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Tokyo Black - Yo-Ho Brewing Company

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Tokyo BlackTokyo Black

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75 Reviews
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Reviews: 75
Hads: 170
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 18.72%
Wants: 18
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Yo-Ho Brewing Company visit their website

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Naerhu on 12-25-2005

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (22) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 75 | Hads: 170
Photo of vikingmike
4.83/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Midnight black, even when held up to light. Beautiful, chocolate coloured head that gets whiter as it reaches the top. Gorgeous

Smell: Roast coffee and chocolate

Taste: Wow. Such complexity with such a low ABV...I'm really impressed. Initial notes of dark chocolate and espresso. Fades into roasted hazelnuts. Finishes with molasses and smoke.

Mouthfeel: Light and smooth

Drinkability: This beer is simply awesome. I wish it were more widely available in Japan. I'd put this in my top 3 favorite Japanese beers, as well as my top 3 porters worldwide.

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Photo of Naerhu
4.68/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - They got the name right with this one! It is as black as the devil's heart, with the darkest brown head I have ever seen.
S - Rich coffee and sweet charred oak.
T - Amazing depth of flavor. Elegant and long lasting bitterness.
M - How can this light body carry such depth of flavor? Minimal carbonation.
D - This is a crowd pleaser and a half!

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Photo of bobsy
4.63/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On Top at Club Popeye in Tokyo. Black as midnight with a huge mocha head. Truly a wondrous sight for a beer lover! Deep roasted coffee and milk chocolate aroma. Very complex flavour - layers of chocolate, first milky and sweet, then dark and bitter, followed by a creamy coffee roast. Grapefruit and caramel bring up the rear. The body is surprisingly light for the complexity of flavour, and there is little carbonation to speak of. Excellent beer, and I'm glad I brought some home!

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Photo of BS-
4.48/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a highball glass

A: Absolutely black with a thick foamy mocha head and great lacing.
S: Very deep and roasty malts.A touch of bitter chocolate and slightly burnt coffee, but mostly deeply roasted malts.
T: Malty, roasty and earthy upfront, but a very distinct acidity comes in towards the mid-palate. It kinda took me by surprise. It’s almost a dark fruit-y, tart-ish kind of presence almost leaning towards overly ripe cherries. I did not find it all that pleasant initially, but it grew on me after a few sips. The finish is roasty and bitter with a nice maltiness that I love so much in stouts.
M: Mouthfeel is surprisingly light. I expected it to be creamier and fuller. It is extremely smooth though.
O: Very enjoyable. I would definitely have this again. Amazingly, it packs all that flavour in a 5% porter.

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Photo of Tsuriman
4.48/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First pour produces a nice cascade ala guiness and a thick, foamy light brown head over a black, nearly opaque bear. The aroma is sweet with a subtle roast. The taste is spot on for a porter. A nice hop bitterness to back up a sweet, full bodied porter. Nice and clean on the back of the throat. The body is thick enough and creamy from start to finish.

I would drink this any day. Japan or back in the states.
I look forward to drinking another Tokyo Black.

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Photo of juju7
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a fine little beer. Black as they come, fine fluffy head. A none too subtle nose of espresso, roasted malt and some tar and chocoloate in the back. Creamy smooth and beautifully balanced with just the right amount of bitterness, carbonation and dryness lining up to form a beer thats hard to dislike. Good stuff.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

350ml can purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. I love beer in cans. It's hard to tell its exact volume as almost all of the writing is in dense Japanese, but it's hidden there when you look.

Pours a very deep roasty black-brown, with a mildly frothed head of mocha that dissipates to a very thin film. Nice fine messy lace. Carbonation is quite fine, but the body is relatively light, meaning it sluices through quickly. Overall, it's a very decent looking brew.

Nose is also very pleasant, with a roasty toasted bite and a mellow chocolate or buttered brioche sweetness. Some heft in the aroma, meaning it stays very nice and rich. It's a very nice smelling, if not overly complex nose.

Taste is excellent: solid roasted basis, with a clear, rounded fullness to the palate, lending some smoky coffee, earthy spices and even a savoury umami character. Lovely stuff. The finish is really nice and long, and maintains a decent sweetness right to the back where it tastes like a crumbling mound of dark demerara sugar.

Feel is light but solid, and certainly full for a beer that's relatively low in ABV: pretty much spot-on for this style and flavour profile.

Overall, wow—I'm very impressed indeed. I wasn't expecting this to be as good as it is. It's really tasty, drinkable and flavoursome, but manages to stick really well within the pleasant mild, roasted genre of the porter. Really excellent, well-made stuff.

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Photo of snogglethorpe
4.31/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick, like oil, color is absolutely pitch black, completely opaque, with a big creamy and robust dark tan head.

Smell is a mixture of roastiness, "beer smell", a little metallic.

Mouthfeel is very thick and oily (exactly like it looks). It's not so carbonated (just enough, really), and goes down very smoothly.

Taste is thick, dark-coffee bitter roastiness, slighly sweet, that mellows out on the back of the tongue, with a lingering slightly acrid bitterness (maybe has a bit more hop character there than in the initial taste). Hints of chocolate. The thick oiliness and coffee/chocolate really work together.

A delicious and compelling beer, really tastes more like an American stout than a porter to me (but what do I know). [Vastly better than what I was expecting given some of the poor reviews here!] Maybe it's a freshness issue (I'm in Tokyo)?

I highly recommend this beer for anybody that likes coffee/chocolatey American stouts. Luckily this is also a relatively easy to find in Japan, which is nice because I've not found any other really good stouts that are readily available here -- and it's also quite cheap!

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Definitely looks like a porter. Tastes like one too. Nice smoky tone on there that accents the thick malts. Smooth. That is the key word here. I think this is one of the more masterfully brewed porters I have had in quite some time. So thorough and distinct. I feel like I'm watching a master painter slowly move their brush against a canvas and admiring every inch of movement that the brush deposits paint from. This is a very nice porter and the third beer I have tried from this brewery. They have a new fan in me. Now if only I could read their website.

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Photo of hreb
4.26/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cool 350 mL can served in pint glass. Beer is pitch black with a THICK mocha brown head. Relatively hoppy aroma for a porter, and not too roasty, nor sweet.

Coffee, hello. Erm, did I pick up a can of Japanese coffee? Supper roasty in the flavor, and relatively heavy body. Medium to light carbonation, within the appropriate range for the style Layers upon layers of roasted barley. As much stout (in between sweet and dry) as porter. Secondary flavors of baking chocolate and perhaps...unmalted barley? And at only 5% ABV there is a ton of flavor here with nothing to hide behind.

Yum. Don't know what the nay sayers could possibly be talking. Unless you just don't like porters and stouts this is totally worth seeking out.

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Photo of JiuJitsuJustin
4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love Porters and Stouts, so I was bias with this. Good tasting beer though, I love the coffee taste that comes with it (as with most Porters and Stouts).

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Photo of RedBeerchetta
4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking this on a balcony in India after having bought it in Tokyo three days ago...

Aptly named as it pours a deep black. Head is three fingers thick, medium brown and comprised of rather large bubbles - looks like a cola with a head that lingers.

Smell is a bit sour and caramel. Taste is great with cocoa, espresso, roasted grains and has a dryness that is almost tart. A bit unusual for a porter but every enjoyable.

I bought the can at the supermarket in the basement of the Hotel New Otani in the Chiyoda neighborhood.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Thick, ruddy black with a fair, nougaty coffee-stained brown head.

Smell: Rich with coffee and sweet chocolate, plus some roasty char and a fruity red bean-like quality. Hops are floral, a bit tea-like, and articulate, shining brightly through the dark malts. Deep, lush, and inviting.

Taste: Nutty and bold, full of roasty porter goodness. Sweet, slightly acrid burnt mocha malts are offset by a rindy hop bitterness. Grapefruit, grape juice, bitter caramel, and chocolate wafer cookies (think double-chocolate Oreos) abound. Finish is remarkably clean, with a light, lingering hoppy/roasty tang - think burnt hops.

Mouthfeel: Very dry, almost exceedingly so. Smooth and soft yet crisp, with a completely spotless finish.

Drinkability: It's better on cask, but the canned version is damn tasty, too. I'd expect nothing less from Yo-Ho. Maybe even more drinkable than Yona Yona, and possibly the best Japanese porter I've had.

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Photo of joe1510
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz Can
Standard Market - Westmont, IL

Tokyo Black is dark. As a matter of fact it's black, there's no seeing through this body at all. I can't even see any carbonation rising. The beige head was slow to rise, finally hit a finger in height and fell back to a swirling in no time. A thin ring rounds the glass but there's not much head left after only a couple minutes of settling.

Rich, dense roast permeates the air inches from the glass. Black coffee has its fingerprints all over this beer while an acorn nuttiness softens the backend. Heavy, fairly bitter cocoa powder encompasses all other components. There's even a tendril of smoke wafting through the air. I'm pretty amazed at the sheer boldness of this porter, especially considering it only weighs in at 5%.

The flavor matches the bold intensity of the aroma with dense roast leading the way. Coffee and cream come along mid-palate and the acorn nuttiness follows closely behind. Bitter roast, cocoa powder, and a touch of smoke appear on the follow. The cocoa powder really picks up on the aftertaste. As it warms some dark berries become apparent. Bold and delicious!

The body weighs in just above medium on the scale with a creamy mouthfeel. The finish is dry and there's a touch of roasty bitterness. While the profile is large it remains and easy drinker that, if available in 6-packs, would be easy to drink all night.

Have I used the descriptor "bold" yet? This is a full flavored beer weighing in at only 5%. The guys over in Japan did a great job with this particular brew. A creamy body and weight fit the rich, deep flavor profile nicely. Unfortunately, the price makes this beer restrictive.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic

Pitch black body with about two fingers of beige head. Retention is good. Not much lacing.

Smells os sweet chocolate malts, a bit earthy and herbal, malted milk balls as well. Sweet, but definitely a hefty dose of hops to balance things out.

Taste is charred, roasty, espresso, hints of black licorice, chocolate malt, a touch fruity and estery then there is an herbal and earthy hop presence that rounds out the back end. Really nicely balanced and layered.

Mouthfeel is light, well carbonated, fairly clean, and dry on the finish.

This is actually a really solid porter. It makes me think of Darkness, if Darkness was a regular stout, not an imperial stout. Kinda didn't wish I liked this so much, because it's quite price at around $5 a can.

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Photo of Jayli
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed 10/14
Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours an opaque black with a two finger of creamy, light brown head. Head recedes at a decent pace, leaving nice sheets of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee.

T: Taste starts with the roasted malt character. Nice milk chocolate comes in and really fills out the middle. Some powdered cocoa flavors seep in here as well. Coffee notes finish this beer out.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, relatively light and crisp feel.

O: Goes down easy, tasty, not too filling, mild kick, nice representation of style. This is easily a well balanced and highly drinkable porter, one worth sitting with for a while.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can received from tzanio in recent trade. He brought this back for me from his recent trip to Japan. Huge thanks!!

Pours a deep black, very thick. Nice two-finger tan head resting on top. Retention is weak, and there's some spotty lacing, but not much. Smell is sour at first, but then gives way to a nice roasty scent with hints of cocoa and espresso.

Very nice creamy mouthfeel on this. Smooth velvet coats the mouth. Right off the bat, there's a big metallic twang on the mouth. This recedes and becomes a roasty chocolate and bready flavor. This is very drinkable. I could drink these all night. I was very impressed with this porter, from a can no less. Recommend.

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Photo of Amalak
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. It is in fact black. Nice foamy brown head that leaves some lace.

S. Kind of smells like cardboard.

T. It's has a toffee feel to it, and that cardboard smell fits into the taste, even if mild. Interesting taste. Very nice and interesting taste. There's a candy taste to it. Kind of like root beer candy.

M. Full-bodied and tingly.

O. Interesting taste. I really like this. Not your typical porter but worth a try.

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Photo of broken22
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Today I continue my quest to find good Asian dark beers with Tokyo Black.

The beer pours out and leaves a nice cream colored head. About average thickness finally subsiding to just a ring around the glass. The beer is dark. I can hold this up to the light and it stays that way. The smell has a little smoky malt like smell to it. The flavor is more of the same. The smoky smell comes through with a very subtle bitterness. The overall mouth feel is nice and smooth because their is not a lot of carbonation.

Overall this beer is great. I really like the flavor profile. I think it is perfectly executed and well balanced. I wish it was easier to find. I can only get these as single 12oz cans. If you like American Porters than do yourself a favor and pick one of these up.

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Photo of dar482
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a black color with a coffee brown head.

The aroma has tons of sweet chocolate, roasty malt, some coffee, almost a bit of mocha.

The flavor follows with some bittersweet chocolate. It’s light on the body and bitter on the back. There’s not much sweetness in this beer. Almost a earthy root flavor on the back.

Very drinkable and easy on the palate, despite being a darker beer. The beer packs good flavor at 5%.

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Photo of biegaman
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Were it not for the fact that Tokyo Black is actually brewed in Nagano, the name could be taken literally - beer doesn't get much more black than this. Spotting colour or highlights in this glass is as difficult as catching a glimpse at a shooting star; they exists, if only for a rare moment. Even its head is a dark mocha brown that's emblematic of the beer's rich taste and smell.

Porters can be where sweet milk chocolate meets bitter coffee grinds. The style has a magical ability to balance those two opposing elements in such a way that blends one seamlessly into the other. Neither is compromised. Instead, the flavours of each are highlighted; their textural extremes off-set.

Toss in a handful of roasted almonds and hazelnuts as well as few dried berries and you have a beer with a depth and richness that can't be discovered all at once. Porters like Tokyo Black demand slow, contemplative appreciation - even if they do lend themselves to easy, gluttonous drinking.

Buttery brownies and malted milkshakes aren't typical of Japanese cuisine, but Yo-Ho Brewing pulls them off like the recipes were passed down from their grandmother. Those notes of bakers chocolate and icing sugar give it the air of a bakery, even if its density is probably best suited to strong, sharp cheeses.

There's plenty of deserving nice things I can say about Tokyo Black in its own right, but perhaps the best compliment I can pay it is that it strongly reminds me of Fullers London Porter, which, not only is a long-time personal favourite of mine, but also arguably *the* universally acknowledged benchmark of the style. This is a phenomenally flavourful porter that vastly exceeds expectations.

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Photo of gpogo
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black body, tan head. Head faded to a ring.

A- Sweet roasted grain. As it warms chocolate comes out with very faint dark fruit aromas.

T- Initial sweetness with a bitterness throughout. The bitterness really complements the chocolate flavor, almost like you are eating some bitter dark chocolate. Finishes with a roasty bitterness and a light sweetness that sticks around.

M- Medium body, low carbonation.

D- Honestly I grabbed this beer due to the can. I'm impressed with the flavor, I found the aroma to be a bit bland. Seems like something I could easily drink two of in a session.

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Photo of beergoot
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ink black body with a frothy, light tan head. Strong aroma of roasted and charred grains; charcoal. Chocolate flavors with a bit of lactose sourness; mild hop bitterness. Medium-heavy in body; smooth and silky; semi-dry finish.

A very fine tasting porter that comes across with a nice, balanced chocolate flavor offset with a gently hop bitterness. The body is smooth and velvety and leaves the palate coated with a nice blend of low-key sweetness, mild hop bitterness, and just the right edge of charred grain bite.

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Photo of Guitarctica
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I saw this at my local package store and had to try it out. The art on the can is very pleasing to the eye while the sumo wrestler at bottom is hilarious. I poured this into a curved pint glass.

A - Opaque dark brown almost black. No light shines through. One finger of foamy mocha head. Decent lacing. Very nice aesthetically.

S - Roasted malts, some subtle chocolate and a little woody. Pretty light on the aroma actually.

T - The first thing I can taste is chocolate; semi-sweet dark chocolate. Light coffee notes. some smokiness. Finishes with barely noticeable bitterness. Has a dry aftertaste.

M - Smooth with a full body. Coates the tongue like silk. Feels great on the palate.

D - Good drinkability. I could have these all night. Very tasty and goes down smooth. It finishes pretty dry though.

This is the first Japanese porter I've ever had and I am very pleased. Highly recommended to porter lovers and dark beer fans. One the better ones out there. Yo-Ho has a new fan!

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a luscious opaque sable brown with a thick, fairly persistent, fluffy, fine-bubbled pale tan head that leaves a good bit of lacing. Aroma is smoky with an overtone of quality roast coffee and hints of molasses and chocolate. Flavor has tones of semi-sweet chocolate, fine coffee and molasses with hints of wood smoke and licorice. There is also a bit of a metallic tang, possibly from being in a can. Texture is smooth, oily, a little thick, with just a bit of a fizz.

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Tokyo Black from Yo-Ho Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.