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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) - Kiuchi Brewery

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)

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very good

343 Reviews
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Reviews: 343
Hads: 667
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.73%
Wants: 26
Gots: 45 | 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: 343 | Hads: 667
Photo of PorterLambic
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deeply hazy brown with orange throughout. Suspended yeast is visible beneath a short-lived slightly off-white head.
Smell is a pleasing combination of malt, wood, light fruits and a touch of sourness. Very nicely done.
Taste is again a great blend of tangy and malty with the aforementioned wood and fruit notes. A bit less than your standard Belgian Dark but very nice.
Medium bodied, very light effervescence reminiscent of a cask conditioned ale. Faintly warming, not nearly as much as expected in an 8% ABV brew. Still, a really nice beer. (551 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz Bottle into glass

Hazy amber color, thin head. Slightly acidic aroma, a touch sour. Great taste, complex yet easy to drink. Medium body, soft carbonation. (164 characters)

Photo of Zach136
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage, enjoyed at the Porter Beer Bar Atlanta, GA 7.11.15

Appearance: Amber with a solid head for a three year old barrel aged beer.

Aroma: Intense clover honey with some dark fruit in the background.

Flavor: Same as the aroma but with an extra later of earthy woodiness.

Mouthfeel: Touch of booze, medium bodied. (324 characters)

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 (301 characters)

Photo of janubio
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hazy amber colour, with a small head that fades soon. Aroma of chocolate, figs, notes of ginger, pepper, spices, wood and alcohol (sake I guess, if you read the description). Medium creamy and sticky body. Palate has chocolate, spices, a hot touch, maybe of pepper, brandy (sake) flavour. Really good. (301 characters)

Photo of Sirwootalot
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured in an English pint glass, served alongside Budae-Jigae (spicy korean stew) halfway through reviewing.

Pours a deep, cloudy burnt orange. It's a color I don't think I've ever seen in a beer, and reminds me more of a strong Shaoxing rice wine than it does anything remotely like beer. The smell is deep, intoxicating, and rich, with powerful notes of molasses and rice husk.

This stuff tastes INCREDIBLE. I'm again reminded of the homestyle Chinese rice wines - sweet, thick, cloudy, and mouth-coating, it's a very unique flavor that I can't help but try and describe as "homebrew sake". The body is potent, and all beer - a zippy, well-carbonated one at that, with a surprisingly low amount of stickyness despite how unbelievably thick and heavy it tastes. The hops are only here for support - they round out the earthy, funky notes of the rice liqueur, giving a zesty bite and less funk/more vegetable to the aroma.

This is a savory, rich "umami" beer, unique and almost indescribable. It's also freaking delicious. Save it for a special dinner; much of its complexity is lost otherwise. (1,098 characters)

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. (407 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into my Schlafly tulip.

Appearance: murky medium-brown hue with a thin layer of creamy ivory foam atop. Not too bad for the style.

Smell: sweet and malty with a light aroma of dark fruits, raisin and tobacco. There's a hint of alcohol in the aroma which works well with the fruitiness.

Taste: less fruity and a lot more earthy than the aroma, with a sweet malt backbone. Not bad, but I'd prefer more of that enticing fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation and creaminess for the style.

Overall: again, this is not a bad beer, but I do prefer this style to be a little fruitier. It's hard for me to specifically pick out any shochu characteristics here, though I probably haven't had shochu more than about half a dozen times so perhaps that's not unexpected. Still, I don't get much of anything resembling barrel characteristics. (889 characters)

Photo of mactrail
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Attractive dark amber with a creamy foam on the second pour.

Starts out sweet with the dry yeasty edge. This tastes very much in the Belgian style to me. It's actually better than a lot of actual Belgian dark beers. This is cleaner, with just enough funk, and it has a bitterish edge that is the right counterbalance to the sugars. Smooth caramel finish.

Tremendously drinkable and not excessively strong. It's complex, intriguingly fruity, and has that mysterious Belgian yeastiness. From the 3.75 ml bottle purchased in Tucson (thanks, Jason). (548 characters)

Photo of The_Mad_Capper
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hops come through first in the aroma with a lemon and orange quality; the malt aroma takes time to appear but has a sweet bread and toffee character; there is also some fruitiness akin to cherry, prune. The body is hazy and deep amber with orange-ish highlights; the head is frothy and cream colored; there's lots of sticky lacing. The flavor at first is surprisingly hoppy upfront, soon followed by alcohol and then malt. The hops seem fruity and citrusy with a bit of earthy bitterness. The malt is also rather pronounced and has a bready and toasty character. The alcohol quickly mellows out and contributes to a somewhat spicy quality. The medium-light body is smooth with lots of carbonation and a little carbonic bite; there's also some alcohol warming.

The overall impression, particularly after a few sips, is one of maltiness with a dark and mild fruity accent. It's pretty tasty and satisfying, though not especially complex overall. (945 characters)

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. (330 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber-brown, hazy, half finger white head, quick to a sticky lace.
Raisin pops in the smell, malts, some wood, faint caramel, a touch of sour grapes.
Fruity taste in the beginning, with plum, apricot, some raisin, mild sweet citrus, touch of pineapple and even some coconut. Malty, with caramel, faint cocoa powder and toasted grains. Belgian yeasts, some extra vanilla and cinnamon too. Starts dusty, gets even dustier. Close to the finish the sake barrels show up, with a bit of sourness, very very clear wood, faint nuttiness and a dry alcoholic feel, sort of like stronger dry white wine. Finishes crisp, a bit boozy, grassy bitterness, leaves a complex aftertaste (tobacco, sake, cocoa power, faint dark fruit).
Medium body, prickly carbonation.
This was new and sorta weird for me, but i liked it. Sake barrels dominate as it warms, so it gets a bit more boozy and quite dry. Really cool. (900 characters)

Photo of Kuaff
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cellar temperature in a tulip.

It pours a dark, deep honey-orange color with a two-finger off-white head possessing decent staying power.

Smells like cherries, plums, caramel, honey, and grains, as far as I can discern.

The flavor reminds me a lot of IPAs, to my surprise. I get a real citrus bite, and even a bit of piney astringency. The finish has some honey-like maltiness and a clean and bitter hoppy sensation. It tastes good, but absolutely nothing like the Belgian strong dark ale style which has been mysteriously attached to it. Any of the expected dark fruit, spice, toastiness and sweet Belgian yeast flavors are completely, one hundred percent absent. Where did the idea that this is even remotely Belgian come from?

Its carbonation is pretty up there, and the body is medium.

This is one of those beers that have a bit of an identity crisis. Though it's labeled a Belgian ale, I would equate it with malt-forward, lightly bitter, darker-hued DIPAs more than anything Belgian. But it is, nevertheless, fairly enjoyable and unique. (1,048 characters)

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. (271 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a murky, hazy dark orange, almost red, with a one inch head and a decent amount of lacing.

Smells dark fruits, slightly sour cherries, and Belgian yeast.

If you had given this to me and asked me to identify what it was without showing me the bottle, I wouldn't have guess it was Sake barrel-aged. It does have some slight oak and vanilla flavors, along with Belgian yeast, and lots of dark fruits, along with a good proportion of very sweet tasting malt. Unfortunately, as this beer warms up, it becomes near undrinkable. I don't really understand what happened. It becomes astoundingly bitter, almost like aspirin, with a cough syrup like cherry sweetness on the back end. Gotta dock a good amount of points for this- beers like this should get better as they warm, shouldn't they?

Medium bodied, very drinkable at first, but then near undrinkable. Low carbonation.

A good effort, but not without it's problems. Drink it fast, and don't expect any sake influences. (1,045 characters)

Photo of Bouleboubier
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(purchased at Free Bridge Wine & Spirits, chilled - bottle code XH.12.05 - poured into a balloon)

A: orange-ruby liquid, fair amount of haze and speckled proteins in suspension... about a finger width of tan foam on the pour that slowly petered out into a messy outer collar... little boogers of lace here and there

S: dried-out wood planks, bruised grapes, hint of dark crystal malt, touch of bourbon... has an overtone of oxidized malt that I've become familiar with in old bottles of German lagers, however, the aforementioned aromas do match and balance the aged qualities... faint hint of floral alcohol

T: vague port/plum wine flavors up front... dark, turning-over fruit flavors, however, not too much sweetness... fair bit of rum-soaked raisin and lightly-tart citrus peel in the finish... a quiet, dried-leaf, tea-like hop bitterness slowly builds at the back of the palate with each sip... a weak flavor of old black coffee builds in the back, only becoming apparent in the final few sips...

been so long since I had sake - can't say for sure what flavors it picked up from the oak casks, however, their seems to be a similar nuance to some Japanese plum wines I've had - could it be this particular oak plus oxidation/age?

M: medium-bodied and round, attenuated ever so slightly by an undercurrent of brandy-like booze... a touch chewy on the edges... touch of tannic puckering and mellow warmth after the finish... fairly dry in the end

O: very much in line with the qualities of their other stronger ales... dunno if it's good practices or having fortunately stumbled upon a long-chilled bottle, but their (stronger) stuff seems to hold up and age fairly well... got lucky I suppose (1,701 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle marked XH.13.06 at 50 degrees into pint glass – much sediment on bottom
Aroma very faint spice
Head large (6 cm), off white, creamy with some rocks, slowly diminishing
Lacing – fair, sparse ribbon partway around the glass
Body orange, hazy
Flavor very unremarkable – weak spice, no malt, no alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl, no hint of that oak sake barrel it was aged in.
Palate light to medium, watery, soft carbonation

Pretty much a “meh” beer, but with the potential to sneak up. This is 8 % and drinks like an unassuming bland session beer, although with the weak flavor why would you drink more than one? (625 characters)

Photo of potion
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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. (520 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The color is a red amber color. Beer is transparent with a good amount of active carbonation while in the glass. Light head, only present on the edges of the glass while drinking.

Smell: Toffee amber malt body jumps out right away. There is a semi-sweet, slightly sour grape must type aroma that I assume is from the sake casks. Medium dry fruit really brightens up the aroma.

Taste: Subtle fruits and some sourness greets the palate. A chewy amber malt presence warms up the body and gives this beer a great backbone. Accents of toffee, caramel, apricots, and raisins are prevalent. The dry fruits continue to dance on the palate long after drinking.

Mouthfeel: Very subtle with everything going on but really pleasant drinking throughout.

Overall: Very much impressed by this one. The tones of this beer mesh together well and create a unique brew. It's been hit or miss from this brewery for me but this one is definitely a hit. Highly recommended if you are looking for something a little different. (1,022 characters)

Photo of BWED
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a chestnut color with a bit of an off white head. Retention is poor.

S- Vinous caramel notes, and a little booze.

T- Slight caramel backbone, with a grape/wine tone.

M- Medium body, with a very dry finish.

O- Interesting. A little too fruity. I think the sake character is pulled out quite a bit, especially in the feel. (379 characters)

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

I dig the sake influence on this one. The sake aroma is very very faint and not perceptable at all unless you know you are looking for it. This beer has a nice head and aroma. The taste is very Belgium like in that you have that aged oak barrel flavor. A nice beer with a traditional old world Belgium flavor. I recommend this one for the novelty of the sake and aged oak barrels alone. The beer itself is pretty darn good. (423 characters)

Photo of Daniellobo
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice offering, the barrel is a bit nondescript initially with some strange and subtle angles as it lingers.

Presentation: 330 ml custom brown bottle. Label design based around typography surrounding the seal of an owl, with the name of the brew in gold lettering. Shows notes in Japanese in both the front and neck label, the back custom made in English for exporting offers a small description of ingredients. Does not offer an evident date of freshness or bottling. Notes Alc. by Vol. (7%) Served in a chalice.

A - Amber brown pour with a modest if nice creamy head, moderate retention, nice surface memory and some touches of lacing.

S - Plenty of caramel with a fresh fruity hint.

T - Malty dash, caramel, and a fresh fruity touch that picks up some intriguing bitterness… Remotely vinous note towards the finish. Some bready sense with the caramel moving to offer some honey edges.

M - Medium-full bodied with medium/full carbonation, creamy feel after the intense but small textured carbonation. Feels fuller than what the 7% percent would indicate with a warmth that might be in part barrel-driven?

O - Worth the try, nice flow but a touch short of a distinct complexity.

Notes: Dunno, I liked it, but I was surely expecting a touch more in the barrel/sake edge. Nice brew in any event. (1,304 characters)

Photo of GorgonSed
2.67/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

A - Dark orange and cloudy. Very thin white head

S - Pungent and sweet with some hoppy spice.

T - Honey, berries, ginger. Not getting any sake flavor which I'm disappointed about.

M - Feels thick, flavor coats the mouth. Very enjoyable.

O - Wouldn't go out of my way to have it again. Unique though. (304 characters)

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. (1,533 characters)

Photo of goochpunch
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a caramel color. Smells of caramel, nuts, and a lot of booze. The flavor is about the same, but with less booze. Lots of sweetness. Not getting a whole lot of "shochu cask" (shochu is pretty tasteless anyway). Mouthfeel is pretty full and with a lively carbonation. Overall, this is decent. (300 characters)

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.