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.
very good

584 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 584
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13%
Wants: 23
Gots: 27 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery visit their website

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: 584 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gamwich
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Way over-carbonated, beer spews out when opened. I pour what is left into a St. Bernardus chalice.

The aroma is funky and sour, expected as this is a belgian-style beer aged in wood casks. What isn't expected is the predominant aroma I'm getting is urea - not appealing.

The flavor is pretty good, considering the aroma. Slightly tart and sour, the wood flavor comes through, as well as some hops and what I assume is the sake. Aroma is more appealing when combined with tasting the beer.

It is very carbonated and has a dry finish. As it warms the aroma has tamed considerably and now resembles that of many funky-barnyard farmhouse/ saison type nose.

Not a bad beer, but it does not seem to come together.

gamwich, Dec 16, 2010
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 akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%

A 12 oz bottle from State Line; purchased a few years back.

A: The strong ale is a ddark amber color, coppery and brown. The rich color is full enough to render it opaque. A half a finger of off-white head arrived with the pour and left almost as quickly; only a thin band remains.

S: The ale has a strong oaken aroma, woody with vanilla notes. The aroma is much more American oak than the unique scent of sake. The wooden scent has a bit of a cherry finish. I'm really looking forward to a sip. This is a high 4, almost a 4.5 but not quire.

T: I'm really impressed, or maybe surprised. I expected something sake-like, not realizing that sake is generally a neutral spirit. The barrels, having offered up their angel's share of sake, impart a rich oaken wood flavor that highlights vanilla and cherry. Underneath the barrel, the ale seems malty and rather light. The barrel generally fades quickly, although tingles of flavor do hang around.

M: The mouthfeel, dominated as it is by the barrel, doesn't pack a punch. The oak comes and goes with very little left behind. I do like the barrel aspect though, an interesting flavor twist that I wasn't expecting.

D: The higher potency of the sake doesn't register in the ale (under 8%, really?). The lack of depth beyond the barrel is the biggest complaint.

akorsak, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of Ambiorix
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%

Bottled, poured into large tulip.

A: Copper, slightly cloudy pour, with a light tan persistent head.

S: Fruity, estery, a little bit of a horse blanket, brett-like nose.

T: Fruity, barnyard, bitter, spicy. Tangy, bitter finish with some lingering fruitiness.

M: Medium-thin.

An interesting brew. I'd never tried Hitachino Nest before, and I was impressed.

Ambiorix, Nov 11, 2010
Photo of dgilks
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%

Mostly clear dark amber colour with a creamy light tan head.

Sweet and spicy aroma. Almost bready, sickly sweet malt notes.

The flavour falls flat for me. There is plenty of malt with a nice dryness but there is way too much bitterness for the beer without any hop character to make it work.

Medium body with moderately-high carbonation. It's okay.

This beer is just a little odd and fails to work for me. WHile I can see elements of what they were aiming for it doesn't hit any real high notes for me.

dgilks, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of cwguy5
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%

Thanks Mike from The Brown Liquor Pickers for this gifted bottle. It was poured into a Maudite tulip.

deep copper color with slight haze; I may have been a little on the aggressive side but it poured with a huge 2-3 finger head that kept growing slowly over the top of the rim of the glass; settled to thick off white cap; crazy lacing with intact bubbles

aromas of some distant dark fruit, yeast, and mild sweet floral finish in nose

semi-sweet start with some mild booze, raisin, then dries to a bittering finish with slight sake throughout but more apparent in the moderate linger

busy, rich, coating mouthfeel with med-high foamy carbonation with some larger bubbles floating from bottom

fairly high drinkability; almost wished the sake were a bit more forward; however I did enjoy the subtle and nuanced flavors; will seek out another bottle...

cwguy5, Nov 05, 2010
Photo of tavernjef
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%

Gorgeously dark caramel pour with an illuminescent dark orange cast surrounding it. Eventually it thickens up to a wonderful tone of teek wood orange with browning center. Very murky, perhaps a bit muddy with chunks of yeast suspended within. Capped mightily with a huge crown of tawny tanned rocky foam that never moves from its seat. Lacing coats the glass with a heavy frosting.

Aroma is all yeasty and peppered with dryish wood and herbal-esque leafyness with a souring stand thats musty with large pinches of orange and lime peel tanging it up.

Nice taste that's well handled in a overall tamed down tone of sourness and tang. Dark Saison meets sour ale. Peppy, yet dull, peppery, yet light enough in its spices and tang to flow into one easy going brew. Indecipherable woody characteristics from the sake casks which grabs lime and orange peel with tiny bits of leafyness. Brett-like yeasty sourness and more orangey things peek and retreat as it stays firm with a moderately tame and calm soured tangy tone. Not much in the finish, lightly drying, with small but evident bittering citrus and medicinal notes remain behind.

Body is under a medium boldness and tone for the style. Carbonation level is fairly high but mellows out as it sits. There really isn't an established stability as it sweeps in with its souring tang and kind of just sits there without much action beyond what the flavors and spices pull thru.

Totally Hitachino. A nice twist of sour and tang thrown together well enough for a fun experience.

tavernjef, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of armock
4/5  rDev +6.1%

A - Poured a hazy brown color with an off white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Has a tart fruity nose

T - Follows the nose with tart fruits up front and a spicy finish

M - This beer has a light body with high carbonation to it

D - This is a good interesting beer I enjoyed the tartness in the flavor very enjoyable worth hunting down to give it a try sometime

armock, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of headlessclown
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

330ml bottle poured into Gouden Carolus glass
Date on bottle: 05/12

A: Pours a clear amber/red with a moderate head that soon dissipates.

S: First thing that hit me was the wood from the sake barrels. Some hops too. Alcohol.

T: The wood is definitely in there somewhere. Ends with a subtle hop bitterness. Nicely balanced. A good hybrid of beer and sake flavours.

M: Medium body and carbonation. You get a bit of the alcohol in there.

D: A unique beer thanks the the ageing process. Full of flavour and at 8%, it's ideally a slow sipping beer but I found myself going through it rather quickly (perhaps a bad idea). I really like it.

headlessclown, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of DoppleJock
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%

.33L bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Overcarbonated? Sure seemed that way when it poured. Solid amber with a tan, foamy 2-inch head. Looks like a standard strong ale (sans the crazy carbonation).

S: Barnyard funk of a Saison. Woody casks. Sweet and sugary shōchū with some coriander spice. Very complex.

T: Shōchū tinge up front. Hints of slight oakiness. Smell really plays into the taste. Goes from sweet to bitter. Not too shabby.

M: Mouthfeel is like the taste: moves from sweet to bitter. Medium-bodied.

D: Unique combination of elements feels like a mash-up between a Farmhouse Ale and a Strong Ale. Will try again.

DoppleJock, Oct 11, 2010
Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.13/5  rDev -17%

Pours a super-cloudy orange amber. Heavily carbonated, and pours a creamy two-finger head that is persistent. Leaves excellent lacing. Aroma packed with funk, cherries, some mustiness. Maybe even a little pine nut. Flavor is bizarre and carries a lot of the aforementioned mustiness. Super tangy upfront, too. Very unique. Some barnyard-ish qualities fill up the middle, and the finish is very long, dry and bitter in sort of a good way, sort of a bad way. I'm guessing rice is used in the brewing process, as it has some malt-liquor like qualities. Very unique, as I stated, all the way around. Pricey at $5.49/11.2 oz. bottle, bringing down the drinkability. Not terrible, not great...somewhere in the middle ground between unique in both a bad and good way.

SolomonGrundy, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of hdofu
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%

This beer has a kick, the taste of sake is very noticable with a wheat finish. It pours dark red and smells kind of like sake. Has alot of burn alchol burn in the mouthfeel. Certainly wasn't what I was expecting (normally in my experience with japanese beers they use alot of gimmicks to appeal, this beer really does have a sake taste though). Despite this though I'd say it is a very enjoyable bitter beer.

hdofu, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of popery
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%

This is a very interesting beer. It has a lot of barrel flavor. Caramel, oak and sake are all strong. It also has a vinous, cidery note. The beer tastes somewhat sweet. The fruitiness is more apparent. The mouthfeel is smooth and full. It suits the beer well. It's a very enjoyable beer with big full flavor.

popery, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of Reaper16
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a sinopia colored body; shades of brownish red, hints of orange. Two and a half fingers of fawn colored head stack up on tiny bubbles. Large swaths of lace kiss the glass. A very impressive looking strong ale.

Oh, my. For the first time in a long time I am smelling a truly unique beer. Very dry, lots of phenols. Rubbing alcohol. A flutter of Brettonamyces-like funk. Peppermint oil, lots of it. Seaweed. I've never smelled nor drank Shochu - the Japanese distilled spirit of whose casks this beer was aged in - but it is definitely a major presence in the aroma of this beer. A gentle touch of lemon as the beer warms. This is so strange and so enticing.

The flavor is pretty much as unique as the nose. Leafy hops, a flavor reminiscent of sake, drying phenols everywhere, old stonefruit, a bitter, hoppy flavor that mixes completely with the trace funk. Certainly some woody barrel flavors, with that tiny amount of vanilla that indicates oak. SO ASTRINGENT yet I can't stop sipping. This is fucked up. In a good way.

I don't think much about the mouthfeel. It seem pretty solid. It thins out a bit too much if you let the beer sit on your tongue. Drinkability is also very solid; the ABV of 7% is very doable, but there's only so much you can take of a beer this astringent.

The store in Tuscaloosa, AL that I purchased this bottle of Hitachino Nest XH from has essentially an entire case of it left. I am pretty sure that no one else will buy any. I am pretty glad that I can go an pick up a bottle whenever I want to. This is one of the rare beers that I come across that is completely unique. You must try this if you haven't already.

Reaper16, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of daledeee
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%

The bottle says matured in sake casks. This year's version is 7% alcohol.

Poured this into a large snifter. The head is about as incredible as you will ever see. BIG, clinging, staying and white. The body is slightly cloudy auburn.

Nose has the signature Japanese smell. I can't tell you what it is. At first I thought it was band aid, but no.

Taste is mostly hops and citrus. This taste is very characteristic of an American IPA. I don't pick up much malt; fairly one dimensional

Mouth feel is good. The beginning is quite carbonated but that clears up and goes to very smooth mouth feel. Overall, this is an appealing and easy to drink beer.

daledeee, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of afksports
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%

A: Looks great, nice dark amber. Like other strong ales I've seen.

S: Aroma much like sake, which would be pretty great if that's what I were into. But I'm not.

T: Tastes like sake, not like beer. It's a complex taste, and I give it points for that, but I just can't do much with it because I'm not into sake. That's what you get for letting an amateur review beers, haha.

M: Smooth, nothing special going out, but still a decent body.

D: Can't do more than sip this.

afksports, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of JamnesCameron
3.58/5  rDev -5%

Didn't realize this was a once brewed beer. Glad I was able to snag one at my local Binny's in Plainfield.

Poured into a Beer Hunter tasting glass.

Pours a hazy light copper color with a huge three-fingered head, that really stands up. Good mix of large and small bubbles in carbonation. leaves an off-white/tannish head.

Aromas can be picked up from a few feet away. Licorice (?), mint, a little medicinal. Deceptive label, not matured in sake casks, but distilled sake casks, big difference.

First sip - initial taste and mouthfeel is like a saison, then the tannins, licorice, and mint hit, way late in the sip. Almost like a Sambucco (sp?) bomb in a beer. Absence of true bitterness perceived.

Mouthfeel is very drying at the end of the sip, the beers pulls the moisture out of your mouth and lips. Not astringent, but a little tannic as well.

Good drinkability for a bottle-full, but would not want to seesion this beer. Feels like it would actually make you more thirsty. glad I got to try it, not sure if I'll pick up more. Maybe to cellar a few, though.

JamnesCameron, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of BDTyre
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Nice strong ale...hints of IPA, APA....

Amber colour, snow white head. Malty scent with a strong, zesty hop profile and even a suggestions of grape juice.

Sweet, malty taste with a big hop kick. Slight alcohol burn. Slightly sweet, fruit after taste.

Good carbonation...fizzy on the tongue, but a nice brew.

BDTyre, Aug 30, 2010
Photo of Kolsch
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%

Picked up at Buckeye Brewing: $4.99 12oz bottle which I thought was a good price considering the beer.

Appearance: probably the most appealing part of this beer. Beautiful orange hue with small wisps of foam floating. Really anticipating the taste.

Smell: definitely did detect alcohol from smell. Also picked up a slight corn taste. Possibly from the Sake?

Taste: If you have never had Sake before, this may shake you up a bit. Kind a stringent but not in your face kind a way. More sour tasting than anything but does smooth out once warmed up. Interesting taste as you may think you are drinking a slighty off tasting sour strong ale. Better as beer warms and more malty flavors open up.

Overall: Let the beer come to room temp before drinking to smooth out the sour taste. I would recommend trying, as this is very unique tasting beer.

Kolsch, Aug 22, 2010
Photo of chiefjames
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%

This is different, drank bottle from a Duvel glass..

Nose is somewhat floral, I'm not a huge sake fan but this is surprising me. Very sweet, like many Hitachino Nest beers. ABV is well hidden. Goes down very smooth. Little bits of oak on the tongue, but the nose, my god, this doesn't even smell like beer! I could enjoy quite a few of these!

chiefjames, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of beerhan
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%

What a unique and interesting beer. Straight off the bat I am going to say that it tastes like olives and almost reminds me of a gin martini in beer form. It really is quite nice. There is a delicious sake overtone masking the hops when you smell it. This complements the gorgeous amber color very well. The only thing that this beer loses points on is the head. It is huge and it is very hard to pour this beer. I thoroughly enjoy this even though it is a little pricey. I would love this with some sushi.

beerhan, Jul 28, 2010
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 AdamGarcia
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%

11.2oz bottle served in SN 30 goblet.

A: Pours a cloudy reddish amber hue with a huge four fingers worth of head. The cream colored head displays good retention and laces nicely.

S: Fruity, estery aroma. Lots of yeast. Slightly tart.

T: My initial reaction was that this was infected. The tart astringency seems wildly out of place at first. A few more sips and we've got some cohesion amongst the flavors. A little warmth takes the edge off. Sweet fruity flavors balanced out with a bretty tartness. Finishes with a warm woody flavor.

M: Carbonation is good. Soft and creamy.

D: This is unique to say the least. It is terribly interesting but one bottle is enough.

Right off the bat I thought this was going to be a drain pour. Fortunately I gave it some time and ended up really liking it. Give this one a fair chance. If nothing else, it is one of a kind.

AdamGarcia, Jul 24, 2010
Photo of Dawkfan
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%

A- Pour is a dark amber that yields a fingers width of rich off white almost tan colored head. Lacing coates the glass alright, small amount of sediment is visible.

S- Clove & cinnamon are the first things that jump out at me. Some light fruits & oak are in here as well. The alcohol smell is very sake-like.

T- Starts off sweet and malty and then a burnt tobacco woodiness flavor hits you. It finishes bitter and a bit boozy.

M- Body is medium with average carbonation. This finishes dry as well.

D- It was alright, not something I'd buy again though. Stick with the Espresso Stout from Kiuchi and you're good to go!

Dawkfan, Jul 23, 2010
Photo of bobsy
2.55/5  rDev -32.4%

Pours a hazy dark gold with several hands of off-white head rocketing upwards like the immediate aftershock of Trinity. Not what I like to see in a pour, even if it settles down after 15 minutes and laces like a dream. I'm from Ontario, so I'm used to seeing crap like this from Trafalgar and Heritage, but I'd expect more from Kiuchi.

A smell of the glass reveals the strong, strong smell of brett, which is the last thing I expected. As a disclaimer, I love funky beers, and I think this smells great, yet at the same time a little warning bell is going off because I think this may be more a sign of an infection than of a purposeful inoculation. To elaborate on the aroma, there's a large dose of horseblanket, with the merest backing of grain, but most of all this smells dry.

Unsurprisingly, the brett has ridden roughshod through this beer, and while it makes for an interesting experience I think its hollowed out what had the potential to be a fantastic brew. Horseblanket is great, but when I want to really see the barrel character of the shochu, its not that great. Delving a bit deeper brings an indistinct berry fruitiness and Belgian ale yeast, but the whole effect is not very clean. Yep, there's brett in here, and it could only have come in at the brewery, so the review stands.

For what its worth, I find the carbonation a little too much, and I can see why it produced so much head on the poor. Really too bad... I was hoping to like this one a lot.

As an aside, its bizarre how the English label refers to shochu as distilled sake, which is not the case. Shochu is made independently of sake, and can often contain sweet potato, which you'll never find in sake. I presume the misinformation is because most people have heard of sake, but not shochu.

Thanks to a74gent for the want!

bobsy, Jul 23, 2010
Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 584 ratings.