Kirin Ichiban
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban
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Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Lager - American
Ranked #514
ABV:
5%
Score:
64
Ranked #50,427
Avg:
2.71 | pDev: 22.51%
Reviews:
660
Ratings:
2,029
From:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
 
Japan
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  21
Gots
  468
SCORE
64
Poor
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban
Notes: Kirin Ichiban is one of the world's most unique premium beers. The Ichiban shibori process uses only the most flavorful portion of the finest ingredients.

100% Malt.
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Reviews: 660 | Ratings: 2,029 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cjgiant
cjgiant from District of Columbia

2.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Clear, clean beer with a little apple cider tang to its moderately sweet malt side. Balances with bitterness pretty well, fairly neutral to maybe slightly dirty to grassy. There’s not much to the nose.

Apr 18, 2021
Photo of BPVandenbroek
BPVandenbroek from Canada (AB)

2.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Kirin Ichiban is a crystal clear, pale amber the lager. Pinpoint CO2 rises through the glass, supporting a cloudy bone white head. The head has decent retention, leaving nice lace as it recedes.
Malt dominates the nose in the form of white bread and unsalted crackers. Bready malts lead to a center that has an interesting smooth, almost neutral aroma. The first descriptor that popped into my mind was “Papery,” but somehow that doesn’t seem right. Rather, that strange, neutral aroma smells like rice. If you can imagine dried, white rice sitting in the bag waiting for you to cook it. That sort of smell. Rice aroma dominates from here on, before fading into an abrupt finish.
On the tongue, Kirin Ichiban is smooth and dry; almost too dry, really. That dryness takes over and dominates the flavor and mouthfeel in a way that almost immediately detracts from my enjoyment of the beer. This is too bad, because at first Kirin Ichiban is smooth, and almost rounded in nature. There’s a hint of sweetness up front, as well. But then that dryness comes in, coating the tongue, and dominating the rest of the drinking experience.
This Asian lager has the potential to be a decent, maybe even enjoyable lager. Unfortunately the two things I didn’t like about the beer are such noticeable flaws, it prevents me from really enjoying what I’m drinking. I certainly didn’t care for the aromas of rice and the dryness on the tongue made it hard for me to feel refreshed after each sip.

Apr 01, 2021
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kevofficiel from Canada (QC)

2.63/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Look: Pale, yellow, golden color on the top. About 1 finger of white head that stays.

Smell: Sweet malt. Nothing special.

Taste: Herbal notes, Sweet malt,

Feels: Medium body, light to medium carbonation, finish dry (that u want an other sip)

So overall would I recommend it? No really, its better than a bud in general, but, there is much better American Lager out there than this.

Will I buy it again ? No, Im just gonna finish my 12 pack and that's it

Mar 11, 2021
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HopMaester from Canada (ON)

3.48/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very regular tasting lager, nothing bad about it. Great for a summer afternoon. But nothing mindlbowing

L- light amber yellow
S- light malt smell
T- neutral
F- superior to a a macro beer flavor
O- decent beer to have on the roster

Jan 31, 2021
Photo of ZAP
ZAP from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +47.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a decent American Lager style beer. It has a bit more body than most and carries a grainy maltiness along with a pretty dry finish. Interesting info on the first press wort being used rather than a combination of first and second worts. It's decent. Kind of what I envision an American Lager to have tasted like in the 1950's...Ratings are for the style..

Dec 06, 2020
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rocketcat from Finland

4.18/5  rDev +54.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Kirin Ichiban First Press is very good standalone beer and fits also with heavy foods (like meat). Taste is very gentle and bubbling, it somehow shouts to take another one :) Definently goes to my favourites.

Sep 27, 2020
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aBosslyElephant from Florida

3.45/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L- A very nice ambery yellow
S- Very airy and crisp malt smell
T- Great, very neutral with a malty hops finish
F- Thicker than I would expect by looking at it but overall smooth and light
O- Solid malt beer, highly recommend if you ever have the chance to try it!

Sep 08, 2020
Photo of morimech
morimech from Minnesota

3.07/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Unfortunately not as dry and crisp as I would of liked. Has an unfortunate artificial, almost plastic aftertaste. Light body and appropriately carbonated. It does taste better eating sushi or ramen.

Aug 25, 2020
Photo of OK_Denise
OK_Denise from Oklahoma

2.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

This is not a horrible lager but it is really not very good to be honest. The initial taste is not too bad but the finish is like totally bleh! I cannot recommend this unless you are a total fan boy of Japanese beers.

Aug 23, 2020
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HorseheadsHophead from New York

3.74/5  rDev +38%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Crystal clear straw color with a foamy white head. Good retention.
Floral aroma, gently sweet, crackery, hint of honey, pear, and hay. Very light, bordering on watery, but zippy carb. A hint of sweetness but finishes very crisp. A solid refreshing lager.

Aug 03, 2020
Photo of tomocracy
tomocracy from Washington

3.39/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

I actually kind of f with this brew. Going from PNW ipas to trying intl lagers is difficult for me but i've found this one to be better than the Asahi brewed in Canada. Apparently the can says its brewed by Anheuser-Busch in California. It looks like a bad tasting beer, but tastes pretty bready and nice carbonation. I'd recommend drinking it from the can. Maybe in a glass, the dehydrated piss color and lack of aeration from the can opening makes it tastes slightly worse. Could see myself having 5 of these in Tokyo or at a backyard party.

Jun 17, 2020
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev +48.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle with a "bottled on" date

Looks like crappy beer, smells very sweet: more harsh grain and alcohol than sweet honey. Taste is dry and crisp, like a stale saltine cracker with a drip of honey

Better than the reviews suggest, this pairs beautfully with spicy asian food or a hot & humid day or both

Jun 15, 2020
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

3.25/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a can into a pint glass
Appearance – The beer pours a clear golden amber color with a one finger head of white foam. The head has a decent level of retention, slowly fading to leave a moderate sum of lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is light overall with some smells of a light grain and caramel smell. Along with these aromas comes a little bit of a herbal and earthy smell as a touch of hay.
Taste – The taste begins with a slightly grainy and caramel sweetened taste with a touch of a grassy taste. As the taste advances the sweeter flavors grow stronger all while the grainy drops and becomes more doughy and bready in nature. All the while, the grassy tastes fade and are replaced by a touch of hay, leaving one with a rather light and slightly malty taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is lighter and more crisp, with a carbonation level that is rather high. For the lighter tastes and the style of the brew the feel is great and makes for a very easy sipping and refreshing brew overall.
Overall – An easy drinking brew overall. Nothing spectacular, but rather easy going.

Jun 04, 2020
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HochFliegen from Oregon

3/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from can in Tachikawa. Color was a crisp golden hue with a bright white foamy top that left a nice lacing around the glass.

The smell was very much dominated by malt tones with hints of lemon zest.

Flavor was sweet and malty. Very fresh and crisp tasting. Perfect on this beautiful sunny day in Japan.

Body was light and fizzy with a good amount of carbonation. Could easily sip this beer all day long.

Overall very nice mellow brew that I enjoy.

Mar 01, 2020
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entheos from California

3.19/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

It’s light and decent. It’s better than a Milwaukee best and not as poor as the reviews suggest. It’s like eating a light pear rather than a bit of a juicy apple.

Feb 17, 2020
Photo of Peach63
Peach63 from New York

3.55/5  rDev +31%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours golden yellow with a 1/4 inch white head, which dissipates. light lacing.

Aroma is malty, grassy, lemon. Not getting any hop aroma.

Taste is malty, slight lemon. No corn or rice taste.

Light bodied, light carbonation. dry finish.

Much better than AAL's. A decent quaffable beer.

Jan 23, 2020
Photo of mactrail
mactrail from Washington

3.53/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is apparently the same old Ichiban, though now the label touts the "First Press" brewing process, "which extracts only the purest, most flavorful portion of the finest ingredients." Ummm, no doubt. But they call that the "Ichiban Shibori" process, which is the name of a different Kirin beer on the BA database. I give up.

Pours a clear yellow, with plenty of foam in the 14 oz shaker. Taste is very smooth and grainy, cream of wheat, or more likely Cream of Rice. I would not bet that hops are involved but it's got a decent "beery" aoma. Less prickly than a lot of other light lagers. It's actually quite drinkable, provided the thirst is available. It's actually more pleasant than the typical American Lagers this is lumped with. From the gigantic can purchased at the San Francisco market.

Jan 22, 2020
Photo of Buckeye55
Buckeye55 from North Carolina

2.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Halfway between below average and average. Pours a pale yellow color with moderate head. Smell is of malt and more malt. Taste follows, and mellows to sweet. Medium mouthfeel and a clean, sweet finish

Jan 03, 2020
Photo of mothmanscott
mothmanscott from Georgia

2.67/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

From notes 2/2/13: Pours clear gold producing a single finge of foamy, white, fast fading head that leaves no lace. Aroma is rice, corn and barley (cereal) with a hint of grass. Taste is similar but more robust with cracker lager yeast backbone. Mouthfeel is thin with moderate carbonation, crisp dry finish.

Oct 27, 2019
Photo of Nofoba
Nofoba

3.23/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle brewed in Germany.

It pours a clear, bright, golden body with visible carbonation. Medium white head with a good amount of lacing.

It has a mild aroma of pale malts and grassy hops.

The taste is mild, with grain and some hops. The finish is dry. The mouthfeel is light bodied, with light bitterness and medium carbonation.

Light, crisp and refreshing.

Oct 15, 2019
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defunksta from North Dakota

3.57/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a gold color with a strong orange presence. A small white head that fades quickly. SRM of 8. (3.75)

Aroma: Light cereal and corn. A little bit of cornflakes and whole milk. (3.50)

Flavor: Very light and subtle flavor. I get some rice, cereal, and milk. A little sweetness. No hops. Maybe a little grass. As they describe it is 100% malts, but the flavors are minimal. Some rubber too. (3.50)

Feel: Foamy on the mouthfeel. Smooth and creamy, yet light-bodied enough to be crisp as a lager. (4.00)

Compared to Insight's Brewing Old One Eye 8/2/20: More malt and rubber on the aroma. Less tart grape. Lots of malts and rubber.

Overall: It's okay. A nice body, but I was just expecting more here. The flavor really doesn't stand up. It's rice and water or milk. Maybe a palate preference. Side-by-side a Budweiser has much more flavor than this beer. Not a bad lager, it just needs more. (Final Rating: 3.57)
*Compare to an American Lager or another rice lager*

Sep 01, 2019
Photo of Bouleboubier
Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.32/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(12 oz bottle, bottled on 28FEB19; purchased off shelf... poured into simple mug)

L: brilliantly-polished clear, pale golden-yellow liquid; soft pad of white foam on pour... foam is loose, but rocky and lasting; took a few pours to empty the bottle

S: dry-toasty, caramel-coated roasted nut dominant; little estery coloring... relatively unique aromas, but not bizarre for the average simple, pale lager... once the foam begins to recede, a bit of grassy, earthy hop?; after the foam goes, very little of interest, bland intensity

T: dry, nougat-y malt foundation; bit of dry-grass, grainy bitterness at the back; beery, vaguely German pils aftertaste... the up front flavor is really throwing me though - sort of a cracker-y grain with some dull desiccated grapefruit peel and herbal (parsley) 'green'-ness - not fruity or herbal, per se, just subtle shades, and not altogether unfamiliar...

F: delicate bit of oily viscosity up front, with a noticeably long finish, which later just spills away quietly

O: that dominant lead flavor is peculiar, but I think I've tasted something very similar in American-style ice beer... not a delicious outlier - relatively full-flavored for its ilk, I suppose, but way too domestic-tasting... ah! brewed by AB in L.A. and Williamsburg, VA - c'mon, is this just Bud Ice in a different skin? BOOOO! (1440)

Aug 20, 2019
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naka5cha from California

2.02/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.75

I first tasted Kirin Ichiban in Japan in 1992. I liked it - it tasted like some of the beers that I liked in Germany. When Kirin Iciban appeared here, in CA, USA, it was brewed in Canada , I think by Molson, and was a disappointment. I was surprised when Anheuser Busch began brewing it in that the Japan taste returned. From the brewers of Budweiser, I was pleasantly surprised.

On Aug. 16, 2019 I was taken aback by the new appearance of the case/24 and initially thought it was another brand. I bought two bargain-price cases and took them home. I was thoroughly disappointed; this stuff tastes as if brewed by the Budweiser horses in the only way that horses know how. There is a nasty bitter taste that isn't like hops and the prior Japan taste appears to be missing. I wondered how long it would take Anheuser Busch to ruin it. Was the change to save money or because the Japan taste was not popular in the USA?

i do not understand "first pressing." I have brewed beer and believe the hops should only be used once. Maybe the second boil up is what makes Budweiser, which I wouldn't touch with a bargepole. This "first pressing." sounds like marketing bullshit. Sadly, no more Anheuser Busch Kirin Ichiban for me.

BTW, I don't get what your required "feel" of a beer means. I gave it a "2.5" because it felt wet as I expected.

AW

Aug 18, 2019
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Thankin_Hank from Texas

3.69/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

A really light beer with carbonation to match. Smells good and light too. The taste is good for this style, albeit light. Easy as water to drink. Overall an easy drinking light beer.

Aug 14, 2019
Photo of Harrison8
Harrison8 from Missouri

3.24/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear yellow with a finger of dense, white foam. Head retention is good. Aroma is straw, herbal, zesty, citrusy hops and a little earthy, bready malts. Flavor profile spicy, herbal, zesty hops with just a touch of bready malt behind. There is a little caramel sweetness on the back. Mouth feel is medium in thickness with a crisp, moderately sharp effervescence. Overall, light and tight without much else.

Served from a bottle. Reviewed on Beers by BeerAdvocate.

Jun 12, 2019
Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Beer rating: 64 out of 100 with 2029 ratings