Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Black Toad Dark Ale - Black Toad Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Toad Dark AleBlack Toad Dark Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

248 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 248
Hads: 460
Avg: 3.57
pDev: 19.33%
Wants: 20
Gots: 31 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Toad Dark Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 248 | Hads: 460
Photo of mpyle
3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

App - Reddish brown color with brilliant clarity. Pours a medium sized pale tan head, fairly creamy and with reasonable retention.

Arom - Very chocolately, sweet dark malt aroma. No hop. Chocolate overwhelms, but otherwise clean.

Flav - Chocoate and slightly smoky malt flavors dominate early. Hop bitterness subdued. Gradual transition to a somewhat malty sweet finish. Underhopped and thus overly sweet, but full of malt flavor.

MF - Medium body and carbonation. No astringency or alcohol warming. Maybe a bit heavy on the tongue, but no major mouthfeel problems.

O'all - An enjoyable, flavorful porter. Could use some more hop and dark malt "bite", and a slightly drier finish. A very nice beer, but not a classic porter example.

 745 characters

Photo of walleye
3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

got another bargin from trader joes .84 cents. poured ruby with a small off light tan head that stay around along time, with some good lacing. aroma, malts, molasses, some coffee. flavor weak malts ,coffee some sweetness with a touch of bitterness. not to bad for the price, will buy this one again.

 299 characters

Photo of TheBierBand
3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got a sixer of this at Trader Joe's in Blue Ash (Suburb of Cincinnati). Poured this 12 oz bottle into a pint glass to produce a 2" loose head that dissipated to 1/4" fairly quickly. The beer was dark dark brown with some mohogany color when held to light.

The aroma was good. Nice amount of nutty malt.

The taste was average. A little subdued.... as if they were holding something back. Nice malty flavor with roasted nuts... but a bit watered down.

The mouthfeel was a bit too fizzy with carbonation for my taste. Good mouth coating and aftertaste though.

Drinkability: Nothing objectionable about this beer. Not special.... not memorable.... OK.... good for the price... was it $4.99 or $5.99 for a six pack?... I don't remember.... but good value....

 765 characters

Photo of Dmann
3.26/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

 555 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.26/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, coppery amber in the glass. Lots of foam and quite carbonated in the mouth. An interesting musty, sweet vermouth scent.

Fairly bitter on a malty flavor. A peculiar flavor, like a combination of Old Ale and Red Ale. Rather malty, which gives it a robust flavor along with the sudsy mouthfeel that makes it all worthwhile. Light bodied like a lager, but with a deep, dark, lingering aftertaste of raisin bread with a touch of iced tea and a splash of Diet Dr. Pepper.

A Trader Joe's perennial. A different take on the "other" brown ale, so popularly debased by Newcastle.

 578 characters

Photo of CheckmateBrew
3.26/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Look is a dark mahogany with a tan two finger head

Smell is malts with coffee , chocolate and a touch of hops

Tastes a dark ale with coffee. to be honest, not what I was expecting

Overall not bad, but not great as the coffee overtones were too much....and as a non coffee drinker... I will pass for next time

 311 characters

Photo of adamks
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: dark brown but translucent, one-finger tan head that fades quickly with some decent lacing.

s: chocolate with some earthiness to it, hints of roasted malts, but i had to hunt to get much of anything.

t: same as the smell, not much there. hints of chocolate and roasted malt.

m: very thin with medium carbonation.

d: it's drinkable, but that's because it doesn't taste like much.

 385 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a very small, thin, cola colored head. No lace.

S - Smelled of dark chocolate, roasted malt and hints of coffee.

T - This beer is powered by a roasted malt taste and backed up by sweet choclate and caramel.

M - It was fairly soft and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer/

D - This is a pretty good porter and very affordable.

 375 characters

Photo of Mistofminn
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz black bottle (big surprise)

A - Very dark brown, almost black. Who would have guessed that? Tan head

S - Can definitely get some hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

T - Coffee, dark chocolate and is that some sort of nut I'm tasting? Surprisingly crisp.

M - Thin, with decent carbonation

D - Very drinkable for a porter

Affordable as well. Something I will definitely have again, but not something I will rush to buy. Thanks to my buddies dad for introducing this to me.

 482 characters

Photo of BeerManDan
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bottle label says, "We begin with a custom mixture of dark and roasted barley malts. Then we add the choicest hops. The resulting ale has a dark chestnut color and a deep nutty flavor."

I don't know about the nutty flavor, but is a dark chestnut color and there was a taste of roasted malts. Not to bad, but I would not purchase this ale again. This ale had a nutty, bitter/sour taste and that was the turn off!

 419 characters

Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One bottle of "Distinctive Dark Ale" from the Black Toad Brewery. The beer is dark, but not black, with very visible brown regions near the edges. The foam is only a few centimeters deep, and left some nice lacing.

The aroma is raisins, chalky cocoa--it almost reminds me of a dry Irish stout. The sweetness of ripe fruit along with powdery cocoa leads the flavor into a dry bitterness at the end. The palate is left with flavors of husky grains and cocoa.

The flavor here is neither bold nor complex, but it is drinkable.

 525 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark brown about midway between mahogany and cola with a fairly thick if not persistent pale cinnamon head. Aroma is strong, smoky and malty with nutty and molasses hints. Flavor, unfortunately, does not live up to the promise of the aroma - it is malty with nutty and caramel undertones but lacks the nice smoky touch of what I regard as a true porter. Texture is quite smooth and just a teensy on the watery side.

 430 characters

Photo of jonB
3.31/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A very dark English brown ale that is very similar to Newcastle, but not quite the same caliber. Easy to drink, but not particularly impressive. It has a some malty taste that is a little sweet and has a weak finish. Not a lot of body to the beer and lacking a distinguishing characteristic.

 291 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep reddish brown with a short lived tan head. Lacing is minimal.

Smells of liquid milk chocolate, with a roasted sweet maltiness and a bit of smokieness. Taste is light for a porter but rather pleasant. I wonder if this is another light bodied entree brew to the style from Goose Island. Nonetheless, an easy beer to have on hand for the style that won't offend. Decent feel but drinkability suffers from a lack of real flavor and finish. A Party Porter.

Note: Single from Trader Joe's for a buck..

Edit. Tried this one again. Pours richer and with a sticky head, offering some very good retention. Nose remains a bit lagerish but has a nice blend of scents on the nose. Appearance plus 1, taste plus .5. Still has a bit of a schwazbier sense to it at times but more complex. Not bad.

 797 characters

Photo of Reidrover
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz longneck bought at Trader Joes.
Darkish amber in appearance, almost reddish- brown, with a large light tan bubbly/creamy head.
Quite a malty aroma to this one thats about it.
The flavour is pleasant, mosty roasty malts though there is a tiny bite from the hops near the end.
Quite ok on the palte but nothing special.
Its a drinkable ale..but is this really a porter?

 378 characters

Photo of tatoodkelt
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Comsumed 7/17/09- from notes. Had dinner at a buddies house in VA where unlike MD you can get beer in grocery stores. Picked this up at a Trader Joe's.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Very dark brown with a creamy one finger tan head that faded pretty quick. not too much lacing.

S- Roasted coffe and dark chocolate. Kind of faint aroma over all.

T- Same as the smell with some hints of citrus too.

M- Light to medium. Actually seems to border a brown ale more than a porter to me. Medium carbination.

D- Pretty easy to drink, great session beer.

 567 characters

Photo of blackcompg
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Pours a half finger of khaki head, body is a transparent deep garnet reddish brown. Gentle bubbling within the body. Head fades to a cap within a minute, and leaves sparse, spotty lacing.

Smell - Dark fruits, brown sugar, sweet dark wheat bread, and a nice nuttiness, very much like hazelnut.

Taste - Much like the nose, dark fruits, brown sugar, and flavors of wheat bread, and occasional whiffs of chocolate throughout. I get some light minerals at the end of the sip, and some light coffee long into the finish. The flavors here are pretty nice but they are not bold or assertive at all, they are all on the lighter side. Letting this one warm up a bit will help the flavors.

Mouthfeel - Very light side of medium, carb is medium+, but still very smooth. The smoothness of the carb really helps the drinkability here.

Overall - This is a fairly decent brown, definitely on the lighter side - the flavors are good but not bold enough to really make a statement or impression of any kind. A few folks around here seem to like it well enough, give her a try and see what you think.

 1,098 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.36/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

From the 355 ml bottle dated 07/20/14-13:47. Sampled on March 9, 2014.

It is a very nice looking beer with a dark brown to practically black color and a long lasting cream colored head.

While the aroma brings out some roasted dark malt and nutty characters I tend to get this sort of soapiness like I'm taking a shower. Little to no hope note.

The body is about medium but it is very smooth and creamy.

The taste is generally on the sweet and malty side but it does not go overboard. Nuts, malts, and the most modest of a hop finale. It is easy to drink but it is nothing out of the ordinary for the style.

 611 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: Tall thin 12 ounce bottle with a dark black and gold label. Has the words ‘Black Toad Distinctive Dark Ale’. Described as a “….the resulting ale has a dark chestnut color and deep nutty flavor”. No strength listed, but it does have a smudged inkjet code on the reverse label which is illegible.

Appearance: Dark brown body that has a polished walnut look. Thin beige head quickly forms and quickly disappears. Solid conditioning helps to keep a thin head when the brew is swirled.

Nose: Nutty brown ale nose, sweet chocolate truffles and light toasted malts fill the neck will some other ancillary odors that lend a sweet grainy feel at times.

Taste: Light coffee and toasted malt entrance with some coffee in the middle. Dry latter third erodes the earlier sweet feel. Some chocolate in the swallow and a delicate hoppy bitterness lingers on the cheeks and tongue.

Mouthfeel: Clean lines, but this is a tad thin and if it wasn’t for the nuttiness and light toasted feel with the coffee and chocolate in support it would struggle to maintain a 3.5.

Drinkability: Not that bad, and the bitter coffee finish makes for a tasty Porter-esque afternoon drink but I couldn’t manage more than a couple of these.

Overall: Another one of those odd-ball singles from Trader Joes that was a nice excursion but never a complete detour. Worth a try for the money and an interesting change of pace but it has to do a lot to get me to pick it up again. A little weird all told.

 1,500 characters

Photo of katan
3.41/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours a deep dark brown color, to almost amber. Light to no head formation, off white in color. Breaks down to being fully clear, as is the beer.

S - Malty strong, very caramel, toffee, some even scotch style malts come through.

T -Starts with a malty sweetness, some nutty, caramel flavors. Mid-stream stays very malty, some yeast starts to come through. Finishes just as sweet. Hugely malt forward beer, under attenuated.

M - Thick and cloying, piles of unfermentables. Carbonation is mostly missing.

D - Easy drinking if you like sugar sweet beers. Very malty. Not filling. ABV is manageable.

I show this one as a trader joe's beer - so I'm not sure what Black Toad brewing is.

 710 characters

Photo of StoutHobbit
3.42/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: looks very dark amber-brown, a light lacing foam that's butterscotch in color.
S: Malty, a bit processed, not a totally pleasant smell, hints of
Taste: Malty, heavy, with a molassassy finish, roasty, kind of dessert taste with chocolate notes.
Feel: Smooth good finish, not very crisp, more on the warm side.
O: A decent beer for the price, not anything special, a good dark ale standby

 390 characters

Photo of montageman
3.42/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A Trader Joe's exclusive - Dark Toad Ale pours a dark reddish brown with a nice substantial tan head that leaves some lacing. Black licorice, chocolate, and smoke are the primary aromas. Milk chocolate and medium roast coffee dominate the palate. There is some smoky notes as well. This beer would go very well in chili if adding beer to the chili. The depth of flavor in the chili would be accentuated by the roasted flavors here. Some hefty carbonation here, which could be toned down given the style. Not a bad beer by any means - easy drinking, not too heavy with some refreshing components. Recommended.

 635 characters

Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep, dark brown. Tan head.
Aroma of roasted malt, coffee and hops.

Taste of roasted malt with some mocha coffee, nut, and bittersweet chocolate flavors. Hops provide a good level of bitterness and maintain a decent balance. Tatse is slightly bland and just a bit off.

Body and mouthfeel are a little thin.
Good drinkability, but again the flavor seems a bit off.
Overall, a decent beer, but nothing I'll look for again.

 431 characters

Photo of EricCioe
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured deep black with a light, sandy head with some lacing. On the nose there is a sweet, almost raspberryish note that hangs out underneath a bigger, toasted malt flavor. I hadn't noticed that until my third one because it's buried pretty deep. On the tongue there is a nice mix of the sweeter, fruity flavors and a little bit of the dark malt. It's a strange but really nice, subtle mixture. In the mouth it's pretty thin and doesn't have a very large body. It just doesn't stick around much. But that makes for a beer that would be very easy to sit back and drink lots of, and with a good mix of subtler aromas and flavors like this beer has, that's not entirely a bad thing.

 684 characters

Photo of tapman
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque black, though a lighter ruby-brown when held to the light, with a huge tan head. Head subsides to smooth, even lacing.

Toffee and butterscotch. I don't smell any hops or yeast.

Super toffee and ultra butterscotch with some roasted flavors. Hop bitterness is apparent and balanced.

Thick, but not too.

A good beer, just not very complex. I would hazard at some specialty grains and a mixture of roasted barley with some black patent or something like that. Worth a try, especially for the price

 507 characters

Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 248 ratings.