Japanese Name: キリン 秋味
Release: Aug. 20, 2013
Type: Japanese Beer （ビール）
Purchase Price: ￥217 @Popula
Brewed and unleashed upon Japan at the end of summer every year since 1991, this year marks the 23rd release of Kirin’s premier autumn brew, Aki-Aji. The package design doesn’t appear to have changed since last year, so I’m assuming contents have not changed either. Since I have not done a full review of this one since 2010, I thought I’d give it another go on the advice of my pretty much lone commenter, Anthony. Here goes!
In the glass, the color is a nice straw comparable your standard lager. There’s a wonderful yeasty-tangy aroma coming off the head. Taking a nice big gulp, Aki-Aji has a semi-full body, but it’s different than other beers, meaning it doesn’t really have a transition. The fullness comes across on the tip of the tongue, stays the same mid-palate and finishes full, leaving some tangy-bitterness on the back of the mouth. The effervescence enhances the flavors, tiny bubbles tickle the tip of the tongue and spreads the malt and bitterness throughout the mouth. There’s a very strong presence of malt (1.3 times the average Kirin malt content), hints of malt vinegar when eating fish and chips pops into my mind, with the acidity in the back of my mouth. Towards the end of my glass, I’m noticing some sweetness in the front as it warms up.
Kirin brings their Aki-Aji back every autumn and has done so for 23 years straight. Kirin Aki-Aji is just a straight forward solid tasting beer. There are no tricks, just a well made product. The first time I wrote about Aki-Aji, I mentioned an alcohol taste that overpowered the beer. Well, I have to admit that I don’t have that same opinion this year. My tastes have apparently changed, or Kirin has possibly changed the brew, who knows. In any case, you can still find Kirin Aki-Aji on store shelves, but you might have to search. I went to three neighborhood stores this evening to get my Aki-Aji.