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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)

Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery
Japan | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

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

Added by UncleJimbo on 12-29-2002

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Reviews: 351 | Ratings: 697
Photo of beerthulhu
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Labeled a strong belgian brown.

A: Pours a dark cranberry red with some light reddish tan hues on the head. Matured in Shocyu Sake Casks and labeled as a strong ale.

S: There is a touch of citrus on the nose, some oranges and some spiciness as well. A strong woodiness and alcohol is also present.

T: For flavor there is a deep rich alcohol and woodiness from the casks providing a complexity of flavors, most noticeably some whiskey notes. Theres some dried fruit (grapes, plums), dry orange peels, and some sake hints from the cast is very evident. The beer is dry, with some very light roasted malt character but is very woody in nature with a noticeable alcohol presence that stand out. A very interesting flavor overall and seems unique.

M: warming, full bodied and smooth with a gentle carbonation.

D:Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of FloridaDude
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark amber, Interesting taste.. a bit bitter which I like, a bit sweet as well. I am not a sake drinker so I assume that is what the odd flavor is. Has strong carbination that was not expected.
I like trying diffrent/unique beers. Overall I would pick up another every now and again.

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Photo of hreb
1.83/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Small cold bottle poured into pint glass. Smells kind of like a very, very dry cider. Intriguing. Looks a bit like cider, too, except way too cloudy.

First sip is insensibly both sour and bitter. Slightly ammoniac (urine) aftertaste. Quite gross. Extremely over-carbonated and very thin in the mouth. Tastes neither of malt or hops. I'm not sure what flavor the sake casks were supposed to lend. Perhaps rancid chardonnay?

Overall: smells like urine and cider. Initial cider-like tartness and carbonation followed by strongly revolting finish and desire to wash my mouth out.

Was this bottle ruined? I may never know; the first one traumatized me too much to buy another (not to mention it's overpriced at >$5 for around 10oz).

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Photo of MtGoat
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving Type: Bottle (11.2 ounces)

Glassware: Small sampler - Pint/Weizen shape

Appearance: Hazy amber with a white foamy head. Highly carbonated.

Smell: Fruity, old grapes and vinegar...wine like. Hint of sourness.

Taste: Tart, warming, spicy wheat with a lingering harsh bite. Winey (or more appropriate would be notes of Sake). Slight sourness. Very interesting beer. There is a lot going on here.

Mouthfeel: Initial heaviness....syrupy/oily.

Drinkability: The bitter harshness pulls through too much for me. Not my favorite but worth a taste. Certainly seems stronger than 7.00% ABV!

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Photo of kurtissellen
3.07/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into an oversized wine glass producing a good two fingers worth of tan head with lots of lacing and looked mahogany in color. Peculiar smell to it almost like green olives. Tasted a little sour up front with hints of green olives and finished with a dry and bitter taste in the mouth. I thought this was a lot better than their milk stout but still a little too funky for me. I don't think I would try this one again.

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Photo of gregc
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at spuyten duyvil in brooklyn

Aroma was floral, hops, sake and oak

Flavor was citrus, sake, oak, lavender, with a slightly sour finish

Im a big fan of sake, so i really enjoyed this beer. Very unique flavors in this one. I will probably try and pick up a few bottles if i get the chance.

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

This one poured a hazy deep amber colour. The cream coloured head settled quickly to a long-lasting collar with a skim of fine bubbles, which produced some sticky and spotty lacing. Red wine and fruit in the aroma, along with wood, earthiness, and a hint of grass. Ripe fruit flavour, mild bitterness, with definite wood character and a bit of booze towards the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, slightly dry. Very nice. Quite an interesting flavour combination and the sake casks are a nice change of pace in the wood aging department.

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Photo of EPseja
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 11.2oz. bottle in my SABL glass at between fridge and cellar temperature.

A - Syrupy orange-amber pour with only a struggling head and a scattering of soapy bubbles. Hazy in color, but turning quite thick and translucent with the incorporation of the sediment, which is highly recommended. Head retention and lacing are both quite absent.

S - Caramel maltiness and run-soaked fruits with an unmistakable vinous character that is no doubt the product of the sake cask aging. Notes of dried, stale tobacco. Bright, green woody astringency that's not off putting, but intriguing.

T - Lightly toasted and only semi-sweet in the front (sweeter with the incorporation of the sediment), blossoming into aged wood, winy alcohol and eventually a dry-sherry type body. The finish remains semi-dry but gets a bit yeasty, and leaves a very forward warming in the belly as well as a modest fruity (plum?) tartness in the aftertaste.

M - Thick like a cordial on the way in, tingly both from the carbonation and the alcohol. Slightly tongue-numbing. Rolling froth slides easily down the gullet. Very substantial.

D - This is a very very interesting beer that I'm glad I had a chance to try. It's definitely not one to have multiples of, but it's enjoyable all the same due to it's uniqueness and high quality craftsmanship. This beer would be a fantastic paring to a huge plate of sushi and sashimi as well as a nice hot sake... just be sure you're not the one driving home.

Not sure why this is called an "American" Strong Ale since it's wholly a product of Japan.

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Photo of csmiley
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours mostly amber in color. I see some brown as well. Head topped out at a hair over half inch and settled into a thin off-white cap. Retention was average. Lacing was good.

S - Aroma is on the mild side but what shows up is pretty complex and balanced. This is an approximate order of aromas: Caramel, bread, sweet and sour fruit (mostly sour), wood, tobacco, alcohol, and another touch of sourness on the end.

T - Taste starts out sweet with caramel and honey then quickly goes to sour with cherry flavors. Some bread and alcohol flavors battle it out in the middle with the alcohol winning in the end. Taste is simple compared to smell.

M - Medium to full bodied with good carbonation for this particular beer. Finish is dry and sour and sticks on the palate for a while.

D - Drinkability is good. This is different but Kiuchi was able to keep it quite interesting from start to finish. Once it warms the balance of sour and sweet only gets better. I would recommend giving it a try.

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Photo of TheBlackMallard
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been eyeing this for quite awhile.

Pours ruby with a long lasting frothy tan head.

Smell: Weird, Oak, Bananas, Rock Candy, Bubblegum, Cookies, Wine, and Alcohol.

Taste: It starts kind of sweet with caramel and brown sugar, then goes kind of tart, and finishes with a dry woody alcohol taste. It's good but a little too odd for me. Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation.

I don't think I'd pick this up again, but it's pretty interesting.

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Photo of wedge
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of Foxman
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a murky brownish amber with moderate floatification. A finger of tannish beige head drops away soon. Lashes of lacing flutter along the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, there comes a deep, fruity malt sweetness, sugary and earthy all at once. A touch of toffee is enhanced by slightly smoked wood. Sake peeks through with rice and warm alcohol.

Upon sipping, an initial kick of brown sugar malt sweetness carries currants and caramel. A very crisp curtain of airy yeast, earthy wood, and bitter spiciness truncate the grain train. A mildly tangy twist of sake presence leads into a toasty pool of alcohol. Crisp, fruity grain returns, less sweet this time, as the finish lingers with a comfy dry bitterness. It's very unique, and better for it.

Between medium and full bodied, it's syrupy ad slippery, with a crisp, glowing close.

The merging of fermented rice essence with a solid malt profile leads to a nicely blended, highly original presentation. This is why we try new things. The ABV is warmer and more open than expected, but then, it's not designed to be a session brew, so it doesn't suffer. Maybe it's not quite eXHilarating, but it is an eye-opener and well worth enjoying to the bottom of the glass.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a hazy ruby-brown with a two-fingered, frothy beige head.

Aroma is dark ripe fruit, yeast, ginger and bubblegum.

Initial taste is of an overwhelming sourness. Accompanying this is the dark fruitiness, the oakiness, and a funky yeastiness. Not being a sake drinker, I don't know how much of the taste is from the saki cask aging. Somewhat Belgian-like in flavor.

Medium mouthfeel, very drying, and well-carbonated.

This is a very unique tasting strong ale and definitely takes some getting used to. I definitely recommend this beer as a must-try.

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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.

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Photo of asabreed
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle into a Thomas Hardy's snifter. This should be an interesting brew.

Appearance: Beautiful hazy orange copper color with hints of red. Just amazing color in the light. Huge billowing head that slowly dissipates, always leaving at the very least a bit of foam on the top of the body, and huge lacing all over the place in streaks and little blobs. Every time I sip the beer touching the glass leaves an amazing streak of lacing that slowly slides down and dissipates. I haven't seen a brew this pretty in a long time.

Smell: Definitely like a lambic at first without any strong hint of fruit. Wild yeast, maybe brett-like, earthy funk, heavy citrus and vinegar and vinous sourness. Effervescent and very appealing.

Taste: It probably goes without saying, or should, but this should be warmed up to room temperature. Even when it warms there's a faint metallic and pungent bitterness that I'm not sure is supposed to be here, but it ends up working somehow, then fading away. But at cooler temperatures it's much more prominent and funky. Taste is overall sourness, wild yeast, vinous characteristics, phenolic and barnyard funk (mixing well with the other flavors), some pungent citrus, and maybe some sourness from the hops, and if it's not the hops it's coming from somewhere else. I wonder if this is a bit too green, because though I like it a lot, like I said there's an odd bitterness that finishes and I'm not sure it should be this pronounced. The other wild flavors still shine overall, and there's a long Belgian and lambic-like sour finish, letting in some fruit, wild yeast, and earthiness. But where does the Sake come in? I'm not sure. Maybe with the wood and sourness, because there's certainly a lot of complexity there. This is not for the faint of heart, and your palate really has to be ready to take all of the insanity, so keep that in mind also.

Mouthfeel: Champagne-like with lots of smoothness and coating, blanket-like carbonation. Like a BSPA, but even creamier in some ways.

Drinkability: I paid $5 for the bottle, but Hitachino stuff's always worth it to me. They seem to be one of the most underrated breweries doing great experiments. I imagine if DFH did a beer like this (and please do, DFH) everyone would be all over it, but Hitachino doesn't get the hype. Still, an amazing and crazy brewery that doesn't skimp in the experimentation (or the price, clearly). I may pick another one of these up and see how it ages, because I imagine the yeast and bottle conditioning could do some great things. But an overall singular beer and a great experience, one I'd recommend highly, especially if this really is a one-time thing...

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Photo of brdc
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Small capped bottle, poured into a snifter, it is a reddish brown, opaque brew even leaving the yeast on the bottle, topped by a creamy but short lasting off-white head.
Peculiar aroma, sweet malt, caramel, floral, some oakiness and a light alcohol whiff with something else that is probably the shocyu, since I never had it to be sure.
Medium to full bodied, it is a lot dryer than I expected; the same caramel maltiness and oakiness are there, but the spicy alcohol and hoppy bitterness take over.
Quite interesting.

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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...

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hitachino brews are always innovative and very fun. I was excited to try this brew for this simple fact that a mix of ale and sake should be interesting. This sure was. I really enjoyed this one. Plus, at $3.00, how could I go wrong?

A- The liquid appears as an orange/red/brown translucent color in my glass. Thin bubbly head on top and some lace.

S- Smell was very fruity. I was getting a nose of belgian yeast as well and could be described as funky and sour, but in a really good way.

T- I cant help but notice that this beer tastes very belgian. There was a grape/wine taste that was very evident. I am getting malty sweetnes, maybe caramel. Faint hops- belgian yeast. The taste is somewhat similar to a lambic.

M- Tingly and very bubbly like a champagne.

D- I loved this beer. I could drink a few of these. Enjoyed this with my dinner and could not help but want another one.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer has one of the most unusual aroma profiles I've encountered in a very long time. Tons of fruits...mostly apricot and tangerine. Some cooking spices as well.
And yes some of that soft fruit smell can be attributed to the sake barrels it is aged in. As I continue to smell, I pick up more and more of the sake fruitness you get from fermented rice.

Taste is also unusual. Lots of the apricot and tangerine fruit flavors mixed in with strong alcohol and a lot of oak woodiness. Sake influence is intense.

Very warm, hot beer.
Very unique...very unusual.

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Photo of Chinookie
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330 mL bottle, served in small red wine glass.

Appears slightly cloudy, orange/deep amber color. Thin head lingers.

Smells of cedar, sour, a slight vinegar aroma.

Tastes of sharp cheddar, sour middle, then grape must. Sourness lingers on tongue with some bitterness.

Another nice one from the creative brewers at Hitachino. Similar to sour Belgians, but has unique qualities that definitely make it worth a try.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a Chimay chalice.

The pour is beautiful. A fleeting, almond colored head quickly recedes atop a golden, copper-brown body that's murky, decently carbonated, and stratified with small particles of white yeast. The aroma is an interesting mix of oak and sake, with some hints of olive juice, lemon peel, booze, and spicy hops.

Bold flavor profile, quite unlike any beer I've tasted, except for Hitachino's Red Rice Ale. Like RRA, XH packs some tart citrus, spice, and hops into its brew. A big carbonation level leaves me thinking that I'm sipping on some type of alcoholic, grapefruit soda (Squirt & Sake??). The alcohol feels stronger, here, even though it's only 7% to RRA's 8.5%. Carbonation is high, and the mouthfeel is sticky and crisp. Some chewy malts pull through as it warms. Overall, I enjoyed this more than the other Hitachino's I've tried, but it's still a taste that I can't quite get used to.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - pours a hazed orange amber, a nice pillowy head on top. Good lacing as well, as the top settles down unevenly.

Aroma - the nose is pretty much all oak.I pick up whiffs of grain, some vague fruity sweetness, but they're all in shadows. A thought of cedar, but I'm not sure. Pretty unique, which I always appreciate.

Taste - hmm, unusual. A peculiar start, kind of sour, almost on the edge of funky. Some light florals follow that and that woody presence that makes me think of oak at first but then maybe cedar, too. The aftertaste is oaky, but without the whiskey kind of flavor it's a whole different sensation. It's like one of the funky beers but without the sourness, very interesting, I find the beer familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Finishes clean with the same set of flavors fading away.

Mouthfeel - medium body, carbonation is peppy.

Drinkability - I'm enjoying the education with this one though I don't think I'd drink this much. Maybe the oaky flavor would pair up with some smoky 'cue, but price and availability are a hindrance. Oh well, it was a worthwhile experience.

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Photo of NCSUdo
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle

A: Pours a murky copper red, dark caramel color under a half inch worth of white head. Some lace and a ring of head left over.

S: Smells a little funky. Apples, a bit sour, slightly floral, earthy, a little bit of hay.

T: Tastes of much the same. However, there is a slight rubbery twang to it. A bit more fruity, with apples standing out the most, slight funk (maybe this is the sake character?), a hint of caramel malt, warming alcohol on the way down, mostly dry but with some hints of toasted and sweet malt lingering ever so slightly. A little tart.

M/D: Full bodied, lightly creamy body, medium carbonation. Drinkability is OK on this one. Definitely not what I expected, really a unique beer. It really starts to grow on you after a few sips.

Even thought I've been to Japan and have a bottle in the fridge, I have never had sake before, so I can't really comment on the aspects in this brew. But this one has some very interesting qualities. During the first few sips, I thought I was going to give it slightly lower marks. The funky, tartness of it were unexpected but it really started to become more pleasing the more I had.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Short, stout, 11.2 oz bottle copped for $3.99 from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Matured in sake casks" on the black, front logo sticker...
After the first smell and sip, my initial thought is that this is an extremely different beer from many others that I've ever sampled... Both the aroma and flavor have a very unique spiced and smoked taste and smell that must be a factor derived from aging this brew in Japanese sake casks... The best way to describe the flavor would be to say that it was full of pines, sharp citrus, ginger, powerful grapefruit, and cloves...
Cloudy, murky, dark-brown appearance with a minimal frothy head...
Smell was likewise powerful and different, with a strong spiced, ginger-like essence...
Very unique and interesting taste full of various intricate flavors... Although this particular beer might be described as an "American Strong Ale", I believe it's in a class of its own, as I have never sampled anything even remotely similar to it...
Interesting stuff, and if you're in the mood for a different type of experience, this one is worth a shot...

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Photo of ojiikun
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the stubby bottle pictured into a smallish tulip. Body is just slightly hazy and bright red-orange, like weakish icded tea. Head, even coaxed was thin, but a nice sandy colour. Loose bubbles of many sizes and a constant ring.

Smell is unique - mineraley sugar, woody, old fruit, dry yeast, spicy. All over the map! Layers of contradiction on top of a very roasty malt. Tart or sour fruit like citrus peel but with cherry hints. Wood isn't oak, but not too cedarish as to be obvious about it.

Taste is just as odd. Citrus tart and lightly hoppy at first, then simply bursts with husky malt, finished by a astringent sting laced with more classic wood. Lots of green spices and chives, bready yeast mixed with champagne yeast. Slight off-notes of rubber or latex at the end of the bottle.

Well-carbonated for it's viscosity which is just over medium. Not sticky, but forms a long-lasting coat on the tongue.

The best Hitachino brew I've had yet. This one has a smell that'll push your boundaries for how you describe beers. The actual taste has some off notes that are a bit overpowering, unfortunately. Still, this is worth grabbing since it's so limited, and I imagine a year in the cellar might do wonders for the hurricane of concepts that attack you when you sample this one.

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 351 ratings.