Hitachino Nest Amber Ale
Kiuchi Brewery

Hitachino Nest Amber AleHitachino Nest Amber Ale
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Red Ale - American Amber / Red
Ranked #124
Ranked #23,161
3.86 | pDev: 14.77%
Kiuchi Brewery
Very Good
Hitachino Nest Amber AleHitachino Nest Amber Ale
Notes: A red brown ale brewed with high-kilned malts. The toasty malt sweetness and fragrant aroma hops make this beer a deeper and pleasant brew.
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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 49 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L- Deep chestnut brown (versus 'Amber'!), clear, pours with 3mm mid-tan head. Holding well 15mins later.
S- Some bready toasty malts but also a fruity facet which seems closest to apple for me.
T- It reminds me of an English Bitter, quite toasty, prominent roasty malt notes, and a minor hoppy-dry flourish into the finish.
F- Nice, refreshing for a beer as dark as this. The fact it's a not insubstantial 6%ABV it quite well obscured by it's quite punchy Taste. As often with Japanese beer the carbonation both in the glass and mouth is notably high.
O- It's very drinkable, well as is typical of the 'Owl's Nest' beers. For the Japanese I think the aim in social culture, the beauty of producing something, is in balance and understated yet high quality. That's what I'm drinking here, beautifully balanced, no facets are shouty loud, and it all comes together into a lovely harmony, one that I would have zero problem enjoying again and again. A lovely beer.
330ml bottle BB: 04/21. I believe I bought this from BeersOfEurope/UK for home delivery.

Jul 31, 2020
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Arjen from Netherlands

3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

33 cl bottle from Toko Dun Yong, A'dam - 95 cents only, due to it being a little past the BB date. Pours a deep red colour - darker than amber I would say. Firm rocky beige head with good retention. Aroma's of caramel malt, some hops and a bit of red fruit. Retronasal follows this, perhaps some bitterness as well. Flavour is light moderate bitter with light caramel malty sweetness. Normal body, not too thin. Finishes with moderate bitterness. Still very pleasant and well drinkable despite its age.

Jun 19, 2019
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

350 ml bottle with a bottling date of April 2018 in Fukuoka, Japan.
Dark reddish brown body with an excellent, durable beige head.
Nice, mild bready and lightly spicy aroma
Smooth full body with soft, medium carbonation.
Mildly bitter with a clear, spicy hop presence. Nonetheless, this has a generous, complex and rich malt load. Superb balance between the two.
Overall: highly recommended.

May 10, 2018
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monkist from Hungary

4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Kiuchi brewery is just amazing, it is good to know that they will never let you down with whatever they brew! At least I am utterly satisfied with their beers.
This amber ale I also found almost as good as its American counterpart: looks, smells and tastes great with hints of roasted barley and high alpha acid hops. Round, semi-full body with zest and bitterness in the end, along with great fruity aromas in the nose. Feels absolutely great!
Hats off to Kiuchi again: not only do they make better beers than anyone else in Japan, they also come up with the best (classic) styles and make them perfect. Recommended to anyone!

Jan 05, 2018
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle - it's been a long while since I've stared into the equally staring eyes of the Nest Beer Owl.

This beer pours a clear, dark orange-brick brown colour, with two flabby fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly pale tan head, which leaves some dissolving ice floe lace around the glass as it genially subsides.

It smells of semi-sweet, bready and doughy caramel malt, a tinge of biscuity toffee, muddled dark orchard fruity notes, an ethereal lost in translation yeastiness, and some musty, herbal, and floral green hop bitters. The taste is gritty and grainy caramel malt, warm toffee pudding, a still hard to parse black stone fruitiness, and more testy leafy, weedy, and grassy verdant hoppiness.

The carbonation is fairly forward in its somewhat aggressive frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and sort of smooth, as the hops seem to have more sway here than I might have imagined. It finishes off-dry, the malt not really letting up, as the hop kiddies flail and fret about.

Overall, this is certainly the most American-style version of, well, anything that I have ever had from this brewery. I'm hardly getting any of that foreign yeasty character that I associate with Japanese offerings, which, for this camper, is typically a turn-off. So, um, good, I guess.

Apr 17, 2017
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EmperorBevis from England

4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a cherry stain dark red body
with big foaming off white head
Aroma is part red liquorice and part mixed veg juice
Treacle flavour with red lace notes
Nice carb
Good red ale actually

Nov 04, 2016
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kitschiguy from Hong Kong

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with not much of a head. What head does form disappears very quickly. (Not amber at all)

Nose is hoppy with some caramel and dark fruit.

Palate is interesting - quite fruity and malty with a distinct bitterness at the end. A little bit of coffee as well. Quite well balanced.

Mouth is ok if a little watery.

Overall a pretty enjoyable beer. Something a little bit different. I'm really confused by a lot of Japanese beer branding and marketing though. It feels like they try to be too clever when they should be keeping it simple, focussing less on marketing and hype and more on the product.

Recommended for fans of the style.

Mar 30, 2016
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interzen from England

3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle poured into a chalice glass

Look: Definitely more coppery than amber - quite dark with no haze or sediment to speak of. Thin white head which disappears pretty quickly to a (very) thin layer of foam and not a lot else.

Smell: Not a lot going on, even after standing for a while - very faint hint of hops and a hint of malt and dark fruit. Hard to pick out anything significant though.

Taste: Interesting transition from hops to malt and fruit to hops again - the taste is, thankfully, more prominent and varied than the smell. There's a fairly hoppy start after which the dark fruits and malt/yeast flavours kick in before giving way to a dry, hoppy finish. All in all a fairly complex flavour profile.

Feel: Hoppy to begin with, smoothing out fairly quickly. Lack of carbonation means that it feels a bit flat.

Overall: Interesting, definitely interesting. Not quite as hoppy as I've grown to like but not bad as amber ales go, although it could do with a bit more carbonation to give it a bit of punch. Unfortunately, it's just one amber in a field of many and being from Japan isn't enough to make it stand out from the crowd - worth trying if you come across it but not really worth a special effort to hunt down.

May 02, 2015
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The_Mad_Capper from Japan

4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's plenty of fresh, spicy pine in the aroma along with some grapefruit; a bit of toffee and bread crust appear after a minute or so. Pours a light tan head with fair retention; the body is reddish brown. The flavor is dominated by resiny bitterness, pinewood, and grapefruit with a touch of orange rind. The malt is definitely secondary but does appear predominantly in the finish with a nutty and bread-like character. In the mouthfeel is some alcohol warming and a medium-light body with crisp, spritzy carbonation.

Very delicious and satisfying. The malt is clearly overpowered by the hops, putting this one in a gray area between American amber and IPA. The malt appears almost as an afterthought but perhaps rounds off the intensity of the hop bittering to produce a potent but drinkable brew. The hop bitterness is neither excessive nor harsh; and the malt, while subtle, adds a little depth and smoothness to the flavor.

Oct 08, 2014
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TokyoCO from Colorado

4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle bought in Japan poured into a goblet.

A: Dark, almost black on the top with a small head that dissipated quickly. More dark reddish on the bottom.

S: mhhm.. Dark fruits, fig, maple, cherry, slight hops. This smells awesome!

T: Starts off surprisingly hoppy, followed by dark fruits and malts. The finish is quite long and is filled with malts and fruits especially the fig.

M: Hoppy and tingly initially becomes smother.

O: A great amber. The hops are definently there and the dark fruits are really nice, will look for it again!

Jun 10, 2013
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jazzyjeff13 from England

3.26/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 330ml bottle with no visible BB date. Acquired from the Brewdog webshop some time back.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. Bottle conditioned. Unusually dark for an amber ale - a deep reddish-brown hue with considerable haze and low carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy beige foam with good retention; this slowly reduces to a surface layer. Aroma of sweet, grainy malt with hints of caramel and faint pine/citrus. A stale and slightly sulphurous background note; reminiscent of overcooked hops or veg. Flawed.

Tastes of sweet caramel malt with a bitter finish. Hints of roasted grain, biscuity malt, toffee, mild pine notes and stewed hops. A dry bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with good body. A tad undercarbonated. Slightly astringent, with an aftertaste of bitter caramel malt.

Quite nice, but nothing amazing. Strangely dark and hazy - makes me wonder what malt was used. Shame about the off-notes in the aroma; these are a real let-down. Taste is pleasant and well balanced, with an emphasis on malt rather than hops. Smooth body, but it could benefit from increased carbonation to add texture. Goes down nicely enough though it fails to stand out from the crowd. Worth trying - just don't turn it into a mission.

Oct 14, 2012
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flyingpig from Scotland

3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber colour, thin and bubbly white/brown head and slightly cloudy.

Pine, roasted malts smell that is blended with a good caramel arona. Very sweet with a bit of brown sugar as well. The end is more pine and hops with some bitterness.

Caramel and roasted malts to start things off with, followed quickly by some piney hops and bitterness and a lot of sugary sweetness. The taste is rounded off by yet more malts.

Light and smooth with a good bitter hop feel to the drink and a nice, sweet finish and a touch of dryness right at the end.

Quite a nice, light and refreshing beer that was gone almost as quickly as I ordered it. The roasted malts and sweetness worked well and this one was a pleasure to drink.

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Mar 21, 2012
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GinaBeerInc from California

4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark but somewhat clear brown with huge tan head. Roasted malts in the aroma. Flavor is of roasted malts and has medium bitterness. Really good Amber with a perfect touch of bitterness for my taste. Wondering why it's relatively hard to find. At least in the Los Angeles Area.

Feb 06, 2012
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basica from California

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a opaque dark amber color with a thin tan-white head with some lacing (4)

S - The nose revealed some brown sugar sweetness, caramel malts, dark fruits and some piney hops (4)

T - Sweet caramel malts upfront revealing a slightly dark fruity middle with some dates or plums and a pleasantly hoppy and lightly bitter finish. Very interesting taste profile; the front and middle felt a tad like a light Belgian dubbel though the hoppiness at the back showed to be an American Amber (4)

M - Between light to medium bodied with a moderate-high carbonation tinge; very slightly syrupy yet generously foamy texture allows the beer to go down pleasantly smooth. (4)

D - Tasty and easy drinking; fairly well balanced as well very drinkable and sessionable; I would definitely have this one on my cards (4.5)

Dec 23, 2010
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cwc from New York

2.99/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I like Hitachino a lot, but this one didn't do it for me. Maybe it's just that I can't drink American Ambers anymore - they have a very distinct taste which I don't care for. If you like American Ambers, well, then this one has THAT taste, so you might find it to be fantastic. Still, in more objective terms, it struck me as a quality beer, but of a style I find difficult to consume.

Apr 10, 2010
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Likeburning from Tennessee

1.54/5  rDev -60.1%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer poured what looked like a whiter yeast into the glass with little specks of black as well. As opaque as Guiness, but because it was clouded and not delicious. This cloud-like beer tasted very tart a little bit of malt, but mainly skunk and trash. And I do mean lechate (the water in the bottom of a trash bag. turns out it has a name) Since most of the other reviews are positive,
I'm going to chalk this bad experience up to by local store having it sit in the sunlight, and judging by the dust on the bottle, it had probably been there a while. Si should have known better than to buy that particular bottle

Oct 18, 2008
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hoegaardenhero from Virginia

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this on tap at great japan beer festival 2008:

a: dark amber/brown withdecent off-white head and a little laceage

s: coffee and tofee malts as well as piney hops

t: toffee malts dominant; good hoppy punch

m: creamy w/ light carb

d: solid amber with a great blend of warm caramel and hoppy bitter

May 05, 2008
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soulgrowl from England

4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark for the style, a shady cherrywood burgundy with brilliant highlights and a tall, resilient, nougaty head. Excellent retention even in a lousy glass.

Smell: Floral, fruity, lightly resinous British hops and lovely roasted malts, nutty and grainy and toasty with a hint of tea and honey. Robust yet balanced.

Taste: Wonderfully roasty, with a full, grainy malt flavor and an even fuller tangy hop bitterness. There's also a fruity edge that reminds me of pineapple. The finish is where this beer really blossoms, where the malts really get nutty and the floral and woody notes of the hops shine through. But even though the finish is bold and grand, it doesn't overstay its welcome. Splendid.

Mouthfeel: Big, full, and voluptuous. Just how I like my women. I mean... beer.

Drinkability: This beer is awesome. It's a shame they don't export it so more people could try it.

Jan 09, 2007
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UncleJimbo from Massachusetts

3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brown 330 mL bottle, capped, two dates stamped on back label (2004.12.02, 2005.05.02), bottled-on and best-by dates, very considerate.

This amber ale poured a hazy, red amber color with creamy, light brown foam that persisted and clung to the glass. The smell was a pleasant malty aroma with a bit of caramel, a touch of an earthiness, and some hops. The taste was malty but not sweet with good overall hoppiness especially in the middle and finish. There was a faint note of chocolate malt as well as a hint of fruitiness. The mouthfeel was rather dry with medium body and good carbonation. The hoppiness lingered. This was an easy-drinking amber ale, and it improved as it warmed, but it was not as malty or flavorful as I expected. Thanks to Naerhu for this bottle.

Mar 09, 2005
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Naerhu from Japan

4.9/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ingredients: Malts, Hops. Alcohol: 5.0%

I have never seen a beer with such a beautifully red color. Fine long lasting head. Rich, brillant aroma. Brillant long lasting flavor. Outstanding hoppiness. I will have to have another half dozen bottles and then continue this review. Cheers!

Dec 29, 2002
Hitachino Nest Amber Ale from Kiuchi Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 49 ratings