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Yona Yona Ale - Yo-Ho Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Yona Yona AleYona Yona Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

107 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 107
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 6
Gots: 8 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 06-16-2003)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 107 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of avaldivia
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of zeio
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
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 emerge077
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
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 pettis
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of flagmantho
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 350mL can into a pint glass.

Appearance: pale orange hue with a touch of haze and two fingers of frothy ivory foam. Attractive.

Smell: rich malt aroma with a good helping of earthy, noble hops. It is well-composed and balanced -- I like it.

Taste: rich, sweetish malt with a little bit of grain and biscuit sitting at the end. Hops are not as intense in the flavor as in the aroma, and here they have a more floral character; bitterness is balanced and extremely smooth. Some of the specific flavors are not my cup of tea but there's a nice dynamism to the flavor which I really appreciate.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a big, big dose of carbonation which yields a supremely creamy beer for the style. This part *is* my cup of tea.

Overall: this is a very enjoyable beer; it is well-executed and it has a lot of variety to offer in the flavor department.

Photo of kansaiclikker
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For a Japanese microbrew--(jee-bee-ru, as its known in Japanese) Yona Yona is one of the most widely available and affordable--at least here in Japan.

Appearance is good upon pour but head dissipates rather quickly. The color is a nice light brown--not cloudy at all.

Tastes slightly sweet but the hops balance it out just enough.

Good mouthfeel--crisp but on the light side as is a bit expected.

Love this one. Only a few others in my area I can get this easily and enjoy.

Photo of JayQue
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
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

Photo of woodychandler
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
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 THEBEERBAR0N
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this tasty beer out of a small (8oz) glass.

Appearance: Slightly amber-hued gold hue topped with a quickly dissipating white head. Purty.

Smell: Immediate notes of sweet/sour citrus- sugary grapefruit and lemon rinds come to mind. Not overpowering, but certainly present. I'm impressed.

Taste: Ooh that's nice. Much richer honey flavor malts come through than I initially would have expected. That sweet grapefruit in the smell really comes through in the middle. It has a light pine flavored hop finish that fades back into a very dainty malt flavor. This is surprisingly good.

Mouthfeel: It's a little thinner than I would like, but the malts stick with you for awhile. I think that the thin character may be a good thing though because it definitely places this in the 'session beer' category.

Drinkability: All day. No problem. I think this is the best Japanese beer I've had yet.

Photo of Shakujin
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden, completely clear, weak quickly dissipating head.

Aroma: Ive had this before and it had a better nose, but this time very little aroma at all, slight hints of toastiness and hops

Taste: Bigger than the nose, dominating flavor is caramel malty type sweeness/ toastiness, along with a minor bitterness for balance. Clean aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Med-Light, the caramel taste makes it a bit heavier and there is little carbonation to lighted it up

Drinkability: Quite drinkable although the sweetness might build up a bit after a pint or so. Seems to be designed as a bit of a bridge beer with its price range and wide availability. Decent special bitter interpretation.

Photo of snogglethorpe
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Decent, but overrated -- it's good, but I don't think think it deserves the superlatives that many seem to heap on it.

A nice rich color. The taste, while it's very fresh with a nice fruitiness, is just too bland, it doesn't really stick its neck out in any direction, and doesn't seem to have any sort of interesting complexity that might make up for this. Certainly not offensive though, and something nice to sip; you could drink a lot of it without noticing.

It does have the distinction of being one of the few beers you can find on cask in Japan though.

Photo of juju7
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
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 DaftBrew
4/5  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 Weizenmensch
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
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 indiapaleale
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yona Yona pours a nice peachy golden color which is slightly opaque with a nice half inch of perfectly white head. Nice and clean.

The aroma is hard to place, its sort of earthy and fruity at the same time. There is some definite citrus and a good amount of sweetness as well, almost like raw sugar. Finally I can't help but get a bit of a lemonade smell from this beer.

The taste is maltier than I expected, I think I was expecting a lot more hop flavor. That being said, there is some subtle underlying citrus. I taste a lot of biscuity flavors. It also has a bit of dry finish which is refreshing but I am missing the piney/grapefruity flavors that go along with a beer that's dry hopped with cascade hops.

Not a bad beer, especially when compared to so many of the bland lagers available in Japan. Glad I got try this one.

Another big thank you goes out to EinWeizenbitte for sending this beer along with the Sparkling Hop and asking nothing in return. Lots of beer karma coming your way my friend.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can purchased at Paseo depato in Utsunomiya, about 250 yen, and brought it home to the US where I'm now drinking it on my deck. Perfect deck beer, flavorful and refreshing. The beer is golden color, slightly hazed, with a thick foam. The aroma is hoppier than I'd feared, maybe cascade hops? Some pine and citrus but not enough to call this an IPA, just a well done APA-style beer. The undercurrent is sweet toasty malts, really well done. Well worth buying if you're in Japan, this is much better than the Sapporo, Kirin, or Asahi you're likely to find everywhere.

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

pour this from a 350 ml can into a glass .

A.it looks copper tone very clear with a moderate amount of carbonation .i did get a forth head after the pour but it disappeared in a few minutes.

s, the aroma is interesting and sharp , alittle woodsy ,citrus and some sweet fresh malt in there as well,it`s pleasing and clean .

T,i slight fruit flavor ,perhap tangerine and some honey the malt and hops have a great balance ,the water is soft and smooth in this beer .

M,this pale ale is crisp and not harsh or bitter on the palate with nice hops, malt feel almost creamy ,a bit of a dry after taste .

D, i like this ale ,very drinkable,it`s original. it inspires me to search for more beer from japan.

Photo of SargeC
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Copper-gold colored brew with a thick, off-white head. Low carbonation.

Smell: Minor malt with a touch of citrus. Minor hop profile.

Taste: Solid malt flavor. Citrus hop flavor gives character to this tasty pale ale.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body. Slippery smooth with a satisfying, dry finish.

Drinkablity: Good brew. One of my favorite styles. I am glad to find a serviceable example here in Japan.

Photo of Tsuriman
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very drinkable beer with a solid body and very nice mouthfeel. Citrusy hops with worthy and sweet malt backbone. Smell is that of lovely C hops and the thick head out of the can and beautiful burnt orange in very inviting.

Overall, I really like this beer, I will seek it out on draft and in cask.

Photo of bobsy
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice clear amber body with a creamy white head that leaves sheets of lace - a very nice appearance. Lots of fruit in the aroma - apple some beery, perhaps even some grapfruit, along with a pleasing caramel tone. The flavour is very soid and the lead contributors are the caramel and grapefruit aspects, although the general fruitiness observed in the aroma is still present in the background. The whole package is very well-balanced. The body is as good as you can hope for on cask. Nice and smooth, with minimal carbonation and a pleasing depth.

I could see this being a go to beer for me if I lived in Japan. I don't know how it compared to the canned version, but this was a very well crafted real ale and something the brewers should be very proud of.

Photo of toweringpoo
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
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 roblowther
4.58/5  rDev +19%
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 soulgrowl
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: This beer started off a solid cloudy peach color, full of milky hand-pumped CO2 that gently wafts upward like a lifting fog to reveal a crystal-clear amber beer with an oh-so-creamy whitish buff-blush head. Great retention with solid, sticky lace.

Smell: I liked this beer out of the can, but one whiff and I could tell I was going to LOVE it out of the cask. Unexpected buttery notes came to me first, a surprise since the canned version didn't have any diacetyl presence. The malts and yeast offer loads of sweet fruit aromas - coconut, apple, white grape, palm nut - along with a burnt sugar/toffee tone. Hops are subdued, but still nice and Cascadey.

Taste: Complex yet mild, with everything from the nose, especially toffee and an ever-present grapefruity hop presence. Finish is clean, dry, with a lip-smacking lingering hop bitterness. Mmm.

Mouthfeel: Ridiculously smooth, medium-to-light-bodied and sticky yet crisp.

Drinkability: Yay. I could drink this all night, and possibly every night.

Photo of crwills
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Beer Club Popeye in Ryogoku, Tokyo.

American-style pale ale, although the colour is much darker than most Western examples. Being on cask, it was quite warm and had little carbonation, which muted some of the flavours. Nice hoppy presence in the flavour. Something unique in the aroma that I couldn't identify, almost like some Asian spice.

Another nice session beer.

Photo of 3frog
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2 month old example purchased in Shinjuku.

A-poured a small slightly off-white head, which disappeared fairly quickly. Lovely orange color.

S-citrusy (grapefruit) hops, though I get a hint of cedar for some reason. A little malt in the mix.

T-the grapefruit continues, though it's not like a west-coast pale ale. Nice malt framework underlies everything. And as noted elsewhere, a fairly dry and nicely bitter finish.

M-a medium-level mouthfeel seems to be increased by the relatively low level of carbonation.

D-I like this, but I don't know that I would want to drink several of these. It's a nice, complex beer, but I think I'd like this as part of a variety of beers to drink.

Yona Yona Ale from Yo-Ho Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.