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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.

408 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 408
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 408 | Reviews: 236 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of witflee


2.83/5  rDev -20.9%

Poured into a clean bar glass, produced a thick head which disappeared almost as soon as the bottle was set down. Nice dark cola-with-coffee color, enjoyed the smell of it at first, or more to the point, enjoyed the anticipation of drinking it. Overall not displeasing to the nose or eye. Now for the mouth's opinion: one good sip, swirl around the tongue, ...ehh! Is this a carbonated batch of coffee water run through a dirty filter a second time, with beer flavoring added, plus some alcohol? Thin and metallic like the saliva drained out from the bottom of a trumpet, chilled, and artificially colored. The taste of this beer is not improved by observing the noxious black amphibian illustrated on the label. However, not to be dismissed completely, it is scads better than the Sea Dog Porter or Trader Joe's Winterfest Bock reviewed during this same tasting session.

04-27-2006 01:15:44 | More by witflee
Photo of IntriqKen


2.9/5  rDev -19%

Pours a deep black amber with a full 2 finger cream colored head that disappears too quickly to fine lacing.
Aroma is sweet malt and bittersweet chocolate.
Taste is of Chocolate and prunes....can't notice any hops until after you swallow then slight hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel is thin for this style...slightly unpleasant aftertaste.
I don't think I'll be trying this one again...much prefer Trader Joe's Black Hart Stout for a dry stout and TJ's Stockyard Oatmeal Stout for a desert, sweet stout...all of these three are at the same price

04-16-2006 03:26:32 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.18/5  rDev -11.2%

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a deep mahogany clear body that has a creamy thin head that last and last. The carbonation is strong with big bubbles.

S- The soft smell of lightly toasted malt with some faint toffee notes in the background.

T- This beer has a smooth brown malt texture with some notes of dry pale malt aswell. There are some subtle notes of caramel and toffee with a slight off-taste. This beer finishes with a soft bitter hops that is enhanced a bit by the carbonation.

M- The mouthfeel is light with a slight creamy texture with a bit of a watery finish.

D- This beer has some nice malt qualities and some nice hop qualities but it lacks interest. Some qualities of a Bock, some of a Brown Ale, and some of an Adjunct Lager made it a little confusing and they all kind of washed together.

03-01-2006 00:51:53 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of Greenfloyd


4.33/5  rDev +20.9%

A dark ale that handles a hearty shepard's pie just as easy as it swims along your grilled salmon, no small feat for a porter inspired brew. A pint glass pour will give you a dark butterscotch hue, with a light almond colored head. The subtle nutty nose translates into the taste of the "distinctive dark ale" as you retrieve toffee nuances accompanied by a toasted cashew (maybe a stretch, maybe not, but a toasted nut non the less) chaser.

Halfway down your glass, give this ale another sniff or two. You'll be surprised to find honey-like undertones now, the same honey that you might notice during the finish.

An incredibly easy to drink, enjoyable dark, that represents well enough in taste, to forgive the lack of body that connesouers of porters and the like come to expect, but then again, that's part of the charm right?

02-28-2006 05:45:16 | More by Greenfloyd
Photo of arizcards


3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Picked up a bottle at Trader Joe's at the end of November for 84 cents.

Poured a dark opaque brown with a decent head initially. Nose is of roasted malts and not much else. Taste starts off malty with a hint of coffee and chocolate and finishes smoothly. Mouthfeel is adequately full and fresh. Drinkability is OK as this brew is definitely better than your average macro but does not present a lot of complexity to be a top notch porter.

01-30-2006 00:30:33 | More by arizcards
Photo of aforbes10


3.95/5  rDev +10.3%

Got this at Trader Joes just to try. didn't have super high hopes but i liked the label. pours brown but not opaque. nice head, great long lacing. smalls yeasty, like bread. also some malty odor. Taste is like roasted males at first, then nutty. a hint of molasses and caramel and a rich chocolate aftertaste. tastes a bit like a watered down stout, but in a good way. smooth mouthfeel. carbonation is present but not striking. slides easily down the throat. Great drinkability. this is a session beer if i've ever had one. not sure if i would call this a porter though. that's not the exact style i would select, although im not sure exactly what i would call it. if i was reviewing it as a porter it would get lower marks, i think. definitely worth a try.

01-27-2006 16:06:18 | More by aforbes10
Photo of scruffwhor


3.98/5  rDev +11.2%

Appearance- Poured a nutty brown with a few ruby hints. Had a one and a half finger head that receded to a foamy film with some light foam sticking on the side.

Smell- A litle cream detection, but mostly a mild nutty arome with a little malt penetrates the nose.

Taste- First you notice a distinct hazelnutty hops flavor which then moves on to a roasty, creamy malt character and ends with just a creamy general nut nuance.

Mouthfeel- Overall a very craemy and nutty palate. The nuts stay with the tongue the longest. A little dry as well.

01-22-2006 19:58:40 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of Hibernator


3.73/5  rDev +4.2%

Black Toad Dark Ale
12 oz brown bottle
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a dark brown with chestnut highlights. Tan colored head that turns to a thin lace.

Whiffs of dairy, chocolate and sugars.

Roasted dark malt flavors with highlights of chocolate, caramel and mocha. Nice hop presence and an overall balanced porter. Just a tad thin mouthfeel that could be bulked up some.

Another Trader Joe's associated beer that is offered at a great price for the product.

01-21-2006 01:30:16 | More by Hibernator
Photo of Frozensoul327


3.03/5  rDev -15.4%

A decent offering. Poured out to a medium brown / black color with a large foamy white head. Medium level of carbonation. Lacing was minimal. Not much of a smell, but notes of roasted malts and herbs were noted. Taste was pretty good; flavors of malts, light coffee, and some nuts seemed to go together quite well. Mouthfeel was good, as the carbonation seemed to really keep the palate occupied. Decent drinkability. This is a deal at 4.99 a sixer at Trader Joe's. For that price, this beer is a recommended brew.

11-05-2005 02:12:49 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of macpapi


3.08/5  rDev -14%

Another budget Trader Joe's buy. Pours a dark color--almost black, with a slight tannish head. Pretty basic porter style appearance here. Smells of roasted malt, caramel and nut. Pretty full and pretty well balanced. Tastes rather bland for a porter. Roasted malt is notable, but not terribly strong. Hops are also part of the flavor, but there is nothing special at all here. Mouthfeel is not great. There is plenty of carbonation but no real substance on the tongue. A bit fizzy and watery, very surprising for the style. Overall, this beer isn't great and it isn't too bad either. Weak for my tastes. Average is probably a good way to describe it.

10-18-2005 20:47:50 | More by macpapi
Photo of kgotcher


2.85/5  rDev -20.4%

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.

09-02-2005 06:15:53 | More by kgotcher
Photo of Reidrover


3.35/5  rDev -6.4%

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?

05-14-2005 18:47:10 | More by Reidrover
Photo of GClarkage


3.08/5  rDev -14%

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.

03-15-2005 18:11:49 | More by GClarkage
Photo of abcsofbeer


3.63/5  rDev +1.4%

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.

02-24-2005 23:01:00 | More by abcsofbeer
Photo of Zorro


2.5/5  rDev -30.2%

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!

01-25-2005 03:29:03 | More by Zorro
Photo of beersarang


2.7/5  rDev -24.6%

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.

01-21-2005 18:01:11 | More by beersarang
Photo of Dmann


3.3/5  rDev -7.8%

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.

01-12-2005 09:43:12 | More by Dmann
Photo of Dukeofearl


3.15/5  rDev -12%

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.

12-30-2004 03:28:56 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of misterscooter


2.85/5  rDev -20.4%

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.

12-12-2004 07:15:02 | More by misterscooter
Photo of donnebaby

North Carolina

2.5/5  rDev -30.2%

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!

11-13-2004 06:19:20 | More by donnebaby
Photo of walleye


3.23/5  rDev -9.8%

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.

10-31-2004 14:17:28 | More by walleye
Photo of Boilermaker88


3.48/5  rDev -2.8%

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.

10-25-2004 21:53:31 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.4/5  rDev -5%

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.

10-17-2004 01:45:03 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of BeerManDan


3.28/5  rDev -8.4%

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!

08-22-2004 00:39:52 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of marcellaproust


3.28/5  rDev -8.4%

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.

04-26-2004 03:04:33 | More by marcellaproust
Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 408 ratings.