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Beer Reviews

Suntory Kinmugi Amber Autumn (Rich Malt Kohaku No Aki) | サントリー 金麦 琥珀の秋


One of the reasons everyone loves Japan is that as a country it actually has quite the longitude, stretching quite the north-south length, which in more practical terms means that the country experiences the four seasons in all its colour. That translates into lots of seasonal foods and of course rituals and festivals - and that's a big thing for the people who treat the changing of the seasons with celebration and reverence. 

And how could Suntory miss out? So every autumn, Japan's beer maker prepare to launch an autumn special that's typically in commemoration of the season but also is usually geared in flavours to suit the seasonal cuisine - that'd be chestnuts, mackerel, sweet potato, mushrooms - really earthy, more umami and savoury stuff that's also typically more fatty. 




An annual autumn tradition, Suntory puts out the Kinmugi Amber Autumn expression (Aki No Shun Aji), this is a variant of their highly popular Kinmugi brand which is what's known as a Happoshu or Low-Malt beer, which materially means the beer is made from less than 2/3 malt content, and is a big movement in Japan because it's quite a fair bit cheaper and therefore more wallet friendly.

The Kinmugi brand itself is differentiated from other beer brands by honing in on being a more umami rich brew with a richer body and yet a fragrant aroma - at least that's what they say. The idea here is that through some sort of magic trick, Suntory extracts the savoury components from the malt to achieve such a flavour. And thus that makes it the perfect companion for these autumnal foods.

Let's give it a go!

Suntory Kinmugi Amber Autumn (Rich Malt Kohaku No Aki) | サントリー 金麦 琥珀の秋 - Review / レビュー


Tasting Notes

Color: Deep Amber / Copper

Aroma: Darker autumnal notes of brown sugar, fallen leaves, manuka honey, and a light raw and yeasty note of cask aged ales. 

Taste: A bright and denser but also brighter sweetness of brown sugar, raw honey, fallen leaves, and also a little bit of cola candy. There’s a gentle carbonation here with a medium bodied texture that supports the deeper flavours. There’s a bit of bitterness here that’s alittle woody.

Finish: A light leafy note that’s just slightly bitter, which then fades into a warm glow of gently sweet barley sugars. A lingering yeasty and bready taste again akin to cask aged ales. 


My Thoughts

Very enjoyable - it really is giving autumnal vibes with the warmer, darker scents and flavours. Beyond the really tasty flavours, smooth and very well rounded and cohesive body, what really stood out to me was also how this wasn’t one dimensional - it’s not just a brown sugar and honey sort of one trick pony, but that added leafy note of fallen leaves and dried wood really made me feel like it was autumn in a beer mug. There was also this added rawness from the lightly yeasty touch that made it feel very natural and as if it was freshly poured from a cask.

It had really nice flavours - none of that boozy punchiness or skunkiness - very aromatic indeed, and left it all off on a nice glowing warmth.


My Rating: 8/10


Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most in its category, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.