1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) - Kiuchi Brewery

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

585 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 585
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13%
Wants: 23
Gots: 27 | 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:
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

(Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 12-29-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 585 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wildlife
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%

a - dark orange/brown, a finger of frothy khaki head, good lacing but dissipates over time

s - citrus, hops, fruitiness

t - medium piny hops, bready/cream malts usual to belgian darks but largely subdued. alcohol heat, can pick up the sake just barely.

m - slightly sticky, bitter, astringent carb the first few sips, metallic toward the end

o - pretty good beer. definitely tastes like a hitachino, they all seem to have this specific creamy backbone. wouldn't have picked up on the sake if I wasn't looking for it.

wildlife, Jan 30, 2014
Photo of wedge
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

Pours a thick, maple syrup color, slightly hazed, with an inch of creamy yellowish foam on top. Wine-like aroma upfront...cedar, pineapple, flowers, cherries, and a powdery sweetness. Very interesting and funky - fun to sniff. Taste is similar...lots of wood, some fruity sourness, very yeasty with some spicy vanilla-like flavors. Chewy in the mouth, medium-plus body with light carbonation.

Pretty unique overall. Yeast, wood, sweetness...my first Hitachino beer and its a good one.

wedge, Apr 14, 2008
Photo of levifunk
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

Bottle just says XH on it, no "Extra High 8%" written above it. Also, on the neck label it says its 7%

a - light brown liquid, white head.

s - hops, malts, candy sweetness. citrus is pretty big.

t - can definately taste the sake. wierd flavor, but not bad. odd bitterness, part from hops part from the sake? bitterness surrounds the beer, but there is a candy sweetness in it.

m - medium body. bigger carbonation

overall - very interesting beer. probably not my favorite style of beer with the sake aging, but its pretty good.

levifunk, Jul 25, 2010
Photo of HeyItsChili
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

A- Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours light amber with a medium/small tan head.

S - Faint ripe fruits and a brownish Belgian type of yeasty smell.

T - Definitely has a starchy sugary finish that hearkens to the sake barrels.

M - Medium bodied, decent carbonation, nothing special.

HeyItsChili, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of sweemzander
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

11.2oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours a super cloudy reddish amber to brown color that produced a large & foamy tan to orange colored head with some good retention behind it. This is so cloudy actually, that it is almost opaque looking.

(S)- A very dry, but floral citrus of lemon & lime. You can really detect the dry/floral rice from the sake casks.

(T)- The same big & dry citrus kick that is followed by an almost sour, but bitter oakiness. Finishes sour also, but with a slightly caramel-ish toffee. Rather yeasty.

(M)- A good carbonation level to it. The sourness & bitterness really overpowers the palate. Has more of a wild ale thing going on than an american strong profile.

(D)- Definitely a different beer that caught me by surprise, but still delivered fairly well. An interesting body & profile that I enjoyed, but i dont know if it fits into the style due to its sourness, maybe its just a japanese thing? Definitely never have heard of a beer aged in sake casks before.

sweemzander, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of Tone
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

Pours a cloudy, copper color. 1/2 inch head of a white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight spice, hops, hint of roasted malt, hint of citrus, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is sharp, crisp, dry, and has a average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, citrus hops, hops, hint of sugar, and a hint of rice. Overall, good appearance, aroma, and decent body.

Tone, Apr 18, 2013
Photo of Onslow
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

enjoyed at the second Stumelagram tasting ... a weird fruity bretty aroma ... quite sour bite, with a strong bitterness ... combined with a strange steel drum sweetness .... good lacing ... crazy stuff ... enjoyable and a bit insane ... a good brew to share with a couple of people, a whole bottle could be to much..

Onslow, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of FLima
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

Poured a dark brown color, a bit murky, with a beige head with a good retention.
Smell of sweet malt with some piney hops, and touches of condiments.
Complex flavor of sweet toasted malts and oak with spicy, citric, piney and fruity from its hops. Hints of plum and predominant oak with sake liquor that lingers until its finish, along with a bitterness and dryness.
Full body with a medium carbonation and small bubbles. The 8% ABV is fairly hidden.
Really interesting beer, I was not expecting such complexity from a Japanese beer. Although a Belgian Brown Ale, it reminded me of a Barley wine, too.

FLima, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of rangerred
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

330ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance is a hazy, murky dark brown with a very tiny head that quickly disappears. Pretty good lacing, though.

Smells woody and yeasty. A mixture of dark fruit is present along with a tiny bit of funk.

There is a lot going on in terms of flavor. A lot of dark fruit is there up front but there is also wood and the sake is apparent. Clove and yeast is quite prominent as well along with cinnamon and other spices. There is an ever increasing dryness throughout that lingers on the back of the throat long after the finish.

Overall this is a pretty interesting beer. The variety of flavors is quite interesting but the intense dryness can get to be a bit too much. If that was tuned down I could score this a few points higher.

rangerred, Mar 10, 2012
Photo of tai4ji2x
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

(from notes taken early august 2008)

12 oz. bottle, no date. possible batch number of X.7.8

poured into tulip

slight gusher. brownish amber color, ruby red under the light. some yeast sediment; murky with yeast globules. some head, but fades to wisps and ring. moderate lacing becomes a bit thin.

sweet wine aroma. cider. cinnamon? faint caramel. woody, with phenols and esters and whiff of alcohol. some herbal hop.

flavor is malty upfront. woody and phenolic again, but also slightly boozy. fruity characters show up before grassy/herbal hop bitterness peaks, then more wood and phenols. semi-dry finish. hints of port and whiskey.

not too thin, decently smooth. moderate carbonation gives some body.

interesting, but not necessarily all positive. "american strong ale" is certainly a broad category, so it's not so out of place here.

tai4ji2x, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of icetraxx
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%

NOTE: This beer became better as it warmed up, I amended my original review - do not serve at fridge temperature.

A: Poured an amber brown with a tinge of red and a slight haze into my cognac snifter. A one finger head was produced that quickly dissipated to a collar which actually sticks around for (nearly) the entire beer and periodically laces the glass.

S: Very aromatic! I am very happy with my choice of using a snifter for this beer. Vanilla, hops, lemongrass, sake, and honey come through. I also notice an aroma I can only associate with chardonnay wine. A very pleasant and almost exotic combination. They could make an air-freshner out of this beer it smells so wonderful.

T: It starts a bit sweet and hoppy and ends with a very dry and tingly finish. The dryness and flavor of sake become very strong on the finish, they weren't lying about the flavor from the sake. A bit of hops balance the sweetness, very well balanced overall. The traditional oaky (read: whisky/cognac) like flavor is completely absent, I would never guess this was a oak casked ale if the label didn't say it was. I can taste a slight woody flavor but it does not have the vanillin kick that oak usually has, which is definitely a shame (I bet the sake absorbed all that delicious vanillin). The 7% alcohol in this beer makes it known in the taste, but it isn't overwhelming. The taste lacks some complexity compared to what I was expecting (as this is an oaked beer after all), yet slight nuances improved as the beer warmed up.

M: Slightly over-carbonated, probably due to my weak pour. Good body, yet watery for the style. Average.

D: Even though it doesn't have that much alcohol, this beer is definitely a slow sipper, this is an aspect I can enjoy. Unfortunately, the flavor gets a little boring after a few sips and sits a little heavy overall (if you drink it too quickly); I have found that the flavor becomes more interesting as the beer warms up, which greatly increases my enjoyment with this beer. I'm definitely done after one 11.2oz bottle.

O: The best beer I've ever had from the land of the rising sun, yet underwhelming in the grand scheme of things. It is quite possible that I am looking for flavor that this beer never intended to produce, but I find the flavor lacking a complexity that I seek for this style. The amazing aroma makes me look forward to trying more brews from Kiuchi Brewery in Naka City, Japan, though I may not pick this one up again.

icetraxx, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of Stigs
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

Stigs, Jul 05, 2010
Photo of augustgarage
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

augustgarage, Jul 19, 2009
Photo of WOTO97
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%

Based on other posts, my insane carbonation on this little guy seems par for the course. As a result, a huge frothy head sits on top a hazy, cider-like color, accompanied by some sticky lacing. Surprising barn-yard nose afronts pear and grass notes. Grape and faint citrus notes on the front and mid palate, along with some soft vanilla and very faint smokiness. Nice smooth mouthfeel despite high carbonation accompanied by a nice warming finish.

WOTO97, May 06, 2010
Photo of bluejacket74
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%

11.2 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours (after a slight gushing after popping the cap) a cloudy orange/copper color with a half inch off-white head. Head retention is good, lacing is decent. It smells like sour/tart fruit along with some brown sugar, funk and oak. However, the taste isn't sour at all which is a bit disappointing. It tastes like grain, fruit, yeast, brown sugar and some oak. Mouthfeel/body is medium with high carbonation. Drinkability is decent, but it has a bit too much carbonation for my liking. I think it's a decent enough brew, but it's something I wouldn't pick up very often. With that being said, it's definitely worth a try.

bluejacket74, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of Crazyale
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%

11.2 oz bottle poured into Chimay Goblet.

A: Pours a very cloudy, interesting maple syrup color. Fairly
agressive pour yielded almost no head, and the small head dissipated almost immediately. Minimal lacing.

S: Not much of a nose on this one - some faint sweet fruitiness mixed with alcohol. More fruit comes out as it warms.

T: Wow there is a refreshing taste of strawberries and grapes at first followed by a strong bite of sake. This is my first sake casked beer, and I'm liking it so far. The sake is very well balanced with the other flavors and doesn't overwhelm at all.

M: Given the cloudy look and the 7% abv, I was surprised how "spritzy" this beer tasted. Highly carbonated with a relatively thin mouthfeel. That being said, this is definitely a sipper, as the sake leaves a noticeable alcoholic aftertaste.

Overall I really enjoyed this. Not something I'd want to drink all
the time, but it would be great with sushi or Korean food. I'm
anxious to see what else is on offer from Kiuchi.

Crazyale, Feb 02, 2012
Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%

a: pours a hazy deep and cloudy amber with a thick inch and a half of tan/yellowish foam; very light bubbles can be seen and there is a lot of yeast in there.

s: light sour notes; warm caramel; lots of orange and sweet citrus notes; sweet but still complex

t: first a strong sourness hits and lingers the whole sip--it is not unpleasant and interesting but not the greatest taste in the world either; caramel; even a light wateriness; hmm....ok is all i can say

m: i fel that the carb is aggressive and the mouthfeel is a little thin but overall ok

d: i'm not sure i would try this again; it was interesting and sour with lots of wild yeast notes but was not my favorite; it is probably worth one try, though.

hoegaardenhero, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Saw it was matured in sake casks and I had to try it.

Appearance: pours a light brown with a redish tint. No real head or lacing in my glass. Looks great.

Smell: smells of some funky bret and tart cherries. Some citrusy (spelling?) Smells pretty good.

Taste: some bret funkyness and tart cherries. There is some sourness for sure. Taste is ok. Wish there was a little more maltiness. The sourness is not as pleasent as I wish.

Mouthfeel: a little thin. Wish it was a little maltier to bring up the thickness on the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I might buy it again sometime but wouldn't drink it often.

PeprSprYoFace, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of IronDjinn
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Thanks to John for the sample. From a 330 ml brown bottle, abv listed as 8%.

Pours out with a tall tight spongy beige head, body is a deep dark opaque amber.

The aroma has a tart vinegar character to it, no doubt a result of the Shocyu casks. Dry, musty notes. Mild wood notes well in the background.

Flavour unravels with a bit of complexity. Dry earthy malt up front, some light caramel notes pop up in the middle, dry sherry-like finish, with cedar wood lingering well into the aftertaste. Some ambiguous sweetness pops up the longer it warms to round the finish and aftertaste out a bit more.

The mouthfeel is so fleeting that almost what isn't there is what makes it so good. It flies across the palate in an ephemeral flash, smooth, effervescent and dry.

Greater than the sum of its parts, unique and enjoyable by the end of the glass, a beer definitely worth revisiting.

IronDjinn, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of MPLS
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

A: Lively carbonation and a light tan billowy head that has decent retention. Color is an opaque cinnamon like color. The beer possesses some lace as well. It was so carbonated that it was flowing like champagne out of the bottle upon initially opening it.

S: Spicy, belgian-like yeast, clove, rotten bananas, alcohol, hint of wood and sake, although the sake would have been negligible if I didn't know it was from sake casks. It becomes noticeable if you really sniff it out and I though limited in experience, I have had sake with sushi several times.

T: At first it has slightly sweet and caramel malt character. Once the sweetness is gone a big medical elixir for a short time before metamorphosing into a very dry peppery and spicy finish. An interested beer, that is quite smooth, albeit short of amazing still.

M: Bigger bodied that expected from the uber-carbonation, but certainly yields a certain sharpness on the tongue when you first sip it. Good.

D: I very interesting beer that blends several elements to create it. I would be hard pressed to seek a lot of this out often, but a great chance to knock another beer from Kiuchi down. I typically reach for their witbier.

MPLS, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of Tifore
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Poured from the bottle into my Unibroue Tulip.

A - Pours a murky muddy color. Orangeish brown. Pours almost no head. Maybe 1/2 a finger but holds for quite a bit and leaves behind some good lacing.

S - Smells very very yeasty and bready. Almost carmel and rye like. Perhaps even sweet? I guess thats the sake coming through.

T - Tastes of carmel at first and yeast second. The yeast / bread flavor hangs around for a while. Makes my mouth water, not sure why. The very last flavor I get is sake which comes through very nice. I'd be intrigued to see how this ages for a while to see if the malt / yeast leaves and the other flavors come through. I wish there was more complexity to this.

M - Mouthfeel is pretty heavy. Some carbonation but not much.

D - A pretty good beer but I wish the taste was more on the sake side. A overall good belgian that I want to revisit again.

Tifore, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of MCDuhamel
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a chalice at cellar temp. Bottle says abv is 7.0%; BA says 8.0%. Perhaps this is an older bottle? Forms very little head; there's some white lacing on the surface and a ring around the beer. The liquid is a clear dark amber. The nose is plum, cherry, red fruit. Maybe a trace of clove? More of that on the tongue, with a delicate hint of wood and some yeast character right before the fairly dry finish. It's light on the tongue, and prickly. Overall, a pretty nice beer, well balanced though tending toward the lighter side of the style. More of a dubbel than a strong dark, I think.

MCDuhamel, Dec 28, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

With the barrel-aged craze at full throttle, I'm surprised to only now see shocyu casks being used. It takes a mighty base beer to absorb these boozy flavors in balance and not to be dwarfed by them.

XH pours with a diffused amber-brown color. Haze allows for a soft glow for a masculine and refined appearance. A delicate sheet of creme coats the surface of the beer with intermitten pockets of foam and lace. Good retention despite such alcohol dominance and wood aging.

Thin and spicy alcohols meet the nose with a tanic, woody scent of cedar, ginger, and light must. Caramel scents seem to be the bridge between the oak aroma and malty base. Lightly peppery and vinous with berry-like esters with light vanilla and almond. The beer seems to give new scents with each visit to the glass.

Sweet caramel flavor meets the front of the tongue but quickly develop into burnt caramel, bread crust, and graham crackers. Fruity esters of grapes, plumbs, dates, and figs develop from the caramel maltiness and morph towards the woody elements of spice, maple, and raw cedar or ginger. Piney hops also help to round out the tanins from oak and balance the sweetness.

Timidly robust early, the beer releases a mild creamy notation before the spice and alcohol usher in a warm and moderately astringent finish. Quite harsh with fusal alcohols for a beer topping out at 7%-8% abv.

The complexity of the beer reaches very high marks although the base beer claims more unresolved sweetness than dry maltiness. But the harshness of alcohol and tanin seem to be unnecessary and provide the only real detractions.

BEERchitect, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Poured from the 11.2 oz (noting that it has changed slightly from the picture posted here) into a Delirium tulip at low altitude in NY. Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm a bit over the course of consumption.

A: Pours a thin, creamy milk-colored head with a nearly opaque deep amber body. Hundreds of small carbonation bubbles float slowly up the sides of the glass as larger ones occasionally dart past them. Great retention as the head on this one lasts for the entire session. Plenty of lacing as well.

S: The sake barrel aging really stands out as this smells unlike any beer I've had before -- fermented rice qualities are prominent. Some dark fruits, oak and clean malts. Intriguing.

T: Opens with dark fruit notes -- specifically cherry -- followed by oak and rounded out by some definite sake flavors. The finish is quite bitter, a bit too much so in my opinion. Overall, a very interesting combination of flavors.

M: Full-bodied with a round mouthfeel that fills the whole mouth. Definitely the most exceptional aspect of this beer -- very nice.

O: Another unique offering from Hitachino Nest. Probably not a beer I would buy again given the price point, but definitely highlights the sake influences present in all of Hitachino's offerings.

schlimenhaumer, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of Klym
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Poured into a stone nonic. Shared with Cavery.

A: Pours a dark red with some brown hues. A nice 1 finger white head with pretty exceptional lacing. Good looking beer.

S: Wasn't sure what to expect but this still caught me off guard. Definitely yeast is up front in the nose, a little bit of sourness but also a deep fruit sweetness that is singular but reminiscent of watermelon, cherry, and strawberry.

T: My first few sips of this seemed extremely sweet and fruit-centric. Almost exactly like my memory of cherry push-lollipops from childhood. The fruit taste is reminiscent of lollipops/other artificial renditions of fruits, but it doesn't come off as cheap or nasty. As I drink more the yeast starts to play more role in the flavor. Other than that there is a little woodiness and a tad of medicinal bitterness. As I sip more and more, taste seems pretty varying and inconsistent. Even sometimes in one sip I feel like I hit 'pockets' of fruit flavor, with the rest being a somewhat bitter yeastyness.

M: Quite carbonated but with some syrupy like smoothness to the body. Not unpleasant to drink but not a noteworthy pleasure either.

O: This beer had some interesting parts to it, especially the unexpected sweet fruitiness. At the same time, a lot of mediocre qualities took a lot of attention in this beer and made it hard to give it credit for being anything other than just a bit above average. I like Hitachino and they've really impressed me a couple of times, but this is one of the weaker offerings I've had from them. Wouldn't recommend going to any exceptional length to get a hold of this, or even recommend trying it unless you have some strong interest in doing so.

Klym, Jul 13, 2011
Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 585 ratings.