Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale | Kiuchi Brewery

very good
257 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 257 | Ratings: 445
Photo of Auraan
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a gorgeous fully cloudy amber with a thin white head that leaves some lacing. It looks like gorgeous, natural, earthy unfiltered apple juice. Just looking at it makes me want to drink it. Scents of caramel, earthy, herbal hops, earthy yeast, grape, slight citrus aromas in the background and faint undercurrents of cedar. A very nice, earthy, sweet, fruity aroma profile, different from a lot of IPAs, even English style IPAs, that I've had. Its pleasant and inviting. Taste begins sweet with caramel, moving into some nice herbal hops and a tea-like flavor. Throughout there is a nice musky, earthy, yeasty presence that compliments the herbal and tea flavors of the hops wonderfully. There are also slight undercurrents of cedar in the background throughout the sip and some light citrus peel bitterness on the finish. The aftertaste is mildly bitter, but not overwhelmingly so. A good, earthy, sweet, balanced flavor that avoids being both too sweet and too bitter. Very well executed. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth and with low carbonation. It feels like a good, classic style ale should. Quite nice. Overall this is a very good take on an English IPA. It's balanced and malty, but with a good underlying bitterness and an aroma that is flat out amazing. Very highly recommended.

 1,295 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a finger of head on a hazy straw colored body..
The aroma is mild smells of grains and grapes. A little surprising but nice.
The taste is mild bitterness balanced with some honey sweetness and spice with a latent dry bitterness finish. Good profile.
The texture is soft with moderate carbonation.
A light and enjoyable beer.

 330 characters

Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice light golden brown with a 1/2 inch head that quickly dissipates. Very mild lacing on the glass. First sip is fairly sweet and you can taste a little bit of cedar from the casks. Lots of yeast particles are visible through the glass. Has a great hearty mouthfeel. Some slight bitterness at the end and after awhile you can start tasting the alcohol at the end. Some slight citrus scent and taste. A very nice beer that's got some character to it.

 458 characters

Photo of nychrislin
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very great beer, I love the spice and malty smell. The cedar lingers in your mouth, it's like sitting in a library with this beer, the 7% alcohol level really is hidden. It's a very effervescent beer, and that's pretty rare for a Japanese beer, but it also still retains a dry aftertaste.

 288 characters

Photo of damndirtyape
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Date stamp: J.13.07

Appearance: Cloudy dark amber with the barest level of foam ring at the edge. Some occasional tiny strands of lacing.

Smell: Sweet - malty (caramel notes) and orange citrus.

Taste: Sweetness up front with some hints of Belgian fruitiness. After that sweet start, the beer then moves into some herbal hop flavors and a definite cedar / woody bitter finish. The sweet and the bitter are distinct flavors - one begins and the other one finishes it, but never muddled or fighting with one another.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and nicely thick. Carbonation just right.

Overall / Drinkability: With its unique taste, a sipping beer - and yet very drinkable as well. I could easily have another, or at least would not mind it if it came in a bigger bottle. I wonder how this beer is on tap. I definitely would buy this again. Overall it has aspects of a Belgian Pale Ale, and American IPA, and that distinct cedar aging that is like no other style. Well done!

 1,017 characters

Photo of kemoarps
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The pour is an opaque amber colour, like a good apple cider. A little more orange when held up to light. Not much of a head, but a small crown of bubbles remains.

The nose starts off sweet. Vanilla leads off a clean, but reserved nose filled in by some earthy hops. I was hoping for a more readily apparent cedar, as that is a wood that is near and dear to my heart having grown up amongst them.

The cedar comes through more on the tongue, taking a solid if a bit sweet english IPA into an interesting twist. As noted, the sweetness leads the way on the tongue as well, though it takes a more honey and bread character than the vanilla I felt was on the nose. The hops come in again on the earthier side of things, and the third period is really where the cedar makes its presence known. It compliments the earthiness of the hops quite well, giving it an almost vinous bitterness. The sharp bitterness lasts through to the aftertaste, which finishes with kind of a little dance between the bitter, a slightly sweet woodiness from the cedar, and a hint of that honey sweetness that lead things off.
God medium body and the carbonation accents instead of distracting, this is a well constructed beer.

While I wished there were more cedar in the aroma, it came through stunningly towards the back of the tongue. This is definitely a unique IPA (at least as far as I've tasted), but it's one that I certainly find myself enjoying. Cedar is a tree/aroma/...flavour I guess? that holds great personal significance, so I may enjoy it more than others because of the intangibles it evokes. Definitely worth your time, though, if you find yourself curious.

 1,652 characters

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Was shown this in Denver a few months back and could not pass up when I noticed it was aged in cedar casks. Just sounded really interesting.

Pours a rich copper to rust shade, very beautiful with slightly off white head that lingers as a thin film for a long time. Has a very nice haziness to it. Looks great, just what I hoped for when I read this IPA sort idea on the back label.

Smell is quite subtle and a bit musty. You can really smell the earthy hops and malts in it, but it is kind of odd with what I recognize as a damp cedar sort of smell... which can be good and bad... in this case it is a bit odd for me.

Taste is interesting and yet traditional for an IPA. A mellow, sweet earthiness invites you into a spicy and herbal hop with a more pronounced sweet and sticky malt backbone that balances the mild bitterness very well. The malt has some burnt caramel, the hops shine with a variety of citrus, herbs, and pine. Then the beer is layered over with a unique vanilla woodiness, the cedar tone, which just fits so well and so refined into the spicy hops.

The cedar has a nice residual tone the lingers in the mouth long after.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Creamy, lower carbonation, smooth, and just a tad dry. The fullness in the medium body is really great. This part of the beer is wonderful through and through.

Overall, I was a bit put off by the malt in some way and the nose was a bit odd for me. It was unusual in a way that I was not sure of. Otherwise this was a fantastic English style IPA. I would buy this again, as I would many other beers from Hitachino.

 1,580 characters

Photo of Chaney
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Hitachino beer ever served in a port city glass.

A: Poured an amber-orange color with lots of flakes floating around in the vat of goodness. The head was a mere bubble formation.

S: Very potent and quite excellent. One might even be fooled into tagging this a sour. It does have that sort of funk. Very bright fruit with plums, sour apples, and some oranges.

T: This thing is unusual! Holy hell! I did get the cedar poking through the other ingredient and didn't think I actually would based on the nose. This reminded me more of a saison than an EIPA.

M: Infinitely smooth due to the cedar aging, with a scrumptuous mouthfeel and no booze detected.

O: This brew totally blew me away. It was worth the $4.99.

 724 characters

Photo of goochpunch
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Amber body with thin head. Vanilla, caramel, and nuts in the smell. Taste is really sweet. Just very caramelly and malty. Some vanilla. Not getting much cedar (which I'd like to taste more). Too sweet. Mouthfeel is pretty thick and sticky, but some stinging carbonation helps with that. This is not so great. If the cedar were more prevalent, I'd like this more.

 362 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Small particles of sediment are seen floating around in the beer after the pour. Smell is of malt, grain, biscuit, and earthy and slight citrus hop aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and citrus fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a fairly subdued smell but the flavors are solid and tasty, especially as the beer warms up.

 656 characters

Photo of Amalak
3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. It has a dark caramel color, brown, some good white foamy head, with some lacing, it is hazy and completely opaque.

S. It has a malty nut scent.

T/M. It has a malty taste, quite strong. It is a tart and overdone malty. There's a grassy taste. Some sweetness.

O. It is a bit bland. A descent taste, but a bit overdone.

 323 characters

Photo of TheyCallMeYukon
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The first time I had this beer was out West at a Japanese Style Burger joint. I decided to try something new and picked this from the menu.

Color: It really drew me in and hinted at it's complexity.

Aroma: Smells of hops and cedar and a bit of sweetness. Strong scent, but it's a good scent. Again, it invites you in to take a sip.

Taste: Hits your mouth with a sweet flavor then continues with a mild hop and cedar notes. The finish is dry and it leaves the taste of Sake and Cedar behind. Very Nice.

Overall: This is a great beer, I wish it was more readily available around home. This is definitely a Quality over Quantity beer, not something you can sit down and drink a bunch of but definitely a beer to be enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

 748 characters

Photo of Hoppsbabo
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: A half cloudy dull orange body with a very decent head. Remains half cloudy throughout.
S: Woody sherbet.
T: Dry, herbal and woody with orange peel somewhere in the background. Tons of prickly ginger. Lemonade in the aftertaste. Loads of sandalwood. English in character. Heck, there's even some coffee and chocolate in there. Not sure why a beer of this flavour profile needs to be so alcoholic. It's a profile more suited to 5% and under. Also, it gets very boring towards the end and loses all its complexity.
M: Fizzy and foamy.
O: Started very well but got boring, perhaps due to the over-the-top ABV. Also, shame about the ludicrous price.

 648 characters

Photo of Tone
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy, dark maize color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, strong citrus hops, floral hops, yeast, slight biscuit, hint of caramel malt, slight pale malt, hint of grass, and herb/spice?. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Fits the style of an English IPA. Tastes of grass, sweet malt, hint of rye, slight pale malt, slight floral hops, hint of pale malt, slight caramel malt, and slight alcohol. Overall, good aroma, body, blend, and decent appearance.

 549 characters

Photo of JDavidRice
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A beautifully colored beer, cloudy burnt orange with a million tiny bits of sediment floating around. Head is perfect for the style and the lacing is above average. Interestingly enough, I don't smell the cedar that others have mentioned at all. Instead, I get impressions of apricots, wildflower blossoms, a little ground white pepper, and hops. The taste reminds me of a more refined and interesting MH #9; apricot and flowery hops arrive first, but the overall taste is nicely balanced by the finish. Slight lingering taste of citrus left on the palate after each sip. Mouthfeel was a little sharp right out of the fridge, but it is becoming more soft and luscious as it warms up. I'll definitely buy some more.

 714 characters

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served out of standard 11.2 oz brown shortneck bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours hazy and rust-colored, with a dark core from the shadow of the the thick (two finger) head. Head is fluffy and smooth on top, like freshly-fallen snow. The color is tan with a hint of burnt sienna and it dissipates to a half-cm of foam that lingers and leaves respectable lacing.

Smell - Intriguing, with notes of cedar, fresh pinewood and notes of malty grains. I also get a hint of steamed brown rice as the head slowly dissipates to the shorter, lingering version of itself.

Taste - Subtle hoppiness, with a hint of sapling or green wood. The mild bitterness from the hops and a finish that has a citrusy-sour essence. Not sour like a capital-S "sour", but a tart quality to it.

Mouthfeel - This one is full and robust, with a resinous feel to it. I sticks around to let you really allow you to fully process the depth of flavor. Balanced.

Overall, a very good drinking beer that has some heft to it. I imagine it would pair well with a lot of different foods.

It's interesting because Japan is further away from England than India (especially by ship), and the mild hoppiness of this beer recalls the fact that IPAs were started by England wanting to put enough hops in the beer that it would still have some kick when it reached the colonies in India. Perhaps if those same IPAs traveled onto Japan after the stop in India, this barely bitter pale ale might be the end result.

Given the price of getting it here in KC, I can't imagine I would drink this one often, but it's a very tasty beer and one I would recommend to someone wanting to delve into the Japanese microbrewery scene.

 1,687 characters

Photo of IDontBelieveYou
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

When I tried to relate to people, and promote this beer, I never had to lie, yet I always had to be cheesy. "Would you like to drink the scent of a cigar box?" Honestly, I can't move beyond the cedar nose. And who doesn't love the mysterious scent of their father's cedar cigar box? This is also the only beer I've ever encountered with this flavor profile. So points for originality? And brilliantly, unlike a typical strange or experimental brew, it actually works and is elegant, and challenging. My personal favorite from Hitachino.

 536 characters

Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first time I tried this beer was after my first bar tending shift in a really nice fine dining restaurant. One of the senior bartenders sat me down and brought out a whole bunch of bottles from our 50+ choice menu and had me taste some. This was one of the more interesting of the selection and the brewery is a personal favorite of mine.

Nice color means better eye-appeal, which leads to an increased curiosity to sip.

Aroma expresses the beer's time spent in the sake-soaked cedar barrels of the family's sake business. Very appealing and inviting.

Taste consists of a flirtatious sweetness and faint hops with a dry finish leaving the palate with notes of that same cedar and sake; most likely the desired effect.

This is definitely a beer to be drank and appreciated in small quantities amongst friends. I can say this is one of the beers that got me hooked on learning more about craft breweries. A real treat.

 924 characters

Photo of NardiByNature
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dated J. 12. 08: I'm sure the dates are somewhat reversed on this guy...if it were really almost 5-years-old "you wouldn't be able to taste the hops" on this guy, says my man @ the beer store.

Ruby – dark amber in color with a small white head that quickly fades into a collar. Somewhat hazy, minor sediment floating around.

First there’s the malty/resiney scent of a hop-waned IPA, But Wait! There’s More: apple cider, and a really dried woody smell: “matured in cedar casks”? No doubt.

Complex to say the least; I’ll try my best: apple sauce hits first, but an herbal-cedar punch comes through and dries it out. The cedar is very apparent here, this is really interesting, and some wild plays like a mild mushroom.

Mouth is dry, no doubt the cedar is a contributor here. I could use a little more carbo.

This beer is really good. Truly an experience, and what picking out a single bottle is about: cedar? Awesome. Beer from Japan? Out of the ordinary. You should try this because I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 1,035 characters

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

While it might be "WestCoastLibations" as our moniker, considerable time in Land of the Morning calm cannot be discredited. And likewise, as it is the WestCoast where we believe the best beers in the world come from, there are still hidden gems located in the Far East, be it Korea, or one of its many neighboring countries. One of these Asian Beauties then, is the delicious "Japanese Classic Ale" from Hitachino Nest.

Probably the widest circulated IPA-styled beer here in Korea, it can be found in many grocery stores, sold in individual 12-ounce bottles. Like any IPA though, it needs to be transferred from bottle to glass, and when it does, it comes out as to be expected, with Amber and Rust fighting each other for naming rights. A "Classic Ale" in that it is that "Classic Color". Nothing too notable either way, be it in the color or smell, but on both accounts, it tries.

Settling into an IPA glass, it provides its Passport to its neighbor to the North, Korea, through its taste and lingering effect, which act as its strongest characteristics. Adhering to its name as a "JCA" instead of an "IPA" there are noticeable differences, but they must be investigated quickly, as unlike seemingly all other Asian beers, this one comes at you with 7% ABV. A reminder I guess that there is a long history between these two nations, and if for nothing else, Japan will win in the Battle of Beers.

Overall, a nice treat, especially giving its regional location. It can act as a great way to start or end an evening, but with APEC assistance needed if the intention is to pull you through the night...

 1,605 characters

Photo of Serge
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled. Amber color, big off-white head. Aroma is fruits, marzipan, quite sweet nutmeg like notes as well as some mild spices. Flavor is wood, mild smoked wet things as well as spices and quite nutty. Mild vanilla. Very different, yet pleasant brew.

 250 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy golden amber in color with moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation near the surface of the beer. The beer has a finger tall dense off-white head that slowly reduces to a small patch of large bubbles, a very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of sweet caramel malts with moderate to strong aromas of cedar.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of malts upfront with just a hint of sweetness. There is a moderate flavor of cedar in the finish. Also, there are notes of herbal hops which lend a little bit of bitterness which fades quickly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Very enjoyable and the addition of the cedar is very interesting. Not quite sessionable but easy to drink.

 913 characters

Photo of PeterM
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A little gem of a beer. Wanted something a little lighter to go with a light pasta dish and MAN it fit the bill.
A: warm, golden amber - darker than I expected. Single finger light tan head
S: Light unobtrusive nose - piney?...
T: Ah, starts subtly, and grows to a tangy balanced hops, with lovely full mouth-feel that lingers.
O: LOVE this one - it actually exhibits a balance and details that I prefer to my previous top ale, the Hennepin.

 441 characters

Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy yellowish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white dense head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thick head covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of cedar in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, flavors of cedar from the barrel aging stand out in the taste and linger thought the finish. There is also a light amount of bitterness and some notes of herbal hops.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this to be a very interesting beer due to the cedar aromas and flavors—it seemed like just enough cedar was added without being enough to completely overpower the beer.

 767 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 330mL bottle into a dimpled mug.

Appearance: medium orange hue with a moderate haze and lots of little floaties suspended in solution. Head poured a thin fonger of frothy ivory foam and quickly subsided. Not too bad, I guess.

Smell: sweetish malt with a strong, evergreeny, resiny aroma. The bottle says that this beer was matured in cedar casks, something I'd definitely believe after smelling this beer. It's interesting, definitely, but perhaps not my favorite.

Taste: nice malty backbone which has a little sweetness but is not overly so, plus the pinier hop elements. The weird resiny woodiness is growing on me a little bit, and I will say it works better in the flavor than in the aroma. The more I drink, there are citrus notes popping out; I like the dynamism here. Bitterness is relatively high, but that is again probably the cedar playing a part. This is definitely a unique beer; I think I like it.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and creaminess. Quite nice.

Overall: what a strange beer. It has kind of grown on me, but I feel like this brew could be an acquired taste. Definitely worth a try.

 1,148 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.