Total Score: 6.3/10
I always get über excited when I review a new beer from Japan (I even need to put the umlaut over the ‘u’ when spelling über). Why do you get so excited Doc? Because Japanese brewers almost always manage to give their brews a unique twist, and Hitachino Nest is one of the uniquest (not a word, I know, cram it) of the unique Japanese brewers. So much so that I feel like using my angry samurai voice when I say “Hitachino!”. Lacto Stouts, as you well know informed reader, are brewed with lactose, which is basically milk sugar (and unfermentable), this imparts smoothness and sweetness. I wish more brewers brewed this style, I love a good Milk Stout!
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Black as the night is dark, as they say, with a nice khaki lace ring around the glass. I’m not going to lie – I’m looking forward to this. 7/10.
S: Woah, funky, roasty and toasty. Smells a touch like off milk, and the BB date on the label says: 07 2013 – better let Plonk know about that. A second whiff reveals a milk chocolate slant, but I still can’t shake away that milk funk. 4/10.
T: Sweet roasted malt with smoke notes upfront. There is undertones of chocolate as well. Finish has a miniscule amount of bitterness, just enough to counter the sweetness a touch. Aftertaste has an interesting amount of acidity (normally you would get this from the hops) that makes the tongue salivate a little. Delicate and well-rounded for a Stout. Thankfully the milk funk is just an aroma thing. 7/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a flat carbonation, the body is decent given the 4% ABV, feels like a heavier beer. 6/10.
D: Not bad HITACHINO!* not bad at all. Whilst this doesn’t come close to beating their fantastic Red Rice Ale it is a nice quiet, slightly bashful, evening sipper. That’s it. You want more? Well, ok then – Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout Lacto is overpriced, there I said it, and if you’re looking for Doc’s favourite Milk Stout: bad news, I’m still searching for it… Though I had a superb Australian Milk Stout years, nay a decade, ago but I can’t remember who brewed it or where to get it (I’ll find you one day Milk Stout!). 7/10.
Food match: Chocolate pie, or something else chocolate related, like chocolate cats (I made that one up fool!).
*said in my angry samurai voice