Kirin Ichiban | Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

592 Reviews
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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: 1,791
Photo of mobius71
1.56/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Very blah. One dimensional. All malt. Hops? I'd be happy with this if I had some really good wings and I wanted to enjoy the wings over the beer. Won't be buying again.

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Photo of palliko
1.56/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I have no idea why this is popular in Japan. Appearance is golden, with a good head of foam and lace that remains a while. Aroma is very sulphurous and skunky – with some overcooked vegetables thrown in. The initial taste is fizzy and sharp on the tongue, grain and malt are present, but one is left with a terrible taste in the mouth. A good beer to skip.

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Photo of BeerNutta
1.6/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Kirin Ichiban. Had this at a mates christmas party. Merry Christmas indeed.

A = Poured a golden yellow with a thin foam head. Looked great.

S = Like wet grass with a hint of hop. Mmmmm

T = Had a sweet sugar taste and an fake hop taste with some grass chucked in for grassy goodness.

M = Moderately carbonated. But left a grassy aftertaste.

D = Have I mentioned the grassy taste? Well that about sums it up. Ain't going to be drinking this in a hurry.

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Photo of Drew966
1.6/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Purchased a 24 ounce can at the grocery store. Pours a pale yellow with a thick head. Very little aroma, very little taste, in a word its bland, even by American lager standards. The can says "Brewed under the strict supervision of Kirin's brewmaster by Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Los Angeles, CA" Not recommended.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
1.62/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottled on 28feb11. 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Clean white sudsy head with soapy lacing. Pale clear straw body with light carbonation.

Smell - Almost none. Slight corn.

Taste - Sour. Bitter. Metallic. This doesn't seem right. I've had this beer before and don't remember finding it so offensive.

Mouthfeel - Very acidic. Unpleasant.

Overall Drinkability - Can't tell if it's infected. Bottle isn't old enough to taste this bad. Will have to re-rate another time.

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Photo of Jsteez
1.62/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into an American pint glass at a fusion Asian inspired restaurant.

A-Straw and yellow in color. No head, very minimal lace. Carbonation is quite noticeable in the glass. A thin, white line around the rim.

S-Strong malt, some rice, corn, and perhaps a semi-sweet aroma? It is difficult to really pinpoint what the sweet smell was. Perhaps some sweet malt.

T-Quite bland and not really worth discussing, but I will do it anyway. There was a dry and bitter aftertaste. Not complex at all. Fluffy and it gave me a soda water sensation.

M-High carbonation and a wet feeling.

Overall-I was ruluctant to rate this brew because I knew I would not have good things to say about it. I have had this a lot (especially at Japanese retaurants). Objectively speaking, it is good when travelling through Asia. If I had to pick a beer from Northeast Asia it would be this one or Sapporo. Overall, this beer is not the best lager and there are many other good lagers out there.

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Photo of joecast
1.63/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

spiel on the label about how the beer is made from the first runnings of the mash and noble hops. blah, blah, blah.
the appearance is remarkable like yellow fizzy macro lager, only with no head at all.
fairly bland aroma. slight "greenness" about it. not so much "fresh" as "not quite ready yet".
no maltiness in the taste at all. some faint attempt at hop bitterness that fades to that same "green" flavor.
all the taste is at the front of the mouth and pretty much gone by the time the beer flows past the tongue.
going by the label, kirin think this is a pretty good beer. as this is brewed by lion nathan for australia, i think someone must have forgotten to tell mr. nathan

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
1.63/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Light yellow, clear. Moderate head, mild carbonation.

Toasty buttery bread-like malt. Sweet, sugary. Citric acid edge.

Buttery and toasty. Lightly sweet. Very lightly citric/acidic. Slight metallic edge.

Mildly carbonated. Moderate foamation.

Okay drink to accompany a meal, too weak to stand alone. It also has a cool dragon on the label - can't go wrong with dragons, even if this is AB.

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Photo of tigg924
1.65/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appearance: one inch frothy head, high carbonation, bright yellow color

Smell: grass and malt

Taste: grass and malt.not much going on here

Mouthfeel: very high carbonation, smooth, and semi-sweet

Drinkability: I am not against the style, but I could not finish this one. This was my first drain pour in a long time. The taste has some bitter that is very off putting. Two sips are sadly enough.

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Photo of IronDjinn
1.66/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I like the logo of this beer, always have. Classy and elegant. That said and out of the way, on to the review.....

It pours out a nice clear pale straw hue, with a nice bubbly white head that sticks around for a while and leaves a fair amount of lacing afterwards. That, however, is as good as it gets. From the first whiff, let alone the first sip, it is fairly apparent that this is an A-B product. The nose is of skunk and tin (and that's poured out of a bottle!). The flavour is....hmmmm, not home apparently, call back some other time. However the aftertaste it leaves in your mouth just won't go away, it makes me want to shave my tongue and tonsils, just to get rid of it. I'd beat you up if you offered me another one of these (okay,okay, I'd just walk away without another word, but flip you the bird for good measure).

Once upon a time, in a magical land far, far away I used to actually drink this stuff every once in a while, and didn't mind it that much. But I drank it iced cold and straight out of the bottle. Those days have reached the point of folklore by now. If you want a Japanese lager, this isn't it.

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Photo of hotstuff
1.68/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This lager poured a small white head with fine-small bubbles that quickly dissolved. There was no lacing on the sides of my glass. There was a lot of carbonation observed rising to the top. The body was gold in color. There was a bitter taste and an aftertaste observed with this lager. This lager lacked character and I was not impressed with this lager.

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Photo of Globetrotter
1.7/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Brewed for Kirin by Charles Wells, Ltd., Bedford, UK. Why bother? Brown tapered 33 cl bottle sporting a label dominated what is presumably some legendary Japanese dragon. Whatever. Rice and corn are listed as ingredients. Best before 5/31/04, I opened it on 1/25/04.

Pours a bubbly clear yellow gold under a very small, thin and short-lived white head. The nose is lemonade sweet, with a touch of musty corn. The mouth is heavy like wet blankets and quite prickly. The taste is pretty darn bad - sweet corn starch and old socks, followed by boiled rice and moth-eaten sweaters. No hops, no bite, no benefit. Yuck.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
1.7/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

Straw yellow, white head 3/4", vanishes quickly. Aroma was that muted corn and rice sweetness.

Taste was as the nose went, not hoppy, not barley, just some cutter ingredients. Lots of carbonation and a thin body.

I dunno if I've had this since Oct. 2010, furthermore, "all malt" means . . . it could still be less than 100% barley, thats for sure.

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Photo of beerthulhu
1.71/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Label reads "brewed under the STRICT supervision of Kirins Brewmaster by Annheuser-Busch". Well let me tell you something I think the someone fell asleep during this batch.

A: Any hoot, poured a clear, pale straw color with a short lived fizzy white head. Visible carbonation was fairly strong and aggressive.

S: light cabbage aromas.

T: The flavor was stale rice grains, with a slight green vegetable bitterness. A light aluminum taste was always observed. Odd as rice usually imparts a neutral crisp flavor while this was anything but. Green vegetables and sour celery stalks only add insult to injury for this beer.

M: watery, thin, dry , fizzy and otherwise repulsive.

D: not on my life. Cleaned my sink drain pretty good.

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Photo of Padron4KM
1.71/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Bottled on 8 Dec 2005, very close to being out of code.
Clear gold with a fizzy short lived head.

Smells of skunk piss and grain.

Metalic flavor, creamy body, slight bitter finish.

Tastes better with a shot of sake and some ahi tuna.
On it’s own not so good

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Photo of dbmcrorie
1.71/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12 oz. brown long-neck bottle poured into an American pint glass. Label states: "The Authentic First Press Beer," which is misleading to those who don't realize that "First Press" means "single wort," and is not - in fact - the first "Press Beer" in the world (as it would seem to state).
Asian dragon on front with Chinese writing: seems like an Asian beer until you realize it's an Anheuser-Busch product; enough to tell you what will be in the bottle. Bottling date: 20-APR-09. "Freshest Taste Within 180 Days". Well if that's the case, then this review counts as reflecting the "freshest taste"...

Straw gold body with few bubbles to rise. Foamy white head with little retention. Decent lacing clings to the glass, leaving bubbly caps on top.

Lots of hay-like straw. Awkward malt with a funky sourness. Some lagerish skunk mixed with cooked veggies. With such a golden ale/lager (which is it?), I wonder: where are my hops?

Weird astringent bitterness here, reminiscent of burnt corn. Very weak and watered down malt provides a stale/husky grain flavor. There are also some dry yeast flavors in here. Minimal carbonation provides a fizzy first sip that dissipates quickly into a flat texture with a watery mouthfeel; dusty mouthfeel at the end. Leaves a dry bitterness in the finish with a rind/cereal-like aftertaste.

I personally would never buy this brew again. Most Asian/Asian-style beers are not considered "higher quality", but can definitely be considered better than this - especially since it's not even Asian (Anheuser-Busch).
This STYLE would be best paired with heavier sauced dishes and/or take-out Chinese food; especially cooked veggies or light game. But I seriously would advise against this beer, especially to pair it with anything.

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Photo of Brad007
1.71/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a light golden color with a one-finger head and lots of carbonation into my pint glass.

Aroma is light with the strong hint of rice and sweet malt upfront. Certainly seems on par with the style.

Taste is crisp with mild bitterness and rice showing through in the middle. Seems a bit unpleasant and harsh. A bit sweet as well.

Mouthfeel is full of the lingering bitter and rice flavors. Pretty harsh and not easy to enjoy.

An average rice beer here. You probably should avoid it if rice isn't your thing.

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Photo of Jason
1.73/5  rDev -34.5%
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

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Photo of Strand
1.73/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Well, this is a difficult beer to review. I guess I'll start with a brief disclaimer - I have never had Japenese beers before. I don't know much about rice beers. And the time it took to ship it from Japan to North Dakota probably didn't help matters.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, let me tell you about Kirin Ichiban beer. It's one of those beers that you save up in the back of your fridge and give to that annoying girl at the party that you want to go home. It's just got a really unusual, un-refreshing taste. For a similar taste, might I recommend A) licking the carpet, B) eating your own belly button lint, or C) tasting the unrecognizable food matter that you found between the cushions of your sofa.

I'm not trying to be funny. I'm not trying to be mean. And I'm not familiar with Japanese beers, so I don't know if this is good Japanese beer or not. But I am saying that I will not be buying Kirin Ichiban in the future.

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Photo of hideyoshiki
1.74/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Well, the label looks awesome - it's one of the more interesting logos, if you can call it that since it's so complex, that I've seen on a 6-pack bottle. However, the label is about the best part. It goes down hill after that.

I would say if you're two or three beers deep in a couple hours and are half tipsy, the beer becomes drinkable. Other than that, stay away. It's good to drink this I guess to not drink all your good beer if you're really going for it at the cookout or whatever other occasion you happen to be drinking it.

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Photo of AaronRed
1.76/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Not as good as Sapporo. I thought the waiter had brought me a Bud light. But no, it was better. As I ate tons of spicey dishes, this beer seemed to dissapear, leaving just enough alcohol behind to cool down the heat.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
1.76/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: This beer pours straw-coloured with a pretty impressing white head that stays for some time and then leaves nice lacings.

S: Not a strong smell, but there is malt, some sweetness and some fruit.

T: Not a strong taste either, just some rough, funky malt (unbalanced).

M: The aftertaste is very short in this thin beer with lots of carbonation.

D: Not my cup of tea, a very anonymous beer with little aroma and taste.

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Photo of alysmith4
1.76/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Tried this beer last night.. was not impressed. Couldn't smell much of anything, very clean scent. Mouthfeel was decent, but the taste was very bland and watered down. Detected a slight rice flavor, but not much of anything else. Would not order this again, there are plenty others that represent this style much better.

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Photo of Evocatus
1.78/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a golden yellow with little to no head. Light smell of grains but nothing distinct. Tastes like it smells, nothing special, just some light grains. Goes down pretty easily, like water. It has a odd aftertaste that pretty much kills the beer. Overall, something to drink when there isn't any other option available. Just slightly better than a Coors Light or Bud.

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Photo of Dogbrick
1.78/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The draught version was better, which isn't really saying much. Tastes like what it is, A-B's version of an Asian lager. Stale and bitter flavor. Very little body or texture. Blah.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
2.64 out of 5 based on 1,791 ratings.
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