Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Kirin Ichiban | Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
584 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 584 | Ratings: 1,760
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.

 401 characters

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.

 357 characters

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.

 288 characters

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.

 791 characters

Photo of jasonpeckins32
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.

 432 characters

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.

 950 characters

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.

 615 characters

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.

 905 characters

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.

 611 characters

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.

 851 characters

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.

 397 characters

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.

 272 characters

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)

 417 characters

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.

 760 characters

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.

 290 characters

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.

 473 characters

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.

 1,625 characters

Photo of unit555
1.9/5  rDev -28%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pale color with a head that disappears immediately. Had a yeasty smell that made me think it would almost be "chewy" when I tasted it. However it turned out to be thin with a flat aftertaste. I'm not familair with oriental beer so maybe it is supposed to be this way. I was not impressed.

 288 characters

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

I had a bottle of this while enjoying some fine sushi at Koyoto in Downers Drove, IL.

Brown longneck with born on date. Made by AB on CA.

Beer poured a bright yellow with a large but quickly collapsing head. Not much lacing.

The beer had a light nose of grain and the faintest whiffs of floral hops.

The beer was a perfect 3.00 a bit of malt sweetness and a tad of hop bite backed by quite a bit of grain (corn?) taste. Nothing offensive, but nothing very great either. It did do a decent job of cutting the wasabi and did go well with the sushi.

Thin mouthfeel and average drinkability. I guess this is ok, but a better beer would have made the sushi even more enjoyable.

 689 characters

Photo of connecticutpoet
2.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a clear yellow lager with a moderately sized head that was very fizzy and dissipated quickly, like soda.

The aroma was of slightly skunky hops, not too strong, but not entirely pleasant either.

The taste was lightly fruity, and mildly hoppy, but not bitter at all.

Overall average. Nothing stood out about this one, and I don't think I will seek it out again.

 377 characters

Photo of TexIndy
2.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle. Poured a light golden/straw color with little foam or carbonation. I'm a fan of the regular Kirin Ichiban so I was expecting a little more from this beer. The smell was slightly skunky with a light hoppy overtune. The taste was pretty bland and unimpressive. Won't be filling my fridge with this anytime soon. PR 2.0/5 below ML.

 341 characters

Photo of SeanChouffe
2.95/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Straw colored and clear with a column of co2 rising from the bottom of the glass. Head is full and white, but dies relatively quickly. Smells a little skunky, fruity and sweet with a hoppy background. Flavor is much blander than expected. A light sweet start with a kind of Styrofoam middle and an effervescent/dry finish. Mouthfeel is quite lively, but does not make up for the almost empty taste. Quite void of character. Not bad, just bland.

 444 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.01/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Clear pale amber with almost no visible carbonation. The off-white head is frothy, but not airy, falls unevenly and leaves very little glass garnish. Skunk assaulted me immediately after the cap was removed, but is much less evident now that the beer has had a chance to breathe (like a fine Burgundy?). The nose is sweet and grain-like with a modest amount of hops. Not horrible, not good.

Light body, light flavor. Noble hops and grain, sharply bitter from the former and barely sweet from not enough of the latter. I'm not sure what the rice contributes, but since plenty of American macros use rice (and taste like bilge water) it can't add much that's desirable.

Really, this beer is pretty indistinguishable from hundreds, maybe thousands, of other adjunct lagers, whether they use corn, rice or some other non-barley substance. The body/mouthfeel is thin and watery, slipping away into nothingness along with the flavor. Here one minute, gone the next.

Kirin Ichiban proves that an adjunct lager is an adjunct lager is an adjunct lager, ad infinitum. It really doesn't matter what the nation of origin is or what particular adjunct is used, almost none of them are worth a damn.

(I took one last look at the label before tossing the bottle and saw "brewed under the strict supervision of Kirin's brewmaster by Anheuser-Busch Inc." That explains a lot).

 1,372 characters

Photo of arizcards
3/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Had a couple of these at PF Chang's last night.

This yellow brew poured a non sustaining head. Nothing notable about the smell. Taste was OK, mostly notable for it's dry hop finish. This is a very thin beer, very watery. Overall it complimented the spicy dish I had fairly well and would be tasty to quench one's thirst after laboring in the yard but it is one that I would not purchase.

 390 characters

Photo of slitherySOB
1.48/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

This is a very pale beer. The palest yellow I have ever seen! Reminds of water mixed with a very small amount of lemonade. Doesn't even have a bit of gold or urine colour, just a very pale yellow. And no head. Lots of lace, but no head. Bland smell. I cannot stress how bland this smells. Rice is the dominant scent, but it's still very faint. Some kind of grass smell as well. Could it be hops? Tastes like a low budget Budweiser when cold. Rice adjunct, white bread taste. Obvious thirst quencher, but only when cold. And I mean ice cold. Cuz as this liquid warms, it gets nasty. A horrible, cardboard taste that's surprisingly and terribly sour. And another flavour that is bad. Bitter? Yeah. But not the good bitter. This is a bad bitter. Don't know what makes it a bad bitter, but it is. No hops detected. Then again, my tongue has been bombarded with this awful taste that it can't even detect the spicyness of my meal after I drank this. But it is okay when cold, so I'll give it an extra half point for that. Mouthfeel is very flat. Very little carbonation. My toilet water has more carbonation after I fart taking a crap. Drinkable like water when cold. Undrinkable at any other temperature. This has to be near absolute zero before I could ever touch this again.

 1,272 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!