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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) - Kiuchi Brewery

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

347 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 347
Hads: 672
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 17.51%
Wants: 28
Gots: 46 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery visit their website

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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Reviews: 347 | Hads: 672
Photo of bluHatter
4.95/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've always been a fan of Hitachino Nest ever since I first tried their Red Rice variety. They are some of the most interesting beers I've had the pleasure of tasting. I had never had their XH ale before, though, so here goes...

A: This ale was anxious to get out of the bottle. It foamed over before I was even able to begin pouring, and then formed an enormous head in the glass, even with a gentle pour. The head was foamy (big bubbles) and receded very slowly, leaving just a hint of lacing. The ale itself is thick and cloudy red. This is the most interesting type of appearance for me, as it usually indicates vast complexities in flavor.

S: Very similar in smell to Hitachino Nest's Red Rice ale. Pungent sweet malty that quickly mellows into a warm citrus. Not unlike A1 steak sauce... or if anybody has ever smelled a millipede that's been stepped on (don't ask, but it's a smell that sticks with you, and this ale is very similar).

T: Wow, very strong and pungent... like a well aged bleu cheese. The smell is definitely present in the taste. Bitter, tangy, strong wood flavor - like the wood had a lot of holes in it that the beer was allowed to mingle in and draw all kinds of interesting body from. Every sip is different as I let it breathe. It gets mellower in the glass. You can tell this has been cooped up for a long time - no wonder it was anxious to get out.

M: Loads of carbonation. I can tell I will be burping this flavor for a while after I finish it. You can tell there's alcohol here, as my tongue is tingly and raw after just a few sips

O: I feel honored that I was able to taste this beer. Hitachino Nest has never disappointed and this is no exception. I only wish this was easier to come by so I could experience it more often and share it with friends. I never thought I'd try a better beer than Hitachino Nest's Red Rice ale, but I think this may be my personal holy grail.

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Photo of MadeInOregon
4.88/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Found this at a Japanese grocery store. Lucky me! I didn't know it was "retired", but was still more than willing to shell out $6 for a Hitachino Nest I hadn't seen before.

THE APPEARANCE of Hitachino Nest XH is, well, beautiful--as silly as that word is for describing beer. Massive latte-esque foam erupts from the liquid, which is a very nice orangish brown and very cloudy with sediment. Thick, lacing is all over the place. Mouth-watering! The bottle is even attractive--too bad I can't drink that. Foam eventually dwindles down to a nice thin film across the top of the beer.

THE SMELL is candied orange, yeast, banana, and little hops. The candy quality is very unique and clearly references the sake that was stored in the same casks as this beer. Think: Nigori sake + a strong Belgian ale. There are some similarities in fragrance to a bourbon-barrel aged beer, however the XH is much crisper and sweeter due to the rice from the sake.

THE TASTE is equally impressive, and very complex. Flavors progress like this: Sake, banana+candied orange, cotton candy → Hot, spicy yeast → Milk chocolate → light hops → orange peels + banana + hops

THE FEEL is very full and stimulating, yet not assaulting. The alcohol, like with most of the Hitachino line, is mild and well-masked. An American ale this bold would normally push 10%.

CONCLUSION: This is only my second All-5's rating. I find no faults with this beer other than that it's so hard to find! It's a very unique (and Japanese) take on both the barrel-aging concept as well as strong Belgian ales (Yes, I do not think this should be called an “American Strong Ale”. “Belgian Double Ale” would be more appropriate, in my opinion). I'd never heard of, or even thought about aging beers in sake casks so this was my first sampling of such a style. So, Kiuchi Brewery is setting the bar pretty high for future tastings!

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.87/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Bottle Date: XH.08.10 (I presume then that this was bottled in August of 2010.)
Upon opening, this one is a gusher. Fortunately, I'm prepared, and I only lose about a swallow's worth of beer. The smell is immediate and beautiful!

This is a very nice, golden orange color, with light hints of brown. The light brown head of foam is almost one-fingers worth. It has some really nice retention and the lacing is in thick strands that stick around for awhile.

The nose on this one is awesome! Hints of Lambic tartness. Very wine-y, which was not expected, at all. Big belgian yeast notes behind it, along with some candi sugar sweetness. Bananas and apples and pears...oh, my!

Wow. Belgian yeast and barnyard funk dominate, with a light touch of tartness to it. Bananas with apple and cherry skins. Belgian yeast spiciness. Orchard fruits sweetened with light candi sugar. Light hints of brown sugar.
This is nicely complex. Very tasty.

This is full-bodied with a high level of carbonation, which is filled with (what seems like) millions of tiny bubbles. It is smooth and awesomely creamy! A delight to drink!

This is almost a perfect brew. It's somewhat like a really good Tripel blended with Lambic, or something. It has great balance, but is still just a touch too far to the sweet side, otherwise it would achieve perfection. It's not what I expected from Sake barrel-aging, but if this is what that creates....bring on more Sake barrel-aged beers, please!
Easily my fave from Hitachino, to date.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.74/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me just say that the bottle exploded when I popped the cap and I lost half of this wonderful beer. :(

A: Pours a cloudy mahogany with 1 finger of head that dissipates quickly.

N: Brown sugar, plums, raisins and Belgian candy sugar.

T: Ripe dark fruits and candy sugar that fade into deep brown sugar, molasses, black licorice and tobacco.

M: Medium bodied, creamy and smooth.

D: Very good drinkability and a fantastic beer! Very unique! I will be picking up more of these.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.53/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short and stubby 11.2oz bottle. Pours a magnificent orangish amber color with an off-white head that leaves a solid coat of lacing all over the glass, even after consuming the entire beer. The sweet floral aroma is very aromatic with a good amount of oak, and sour cherries. The taste is slightly funky with some oak and a very dry and slightly spicy hopped finish. Wow, I am very surprised with this one. It is a very beautiful pours and is complex in both the aroma and taste with the flavors meshing extremely well. The mouthfeel has a really nice smooth feel to it with a perfect amount of carbonation. Overall, they really did it right with this brew. It is a little on the pricey side, but it is well worth it. I will have to pick up a couple more bottles of this. Recommended.

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Seriously creepy/cute owl. Man I love the Japanese!

*** Label slightly different than one pictured, states "Matured in Sake Casks" *** But apparently is the same beer (and all newly created listings with 'sake cask' get popped under the regular XH listing).

Also of note: this beer was not really aged in sake casks, it was aged in sochu casks. For those of you who know Japanese liquor (and it's a love/hate relationship as I'm sure you agree) Sochu (Sochyu, soju, shochu) is a rice wine (sake) fermented into an 80 to 90 proof liquor and often matured in cask.

Poured a dark brown/black with blue-ish highlights. Oatmeal colored, persistent head, low carbonation.

Smells a lot like a sour ale. Lot's of fruit, a hefty dose of the sour cherry, lacto thing with some sake like notes, a little spice, and plum. Really reminds me of a barrel aged Belgian.

Flavor is remarkable. The sour note adds so much and keeps the intense sake-like flavors subdued. Very intense and fruit forward.

Texture is lovely with a massive amount of wall to wall flavor, great grip, and a good balance of acidity and alcohol.

This beer sings, and I'm all ears (and tastebuds). I immediately returned and bought every bottle they had at Whole Foods. This is going to be a cornerstone beer and one that I will love fooling beer geeks with blind tastings.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Murky brown body under a massive head that fills the tulip (and then some) with ultra fine tan foam. Terrific, rocky retention and spotty lace. Great.

S: What?! Craziness, that's what. Oak, pepper, fruity sake, and some more raw oak. A little sour, a little spicy, and just great.

T: Follows the nose, with even more emphasis on teh oak. Vanilla and coconut up front, followed by some robust, slightly sour fruitiness, and closed out by spiritous oak. Dry, spicy finish. Wonderful.

M: Supple, creamy, frothy carbonation. Nice.

O: Wow, I was not prepared for this. It was unlike any other beer I've had, and in a fascinatingly delicious way. I really need to try some shochu, as the barrel presence in this beer was delightful.


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Photo of Nesued
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Lively head with a bit of lacing (not much) being present as the head fades. Amber/caramel in color with a bit of haze present. Carbonation is mild, which feeds the retention of a small head.

Smell - A very mild nose, with a majority of the presence being a woody presentation. A bit of a malty aroma is here as well, with a bit of a phenolic "Belgian" flair from the yeast (I'm guessing here).

Taste - Opens with a mild malt body. Sweet middle, but not overpowering, and finishes with a mild hop bite. Smooth from start to finish. What do I taste? Damn yo Hitachno, I've had three of your brews and I'm still unable to classify you! I blame the owl. Candy, tobacco (someone else said this, I'll agree, perhaps this is the sake casks come in...), even a bit of funk. Is there Brett in here??? Wow...so much complexity. A nice crisp finish as well.

Mouthfeel - I let this warm a bit before getting to the mouthfeel. Perhaps it was because I was trying to spend the time identifying the many flavors/tates. Be that as it may, I found this a very dense offering. The carbonation was an added feature and not the main contributing factor to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Classifying this as an "American Strong Ale" leaves a lot of room for variety and also HUGE competition. Think about the others in this category: Angel's Share, SA Utopia, Stone Brewing offerings. In my opinion, this is the "hidden gem" in this vast category. As mentioned above, this is my third Hitachio offering, and I have YET to be able to understand the construction of these beers. What I do know, is that they are outstanding, well-constructed and defy style classification. This one is a nice sipper, the white is a great "summer beer" with great complexity, and the "classic" is an outstanding standard by by which to measure them all. Well done all around.

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Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a foamy beige head that maintains a multi-finger retention a leaves a few splashes of lace

Smell: Rice pudding, vanilla, sarsaparilla and a bit of booziness

Taste: Oak, caramel and tart green apples up front, with a developing rice pudding and rum flavor by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is an interesting fruity flavor (lychee) that adds complexity, with the rice pudding and oaky flavors returning only to be dominated by a rather sour after-taste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation

Drinkability: Definitely one of the more interesting beers I have tried, with a flavor profile that is all over the palate; a little more carbonation would be a plus but this is an otherwise extraordinary beer

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.43/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish brown with a moderate head, half of which stays.

Smells of sweet malt and a bit acetic--like a wild brew--with a slight wet horseblanket. Must be the yeast.

Taste is sweet roasted malt balanced nicely by a hop bitterness, and sake wine flavor from being aged in sake casks.

Mouthfeel is full with creamy carbonation. The acid really cleanses the palate, with a nice mildly bitter hop finish.

This is a nicely balanced beer, providing a unique addition to the craft beer scene. I find it a very pleasant beer, even to one who is not a keen sake drinker. I will definitely consider this in food pairings. Seems higher in alcohol than the 7 percent advertised, but maybe that is due to the association of sake and higher alcohol.

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Photo of SlowDownGhandi
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured reddish brown barely transparent with tons of bubbles rising to the top and a huge head of foam. Took at least a minute or two for most of the foam to come down and a lot of lacing as it descended.

S- Tons of funk! I got some sweet as well as sour and a good amount of citrus(reminded me of preserved lemons). The smell was reminiscent of farmhouse and sour ales.

T- At first sip I got a good amount of sweet and a lightly roasted flavor, maybe the malt as well as the sake casks. I got a good amount of alcohol as well. Good amount of funk and sour. The same citrus was present as well but not as prevalent. This beer lingers for quite a while so you can continue to enjoy after each sip.

M- Medium mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Great beer, the high alcohol and beer style probably wouldn't make for a session, but I would definitely have a second! American strong does not do this beer justice.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark coppery orange with a flurry of dark yeast that entered the glass just before the pour was broken off. Two fingers of golden sandstone colored foam look good atop the beer. As the crown begins its descent, fine sheets of speckled lace can be seen on the sides of the drinking vessel. It's an interesting look... and a good one.

When nose was put over glass, the word that came immediately to mind was 'Belgium'. XH smells like a BSDA. It features moderately dark malt and an amazing amount of clove-like phenols that have to be due to Belgian yeast. I've never had sake, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't smell like this.

Wow, what a fascinating ale! Hitachino Nest XH tastes like a cross between a BSDA, a wild ale and a caramel-malted strong ale. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Kiuchi added a few bugs, such as Brettanomyces or Pediococcus. The bandage-like phenols make XH taste like it was aged in Lagavulin casks rather than sake casks.

Specifics are hard to nail down. Let's go with melted caramel candy, mushy apples, red grapes, tobacco, horse blanket funk and cloves. There's a hint of oaky woodiness, but not much. I wish I knew what sake tastes like and am now motivated to buy one of the bottles that has been tempting me from the cooler of a local wine and beer shop.

The mouthfeel just does earn the above score. It starts out too thin, then comes into its own with warming, and even develops a light chewiness by the bottom of the bottle. A Belgian brewer's touch with carbonation would probably shoot it into the stratosphere.

Kiuchi beer is expensive (this bottle was $4.79), but if you pick and choose carefully, it's worth it. Hitachino Nest XH is outstanding beer for a whole host of reasons: it tastes like nothing else, it's captivatingly complex, it's decidedly delicious, and its dangerously drinkable. Two thumbs up.

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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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby hued brown. Crème head. Nose is thick with wood and it almost seems like cherries? There's definitely an odd fruit edge to it. Flavor is amazing, but mysterious. Clearly the cask aging has provided a depth of character that the western palate might not be able to fully comprehend and fully appreciate. Excellent carbonation and a smooth liquid feel. This is one of the most oddball beers I have ever had and I love it. Every beer lover needs to give this a shot at least once.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: cloudy brown body with one finger head. good amount of lacing.

S: Malt, brown sugar, caramel. Nice.

T: Quite unique. It tastes like your standard Belgian quad or strong ale (caramel malt, dark fruits) and as the alcohol taste opens up, the beer changes to something a bit funkier. You certainly don't taste the sake or shochu (I am Korean and I call it Soju), but soju barrel aging added some complexity in a good way. I can taste the alcohol but it's not too boozy.

M: Good amount of carbonation, medium thickness for the style.

O: Surprisingly awesome! It just may be my personal taste though, but I thought this beer was unique and tasty.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Some sort of freshness code of X.8.8 on this 12oz bottle. This one had a delayed gushing effect, so beware. Pours a hazy copper color with a large cap of fluffy tan foam. Excellent retention and superb lacing.

Nose is absolutely huge on this beer, smells like sweet brettomyces, is it wild? I get a bit of unfiltered sweet sake on the nose, but the burnt caramel malts are the most powerful along with a berry-like fruitiness. A few earthy wood notes come out to play as well. This is a fantastic smelling beer.

Oaky barrel wood is pretty pronounced in the flavor, as well as some rotting logs from what seems to me to be brett. Burnt, crusty malts provide a nice backdrop for the heavy dose of alcohol and citric bittering hops. Tastes like a bit of the floral, tangy sake residue has found it's way into the beer along with some brown sugared figs. This is one of the most unique beers I have ever had and the first Hitichino 12 ounce bottle that I dont mind shelling out the 5 bucks for. I feel like this could age quite well and I will be picking up a couple for the cellar next time I see it.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had at vintage and rare beer tasting at the Funky Buddha Lounge.

Pours a deep copper/brown color. With a large head.

Smell is very spicy sweet, a bit woody.

Taste is again sweet and spicy. Hint of apple in there as well. Malty and delicious.

Overall, a fantastic beer. Very familiar yet unique if that makes any sense. One of my favorites from the tasting.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving type: 11.2-ounce bottle. A batch code is printed on the back label but there is no discernable freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The color is murky caramel/amber. There is quite a bit of hovering sedimentation. Two fingers of off-white head dissipated to leave a ring around the edge and a thin lacing.

Smell: There is a lot going on. It is sharp and pungent, sweet and sour. There is pepper and woody spice almost reminiscent of pine. Perhaps, though, it is the oak from the aging process. Basically, it imparts that boozy, aged aroma. It also smells like clove and cinnamon, or something Christmasy. Caramel, sake, plum, raisins, and prunes.

Taste: It has a creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel. The flavors are not as potent as the aromas; there is a lot more balance compared to the craziness of the smell. The woodiness is very prominent, as well as the spice and sake. Caramel, plum, and molasses stand out. As it warms, a little citrus begins to emerge as well. It leaves a warm, spicy aftertaste lingering on the roof of my mouth.

Drinkability: This is a unique and strange little beast. Loads of complexity and I like the fact it is aged in sake casks. Tasty and powerful, this is well-made stuff.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: As soon as the cap was off, the bottle started gushing foam. Once it was in the glass, light reddish brown in color with an immense tan head that I was glad to see stuck around for the whole beer.

S: Really nice. Oak, sake, cinnamon, a little nuttiness and some more spice. A lot going on here.

T: I was surprised to find that this beer was pretty sour. I got a lot of apple cider vinegar with hints of brett and tart green apples in the taste along with some nice sake dryness. Pretty solid.

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Photo of tpd975
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JoeyR, this one really is a treat.

A: Pours a nice cloudy orangish brown hue with a nice small yet bubbly head.

S: Very suprised by the aromas in this one. This one is very funky. Reminds me of sweet tarts.

T: The sweet tart flavor really comes thru in the taste along with some acid and citrus. This is very funky and unique. I really like it.

M: Very crisp, zippy on the tongue.

D: Yeah, I would love to get my hands on a few more bottles.

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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.

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

Pours an amber color. Medium to fuller body mouth feel. Slight funk - sourish yeasty taste. Wood is on both the nose and palate. Sake flavors are very subtle. Green apple flavors. This beer is very approachable and one of my favorite cask aged beers.

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

Been waiting a long time to try this one after missing out on it at a fest. Julio's finally got this sucker in after over a year. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a slightly hazy deep copper hue with a one finger head that faded quickly to leave light wisps and a light thin halo.

S - Light malty sweetness and caramel comes out as this warms. Definitely some wood notes as well as clear and true sake. Lightly boozy and fruity (more pineapple and dark fruits, but barely).

T - Hrm, well, this is different. More of that caramel malty sweetness With more faint, faint sweeter fruits (kinda sorta light pineapple). That sake really comes out as it warms. Quite distinct flavour indeed. Sake really lingers on the aftertaste.

M - Mouthfeel is solid. Nicely carbonated, not too boozy. Not syrupy or heavy. Quite pleasant.

O - Overall this was worth the wait for me. The sake really compliments this beer. Very interesting and unique flavour profile. I dig it.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.34/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on two occasions, 14 & 15 July, 2007. Poured each time from a 33cl bottle to a small, tall-sided cup. Aged in Shochu sake casks and labeled with a bold, golden 'XH' on a black background. Served at PIB 2007.

A: Slightly hazed amber/garnet with hints of ruby (wow - all 'jewel'-themed...). 1/2-finger of creamy, ivory-colored heady, a little soapy then tightening rapidly to a slim ring.

S: Big pungent woody aroma, acerbic. A hint of yeast with tart cherries.
Strong orange/citrus hops but mellowed with somewhat dominated by the vinous woodiness, vanilla and cherry imparted by the wood aging.

T: Tart like apples and cherries, smoke and wood tannins, vinous grapes, herbs including mint. Some sugars and caramel bring sweetness and turn over the flavors toward maltiness midway. A bourbon or scotch-like layered texture, with flavors rippling over the tongue, then clinging and warming. Finishes mostly dry. Really a nice, nice beer...

M: Quite smooth, velvety even. Some alcohol warming in that creaminess and some astringency from that sour/tannic wood. Medium body, low carbonation.

D: A sipping beer and one you would not have more than one of at a sitting. Warm and mellow in the mouth, evolving flavors, an intriguing and enticing aroma - this is one to sit with and savor. 'Strong Ale' or barrel-aged 'Barleywine' not sure exactly how this one was categorized...all I know is it's very good and I'd love to have it again.

DISCLAIMER: It's not often that I'll review a beer tasted at a Festival, but I'll make a handful of exceptions from the past weekend's Portland International Beerfest. This came from a 33cl bottle, chilled on ice and poured to a clear (plastic) 4 oz. tasting glass. As this was my wife's first pour on Saturday (which I wound up drinking most of...) and my first on Sunday (from 1 of 2 bottles set aside by the event organizers and sampled well after the rest of the limited stock had run out - thank you very much, Chris!), I started with a clean glass and palate both times, so I have no problem writing a 'proper' review.

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Photo of sammorito
4.34/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

pors a nice hazy amber color small head that goes quickly. It has a rice smell and i get a little pine smells and faint smell of alcohol. i get dark fruit tastes a very faint sake taste and very little biscuit. mouth feel is nice a medium bodied. stay around on the tounge a bit. overall a great beer

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 347 ratings.