Kirin Ichiban | Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

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Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban

Brewed by:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2001

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Reviews: 592 | Ratings: 1,790
Photo of JoLight
4.9/5  rDev +85.6%
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.

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Photo of Bigalduncan64
4.83/5  rDev +83%
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.

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Photo of SurferEric
4.48/5  rDev +69.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This review is not intended to be compared to any craft beer of the style, it is intended to compare with AALs that flood the market. Kirin and Pabst are my go to's as far as cheap beer goes that I like to enjoy after a few truly good beers once taste isn't my number 1 priority and I'll admit it helps that i can get a case of bottles for $14.

Plus, considering its brewed by Anheuser, it kicks the shit out of Bud.

Cheers to the beers that keep you from going broke!

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Photo of iman99
4.24/5  rDev +60.6%
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

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Photo of Safa1
4.13/5  rDev +56.4%
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.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.1/5  rDev +55.3%
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.


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Photo of JoKo
4.08/5  rDev +54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured a bright gold, slightly hazy color with lively carbonation, the head is about a centimeter.

Smell: Citrus hop aroma, pretty clean typical lager.

Taste: Dry, crisp with a nice hoppy bitterness that doesn't linger, there are some bready malt notes in the background.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, dry light bodied lager.

Drinkability: Easy drinkability, very good.

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Photo of nicholas2121
4/5  rDev +51.5%

Kirin Ichiban brewed by Kirin Brewery Company Limited with an ABV of 5.0% This brew pours out a nice amber color with a small white head. This brew has the look of an American Lager. The smell is sweet with some grans and hops. So far the is nothing bad about this brew. The taste is bold with flavor but it has a smoothness to it. They did a nice job with this one I really like this one. There is nothing over powering in this brew it has a nice balance to it. The mouthfeel is nice clean and crisps. Overall I'm giving this brew a 4 out of 5. I would buy this brew again. This was better than what I was expecting.

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Photo of tugdriver7
3.95/5  rDev +49.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lived in Japan for awhile (back in my non-drinking days). The advertising for Kirin was all over the place. So I was intensely curious when I found it in a bottle at the Japanese steakhouse. Nice golden color, with a bit of fizziness that quickly disappates. The rice adjuncts are rather obvious, but I found the taste silky smooth, light, and crisp. It went very well with Japanese food and would, I'm sure, be great with just about anything. Easily one of the most drinkable beers out there. One interesting side note for any of you familiar with our macro-light offerings... If someone were to ask me what Kirin Ichiban tastes like, I'd say my first impression is that it reminded me of Coors Light, only with a richer taste and decent body. I guess it's what Coors Light wants to be if it were to "grow up" and become a "real beer." Easily one of my favorite "go to" beers when out on the town. Not quite Sapporo, but great for a session beer--especially at Benihana's.

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Photo of semihobo
3.94/5  rDev +49.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24 oz can of this to kick off the weekend (and when the weekend starts on Wednesday night life is good). Purchased at Trader Joe's. 21JULY07 stamped on the bottom, an arrow points to it with a very small note that says "FRESHEST TASTE WITHIN 180 DAYS - PACKAGED ON" ... I guess I'm still well within my window. Nice to include that.

Pours with an aggressive head that is composed of enormous, anything-but-fine bubbles. Implodes quickly, leaving an uneven mess before disappearing, but the initial burst is solid for the style. Lots of bubbles clinging to the sides and bottom of the glass. Color is a light amber. NOTE: I thought I heard something so I stuck my ear in the glass. Sure enough, this fella is crackling.

Smell is a fair amount of grass hops with a touch of pine, mixed with adjuncts and a small but perceptible amber malt base. Given that this is a rice lager and I'm reviewing within the style, it is pretty nuanced.

Taste is ricey, lagery, right on the money. Hops are reminiscent of a euro lager with that "skunky" smell but they are not offensive here. As it comes from a can, there has been no light damage. Very dry and crisp finish. Minimalist. I've had a lot of macro lagers in my day, and this is about as good an adjunct profile as I've ever tasted (what a backhanded complement).

Mouthfeel is very light bodied, works well with with the intense carbonation and dry finish and is crisp in the way that a dry sparkling wine might be.

Drinkability? Well, the taste is not huge, but it has a pleasant rice flavor and a definite hop presence. Price wasn't even that bad and I get a kick out of cans. The only thing damaging the drinkability is the intense carbonation... if you tried to session Kirin Ichiban you would probably toss your cookies after three tallboy cans, when that "omg so many bubbles in my stomach and not much flavor or body or anything else" feeling hits. A perfectly good example of the style, which is what it is being graded against.

Edit: didn't even notice that this is brewed by AB, well good for them that they brewed this, stop the prejudice...although I will try to sample some authentic Japanese competition.

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Photo of lairgnen
3.93/5  rDev +48.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I liked this beer goes great with sushi has a bit of a rice flavor and goes great with a wedge of lemon crushed into it, finishes pretty clean and goes down smooth when it is ice cold and the outside temp is in the 90's. Maybe it is the heat outside but this beer really hit the spot.

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Photo of stoutman
3.92/5  rDev +48.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not a bad effort. The luxurious single wort (or first press) process yields a unique, complex flavor. With this gold label and "Special Premium Reserve" appellation, Ichiban outclasses and outperforms other japanese beers. 4.95% alcohol by volume. Don't be fooled -- this is a great beer that goes with anything especially sushi.

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Photo of Artisan-Korea
3.9/5  rDev +47.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice for mass produced beer. Tried the original Japan made version, there are other country specific origins but when having to taste review do the original?

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Photo of hophead723
3.89/5  rDev +47.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Consistent clear straw gold color with a fluffy white head. Lots of carbonation rushes to the top, fueling the head and providing excellent crispness.

Smell: The aroma is simple malted grain and a touch of corn. This is an all malt beer so you don't get that added complexity to the aroma but it is doughy and delightful nonetheless.

Taste: The taste is subtle, mildly sweet, and grainy overall but with doughy notes in the lingering finish. The aroma and taste go hand in hand.

Feel: This is superbly crisp and drinkable with a mildly dry finish, excellent with sushi of course.

Overall: Its either this or Sapporo that is brewed by a macro brewery like Coors or something but I don't care with this beer; it is enjoyable and I love all good craft beers and IPAs out there. I am surprised by the reviews on here by the bros, too low it seems to me.

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Photo of Malt_Man
3.88/5  rDev +47%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served cold from 330ml bottle into American pint glass. This one is contract brewed in the UK.

L) Light golden colour, crystal clear, lots of small bubbles. Thin but stable white head. Looks alright.

S) Mainly sweet munich-type malts, although some hints of sulphur.

T) Pretty good - a bit like a cross between a helles and a German pils. Slightly sweet bready malt dominates, with just a touch of hop bitterness if you look hard enough.

F) Fizzy and refreshing, same as any decent lager.

O) A good lager, would buy it again. A decent substitute if you can't get hold of a good German helles or pilsner.

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Photo of CarefreeT
3.85/5  rDev +45.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went to a Thai restaurant in town with a friend, and having never ordered it before, and beer being only $0.25 at Happy Hour, I ordered a Kirin Ichiban (a guy I know likes it a lot, so I gave it precedence over Tsingtao [which I never liked] and Singha [which I've never tried]). I thought it was a pretty good beer for the style. It was "100% Malt," which, as an American, I assume to mean to be 100% barley (compared to Tsingtao, which seemed to me to be nearly 100% rice), but as a beer-drinker I recognize as a cultural quality standard. The very, very cute waitress served it to me in a glass.

Taste-wise I recognized this beer as MUCH heftier than Tsingtao, which I've found to be the lightest of all beers ever (the ONE that I tried at least). It was malty, full, hoppy, and flavorful. I really liked it! I thought it was full and flavorful, but in a "white rice" way that made it excellent with starchy Asian food, and the hops were present in such a way as to make me thirsty but not without need. This beer was wonderful with Japanese and Thai food.

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Photo of Thisdrinkinglife
3.75/5  rDev +42%

Review: Can of Kirin Ichiban Pale Lager, 5%ABV

Kirin Ichiban, my first time having a Japanese beer, was impressive on its first showing. In general it was pretty nice and quite drinkable

On pouring, the appearance was of a pale yellow colour with a very big creamy head that lingers for some time, and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass. Had a nice look to it.

Aroma: A pleasant sweet smell of a light grain and malt aroma.

A nice light beer to drink and went down easy enough.

The taste had some initial sweetness followed by a very enjoyable bitter aftertaste of hops, kind of creamy. Tastes of hay, wheat, and light floral hops.

A good clean, crisp beer, smooth, I liked it. Recommended for someone who is looking for a nice light beer to relax with

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.7/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very light golden color here with a thin white head that fades quickly. There is almost no nose here with a barely detectable malt and hop scent that would be good if it had more presence. However, this is a surprisingly well balanced flavor of beer here. The hops and malt are very good with a minimal amount of room for improvement. There is also little to no aftertaste. This is not a great beer - but it will do.

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Photo of fishruss
3.7/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been to Japan many times, and I would have to say that this is one of the few beers that tast pretty much the same as it does in Japan.
Other easy to find Japanese beers, Asahi and Sapporo don't taste quite the same.
When in Japan, I prefer Asahi, but here in the U.S. I love Kirin Ichiban. It has a very crisp taste that goes well with edamame and sushi rolls.
Don't let the mass production scare you away, this is a pretty good beer! Kanpai!

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.7/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It seems impossible I've never rated this beer, I've had it so many times during trips to Japan. I had it again last night with a dinner of ramen and gyouza so here's a recent review.

The beer looks like any mass produced lager, crystal clear and the color of straw with a thick white head. The aroma is mostly neutral, but on the malty side if anything. Paradoxically the flavor is on the hoppy side of neutral, if only from the bitterness in the after-taste. Everything about this is neutral but that's the style so I'm not scoring it too low. The drinkability is high, as is the drinkability of water.

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Photo of akorsak
3.68/5  rDev +39.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a pint glass, served on-tap and in a pilsner glass, at PF Chang's restaurant, a Chinese-American chain. The lager is cold.

Appearance: The lager has a nice golden color, a little deeper than a pilsner, but still crystal clear. Must be the pour, but there is no head.

Smell: The lager has a nice malty aroma. The light aroma clearly supports the inclusion of rice on the brewing. There is no appreciable hop aroma.

Taste: The malts (including the rice) give the lager a very pleasing taste. The flavors are not too overwhelming (a drawback for some, perhaps), but they go very well with the delicate flavors and spices of Asian food (yes, this is Chinese food, but there was no Tsing-Tao on tap).

Mouthfeel: The malts are pleasant and low-key, although I'd love just a little hop kick.

Drinkability: This is a very good beer, ably representing its style. I could have had many more, if only I weren't driving...

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Photo of TeeCee
3.67/5  rDev +39%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Quick review - on tap, this was quite interesting. I could drink several of these. Definitely a niche beer. On tap, it was much better I remember in bottles. I had no idea that it was a rice lager, but I could taste the sake in it. It wasn't until I came here and saw the listing that I realized it was.

Color - golden yellow (not pale) honey brown. The pour had almost no head and left small traces of foam on the glass on the way down. The head it did make was very tight, almost like a Guiness head.

Smell - light malt and some fruitiness, also something rice or bread pudding; maybe sake.

Taste - same light malt again and frutiness, just how it smelled, but some bitterness at the end. No hop flavor I can recognize, but some bitter balance is there.

Mouthfeel - although the beer looked not far from flat, I can feel some bubbles as I drink it. Overall, the mouthfeel is medium-thin.

I could really knock back a few of these on a hot day (or any day). This is defitely a sessionable beer.

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Photo of atis
3.66/5  rDev +38.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Foamy head which dissolves and disappears very quickly, almost no lacing at all.

Aroma is light hoppy, as expected with some strange grain, maybe it is rice, but this is the first time I try rice lager, so I am not sure. Taste is slightly spicy and hoppy in the beginning, but then quickly turns to plain and dry bittery taste. There is some sweetness in the aftertaste.

Good, very easy to drink and refreshing beer.

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Photo of kneeland
3.65/5  rDev +38.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like most Japanese beers, maybe because a lot of them don't taste like Japanese beers. I've heard Kirin is overseen by Anheuser-Busch, so that explains a lot.

It is a tasty, lightly colored lager with a malt palate and a semi-dry hop finish. I really enjoyed, and will order another one some time.

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Photo of JanM
3.64/5  rDev +37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

People generally give Ichiban average or bad reviews but I want to upgrade this style of beer. It's refreshing and thirst quneching just as a good pilsener. It poured with a pale, yellow color but the smell was full of flowers, bread and citrus. The foam disappeared quickly but it was still very fizzy. The taste was dry with pronounced notes of citrus and bread. It tastes great well-chilled. Licensed brewed in the UK.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
2.64 out of 5 based on 1,790 ratings.
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