Hitachino Nest Nipponia | Kiuchi Brewery

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Hitachino Nest NipponiaHitachino Nest Nipponia

Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
"HITACHINO NEST BEER is a brand of our quality top-fermented ales. 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: 6.5%
Color: Golden Yellow

Won a Bronze Medal at the Australian International Beer Awards 2012 in category 5D "Other International Style Lager Packaged".

Added by John_M on 08-13-2010

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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 142
Photo of soulgrowl
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a Belgian pale ale... for why now? Odd classification, I think.

You could almost trick someone into thinking this is a standard Japanese lager. Almost. It's pale golden with a frothy white head, but a faint haze betrays its unfiltered character. Smell-wise, it's light but intriguing, with unpredictable Sorachi Ace hops lending its typically bizarre, nuanced and complex aromas, though this time they seem more herbal than usual. Parsley, lavender, and guava with hints of chamomile, lemon, and Neopolitan ice cream. The malts are basically a nonentity – another way in which this resembles a Japanese lager.

The hops also dominate the taste, with a lip-smacking, crunchy bitterness and a thunderclap of floral flavor. Loads of chamomile and vanilla, some hawthorn and honey, lavender and lemon pith. Light, fresh grain notes from the malts and solid carbonation leading into a dry but juicy finish make this really mouthwatering and refreshing – the kind of beer that's hard to put down. It just cries out to be quaffed, which is a little dangerous considering its strength.

Another lovely beer from my favorite brewery. Really very lovely.

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Photo of GinaBeerInc
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Sweet looking bottle. Pours a glowing sunburnt orange with a tall airy frothy white sticky head. Nice fresh dry hop aroma, sorachi ace all the way and it seems fairly noble like, light biscuit sweetness, lovely, dry, maybe light cedar. Flavor follows, very dry, all sorachi ace, medium bitterness, dry dry, little alcohol shows in the finish because of this I think, light fruit and lemon, lemon cookie, touch of white pepper. Light bodied, with larger slightly sharp carbonation, lightly milky. Very good beer.

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Photo of Dope
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A very, very cloudy (tons of sediment) golden pour. Huge dense white head atop it. Retention and lacing is excellent.

S: Lemons, grass...lemongrass? Not much else, pretty subtle.

T: Strong lemongrass element. Nice bready malt. There is a nice sweet lemon element in there as well, especially in the aftertaste. It tastes like...sunshine. That's the best way I can describe it.

M: Medium bodied, nice and smooth.

O: I really don't know how to categorize this beer. As mentioned in the "taste" category, it has some strong lemon attributes, reminds me of sunshine - especially since it is the dead of winter here. Unusual description, I know, but it's hard to put words to it. Nice unique brew.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very interesting sounding beer, thanks to @LaitueGonflable for the bottle.

Pours a lovely hazed golden colour, with a properly thick bock holding fine carbonation. Head is fine and snowy, leaving perfect lacing and subsisting as a fine mesh on the top of the glass. Overall, a very nice looking beer.

Nose is sweetly fruity, with that odd vanilla, oak and lemon twang from the Sorachi Ace. Under this are sweet tones of apricot, and a touch of banana. The Sorachi Ace makes the beer, as far as I'm concerned, but there are some other touches to complement it.

Taste is also mild and smooth, with more pleasant characters coming from the Sorachi Ace: mild wood, pastry, vanilla and a soft lemon custard character. Clear finish, without a great deal of bitterness—it's more of a dryness that lets the palate finish of its own accord rather than sweeping everything away.

Feel is lovely and smooth, which nicely complements the smooth, silky Sorachi Ace characters in the flavour.

Really nice brew, and interestingly drinkable for a special-release beer. Indeed, I'd be perfectly happy to drink this regularly as a pleasant after-work beer.

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Photo of vanburton1
2.45/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tastes like Bass or Beck's. Reminitions of a highly carbonated belgian with a metallic scent and taste. Good to experience and add to a collection, considering it's scarcity, but not worth the price. The Foodery in Philadelphia, PA carried this. Collectors should buy it, and enthusiests should enjoy other Nest beer.

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Photo of timtim
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a fairly clear dark gold with a white head that holds quite well and leaves tons of lace. nose brings a lot at once, but all things olfactory seem to be harmonizing here like they were meant to be. grains are definitely one of the highlights; kind of a spelt/buckwheat thing going on, on top of some woodsy flower notes and a honeyed hop(?) character. taste isn't nearly as grainy to me, and the floral seems to come out much more. soft, elegant, delicate taste on a soft, medium body. barely any alcohol detected, and minimal bitterness. first new beer i've seen from hitachino nest in a long time, and they've really showcased their world wonderfully.

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Photo of JizackFH
2.96/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on-tap at Sunswick 35/35 in Astoria, NY on 11/27/11.
Review taken from notes.

This beer pours a nice golden yellow color. It has a finger of white head resting on top. The head has good retention, and it leaves a lot of sticky lace behind on the glass. The nose starts off with some sweet bready maltiness and a big earthiness. There is a nice bit of lemon zest here, as well as a bit of a medicinal quality to it. The taste follows the now pretty well. It starts off with some bready malt sweetness and some earthiness. There is a nice mild hop presence, as well as some citrus and lemon zest. It has somewhat of a medicinal honey cough drop taste coming through. The finish is dry, and it leaves some lingering earthy citrus flavor on the palate. This has a medium body and medium to high carbonation. It goes down easy and there is a nice smooth quality to it. There is some earthy hop bitterness and some sweetness. There is some dryness on the back end as well. This has pretty good drinkability. It would really benefit a lot if it didn't have that cough drop quality to it. Other than that, It is a really nice beer, but it still isn't as good of an example of the style as it could have been. I would drink this beer again, but I don't think I would buy it.

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Photo of cbutova
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy yellow orange beer poured into a pint glass. Nice white head forms with a creamy texture. It has decent retention and leaves spotty lace.

S- Not all that strong but a good hint of lemon zest, light malts and bread. Actually has a tart gueuze like hint.

T- Lemon zest sorachi hops, more or less just fresh lemon juice actually. These are backed nicely by yeast and malt notes like bread, sweets, floral hops and fruit. Slight Belgian spice.

MF- Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly bitter from the hops.

The hop usage is quite nice in a BPA. Refreshing and balanced.

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Photo of tugdriver7
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

OK, I need to get out more. Saw this on the (50 taps) board at Frisco Grille in Columbia (MD) and had to try it. I'd seen the bottles in the stores and knew they were expensive, so thought I'd be able to try it out. Most expensive beer I ever bought... Served in a very heavy 10 oz (?) goblet. Color was deep yellow with an amber center and a nice 1/2 inch head. Very light (subtle) carbonation visible. I remember thinking flowers--like sakura--in the nose (probably because I knew it was Japanese and predisposed to smell cherry blossoms). But I also remember thinking it was quite unusual in its hints of floral in the initial taste and a subtle and welcome sweetness--like sweet rice bread--in the body. Many different (all pleasant) flavors that ended in an ever-so-subtle hint of bitterness. Coupled with the richer and somewhat "smooth and creamy" mouthfeel, I enjoyed it immensely. And for $10 a glass it's a good thing. Of course I didn't know how much it was at the time. But no regrets.

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Photo of rudzud
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey on 10/26/11.

A - Poured into a tulip a clear straw hue with a two finger white head that leaves nice, thick side lacing.

S - Nice belgian yeast esters, good funk. A fair amount of apples, subtle citrus.

T - Tastes like summer. Theres more of that nice funk, some fruits (definately apples), as well as some oak notes. Slightly grassy hops.

M - Nice carbonation on this one. Nice dry finish with enough carbonation to keep it up off the tongue.

O - Really liked this beer, though it is a bit steep for the price. That being said, I'd buy it again to support Japan's pushing of boundaries.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours out as a really clear looking yellowish golden iPod with a fizzy white head on top. The head has a very light amount retention but it also has a light lacing too. The smell of the bet is a little grainy and fresh smelling. The taste has some element s of grains, light spices and rice. The mouthfeel of this beer is light and easy going. Overall it's better than I remember it being the first time I had it from a bottle. Worth a try I think.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's in Baltimore. Poured into tulip; ever so slight golden haze, light foam head. Head was gone quick, but left nice lacing on glass. Smells earthy, floral/garden like, pepper?? And of wheat.
Taste of straw right off the bat followed by earth hops and yeast. Seems like a nice brew to drink as I tend to my made up tomatoe garden. I really enjoy its earthy and hearty drinkability. Very satisfying and unique.
Its very hard to judge a beer on the qualities (above) because it doesn't look particularly good but its a very good tasting brew. Its my first Hitachino and so far I really like the individuality it has.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from my Gulden Draak tulip

A - Pours a slight cloudyGolden straw colour with a perfect White head retains well and reduces to a film.

S - Yeast and hop dominate, not that prominent

T - Up front some nice hop flavours with some vanilla ice cream type flavours that follow. The sweetness in this beer is masterfull and the grains are nicely present.

M - Light to medium body with medium carbonation.

O - A very pleasant drop without being powerful. Its balance is outstanding and leaves you wanting more.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I absolutely appreciate the masterful blend of microbrewery experimentation, high level of quality, and sympathy to local ingredients and techniques. Nipponia does all these things masterfully with indiginous malts, progressive hops, and artistic balance.

Hazy golden with a constant fueling of carbonation that continues to build a dense white head of great staying power and with lacey rings left behind.

Spicy, fruity, and sweet aromas carry distinct dry fruity champagne scents as well as lemon, pepper, sasafras, light honey and grain. Very Belgiany with esters of apple, lemon, and under rippened berries that balance against the peppery spice.

Flavors hold true to scent with a light honeyish flavor that's favored over light grain. Layers of fruit and spice intertwine with apple, white pepper, lemon, black pepper, pear, corriander, sasafrass, white wine, lemongrass herbs, and cumin. Earthy and woody taste become background notes to the spice and fruit flavors and give a unique and growing bitterness to the lingering finsih.

Medium in body, the early carbonation lifts the beer from the tongue and gives the impression of evaportive creaminess and airiness. Late bitterness and fleeting malt character allows for an alcoholic warmth and resiny dryness tahat accompany the hops.

Nipponia is a very characterful Belgian-style ale that because of the hops remind me of Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace (the lemon pepper and lemongrass flavors are unmistakable). The lemony Japanese influence fits like a glove as do the peppery notes, sweet and bitter earthy wood notes, and overall sake-like lightness. This beer begs to be paired with many sushi dishes.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550ml bottle poured into tulip 22-9-11

A hazy golden yellow with lots of suspended particles even after a gentle pour, there`s a long lasting bone white thumbs width of foam that leaves a single ring and a few random patches

S spicy lemon and some bready yeast

T what I smell but with some earthy hops that I just can`t place, perhaps my first go at the Sorachi Ace, tropical fruits and cereals make for an interesting brew

M medium bodied with a little bite, good carbonation gives it some life and a slight aftertaste

O something different and worth trying, I like the hop profile even though it leaves me a little confused because its a little noble grassy notes but has spicy citrus too

I thought this was one tasty beer and that should be enough reason to drink it again... but at 10$ a 550ml I doubt I`ll be drinking a whole lot of it in the future with so many great beers I`ve never tried here in Alberta. I now want too explore the Sorachi Ace but can only thing of Brooklyn examples in Alberta, please correct me if I`m wrong.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- pours a brilliant golden color with some translucency. Finger and a half of creamy white head that lasts and lasts!

S- Rich pale malt and pils malt aromas. Intense lemony sorachi ace hop aromas with some leafy green notes. Fruity estery yeastiness on the finish with notes of peach and fresh berry.

T- cereal grain malt flavor with a touch of raw honey. Lemon and leafy green hop flavor. White tea characterics in the middle. Yeasty finish with a fruity peach and white grape characteristic.

MF- rich full creamy mouthfeel with an average body and soft carbonation

D- crazy drinkable

overall a phenominal beer with crazy unique characteristics. Bravo.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - fully hazy orange, some light suspended sediment, fluff white head retained very well
S - musty and yeasty, some lager like adjunct odour, caramel and lemongrass hints
T - earthy and sour citrus hops mixed with caramel and rye bread, with the caramel and peppery qualities lingering
M - rich and creamy with a sneaky carbonation kick, bready and spicy through the finish with some citrus bitterness
O - a solid brew front to back, definitely represents both aspects of a strong Belgian with an English pale ale, well worth a purchase

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Photo of willjschmidt
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Sierra Nevada hop tulip glass.

A: Pours a bright orange with a thin head. Lots of floaties in this one as well.

S: Citrus, yeast, a hint of spice.

T: Lots of citrus in the form of orange and grapefruit. A bit if sweetness, a hint of honey. Yeast as well. Comes off as more of an IPA.

M: Medium bodied, a little less than average on the carbonation.

O: A tasty beer, showcased the sorachi ace hop quite well.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a one-finger white head that vanishes quickly leaving traces of lace. Hazy light amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Malty nose and flavor is malty, hints of honey, slight bitterness at finish. $12.95 for a 550ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy, murky golden brown colour, two fingers of light bubbly head with solid retention and some nice lacing.

S - Musty and earthy hops, touch of cedar and pine with citrus, caramel and toffee and a bit of peppery spice and cloves.

T - The hops are certainly more mellow on the tongue, coming across subtly with a sweetness of orange citrus. Leafy green in nature and a nice caramel flavour lingers on the palette alongside some spices and cloves.

M - Nice carbonation level, goes down smooth and finishes surprisingly wet.

O - A tasty take on the style, and definitely worth picking up. Easy drinking flavours and very refreshing for a sunny afternoon.

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Photo of Klym
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Translucent orangish color with a dying white head.

S: actually smells very lager-ish. Spices and belgian yeast stick out a bit.

T: Hard to get a hold of this flavor, very interesting. Orange, yeast, spices, honey, all so blended well together it's hard to tell if that's exactly right or what else might be there. This is definitely different and I agree that a belgian pale ale is a very loose category for this.

M: Some typical belgian attributes in the carbonation with light-medium body. A light bite in the throat but overall very smooth drinking.

O: The most outstanding parts of this beer was its mysterious, slight, unusual flavors and the incredible light sessionability. Almost like a lager-replacer this is the sort of thing you can drink and savor or beer pong with if that's your thing. Dont freak out if you haven't had this and can't find it, but if you do find it I'd definitely say pick it up. Good stuff! Interesting!

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Photo of snogglethorpe
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting beer, which I find it very hard to fit into any existing category (though the current BA category of "Belgian Pale Ale" seems pretty random).

Looks innocent enough, pale straw color with a nice foamy and creamy head. Smell is interesting... a little musty and spicy and yeasty.

Taste is an immediate spicy bitterness, with a tart mustiness almost like a saison... Then there's a splash of very obvious citrus flavor, presumably from the sorachi ace hops, a mikan-like sweetness that veers off towards grapefruit because of the hop bitterness. There's an obvious yeasty taste, but it doesn't dominate, as it's overpowered by the hops.

Mouthfeel is crisp and drinkable, pretty much like any japanese beer.

The ABV is a bit high for my taste at 6.5%, though one can't taste it. Unfortunately the only bottles that seem to be in stores are 550ml, which is a bit much at this strength...

An interesting and unique beer; check it out if you get the chance. [I'm not a huge fan of Hitachino's beers in general, but this is one of their good ones.]

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Photo of StevenBilodeau
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a golden straw color... thin looking brew, with large foamy head. Great head retention.

Smell of spice, clove, citrus...lemon peel... yeasty... slight lemon grass.... straw?

Taste is slightly grassier than the smell, spice, clove... nice addition with the Sorachi Ace... this is good stuff.

This is a good beer, and I will get it again and again.

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Photo of ncfranklin
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a tulip.

A: Golden in color with a nice frothy white head that laces well. Quite murky.

S: A spicy smell. Lemon. Clove. Pepper. Ginger.

T: After the nose with a cocktail of smite on a bready backbone. Some rice qualities.

M: Medium to light, with a fair carbonation.

D: Like all of Hitachino's spicy beers, it's an acquired taste.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle shared by bobsy - thanks! Pours a nice gloden hue with Belgian looking head with probably not as much retention as it should.

Nose is lemony and zesty, hints of Belgian esters, a little bit of tropical sweetness. More lemon in the flavor, along with a reall earthy character, bit of spicy peppercorn quality, perhaps a touch of loamy wood, light honey bread sweetness. Clean and refreshing while still nuanced and interesting. Would gladly drink again.

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Hitachino Nest Nipponia from Kiuchi Brewery
3.86 out of 5 based on 142 ratings.
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