Black Toad Dark Ale - Black Toad Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Toad Dark AleBlack Toad Dark Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

451 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 451
Reviews: 247
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.93%
Wants: 20
Gots: 30 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Black Toad Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 08-28-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (1) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 451 | Reviews: 247
Reviews by treehugginslug:
Photo of treehugginslug
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S - Nutty, almost hazelnut. Slight hops, but not really.

T - Taste was nice. Sweet dark malts. Nutty taste.

M - Fair amount of carbonation.

D - Good, I think this would be a perfect beer to pair with a meal and not so much a stand alone.

Would I buy this again? No
Would I recommend it? To the right person
Would I drink it at a party? Yes
Did my wife like it? "Not a fan"

Overall: It was good. Not great. If I was in the mood to drink an English Brown Ale, I would pass over Newcastle and pick up this.

More User Reviews:
Photo of TFB5
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Good easy drinking Brown Ale. I pick this one up at TJ's for a steal and for the price it cannot be beat.

Photo of Dmann
3.26/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a decent stab at a american porter. It poured a nice deep brown color with a good brown head that left a good ammount of lace on my glass. The smell was kind of sweet but not in a good way. There were also traces of chocolate in there as well. The flavor was not bad at all, with a good hop bitterness to go along with the semi sweet chocolate flavor and roated malts. The mouthfeel was nice and sturdy and this beer was a suprise for sure. I don't know if I could drink a whole bunch of these in one sitting but a couple at a time would not hurt.

Photo of blackearth
2.99/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at Trader Joes. Pours a black body with dark brown corners and a thick off-white head that falls to a cap. Aroma of dark roasted malts and a bit sweet cream. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Flavor is sweet with a bit of a metallic hint to it. There's a chocolate bitterness in the finish that sticks around for far too long. This is a bit overly sweet to be high in drinkability.

Photo of Jason
4.12/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz brow twist off bottle with a printed drink before date on the back label.

Appearance: Very dark brown donning tarnished amber hues with a thin wispy tan lace that lazily sticks to the glass for a few seconds and then dissipates.

Smell: Almost cloying sweet with a chalky undertone of husk in the aroma. Hints of sweetened coffee, oily hop and dark chocolate linger in the nose.

Taste: Very crisp within the moderate body, the crispness really helps with the refreshingly drinkable quality this brew has. Hints of chocolate, faint coffee, nutty grain and some husk make up the initial front malt character that is sweet in the beginning. An even bitter oily hop flavour is modest yet at a perfect level. As the finish draws closer some residual sweetness stays around and throws a steely crystal malt flavour in the end.

Notes: A solid beer to be had and at $4.99 a six pack it is a steal. Perhaps a beginners dark beer or a beer geeks session brew.

Photo of 1Adam12
2.49/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

For a name like "black toad", this poured very brown. I do suppose it is a brown ale. Malt bomb all the way around. Smelled sweet and malty, tasted sweet and malty. Maybe a little bit nutty, but mostly just a malt bomb. Mouthfeel was light and carbonated. Really no finish to it what so ever. Overall...I poured this down my drain. Funny thing is that I used to drink it often before I really got into beer, and before my pallet became snobbish. This was horrible IMO and I'll never buy it again, even if it's only a buck.

Photo of bsp77
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from glass into clear plastic cup (at least it's clear).

Appearance: Chestnut brown with thin off-white head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Quite sweet with caramel, molasses, chocolate, roasted malt and a slight nuttiness.

Taste: Not quite as sweet as the aroma, but still a little sweet. Caramel, molasses and chocolate comes through once again balanced by a drier walnut taste. Ends a little bitter with English hops. Seems more like an English Brown but with a heavier roasted taste.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: Easy drinking, dark English Ale. Certainly not an American Porter, more like an English Brown Porter or an English Brown Ale.

Photo of jondeelee
4.15/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smells rich and earthy, with strong notes of chocolate malts, as well as more lightly toasted grains, dark chocolate, and caramelized brown sugar.

On the tongue, the beer retains many of the darker flavors present in the nose, focusing especially on chocolate malts and a light layer of tobacco and coffee, both of which come on stronger in the latter half of the mouthful. The ale starts off, however, with a nice smattering of grapefruit-bitter hops layered over the chocolate malts, as well as dark fruit esters and sugary toffees and caramels. The sugars give way in the middle of the mouthful, leading to the darker flavors. The aftertaste is a continuation of the chocolate malt/tobacco mix, with a slight return of the hops. Mouthfeel is medium-light, perhaps the same viscosity as skim milk, and carbonation is medium/average.

Overall, a nice dark ale, presenting and showcasing many of the standard flavors of the style, but doing so with a class and subtlety--as well as with larger flavors--than many of its peers.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.53/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ugh, you say this is a porter? Seems like a brown ale. Pours kinda dark, but lacks the thickness to be a stout, pours thin like a weak brown ale. Smell, not attractive, no hop character, lots of toffee.

Taste, more toffee, some burnt malt, doesn't smack of chocolate or coffee like you might expect from the color. No hops. Thin malt. Pick one, don't not have either. Mouthfeel is lacking, no depth, no heft, thin, watery for a porter. Can't be drinkable if I don't like anything else about it. The last one of my 6 pack sat in the fridge for over a year. I forget who the sucker was that drank this.

Photo of chinchill
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle with a BB date of July 2015.

Pours clear, very dark brown, with a large, durable tan head. Lingering lacing partially coats the glass.

Aroma: mild medium and dark roasted grains with a lighter roast than the appearance suggests. Faint hints of coffee, smoke, roasted nuts and toffee.

Flavor: mild medium and dark roasted grains with a neutral bitter/sweet balance.

Feel: medium-light body; very smooth. Lively, crisp carbonation.

O: enjoyable and economical dark ale that straddles the brown ale / light porter categories. Improved with warming.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.2/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a deep mahogany clear body that has a creamy thin head that last and last. The carbonation is strong with big bubbles.

S- The soft smell of lightly toasted malt with some faint toffee notes in the background.

T- This beer has a smooth brown malt texture with some notes of dry pale malt aswell. There are some subtle notes of caramel and toffee with a slight off-taste. This beer finishes with a soft bitter hops that is enhanced a bit by the carbonation.

M- The mouthfeel is light with a slight creamy texture with a bit of a watery finish.

D- This beer has some nice malt qualities and some nice hop qualities but it lacks interest. Some qualities of a Bock, some of a Brown Ale, and some of an Adjunct Lager made it a little confusing and they all kind of washed together.

Photo of chicagobill13
4.57/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My bottle says a brewery from San Jose, CA. I know use to be Goose Island now it is Joseph Brau Brewery. I like. Good Beer at a good price. I would pick it up again at Trader Joes! not too many good black ale that are in code and good! The aftertaste is ok but I can live with this beer. This is now my everyday beer!

Photo of richkrull
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up at Trader Joes in Madison.

Pours a fairly dark brown color. Not much head at all. Smells like malt, coffee, chocolate. Taste is Pretty much the same. Some chocolate and coffee. A little bitter but not overpowering. The more I drink it, the smoother it gets. Not a bad beer, I'll probably try it again if the price is right.

Photo of mentaltraveller
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was surprisingly enjoyable. It had been sitting in the fridge for a while so I decided to drink it. It pours pretty dark. The slightest light is able to get through a very dark brown. Smells of oats and dark chocolate. The first thing that struck about the taste was its sweetness and relative thickness. For an abv of about 5%, I was not expecting big flavors. This is a good brew. Simple, no frills, and one of the better brown ales I have had.

Photo of IntriqKen
2.91/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep black amber with a full 2 finger cream colored head that disappears too quickly to fine lacing.
Aroma is sweet malt and bittersweet chocolate.
Taste is of Chocolate and prunes....can't notice any hops until after you swallow then slight hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel is thin for this style...slightly unpleasant aftertaste.
I don't think I'll be trying this one again...much prefer Trader Joe's Black Hart Stout for a dry stout and TJ's Stockyard Oatmeal Stout for a desert, sweet stout...all of these three are at the same price

Photo of NJpadreFan
2/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Purchased my Black Toad Dark Ale at Trader Joe's and had no idea what to expect from this beer.

Black Toad Dark Ale was absolutely wretched! I was able to gulp back 3 mouthfuls before pouring the rest down the sink!

The appearance is a dark lager and the smell is of a wet ashtray!

The taste was like burnt garbage! Maybe my beer was skunked but I thought someone put 100 cigarette butts out in an old beer and served it to me! I can not believe a beer that have such a burnt flavor that you can't detect anything else there!

I wanted to like Black Toad but unlike burnt marshmallows this burnt product is not pallatable!

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.12/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a beautiful dark, deep cordovan brown. A thin head quickly finds itself an even thinner lacing.

Smell - Big caramel on the nose, with subtle hints of toffee.

Taste - Dominant caramel, distinct toffee and butterscotch notes... a bit of chocolate too. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel - Decent body for the style, but I find the carbonation a bit lacking.

Overall - This is a beer I've purchased a few times over the years, and I wonder why I don't buy it more often (probably due to it's Trader Joe's exclusivity). At $5.99 per sixer, it's certainly one of the better bargain beers to be had.

Photo of asabreed
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Fairly light for a Porter, with an off-white head and little lacing aside from streak-hints of such.

Smell: Mild black coffee, roasted malt sweetness, low-end bitter chocolate, and some citrus. Balanced and complex enough to enjoy.

Taste: Roasted malts, dark bitter chocolate, a hint of black coffee. Finish is mild black coffee for the most part, with a bit of roasted malt sweetness. Also there's an interesting hint of orange candied citrus going on, which adds a cool element to the overall experience.

Mouthfeel: A bit watery and thin for the most part, though it doesn't hurt the flavors coming through as much as I thought it would initially.

Drinkability: A decent Porter for the price. Could be a little darker and have more flavor, but that would of course jack up the price. And it's light enough to drink on a summer day without being too thick or overpowering. I'd drink it again.

Photo of augustgarage
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best before March 13, 2013; poured from a 12oz bottle into my Samuel Smith nonik.

A russet/chocolate/raw umber parade combines to form the dark but clear liquid capped by an active and fast receding khaki head. Vague lacing, poor retention.

Roast coffee, not-quite-burnt toast, and dark malt aromatics invite you to inhale a bit deeper. Hints of walnuts and toffee.

Sweet and rich palate entry with brief but intense sweetness and layered roasted/toasted malt notes countered by a mild clean bitterness from (English?) hops. Clean but complex or complex but clean? My confusion suggests a nice balance which persists into the finish.

Faintly slick modestly carbonated mouthfeel - a touch soft, but satisfactory for the style.

Given the relatively low ABV and the "budget" price-point - this is proving to be quite the Autumn session ale in my home. One of the best values on offer from Trader Joe's. Definitely inspired by a number of Northern style English browns - this beer quietly bests a number of them.

Photo of pmcadamis
3.12/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Dark mahogany brown with a small wisp of a tan head. Head retention is poor, and little lace is left on the glass.

S - Rootbeer and sassafras. A little bit of tootsie roll in there too.

T - Mild chocolate and root beer. Roasted grains and blackened steak. Better than the nose for sure, but still a little bit weak for the style.

M - Light bodied and roasty. This is honestly over carbonated for what it's trying to be.

D - This is a bit too burn-y tasting and a lot too weak for the style. I honestly thought this was more of a "Euro dark lager" than a porter, as it is a bit on the thin side. It is relatively easy drinking and mild, but the over-done burnt steak (grill char) flavor is a bit much.

Photo of haddon
2.18/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

got this from a pick six from TJ"s. poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- dark cola appearance with little to no head. small amount of lacing that doesn't hang around long

S- nutty smell with a faint hint of chocolate and burnt coffee. not much going on with the smells

T- can taste the malts with a burnt coffee and nuts. the carbonation is overwhelming and tends to drown at the other notes

M- thin, watery and again, too much carbonation. almost fizzy in the mouth. couldn't let it sit on the palate too long...just not that enjoyable

D- not sure if it was the beer or am I just not a fan of porters. the carbonation is so strong it almost taste more like a cola than a beer. won't buy again.

Photo of secondtooth
3.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, tawny, murky brown. Moderate head and only a hint of lace here.

Aroma is roasty malts and a little dark fruit. I get a touch of nuttiness, too.

Taste is sweet, with a bit of roast and nuttiness. Seems to me like a brown ale with a little extra char. Easy enough to drink, but not outstanding.

Photo of hreb
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best consumed before 03/03/12. Cold 12oz bottle poured into imperial pint glass. Beer is a dark brown, barely translucent, with a fat, lighter brown head. Could easily be mistaken for stout. Aroma is musty and funky.

Flavor is malty and sweet. Suggests a nuttiness without slapping you in the face with it. Wet hops through the middle, but caramel in the aftertaste. Not over carbonated at all.

A little on the sweet side for my taste, but pretty good all around.

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Ruby red with sparse large bubbles. Good tan foam. No lacing.

Smell: Mineral water and a hint of coffee. Very weak, but not unpleasant.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Mostly toffee. Seltzer water flavor/finish. The feel is definitely very good, but the flavor is just alright. Refreshing for an English brown.

Overall Drinkability: Not great initially, but this is actually a very good session. Nothing outstanding, but the feel makes it enticing.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Toad Dark Ale
12 oz. brown glass bottle, "BEST CONSUMED BEFORE: 07/03/15 11.32"
$1.17 @ Trader Joe's #766, Tampa, FL
- - - now brewed by JosephsBrau Brewing Co., San Jose, CA

Black Toad pours a clear, deep mahogany brown body beneath a full head of pillowy tan foam that holds remarkably well. The lacing is not quite as good, but it still makes a fine showing.

Aromas of sweet cocoa nibs, toffee, light mint, and soft red fruit greet you in the nose. It's rich and welcoming, and without flaw.

The flavor is sweetish and nutty with lots of caramelish and chocolatey, almost fudge-like malt, but that's balanced by a slight edge of roastiness, a mild bitterness, and minty and grassy hop flavors.

It's a nicely balanced beer that's not complicated, but still interesting enough; and which offers enough richness to leave it satisfying without becoming 'too much'. Given the price ($1.17 single bottle) it's hard to beat as an occasional semi-sweet dark ale.

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Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 451 ratings.