Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout is the union of an imperial stout with coffee which produces a very interesting and tasty beer. It is produced by one of Japan’s first craft breweries, Kiuchi Brewery, who has been brewing beer in Naka-shi, Japan since 1996.
I had this bottle around for several months and I was waiting for the right moment to decide to open it. When I read and reported that California Assemby Bill 1958 is in committee and might outlaw beer that contains coffee, I thought it was just the right moment to not only open my bottle of Espresso Stout but also encourage you to crack open a bottle of coffee infused craft beer.
Date Reviewed. March 12, 2010
Where I Found It. City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA.
Serving Type. Bottle into an imperial pint glass.
Appearance. Hitachino Espresso Stout has a dark black color but when you pour it out you can see that the beer is crystal clear. The head has a spot on espresso crema color. In fact, had I poured of this beer into a shot glass (and let the head settle a little) it would look exactly like a shot of espresso. The head of this beer is foamy, frothy, and quite nearly permanent. It took a very long time for the head to settle and left plenty of lacing on the side of the glass. It is quite the sight.
Smell. This beer has a chocolate, coffee, and mocha aroma. The chocolate aspect of the aroma is almost like chocolate syrup which further reminds me a a sweet dark chocolate mocha. The smell also has a nice espresso roast quality to it. There is also a hint of a fruity smell like pears.
Taste. The flavor of Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout really lives up to its name but is not quite as interesting as the smell and appearance. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a very tasty beer and there is no denying the coffee flavors. The bitterness of the hops and roasted malt combined with the coffee make this beer taste like a shot of espresso with a touch of dark brown sugar added to it. Add the silky texture to the mix and it is almost like an espresso con panna but not quite as sweet. There is an earthy spiciness to this beer like cola and anise or maybe just a touch of each. Finally, this beer is also a bit boozy, which might be expected at 7.5%, and slightly yeasty.
Mouthfeel. This beer is full bodied and moderately carbonated. Despite the foamy and frothy head, this beer is by no means over carbonated. It is just shy of a syrupy texture.
Drinkability. The bitterness of the roasted malt and/or coffee in Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout is a little distracting to the overall taste. Combine that bitter coffee flavor with 7.5% alcohol by volume and this is not a session beer but definitely a unique brew that very enjoyable.
Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.
- Appearance (20%): 4.5
- Smell (20%): 4.5
- Taste (40%): 3.5
- Mouthfeel (10%): 4.0
- Drinkability (10%): 3.5
- Overall: 3.95
- Style: Imperial stout
- Brewery: Kiuchi Brewery
- Alcohol by volume: 7.5%
- Beer Advocate rating: 4.04 (as of March 11, 2010)
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