Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) | Kiuchi Brewery

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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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Reviews: 358 | Ratings: 719
Photo of harrymel
1.09/5  rDev -71.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A: stubby bottle with a rubber top. The cap is difficult to remove - several crimps almost like it was stuck to the bottle top with glue or syrup. Okay, now I will pour this turbid, brown and carbonated solution to my globe. Two fingers of peanut & maple colored head falls in couple minutes to rolling hills of the same. Lacing is cobweb.

S: So, um, when I used to live in a double-wide we used to make sandwiches with whatever was left in the house. This one is made with vinegar, apple skins and american cheese. But after we made the sandwich, we then ran it through a pvc pipe with some acetone as the buffer/lube.

T: Jesus! chemical and solvent. Festering kumquats and cap’n crunch. Okay, one more time: I struggle to understand some of the scattalogical behavior I’ve witnessed in certain German Sheizer films, but I’m nearly certain this represents the sensory experience. I can understand Eric Cartman’s sentiment on the issue.

M: Who the fuck cares. This beer is shit. FWIW - my mouth is so dry. So dry.

O: Read above.

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Photo of hreb
1.83/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Small cold bottle poured into pint glass. Smells kind of like a very, very dry cider. Intriguing. Looks a bit like cider, too, except way too cloudy.

First sip is insensibly both sour and bitter. Slightly ammoniac (urine) aftertaste. Quite gross. Extremely over-carbonated and very thin in the mouth. Tastes neither of malt or hops. I'm not sure what flavor the sake casks were supposed to lend. Perhaps rancid chardonnay?

Overall: smells like urine and cider. Initial cider-like tartness and carbonation followed by strongly revolting finish and desire to wash my mouth out.

Was this bottle ruined? I may never know; the first one traumatized me too much to buy another (not to mention it's overpriced at >$5 for around 10oz).

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Photo of TheEremite
1.95/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Gushed out of the bottle and poured murkey and over carbonated. Smells of oxidized alcohols and acetic taint. On first wiff I thought it might be a wild/sour ale, but I think it was just a contaminated attempt of a cool concept. It tastes of oxidized malt, bitterness and sour contamination. The sourness really clashes with the bitterness and nothing about the beer comes off well. I like the sake flavor in there but I can't get past all the flaws. I'm bummed. I was really looking forward to this beer. I think a sake beer could be done really well, but this one is a dumper.

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Photo of degerbah
2.02/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Had a sampling of this at Catskellar at a tasting hosted Brandon from Cavalier.

Poured slightly heady with a very cloudly light brown color. The smell is not good at all. liquor with yeast. Reading other reviews that claim to get oak flavors, I'm getting nothing like that. The closest example I have of this is when I tried to drink a room temperature brooklyn monster ale. Has way more of an alcohol taste than I prefer, likely as a result of the sake casks. All I have to say is that for most beers, tasting of rice and liquor isn't a ringing endorsement. I'll take a scotch or bourbon aged beer anyday. Sake casks are a mistake.

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Photo of blackearth
2.07/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Purchased from Blue Max Liquors in Burnsville, MN. Pours a murky, dark reddish brown body with a huge pillowy off-white head. There are globs of sediment floating around and settling in the bottom of the snifter. The aroma is one big sour mish-mosh of belgian yeast. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and highly carbonated. The bottle actually foamed out a little after I popped the cap. Sweet syrupy flavor that has a tart and sour finish. I can't detect any sake. I guess this is what you get sometimes when you buy "experimental" beers. I couldn't even finish this one.

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Photo of teromous
2.28/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I don't see an import or bottle date listed.

Appearance: The body is opaque with a medium brown color mixed with a dark shade of orange. The head is a tobacco stained yellow color that is both short and short lived. Low head retention and no lacing.

Aroma: I'm not picking up much aroma at all. There is this light spicy hop character but no Belgian yeast character and no aroma from the sake casks mentioned on the label.

Taste: It has quite a bit of alcohol flavor but no burn or heat from the alcohol. Other than that all I get is a watered down malty flavor. No finish.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied without much texture, decent carbonation, no bitterness, and no discernible finish.

Overall: A lackluster beer that doesn't work well as a Belgian anything. Maturing the beer in sake casks didn't seem to add anything. It is a very watered down, mostly flavorless, beer. I wouldn't drink it again and I don't recommend it.

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Photo of Overlord
2.31/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Why is it that when a beer store proprietor who I'm unfamiliar with recommends a beer I've never heard of, it's almost always awful? It's like they're trying to clear their shelves of unmoveable product.

I'm looking at these 4+ reviews, and I'm baffled. Oh well.

Pours a dark, bubbling brown. Actually looks pretty decent. Smells like ... what the hell is that? Like a rancid rice wine (sake?) with oak. No malt or hops in the aroma. None in the flavor, either. There's a pungent, almost salty sourness, maybe a dapple of bitterness, and a definite oak componen ... and not much else. Frankly, if not for the oak, I would have drain poured it.

Completely forgettable. Even if I was desperate for a sour, I'd avoid this.

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Photo of matjack85
2.47/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I found this squatty 330ml brown bottle at the Binny's in Glen Ellyn, IL for $2.99 if you have a Binny's card - $3.99 without one.

Be careful when you open this. Mine started bubbling over the top the moment I removed the cap. Despite a slow pour I got a head so large it easily filled up 80% of the glass. It made an incredible fluffy white head that seemed to last forever. When it finally settled down, the beer ended up being a cloudy color somewhere between dark gold and light brown and it left tons of lacing.

The beer has a somewhat unpleasant funky barnyard smell with some fruit in the background.

I did not care for this at all. The beer is stored in sake barrels for 3 months and it shows. I never care for a beer when the alcohol is the dominating flavor, and that, unfortunately, is the case with this beer. Under the alcohol there are some nice flavors of malt, a touch of fruit, and even a slight chocolate flavor, but I wish they were more dominant instead of the alcohol.

The mouthfeel is OK - smooth and creamy with only moderate carbonation spritz, which sort of surprised me considering the beer bubbled over upon opening.

I guess I'm not a fan of sake casked beers because I had a hard time finishing this one.

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Photo of boudreaux
2.51/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: crazy amounts of carbonation; almost overflows out of the bottle the second I pop the top; pours a hazy murky brown (kinda like muddy water), but no yeast sediment is present; little/no lacing

S: weird; mix of sweet, spice, and sour from the sake; dark fruit notes also noticeable as the brew warms

T: dark fruit up front, along with sour and earthy flavors from the sake and oak flavors from the casking; smokey and herbal, also probably from the sake; alcohol flavor comes through at the end, at first light but stronger as the brew warms; a strange sweet flavor persists throughout

M: kinda sticky, with a medium body that is lightened by the carbonation; not terrible to drink

O: not sure what to do with this one; if you sake notes were gone, I think I'd like it a lot more; I really like sake by itself, but it just doesn't work when combined with the beer

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Photo of jampics2
2.51/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle at Adam's Holiday Beer Tasting. This was one of the ones I was looking forward to, as I've never pulled the trigger on purchasing one of these for my own consumption but have always been curious.

Cap comes off and takes half the beer with it. Huge gusher, finally settles into a muddy brown with amber traces and a thick yellow head.

The voracious gushing led me to believe something may be off, but now the smell is making it absolutely known. Sour funk dominates, perhaps a bit of sake and malt, but mostly an infected beer scent.

Taste is interesting but off because of the infection. Sour funk, a touch of alcohol burn (is that the sake?), and a sweet plummy malt work well but aren't like any ASA I've had.

Mouthfeel is all wrong. Way too much carb. Can't even taste some of the intricate details because it's assualting my tongue with bubbles.

Drinkability also suffers. Just too eclectic, if it's even an intentional thing. Not impressed with the execution, but the idea still has merit.

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Photo of bobsy
2.63/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy dark gold with several hands of off-white head rocketing upwards like the immediate aftershock of Trinity. Not what I like to see in a pour, even if it settles down after 15 minutes and laces like a dream. I'm from Ontario, so I'm used to seeing crap like this from Trafalgar and Heritage, but I'd expect more from Kiuchi.

A smell of the glass reveals the strong, strong smell of brett, which is the last thing I expected. As a disclaimer, I love funky beers, and I think this smells great, yet at the same time a little warning bell is going off because I think this may be more a sign of an infection than of a purposeful inoculation. To elaborate on the aroma, there's a large dose of horseblanket, with the merest backing of grain, but most of all this smells dry.

Unsurprisingly, the brett has ridden roughshod through this beer, and while it makes for an interesting experience I think its hollowed out what had the potential to be a fantastic brew. Horseblanket is great, but when I want to really see the barrel character of the shochu, its not that great. Delving a bit deeper brings an indistinct berry fruitiness and Belgian ale yeast, but the whole effect is not very clean. Yep, there's brett in here, and it could only have come in at the brewery, so the review stands.

For what its worth, I find the carbonation a little too much, and I can see why it produced so much head on the poor. Really too bad... I was hoping to like this one a lot.

As an aside, its bizarre how the English label refers to shochu as distilled sake, which is not the case. Shochu is made independently of sake, and can often contain sweet potato, which you'll never find in sake. I presume the misinformation is because most people have heard of sake, but not shochu.

Thanks to a74gent for the want!

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Photo of GorgonSed
2.67/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

A - Dark orange and cloudy. Very thin white head

S - Pungent and sweet with some hoppy spice.

T - Honey, berries, ginger. Not getting any sake flavor which I'm disappointed about.

M - Feels thick, flavor coats the mouth. Very enjoyable.

O - Wouldn't go out of my way to have it again. Unique though.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.76/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Ingredients: Malts, Hops.
Aged from 6 months to 1 year (according to brewer's web site)

Initial tasting: 29 Dec 02
Amazing sweet aroma which I just cant put my finger on, not maple, like currant or cranberry. Deep ruddy brown color. Strong burnt fruit palate. Tame but always present bitterness. Good acidity.

Second tasting: 07 Feb 03
Same as above, but the alcohol is just overpowering. Can bearly drink it.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
2.79/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

330 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance - It looks like the intended color is a dark orange, but it's so hazy and murky that it looks brown. Tough to tell what's sediment and what isn't. Quite a head and a nice layer of foam, though.

Smell - Interesting smell and not what I would have expected. I do smell what I would assume is a sake aroma. Slightly fruity and boozy. But more dominant is a wheat-sour smell. It smells like a lambic, which is weird.

Taste - It has the immediate flavor of a lambic at first, as well, but after that there's a combination of flavors that don't really mix well. Some fruitiness, tough to place which ones, though; some oak; and some hops, all combining to make an astringent bitterness that is just unappealing.

Mouthfeel - It's just awful. My mouth is dry and the only flavor left is that awful oak bitterness. Like I chewed an infected piece of wood. Ugh.

Overall - It's tough to rate this, since the initial flavors aren't bad and the aroma is actually nice, if not kinda weird. The aftertaste and finish is just disgusting, though.

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Photo of jzeilinger
2.82/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark orange with some amber hue and a slight, thin creamy white layer of head.

S - The nose really lacks and smells like wet cardboard, wood, and grainy.

T - Caramel, honey, slightly boozy, and a mild pine bitterness at the very end.

M - Thin side of medium in the body.

O - Wouldn't try this again, having a very hard time picking any distinct flavors out of this.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
2.85/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hitachino Nest XH (bottle lists 7% ABV, possibly an old vintage)

12 oz. Pours a rich amber color, well sustained bubbly froth. Some hazy yeast is found throughout but no floaties.

Aroma is bready, with some belgian ale yeast and mild dark fruits present. Intoxicating mix of alcohol aromas as well. I can pick up sake, being a frequenter of sushi bars, that sticks out. Also a distinct presence of wood, from the cask aging.

Tastes very tart, with some possible oxidation present (it is aged to begin with, and a rather old sample afterall). Sherry, green apple, oaky tannins, really tangy. Alittle astringent bitterness from a ghost like faded hop. Some mild alcohol is present. Sweet and sour, not sure if this was intended. When it warms it opens up a bit more, some grainy, faintly roasted malt flavor pulls through.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lingering sour note.

Overall: An interesting beer, kind of all over the place. Mimics some of the great sours of Belgium, but in a confused manner. I find it somewhere between bad and great, but I can also understand it being revered as both.

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Photo of ByTor2112
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Challenging Ale, challenging review....
Poured up a cloudy brown color with a tan head.
Aroma-sweet smells, sake? Not sure, some sour or yeasty notes.
Mouthfeel-The first wave is that of a strong ale. Not much hop profile there at all. It has been a long time since I even tried sake. I do get flavors of whisky. There is a complex bitterness that is obviously the sake and the barrel. It is not a bad flavor, and I have never been fortunate to have any barrel or sour/funky beer styles. This would be good as an after dinner long-sipper. I appreciated this one and I like Hitachino's offerings. I might have given a higher drinkability, but my palate was so new to this one. Definitely worth trying, but hard to describe.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle marked XH.13.06 at 50 degrees into pint glass – much sediment on bottom
Aroma very faint spice
Head large (6 cm), off white, creamy with some rocks, slowly diminishing
Lacing – fair, sparse ribbon partway around the glass
Body orange, hazy
Flavor very unremarkable – weak spice, no malt, no alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl, no hint of that oak sake barrel it was aged in.
Palate light to medium, watery, soft carbonation

Pretty much a “meh” beer, but with the potential to sneak up. This is 8 % and drinks like an unassuming bland session beer, although with the weak flavor why would you drink more than one?

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Photo of Pencible
3.01/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This poured a hazy copper with lots of tan head. It smelled like chardonnay, lemon and tart apricot hops, and sour yeast, with a bit of oak and spices. It tasted like white wine, lemon, and apples with sour yeast and spices. It was watery with lots of carbonation, and had a tart aftertaste. Overall this was a very strange tasting beer with lots of subtle spices that I couldn't decipher. It didn't taste bad, but it wasn't really a flavor that I enjoyed either. It didn't have a very good body either, and the sourness / tartness made it not really easy to drink. This was interesting to try once, but I wasn't a big fan.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Murky reddish brown colour with a pinky sized, bubbly white head that settles to thin lacing. Muted aroma and fairly weak for such a high alcohol content. There is some apricot, some sweetness and touches of plum with some burnt sugar and some yeast.

Warm alcohol taste starts to dominate along with some sweet plum and burnt sugar. There is a faint, dark fruits taste to this one as well and it is rounded off with a strong alcohol bitterness.

Smooth and with a huge alcohol kick and lots of warmth. There is almost no carbonation in this one either and the high alcohol content makes it a hard swallow.

Not what I would call a great beer or one that I particularly enjoyed, I'd far prefer to have an actual Belgian brewed one in future.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Absolutely impossible to pour, took about 10 minutes. Even with careful pouring. Ridiculous.
Nose has a big funky brett character alongside woddy hints, light fruit and complex spices. Wasn't a fan at first but it's grown on me now.
Wierd mix of flavours, sweet at first with a faint sour character following before the booze cuts in and dominates right through the finish. Hard to really pick much up under the sake and alcohol.
Carbonation is too high.
Surely this is a bad bottle. May revisit but considering the price, I'd hate to be disappointed again.

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Photo of endincolorado
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance- Cloudy, deep orange-amber with fine particles of sediment. Thick creamy off-white head. Excellent retention.

S- Strong sour astringent aromas. Phenol.

Taste- Powerful sour flavor, green-apple tartness with phenol and cloves. Overall hard to describe. No strong malt character, maybe a bit of hop-bitterness.

Mouthfeel- light body with carbonation that seems almost deflate quickly.

Drinkability- Not one I'll pick up again, as the strong phenolic flavor is one I don't particularly care for. I love sake, and the idea was an intriguing one. Unfortunately sake flavor was not present, as far as I could tell.

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Photo of cocojoe
3.07/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The Bottle that I am drinking says that it clocks in at 7.0% ABV

A: Hazy Amber color, thin tan head

S: Sweet caramel, oaky, bright (some belgian yeast notes), smoothe, floral, rice milk?

T: vanilla, caramel, definite oak notes, toasty, floral

M: medium body

O: Fine beer. Nose is a little stuffy at the moment, so my nose and palate are probably missing out on some stuff. A bit confused. I was doing some research, and other people who reviewed this beer said that it had many qualities similar to a flanders red or an oud bruin, and had a definite sour note, but I am getting little to none of those notes. Also, the bottle that I have is different than others (including a different ABV). I am wondering if they released a non belgian version of this beer. I am confused. Fine beer though.

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Photo of kurtissellen
3.07/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into an oversized wine glass producing a good two fingers worth of tan head with lots of lacing and looked mahogany in color. Peculiar smell to it almost like green olives. Tasted a little sour up front with hints of green olives and finished with a dry and bitter taste in the mouth. I thought this was a lot better than their milk stout but still a little too funky for me. I don't think I would try this one again.

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Photo of Suds
3.09/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

The beer is a clear, deep copper color. Medium white head. It has a spice and mild vinegar scent. Some vegetable smell as well. Interesting. The taste s equally curious. Semi-sweet. Not much malt flavor, but lots of the vegetable and wood quality. I can only assume that this comes from the sake casks. It is unlike other beers. Moderately bitter. Interesting beer, but not not one that I would have often.

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
3.77 out of 5 based on 719 ratings.
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