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: 359 | Ratings: 721
Photo of mactrail
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Attractive dark amber with a creamy foam on the second pour.

Starts out sweet with the dry yeasty edge. This tastes very much in the Belgian style to me. It's actually better than a lot of actual Belgian dark beers. This is cleaner, with just enough funk, and it has a bitterish edge that is the right counterbalance to the sugars. Smooth caramel finish.

Tremendously drinkable and not excessively strong. It's complex, intriguingly fruity, and has that mysterious Belgian yeastiness. From the 3.75 ml bottle purchased in Tucson (thanks, Jason).

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Photo of The_Mad_Capper
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hops come through first in the aroma with a lemon and orange quality; the malt aroma takes time to appear but has a sweet bread and toffee character; there is also some fruitiness akin to cherry, prune. The body is hazy and deep amber with orange-ish highlights; the head is frothy and cream colored; there's lots of sticky lacing. The flavor at first is surprisingly hoppy upfront, soon followed by alcohol and then malt. The hops seem fruity and citrusy with a bit of earthy bitterness. The malt is also rather pronounced and has a bready and toasty character. The alcohol quickly mellows out and contributes to a somewhat spicy quality. The medium-light body is smooth with lots of carbonation and a little carbonic bite; there's also some alcohol warming.

The overall impression, particularly after a few sips, is one of maltiness with a dark and mild fruity accent. It's pretty tasty and satisfying, though not especially complex overall.

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Photo of chinchill
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%

Pour is hazy dark amber with a good, durable, creamy head, vg lacing
Sake barrel treatment comes out clearly about mid-taste, and is also present in the aroma.
Aroma has decent complexity, as does the flavor, which has both bready and fruity notes too.
Medium-full body; medium+ carbonation; smooth.
O interesting Japanese beer.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber-brown, hazy, half finger white head, quick to a sticky lace.
Raisin pops in the smell, malts, some wood, faint caramel, a touch of sour grapes.
Fruity taste in the beginning, with plum, apricot, some raisin, mild sweet citrus, touch of pineapple and even some coconut. Malty, with caramel, faint cocoa powder and toasted grains. Belgian yeasts, some extra vanilla and cinnamon too. Starts dusty, gets even dustier. Close to the finish the sake barrels show up, with a bit of sourness, very very clear wood, faint nuttiness and a dry alcoholic feel, sort of like stronger dry white wine. Finishes crisp, a bit boozy, grassy bitterness, leaves a complex aftertaste (tobacco, sake, cocoa power, faint dark fruit).
Medium body, prickly carbonation.
This was new and sorta weird for me, but i liked it. Sake barrels dominate as it warms, so it gets a bit more boozy and quite dry. Really cool.

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Photo of Kuaff
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cellar temperature in a tulip.

It pours a dark, deep honey-orange color with a two-finger off-white head possessing decent staying power.

Smells like cherries, plums, caramel, honey, and grains, as far as I can discern.

The flavor reminds me a lot of IPAs, to my surprise. I get a real citrus bite, and even a bit of piney astringency. The finish has some honey-like maltiness and a clean and bitter hoppy sensation. It tastes good, but absolutely nothing like the Belgian strong dark ale style which has been mysteriously attached to it. Any of the expected dark fruit, spice, toastiness and sweet Belgian yeast flavors are completely, one hundred percent absent. Where did the idea that this is even remotely Belgian come from?

Its carbonation is pretty up there, and the body is medium.

This is one of those beers that have a bit of an identity crisis. Though it's labeled a Belgian ale, I would equate it with malt-forward, lightly bitter, darker-hued DIPAs more than anything Belgian. But it is, nevertheless, fairly enjoyable and unique.

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Photo of williamtlow
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Not much nose, the scent isn't strong. but the beer has great body, a nice round texture. just the right amount of acidity. sweet, caramel-like cask flavor. Very malt forward with just enough hop finish flavor for excellent balance. delicious. great lacing from the head.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a murky, hazy dark orange, almost red, with a one inch head and a decent amount of lacing.

Smells dark fruits, slightly sour cherries, and Belgian yeast.

If you had given this to me and asked me to identify what it was without showing me the bottle, I wouldn't have guess it was Sake barrel-aged. It does have some slight oak and vanilla flavors, along with Belgian yeast, and lots of dark fruits, along with a good proportion of very sweet tasting malt. Unfortunately, as this beer warms up, it becomes near undrinkable. I don't really understand what happened. It becomes astoundingly bitter, almost like aspirin, with a cough syrup like cherry sweetness on the back end. Gotta dock a good amount of points for this- beers like this should get better as they warm, shouldn't they?

Medium bodied, very drinkable at first, but then near undrinkable. Low carbonation.

A good effort, but not without it's problems. Drink it fast, and don't expect any sake influences.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(purchased at Free Bridge Wine & Spirits, chilled - bottle code XH.12.05 - poured into a balloon)

A: orange-ruby liquid, fair amount of haze and speckled proteins in suspension... about a finger width of tan foam on the pour that slowly petered out into a messy outer collar... little boogers of lace here and there

S: dried-out wood planks, bruised grapes, hint of dark crystal malt, touch of bourbon... has an overtone of oxidized malt that I've become familiar with in old bottles of German lagers, however, the aforementioned aromas do match and balance the aged qualities... faint hint of floral alcohol

T: vague port/plum wine flavors up front... dark, turning-over fruit flavors, however, not too much sweetness... fair bit of rum-soaked raisin and lightly-tart citrus peel in the finish... a quiet, dried-leaf, tea-like hop bitterness slowly builds at the back of the palate with each sip... a weak flavor of old black coffee builds in the back, only becoming apparent in the final few sips...

been so long since I had sake - can't say for sure what flavors it picked up from the oak casks, however, their seems to be a similar nuance to some Japanese plum wines I've had - could it be this particular oak plus oxidation/age?

M: medium-bodied and round, attenuated ever so slightly by an undercurrent of brandy-like booze... a touch chewy on the edges... touch of tannic puckering and mellow warmth after the finish... fairly dry in the end

O: very much in line with the qualities of their other stronger ales... dunno if it's good practices or having fortunately stumbled upon a long-chilled bottle, but their (stronger) stuff seems to hold up and age fairly well... got lucky I suppose

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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 potion
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a - dark orange/brown, a finger of frothy khaki head, good lacing but dissipates over time

s - citrus, hops, fruitiness

t - medium piny hops, bready/cream malts usual to belgian darks but largely subdued. alcohol heat, can pick up the sake just barely.

m - slightly sticky, bitter, astringent carb the first few sips, metallic toward the end

o - pretty good beer. definitely tastes like a hitachino, they all seem to have this specific creamy backbone. wouldn't have picked up on the sake if I wasn't looking for it.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The color is a red amber color. Beer is transparent with a good amount of active carbonation while in the glass. Light head, only present on the edges of the glass while drinking.

Smell: Toffee amber malt body jumps out right away. There is a semi-sweet, slightly sour grape must type aroma that I assume is from the sake casks. Medium dry fruit really brightens up the aroma.

Taste: Subtle fruits and some sourness greets the palate. A chewy amber malt presence warms up the body and gives this beer a great backbone. Accents of toffee, caramel, apricots, and raisins are prevalent. The dry fruits continue to dance on the palate long after drinking.

Mouthfeel: Very subtle with everything going on but really pleasant drinking throughout.

Overall: Very much impressed by this one. The tones of this beer mesh together well and create a unique brew. It's been hit or miss from this brewery for me but this one is definitely a hit. Highly recommended if you are looking for something a little different.

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Photo of BWED
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a chestnut color with a bit of an off white head. Retention is poor.

S- Vinous caramel notes, and a little booze.

T- Slight caramel backbone, with a grape/wine tone.

M- Medium body, with a very dry finish.

O- Interesting. A little too fruity. I think the sake character is pulled out quite a bit, especially in the feel.

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Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I dig the sake influence on this one. The sake aroma is very very faint and not perceptable at all unless you know you are looking for it. This beer has a nice head and aroma. The taste is very Belgium like in that you have that aged oak barrel flavor. A nice beer with a traditional old world Belgium flavor. I recommend this one for the novelty of the sake and aged oak barrels alone. The beer itself is pretty darn good.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice offering, the barrel is a bit nondescript initially with some strange and subtle angles as it lingers.

Presentation: 330 ml custom brown bottle. Label design based around typography surrounding the seal of an owl, with the name of the brew in gold lettering. Shows notes in Japanese in both the front and neck label, the back custom made in English for exporting offers a small description of ingredients. Does not offer an evident date of freshness or bottling. Notes Alc. by Vol. (7%) Served in a chalice.

A - Amber brown pour with a modest if nice creamy head, moderate retention, nice surface memory and some touches of lacing.

S - Plenty of caramel with a fresh fruity hint.

T - Malty dash, caramel, and a fresh fruity touch that picks up some intriguing bitterness… Remotely vinous note towards the finish. Some bready sense with the caramel moving to offer some honey edges.

M - Medium-full bodied with medium/full carbonation, creamy feel after the intense but small textured carbonation. Feels fuller than what the 7% percent would indicate with a warmth that might be in part barrel-driven?

O - Worth the try, nice flow but a touch short of a distinct complexity.

Notes: Dunno, I liked it, but I was surely expecting a touch more in the barrel/sake edge. Nice brew in any event.

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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 Auraan
4.41/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice, cloudy dark amber with half-finger white head that receded to nice ring of white foam. It looks good, but not as good as some examples of the style. Scents of candi sugar, fruity esters, slight sake and shochu hints, faint nutty hints, very faint hints of alcohol, some Belgian yeast, sweet spices, faint oak, sweet caramel malt, and faint hints of vanilla. The aroma is mild and subdued, but very complex once you smell it for a while and focus on the various aromas present. It's a scent profile that is simple on the surface, but amazingly complex beneath. Flavor begins with an earthy, mushroom-like flavor, sweet candi sugar, slight hints of alcohol, hints of sake, a bit of dark fruit, sweet caramel malt, faint hints of floral and earthy herbal hops, hints of citrus zest, hints of Belgian yeast, slight spiciness, more pronounced on the finish and a roasted flavor on the finish with a bitter, lingering aftertaste. It's an earthy, complex, boozy and very Japanese take on a Belgian Strong Dark. It's got the usual flavors of a strong dark, but with hints of sake and earthiness from the barrel aging and a nice level of complexity. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with moderate carbonation and a slick finish. Quite nice and easy to sip, and about right for the style. Overall this an excellent take on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It has the scents, flavors and feel of the style, but some very unique, Japanese flavors added to the beer, resulting in a very complex, very well executed beer. I recommend this one.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a caramel color. Smells of caramel, nuts, and a lot of booze. The flavor is about the same, but with less booze. Lots of sweetness. Not getting a whole lot of "shochu cask" (shochu is pretty tasteless anyway). Mouthfeel is pretty full and with a lively carbonation. Overall, this is decent.

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Photo of Neorebel
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle is labeled as 7% ABV for the record. XH looks very nice with its bubbly, auburn look, capped with a foamy tan head, leaning towards the shade of brown. Excellent retention as well. The aroma was a bit earthy, however I did pick up a bit of the Shochu and some pineapple fruit esters. The taste reveals much evidence of aging, with a yeasty, wine like character and the taste of fading hops. That's not to say that the hop flavor was not present at all - much to the contrary - quite a hoppy beer for a Belgian style ale. It's also very bready. Sharp was the finish with some woodiness from the barrel. It felt moderately heavy in the mouth and in regards to perceived ABV. Overall, I quite enjoyed it, as I like aged beer, however if you're looking for a hallmark Belgian Strong Dark Ale flavor, definitely look elsewhere.

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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 Digimaika2
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(4.0) A: Reddish amber with a thick creamy head that quickly recedes to a bubbly ring. Nice lacing in sheets down the glass.

(3.75) S: Grains, faint boozy aroma, dried wood, honey, and subtle floral notes. Soft and pleasing but very subdued with some digging certainly required to unearth some aromas.

(4.0) T: Apricot, tropical fruits, sweet grains, honey or cane sugar, underlying boozy flavour, and spices. Minimal bitterness and more dryness but the focus is on a honey oats sweetness. The sake casks provide a subtle touch of warming booze that is quite nice.

(4.0) M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slick and viscous with a very oily texture.

(4.0) D: This is very good – Easy to drink with every flavour provided in just the right amounts.

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Photo of mverity
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle from Hop Jacks in Pensacola. Pours an amber brown color with white head that dissipated quickly. Smells of sweet grass, caramel, touch of sour notes. Taste is mostly sweet caramel and some tartness. Mouthfeel is rather watery. Otherwise, I'm glad I only bought a single bottle of this beer. Not great

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Photo of katan
3.29/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a glass

A - Pours an opaque orangish brown. Off white head formation. Some bubblies on the inside. Looks hefty.

S - Just couldn't quite elicit much of a response from the nose. I get just a little of belgian yeast and some alcohol.

T - Starts off smooth and light, just a little bit of sweetness. In the middle I start to get some caramel, some toffee. Dark fruits. Finishes with some interesting sweetness on the tip of the tongue. Bitterness grows as it warms on the tongue.

M - Full bodied and lighter on carbonation. Comes of syrupy and a little thick. Some alcohol warmth is it sits on the tongue.

o/D - A decent Belgian strong (dark) but I don't think it really distinguishes itself. I heard this might be aged in some way, of which I'm curious. I can't read the label to confirm. A bit filling, but fits the role as a sipper.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky 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. Small particles of sediment are seen floating around in the beer after the pour. Smell is of malt, grain, honey, and fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and slightly sour dark fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some interesting aromas and flavors but I am not getting any sake influence on the final product.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to into tulip during hitachino tasting fest 2013...
Nice slightly ruby brown color slightly off white head.
Sweet malty almost esb aromas..with a dose of hop.
Nice malty Belgian sweetness with a kick of hop finish and slight woody and fruity note.
Nice brew...the sake cask adds complexity to an otherwise regular brew.

Revisit this brew on 11/16/13
Huuge brett aromas are so noticeable now. Im convinced this has brett and it works so well here. Its somewhat sweet but very oaky and really dry. I think the bottling date suggests June 2013...if so, this brew is fantastic if you let it age for a few months. I will definitely pick another one of these up.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy amber-brown with a finger of frothy tannish-khaki head. Fades normal.

S - Sweet caramel malts, Belgian yeast,. spices, sake, oak, vanilla, and a bit of booze.

T - Sweet dark caramel malts, Belgian yeast, oak, sake, Belgian yeast, some spices, bit of vanilla and booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet warming finish.

D - Nicely balanced and the sake flavors are a nice touch.

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
3.77 out of 5 based on 721 ratings.
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