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Yona Yona Ale - Yo-Ho Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Yona Yona AleYona Yona Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

62 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 62
Hads: 131
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 14.81%
Wants: 6
Gots: 25 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Yo-Ho Brewing Company visit their website

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.
View: Beers (22) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 62 | Hads: 131
Photo of snaotheus
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into a pint glass

Pours slightly cloudy yellow with a medium pale head. Smell is mild, but mostly sweet honey and slight hops.

Taste is honeysuckle with a moderate hops kicker. It's been a long time since I had it on cask so I definitely can't compare, but I remember liking it then, and I like it now.

Mouthfeel is thick but not sticky or heavy.

Overall, I like it. It's a solid beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can - $4.49 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a clouded, medium-dark amber body with a sudsy, ivory-hued head. Light lacing as it goes.

Smell: Lightly sweet-scented biscuity-toned malts with a glaze of amber honey and chiefly orangey hops.

Taste: Bready, biscuity malts with a fair amount of honeyed sweetness, though it joins some floral accents for a taste of honeysuckle. Sweet orange, slight lemon from the hops, but a bit of herb pushed into the background. Modestly bitter, leaving it to finish out faintly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Refreshing, pleasant, though rather cost-prohibitive for regular consumption at nearly five bucks a can (but still pleasant to try).

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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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.

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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.

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

A pretty still, not too active, oolong oorange color body over a small white head, which left substantial cobwebby lacing. The fruity hop nose was light and refreshing. If there was a hop air freshener, I would want it modeled after this scent I think.

The taste, as well, was big on fruity raw hops. A bit sweet perhaps, but bursting with flavor. The hops left a dry, dry dryness in my mouth, which left me wanting to reach for another sip. Medium body and soft bubbles.

This beer struck me as similar to many hoppy American style pale ales and some IPAs I've had. A solid, very drinkable pale ale.

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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.

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Photo of DaftBrew
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
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).

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Photo of Shemmy
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Agree to most of what others have posted already on this one. Another very nice Japanese ale along with the Hitachinos.

It is complex and heavy, yet the floral, citrus pick things up to make it refreshing enough for hotter climates and seasons.

This is the second time I have been drawn to picking it up over several other import beers available in Northeast Thailand, so something has to be going on for this beer.

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Photo of dar482
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer pours out in an amber color with a thin head.

The aroma has sweet citrus of orange, tangerine, melon, and sweet bready malts. Not aggressively pure citrus, but hints of floral notes and underlying hop aroma that is quite Japanese hopping.

The flavor follows with hoppy pale ale notes of citrus, then some middling sweet malt. Lots of grapefruit peel bitterness on the end.

A very competent hoppy pale ale. A good Japanese take on the style.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of CaptainThunderPants
4/5  rDev +3.9%

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.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After the expected shocker that is the macro-brewed Sapporo I thought it best to reset my buds with the micro-brewed Yona Yona Ale, courtesy of Yo-Ho. Japan is a creature like any other in the Beerosphere - the great is hard to find and the crap is exported... if only it could be the other way round. As I contemplate this state of brewffairs the can makes a pleasing *TETCHOK* sound.

Poured from a 350ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Body is an interesting mix of cloudy pink grapefruit and rockmelon, with a firm 0.5cm chalk head.

S: Sweet citrus mandarins mixed with melon hop aromas - a very Japanese spin on a pale ale, and most appreciated after many, many American Pale Ales that have the typical pine/citrus hop aromas.

T: Caramel malts mingle with that sweet mandarin flavour before leading to mild melon, honeysuckle nectar and a light hop bitter finish. Easy drinking APA right here.

M: Mid to light body, light carbonation, nothing challenging with this brew (in a good way!), like slipping into a nice warm bathtub.

D: Well, quite the drinkable APA we have here - hands down one of the easiest I've ever had. Everything is balanced and nothing tries to bowl you over. Some people might call it "too restrained", I call it "harmonically balanced". The biggest negative is of course the price in Australia: prohibitive, if of course you can find it, mine was purchased from The Archive cellars however it would be difficult to find anywhere else in Australia.

Food match: Truly worthy of the Edamame sitting on a plate next to me. Otherwise the subtle characters of this brew are quite suited to the subtle characters of Japanese cuisine, such as Hiyashi soba.

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4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of The_Mad_Capper
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%

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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pleasant drinker. The spice tones of the hops are there, but a citrus and sweet kind of thing really speaks loudest. There is a subdued and smooth fruity edge that really dominates this beer, but it doesn't really get obnoxious or silly. Again from this brewery, a very easy drinker. Too easy. This beer is almost done and I'm nearly unhappy. I wish I had more and will probably have to do something about it. Price be damned.

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Photo of JayQue
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
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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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.

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Photo of TokyoCO
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Can, poured into a goblet.

A: Golden color, slightly hazy. Relatively small head, only the lacing stuck around.

S: Citrus! Hops are present but not overwhelming. Grapefruit, orange, smells really stand out.

T: Grapefruit/citrus hits right away, Hops become more prominent, but are well balanced by the malts. Finish is dominated by malty/bready flavors.

M: Slightly creamy, malty mouthfeel.

O: Interesting pale ale. Smell seems to be hop/citrus dominated but the malts really stand out in the taste. I like it, different than your standard APA.

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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.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of Weizenmensch
4.08/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of mrjez
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the can.
L: pours a dark gold/copper with a small fizzy white head.
S: biscuity malt, sweet, caramel and hints of citrus.
T: caramelly malt taste, some touches of citrus, grapefruit, a little pine.
F: really smooth, solid malty body, some tang, and a nice moderate bitter finish.
O: I've had this probably more than anything other beer, ever, so it is my palate's standard reference point. It's a standard, well-rounded, delicious ale for all seasons.

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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.

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Yona Yona Ale from Yo-Ho Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.