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 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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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.27/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is a muddled, hazy, amber-copper coloring with a very thin, small bubbled ring of white around the surface. Aromas of strong sake overtones with a subtle blend of fig and date in the background. Some cherry and bread in the nose, as well. Smells very rich and boozey at the same time. Flavors are very well blended, almost to the point of neutralizing on the tongue. The sake does give a very wine-like and boozey forward flavor, with a bready backbone and tart cherry and white grape end flavor. The beer loses a lot of the dark, old world fruits on the nose under the influence of the sake characteristics. Tangy and sharp aftertaste, with an earthy, tannin, and boozey blend. Clean, slightly drying finish. Interesting idea for a beer, and I do enjoy the influences imparted from the sake barrels. Would be interesting with a more powerful base beer.

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Photo of ranger60
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had it on tap at Buckeye Beer Engine.

A- beautiful dark brown, very little head.

S- interestingly, picking up malt notes, some caramel sweetness, and something hard to identify...maybe it is the sake'?

T- very's not bad, but not my cup of tea...don't love sour ales, and that is the first impression. but the oak and sake' flavors do come through in a very nice way.

M- actually very pleasant initial mouth feel, but the sourness lingers

O- I'm sure some people would say this is great, and I know the sourness is intentional, but I can't get past it.

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Photo of kylegillick
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: hazy . murky brown

Aroma: little aroma. dark fruirs

Taste: Tart. Oak. cherry/ dark fruits. The oak/ sake barels give it a great taste. more tart than i would have expected

Mouth feel: Thick. solid carbonation

Overall: $4.69 a bottle. Great beer, very interesting. Would buy again. Sake barrels gave it a unique taste

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the 11.2 oz (noting that it has changed slightly from the picture posted here) into a Delirium tulip at low altitude in NY. Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm a bit over the course of consumption.

A: Pours a thin, creamy milk-colored head with a nearly opaque deep amber body. Hundreds of small carbonation bubbles float slowly up the sides of the glass as larger ones occasionally dart past them. Great retention as the head on this one lasts for the entire session. Plenty of lacing as well.

S: The sake barrel aging really stands out as this smells unlike any beer I've had before -- fermented rice qualities are prominent. Some dark fruits, oak and clean malts. Intriguing.

T: Opens with dark fruit notes -- specifically cherry -- followed by oak and rounded out by some definite sake flavors. The finish is quite bitter, a bit too much so in my opinion. Overall, a very interesting combination of flavors.

M: Full-bodied with a round mouthfeel that fills the whole mouth. Definitely the most exceptional aspect of this beer -- very nice.

O: Another unique offering from Hitachino Nest. Probably not a beer I would buy again given the price point, but definitely highlights the sake influences present in all of Hitachino's offerings.

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

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a tall pilsner glass.

A: Pours an amber-orangish hue with a very thin white head that quickly dissipates into a wispy lace leaving a partial trail down the glass.

S: Sweet and tart citrus aroma with a hoppy and malty backbone.

T: Similar to the smell this beer’s flavor comes off very sweet and tart – almost wine like. Fruity mix and finishes on the sweet side.

M: Very strong and boozy with a heavy body and minimal carbonation.

O: Interesting brew from Japan. Nice sipping beer at 8.3% abv.

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

Poured a dark brown color, a bit murky, with a beige head with a good retention.
Smell of sweet malt with some piney hops, and touches of condiments.
Complex flavor of sweet toasted malts and oak with spicy, citric, piney and fruity from its hops. Hints of plum and predominant oak with sake liquor that lingers until its finish, along with a bitterness and dryness.
Full body with a medium carbonation and small bubbles. The 8% ABV is fairly hidden.
Really interesting beer, I was not expecting such complexity from a Japanese beer. Although a Belgian Brown Ale, it reminded me of a Barley wine, too.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: squat little 330mL brown bottle with an interesting label. Cute owl too.

Appearance: hazy - almost murky - deep copper-brown. Dense but thin head that disappears with the first mouthful.

Aroma: definite heavy characters here - brown sugar, prunes, pepper and earth. Enticing.

Taste: not the most brilliant Belgian heavy I have had. It is certainly thick, but the rich molasses, brown sugar and plum flavours are overpowered by an odd alcohol fug.

Aftertaste: more of the same, with a touch of bitterness shining through.

Mouth feel: definitely suits the style. Thick and heavy with lower carbonation.

Overall: not a bad attempt at a Belgian heavy, but at AU$10 a bottle, it is far, far too expensive - more expensive than most of the highest quality Belgians I have had. Add the awkward flavour combination to that, and it's a Lexus for Rolls Royce-and-a-half price. Not bad, but not good enough to warrant the exhorbitant cost.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving type: 11.2-ounce bottle. A batch code is printed on the back label but there is no discernable freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The color is murky caramel/amber. There is quite a bit of hovering sedimentation. Two fingers of off-white head dissipated to leave a ring around the edge and a thin lacing.

Smell: There is a lot going on. It is sharp and pungent, sweet and sour. There is pepper and woody spice almost reminiscent of pine. Perhaps, though, it is the oak from the aging process. Basically, it imparts that boozy, aged aroma. It also smells like clove and cinnamon, or something Christmasy. Caramel, sake, plum, raisins, and prunes.

Taste: It has a creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel. The flavors are not as potent as the aromas; there is a lot more balance compared to the craziness of the smell. The woodiness is very prominent, as well as the spice and sake. Caramel, plum, and molasses stand out. As it warms, a little citrus begins to emerge as well. It leaves a warm, spicy aftertaste lingering on the roof of my mouth.

Drinkability: This is a unique and strange little beast. Loads of complexity and I like the fact it is aged in sake casks. Tasty and powerful, this is well-made stuff.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Murky brown body under a massive head that fills the tulip (and then some) with ultra fine tan foam. Terrific, rocky retention and spotty lace. Great.

S: What?! Craziness, that's what. Oak, pepper, fruity sake, and some more raw oak. A little sour, a little spicy, and just great.

T: Follows the nose, with even more emphasis on teh oak. Vanilla and coconut up front, followed by some robust, slightly sour fruitiness, and closed out by spiritous oak. Dry, spicy finish. Wonderful.

M: Supple, creamy, frothy carbonation. Nice.

O: Wow, I was not prepared for this. It was unlike any other beer I've had, and in a fascinatingly delicious way. I really need to try some shochu, as the barrel presence in this beer was delightful.


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Photo of rudzud
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting a long time to try this one after missing out on it at a fest. Julio's finally got this sucker in after over a year. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a slightly hazy deep copper hue with a one finger head that faded quickly to leave light wisps and a light thin halo.

S - Light malty sweetness and caramel comes out as this warms. Definitely some wood notes as well as clear and true sake. Lightly boozy and fruity (more pineapple and dark fruits, but barely).

T - Hrm, well, this is different. More of that caramel malty sweetness With more faint, faint sweeter fruits (kinda sorta light pineapple). That sake really comes out as it warms. Quite distinct flavour indeed. Sake really lingers on the aftertaste.

M - Mouthfeel is solid. Nicely carbonated, not too boozy. Not syrupy or heavy. Quite pleasant.

O - Overall this was worth the wait for me. The sake really compliments this beer. Very interesting and unique flavour profile. I dig it.

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

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, 11.03 bottle code. Pours very hazy dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, apple, pear, prune, pepper, caramel, molasses, clove, earth, toast, chocolate, oak, and yeast spiciness. Damn nice and very unique aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of raisin, prune, molasses, grape, toast, chocolate, caramel, pepper, clove, earth, oak, wheat, and yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of dark fruits, chocolate, caramel, molasses, clove, pepper, oak, earth, and yeast spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Excellent balance and complexity of flavors; zero cloying flavors after the finish. I have no idea what sake tastes like alone, but I would imagine the unique fruitiness in this beer is that character. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a slick, creamy, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian dark ale! Very unique with the sake cask aging, and it seems to work out great. Nicely complex and balanced. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: cloudy brown body with one finger head. good amount of lacing.

S: Malt, brown sugar, caramel. Nice.

T: Quite unique. It tastes like your standard Belgian quad or strong ale (caramel malt, dark fruits) and as the alcohol taste opens up, the beer changes to something a bit funkier. You certainly don't taste the sake or shochu (I am Korean and I call it Soju), but soju barrel aging added some complexity in a good way. I can taste the alcohol but it's not too boozy.

M: Good amount of carbonation, medium thickness for the style.

O: Surprisingly awesome! It just may be my personal taste though, but I thought this beer was unique and tasty.

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Photo of Fitwitchik
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Seved into a pint glass

Darker amber with a creamy head.

Smells of a strong ale/Belguim is distinct.

Taste was impressive. Faint sake but very nice strong ale flavor.

Nice thickness of brew with good carbonation.

Not dissapointed with this brew one bit. Happy to have it again if I can only remember where I bought this...

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Photo of seand
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy brown with a small amount of thick off-white head. It dissipates to a ring around the edge but manages to leave pretty good streaks of lacing.

S: Thick malt and yeast, with noticeable sake (though I'm looking for it so it's not so surprising that I'm finding it).

T: Medium spiced malt, fruit notes, and something else which I'll attribute to the sake barrels. Finish is sweet and hoppy like an English IPA.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, somewhat dry.

Overall, pretty good, and pretty different. It's not my favorite beer but it's definitely worth trying.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is brown with some amber in its color. Decent head at pour but disappates,to some head remaining around the reim of the glass. Smell is of molasses but also comes with a decent amount of booziness - definitely can detect the presence of Saki but it's not overpowering. Taste is consistent with the smell but leaves me wanting a bit more.

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Photo of Amalak
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A. A nice copper color with a good deal of foam off-white head and lacing. Tons of sediment.

S. Very strong sweet, scent.

T. Very strong and highly unique taste. Good grape and watermelon taste. Some hops. Smooth.

M. A bit tart aftertaste, but not overbearing.

O. It's a balanced sweetness with hops, but a unique under current that is good, but the first sip is intense.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a clean amber/light brown pour with a thin layer of head throughout the drink. smells of sour grapes, yeast, raisins, and heavy booze (rum).
taste is surprisingly sweet with a very weird aftertaste (i guess this is the sake barrel aging?). very fruity notes of plum, apricot, raisin, dates. medium body with a decent amount of carbonation, leaving a slight amount of cream on the lips, and a warm sensation from the heavy abv.

not a bad beer, more of an old ale than a belgian dark though. nothing to write home about, but i don't regret trying it!

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter. Date stamp on bottle says "XH 12 02".

Appearance: Cloudy-translucent coppery-orange-brown. Off white head died back pretty quickly on pouring to just a ring at the edge. Tiny islands of lacing noted but they would slide back down the side of the glass.

Smell: Yeast, hint of phenol, pineapple, hint of orange, caramelized malt....but this is on the swirl. Let the foam die back and the aroma is just mildly fruity at first, but as it warms up there is that distinctive Sake smell. Quite an interesting beer.

Taste: Lots of flavors going on here - hard to pull them all out. When first poured and still a bit cold the beer was more sweet in character and reminded me of a Belgian dark. But as it warmed up, more flavors came out and leave everything crammed together. Caramelized malts and Belgian-style yeast flavors up front (lots of fruit), then some warming alcohol in the middle with some Sake flavor. The finish is best when the beer has warmed up with definite orange citrus and spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation, but otherwise thick and a bit creamy. Some hop oils definitely sticking to the teeth with this one.

Overall/Drinkability: A very interesting beer and it's hard to characterize. It has aspects of a Belgian dark...and it's not a Belgian dark. I'd almost say it would be a better match for a Belgian Strong Pale Ale instead - reminds me of Duvel at times. But even if it is misclassified, it's still a good beer. A slow sipper and a one-at-a-time beer (I don't think I could finish a second in one evening) it's definitely something that grabs your attention. Interesting enough that I could see buying it again though, and so while only one per evening with this one, I think it's still quite drinkable in that I'd be willing to lay down some money again for this one.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy golden orange to ruby red in color with a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation at the edges of the glass and near the surface. The beer has a half finger tall creamy dark beige head that slowly reduces to a large thin patch with a thin film covering the rest of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of malts with some citrus hops and a definite presence of sake. There is a light aroma of alcohol but that is likely contributed by the sake.

T: Similar to the smell, there is a fairly strong body of malts and a very light presence of sourness that disappears as the beer warms. There are some light notes from the citrus hops and some oak from the barrel aging. Also, there is a fairly strong flavor of sake.

M: On the fuller side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Lightly dry with some light alcohol warming in the finish.

O: While the ABV is not that high for this beer, it is very strong tasting and not the easiest to drink. Enjoyable but one you have to slowly sip on and not one that you could have multiple in a session.

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Photo of jeremy13586
3.64/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle that I had purchased a little while back but kept forgetting to drink. Code on the back label is XH.11.07 and it is also labeled as 7% abv.

Muddy dark crown color. Some orangish amber along the edges where the light hit. One finger of creamy light tan head that didn't last too long. No lacing.

Some sweet, dark fruit and spice. Notes of booze and oak, with a bit of a sake finish. Booze comes out a lot more as it warms.

Very fruity. Plum, raisin, a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. Lots of spice and a little bit of wood and booze. Not very clean of a finish, but the spiciness was pretty nice.

Medium bodied and fairly smooth. Creamy carbonation.

The spiciness of the brew was quite nice, but it did muddy things up a bit. Also, the finish was a bit messy. It's a beer worth trying, but I can't see myself picking this up again.

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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 acevenom
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. Pours dark caramel brown with lots of bubbles and a half-finger length biege head that dissipates, leaving a cap of lace on the surface. The aroma is of toffee, dark roasted malts, dark fruits, and yeast. There is some sake in the aroma as well. Flavors of sweet fruits hit the mouth on the first sip. The sake is detectable in the taste. There is some bitterness on the back end as well. The alcohol also detectable in the taste. This is a very unique tasting beer. This beer has a medium to full body and the lively carbonation makes this very easy to drink. Overall, this is a solid beer and an interesting take on the style.

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Epic head. Body is hazy reddish brown, very interesting.
S: Wow that is good. Hits me with apricot, sweet, maybe some melon in there. Pineapple. Some very interesting smells here!
T: A very unique taste here. The fruit sweetness comes through but isn't overpowering. Some yeast and alcohol in there.
M: Sits really nice. Not too heavy, not too bubbly. Some flavor comes through but isn't overpowering.

Overall a pretty good beer. While some aspects were really great like the smell, the taste was good. I wish there had been a little bit more distinctness in the taste but still a really nice drink.

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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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