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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) | Kiuchi Brewery

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)
Very Good
737 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: 737 |  Reviews: 366
Photo of schmoopsbeer
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served into a snifter chilled.

Color: A blend of Autumn colors: burnt orange, light red, and brown. Very nice off white head and with little to no lacing.

Nose: Vinegar,plenty of cherry, and dried fruits(think trail mix). Also very present is an assortment of wild and spicy spices.

Palate: It floats on the tongue. A nice soft body with no trace of alcohol. Plenty of sweet and gentle fruit. Definitely plenty of sake influence here.

Finish: Clean ,tasty and of medium length. The taste of Cinnamon and Coriander come through, even some really ripe orange and cherry explode on the finish.

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Photo of jera1350
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep burnt orange hue with lots of sediment. The head is thick and frothy and retains well.

Has a bit of a lambic sour to the nose. Sour fruit with some floral and herbal notes.

Quite a bit of hot booze in the taste. Picking up sake, a strong musky wood, caramel and herbal flavors. A touch of fruit. The alcohol is very noticeable and it actually tastes just like sake.

Over-carbonated. It really acts up in the mouth and the bottle was a little bit of a slow gusher. Medium bodied with a hot and dry finish.

I like the creativity with the sake casks. The alcohol is a pretty dang strong however. This tastes and feels like a twelve percent beer, not a seven. Definitely worth a try if you are into sake or want a beer that is one of a kind.

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Photo of saintwarrick
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light brown almost brunt orange color to this brew; some decent lacing which quickly deteriorates. Aroma is spicy; some figs and vanilla and a dominating woodsy characteristic left over from the cask aging. Also an alcohol tinge which I can only assume is sake mixed with a sour citrusy flavor. Sweet malts with a slight bit or sour and oak stand out in the taste. Boozy aroma is well hidden in the taste, though this is a big brew. One of the most unique brews I have had.

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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 aasher
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had looked this one up the other day then found a single bottle behind a bunch of clutter at work. Score! The second I even thought about popping it open it began foaming. It gushed all over my counter but I only lost a couple ounces. This beer pours a muddied brown with ruby highlights and a one finger light beige head. The foam dissipated over a couple minute span and laced the glass. The aromas are pretty sweet. I didn't expect that at all. I've never had sake, so don't know what it smells like, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't smell like this. It's very fruity. It really reminds me of Dogfish Head's Red and White. It smells like it has light wine barrel aging to it. The flavors are sweet and fruity. There are dark fruits as well as some citrus and it finishes with an alcohol flavor that I can't quite pin down (probably the sake). Unfortunately, this off alcohol flavor is the main flavor of the after taste. It too bad because it is pretty fruity and pretty flavorful. I like it for the most part but the off flavor drives down the drinkability a tad. Pretty good beer overall.

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Photo of boudreaux
2.51/5  rDev -33.8%
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 CrazyDavros
3.06/5  rDev -19.3%
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 andrenaline
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been wanting to grab a bottle of this for some time...

A - Pours a murky swamp water brown with a finger of head with some retention and no real lacing.

S - Unique scent on this one with some ginger and breaded caramel malts, followed by some cloves and pepper on the finish.

T - Not you typical Belgian Dark Ale as the ginger flavours seem to dominate over the traditional Belgian flavours. A bitter lemon hop flavour also lingers alongside the bready caramel and wooden cedar flavours. A bit of ABV sweetness and heat is also detectable, but is not offensive.

M - Medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and finishes with a noticeable dryness (not to be interpreted as a turnoff).

D - A very tasty take on a Belgian Dark Ale and definitely worth a try. Hitachino seems to offer some very tasty beers, and I will be sure to check out more of their product line in the future.

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Photo of bobhits
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy yeast filled brown/amber color. Leaves a decent amount of head that quickly subsides and leaves a thin creamy head that seems to last the whole beer. Clearly a decent bit of lacing to go with.

Smells like a sour amber. Certainly some alcohol, sour fruits (apples) and it finishes with a bit of caramel. Perhaps a hint of oak much like some oak aged wines subtly have a hit in the finish.

Mind you I don't think sake has any real flavors to speak of, but I'm not really picking up what characters that the barrels added. Perhaps the oak added to this sour flavor and perhaps mellowed some flavors while upping the alcohol, but it's hard to say without having the base beer. There is a literal medley of flavors in this beer. Everything from apples to plumbs followed by a sour subtly hopped finish. Rather good.

I've never thought an 11.2 oz beer was too small for a review but my glass is gone and I'm still trying to decide what I wasted. Extremely drinkable though a touch too watery for its own good.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With the barrel-aged craze at full throttle, I'm surprised to only now see shocyu casks being used. It takes a mighty base beer to absorb these boozy flavors in balance and not to be dwarfed by them.

XH pours with a diffused amber-brown color. Haze allows for a soft glow for a masculine and refined appearance. A delicate sheet of creme coats the surface of the beer with intermitten pockets of foam and lace. Good retention despite such alcohol dominance and wood aging.

Thin and spicy alcohols meet the nose with a tanic, woody scent of cedar, ginger, and light must. Caramel scents seem to be the bridge between the oak aroma and malty base. Lightly peppery and vinous with berry-like esters with light vanilla and almond. The beer seems to give new scents with each visit to the glass.

Sweet caramel flavor meets the front of the tongue but quickly develop into burnt caramel, bread crust, and graham crackers. Fruity esters of grapes, plumbs, dates, and figs develop from the caramel maltiness and morph towards the woody elements of spice, maple, and raw cedar or ginger. Piney hops also help to round out the tanins from oak and balance the sweetness.

Timidly robust early, the beer releases a mild creamy notation before the spice and alcohol usher in a warm and moderately astringent finish. Quite harsh with fusal alcohols for a beer topping out at 7%-8% abv.

The complexity of the beer reaches very high marks although the base beer claims more unresolved sweetness than dry maltiness. But the harshness of alcohol and tanin seem to be unnecessary and provide the only real detractions.

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Photo of evlu1441
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is aged in sake barrels, and it really makes for a unique experience.

Pours a nice dark reddish brown. The head is fluffy and hangs around.

The smell is not outstanding, but nice.

It tastes amazing! Completely unique, and in a good way! It has a very roasty malty flavour, but a bit of sourness. not too sweet, but there is a kind of "funkyness" that I assume comes from the sake that is really unique, but hard to describe.

I really enjoyed this one!

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Photo of metter98
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy dark orange in color and poured with a thin white head that quickly dissipated into lacy patterns of bubbles. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: The nose is slightly sour and has light aromas of citrus and sake.
T: There is sourness in the initial taste, although this weakens as the beer warms up and the underlying malty flavors become a bit stronger, which also have notes of oak and sake from the barrel aging. There is a slight amount of malty sweetness in the initial taste and this is followed by a mild amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. A bit of alcohol warming is present in the finish.
D: Although the alcohol is well masked from the taste, the beer needs to warm up before it becomes drinkable. There's no way that I could drink more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of MatthewPatthew
3.21/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got a bottle from Texas Wine & Spirits in Carlsbad, CA. Seems to be in pretty good shape.

A: Surprisingly pretty. opaque, vibrant red with a long lasting, uniform, white head.

S: Alcohol, big malt sweetness and caramel. Just a hint of hops, though I imagine if it were fresher they would be more present. Reminds me of Stone's Old Guardian. Slightly harsh, but generally enjoyable.

T: A relatively unremarkable malt flavor leads off. The Sake aging hits midway through the flavor profile. The finish is dry with a lasting alcoholic impression. Malt/Undefined -> Sake -> Dryness/High Alcohol.

M: Highly carbonated. The CO2 makes up for what is otherwise on the light side of a light-med body. That makes the alcohol more apparent; it feels like a bigger beer than 7%.

D: Interesting beer. Worth trying and worth buying again to show your friends, as the Sake profile is pleasant and unique. However, I would say that this beer is too big for it's own good. The alcohol is too overwhelming for the body and other flavors to handle. A promising concept.

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Photo of LordChesterfield
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have the stuff all the time at the restaurant down the street. The price is a little steep, but what're you gonna do, it's Japan and micro brew is hard to find.

It's a deep brown pour, with a foamy tan head that disappears quickly. The smell is like a biscuit that was flavored with unfermentable sugars. The taste is basically the same although a lot more depth with wood and hop, but with a little too much sweetness. It's good for a first beer after work, just to kill the tension. It could use some more hops to balance that sweetness. These rednecks need to get a hold of some cascade hops. There's more to making a good beer than slapping a pretty label on it and charging a fortune. This is why I stick to Oolonghais most of the time. Oh and it's 8.00% ABV. It's not retired, they probably just don't export it to the U.S. anymore. I live in Ibaraki-ken. On Wikipedia it's listed as a Belgian strong ale, not an American strong ale. Which is right? Dunno. For anyone living in Japan and wants quality alcohol at a reasonable price, you should switch to shochu.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - cloudy brown orange with a solid off white head that left nice sticky lacing after a good retention
S - roasted nuts, all spice, fruity and a little hoppy
T - definite earthy nutty flavour from the shochu barrels, burnt sugars, ripe fruit, all spice, light citrus and salty
M - a peppery start quickly smooths out, with a spicy finish
D - the flavours are very unique and pungent, you would never guess this to be an 8% beer, this could be sessionable

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Photo of gordavidson
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As soon as I crack the seal of the cap, this thing foams all over the place. I manage to wiggle the cap all the way off and rescue about 75% of the beer.

A- A hazy, luminescent orange liquid with thousands of tiny floaters. The head settles to a thin and foamy covering and leaves some nice lacing.

S- A very pungent aroma of funk and sour fruit. Very appealing.

T- Not nearly as sour as the aroma lead me to believe. There are some olives and funk as well as a bit of sake.

M- A nice creamy body with a light finish.

D- The alcohol content is hidden pretty well and in combination with the light carbonation, it drinks pretty well. A unique beer that I enjoyed, although it was not what I expected.

Whether or not this is what the brewers intended, it is enjoyable.

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Photo of Macca
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This pours a cloudy caramel head with a huge fluffy off white head.

The funky and sour notes dominate the aroma for me. Maybe a touch of sweetness and alcohol behind it.

The funkiness doesn't do it for me on the palate. A bit dirty. Not getting much else.

Full bodied with a high carbonation.

This didn't do it for me. Maybe I just don't understand what it's supposed to be?

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Photo of broken22
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So after having such a good experience with this breweries espresso stout I could not wait to try this other beer I picked up at the same time.

So I pop this beer and pour it into a glass. Wow, this thing foams up like crazy. The little bit of beer I can see that is not foam is a dark orangey color. Like an apple cider. So now I must wait before I can pour any more in...still waiting...ah pour a little more and wait...OK there all the beer has been poured. The foamy head looks like the surface of a martian landscape, but it has finally died down so I can take my first sip. But wait I need to tell you about how it smells first. It smells really good. It has a nice spicy smell to it like many other belgians I have had. The only difference is the subtle sharpness that I can only imagine is coming from the sake barrels this thing was aged in. I can wait no longer and take my first sip. Wow a little more aggressive than I was expecting. This thing really attacked the sides of my tongue. After a few more sips my mouth is now acclimatized so I can begin to really taste this thing. I would have to say that I am really getting the flavor of sake. This beer has the a subtle sweetness of a plum while managing to get a little citrus like flavor all blending together without ever really standing out.

This is another good beer. I'm kind of curious about the heavy foam up. Makes me think that this could have been over sugared when it was time for bottling. I guess that means more testing is in order, dang :P So to wrap it up I think this is a good beer and it had a very interesting flavor from the sake barrels, which has to be unique to this brewery. After now trying two beers from this brewery I really want to try all of their offerings. If you like belgians then try this one out. My local beer store is selling these for $5.99 for a 12oz single.

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Photo of xxthepatientxx
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a hazy reddish amber/light brown. Foamed like nuts for me, but I've had few already, so my pour might be off...still think it's the beer though! Pretty, but dirty-lookin, I guess.
S - smells like a sour to me...no one told me about this..."belgian strong dark ale" my ass. Belgian, yes; strong, yes; dark, not really. Oaky funk is all I get, and mostly funk. Tart cherries?
T & M - oh yeah, sour. Funky as hell. I wanna say brett, of course, but the whole sake cask think makes me think maybe it's whatever yeast they use for that or maybe the koji. Whatever it is, it's good! Slight woodiness, but the funk dominates. I dig it. Smooth for all that, but light bodied, with a tingling carbonation.
D - hey, I love me some sour/funky ales...and I could drink this one all night.

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Photo of tanarm
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Soft white head, meringue-like at first. Persistent. Reddish body, clarity is good.

Sharp, earthy, notes of ripe fruit on the nose right away. Something about it screams sour. Grapefruity. Some overtones of wood and spice. Some sweet malt aroma.

Taste is fruity, overripe mangoes and grapefruit rinds. Notes of wood and spice. Quite sour. Overwhelmingly at first, but then the sourness subsides as it warms. Some sweet malt in the backbone, maybe a touch of caramel. Hops are there to balance but don't take the stage. Slight alcohol warmth.

I didn't realize this was going to be a sour ale, and I am not sure if that's what they had planned, but this is very enjoyable. This would probably age well for many new years to come.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: As soon as the cap was off, the bottle started gushing foam. Once it was in the glass, light reddish brown in color with an immense tan head that I was glad to see stuck around for the whole beer.

S: Really nice. Oak, sake, cinnamon, a little nuttiness and some more spice. A lot going on here.

T: I was surprised to find that this beer was pretty sour. I got a lot of apple cider vinegar with hints of brett and tart green apples in the taste along with some nice sake dryness. Pretty solid.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.42/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky orange with a bit of crisp white head that dissipates quickly. smells hoppy and sweet. very odd combination with the sake smells. Tastes a bit sweet. mostly dry with very unusual Sake flavours. Definitely unique. Decent mouthfeel but the strange flavours definitely hinder the drinkability

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Photo of bsp77
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Pilsner-like glass.

Appearance: Cloudy orange with towering cream colored head and some nice lacing.

Smell: Tart apples, vinegar, oak and pepper.

Taste: Nice tartness derived from apple and citrus. The oak aging adds a nice level of complexity, as does the brett. Ends with pepper, clove and spicy hops. Great balance overall and the tartness remains at a manageable level.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation, medium body with a tart, dry finish. As the carbonation recedes, it becomes very smooth.

Drinkability: Love the complex layers within this beer, while remaining compulsively drinkable.

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Photo of TheTippler
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color. Medium to fuller body mouth feel. Slight funk - sourish yeasty taste. Wood is on both the nose and palate. Sake flavors are very subtle. Green apple flavors. This beer is very approachable and one of my favorite cask aged beers.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: poured amber brown in color with pale brownish yellow highlights when held up to the light that had a thin bubbly head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: upfront on the aroma a was able to notice some vinous character alongside bretty funk, oaky, and sake notes. It did however have faint vinegar notes as well.

T: the bretty barrel funk is more apparent on the palate with oaky, sake, and vinous accents but had a touch of underlying vinegar in the background; quite tasty. After a few sip it seemed to have slight citrusy grapefruit notes.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a very nice amount of carbonation which had a sweet, citrusy, oaky, bretty, sake, and mild fruity finish.

D: it actually drank quite well and kinda reminded me of a wild ale with the bretty character and intresting choice of barrels to age in.

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Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH) from Kiuchi Brewery
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 737 ratings
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