Red Rose Amber Ale – Baird Brewing (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)

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  • My Rating: A-

Red Rose Amber Ale – Baird Brewing, 5.5% ABV – 360ml., (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)

on the front right-side of the label, translated from ratebeer.com:

“This original amber ale is inspired by the “Steam” style of beer. Whereas a “Steam” is a lager beer fermented at an elevated ale-type temperature, Red Rose is an ale fermented at a lower lager-type temperature. Like a “Steam,” Red Rose combines a crisp lager refreshingness with a robust ale fruitiness. A lovely citrus-pine hop character is present from start to finish.”

  • Style: California Common/Amber Ale
  • Taste: Creamy almost-milky cocoa caramel malts w/ piney hops
  • Where I got it : West Coast Liquor
  • How much: $5 – 360ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: 100% Japanese label other than the name,a true import. But I had to go to the specialty liquor shops in Japan to find Baird beers. Pours cloudy iced tea brown with a nice sized foamy head, a thin layer of retention, some lacing, several steady singular streams.

Nose: clean, medium-sweet caramel malts. Very nice. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: creamy-smooth mouthfeel

Mid-palate: fizzy-tingly, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) caramel malts, light cocoa, almost milky

Finish: soft medium bitter pine hops + cocoa finish.

Summary: Crazy smooth and easy-sipping. Once again I’m surprised at the fact I finished this beer in under 5 minutes just tasting it.

Kurofune Porter – Baird Brewing (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)

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  • My Rating: A-

Kurofune Porter – Baird Beer, 6% ABV – 360ml., (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)

on the front right-side of the label, translated from ratebeer.com:

“Kurofune (means “Black Ships”) was the word the Japanese used to describe the American gunboats that came to open Japan to western trade. Kurofone Porter is sleek and forceful, but leaves a winning bittersweet taste of chocolate and coffee on the tongue. “Do not resist the superior might; cunningly acquiesce, and embrace.” Kampai!”

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  • Style: Porter
  • Taste: Chocolate roasted coffee malts, silky-creamy smooth and crisp, surprising spiced finish.
  • Where I got it : West Coast Liquor
  • How much: $5 – 360ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Extremely cool Japanese-style artwork on the label. Pours ultra-dark brown with a nice-sized cream-foamy head, good retention, sticky lacing, several micro bubbly streams near the base of the glass.

Nose: sweet roast coffee-chocolate malts, very enticing (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: silky smooth-crisp, mild fizzy

Mid-palate: creamy-smooth mouthfeel, (MAIN) chocolate malts, roasted coffee, mild soy sauce

Finish: just a touch of coffee sourness, soft bitter malted hops + roasted bitterness, hint of black pepper spiced malty finish.

Summary: Ultra smooth, crisp and well-balanced, this one is now one of my favourite porters. This makes me reconsider my love for imperial stouts.

Asahi black 黒生 (Japan)

Asahi black 黒生, 5% ABV – 334ml, (Tokyo, Japan)

from ratebeer.com:

“Bottle & can: Pasteurised.
Ingredients: Dark roasted malt; hops; rice; maize; Asahi’s pure cultured yeast.
Japan’s favourite dark beer. Brewed in Osaka, Asahi Black is made from three different roasted malts. This gives it a rich, nutty flavour and makes it incredibly smooth-drinking. Unlike other, more bitter dark beers and stouts, it’s brewed in a process called bottom fermentation, which gives it a subtle, sweet edge and smooth 5% abv.”

  • Style: Dubbel
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: bread/yeast -> malt/nut/coffee/licorice -> light-medium bitter watery finish
  • Where I got it: Liquor Depot/Barn @Lansdown Richmond
  • How much: $4, Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yep
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark coffee black, small head, micro CO2. Thick malts (& raw fish!?) on the nose. Lots of bread and yeast up front, medium (5/10) sweetness, tastes of roasted malts, nuts, light coffee, and hints of licorice, ending with a lingering light-med bitter finish – with a slight watery backdrop. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, decent carry, good drinkability.

Hitachino Nest XH Extra High – Kiuchi Brewery (Japan)

Hitachino Nest XH Extra High – Kiuchi Brewery, 8.5% ABV – 330ml, (Ibaraki, Japan)

On the back label:“This XH is brewed using more malt and hops than usual. Please enjoy the rich taste; Matured more than half a year.”

From ratebeer.com:

“Strong Belgian Brown Ale matured in distilled Sake barrels.the final Maturation takes place in Shochu casks {distilled sake} for 3 months.  Malts: Marris Otter, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate  Hops: Chinook, Styrian Golding  Original Gravity: 1.08”

  • Style: Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Sweet malts -> caramel/anise/fig/cherry -> bittersweet light-hopped finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$6, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours light brownish orange with a small micro CO2 head, a few active CO2 streams. Mainly malts on the nose. Medium-Sweet (7/10) medium-heavy malts up front, mixed with light caramel, light anise (which is the sake + shochu barrel maturation), fig, a touch of cherry. Creamy mouthfeel and finish light hoppy medium lingering bittersweet. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability.

Country Girl Kabocha Ale – Baird Brewing (Japan)

Country Girl Kabocha Ale (Pumpkin Ale) – Baird Brewing, 5.8% ABV – 633ml,(Numazu, Japan)

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: easy-drinking malted-spiced beer
  • Where I got it: Sherbrooke
  • How much: $8.50 (after 10%), June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark brownish/orange with a small head, micro CO2, lots of active CO2 streams. A pretty muted nose. Fizzy burpy CO2 up front, sweetness hits first (8/10), followed by medium malts, deep pumpkin, cinnamon, light caramel, ginger, and a lingering bitter finish (7/10). Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, decent carry, decent drinkability. No particular flavour stands out, but balance is what this beer showcases.

Minoh Stout – Minoh Brewery (Japan)

Minoh Stout – Minoh Brewery, 5.5% ABV, (Osaka, Japan)

On the front label:

“Created locally in Minoh, Osaka (sidenote: I’ve been to visit the famous waterfall & cave in Minoh; it’s gorgeous)to an award-winning recipe. This smooth and creamy dark beer is skilfully conditioned to avoid bitterness while maintaining the true characteristics of stout. It’s exceedingly moreish!”

My notes:

  • My Rating: D
  • Why I don’t like it: unclean sour finish
  • Where I got it: Chateau Louis
  • How much: $2.30 (after 10%) , June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no
Tasting notes: pours cola brown with minimal head and large CO2, not much CO2 activity, gunky sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Light roasted coffee though not fresh on the nose. Drinks fizzy up front, incoming sourness mixed with light-medium roast coffee, coffee beans, thin watery mouthfeel, transitions to an unbalanced citrus sourness (7/10), light coffee bitter finish. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, unacceptable transitions, okay carry, below average drinkability. Not exactly refreshing, rich, nor interesting, this doesn’t get a like.

Hitachino Nest Ancient Nipponia – Kiuchi Brewery (Ibaraki, Japan)

Ancient Nipponia Hitachino Nest – Kiuchi brewery, 6.5% ABV, (Ibaraki, Japan)

On the back label:

“This Nipponia is brewed using two Japanese original materials; ‘Kaneko Golden’, the Japanese ancient barley, and ‘Sorachi Ace’, the hop which once was bred in japan. Please enjoy the citrus flavour, the golden color and the complex taste”

My notes:
  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like it: good body with bold hops and citrus flavour
  • Where I got it: Keg n Cork (EDM)
  • How much: $10 , June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours clear golden yellow, minimal head, small co2. Light malts on the nose. Tastes of light-med malts, bitter orange citrus, medium-heavy bitterness throughout (7/10), strong aggressive hops (9/10). Medium complexity, med-high depth.