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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

595 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 595
Reviews: 334
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13%
Wants: 23
Gots: 30 | 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
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Ratings: 595 | Reviews: 334 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Sammy, Aug 03, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

t0rin0, Nov 19, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Small particles of sediment are seen floating around in the beer after the pour. Smell is of malt, grain, honey, and fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and slightly sour dark fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some interesting aromas and flavors but I am not getting any sake influence on the final product.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

zestar, Sep 17, 2014
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

spycow, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

acurtis, May 12, 2014
Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy dark orange in color and poured with a thin white head that quickly dissipated into lacy patterns of bubbles. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: The nose is slightly sour and has light aromas of citrus and sake.
T: There is sourness in the initial taste, although this weakens as the beer warms up and the underlying malty flavors become a bit stronger, which also have notes of oak and sake from the barrel aging. There is a slight amount of malty sweetness in the initial taste and this is followed by a mild amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. A bit of alcohol warming is present in the finish.
D: Although the alcohol is well masked from the taste, the beer needs to warm up before it becomes drinkable. There's no way that I could drink more than one of these in a sitting.

metter98, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Texasfan549, Apr 25, 2013
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

brentk56, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.43/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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 kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +6.1%

kjkinsey, Apr 25, 2013
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy dirty beige color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of a sweet barley malt base with some distinctive notes of light sake. Taste is also dominated by a barley wine type taste of sweet malt with some distinctive notes of rice and sake, which I must admit are quite pleasant. Full body with some great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Another winner beer from a great brewery.

Phyl21ca, Sep 08, 2008
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

GRG1313, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

ygtbsm94, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is a somewhat murky light brown color with a finger of off-white head. Wow, a really strange aroma to this. It's got an almost grape soda kind of note to it. Seems like a little bit of chocolate and anise not to it as well. Maybe a light fruity tartness. Tastes quite toasty with some more of the sweet grape soda flavor. A bit of grass and bready malt is also there, maybe a hint of chocolate. On the light side of medium body with medium carbonation.

womencantsail, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Knapp85
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was very interested in trying the beer when I saw that it was left over on tap at the Bethlehem Speakeasy after a Hitachino dinner they had put on a while ago. I read up on the brew and it sounded like it would be pretty cool to try.

I ordered up a glass and it was brought to me as a hazy orange color with a pretty nice looking head on it. The retention laced the glass with every sip. Had the look of a really good brew. The smell was a little different then expected. The smells of some hops and some wood came through along with some light fruit aromas. The taste wasn't really what I was expecting. I thought that it'd have some dominant Sake flavors throughout, but it didn't. The flavors were a little bit herbed and a little bit bitter. The mouthfeel was decent, overall I would drink it again to give it another shot.

Knapp85, May 24, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark amber body bordered by a thin ring of white bubbles.

Smell: The aroma is woody from the get-go (heck, before you even get it up to your nose) with notes of what you'd imagine to be sake along with fruit and yeast.

Taste: Strongly wooden with a distinctly sour yeastiness. Expired malts delivered in coffins bearing the initials XH. Ground peppercorn medley. One spoonful of rice pudding. Tons of tannins running loose. There's never much in the way of sweetness or bitterness. Dry, yeasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: I can assure you that it is interesting, but I keep going back and forth on whether or not I actually enjoyed it...

ChainGangGuy, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +6.1%

JAHMUR, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

SocalKicks, Aug 31, 2012
Photo of biboergosum
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

biboergosum, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rough pour from the bottle delivers a good sized head of creamy tan froth that slowly erodes over a few minutes into a short solid cap atop its reddish-brown body. I doubt that a careful pour would bring up the same head, but then you'd have a clearer beer as the yeast could be left behind in the bottle.

The nose is unusual, and offers bright notes of oak and wet cedar over a sugar candy sweetness and delicate malt base. It's floral as well, and there's a bit of some alcohol that's along the lines of a bourbon but much lighter... perhaps that's from a combination of the residual shocyu in the cask and the delicately caramelish malt. Shocyu is usually made out of roots (often sweet potatoes), whereas sake is made from rice wine. Regardless of where the alcohol is coming from, the aroma is quite intriguing and enticing.

The body is medium with a very fine-bubbled, natural carbonation from bottle conditioning.

The flavor is as you might expect, but with the malt having a more prominent role amidst the oak and candy sweetness. The alcohol is more obvious, and it gains a bit as you progress through the glass and it warms a bit. It starts sweet on the palate, then reveals its floral and candyish side, becomes a bit bitter across the middle, and then finishes dry and a touch spicy with a wash of alcohol and lingering dry oak.

Interesting to say the least! This is probably one of the most unique beers on earth, and probably worth trying for that reason alone, although I enjoyed it immensely when consumed slowly, one sip at a time. I think it wouldd make a great beer to enjoy while reading a good book, or watching a movie, but I'd avoid it at the bar. Take a bottle home and savor it slowly.

NeroFiddled, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Kegatron, Jul 14, 2014
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.

RblWthACoz, Mar 29, 2008
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.28/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gorgeous burgundy color, under a healthy dollop of creamy, pudding-y froth.

Nose smacks of red wine from the start, rich and fruity, turning mellow and woody. And then it resembles a Belgian lambic, ...and now I get the sake. Very interesting.

Taste: all that and more, but smooth, ...very smooth, and fully flavored. Warm, rich, and inviting. Sweet, then dry, then all manner of funky stuff, and ultimately a complex and rewarding drink. Tastes like a barleywine, but with much more going on.

I highly recommend this one.

feloniousmonk, Jan 11, 2008
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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 595 ratings.