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Black Toad Dark Ale - Black Toad Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Toad Dark AleBlack Toad Dark Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

403 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 403
Reviews: 236
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 14.53%
Wants: 15
Gots: 12 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jason on 08-28-2002)
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Ratings: 403 | Reviews: 236 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of whatthehull


3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted June 25th 2011 (from notes)

Poured into a la Chouffe tulip

A - very black, three finger tan head and some lacing

S - coffee, chocolate, toasted everything, malts, sweet molasses, vanilla bean and lots of earth

T - molasses, deep toasted malts, light carmel, coffee, chocolate and a slight hop

M - medium chewy, medium body, low acidity, well balanced and nice complexity

D - tastes great, not to heavy, lots of flavor and goes down like butter

Final thought - $5 a sixer and 5+ABV and tastes great. Not bad at all

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2011 16:42:13 | More by whatthehull
Photo of NPerez

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorites. It's sweet but not too sweet - chocolate & caramel followed by a nutty aftertaste. Drink it the right way & I think you'll love it.

There's one thing that I really need to mention - there is an enormous difference between drinking this warm & drinking it cold. I really feel that refrigerating Black Toad tends to ruin it. If you're trying it for the first time, try putting a few bottles in the fridge and having the rest at room temperature - see the difference for yourself.

Refrigerated: Very little head, very little lacing. Weak, metallic smell. Decent watery, slightly metallic taste.

Unrefrigerated: Nice head with OK retention. Moderate lacing at the top of the glass. Smell is not remarkable, but caramel is noticeable. Tastes delicious, with a great walnutty aftertaste that sticks around for a while. I can forget about every other characteristic of this beer just because the taste is so good.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2011 01:39:42 | More by NPerez
Photo of bamojr


4.58/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a beautiful burgundy red. nice crisp brown head. Smells very malty a lot like a porter. Very well carbonated that has a nice sweet and malty flavor. Strong Chocolate flavor that really rounds this out nicely and finishes with a perfect hop flavor. I am so impressed with this beer. I am not even a huge fan of brown beers and porters but this is a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 21:20:49 | More by bamojr
Photo of notchucknorris


3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown color with some ruby highlights. About a one finger tan head that has good retention.

S: Fairly faint, but I pick up some roasted malts along with a bit of maple syrup and brown sugar as it warms.

T: The body is fairly light and I remember this being better when I had it before. I get some relatively faint flavors of roasted malt, a big of a charred flavor, some medium roast coffee and a bit of maple on the finish. Worth a try but not fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 03:18:11 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of karait95


4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: very Nice dark brown color with low carbonation inside, on top an impressive head with mixed sizes of bubbles that dissipates not to fast leaving behind small traces on the glass and a permanent layer on top.

S: full toasted aromas are sensed, the malt is present all the time with some notes of caramel and coffee style. It is good.

T: again the toasted malts are all over the mouth, hops are wisely combined with the barley for an excelent final flavor.

M: an easy one for drink, but not simple. This beer combines the sweetness and the bitterness very softly since the beginning and all the way until the last ending.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2011 04:15:14 | More by karait95
Photo of CHADMC3


3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with chestnut hues and a foamy, tan head.

Aromas of dark malt waft from the glass, which are a touch roasty, and a touch nutty.

More roasted malt is featured in the flavor, a touch coffee like, perhaps a hint charred, but also nutty sweet.

This dark ale is on the lighter side in body with medium carbonation and although it is a touch thin, it is quite crisp and tasty.

I was pretty impressed with this beer; it had a nice combination of roasted malt and sweet nut character that I had hoped it would offer and it was extremely drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2011 01:19:13 | More by CHADMC3
Photo of chicagobill13


4.6/5  rDev +28.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2011 19:53:19 | More by chicagobill13
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark chestnut pour and a thick, tight off-white head on top. Nutty, sweet brown bread-like aromas...toffee, faint sweet chocolate, fruit, and very light diacetyl and smoke. Dry, nutty flavor. Bitter chocolate, caramel sweetness, and a bit of earthy hops. Medium-light-ish body. Pretty tasty and certainly a good deal. Not sure why I waited so long to grab a single.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2011 01:01:19 | More by wedge
Photo of dbossman


3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber hue with a very thin head--almost no retention--some bubbles but it is generally quite still; lacing fades rather quickly

S: Some pleasant biscuity and toasty malts--a touch burnt with some caramel sweetness; it is fairly grainy but also quite subdued and simple

T: Up front there is a great toasty malt profile with a touch of caramel and toffee; this is quite bready but fades rather quickly; there is a bit of subtle burnt, charred grains--but all in all it is quite pleasant--the burnt toast becomes even more prevalent toward the end

F: A tad thin but the beer manages to cling nicely to the roof of the mouth

D: This is a nice, session beer with that bready, toasty malt quality you like in a dark, session ale

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2011 02:07:14 | More by dbossman
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

"Swallow a toad in the morning and you will encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day."


Dark bronze with apricot accents and a faintly fizzy crown of golden khaki colored foam that looks no better than decent. The lid persists acceptably well and leaves no more than a few small spots and dots of lace.

The nose has a lightly buttered brown bread quality that is pleasant. It smells like this ale will be sweet and nutty with hints of vanilla bean. Let's see if the taste buds agree.

Black Toad Distinctive Dark Ale is, indeed, distinctive and different. Hard to say what makes it so. There's more roasted malt than is typical for the style and the hops are making a valued contribution as well. Goose Island knows how to brew beer.

There is good malt-hop balance, both in terms of flavor and sweetness versus bitterness. Forget brown bread, we're verging on pumpernickel toast. There's also an earthiness that *might* be due to a small percentage of rye malt. Semi-snappy hops means a fairly fresh bottle.

The mouthfeel could use a little work. It's light-medium, lacks hang-on, and the bubbles don't provide much expansion or creaminess.

Black Toad Dark Ale is a tasty little treat when you feel like drinking something distinctly different. Swallowing this Toad every morning, rather than being disgusting, would be a good way to start off your 'don't have to work today' day.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2011 11:23:49 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Pardishcreel


4.35/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is a dark brown this opaque beer has a nice head and decent retainibility. The taste is a hint of coffee with burnt grains and a nice hop finish. The bitterness of the hops is well balanced. One of my favorite beers that comes in 6 packs. I suggest for the price at about 1$ a beer you pick up a few of these for you next tasting, I found mine at trader joes.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 21:38:39 | More by Pardishcreel
Photo of GossageBrewery


3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This English Brown Ale was poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The Beer pours a dark brown color. It produces an underwelming amount of head that quickly dissipates. Head Retention is very much below average. The beer is under carbonated Lacing is below average. Low marks for appearance. The news does get a little better with the smell, deep aroma of chocolate and coffee come through. The taste is surprisingly good, a deep roasted malt flavor that gives way to chocolate and coffee. There is also a nice "nut" flavor that is present. The finish is "warming" and has a nice hop bitterness about it. The mouthfeel is a medium body that is typical for an English Brown Ale. This is a very nice session beer- it's a lot bigger then say New Castle, which many consider the flagship for English Brown Ales. Overall pretty good beer- and did I mention that it is contract brewed by Goose Island?

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2011 21:51:19 | More by GossageBrewery
Photo of devilben02

North Carolina

2.98/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark but still translucent mahogany color topped with a substantial creamy head. It has a thin, light, fruity aroma, with notes of cherries, raisins, and hint of floral hops. The flavor is likewise light and fruity, but there are also characteristics of roasted nuts and dirty, earthy hops. The sharply tingling carbonation is merely distracting, but is frankly unpleasant, which really detracts from the light, fruity malt flavor. Overall, this beer has its good qualities, but not there is not enough good to make this one any more than a mediocre-to-average beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 17:46:44 | More by devilben02
Photo of needsmorehops

New York

3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber-dark amber color. Pours a good, dark cream-colored head, with large bubbles. Good laces. Good carbonation.

Medium body with good mouthfeel.

Bready, yeasty, somewhat fruity aroma, with slightly resiny notes.

Dark malt is the predominate taste, balanced with hops. Nutty and somewhat chocolatey. Sweet but slightly bitter with a distinct note of burnt sugar.

Would be good with roasted meats. Could go well with a dessert provided it wasn't too rich.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2011 04:40:04 | More by needsmorehops
Photo of treehugginslug


3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 02:59:29 | More by treehugginslug
Photo of sleazo

New York

3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A_Pours a dark brown which becomes ruby when held to the light. A nice looking head fizzles quickly into a large bubbled cap.

S_Dark chocolate, toffee and a bit metallic

T_Starts out with a milk chocolate, followed by a mellow sweetness. Some roasted grain is present as well. The metallic edge comes through in the finish.

M_Light bodied with a moderate carbonation.

D_Goes down fairly smooth. $5.99 a six pack at Trader Joes, really not a bad deal for a decent brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2011 05:34:35 | More by sleazo
Photo of richkrull


3.58/5  rDev 0%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 23:35:10 | More by richkrull
Photo of smibroncos

New York

3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Poured a clear dark coffee color with a one finger tan diminishing head. Slight lacing on the glass.

S. Dark roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, oats, leaves, earthy

T. Starts sweet and malty, brown sugar, nutty. Finnishes with a short bitterness.Duration is short.

M. Medium bodied good carbonation.

D. A good brew not creamy and thick like a stout. Nice balance and good flavor.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 05:05:10 | More by smibroncos
Photo of SuperSpy


3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A clear almost reddish amber, with a big chunky, sticky head.

S - Hints of dark chocolate, sweetened coffee and toasted malt.

D/M - Medium-light bodied with sweet flavors of chocolate, and roasted malt upfront, with a slight hop bitterness toward the middle and a sweet finish that has a hint of iced light-roast coffee. A very interesting and enjoyable flavor.

D - I could easily sit back and finish off a few of these. All-around this is a pretty good brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 23:25:38 | More by SuperSpy
Photo of EricCioe


3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2011 23:52:50 | More by EricCioe
Photo of plaid75

New York

3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a murk dark amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured caramel, molasses and a touch of roasted malt.

The taste was initially sweet and dominated by balmy caramel malts. Cocoa and a faint nuttiness appeared toward the finish.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style with a residual filmy sweetness.

Overall a solid brown ale for the money. Certainly plenty of flavor the keep it interesting.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2011 01:43:14 | More by plaid75
Photo of BlackBearForge


3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black Toad, despite a thin fizzy head and little lacing. is a pretty nice looking beer, dark clear brown with deep amber/maroon highlights.

The aroma is pretty much thin chocolate malts with a light grassy hop character.

The flavor picks up with a fairly flavorful mix of lightly sweet dark roasted malts, a bit of chocolate, a bit of grainy nuttiness and a light grassy hop bitterness a bit floral in character. There is also a bit of molasses in the finish. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel is light/medium and very smooth and lightly creamy with a touch of a carbonated edge.

Overall a nice rather well mix of well integrated mild flavors making a tasty whole, quite drinkable and crisp for a brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2011 23:37:54 | More by BlackBearForge
Photo of CheckmateBrew


3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2011 04:21:41 | More by CheckmateBrew
Photo of TheStig


4.08/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a rich, dark amber/red from the bottle into my glass. Huge, cream-colored, four finger head that dissipated very slowly into a formation resembling a block of Swiss cheese before sinking into the beer. No lacing.

S- Honestly, the first whiff I got from this was a typical alcohol sting, which is odd considering this is just a 5.3% abv brew. Nothing too amazing. Fruity, but not overwhelmingly so. Hops, roasted barley are prominent but there's a subtle sweetness I just can't quite place.

T- ...Interesting... Swallowed quickly, it has a very neutral, almost milk-like flavor, after which a very slight walnut aftertaste comes in. Not unpleasant, but odd, considering that when one lets it sit in the mouth longer and allows it to be tasted to its fullest, the taste changes to cereal, oats with a slightly bitter, stout-like finish. Like I said, not bad, but... interesting.

--In the time I've been writing this, a very slight sweet aftertaste, --the same hinted at in the smell section-- started to develop. Raisins and grapes. Almost wine-like. Delish!

M- Very creamy. Subtle carbonation that disappears after hitting the mouth. Very easy to drink.

D- Incredibly easy. Slides down your throat like dew on a blade of grass. Delightful.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 05:53:46 | More by TheStig
Photo of mikeg67

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased at Trader Joe's. Pours dark brown with a tanned long lasting foamy head. The aroma of dark fruit, raisins, roasted malt with hints of floral hops. The flavor was sweet dark fruit and caramel malt in the beginning followed by light coffee and dark chocolate notes. Finish is short and on a sweet side. I did not expect much but was pleasantly surprised. For this price I will definitely buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 22:12:52 | More by mikeg67
Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 403 ratings.