Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale - Rogue Ales
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Ratings: 357 | Reviews: 227 | Display Reviews Only:
3.73/5 rDev +2.2%
Beautiful, red and white, silk-screened, Japanese-themed bottle. Dark brown with generous highlights of bronze, gold and red. I continue to be impressed with the appearance of Rogue beer. I don't remember when I last saw one that was less than beautiful. The head is toasted beige in color and is firmly creamy. Thick splotches of lace occupy the glass just above the beer's surface, with scattershot lace seen higher up.
I like the nose much more than the nose on the lighter soba beer, Buckwheat Ale (Morimoto Soba). It's darker and richer, which effectively camouflages the relatively unappealing, or at least uninteresting, aroma of buckwheat itself. It's dark malty, nicely fruity and impressively molasses-like. Think Scotch ale without the peat.
Although the flavor doesn't quite hold up its end of the bargain, it comes close. Black Obi most resembles an Irish dry stout on the palate. There's quite a bit of roastiness, so much so that it edges toward bitter and borderline astringent. Scorched black coffee is probably the best comparison that I can come up with. Those last two sentences make it sound as though this beer is unappealing. It isn't.
After several mouthfuls, I'm feeling better about things. The lightly sweet fruitiness of the buckwheat is more apparent and mingles well with bittersweet chocolate and treacle notes. In addition, the grapefruit zest zestiness of the Cascade hops has come to the fore. There really are a lot of flavors in this beer, though I can't say that I'm thrilled with the combination. Good, but not special.
The nearly unbroken wall of lace on the glass opposite is great; my next pour should add another heavy coat of crust. I'm sure the mouthfeel was designed to be elegant rather than heavy-handed, scrimshaw rather than chainsaw carving, but it doesn't quite pull it off. It's closer to medium than to light, is a shade undercarbonated and doesn't have a great deal of mouth presence.
Black Obi (the wide belt on a kimono) Soba Ale is a better beer than its lighter counterpart. The roasting of the buckwheat brings out flavors that are preferable to the unroasted fruit and the different malt and hop bills are more to my liking as well. It doesn't quite make it over the hump called 'recommended', but I'm still glad this is a bomber.
11-05-2005 15:19:44 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.28/5 rDev -10.1%
Nearly opaque in its darkness was the only saving grace to this one.
The aroma was pleasant, albeit a little lighter then I was expecting. Nice touches of molasses and maple syrup weighed in heavily, though the spices seemed to be all but covered up under a bit too hot alcohol profile. The flavor though started to redeem itself quite nicely. Rich notes of maple syrup and molasses washed over the tongue immediatly, falling into a spiced yam like flavor that was layered on top of a nice bready malt profile.
08-08-2011 00:33:35 | More by mikesgroove
3.95/5 rDev +8.2%
A pleasant and safe beer although the lable and packaging promised more. Smells mildly and sweetly roasty with a light, smooth roundness. Looks like Coca cola, perhaps a bit darker and with much better carbonation and head retention. Tastes pleasantly roasty, moderately sweet, and mildly spicy. Light alcohols persist into the finish. Feels smooth and refreshingly light to the palate. Finishes a bit airy for a dark, roasted beer. Though nice and without flaws, it falls a little lackluster.
01-16-2006 23:37:35 | More by BEERchitect
3/5 rDev -17.8%
Bottle (courtesy of Okbeer): Poured a pitch-black ale with a medium head with average retention. Aroma of bitter hops with some strange spice that I dont think I have encountered in beer before. Taste is a mix between the roasted malt, bitter hops and this strange spice. Body is too thin and carbonation is very low. This is not bad but nothing extraordinary either; Id still go with the mocha porter any day thought.
10-26-2005 17:34:03 | More by Phyl21ca
3.63/5 rDev -0.5%
A: Black in color with a big, fluffy tan head.
S: A bit smokey, definitely a lot of roasted malts in this one. Also coffee and nutty smells coming from this beer.
T: Lots of roasted/toasted flavors, nuts and coffee, woody. A bit of sweetness, but a lingering astringency.
M: Medium in body, but a bit of lingering bitterness.
D: Good variety of flavors to make this somewhat complex and not overpowering in any sense.
08-12-2009 03:15:54 | More by womencantsail
4/5 rDev +9.6%
22 ounce bomber - $4.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Appearance: Pours out a clear, walnut brown body with a smallish, wispy, off-white head.
Smell: Earthy, roasty, and a bit sweet-smelling. There are aromatic notes of mild coffee, nuts, molasses, and caramel with an undercurrent of lightly spiced grapefruit segments.
Taste: Lightly roasty malts with some slight coffee tones and hint of fire-charred nuts. Some sweeter tastes of earthy molasses, dark caramel, and maybe, just maybe, a bit of chocolate follow. Spicy, citrusy blend of hops with a medium amount of bitterness. Subtle hint of licorice emerges late. Finishes dry, roast, and with an errant, lasting taste of burnt bread crusts.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation, though there's a slight effervescent crackle to it.
Drinkability: Worth a try, though perhaps a more worthy of a try than their other soba-based brew. Quite quaffable all around though.
05-17-2009 05:09:25 | More by ChainGangGuy
2.93/5 rDev -19.7%
Not the biggest fan of this one. I had this one right after the other Morimoto Ale and found this one to be a little awkward. The pour looked good, had a deep brown color similar to a black lager but with a super sized head on it that was tan in color. The lacing was pretty good too. The aromas were mixed on this it has grassy aromas and some herbal notes. The taste was a little strange. I'm can't really explain it. I just tasted gross to me. I was able to finish it but I won't being buying this again.
04-22-2011 02:50:59 | More by Knapp85
3.93/5 rDev +7.7%
Poures a near pitch black but not for the ruby highlights when held up to the light with a big fluffy off white head that clings to the glass nicely,wow a real cascade presence in the aroma wich was entirely unexpected due to the fact well it is Rogue,a nice roastiness also shows itself nicely.Slick mouthfeel to this slides down with ease,interesting melding of flavors firmly nutty with some roasted malt as the core but there is very much a PW hop presence not so pronounced but it lets itself be known.Very interesting and flavorful ale I will be sure to grabe more.
06-24-2005 00:59:52 | More by oberon
3.75/5 rDev +2.7%
A: Dark chocolate in color with great head retention and tons of foamy lace.
S: I couldn't detect much other than some dark-roasted coffee aromas with this one, even at warmer temperatures.
T: Nutty and earthy, with a surprisingly crisp aftertaste for such a dark beer. While I wouldn't consider this one of Rogue's better dark beers, it has a unique character.
M: Fairly mellow carbonation and surprisingly not very thick, despite its appearance.
D: An easy beer to drink due to its fairly low ABV and crisp character. I like this, but Rogue has done better. Worth a try.
10-08-2006 00:35:16 | More by largadeer
3.85/5 rDev +5.5%
22oz bottle. 'Black sash' - I'm wondering where that comes into play here.
This beer pours a very dark reddish cola hue, with two fingers of foamy, bubbly ecru head, which renders some decent layered webbed lace around the glass in its meandering, slow wake.
It smells of sweet roasted nutty malt, vegetal buckwheat, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is more edgy, grainy buckwheat, dry roasted malt, a hint of earthy coffee/chocolate, and some floral/earthy hops. If I didn't know better, I would have guessed that this is some sort of beefed-up Guinness clone.
The carbonation is on the low, hard to discern side of things, the body medium-light in weight, and generally smooth. It finishes mostly dry, the nuttiness and sideshow buckwheat graininess lingering.
While this is replete with a flavour that I don't get much exposure to (the Yakisoba noodles that I indulge in frequently bear no relation to this), I still quite enjoyed the light, roasted, and nutty nature of this beer. Not quite sure what style of beer this is, as the vegetable/herb classification seems way too pithy and general for such an interesting offering.
01-09-2010 00:56:25 | More by biboergosum
3.6/5 rDev -1.4%
Poured from a 22oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.
A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.
S: The aroma contains dark fruit, caramelized malts, some spices and some hops.
T: The taste starts out with a strong caramel & dark fruit sweetness, followed by some spicy and herbal flavors. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.
M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.
O: Flavorful, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, it’s ok for something different but there are other similar beer I would choose first.
10-31-2011 01:19:03 | More by TheManiacalOne
3.55/5 rDev -2.7%
Picked this up in Lincoln, Neb figured what the heck?
Pours Dark ruby red to mahogany with a tightly packed 2 fingers mocha head. Good head retention & lacing
Smell: Slight malt, smoky &licorice hints. A slight mustyness detracts
Taste: Dark malt, smoked malt (slight) and light licorice notes. Also faint tappiocca (sp? ie rice pudding) flavor. Finishes fruitty & with hints of saspirilla?
MF: Good carbonation but a schkoosh thin for me
Drinks okay, couldn't drink more than a few, not complex enough to hold my attention all night or day as the case may be. I enjoyed this more than the sobe ale I tried by far
05-22-2006 04:05:34 | More by russpowell
3.9/5 rDev +6.8%
It's black, alrighty, nearly opaque, but with crimson shining around the sides, and the head is big, tan, and chunky, leaving lace, and slow to settle.
Nose is a little grainy, but mostly smooth, creamy.
Taste, full-bodied, thoroughly flavorful, malty, rich, solid, ..tasty! Roasty! Intriquing...what should just be a smooth food-chaser has got some guts, some sturdy character, a real, true presence on the palate.
Very substantial, and ...yum...I could throw back a couple or three of these, for sure.
I said "solid" already, so...'nother good one, Rogue! Mmmmm!
08-02-2004 08:18:11 | More by feloniousmonk
3.73/5 rDev +2.2%
A - Black/deep brown with reddish highlights
S - Slightly floral, wheaty aroma
M - light bodied, dry feel with sweet finish
T - Fruity, meaty wheat-like. Slightly citrus perhaps hops or yeast flavors. A subtle spice flavor akin to ginger or cinnamon. Not an overwhelming amount of flavor but light buckwheat or soy elements for sure.
D - a mellow easily quaffable brew. I appreciated the dark soba elements, but they don't really take the spotlight. A dry ale taste is the major factor with smooth creamy wheat tastes. I would give it another go.
05-16-2007 02:50:43 | More by Slatetank
4.09/5 rDev +12.1%
I thought rogue was through making these, so I was super excited to see this on the shelf. the pour is jet black, inky and thicker, with a hard to control rising off white head that has a mind of its own. it smells like burnt toast and a really weird malt profile. had to google it to learn soba is Japanese buckwheat, which definitely provides some interesting smells and tastes here. its sort of like rye in terms of smell, bold and fully rich, but the flavor is much more mild, without the spice and with a starchy sort of feel. with the other black roasty malts and bittering hops, I think it works great in this beer. there is also a new yeast going on that's foreign to my palate, or maybe its just the buckwheat again, hard to tell, but its pasty in texture and bitterly bland in a good way of that's possible. a complex brew with an exceptional mouthfeel. huge body and plenty of carbonation, it really shocks the palate as something different and well done. I like this better than the imperial pils, and fully support anything involving chef morimoto, his work in the kitchen is unrivaled.
03-16-2013 18:13:20 | More by StonedTrippin
4.43/5 rDev +21.4%
The beer pours a deep dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has a sweet crystal malt scent with a nutty accent. There are some hops present, but the overall aroma is dominated with nuts and chocolate. The taste is great as well. It has a roasted, coffee-like flavor that is sweet, but with an earthy, nutty edge. There is a bit of tanginess in the flavor. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an outstanding beer. It has a delicious aroma followed by an enjoyable taste; a good drinker.
09-14-2005 01:40:29 | More by WesWes
3.6/5 rDev -1.4%
22 oz. bottle:
Pours medium-to-dark brown with a thin, fluffy white head. Trailing lace slides down the glass, with a bit of stickage.
The smell is of lightly roasted buckwheat/soba, citric notes and Rogue's signature Pacman yeast.
The taste is of roasted nuts, roasted buckwheat/soba. The roasted character (charred) comes close to masking. Mildly astringent. Dry finish.
Fuller side of light-bodied/light-side of medium border.
Drinkable considering over-charred/astringent character.
04-21-2008 21:35:26 | More by jwc215
4.1/5 rDev +12.3%
As I pour this beer it shows a brilliantly clear chocolate brown color, it sits in the glass a drab, opaque dark brown color. The head is voluminous and starts out about four-fingers thick. As it slowly falls down it creates a varied, rocky surface, all the while leaving a lacing pattern on the side of the glass. The aroma has a spicy grain like note to it and lots of chocolate-like malt notes as well. This is really quite rich and chocolaty; there is just enough roasted malt character to not add any sharp astringency. There is a touch of toasted malt character and a really solid backdrop of malted grain complexity. The aroma is quite smooth, and very enticing, we'll have to see how the flavor matches up to this aroma.
The beer rests lightly on the palate up front, but picks up soft creaminess that has the beer lingering nicely on the palate by the time one finishes a sip. Once again the chocolate character is the dominant component, but this time of the flavor. Up front the beer has a zippy carbonation, which combines with some spicy, almost grassy grain character to give this beer a change of pace from the chocolate notes. The chocolate notes really don't become dominant until about half way through a sip of this beer and it really melds well with the soft creamy body of this brew. Roasted toasty malt notes in the finish remind me of backed lightly ovened nuts, and a touch of lightly burnt crusty bread.
This is quite a nice brew, I can't say for sure what the soba is adding to this brew, but I am sure it is adding to the complexity. This beer boils down to the complex, dark malt / grain profile that is delivered by a relatively light, easily quaffable brew.
Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ
10-08-2006 00:23:21 | More by Gueuzedude
Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale from Rogue Ales
83 out of 100 based on 357 ratings.