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I recently picked up a bunch of bottles of what seemed like interesting brews from Hitachino, because I was interested in exploring some Japanese beers. However, more than anything, I've found both to be severely overcarbonated. To the point of both making a mess, and being unpleasant to drink.

Is this sort of over-the-top carbonation characteristic of Hitachino's beer (or Japanese beer in general)? Or is it more likely that the bottles (which I purchased all at once from a single retailer) were somehow compromised or spoiled in the process of being imported to the US? Or just spoiled by sitting on the shelf too long? None of the bottles are marked with any sort of freshness or sell-by date, so is this possibly some sort of spoilage I've just never encountered before?

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Over-carbonation is typically a sign of infection, which is certainly a possibility. It's not a problem I've had with Hitachino, but at their price point I don't drink them often

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I just went through four Hitachinos, and I can say for sure - they are solidly carbonated, but nothing I would call undrinkable. I've definitely had - and enjoyed - more carbonated beers. I've also had them before (bottle and poured at a bar) and never had the overcarbonation problem you describe.

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The chances of contamination at a Japanese brewery are very low.

The Japanese tend to drink their beer much colder than craft beer drinkers in the United States - Think Coors cold. We suggest placing the beer in the freezer for 3-5 minutes before opening the bottle, leaving it undisturbed and pouring it into an over-sized nonic glass.

Hitachino's beers when stored and poured correctly are quite good, but buying them in the United States after a trans-pacific journey is both expensive and less tasty than on tap.

Answered by: The Gastrograph Team

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