Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale
Kiuchi Brewery

Hitachino Nest Celebration AleHitachino Nest Celebration Ale
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Winter Warmer
4.06 | pDev: 10.1%
Kiuchi Brewery
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Hitachino Nest Celebration AleHitachino Nest Celebration Ale
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Reviews: 171 | Ratings: 202 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of VashonGuy
VashonGuy from Washington

3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

I'm generally fond of Winter Warmers and similar spiced up holiday beers, so I was surprised that I didn't take to this one all that much. It seemed a bit of a muddle, with various flavors there, but not really working well together. A bit too sweet. It's still a decent beer, don't get me wrong, but just not to my taste. This was the 2014 edition, poured into a tulip. Foamy!

Dec 10, 2014
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GinaBeerInc from California

4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Don't know where to buy this, a friend gave me as a gift. After a gentle pour the amount of foamy head created was more than I expected but it finally calmed down to soft pillow of foam. The beer itself is a hazed brownish orange with very fine bubbles of carbonation. Flavor is settled and plain with a sweet malty base and touch of spice that sticks out enough to make for a decent holidays ale.

Feb 06, 2012
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one poured out as a brown color with a tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer was a little on the spicy side but nothing too crazy really. The taste of the beer didn't really give off the vanilla I was hoping for like it said on the label. The herbs and spices took over most of the flavor. The mouthfeel of this beer was a little on the heavier side. Overall this beer wasn't too bad but I felt a little disappointed by it.

Jan 01, 2012
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HattedClassic from Virginia

3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark and brownish amber color. The head quickly dissipates and very little to no lacing.

Smell: A strong vanilla smell with a variety of spices such as cinnamon and some orange.

Taste: As it smells. The vanilla dominates over most of the pallate while it's buoyed by the spices. The orange taste is very weak and tends be dominated by the other tastes.

Mouthfeel: No carbonation and a smooth body.

Overall: A pretty nice beer and somewhat indulgent winter warmer.

Dec 22, 2011
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I actually "found" a bottle of the 2006 vintage (the one pictured with the geisha) in my basement and while it is aged, at 9%, I am hopeful that it may still be drinkable.

From the bottle: "Ale brewed with spices and vanilla beans [...] coriander, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla beans".

I used a very gentle pour and still got a finger of tawny head with decent retention. I felt thankful that I did not experience a gusher. Color was a very cloudy orangish-amber. Nose had an odd spiciness, like the nutmeg, coriander and cinnamon were still hanging in, but not in the same way they once were. Mouthfeel was full and creamy with a distinct cinnamon spiciness and maybe some nutmeg, but most everything else had faded. Finish was spicy, dry, but not as satisfying as it probably once was. I would recommend that if you still have any 2006 vintage not to delay in drinking it. It is not going to improve at this point.

This little guy has been in my reefer for a while and since I somehow got on a Hitachino Nest binge, I decided that its time had come.

From the bottle: “Commemorative Ale 2012”; “Festive Ale Brewed with Vanilla Beans and Spices (Coriander, Orange Peel, Nutmeg, Cinnamon)”.

Their bottle caps really cry out to be gently Pop!ped off since they can definitely be reused by artistic types. Upon completion of this arduous task, foam began to rise up through the neck of the bottle, prompting me to begin the gentlest of pours, so as not to rouse the lees at the bottom. This, of course, created only wisps for head, so I employed the Server’s Trick and got a finger of French Vanilla-colored head which fizzed out pretty quickly. Color was Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had an earthy, musty quality with nutmeg as its principal underlying scent. I began to wonder if it had aged too long. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was initially quite spicy and the coriander was obvious, followed by the cinnamon and nutmeg. It also had a woody quality, as though it had been barrel-aged, although the label would have mentioned such. I got a soft hint of vanilla on the finish, reminiscent of vanilla incense like we used to burn in the ‘70’s. Warming, the flavors became more pronounced and intense, but I was still left to wonder what it might have been like fresh. If I can find this year’s iteration, I am getting two bottles – one to drink right away and another to sit on.

Jul 13, 2011
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GregPearson33 from Massachusetts

4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky copper/amber with a really frothy multi-finger head that settled down after a few minutes. Much lighter than I thought I would see, but looks tasty. Smells of rich caramel, plum, honey, cinnamon. Even though this beer is close to 2yrs old there is absolutely no funk or contamination discernible. On my second whiff I just got something like apple pie? Anyway, if those flavors weren't conclusive, it smells absolutely delicious!

Not quite what I expected from the smell. It's a fairly tart and dominated by dark fruitiness. There's definitely some sweet malt, but it's not as bready as most winter warmers are. Definitely not as spiced either. The cinnamon/allspice/nutmeg that dominate the style is present, but definitely not in the forefront. Wayyy more compatible with my tastes than the brews I've recently had in the same style (Avery Old Jubilation, Harpoon Winter Warmer).

Mid-low level of carbonation gives it a solid drinkability (for a 9% beer), but it's definitely a sipper. There is a vibrant mouth-coating that lingers pleasantly and fades without any adverse back-end bitterness. Again, much better than some of the more spice dominated Winter Warmers out there.

All in all, fantastic winter beer. One of the first I've had from Hitachino (the White Ale was pretty great, but its a bank-breaker) and piques my interest to try more!

Jan 24, 2011
Photo of corby112
corby112 from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage:

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color with dark ruby/blood orange edges hen held to a light source and a frothy, pillowy tyo finger yellowish beige head. Very good retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap.

Spicy aroma with lots of peppery, zesty character as well as some dark fruit, faint hops and sweet alcohol. Hints of pepper, coriander and clove along with some cherry and other dark berries. As it gets warmer the malt becomes more prominent with lots of caramel character.

The bottle opened with a loud hiss so I was a bit concerned with oxidization but it is pleasantly only faint. Medium bodied which is on the fuller end with soft carbonation up front and a very heavy spice character. Lots of pepper, coriander, clove, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg immediately which is slowly countered by a silky caramel malt presence and a good bit of dark fruit. Hints of toffee, hazelnut, dark cherry, plum, fig and other berries. I've had this fresh and it has definitely mellowed out with six years age. The ABV is very well masked with only some slight alcohol sweetness but no heat or warmth in the finish resulting in a complex quaffable beer. The intense spice character hurts the drinkability a bit but this beer has aged nicely.

Jan 08, 2011
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rtepiak from Poland

4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a vintage 2007 had in nov '10

wow. completely textbook perfect with an edge of something nice and delectably warm, carbonated, malty, and spiced. pour is a cloudy dark amber with a very ample head about 3 fingers.. nose of orangepeel, clove and coriander, some burnt and toasty and a nice thick blanket of esters and toasty malt. the palate gave way to something fantastic of a blend of all those qualities. nice and toasted sesame seeds, clove rich, candied orangepeel and a backbone of bit-o-honey and chocolate. it tastes like liquid fruit cake. every aspect of a winter warmer spot on.

Nov 06, 2010
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generalnotsew from Tennessee

4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not sure what they are going for here but the body is very muddy, muddled and murky. Doesn't really look appealing at all but this is a first for me so I will still give it an average. Smell is full of nutmeg and cinnamon with a twist of orange. Reminds me of thanksgiving dinner with a dash of Christmas. Now I am getting a good eggnog vibe. Good job on this part. The citrus really comes thru in the front. Doesn't smooth out much but the spices come thru in dashes in the end and mellows out into a mostly nutmeg taste. Mouthfeel is clean and mellow. Although tasty not something I can picture drinking a lot of. Good stuff but I would like to point out trying Lakewood Holiday Spice Lager if you like this.

Oct 28, 2010
Photo of CHADMC3
CHADMC3 from Connecticut

4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 edition

Pours a deep copper to amber body that lies buried beneath an off white, massively bubbled and foamy head that quickly dissipates leaving a loose lacing behind.

The rich spices waft from the glass and are highlighted by the nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, and vanilla. As this beer has aged a couple of years at this point, it appears to contain some of the vinous qualities one may find in a barleywine. The abundant head also seems to arouse some yeast aromas.

The flavor is a bit different with vinous characters and dark fruit immediately hitting the palate followed by the cinnamon and nutmeg spices, and vanilla. This could be a product of the aging.

This warmer is medium to full in body with medium carbonation and a nice warming sensation towards the finish.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. The flavors and character are very complex and different from most of the style and are extremely varied.

Jul 12, 2010
Photo of CrazyDavros
CrazyDavros from Australia

3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange/amber with a large head that keeps growing.
Nose shows nutmeg, wheat, lots of phenols, coriander. Orange peel is noticeable as a sharp tangy note and later as marmalade. Vanilla is subdued initially but quickly becomes more prominent. Aromas from the malt show distinct golden syrup and brown sugar. Very sweet, very complex, very interesting.
Upon tasting....well, let me say this is pretty full-on. Loads of malt with lots of brown sugar notes, some wheat, a fair bit of booze. Very Belgian, has some qualities you'd expect in a Dubbel. Coriander and nutmeg show through. The coriander continues into the lengthy finish, along with a light bitterness and smooth alcohol.
Creamy body and carbonation, although higher carbonation would do well to cut the bitterness.

Apr 18, 2010
Photo of GilGarp
GilGarp from Colorado

3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Celebration 2006. I didn't notice the date when I bought it but I figure 4 years won't hurt a 9% spiced winter warmer.

Served cool into a Watou glass. Celebration has a beautiful red-amber color and good clarity. The head is thick at first, an off-white color, but it settles quickly leaving some spotty lacing.

Aroma is nicely spiced with corriander, clove, and cinnamon with a hint of vanilla.

Flavor is, unfortunately, a bit of a let-down. There is definately a strong spice character, dominated by the clove but lesser amounts of cinnamon. There is a bit of cherry and port. It tastes like it could have been oak barrel aged such is the vanilla. Caramel rounds it out and the balance is all the better for it.

Mouthfeel is medium-full in body with lower carbonation.

Overall a decent beer but disappointing. I would love to try it fresh because it may not have been aged properly (I only bought it 6 months ago) so I'll keep my eye out for more.

Apr 01, 2010
Photo of tmoneyba
tmoneyba from Ohio

3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured hazy orange color with a large frothy white head that was mostly lasting with fair lacing. Moderate spice and fruit aroma. Light to medium body with a slick texture and soft carbonation. Medium spicy sweet flavor with a medium spice finish of moderated duration. Refreshing complex beer.

Mar 28, 2010
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VWBuggirl from South Carolina

4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank a bottle of the 2009 Commemorative Ale.

Wow! Upon opening this bottle, I made a huge mess because it just started gushing. I didn't do anything that would make it do that, so I don't know. There was a ton of foam too! About three fingers worth.

It is a dark orange/red color. More orange than red. You can't see through the liquid, as it is very murky.

It smells great. I get hints of orange and cinnamon without being terribly sweet.

I anticipated a highly carbonated beverage due to the near explosion when I opened the bottle and I wasn't let down. I will say that it wasn't a bad thing and I definitely enjoyed it.

It tastes as it smells. I don't usually enjoy darker beers, but this was fantastic! I would definitely buy it again and I think it is a good step into the darker beers.

Feb 03, 2010
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canucklehead from Canada (BC)

3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Like most reviewers this beer gushed out and made a glass of foam that took forever to calm down. This is a very carbonated beer that tasted much lighter than the ABV suggests. I felt that was tasting a Saison with added spices which is pretty different for a Winter Warmer. I liked the flavours though a little less carbonation would have helped the mouthfeel and finish.

Jan 26, 2010
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theghost3 from Louisiana

3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had the 2007 version on a cold night for Louisiana.

This started out as a gusher. Once it settled down, it poured a reddish light brown with a huge, 4-finger light orangey beige head. Medium lacing.

The smell is very strong of spices--nutmeg and coriander are most prevalent. There is also a strong scent of orange. The taste is sweet malts along with spices--coriander, nutmeg, and cinnamon are all there. There's also a sort of medicinal citrus aftertaste. Mouthfeel is slightly acidic, sticky, with some alcohol warming.

This is a drinkable beer. I'm not so keen on the gushing, but this more than makes up for it in the complex flavor & real warmth.

Dec 07, 2009
Photo of thryn
thryn from Florida

3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled as 2008 commemorative ale.

Not a gusher, but pours like one! All head. I had to walk away and come back, then pour the rest of the bottle. Having done that, I have a so-cloudy-it's-opaque light brown brew with some reddish hints. Giant cream colored head that leaves a lot of lace as it recedes.

An interesting spicy nose, with some biscuity malt, a bit of raisin and a lot of coriander. Booze is noticeable but not overwhelming. A bit all over the place.

It's more put-together on the palate. All the elements mentioned in the nose are present; it just meshes better in the mouth. A fair but of vanilla as well.

A medium, creamy body. Carbonation is fairly forward. This is a winter beer that drinks well in the summer.

Jul 08, 2009
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rtratzlaff from North Carolina

4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep darker brown ale in appearance with a thinner off white head.

Malty, woody, and spicy in the nose.
Flavors are sweet malt with oak, and a sour character in there as well. For a winter warmer, this hits the spot well with plenty of added spice character to match the malt quality.
Mouthfeel was medium full. This was easily drinkable as a sipper.

Jun 16, 2009
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froghop from Washington

3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a cloudy amber with a large egg-shell head, and good lacing.

smell of pear, apricot, some wheat, citrus, and tangerine.

taste is sweet, pear, tangerine, some lemon, and malt, ends just a little bitter and sweet.

overall too sweet for my liking.

Apr 21, 2009
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Jablonski from Louisiana

3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Celebration Ale 2007.

This guy was a bit of a gusher. Pours an opaque deep mahogany with a decent head. Smells a bit sour initially with some raisins and ginger. Lots of yeasty notes as well. The taste is quite sweet, but not overbearing. The overall combination of spices gives this beer a weird taste. The mouthfeel is solid. Good carbonation and thickness.

Apr 13, 2009
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Billolick from New York

4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle, expensive at over $4! Oh no, this is real expensive when it turns out to be a gusher upon opening. My immediate thought was expensive drain pour..but after the gush, the huge head and the excess foaming, this one settled down to a murky very dark brown, under a dark tan, mottled head that left blobs of thick lacing. A load of pungent nutmeg/cinnamon in the nose. More heavy spicing on the tongue, as well as plenty of caramel/toffee and rich, velvety smooth, thick wintery goodness. Interesting stuff. Too expensive to go to often, but worth a (large) splurge to see what is going on here.

Jan 20, 2009
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kimcgolf from Georgia

4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this as "Hitachino Commemorative Ale"....This was ridiculously carbonated to the point where it exploded from the bottle and immediately lost about 20%. Beyond that, I had to wait after pouring for the 3/4 glass of foam to subside before rating. That being said...

Poured to a murky reddish brown with the aforementioned tan head. Nose was a strange yet pleasant mix of malty raisin, banana, and various winter spices. Mouthfeel was tingly sweet, and the flavor was more of the malty dark fruit, spices and a hint of vanilla, with the 9% abv making itself more known as the drink went on.

Actually, aside from the carbonation, this was a pleasnat beer and definitely different than any other Asian product I've had.

Dec 03, 2008
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theboozecruise from Louisiana

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this one into a pint glass... very carbonated, took it a while to settle and complete the pour. Even lost some when I popped the cap and over-poured on the first go. I'll make sure I keep that in mind on the next bottle.

The color is dark brown, very thick with a creamy head and some minimal lacing. Very inviting.

A very varied aroma, which I've found from other Hitachino Nest beers. An abundance of spice, that they really, really blend together well. Cinnamon, ginger, fruits, caramel, and many others all mixed together.

The taste is more of the same, although it doesn't quite match the aroma. I like the way it tastes and the way the spices blend even better than the aroma. Delicious, with a definite malt to it as well.

A good mouthfeel on this one, the spices linger on the tastebuds a while after each sip. High marks for drinkability as well, could definitely go for multiple in one sitting.

Oct 08, 2008
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep cloudy amber color ale with a nice off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon is well balance with the sweet caramel malt profile. Taste is a mix between some deep caramel malt with loads of spices which may includes cinnamon and nutmeg. Body is full and beer is very rich with no apparent alcohol and some good carbonation. I very much enjoy this one even though it is quite filling and wouldn't drink more then one at a time. I ma starting to really enjoy beer from this brewery and looking forward to more discovery.

Aug 25, 2008
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tpd975 from Florida

3.44/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a rusty orange hue. The head is rocky foamy and frothy. Nice thick lace is noted.

S: The aroma is inviting with tons of spice and fruit. Fresh ground cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of ginger can be noted. For fruit there is apples, peaches, oranges, and cherries. The aroma makes you want to bake the contents and eat it.

T: Despite the aroma, it is a bit off in taste. Everything mentioned above is noted but it does not meld together in taste as good as it does in the nose. The beer just has too much going on. The flavors come at you from all over, I couldn't finish it.

M: Slight over carbonation makes it prickly on the tongue.

D: Just too much going on. It is a love it hate it brew. At first taste I liked it, but as I consumed more it became undrinkable. It is just a little too overthetop.

Jun 24, 2008
Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 202 ratings