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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) - Kiuchi Brewery

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

595 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 595
Reviews: 334
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13%
Wants: 23
Gots: 30 | 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: 595 | Reviews: 334 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

ByTor2112, Nov 23, 2007
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.

smcolw, Nov 15, 2007
Photo of vtfan77
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a cloudy copper with a very generous beige head. Nice-looking beer.

S- Sour and metallic at first with a vinegary aroma. As it warms a sweet, sugary character emerges. Interesting mix or sweet and sour.

T- Starts out tart with vinegar and green apple. Some sweetness emerges along with a woody character. Finishes fairly dry with an earthy bitterness.

M- Smooth medium body and a little fizzy.

D- This is quite the complex beer and certainly not a quaffer, but certainly a very enjoyable sipper.

An interesting beer that is strongly reminiscent of an Oud Bruin in my opinion. In fact, had I tasted this blind, I'm almost certain that's the style I'd have assigned it. I'm not very familiar with sake, so I don't know how much the flavor was influenced by the sake cask aging. It's well worth the try, especially for fans of slightly sour beers. Recommended.

vtfan77, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rough pour from the bottle delivers a good sized head of creamy tan froth that slowly erodes over a few minutes into a short solid cap atop its reddish-brown body. I doubt that a careful pour would bring up the same head, but then you'd have a clearer beer as the yeast could be left behind in the bottle.

The nose is unusual, and offers bright notes of oak and wet cedar over a sugar candy sweetness and delicate malt base. It's floral as well, and there's a bit of some alcohol that's along the lines of a bourbon but much lighter... perhaps that's from a combination of the residual shocyu in the cask and the delicately caramelish malt. Shocyu is usually made out of roots (often sweet potatoes), whereas sake is made from rice wine. Regardless of where the alcohol is coming from, the aroma is quite intriguing and enticing.

The body is medium with a very fine-bubbled, natural carbonation from bottle conditioning.

The flavor is as you might expect, but with the malt having a more prominent role amidst the oak and candy sweetness. The alcohol is more obvious, and it gains a bit as you progress through the glass and it warms a bit. It starts sweet on the palate, then reveals its floral and candyish side, becomes a bit bitter across the middle, and then finishes dry and a touch spicy with a wash of alcohol and lingering dry oak.

Interesting to say the least! This is probably one of the most unique beers on earth, and probably worth trying for that reason alone, although I enjoyed it immensely when consumed slowly, one sip at a time. I think it wouldd make a great beer to enjoy while reading a good book, or watching a movie, but I'd avoid it at the bar. Take a bottle home and savor it slowly.

NeroFiddled, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of kkipple
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Hitachino Nest beers are always fun to try, and this is one is no exception. XH is a hazy copper brew, with a 3cm off-white lingering head.

The smell is more than a little odd. It's malt-heavy and cool, clear and slightly oaky and woodsy. Caramel and tapioca, no hops to be found. Unlike anything that comes to mind.

The taste is equally different...sweet and smooth with evident booze and caramel, but I'm getting next to no hops and lots of oaky, wine-like tannins. Roasted grains and a dank, musty flavor pervade this thing. Carbonation is low and the entire experience is smooth and pretty sophisticated. Very strange, yet rather good.

Finish is sweet and short, mildly dry.

What a weird beer. It's unique and tasty, but not terribly drinkable. In sum, it's a tough beer to describe and one you should experience personally.

kkipple, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a woody brown body that glows with a red hue in the light. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles that support a thin film of light brown head made up mostly of big bubbles. The head is soon gone and fades to a thin ring of foam.

S- The smell is smooth brown malt with a soft sweetness and a clean fusel smell at the finish.

T- The smooth taste of brown malt had a hint of darker roasted malt to it followed by a big wet oak taste. The finish was a clean neutral taste of white sake.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a clean but hot finish.

D- The wood and fusel alcohol heat really comes through this beer but the malt flavors are strong enough to stand up to them. The sake flavor really doesn't work with the malt flavors.

rhoadsrage, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of DaggerEyes
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured out of a 12 oz bottle and into a chalice a hazy brown with a minimal trace of a head, just a few bubbles gathering around the perimeter of the glass. There are slight hints of gold visible when the glass is held up to the light

Caramel on the nose mingles with some fruity notes, a slight grape smell a kin to wine.

Caramel malts, bourbon-esque tones, the oak comes through but it's not over powering. Some piney hops present. It's amazing how well balanced this is. Nothing aggressively jumps out at you, yet it is in no way bland or one dimensional. A superbly crafted brew

Active carbonation, viscous a good mouthfeel

I enjoyed the experience of this beer though I can't see myself drinking it too often

DaggerEyes, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of yelterdow
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. bottle purchased at Bottle King in Hillsdale, NJ. I tried the white ale last week, it was big for the style. Now let's see what this beer has to offer.

Served in an oversize snifter at just over fridge temperature. There is a code lasered in the label, it reads X.7.8.

Appearance- Pours a dirty gold... it becomes redder in the glass, and there is absolutely no indicaition whatsoever of a head. It's murky, the light is barely penetrating this beer... a very old ale type of look.

Smell- Liquid metal and rubber gloves, plastic, some fermented plums perhaps... but that was only short-lived while it was too cold. A pronounced wood-aged character, with its full and dense aroma that's almost stomach-filling in and of itself. Perfumy and certainly unique, it gets better as the beer comes to temperature. There's a creaminess to the nose, almost vanilla-like and buttery smooth.

Taste- A whisky-like flavor is imparted from the barrel aging... I'm definitely not geting sake here, it's real boozy! Residual vanilla, wood, alcohol, and a nice spicy finish.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The slick, rolling texture is surprisingly good here... again, "creamy" does it justice in more ways than one. Still a bit hot for me personally, but this is a nice sipping beer that stands apart from all other strong ales as far as I'm concerned.

yelterdow, Oct 25, 2007
Photo of sleazo
4.28/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A_pours a cloudy brown with a cream coloured fluffy head

S_sweetish caramel malt. Some grapes

T-strong malt backbone hits richly with the caramel. Then you get a good bitterness. A piney hop taste. Throughout is a good wood alcohol burn which I would imagine from the shochu. This has a good ammount of that flavour. A nice grape like fruit comes through in the aftertaste

M_slight syrup but a bright carbonation.

D_this almost drinks like an oak aged double ipa. Nicely done

sleazo, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of mcallister
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An hazy amber pour. Almost looks like apple cider. A hard pour resulted no head yet some white particles whirlwind in the liquid.

Very nice aromas. Full of fruit ranging from apple and pear to some spicey orange peel notions. Big caramel and toffee backbone with a hint of vinegar. Big complex nose.

Man what a different beer. At first my thoughts were "what the hell is this" and now they are "this is some good shit". Thick buttered toffee mid palate with multiple fruit rushes from all angles. Tannin from the barrel is present in the early finish and dies out quickly. Dates and more buttery aspects but not diacetyl. Rotten pear and some old red apple flavor almost even cideresque. Mouth is slightly thin and silky but fits the beer nicely. So odd yet I could drink a couple on a cool fall evening.

mcallister, Sep 24, 2007
Photo of stewart124
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a hazy orange/amber color with a slight white lacy head.
Strong plum and raisin notes are present in the smell.

The taste is very sweet and the fruits are even stronger on the taste buds. Alcohol isn't too overpowering but is still noticeable. There is a warming feeling as this goes down. Hop presence is not very strong. Spicy notes of cinnamon hit the palate at the beginning and then leave a slight aftertaste that mesh well with the sweetness of raisins.

I'm not exactly sure what aging this beer in sake casks gave to the overall flavors but it is a nice strong ale. I think the initial taste and the aftertaste are quite nice.

stewart124, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to egajdzis for grabbing this...
Appears a semi-transparent, slightly hazed brown/orange with a small white head that slowly fades out. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is rummy, hot, spicy, yeasty, full of ripe bananas, nectarines, brown sugar, and rum soaked raisins.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with highlights of ripe fruit, and caramel.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a sweet, plum-wine finish.

weeare138, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a squat fattie ($3.50 at Whole Foods) into a tumbler. The beer was dark copper colored and murky, with tons of yeastie floaters. The smell is robust with alcohol and a little sourness, not really the sake flavor I half expected (and I've tried a crapload of sake in my several short visits to Japan). The taste is very rich, malty and bitter and a little unique in the beer world. Almost Belgian-esque, a little sour with hints of cherries or plums. The mouthfeel is full even though there isn't a great deal of carbonation. A little too strongly bitter aftertaste for me to rate drinkability too high.

TurdFurgison, Sep 09, 2007
Photo of merlin48
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dirty auburn brown body with a small beige head that quickly falls to a cap. Some rings of lace aound the snifter. Aroma of wood, sake, and fried rice. Mouthfeel is nice, medium body and crisp carbonation. Taste is better than the aroma with prominent oak wood tones and a faint note of berries. As it warms, the sake becomes dominant imparting some harsh alcohol which lasts into the finish. Not my favorite Hitachino Nest but one of the most interesting.

merlin48, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of msubulldog25
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on two occasions, 14 & 15 July, 2007. Poured each time from a 33cl bottle to a small, tall-sided cup. Aged in Shochu sake casks and labeled with a bold, golden 'XH' on a black background. Served at PIB 2007.

A: Slightly hazed amber/garnet with hints of ruby (wow - all 'jewel'-themed...). 1/2-finger of creamy, ivory-colored heady, a little soapy then tightening rapidly to a slim ring.

S: Big pungent woody aroma, acerbic. A hint of yeast with tart cherries.
Strong orange/citrus hops but mellowed with somewhat dominated by the vinous woodiness, vanilla and cherry imparted by the wood aging.

T: Tart like apples and cherries, smoke and wood tannins, vinous grapes, herbs including mint. Some sugars and caramel bring sweetness and turn over the flavors toward maltiness midway. A bourbon or scotch-like layered texture, with flavors rippling over the tongue, then clinging and warming. Finishes mostly dry. Really a nice, nice beer...

M: Quite smooth, velvety even. Some alcohol warming in that creaminess and some astringency from that sour/tannic wood. Medium body, low carbonation.

D: A sipping beer and one you would not have more than one of at a sitting. Warm and mellow in the mouth, evolving flavors, an intriguing and enticing aroma - this is one to sit with and savor. 'Strong Ale' or barrel-aged 'Barleywine' not sure exactly how this one was categorized...all I know is it's very good and I'd love to have it again.

DISCLAIMER: It's not often that I'll review a beer tasted at a Festival, but I'll make a handful of exceptions from the past weekend's Portland International Beerfest. This came from a 33cl bottle, chilled on ice and poured to a clear (plastic) 4 oz. tasting glass. As this was my wife's first pour on Saturday (which I wound up drinking most of...) and my first on Sunday (from 1 of 2 bottles set aside by the event organizers and sampled well after the rest of the limited stock had run out - thank you very much, Chris!), I started with a clean glass and palate both times, so I have no problem writing a 'proper' review.

msubulldog25, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of mnapier
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Service Temp, 40 degrees. Service Glass 12 ounce German Balloon Glass

Raising the glass the dark orange fluid let's little light shine through and through. As I swirl the glass around preparing to approach my nose I observe a mild white head with light lace across the inside of the glass.

Aroma, is apparent in regards to the oak and plum.

Taking several sips, I hit some slight dryness, some subtle citrus, but a continuation of the oak theme is still there only mildly. The ales overall presence on my tongue is a constant reminder I need to come back again and again with its resiny medium body.

Overall, a wonderfully tastey barrel aged (sake) & definitely different.


mnapier, Jul 24, 2007
Photo of soulgrowl
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep, burnt cranberry ruby with a cherry juice-stained beige-tan head of fair size and poor retention.

Smell: A lovely cocktail of old world and new world hops, with lots of spicy resin notes, the sharp zest of grapefruit, all tied together with a nutty caramel malt base a bit of spicy yeast. Autumnal overall, with a warming vibe and an earthy, sweet-and-spicy tone. Alcohol hits the back of the nose with a deep whiff, but it is very clean and not overpowering at all.

Taste: Sweet and slick, not exactly imbalanced but the malts are definitely center stage. This might actually be better qualified as an English Barleywine than an American Strong Ale, because the malts carry a lot of caramel, honey, brown sugar, rum, and dark fruit notes with a finish of bitter cocoa, while the hops are comparatively subdued. Reminiscent of Crystal Pepsi with its mix of caramel, citrus, yeasty spice, and vanilla. But while this is sweet coming in, going out it is bitter and lush with hops, floral and herbal and lightly spicy with a lingering dry tang.

Mouthfeel: A tad thin but creamy and smooth. Carbonation develops along with the flavor, making the beer seem fuller and frothier as you chew.

Drinkability: Easy to drink and pleasant to savor despite its sweetness and ABV. Another winsome ale from Kiuchi.

soulgrowl, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of nouseforotacon
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured out with a strong aroma, noticeable throughout the pour, with a cola-like bottom containing a touch of red when held up to the light. The head was puffy, thick and tan, and slow to fall.

Sweet, extremely malty smell, with traces of alcohol. Floral/citrus profile present, decent balance.

Nice hop profile in the taste, very bitter, with a strong, powdery bittersweet chocolate character. Warm and dark, with a pleasantly creamy mouthfeel, and the citrus resurfacing as mild grapefruit.

ABV can creep up on you in this one, easy to drink with its medium body and well masked alcohol. Overall drinkability good, though the strong bitterness might throw some off. Definitely recommended for a try.

nouseforotacon, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 mL brown glass bottle, capped. Date stamped on label was 03.06.14. This bottle was purchased in Hitachino's home prefecture (Ibaraki) on June 18, 2003. A Japanese friend translated the label for me: bottled on June 14, 2003, and for best freshness drink within 2 months, but it will still be good to drink for 9 months.

This ale poured a hazy golden amber color with white foam that settled and left a coat. The smell was a strong, "chewy", citrusy floral hops aroma - very nice. The taste was dominated by floral hops but with a good bit of malt sweetness to balance, and with some grapefruit (hops), caramel, and molasses in the mix. There was a pleasant hop bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel was dominated by the hops, with a little sharpness and dryness on the tongue. The body was medium full and the carbonation moderate. This was quite a suprisingly good ale bursting with hops.

UncleJimbo, Jun 18, 2003
Photo of Naerhu
2.65/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Ingredients: Malts, Hops.
Aged from 6 months to 1 year (according to brewer's web site)

Initial tasting: 29 Dec 02
Amazing sweet aroma which I just cant put my finger on, not maple, like currant or cranberry. Deep ruddy brown color. Strong burnt fruit palate. Tame but always present bitterness. Good acidity.

Second tasting: 07 Feb 03
Same as above, but the alcohol is just overpowering. Can bearly drink it.

Naerhu, Dec 29, 2002
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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 595 ratings.