Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) | Kiuchi Brewery

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)
Very Good
741 Ratings
Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)

Brewed by:
Kiuchi Brewery

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
From Japan's most prestigious brewery, Hitachino Nest XH (Extra High) is a strong Belgian Brown Ale, matured in shochu (distilled sake) barrels. Chinook & Styrian Goldings hops are use

Added by UncleJimbo on 12-29-2002

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Ratings: 741 |  Reviews: 366
Photo of wehttam
5/5  rDev +31.9%

Photo of TallNerdGuy
5/5  rDev +31.9%

Photo of edwardkersh
5/5  rDev +31.9%

Photo of MeatnCheese
5/5  rDev +31.9%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +31.9%

Photo of bluHatter
4.95/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've always been a fan of Hitachino Nest ever since I first tried their Red Rice variety. They are some of the most interesting beers I've had the pleasure of tasting. I had never had their XH ale before, though, so here goes...

A: This ale was anxious to get out of the bottle. It foamed over before I was even able to begin pouring, and then formed an enormous head in the glass, even with a gentle pour. The head was foamy (big bubbles) and receded very slowly, leaving just a hint of lacing. The ale itself is thick and cloudy red. This is the most interesting type of appearance for me, as it usually indicates vast complexities in flavor.

S: Very similar in smell to Hitachino Nest's Red Rice ale. Pungent sweet malty that quickly mellows into a warm citrus. Not unlike A1 steak sauce... or if anybody has ever smelled a millipede that's been stepped on (don't ask, but it's a smell that sticks with you, and this ale is very similar).

T: Wow, very strong and pungent... like a well aged bleu cheese. The smell is definitely present in the taste. Bitter, tangy, strong wood flavor - like the wood had a lot of holes in it that the beer was allowed to mingle in and draw all kinds of interesting body from. Every sip is different as I let it breathe. It gets mellower in the glass. You can tell this has been cooped up for a long time - no wonder it was anxious to get out.

M: Loads of carbonation. I can tell I will be burping this flavor for a while after I finish it. You can tell there's alcohol here, as my tongue is tingly and raw after just a few sips

O: I feel honored that I was able to taste this beer. Hitachino Nest has never disappointed and this is no exception. I only wish this was easier to come by so I could experience it more often and share it with friends. I never thought I'd try a better beer than Hitachino Nest's Red Rice ale, but I think this may be my personal holy grail.

 1,910 characters

Photo of Av10
4.9/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of MadeInOregon
4.88/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Found this at a Japanese grocery store. Lucky me! I didn't know it was "retired", but was still more than willing to shell out $6 for a Hitachino Nest I hadn't seen before.

THE APPEARANCE of Hitachino Nest XH is, well, beautiful--as silly as that word is for describing beer. Massive latte-esque foam erupts from the liquid, which is a very nice orangish brown and very cloudy with sediment. Thick, lacing is all over the place. Mouth-watering! The bottle is even attractive--too bad I can't drink that. Foam eventually dwindles down to a nice thin film across the top of the beer.

THE SMELL is candied orange, yeast, banana, and little hops. The candy quality is very unique and clearly references the sake that was stored in the same casks as this beer. Think: Nigori sake + a strong Belgian ale. There are some similarities in fragrance to a bourbon-barrel aged beer, however the XH is much crisper and sweeter due to the rice from the sake.

THE TASTE is equally impressive, and very complex. Flavors progress like this: Sake, banana+candied orange, cotton candy → Hot, spicy yeast → Milk chocolate → light hops → orange peels + banana + hops

THE FEEL is very full and stimulating, yet not assaulting. The alcohol, like with most of the Hitachino line, is mild and well-masked. An American ale this bold would normally push 10%.

CONCLUSION: This is only my second All-5's rating. I find no faults with this beer other than that it's so hard to find! It's a very unique (and Japanese) take on both the barrel-aging concept as well as strong Belgian ales (Yes, I do not think this should be called an “American Strong Ale”. “Belgian Double Ale” would be more appropriate, in my opinion). I'd never heard of, or even thought about aging beers in sake casks so this was my first sampling of such a style. So, Kiuchi Brewery is setting the bar pretty high for future tastings!

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.87/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Bottle Date: XH.08.10 (I presume then that this was bottled in August of 2010.)
Upon opening, this one is a gusher. Fortunately, I'm prepared, and I only lose about a swallow's worth of beer. The smell is immediate and beautiful!

This is a very nice, golden orange color, with light hints of brown. The light brown head of foam is almost one-fingers worth. It has some really nice retention and the lacing is in thick strands that stick around for awhile.

The nose on this one is awesome! Hints of Lambic tartness. Very wine-y, which was not expected, at all. Big belgian yeast notes behind it, along with some candi sugar sweetness. Bananas and apples and pears...oh, my!

Wow. Belgian yeast and barnyard funk dominate, with a light touch of tartness to it. Bananas with apple and cherry skins. Belgian yeast spiciness. Orchard fruits sweetened with light candi sugar. Light hints of brown sugar.
This is nicely complex. Very tasty.

This is full-bodied with a high level of carbonation, which is filled with (what seems like) millions of tiny bubbles. It is smooth and awesomely creamy! A delight to drink!

This is almost a perfect brew. It's somewhat like a really good Tripel blended with Lambic, or something. It has great balance, but is still just a touch too far to the sweet side, otherwise it would achieve perfection. It's not what I expected from Sake barrel-aging, but if this is what that creates....bring on more Sake barrel-aged beers, please!
Easily my fave from Hitachino, to date.

 1,552 characters

Photo of henryclay_
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of BiteTheBullet
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of gleemonger
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of justintcoons
4.74/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me just say that the bottle exploded when I popped the cap and I lost half of this wonderful beer. :(

A: Pours a cloudy mahogany with 1 finger of head that dissipates quickly.

N: Brown sugar, plums, raisins and Belgian candy sugar.

T: Ripe dark fruits and candy sugar that fade into deep brown sugar, molasses, black licorice and tobacco.

M: Medium bodied, creamy and smooth.

D: Very good drinkability and a fantastic beer! Very unique! I will be picking up more of these.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short and stubby 11.2oz bottle. Pours a magnificent orangish amber color with an off-white head that leaves a solid coat of lacing all over the glass, even after consuming the entire beer. The sweet floral aroma is very aromatic with a good amount of oak, and sour cherries. The taste is slightly funky with some oak and a very dry and slightly spicy hopped finish. Wow, I am very surprised with this one. It is a very beautiful pours and is complex in both the aroma and taste with the flavors meshing extremely well. The mouthfeel has a really nice smooth feel to it with a perfect amount of carbonation. Overall, they really did it right with this brew. It is a little on the pricey side, but it is well worth it. I will have to pick up a couple more bottles of this. Recommended.

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Photo of ando27
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of torriman
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of cbarrett4
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Seriously creepy/cute owl. Man I love the Japanese!

*** Label slightly different than one pictured, states "Matured in Sake Casks" *** But apparently is the same beer (and all newly created listings with 'sake cask' get popped under the regular XH listing).

Also of note: this beer was not really aged in sake casks, it was aged in sochu casks. For those of you who know Japanese liquor (and it's a love/hate relationship as I'm sure you agree) Sochu (Sochyu, soju, shochu) is a rice wine (sake) fermented into an 80 to 90 proof liquor and often matured in cask.

Poured a dark brown/black with blue-ish highlights. Oatmeal colored, persistent head, low carbonation.

Smells a lot like a sour ale. Lot's of fruit, a hefty dose of the sour cherry, lacto thing with some sake like notes, a little spice, and plum. Really reminds me of a barrel aged Belgian.

Flavor is remarkable. The sour note adds so much and keeps the intense sake-like flavors subdued. Very intense and fruit forward.

Texture is lovely with a massive amount of wall to wall flavor, great grip, and a good balance of acidity and alcohol.

This beer sings, and I'm all ears (and tastebuds). I immediately returned and bought every bottle they had at Whole Foods. This is going to be a cornerstone beer and one that I will love fooling beer geeks with blind tastings.

 1,374 characters

Photo of rrski198
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of patre_tim
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of tfsimpkins
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

very very very good beer.

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Photo of forummember
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of Daemose
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of viewtiful
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of dprophet
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of YobroitsJoe
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 741 ratings