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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

634 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 634
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.73%
Wants: 26
Gots: 36 | 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
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Ratings: 634 | Reviews: 338 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SleepyMonk
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle poured into a sniffer.

Dark body that draws a comparison to tea due to the strong resemblance. Generates a tightly bound thick tan head holding steady at just on 2 fingers - falls away with lace present down the glass.

The nose picks up a sweet ginger character that is slightly confusing at first. Yeast blends with mild citrus also.

Taste falls into the sour quadrant with caramelized malt features kicking along with pepperish spice and pine character. The barrel aging is definitely delivered however the promise of sake isn't quite full filled.

Moderate and medium carbonation and body with a non-traditional package of flavors, this beer drops its character on you upfront and a complex fade towards the end when it dries away rather nicely.

Photo of Stigs
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber liquid with floating sediment hoists up a very thick layer of frothy tan foam. huge amounts of lace stick to thesides of the glass after each sip.

S - very dry piney hops, almost gin-like. a unique layer of spices dances underneath, cinnamon, clove, caraway seeds. some vinegar and alcohol finish it off.

T - well, its certainly unique. a lightly sweet ale with some moderate caramel and piney hops is joined by a small dose of gin, and that distinctive sake flavor in the finish.

M - very thin body, carbonation is moderate if not a bit light. finishes very dry and tingly with some very present alcohol and piney hops.

D - unique one here...i can taste (and smell) the sake influence though i wouldnt think it was sake-aged. much more hoppy than expected, goes down considerably easy though wears after a bit. leave it to the Japanese for something like this.

Photo of BMoney575
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 7-4-10
H.10.03 printed on the bottle.

Pours a very cloudy amber/orange color with a filmy white head and big rings of lacing that quickly settle.

Smell is very sweet and fruity, but at the same time malty and complex. If I knew what sake smelled like, I would probably pick that up too. Very nice.

Taste is just like the smell, lots of light fruit and spices. The taste is almost like an imperial wit. Very sweet, the malt is right up front followed by a surprising hoppy kick.

Mouthfeel is good, very creamy and slick to complement the sweetness.

Drinkability is good, but the flavors are on the heavy side.

Overall, a little pricey, but still a well made beer.

Photo of juju7
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm in a good mood and I had just finished a glass of quality sake before I had this which I think actually enhanced the phenolic influence from the sake casks. Every now and then you have a beer that reminds you that it isn't a competition to see who can make the best beer in the world. If there were more beers like this in the average bar or bottle shop I would be a happy chappy. Dark ochre in colour with some pleasant pine driven op aromas up front tailed by caramel malt goodness. A full bodied mouthfeel with some more of those piney hops and phenolics, balanced with unobtrusive but obvious bitterness. Smooth, tasty, delish.

Photo of matjack85
2.47/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I found this squatty 330ml brown bottle at the Binny's in Glen Ellyn, IL for $2.99 if you have a Binny's card - $3.99 without one.

Be careful when you open this. Mine started bubbling over the top the moment I removed the cap. Despite a slow pour I got a head so large it easily filled up 80% of the glass. It made an incredible fluffy white head that seemed to last forever. When it finally settled down, the beer ended up being a cloudy color somewhere between dark gold and light brown and it left tons of lacing.

The beer has a somewhat unpleasant funky barnyard smell with some fruit in the background.

I did not care for this at all. The beer is stored in sake barrels for 3 months and it shows. I never care for a beer when the alcohol is the dominating flavor, and that, unfortunately, is the case with this beer. Under the alcohol there are some nice flavors of malt, a touch of fruit, and even a slight chocolate flavor, but I wish they were more dominant instead of the alcohol.

The mouthfeel is OK - smooth and creamy with only moderate carbonation spritz, which sort of surprised me considering the beer bubbled over upon opening.

I guess I'm not a fan of sake casked beers because I had a hard time finishing this one.

Photo of jjanega08
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A= pours an extremely hazy dark amber color with a lot of floaties in it and a lot of bubbles. The head only gets to about a finger high but stays there for a good amount of time with the bubbles replenishing it. The lacing is pretty decent.

S= The smell is pretty interesting. It smells pretty bready and I feel like I wanna say I get some hops. I get a little cinnimon sort of smell to it. The bottle says it is matured in sake casks and I've never had sake so I'm sure I'm picking up some of that but I haven't registered that in the ol noggin. There is also a distinct yeasty smell.

T= The taste is just as unique as the smell. I get some good bready yeasty notes in it as well as a nice sweet malt to it. There is for sure a little hop bitterness in it as well. The finish is totally different from anything I've ever had before however and I assume that's sake. I can't explain this taste. I wanna say it tastes like your basement smells but it's not quite like that. A little different. Totally new to me.

M= Super dry finish. Light beer for a Strong ale.

D= I'm not too sure what category this beer would fit into. American Strong Ale is a catch all but I don't think this fits into that category. Decent brew but nothing spectacular. I wish I had more sake cask beers to stack up against this.

Photo of DIM
3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a: This was a clear, shiny, ruby tinted coppery color. It poured with a thick, sticky, frothy cap.

s: Srange is the first word that comes to mind. This was more appealing than the following description might lead yoy to believe. I found rubbing alcohol, oak, plastic, floral spiciness, and something cola-like.

t: Kind of bland, not what I was expecting based on the smell. The rubbing alcohol is pretty strong, in fact it was the dominant flavor. There was some muted spiciness and something medicinal.

m: Medium bodied with very active, foamy carbonation.

d: I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was excited to try something so exotic sounding. I was let down though, this just wasn't for me.

Photo of speter
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Explosive pour (yes, I'm crying over spilled beer) a cloudy dark amber wiht a huge tan head that slowly dies to a ring around the edge with lacing overall.

S: The sake is very present in the nose, as is roasted malt and belgian-type yeast smell. Japanese Belgian?

T: Unbelievably complex. It starts with a burst of malty sweetness in the front, along with spice and rice-like sake overtones. The center has a brett-like cask tannin bite to it. The finish is bracingly dry, with a lingering sake aftertaste.

M: The heavy carbonation offsets the tannins and sake sweetness. Difficult to tell if the alcohol perception was in the mouth or in the nose.

D: This was an amazing beer, but ultimately it bordered on being just a bit too complex. One serving was great, but I feel it'd be pushing it with two.

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

Tried this beer before but was not impressed. Back for round #2.

The beer is poured from 330ml bottle. The beer is a dark brown with a two finger tan head which recedes to a tiny layer of bubbles, some lacing on the glass.

The smell consists of yeast with a sour note and some citrus.

Just like the smell you can taste the yeast with the sour, the citrus is there as well and a pleasant bitter after taste.

Mouth feel is really good with about a medium carbonation.

This is a really good beer. I am glad I gave it a second shot. I would definitely go for round #3.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

American Strong Ale eh, Uh whatever you say beer website. 12oz bottle procured in dirty jersey and poured into the snifter with Oglmcdgl.

Basketball orange with some light reddish intertwined and some golden trim towwards the side. I could use some golden trim right about now. A healthy 1/2 inch of ivory white foam lives and than dies but is brought back with da swirl. A skim of bubbles, small streaks of lace.

This smells innoculated with the funky stuff. It comes off bretty in the nose reminding me of Avery 15th when it was fresh and aged for that matter. Sake blasts off with a small amount of ginger and a light pale malt. A nice amount of yeast gives off some juicy fruit. Some light perfume, smells like a bretted saison.

I was not expecting this much flavor and it's oh so different and tasty. I've been kind of shying away from beer because I run into the same tastes for many styles, I mean how many rizzez can you have and not run into a recipe that closely resembles many others from the past. This Hitachino restores my faith. A funky saison in taste but a bit maltier with a weird seweetness. The taste is not as crazy as the nose leads on. Small malt in the beginning going into a sake taste with light ginger(although I may be just thinking that) a spicy finish. A nice amount of rice and just a bit of the wood, which is great, to much wood would of killed this. Funky.

A slick and kinda oily ride when going down the hatch. The carb is there but it is minimal but kinda stingy. Just a hit of bitterness and more of a earthy hay ride with brett or funk or sake, either way works. With some swishes in the mouth the oak tannins come out just a bit more with a spicy finish.

Well I'm getting more of this stuff, this is good enough for a case purchase IMO. I cant believe I held out this long. Great stuff with great drinkability with a light alcohol level considering the barrel aging. If your into weird beer, this will be right up your alley with weird being a good thing.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle split with the byrd. Poured into the ever so popular duvel snifter.

A- a gush from the bottle when opening. Pours a ruddy dark orange with golden edges. Nice big billowy two fingers of head with spots of lace.

S- clove studded orange peel with cinnamon and wild rice. Touches of banana bread.

T- Nice big malty sweetness,and wild rice. Wood and a bit of the sake. Spices galore, nutmeg, cloves, hints of cinnamon, cardimon. I'm getting some bretty quality is it from the cask or did they add the yeast I don't know.

M- medium body and bit more in carb. Super dry and long linger.

D- we got some very interesting stuff here. Extremely complex but very drinkable. Ill have to try some more of hitachinos offerings.

Photo of Drazzamatazz
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had heard a rumor that this one had some funk, but I never really thought much about it, I figured it was just a strong ale in sake casks, boy was I wrong.
I'm assuming this was purposely inoculated? Or maybe it just became infected but in a very good manner.

A: Again, I was not expecting this, big time gusher. Lost at least 1/6th if not a quarter of the bottle. Very large bubbly head. Nice amber hue.

S: Definitely something going on here. I get the definite notes of a very dry sake, almost to the point of souring though like a rice wine vinegar. At the same time there was some fruit, definitely apples, present. Finishing aroma was almost like a mirin that had been spilled on some hay.

T: Lots of funk. Starts off a little sweet and sour but then an almost astringent taste is present. There seems to be some brett in this thing giving off its typical funky flavors. I was not expecting this, but I like it.

M: Very carbonated and medium full on the palate.

D: The astringency/bitterness in the funky flavor is too much to drink multiple of these. Still, very surprising and quite different from what I expected, definitely one I will revisit.

Photo of WOTO97
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Based on other posts, my insane carbonation on this little guy seems par for the course. As a result, a huge frothy head sits on top a hazy, cider-like color, accompanied by some sticky lacing. Surprising barn-yard nose afronts pear and grass notes. Grape and faint citrus notes on the front and mid palate, along with some soft vanilla and very faint smokiness. Nice smooth mouthfeel despite high carbonation accompanied by a nice warming finish.

Photo of fropones
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Golden brown with about a finger and a half of ecru head with some nice lace.

S - Very interesting aroma. Somewhat funky, somewhat spicy. Some oak and sweetness as well.

T - Quite different. Some oak and malt in here, sweetness, and at the same time quite light and airy. Caramel, tobacco, funk, delicious. Not sure if this is inoculated with brett, but I wouldn't be surprised.

M - Light body, nice carbonation, some creaminess.

D - Drinks very nicely. Somewhat light, very enjoyable.

Photo of Rippeddisc
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Puhi Cigar/Wine Shop, Kauai, Hawaii

A - dark amber. very sticky 3 finger head. surprising :P

S - hints of fruit, apple? cherry?

T/M - Well that's rather lovely. Starts off with some good malty sweetness and finishes impressively tart. I would be curious to taste the sake that was in the casks to see how much of the flavor was imparted. Good mouth presence with lots of lingering bitterness. Recommend a bit warmer than just out the fridge.

D - Dont see why one couldnt have a few of these. Would want it at the end as the bite could kill the pallet for later.

Photo of brendan13
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark copper colour with 2cm of off white head that slowly dissipates.
S - Quite a fruity citrus aroma with some oak and spice hints. Bit of sweetish caramel malt.
T - Some fruitiness also in the taste but dominated by oak & spice flavours with some sweet caramel malt also coming through.
M - Medium bodied, suprisingly high carbonation.
D - A nice enough beer worth trying.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My disclaimer: I love Sake. Even the lowly hot Sake. And especially the unfiltered stuff,

My disclaimer, part II: I am quite fond of Nest beers.

A - Pours a deep chestnut-amber hue, very rich looking, with an off-white head that settles into random whisps and little sheets of lace.

S - The aroma is very faint, but it is of Sake and a vaguely floral element. Delicate.

T - Tastes delicious; notes of tobacco, wood, and bran, with rich nutty and floral impressions too.

M - Very light for the richness inherent. Well-carbonated, but so smooth and creamy. Great Sake aftertaste after a while.

D - Pairs exceptionally with spicy food.

Photo of cwc
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've recently become more interested in trying stronger beers and I came across this bottle of Hitachino 8% at a shop here in Tokyo so I thought I'd give it a go.

Basically, for someone who isn't necessarily a fan of strong beers, this one was very drinkable and the taste or smell of alcohol wasn't too overwhelming.

Photo of OneDropSoup
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A little disclaimer -- I have no idea what sake tastes like. I don't think that discredits me from reviewing this, but I'll admit that maybe I don't have the full context. That said...

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Deep orange-ish brown (chestnut?) with three fingers of lumpy beige head. Falls to one finger but retains well. Splotches of lacing all over.

Smells of oranges & grapes. A little on the malty side, with just a hint of caramel peeking through. A little pepper, too.

Starts with sharp, dark fruit flavors & quickly turns dry. Sugary sweetness around the edge that reminds me of a lot of Belgian darks, but not defined by that at all. Ends with a decent combination of sweet, dark syrup, & bitterness like grape skins. Booze is fairly prominent for a beer on the light side of strong.

Mouthfeel is nice & full, velvety with carbonation. Dries out & makes me salivate a little.

Not bad, but I doubt I'd go for it again. Possibly if I became more familiar with sake my appreciation of it would grow. Can't say I love the interplay of sugary & dry, but definitely had something to offer.

Photo of dirtylou
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz stubby Owl bottle - single at Star

appearance: poured into an unbranded chalice - murky amber-apricot body, light white ring

smell: interesting nose - very woody, especially oak and cedar, nice tartness, funky, vanilla

taste: Very interesting beer - sake notes are more distinguishable in the flavor profile...great sourness, wet cedar, oak, clove, tobacco. Difficult to describe as this is very original - tart cherry, sour melon, funky and distinct

mouthfeel: dry, high tartness

drinkability: finish makes it a little challenging, but this is a beer worth seeking out for sure

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was tempted to serve this in choko, but decided against it, seeing as how the serving size would be so miniscule and the opacity of the ceramic drinkware would prevent me from gauging the beer's appearance. So, I settled on an egg-shaped liqueur glass instead.

Poured from an 11.2 oz. brown bottle. Served at cellar temperature, 45 degrees F.

Pours a slightly hazy reddish-copper hue with a thick creamy off-white head. Head retention is quite nice, falling away slowly and leaving behind a little stick on the walls of the glass before settling into a fat collar.

The nose is a little restrained. Mild notes of sour cherry and raisin appear, with just a faint bit of caramel and a little hint of spice. A little reminiscent of something like a Belgian-style Dubbel.

Medium-bodied and moderately carbonated. The overall sensations on the palate once again harken to a Belgian-style ale: sweet caramel up front with a hint of candi sugar; the middle meets with peppery spice and bitter hops, with a little bit of alcohol combining with those to dry things mightily; carries on into a bit of oakiness with some caramel and dark fruit appearing around the edges and at the very back, all before finishing with a hint of caramel popping in before a heavy dryness that lingers for a while, with a little bit of sake-like character showing through in the aftertaste.

Not very drinkable overall, with the flavors seeming all a little out of balance. I was hoping for a bit more sake character, but being aged in casks that held distilled sake, that could explain things a little. Still, a pleasantry if only a once-in-a-lifetime quaff. The concept of aging in sake casks sounds interesting, though, and I'd certainly like to see some brewers (Japanese or otherwise) take up the practice, perhaps with lighter base beers that will allow the character to show through better. Some interesting brews would undoubtedly result.

Photo of weatherdog
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on tap in a 13oz Hitachino stubby tulip shaped pint glass at Bavarian Lodge in Lisle Il

It pours a lively reddish brown with a 2 finger head. The beer was pretty cloudy and lots carbonation bubbles were surfacing.

The aroma was pretty muted for what I would expect from the description. It had some wood and cherry type fruit notes mixed in with some nice Brett funk.

The taste was nice and tart with some fruit notes. It reminded me of a flanders style beer at first. Some wood came through as well. I'm sad to say that I've never partook in drinking sake so I cannot report on any influence in this beer. Overall it had a decent funky brett flavor profile but everything seemed muddled and sloppy. The carbonation was on the high side and became distracting forcing me to take smaller sips in order to savor the beer properly. An interesting beer for sure and glad to find it on tap.

Photo of BeerNemesis
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Hitachino Nest XH (Matured in Sake Casks). 11.2 oz.

Pours a thick, dark, brooding hazy orange. A very small spungy white head quickly diminishes; moderate lacing. Infrequent bubbles rise with agitation.

Funky! Tart vinegary cedar upfront. Alcoholic sake also wafts upwards pretty quickly. Dry and musty, woody and thick --staunch smells come on thick and heavy.

The flavor is complex and brooding. Theres a dark, earthy malt upfront, swaddled in alcoholic sake, and soaked in cedar. Toffee and raisiny sweetness lingers in the mouth well after the swallow. Finishes oaky and warm, and just a little bit sweet. The flavor assaulted me at first, but as it warms up, it also gets slightly sweeter and more rounded. Hops are not a major force here: a little bitterness in the finish and that's all.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Thick, bouncy and full in the mouth. Carbonation is not major, but it sort of picks up towards the end of a long pull. The body floats in, smooth and dry with every sip, leaving a burnt, woody taste hanging on the palate. Only moderately drinkable. The rice alcohol is a little too strong to make this worth having in large quantities, but it definitely grows on you.

There's some sediment on the bottom. I was surprised how quickly the infusion of sake and cedar grew on me. By the end of the bottle I was positively enjoying it!

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

Im starting to really appreciate this brewery after their first few brews that i tasted as they have definately been different and tasty whcih is a good thing in my books anyways this brew pours a deep mahohany hue with nice carbonation that leaves a one finger creamy,cloudy head and a subtle ring of lacing which clings to the glass after every sip,the aroma is sweet but not with toffee,caramel notes first up followed by an underlying piney hop aroma,it has a full mouthfeel almost like a fine whiskey with carbonation and has tastes of cherries,toffee,caramel and finishes with a citrus,bitter piney finish and suprisingly the 8% ABV is very well hidden,overall not bad and will buy again.

Photo of Mora2000
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Travita for sharing this beer.

The beer pours an orangish-amber color with a tan head. The aroma is basic caramel malt with some fruit and yeast. The flavor is completely different, with brett funk, citrus fruit and a good amount of tartness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 634 ratings.