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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

640 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 640
Reviews: 340
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.73%
Wants: 26
Gots: 38 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 640 | Reviews: 340
Photo of Pencible
3.01/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This poured a hazy copper with lots of tan head. It smelled like chardonnay, lemon and tart apricot hops, and sour yeast, with a bit of oak and spices. It tasted like white wine, lemon, and apples with sour yeast and spices. It was watery with lots of carbonation, and had a tart aftertaste. Overall this was a very strange tasting beer with lots of subtle spices that I couldn't decipher. It didn't taste bad, but it wasn't really a flavor that I enjoyed either. It didn't have a very good body either, and the sourness / tartness made it not really easy to drink. This was interesting to try once, but I wasn't a big fan.

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

This is definitely an interesting sipper. The main source of taste and scent in this beer is the sake, very well rounded, seemingly more alcohol present than the abv. Delicate floral notes mix well with some oak and alcohol. Initial pour is pretty, the head faded a bit too quickly. Overall, an incredibly interesting beer, worth a try without doubt. This brewery has impressed me twice thus far.

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

A- Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours light amber with a medium/small tan head.

S - Faint ripe fruits and a brownish Belgian type of yeasty smell.

T - Definitely has a starchy sugary finish that hearkens to the sake barrels.

M - Medium bodied, decent carbonation, nothing special.

Photo of JamesS
3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got a bottle from BA JKrout.
Pours a nice dark copper color with huge amounts of foamy head, and a bit of nice lacing. Very strong cask aroma, huge overtones of sweet sake and sweet malt make for a very sweet scent. Interesting flavor, very sweet with a slight tinge of alcohol from the cask; noticable malt and hop characteristics, well blended to the point of not making much out over the sake. Goes down fine, except for a slight burn on the tongue and alcohol kick. Huge sake aftertaste as well.

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

Looks wonderful. The color very much evokes a barleywine, with a burnt/candy-apple red. The super-frothy and creamy thick head leaves lots of lace as it diminishes. The head remains firm and full for a long while. XH screams: "Taste me, I'm great!"

Aroma is intense and unusual. The Sake casks very much influence what's happening in the nose. It's got a raw, earthy vibe, somewhere between a Berliner Weissbier and a Gueuze. A very Belgian yeast funk, a la sweaty socks and horse blanket, works its way in, as does a citrus-rind character. Even the sickly sweetness of cotton candy is detected, minus the sickly.

Oh darn. XH is definitely not as good as it looks and smells. Where the sake element merely adds to the aroma, in the flavor it overtakes and overwhelms. There is still a stinky/farmhouse yeast character coming through (think gueuze) and a tartness like grapefruit rind, but mostly it's a shrieking power-fermented sake madness that I come away with. I can't even detect the wood of the casks--the sake must have embedded itself so fully into the wood that it overtakes the casks, and it does the same with this beer. With warming, exotic spicing swirls around the tongue and tempts interpretations that cannot be nailed down. Unique as hell, and it grew on me in time, although I never reached a point of loving it (as I thought I might from the appearance and smell).

A bit too over-carbonated, which doesn't match the personality of the flavor. A creamier texture would've helped out a bit, although the body is medium and dances on the tongue with a grace that seems fitting. And it's not a stinging carbonation, just way too up-front in its almost champagne-like bubbliness.

XH is not that bad, but you have to love sake to love this beer. And I don't love sake, so there you go. Aw hell, I couldn't come to a conclusion as to whether I liked it or not, but I do know I like elements of it, and I greatly respect its complexity. Most definitely worth a shot, as there's no other beer like it on the planet, to my knowledge.

Photo of checkfeet
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely copper with tight carbonation that quickly dissipates. Leaves a lovely orange peel colored head.

The nose is pineappley, with some floral notes. A little citrus and sweet malt in the background.

Taste is big and full, with the chewiness of the crystal malts giving way to the alcohol, which settles on the back of the tongue. Nice, hoppy bitterness pulls it together.

Probably only one bottle per sitting for this strong, but really well crafted beer.

Photo of joe1510
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

33cl Stubby
Whole Foods

This has been in the cellar for about a year and in the fridge for 3-4 months. This bottle was a slow gusher; I had plenty of time to grab a glass before it overflowed. This strange concoction sports a ruby body and a good amount of haziness. I was a little careless on the pour and small yeasties ended up in the bottom of my glass. The dirty white head thickens to one finger in height but falls back to a thick collar. Drink lines get left behind after each drink.

The nose is very fruity and Belgian-esque. The yeast used sends off a musty note along the lines of damp cellar; cobwebs and all. Plum and plump raisins lay down a dark, fruity base and a touch of barley jumps up as well. There's some caramel sweetness here and there but the fruitiness takes the lead. There is a definite barnyard presence that I didn't expect at all. Interesting.

The flavor takes on a different role. The funkiness isn't near as noticeable on the tongue but the fruit explodes in a musty sort of way. Raisins and plum this time in that order. Caramel sweetness jumps in mid palate and lingers long into the finish. The sake is noticeable toward the finish and undefined spiciness weaves through the body. This is a unique brew and one to sip to catch the complexities.

The body has a medium feel with a slight slickness up front that quickly vanishes when the tongue sapping dryness comes along. The carbonation feels a bit spritzy mid-palate but again, that disappears quickly with the astringent dryness.

Drinkability suffers slightly from the dryness and robust, unique flavors. The 33cl offering is just enough for one sitting and it's taking me awhile to finish the glass but it's enjoyable as I sip. This one starts to drag on as I get to the bottom of the glass.

XH is one crazy unique brew from Hitachino. This is obviously my first sake aged beer and it made a good impression. I'd recommend this to friends. Pick it up if you see it around people, it's worth a try.

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

Sampled March 2009
This foams up slowly as soon as I pop the cap. A careful pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a dense, two-finger thick, amber tinged, light tan colored head. As the head slowly subsides it leaves some nice lacing patterns on the sides of the glass. The beer is a murky, plum color that shows an almost opaque, golden cherry-red color when held up to the light. The aroma is quite interesting, not at all what I expected, even given that I didn't know what to expect. The nose has a light tartness to it, a ripe fruitiness that reminds me a bit of a desert wine and some definite plum; there is an earthy maltiness that is something like raisins, perhaps a touch of musty damp cellar like notes and, as I dig deeper, a bright cinnamon note that mixes with the rich fruity aromatics. There seems a back note to the spiciness that reminds me a bit of cedar somehow, though this is quite subtle and difficult to grasp at times.

The taste has a certain sweetness to it, but really is more rich and complex than simply sweet. The body is fairly full, and is viscous enough to weigh down what would otherwise be a very effervescent level of carbonation. The finish has a touch of astringency to it as well as a distinct, though soft, note that definitely reminds me of the after-taste of sake. This has flavors from the sake that remind me of a flint-like, white wine, and when combined with some of the other sweet fruity notes from the beer can remind me of raisins at times. The finish has a note of brown sugar, as well as a touch of rum that lingers. Cedar like flavors add a spiciness to this beer that is a mix of pepper, ginger, allspice and cinnamon, though not really any of these things exactly.

When I come back to the nose I get a much stronger presence of cedar, though it is still fairly soft; I really wonder where this is coming from, is a traditional Sake cask made of cedar? A quick google search shows that this is indeed the wood that is traditionally used for Sake and could explain its flavor presence in this beer. Some further research though suggests that this was aged in oak barrels. Either way there is an interesting wood-influenced character to this beer that is a bit different from anything I have experienced before in beer.

This is a very interesting beer, the sake cask aging definitely adds a distinct, interesting signature to this beer. The base beer easily stands up to this though, and the two combine to form a pretty well integrated, interesting whole that is likely greater than the just the sum of the two spirits.

Photo of ThaBobfather
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes at Catskeller's Internationally Inspired Beer Tasting: Thanks Adam and Brandon!

Pours a brownish color with a red hue center. Some beige head here.
Smells of dark rind, malt and alcohol.'
Very complex taste, which is why I rate it ok. The sake taste is a little too bitey for me. The after taste is weird and I don't personally enjoy it, but it is a nice finish.
Again, I wouldn't say it's drinkable. Had a rough time getting down the 4 oz. pour I had.
I definitely think that sake barrel aging is cool though.

Photo of degerbah
2.02/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Had a sampling of this at Catskellar at a tasting hosted Brandon from Cavalier.

Poured slightly heady with a very cloudly light brown color. The smell is not good at all. liquor with yeast. Reading other reviews that claim to get oak flavors, I'm getting nothing like that. The closest example I have of this is when I tried to drink a room temperature brooklyn monster ale. Has way more of an alcohol taste than I prefer, likely as a result of the sake casks. All I have to say is that for most beers, tasting of rice and liquor isn't a ringing endorsement. I'll take a scotch or bourbon aged beer anyday. Sake casks are a mistake.

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: copper/amber color, some bubbles evident, bubbly lacing remains
s: highly tart with slight alcohol hints
t: acidic to start with tart fruits in the middle and finish
m: medium body with plenty of carbonation
d: interesting and easily approachable beer i'd like to try again

Photo of weazal
3.39/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

S: Bright, super sweet, and funky sour. I get mostly funky yeast backed by a fruitiness and all tempered by sake's mellowness.

T: Tastes like it smells. Dominated by warm, dry, funky flavor that is accentuated by tongue-tingling carbonation. Sweetness does work its way out, which is good. There's a juicy fruitness that really pulls out at the end, too.

A bit strange with the funkiness, but an interesting experience.

Photo of prototypic
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chock full of haze and amber in color with a red/orange hue. Carbonation is very active and produces a vanilla colored head that easily stands three fingers tall. This is a really nice looking beer. Much more impressive than anticipated.

The nose is intriguing. It features the strongest wood or oak aroma that I've ever encountered in a beer. It's so strong that it's...kind of weird. Nice, but not excellent. Once you get past that, it features some very nice spicy notes. Clove is prominent, but there's a little pepper and other varieties I can't identify. It's a little malty and sweet smelling. Alcohol goes unnoticed. It's slightly yeasty on the tail. Nice smelling beer overall.

The flavor profile is better, but not enough to warrant a bump in score. Where in the hell is the tenths button on here? Once again, oak is very strong in flavor, but it doesn't come across as weird here. It adds a lot of flavor and a ton of charcter. Clove, pepper, and other spices ramp up the flavor a great deal and play very nicely with the strong oak flavor. There's some light fruit flavors and a slight musky, earthy element. Alcohol is lightly noticeable, but doesn't offend. A little yeast and biscuit-like flavors creep in on the finish. It has a nice flavor and it's tempting to award the next highest score, but I just can't do it. It's not quite that good.

The body is a little too light and a little too carbonated. It's not smooth and carbonation is distracting. It goes down easy and is far from bad, but could be better here. Drinkability is good. I like it, but the intense wood-like flavor limits it a little.

Hitachino Nest XH is surprisingly good beer. A little odd, but I like it. The strong oak flavor gives it a little bit of a weird flavor that keeps it from reaching the elite level, but the flavor is overall nice and well-done. Dialing down the carbonation a little would be beneficial. Other than that, it's a solid, impressive beer. Definitely recommended.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours (after a slight gushing after popping the cap) a cloudy orange/copper color with a half inch off-white head. Head retention is good, lacing is decent. It smells like sour/tart fruit along with some brown sugar, funk and oak. However, the taste isn't sour at all which is a bit disappointing. It tastes like grain, fruit, yeast, brown sugar and some oak. Mouthfeel/body is medium with high carbonation. Drinkability is decent, but it has a bit too much carbonation for my liking. I think it's a decent enough brew, but it's something I wouldn't pick up very often. With that being said, it's definitely worth a try.

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

Pours a deep copper, lots of haze. Big rocky head that just wont fade.

Smells like cascade hops, some more American citrus hops...

Nice big malt backbone, some good hops, american types not sure what, but its got a fruity taste to it, a little drier than I had expected, but overall very good.

Mouth is a little thin and dry, some definite woodiness going on. This one would be better on a hot afternoon I think.

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

A violent gusher follows the decrowning of the cellar-cool stubby, with a bit of very expensive spillage the result. The remainder is poured into a shaker pint glass, where Hitachino Nest XH is hazy and red-hearted amber in color with a huge, rocky, pale tan head. The wallop of creamy foam recedes very slowly, sticking fluffy 3-D blobs of lacing onto the sides of the tumbler.

The aroma is dry and woody with floral, liquory sake and hint of wild ale funkiness. An unidentified aromatic spice works well with a smoky malt note that darkens the profile just a bit. A cereally, starchy, watered-down caramel note lingers in the background, providing a touch more depth and sweetness.

The taste is softly malty with notes of toasted white bread, dilute caramel and a palpable alcohol presence that manifests itself first as vanilla, then as fermenting apple laced with a twist of the tart, lightly astringent flavor of wild cherry. The booze provides aromatic, palate cleansing effect that leaves the finish dry, mildly bitter, but otherwise quite neutral. A bit of warming in the belly acknowledges the potency of the drink, and a growing note of minerally steeliness marks its passing.

The drink is fullish in body, smooth, rich, and creamy, with a sizzle of fine carbonation that helps keep it light and pretty drinkable.

Photo of endincolorado
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance- Cloudy, deep orange-amber with fine particles of sediment. Thick creamy off-white head. Excellent retention.

S- Strong sour astringent aromas. Phenol.

Taste- Powerful sour flavor, green-apple tartness with phenol and cloves. Overall hard to describe. No strong malt character, maybe a bit of hop-bitterness.

Mouthfeel- light body with carbonation that seems almost deflate quickly.

Drinkability- Not one I'll pick up again, as the strong phenolic flavor is one I don't particularly care for. I love sake, and the idea was an intriguing one. Unfortunately sake flavor was not present, as far as I could tell.

Photo of knightred
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11 Oz bottle poured into a goblet.

appearance: It has a nice looking head. There's a fair amount of carbonation that quickly escaped. Thick lacing coating the sides of the glass. I sat the bottle down for about ten minutes to settle the sediment and I poured very carefully, but there was a lot of sediment floating throughout the beer. Sediment probably causes the reinforcement of the head as the glass is tipped to drink.

smell: It smells nicely of burnt oak with a sweet sake scent behind it.

taste: It has no taste of alcohol, malt or hops. There's a slight hint of fruit, maybe cherry. The oak is tasteable as well. It has an unpleasant after taste and the carbonation has a slight chance of kick the acrid smell of poor rice wine into the nasal cavity as it's going down your throat.

mouthfeel: It has a lightness to it as if it's just foamy head. The carbonation prickles the tongue pleasantly. Some grittiness from the sediment.

drinkability: One was enough. It's not terrible, but I wouldn't recommend it. I bought it simply for the little owl guy on the bottle cap and it seemed the most interesting of the brewery's offering at the store.


Photo of DarthClayder
3.34/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Looks beautiful, huge lingering white head, lovely amber color, bottle conditioned.

Smells completely like a sour ale which I wasn't expecting.

Tastes slightly sour, enough to be pleasant to someone who isn't entirely fond of such a style, definitely get the rice and the smooth sake-like mouthfeel, well hidden alcohol, very little oak if any, very light on the typical beer (barley & hop) flavors. Final thoughts are, sour and smooth and somehow well balanced on the atypical qualities it does have.

Photo of Overlord
2.31/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Why is it that when a beer store proprietor who I'm unfamiliar with recommends a beer I've never heard of, it's almost always awful? It's like they're trying to clear their shelves of unmoveable product.

I'm looking at these 4+ reviews, and I'm baffled. Oh well.

Pours a dark, bubbling brown. Actually looks pretty decent. Smells like ... what the hell is that? Like a rancid rice wine (sake?) with oak. No malt or hops in the aroma. None in the flavor, either. There's a pungent, almost salty sourness, maybe a dapple of bitterness, and a definite oak componen ... and not much else. Frankly, if not for the oak, I would have drain poured it.

Completely forgettable. Even if I was desperate for a sour, I'd avoid this.

Photo of SShelly
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The hills are alive with giant mountains of white foam.

cloudy,cloudy coppery gold color with a mountain of white effervescence on top. Fruity aroma with a little bit of a bite to it.

The flavor has a nice malty profile with a nice medium bitter quality, There is also a little bit of funk to this beer, the cask aging maybe?

Overall, interesting is a good description, leaves a vague bitter/sourness on the pallet, as with most hitachino it leaves me needing to buy another bottle and try it again.

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

Had at vintage and rare beer tasting at the Funky Buddha Lounge.

Pours a deep copper/brown color. With a large head.

Smell is very spicy sweet, a bit woody.

Taste is again sweet and spicy. Hint of apple in there as well. Malty and delicious.

Overall, a fantastic beer. Very familiar yet unique if that makes any sense. One of my favorites from the tasting.

Photo of brushtachio
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, murky, rusty, orange with a thin creamy off-white head and quite a bit of dark sediment. The smell is a bit one dimensional. Brett.

Taste is much more interesting. Tart cherries that fall short of what I would call sour. Funky horse blanket. Little bready yeast. What I don't taste is any hint of sake. The description on BA says it's aged in shouchou casks. The bottle says sake casks. The two are very different things. I love good shouchou and do pick up a slight bite that hints at shouchou.

I would find this very drinkable if it wasn't so damn expensive (4.75 for a 12 oz bottle)

Photo of SeanRedd
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Its alive!...A spooky beer. Thick retaining head; the yeast topping off the pillow is amber brown, creating lil Mars mountains. Dark, blood orange body with microscopic carbonation cutting through the cloud. Smells like horseshoe, with the horse's foot still nailed to it. The acidity cuts through the senses. Complex on the taste; an array of flavors, hitting note after note. Dark cherry, plum, raisin, sharp tangy tangerine, bitter funky orange. Tastes much better after it breathes. Streaky lacing and a trip to the petting zoo, what more could I ask for?

Photo of Richardberg
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: poured from a small bottle into a white wine glass. Copper color with minimal head & a bit of sediment.

S: light perfume of hops and jasmine

T: somewhat bitter, lingering aftertaste. can tell there's extra complexity in the background but I'm not sure it's particularly tasty. previous experiences with better barrel-aged varieties were better.

M: moderate to thin body. less malty and yeasty than I expected from the appearance and the style.

D: Goes down pretty easy; hard part is mustering the desire for any more. ABV actually feels stronger than 7%. Not a bad beer, but not at all worth the price either. Sake aging was worth a try, just not a repeat (from me anyway).

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 640 ratings.