Koshihikari Echigo Beer | Uehara Shuzou Co. Ltd. / Echigo Beer Pub

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Koshihikari Echigo BeerKoshihikari Echigo Beer

Brewed by:
Uehara Shuzou Co. Ltd. / Echigo Beer Pub

Style: Japanese Rice Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Koshihikari Echigo Beer is a rice lager beer that uses a super-premium short grain rice called Koshihikari. Produced in the ideal rice growing region of Niigata Prefecture, Koshihikari is known to be the best quality rice in Japan. The flavor of this premium beer can only be made with this rice.

Added by donnebaby on 04-09-2004

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Reviews: 96 | Ratings: 194
Photo of illidurit
2.93/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle. Straw color with a white fizzy head. Lots of bubble columns but no retention or lacing.

Aroma is mostly adjuncts with a touch of hops and a touch of fruitiness.

Taste is pilsener-esque with a noticeable riciness. Adjunct sweetish malt with a little herbal hoppiness but not much.

Mouthfeel is delicate if not thin. Highly effervescent. Really clean on the palate but that's just a result of the lack of flavor. Drinkable but not that enjoyable.

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Photo of watchnerd
3.98/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml oversized bottle, picked it up from Nijiya Market in San Francisco.

Okay, I'm going to lay my cards on the table right now: this is one of the best Japanese macro / rice lagers to be had. It trumps most of the big names (Asahi, Sapporo, Kirin), Yebisu being the only other one that is a stand-out.

It pours clean and clear, but not too pale. A nice golden color. A light foam, but not too much, nor much lace. A slight bit of grain and hops in the aroma.

But the taste is perfect for this style: crisp, a bit dry, and edging much closer to being a pils than is typical for this style. You can actually taste hops in this one!

Amazingly drinkable, and perfect for paring with the more subtle nature of Japanese food, the one your West Coast Double IPA will overpower. Try it!

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
2.66/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a: froths up with very white head that fades to near nothingness on top of a pale straw body.

s: i am really not getting anything here; a teeny bit of grain

t: nice raw grains, malts; some banana flavors; teeny hint of hops

m: very light but pretty refreshing; medium carbo

d: i feel that there are other mainstream japanese beers that are much more enjoyable than this one.

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Photo of BMan1113VR
3.12/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very floral, fruity, citrus aroma with banana, apple, and a dash of malt. Pours with a large white head that leaves in about 2 minutes. No lacing. Very sweet tasting Japanese beer, almost as if it had corn in it (which I doubt is the case). Dry palate with lively carbonation. Nothing to seek out.

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very, very pale yellow, like the color of chicks' down, with a thin, quivering, audibly volatile layer of frothy white spittle on top.

Smell: Sweet, bready malts with a sake-like clarity and vague apple-and-strawberry fruitiness. Hops are quite light and grassy, somewhat reminiscent of chrysanthemum greens.

Taste: Sweet and solid, much more substantive than I expected from the look and the smell of it; German Pilsener-like in its balance and robust hop character. However, except from the lack of off-flavors and a slightly zippier hop presence, nothing really distinguishes this from a standard Japanese lager. Finish is very dry and leafy.

Mouthfeel: Very light and airy, with ample carbonation. Lively without being fizzy.

Drinkability: Meh. In my opinion this is kind of a waste of koshihikari rice. It's great to eat and it lends a very nice, delicate character to sakes, but gets lost here among the malts and hops. This is a good lager, but it's a good lager that could have been made from pretty much any other cultivar of rice. After tasting it, the koshihikari seems a bit gimmicky to me.

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Photo of Bookseeb
3.16/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another from Uwajimaya in Seattle. Appearance is a light golden color with a crisp head that keeps a thin film on top when dissapated. Smells is not typical of a macro lager, it's slightly sweeter with rice and grain that is cleaner. Taste is somewhat saline with hint of rice and a good cabonation that dances on the tongue finishing clean with a light mouthfeel. Nothing to dramatic here, just a good one to try.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.9/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice label. Pours a clear straw with almost no head. Nose is slightly grainy. Flavor is pretty subdued. Overall smooth with a slight grain influence. Feel has a nice bubble on the tongue and a well balanced liquid feel. Very drinkable, but keep the style in mind.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle purchased at Hi Time Wine in Costa Mesa, Ca. in January 2007; it's been sitting at the back of my fridge since then (It's October now- Oops!).

Pours a bright, clean, clear yellow with a decent carbonation, which allows a thin cover to last quite a long time. Aroma of light biscuity malt- no real hop presence.

Flavor takes the malts along, but adds in a real hop presence. Not an American hop bomb presence, it's quite subtle, but most certainly there. Overall, a nicely balanced, clean refreshing lager.

Mouth and drinkability- very crisp, clean, and like the appearance- clear. Easily drinkable, and would obviously go well with sushi or tempura.

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Photo of Gusler
3.3/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer evacuates the 500ml brown bottle a clear gold, the head average in size and bright white in color, the texture creamy, as it dematerializes, and the lace forms a thin veil upon the glass. Nose is somewhat sweet, crisp and clean; start has a decent malt presence, sweet with a modicum of bitterness, light to moderate in feel. Finish has a stern acidity, hops light but pleasing and the lingering aftertaste is desert bone dry, I must say on average I like Japanese Rice lagers much more than American macros.

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Photo of atigerlife
3.6/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a lcear golden color with lots of active, small, bubbles seen rising. Slightly chunky one finger white head that dissipated rather quickly. Spotty lacing.

Aroma is grainy, adjuncts.

Taste is crisp. Clean. Adjuncts. Some malts and light hops come through. Definitely on the sweet side.

Mouthfeel is cleansing and slightly dry.

Overall, quite drinkable. Good session beer or drink with light food. One of the better beers of the style.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.1/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pils glass it formed a solid white head. Ring lacing was sparce but evident. Yellow bodied brew with massive amounts of racing carbonation. So much carbonation that this has to be up there with the most visible bubbling I've seen in a brew.

Like most beers in this style there are faint hints of grain but overall its fairly clean. The malt bill is sturdy but lacking much flavor. Hops crispen it up lightly towards the end. This is quite the dry finishing brew and is completely void of anything offensive or that would detract from this being a nearly perfect example of the style. Very well done.

Wow!! this baby is sooo clean and crisp and refreshing that I'd love to see this enter the country in a case of cans. The oversized bottle will work for now.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
3.88/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a super pale straw yellow with a small head that quickly vanished.

The aroma of the beer was of faint malt with some notes of corn.

The flavor of the beer started out with a light sweet maltiness, but finished very clean and dry. The hops provided a soft floral bitterness. There were some light phenolics that gave a nice tingle in the finish.

The mouthfeel on this beer was light, but in no way thin. The carbonation was lively and bright.

This was what I'd call a very good version of Asahi Superdry. Say what you want about light lagers, there are good versions that exist that are crips, refreshing, and full of flavor. This is one of them.

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Photo of theopholis
2.9/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Note: I don't know crap about Japanese rice beer.

Appearance- Pale straw color. Abosultely crystal clear!!!! Head pretty white with little staying power and no lace.

Aroma- Smells much like a Continental pilsner, with hints of rice, fresh corn and just a tad of wet-cardboard. As unapetising as that sounds, it actually smells pretty drinkable.

Taste: Very interesting. Again, it tastes mostly like a German or Czech Pilsner, but with a twist. There's something going on with the aftertaste. That wet carboard thing. Again, it seems to work. Not objectionalble at all.

Mouthfeel- Medium body. Good carboantion level.

Drinkability- Very easy going. Good as a dinner brew or as a working out in the yeard brew. The finish does get worse as it warms and flattens.

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Photo of dpool
3.8/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Light staw color very light head.

S: Reminds me of the smell of sake with a touch of hops

T: Refreshingly light, and dry hint of rice and maybe a little lemon

M: Very light, little carbonation, but overal pleasant

D: Nice beer to drink with sushi and I can see myself drinking it again.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: About has pale as they come....the color of light straw. Clean, clear, crisp. Head is surprisingly good, stark white and webby.

S: Corn pops, freshly sprouted greens and cold, wet rice.

T: Sweeter than dry with a trippy lavender flavor to it. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that lavender was added to this beer. Maybe it is? Lightly sweet in the white corn type of way, not dry or cardboard like. Finishes very floral with more lavender like flavors.

M: Thin but fairly smooth. Crisp which fits the style.

D: One of the better Japanese rice beers I've had. At the least, it stands out from the pack and I could pick it out in a blind tasting, easy.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.45/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Half Liter bottle, though this 500ml bottle has a rather unique profile I find with its curved shoulder and neck. Sealed with a black crown cap which had a gold design and text on it. Main label has a water color scene of Paddy Fields and lots of Japanese text all over it. Thankfully the back label has some English text and describes this as from “Echigo Beer Company” and lists it as “Koshihikari Echigo Beer”. No strength or freshness though.

Appearance: Pale straw body exhibits serious well-water clarity. Head is bone white and whilst it rises with a puffy start it soon settles down to a thinner covering, but it never breaks.

Nose: Tends to come off as a rice-laden light lager, which I guess it is in a way. Occasionally I detected some acidic lemon bitterness but it was very feint, too feint to register as a permanent contribution.

Taste: Grain and some musty hops, thin body reveals a tendency to be acidic at times. Finish is reasonably clean, but the centre is uneventful. Hard to add much more about this brew except for the fact that it tends to a very neutral brew, it doesn’t add a lot to experience but never takes anything away from it.

Mouthfeel: Middling feel, light texture with an airy carbonation lends a very lagery feel to this offering. Sadly it gets thinner as you work your way through this brew.

Drinkability: Easy going, it has nothing to prevent you enjoying say two bottles of this, but neither does it have anything that warrants picking up a case of them.

Overall: Nothing outstanding or vaguely interesting and it suffers from some of the worst aspects of the American Macro lager. A reasonably clean drinking brew that doesn’t take much effort, which is suited to a warm sunny September afternoon in Long Beach.

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Photo of clickpush
2.65/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour: .5L bottle to pint glass. Bottle has really cool label of laborers in a rice field, no English at all but for the import label on the back. The beer pours a clear bright yellow liquid with a loud white head that maxes out at about a centimeter. The head fizzes away very quickly and leaves ne'er a trace behind.

Nose: Associate this smell with lighter beers, almost macro lager-ish. Aromas of pear, mint, marijuana rise slightly above the smell of rice, but even with strong agitation there's not a whole lot of olfactory stimulators jumping out of this glass.

Mouth: Rice. Not in a sake way, but like rice on your plate. Has a strong bubbly mouthfeel. Malts up front and along sides of mouth, almost to the extent of a malt liquor. Has just an inkling of a bitter finish with some warmth and a chewy hop sensation, tingly with chili peppers and a grape skin sweet/bitter character. It's an excellent beer for a hot day in the sun, as long as it's served cold.

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Photo of davidchollar
3.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Note: this may not be the freshest can, it says 060624. i assume that's the best before date, and that it's june 24th, which is only 10 days away. so i may try to get a fresher can and revisit this beer in the future.

appearance is standard pale lager, clear, straw colored with a nice fine-bubbled head. this echigo beer has a definite smell to it. it's not so different from other rice lagers, but stronger than most. not bad, but loses points for reminding me of every other japanese beer.

tastes like a japanese rice lager, and a fine one. smooth and thirst-quenching after a hot day. the amazing thing about this beer, and i will probably remember it for this reason, there are no off flavors. as i said, it's probably an old can. but it is still tasty and lacks the tap water taste i get from so many macros. worth a try.

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Photo of adamatari
3.72/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I bought it out of curiousity. As has been mentioned in other reviews, the rice "Koshihikari" is considered to be a particularly good strain of rice.

The color is very light and the head is very flimsy, which is a bad sign for the most part. Suprisingly, though, the beer is very drinkable. I think the intent was to make a super dry lager or pilsner (like Asahi) but strangely it comes out tasting kinda like a kolsch. As it is it's a easy to drink but plain beer that beats out something like Bud mostly due to a very clean aftertaste, but I feel as a kolsch it could be something special. It's a shame it follows the usual super dry style.

It's drinkable but not special in any way. More could have been done with the ingredients, but as is it's just mediocre.

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Photo of oggg
2.95/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From a bomber into a pint glass at Surfside Sushi in PB

The bottle is beautiful. Brown glass. Cap has the nice Echigo logo and name. The front label is a piece of art -- literally there is a reproduction of some Japanese art there, amidst the Japanese lexicons. The back label actually has a little English which states that it was imported from Japan. Doesn't really say that it's a rice lager, but it does say Koshihikari Echigo Beer.

The beer pours a clear golden yellow. The head is virtually non existent like in many macro brews. Faint aroma of caramel, and perhaps I imagine a hop smell. On the tongue it's crisply carbonated and has a meek maltiness, but is this from the rice? Bitterness is low. Towards the end, there's a weird fruitiness. Not the messy sort of ale fruit ester fruitiness -- maybe it's some sort of hop flavor. Apples and pears. Totally random, but it makes this somewhat interesting. Finish is neutral.

Overall: the bottle is really pretty.

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Photo of donnebaby
2.98/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The head fell in a heartbeat, as did mine in disappointment. Kind of a foamy, cobwebby head--like the foam that comes from stirring up rice whilst washing it. Afterwards, it flatlines, and only returns if aggressively shaken, which I did in a feeling resembling anger.

The smell is musty, and kind of dirty--something common from cheap japanese happoshus. I grew excited though when after shaking it I gained a slightly sour, lemon-cranberry scent.

The taste is pretty nil, light and grainy, slightly sweet. The best part is a small yet distinctive hop finish. Mouthfeel is light.

This beer is named after a type of rice famous in Niigata, where Echigo is located. This rice is used in the making of the beer. FYI, Echigo is also the old name for the area that is now Niigata-ken.

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Koshihikari Echigo Beer from Uehara Shuzou Co. Ltd. / Echigo Beer Pub
3.29 out of 5 based on 194 ratings.
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