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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.

250 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 250
Hads: 464
Avg: 3.57
pDev: 19.33%
Wants: 20
Gots: 34 | 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: 250 | Hads: 464
Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Well, I think this is the least offensive beer I have had from Trader Joes, but that is not really saying much.

It has a full, robust nut brown ale look, with a hazelnut center and burgundy edges. A modest off-white cap of tightly formed carbonation fades to a thin ring of larger bubbles after a few minutes.

The aroma is full of milk chocolate, hazelnut, and a bit of coffee and cream.

Each sip starts out with a light burnt brown sugar sweetness, with hazelnut and slight sweet milk chocolate following. These flavors last for most of the sip, with a slightly bitter coffee note toward the end. The flavor is basic and pretty mild.

The mouthfeel falls in the middle in every category. Medium carbonation, medium body, slightly sitcky, slightly oily. If you are trying to create a non-offensive mouthfeel, this is it.

I thought this was fine. A step above Newcastle, but there are much better brown ales around.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.71/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle served into a shaker pint glass. Part of the best before was smeared, so this is either best by 06/04/13 or 02/04/13.

Appearance: Dark brown on the table, dark ruby red to mahogany when held up to the light. Initial white head upon pouring died back to a thin white foam across the top and some thick strands of lacing here and there. So so in the foam dept, but very nice color beer.

Smell: Malt sweetness, hint of caramel, hint of metallic. Mild.

Taste: Mix of caramel malt sweetness, burnt sugar, and toasted malts up front, then moving quickly into a brown sugar middle. The finish is not very bitter, maybe just a hint of black coffee that's been on the burner too long - or very burnt malt. Not a good bitter finish, a little ashy a times, but enough to counter the sweetness that is in this beer. I have a sweet tooth and so like malt heavy beers, but this one is just a tad unbalanced in favor of malt sweetness. Tasty, just unbalanced. But probably true to style for an English Brown Ale. I just wish it had a bit more hop balance at the end.

Mouthfeel: Sticky on the teeth. Good carbonation underneath.

Overall / drinkability: One is enough for me, I could not drink another by itself. With food...maybe another one per evening, but it's still quite sweet. Might make a very interesting base for a vanilla ice cream float though. Still, a good full-flavor beer. Just make sure you're ready for the sweetness when you pop one open.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Toad Ale has a medium, cream-colored head, a dark brown (ruby, under direct light) appearance, and some splotchy bits of lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of medium-roasted barley and brown bread crust, and the taste is the same, with some underlying caramel and mild hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Black Toad Ale finishes semi-dry, refreshing, and quite drinkable. Overall, this is a very good, sweet ale.


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Photo of BreweryRun
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown ale, from Trader Joe's, poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Smells fairly sweet, with hints of coffee and chocolate.

Taste is less sweet than the smell but not overly so. Notes of unsweetened chocolate and toasted bread. I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Sweetness comes out a little more as it warms which I'm not crazy about but still good.

A very solid brown that I would have again, great price, and easy to get a hold of.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A friend brought a sixer of these to a get-together last night. Poured one into a snifter. Pour yielded a dark chocolate brown with a nice off-white head on top. The nose was sweet like nutty bread, brown sugar toast, and a bit of alcohol.

Moderate depth. Carbonation level is good, but there's a bit of a thin quality on the finish. Sweet nutty flavors - almond bar, chocolate malt, fresh bread. Good finish. This beer was surprising. One I'd never heard of, but a decent one I'd revisit.

[*This paired exceptionally well with a Carlos Toraño Reserva Decadéncia cigar]

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Photo of secondtooth
3.49/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of Jomolieri
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amazing beer for the price... I think I paid $1.00 for this guy at trader joes. Sweet Nutty flavor with a creamy mouthfeel. Some very subtle toffee notes in there. Not overly complex in flavor but it really hits the spot if your looking for a slightly sweet smooth dark ale.

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.74/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark brown, like a cup of coffee. Moderate foam dissipates quickly. Not much lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts.

Taste: Malty. I can taste chocolate, raisins and other dark fruit, toffee, and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a slight hop aftertaste.

The Verdict: Good. Rich and malty, this is one of the better beers from Trader Joe’s Josephsbrau label.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.49/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of TastyAdventure
3.64/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Found cheap at Trader Joe's. I think it was only $1.00!

Needless to say, I wasn't expecting much.

A - The head is not impressive, with big bubbles, not much retention, and not frothy or foamy, did not positively add to the taste or mouthfeel. The color is a nice shining brown though.

S - Some sweetness and some hops, I didnt linger here too long because I wasnt expecting much and didnt pick up much initially.

T - Much Better than Expected! you can tell the hop bitterness is strong but they are subdued very well by a equally strong, almost caramel sweetness from the malts. Called a English Brown but reminds me more of a Scottish Ale.

Mouthfeel - nothing too special here, but pleasurable nonetheless. Definitely smooth.

Surprisingly good taste considering the price, head appearance, and smell! A nice regular house beer to have if you are on a budget, or plan on drinking quite a few in one night.

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Photo of fx20736
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bought at Trader Joe's in Pittsford on 3/23/13. Price $ 1.09.

poured from a 12 oz bottle into a large glass tumbler, served at room temp.

appearance: very, very dark amber supports a thin tan head. spotty lacing.

aroma: some lightly toasted chocolate malt.

mouthfeel: decent, pretty good actually.

taste: a nutty, brown bread with just a hint of cocoa.

notes: It's not Goose Island Nut Brown Ale but it is easy drinking and for the price, a good value. Would buy again.

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Photo of artdob
3.21/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark ruby red to brown color, like a well steeped Lipton tea.

Nose has a classic roasty malt aroma.

Taste - a watered sweetness, roastiness, mild bitterness. Dare I say some strongly brewed tea tones as well.

Not knocking my socks off. This one is in the ok zone.

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Photo of MonkeymooTJ
3.87/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A beautiful brown with spectacular red/amber highlights reminiscent of a late night sunset. Poured a two finger light tan head with considerable lacing clinging to the side of the pint glass. Hidden inside the amber notes float a moderate amount of bubbles. Aroma screams of nutty goodness. Hints of chocolate and raisins are also present. No hops make an appearance. Flavor is malt dominated with a complexity of bitter chocolate, toffee, dark fruits and toasted nuts. A sweet caramel tone lingers along with a very slight butterscotch flavor. There is also a slight roasted bitterness and just a touch of herbal hops. Carbonation leans toward the low side. Combine this with the residual sweetness and it makes for a medium mouthfeel. Overall a very good beer. I really enjoyed the combination of flavors

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Photo of Dave1999
3.67/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a red amber colour with a foamy white head.

The smell is dark malts and yeast. Not particularly interesting.

The taste is sweet and malty with a tiny bit of hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

This is one of the cheap beers from trader joes it's not bad at all for not much more than $1 a bottle. Very malty tastes more like an Oktoberfest than a brown ale.

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Photo of barczar
3.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant deep amber with a fleeting half inch khaki head.

Chocolate and toasted malt begin the aroma, with sweet nutty toffee and light roast adding complexity. There's a hint of floral hop character. Diacetyl becomes more dominant as it warms.

Flavor reveals toasted malt, which gives way to moderate roast at mid palate, finishing fairly dry and just a tad bitter. Notes of chocolate and toasted nuts intermingle with sweet caramel malt. Light fruity esters underlie the flavor profile.

Body is moderate to a touch watery, with moderate carbonation and a bit of astringency.

More chocolate and toast than anticipated. Decidedly sweet, but fairly flavorful. Very malt dominant.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.77/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a dark ruddy brown amber with a one finger fine medium brown head with good retention and slippery lacing. Aroma of toasted malt, brown bread, a hint of chocolate. Flavor of toasted and biscuit malt, butterscotch and mild nuts and chocolate. Finishes with light sweet toasted malt and caramel. Pretty darn good for a cheap low ABV brown ale. A bit on the sweet side, and mild flavors, but I like it.

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Photo of Flightoficarus
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at Trader Joes

A - Pours a dark, chestnut brown, with a single finger off-white head. Retention and lacing are pretty solid.

S - Smell is of robust molasses, brown sugar, and caramel maltiness. Some lightly floral balancing hops.

T - Taste is of roasted, bready brown sugar and caramel malts. Mild, slightly fruity balance from the hops. While a pretty straight-forward brown ale, the flavor here is pretty remarkable for such an inexpensive beer!

M - Very smooth. Light carbonation. Medium body.

O - I have to round this one up a bit, simply for the fact this is probably the best "budget micro" I've come across. Very solid, malty brown ale for BMC cost. Well done!

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Photo of beertunes
2.98/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a clean, clear, very dark brown color with just a thin cap of medium khaki head that had no retention or lacing.

The aroma was mostly slightly sweet malts with just a hint of roast as well. There was no noticeable grain, hops or yeast scents. The flavor profile was very similar, with the addition of an alcohol bite on the finish.

The body was typically decent for the style, smooth and medium bodied, with a bit of a sticky-sweet finish. Drinkability was good, as brown ales usually tend to be. Overall, an OK beer, one that's worth grabbing a sixer of as a budget option.

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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.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 3 finger frothy off white/mild tan head on a deep amber/brown body. Very attractive beer. Nice lacing.

S: sweet caramel and mildly roasted malt and toffee mostly.

T: Caramel, burnt toast and mild roasted malt but its a touch watery. The toffee lingers on the palate in the finish.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: This beer is an excellent member of the genre. Its a touch watery in the flavor otherwise really nice beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle looks to be either 11.2 or 12 fl oz. It's brown glass with a standard pressure cap, best before date 08/15/2012 13:40 (I find it intriguing they actually put a time on the date - as though opening it at 14:00 would be substantially different). Though the site notes say this is contract brewed by Goose Island, the bottle label says it's brewed and bottled by Josephsbrau. I purchased it at the Whole Foods in Glendale, California. Reviewed live.

Expectations are high given its current ratings and my previous experiences with Trader Joe's beers. Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Served into a Guinness goblet.

A: Pours a one finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, and bad retention - inexcusable for the merely average ABV. Colour is a very dark caramel-copper. Nontransparent but not opaque.

Sm: Dark malts, biscuit malts, cream, hints of vanilla, some chestnut, and maybe a slight hint of roast. A mild strength aroma.

T: A dark malt foundation with mild nut notes, adequate yet underwhelming cream, biscuit malt, and a slight vague hint of vanilla. Some hops come through on the finish. No real layering. Not complex. Slightly subtle. It's an enjoyable brown ale, but it's neither unique nor special. It's pleasant to drink. An enjoyable beer. No yeast or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Some cream about the second act, but not enough on either the open or finish. A touch too thick for the absence of full flavour and lack of high ABV. What is there to support that requires the beer to have this thickness? Smooth and wet, complementing the flavour profile decently.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. There's nothing that catches me fancy to bring me back to this beer again. That said, I'd have it on draught if it was offered at a fair price. Fans of the style will like it but not love it. The ABV doesn't come through, but that's no accomplishment at 5.30%.

A poor candidate for aging.

Drank okay out of me Guinness goblet, but I reckon a nonical pint glass would do her better.

High C

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Photo of brewcore
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Deep brown cola in color. Dark for the style. Yields a one finger creamy off-white head. Dissipates away to a sparse thin sheet. Decent lacing.

S: Dark roasted malts. Primarily chocolate aromas. Great smell but not very strong.

T: Pretty much all malts. Sweet dark roasted malts. Sweet up front but finishes with a slightly burnt malt finish. A little bit of candied fruits in the middle. There is some nuttiness there but not what I expect for the style.

M: Medium bodied with moderate-high carbonation for the style. Great drinkability.

O: I was really surprised by this beer. Darker and more malty than I expected. I grabbed it as part of a mixed "sixer." Next time I will grab a full six pack of this.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.12/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by 7/5/12.

Pours a clear crimson brown with a 1/2 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace drip back into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt and burnt caramel/toffee aromas. Taste is of roast malt, bread, caramel, and a slightly nutty and herbal hop finish. There is a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a light carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some nice roasty aromas and flavors.

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Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.