Kirin Ichiban | Kirin Brewery Company, Limited

BA SCORE
63
poor
592 Reviews
THE BROS
44
awful
Read the review
Kirin IchibanKirin Ichiban
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
Japan
kirin.co.jp

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
592
Ratings:
1,788
Avg:
2.64
pDev:
23.11%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
365
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 592 | Ratings: 1,788
Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
2.79/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice 650ml bottle I picked up before they discontinue carrying them at my store. The labels cool, dragon, horse type animal, very Asian.

The beer pours a honey straw colour topped by a rather big foamy white head. Good carbonation and retention, lasting well to the half way point before it dissipates.

Aromas are rather lacking grains, grass, green apple and a mild skunk; all very subdued.

The palette is of sweet malt up front and of an artificial feel at that. Corn syrup flavours dominate with a mild taste of cooked rice and white bread. A slightly medicinal alcohol flavour makes its presences felt as the beer warms. A mild hop bitterness towards the end, giving a characteristically dry finish.
The body is light with a grainy mouth feel.

Very bland, truthfully I'm disappointed, it's not as I remember it, then again I used to drink crap. None the less I find this one of the better Japanese lager offerings.

 923 characters

Photo of Jerzdevil1116
2.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

16oz bottle drank from a pint glass. Bottle reads, "Brewed under the strict supervision of Kirin's brewmaster by Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Los Angeles, CA." (Sounds like a foreshadowing of the taste to come.)

A: Clear pale yellow body. A lot of carbonation rising in the glass. White foamy head dissipated over a few minutes.

S: Smells like most other macro beers. Slight metallicy hop presence.

T: Slightly sweet taste of some type of grain, probably the rice. Maybe a faint hop bitterness hidden in the finish. Basicly your standard BMC.

M: Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation.

D: It goes down pretty easy, but the taste is not enjoyable.

 646 characters

Photo of imanidiot777
3.39/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pale gold color, very clear, decent sized head but dissipated quickly, almost no lacing.

S: A little hoppy, can't really pick out anything else but my nose isn't the best at this.

T: Has a little bit of a pale ale aftertaste (a little bitter), just a little sweetness not sure what is making it sweet though.

M: Feels smooth, refined, could use more carbonation.

D: Goes down smooth and isn't too heavy so you could have quite a few.

 440 characters

Photo of Getinthevan
3.25/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Kirin to me is one of those ironic beers where it doesn't smell as good as it would taste and ends up becoming a really good drinkable beer. Call it a paradox, it really is one.

Appearance is a mild, pallid yellow with minimal lacing and barely any frothy head.

Smell is pretty strong sour smell of rice and grains. It's definitely a bitter beer waiting to be consumed.

Taste however is much better than it smells, as the rice flavor is full, but balanced against the grains. This stuff certainly goes down quick and it does have a pretty addicting taste to it.

Mouthfeel was pretty average: watery, rice flavored water with a tiny bit of froth. Not bad, but not unbearable.

Drinkability surprisingly is very good. You can drink a good few pints of these and catch a good buzz. Not a bad Japanese lager. This stuff really is a paradox of the senses.

 854 characters

Photo of atrus138
2/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had a bottle of this at the excellent Shogun restaurant (though I had to ask for a glass). Pours a transparent yellow with no real head and no lacing. Could easily see objects through the glass. Did not bode well. I could hardly smell anything, though what I did smell was unimpressive. It tasted just like any old American lager - that is to say there was almost no taste. I noticed some rice notes as it warmed a little bit, but this kind of stuff is better "enjoyed" cold. Mouthfeel is extremely light, but very carbonated. The carbonation at least made it a bit more interesting than stagnant water. The ABV is low enough to make this a good session beer...but why would you want another one?

 696 characters

Photo of likethetaste
2.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I got this beer just to try it out. Of course, I look more closely after I buy it and realize that it is actually bottled by AB! Well, Ok. I taste it and well... it taste really no different than a Budweiser to me.

Nothing great about this beer at all and there are enough faults to keep me from ever getting it again.

 321 characters

Photo of BeerisfoodLLC
2.7/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

served from a 650ml bottle in a glass:

A - Light pale yellow - think head that fades fast.

S - Nothing much to smell, slight hop smell

T - Not much taste here, the rice adds a sweet undertone, the hops are barely noticable.

M - Watered down, high carbonation, the rice leaves a crisp, clean aftertaste.

D - I like this in a Japanese restaurant but otherwise I dont really drink it.

 386 characters

Photo of eye2
3/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Typical look of a mass produced beer. Light in color. Pretty clear. Lots of bubbles. Head disappears quicly.

S: Not much of a smell here. Maybe a little grassy and smokey.

T: A little more flavor than your average mass produced beer. 750ml bottles are better than the slightly metallic taste you get from the cans.

MF: Pretty average. Lots of carbonation.

Overall: I'm surprised to see that this is all malt. I've had hundreds of these and have never gotten that impression. It doesn't taste anything like Yebisu (for example).

 534 characters

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

Appearance: Pours to a clear golden-yellow with a miniscule white head.

Smell: Smells of grain and yeast, some mild hops.

Taste: Not much here, some grain, a tiny bit of hops in the finish. Not bad just very bland.

Mouthfeel: Very light with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: It goes down without a problem, I'd just never buy one again.

 355 characters

Photo of madvoice
2.35/5  rDev -11%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was hoping that this beer was going to be something akin to Asahi in taste but it fell dismally short. It poured a light amber colour with a finger width of head that almost disappeared instantaneously. It strongly smelled of hops and not much else. Tastes very ricey and it is very fizzy. Mouthfeel is a little light and it is really watery. I wasn't so impressed with this as I was with Asahi beer. I don't think I'll be actively seeking this one out again.

 461 characters

Photo of dill
2/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served on draught into a mug.

I want to make clear that this was consumed in California and likely brewed in LA as opposed to Japan. I have had it in Japan before and it was better than this.

A - a decent yellow color with a white head with lots of lacing.

S - at first there was a strong yeasty, grainy smell.

T - not very strong with a bit of hops although not very pleasant.

M - medium carbonation, a bit thin.

D - i ordered this at a japanese restaurant as it was the only draught option. i've had it before and never quite enjoyed it, but often it is the only option. i think i've probably had it in america for the last time though.

 644 characters

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

Got the tall can from the store, so my expectations weren't high to begin with. Was a thin yellow pour with minimal head, and the smell reminded me of a stinky Miller Lite (no offense, giant beer company). The taste was actually drinkable though, and very refreshing. I'd say it'd be good for a baseball game, maybe with some hot dogs or something. Not a beer drinker's beer though, unless you're a Japanese girl (no offense, Japanese girls). Was thin in the mouth, not much there at all. Overall it's drinkable, and like most beers of this ilk, a good drink to have a few of and not have to worry about having blurred vision or feeling full.

 642 characters

Photo of schavuytje
3.16/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pale yellow body with a bubble foam top, one for herbal-smelling aroma hops flavor of soft biscuit-like malt and a slightly bitter tasting bar with a not quite dry finish

 170 characters

Photo of LordChesterfield
3.48/5  rDev +31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is decent beer. There's absolutly nothing outstanding about it but it's better that most American macro brews. It pours a deep gold color with weak head and decent lacing. It smells very crisp to me, not really like vegetable matter like some other have said. It has a dry lagery taste that's typical of beers from nihon. The mouthfeel is a noticeably smooth though. I like it. It's a little hoppier and not quite as dry as asahi super dry.

 445 characters

Photo of Sudsy89
2.31/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

24oz. can, poured into highball glass

This was the first "Japanese" beer I've tried, though it's brewed in California and is very similar to American macro lagers. Pours a pale straw-colored, thin. Has an average-sized foamy head that dissipates quickly, not much lacing on the glass. Taste and smell is not very pleasant, has a bitter skunkiness to it at first, and the best comparison I can make would be a cheap Budweiser or Coors, maybe a bit of rice flavor in the background. Mouthfeel is average of a lager, a bit watery. Drinkability could be OK for someone who is a fan of this style,but I'd have to pass.

 614 characters

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.

 506 characters

Photo of staubot
2.99/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pale Yellow, fair bit of carbonation, small head is gone before you drink it.
Has a boozy sweetness but flavor is very subdued
Bit too much carbination but otherwise goes down well with a bit of an aftertase

 210 characters

Photo of MinerBob
3.3/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear pretty much Budweiser color with a little head and some lacing. Hardly any smell or taste this is another beer you can get real cold and chug. Smooth going down bon appetit.

 184 characters

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 CRichardsMN
2.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance:
Crystal clear straw yellow with a very pillowy 1.5" white head that falls to a film and leaves a good deal of lacing behind.

Smell:
Pretty sweet grain with a mild funky hops typical of a lager.

Taste:
For a darker than average lager (AAJ or Rice, whatever...), this is meek at best. There is so little flavor, I think I might taste the glass... I guess the taste of my mouth might be clouded by grain and a little dryness but I'm not entirely convinced.

Mouthfeel:
Very thin and very carbonated.

Drinkability:
Glad this was a freebie. Let's be honest, I wouldn't buy AAJ or Rice Beer for myself but maybe for a frat party... In that case, I would just buy local as it is relatively the same thing (poor) and local is cheaper.

Comment:
Yet another disappointing Japanese brew... Anyone know of anything better from there as I am unwilling to write off the whole country (and don't say Hitachino, not impressed there either).

 941 characters

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

Presentation:
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"...

Visual:
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.

Aroma:
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?

Taste:
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.

Overall:
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.

 1,805 characters

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

This bottle was bottled on February 28th 2011 and drank on January 14th 2012. It says to drink within 180 days of bottling, so it's a bit past its prime, so that may need to be taken into account for this review.

Appearance - 3/5 - light, clear color

Smell - 3/5 - Very subtle skunky smell, probably from age. Not distracting, but there.

Taste - 3/5 - Nothing real special about the flavor. Just a crisp clean lager flavor. Very slight bread aftertaste that dissipates quickly and cleanly.

Mouthfeel - 3/5 - Crisp. Clears out quickly.

Overall - 3/5 - I would drink it at a Japanese restaurant if they had no nigori sake, but would never buy it as it just isn't very interesting.

 683 characters

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.

 376 characters

Photo of Romulus141
2.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Came from a 24 oz can that I poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a moderate colored yellow. There is very little head retention. Nothing impressive.

Smell: Does not contain much of an aroma. Has a very slight grain smell, but it is hard to detect. What I did smell, however, did not smell bad.

Taste: Very light taste, with a slight aftertaste of hoppy bitterness that quickly dissipates. Typical rice beer flavor overall.

Mouthfeel: Not much weight to the beverage. Cleanly washes over the tongue.

Drinkability: This is good for a multi-session beer, and I could probably drink a bunch of these in succession. However, this is not something I would drink for flavor or enjoyment. Very average overall.

 728 characters

Photo of malmquna
2.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours effervescent into the glass, with a burst of white head that readily dissappears. Carbonation starts and ends with a flash as well. Looks typically golden yellow and clear, clear, clear. Smells of adjunct-based alcohol and little else. Flavor agrees with the color and the smell. Thinking hard enough, there is some very light malt flavor in the aftertaste, covered up with some non-hop bitterness. This beer is rather drinkable however, with asian food (of course) or anything spicy.

 490 characters

Kirin Ichiban from Kirin Brewery Company, Limited
2.64 out of 5 based on 1,788 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe