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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

615 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 615
Reviews: 335
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13%
Wants: 24
Gots: 31 | 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: 615 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
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3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

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4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hitachino Nest Beer XH has a very hazy, opaque, brown body with orange highlights. The head rises quickly to about two fingers in height, but settles down to a thin ring rather quickly. The ring remains frothy and sticky looking, and lacing begins to form immediately when the head disappears.

I'm kind of surprised by the aroma of this beer just based on the fact that it is so good. Deep, rich malt notes with toffee, caramel, a some sherry notes. A little bit of a boozy aroma in the background that is a little bit alien to me, and I assume that would be sake.

I have to say that I like the aroma of this one a good bit more than I like the flavor, but to be honest, I never acquired much more than a passing fancy for any sort of sake or rice-wine. A very fruity flavor is up front, and it is extremely strong. The fruity flavors pair with a little bit of phenolic flavor, both of which are backed up by the taste of alcohol. The malt flavors come next and they aren't as strong as what I expected after the aroma, but there is still the same toffee and sherry that I noticed before. The finish brings a little bit of heat, a little bit more alcohol, and the actual sake flavor. Notes of oak lurk in the background of this beer. Also, the ghosts of spicy and citrus flavored hops linger in the background.

This one feels a little bit lighter than I would expect or would like, with very smooth, lively carbonation.

I bought this one for a novelty as much as anything else: I was just curious to try something from a sake cask. I liked the aroma a lot, and the flavor seemed to grow on me as I sipped it. This is one I would recommend that anyone who is interested in it should try for themselves.

Photo of danieelol
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is that of a barleywine. Toffee/caramel colours with nice head and lacing.

Smell is gingerbread and the subtle toffee and biscuit malt I associate with a good barleywine. Yer, lots of ginger here.

Taste is more ginger and caramel. Subtle sweetness is well balanced with hop and alcohol presence.

Medium body with somewhat fizzy carb detectable.

Overall a nice beer which seems miscategorised as a BSDA. Seems far more appropriate to call it a Barleywine.

Photo of Stinkypuss
2.8/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hitachino Nest XH (bottle lists 7% ABV, possibly an old vintage)

12 oz. Pours a rich amber color, well sustained bubbly froth. Some hazy yeast is found throughout but no floaties.

Aroma is bready, with some belgian ale yeast and mild dark fruits present. Intoxicating mix of alcohol aromas as well. I can pick up sake, being a frequenter of sushi bars, that sticks out. Also a distinct presence of wood, from the cask aging.

Tastes very tart, with some possible oxidation present (it is aged to begin with, and a rather old sample afterall). Sherry, green apple, oaky tannins, really tangy. Alittle astringent bitterness from a ghost like faded hop. Some mild alcohol is present. Sweet and sour, not sure if this was intended. When it warms it opens up a bit more, some grainy, faintly roasted malt flavor pulls through.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lingering sour note.

Overall: An interesting beer, kind of all over the place. Mimics some of the great sours of Belgium, but in a confused manner. I find it somewhere between bad and great, but I can also understand it being revered as both.

Photo of bluHatter
4.95/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've always been a fan of Hitachino Nest ever since I first tried their Red Rice variety. They are some of the most interesting beers I've had the pleasure of tasting. I had never had their XH ale before, though, so here goes...

A: This ale was anxious to get out of the bottle. It foamed over before I was even able to begin pouring, and then formed an enormous head in the glass, even with a gentle pour. The head was foamy (big bubbles) and receded very slowly, leaving just a hint of lacing. The ale itself is thick and cloudy red. This is the most interesting type of appearance for me, as it usually indicates vast complexities in flavor.

S: Very similar in smell to Hitachino Nest's Red Rice ale. Pungent sweet malty that quickly mellows into a warm citrus. Not unlike A1 steak sauce... or if anybody has ever smelled a millipede that's been stepped on (don't ask, but it's a smell that sticks with you, and this ale is very similar).

T: Wow, very strong and pungent... like a well aged bleu cheese. The smell is definitely present in the taste. Bitter, tangy, strong wood flavor - like the wood had a lot of holes in it that the beer was allowed to mingle in and draw all kinds of interesting body from. Every sip is different as I let it breathe. It gets mellower in the glass. You can tell this has been cooped up for a long time - no wonder it was anxious to get out.

M: Loads of carbonation. I can tell I will be burping this flavor for a while after I finish it. You can tell there's alcohol here, as my tongue is tingly and raw after just a few sips

O: I feel honored that I was able to taste this beer. Hitachino Nest has never disappointed and this is no exception. I only wish this was easier to come by so I could experience it more often and share it with friends. I never thought I'd try a better beer than Hitachino Nest's Red Rice ale, but I think this may be my personal holy grail.

Photo of BamaViper1
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured this bottle into a pint glass, no knowing what style of beer it was. I was eating some Thai food, and figured I'd try this beer out.

The XH poured amber brown with a thick, highly carbonated head. That head produces nice lacing. The beer has an earthiness on the nose that is immediately consumed and overwhelmed by dried and over-ripened fruit. It smells like a sour beer. The taste of the beer has elements of that too with raisins and earth enveloped within a strong malt backbone. There's also the presence of a mild, bitter crispness with a rice grain-like flavor as well. All of this fades into a long finish where, finally that hint of sour. The beer also has good carbonation and a medium body.

This is a tough beer to rate. Comparatively to other Belgian Strong Dark ales I've had, this one is lacking in a lot of areas. The hints of sourness are... atypical to say the least. The funkiness that I typically associate and enjoy with Belgian-style beers is not really present. However, the beer itself is actually pretty good. Great alcohol content, great body, and a flavor profile that is pretty tasty. Not a bad beer guys.

Photo of draheim
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330mL (marked XH.10.10) poured into a tulip. Dark amber color with a nice thick head, nice lacing.

Aroma is surprisingly tart. Reminds me of the few American sour/wild ales I've tried.

Taste is rich malt with a kind of dry bite. This is a really different kind of beer. There's no real yeast aroma or taste as I've come to expect in a Belgian ale. Hops are present, but very subtle, only to balance the malt. Mouthfeel is crisp and dry, presumably from the sake barrels. I still can't reconcile the aroma with the taste. There's really not a lot of complexity in the taste, I'm just getting dark malt.

Photo of cbarrett4
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Seriously creepy/cute owl. Man I love the Japanese!

*** Label slightly different than one pictured, states "Matured in Sake Casks" *** But apparently is the same beer (and all newly created listings with 'sake cask' get popped under the regular XH listing).

Also of note: this beer was not really aged in sake casks, it was aged in sochu casks. For those of you who know Japanese liquor (and it's a love/hate relationship as I'm sure you agree) Sochu (Sochyu, soju, shochu) is a rice wine (sake) fermented into an 80 to 90 proof liquor and often matured in cask.

Poured a dark brown/black with blue-ish highlights. Oatmeal colored, persistent head, low carbonation.

Smells a lot like a sour ale. Lot's of fruit, a hefty dose of the sour cherry, lacto thing with some sake like notes, a little spice, and plum. Really reminds me of a barrel aged Belgian.

Flavor is remarkable. The sour note adds so much and keeps the intense sake-like flavors subdued. Very intense and fruit forward.

Texture is lovely with a massive amount of wall to wall flavor, great grip, and a good balance of acidity and alcohol.

This beer sings, and I'm all ears (and tastebuds). I immediately returned and bought every bottle they had at Whole Foods. This is going to be a cornerstone beer and one that I will love fooling beer geeks with blind tastings.

Photo of sommersb
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 08-19-2011
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 330 ml brown bottle
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Single from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

Color is a dark amber-red. The first pour is clear and a good amount of carbonation is seen. On the second pour the yeast sediment makes it cloudy. Nice lacing from the tan head.

Aromas are complex, with sweet, dark fruits (raisin and plum). Also rich, earthy and nutty smells, with alcohol, soy sauce and spice notes thrown in.

The taste has Belgian yeast and dark malty flavors as expected, but also has a different character to it, with a tangy, soy sauce aspect. It makes for a very interesting and unique taste, but I'm not altogether sure it is welcome. There's some hop bitterness that balances well with the sweetness from the malts. From what I briefly read about the aging in Shochu casks, I think that lends dryness and alcohol warmth.

The mouthfeel is high on carbonation and medium bodied. Finishes semi-dry with some bite from the spiciness.

Overall a very good, intriguing beer!

Photo of weller1js
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: pours a cloudy orange-brown, foamy, light-tan head with a foamy and a slightly filmy lacing.

smell: essences of dark fruit, light yeast, and slightly floral hops; a unique dryness is also notable.

taste: begins with a tangy-dry velvety taste, very Belgian-like until the notes of yeast envelop the palate, whereupon the contrasting dry notes of sake take over, complemented by tangy floral hops that make for a dry, tangy finish.

mouthfeel: heavier-bodied with a dark-syrupy notes, yet balanced with the sake notes.

overall: unique variation of the Belgian style, some may be a bit dissuaded by the inherent dry and somewhat flavorless sake notes, but they serve to contrast and make the Belgian notes stand out, definitely worth a try.

Photo of applestash
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky dark caramel with moderate beige head that lasted all the way down. Nice lacing. The nose has a pronounced fresh green apple, fortified sake sweetness, and a really great funky presence. Reminded me instantly of oerbier reserva. Flavor is bright with a balanced backbone, but hits a bit hard with the acidity and finishes syrupy sweet. The flavor imparted by the shochu casks is a great marriage with the style, although it would be much more quaff-able if it were more attenuated. Worth checking out, though I recommend splitting a 12 oz bottle.

Photo of CPeterson
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A -- A reddish amber murky brew pours to a one finger eggshell white head which settles to a thin skim, leaving spindles of lacing.

S -- Smells of sour cherry, molasses, spices, wood and earth, slightly herbal.

T -- Strong wood notes and a sharpness from the cask aging, soju has a similar quality to vodka so it imparts some minerality and acerbic tones to this brew. Also picking up some molasses and dark fruit -- raisin, sour cherry, and cassis. A lingering bitterness hangs around for a good while.

M -- Sharp, drying, medium-full body, low-moderate carbonation.

D -- I have to admit, I didn't know what to expect and this wasn't even on the radar. Well executed and novel, but I'm not sure if this would appeal to many. I definitely appreciate it, but wouldn't see having it on the regular.

Photo of MadeInOregon
4.9/5  rDev +30%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Found this at a Japanese grocery store. Lucky me! I didn't know it was "retired", but was still more than willing to shell out $6 for a Hitachino Nest I hadn't seen before.

THE APPEARANCE of Hitachino Nest XH is, well, beautiful--as silly as that word is for describing beer. Massive latte-esque foam erupts from the liquid, which is a very nice orangish brown and very cloudy with sediment. Thick, lacing is all over the place. Mouth-watering! The bottle is even attractive--too bad I can't drink that. Foam eventually dwindles down to a nice thin film across the top of the beer.

THE SMELL is candied orange, yeast, banana, and little hops. The candy quality is very unique and clearly references the sake that was stored in the same casks as this beer. Think: Nigori sake + a strong Belgian ale. There are some similarities in fragrance to a bourbon-barrel aged beer, however the XH is much crisper and sweeter due to the rice from the sake.

THE TASTE is equally impressive, and very complex. Flavors progress like this: Sake, banana+candied orange, cotton candy → Hot, spicy yeast → Milk chocolate → light hops → orange peels + banana + hops

THE FEEL is very full and stimulating, yet not assaulting. The alcohol, like with most of the Hitachino line, is mild and well-masked. An American ale this bold would normally push 10%.

CONCLUSION: This is only my second All-5's rating. I find no faults with this beer other than that it's so hard to find! It's a very unique (and Japanese) take on both the barrel-aging concept as well as strong Belgian ales (Yes, I do not think this should be called an “American Strong Ale”. “Belgian Double Ale” would be more appropriate, in my opinion). I'd never heard of, or even thought about aging beers in sake casks so this was my first sampling of such a style. So, Kiuchi Brewery is setting the bar pretty high for future tastings!

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.73/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

330 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance - It looks like the intended color is a dark orange, but it's so hazy and murky that it looks brown. Tough to tell what's sediment and what isn't. Quite a head and a nice layer of foam, though.

Smell - Interesting smell and not what I would have expected. I do smell what I would assume is a sake aroma. Slightly fruity and boozy. But more dominant is a wheat-sour smell. It smells like a lambic, which is weird.

Taste - It has the immediate flavor of a lambic at first, as well, but after that there's a combination of flavors that don't really mix well. Some fruitiness, tough to place which ones, though; some oak; and some hops, all combining to make an astringent bitterness that is just unappealing.

Mouthfeel - It's just awful. My mouth is dry and the only flavor left is that awful oak bitterness. Like I chewed an infected piece of wood. Ugh.

Overall - It's tough to rate this, since the initial flavors aren't bad and the aroma is actually nice, if not kinda weird. The aftertaste and finish is just disgusting, though.

Photo of smakawhat
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A very uniform and foamy off tan head is presented, perhaps about three fingers and quite large, sitting on a great brown reddish amber body. Cloudy and dense looking, head has great retention and a real nice appearance, and picks up some of the red color of the body it seems. Real nice looking here.

Bouquet is just great. Plums, dark fruits, hints of powdery dryness like a classic dubbel. Really enjoy this nose.

Taste is unfortunately kind of disappointing. Mild an strongly alcohol tasting. Sake sense does come through though which is nice but overpowers the beer. Has a good feel and palate, but feels a bit strong for what it is even if it is only about 8 percent.

Overall I am not too crazy about this one, much of the excitement generated from the smell doesn't come off in the taste. It's a great looking beer though I must say.

Photo of Klym
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a stone nonic. Shared with Cavery.

A: Pours a dark red with some brown hues. A nice 1 finger white head with pretty exceptional lacing. Good looking beer.

S: Wasn't sure what to expect but this still caught me off guard. Definitely yeast is up front in the nose, a little bit of sourness but also a deep fruit sweetness that is singular but reminiscent of watermelon, cherry, and strawberry.

T: My first few sips of this seemed extremely sweet and fruit-centric. Almost exactly like my memory of cherry push-lollipops from childhood. The fruit taste is reminiscent of lollipops/other artificial renditions of fruits, but it doesn't come off as cheap or nasty. As I drink more the yeast starts to play more role in the flavor. Other than that there is a little woodiness and a tad of medicinal bitterness. As I sip more and more, taste seems pretty varying and inconsistent. Even sometimes in one sip I feel like I hit 'pockets' of fruit flavor, with the rest being a somewhat bitter yeastyness.

M: Quite carbonated but with some syrupy like smoothness to the body. Not unpleasant to drink but not a noteworthy pleasure either.

O: This beer had some interesting parts to it, especially the unexpected sweet fruitiness. At the same time, a lot of mediocre qualities took a lot of attention in this beer and made it hard to give it credit for being anything other than just a bit above average. I like Hitachino and they've really impressed me a couple of times, but this is one of the weaker offerings I've had from them. Wouldn't recommend going to any exceptional length to get a hold of this, or even recommend trying it unless you have some strong interest in doing so.

Photo of SummitVA
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10.10.

A - Gusher. Dark brown pour with ruby highlights around the edges of the glass. Carbonation is not in short supply.

S - Dark fruits (plums, raisins) meld well with the earthiness (almost a mushroom aroma) of the brett. Sweet candy scents married with oaky vanilla. Very promising.

T - Dark malts and sweet brown sugar. Earthiness of brett is very forward and lingers on the palate. Some sharp tannins from the oak and a bit of alcohol heat.

M - Lighter side of medium.

O - I'm a big fan of this beer and always happy to find a bottle. Delicious.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a ruby brown color, with a sea foam bubbly tan head. The head has decent retention and leaves webs of lace. It looks quite light for a Strong Ale at this point.

Smell: Very Belgian-y. Dark malts, cloves, Belgian spice blend. Some oak and vanilla is present from the aging, but I do not really get any sake in the nose.

Taste: It starts with a caramel sweetness, with cloves, some dark fruits, red apples, and grapes. Cloves, a bit of spice, some oak, and then a blast of sake carries the flavor home. It is fairly well done, even if the sake totally takes over the end.

Mouthfeel: The body is very light, even watery, especially for the style, with an absolute ton of carbonation. The sake imparts a dryness that grows during and as a consequence of each sip. Slightly tart right at the end.

Overall: The sake cask aging was interesting, but the feel is so light, and there is a lingering dryness that makes it tougher to drink. The complexity redeems it somewhat, but I still probably won't have this again.

Photo of harrymel
1.08/5  rDev -71.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A: stubby bottle with a rubber top. The cap is difficult to remove - several crimps almost like it was stuck to the bottle top with glue or syrup. Okay, now I will pour this turbid, brown and carbonated solution to my globe. Two fingers of peanut & maple colored head falls in couple minutes to rolling hills of the same. Lacing is cobweb.

S: So, um, when I used to live in a double-wide we used to make sandwiches with whatever was left in the house. This one is made with vinegar, apple skins and american cheese. But after we made the sandwich, we then ran it through a pvc pipe with some acetone as the buffer/lube.

T: Jesus! chemical and solvent. Festering kumquats and cap’n crunch. Okay, one more time: I struggle to understand some of the scattalogical behavior I’ve witnessed in certain German Sheizer films, but I’m nearly certain this represents the sensory experience. I can understand Eric Cartman’s sentiment on the issue.

M: Who the fuck cares. This beer is shit. FWIW - my mouth is so dry. So dry.

O: Read above.

Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 615 ratings.