Hitachino Nest Celebration Ale | Kiuchi Brewery

very good
202 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 202 |  Reviews: 171
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.


 406 characters

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.

 1,340 characters

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.

 713 characters

Photo of AlexJ
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2004 vintage, designated as an Eisbock with ginger, vanilla, orange peel, coriander and cinnamon.

Murky chestnut pour with tons of floaters and sedimant due to the fact that is was in a cooler of ice before being opened, do'h. Forms a beautifully frothy tan head that is high and clingy, eventually settling to a thin veil.

Aromas are sweet and malty, almost syruppy. Caramel and toasty grain with spiced fruit cake, vanilla, dark fruit, peach preserves and raisins.

Flavor is sweet and complex, with many different malt notes, scorched brown sugar, honey, stewed raisins, cream sherry, Christmas spice, vanilla, candied orange peel, gingerbread, and a warming note of fine cognac. Very complex and interesting.

Body is medium, slick and velvet smooth. Mouthffeel is a bit dull due to the fine carbonation, but this is a very tastey and unique brew.

 861 characters

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.

 506 characters

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.

 838 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 11.2 oz. bottle a cloudy, dark brown with a bit of gold. The bubbly, cream-colored head on this beer was huge and took some time to settle.

The smell is very mild with a touch of sweetness, almost candy-like.

What a mix. This ale is sweet and spicy, yet tart and fruity with a sour finish in every sip.

Sharply carbonated for sure. Oily to the tongue.

This is a very interesting beer and would expect nothing less from Hitachino. Definitely worth a try.

 482 characters

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...

 1,297 characters

Photo of Jessefive
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first impression of this beer was how spicy it was! It was hard to describe or pinpoint. The flavor was bright floral and almost soapy. I would describe this as tart, rather than bitter. And the tartness balanced the delicious sweetness very well. I don't have much to compare this to, it was so unique. So far, I love the beers this brewery is putting out!

 360 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle of 2004 vintage from unknown source, be it old BIF or self-purchase, I really can't remember.

Poured into pint mug, formed 3 1/2" of tan head over the clear dark copper brew. Head fades down reasonably quickly for its size, you can see the huge bubbles popping before your eyes, but it still takes a while to fade down to a reasonable height, with actually somewhat minimal lacing for the head presence. Aroma is predominantly sweet and spicy. Taste is sweet upfront, equal parts spices and tartness in the middle, and a slightly warming close, but nowhere near where the abv would indicate. Mouthfeel and drinkability are okay ont his one. It's interesting, I'm just not sure it's something I would revisit often. But since it's a holiday seasonal, maybe it's supposed to be a one time annual treat or something. Worth a try regardless.

 854 characters

Photo of dgallina
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml stubby brown bottle dated 2006.

Pours cloudy red & brown. Small tan head disappears rapidly, leaving tendrils of thin lace. Heavily over-spiced aroma. Orange, nutmeg, and pine hops on a sugary malt base. Flavor displays much better balance and depth. Starts sweet and fruity before introducing a good dose of pine-needle and orange hops. Finishes with tart alcohol, spices, vanilla, and plenty of dry hops. Very full in the mouth. Forceful carbonation keeps it feeling relatively light despite the chewy malt base.

 523 characters

Photo of Damian
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 11.2 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Whole Foods Market, West Hartford, CT
2004 vintage

First, I must comment on the amazing bottle graphics. Hitachino always does a great job with their cute and quirky designs but this bottle, complete with gold leaf-like Japanese lettering, complete outdoes all the rest.

As for the beer itself: It poured a murky, copper mahogany with lots of white, floating particles. The three-finger, light tan, sea foam head lasted a number of minutes before fading to a thin film of lace. Sparse amounts of drippy lacing trickled down the glass.

Aroma was fragrant, smooth and sweet. Rich malts, brown sugar and spices dominated, while notes of vanilla lingered in the background.

Taste was similar to the nose but a bit more sharp. Malty rich with spices, brown sugar, citrus and a slight alcohol bite. As the beer moved along the palate, some oaky and woody nuances came out as well. A slight hoppiness on the back end helped to balance things. Finish was a mix of leafy hops and residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel was quite disappointing. The body was medium and quite good but the excessive amount of carbonation was almost stinging.

As for drinkability, this beer was a mixed bag. It was quite tasty and the 9% ABV was hardly noticeable in the taste (yet it did warm the mouth and throat), but the carbonation made this beer almost difficult to drink at times.

Overall, this beer was rather good, albeit very unique for the style. (It looked, smelled and tasted like a Belgian tripel yet was somehow labeled as a "winter warmer.")

 1,572 characters

Photo of mmcave
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml, 2007 bottle purchased from Whole Foods. I have to mention first, as I cracked this, before it was completely open foam started spewing out. There was a little lump of foam about a half an inch out the lip of the bottle before I even began to pour. Extremely over carbonated or over primed the head was mammoth and uncontrollable, but once it subsided it lingers about a centimeter off the surface in a slightly creamy off white color. The body is a muddy opaque caramel with tons of variant shades and visible bubbles flowing through it. Looks like some sort of mucky iron rich riverbed.
The bottle states spiced ale, with coriander, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla bean. A mix of coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe orange peel are present, up against a sort of sticky malt backbone. I can’t really pick out the hops on this, maybe because of the spice. The spices sort of give this a sharp character, as it warms fruitier esters become apparent a mix of strawberry, banana, tart plum and the non-ester orange peal.
The taste is crisp, complex, and at times reminds me of a sort of tart unsweetened applesauce. Carbonation is present with a sort of tartness coming toward middle of the flavor alcohol warmth is present on the finish. This is a fun winter warmer sort of murkier, thick cider like, spicy brew worth picking up once a year.

 1,363 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Explodes out of bottle filling mug with foam took forever to pour but off-white head vanishes without a trace. Cloudy amber color with yeast at bottom of bottle. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Strong spicy plum nose. Starts sweet almost cloying, spicy toffee flavor balanced finish. High ABV is not noticeable. $3.99 for 2004 330ml bottle from John's Grocery Iowa City, IA.

 386 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004/2006 editions tasted simultaneously.

'06 bottle pours a deep rusty orange-brown. Opaque with a light skim of foam that settles to a ring around the chalice.

Smell is great. Spicy, similar to a Tripel, fresh fruit and spice create a heady aroma. Orange peel and nutmeg are the biggest, then cinnamon follows up.

Taste is a little bracing, big overripe orange, boozy with spicy accents. A thick but not quite syrupy mouthfeel makes it a sipper for sure. Almost like room temp. grapefruit juice, which doesn't hold much appeal. It may be difficult for me to finish both of these for the comparison.

2004 bottle notes:
In comparison to a fresh version, the aged bottle comes out ahead. Different vintages have different recipes most likely ('04 was classified as an Eisbock).

It retains a better head with way more carbonation, and has a darker, burnt umber color. Spotty eruptions of bubbles surface in the foam, similar to a Belgian trappist. Smells sweet, candi sugar and dark malt mostly. Dried apricot and nutmeg are there too. The taste has a distinctly different sweet bready confection element going on, almost like a cookie or French toast. Less citrusy, but still bitter with spice. Malt seems a little spent, which tells me that cellaring for 2+ years takes something away from it.

From this experience, the best option would be to cellar it for a year and drink it for the following new years...

2007 bottle notes: Took the above advice, and just opened the '07 bottle with the Mt. Fuji sunrise. It exploded when I opened it, and lost at least 1/3 of the bottle. Crap. It was more full-bodied than I remembered, still alot of vanilla and nutmeg, some dull citrus. Didn't leave the glowing impression i've had in years past.

 1,750 characters

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.

 654 characters

Photo of beersarang
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage, Consumed in Japan on premises.

Pours a slightly cloudy peach with a tanish head that leaves sticky lace all over. Syrupy and alcoholic looking when it runs down the side of the glass.

Aroma is slightly indicitive of spices and the orange peel, the alcohol also comes through.

Nice caramel sweetness upfront and a generous dose of hop bittering that finally gives way once again to the alcohol and sweetness. The exhale is sweet with hints of the spices. This beer is an interesting example of the winter warmer style and I feel that they nailed it with the amount of spicing and the higher alcohol.

Very well done, and I imagine that the trip abroad does hurt this beer a little bit.

The folks at Kiuchi can pride themselves in the fact that they make what is most likely the best beer in Japan.

 824 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at the Falling Rock in Denver. A good amber color, hints of golden haze. Nice medium head, retained well with a bit of lacing.

Taste had some hints of caramel and coffee, but mostly tasted of citrus and basil. Orange peel and some alcohol was also present.

Felt a bit thin, but it covered well and finished crisper than I thought it would. Still left a bit of alcohol aftertaste, but not so much as to burn.
A nice brew, but no cause for Celebration

 463 characters

Photo of ElGordo
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty deep orange color with golden highlights, and a touch of yeast suspended in the body due to a less-than-careful pour. Nice carbonation yields a solid inch of off-white creamy head that sticks around for a while, leaving some nice lacing as it recedes. Aroma is spicy and yeasty, with lots of holiday spices (clove, nutmeg, allspice). Palate is full of sweet malt and tangy spices, along with a good bit of astringency. Body is nice and creamy, but the astringency leaves a tingly, antiseptic feeling in the mouth. A nice winter warmer, particularly if you like spiced ales.

 588 characters

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.

 338 characters

Photo of rsyberg01
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

S - 11.2 oz 2006 bottle.

A - A deep toasted caramel hue. Almost looks kind ofsugary and syrupy. Head hits about a finger then reduces to a 18 inch of off white head.

S - Caramel, vanilla, slight zesty citrus hit, spiciness. Almost reminds me of a tripel but deeper and roasty. Slight hits of roasted malts and mocha scents as well. Very nice.

T - Tartness, caramel, slight spiciness maybe clove or nutmeg, slight roasted character, orangey element, hop bitterness is very well balanced with the rest of the characters. Nice warming element buried deep in my chest.

M - Sugary, syrupy feel. Didnt really expect it but I have to say I was happy with it. The only thing is that it didnt really hold on to my tongue as much as I would have liked it to, otherwise its perfect.

D - Above average. kind of tires out my tongue after one, not bad though.

 860 characters

Photo of FightingEntropy
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A fluffy off white head piles in the pour in spite of being the 2005 edition, so close to a year old. The aroma jumps up with an assertive vanilla and spice, cinnamon is evident and the underlying spice I think is the nutmeg list on the side of the bottle. Coriander is in the taste more, and the orange peel seems to be light at this point. Also, a bit of a musty taste, not bad, but the beer definately aged and mellowed some of the flavors. It is has a slight oily mouthfeel, creamy in the front and side until it hits a dry spicy finish--not bitter--just strong spice. Overall a pleasant beer, though it didn't warm up well, became a bit cloying with the sweetness.

 669 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Apperance: pours a hazy orange color with a 1" head that falls to a surface foam. Some spotty lacing develops.

Smell: spices galore here as cinammon, vanilla, and pepper are easily detectable.

Taste: light malt backbone flavored with cinammon, vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, and a dash of pepper. Decent bitterness. Alcohol is noticeable, but not offensive.

Mouthfeel: crisp at the start and finishes dry and crisp. Short aftertaste. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: nice spicey brew here that is esily quaffed since the malt profile is a bit lighter than other winter warmers and alcohol doesn't drive the flavor profile.

 627 characters

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.

 1,561 characters

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.

 827 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.