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Black Toad Dark Ale - Black Toad Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Toad Dark AleBlack Toad Dark Ale

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437 Ratings

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Ratings: 437
Reviews: 242
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.97%
Wants: 19
Gots: 24 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 437 | Reviews: 242
Photo of allergictomacros
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, dark ruby red but not quite opaque, with tan foam.

S - Dark fruit, husky grain and a light molasses.

T - Tart up front, with dark fruit. Very sweet and rich but surprisingly not a lot of "toasted" character. Most of all fruity.

M - Heavy, thick and creamy with a moderate carbonation.

D - A bit of an odd duck I think. It's about the color of a porter, and quite heavy, but has the flavours I would associate with a substantially lighter ale rather than a porter. That said, it's easy drinking and has some decent flavours.

Photo of HalfFull
3.33/5  rDev -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.

Photo of beveritt
3.12/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Label is fairly simple, a tan oval with Black Toad written in black letters. Expiration date of 12/24/08.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of light tan head. This settles into half a finger of dense foam. The beer itself is dark reddish brown and nearly opaque. Big bubbles accumulate on the bottom of the glass, almost looks force carbonated vice naturally based upon bubble size.

Smell: Malt sweetness upfront, with a good blend of roastiness from barley and caramel sweetness. An almost tea-like aroma in the finish.

Taste: Fairly significant carbonation bite upfront drowns out any subtle flavors. Toffee-like malt sweetness. Finishes with a medium bitterness from roasted barley.

Mouthfeel: Higher than average carbonation level. Body is decent.

Drinkability: A nice middle of the road porter. A little high on carbonation and sweetness for my tastes, but all in all, not too bad.

Photo of andrewm190
4.03/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a delicious beer. Its not one of the truly elite, but for its price range etc, I find it to be very enjoyable. Nice roasted malts; goes very well on a cool night. Well balanced and smooth on the palate--its traits make it exceptionally drinkable. Its relatively uncomplicated, which is also sort of a plus--a sort of back to basics type of thing that works very well. Simple, nice olfactory reading.

Happy sipping.

Photo of Overlord
3.72/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Trader Joe's delivers again. I swear, when I'm buying affordable, sessionable beers, I find myself wandering towards their familiar environs.

Pours a thin looking dark brown ... a bit offputting, actually. Smells more like a Bock than a Porter. Tastes ... again, more like a Bock than a porter. There's a bit of roastiness, but this is primarily sweet caramel malt.

Mouthfeel way too thin, but very drinkable.

Photo of montageman
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black Toad describes itself as distinctive dark ale. It is classified a porter and the idea of the roasted malt I read about enticed me to purchase.

The look of this beer is pretty good. A black body with hints of ruby shining in the rim. A decent 1 finger tan head that is audibly fizzy from the poor.

Smells are chocolate. Eh, not much else distinctive to the smell.

First sip is pleasing. A slight charred bitterness giving way to a dark chocolate covered almond flavor that finish off with some hop bitterness. Not much lingering flavor. The roated malt character is there, but I wish there was more too it. This is almost like a mild ale in flavor and body.

The body is on the lighter side of medium. I am thinking lighter than Sierra Nevada Porter. The carbonation is slightly fizzy, but not detrimental.

Black Toad is not a great porter, but a good one. Worth the $1.00 purchase from Trader Joe's. For $6 a sixer, it is worth a purchase.

Photo of TrevorGW
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks pretty good in the glass ... quite dark and beautiful, but the head is not much to speak of.

An excellent dark beer that doesn't feel too intense.

I like that it has more coffee/chocolate taste as opposed to a raisiny dark. Great flavor overall.

This is one of the few dark ales I am able to get at Trader Joes, so it is always a nice standby.

Photo of 1fastz28
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep black color with a slighty frothy almost stout like head. smell is of chocolately malt no hop of yeast aroma. taste is pretty good, so far the best from trader joe's that i've had over the past few days. the beer also has a nice mouthfeel to it, rich and thick full of flavor and body. good beer overall

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best By Date October 2008; Sampled June 2008
A brisk pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a frothy, initially three-finger thick, lightly brown tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a concentrated brown, approaching black color that shows a brilliantly clear, bright cranberry color when held up to the light. Sweet and fruity smelling up front, but picks up a touch of roasted grain towards the end. Berries, raisins and sweet malt yields to coffee, toasted grain and burnt toast towards the end. This has a decent mix of aromatic notes to it, definitely an enjoyable nose.

Sweet, with a soft creamy heft to it that belies what I assume is a lower / average alcohol beer; certainly not thick or rich, but I was expecting a thin beer for some reason. The sweet malt notes are balanced in the finish by a roast-coffee like note, some burnt grain flavors, and just a touch of roast-grain derived acidity; this last providing a bit of balance more than anything. The sweetness accents fruit flavors of roasted raisins, lightly burnt black-berries and even a touch of fig.

This is an outstanding beer at the often seen price of $4.99 / six-pack. While fairly sweet, the fruitiness adds complexity and it has just enough roast grain character to keep this in balance.

Photo of drperm
4.17/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No expectations whatsoever going into this one...Black Toad is an unknown brewery to me!

Appearance: Dr. Pepper. Cherry Coke.

Aroma: A smorgasbord! Chocolate, malt, chestnuts, hazelnuts, Cocoa Puffs

Taste: Smoky and deep. Not as rich as the nose, but quite nice!

Palate: Silky and chewy

Overall: Very nice, very drinkable. I'm impressed with these Illini.

Photo of blakesell
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Trader Joe's beer, always an interesting endeavor, and hit or miss most times running on the miss category. But not this time.

Poured from the 12oz twist off cap bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a amber dark brown with a decently pillowy one and a half finger head leaving behind a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell- Roasted malts and hard water with a slight hint of nobility in the hops department. I would call the malt more caramel than black malt. Slightly bready.

Taste- Once again hard water is upfront with roast malts and a nice tongue coating maltiness that is lightly burnt. Very dry and roasty on the finish and smooth for easy drinking. Hops are lightly bittering.

Mouthfeel- Medium light bodied, evenly carbonated, not warming or astringent.

Drinkability- Very smooth and very affordable considering the Trader Joes pricing. Most of my beers cost the price of an entire sixer of this stuff. Very good for the swilling or cooking needs.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with russpowell. Thanks Russ!

A nice dark brown-red colour with a 2 finger head of tannish foam and some good lacing.

It has a nice smell to it. I'm picking up some roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and a touch of dark fruit.

Tastewise, I get the chocolate first, followed by roasted malt and coffee with some notes of dark fruit and just the slightest of hop bitterness. Pretty tasty brew here. The body is kind of thin it doesn't ever get watery. It finishes with a coffee bitterness that lasts fairly long in the aftertaste.
Very good head retention as I'm down to the last couple of ounces and there's still a solid 1/2" layer. This is another one of them "fun" beers to drink and I'm glad I got to try it.

Photo of russpowell
3.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at trader Joe's in Santa Fe, probably the best beer I purchased there, review based on notes, BBD of 04/25/08

Pours an effervescent chestnut with one finger of tan head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Roasty malt & dark fruit once warm

T: Roasty & chocolaty malt, dryness & herbal hops up front. Some vanilla & coffee grounds as this warms, along with some licorice & dark fruit. Finishes slightly fruitty with anise

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation

Drank really easy, not a great porter, but serviceable enough. A little more malt depth would've helped the cause. I too thought this had some Schwartz bier & or dunkelbier characteristics as well

Photo of charlzm
2.17/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 1.5

Consumed March 28th, 2013. Poured into a standard pint glass at 50 degrees F. Bottle label states "best consumed before 07/14/13".

Beer is a clear dark brown with deep ruby/brown highlights. A two finger tan head forms and subsides fairly quickly, made up of an unappealing mass of sloppy bubbles. Some tiny flecks of sheeting on the glass as the beer is consumed.

Aroma is nutty with caramel and brown sugar notes.

Flavor is off. Nasty metallic note is the primary flavor component. A little fruit and nut peek out but then the experience is ruined by an oxidized finish. Not totally undrinkable, but I dumped at least half down the drain. Don't need the calories if I don't enjoy the flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a slight creaminess.

If everything but the flavor is okay, then the rating tends to be deceptively high. I will never drink this beer again.


Consumed on January 16th, 2008.

Pours a deep clear brown with even darker highlights. One finger head formed and dissipated rapidly. Aroma is sweet malt and nuts. Mouthfeel is smooth and a little thick. Flavor is woody/nutty with some sweet caramel notes. Some bitter coffee/chocolate present as well. Minimal astringency on center of tongue. Finishes clean with very thin bitterness.

Label notes that the beer is brewed by Goose Island.

Not bad at all.

APP - 3
SML - 3.5
TAS - 3.5
MOU - 4
OVR - 3.5

rating: 3.53

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - reddish mahogany hues to this beer. A thin light mocha cap sprays a few lines of lace around, but no more. It drops readily and holds for a while at a thin cover.

Aroma - roasted patent malts, slightly sweet. Little else, it's a plain but fragrant porter.

Taste - roasted malts with a hint of black coffee. Prickly swallow, the toastiness giving way to some dark chocolate flavor on the aftertaste. Simple and tasty, kudos for a straight up tasting porter.

Mouthfeel - average, with peppy carbonation.

Drinkability - a tasty brew that I would recommend to fans of the essential porter.

Photo of eberkman
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Trader Joes because it was cheap and I needed a dark beer to pour into my chili. I used about a third of it for cooking and drank the rest.

Pours a dark brown shade with tints of red when held up to the light. Small tan head that diminishes pretty quickly. Really not much of a nose to speak of at all -- perhaps some very faint roasted malt notes. The taste is also a very straightforward, simplistic roasted maltiness -- Maxwell House coffee and not much else. Not any kind of hop presence in the finish. Nothing complex, nothing that interesting or memorable. Feels thin-to-medium-bodied in the mouth -- just kind of there. It goes down very easily, but isn't interesting or complex enough to hold my attention. One was plenty.

Pretty much the essence of mediocrity. Miles above a macrobrew, but certainly nothing worth going out of your way for. Use it for cooking, not for drinking.

Photo of Natural510
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at a local Trader Joe's.

Poured an okay head with a nice dark brown, almost-black color. There were coffee, chocolate & toffee notes, but none of them made the brew too sweet. Malt & hops were present, but everything complemented each other, making the overall taste very smooth with a nice finish.
All in all, quite tasty and smoothly drinkable. I'll definitely pick up a sixer of this again.

Photo of bradybeer
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this beer because my wife thought it sounded good-and she was right. Pours a dark, deep brown with little head retention. Hops aroma is minimum and there is a roasted malt aroma. Taste is good I pick up a toasted malt finish with little hop bitterness. Mouth feel is medium and drinkability good. Nice beer. Nothing outstanding, not a robust American porter-but a good drinking beer.

Photo of Gump
3.04/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark color looks terrific, but there's not much for aroma. Maybe a little licorice.
Subtle roasted malt and chocolate flavors, ends on a fresh hoppy note then leaves a lingering coffee aftertaste.

Overall I am underwhelmed by the subtleness of this beer.

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle a very dark brown with red highlights. The off-white head was light and left some light lacing.

Aroma of roasted malts, toffee, caramel and slightly sour.

Tastes of roasted malts and toffee with a touch of bitterness and coffee aftertaste.

Light mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

This is called a porter but in my opinion is more of a dark ale. It's easy to drink but not one I'd like to drink as a session.

Photo of MillRat
2.98/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solid brown-black with more yellow than red highlights. Head is beige and mildly persistent. Aroma is roasted coffee with a little hint of English-variety hops. Taste is mainly about the roast, although a little sweetness makes an appearance as the beer warms up. Quite drinkable for a darker beer, but is a little too one-dimensional to keep your interest piqued through glass after glass. At about a buck a bottle, it is a good value.

Photo of mithrascruor
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a black colour with a decent light-tan head with some lacing.

Smell: Aroma of roasted malts; a slight sweetness is there too. But it's much too mild.

Taste: Light roasted malts, a bit of creamed coffee, and a hint of chocolate. Mild, but good flavor. A pinch of bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with very light carbonation. Generally quite smooth.

Drinkability: A pleasant beer that's easy to drink. Would work as a session beer.

A nice beer somewhere between a black lager and a stout, more than it is a porter (at least in my thoughts!). It's not so heavy either, which works quite well for this beer. Certainly worth a try; I'll get again for sure.

Photo of tayner
2.75/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

this beer was dark amber in color, the head did not stay around long. minimal lacing on the glass

This says it is an american porter, but it looked and felt more to me like a brown ale. not thick or heavy, not very creamy.. to me like a dark version of bud on steroids...

it was fairly one dimensional when it comes to smell, a little hops, a little toasted malt.. not all that complicated.

too light of a mouthfeel for a porter, more like a brown ale.

drinkability is okay.. session beer type, and at the inexpensive price a better option than a macro, but too many other great beers to try for me to drink this again.

Photo of Gusler
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The appearance after the pour from the 12 ounce bottle is a deep black walnut brown, with ruby highlights, the head a modest sized light tan in color with the texture creamy, after its dissipation the lace forms a thin sheet that covers the glass. Nose has a nutlike sweetness, hints of caramel and a tiny bit of coffee. Start has pleasing malt sweetness; a touch of burnt grain bitterness also present, top is light to medium in feel. Finish has a mild to average acidity, the hops modest in their bite, sweet and dry, a drinkable beer, but seems more an English Brown than a Porter.

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Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 437 ratings.