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Des de Moor
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Accredited Beer Sommelier
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Des de Moor


Ise Kadoya Yuzu Ale

Japanese beer tasting, White Horse SW6, June 2011

ABV: 5%
Origin: Ise, Kansai, Japan

Yuzu Ale

Ise Kadoya began in 1997 as a brewpub and restaurant at Ise, in Mie prefecture on the island of Honshū, a city best known as the location of the Shinto religion’s most important Japanese shrine. The brewery proved quite a success and has since notably expanded. The owning family have long been manufacturers of soya products like soy sauce and miso and the building was converted from a soya warehouse. This isn’t the only example of such a crossover — perhaps explained by the fact that soya processing, like brewing, involves fermentation.

Yuzu Ale is one of the signature products, so called because it contains yuzu, a highly aromatic citrus fruit related to the sour mandarin. Yuzu is used to make other alcoholic drinks in Japan, as well as sweets and sauces, so its use in beer might not be entirely surprising to local drinkers, while Westerners might be reminded of the use of more familiar varieties of citrus peel as a flavouring in Belgian beers.

Nonetheless the beer presents a very distinctive and, to my tastes, exotic flavour and aroma profile. A bottle conditioned sample was a hazy deep gold, with some white head and a very spicy, oily and citric aroma with burnt plastic and zesty perfume which reminded me more of lime than orange. The palate was very dry with a touch of burnt toast from coloured malts and an emerging citrus hit, leading to a long, dry and chewy finish beginning with pithy zest and developing a touch of bittering hops.

A keg version was served at the same tasting, but although hazier and therefore presumably unfiltered was notably less complex than its bottled cousin. The citrus peel note was more upfront and less balanced by speciality malt flavours, though a pleasant juicy malt character on the finish did a good job of softening the tart yuzu and bitter hop flavours. Certainly a unique beer.

Read more about this beer at

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