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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) - Kiuchi Brewery

Not Rated.
Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)

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very good

624 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 624
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: 624 | Reviews: 338 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of endincolorado
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
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
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
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
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
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
2.28/5  rDev -39.5%
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
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
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
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
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
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
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
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
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
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
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).

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

Saw it was matured in sake casks and I had to try it.

Appearance: pours a light brown with a redish tint. No real head or lacing in my glass. Looks great.

Smell: smells of some funky bret and tart cherries. Some citrusy (spelling?) Smells pretty good.

Taste: some bret funkyness and tart cherries. There is some sourness for sure. Taste is ok. Wish there was a little more maltiness. The sourness is not as pleasent as I wish.

Mouthfeel: a little thin. Wish it was a little maltier to bring up the thickness on the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I might buy it again sometime but wouldn't drink it often.

Photo of mdm46410
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle and served in a tulip. This beer poured a dark, glowing orange/amber with a solid haze and a thick head of foamy, light tan bubbles. Excellent retention and lacing. The aroma included crisp fresh citrus, sour cherries, lightly toasted oak, and a moderate amount of funkiness. Very inviting. The flavor didn't quite pop like the aroma, but it was still very nice. Notes of subdued caramel, citrus, sour pited fruits, followed up by an unexpectedly hoppy finish. Slightly woody and quite dry. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied and had crisp, assertive carbonation. This was a pleasent surprise. Very enjoyable.

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

A: Opens like a gusher. Be sure to have a glass handy. Some floaties detract from what is otherwise a fantastic looking beer. Beautiful dark amber, reddish-orange with a big dense head.

S: Pineapple and tropical fruit, definitely sugary, nice caramel malt aromas. Smells pretty tasty. I have no idea what aromas a sake cask imparts but nothing smells incredibly different here.

T/M: Much lighter bodied than I was expecting given its appearance and aromas. Great carbonation levels keep this one tasting nice and light. The flavor profile is malty with a lingering bitterness. Not a lot of fruit that was on the nose, but it's still there slightly.

D: Pretty drinkable.

Photo of paco1029384756
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown color with one finger of white head.

Scent of sugars, fruit and vinegar. Nothing really impressive, but it is good, and different.

Taste is grainy with some sugars, yeast, and some fruitiness. Not exactly what I'm looking for, but it was kind of nice to try something different.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a bite form the carbonation.

Photo of glid02
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta. I've seen Hitachino around for a while but for one reason or another this is the first one I've picked up.

Pours a cloudy copper color with a very foamy two-finger off-white head. The head sticks around for the life of the beer, finally settling into a thin pancake on top and a thick ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

I really didn't know what to expect here, but I liked what I smelled. A slightly tart aroma joins light fruits - citrus and cherries, and there's also a very slight hint of vanilla.

Tastes good. Tart fruits with a kind of grainy sweetness that's very unique. This flavor sticks around after the sip is gone. There's also a mild earthy hint which I assume is imparted by the barrels.

Mouthfeel is good. Good thickness and good carbonation join a slickness to make this one go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. It's very unique, and the flavors work well together. I could have one more of these, but that might be it.

Overall this was a good introduction to this brewery. This beer is very interesting, and I'm looking forward to delving further into their lineup. Try this one if you see it around.

Photo of thryn
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is liquid in the bottle, but turns to foam when poured gently into a goblet. Whoa, calm down there, Mr. Beer! Eventually setttles to a cloudy brown with cream-colored foam on top.

Aroma is pungent, a bit piney, maybe? raisiny, with prominent alcohol.

I can't quite break this down, but let me tell you it is DELICIOUS. I get piney hops on the palate, and some raisiny sweetness, and bready notes. Sourness, which I love. A dry finish. I drink sake and wouldn't really say that this tastes of sake, but I don't know what exactly it is that I'm picking up on. This beer is really hard to pick apart, but I am very much enjoying it.

Mouthfeel is optimal. Good weight, enough carbonation to keep it buoyant.

Drinkability's medium. It's a sipper for sure. But I wouldn't turn down another ...

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've always liked this brewer's beers partly because so many of them are so unusual and well made. This is no exception, at least as far as interesting goes. The one problem I have with this beer is that it was a gusher upon opening and had a slight sourness to it as well. Now, this is often the sign of an infection, but in this case I'm just not sure. This beer was aged in Shochu casks after all, and I think that the beer picked up some bugs from the cask instead, and in this case it isn't a bad thing- the taste is mild and goes with the overall flavor, so I'll assume the best. After the gushing this beer pours a hazy orange with some suspended sediment and a nice head that settles to a finely beaded thin cap. Smells a bit sour with cedar notes and some plummy fruitiness. The taste is complex with some of that sourness up front, then some of that same fruitiness, and a long, funky cedary flavor. Definitely a bit phenolic. Long, spicy mouthfeel with a bit of phenolic tang in the mouth. It's interesting, but a bit hard to drink. I keep wondering if this is intentional or not.

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

I'm reminde of the reeses commercials of yesterday - you got chocolate in my peanut butter.... you got sake in my old ale.

A - slightly hazy golden brown colored brew with a nice off white head.
S - vinous caramel old ale and a white wine and oak note.
T - oak, sake, caramel, toffee, oak, white wine notes.
M - full bodied, nicely carbonated, residual oak and wine notes
D - a sipper, but a fascinating sipper with multiple levels of wow that was tasty!

first from this brewery for me. My brother is a big fan of their and if this is any indication I need to try some more of their offerings.

Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a foamy beige head that maintains a multi-finger retention a leaves a few splashes of lace

Smell: Rice pudding, vanilla, sarsaparilla and a bit of booziness

Taste: Oak, caramel and tart green apples up front, with a developing rice pudding and rum flavor by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is an interesting fruity flavor (lychee) that adds complexity, with the rice pudding and oaky flavors returning only to be dominated by a rather sour after-taste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation

Drinkability: Definitely one of the more interesting beers I have tried, with a flavor profile that is all over the palate; a little more carbonation would be a plus but this is an otherwise extraordinary beer

Photo of Drew966
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hitachino Nest XH (Matured in Shocyu Sake Casks) pours a hazy dark orange-brown color with a tan head from a brown 11.2 ounce bottle. The aroma is interesting, a bit of clove, some funk, some wood. The mouthfeel is on the thin side. The flavor is, well, different. Wood strikes me first, a good dose of funk comes next and there is a bit of caramel mixed in too. Unique and interesting. It didn't blow me away, but it's quite decent.

Photo of charlzm
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed 11/05/08.

Pours a clear, medium brown into a pilsener glass. A frothy two finger light tan head soon fades into a sticky ring of foam. LOTS of slow-rising tiny bubbles.

VERY aromatic beer! Plums and sake are the primary aromas - fruity, tart and mouth-watering, but odd for a beer.

Very smooth, chewy and thick in the mouth. Slight carbonation tingle on the tongue.

Flavor is fairly light, with plum and sake notes again appearing on the palate. After warming, caramel malts are present as well, but muted. A bit doughy: think real sourdough bread. Some sweetness up front, but short-lived. A bit sour on the finish with a light woody bitterness lingering after the beer has left. Very alocholic in flavor and effect.

This is a distinctive brew, unlike anything I have tasted before. Different isn't necessarily better, but in this case it works okay.

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

Interesting and different type of beer. The appearance is an attractive color of orange, hazy, witha strong off-white head. The aroma is very unique; I sense something akin to a sour ale, but I get unmistakable sake, and oak. The flavor is of rice, sake, a little sour. The wood comes through in this as well. The mouthfeel is a little thick and oily. The finish is a bit sour, with a mild hop bite. fairly clean finish. This is a unique and enjoyable beer. I wouldn't make it a staple, but I enjoyed trying it.

Photo of cannabanaceae
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into snifter. Huge tan head, that dissipated to nothing. Murky reddish brown in color.

Smell was sour, woody,evergreen trees,juniper with a sweet malt overtone.

Taste was carbonation bubbles in the front. Thin body, with a sharp hop bite. Some sake notes in the flavor. Very light in body.

Mouthfell was just like champagne carbonation bubbles galore.

This beer need more kick to it to compete with awsome woody sake notes. Need more body.Flavors did not blend well to me.

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

11.2oz bottle into my 22oz snifter. Been curious about this beer and this brewery, so i grabbed on the other day.

A: Hazy copper orange with a thin tan head that recedes to a patch disk. Some visible carbonation

S:Very strong vinous character reminiscent of a sweeter sake with a solid fruit backing with lighter plums, peaches and white grapes. There's a good deal of sweetness too, a bready, doughy kind. There's some oak and vanilla too, both rather faint. All said, this is a wonderfully unique beer. This description might not be helpful, but the basic aroma reminded me of what an unsoured Cuvee de Castleton would smell like.

T: This is a damascene beer, two different beers melded as one yet can be picked apart on scrutiny. On one hand, there's the sweeter, doughy beer with some fruit character and then there's the intense vinous character (from the sake) with the fruitiness and yet manages to dry out the palate, which makes me think they used a drier sake barrel. Halfway through, the characters of these two "beers" meld, resulting in a sweet, fruity, dry and mildly oaky and tannic. Unfortunately, a little alcohol comes through on the finish, which takes away a bit from this beer

M: Medium bodied with soft carbonation, this beer finishes dry with a definite sake presence.

D: This is a sipping beer that I'm enjoying. I wouldn't drink too many of these in a session but heck, this is enjoyable.

Notes: This is a better beer than my scores suggest. Definitely one of the more interesting beers I've had in recent memory, wonderfully unique

Photo of MusicaleMike
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Man was this beer expensive! I picked it out without knowing how much I was going to pay and the receipt for the mixed sixer showed it to cost over 7 dollars! Let's hope that it is worth the price.

I put on Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and settle down, ready to pour the 12 oz. bottle into a wide-brimmed tulip glass. I am all relaxed, the cap is popped off and the bottle starts foaming like Cujo! Not the greatest way to start off.

A: A solid explosion of cream-colored head, three fingers thick and sudsy. The body of this beer is a cloudy copper in color, with blood red and orange highlights. Yeast sediment is visible, dancing and swirling around in the haze.

S: Wild smell! I have to say that I am not all too familiar with sake (I may have had it all of three times in my life) so I can't say with any certainty, but I think the funkiness of the beers aroma might be attributable to the wood and sake. It reminds me in a loose way of other aged beers. I smell an interplay of Brett and grapefruit, with a light oak and cherries background and a more prominent tartness (crabapple).

T: Up front there is the smallest amount of sweetness, followed by a serious tart/sourness that is somewhere between a tart crabapple and a tangy grapefruit. There is definitely some medicinal shit on the palate going on, reminding me of one of my favorite pale ales. There is a woody finish, with alcohol on the breath. Bready malts more present in the aftertaste. The roof of the mouth gets hit with all the fruity notes in this beer, like pineapple and tart cherries for example. The taste rounds out nicely towards the end of the glass and becomes more even and less "funky".

M: Nice and juicy mouthfeel with a dry finish. It is medium bodied and highly carbonated. Definitely compliments this beer.

D: It is at least interesting. I would not have two in a row, and probably would not buy another one again considering the crazy price tag, but I would recommend that given the chance, you should try this once, especially if you like Flanders Oud Bruin.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.43/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark coppery orange with a flurry of dark yeast that entered the glass just before the pour was broken off. Two fingers of golden sandstone colored foam look good atop the beer. As the crown begins its descent, fine sheets of speckled lace can be seen on the sides of the drinking vessel. It's an interesting look... and a good one.

When nose was put over glass, the word that came immediately to mind was 'Belgium'. XH smells like a BSDA. It features moderately dark malt and an amazing amount of clove-like phenols that have to be due to Belgian yeast. I've never had sake, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't smell like this.

Wow, what a fascinating ale! Hitachino Nest XH tastes like a cross between a BSDA, a wild ale and a caramel-malted strong ale. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Kiuchi added a few bugs, such as Brettanomyces or Pediococcus. The bandage-like phenols make XH taste like it was aged in Lagavulin casks rather than sake casks.

Specifics are hard to nail down. Let's go with melted caramel candy, mushy apples, red grapes, tobacco, horse blanket funk and cloves. There's a hint of oaky woodiness, but not much. I wish I knew what sake tastes like and am now motivated to buy one of the bottles that has been tempting me from the cooler of a local wine and beer shop.

The mouthfeel just does earn the above score. It starts out too thin, then comes into its own with warming, and even develops a light chewiness by the bottom of the bottle. A Belgian brewer's touch with carbonation would probably shoot it into the stratosphere.

Kiuchi beer is expensive (this bottle was $4.79), but if you pick and choose carefully, it's worth it. Hitachino Nest XH is outstanding beer for a whole host of reasons: it tastes like nothing else, it's captivatingly complex, it's decidedly delicious, and its dangerously drinkable. Two thumbs up.

Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 624 ratings.