Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
Kiuchi Brewery

Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic AleHitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
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IPA - English
Ranked #26
Ranked #25,854
3.81 | pDev: 11.55%
Kiuchi Brewery
Very Good
Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic AleHitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
Notes: Hitachino Japanese Classic Ale is brewed following the original India Pale Ale brought to Japan in the 19th century . It is slowly matured in Cedar casks which are commonly used in the brewing of traditional Japanese sake.
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Reviews: 266 | Ratings: 477 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken from New York

4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm no English IPA expert, bu the citrusy brightness of this beer makes me think it is more like an "American" IPA - that aside, a fairly amber-colored beer, hazy but not opaque... "matured in Cedar casks which are commonly used in the brewing of traditional Japanese sake" - I don't know if that means matured in sake casks or casks *similar* to those used to age sake, but this is a solid beer - so far Kiuchi's Hitachino Nest beers are 3 for 3... Give it a try...

May 01, 2020
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monkist from Hungary

4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Let me tell you first off: this is a great beer! It has the trademarks of a great English IPA and it takes it even higher, to a level that perhaps no real English IPAs could reach!
Imagine it like this: you have a malty, bitter English-hopped IPA, but made smooth, almost sweet like caramel, toffee and vanilla but very faintly, just enough to make the flavor extremely pleasant. It is far from being truly sweet, still it feels sweet in a sense like something that makes you happy.
At the same time, it is still hoppy so it doesn’t get heavy or too malty like a porter or a stout. It IS a real (English) IPA, but made into a piece of art.
The only question: why is it called a Japanese Classic Ale? Most of the Japanese brewers can’t make such a thing, maybe only Kiuchi with Hitachino Nest...
But nevertheless, it is a classic. Glad I bought it (and it is a rare statement indeed when it comes to Japanese beers!)

Nov 22, 2019
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Brew_42 from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pours a hazy orange/Amber with a very fine head.

A: candied orange, pine/cedar, Malts

T: Follows the nose closely. Candied orange and caramel maltiness that leads into a slightly piney bitterness. Really refreshing beer.

MF: somehow bubbly but also oily. Pleasant.

Overall: this a super refreshing beer that I’m shocked I took so long to try. Definitely a fantastic pale ale with strong flavor.

Nov 07, 2019
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Nass from Florida

3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nice Japanese artwork on the bottle label. There is a date on the bottle. It pours sort of like an orange marmalade type of color. The aroma of this beer is citrus & bready malts. The taste is orange, light grapefruit, malts, some hops It's okay & worth a try if you can get this in your area but it's a little pricey. The 7% abv is well hidden btw. Cheers! B

Feb 26, 2019
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JonnoWillsteed from England

4.14/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- Mid to deep chestnut. Pours with very fine 5mm white head that is slowl receding. Slightly hazy, that came at the end of the pour,
S- Fresh and quite zesty
T- Oh wow. Deep deep whisky cask flavours. Cherry, chocolate, Black-Forest gateau. It surprises me that this depth of flavour didn't seem to come through in the smell for me.
F- Somehing really a bit special. Wow, this is singular and very identifiable.
O- It didn;t look or smell of much note, but wow did this beer deliver. This is a seriously nice beer; all kneel for the hitachino [owl] - respect!
Bought from Wholefoods London W8. Not cheap but I like this brewery (and used to live in Tokyo 'so kinda get it' perhaps)

Oct 15, 2018
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superspak from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled in 7/2017. Pours moderately hazy/cloudy deep orange/amber color with a 1 finger dense and rocky off white head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, lemon, orange, peach, pear, apricot, mango, cedar, citrus peel/rind, pepper, pine, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity citrus/earthy hops, cedar, bready malts, and fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, lemon, orange, peach, pear, apricot, mango, cedar, citrus peel/rind, pepper, pine, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Light-moderate pine, citrus peel, herbal, grassy, spicy bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of grapefruit, lemon, orange, peach, pear, apricot, mango, cedar, citrus peel/rind, pepper, pine, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/earthy hops, cedar, bready malts, and fruity yeast flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate increasing dryness from lingering bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready, fairly sticky, and lightly tannic mouthfeel that is nice. Zero warming alcohol for 7%. Overall this is a delicious English IPA. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/earthy hops, cedar, bready malts, and fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and easy to drink with the mellowly bitter/drying finish. Balanced citrus/earthy hops, English malts/yeast, and nice cedar presence that isn't overwhelming. A very enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

May 26, 2018
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SABERG from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Recent bottle into the test glass
A - Deep copper color, active carbonation feeds a frothy white cap
S - Sweet malts blend with orange, a charge of cedar, with a touch of caramel
T - Orange reduction, white pepper, candied sugar, some cascade hop
M - Medium in body, a bit oily, fabulous carbonation, a semi sweet finish, with a dry linger.
O - So glad to have gotten this offering in Cedar cask version. The base beer is wonderful, the cask adds a delightful touch

Feb 16, 2018
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the_awesometeer from California

4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

My beer was a golden/amber color, and has a haze to it. The head is then there are a lot of floaties in my drink, but it is also 2 and half years old. The beer has a nice malt aroma some citrus hints. The beer has a nice bready sweetness to it with a after taste of bitterness. and some slight lemon flavor but its is not very strong. The beer has a nice buzz feeling of carbonation and easy to drink

Sep 14, 2017
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BlurryVisi0n from New York

3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a tulip glass from the bottle.

Appearance: Medium carbonated body coming off a straight Amber color slightly cloudy. White head rising just about a notch or so below a finger's length.

Smell: Malts and lemon scent, little light and not the most pleasing scent.

Taste: Sweet apple and citrus skin flavor, that lemon I was smelling was definitely more amplified as the brew kept warming up. Builds up with a smooth smooth malt which actually feels like a thirst quencher.

Mouth: light to medium carbonation.

Overall: Good brew, smooth beginner drink for a long night. Salud!

Apr 12, 2017
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Andrewharemza from Australia

3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 330ml bottle, pours a hazey Amber copper colour with a big beige coloured head.
Aroma citrus, tropical fruits, caramel.
Taste caramel, toast, fruits, malt.

Sep 07, 2016
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mvanaskie13 from Pennsylvania

3.66/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a narrow glass, color is copper, head is light tan with mixture of bubble sizes, nice lacing down the side of the glass.

Smell is very subtle, presenting as clean pale malt, some biscuit/toast then some very very light earthy hops.

Taste is clean pale malt, some more biscuit and toast; hops are still very light but a more bitter presence is noted, flavors are clean/earthy.

Mouthfeel is very good, especially for an ale that is probably a bit older in the bottle than intended as i picked it up on discount.

Overall, a very good english style pale ale, very clean aroma and flavors but nothing emphatic, very easy drinking.

May 08, 2016
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ommegangpbr from New York

4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this as a present for my birthday! Not my favorite style of beer, and coming from across the sea, getting a good, fresh, well maintained sample can be a challenge. This tasted like a pretty good sample, if maybe maybe a tiny bit old as I've sampled an IPA or two in my time that has gone past its shelf life. Mild bitterness with some tea flavors. Some apricot flavors. Moderate texture in the finish.
I enjoyed my bottle of beer. I would probably enjoy it more in Japan. For the style, I'd probably rather have a Brooklyn East IPA considering that I live in Jersey City at the moment.

Apr 02, 2016
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kitschiguy from Hong Kong

3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light to medium cloudy copper colour with a fairly good, loose, off-white head. Disappears quickly.

Nose - nose is not expressive but a little hoppy, with some fruit, grapefruit.

Palate - again not expressive but some very nice flavours. Floral, tropical fruit, pineapple, grapefruit a little spice. Well Balanced. Low bitterness for an IPA, if that's what it really is, bottle says Japanese Classic Ale. Tastes more like a pale ale than an IPA. Again, convoluted Japanese marketing just confuses matters.

Mouth is good - quite full.

Oveall this is a very nice beer. Well-balanced with some nice flavours. Could session it.

Mar 30, 2016
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Stevedore from Oregon

3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz on draft at Tavernakya in Madison, Wisconsin.

Body is medium copper, clear with an orange hue, one finger white head which lingers quite a while. Some lacing. Smells of sweet caramel, floral and earthy notes, a bit of tropical fruit (a bit surprising for an English style pale ale, indeed), no orange marmalade. Smells on the sweeter side, some tapioca. Flavour is balanced, though slightly biased in favour of the malts- caramel, tapioca- rounded out by some citrus, floral and earthy notes. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, substantial, not too sticky nor too dry, just sweet enough that it balances out any bitterness the hops impart. Definitely a more English-style in terms of the malt to hop balance, but the hops do contribute a nice bright and lively character to accompany the malt.

Feb 07, 2016
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dacrza1 from New Jersey

3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

DATE TASTED: December 31, 2015... GLASSWARE: Corsendonk tulip...OCCASION: three hours to the New Year and the boys are still going strong... APPEARANCE: a flourishing, bubbly amber orange body that shows opaquely... head is nearly two fingers' worth of bubbly, creaminess; fingers outstretch from its waves... leaves artistic smears in its sky... AROMA: light, airy hops that evoke peach, mango and grapefruit--almost tropical... malts are woody, slightly musky, and pungent--an earthy, mellow IPA... PALATE: medium-bodied, easy-drinking, and textured--provides a pleasant but nuanced drink.. TASTE: soft honeysuckle and lilac make for a light, floral start; the lemon, mango and damp yeasts make for a varied experience... the malts are balanced, giving off a bit of earthy, wooden notes, old and familiar, with some vegetable notes.. OVERALL: having passed many of these bottles through the decades, this particular one found its way into a break pack sampler...a worthwhile throwback to the day when IPA meant long ship travel, not East Coast/West Coast hop nuances...subtle in its strength and reasonable in its memorable flavor, this is a beer worth seeking out again...

Jan 01, 2016
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FLima from Brazil

3.69/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber color with a thick beige head with good retention and leaving laces.
Aroma with notes of caramels, oranges, mild grapefruit, bread and distant wood.
Flavor with notes of oranges, wood, white wine, sake, earthy hops, lychees, pineapple juice, candied fruits and white pepper. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium body with appropriate carbonation and a creamy feeling. Alcohol of 7% is well hidden.
Unique and well balanced English IPA; actually something between Japan and UK. Sake, oranges, white pepper and English hops.

Nov 29, 2015
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leegang from Singapore

3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled and poured from a 330ml bottle into a pint glass.

A: Deep golden colour with a slight reddish hue, very clear with visible tiny bubbles rising to the inch-thick white head that dissipates quickly.

S: First sniff was hit with a funky smell straight in the face, with subsequent sniffs revealing aroma of spicy hops, cedar, orange, some hints of brown rice.

T: A tinge of caramel sweetness and plenty doses of spicy bitter hops, with a blanket of cedar flavor which grows more prominent towards the end of each sip. The bitterness was slightly dominating in the beginning but balanced out by the malty flavor as the beer slightly warms. Some nutty flavors are also present when the beer is slightly warm. And maybe some roasted rice?

M: Medium-light bodied with an okay carbonation level, quite fine as any higher carbonation may clash with the flavor of the beer.

O: First sip turns out as an okay hoppy ale, but as it slowly warms it becomes more exciting with a complexity of subtle flavor emerging and creating an interesting balance with the hops. The cedar aroma rounds off any sharp character notes which results in a complex and rounded beer. Enjoying it after a long day of work and a good plate of freshly grilled squid.

Singapore, 25 Nov 2015.

Nov 25, 2015
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josanguapo from Spain

4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Hipercor, Club del Gourmet. In Duvel glass. After dinner. Excellent in nose. Taste good although not as special as the smell. Easy drinking. Could repeat

Jul 27, 2015
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Shemmy from Thailand

3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Another solid and quite good beer from Hitachino. Reference points that this beer touched on for me was as a kind of Fuller's London Pride that is moving towards being a quad. Many similar flavors and aromas to London Pride but more fruitiness and heavier mouthfeel. Not my top Hitachino quaff, but nice enough to be sure. Quite a nice orangey brown color, beautiful even.

Jun 24, 2015
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a gorgeous brown color, darker than most IPAs, more reminiscent of the color that many DIPAs have. Very little in the way of aroma, other than a slight bready, yeasty smell. The first sip hits you with a blast of flavor. Tropical fruits, mango, pineapple, a little candied citrus peel and berry flavor as well. It is a bit sweet, but not cloying or syrupy. This is definitely a digestif rather than aperitif beer. Very creative and fulfilling IPA.

Jun 07, 2015
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janubio from Spain

3.42/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Orange amber colour, with a head that fades soon, leaving some lace. Smell of wood, strong alcohol (I guess it's the barrels used to brew sake that you read in the description. Caramels, malt, spices. Medium body, sticky palate and rough in your throat. Taste of caramel, malts alcohol, some hot spice (something like chili). Far better than I expected.

Jun 04, 2015
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interzen from England

3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a tulip glass

Look: Deep, amber orange with a hint of sediment and a few floaties - about an inch of tightly packed off-white/lighter orange head with good retention and lacing, finally settling down to about half a fingers-width.

Smell: The bottle proclaims that this is matured in cedar casks and yep, you sure can smell cedar in there. As well as that, there's a positive car-crash of malty, yeasty smells, peppery spices and the usual pine resin/grass/grapefruit aromas associated with hops. Hops and cedar notwithstanding, the smell is quite 'sweet'.

Taste: In short, cedar and hops - pretty much everything else is driven into the background. There's also a hint of bitterness not unlike stewed green tea but cedar and hops dominate with the malts creeping in at the finish. The finish itself is dry, long and almost astringent.

Feel: Medium body but lacks the sort of punch that, say, an American (or even British) IPA would have. Something to accomodate the Japanese palate, perhaps? As mentioned above, the finish is long and bitter.

Overall: Another interesting brew from the Land of the Rising Sun - I'd probably describe this as a Japanese take on an IPA, since it's trying very hard to be like an American IPA but not quite getting there. It's not really a great deal like an English IPA ... it just ... is. Not Hitachino's best by any means (Espresso Stout holds that accolade) but well worth a try if you get the chance and want to try something genuinely different.

May 03, 2015
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SierraFlight from Virginia

3.02/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into nonic. Hazy orange liquid with a a pillowy head that settles to a finger of foam. The aroma is packed with cedar wood and white pepper then there’s malt, bread, grass, and doughy yeast. Flavor is perfumed bitterness from the cedar, tea and white pepper, followed by citrus hop and caramel malts. Medium body, slightly thick but sadly without a resinous/sticky IPA character, lively carbonation, and a bitter, nearly astringent finish.

Feb 26, 2015
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patre_tim from Thailand

3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Copper orange and cloudy with some large visible bubbles, 2 fingers of orange beige tinged head.

S: Orange, spicy hops, caramel, candy orange, berries like strawberries.

T: Berries, strawberries, orange candy, spice like sandalwood, getting some of the barrel age in there but its floral again like cedar or sandalwood.

M: Medium syrupy body with a solid foamy powdery carbonation.

O: Really enjoying this one. I think it wasn’t intended to be an ipa, and if its thought of outside that box its really unique, labeled ‘Japanese Classic Ale’ for a reason. Got on Wishbeer, don’t regret it as I’ve never seen it in stores. Drank in Kunming, Jan 26th, 2015.

Jan 27, 2015
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doktorhops from Australia

4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yes, yes, Hitachino Nest! This time I’ve got my hands on their Japanese Classic Ale, done in an English [read: less hops, more malt than an American] India Pale Ale. Once again Hitachino Nest brings a unique Japanese craft brewers eye to the classic English IPA style by introducing American Chinook hops, German Munich malt, and in a日本人 twist: Maturing in cedar barrels. Well I’m sold. Let’s see if Hitachino has maintained its remarkable sense of idiosyncrasy along with exceptional quality and flavour [yes I have little doubt this will be anything other than outstanding].

Poured from a 330ml into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazy, dotted with yeast particle deep tangerine body with a thin cream coloured lace for a head. Because yeast particles and I get along my score for this is perhaps higher than it should be. 8/10.

S: A big toffee note on this one, with hints of wood from the cedar, earthy tones, the toffee is quite sweet with nuttiness as well... again Hitachino cannot be accused of being ordinary. Cedar is awesome, I’m surprised it isn’t used in more brews. 8/10.

T: Complexity is again Hitachino’s strong point - the notes of sweet nutty toffee mingle with cedar wood, earthy/piney Chinook hops finish with a hint of bitterness... then throw in a hint of black pepper. Yes this one has characters of an English IPA but with a smattering of other tastes to elevate this to a new level. If you don’t like this brew or you think it needs more hops - you need a tongue transplant, because damn this is fantastic! 9/10.

M: Mid to light, borderline medium bodied with a nice creamy carbonation. Body is good, not great. 7/10.

D: So the big question, for me at least, is how does it compare to other Hitachino Nest brews? Well it’s up there with their White Ale, Red Rice Ale and the Celebration Ale, but again it is a different (quite woody) take on a classic style, so they’re really all “must try” brews - if you, like I, have tried hundreds upon hundreds of beers and you haven’t had a Hitachino brew - then expect the unexpected... but not too much - I don’t want to overhype the beer [you should never overhype the beer: I guarantee I’ll be disappointed with my first Westvleteren XII now]. Get this beer. 8/10.

Food match: I know I have a habit of recommending cuisines from the same country as the beer but this would really hit the spot with green bean and shiitake tempura with ponzu mayo, kampai!

Jan 05, 2015
Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 477 ratings