Hidatakayama Karumina is a 10% Belgian strong ale from Hida Takayama Beer in Gifu. Karumina, which roughly translates to “black jewel” also undergoes bottle fermentation as well, so you may find sediment at the bottom of it. It’s also part of their year-round range and can be found in bottles or on draft.
Hidatakayama Karumina Aroma and Taste
Whenever I’ve been to Thrash Zone in Yokohama, I’ve seen this on tap and it’s always been one of the strongest, if not the strongest, beer on sale there. With that, Hidatakayama Karumina is only ever sold in half-pint glasses. I remember one of my friends trying it for the first time and falling in love with it and ever since, he only drinks it now when we end up at the bar.
Hidatakayama Karumina pours out a deep reddish-brown colour with a small amount of off-white tan head on top. It was also slightly cloudy due to the bottle fermentation and a cack-handed pour from myself on the first go. The aroma was good mix of sweet malt toffee with a large amount of brown sugar and dried fruits coming through too. The 10% didn’t come through initially; however, as it warmed up, the alcohol merged well with the other aromas and reminded me of a warm Christmas pudding.
I drank Hidatakayama Karumina in two stages: cold from the cellar and the second stage after it had warmed up. At first, the alcohol was muted with the spices and sweetness coming through first along with a flourish of toffee. After warming up though, the booziness came through but felt much less than the 10% prescribed on the bottle. The herbal essence was also more pronounced and finished off with a sweetness that was neither offensive nor overpowering.
Hidatakayama Karumina One Line Review
Hidatakayama Karumina, for me, is one of the best Belgian strong ales, and Japanese craft beers, out there. If you see it, buy it and drink it.
Where to Buy Hidatakayama Karumina
Hidatakayama Karumina can be bought online at the following places: