Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale | Kiuchi Brewery

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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 RoyalT
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one poured a gorgeous thick but glowing orange in color with a beautiful, off-white head that showed good retention.

Smell – The English yeast and light herbal hopping gave way to a powerful cedar aroma that really dominated this ale.

Taste – The light yeast came out a bit more at the taste, but the hops were absent. The cedar really does define this flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This is almost medium-bodied with some good, healthy carbonation.

Drinkability – This was a decent rendition of cedar-aged English IPA, but I just didn’t much care for it.

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Photo of WesWes
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a dark gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades. There are plenty of floaties present. It has a sweet pale and light crystal malt scent that seems a bit peppery. It must be the cedar casks. The flavor is average. It has a very bitter hop taste that is quite citrusy. It boasts of pale malts and has a slightly sweet, yet dry finish. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium bodied beer with way too much carbonation. This is an average English pale. It's way too bitter and overcarbonated. It's one and done for me.

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Photo of jaymirage
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown bottle, 11.2 ounces. Pouring reveals a cloudy oak, with some very, very acceptable head-retention. The retention is definitely where this beer shines.

Hoppy, slight sweetness balances out an initially striking bitterness, followed by more hoppiness. This is solid. A fine example of the capabilities of the IPA, but nothing outstanding. I always find Hitachino beers really quirky, and this beer has impressed me more than the rest of the line. I don't go for IPAs, but this one is pretty swell. The mouthfeel is full, but not overwhelming. Carbonation is moderate, and drinkability is good. The relatively high alcohol content is very well-balanced, especially with the lingering hoppy aftertaste. Worth a look.

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Photo of MrSeth
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Monster size tan head, just keeps coming. dark copper color, murky and mysterious..

Cedar has a strong presence in the nose, dominating it. reminds me of so many airplane modeling kits.. hahaha..

The cedar starts to mimic a cinnamon and other spicy aromas, making it more obvious why this wood might be chosen for a cask. As the head settles to a meager 1/2 inch size, there is a musky character coming out in the nose.

Starts very malty, fills in with lots of pucker. Surprisingly the cedar waits its turn in the profile, and makes a very appropriate appearance when it's time. There is a very alcoholic undertone here. It's creeps in at first, but jumps out at me by the end.

Like a few reviewers before me I'm not exactly sure what to make of this ale. It is interesting if nothing else.. but when would this ale be best enjoyed? It doesn't strike me as a session ale, it is too spicy and puckering, not to mention the 7% ABV. If it goes well with food, which foods?

If you are more familiar with this style of ale and/or type of finish, feel free to drop me a line.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24.3oz bottle purchased at hi-times near Newport beach, served in a pilsener glass.

great head and retention, copper color. Waves of whisping carbonation support this humongous head. Borderline perfect appearance for this style in my book.

Cedar jumps out at first, very earthy. Lots of clove spicyness, sugary/cinnamon with some spicey notes.

this pup really smacks me around a bit, hard woody/earthy up front with just insane spices at the end. I'd have to have this beer everyday for a year to figure out all the complexity. This is one of those beers that i'm definately intrigued by and would by again for no other reason than to try and figure out what they were trying to accomplish. Very nice beer and one I'll pursue.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

As soon as I pop the cap, the beer tries to escape the bottle. It is incredibly well carbonated with a 4 finger thick head that sticks around for a long time. The beer is a fully hazy, orangish red color that has large chunks of yeast floating in it, hmm healthy. The cedar is immediately evident in the aroma, quite interesting. There is a bit of fruitiness here in the nose as well, but it is almost not perceptible under the cedar. I get aromatic notes of strawberry, tamarind, almost like a rose wine underneath the cedar. The beer is quite spritzy up front, with a fruity acidity. The finish is astringent and hoppily bitter with a long dry note of cedar that dominates the finish. There are notes of cedar (obviously), citrusy hops, and mint. This is quite an interesting beer, it is a mix of solid hoppiness and cedar.

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Photo of Naerhu
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle says its good for 9 months after manufacture.
Manufactured Dec. 2004
Consumed May 2004

A - Dark bronze opaque, off colored tight head.
S - Spicy pumpkin pie
T - Spicy cinamon, overpowering dry, light bitterness, somewhat belgian-y. Big time pepper. Only a hint of the Cedar. Yeasty. Very light on the bitterness for an IPA, guess why it is an English IPA. A tad sweet.
M - Light bodied, powdery. The alcohol is very well integrated.
D - This was an ok beer, but not a winner. Nothing I would recommend, even for a change of pace.

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Photo of oracle
4.54/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

10 oz half imperial pint served in the most unusual glass I've ever seen beer served in. The Hitachino glass is an opaque ivory with a molded owl on the front. Very cool looking, but I had to pour some into another glass to view the color.

the color was a medium copper, quite clear, but pretty typical. Nice large and very dense head topped off the glass.

Smell is one of the places where this beer truely stands out. I was afraid the cedar would just completely overwhelm this beer. Thankfully, rather than obliterating the quality of the beer underneath, it enhances the hoppiness with a light spicyness that is very nice.

Taste is very very good. Again the cedar seems to impart a spicy quality that floats above the hoppiness of the beer rather than compete with it. Very clean, smooth and very easy to drink. At 7% abv, I expected more of a strong alcohol flavor, but I didn't get too much of that.

Very very good and very drinkable. I find Hitachino beers can be very hit or miss. This one is a home run.

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Photo of sweethome
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A huge head...rocky, subsides on the outsdie leaving a center pillow.

Nose is very unique. Significant hops including a belgian hop aroma...but not just belgian, citrus hops too. Butter. Cedar is evident and takes control.

A slight acidity, medium mouthfeel from malts, significant hop bittering. Japanese IPA. The label describes as IPA style brought to Japan in 19th century. This beer tastes like the style description. Unrefined, a little rough around the edges. Boy, does it work. The cedar ads a very nice charachter.

As I sip and savor, I pick up a little pepper, a hint of dried fruits late in the palate. The only negative for me is the tartness - doesn't quite match everything else.

Leaves a strong aftertaste that I could do without - could clean up better.

Overall, a wild beer. A very interesting beer - cross between belgian hoppy beers (yeast and flavor of hops) and british IPA (the hop level and metallic feel). The cedar adds a flavor unlike any I've had.

I'd love to try this with some sushi.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge, pocketed, pillowy head atop an amber brew, with carbonation bubbling up amongst a fair amount of suspended sediment.

Aroma is familiar yet somewhat unique, with strong yet mellow hops and a dry, cedar element. In the mouth, this beer is big and bubbly, with a tangy hop nectar quality that is very nice. Tart and bitter, it has just enough pucker factor to make you smile.

This is a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On first tasting Hitchino Nest's JCA I was reeled in by its spiciness, and blown away by its uniqueness! This has got to be one of the most original beers in the world! It's hazy dark amber boddy teems with zesty bubbles beneath a huge head of frothy off-white foam that has amazing staying power and leaves rings of thick, fluffy lace about the glass. The nose is amazingly distinct and cedar-like, but there are other spice aromas in there as well including some nutmeg, a pinch of black pepper, a brush of cinnamon, a sprig of pine, and a spritz of citrusy fruit juice. Wow.... it's really interesting. Once it's settled a bit it's airy in the mouth rather than bristling (as the sight of the bubbling carbonation and rocky head might suggest) with a medium-light body that's slightly dextrinous and moves smoothly across the palate. In the flavor, the spices hit you right upfront; followed by a bit of gently fruity yeastiness (or is that citrusy hop?) and a delicately sweet maltiness that's similar to a glazed doughnut - and wham - there's the dry bitterness as some pine and a slap of cedar re-appear. As the botterness fades from the long finish some more maltiness becomes evident, and some prickly spice appears. It's intriguing and complex, but not particularily drinkable. I prefer the cedar in the nose.... but I guess the two go hand in hand. It's astonishing and mesmerizing in one serving.... let's just leave it at that.

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Photo of marcobrau
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with lots of fizz and foam, almost sparkling like Champagne. The color is a hazy yellow. (I enjoyed this appearance, even though it doesn't match the style.) I swear I could catch a whiff of cedar in the aroma. A fairly fruity ale (I guess that's the English part) with a fairly sharp bitterness accented by the high carbonation. The finish is a bit tart and very dry (this is Japansese after all.) There's an herbal quality that emerges as the beer warms up in the glass. I really like this beer, probably becaue I like hoppy/bitter beers that finish dry. This beer is a fary cry from most English IPAs that I've tasted, but I do like the Japanese take on the style, and the unusual used of cedar for aging instead of oak.

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Photo of soper2000
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this in Ohio of the weekend. Even though I was warned about excessive carbonation I was not expecting the gusher that I received from this little bottle. The gushing really tests ones patience. Eventually the beer settled down a little yielding an extremely dense white foam head atop a cloudy orange body. Smell has has wood notes which fight for dominance with the hops. Nose is a tad dry as well. I really got a large dose of woody/saltyness from my first few tastes. The saltyness eventually fades away to reveal a very crisp hop bite that ends up being quite refreshing and belies this beer's potency. There's no doubt that this is a very interesting IPA and if it weren't for the carbonation issues I would be sure to pick more of this up.

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Photo of silenius
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an uneven beer for my palate.

Pours a wonderful copper tinged brass with some light haze throughout. The head is quite substantial. It is a creamy light brown head that fizzes like hell and sticks to the side of my glass.

Smell is quite cedary along with some citrusy hops. I get more of a really nice and ripe orange from it than grapefruit, however. As it warms, I get more of a sandalwood and black pepper note along with the cedar.

Taste is where this gets spotty. My first few sips had distinct notes of cat piss. These were brief moments that brought back memories of cleaning up my two cats' litter box. Not pleasant. That was detracting enough for me to hesitate before each subsequent sip bracing myself for another shock of cat pee. I've had NZ Sauvignon Blancs before that had this note, but nothing quite this substantial.

As it warms the pee-pee goes away and I get nice bitter hops presented in a unique way that I can appreciate. A little more earthy than other IPAs I've had and I appreciate the brewer's attempt here.

Mouthfeel is great. Nice lively carbonation zings without burning and readies my mouth for another sip. A good zip that cleans.

Drinkability is damaged by the initial cat pee. I'll always be leary of this flavor and will definitely (note proper spelling of the word "definitely." There is no 'a' in the word, please learn to spell this word if you intend to write it. It is a pet peeve of mine. If I've misspelled anything in this review or any other review, it is a typo and not because I don't know how to spell.) be reluctant to try it again.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

this beer has been the 'staple oddity' in my beer closet- it's available at my local beer store year round and my neighborhood bar keeps it in the cooler at a reasonable price. gets very polar reactions, but i dig it.

pours a nice ipa color with a supercharged foam head. BE CAREFUL or you will make a mess pouring. and when you open it, it will fizz up. smells of cedar and fresh grapefruit. taste experience is great... reminds me of smuttynose ipa with different elements hitting you at different times instead of all at once.

first comes the crisp grapefruit flavor- honey notes. in the back of your mouth, the hop bitterness develops as an aftertaste. what a way to enjoy an ipa- like dissected flavor.

the cedar doesn't bother me at all. except for the floaties- anxious to try this in the large size.. got one in my closet now!

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one pours with erupts in my glass to form a huge white wall atop a nice deep orange liquid. Quite impressive I must say. Putting your nose anywhere near this brew is like taking a walk into a huge cedar're forced to do a double take as you inhale the spicy woody aromas. There's a bit of mandarin orange citrus...but the cedar runs the intoxicating and unique.

Cedar is upfront as the brew settles down enough for me to drink. Hints of citrus hops and a slight caramel weave in and out with a nice bitterness on the way down. The cedar imparts an overall peppery spiciness to the brew that is enjoyable. A very unique offering and one of the best beers from Japan I've ever tried.

Mouthfeel is smooth and a bit creamy....nice bubbly carbonation. This is easy drinking and I could easily have a few...however I think I'd get burnt out on the cedar after that. Overall, a very original brew that I highly recommend to one and all!

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Photo of francisweizen
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is an interesting and extremely complex beer from my favorite Japanese brewery. Dark golden/amber with a huge head of rocky white foam. Nice lacing as well. Aromas are all over the place, but very nice. Cedar hits hard up front, but you also get pine needles, sap, citrus, hops, pepper, other spices, and more. Taste is spicy and very fruity with a unique peppery fruitiness, and a wood-laden, splinter-like dry finish. Unique. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spritzy, and nice. Drinkability is good, but this could get to be too much for your palate after a couple. As it is, another unique beer from this very solid brewery.

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Photo of Gusler
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer evacuates the 330ml brown bottle a cloudy copper color with the head portly in size and the texture semi-creamy, the color a winsome light tan, after its demise the lace forms a thick and clinging sheet to circumambient the glass. Nose has a big cedar aroma, spicy and fresh; a different tone for a beer with the start sweet and the rice profile pleasant, top is light to middling in feel. Finish has a delectable hop spiciness and the acidity apropos to the style, once again a treat and certainly, a nice change of pace from the normal run-of-the-mill malt brews I drink, well worth a sample.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Squat brown glass bottle, 11.2 fluid ounces (330ml). The usual generic Hitachino presentation, neck and main label. No discernable freshness date, but listed as 7.0% ABV. Described as ‘Japanese Classic Ale’ with some smaller text that states that this is ‘Matured in Cedar Casks’. Cost $3.49.

Appearance: Once the crown cap was removed, the beer frothed out of the top of the bottle before I could even get my Glass ready. Once in the glass the head was reasonably sized at first but soon settled to a more manageable ½” thick creamy white cap covering. Murky hazed peach body, some fine yeast (cedarwood?) particulate ‘floaties’. Golden amber hue when backlit, a gentle swirl reveals immense amounts of dissolved carbonation. Thin, but decent looking lacing covers the glass walls but slowly slides back down into the Glass.

Nose: Lots of spicy hops and fresh Cedarwood in the nose, the latter can be quite pungent at times. My first impressions of this reminded me of a sharp Cider, for it has a stinging dry Apple aroma in the nose.

Taste: Spicy start, hops and cedar wood fill the big front end of this brew. Woody feels with some acidic Apple Cider traits in the middle. Light hint of alcohol in the swallow. Mixes the qualities of a Pale Ale with the Cedar Cask aging quite well, but whilst the Cedar lends a tangy spicy feel, it can be a little too much at times.

Mouthfeel: Spritzy feel on the mouth, finely dissolved carbonation mixes well and releases the Cedar wood with each mouthful. Spicy hops linger in the finish. Solid biting feel to this one.

Drinkability: Above average Drinkability but the continual bitch-slapping by the Cedar wood character tends to detract from the long term appeal for me.

Overall: I just can’t make my mind up on this one…one minute I love it, the next I somehow find it just “too much”. Weird, yet somehow appealing!

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Photo of clvand0
4.54/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Merlin48 for this brew. What a treat. It pours an amber color with an enormous head that doesn't stay around too long and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma. Wow. Smells like somebody stuck a cedar tree up both nostrils. Unbelievably strong cedar aroma. The flavor was very woody and peppery. Has some nice citrus notes as well. This is a very odd beer. Very odd. Finish is really dry. Thick body. Cedar. Hmm. I like it a lot.

EDIT: I just noticed that it's 7%abv. Incredibly drinkable for that alcohol. Unreal, actually. I never noticed a bit of alcohol because of all the other weird stuff going on in this one.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to merlin48 and clvand0 for this beer making its way to my home. This head pours about 4 fingers with 2 fingers of beer underneath it. Lets hope ther retention is not so good...but this doesn't look like it will happen. After letting it sit, the head falls to reveal beer underneath it! The nose is actually really awesome. There is nothing but cedar in there. It smells a lot like the soda Squirt, wtih some citrus notes, but some real peppery grapefruit, but not like grapefruit from hops. Damn. I like it, but I don't know why. The flavor is full on wood and black pepper, maybe some ginger. The finish is really dry, leaving my throat wanting some moisture. Wow. I like this beer. The feel is pretty thick as well, letting me know I'm drinking a nice beer. Drinkability is good on this one as well. What a strange beer, but what a good beer. I sure hope I can find this one again. Nice nice beer.

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Photo of Sixpack595
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very hazy beer, plenty of loose sediment. Pours very lively (gusher?), strongly carbonated with a huge cap of foam. Copper colored and murkey. Aroma is overpowering cedar, spicy and citruicy. Flavor is hoppy with a fruity, acidic bitterness and a sappy wood flavor. Crazy beer. Unique take on an IPA, great beer but I'm not sure I could drink more than a couple.

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one funky beer! Had on tap this past week at Redbones. Pour was the color of dark tangerine, with a tan head covering the beer. Aroma is full of fruit, but to be honest, I think one notices the pepper and spice in this one a bit more. Taste is really interesting...starts out a bit sour intitially, then finishes with grapefruit, but minus the hops. It's like it's pure grapefruit juice, not an effect from the type of hops used. Medium mouthfeel, prickly carbonation. I think the initial sourness must be coming from the yeast. A very unique tasting beer.

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Photo of Truh
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruffled some feathers with this one on 10/24/2004. 10.5-oz. pour at Redbones in goblet.

Filmy ghost of skree of head to start. White grapes, sour green apples, and other fruity esters to nose. On the lighter side of a cider appearance to hue, with all of the accompanying haziness. Heated cracked black pepper to taste, which hides the tenuous malt character. Sour rind adds an undeniable puckering quality, and the heat combined with other earthy qualities imparts a tequila feel to the pour. This is a F-U-N-K-Y offering, with touches of karashi thrown in there – I want to see more folks taking chances like this one does. Ganbatte!

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Photo of carln26
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at Redbones. The color was hazy orange. It appeared that it was not or only lightly filtered. It had a full cream colored head with a light lace that maintained throughout the beer. It had a bright fruity nose with a hint of hop flower. The taste was not what I expected. Along with the hops you expect from an IPA, there was a spicy almost peppery taste up front. I couldn’t identify whether a spice had been added or if this was from the hops, but it distracted me from the flavor. In fact this bite from the spice overwhelmed any malt character. I do feel the hops less than taste them. Light mouth feel average drinkability.

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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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