Hitachino Nest XH by Kiuchi Brewery

Tasting: January 22, 2012
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 7%

hitachino nest XH

I wrote a review of Kiuchi’s Hitachino Nest Stout a couple of weeks ago and noted that the Japanese brewery gained their acclaim by producing sake. They used the surplus rice that were collected as taxes from landowners as payment to what I guess would be akin to a feudal lord to produce this sake. They’ve grown to produce beer and wine in addition to sake. Sake is an alcoholic beverage derived from rice. It typically is about 15 % alcohol which isn’t far from wine or a high ABV beer. Most sake is aged in steel tanks – but this beer is aged in the oak casks used to distill Kiuchi’s Shocyu Shocyu sake.

Their labels are easily recognizable with their cartoon owl mascot. Pours a cloudy orange color. Aroma of mellow banana. First sip is fizzy but crisp. Has the banana and clove influence of a Belgian ale — but it is truly tucked behind a burnt caramel flavor — I assume its the sake influence. Some crisp, strong and earthy hops are present as well some starchy rice. It finishes quite crisply with very little lingering aftertaste. I can honestly say that I haven’t had a beer that I can easily compare. Think Belgian in a heavy earthy presentation. Mouthfeel is medium and it builds a nice stickiness in a very short time. I’ve really enjoyed this one and will put it at 87 points.

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