I’ve had plenty of coffee stouts, but I can’t recall ever having one
claiming to be an espresso stout per se. I usually like coffee stouts,
so Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout sounded really intriguing.
Unfortunately it didn’t deliver much in the way of any coffee character
and instead drank like a decent Russian Imperial Stout (which is the
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass.
It cost $5.79 ($0.48 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark opaque black body, no carbonation or sediment visible.
Forms a large, dark tan, foamy/soapy head which retains and laces well.
Smell: Reminiscent of a "foreign extra stout" with notes of black
licorice and some dairy. Slight roasty notes but nothing overtly
coffee-smelling. Mild overall.
Taste: To be fair, I should disclaim this review by mentioning I was
probably drinking an old bottle. Though I haven’t been able to find a
credible source on how to decipher the date on it. An old bottle would
probably account for the lack of coffee presence in this beer. Much like
the nose there’s an FES character to this beer. Black licorice, some
currants or dark berries and maybe even a hint of sour grape are quite
prominent through the first half. There’s a dry bitterness at the apex
which has the bitterness of black coffee, but not the taste. There’s
also a distinct tang or metallic off-flavor on the finish and in the
aftertaste. It’s a noticeable, but tolerable flaw. In the end what
you’re left with is a pretty standard and enjoyable FES-style brew and
Drinkability: Since Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout isn’t all that intense
of a beer it’s quite easy to drink. The mouthfeel is a little thin, on
the calmer, more tepid end, and it goes down quite smooth. There is a
dry bitter aftertaste, though, which might be attributed to the use of
espresso beans in the boil. The 7.5% ABV is not noticeable at all as it
drinks like something much smaller.