Kirin Ichiban
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Lager - American
Ranked #512
Ranked #50,049
2.71 | pDev: 22.51%
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
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.
View: Beers
Reviews: 657 | Ratings: 2,017 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum from California

1.55/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

After the Kirin Lager last night, I put off trying this other offering from the land of the Rising Sun, as long as I possibly could. Unfortunately it was only for 24 hrs. Because every time I opened my fridge door, I was continually faced with the screams & yells of “shame on you!” & “it’s a bloody disgrace!” from the gathering of well-organised Stone Bombers forced to share the same fridge. As the Stone gathering was led by the very angry & gargoylian ‘Double Bastard’ doing an impression of a mad Jimmy Hoffa – it was time to put the Stones out of their mystery & remove the offending Bottle of Ichiban that was cowering in the corner of the fridge - and Review it.

As with the Lager, it comes in a 21.4 fl.oz (63.3 cl) brown glass Bottle, a size straight from the design school of Billy Beta-Max again.

Pours with a reasonable head at first, but this surrenders fast, and collapses to a very thin disappointing pond scum white head. A ring of white hope clings to the edge of the Glass in defiance but even that eventually disappears. A yellow golden looking fluid that reminded me of the one bottle of continually watered-down lemon washing up liquid I used as a poor student for 2 years. Piss poor appearance, quite literally.

Aromas are awful. Sour, damp musty wet rotting corn as others have rightly said. This is offset by the drenched cardboard smells thankfully.

Mouthfeel is less than the last gasp of air I just took.

Initial tastes are of old coins that I used to put in my mouth when a child. This metallic taste increases in strength in the middle, but elevates itself to the “tinkle” experienced when licking food off a well-worn old silver-plated spoon. I detected that the brewer once shook hands with someone who once touched a hop-plant, though the low concentrations in the beer were not detectable by the Mass Spectrometer at the nearby University.

It took me a while to drink this. In the end, I just imagined that I was 12 years old again & down the woods near my house in England drinking from the One Can of "cheapest super non-premium" Beer that me & my five friends would save up all of our collective week’s pocket money for. Great days!

Kirin Ichiban is a mythical beast that is half deer & half dragon according to label. Well if I ended up in that mess, I would feel it appropriate to have this “half pseudo brew - half water” diuretic fluid named after me.

According to my free translator;
Kirin Ichiban is Japanese for, “don’t ****ing bother with this beer”.

Jan 16, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of Safa1
Safa1 from California

4.13/5  rDev +52.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Okay. This shits made in Los Angeles. It's all malt. Listen. All malt. Usually 8.99 a 12 pack 5% and all malt. It's delicious. I just drank an old chub Oskar Blues then cracked this one. It tastes silky smooth. No nasty aftertaste. It's pretty fucking premium tasting and it's a god damned macro. I keep a few cold. When you just don't want fuck my mouth flavor(hetero but not hateful) it's the perfect beer. I will drink this over any other macro. Period. Think again if you think this has rice round eye.

Jun 20, 2015
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

1.73/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with an A&B “Bottled On” date on the back label. Brewed by Anheuser-Busch in the US.

Appearance: Very good lacing, stick white and foamy. The clarity is fine in a yellow coloured brew.

Smell: Smells of skunk and cooked cabbage … well perhaps the skunk and cabbage smell mixed together smells like rotten cabbage. Horrible aroma and I dread even drinking a sip.

Taste: Light body with a medium level of carbonation. Husk flavour upfront grows to overwhelming and needless to say becomes astringent with little flavour. Hops are all used up with a bitterness that is not natural. More and more astrignet grain flavours come and make it harder and harder to drink.

Notes: I had to pour this out after four sips, perhaps the worst beer this year. As the comic book guy on the Simpson’s would say “Worst Faux-Japanese beer ever.”. This is not the beer I remembered at the numerous Asia restaurants I frequented back in the day.

Here is my English-Haiku review:

It is hot outside
I tried this beer to quench thirst
Made me want to ralph

Aug 17, 2002
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner from Kentucky

2.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Despite the claim of 100% malt this smells like an adjunct lager. Corny, with bubblegum sweetness there is some barley malt aroma.

The flavor tastes like an adjunct as well. Very corny, sweet and some grain it's easy to drink but I'd dispute the malt claim.

As far as Japanese beers go I find this to be less attractive than Sapparo but better than Asahi.

Oct 10, 2014
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.1/5  rDev +51.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kirin Ichiban has a very thick, white head and a clear, golden appearance with lots of bubbles streaming up and a good amount of lacing left behind. The aroma is of typical, run-of-the-mill beer, and the taste is semi-sweet, grainy, and it also has some mild hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is light and watery, and Kirin Ichiban finishes crisp, refreshing, and mostly dry. Overall, this is a delicious beer, and I highly recommend it.


Feb 20, 2011
Photo of Bigalduncan64
Bigalduncan64 from Texas

4.83/5  rDev +78.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Based on the category this beer was placed in, this is the best there is. I can't think of another beer this style that has a better flavor and drinkability. I'm very very surprised Kirin Ichiban has such low ratings.

Apr 24, 2015
Photo of LarryV
LarryV from Massachusetts

3.44/5  rDev +26.9%
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.

Dec 15, 2018
Photo of Kercio
Kercio from Missouri

4.12/5  rDev +52%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smells good tastes better. Good beer

Jan 10, 2015
Photo of schavuytje
schavuytje from Netherlands

3.16/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pale yellow body with a bubble foam top, one for herbal-smelling aroma hops flavor of soft biscuit-like malt and a slightly bitter tasting bar with a not quite dry finish

Feb 02, 2017
Photo of DoubleMalt
DoubleMalt from New York

3.17/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

You just never know....thought I was trying a beer brewed in Japan.
On the bottle though, it says: Brewed under Kirin's supervision by Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles or Williamsburg, VA"

May 03, 2016
Photo of iman99
iman99 from Louisiana

4.24/5  rDev +56.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just drank a 25 oz got it from the store in florida at Publix for 2.13 after tax its 1.99 before tax its a nice morning drink.

this is an amazing beer, really nice taste and gives you a nice feeling doesn't give you the real cheap feeling like some other high gravity beers give you, doesn't make you have all kinds of weird things going on in your head like some of the cheap beers do, really pleasant

highly recommend

Jul 15, 2015
Photo of MeanMotaScootah
MeanMotaScootah from California

3.2/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

very little aroma - just dank malt and some bready notes. Overall a sweet lager, not sure what an American pale lager is but this seems more like a british lager to me. Not a bad lager but just different.

Aug 13, 2016
Photo of ShaunJ
ShaunJ from Minnesota

4.19/5  rDev +54.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A great lager with a unique taste. Clean, crisp, a bit dry, light. I prefer Japanese lagers over American lagers. This is one of my favorites.

Apr 27, 2015
Photo of JoLight
JoLight from Georgia

4.9/5  rDev +80.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma: 70% grassy, 30% malty/grainy. Nostalgic summer "beer smell".

Appearance: two finger white head, soapy, dissipates; clear, light bubbles, golden-yellow.

Taste: Grain all the way through, carbonation upfront, dry hops in the middle-end; also in the end is a flowering of breadiness, still with grains in the background, bready and almost tangy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: semi-dry, carbonated, light.

Finish: crisp, refreshing.

Jun 02, 2015
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

3.45/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Wow! look at the artwork and the great selection of color on this beer label. This is a great all malt lager that just takes some getting used to, after a few packs your palate will adjusted to it & it goes great with asian style cuisine. $2 for a 25 oz can is not a bad deal, not mention there is also a canned on date on the bottom that let me know that I am consuming this beer at 1 month old which is quite fresh. Cheers! B-

Apr 30, 2018
Photo of Vulture3
Vulture3 from Oklahoma

4.55/5  rDev +67.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Crisp, Japanese version of Bud with a nicer look

Apr 08, 2015
Photo of VoxRationis
VoxRationis from New York

3.78/5  rDev +39.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Decanted from a 12 oz (355 ml) bottle into a conical pint glass.
A: Pours a crystal clear golden color with good carbonation and one inch, white head formation, solid retention, but modest lacing.
S: Aroma of sweet corn predominates with some grassy and spicy notes, perhaps.
T: Semisweet. Reminded me a good deal of any American Adjunct Lager that incorporates corn. Very light bitterness contributing to clean finish.
M: Light bodied with robust carbonation resolving to light fairly quickly.
O: I unexpectedly quite enjoyed this. Looked at the numerical rating (but not the comments) before trying. I found it was light, refreshing, and reasonably flavorful. Clearly designed to be served cold. I truly do not understand the very low ratings, but I will say this tasted very fresh (had two at one sitting) and that can be a challenge for any beer coming from the other side of the Northern Hemisphere. If the beer is skunked, would it not make sense not to review it until you got a fresh one? Had the same experience with Dos Equis Lager.

Jun 28, 2018
Photo of desint
desint from Belgium

2.96/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smell is extreme malt. It has quite a nice feel to it.
Tastes great for a macro lager.
If not the best macro i've ever had.

Jul 02, 2015
Photo of jp32
jp32 from Michigan

1.81/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a golden pilsner in color with a fizzy accumulation of foam on top that reminds of a glass of pop. The smell is similar to a Bud or Coors Light, only a touch sweeter. The taste is unwelcome. Its actually okay at first sip, but midway through a strange-tasting bitterness takes over. The drink is concluded with a very watery mouthfeel and a flavor to match. Blah. I also notice a bready aftertaste towards the end of the beer.

May 13, 2005
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

2.98/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Kirin Ichiban 100% malt. 12 oz can on an airline on the way to Tokyo.
Clear fizzy yellow body with a tall head of foam that has decent retention. The aroma has a mix of attractive malts, spicy and grassy hops, and faint off-notes. The flavor is oddly more bitter mid-taste than in the aftertaste. Almost repellant at first, it improved as my taste adjusted and it warmed a bit.
Quite poor compared to the Sam Adams lager that preceded it. I’m sure better beers await me in Japan.

May 05, 2018
Photo of sommersb
sommersb from Tennessee

2.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted On: 06-04-2012
Freshness: Unknown
Packaging: Draft
Glassware: Shaker pint
Purchased: On tap at Genghis Grill

Decided to try this on draft with my Mongolian stir fry

A: Clear beer, with a pale straw color. The head was white and very thin, with little lacing or staying power.

S: Light pale malty sweetness, with a hint of grassy hops.

T: Not a lot of flavor overall - a fairly typical lightweight lager beer, with a balance of slight sweetness and a low bittering element. I found it to be pleasant enough and unoffensive, though. Seemed to be a good compliment to the meal.

M: Crisp and refreshing.

O: Nothing especially noteworthy, but it was a good thirst quencher. I wouldn't go out of my way to find this, but I would drink it again.

Jun 05, 2012
Photo of FATH3RH0P5
FATH3RH0P5 from Colorado

4/5  rDev +47.6%

Apr 02, 2012
Photo of TwoForty
TwoForty from Florida

3/5  rDev +10.7%

Aug 02, 2014
Photo of Jotora
Jotora from Canada (ON)

1.5/5  rDev -44.6%

Jan 09, 2014
Photo of Myotus
Myotus from Texas

2/5  rDev -26.2%

Nov 11, 2014
Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Beer rating: 64 out of 100 with 2017 ratings