Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) - Kiuchi Brewery

Not Rated.
Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)

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BA SCORE
85
very good

650 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 650
Reviews: 341
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 27
Gots: 40 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery visit their website
Japan

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 12-29-2002

From Japan's most prestigious brewery, Hitachino Nest XH (Extra High) is a strong Belgian Brown Ale, matured in shochu (distilled sake) barrels. Chinook & Styrian Goldings hops are use
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 650 | Reviews: 341
Reviews by hustlesworth:
Photo of hustlesworth
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- being cask conditioned and bottled on lees, this one has an extremely murky, rusty burnt red appearance. The foam is between cream and ecru colored, airy and full of bubbles, and sticky enough to leave menagerie of drippy lace critters. I think one of them is an owl.

S- indeed a very interesting aroma. When cold, the first thing I notice is a strong mineral water aroma. Next comes a nutty earthy and almost floral shochu like character with a coppery metallic edge. A bit of fruity berry tartness emerges as it begins to rise in temp with some cherry soda type vapor, brown sugar, toffee, fruit cake and pralines. There's just a touch of vanilla aroma that is typical of oak aged beers, along with some cinnamon and pepper spice and a definite major dose of dried, cured and freshly split hardwood.

T- Dry, very woodsy, and acidic. Although classified as a BSDA, it tastes nothing like one. It is however, one of the most uniquely flavored beers I've ever had, and I join other reviewers in stating the fact that I can't decide whether I actually like it or not. It's almost too woodsy with too many tannins. Old wood, new wood, morning wood, and assertive British and earthy hop bitterness. Barely noticeable muted fruity yeast flavors lay dying somewhere in the background. The yeast notes that still stand are a mix of peppery spice and earthy fungus. Finally, let's address this sake flavor issue: the flavor of the sake completely impacts this brew, but it's tough for me to say whether the impact is positive. Since different sakes have such different flavor profiles, and having never tasted this particular sake, I can only describe it as "that general fermented rice flavor". Overall it tastes more like an oak aged stock ale. Finishes spicy, woodsy, dry and bitter.

MF- dry and tannic, hoppy feeling, and not very pleasant, although the bottle conditioned carbonation is immaculate.

D- what a tough call. This beer is obviously made with integrity and quality care, but the mix of flavors just don't agree with me. I like sake and I like barrel aged things and hoppy things but I feel that to better suit my tastes, a fruitier strain of yeast would better compliment the woodsy oak flavor and keep this one from being so scratchy and rough.

More User Reviews:
Photo of weatherdog
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on tap in a 13oz Hitachino stubby tulip shaped pint glass at Bavarian Lodge in Lisle Il

It pours a lively reddish brown with a 2 finger head. The beer was pretty cloudy and lots carbonation bubbles were surfacing.

The aroma was pretty muted for what I would expect from the description. It had some wood and cherry type fruit notes mixed in with some nice Brett funk.

The taste was nice and tart with some fruit notes. It reminded me of a flanders style beer at first. Some wood came through as well. I'm sad to say that I've never partook in drinking sake so I cannot report on any influence in this beer. Overall it had a decent funky brett flavor profile but everything seemed muddled and sloppy. The carbonation was on the high side and became distracting forcing me to take smaller sips in order to savor the beer properly. An interesting beer for sure and glad to find it on tap.

Photo of explosivebeer
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep, slightly hazy amber with a thick, lasting, creamy head. It has a nice sour aroma and flavor that is balanced with a little underlying sweetness in the body of the beer. There are some woody notes followed by a balanced finish. Tasty. I'll definitely get this one again.

Photo of blackearth
2.07/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Purchased from Blue Max Liquors in Burnsville, MN. Pours a murky, dark reddish brown body with a huge pillowy off-white head. There are globs of sediment floating around and settling in the bottom of the snifter. The aroma is one big sour mish-mosh of belgian yeast. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and highly carbonated. The bottle actually foamed out a little after I popped the cap. Sweet syrupy flavor that has a tart and sour finish. I can't detect any sake. I guess this is what you get sometimes when you buy "experimental" beers. I couldn't even finish this one.

Photo of dill
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was excited that this beer made it's way to America and I picked up a bottle as soon as I could and tried it right away. I shared it with a friend who really likes shouchu so I was looking forward to her reaction to it as well. It poured a golden yellow with a thick white head. I noted some floral notes to it as well as some spice and a bit of the shouchu which I was really looking for. It's a bit dry with tight, gentle carbonation. A nice beer to savor.

Photo of mverity
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle from Hop Jacks in Pensacola. Pours an amber brown color with white head that dissipated quickly. Smells of sweet grass, caramel, touch of sour notes. Taste is mostly sweet caramel and some tartness. Mouthfeel is rather watery. Otherwise, I'm glad I only bought a single bottle of this beer. Not great

Photo of merlin48
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dirty auburn brown body with a small beige head that quickly falls to a cap. Some rings of lace aound the snifter. Aroma of wood, sake, and fried rice. Mouthfeel is nice, medium body and crisp carbonation. Taste is better than the aroma with prominent oak wood tones and a faint note of berries. As it warms, the sake becomes dominant imparting some harsh alcohol which lasts into the finish. Not my favorite Hitachino Nest but one of the most interesting.

Photo of Mora2000
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Travita for sharing this beer.

The beer pours an orangish-amber color with a tan head. The aroma is basic caramel malt with some fruit and yeast. The flavor is completely different, with brett funk, citrus fruit and a good amount of tartness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of bsp77
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Appearance: Cloudy orange with towering cream colored head and some nice lacing.

Smell: Tart apples, vinegar, oak and pepper.

Taste: Nice tartness derived from apple and citrus. The oak aging adds a nice level of complexity, as does the brett. Ends with pepper, clove and spicy hops. Great balance overall and the tartness remains at a manageable level.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation, medium body with a tart, dry finish. As the carbonation recedes, it becomes very smooth.

Drinkability: Love the complex layers within this beer, while remaining compulsively drinkable.

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Copper gold with a slight chill haze under a 1” dense cream colored foam collar that produces sheets of lace.
S: Fruit, peach, melon, light grains,
T: Fruit, melon to peach, biscuit malt, hints of sake, some pepper on the finish.
F: Creamy medium full body and medium carbonation.
O: While the sake is not huge, the brewer has nailed the Belgian texture and yeast character for a very pleasant beer.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a bulb style glass. xh.10.08. stamped on the bottom of the back label. listed as 7% on neck of bottle.

pours out a really nice murky reddish/ orange brown color with a huge 4 fingers of billowy, soapy off white head. amazing rocky retention and lots of furry sticky lace.

off the initial smell i got lots of sour, tart, musty funk. behind that there some spice, ripe fruits, a bit of dark fruits and a bit metallic with just a hint of wood.

lots of sharp tart musty funk, ripe fruits, leafy herbs, aluminum like metallic flavor which is not too desirable. a bit of dark fruit like malt sweetness and a bit of a spicy bitterness with a touch of wood in the background.

the funk and tart is there, but not enough to pucker you mouth. light and fluffy on the palate, medium bodied. lots of carbonation.

one and done, but i would drink this again. this to me is exactly like a belgian flanders red/ oud bruin. a nice beginners sour. the funk is definatly there, but nothing overpowering. worth one bottle.

Photo of williamtlow
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Not much nose, the scent isn't strong. but the beer has great body, a nice round texture. just the right amount of acidity. sweet, caramel-like cask flavor. Very malt forward with just enough hop finish flavor for excellent balance. delicious. great lacing from the head.

Photo of chinchill
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%

Pour is hazy dark amber with a good, durable, creamy head, vg lacing
Sake barrel treatment comes out clearly about mid-taste, and is also present in the aroma.
Aroma has decent complexity, as does the flavor, which has both bready and fruity notes too.
Medium-full body; medium+ carbonation; smooth.
O interesting Japanese beer.

Photo of ByTor2112
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Challenging Ale, challenging review....
Poured up a cloudy brown color with a tan head.
Aroma-sweet smells, sake? Not sure, some sour or yeasty notes.
Mouthfeel-The first wave is that of a strong ale. Not much hop profile there at all. It has been a long time since I even tried sake. I do get flavors of whisky. There is a complex bitterness that is obviously the sake and the barrel. It is not a bad flavor, and I have never been fortunate to have any barrel or sour/funky beer styles. This would be good as an after dinner long-sipper. I appreciated this one and I like Hitachino's offerings. I might have given a higher drinkability, but my palate was so new to this one. Definitely worth trying, but hard to describe.

Photo of glid02
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta. I've seen Hitachino around for a while but for one reason or another this is the first one I've picked up.

Pours a cloudy copper color with a very foamy two-finger off-white head. The head sticks around for the life of the beer, finally settling into a thin pancake on top and a thick ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

I really didn't know what to expect here, but I liked what I smelled. A slightly tart aroma joins light fruits - citrus and cherries, and there's also a very slight hint of vanilla.

Tastes good. Tart fruits with a kind of grainy sweetness that's very unique. This flavor sticks around after the sip is gone. There's also a mild earthy hint which I assume is imparted by the barrels.

Mouthfeel is good. Good thickness and good carbonation join a slickness to make this one go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. It's very unique, and the flavors work well together. I could have one more of these, but that might be it.

Overall this was a good introduction to this brewery. This beer is very interesting, and I'm looking forward to delving further into their lineup. Try this one if you see it around.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a woody brown body that glows with a red hue in the light. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles that support a thin film of light brown head made up mostly of big bubbles. The head is soon gone and fades to a thin ring of foam.

S- The smell is smooth brown malt with a soft sweetness and a clean fusel smell at the finish.

T- The smooth taste of brown malt had a hint of darker roasted malt to it followed by a big wet oak taste. The finish was a clean neutral taste of white sake.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a clean but hot finish.

D- The wood and fusel alcohol heat really comes through this beer but the malt flavors are strong enough to stand up to them. The sake flavor really doesn't work with the malt flavors.

Photo of Auraan
4.41/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice, cloudy dark amber with half-finger white head that receded to nice ring of white foam. It looks good, but not as good as some examples of the style. Scents of candi sugar, fruity esters, slight sake and shochu hints, faint nutty hints, very faint hints of alcohol, some Belgian yeast, sweet spices, faint oak, sweet caramel malt, and faint hints of vanilla. The aroma is mild and subdued, but very complex once you smell it for a while and focus on the various aromas present. It's a scent profile that is simple on the surface, but amazingly complex beneath. Flavor begins with an earthy, mushroom-like flavor, sweet candi sugar, slight hints of alcohol, hints of sake, a bit of dark fruit, sweet caramel malt, faint hints of floral and earthy herbal hops, hints of citrus zest, hints of Belgian yeast, slight spiciness, more pronounced on the finish and a roasted flavor on the finish with a bitter, lingering aftertaste. It's an earthy, complex, boozy and very Japanese take on a Belgian Strong Dark. It's got the usual flavors of a strong dark, but with hints of sake and earthiness from the barrel aging and a nice level of complexity. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with moderate carbonation and a slick finish. Quite nice and easy to sip, and about right for the style. Overall this an excellent take on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It has the scents, flavors and feel of the style, but some very unique, Japanese flavors added to the beer, resulting in a very complex, very well executed beer. I recommend this one.

Photo of degerbah
2.02/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Had a sampling of this at Catskellar at a tasting hosted Brandon from Cavalier.

Poured slightly heady with a very cloudly light brown color. The smell is not good at all. liquor with yeast. Reading other reviews that claim to get oak flavors, I'm getting nothing like that. The closest example I have of this is when I tried to drink a room temperature brooklyn monster ale. Has way more of an alcohol taste than I prefer, likely as a result of the sake casks. All I have to say is that for most beers, tasting of rice and liquor isn't a ringing endorsement. I'll take a scotch or bourbon aged beer anyday. Sake casks are a mistake.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer has one of the most unusual aroma profiles I've encountered in a very long time. Tons of fruits...mostly apricot and tangerine. Some cooking spices as well.
And yes some of that soft fruit smell can be attributed to the sake barrels it is aged in. As I continue to smell, I pick up more and more of the sake fruitness you get from fermented rice.

Taste is also unusual. Lots of the apricot and tangerine fruit flavors mixed in with strong alcohol and a lot of oak woodiness. Sake influence is intense.

Very warm, hot beer.
Very unique...very unusual.

Photo of biboergosum
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle. 'Long Maturation Period'? In what? More info, please and domo arigoto.

This beer pours a clear dark bronzed amber hue, with one skinny finger of weakly foamy, and somewhat creamy ecru head, which leaves a bit of loose ocean spray lace around the glass as it quickly and evenly subsides.

It smells of muddled, but still damned fruity citrus hops, tart red grapes, musty toffee/caramel malt, and a softly bristling booziness. The taste is rather nutty - chestnuts, really - slick caramel malt, resinous pine and citrus rind hops, concentrated honey, a soft grainy vinous woodiness, and a bit of rice wine alcohol warming.

The carbonation is fairly soft, and mostly just pleasantly frothy, the body medium-light in weight for the style, generally smooth, and perhaps a tad creamy. It finishes still hoppy on the citrus and pine front lines, with the attending bready caramel lackey sweetness. The 8 points of booze do well by this one's homage in that they are not overtly noticeable.

I wasn't expecting this to taste so much like a Japanese barrel-aged DIPA, but it surely does. If we're seizing that thread, then maybe this is a little restrained on the overall hop and malt profile in comparison to the NA versions, but enjoyable nonetheless. As a BSDA, however, this is as confused, but still as determined, as a first-time condom purchaser.

Photo of asabreed
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle into a Thomas Hardy's snifter. This should be an interesting brew.

Appearance: Beautiful hazy orange copper color with hints of red. Just amazing color in the light. Huge billowing head that slowly dissipates, always leaving at the very least a bit of foam on the top of the body, and huge lacing all over the place in streaks and little blobs. Every time I sip the beer touching the glass leaves an amazing streak of lacing that slowly slides down and dissipates. I haven't seen a brew this pretty in a long time.

Smell: Definitely like a lambic at first without any strong hint of fruit. Wild yeast, maybe brett-like, earthy funk, heavy citrus and vinegar and vinous sourness. Effervescent and very appealing.

Taste: It probably goes without saying, or should, but this should be warmed up to room temperature. Even when it warms there's a faint metallic and pungent bitterness that I'm not sure is supposed to be here, but it ends up working somehow, then fading away. But at cooler temperatures it's much more prominent and funky. Taste is overall sourness, wild yeast, vinous characteristics, phenolic and barnyard funk (mixing well with the other flavors), some pungent citrus, and maybe some sourness from the hops, and if it's not the hops it's coming from somewhere else. I wonder if this is a bit too green, because though I like it a lot, like I said there's an odd bitterness that finishes and I'm not sure it should be this pronounced. The other wild flavors still shine overall, and there's a long Belgian and lambic-like sour finish, letting in some fruit, wild yeast, and earthiness. But where does the Sake come in? I'm not sure. Maybe with the wood and sourness, because there's certainly a lot of complexity there. This is not for the faint of heart, and your palate really has to be ready to take all of the insanity, so keep that in mind also.

Mouthfeel: Champagne-like with lots of smoothness and coating, blanket-like carbonation. Like a BSPA, but even creamier in some ways.

Drinkability: I paid $5 for the bottle, but Hitachino stuff's always worth it to me. They seem to be one of the most underrated breweries doing great experiments. I imagine if DFH did a beer like this (and please do, DFH) everyone would be all over it, but Hitachino doesn't get the hype. Still, an amazing and crazy brewery that doesn't skimp in the experimentation (or the price, clearly). I may pick another one of these up and see how it ages, because I imagine the yeast and bottle conditioning could do some great things. But an overall singular beer and a great experience, one I'd recommend highly, especially if this really is a one-time thing...

Photo of Stigs
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber liquid with floating sediment hoists up a very thick layer of frothy tan foam. huge amounts of lace stick to thesides of the glass after each sip.

S - very dry piney hops, almost gin-like. a unique layer of spices dances underneath, cinnamon, clove, caraway seeds. some vinegar and alcohol finish it off.

T - well, its certainly unique. a lightly sweet ale with some moderate caramel and piney hops is joined by a small dose of gin, and that distinctive sake flavor in the finish.

M - very thin body, carbonation is moderate if not a bit light. finishes very dry and tingly with some very present alcohol and piney hops.

D - unique one here...i can taste (and smell) the sake influence though i wouldnt think it was sake-aged. much more hoppy than expected, goes down considerably easy though wears after a bit. leave it to the Japanese for something like this.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks wonderful. The color very much evokes a barleywine, with a burnt/candy-apple red. The super-frothy and creamy thick head leaves lots of lace as it diminishes. The head remains firm and full for a long while. XH screams: "Taste me, I'm great!"

Aroma is intense and unusual. The Sake casks very much influence what's happening in the nose. It's got a raw, earthy vibe, somewhere between a Berliner Weissbier and a Gueuze. A very Belgian yeast funk, a la sweaty socks and horse blanket, works its way in, as does a citrus-rind character. Even the sickly sweetness of cotton candy is detected, minus the sickly.

Oh darn. XH is definitely not as good as it looks and smells. Where the sake element merely adds to the aroma, in the flavor it overtakes and overwhelms. There is still a stinky/farmhouse yeast character coming through (think gueuze) and a tartness like grapefruit rind, but mostly it's a shrieking power-fermented sake madness that I come away with. I can't even detect the wood of the casks--the sake must have embedded itself so fully into the wood that it overtakes the casks, and it does the same with this beer. With warming, exotic spicing swirls around the tongue and tempts interpretations that cannot be nailed down. Unique as hell, and it grew on me in time, although I never reached a point of loving it (as I thought I might from the appearance and smell).

A bit too over-carbonated, which doesn't match the personality of the flavor. A creamier texture would've helped out a bit, although the body is medium and dances on the tongue with a grace that seems fitting. And it's not a stinging carbonation, just way too up-front in its almost champagne-like bubbliness.

XH is not that bad, but you have to love sake to love this beer. And I don't love sake, so there you go. Aw hell, I couldn't come to a conclusion as to whether I liked it or not, but I do know I like elements of it, and I greatly respect its complexity. Most definitely worth a shot, as there's no other beer like it on the planet, to my knowledge.

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

Orange colour and bubbly head, floral aromas. A different culture and a different measure of what bitterness is. A definite woodiness, without too much of supporting flavours other than alcohol and a bitterness from the ale itself. I do not believe it was greatly drinkable, by different standards it is a successful ageing/barreling.

Photo of augustgarage
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330mL bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter.

Dark rust body with bronze highlights, and good clarity excepting the dark color and sediment. Bottle was a gusher*, but the suds I was able to capture created a cream colored head which quickly dissipates to a thin ring with a wide island in the center of the glass. Legs and lacing recede together.

Distinctive aroma that I've found in recent bottlings of Hitachino Nest white as well - a potent sour funk*. Alcohol, plum-wine, brine, orange-peel, buckwheat, and oak compete for your attention as well.

Tart and bitter like Japanese citrus, candied sweetness, and an odd yeast funk (again) on the palate followed by a long earthy finish.

Slightly thin-bodied with some astringency from the oak. An unusual brew.

*EDIT: I have since come to believe that this bottle was suffering from oxidation; however, since I've had several newly purchased bottles throughout the year from Hitachino and found all of them to have this problem to varying degrees. I've deleted my review of their witbier in the hopes of one day obtaining a fresh bottle, but I'm leaving this one up as the oxidized notes are not easily distinguished from the essential (barrel aged) character.

Be cautious when obtaining their beers in Los Angeles.

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 650 ratings.