Review of Kirin Ichiban Special Premium Reserve

20 Apr
For tonight’s review, I thought I would take a little trip to Tokyo-to Tokyo-shi, Japan and try the Kirin Ichiban Special Premium Reserve.  The Kirin Brewery Company is a subsidiary of the Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

I haven’t had the privilege of trying very many Japanese beers and I’m hoping that this one leaves a better impression on me than the previous samples I’ve had.

From the website,, I found a nice description. 

In 1990, Ichiban’s debut made a splash in the world of super premium beers.  The luxurious single wort (or first press) process yields a unique, complex flavor.  With his gold label and “Special Premium Reserve” appellation, Ichiban outclasses and outperforms.  But don’t be fooled by a snooty attitude — this is a great beer that goes with anything.

Well, let’s see how “great” it is.

This beer poured from a 12 oz. bottle and had an ABV of 5.0%.

The appearance was a very clear, straw/yellow color.  The cap was very bright white, very fizzy with little to no retention or lacing.  Tons of bubbles are rising to the top, which leads me to believe that this thing is way over carbonated even before I take the first sip.  This beer totally reminds me of a “macro.”  I guess it stands to reason since it is brewed, technically, by Anheuser-Busch.

The smell was straight corn and grain adjuncts.  Some minuscule malt in there.  Biscuit maybe?  Everything was so faint and non-existent that it was hard to pick out any distinguishing aromas.  Man, I don’t even want to drink this.

Well…. here goes.  The flavor was of a pungent, cereal grain and corn.  A very, minute, mild touch of bitterness mixed with a stale, metallic almost rotten taste.  Oh boy!!!  It even tastes like a “macro.”

The mouthfeel was extremely light and watery.  I will say that it was a bit crisp, but that is almost irrelevant.  It doesn’t leave any taste on the palate whatsoever.  It completely vanishes the moment you take a sip, which was a good thing because the taste was not very pleasant.  Any lingering of flavor could be a complete turnoff.  Way too carbonated for my liking. 

This brew might be fairly refreshing if I was in the middle of the Sahara desert with the temperature baking at about 115 degrees.  Other than that, I probably wouldn’t want this under any other circumstance.  I did finish it, which is always positive I guess, but I don’t think this is anything I will be picking up again.  I have to admit that I do like the label on the bottle. This beer may have it’s place in some circles, but I would rather not be invited to that party.

Has anyone else out there had this?

Score:  1.8 out of 5
Grade:  D-

1 Comment

Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Country: Japan, Kirin


One response to “Review of Kirin Ichiban Special Premium Reserve

  1. Skinnybeard

    April 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Yeah, I have noticed this to be a trend of the Japanese brews. They are basically Bud Light. I do enjoy Sopporo though, even though it is a Bud Lightish brew, it is so damn smooth.


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