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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

625 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 625
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.73%
Wants: 26
Gots: 33 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery visit their 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
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 625 | Reviews: 338 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
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
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
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
4.88/5  rDev +29.4%
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
2.79/5  rDev -26%
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
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
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
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
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
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
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
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
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
1.09/5  rDev -71.1%
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.

Photo of chadlebald
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I almost fell like i should review this beer twice--my initial take and then where i netted out!

Thr aroma immediately said this was a sour - and i wasn't expecting that. Though I do like sours so it wasn't a bad thing.

Lots of carbonation from the get-go--almost champagne like.

The taste threw me for a loop, no doubt about it. I couldn't place my finger on it - a funk of sorts; maybe musty. Had a dryness to it as well. My initial reaction was "interesting...I can drink it down but dont think I'd get it again."

But as I honored my 'obligation' to finish it, something happened-- I liked it lots. The mustiness morphed somewhat into an musty-earthiness. And sour apples too.

I didn't get much alcohol, for good or worse.

I'd love to have this with some sushi--something tells me it would go great with albacore...

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.

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

served into a snifter chilled.

Color: A blend of Autumn colors: burnt orange, light red, and brown. Very nice off white head and with little to no lacing.

Nose: Vinegar,plenty of cherry, and dried fruits(think trail mix). Also very present is an assortment of wild and spicy spices.

Palate: It floats on the tongue. A nice soft body with no trace of alcohol. Plenty of sweet and gentle fruit. Definitely plenty of sake influence here.

Finish: Clean ,tasty and of medium length. The taste of Cinnamon and Coriander come through, even some really ripe orange and cherry explode on the finish.

Photo of jera1350
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep burnt orange hue with lots of sediment. The head is thick and frothy and retains well.

Has a bit of a lambic sour to the nose. Sour fruit with some floral and herbal notes.

Quite a bit of hot booze in the taste. Picking up sake, a strong musky wood, caramel and herbal flavors. A touch of fruit. The alcohol is very noticeable and it actually tastes just like sake.

Over-carbonated. It really acts up in the mouth and the bottle was a little bit of a slow gusher. Medium bodied with a hot and dry finish.

I like the creativity with the sake casks. The alcohol is a pretty dang strong however. This tastes and feels like a twelve percent beer, not a seven. Definitely worth a try if you are into sake or want a beer that is one of a kind.

Photo of saintwarrick
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light brown almost brunt orange color to this brew; some decent lacing which quickly deteriorates. Aroma is spicy; some figs and vanilla and a dominating woodsy characteristic left over from the cask aging. Also an alcohol tinge which I can only assume is sake mixed with a sour citrusy flavor. Sweet malts with a slight bit or sour and oak stand out in the taste. Boozy aroma is well hidden in the taste, though this is a big brew. One of the most unique brews I have had.

Photo of justintcoons
4.74/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me just say that the bottle exploded when I popped the cap and I lost half of this wonderful beer. :(

A: Pours a cloudy mahogany with 1 finger of head that dissipates quickly.

N: Brown sugar, plums, raisins and Belgian candy sugar.

T: Ripe dark fruits and candy sugar that fade into deep brown sugar, molasses, black licorice and tobacco.

M: Medium bodied, creamy and smooth.

D: Very good drinkability and a fantastic beer! Very unique! I will be picking up more of these.

Photo of aasher
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had looked this one up the other day then found a single bottle behind a bunch of clutter at work. Score! The second I even thought about popping it open it began foaming. It gushed all over my counter but I only lost a couple ounces. This beer pours a muddied brown with ruby highlights and a one finger light beige head. The foam dissipated over a couple minute span and laced the glass. The aromas are pretty sweet. I didn't expect that at all. I've never had sake, so don't know what it smells like, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't smell like this. It's very fruity. It really reminds me of Dogfish Head's Red and White. It smells like it has light wine barrel aging to it. The flavors are sweet and fruity. There are dark fruits as well as some citrus and it finishes with an alcohol flavor that I can't quite pin down (probably the sake). Unfortunately, this off alcohol flavor is the main flavor of the after taste. It too bad because it is pretty fruity and pretty flavorful. I like it for the most part but the off flavor drives down the drinkability a tad. Pretty good beer overall.

Photo of boudreaux
2.51/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: crazy amounts of carbonation; almost overflows out of the bottle the second I pop the top; pours a hazy murky brown (kinda like muddy water), but no yeast sediment is present; little/no lacing

S: weird; mix of sweet, spice, and sour from the sake; dark fruit notes also noticeable as the brew warms

T: dark fruit up front, along with sour and earthy flavors from the sake and oak flavors from the casking; smokey and herbal, also probably from the sake; alcohol flavor comes through at the end, at first light but stronger as the brew warms; a strange sweet flavor persists throughout

M: kinda sticky, with a medium body that is lightened by the carbonation; not terrible to drink

O: not sure what to do with this one; if you sake notes were gone, I think I'd like it a lot more; I really like sake by itself, but it just doesn't work when combined with the beer

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Absolutely impossible to pour, took about 10 minutes. Even with careful pouring. Ridiculous.
Nose has a big funky brett character alongside woddy hints, light fruit and complex spices. Wasn't a fan at first but it's grown on me now.
Wierd mix of flavours, sweet at first with a faint sour character following before the booze cuts in and dominates right through the finish. Hard to really pick much up under the sake and alcohol.
Carbonation is too high.
Surely this is a bad bottle. May revisit but considering the price, I'd hate to be disappointed again.

Photo of andrenaline
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been wanting to grab a bottle of this for some time...

A - Pours a murky swamp water brown with a finger of head with some retention and no real lacing.

S - Unique scent on this one with some ginger and breaded caramel malts, followed by some cloves and pepper on the finish.

T - Not you typical Belgian Dark Ale as the ginger flavours seem to dominate over the traditional Belgian flavours. A bitter lemon hop flavour also lingers alongside the bready caramel and wooden cedar flavours. A bit of ABV sweetness and heat is also detectable, but is not offensive.

M - Medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and finishes with a noticeable dryness (not to be interpreted as a turnoff).

D - A very tasty take on a Belgian Dark Ale and definitely worth a try. Hitachino seems to offer some very tasty beers, and I will be sure to check out more of their product line in the future.

Photo of bobhits
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy yeast filled brown/amber color. Leaves a decent amount of head that quickly subsides and leaves a thin creamy head that seems to last the whole beer. Clearly a decent bit of lacing to go with.

Smells like a sour amber. Certainly some alcohol, sour fruits (apples) and it finishes with a bit of caramel. Perhaps a hint of oak much like some oak aged wines subtly have a hit in the finish.

Mind you I don't think sake has any real flavors to speak of, but I'm not really picking up what characters that the barrels added. Perhaps the oak added to this sour flavor and perhaps mellowed some flavors while upping the alcohol, but it's hard to say without having the base beer. There is a literal medley of flavors in this beer. Everything from apples to plumbs followed by a sour subtly hopped finish. Rather good.

I've never thought an 11.2 oz beer was too small for a review but my glass is gone and I'm still trying to decide what I wasted. Extremely drinkable though a touch too watery for its own good.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of evlu1441
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is aged in sake barrels, and it really makes for a unique experience.

Pours a nice dark reddish brown. The head is fluffy and hangs around.

The smell is not outstanding, but nice.

It tastes amazing! Completely unique, and in a good way! It has a very roasty malty flavour, but a bit of sourness. not too sweet, but there is a kind of "funkyness" that I assume comes from the sake that is really unique, but hard to describe.

I really enjoyed this one!

Photo of metter98
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of MatthewPatthew
3.21/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got a bottle from Texas Wine & Spirits in Carlsbad, CA. Seems to be in pretty good shape.

A: Surprisingly pretty. opaque, vibrant red with a long lasting, uniform, white head.

S: Alcohol, big malt sweetness and caramel. Just a hint of hops, though I imagine if it were fresher they would be more present. Reminds me of Stone's Old Guardian. Slightly harsh, but generally enjoyable.

T: A relatively unremarkable malt flavor leads off. The Sake aging hits midway through the flavor profile. The finish is dry with a lasting alcoholic impression. Malt/Undefined -> Sake -> Dryness/High Alcohol.

M: Highly carbonated. The CO2 makes up for what is otherwise on the light side of a light-med body. That makes the alcohol more apparent; it feels like a bigger beer than 7%.

D: Interesting beer. Worth trying and worth buying again to show your friends, as the Sake profile is pleasant and unique. However, I would say that this beer is too big for it's own good. The alcohol is too overwhelming for the body and other flavors to handle. A promising concept.

Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 625 ratings.