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: 1,788
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
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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Photo of Suds
2.63/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had a couple of bottles of this brew over sushi at a Japanese restaurant. The food was great, the beer was so-so. The bottle says that this is brewed by A-B, Los Angeles, CA. It pours a light gold color, with a thin fizzy head. It has very little hop aroma, and a little malt-ish flavor in the front-taste. Dry, grainy, and simple. This is a one-dimensional brew. It’s not unappealing, just hollow.

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

Shrug. A good beer to drink with copiuos amounts of Sushi. It is gold color and has a head that kicks quickly and leaves no lace. It smells of puffed rice and grainy alcohol. No real malt taste and if there are hops in here they all died. Standard low body beer and easy to drink quickly.

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Photo of Hibernator
2.65/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Kirin Ichiban
22 oz colorful can
Packaged on date labeled for March 2, 2005
Served in a 20 oz pint glass

The great thing about BeerAdvocate is that it makes me try and review beers that I normally wouldn't try. I also make an effort not to review beer from a can, but this is an exception. With that being said...

This pour pours a straw golden yellow color. Major carbonation bubbles are rising to the top. Just by looks alone this appears a mass produced beer. I was able to get a fluffy, bone white head on top, but it didn't last very long.

Aroma of grains, wheat and rice cakes.

The taste is grainy and raw with a syrupy sweetness on the finish. Sharp, biting bitterness at times with a rice flavored profile.

Nothing to seek out, but also nothing to pass if offered.

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Photo of jp32
1.81/5  rDev -31.4%
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.

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Photo of Weizenmensch
2.81/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

330mL bottle with a label that's really hard to read in direct light.

Appearance: Pale, pale straw yellow, pours with a foamy head that dissipates way too fast. Not especially effervescent. Urine has more head retention than this.

Smell: I think the hops went hella skunky. Don't know much about Noble hops, the kind the label says they use.

Taste: Really belies the smell. Refreshing. Really unusual nice sweet, starchy aftertaste on the palate. Don't know if this is a quality of a 'rice lager', or, indeed, if this even is a rice lager. Only barley is mentioned on the label. I'm breaking with convention and giving this a pretty good taste score.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thin. No acidity because there's a major lack of fizziness. Not so bad, at least it's not an offensive mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Better than most Asian macros. For the style, quite good and refreshing. I'd have another one, only I've got a Polish beer to review. Bye.

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Photo of Luigi
2.04/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Hmm let's see. Pale yellow color with an ok lace around the glass for a head. Smells kind of skunky and semi-sweet. A little bit of grains are present. Has a light carbonated body like all adjunct lagers. But since this is a Japanese beer they call it a rice lager? (Budweiser?) The taste is just the same old cooked grains and faint hop bitterness. Has a odd metallic finish. Really nothing new going on with this beer. Well this is the Budweiser of Japan. Scary part is, this beer is brewed Anheuser-Busch! I think I should have just saved a dollar and picked up a can of Budweiser. Their is really no difference.

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Photo of scaliasux
2.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance - Clear, golden color. Small soapy foam that quickly fades without a trace of what once was...

Smell - Almost nothing, maybe just a hint of adjunt.

Taste - Starts rather sweet, finishes bitter. There's a little bit of hops in this one. Not altogether unpleasant, a plain two-note lager generally beats a plain one-note lager.

Mouthfeel - A little too watery for a "premium." Clean and well-carbonated.

Drinkability - This beer is light and offers a bit more flavor than most adjuncts, but it's certainly nothing to write home, or Japan for that matter, about.

If I ever drank this beer again it would be (excepting of course situations in which a beer is needed but selection is limited) to blow everyone's mind with the dragon deer. If I weren't drinking from a tall can, I would feel superior to most beer drinkers. I'm sure the good folks at Kirin will keep our little secret.

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Photo of NEhophead
1.92/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

21.4 fl oz brown bottle.

Foamy white head that literally fades on impact. No lacing, 'nuff said. Thin, pale straw in color.

Astringent, metallic aroma. Faint artificial hop presence. Mostly wheat and grain.

Very light, bready maltiness. Corn, rice, and wheat, flavors drive this brew. Too much buttery diacetyl present. Very bland, yet astringent tasting. Exactly what you'd expect from an Anheuser Busch product.

Light bodied; Grainy and prickly on the palate. Too much carbonation. The buttery quality is just annoying.

Light and drinkable, but I'd rather cut off my foot than have another one.

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

(Served in an imperial strange)

A- Pours a very pale yellow with a slight orange hint. Almost no carbonation visible in this crystal clear body and a big creamy head.

S- Very crisp clean aroma with a faint hint of fragrant rice. It also has the very faint hint of decomposing leaves that is not a pleasant smell.

T- Very light hop bitterness at the initial sip and then a unique taste of rice. It is a almost sweet rice finish but it is very light and delicate.

M- Very light watery mouthfeel with no carbonation and no astringency at all.

D-This is very unique even from other adjunct beers. It accents the rice in the beer instead of masking it. The smell kind of puts me off but the taste in surprisingly interesting. I didn't find the beer all that well rounded just unique. I didn't notice any malt and only faint hints of hops.

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Photo of twi1609372
2.53/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer used to be at a bar me and my friend go to. When they first had it, we had it off the tap. It really wasnt bad. It had a bit of a different taste, but wasnt bad. sort of smooth, nothing bad. However about a week later, we had another one, and yuck, it tasted foul, smelt off, just wasnt good. So i guess if your going to try this, try to amke sure it's fresh, otherwise dont expect much.

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Photo of beertastegood
3.21/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a light, crisp lager without too much character. It is not bad with light Asian meals such as sushi, but I feel that there are better beers out there, such as Sapporo and even Tsingtao. This beer is refreshing, but there is simply nothing remarkable about it.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.56/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Straw color with a huge white head and very active carbonation which lasts. All adjunct "cooked rice/corn" aroma and flavor but it is thirst quenching. Medium-light bodied with a light smooth creaminess with a crisp biting dry finish.

Pass on this and spend a few more dimes to get some Sapporo.

Per Can: "Anheuser Busch Inc, Los Angeles, CA"

Packaged: 12/20/04
Tasted: 03/12/05

($2.29 / 24 oz. tall can)

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Photo of skynxnex
2.53/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at a Chinese chain. Served in a iced pilsner glass. Even came with a small piece of icing floating. I let it warm up some to see if it any smell would come out. Appearance was pale yellow, but not as pale as some. Small bubbles, no head. Tiny bit of lacing.

Smell was almost all alcoholy when it was ice cold, as it warmed it expressed a very slight malt/grain smell. No real hop smell noticed.

It tasted... ok. Nothing of note. Maybe very slightly alcohol. Some malt with a hint of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel was fine. It was thin, but not over carbonated.

I was able to drink it with no problems as I had my somewhat spicy Chinese food. Went fairly well with it. By no means a good beer, but it was, over all, ok. Probably won't have again.

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Photo of granger10
2.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer reminds me of a slightly better Coors. Actually maybe more like Coors light. Very little flavor and the body is very light. There's a dry malt, grainy flavors with that unique Asian hop flavor. This is very similar to the other Asian lagered beers out there. Nothing special here.

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Photo of beersarang
3.05/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4


Pours a straw / yellow color with a white head the quickly recedes into NOTHING. Cute carbonation.

Aroma is rice and faint something or other...

Flavor, high upfront bitterness with a rice and grain background which is pleasant but that fades into a metallic and astringent finish which leaves something to be desired.

Carbonation is a bit high as the body is rather light.

Pretty drinkable with some sushi, but far from the best Japanese rice lager.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
2.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

As I type I am preparing to do battle with the brutal and mystical half deer, half dragon. What perils lie ahead of me on this heroic journey into battle....I know not. The beast is not very big, weighing in at only 21.4 ounces...however it has decimated and humiliated many good men before me and I fear for my life. As I approach the beast I pull out my blade and make the first move. Lunging with cat like stealth my blade rips through the abdomen of the creature, spilling its clear, piss yellow golden blood on the cold ground...the blood begins to froth until it's covered by a bubbly white substance an inch deep. I inhale deeply trying to catch my breath, noticing the sweet, grainy aroma of the creatures blood. The smell is all too familiar...with hints of grassy spiciness as well.

Oh shit...I'm hit...the creature has cut me with its powerful tail. Darting forward I slash the vile half deer, half dragon's throat, rendering it lifeless in a massive pool of blood. Intrigued by the scent of the blood and dehydrated from my journey I bend down and cup my hand taking a large sip. It's light and watery with very little flavor. Grainy, rice like sweetness with subtle hints of grass and herbal spice. I was expecting more from such a mythical creature. It flows into my stomach like water with tiny bubbling carbonation. I may have won the fight, but my reward is not very sweet. I fear it is time for me to move on, as there are many other creatures to do battle with. I am proud to have conquered the fabled half deer, half dragon...but I am left wondering if it was worth the fight and nearly losing my life.

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Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
2.64 out of 5 based on 1,788 ratings.
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