05 December 2010
Open It! VI: Hitachino Nest New Year Celebration Ale 2004
Ridiculously foamy and long-lasting head atop a rich, brown, hazy beer, with a bouquet distinct at several feet--orange peel, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla bean, almost incense-like. This particular bottle says 9% abv; the brewery's website says the current version is 8%.
This beer is somewhere between a spectacular spiced barleywine and a train wreck of flavors mish-mashing against one another. The effect is that of a heavily spiced Belgian dubbel with a lot of orange peel substituting for hop bitterness--as bitter, albeit in a different flavor, as a double IPA. The six years in the bottle have been kind to it, save for some lees in the bottom of both the bottle and glass.
You have to be in the mood for such richness and bitterness, but it works very well for the age.