Brewed by Kiuchi Brewery (Hitachino)
Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
Konosu, Naka, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
Serve in Shaker, Tulip


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 709   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.5/5   EST. CALORIES: 225   ABV: 7.5%
Hitachino Japanese Classic Ale is 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.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
SanfordBrewer (1500) - Sanford, Florida, USA - OCT 5, 2011
hazy copper orange with lots of fine particulates and a thin but lasting beige head;

Aroma: great bready malt, candied orange and pine hops, and a complex and prominent but nondescript ale yeast ester profile.

Taste: very orange-like citrusy hops (like there’s a splash of fresh squeezed OJ in here), papaya, sweet toffee malts, and bready fruity yeast. Bitterness is balanced, but on the low side, but with lots of aroma hops and/or dry hops.

I can’t straight up pick out the cedar, not like in Cigar City’s cedar aged IPA, but there is a wonderfully fruity and perfumey character that obviously comes from the cedar. Either that, or there is some amazing strain of hops in here. I’m not very familiar with Sorachi Ace or other Pacific hops, nor do I know what is in this. But I will say that the harmony of malts, hops, yeast esters, and cedar is absolutely splendid. This is a wonderful beer, and the only thing I would maybe want to try to change, is to move from orange juice toward tangerine zest.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 20/20
tiggmtl (4544) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 21, 2004
UPDATED: MAR 2, 2006 Original Rating (21-Dec-04, 9-5-8-4-17=4.3): Peppery, cedar aroma dominates the sharp yet fruity and very appealing aroma. Huge rocky white head peaks atop an orange-amber body that is completely opaque. Lacing covers the glass. Cedar is prominent in the flavour also and it works very well. Some soft doughy/yeasty qualities as well as plenty of tropical/citrus fruitiness and a fair bitterness go well with the woody character and overall sweetness. Medium bodied with engaging carbonation. A perhaps unique and certainly fascinating take on an IPA. Bottle.
Rerate (08-May-05, 10-4-8-3-18=4.3): Woody cedar, perppery spiciness, perfumey, floral lavender and pineapple aromas are oh so enticing. Opaque, rich golden coloured body with a strong cover of dense white head. Spicy cedar, peppery flavour with moderate bitterness. Medium body with fair carbonation. Bottle enjoyed with MartinT, Olivier_MTL and Rastacouere.
Resampled Feb-2006 and bumped score up. This is definitely one of the most intriguing beers I have ever tried.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 15, 2005
UPDATED: JUL 1, 2008 large picturesque head atop a roasted apricot color...the head shrank in random places creating a rocky glacier..very piney, musty, and medicinal smell with a BIG cedary grapefruit character that smells exactly like an empty humidor...a superb cedar character melts into the grapefruity hops creating the most pleasant and drinkable conconction...cedarly dry in the ending...when i saw on the bottle that it was aged in cedar, i got excited, but i had no clue how much cedar character it would have...and it has plenty..its beautiful in fact...quite exceptional...WOW

Re-Rate 6/30/08: This is the epitome of what craft beer is all about. Absolutely amazing beer in every way imaginable

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - MAY 5, 2007
05-May-07 11.2oz bottle picked up at Half Time in Poughkeepsie. Pretty orange amber color beneath sturdy white head that fades to a sheet. Aroma is spectacular and eye-opening. Floral, perfumed, herbal hops remind of Orval initially, but quickly evolving are fragrant fresh peppers, barnish hay, black pepper, wow, just brilliant. Medium-full bodied, palate coating, soft effervescence. The softness is disrupted with a pleasant mix of woody, dusty dryness and hoppy astringency. This beer is full of distinct directions, the peppery cedar, the floral hops, the fruity malts, and in impeccable balance. For pete’s sake, I can’t believe it took me so long to get a second crack at this fantastic stuff. Amazing.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
davidm (2069) - Sunnyvale, California, USA - JAN 21, 2011
Bottle 330ml. Exceptional beer. Aromas of caramel, cherries, pepper, hint of alcohol. Taste is sweet, with bitter notes, very good length. Palate is almost creamy, with a medium-to-full body. Red, with a frothy white head.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
77ships (8038) - Antwerpen, BELGIUM - NOV 11, 2011
UPDATED: DEC 16, 2013 33 cl. bottle @ home, one of the many bottles I brought back from the ever spectacular Alvinne shop \ Very curious about this one, I have been lately looking for more Hitachino beers \ In slight contradiction with the ratebeer description the bottle states that this beer is a recreation of the first Japanese beer made in the Edo period and matured in ceder barrels like the old IPA’s which used to be transported across the seas \ Pours a clear amber/orange/slight hint of raspberry with a creamy white head \ Smell is sweet slight sake yeast, spices, fruity with a hint of raspberry, hint of caramel and dark fruits with lots of ceder wood \ Taste is with slightly bitter hops, very fruity hops (or at least I think that these are hops) but not in the conventional sense, I am actually getting berries and slight fermenting raspberries, touch of lemon, fermenting malts, fermenting caramel malts (does that exist?) & yeast, toffee, bitter cedar wood in the aftertaste, plenty of spices, I am actually getting some distilled sake in the second half & aftertaste, hint of fruity & flowery sake yeast & distilled sake drenched ceder wood, not sure whether that is possible because I don’t think that is in here, this must be the ceder wood \ Light & slightly \ Amazing like a hybrid between distilled sake & an IPA \ Not sure whether the flavours I am getting can actually be in here but I had a blast drinking this

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Oakes (15651) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - FEB 18, 2005
Cloudy aroma with insistent head. Pungent Orvalish aroma, winey & spicy with pale malts and fruity hops. Long palate full of wood, pale malt and loads of bittering hops...again very Orvalish. The cedar comes on strong late, adding its own accents to this complex, intense brew. Stunning.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 19/20
Rastacouere (6174) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 9, 2005
UPDATED: MAR 8, 2006 Nice bottle-conditioned murky muddy yellow to amber. Plenty of lacing results from the initial gushing. Off-white head resolves to a cover after a few minutes. Incredible nostrils punching pineapple and cedar aroma. Pure spruce.. incredible. As if it weren’t enough, that funky yeast reminds me why I love beer (one needs that every once in a while, eh?). Lots of citrus notes, orangey, very soft hops.. A treasure of an aroma, unarguably unique, yet it feels like an old friend immediately. Highly fruity, floral.. makes me think of spinach even and definitely algae. Firm and mellow bitterness at the same time.. Incredibly tasty and aromatic, lots of different range of flavours that you’d never think match together, but you needed Japan’s advanced beer science to come ahead with that. Very small bubbles procure a biting bite everywhere at once, but it is comfortable if only for the flavors.. I want more in my mouth with every sip. Light-medium body… Quaffable…Ok, maybe not what most of us have come to expect from IPAs, but let’s face the facts (or my biased opinion), it tastes better than any IPA I’ve had. Tremendous beer!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
EithCubes (5618) - New Jersey, USA - SEP 30, 2006
UPDATED: OCT 1, 2006 Bottle. Aroma strong and very malty, woody with a bit of a scotch musk. Slight medicinal twinge with ... melon? Pungent funk. And hoppy! Amber-orange pour with little (but lace-heavy) head. Crisp, tart, bitter, and sweet taste with healthy barnyard funk and strong sourness. Rubbery dryness less pronounced than in others from HN. Dry spiciness. Alcohol well-hidden. Pleasantly hoppy on the palate, even introduces some light fruitiness and citrus. Light grapefruit and lemon/orange zest join rounded chewy earthiness. Well-balanced and medium-full body. Wonderful cedar closet memories established in the finish and aftertaste, and the casky woody notes linger for minutes. Herby (with pine needles?), peppery. This is absurdly interesting, and unlike some of the other offerings from my now-beloved HN, suitable for frequent consumption.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 4, 2007
UPDATED: OCT 24, 2008 In short: A cedary funky IPA. Very unique and simply fantastic.
How: Bottle 750ml, many times, always consumed as fresh as possible.
The look: Cloudy golden-orange body topped by a large off-white head
In long: Funky and hoppy on the nose. Very yeasty beer with a strong woody taste giving the feeling of drinking sawdust. Thick chewy and dirty body like I love them. Strong honey taste although the beer doesn’t feel very sweet. Very hoppy beer. The hops are piney but with a Belgian twist, hard to describe. Soft caramel and orange round up the flavour spectrum. Cedar presence from beginning to end. That’s a tasty, filling and aggressive beer that commands to be drunken slowly. A Classic Ale? I wish.

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