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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

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Reviews: 347
Hads: 681
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 17.46%
Wants: 28
Gots: 49 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery
Japan | 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: 681
Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of GorgonSed
2.67/5  rDev -29.4%
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.

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Photo of Auraan
4.41/5  rDev +16.7%
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 goochpunch
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of Neorebel
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle is labeled as 7% ABV for the record. XH looks very nice with its bubbly, auburn look, capped with a foamy tan head, leaning towards the shade of brown. Excellent retention as well. The aroma was a bit earthy, however I did pick up a bit of the Shochu and some pineapple fruit esters. The taste reveals much evidence of aging, with a yeasty, wine like character and the taste of fading hops. That's not to say that the hop flavor was not present at all - much to the contrary - quite a hoppy beer for a Belgian style ale. It's also very bready. Sharp was the finish with some woodiness from the barrel. It felt moderately heavy in the mouth and in regards to perceived ABV. Overall, I quite enjoyed it, as I like aged beer, however if you're looking for a hallmark Belgian Strong Dark Ale flavor, definitely look elsewhere.

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Photo of jzeilinger
2.82/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark orange with some amber hue and a slight, thin creamy white layer of head.

S - The nose really lacks and smells like wet cardboard, wood, and grainy.

T - Caramel, honey, slightly boozy, and a mild pine bitterness at the very end.

M - Thin side of medium in the body.

O - Wouldn't try this again, having a very hard time picking any distinct flavors out of this.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(4.0) A: Reddish amber with a thick creamy head that quickly recedes to a bubbly ring. Nice lacing in sheets down the glass.

(3.75) S: Grains, faint boozy aroma, dried wood, honey, and subtle floral notes. Soft and pleasing but very subdued with some digging certainly required to unearth some aromas.

(4.0) T: Apricot, tropical fruits, sweet grains, honey or cane sugar, underlying boozy flavour, and spices. Minimal bitterness and more dryness but the focus is on a honey oats sweetness. The sake casks provide a subtle touch of warming booze that is quite nice.

(4.0) M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slick and viscous with a very oily texture.

(4.0) D: This is very good – Easy to drink with every flavour provided in just the right amounts.

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Photo of mverity
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle from Hop Jacks in Pensacola. Pours an amber brown color with white head that dissipated quickly. Smells of sweet grass, caramel, touch of sour notes. Taste is mostly sweet caramel and some tartness. Mouthfeel is rather watery. Otherwise, I'm glad I only bought a single bottle of this beer. Not great

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Photo of katan
3.29/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a glass

A - Pours an opaque orangish brown. Off white head formation. Some bubblies on the inside. Looks hefty.

S - Just couldn't quite elicit much of a response from the nose. I get just a little of belgian yeast and some alcohol.

T - Starts off smooth and light, just a little bit of sweetness. In the middle I start to get some caramel, some toffee. Dark fruits. Finishes with some interesting sweetness on the tip of the tongue. Bitterness grows as it warms on the tongue.

M - Full bodied and lighter on carbonation. Comes of syrupy and a little thick. Some alcohol warmth is it sits on the tongue.

o/D - A decent Belgian strong (dark) but I don't think it really distinguishes itself. I heard this might be aged in some way, of which I'm curious. I can't read the label to confirm. A bit filling, but fits the role as a sipper.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to into tulip during hitachino tasting fest 2013...
Nice slightly ruby brown color slightly off white head.
Sweet malty almost esb aromas..with a dose of hop.
Nice malty Belgian sweetness with a kick of hop finish and slight woody and fruity note.
Nice brew...the sake cask adds complexity to an otherwise regular brew.

Revisit this brew on 11/16/13
Huuge brett aromas are so noticeable now. Im convinced this has brett and it works so well here. Its somewhat sweet but very oaky and really dry. I think the bottling date suggests June 2013...if so, this brew is fantastic if you let it age for a few months. I will definitely pick another one of these up.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy amber-brown with a finger of frothy tannish-khaki head. Fades normal.

S - Sweet caramel malts, Belgian yeast,. spices, sake, oak, vanilla, and a bit of booze.

T - Sweet dark caramel malts, Belgian yeast, oak, sake, Belgian yeast, some spices, bit of vanilla and booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet warming finish.

D - Nicely balanced and the sake flavors are a nice touch.

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Photo of Tone
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

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.

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Photo of Suds
3.09/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

The beer is a clear, deep copper color. Medium white head. It has a spice and mild vinegar scent. Some vegetable smell as well. Interesting. The taste s equally curious. Semi-sweet. Not much malt flavor, but lots of the vegetable and wood quality. I can only assume that this comes from the sake casks. It is unlike other beers. Moderately bitter. Interesting beer, but not not one that I would have often.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.27/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is a muddled, hazy, amber-copper coloring with a very thin, small bubbled ring of white around the surface. Aromas of strong sake overtones with a subtle blend of fig and date in the background. Some cherry and bread in the nose, as well. Smells very rich and boozey at the same time. Flavors are very well blended, almost to the point of neutralizing on the tongue. The sake does give a very wine-like and boozey forward flavor, with a bready backbone and tart cherry and white grape end flavor. The beer loses a lot of the dark, old world fruits on the nose under the influence of the sake characteristics. Tangy and sharp aftertaste, with an earthy, tannin, and boozey blend. Clean, slightly drying finish. Interesting idea for a beer, and I do enjoy the influences imparted from the sake barrels. Would be interesting with a more powerful base beer.

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Photo of ranger60
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had it on tap at Buckeye Beer Engine.

A- beautiful dark brown, very little head.

S- interestingly, picking up malt notes, some caramel sweetness, and something hard to identify...maybe it is the sake'?

T- very tart...it's not bad, but not my cup of tea...don't love sour ales, and that is the first impression. but the oak and sake' flavors do come through in a very nice way.

M- actually very pleasant initial mouth feel, but the sourness lingers

O- I'm sure some people would say this is great, and I know the sourness is intentional, but I can't get past it.

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Photo of kylegillick
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: hazy . murky brown

Aroma: little aroma. dark fruirs

Taste: Tart. Oak. cherry/ dark fruits. The oak/ sake barels give it a great taste. more tart than i would have expected

Mouth feel: Thick. solid carbonation

Overall: $4.69 a bottle. Great beer, very interesting. Would buy again. Sake barrels gave it a unique taste

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

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.

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Photo of ckollias
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a tall pilsner glass.

A: Pours an amber-orangish hue with a very thin white head that quickly dissipates into a wispy lace leaving a partial trail down the glass.

S: Sweet and tart citrus aroma with a hoppy and malty backbone.

T: Similar to the smell this beer’s flavor comes off very sweet and tart – almost wine like. Fruity mix and finishes on the sweet side.

M: Very strong and boozy with a heavy body and minimal carbonation.

O: Interesting brew from Japan. Nice sipping beer at 8.3% abv.

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Photo of cocojoe
3.07/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The Bottle that I am drinking says that it clocks in at 7.0% ABV

A: Hazy Amber color, thin tan head

S: Sweet caramel, oaky, bright (some belgian yeast notes), smoothe, floral, rice milk?

T: vanilla, caramel, definite oak notes, toasty, floral

M: medium body

O: Fine beer. Nose is a little stuffy at the moment, so my nose and palate are probably missing out on some stuff. A bit confused. I was doing some research, and other people who reviewed this beer said that it had many qualities similar to a flanders red or an oud bruin, and had a definite sour note, but I am getting little to none of those notes. Also, the bottle that I have is different than others (including a different ABV). I am wondering if they released a non belgian version of this beer. I am confused. Fine beer though.

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Photo of FLima
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: squat little 330mL brown bottle with an interesting label. Cute owl too.

Appearance: hazy - almost murky - deep copper-brown. Dense but thin head that disappears with the first mouthful.

Aroma: definite heavy characters here - brown sugar, prunes, pepper and earth. Enticing.

Taste: not the most brilliant Belgian heavy I have had. It is certainly thick, but the rich molasses, brown sugar and plum flavours are overpowered by an odd alcohol fug.

Aftertaste: more of the same, with a touch of bitterness shining through.

Mouth feel: definitely suits the style. Thick and heavy with lower carbonation.

Overall: not a bad attempt at a Belgian heavy, but at AU$10 a bottle, it is far, far too expensive - more expensive than most of the highest quality Belgians I have had. Add the awkward flavour combination to that, and it's a Lexus for Rolls Royce-and-a-half price. Not bad, but not good enough to warrant the exhorbitant cost.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
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 woosterbill
4.5/5  rDev +19%
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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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 347 ratings.