Total Score: 6.75/10
This is the real stuff: Kirin Ichiban Shibori Stout bought to me by a friend from Japan. I’ve been told by that same friend that it’s deadly smooth, as this is a person I trust when it comes to beers because we have a similar taste in brews. So yeah, not an opportunity I often get to try a real Japanese beer (unless I hit the Genko Mart in Alderley, Brisvegas) due to the fact that most Japanese beers that reach Australia aren’t even brewed in Japan! Remember my review of the large Sapporo can that I thought was fair dinkum Japanese? Yep: Made in Vietnam. If I want a Vietnamese beer I’ll buy one, and if I want a Japanese beer, well… it’s a bit harder on the supply side there. Anyhow let’s crack this thing!
Poured from a 350ml can into a nonic pint.
A: Near as black can be body with a sizable 4 centimetre mocha head that slowly disintegrates enough to make it drinkable… eventually… massive bubbles in the head and not much lace left on the side of the glass as it goes down, she ain’t pretty, but looks ain’t everything (least that’s what they tell me). 6/10.
S: Roasted malt and rich molasses all over this nose. Hints of dark fruit as well, this is definitely erring into Baltic Porter territory. Some dark chocolate character comes through at about whiff number 5, and there she is – we’re in Stout country now. It’s not a bad aroma at all, reasonably fulsome and sweet with nary a hint of bitterness (I guess that’s where the smooth comes in to the picture). 7/10.
T: Is this a beer or some kind of Stouty milkshake? Flavours definitely lean towards chocolate (milk & dark) with that roasted malt and molasses character providing a solid base with a nicely balanced sweetness – nothing too over the top, but conversely it goes down a bit easy if that makes sense. Drying towards the finish with a very mild touch of bitterness. Possibly the easiest Stout I’ve had in a looong time. 7/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a carbonation that went from “wow, look at me go!” to “blerrrrrgh” (i.e. flat) in a very short time. I’ve seen this before with some Stouts – they lose carbonation in a blink of the eye. 5/10.
D: I’m liking it, but I’m also wanting a Russian Imperial Stout for better or worse – I can’t help it, I’m a RIS drinker at heart. This is definitely a Stout for people who have never tried one but would like to dabble, it’s like Guinness in that respect, though Guinness is more coffee focused. Give it a go aiight. 7/10.
Food match: If we’re matching Japanese: Seared wagyu tataki.