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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: 32 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 248 | Hads: 460
Photo of kgotcher
2.83/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

6 pack from Trader Joes. Must be a TJ only brew since I never heard of these anywhere else before. I like the newer brews they contract from Gordon Biersch so I thought I would give these a shot. For 4.99 a 6 pack why not.

Pours black with a slight tint of amber. Weak head with no lace or retention. Low carbonation. Smell is weak for a porter. Slight hint of carmel, coffee but pretty weak compared to other porters.

Mouthfeel is also fairly weak and too fizzy, which is wierd because of apparently low carbonation. Not a lot of body and too dry.

Taste is okay but a missing the flavorful punch of other porters like Black Butte. Weak flavor of cofee, Caramel, chocolate, some hops but a bit lacking in smoothness and overall flavor. Aftertaste is a little bitter.

This is a fairly drinkable beer due to the weaker flavor, especially if other porters tend to be too strong for you. General quality seems okay if not spectacular. Nothing is skunky or really off, just not really tasty when compared to some other really nice porters out there that only cost $2 more a 6 pack. If you are short a couple bucks, this will do in a pinch, otherwise go for a Deschutes, Black Butte.

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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?

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Photo of GClarkage
3.08/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

March 2005- Purchased at Trader Joe's in San Francisco, CA

Toad pours a dark brown, almost black in color. Fairly nice thick head, but leaves minimal lacing behind. Very nutty and roasty in the nose and the taste consists of the same qualities, but with a fairly strong bitter finish, almost like a brown ale or a ESB. Carbonation level is adequate, but overall it was a tad to bitter for me. Would have liked a bit more coffee and chocolate than that bitter beer face.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a deep reddish brown with a very frothy, tan head that leaves lots of sticky lace. The aroma is very faint - nutty and a bit earthy. The taste is not bad, slightly bitter and slightly malty. Overall, this is not a bad session beer that could be sampled several times. It is pretty smooth and easily drinkable.

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Photo of Zorro
2.5/5  rDev -30%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pour a clear brown brew, doesn't look like a porter.

Smell is sweet and heavily roasted in scent and is slightly sour smelling.

Taste is a little sweet and a little malty with a bit of roasted flavor and some bitter aftertaste. I feel like I have been cheated, this doesn't have all that much flavor at all. As a Porter it is a flop, makes an OK Brown Ale I guess.

Mouthfeel is below average.

It is drinkable but why would I ever want another one of these? Blah! Completely forgettable!

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Photo of beersarang
2.75/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I picked up a bottle from Trader Joes. Twist off.

Pours with a large head that quickly dissapates. Little to no lace. Chestnut brown color, head has large bubbles.

Nose is malty with roasted notes.

Taste is not so great. There is not enough malt complexity in this beer. The bitterness also seems very simple. This beer lacks complexity in any way. Very simple, smokey flavor that I didn't find too pleasing.

Mouthfeel was especially unpleasing. Carbonation is too high, and the body is not heavy enough for a dark ale. The thin body and high carbonation makes this beer hard to drink.

I poured out the last quarter of my glass.

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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.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.17/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a murky dark brown, not quite as dark as a solid stout black. A medium-sized an head appears and then just as quickly, vanishes! The aroma is slightly sweet, roasty, malty, almost smoky. Flavor is almost amber-ale like- malty, sweetish, easy drinking with a slight hop bite at the back of the throat. A drinkable brew found at the local Trader Joe's- nothing exciting, nothing terrible.

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Photo of misterscooter
2.86/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found at Trader Joe's and gave it a shot. I wouldn't say that it is a bad beer but I doubt that I'll buy another six pack. I'd drink one if it is offered to me.

Pours a reddish brown with a good head that fades at an average rate. The smell is chocalatey and very malty. These aren't bad smells but they seem to be too dominating and any other smells that might be there are lost. It is smooth in the mouth and you do get a bit of that chocolate but a lot of the malt with not much aftertaste. This beer feels thicker than it is. Definitely a filling beer.

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Photo of donnebaby
2.5/5  rDev -30%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Boring, dark brown clearish black body and nearly no head yo. Nose is wet and dank, with some piney spruce sharpness that reminded me of wet forest. Tastes are burnt and roasty. Seems to have the rudiments of the porter but woefully thin body and garish mineral carbon after really put the hurt on this one. Certainly below-average. If at TJs--avoid this!

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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.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A random single lifted from a six-pack at my local Trader Joe's. Presented in a 12oz bottle and poured into a standard pint glass. Black Toad had a dark pecan color, light enough to see through and notice some lively carbonation stoking the one finger tan head. The head was durable and left some streaky lace.
The nose had a real nutty aroma like that of Brazil nuts and hazelnuts. Some caramelly sweet notes played off against some mild coffee grounds and hint of chocolate. The taste had a toasty malt and caramel laced sweetness to start. The nuttiness was less noticeable in the taste but still easily discerned before the finish which had elements of coffee and a subdued hops bitterness. The feel was dry and light and rather thin, not as robust as other porters I've had.
Drinkability was okay. It tasted decent and smelled fine but the feel was just not quite right for the style. I'm not sure what style this beer really is; it seemed awfully light for a porter, though. It might work as an entry-level beer to introduce someone to darker colored beers. Black Toad will certainly disabuse a neophyte of the notion of "dark beer equals "heavy" beer. As for me, one will be enough, thanks.

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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.

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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!

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Photo of marcellaproust
3.23/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick, coarse head which quickly fades into a lasting 1/5 in. rim. Smells faintly like opening a box of Wheaties or some other multi-grain cold cereal. Taste begins with smooth chocolate with a touch of sweetness and ice coffee; burnt toast rounds out the finish with a surprising but not wholly unpleasant aftertaste of cigarettes in the mouth (not ashtray-ey, but approaching that). No bitterness at all, which I believe might strengthen this beer's profile. An easy drink, it's got a lighter body (cf. Guiness stouts) than most porters. Certainly a good beer, but there's too many porters in the English or American style that surpass Black Toad's modest presence.

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Photo of Redrover
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black Toad, I had never heard of it but my dad had some in his beer fridge so I decided why not give it a try. I’m guessing its brewed by goose Island for Trader Joe’s.

Beer pours a translucent black with a nice tan head. Not a ton of lacing.

Beer had lots of roasted malt on the nose with more than a dash of hops thrown in for good measure.

Taste was solid but not earth shattering. Definite smoked malt on the tongue. Beer is more sweet than bitter. However, hops become more assertive as I worked through the beer. Seems well made. Reminds me more of a dark lager than an ale (think Leines creamy dark,. but not quite as good). This beer is very quaffable.

Easy to drink, but they could turn down the carbonation one notch.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2/5  rDev -44%
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!

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Photo of hungryghost
4.02/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark color, can still see through if held up to light.
Nice smelling beer. Toasted malt, hint of caramel.
Tastes very much like it smells, malty with slight amount of hop flavour. Another reviewer mentioned a nuttiness to it. I would go a step farther and say a bit like roasted nuts, maybe coffee. Very slight.
Beer is a little thin, not too bad.
This is a very drinkable beverage. Good with food.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.42/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, auburn color with a low light brown head that leaves little bits of lace. Light roasted malt aroma and light hop aroma. Tastes like it smells; really good and very porter-ish. Light bodied with a nice roasty dry finish.

A great session beer -- Kind of a mix between an Irish style stout and a porter... hard to explain - just try it.

Date on label: 07/21/03 Tasted: 02/11/03

($4.99 / 6 pack)

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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.

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Photo of jackndan
2.91/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black Toad: A dark ale. Not too bad of a looking beer from Trader Joe’s, and a huge step up from the first one I sampled. Brownish-red, reddish-brown, with an off white head without much staying power. The taste was actually not half bad, strong coffee flavors, with a rolling taste of molasses at the end. And it did have a nutty flavor as well, particularly as it warmed up. Not bad, not great, but not bad.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.06/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another 77 cent Trader Joe's beer. This one actually was not too bad. Pours a very dark brown with an ultra-thin light beige head. Very little lacing. Aroma is lightly nutty and malty. Flavor is malty smooth with some hops and a nutty finish. All of these attributes are in small quantities though, and it was on the bland side overall. I think this is a weak attempt at a Schwarzbier.

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Photo of Jason
4.12/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

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