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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

606 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 606
Reviews: 335
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: 606 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

wagenvolks, Mar 01, 2008
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.

brewdlyhooked13, Feb 29, 2008
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.

NCSUdo, Feb 29, 2008
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...

dsa7783, Feb 28, 2008
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.

ojiikun, Jan 28, 2008
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.

alexgash, Jan 27, 2008
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

Stoneman78, Jan 26, 2008
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.

acrawf6, Jan 21, 2008
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.

feloniousmonk, Jan 11, 2008
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.

BeerBelcher, Jan 10, 2008
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.

czechsaaz, Dec 13, 2007
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
Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 606 ratings.