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Kirin Ichiban | Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

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584 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: 584 | Ratings: 1,760
Photo of Vancer
2.91/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What we have here is the atypical Japanese macro brew – the ol’ clear, fizzy yellow pour, but with a small white head and minimal lacing. Aroma – what aroma, nada. Taste was full of corn & grains, although I did detect hints of an earthy and hoppy finish.

Packed with carbonation, it did have a fairly crisp bite to it. On tap, I had no problem finishing it, but there are too many other good offerings to sit with this one for more than a pint.

 451 characters

Photo of shamus
2.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a typical lager gold with a quickly vanishing head and almost no lace. The smell was a bit off putting. Not skunky but metallic. It actually tasted better than I thought it would, but I have to admit I was expect the worse. It didn't have much character but it would be okay if someone gave it to you at a bbq. I won't however recommend purchasing this beer. If this is the 'special reserve', I wonder what the regular fare tastes like. I won't be finding out too soon.

This baby was not from Japan but "a product of the USA Anheuser-Busch. Los Angeles". Technically still an import in Canada but the label leads you to think it's from Japan.

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Photo of Oxymoron
2.32/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was on my list of sensory beers to try. Specifically this beer is to show trans-2-nonenal flavors.

The pour was a very lemony yellow color that was clear. A decent head that quickly dissipated but did hold around the edges. No lacing though.

The smell has a distinct cardboard aroma. The malty character smells pilsen with larger yeast scents. There are straw like esters in the background and some bittering hop aromas that seem earthy.

The taste is similar. A distinctive larger flavor with some rice tastes in the background. Noticeable cardboard esters. That should be from the trans-2-nonenal notes and becomes more dominate as the beer warms. It has a off touch skunky flavor that also becomes more and more noticeable as it warmed up as well. The hops have a German feel of haltaurer.

The body is light. Overall this is a little to skunky for my flavor but if you drink it cold it tastes better.

 925 characters

Photo of BigBry
2.83/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Standard brown 355ml bottle, production date on botton left of label. Neck label proclaims 'imported beer', but a closer look reveals a product of USA, brewed by Anheuser-Busch, LA.
Thin and clear yellow-gold, thin white foam, no head retention. Basic grainy smell and taste of any other macro. May have a bit more maltiness and hop but not much, some sweetness, rice? I think. Crisp, bubbly, clean finish - it does a good job of removing the salty soy sauce when served with sushi.
Okay, but what makes it "Special Premium Reserve"?

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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 clvand0
2.48/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at the local pub recently. Pours a very clear yellow color with a small white head that falls fast and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma is mostly grainy with a very faint hop scent. Not much there. The flavor just is not very good at all. Grainy flavors tend to be overpowering and there's nothing there to balance it. Few hops, low maltiness. Slightly more tasty than a normal macro lager, but that doesn't make it good.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.21/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I think my fellow BAers are way to kind with this one. I think it's horrible beer; expecially since they try to pass it off as if it were a quality brew. Looks promising in the off set with a strong straw color and fluffy retention, but the aromas tell the tale. Smells quite grainy with the malts, light on the hops and with little character. Tastes of cereal grains everywhere with a modest barley malt flavor. All flavors are fleeting leaving a grain and husk flavor and texture. Aftertaste is similar to American Lite beers. In fact, this whole beer resembled American Lagers, but with twice the price. Not worth it.

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Photo of whynot44
2.83/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Light golden color with a moderate white head that disipates almost immediately to just a thin ring but still manages to produce a bit of lace.

The aroma is something like half-cured hay.

The taste is a bit thin, grainy, grassy and with just a hnt of caramel and carboard. The finish is slightly dry and carbonic with a lingering grassy aftertaste.

Crisp, light and refreshing as long as it's ice cold, similar to American mass market lagers.

 454 characters

Photo of arguemaniac
2.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this one with some sushi during dinner. A grassy, grainy aroma with a touch of floral hops. The flavor is mostly grain with some caramel. The rice in this brew is quite noticeable, lending that distinct, grassy hay quality to the beer’s flavor. Some nice hop bitterness balances nicely. A fairly light mouthfeel with a pleasant carbonation tang.

My first of the style, not bad, but it reminds a bit too much of you average macro, adjunct lager. Still, recommended, if only for how light and refreshing it is.

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Photo of russpowell
2.38/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

There are surely worse beers out there, but my taste buds expect more out of a lager, but went out for sushi and it was this or bud..

Poured a straw-like color with a bubbly white head that held up well. Some lacing

Smell: Malty/fruitty and a trace of floral hops

Taste: Sweetness with not pleasant pricklyness on the tounge, some bitterness in the finish.

MF: A lot more malt please, thin & gassy

Taste: Shouldn't have ordered a 22 oz bottle the free water was going down better. Next time i'll get the sushi to go over chance the sapporro (sp?) or Asai, can't be any worse...

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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.

 465 characters

Photo of cubedbee
3.08/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a light straw yellow with a tons of carbonation, finger of bright white head, some small amount of lacing. Nose is very grainy, not much there but unoffensive. Taste is a light sweet caramel malt, slightly grassy, a slight bitter finish. Thin mouthfeel with a nice lively carbonation and a crisp finish. This is a simple lager, slightly better than American macros, easy enough to wash teriyaki down with.

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Photo of Noxious26
1.45/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

355ml bottle poured in a dimpled mug.

Clear, straw yellow in colour. Lots of carbonation streams. White head is 1/4 inch on the pour, but quickly disappears. Practically no head after one sip.

Aroma is like a macro lager: grainy and laden with adjuncts with a slightly sour background.

Bland and astringent with a caustic, bubbly mouthfeel. Dry grainy aftertaste.

As I'm wondering why the hell I'm drinking this, I read the label and find out that this is actually brewed in the USA by Anheuser-Busch. There is also a production date in very small print in the bottom left hand corner of the label (12May05) Yikes, 7 month old beer. Had this happen a couple times in the last batch of singles. Guess I better start looking more carefully. I don't think the age has hurt or helped it. There's no skunk at all, but I still can't drink this. Drain pour.

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Photo of Gritsak
2.41/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- pale gold with a decent white head that dissapates to a film but does try its hardest to lace a little.

S- smells a little skunky. nothing really stands out.

T- watery and light. wouldnt be bad except it finishes really skunky, very similar to some crappy macros. finish also has a little hop bitterness before the skunk.

M- light and smooth.

D- if it wasnt for the nasty aftertaste it would be pretty easy to drink, but because of this drinkability is hurt.

overall- i wasnt expecting something good, but just something refreshing and easy to drink. what i got wasnt really either. the initial taste is pretty decent but it finishes with a nasty skunk flavor that ruins the beer.

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Photo of thesilverhand
2.55/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bright, clear yellow, with a white foam head. Enh.

Sweet, grainy malts. No complexity, but nothing off-putting. No hop aroma at all. There's a but of grassiness.

Mostly sweet, with a bit of straw-like grassiness. Quite bitter after the initial sweetness, but still no real hop profile. No complexity, but again, nothing bad either.

The mouthfeel is a bit strange. It's very highly carbonated and has an almost "sharp" feel on the palate. Almost painful, until it flattens a bit.

Overall, not worth drinking if you want good beer. As an easy-drinking beverage, it's not awful, though. Decent macro.

 609 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
1.08/5  rDev -59.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pale yellow body, not much head, just a film of loose bubbles on the top. Not particularly inspiring.

Nose is a sickly sweet grainy smell, with a hint of something slightly rancid. It smells a bit like a rubbish bin that's been left in the sun. This is a really disgusting smelling beer.

The taste is again, very sweet and cloying. Leaves a rather unpleasant sugary taste in your mouth. There's no bitterness there to create some sharpness; it makes you feel sick in your stomach. Mouthfeel is watery. Truly awful.

This is an atrocious beer. I mean really, really awful. One of the worst beers I've ever tasted. Offensive and undrinkable. I cannot recommend enough that you stay away from this shit.

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Photo of kmpitz2
2.98/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very clear strong yellow color with a 2 finger head that falls to a small coating over top. Nose is crisp. Light hop, very clean but without much else. Flavor is clean, big grainy, very modest noble hop. Its not all that bad. Feel is a light moderate with a moderate carbonation. Overall, a pretty okay beer. I'd take this over a macro any day.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
1.85/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a crystal clear straw, with a thin white head. Weak retention and lacing. Smells of adjuncts and spent hops, with a fruity ester scent. Rice adjunct flavor that does not make up enough malt presence to balance the mildly bitter hops; or hide the tangy ester taste. The light body and average carbonation fail to hide the cloying skunk, and it soon becomes overwhelming. You'll find the finish astringent and dry, if you make it that far.

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Photo of davidchollar
2.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

looks yellow, nice big fluffy foamy white head

smells like whatever u want it to smell like. decent beer, fresh cut grass, thursday morning ...

tastes a lot like the smell. nothing special. quite drinkable because if you drink several they start tasting better ...


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Photo of mentor
3.18/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Special premium reserve. Must be good stuff. Born on 19JUL05. Pours a half finger large bubbled nearly white head over a crystal clear dull light straw-golden liquid. Smells lightly sweet and very grainy. There is also a dark musty that stings the nose, which I think is floral hops, possibly mixed with some alcohol. The grain smell is unusual and it is remniscent of rice, coming across sort of like rice-chex cereal. Not a complex profile, but interesting. Taste is mild and watery, to say the least. Gentle malt sweet with mushroom and pumpkin. Overcarbonated and the acrid bubbles that form on my tongue are a bother, so I will swirl to release some gas. The head refomed, much more sticky and attractive this time. The smell is much more like that of an american macro (corn is present) and now I also get a very faint hint of chili powder. That is really weird. The taste is much smoother now. The beer has two phases...early is a gentle sweet and this changes to a dry finish that comes across as bland grain fiber mixed with an aromatic from a hop (flavor is too faint for me to hazard a guess). Thin body and easy drinking. This beer is pretty much fits the bill for the style, which is how I've rated it (not to my preferences, mind you).

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Photo of KoG
2.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Fizzy apple cider with a very slight amount of pillowy lace on the top.

Smell is grainy with a light hint of watered down hoppyness.

Taste is fairly well balanced. Not overly bitter and doesn't have any grain like taste. Went good with sushi.

Not a bad beer at all, seems more like a darkened Macro lager (contract brewed by AB too). More body than most other beers available at sushi places except for the everpresent SNPA.

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Photo of jimbotrost
3.13/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled in a 24 ounce can. Note, this beer is brewed in LA by Anhueser Busch. I feel cheated already. Straw to gold in color with a quickly disapating head and nice lace. Nose is absent, shoved my face in the glass, a void, the least nose of any beer I have ever had. Sweet malt and adjunct flavor, not offensive, not eventful. Very light on the tonque and in the mouth. Very drinkable but I prefer flavor.

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Photo of jettjon
3.33/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled by Anheuser-Bush, this beer is a slightly (and I stress slightly) above average lager. It may be a “rice lager,” but to me it tasted like a regular old lager.

Pours an amber clear color with a large fluffy white head that fades slowly: one point in its favor. The nose is unimpressive, smelling faintly of malt. Flavor is typical macro lager but somewhat more bitter, which is a nice plus. Mouth is watery and refreshing; this is a drinkable beer. There’s a slight bitter finish. Overall, this is a slightly better than average lager-type beer. But at $7.50 plus per sixer, it's probably not worth the price.

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Photo of karst
2.32/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled on 27 April '05 in Los Angeles, Ca by Anheuser-Bush under strict supervision of Kirin's Brewmaster.

Pours a clear pale yellow with a full fist of white dense head that that nearly over flows then falls slowly and laces the 0.5 Franziskaner Weissbier rastal.
Initial aroma vegital and somewhat skunked. Initially strong beading as dense head becomes a thin cap. Initial objectionable aroma becomming less noticable. Hops never emerge in the nose.

Extremely thin body and mouthfeel. Hops very mild even for the style. As beer warms and flattens grains are only noticable taste. Mild alcohol flavor attempts dry the palate - nothing more.

Looking at the brewers website http://www.kirin.co.jp/english/company/corp/04core1.html
I find their marketing strategy alarmingly similar to AB and other Macro brewers.

I expected more of a rounded, firm malty character, with moderate bitterness, and a dry finish. I was very disappointed, this is not a desirable Japanese Rice Lager.

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Photo of packetknife
3/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at PF Changs in Woodland Hills, CA. It's like night-and-day versus the bottle or can. Yellow-orange pour with a fluffy white head. Mild hops and wheat grass on the nose. A decent acidic hoppiness on the tongue with a bit of grain feel to it. Somewhat dry. It matches most of the cuisine well as it isn't overpowering nor does it amplify the spices in the food too much.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
2.64 out of 5 based on 1,760 ratings.
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