at the moment. But a very fun beer to taste and study. This and all beers from Hitachino deserve more experimentation, in my study.


Photo of DogFood11
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Huge Mountainous head that laces with every pull. Kind of an odd reddish color for the style.

Some rice, grain smell, this is one odd brew so far, color is odd smell is musky and grainy, I have no idea what to expect yet.

Comes across with just a touch of a cough syrup sweetness and harshness. Fruity like a melon, and some flowery hops give it a nice balanced finish. Huge alcohol.

I thought it was a solid offering.

Photo of sloejams
3.32/5  rDev -10%
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 geexploitation
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is one of those beers that isn't very tasty but gets some points for being weird and interesting. This beer is a very interesting color -- kind of a red-gold that's been tinged pink. The head is a pink-tinged white. It reminds me a bit of a cherry lambic in appearance. The nose is pretty unappetizing -- it smells of sour rice and some Asian fruit that is obscure to my American palate, but that I've smelled before (at the World of Coke exhibit in Atlanta, believe it or not). The taste brings some complexity, but also lots of sourish red rice that's a bit overpowering. The mouthfeel is pretty good, actually -- the carbonation is nicely balanced and the finish is good. But overall, this brew reminds me of some of those challenging lambics and sour red Belgian ales -- I can appreciate them, but I wouldn't necessarily choose to drink them unless they were very carefully paired with a particular food.

Photo of rousee
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is not the freshest sample as I bought this several months ago but it seems to hold up quite well in the fridge. It does lose some of its assertiveness in taste that it had before.

Clear with a woody amber gold color. There is no lace but it still has that nice floral Belgian smell. The taste is smoother than before but it doesnt stand out like it did. A nice beer nonetheless. I am glad I tried it again as the last sample(which I did not review) left me not too enamored with this beer. It is a good 'un. Beware of some inconsistency though.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from fat squattie into a Delirium Tremens chalice. Kind of orange colored beer, some thin head initially on top.

Hard to rate the smell, as this bottle was kind of skunked. I couldn't detect the rice flavor, this kind of tasted like skunked euro lager to me. It definitely did not have a Belgian yeast feel to it.

I'll not be getting this again.

Photo of ommegangpbr
4.07/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My bottle says 7% alcohol from what I can see/guess (their official site supports my theory); no freshness date that I can decipher.
Upon pouring, this brew falls within that spectrum between being a darker colored pale ale and a lighter colored dark ale; think Maudite and Lunacy; think apple juice or cider. Hazy, amber hued.
Smells... interesting. There are some notes that I'm not used to in a beer... must be the red rice... some sour notes a-la Flander's Red ale, though much much milder, lightly spicy smelling.
The taste is interesting as well. I haven't liked brews of this inbetween color in the past but this time around I enjoy it. The flavor is relatively mild and well balanced. There's a pink lemonade refreshingness/tartness going on that I like. Again, mildly spicy with that unfamiliar red rice thing going on.
Mouthfeel is tart, a touch metallic, and very dry. Crisp, even.
I personally find this to be very drinkable, even for the style. Alcohol content is completely hidden in the flavor but the kick does come across halfway through the bottle (an 11.2 ouncer in this case).
I'd easily get this again.

Photo of jdhilt
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A heavy pour and got a two-fingered head that faded quickly to a ring leaving some lace. Hazy golden color. Light-medium carbonation and light bodied. Nose is barely there maybe vanilla?? Starts with a typical malt/hop mix but then the finish there is an incredible kick of sweet vanilla nothing like I have had before and quite different from other Japanese beers. $3.89 for a 11.2oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

Photo of Brewfan
3.72/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a slightly chilled pint glass at Garden Grill in Pawtucket, RI.
Very slight whispy head with faint traces of lace skirting the edge of the glass. Poured a murky light coppery/orange color.
Sour nose upon pouring. Vinous like a crisp white wine. A bit wheaty and tart.
Tart taste on the tongue. Very slightly hoppy, with grapefruit/citrus undertones. Not much maltiness to speak of. A bit grassy and wine like. Medium carbonation and light mouthfeel made this a nicely drinkable beer.
Finished dry and once again, wine like. Can't believe this weighed in at 8.5%. You would never know it by drinking it.
Went nicely with the vegetarian (tempeh) reuben and asian slaw.

Photo of WetCoaster
1.7/5  rDev -53.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Appearance: Well, you don't see too many that look like this. A pink-tinged peach with a slighly rose colored head. Fair retention. Slightly cloudy with mild carbonation.

Smell: Weird. There's the expected Belgian yeast spice, with the clove and cake spice sweetness, but there is also an absolutely foul reek of green olives and vinyl.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Again, very weird. The mouthfeel is thin and a bit dead. The taste... oh my. The same olive taste comes to the fore, but with a rice syrup sweetness, cake spice and lemon bitterness somewhat similar to Orval. Yeesh.

Drinkability: You're kidding, right? Seriously, is this even beer? I was hoping this was skunked, but I see others have felt my pain. God, this can't possibily be the flavor they were shooting for, can it? If you'd like to pay $4 to drink 11.2 ounces of Orval with a mouthful of cocktail olives, you've arrived. Oh, the horror, the horror...

Photo of hopsaplenty
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24.3oz bottle. It is a beautiful burnt yellow, with a large fluffy white head of large and small bubbles. Small streams of carbonation are present and there was some lacing. The nose is fresh, clean, a bit grassy, with some malt tones as well. It is crisp and dry on the palate, with nice malt/rice sweetness hinting up front followed by pleasantly crisp hops. It has a medium body and yet feels light at the same time. There is no alcohol taste or smell and yet it rings in at 8.5%.

This was wonderfully drinkable beer and a style that people do not generally associate with Japanese brewers. Makes me want to have another.

Photo of WesWes
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark gold color with a reddish hue along with a 1" white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a warm, malty scent that is dry and slightly musty. I guess this brew is made with red rice. I'm really not sure how to detect rice aroma. It smells of alcohol and yeast. The taste is decent as well. It has a dry flavor that resembles cough syrup. It's smooth with a slightly sweet finish that's warm on the way down. The mouthfeel is fine. It's a medium bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is an interesting beer. It has a unique flavor; a good flavor.

Photo of whynot44
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%
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
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
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
3.21/5  rDev -13%
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 +7.9%
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 -4.3%
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
2.7/5  rDev -26.8%
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
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
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 -3.8%
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
1.96/5  rDev -46.9%
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
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 601 ratings.