Kirin Ichiban
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Lager
Ranked #554
ABV:
5%
Score:
64
Ranked #48,839
Avg:
2.7 | pDev: 22.59%
Reviews:
647
Ratings:
1,991
From:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
 
Japan
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  20
Gots
  463
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: 647 | Ratings: 1,991 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of HochFliegen
3/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of entheos
3.19/5  rDev +18.1%
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.

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Photo of Peach63
3.55/5  rDev +31.5%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
3.53/5  rDev +30.7%
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.

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Photo of Buckeye55
2.75/5  rDev +1.9%
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

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Photo of mothmanscott
2.67/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of Nofoba
3.23/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

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Photo of defunksta
3.57/5  rDev +32.2%
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. (3.50)

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

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)

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.32/5  rDev +23%
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)

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Photo of naka5cha
2.02/5  rDev -25.2%
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

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Photo of Thankin_Hank
3.69/5  rDev +36.7%
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.

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Photo of Harrison8
3.24/5  rDev +20%
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.

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Photo of Rays1074
3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A solid brew. Great with a meal, or just to sit back and enjoy while you barbeque. Nothing exceptional, nothing really wrong with it though. Give it a shot, for the price!

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Photo of LocalBeerGuy
3.65/5  rDev +35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a very nice easy with nice smell and hops decent amount of head best enjoyed when cold and overall solid little beer to sip and drink on anytime of the day.

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Photo of JonnoWillsteed
2.47/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

This is one of Japan's best known beers. As omni-present as Budweiser used to be in the US, and the likes of Double Diamond, Long-Life and Skol lagers used to be in the UK until the real ale scene started in the 1970s. This still might be the default beer you're offered in a restaurant or when flying with a Japanese airline.
Bear in mind that many east Asians have what is sometimes called 'the bitter gene', they tend to not tolerate bitter flavours such as well hopped beers (or green vegetables such as sprouts!). Thus many Asian beers come across as under-hopped to the western palate.

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Photo of Troy-Hawaii
2.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Bought a 12-pack bottles $7.49 Don Quijote
Made in LA. Will update if I can get a Japan brewed version.
Smell of malt, corn
Light, clear golden color
Light-medium mouthfeel
Medium carbonation
Sweet malt flavor, clean tasting
Overall an ok beer, but great for the cheap price. Better than domestic macrobrews. Great with food as this won't overwhelm any food flavors. Wish I could get the real deal Japan version to try.

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Photo of detgfrsh
3.5/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle brewed 10/6/18. Golden color with a half inch of white head. Strong smell of grain when opening the bottle. Light feel. Flavor is malt with a little sweetness and some floral hops. Maybe I got a good bottle or something, but I feel like this one is underrated. Hits all the main points of the style and it's a pleasant beer to drink, even compared to other styles. What's not to like?

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Photo of buzzscag
4.22/5  rDev +56.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

clean malty flavor. good drinking beer. 5% alc so you can have a few before you wrap the chevy around a pole.

NO RICE YOU DINGBATS its made with barley, hops and water...that's it.

Dumb provincials think because it has a jap name its a rice beer. nincumpoops

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Photo of lordofthewiens
2.86/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Whenever we go out for maki, this is the beer I drink. It's nowhere near great, but it works well with my food. Clear yellow color, small white head, effervescent. Grainy aroma, sweet grain taste.

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Photo of LarryV
3.44/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oh my, contract brewed in the US by Anheuser-Busch - I don't really give a shit. There are times I get tired of the aggressiveness of IPA's or the demand to analyze other craft beer styles to appreciate all of the subtleties and I just want a beer that's refreshing and easy to drink. This beer fits the bill for me. I drink it nice and cold without any pretention and it really hits the spot. It's excellent with some spicy food and complements the food very well. Aroma is subtle grain, I don't get any skunkiness like others have mentioned.Taste is malty, slightly sweet and crisp. Not something I buy often but when I do I always enjoy it.

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Photo of polloenfuego
2.76/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

One of the palest beers I have ever seen. So light and clear. Decent head then nothing. Smell is malts. Simple as that. Light malty flavor with no evidence of hops. Very clean with decent body and carbonation.

Doesn't hold up to its Japanese counterparts, such as Asahi. This beer is a watery and light drink, with no real flavor.

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Photo of AdmiralOzone
2.8/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear bright yellow with a thick white head that recedes quickly leaving decent lacing. Aroma is light grains, biscuit. Flavor is semi-sweet corn and grains. Feel is light bodied with low carbonation. Overall a just only drinkable brew.

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Photo of JimboBrews54
2.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear gold with a thin white head. Scents of malt and grass. Very malt forward with some hops balance and an astringent finish. Above average carbonation. Some lacing, good not great.

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Photo of elnachooo
1.55/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

Una de las cervezas mas populares de Japón. Cerveza pálida, con poca carbonatación. Tiene un sabor plano, con un suave sabor a malta. Una cerveza olvidable.

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Photo of Lorwhal
3.38/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

If I walk into a yakiniku restaurant in Tokyo for all you can eat grilled meat and all you can drink draft beer, I want it to be cold, and I want it to be Kirin, which happen to be the two things Kirin is really good at being. I rate Kirin Ichiban 3.5 stars for temperature (it is cold), drinkability (it is a liquid), and tenacity. One point five stars have been deducted for gratuitous chimerism.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Beer rating: 64 out of 100 with 1991 ratings