Yona Yona Ale - Yo-Ho Brewing Company

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Yona Yona AleYona Yona Ale

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BA SCORE
86
very good

124 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 124
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 5
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Yo-Ho Brewing Company visit their website
Japan

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 06-16-2003

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 124 | Reviews: 61
Reviews by pettis:
Photo of pettis
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful dark golden-orange with a thin, white head of medium-fine bubbles.

S: Malty, with some citrus notes from the aroma hops.

T: Each sip starts out malty--though not too malty--and is followed by a delicate, but pleasantly noticeable, hoppy bitterness that lingers on the tongue. Excellent balance should please malt and hops lovers alike.

M: Creamy, smooth, nice amount of carbonation--excellent.

Yona Yona Ale is by far the best value in Japanese craft beer, costing just around 25% more than the mainstream lagers (260 yen vs. 210 yen) but offering double or triple the flavor. It's also increasingly available at convenience stores and supermarkets around the country. While its cost likely makes it impractical as a go-to beer outside of Japan, it nevertheless is an excellent example of an English pale ale and a godsend for those in Japan seeking good beer on a budget or outside of the major metropolitan areas. Yona Yona is also available on cask in pubs throughout the Tokyo area.

More User Reviews:
Photo of CaptainThunderPants
4/5  rDev +4.4%

The label recommends drinking at 13 degrees. Screw that pretentious nonense, I like my beer cold. Has a pleasant aroma of pencil shavings and when I dirnk it I feel like a real hawaiian party animal. Women flock to me and hair grows where there was no hair. A good beer. Drink it.

Photo of travelingrant
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

What Yona-Yona Ale lacks in flavor it makes up for in ubiquity. Craft beer can be hard to come by in Japan, and having a brew like this show up regularly in grocery stores is a ray of hoppy sunshine in a swamp of Asahi Super Dry and Kirin Lager.

Yona-Yona has a nice floral hop nose, with a well balanced malt backbone. It is not the most flavorful Pale Ale, and to judge it by the standards of American Pale Ales and IPAs it is only a fair effort. But it is the hoppiest Japanese craft beer sold in my area, and that sort of thing is worth rewarding.

Photo of Weizenmensch
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

350mL can as pictured, freshness date 0912上 (before December 2009, if I'm reading it right). Braille beside the ring-pull, don't know Braille.

A: Dark amber brew with an off-white head, low carbonation yet admirable head retention (good head retention for the style), and sticky lacing. Looks appealing. 4.0

S: Might have been served too cold, not getting a whole lot of volatile aromas coming off. Some generic hoppiness and dark dried fruit aromas, but it's not giving enough away. Pleasant but indistinct. 3.5

T: Taste is rich, sweet, satisfyingly full, malty and ale-hoppy on the tongue, and especially bitter on the palate. True to style, the expected flavours such as raisins, raw sugar, even pineapple are all there. Nice and fruity, but tastes like a beer, not like tropical punch, like some ales like this (Badger Champion especially has the tropical punch aroma for example). A sweetness can be detected even on the lips. This is a well-made brew, and the depth of flavour is difficult to fault. I haven't sat down and contemplated a beer like this in quite a while. 5.0

M: In the mouth it's a good blend of astringency and stickiness. Could afford to be a little more carbonation, but otherwise goes down nicely. 4.0

D: I wouldn't crave half a dozen of these, they're better enjoyed sipping one and moving onto something more cleansing. The stickiness is nice but would be cloying after the third beer. A nice beer to sit and contemplate, but you'd feel a little bloated if you had too many of them. 3.0

Overall: Refreshing, but not the kind of beer you want at noon on a humid midsummer's day in southern Japan. But thankfully the relentless heat happened a month ago, and I can enjoy this beer on a cool September eve.

This is better than I remember it, I needed a friend to remind me to try it again. A solid ale from a land where true beer is found in less than trace amounts.

Photo of hreb
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

350mL heavyweight aluminum can served cold in pint glass. Beer pours an alarmingly hazy pale orange amber. I was expecting a pale ale (not that I can read any of the Japanese on the can) but this thing is seriously cloudy. Tiny white head. Intense citrus hop aroma. Aroma could be worthy of an IPA, actually.

Although the aroma is beta-acid hop forward, the flavor is much more mellow. Slightly sweet, and hopped like a non-India pale ale. Hops are more than balanced out by some non-descript malt flavors more, leaving a result somewhat short of dry.

Enjoyable, especially given it's less than pleasant (to me) appearance in the glass. I picked this up today at uwajimaya in Seattle today because I noticed that when I picked up the same brewery's porter ("Tokyo Black") I had really enjoyed it, at least according to my BA review. This is decent but unlike the porter it doesn't justify the $4.39 / not-even-12oz sticker price.

Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

Found the can at Max Value, Yomitan, Okinawa.

A - Pours a nice light orange, light shining clear and through, one finger of white head.
S - Light hops aroma. I have nothing creative to say here.
T - Sweet malts dance with light hop bitterness portraying a scene of light pine sap and vanilla.
M - Mouthfeel showcases a medium bodied ale punctuated by a gentle carbonation and slight stickiness.

Overall a very enjoyable APA. I'd say this is a good beer for most people. Recommend.

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. can. Has a pretty caramel color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, a bit of hops. Taste is good, hops, citrus, lots of flavor, the most hops in a beer since I left the states on vacation. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.22/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep amber with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows soft piny hops and a bit of grapefruit. Also some soft caramel.
Flavours are somewhat similar but include some bready malt and less hops.
A bit over-carbed really.
Fine but nothing too impressive.

Photo of emerge077
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Golden orange, sticky collar of lacing. Feeble island of floating skim in the middle. Bright clarity, saturated reddish-orange color.

Woody cedar, caramel sweetness, tea like.

Old oxidized caramel malt, orange peel, something vaguely medicinal. Dry aftertaste, malty. Medium bodied, a pretty average pale ale, regardless of origin. Not sure of the age of this can, it could be old, who knows... for $6 i'm not going to try it again. A novelty buy...

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a hazy, medium golden amber with a thin white head that still has good retention and light lacing. Mild aroma of stone fruit and light bready malt. Flavor follows, with pleasant stone fruit and lemon, light citrus hops and bready malt. Light to medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. A quite pleasant pale ale; light on hops, but makes up for it with a nice fruity, bready malt. Well balanced.

Photo of Amalak
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I had at d.b.a. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

A. It has a dark orange color, and it's opaque. It has a big foamy off-white head with some lacing.

S. Nice citrus and hop scent.

T/M. It has a sensational orange taste. Some mild bitter hops. It's fruity and more on the dark fruit side. A hefty rye like taste in the finish. Smooth with a mild bite.

O. A unique, beautifully fruity blend.

Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellowish orange in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter-finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a thick ring of creamy bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of fruity yeast and pale malts in the nose along with some hints of citrusy hops.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has flavors of bready malts and both citrus and pine resin hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied, smooth and somewhat creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very well balanced and has a good amount of hops to keep the taste interesting compared to other beers in the style. It’s very easy to drink yet also complex enough to sip and savor.

Photo of patre_tim
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Rustic caramel, cloudy, lots of carbonation, 4 fingers of beige head, honeycomb lacing.


S: Citrus, orange, caramel, spruce, grapefruit.


T: Pink bubblegum as in the kind that used to come with a cartoon not like hefeweizens, bitter on the finish with a sort of milky lactic quality. Some evergreen in the middle, mild sweetness.


M: Thick juice like body with little carbonation.


O: Interesting taste and amazing mouth feel, got this on Wishbeer, and drank it Jan 17th, 2015 in Kunming, China.

Photo of zeio
4.34/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. I just got this at whole foods. This is a really great brew. I never thought Japanese craft beer was this good. Canned, no doubt.

A: Golden orange with a thing head, fine bubbles.

S: Smell is actually rather boring.Thin whisps of orange/citrus malt.

T: Its like light liquid bread with a light hops and a ultra light bitter. Very good balance of malt and hops. Utterly pleasant.

M: Really good. Its creamy, light, smooth, slight carbonation. Veery good.

M: Creamy, smooth, nice amount of carbonation--excellent.

I need to find a way to buy cases of this stuff.

Photo of The_Mad_Capper
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%

The aroma has a nice citrus and pine hop character; there is some underlying caramel sweetness. The frothy, off-white head is long lasting; the copper/deep amber body is brilliantly clear. The upfront flavor is caramel-like sweetness; the bitterness is moderate; there is some orange and grapefruit from the citrusy hops. The body is medium-light with crisp carbonation.

Pleasantly balanced and drinkable, though not the best example of an American-style pale ale. The malt sweetness is especially prominent in the flavor, while the hop flavors are rather subdued. It really is quite tasty though.

Photo of roblowther
4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Clear copper in color, with minimal head and almost no lace. Very clear. The smell is rose hips with a coriander and pepper note. The taste is a fantastic blend of malt & hops, with a very mild hops note and a sweet finish that really brings it all together nicely. The mouthfeel has a nice body with a bit of carbonation. The drinkability is fantastic. Probably the most drinkable pale ale I've had.

Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden orange in color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall off-white head that quickly reduces to an extremely thin layer over a majority of the surface of the beer, a thicker patch, and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant lacing is observed.

S: This beer has the aroma of pale malts with a light presence of a fruity yeast. There is also a pretty solid aroma of citrus hops.

T: The flavor really follows the aroma with a nice malty body made up of both pale and bready malts. There is a pleasant amount of bitterness that is contributed by the citrus hops. There is a very light hint of pine hops as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and slightly creamy.

O: Very easy to drink and enjoyable. The beer has a low enough ABV and pleasant enough flavor to easily be a session beer. It is very well balanced with enough complexity to be interesting. Definitely one to have again.

Photo of DaftBrew
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked a can up in Aobadai, Tokyo, Japan tonight just to give it a try. I was impressed by Tokyo Black, so here it goes.

Pours as a surprising, bright peachy-amber colour. Immediately some white heads springs up, and stays for about a whole two minutes. Nice lacing too, so far so good.

A quick sniff brings to mind a fruity malt, although not overpowering. St. Ambroise Pale or Apricot comes to mind.

First taste was a little disappointing in terms of impact. A little bitter to begin with, but finishes clean and fruity on the after taste. Actually, I do find that this would be a beer you could drink a few of in one sitting. Therefore, I rated it mostly high for mouthfeel and overall drinkability. A bonus is the price (here in Tokyo about 215 Yen), which leads me to believe I'll be enjoying another Karuizawa Nagano brand beer in the near future.

Also FYI, this brewery is miles ahead of any Asahi or Suntory brand. Give it a try if you stumble into Japan at anypoint (no pun intended).

Photo of woodychandler
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interviews with Joe Namath (another fine PA fellow) often have him reminiscing about coming off of the field at the end of SB III with "a feeling of joy and elation". Such is what I felt when opening an unsolicited BM from JayQue, asking if I would be interested in some CANned beers from Japan in return for some Kvass. Would I be interested?!? Does a hobby horse have a hickory d**k? CAN you believe my incredible good fortune? I love the madness that The CANQuest (TM) has become.

I CAN't tell you much about it other than it comes from Nagano, Japan and it employs a lot of Kanji lettering on its label. I speak just a little and I CANnot read any, nor do I have a Japanese wife, despite many deployments and liberty port visits while a USN sailor. Oh well. I do know, however, that it marks my arrival in Japan as a sumo wrestler, under a waning Gibbous moon.

The Crack & Glug came off without a hitch and I was soon looking at two thick fingers of tawny head with great retention. Color was a coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. BUPGOO! Nose was perhaps a bit big on hops for the style, but who would I be to CANplain about too much hops? Very minty/grassy on the nose, underlain by a light caramel sweetness. Mouthfeel was medium with a very pleasant admixture of hops and malt on the tongue. Finish had a mellow tea-like quality, not too bitter, not too sweet, but Baby Bear/Goldilocks-approved style.

This from Japan!?! Wow. Color me impressed. At $5.00/CAN, I might not fill my cooler anywhere but in Japan with it, but it is certainly worth a try in the interim.

Photo of juju7
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright copper in colour with a smallish head but nice lacing. A really fresh, fruity, hop driven nose. Soft malt notes in the background. Plainly a perfectly balanced pale ale. Really smooth, spot on bitterness and mild carbonation. A bit of a surprise, I wasn`t expecting it to be this good. Great beer.

Photo of Oakenator
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is golden amber and crisp clean. Decent head at pour and lingers to a pencil eraser thickness around the rim of the glass. Smell is very balanced - some mid based hops leaning to grassy with malts leaning towards brown sugar and candy. Flavor is also nicely balanced but oddly milder than the nose. Still a nice beer.

Photo of toweringpoo
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chimay chalice (hey, its all I got :P)

appearance: golden amber color, very inviting. about one finger of creamy white head which slowly disappeared in a minute or two

smell: oh yeah, this is a real beer. no super dry for me today :D

taste: nice hop/malt balance. citrus-piney hops. great finish that begs for another sip.

mouthfeel: very good but i think i'd like a little more carbonation, could be a result of my poor glass selection though

drinkability: if it was just a bit easier to find and priced like all the shitty japanese macros, i'd drink it all the time

recommended

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.69/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a shaker pint, the beer is a hazed, almost opaque, orange-copper coloring with a low profile, foamy, off-white head. Plenty of sediment suspended in this one. Aromas of pineapple, mango, lemon, rich caramel, and subtle piney notes. Flavors are smooth and sweet forward, with the tropical fruit notes leading the way, heavy on the pineapple. Roasted caramel backbone, with only subtle bitterness to clean up the fruity sweet overall character. Very smooth and light in mouth, with a pineapple and melon aftertaste. Extremely drinkable, with a smooth, slightly cloying linger in the finish. Decent brew.

Photo of tjd25
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Head was short, almost non existent. Beautiful orange copper color, but only slightly hazy. Smell is very fruity and sweet. I'd say red fruits, but I tend to always say that. Apples too, maybe some caramel. Taste is lemony, very sweet, with maybe some strawberries and blueberries, but it is taken over by the quite thick and chewy grassy hoppiness. Mouthfeel is a bit more enjoyable than for the sansan made by the same brewery, less watery. The beer's low carbonation reinforces its drinkability, but the strong hoppiness tends to weaken it.

Photo of JayQue
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another new brewery featured at Grape and Gourmet in Virginia Beach. This is the first of the three beers I bought there. Pours an nice amber color with a small white head that fades quickly. Leaves light lacing on the glass.

Aroma is great. A nice blast of citrus hops. Almost IPA like.

Taste backs off a bit from the aroma. Ther is some good citrus hops balanced by caramel and bready hops. The taste is more what you would expect from a Pale Ale than the aroma.

Mouthfeel is crisp, not too weak.

Overall this would be a solid everyday Pale Ale except for the price...$5.00 a can

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Yona Yona Ale from Yo-Ho Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.