Total Score: 4.05/10
Kirin Ichiban, or Kirin first-best, is #2 on my Mini-Japanese-Macro-Journey (or MJMJ for short). Named after a mythical chimerical (i.e. a fictional animal composed of parts of various animals) Chinese creature known as the “Qilin”. This creature was based on two giraffes which caused quite a stir in the Ming dynasty courts, the Emperor at the time used the captured animals as a publicity stunt to proclaim them as magical creatures which, after being captured by his men, proved how bitchen he truly was. I’m not making this stuff up – seriously. Fact: Kirin now owns Lion Nathan (one of the two biggest Australasian distributors). Expectations set to macro disappointment levels.
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Sapporo stein [no brand bias there].
A: Much the same as Asahi: a clear golden body, however the white head of Kirin sits pretty firm at around 1 centimetre – which earns it at least an extra point over Asahi (now that we’re dealing in absolutes). 7/10.
S: Aroma has a decent whiff of DMS (Dimethyl sulfide), which is obviously due to this beer being package in a green bottle (when will brewers learn?!?). So yeah, those pleasant [sarcasm intended] notes of corn and cabbage which detract immensely from the overall drinking experience. In fact this brew is so riddled with DMS, and being a Japanese Lager means it was never going to be a bold aroma in the first place, I can’t really detect anything else. Great work Kirin! 3/10.
T: More like an Aussie macro Lager than a Japanese one – grainy, corn, hint of stewed vegetables, cabbage (DMS affecting the flavour). Finish is slightly crisp but more malt syrupy (read: inferior) than Asahi. Terrible effort for a Japanese Lager. 4/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a bit of a fizzy carbonation – another area where this is more like an Aussie macro Lager. 5/10.
D: Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve had a skunked beer due to me reviewing nice craft brews, but this really has reminded me of the bad old days of drinking Heineken/Carlsberg/Becks/anything in a green bottle – because hey there is a science behind this stuff people and any beer that contains hops undergoes a chemical reaction as soon as UV light hits it (unless it’s hopped with tetra-hop extract) it’s called “lightstruck” and it’s bad yo. In any case – green beer bottles: My goat, got. 4/10.
Food match: The drain when you get a skunked one, otherwise: Sushi.