Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale | Kiuchi Brewery

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Hitachino Nest Celebration AleHitachino Nest Celebration Ale

Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Naerhu on 10-12-2003

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Reviews: 171 | Ratings: 202
Photo of henrysunset
2.95/5  rDev -27%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

330 ml bottle from going-out of business sale. First of the 100s of beers bought at a huge discount.

opened with a messy overcarbonation. pored what I could into a large glass and watched the big puffy head die down so I could fill it further. Beer is cloudy and dark, similar to anyone else's celebration ale.

smell is the same too, sweet and bitter all at once, a bit sour and almost lambic.

flavor is nice enough though, the balance is greater than my own attempts at a celebration style ale... Malt palette is a bit toastier and darker than others i've had. Hoppy bitterness is mellowed too, perhaps due to 3 years in a bottle. I don't love the celebration style, and I think it has turned a little.

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Photo of Cascadia
2.98/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a golden-amber color with some sediment from the bottle floating around. Good head with some retention, but not great.

Smells floral, with citrus hops and a wheat-bread finish.

Tastes kind of flat, especially for a "celebration." Hops are there, and there's a sweet finish, but not much else really hits me.

Overall, this beer doesn't really thrill me. I won't buy this one again.


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Photo of Winter
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a brownish-orange in color with a light khaki head. Nose consists of malt, ginger, and it has an ale fruitiness to it. The aroma also has hints of feint cinnamon and an odd medicinal smell lingering in the background. Full-bodied mouthfeel with ample carbonation. Malty front with flavors of spicy clove and light cinnamon. Midway a citrus fruitiness arrives. The finish has an unsettling medicinal taste to it. As the beer warms the carbonation lessens, which softens the taste and makes it somewhat more palatable. There are some unique flavors going on here, but the odd medicinal taste is rather off-putting. After one, I didn't desire another.

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Photo of ojiikun
3.15/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Popped a stubby bottle of the 2007 vintage to celebrate by return from Japan. Carbonation was a serious problem - took over 10 minutes to open, gently releasing the gas and still overflowed in my French pint.

Colour is a very dark chestnut, a touch of cloud. Head is nice burnt cream, not very fine, but decent at lacing up a glass.

Smell is at first gently of produce - fennel and celery, then of more traditional spices: dry red pepper, corriander, and a touch of the promised vanilla. Brown sugar and minerals.

Taste brings back the produce tenfold. Turns out to be a very odd hoppiness that isn't so much bitter as tart and a little sour. Body is decidedly malty and sweet, a good deal of cola, clearly defined nutmeg. Black pepper turns up at the end of the sip as the sweetness dries out a bit. Reasonably yeasty, but the details are simply overpowered.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and not sticky at all. Especially for a winter warmer.

Sadly, the odd hop taste blows all the other flavours in this beer out of the glass. It tastes like the Japanese brewers attempted to reproduce a dark trippel (and a good one!) but then botched it on the hops, or possibly even accidentally mixed in some lactobacills? Would try another vintage, though, perhaps it needs more time in the bottle, or the coming years will see refinement.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.2/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy light amber with some chunkies floating in the glass. Off white two finger head of loose bubbles.
Aroma is very spicy, heavy on nutmeg, cloves, and apricot fruits.
Flavor is malty sweetness with lots of spices and the apricot fruit flavors that end in alcohol.
Aftertaste seems to have some rice in it. Maybe it's my imagination, but there is a rice starch quality to the aftertaste that mixes with the booze and apricot left in the mouth.
A completely different take on a winter warmer.

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Photo of rousee
3.21/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Wow!! This is one crazy beer. I hate to give out a 5 but I have to --its as pretty as you get for this style. Unfortunately, it goes downhill from here:

Smell is strong alchol, barleywine-type smell. I don't care for it but it is hitting the style right on the nose, I still have to score it low. very hard to drink. All the nice holiday spices are weak compared to the alcohol esters. This is the worst beer from Hitachino to date.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.27/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Chris at Ebenezer's Pub for getting me this. It was a cloudy amber color with a small head. Wonderful spicy aroma, as well as some vanilla. The taste was disappointing. A nice citrus tang, spice (mainly clove), but I felt overwhelmed by the vanilla. The more I drank, the more the vanilla predominated. Not a very exciting beer.

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Photo of phisig137
3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fresh 2007 bottle pops with vigor, and pours into my tulip a hazy ruby color, with a bit of mahogany towards the center. Three finger head has nice retention, and leaves behind a bit of lacing.

Aroma is big time spicy, and well rounded. the nutmeg and cinnamon blend nicely, while the vanilla stands out a bit. Smells slightly sweet and delicious.

Flavor is another story. Malt flavors are nice, and accentuate the orange peel which jumps out immediately. From there, it takes a turn for the worse. The spices are not well balanced on the palate, and jump out in different waves that seem to clash with each other. Not melded together well, and poorly balanced. Finish is dry and with a lingering stale spice type of flavor. Mouthfeel is oddly thin, and with heavy carbonation. Drinkability is decent.

Overall, this beer looks and smells pretty great, but the flavor just doesn't deliver. Hitachino is definitely a hit or miss brewery in my opinion, and this is no exception. There are much better spiced winter warmers out there, and considering that this one was lackluster and almost $4 for 12oz, I think I'll be sticking to those others. Personally, I won't be buying this again, although I probably will try next years vintage. Perhaps this one just needs some serious cellar time...

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Photo of Knapp85
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

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Photo of mynie
3.38/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My first Eisbock. My first Japanese micro.

Stubby 11.2 oz bottle with a bunch of crazy Hello Kitty Japanese crap written all over it. Creepy owl on the cap, which, when pulled off, made a noise like a very small jet engine taking off. The steam coming out looks like smoke. Strange.

This is the biggest, most uncontrollable head I've ever seen. The bottom of the beer eventually starts to look like dark cider.

Smells like dull fruits aplenty along with a harsh, zippy brandywine odor. Big malt in there, too.

Sweet as honey. Raisins upfront with sugar malt and alcohol. Alcohol in the back, along with more fruit and hops. Dry, zippy aftertaste. Almost too sweet. Hints of spices in the back go a long way to kill the sweetness.

The candy sweetness of this little brew pretty much makes it an occasional beer by default, I couldn't see myself having too many of these at once. It'd make a great desert drink, though.

I dunno, this beer is really complex and very pretty, I'm just not all that much into sweet brews.

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.4/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Giant, sticky marshmallow head composed of bubbles of all sizes fills half the glass and more, quivering like gelatin where it sits above the rim. Eerie orange glow extends from the head through the chestnut-colored liquid with amber highlights. Lots of protein (?) floating around in the beer leads to medium clarity... With little carbonation to be seen, the head eventually dies, although very slowly. As soon as the cap leaves the bottle, the smell of clove-studded oranges fills the kitchen. After pouring, the glass fumes with gigantic odors of spiced apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg (which in turn suggests egg nog). Coriander gets stronger, and right quick. Celery? Vegetal nosefeel? Dried flowers and cedar chips... mental images of primaeval fern rainforests. Wait, it gets weirder. Heavy cinnamon and nutmeg flavors can barely stand up to coriander and celery seed. Cilantro, then more nutmeg. Raw, assaultive nutmeg. Space alien vanilla pods. Swishing in my mouth, I finally find some light toffee flavors... but I'm grasping for them, as I am for plum in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is prickly and almost numbing from the spice alone, slightly syrupy across the palate. Nutmeg belches fit for a Toho monster rev up about halfway through the bottle. Judgement? Let this be made clear: everything they list on the label will be tasted in turn, and tasted BIG. Other than that... This beer is like psilocybin that's been localized to affect only the tongue. As with psychedelia, the overall experience is difficult to perceive (or verbalize) because the mental shifts of proportion involved are just too great. A beer that bends my tongue as far back and forth as this one could be called "fun" to a certain extent... but it's just too weird for me to find truly enjoyable.

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Photo of EPICAC
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up a 12 oz. bottle at Downtown Wine and Spirits. The label says "Ale Brewed With Spices: coriander, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla beans". Although not technically the proper glassware I served this in one of my new Duvel Tulips because I really wanted to use one.

Appearance: Pours a hazy almost opaque amber-brown with a massive fluffy beige head. Spices used in brewing can be seen as clumps floating in the beer. Some of these get caught in the head giving the appearance that spices have been sprinkled on top.

Smell: Spices are very noticable. There are notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, vanilla and alcohol.

Taste: This beer is very spicy with a sweet base. I can taste vanilla, citrus, orange, and cinnamon. Bitterness is low. Alcoholic warmth is evident in the finish. The sweetness in this beer isn't well balanced. Maybe increasing the bitterness would improve things.

Mouthfeel: Celebration Ale is full-bodied, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: If this beer wasn't so sweet it would be much more drinkable.

Overall: This isn't a bad beer, the spices are nice, the beer is just too sweet.

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Photo of tpd975
3.44/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.46/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

2004 vintage

Pours a hazy rust/boot leather color with a humongous, khaki head. this is really the best winter warmer I've ever seen. Big, malty nose with an abundance of spices and warming alcohol. The flavors are really based around the malt and very big. The spices, thankfully, don't overwhelm this and merely act as an accent. Additional "spiciness" comes from the 9% ABV. The alcohol tends to get in the way of things, honestly. I will admit that I did not like the mouthfeel very much. Too bubbly. In fact, as soo as it hit my mouth, a lot of the liquid turned into bubbles. Reall, the only downside here. I'm not exactly a fan of winter warmers, but this one is alright by me.

Thanks again to GreatGallaspy.

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Photo of akorsak
3.47/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle labelled as the 2006 Celebration Ale.

A: The ale is a hazy brown color that showcases some orange notes. The head is sizeable on pour but quickly evaporates away.

S: The nose is spicy, strong on some nutmeg and an apricot fruitiness.

T: An Asian take on the winter warmer. The results are better than one would expect. The malts are bigger here, concentrated to reveal the apricot that I noticed above along with some pineapple and tangerine. It's as though the beer synthesized all the flavors that you expect in big hops without the big hops. There are some spices on top of the fruitiness, but I find that the fruit element carries the day.

M: A sound, if uninspiring mouthfeel. The fruity spice elements are enjoyable.

D: One is enough, the alcohol is hidden but when it hits, it does so with a vengence.

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Photo of froghop
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of ohoove
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- average, cloudy with a medium but frothy head and consistent lacing

S- at first like the men's room at a concert then as it "warmed up" the vanilla, orange and spices were more prevelant

T-A mix of flavors and aromas ranging from a belgian tripel to a strong belgian ale

M- a wee towards the thick side felt like it left a nice coating on the tongue

D- easy enough to drink , although there is a higher abv it's hidden well BUT i don't reccomend making a session out of this one. Would buy this again , to share, with those who would appreciate it but not for something to be enjoyed regularly

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Photo of UnionMade
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2004 edition. I'd been sitting on a couple bottles of these, and it's time to crack one.
Sedimented cinnamon orange, topped with a mountain of off white foam. Good head retention. The bottom of the bottle looks like it's got little flecks of ginger in it, with the orange tinted bottle conditioning. Ginger dominates the aroma, with honeyed, caramel maltiness and a veritable spice rack going on. Some doughy, wooden yeast notes. An odd, mellowed aged quality underscores everything, a bit of sweet, barleywine-like sherry. Crazy. Taking a sip, my entire mouth is immediately assaulted by supercharged carbonation, fizzing so much it makes my eyes water. Tons of burps. Underneath all that, ginger seems to dominate the flavor, along with a bevy of other spicy flavors. Rather peppery into the finish. Fruity and sweetish, though quite dry in the end. With the dryness and ginger overtones, the yeast creates a flavor not unlike chewing on a piece of wood. Not particularly appealing. Fuller medium body, though the amped-up carbonation makes it feel lighter.
I wasn't super crazy about it when fresh, and it's still not really jiving with me. The ginger dominates the flavor, and the high levels of carbonation seem to add to that feel. I like ginger well enough, but it seems to interact oddly with the malt, not meshing particularly well. The wooden flavor is rather unappetizing. This brew seems to be at odds with itself, wanting to be sweet, but spicy and peppery as well. I think I liked it better when it was young, so the scores are a half and half.

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Photo of Jablonski
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of VashonGuy
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

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!

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Photo of thryn
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

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Photo of marcobrau
3.51/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy, orange-amber color. This beer has a big malt-accented and caramel sugary aroma that reminds me of Belgian Tripel. My nose has to search for the spices described on the label. Fairly full-bodied for a Japanese beer, yet very fizzy. The spices are subdued at first, but get brighter as the beer warms up. The cinnamon dries out the tongue in a bit of an unpleasant way. This effect is accented by a dry finish. A complicated spicy brew that I would like to try again, even thoug the I thought it to be a little pricey at $4 an 11-ounce bottle.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.52/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a stubby 12oz bottle like the one pictured, the 2004 vintage, now nearly a year old, erupted from the bottle into my waiting glass. Even a gentle pour produced a mammoth frothy vanilla colored head that towered over a dark brown brew. The thick head lasted quite a while before settling down to a thick skim which left chunky lace in its wake.
The nose was heavily malty with a buttery undercurrent. Then on came a parade of spices and fruit aromas: nutmeg, vanilla, coriander, cinnamon and candied plums. Despite the listed 9.0% ABV, the alcohol notes were muted. Some light herbal hops notes were also detected.
Each sip yielded a sizzling zip to the tongue thanks to the lively carbonation. Heavily sweet with a fruitcake-like taste of candied fruit, nuts and bready malt before a hearty blast of nutmeg rolled up on the palate. A touch of buttery toffee flavor also briefly played across the palate. More spices followed, each delivering a surge of flavor before waning, like ocean waves hitting the beach. The nutmeg and coriander flavors were the most potent of all and left a residual bite at the very back of the tongue. The herbal hops taste rose the the surface as each sip was swallowed and the alcohol left a mild warmth in the throat. The feel was medium in body, dry, and slightly creamy.
Overall, my guess is this brew might have gotten a little long in the tooth to be truly exceptional. Nevertheless, it is a nicely complex beer that displays a wide breadth of tastes and aromas.

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Photo of czechsaaz
3.56/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Interesting nose with lots of yeasty esters and a spiciness that I get as ginger and candied citrus (not hop citrus but like what I would associate with a lemon drop.) Good malt nose of pilsner malt. Some other fruity fermentation too.

Color is orange with a persistant but small head. It's pretty cloudy though.

Flavor is a little lacking. There's good malt character of pilsner and maybe some caramel. Also spice character but it's not very strong. It has a slightly perfumy aftertaste. There's just not a whole lot going on beyond the base malt. The complexity I got in the aroma doesn't carry over to the flavors.

Full bodied with a very nice medium carbonation level. Feels very creamy on the palate.

A good strong ale. Not overwhelming or palate challenging but at 9% I'd like to see more character in a beer.

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Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
4.04 out of 5 based on 202 ratings.
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