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

618 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 618
Reviews: 336
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13%
Wants: 24
Gots: 32 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

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

(Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 12-29-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 618 | Reviews: 336 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of csmiley
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours mostly amber in color. I see some brown as well. Head topped out at a hair over half inch and settled into a thin off-white cap. Retention was average. Lacing was good.

S - Aroma is on the mild side but what shows up is pretty complex and balanced. This is an approximate order of aromas: Caramel, bread, sweet and sour fruit (mostly sour), wood, tobacco, alcohol, and another touch of sourness on the end.

T - Taste starts out sweet with caramel and honey then quickly goes to sour with cherry flavors. Some bread and alcohol flavors battle it out in the middle with the alcohol winning in the end. Taste is simple compared to smell.

M - Medium to full bodied with good carbonation for this particular beer. Finish is dry and sour and sticks on the palate for a while.

D - Drinkability is good. This is different but Kiuchi was able to keep it quite interesting from start to finish. Once it warms the balance of sour and sweet only gets better. I would recommend giving it a try.

Photo of TheBlackMallard
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been eyeing this for quite awhile.

Pours ruby with a long lasting frothy tan head.

Smell: Weird, Oak, Bananas, Rock Candy, Bubblegum, Cookies, Wine, and Alcohol.

Taste: It starts kind of sweet with caramel and brown sugar, then goes kind of tart, and finishes with a dry woody alcohol taste. It's good but a little too odd for me. Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation.

I don't think I'd pick this up again, but it's pretty interesting.

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

Pours a thick, maple syrup color, slightly hazed, with an inch of creamy yellowish foam on top. Wine-like aroma upfront...cedar, pineapple, flowers, cherries, and a powdery sweetness. Very interesting and funky - fun to sniff. Taste is similar...lots of wood, some fruity sourness, very yeasty with some spicy vanilla-like flavors. Chewy in the mouth, medium-plus body with light carbonation.

Pretty unique overall. Yeast, wood, first Hitachino beer and its a good one.

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

It pours a murky brownish amber with moderate floatification. A finger of tannish beige head drops away soon. Lashes of lacing flutter along the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, there comes a deep, fruity malt sweetness, sugary and earthy all at once. A touch of toffee is enhanced by slightly smoked wood. Sake peeks through with rice and warm alcohol.

Upon sipping, an initial kick of brown sugar malt sweetness carries currants and caramel. A very crisp curtain of airy yeast, earthy wood, and bitter spiciness truncate the grain train. A mildly tangy twist of sake presence leads into a toasty pool of alcohol. Crisp, fruity grain returns, less sweet this time, as the finish lingers with a comfy dry bitterness. It's very unique, and better for it.

Between medium and full bodied, it's syrupy ad slippery, with a crisp, glowing close.

The merging of fermented rice essence with a solid malt profile leads to a nicely blended, highly original presentation. This is why we try new things. The ABV is warmer and more open than expected, but then, it's not designed to be a session brew, so it doesn't suffer. Maybe it's not quite eXHilarating, but it is an eye-opener and well worth enjoying to the bottom of the glass.

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

Poured from a bottle a hazy ruby-brown with a two-fingered, frothy beige head.

Aroma is dark ripe fruit, yeast, ginger and bubblegum.

Initial taste is of an overwhelming sourness. Accompanying this is the dark fruitiness, the oakiness, and a funky yeastiness. Not being a sake drinker, I don't know how much of the taste is from the saki cask aging. Somewhat Belgian-like in flavor.

Medium mouthfeel, very drying, and well-carbonated.

This is a very unique tasting strong ale and definitely takes some getting used to. I definitely recommend this beer as a must-try.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby hued brown. Crème head. Nose is thick with wood and it almost seems like cherries? There's definitely an odd fruit edge to it. Flavor is amazing, but mysterious. Clearly the cask aging has provided a depth of character that the western palate might not be able to fully comprehend and fully appreciate. Excellent carbonation and a smooth liquid feel. This is one of the most oddball beers I have ever had and I love it. Every beer lover needs to give this a shot at least once.

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

11.2 oz. bottle into a Thomas Hardy's snifter. This should be an interesting brew.

Appearance: Beautiful hazy orange copper color with hints of red. Just amazing color in the light. Huge billowing head that slowly dissipates, always leaving at the very least a bit of foam on the top of the body, and huge lacing all over the place in streaks and little blobs. Every time I sip the beer touching the glass leaves an amazing streak of lacing that slowly slides down and dissipates. I haven't seen a brew this pretty in a long time.

Smell: Definitely like a lambic at first without any strong hint of fruit. Wild yeast, maybe brett-like, earthy funk, heavy citrus and vinegar and vinous sourness. Effervescent and very appealing.

Taste: It probably goes without saying, or should, but this should be warmed up to room temperature. Even when it warms there's a faint metallic and pungent bitterness that I'm not sure is supposed to be here, but it ends up working somehow, then fading away. But at cooler temperatures it's much more prominent and funky. Taste is overall sourness, wild yeast, vinous characteristics, phenolic and barnyard funk (mixing well with the other flavors), some pungent citrus, and maybe some sourness from the hops, and if it's not the hops it's coming from somewhere else. I wonder if this is a bit too green, because though I like it a lot, like I said there's an odd bitterness that finishes and I'm not sure it should be this pronounced. The other wild flavors still shine overall, and there's a long Belgian and lambic-like sour finish, letting in some fruit, wild yeast, and earthiness. But where does the Sake come in? I'm not sure. Maybe with the wood and sourness, because there's certainly a lot of complexity there. This is not for the faint of heart, and your palate really has to be ready to take all of the insanity, so keep that in mind also.

Mouthfeel: Champagne-like with lots of smoothness and coating, blanket-like carbonation. Like a BSPA, but even creamier in some ways.

Drinkability: I paid $5 for the bottle, but Hitachino stuff's always worth it to me. They seem to be one of the most underrated breweries doing great experiments. I imagine if DFH did a beer like this (and please do, DFH) everyone would be all over it, but Hitachino doesn't get the hype. Still, an amazing and crazy brewery that doesn't skimp in the experimentation (or the price, clearly). I may pick another one of these up and see how it ages, because I imagine the yeast and bottle conditioning could do some great things. But an overall singular beer and a great experience, one I'd recommend highly, especially if this really is a one-time thing...

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

Small capped bottle, poured into a snifter, it is a reddish brown, opaque brew even leaving the yeast on the bottle, topped by a creamy but short lasting off-white head.
Peculiar aroma, sweet malt, caramel, floral, some oakiness and a light alcohol whiff with something else that is probably the shocyu, since I never had it to be sure.
Medium to full bodied, it is a lot dryer than I expected; the same caramel maltiness and oakiness are there, but the spicy alcohol and hoppy bitterness take over.
Quite interesting.

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

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark amber body bordered by a thin ring of white bubbles.

Smell: The aroma is woody from the get-go (heck, before you even get it up to your nose) with notes of what you'd imagine to be sake along with fruit and yeast.

Taste: Strongly wooden with a distinctly sour yeastiness. Expired malts delivered in coffins bearing the initials XH. Ground peppercorn medley. One spoonful of rice pudding. Tons of tannins running loose. There's never much in the way of sweetness or bitterness. Dry, yeasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: I can assure you that it is interesting, but I keep going back and forth on whether or not I actually enjoyed it...

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hitachino brews are always innovative and very fun. I was excited to try this brew for this simple fact that a mix of ale and sake should be interesting. This sure was. I really enjoyed this one. Plus, at $3.00, how could I go wrong?

A- The liquid appears as an orange/red/brown translucent color in my glass. Thin bubbly head on top and some lace.

S- Smell was very fruity. I was getting a nose of belgian yeast as well and could be described as funky and sour, but in a really good way.

T- I cant help but notice that this beer tastes very belgian. There was a grape/wine taste that was very evident. I am getting malty sweetnes, maybe caramel. Faint hops- belgian yeast. The taste is somewhat similar to a lambic.

M- Tingly and very bubbly like a champagne.

D- I loved this beer. I could drink a few of these. Enjoyed this with my dinner and could not help but want another one.

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

This beer has one of the most unusual aroma profiles I've encountered in a very long time. Tons of fruits...mostly apricot and tangerine. Some cooking spices as well.
And yes some of that soft fruit smell can be attributed to the sake barrels it is aged in. As I continue to smell, I pick up more and more of the sake fruitness you get from fermented rice.

Taste is also unusual. Lots of the apricot and tangerine fruit flavors mixed in with strong alcohol and a lot of oak woodiness. Sake influence is intense.

Very warm, hot beer.
Very unique...very unusual.

Photo of Chinookie
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330 mL bottle, served in small red wine glass.

Appears slightly cloudy, orange/deep amber color. Thin head lingers.

Smells of cedar, sour, a slight vinegar aroma.

Tastes of sharp cheddar, sour middle, then grape must. Sourness lingers on tongue with some bitterness.

Another nice one from the creative brewers at Hitachino. Similar to sour Belgians, but has unique qualities that definitely make it worth a try.

Photo of wagenvolks
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a Chimay chalice.

The pour is beautiful. A fleeting, almond colored head quickly recedes atop a golden, copper-brown body that's murky, decently carbonated, and stratified with small particles of white yeast. The aroma is an interesting mix of oak and sake, with some hints of olive juice, lemon peel, booze, and spicy hops.

Bold flavor profile, quite unlike any beer I've tasted, except for Hitachino's Red Rice Ale. Like RRA, XH packs some tart citrus, spice, and hops into its brew. A big carbonation level leaves me thinking that I'm sipping on some type of alcoholic, grapefruit soda (Squirt & Sake??). The alcohol feels stronger, here, even though it's only 7% to RRA's 8.5%. Carbonation is high, and the mouthfeel is sticky and crisp. Some chewy malts pull through as it warms. Overall, I enjoyed this more than the other Hitachino's I've tried, but it's still a taste that I can't quite get used to.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - pours a hazed orange amber, a nice pillowy head on top. Good lacing as well, as the top settles down unevenly.

Aroma - the nose is pretty much all oak.I pick up whiffs of grain, some vague fruity sweetness, but they're all in shadows. A thought of cedar, but I'm not sure. Pretty unique, which I always appreciate.

Taste - hmm, unusual. A peculiar start, kind of sour, almost on the edge of funky. Some light florals follow that and that woody presence that makes me think of oak at first but then maybe cedar, too. The aftertaste is oaky, but without the whiskey kind of flavor it's a whole different sensation. It's like one of the funky beers but without the sourness, very interesting, I find the beer familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Finishes clean with the same set of flavors fading away.

Mouthfeel - medium body, carbonation is peppy.

Drinkability - I'm enjoying the education with this one though I don't think I'd drink this much. Maybe the oaky flavor would pair up with some smoky 'cue, but price and availability are a hindrance. Oh well, it was a worthwhile experience.

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

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle

A: Pours a murky copper red, dark caramel color under a half inch worth of white head. Some lace and a ring of head left over.

S: Smells a little funky. Apples, a bit sour, slightly floral, earthy, a little bit of hay.

T: Tastes of much the same. However, there is a slight rubbery twang to it. A bit more fruity, with apples standing out the most, slight funk (maybe this is the sake character?), a hint of caramel malt, warming alcohol on the way down, mostly dry but with some hints of toasted and sweet malt lingering ever so slightly. A little tart.

M/D: Full bodied, lightly creamy body, medium carbonation. Drinkability is OK on this one. Definitely not what I expected, really a unique beer. It really starts to grow on you after a few sips.

Even thought I've been to Japan and have a bottle in the fridge, I have never had sake before, so I can't really comment on the aspects in this brew. But this one has some very interesting qualities. During the first few sips, I thought I was going to give it slightly lower marks. The funky, tartness of it were unexpected but it really started to become more pleasing the more I had.

Photo of dsa7783
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Short, stout, 11.2 oz bottle copped for $3.99 from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Matured in sake casks" on the black, front logo sticker...
After the first smell and sip, my initial thought is that this is an extremely different beer from many others that I've ever sampled... Both the aroma and flavor have a very unique spiced and smoked taste and smell that must be a factor derived from aging this brew in Japanese sake casks... The best way to describe the flavor would be to say that it was full of pines, sharp citrus, ginger, powerful grapefruit, and cloves...
Cloudy, murky, dark-brown appearance with a minimal frothy head...
Smell was likewise powerful and different, with a strong spiced, ginger-like essence...
Very unique and interesting taste full of various intricate flavors... Although this particular beer might be described as an "American Strong Ale", I believe it's in a class of its own, as I have never sampled anything even remotely similar to it...
Interesting stuff, and if you're in the mood for a different type of experience, this one is worth a shot...

Photo of ojiikun
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the stubby bottle pictured into a smallish tulip. Body is just slightly hazy and bright red-orange, like weakish icded tea. Head, even coaxed was thin, but a nice sandy colour. Loose bubbles of many sizes and a constant ring.

Smell is unique - mineraley sugar, woody, old fruit, dry yeast, spicy. All over the map! Layers of contradiction on top of a very roasty malt. Tart or sour fruit like citrus peel but with cherry hints. Wood isn't oak, but not too cedarish as to be obvious about it.

Taste is just as odd. Citrus tart and lightly hoppy at first, then simply bursts with husky malt, finished by a astringent sting laced with more classic wood. Lots of green spices and chives, bready yeast mixed with champagne yeast. Slight off-notes of rubber or latex at the end of the bottle.

Well-carbonated for it's viscosity which is just over medium. Not sticky, but forms a long-lasting coat on the tongue.

The best Hitachino brew I've had yet. This one has a smell that'll push your boundaries for how you describe beers. The actual taste has some off notes that are a bit overpowering, unfortunately. Still, this is worth grabbing since it's so limited, and I imagine a year in the cellar might do wonders for the hurricane of concepts that attack you when you sample this one.

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

Never tried a beer aged in sake casks before, and since I like sake, I figured this beer was a must try.

Murky orange amber body with a dense, creamy, dirty khaki head. Interesting nose of Sweet-tart candies, tart vinous grapes, light cedar, tart cherries, and mild funk.

Herbal hop presence up front. Acidic, slightly citrusy (grapefruit), and tart funkiness set against barely sweet fruits. Vinous, slightly vinegary, with definite cedar/wood presence. Tart and sweet fruits with vague bitterness in the finish. Low-key carbonation with a creamy feel. An interesting and well-conceived beer.

Photo of Stoneman78
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Ginger Man in NYC!
A- Pours a murky orange/ruby hue, thin layer of off-white scattered bubbles, good lacing
S- Tart fruits (apples, pears), sweet candy presence, hints of wood and roast
T- Initial taste is subtle tarts and sour fruits, transitions to sweet caramel malts and woods, complex and unique
M- Medium-bodied, watery texture, high carbonation
D- A decent sour/tart beer, nicely balanced with solid aromas, alcohol is well-masked, easy-drinking

Photo of acrawf6
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a cloudy brownish amber with a very small slighly tan head rising even after an aggresive pour.

Smell. A very potent maltiness full of fruity and woody aromas, lots of prunes. Has a bit of a leathery bit to it.

Taste. Tastes better than the aroma, i think. Has some spiced flavors of cinnoman, nutmeg, and apple in it. Yeasty and has just a little buttery bit to it. Carbonation initially gives it a crispness, and i almost want to say i can taste some sake flavors initially, but whether it is in my mind or in the beer, it leaves suddenly with a burst of malts. The fruits taste like alcohol drenched dark fruits such as the prune i got in the aroma. Aftertaste has some of the alcohol come out with a white pepper sensation.

Mouthfeel. Body is full, but the carbonation seems to open it up.

Overall, a strange beer, but a decent american strong ale. A thought of arrogant bastard, a little old foghorn, and some japanese lager (to lighten it up) is sitting in my glass. It's a hard beer to review as i get a good amount of flavors that gives the beer a complexity, but not sure how much i like the beer. I dont dislike this beer, but i do not think i will ever get it again.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.28/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gorgeous burgundy color, under a healthy dollop of creamy, pudding-y froth.

Nose smacks of red wine from the start, rich and fruity, turning mellow and woody. And then it resembles a Belgian lambic, ...and now I get the sake. Very interesting.

Taste: all that and more, but smooth, ...very smooth, and fully flavored. Warm, rich, and inviting. Sweet, then dry, then all manner of funky stuff, and ultimately a complex and rewarding drink. Tastes like a barleywine, but with much more going on.

I highly recommend this one.

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer definitely tastes like a number of other Hitachino beers I've had...very cedar-y, which is pretty unique. This beer tasted to me like eggnog, which is never a comparison I've made in a beer review.

This beer poured a hazy read with a pretty minimal head that looked mass produced (like what you'd find on a Bud Light). Aroma was a slightly sweet hoppiness with lots of malty caramel-ness. There was a bit of spice in the smell which might have been the cedar. Flavor was very much to me like eggnog - creamy and nutmeg-y, but while I love eggnog I don't particularly care for it in my beer. Mouthfeel was smooth.

I wouldn't particularly recommend this beer.

Photo of czechsaaz
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Kind of funky aroma in a good way. Lots of wood aromas and some roasted malt. There's a wild yeast aroma too which adds another layer of complexity. Some good fruity fermentation esters too.

Light brown colored with a rocky thick and persistent head. Some red highlights when held up to the light but also pretty cloudy. There's a lot of rising carbonation feeding the head that leaves good lacing.

The start is very sweet and malty. But that gives way to a good wild yeast/brett character. The sourness is not overwhelming but it's readily apparent. The underlying malt is harder to pick out but it has some caramel and chocolate flavors. Nice hop bitterness. I only get a hint of woody flavors. All the flavors blend together pretty well but I wasn't really expecting that wild ale type beer. It's good though.

Very lively carbonation (I suspect the wild yeast thing here.) Maybe a little over the top. Otherwise full bodied.

It works for me but I would imagine a lot of people will be put off by the sour/wild flavors.

Photo of ByTor2112
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Challenging Ale, challenging review....
Poured up a cloudy brown color with a tan head.
Aroma-sweet smells, sake? Not sure, some sour or yeasty notes.
Mouthfeel-The first wave is that of a strong ale. Not much hop profile there at all. It has been a long time since I even tried sake. I do get flavors of whisky. There is a complex bitterness that is obviously the sake and the barrel. It is not a bad flavor, and I have never been fortunate to have any barrel or sour/funky beer styles. This would be good as an after dinner long-sipper. I appreciated this one and I like Hitachino's offerings. I might have given a higher drinkability, but my palate was so new to this one. Definitely worth trying, but hard to describe.

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

Nice rocky beige head that leaves good ring lace. Pours a cloudy light brown with lots of yeasty beasties.

Sweeet malty smell (brown sugary). Slight hop spice to the nose.

The flavor starts with the sweetness that comes through in the nose. There is a strong bite of yeast. The finish is quite bitter. I like the balance. I can not taste any sake or oak. The body is rich, like a hot chocolate.

I couldn't drink this regularly, but I would say this is one of the superior versions of strong ale.

Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 618 ratings.