Kiuchi Brewery
from Japan
72nd highest rated brewery (of 635)
Highest RatedHitachino Nest Extra High (XH) (80 / 100) Average score68 / 100 (Solid)
Lowest RatedHitachino Nest Sweet Stout (Lacto) (46 / 100) Number Tried14
Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew
Reviewed by Jez on 05.05.12 in bottle
75 / 100
Bottle purchased for me by @epiclurk. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a pleasantly burnished orange-red colour, with a hazy wholeness to it. Some mild, filmy but fine lacing of pure white forms above the glass. Body actually looks pretty solid, which represents the beer overall: solid.

Nose is pleasantly sweet and gingery, in a (pardon the stereotype) very Asian kind of way. It has a pickled sweetness to the quality of the ginger, leaving it almost festive and boisterous. There's some slightly lively carbonic bite to it, but it's ok to ignore that and to consider just the unique ginger quality to the brew.

Similar sort of flavour to the Asian-style ginger. There's certainly some sweetness, and some husky spice to it, but it's almost as though the unusualness of the flavour protects you from the unexpected. It's as though the slightly curried or piquant ginger character caresses you and says "I know I'm not what you expect, but you could love me anyway".

Overall, an unexpectedly delicious, and certainly unusually caressing ginger-infused brew. There's something utterly unique about it, but also utterly disarming about it. Although almost everything about it is unexpected, you're happy to let it do what it needs to do. An unexpectedly pleasant experience.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Hitachino Nipponia
Reviewed by Jez on 06.01.12 in bottle
77 / 100
A very interesting sounding beer, thanks to @LaitueGonflable for the bottle.

Pours a lovely hazed golden colour, with a properly thick bock holding fine carbonation. Head is fine and snowy, leaving perfect lacing and subsisting as a fine mesh on the top of the glass. Overall, a very nice looking beer.

Nose is sweetly fruity, with that odd vanilla, oak and lemon twang from the Sorachi Ace. Under this are sweet tones of apricot, and a touch of banana. The Sorachi Ace makes the beer, as far as I'm concerned, but there are some other touches to complement it.

Taste is also mild and smooth, with more pleasant characters coming from the Sorachi Ace: mild wood, pastry, vanilla and a soft lemon custard character. Clear finish, without a great deal of bitterness—it's more of a dryness that lets the palate finish of its own accord rather than sweeping everything away.

Feel is lovely and smooth, which nicely complements the smooth, silky Sorachi Ace characters in the flavour.

Really nice brew, and interestingly drinkable for a special-release beer. Indeed, I'd be perfectly happy to drink this regularly as a pleasant after-work beer.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH)
Reviewed by Jez on 03.12.11 in bottle
80 / 100
Pours a very thick and rather heavy burnished red-brown colour, bright at the sides but deep in the centre. Head is filmy and pocked with large bubbles, but forms a silky slick on the top of the beer. Lacing is patchy. Body is full and thick, but doesn't hold the surprisingly large bubbled carbonation particularly well.

Nose is spicy and exciting. Big sweet nutmeg and dried ginger spices on the nose, giving aromas of brandy soaked christmas cake. This is linked with an interesting green freshness (almost like hoppiness), that probably comes from the cedar sake barrels. It's sweet but cut, complex but smooth. Very exciting.

Taste is similar, but less complex and less truly exciting than it might have been. Still, there's those big dark spice characters coming through, with the luscious sweetness lending tones of dates and raisins to the mix. Spice on the back has a slightly tannic quality to it, giving some tea and wood. There isn't the resiny, sharp and fresh flavour the cedar barrels give (say) the JCA, but there's interesting complexities to it.

Another very intriguing and interesting beer from Kiuchi. While this doesn't smack me across the face to open my eyes like the Japanese Classic Ale does, it lends some interesting twists to a genre, and delivers a fine beer-drinking experience along the way.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.09.11 in bottle
60 / 100
Pours a red-amber colour, mild pink tinge wit head that is off-white and mostly dissipated, with decent lace left behind. Looks OK.

Smells fruity and slightly earthy, with plenty of English toffee malt, baked apple, marshmallow and bubblegum sweetness on there. Some date/walnut notes as well. Bit too sweet but otherwise OK.

Taste starts out with that bubblegum sweetness but gets better. Still quite malty with banana bread notes throughout, plenty of nutmeg and slight ginger spice as well. Bit oversweet still with not much finish to speak of. It sort of doesn't quite go anywhere starts sweet, finishes sweet. Would have liked some more variety in the palate.

Thin but smooth, not overly carbonated.

Not a bad brew. Mostly malty with hints of interest here and there. I had thought that maybe it had simplified and diminished a bit with age but the bottle says still good for another year, so take that however you like.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout (Lacto)
Reviewed by Jez on 27.08.11 in bottle
46 / 100
(Not Great)
Pours a very fine light brown colour, opaque in the middle but otherwise a bit lacklustre. Head is fine and mild-bubbled. Some patchy lacing. Otherwise, not that great.

Nose is sweet, but slightly organic, with a rotting character that really doesn't bear repeating. Some roasted notes, but the sweetness is a little sickening, giving the impression of vomit and chewed grains. Not impressed.

Taste is similar, although the sweetness is more subdued, giving a pleasant grain character instead. It's still very light-bodied and rather easily drinkable. Not much to it at all, but it's not unpleasant. Body is extremely thin, however.

It's not bad, but it's very, very unexciting. A stout? Questionable. It has the lightness and easy drinking of any generic beer you choose to name. Pretty boring.

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 26.03.11 in bottle
77 / 100
Pours black and opaque--I can barely get this to show any colour even at the edges. Even when held to light I get a murky blackened red-brown colour. Head is fine, but relatively small. Lacing forms in rings as it is drunk. Good looking beer.

Nose is sharp with coffee characters, but pleasantly so; blended nicely with big roasted malt and astringent piquancy, almost like seaweed. Dark chocolate from the blackest depths makes an appearance, but adds no sweetness. This is a big, dark, roasted-- slightly woody and organic--but unapologetic beer.

Taste is also very good, and very lengthened along the palate. Initially, light chocolate sweetness hits dominate, but these are almost instantaneously removed by the welling of dark bittersweet espresso characters, big grainy richness and a bitter astringency on the finish. It's an extremely long palate, and indeed, one that doesn't even begin to develop until the beer has been swallowed. Throughout it all, there's this oddly organic character that lifts the beer from being effectively muted by a low-pass filter. (If you know what I mean).

Feel is light, but smooth. I would perhaps expect more heft behind such a beer, but as it stands, the lightness in the feel mimics the hidden lightness on the palate.

A very decent brew and a very interesting take on a stout, and even an interesting take on a coffee stout.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 18.03.11 in bottle
65 / 100
Purchased online from the Adelaide Bier Shop, and shipped to Sydney, quite amazingly (with a reasonably large order) for less than I can buy it locally.

What's to say about this beer? This is a weird brew, and there's no getting around it. It pours a bright reddish pink colour, hazed from the sediment that seems to form through the bottom third of the bottle, with a fine and delicate head of pinkish white, that leaves sheets of tiny-bubbled lacing. Body looks light, and there are frantic streams of small-bubbled carbonation cutting through to the top. It's a very unique and rather impressive looking beer.

Nose is weirdly balanced between pungent and lightly organic Belgian esters, and a light almost berry-like fruitiness. Skews weirdly towards sweetness, but with a raw, robust, almost meaty sweat to it. Very, very unusual.

Taste is unsurprisingly flat from the rice addition, but with a big upturn in odd smoky meat characters on the finish. Light body, almost the crispness of a lager, but without the crispness of flavour. Booze is very noticeable in the rather under-nuanced palate, giving a sharp heat on the mid palate when everything else has dropped out.

Yes indeed. What is to say? This is a fantastically unique beer, that really has some interesting points. I can't say it's something I'd enjoy regularly, but Kiuchi have come up with something yet again (as they did with their cedar-aged Japanese Classic Ale) that is unique and memorable.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.08.10 in bottle
77 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour, with dense beige head that sinks slowly, leaving really lovely lace behind. The clear body reveals a magical Disney-esque cascade of bubbles streaming up the glass.

Lots of hop on the nose, floral and herbal with hints of rose & curry leaf. Nice spice to it with a bit of turmeric and a nice citric undertone. Hint of caramelised malt as well, very enticing indeed. 4.5

Taste is intriguing, hmmmm, let me see... Flat malt at the front lets the hop come through early. Notes of fresh cut grass and flax gets slightly mediciney late on the mid. The cedar wood is strong on the back. Dominates really, and overwhelms the hops just a bit in their ability to cleanse the palate. The bitterneas lacks the zip of an American IPA but that is purely a personal preference and says nothing about this beer's quality. The only fault I have with this is the dominance of the wood on the back, and it could use more malt on the front just to balance it a bit.

Good body, lots of viscosity with a really nice dry finish.

I like this a lot, but the imbalance does mean I Couldn't drink more than one or two at a time.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 04.08.10 in bottle
77 / 100

Very iconic label, with the same iconic owl on the cap. I'd seen it a couple of times at the local craft beer purveyor, but only recently decided to pick it up.

Pours with a hazy body, a lovely reddish golden colour, with a light but frothy head of shiny pale foam. Lacing is really excellent, although the retention in the head is poor. Still, I love the colour, it's a pretty good looking beer all up.

Aged in cedar casks indeed. Huge cedar wood aromas on the nose, very prominent, which overpower everything, but which provide an unusual and delicious alternative to the regular spicy hops. I feel there is a mix of spicy, slightly piney hops in the mix, but it's hard to disassociate the two. Still, it's a pungent and quite memorable nose. Very enjoyable.

More piney characters on the palate, and the cedar character permeates here again. You can taste the wood, but it's a very different character from the deep, vinous oak notes on oak-aged beers. Quite a long palate, spicy along its length, gaining some light phenols towards the back, and finishing rather dry. Bitterness is pronounced as the palate continues, leaving a very decent IPA-level sharpness on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is crisp and sharp, a great match for the flavours.

What an unusual beer, but a deeply enjoyable one. Crisp and rather refreshing. It's certainly not an IPA in the traditional sense as it's classified here, but I'd be hard pressed to find a better categorisation for it.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 26.07.10 in bottle
61 / 100
Alright, my first taste of Japanese craft beer, let's go...

Pours a nice black-brown, with lovely ochre head that disperses, leaving a ring of beige lacing around the top with great stickiness. Carbonation is steady, and has a bit of wobble to the body. Looks pretty nice.

Lots of cool espresso notes on the nose, kind of spicy coffee, hints of mint on there, a mild cocoa touch but not a lot of roastiness. Coffee dominates and it's rich, strong, bitter. Good aroma but a bit simple.

Taste is also full of coffee, quite sour, spicy and phenolic with peaks and troughs of flavour. Taste is more roasty with strong coffee ground flavour, hints of peppery spice, caramel sweetness underlying and a bit of a clovey spice on the late-mid as well. Never loses sight of the flavour, but sweetness dips late and that produces a slight soapy astringency which doesn't quite sit right with me. There's a good front, but by the finish it's a bit on the nasty bitter side which leaves a harsh, ashy aftertaste.

Good body but swills around in a watery kind of way. It has a slight carbonation tingle which is not bad, but yeah, feels a little on the thin side.

The aftertaste is a little rough but otherwise a decent drinking stout.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0