Beer Review: Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale

japaneseclassicale1

Brewery: Kiuchi Brewery
Beer: Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
Style: English India Pale Ale
ABV: 7.0 %
Character: Brewed following the original India Pale Ale brought to Japan in the 19th century. It is slowly matured in Cedar casks which are commonly used in the brewing of traditional Japanese sake.
Ratings at time of review: BA: 86 | RB: 92
Metal Connection: SIGH – Taste Defeat

Rating: 3.5/5

japaneseclassicaleFor about a year now I have been seeing these Hitachino Nest beers around at the local bottle shops, and beer fests. Being immediately drawn to their cartoon-like owl on their labels, giving this a typical Japanese look, I really wanted to try them all, and so far I have had plenty of their beers that are available to me. Here is the first one to make the site. This one is called Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale, and this beer is lumped into the category of English IPA, as this is Kiuchi Brewery’s take on an old India Pale Pale style dating back to the 19th century.

I appropriately used a pint glass by Branchline Brewing Company which has their Evil Owl Amber Ale logo on it. I figured it was fitting considering it has an owl on it. The beer’s appearance was a hazy thick looking amber color with a thin eggshell colored head. No head retention in this beer. No lacing left at all on glass.

I get mostly sweet caramel, which is completely dominant in the nose. There is a very subtle citrus and floral hop presence, but it is masked very well by the strong malts. I pick up a scent that can best be described as grapes, blended with a faint aroma of old musky wood, which most likely comes from the cedar casks where this beer was placed to age before bottling.

The taste is nowhere near what I expected for an English IPA. Sweet Caramel malt, again is the driving force in this beer. That is all I get up front on the taste buds. A tiny hint of citrus and floral hops peak through the malty heavy taste, though. There is a strange taste thrown in the mix reminiscent of wine grapes, and old musky wood. This flavor seems to linger around a bit after each swill.

I thought that this one was a bit of a heavy bodied beer. The mouthfeel was smooth with a good carbonation bite, and mild bitterness. The aftertaste of the cedar cask and sake left a dry feeling at the finish.

I did find this beer to be above average overall, and I will gladly drink this one again, as I feel I need to, so I can get a better understanding on this one. Of course, this is Kiuchi Brewery’s take on a classic style IPA, that can best be described as an English IPA, so I should have not expected this to be exact, since it is an interpretation of the style. I am happy that this brewery is easily available for me here in San Antonio. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on their other beers with you soon.

SIGH-ScornDefeatMetal Connection: Seeing as this is a Japanese beer, I went with an old classic favorite of mine from Japan. I am referring to the Black Metal/Avent-Garde Metal band, Sigh. I have always liked how this band puts together songs, and the song chosen here is definitely no exception. This is actually one of my favorite tunes from the band. This is “Taste Defeat” from their 1993 debut full length album, Scorn Defeat, which was released on Deathlike Silence. Of course, if you know anything about the Underground metal scene, then you will know that this was the record label owned by Øystein Aarseth (Euronymous). Sigh is still active, but have definitely strayed away from the traditional Black Metal sound they had early in their career.

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