Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew – Kiuchi Brewery (Ibaraki, Japan)

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Rating: C+

Price: $5.79, Uwajimaya, 11.2 fl.oz., 8%ABV

Visual: pours cloudy copper brown with a quickly dissipating v.small head, ringed retention, a few scattered micro streams.

Nose: very faint caramel malts. (lvl-1)-pungency

Attack: crisp malty, incoming ginger dryness

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) brown sugar malts, ginger root

Finish: ginger root bitterness, gentle hoppy bitterness, brown sugar malty sweet finish.

Summary: Identifiable ginger in the brew as advertised, a decent mix of sweet malty and rooty bitter. Not terribly spicy though which would’ve made it better.

とろける黒糖梅酒 (“melting brown sugar plum liqueur”) - チョーヤ, 14% ABV, Japan

On the back label:

“毎晩たのしみたい食後の梅酒。黒糖で育てた、まったりとろける味わいをたのしみください。(rough translation until I improve my Japanese: “The plum wine after the food which every night we would like to enjoy. You raised with the black sugar, with please wait and/or enjoy the [ro] [ke] [ru] tasting.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like it: rich flavour and aroma
  • Where I got it: Tokyo, ドン・キホーテ, 池袋
  • How much: <¥500
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yep
  • Would I recommend this to liqueur afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes (on the rocks): pours dark brown, lighter than syrup viscosity. Tastes of deep half-aromatic brown sugar (demerara), half sweet plum finish with a hint of sourness. Good balance and liking the brown sugar in there.

(straight, chilled): caramel and heavy brown sugar on the nose, thick viscosity. 9/10 sweetness up front, tart plum in the background after the brown sugar rush.

Yebisu Beer – Sapporo Brewery

1) All Malt Beer, 5% ABV

On the front:

“YEBISU BEER is a rich and mellow premium beer brewed from 100% fine malt and select hops with Sapporo’s traditional art.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C-
  • Why I like it: N/A
  • Where I got it: Tokyo
  • How much: ¥230
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Nope
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Nah

Tasting Notes: pours golden yellow, minimal head, small carbonation, ringed retention, minor lacing. Malted barley and bread on the nose. Major malts and barley up front that persist through to the end. 3/10 sweetness, aggressive hoppy 6/10 heavy bitterness, lingers on the center of the tongue, bitter follow-through, long finish. Medium-bodied, low-medium complexity, long-finish, good carry. This is definitely a food-beer; it goes well with tonkatsu, curry rice, sushi, any Japanese food really. But as a session beer, not much in terms of explosive depth or flavour epiphanies. Watery finish.

2) Silk Yebisu (white can) , 5.5% ABV

On the front:

“Brewed with wheat malt, fine barley malt and select hops for an elegant flavor and creamy ‘smooth as silk’ taste.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C
  • Why I kinda like it: It is silky and easy-to-drink
  • Where I got it: Tokyo
  • How much: ¥230
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Nope
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Nada

Tasting Notes: pours golden yellow again, small head, smaller than above CO2, less CO2 streams, ringed retention again, same stickyish lacing. A bit sweeter nose and clean honey. Tastes 6/10 sweet (sweeter than #1), very very mild bitterness, crisp, almost no bitter finish, slight gumminess. Mild hops, hints of bitter lemon peel and aranciata. Low-medium depth, low-medium complexity, medium length, okay carry. A much “cleaner” finish with a creamier backdrop. More enjoyable than the gold can.

3) Yebisu Black (black can) , 5% ABV

On the front:

“The premium black beer is brewed using dark roasted malt and caramel malt in good balance, and fine malt and select hops for a rich aroma and hearty roasted flavor.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C-
  • Why I don’t like it: conflicting sensations (light vs dark)
  • Where I got it: Tokyo
  • How much: ¥230
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Nope
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours coffee black, minimal head, ringed retention, micro CO2, CO2 streams mainly around the perimeter. Aluminum and mild dark malts on the nose. Very bubbly aggressive up front, thick rich back of the palate clinging malts in the mid, soft bitter coffee finish. The over-aggressive CO (light beer) start doesn’t transition very well into the heavier roasted malts (dark beer), plus throw in a touch of aluminum flavour and it is slightly off-putting. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, medium length, decent carry. Not terrible by any means, but has a few flaws.