Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale | Kiuchi Brewery

very good
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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic AleHitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale

Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by scottum on 06-27-2004

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Reviews: 257 | Ratings: 445
Photo of Andrewharemza
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of kitschiguy
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
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...

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Photo of FLima
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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Photo of leegang
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.18/5  rDev +10%
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

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Photo of Shemmy
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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Photo of janubio
3.42/5  rDev -10%
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.

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Photo of interzen
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.02/5  rDev -20.5%
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.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
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!

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Photo of silverking
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- a deep, rich hazy amber with a lot of suspended debris. Thin light tan head that fades fast. After a minute or so, the need appears completely lifeless. No carbonation is visible.

S- cedar, pine, brandy, figs. That cedar note is so defined, I love it.

T- a fair amount if caramel surrounded by notes of dense pine. Actually quite enjoyable. The finish is pure pine needles.

M- almost no carbonation, medium bodied. Lackluster.

O- mixed feelings on this one. Try it.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single bottle poured into a tulip. A cloudy orange-red with two fingers of creamy beige foam. Aroma is a compelling mix of brittle toffee, orchard fruit (peach and pear), earthy/slightly woody forest floor hops, nuts and pretzels ... Palate is similarly unique. Does come across as an English IPA but with a moderate degree of plum fruitiness, a rich toffee maltiness, unexpected almond and pecan notes, and more expected cedar or sandalwood aromatics. Some diacetyl apparent. A stark contrast between the dry woodiness and the rich sweet malts, somehow it works. Body on the thick side for the style, moderate carbonation and a malt-forward finish seasoned with a dash of woody spice. Unique brew like many of this brewery's other offerings. Not well-integrated yet one can switch between the dry floral fruitiness, the woody spice, and the sweet dessert backbone and not get the least bit bored.

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Photo of MLichtwardt
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

A nicely balanced pale ale. Wouldn't consider it a big enough brew to be labeled as 'IPA'. Nice and crisp, easy drinking. I tasted pear and mild vegetal qualities.

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Photo of titvs
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

Review based on the BJCP2008 guidelines (style 14A adapted). Bottle 33 cl - Batch J.14.02. AROMA: no hop notes with sweet malt aromas reminiscent of caramel. very low fruitness. APPEARANCE: amber color and hazy. moussy tanned head with good retention. TASTE: medium bitterness that lingers into a dry finish with no hop flavours. unbalanced high malt flavours. PALATE: medium-light body with moderate carbonation. OVERALL: although the comercial description says it is a IPA, this beer is unbalanced towards a sweet malt profile but its not that bad.

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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Aroma- Fruity with a rustic foliage follow through Appearance- A great clear copper color with a small head Taste- Malt with pears (?), has a slight hop feel at the end Palate- Medium bodied with a slick soft carbonation Overall-An excellent brew! The flavor builds with every sip and invites you to have more than one.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.42/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle at 40 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of grain and yeast
Head large (5.5 cm), off white, frothy, VERY slowly diminishing – can’t wait for it to die, must drink NOW
Lacing good – broken rings and islands of various size bubbles
Body light to medium amber, hazy (yeast sediment)
Flavor OK, grainy and some yeast phenolics, a little alcohol; no hops, no dicetyl.
Palate medium, oily, soft carbonation.

This is an OK ale – not something I’ll ever seek out again, but one I’ll drink if someone offers me a free one.

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Photo of avalon07
3.37/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a hazy consistency. There was a two inch, foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A severely muted aroma of malt, hops, and a little fruit. Not bad, but too underplayed.

T: Tasted of light hops, a good dose of malt, a bready quality, and light citrus notes. There's not a whole lot going on here with the flavor. It's not bad, but it leans toward the mild side.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: The problem here may lie with the English IPA style itself, which is a bit on the thin and uninteresting. Kiuchi tries with this, but it doesn't succeed all around.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(bottle of indeterminate age, depending on how long the case was sitting at the distributor - this bottle was stored chilled right out of the case, having put it in the fridge myself )

A: I remember this from the keg being a lot clearer - the bottle content here is fairly hazy, bordering on cloudy - likely from hop residue, yeast sediment(?), or improper handling, who knows?... the liquid's color is a caramel-ish amber... big stand of sudsy foam on the pour - does hold a full cap most of the way down, some trails of lace... looks like nothing other than a British ale, though, I must say

S: earthy, leafy hops - mostly Fuggle in nature, but a good bit of the Goldings floral character mixed in... hops dominate while any clear malt aromas are very much hidden... moderate-intense showing of floral(?) esters - only vaguely fruity, if at all... likely a bit of oxidation has set in, giving on light overtone of burlap or brown paper bag (the cedar?)... the hop aromas are nice, if a bit frayed

T: very much in line with my ideas of and experience with English-style IPAs... compare this with Meantime's IPA - that being more orange-fruity hops, this being more floral and earthy... I was going to also say 'woody', but that may very well be the aging in cedar this ale had - cedar has a distinct, 'forest'-y flavor and this quality can be detected on the sides of the palate - no vanilla here!, just dark bark, wood grain, mossy soil - but it's mellow... the hops are front and center, potent, but soft, rounded with an understated bitterness - lots of leafy matter... the malt, and alcohol as well, merely underlies - perhaps a touch of biscuity flavor far in the background

M: fairly medium-bodied and grainy-creamy with hop polyphenols... has a feel similar to that of a bottle-conditioned Bavarian hefeweizen... not crisp and clean like say a Fullers... let's just say it's a real ale texture, a week in

O: the bottle version didn't quite match the more distinct, dynamic flavors of the tap version I had years back - that being the first time I had tried the beer - it was a Hitachino event for charity, right after the tsunami - 7 or 8 of their beers on tap at Kraftwork... I could see flashes of that beer's greatness in this.... definitely one to seek out - it's different

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Photo of spoony
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 330 ml bottle (code says J 13 07) into a tulip.

A-The beer is light amber in color, clear and still-looking in the glass. My normal pour produces about one and one-half fingers of dense, off-white head. The retention is poor as the head fades in less than a minute. It leaves some spotty lacing.

S-The aroma is heavy on the malts for a beer billed as an IPA (even an English IPA). I get lots of caramel sweetness, in fact. There are some citrus and floral notes, but they are hidden behind an odd woody scent that I can only assume comes from the cedar casks advertised on the bottle.

T-The taste is a bit more dry than smell, but this beer is still malty and sweet for the style. A flavor mixture of caramel, citrus, cedar wood, and a bit of medicinal alcohol makes for an interesting brew.

M-The feel is slightly fuller in body than an average IPA with a moderate amount of carbonation that settles pretty quickly on the palate.

O-This is a unique beer in both good and bad ways. I suspect that my bottle was old because it lacked any semblance of a hoppy punch and even the cedar had faded a bit into the background. That being said, I think I could get into this beer if I could find a fresh example because the citrus/cedar aspect is really intriguing. It seems like a good summertime combination.

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Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 445 ratings.
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