Japanese Name: グランドキリン 梟の森（フクロウノモリ）
Release: Dec. 8, 2015
Type: Japanese Beer (ビール)
Purchase Price: ￥255 (330mL) @Popula
Grand Kirin, seeking to satisfy you beer drinkers with just one bottle has upped the ante by creating an unfiltered wheat ale at a mind-boggling 7.5% ABV. Fukuro no Mori (Owl’s Forest) is made with Czech Saaz hops and Grand Kirin’s dip hop technique to bring out the hops’ full flavor.
Popping the top of Fukuro no Mori presented an aroma I have yet to experience in any beer, smoked sausage. No joke. Along with that meaty smokiness are hints of cinnamon and yeasty dough. I’m sure there’s more, but to say the least it’s very complex. It pours an opaque orange-tan color, and its color and aroma have left me completely perplexed as to what I will experience on my first gulp.
This first gulp is nothing like anything a Big Four brewer has ever offered to the mass market. Kirin said it would be complex and Fukuro no Mori definitely is. It’s a very full-bodied beer, extremely spicy (cinnamon and orange peel) with a peaty smokiness you might experience in a whisky. There is a loving sweetness to this ale that makes it very smooth going down the throat, and even at 7.5% alcohol you don’t even taste it. The finish keeps all the flavors in the mouth, without a bitter kick you might expect, it’s just a soothing bitterness, perfectly complementing the mouthful.
The bottom line is that Grand Kirin’s Fukuro no Mori is unlike any other Big Four beer that has ever been sold on the store shelves in Japan. I think that it will definitely be a two-way street, either you’ll love it or hate it. Personally, I find the complexity intriguing and really do love drinking it… however, I would put my foot down on a second bottle, as I feel Fukuro no Mori in a way surpasses the realm of beer and goes into more of the wine or whisky arena. Enjoy the flavors and drink it slowly, the alcohol does creep up on you. Love it or leave it, Fukuro no Mori is a must try.