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Bakumatsu No Beer, Fukkokuban: Koumin Bakushu | Konishi Brewing Co. (Shirayuki beer)

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Brewed by:
Konishi Brewing Co. (Shirayuki beer)

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Japanese name of this beer is: 幕末のビール復刻版: 幸民麦酒

Added by snogglethorpe on 12-11-2010

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Ratings: 1 |  Reviews: 1
Photo of snogglethorpe
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Bakumatu no beer, fukkokuban" ("幕末のビール, 復刻版") means "End of the Edo-era beer, reissue version." According to the bottle, this is "Japan's first beer", dating (well, the recipe I guess!) from 1853. The rest of the name (Koumin Bakushu, 幸民麦酒) is just that of the brewer and "beer" -- it was brewed back then by Kawamoto Koumin (川本幸民), a Japanese "dutch studies" expert -- so presumably the beer was based on dutch sources.

According to the brewery's website, beer yeast was impossible to acquire in Japan at a that time, so it was brewed using Sake yeast -- as was this modern reissue (Konishi is mainly a Sake brewery).

The bottle is an interesting somewhat squat design with some decorative molding, that give it a vaguely old-style "past era" feel.

Beautiful copper color. Nice robust thick head. Smell is not strong, just "beery."

Not sure how to classify this beer, but it tastes "Belgian" to me -- obviously live yeast, with a strong yeasty taste, but also a somewhat tart, dry bite like a saison. A nicely bitter aftertaste, so it's clear there are hops in there. There's a little flatness/wateriness in the finish that bring it down a notch, but nothing major.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thick, crisp, quaffable.

It's the "Japan's first beer!" gimmick that got me to buy it, but in truth this is a nice beer on its own merits. I'd say it has bears more resemblance to current Belgian beers than contemporary Japanese lagers; as I mentioned above, I'm reminded somewhat of a saison.

Who knows how well the taste corresponds to the actual product made 150 years ago, but it's a good beer and an interesting peek into history.

(note -- I set the beer-style somewhat arbitrarily to "Saison", based only on the vague taste resemblance; I have no idea how to classify it otherwise)

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Bakumatsu No Beer, Fukkokuban: Koumin Bakushu from Konishi Brewing Co. (Shirayuki beer)
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 1 ratings
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