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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 FLima
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown color, a bit murky, with a beige head with a good retention.
Smell of sweet malt with some piney hops, and touches of condiments.
Complex flavor of sweet toasted malts and oak with spicy, citric, piney and fruity from its hops. Hints of plum and predominant oak with sake liquor that lingers until its finish, along with a bitterness and dryness.
Full body with a medium carbonation and small bubbles. The 8% ABV is fairly hidden.
Really interesting beer, I was not expecting such complexity from a Japanese beer. Although a Belgian Brown Ale, it reminded me of a Barley wine, too.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving type: 11.2-ounce bottle. A batch code is printed on the back label but there is no discernable freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The color is murky caramel/amber. There is quite a bit of hovering sedimentation. Two fingers of off-white head dissipated to leave a ring around the edge and a thin lacing.

Smell: There is a lot going on. It is sharp and pungent, sweet and sour. There is pepper and woody spice almost reminiscent of pine. Perhaps, though, it is the oak from the aging process. Basically, it imparts that boozy, aged aroma. It also smells like clove and cinnamon, or something Christmasy. Caramel, sake, plum, raisins, and prunes.

Taste: It has a creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel. The flavors are not as potent as the aromas; there is a lot more balance compared to the craziness of the smell. The woodiness is very prominent, as well as the spice and sake. Caramel, plum, and molasses stand out. As it warms, a little citrus begins to emerge as well. It leaves a warm, spicy aftertaste lingering on the roof of my mouth.

Drinkability: This is a unique and strange little beast. Loads of complexity and I like the fact it is aged in sake casks. Tasty and powerful, this is well-made stuff.

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

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Murky brown body under a massive head that fills the tulip (and then some) with ultra fine tan foam. Terrific, rocky retention and spotty lace. Great.

S: What?! Craziness, that's what. Oak, pepper, fruity sake, and some more raw oak. A little sour, a little spicy, and just great.

T: Follows the nose, with even more emphasis on teh oak. Vanilla and coconut up front, followed by some robust, slightly sour fruitiness, and closed out by spiritous oak. Dry, spicy finish. Wonderful.

M: Supple, creamy, frothy carbonation. Nice.

O: Wow, I was not prepared for this. It was unlike any other beer I've had, and in a fascinatingly delicious way. I really need to try some shochu, as the barrel presence in this beer was delightful.


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Photo of rudzud
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting a long time to try this one after missing out on it at a fest. Julio's finally got this sucker in after over a year. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a slightly hazy deep copper hue with a one finger head that faded quickly to leave light wisps and a light thin halo.

S - Light malty sweetness and caramel comes out as this warms. Definitely some wood notes as well as clear and true sake. Lightly boozy and fruity (more pineapple and dark fruits, but barely).

T - Hrm, well, this is different. More of that caramel malty sweetness With more faint, faint sweeter fruits (kinda sorta light pineapple). That sake really comes out as it warms. Quite distinct flavour indeed. Sake really lingers on the aftertaste.

M - Mouthfeel is solid. Nicely carbonated, not too boozy. Not syrupy or heavy. Quite pleasant.

O - Overall this was worth the wait for me. The sake really compliments this beer. Very interesting and unique flavour profile. I dig it.

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

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, 11.03 bottle code. Pours very hazy dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, apple, pear, prune, pepper, caramel, molasses, clove, earth, toast, chocolate, oak, and yeast spiciness. Damn nice and very unique aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of raisin, prune, molasses, grape, toast, chocolate, caramel, pepper, clove, earth, oak, wheat, and yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of dark fruits, chocolate, caramel, molasses, clove, pepper, oak, earth, and yeast spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Excellent balance and complexity of flavors; zero cloying flavors after the finish. I have no idea what sake tastes like alone, but I would imagine the unique fruitiness in this beer is that character. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a slick, creamy, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian dark ale! Very unique with the sake cask aging, and it seems to work out great. Nicely complex and balanced. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: cloudy brown body with one finger head. good amount of lacing.

S: Malt, brown sugar, caramel. Nice.

T: Quite unique. It tastes like your standard Belgian quad or strong ale (caramel malt, dark fruits) and as the alcohol taste opens up, the beer changes to something a bit funkier. You certainly don't taste the sake or shochu (I am Korean and I call it Soju), but soju barrel aging added some complexity in a good way. I can taste the alcohol but it's not too boozy.

M: Good amount of carbonation, medium thickness for the style.

O: Surprisingly awesome! It just may be my personal taste though, but I thought this beer was unique and tasty.

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

Seved into a pint glass

Darker amber with a creamy head.

Smells of a strong ale/Belguim is distinct.

Taste was impressive. Faint sake but very nice strong ale flavor.

Nice thickness of brew with good carbonation.

Not dissapointed with this brew one bit. Happy to have it again if I can only remember where I bought this...

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Photo of seand
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy brown with a small amount of thick off-white head. It dissipates to a ring around the edge but manages to leave pretty good streaks of lacing.

S: Thick malt and yeast, with noticeable sake (though I'm looking for it so it's not so surprising that I'm finding it).

T: Medium spiced malt, fruit notes, and something else which I'll attribute to the sake barrels. Finish is sweet and hoppy like an English IPA.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, somewhat dry.

Overall, pretty good, and pretty different. It's not my favorite beer but it's definitely worth trying.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is brown with some amber in its color. Decent head at pour but disappates,to some head remaining around the reim of the glass. Smell is of molasses but also comes with a decent amount of booziness - definitely can detect the presence of Saki but it's not overpowering. Taste is consistent with the smell but leaves me wanting a bit more.

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Photo of Amalak
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A. A nice copper color with a good deal of foam off-white head and lacing. Tons of sediment.

S. Very strong sweet, scent.

T. Very strong and highly unique taste. Good grape and watermelon taste. Some hops. Smooth.

M. A bit tart aftertaste, but not overbearing.

O. It's a balanced sweetness with hops, but a unique under current that is good, but the first sip is intense.

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

a clean amber/light brown pour with a thin layer of head throughout the drink. smells of sour grapes, yeast, raisins, and heavy booze (rum).
taste is surprisingly sweet with a very weird aftertaste (i guess this is the sake barrel aging?). very fruity notes of plum, apricot, raisin, dates. medium body with a decent amount of carbonation, leaving a slight amount of cream on the lips, and a warm sensation from the heavy abv.

not a bad beer, more of an old ale than a belgian dark though. nothing to write home about, but i don't regret trying it!

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

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter. Date stamp on bottle says "XH 12 02".

Appearance: Cloudy-translucent coppery-orange-brown. Off white head died back pretty quickly on pouring to just a ring at the edge. Tiny islands of lacing noted but they would slide back down the side of the glass.

Smell: Yeast, hint of phenol, pineapple, hint of orange, caramelized malt....but this is on the swirl. Let the foam die back and the aroma is just mildly fruity at first, but as it warms up there is that distinctive Sake smell. Quite an interesting beer.

Taste: Lots of flavors going on here - hard to pull them all out. When first poured and still a bit cold the beer was more sweet in character and reminded me of a Belgian dark. But as it warmed up, more flavors came out and leave everything crammed together. Caramelized malts and Belgian-style yeast flavors up front (lots of fruit), then some warming alcohol in the middle with some Sake flavor. The finish is best when the beer has warmed up with definite orange citrus and spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation, but otherwise thick and a bit creamy. Some hop oils definitely sticking to the teeth with this one.

Overall/Drinkability: A very interesting beer and it's hard to characterize. It has aspects of a Belgian dark...and it's not a Belgian dark. I'd almost say it would be a better match for a Belgian Strong Pale Ale instead - reminds me of Duvel at times. But even if it is misclassified, it's still a good beer. A slow sipper and a one-at-a-time beer (I don't think I could finish a second in one evening) it's definitely something that grabs your attention. Interesting enough that I could see buying it again though, and so while only one per evening with this one, I think it's still quite drinkable in that I'd be willing to lay down some money again for this one.

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

A: Pours a hazy golden orange to ruby red in color with a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation at the edges of the glass and near the surface. The beer has a half finger tall creamy dark beige head that slowly reduces to a large thin patch with a thin film covering the rest of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of malts with some citrus hops and a definite presence of sake. There is a light aroma of alcohol but that is likely contributed by the sake.

T: Similar to the smell, there is a fairly strong body of malts and a very light presence of sourness that disappears as the beer warms. There are some light notes from the citrus hops and some oak from the barrel aging. Also, there is a fairly strong flavor of sake.

M: On the fuller side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Lightly dry with some light alcohol warming in the finish.

O: While the ABV is not that high for this beer, it is very strong tasting and not the easiest to drink. Enjoyable but one you have to slowly sip on and not one that you could have multiple in a session.

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Photo of jeremy13586
3.64/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle that I had purchased a little while back but kept forgetting to drink. Code on the back label is XH.11.07 and it is also labeled as 7% abv.

Muddy dark crown color. Some orangish amber along the edges where the light hit. One finger of creamy light tan head that didn't last too long. No lacing.

Some sweet, dark fruit and spice. Notes of booze and oak, with a bit of a sake finish. Booze comes out a lot more as it warms.

Very fruity. Plum, raisin, a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. Lots of spice and a little bit of wood and booze. Not very clean of a finish, but the spiciness was pretty nice.

Medium bodied and fairly smooth. Creamy carbonation.

The spiciness of the brew was quite nice, but it did muddy things up a bit. Also, the finish was a bit messy. It's a beer worth trying, but I can't see myself picking this up again.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Murky reddish brown colour with a pinky sized, bubbly white head that settles to thin lacing. Muted aroma and fairly weak for such a high alcohol content. There is some apricot, some sweetness and touches of plum with some burnt sugar and some yeast.

Warm alcohol taste starts to dominate along with some sweet plum and burnt sugar. There is a faint, dark fruits taste to this one as well and it is rounded off with a strong alcohol bitterness.

Smooth and with a huge alcohol kick and lots of warmth. There is almost no carbonation in this one either and the high alcohol content makes it a hard swallow.

Not what I would call a great beer or one that I particularly enjoyed, I'd far prefer to have an actual Belgian brewed one in future.


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Photo of acevenom
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. Pours dark caramel brown with lots of bubbles and a half-finger length biege head that dissipates, leaving a cap of lace on the surface. The aroma is of toffee, dark roasted malts, dark fruits, and yeast. There is some sake in the aroma as well. Flavors of sweet fruits hit the mouth on the first sip. The sake is detectable in the taste. There is some bitterness on the back end as well. The alcohol also detectable in the taste. This is a very unique tasting beer. This beer has a medium to full body and the lively carbonation makes this very easy to drink. Overall, this is a solid beer and an interesting take on the style.

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Epic head. Body is hazy reddish brown, very interesting.
S: Wow that is good. Hits me with apricot, sweet, maybe some melon in there. Pineapple. Some very interesting smells here!
T: A very unique taste here. The fruit sweetness comes through but isn't overpowering. Some yeast and alcohol in there.
M: Sits really nice. Not too heavy, not too bubbly. Some flavor comes through but isn't overpowering.

Overall a pretty good beer. While some aspects were really great like the smell, the taste was good. I wish there had been a little bit more distinctness in the taste but still a really nice drink.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark gold color with one finger of a slight off white head which retains well. The head leaves nice lace on the sides of the glass. The aroma has a sweet dark fruit smell up front along with a slight oakiness and then a sake aroma to finish off the beer. The taste is very intense at parts. Up front there is a sweet dark fruit and slight citrus taste, that taste gives way to a big sake bomb in the middle and back end. The sake flavor comes in intense and dominates. The mouthfeel was low to mod carbonation. Overall this is a very interesting beer, the taste is big and bold, but it is rather unbalanced. I really liked the taste but it needs some smoothing out.

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

Served from bottle, bought at Whole Foods (San Ramon), into a snifter. Drank on 3/27/2012.

A: Light brown, medium head.

S: Pleasant plum and apricot notes.

T: Some hot alcohol, but fruity and delicious. Not feeling the barrel flavors, but maybe they co-mingle with the fruity ones. Some caramel sweetness, but not overly present.

M: Creamy and enjoyable mouthfeel.

O: Very good. Would buy again once in a blue moon.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.12/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

7% ABV according to my label. 11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an EKU 28 snifter in me gaff in Los Angeles, California. Acquired at the Whole Foods in Glendale. I've had a couple beers from this brewery and I remember liking them in a general sense but none stuck out. I chose this one because I don't know that I've had a beer aged in sake casks afore. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, and good retention considering the relatively high ABV. Pours a nontransparent chestnut. Opaque. No yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Clean malts dominate. An oak tone. Hints of sake. Raisin, fig. Light fruit esters. Hints of light oily hops. A light strength aroma.

T: Oak and hints of bright fruit esters over a clean malt foundation. Subtle. I get sake only in the third act, and it isn't particularly special. A bit out of place actually. Some yeast comes through, along with oily hops (also especially in the third act, which is too bitter). Hints of cherry. Some light caramelized malt. Not horribly complex, but interesting. No real layering.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A touch too thick. Some coarseness throughout. I wouldn't call it slick. Adequately carbonated.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. I wouldn't have it again, but I'm glad I tried it. I like that it's experimental, but it's strange for the alleged style. Sake just doesn't go well alongside beer in this case. The third act is bad.


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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a squat 11.2 oz (333 ml) bottle into a goblet. Pours a silty, iced-tea brown, with a 1/2" frothy white head that redues to a thin skim.

Has a sweet, yeasty aroma, with tangy banana, biscuity malt, maple, and burnt sugar. There's an underlying oakiness, likley from the sake casking.

Starts with a decent amount of tanginess and faint alcohol, mellowing into a maple/sugar sweet taste, finishing slightly bitter. Hints of grapes present as it warms.

Has a dry mouthfeel, with a bit of astringency to finish.

A decent brew, which gets better as it warms. The sake casking it quite evident in its aroma and somewhat in the taste. Pleasant enough, but not one I'd rush out to have again at $4 a bottle.

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Photo of mercyfulfate
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a rich copper/deep brown, with about a quarter inch of head that sticks around. Good amount of lacing.

S: Dark fruits and oak. Faint hint of Sake.

T: Packs a pretty hefty punch. Get the dark fruits up front with a hint of the sake as it goes down. Crisp finish to it.

M: Well carbonated, flavors dance around on the palette before a smooth finish.

O: Overall this beer seems heavier than it's ABV. Good well done Dark Ale from Hitachino. Another great beer from this brewery.

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Photo of rangerred
3.64/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance is a hazy, murky dark brown with a very tiny head that quickly disappears. Pretty good lacing, though.

Smells woody and yeasty. A mixture of dark fruit is present along with a tiny bit of funk.

There is a lot going on in terms of flavor. A lot of dark fruit is there up front but there is also wood and the sake is apparent. Clove and yeast is quite prominent as well along with cinnamon and other spices. There is an ever increasing dryness throughout that lingers on the back of the throat long after the finish.

Overall this is a pretty interesting beer. The variety of flavors is quite interesting but the intense dryness can get to be a bit too much. If that was tuned down I could score this a few points higher.

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Photo of yamar68
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml to a tulip:

Pours a murky brown/ruby with massive, healthy carbonation that produces dollops of tan froth, probably two fingers worth. The smell is complex - an array of fruits from light to dark and most noticeably plum. A touch of funky yeast bits but it's primarily a dark and well-balanced sweetness. The taste is deceivingly soft and delicate. The bits of Shocyu come through in a tart burning bitterness on the far back of the tongue. A bit of sweet grains and soft fruit. The creamy dense cap on this makes it fun to drink, adding a velvety drinkability. Overall, this is a very unique beer that I'll likely seek out again in the future.

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