Kuri Kuro Dark Chestnut Ale

Review Date 2/17/2021 By John Staradumsky

Here’s a beer I’m glad I pulled the trigger on: Kuri Kuro Dark Chestnut Ale from Hideji Beer brewery of Miyazaki, Japan. Miyazaki is located on the Island of Kyushu, and Hideji Beer opened there in 1996. They are a snall craft brewer selling most of their beer locally, but, they say, Kuri Kuro can’t be bought there.

This beer is brewed and sold only in the North American market. It is a brew based on our “Hideji Stout.” It uses Miyazaki-grown chestnuts, and features a flavor rich in nuts, herbs and sweet chestnuts along with an aroma of espresso and brown sugar from roasted barley.

JAPANESE CHESTNUTS-The chestnut is the most ancient fruit in Japan. Charred chestnuts have been found in and around archaeological sites of the Jomon Period (10,000 - 200 B.C.) settlements.  Japanese chestnuts are widely used in preparing Japanese cuisine, and a special dish made of chestnut is served as a New Years tradition.

I happen to have a chestnut tree in my backyard, and I roast them in the fall when the tree produces. Chestnuts have a very mild flavor, so I was curious how they would play out in this imperial stout. I rarely come across beers brewed with chestnuts, and if memory serves, the only other such beer I have imbibed is Tennessee Brew Works King Chestnut. That was a lighter beer than Kuri Kuro, and the chestnut there was subtle.

Hideji Beer Kuri Kuro Dark Chesnut Ale has an alcohol content of 9% by volume with 25 IBUs. I paid $8.09 for my 11.2 ounce bottle, and I do not have any other price information on it. This seems about what I would expect to pay for a rare beer like this. Although on the brewery website they say This beer is brewed and sold only in the North American market, my bottle is labeled as product of Japan. “Kuri” is Japanese for chestnut and “Kuro” is Japanese for black. While many beers have a packaged on or best by date, my bottle of Kuri Kuro is marked Vertical 2019 and Best AFTER May 2020.

Hideji Beer Kuri Kuro Dark Chesnut Ale pours to a jet-black color with a thick creamy tan head and a luscious nose of powdery cocoa, licorice, and a hint of chestnut. Taking a sip, the beer is full in body and wonderfully full of cocoa powder, caramel, roasty espresso, sweet brown sugar, and a hint of dark chocolate. The beer finishes with a very warming alcohol finish and a subtle hint of chestnut pokes through again.

The chestnut is light here and to be truthful adds only a bit to the overall experience. Chestnut is light in flavor after all but does have a unique flavor, and I get some of that here. Would I buy it again? Absolutely I would. This is, after all, the only brew from Hideji Beer you can buy in the USA.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.