Sapporo Mugi to Hop Aka (Red)

2013_Sapporo_Mugi-to-Hop-Aka_1

Japanese Name: サッポロ 麦とホップ<赤>
Brewer: Sapporo
Release: Apr. 17, 2013
Type: Liqueur (発泡性)
Alcohol: 5%
Purchase Price: ¥105 @Aeon

2013_Sapporo_Mugi-to-Hop-Aka_2

Tasting Notes:
In its third release, instead of producing a limited amount for a campaign, Sapporo decided to bestow Mugi to Hop Aka on the masses. Aka, if you can’t tell from the can means “red” in Japanese, and pouring out this brew into the glass, you can see it has a darker amber tone. In Mugi to Hop Aka, Sapporo tries to recreate an ale type beer in the third tier category. Let’s see how it tastes.

Brewed with caramelized malt, the toasty flavor and full-body is immediately apparent on the front end. The bitterness of the hops also comes through on the front. All these delicious flavors, however, dissipate quite quickly over the palate, leaving a watery finish with little impact.

I like what Sapporo is aiming for, but with so much flavor up front and a dry almost flavorless finish, Mugi to Hop Aka is just unbalanced. If you’re in Japan, you’ll have to give Sapporo Mugi to Hop Aka a try, just because it’s a limited production, and while it starts off delicious you might find yourself wanting a little more… maybe pick up a can of Yebisu to fill that desire.

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2 Responses to Sapporo Mugi to Hop Aka (Red)

  1. Al says:

    I love hoppy beers (IPAs, etc.). One of my favorites is Brrr. When you started talking about carmalized malts, toasty flavor, and hops I began to think of Brrr. But Brrrr finishes stronger than this it sounds like (and it’s over 7% alcohol which I like). Is there anything like that in Japan these days? I’m going to be in Japan in June and August this year for the first time in three years and am hoping for something more exciting than the typical lagers that I was “forced” to drink last go around.

  2. DM says:

    Hi Al, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, the big four do not produce beers anywhere near the depth of flavor or hopiness you’d find the US microbrews. However, I think you’ll find some satisfaction in the Japanese microbrew scene. I’ve had a few, but do not know much about them. They are readily available in the specialty stores or try to search for a microbrewer where you’ll be. Off the store shelf (convenience store), I’d probably point you toward Yo-Ho Brewing: Yona Yona Ale or Aooni IPA. Anything else would probably be a disappointment.

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