Hitachino Nest Ancient Nipponia
Kiuchi Brewery

Hitachino Nest Ancient NipponiaHitachino Nest Ancient Nipponia
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Pilsner - Imperial
Ranked #14
Ranked #17,227
3.89 | pDev: 10.8%
Kiuchi Brewery
Very Good
Hitachino Nest Ancient NipponiaHitachino Nest Ancient Nipponia
Notes: "Nipponia is brewed using the revived Japanese breed of Kanego Golden barley which was first developed in 1900, along with another strain of hops called 'Japanese-bred Sorachi Ace'. Nipponia is a delightfully golden coloured beer with citrus edge and complex and lingering taste."

Malt: Kaneko Golden
Hops: Sorachi Ace
Alcohol Vol: 8.0%
Color: Golden Yellow

Won a Bronze Medal at the Australian International Beer Awards 2012 in category 5D "Other International Style Lager Packaged".
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Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 199 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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sjrider from California

3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle - a turbid and murky dark gold/orange with fluffy white head leaving moderate foamy lacing. Nose is odd muted malt and some citrus and a bit more grain. Taste follows more or less with an almost dry finish. An odd ,not objectionable brew. May be old as I found it pushed back on a shelf at TW.

Jul 02, 2020
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GreesyFizeek from New York

3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a clear golden yellow color, with a small head, and lots of lacing.

This smells like lemony hops, grain, pear, and citrus.

As a pilsner goes, this doesn't really fit into that box. it's still pretty tasty, though, and is a good use of sorachi ace hops - giving that sort of lemon and spice character you expect out of them. There's some sweet graininess, maybe a bit too much, but at least the hop character is nice.

This is crisp, mostly clean, and very drinkable, with a nice smooth finish.

I think I'd like this a bit more if it was lower ABV, 4 or 5% or so, but it's still a nice little thing.

Jun 19, 2020
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StJamesGate from New York

3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark gold with a ribbon of white; lagery grain + greasy lemon peel nose; granola, honey, lemon rind, + dill; medium + thick.

3.75 3.75 3.75 3.5 3.5

Man, do I hate Sorachi Ace.
That oily, pungent, herbal, over-lemoned character - almost like eating the skin off a piece of baked fish - is on display here, though not even the worst I’ve had.
But that’s not even what’s wrong with this beer. By going up to 6.5%, it’s too malty which, combined with some low carbonation, makes it sit sweet and heavy.
I’ve had the 8% version of Nipponia + not rated it so I was predisposed not to like this beer. And that’s why I won’t slam it too hard.
But it’s pretty far from the clean, snappy, refreshing taste you want from a pilsner.

May 17, 2020
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rapayn01 from Kentucky

3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had this in February 2017 at the Holy Grale in Louisville. It was kind of odd with an interesting hop taste up front and a weird finish that I struggled to identify. Apparently dry hopped with mosaic. My only Japanese beer?

Jan 02, 2020
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JonnoWillsteed from England

4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- Deep amber, poured carefully after a week's rest but some fine particles of sediment have come with the pour. Begins with 1cm white head that is holding pretty well. (Later reduces to a wide ring)
S- Quite puddingy with stewed fruits, not quite as prominent as I might have expected from an 8.0%ABV.
T- Wow, and 5 seconds later another (genuine) wow as it builds. Deeply alcoholic on the tongue, as if this has been liberally doused with a fine malt whisky. Deep stewed fruit flavours (think plums, deep and rich), with a notable alcohol tang that balances it.
F- Intense, puddingy, deep, rich but intriguingly balanced by the heft of 8.0%. This is a great beer. The closest comparison I could make vs an EU beer is vs say a monastic tripel or even quadrupel from Belgium.
O- I've tried several Hitachino Nest beers and haven't had one I didn't like. A good job as they tend to be $$$ to buy in the UK. This one is seriously-$, a shame as I'd very happily drink it again, more often if it were somewhat less so.
The Japanese are masters of borrowing ideas from others, and then improving upon them and exporting them (computers, the Walkman, rotary car engines, etc/etc/etc). Now we have the pleasure of the Japanese moving beyond major factory brews (Kirin, Asahi, Sapporo etc) and into more characterful beers such as this one.
Bought From Wholefoods, London W8 £7.49/550ml bottle. BB 08/19. A lot of money, but then I splashed out on something special for my 400th rating, and am thrilled that I did and chose this one.
Trivia: the bottle is notably solid, I weighed it, 430 Grams!
p.s. Others below refer to it as being a pilsener, or labelled thus; but I see no reference to this at all, and it definitely isn't anything like a pilsener in style. The lable reads: 'Hitahchino Nest beer, Ancient Nippionia'. No reference to any 'Style' at all. In fact I suspect the style 'American Imperial Pilsener' is not the correct one.

Mar 19, 2019
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monkist from Hungary

4.84/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I know Kiuchi brewery from JP, and remember them for their awesome - and not so common style - brews. This one has always been a kind of a mystery for me, what this could be like, until I finally managed to buy it.
And right after popping the bittle open I knew I made no mistake. Looks amazingly rich golden amber. Smells like - what? Grains, crops, beans? But the taste knocked me out. Amazingly complex, don't know where to start taking it apart. This rich barley grain taste is really intensive, then behind this wall you find normal malts, slightly sweet but the forefront just makes it really different. Bready, toasty, like japanese genmai brown rice? I love it. I feel hints of hops somewhere, but now that I'm trying to catch them they slip away and let the grains thump you into the ground. The ancient Kaneko Golden barley and Sorachi Ace combo - this is a true rarity indeed. And perhaps that's the most appropriate word for it - you definitely feel that you're drinking a rarity, like a vintage wine. Amazing. It is like going to eat japanese at a ryokan or where they serve you food from the best ingredients, this is it. For those who have been or lived in Japan, this will be more than just a phenomenal brew.
If you ever felt that it was a pity that you opened a beer for it is just too good for the occassion, for it being simply too good - THIS is such a beer. For sure.

May 18, 2018
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josanguapo from Spain

2.35/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

From Saveur Biere. In Teku glass. Playing Technobabylon. Odd tasting brew, with lots of what may be described as strange flowers in it. Saturates. May be because of excess of sorachi ace? Zesty too

Feb 19, 2017
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damndirtyape from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle. Date stamp NI.16.02. Served in a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Clear gold, with just a hint of haze. Thin white head. Some small strands of lacing.

Smell: Lemon, bit of honey and apple.

Taste: Strong lemon flavor - definite Soriachi Ace which I've had and is quite notable to me with its strong lemon flavor. Biscuity malt in the middle, and a lingering lemon, leafy herbal finish. There is also some orange citrus flavor in with all of this. Very tasty beer.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, nicely thick, sticky on the teeth.

Drinkability: This is a very good beer. I could easily have had another bottle of this if it was available. I had it by itself, but I think this beer would pair quite well with a wide range of food. It's an expensive beer, but I'll have to see if I can find this one again.

Dec 19, 2016
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Everydayoff from Thailand

3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a pils glass.

Slightly hazy in a texture with golden color as a showcase, thick frothy white head builds up with good retention before gradually sinking to thin foamy sheet covering the surface and leaving nice lacing, high visible carbonation.

In a nose, you got juicy, citrus, pear, grassy, grain, spicy, malt as a bready profile, and a hint of yeasty ester.

Intense flavors led by zesty citrus, fruitiness is reminiscent of Belgian’s yeast estery while same time malt taken over with some sweetness and breadiness. Moderate bitterness from hop is at the end where same time it also reveals a herbal, spicy, and peppery notes covering the palate.

The body is medium with nicely smooth mouthfeel and lively carbonation through the palate, crisp and refreshing feeling, dry finish.

Not as simple like typical pils but more complexity with good yeast profile and good brewing quality.

Jun 18, 2016
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer is bomb, a really drinkable brew, sort of an ale and lager hybrid, pale but somewhat more dense looking than others. i wish i could taste this special barley a little more than i can, it tastes like really fresh pale two row base malt, maybe a little starchiness to it, but im not necessarily tasting a new grain, unlike some of their other exotic grain beers that are more distinctive. the hops though are awesome, my favorite strain, and this is a cool expression of them. always seems to be ipa or saison with the sorachi ace, but here in this blonde beer, they really stand out in a new way, without bitterness from hops or sweetness from grain. uninhibited sorachi ace hops is a wonderful thing if you have never experienced it, and this is about as good as i have seen that done. fuller bodied than anticipated, maybe a product of the special grain. carbonation is on point, and its nice and dry. the sorachi puts lemon oil notes into this, lemongrass, mild tang, refreshing and awesome. these guys make some incredibly interesting beers. i wanted more from the unique japanese barley, but i like the beer as a whole an awful lot.

May 17, 2016
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Flickerdart from New York

4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Found this in a tiny Japanese supermarket in Queens and drank it two days after buying. Poured from 330ml bottle into 16oz pint glass. Beer poured a cloudy amber. Three fingers of lively foam subsided while I was trying to find the review button on this website, leaving behind substantial lacing.

Nose is flowery with prominent but not overpowering hops and hints of dill. No alcohol smell.

Taste follows nose - hoppiness is gentle and grapefruity, very enjoyable for someone who is usually not a huge hops guy.

Mouthfeel is crisp - the beer is refreshing and fairly light.

Overall, a fine beer for people in the middle of the hoppiness spectrum. Brick-in-face IPA enthusiasts will be disappointed, as will malt lovers. There's nothing double or imperial about it - it's a regular pilsner, just like the bottle says.

Apr 16, 2016
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The_Mad_Capper from Japan

3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Smells of hearty bread, sweet modified malt, and flowery, peachy hops. Appears a cloudy, deep amber with a pale, cream-hued head. The flavor has a solid foundation of hearty grains and considerably bitter, somewhat peachy hops. Feels creamy and full-bodied with just a little fizz.

This is one of the more unique-tasting beers I've had. Seems like the barley does most of the work, giving it a firm, hearty aroma and flavor, while the hops line the malt with plenty of bitter, peachy flavor. The 8.0% alcohol hides well in the bitterness and grainy flavor.

Sep 12, 2015
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PorterLambic from Florida

3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

There is nothing to indicate (on the bottle) that this is a double or imperial pilsner. The label merely states "Pilsner". Mayhaps the Bros have more info on this than the bottle presents.

Pours a bright golden color with a full inch of foamy white head atop. Head drops fairly quickly, receding to a scattered clumping of thin, bubbly foam. Some intermittent lacing remains.
Smell is fairly typical of pilsners, saltines, some hops (peppery & citrus), a bit of malt. Balance is pretty good.
Taste is a step up from most of the others of this style I've had, although it is my least favorite style, by far. Notes of peppery hops, light citrus, crackers, dirt & grass. Solidly balanced.
A little more than medium on the body. Effervescence is not as pronounced as with others of the style, a good thing in my book. Dry finish. If you're gonna drink a pilsner, this would be a good one to reach for.

Jul 09, 2015
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kofukasho from Japan

2.78/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

The 330 ml Nest bottles always left me wanting more so it's good to find this oversized 550 ml one. This variety is actually 8% in strength, and quite a potent but uninspiring brew.

May 30, 2015
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.19/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled 5/2014.

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, candied citrus fruit, and slight cardboard aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, citrus fruit, honey, and slight cardboard flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that is fairly drinkable, but showing some age in both the smell and taste.

Serving type: bottle.

May 23, 2015
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clayrock81 from Florida

4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of those beers that is simple and light and yet just hit the spot for me. Poured a straw colored golden body with one finger head and lace. Aroma is mild hops with a citric vibe as well as some earthiness. While the beer is light bodied and finishes crisp, the hops are subtle and this beer actually gives off some candy like sweetness and the balance between citric, earthy hops and this somewhat sugary sweetness is great. I found this beer to be a pleasant surprise and a nice session beer.

Mar 19, 2015
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avwrite from California

4.01/5  rDev +3.1%

I was expecting a darker beer, but it was definetly interesting. It came out almost like a Japanese IPA. Bitterness was there, but nothing compared to what's in the states. Color is a dark amber, no hint of sweetness, good hoppy taste.

Dec 05, 2014
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TheSSG from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Pours a dense, foamy white head that has excellent retention and laces readily. A great, bright (lemon) citrus aroma; this smells absolutely amazing. Radiant gold color; crystal clear. Starts with a lemon-citrus hop bitterness; a flash of grainy hop. This intensifies to a medium bitterness, with the citrus flavors intensifying in tandem. Dry finish as the citrus hop bitterness lingers.

This is really, really good. I love this one. It's a fascinating hop adventure, and I can't recommend it enough. Kiuchi Brewery makes some consistently wonderful brews.

Sep 02, 2014
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CalgaryFMC from Canada (AB)

3.85/5  rDev -1%

1 pint bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Color is a somewhat unusual dark orange, cloudy and topped with a small but persistent amount of white head, around a quarter of an inch. Aroma is unique, full of Sorachi Ace notes (citrus rind, mostly lemon, pineapple, bubblegum, dill) and fruity yeast esters along with a moderate dose of butterscotch-like diacetyl. These fruity and herbal characters translate well on the palate. Quite sweet but with a strong underlying woody and herbal character as well. I am tempted to compare this to a Belgian brew with regards to yeast. There is ample pineapple, clove and coriander spice, citrus, strawberry and a little raspberry, and dried apple/pear flavor with the Sorachi hops (presumably) adding some subtle perfumed lychee fruit that I did not get on the nose. Malts are subdued in favor of the yeast and hops. Moderate to thick body, quite highly carbonated, smooth and drinkable but with a woody bite in the semi-dry finish. One simply cannot escape the Belgian yeast character, which manages to overshadow the malts and distinctive Sorachi hops, although the latter do add their own unique flourishes. Is this really made with lager yeast? If not, how is this beer an imperial pilsener? In any event, another offering from this brewery that offers some unique flavors and that defies any real attempts at categorization.

Aug 16, 2014
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

(purchased at Binny's Beverage, Marcey, CHI - bottle code NI.13.10 - poured into a balloon)

A: fairly clear, orange gold in color... good inch of frothy foam on the pour, falls quick, leaving a thin cap and island of medium-sized bubbles

S: (by now) classic Hitachino fruity yeast profile... not much in the way out front of quintessential Sorachi Ace aromas, maybe a faint trace in the back... fresh 8.5"x11" printer paper... juicy pineapple, orange/lemon zest

T: quite faded Sorachi on the edges... mild spicy bitterness, faint peppery notes in the back... mellow attack of flavors but, nevertheless, vibrant essences of citrus peel... not getting much discernible malt flavor or sweetness - any sweetness, and there's not a ton, seems to be hop/yeast derived - this is fairly dry (and old)

M: smooth and slightly rounded up top, kind of flat with light friction across the tongue on the bottom... what I've come to expect from an age-ed HN

O: other than marketing, I don't understand why you would feature an indigenous malt and hide its potential unique nuances with such distinct yeast characteristics and Sorachi Ace hops on top of that - this ends up tasting like the lot of their light-colored beers (not that that's a bad thing!)... drinking yet another one of these just convinces me that I have to trade for fresher West Coast bottles or visit this place

Jul 28, 2014
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rangerred from Tennessee

3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear dark gold but just a tiny bit of lacing and not really any head at all.

The Sorachi Ace hops are quite powerful in the aroma and there is also a slight earthy/oaky character. I'm assuming this is from the hops as well. Pretty intersting.

The flavor has a lot more complexity than I was expecting. That same dank/citrus hop note along with a stronger note of oak and vanilla; almost like this was wood aged. Not clean at all like a pilsner but more like an aged ale. Moderate bitterness and a pretty clean finish.

Overall, this is a very intersting beer. The wood/vanilla notes are unique and I love Sorachi Ace hops. A different, but well put together beer.

Apr 11, 2014
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle marked NI.13.03 at 44 degrees into pilsner glass
Aroma of a weiss/hefeweizen; phenolic, slight coriander
Head large (5 cm), white, creamy, mostly quickly diminishing into 3 mm layer
Lacing good – partial ring of small bubbles
Body medium yellow, hazy
Flavor begins like a weak slightly sweet weiss with more citrus than coriander flavor; no malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl, no hop bitterness found. Flavor ends quickly with no aftertaste.
Palate light to medium, watery, soft carbonation

An odd take on a pilsner – not clean and crisp but a more complicated flavor, probably from the Sorachi Ace hops. To me, this has more characteristics of a hefeweizen/weissbier than a pilsner. Not a bad beer, but not what I was expecting from a pilsner.

Mar 26, 2014
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potion from Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a - hay-colored body, light two finger head that sticks around. good heavy lacing.

s - pils malts, sorachi hops creaminess

t - tastes significantly different. creamy bread in the front, pils malts in the back. I picked up a raw salmon taste. not fishy, just subtly like sashimi

m - medium bitterness, watery, astringent carbonation

o - a good pilsner (imperial) overall. I enjoyed the creaminess of it, while still being crisp. easy to drink.

Jan 30, 2014
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Richardbeerlover from Texas

3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful golden orange amber color. Not much of a head. Has a nice fresh citrusy smell. Tastes pretty good. Combination of malty sweet with some tiny bit of bitterness. Very balanced between the citrus and the hop. Not a heavy beer but refreshing. Nice beer.

Dec 28, 2013
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Auraan from Arizona

4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a cloudy golden body with a thin ring of foam, no real head to speak of, that reced to nothing, leaving no lacing. Not the best appearance, but decent enough. Scents of lemon, sweet spices, especially nutmeg and some slight cinnamon, pear, pale malt, yeasty bread, some floral aromas, and some grassy and hay-like aromas. Very complex for a pilsner, even an Imperial pilsner, with a lot going on, some of it very Belgian-like, other aromas very much true to pilsner form. The hops and yeast they use in this give it a very pleasant, complex aroma. Flavor begins with bitter lemon and other citrus rind that are sustained throughout, moves into some floral hops, spicy yeast flavors, some sweet pale malt and some hints of oak and vanilla in the middle of the sip. Finish is quite dry and spicy with a zesty, bitter and spicy aftertaste. Its a good flavor, very refreshing, bold, citrusy and spicy. Very different from other Imperial pilsners, with a lot of Belgian style spice and some unique citrus and flora hop flavors. Very well done. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a somewhat drying mouthfeel. Quite good, the drying feeling makes you want to sip more and the body and carbonation encourage sipping. Overall this is a very good Imperial pilsner. Its unique, using a distinctly Japanese hop variety to add some nice spicy, citrusy flavors that balance the sweet pale malt. Its aroma is also distinct and quite spicy like a Belgian, giving it complexity you don't usually suspect from any form of pilsner. Very good, highly recommended.

Nov 30, 2013
Hitachino Nest Ancient Nipponia from Kiuchi Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 199 ratings