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Tokyo Black - Yo-Ho Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tokyo BlackTokyo Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

74 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 74
Hads: 168
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 16
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Yo-Ho Brewing Company visit their website
Japan

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 (21) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 74 | Hads: 168
Photo of biegaman
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
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. (1,701 characters)

Photo of JiuJitsuJustin
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
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). (155 characters)

Photo of TubaManJack
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This has the steepest cost to ratings that I have found outside of sours. The mouthfeel is quite metallic pricky texture, more in line with a textbook porter. (159 characters)

Photo of patre_tim
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown almost black and very thick looking like oil. Slight copper tinge when held to the light at the edge, 3 fingers foam toffee colour head. Fine lacing left as well.


S: Dark toasted notes, molasses. Not really coffee or chocolate but molasses. Hint of fruitiness, but molasses, need I say it again?


T: Okay, coffee comes in, dark 80% plus dark chocolate, burnt charred finish that lingers on the tongue. A hint of sweetness.


M: Medium thick slightly oily body, little carbonation.


O: It’s a great brew. Will try it with a Cuban Cigar. Drank in Kunming, Jan 13th, 2015. (596 characters)

Photo of relynnjr
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black to dark brown with two fingers off brown head, leaving sporadic off white lace. Aroma is molasses and a touch of coffee. Taste is bitter like coffee but then a wave of sweet balances it out with some dark chocolate and molasses. Really enjoyable. (260 characters)

Photo of The_Mad_Capper
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A smoky sweet, molasses-like malt aroma is readily apparent. Pours a moderate, dense, tan-colored head which soon diminishes and forms a lasting ring; lots of lacing. Body is black—no discernible highlights. The roasted malt flavor comes through clearly in the first few sips, along with an unwelcome metallic quality; light coffee; both hop bitterness and flavor are subdued. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the flavor is the lingering, nutty roastiness. Medium-light body with moderately low carbonation and a satisfying bite.

While not bad overall, the metallic quality is a little distracting and the flavor begins to taste of carbonated water over time. Very drinkable otherwise, though it could benefit from a more complex and expressive flavor profile. (768 characters)

Photo of patpat
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

I've had this one several times and I occasionally get one or two when I'm stocking up on its brother Indo no Aooni.

The color is black. The head is a light brown and stays around with minimal lacing in a lazy sort of way.

Roasted malts giving some nutty, chocolate aromas.

Hops and that strong toast action. I like the tangy feel to this one and it goes down easy at 5% ABV. I could have another. It's definitely a good enough brew, well carbonated and definitely good to session. I'll buy it again and recommend it too. (526 characters)

Photo of Mikecap
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A porter from Japan, in a can? Yeah, I had to try this.

A: Pours a murky dark brown, nearly black with a short khaki head that fades quickly, not much lace on the sides of a standard pint glass.

S: Coffee up front with roasted malts, some chocolate and maybe a touch of smoke. Nothing mind blowing in the nose.

T: Similar to the nose but the flavors are a touch more pronounced than they were in the aroma. I get nice doses of chocolate, and some coffee, but it is subtle. Very light hop bitterness comes through as well.

M: Light to medium bodied with low carbonation. Not a traditional American porter in that the feel is pretty light, but it goes down smooth and is enjoyable.

O: Not the best porter I've had but definitely well done and something I'd drink again. (772 characters)

Photo of BeerZombies1
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

American porter
5% ABV

APPEARANCE: Poured out a deep motor oil black. Even up to the light you can not see through this. Small tan head that settle into a small halo.

AROMA: Very intense and in your face coffee aroma. Chocolate and molasses in the mix with a almost metallic cooked blood smell of iron hiding in the shadows.

TASTE: Chocolate right up front with the coffee. It literally reminds me of a mocha latte. Some bitterness in the middle, sweet malts some faint hops. Finishes smokey and toasty.

MOUTHFEEL: Very light body for a porter. I'm assuming that mixed with the low ABV was the intention of an everyday drinking porter. Minimal carbonation. Slight creaminess in the beginning but thins out on the swallow.

OVERALL: Very interesting and complex beer. Easy to drink, I will say this is the best Japanese porter I have had.

RATING: 3.5/5 Zombie Heads! (876 characters)

Photo of joe1510
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz Can
$5.00
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. (1,677 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
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%. (436 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a nonic pint glass.

Classic dark walnut brown body, with a hint of red. Quite dark and opaque. Head makes three fingers but settles slowly to a simple 3mm collar and tan like puck. Kind of a cocoa brown colored head. Pretty solid.

Nose is odd. Quite sweet and sugary smelling. Lots of sugars, and not sensing brown sugar either more of a powdered sugar. Malt and roast character is slight but quite overpowered by this sugar sensation. Forgive the irony but it smells like sweetened iced tea.

Palate comes with a borderline very thin and wet body. Light roast character in the mid palate but quite subdued until the swallow which allows it to permeate a bit more. A bit of a cola like mouthfeel and faint hint of fizz to match going with it. Leafy green hop action without the bitterness that seems to come with some of the sweetness and produce a strange herbality for a porter.

It's drinkable and passable, but it's a very odd tasting porter. Very unlike any porter I've had before. (1,013 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Can pour at the 2013 Firestone Walker Invitational held at the Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt and cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and slight licorice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is easy to drink. (620 characters)

Photo of TokyoCO
3.76/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a goblet.

A: Black, slight light penetrance on edges, foamy head.

S: Malts, light smell of coffee, hints of dark chocolate.

T: Very creamy, tastes (coffee, dark chocolate, smoke, malts) are subtle but well balanced. Smoke taste really comes through in the finish. Drinks very easily.

M: Creamy! Very easy drinking, expected from a 5% beer.

O: My first Japanese craft beer! It's good, not overly complex or tasteful but an easy drinking porter. Smoke taste in the finish makes it above average for me! (529 characters)

Photo of popery
3.29/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours coffee black, maybe a shade lighter. Head is soapy, beige and pretty big but fades quickly. The aroma is mostly cocoa with touches of mocha, roast and a mild twang of acidity. Taste is sweet with more simple chocolate flavor and finishes with a fairly assertive coffee/roast bitterness. The coffee flavor is a bit stale. The acidity comes through a bit in the taste, as well. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, but it could use more body. It’s a decent porter but nothing special and certainly not worth the price, at least here in the US. (542 characters)

Photo of joecast
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Nice looking can. Nice looking beer. Pours with a viscous character with a black liquid and thin light tan head.

Interesting doughy aroma. Really like getting ready to bake some bread and some ground up heavily kilned malt is mixed in.

Mellow taste. Little astringency or bitterness to upset the smoothness but manages to remain very drinkable with light sweetness.

Not quite up there with the best of the style but still a very well made and enjoyable beer. (463 characters)

Photo of BS-
4.48/5  rDev +18.8%
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. (828 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
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. (1,421 characters)

Photo of dgilks
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black with a creamy tan head. Good head retention.

Roasty with a light earthiness. Nice coffee notes. Very good.

Smoky and roasty with a big earthiness. Not all that fruity but it works well together. Some bitterness and cocoa.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation. Good.

A really solid Porter. Lovely flavour and a rounded character that brings it all together. (380 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark kola hue which leaves a creamy mocha laced two finger head that stays and leaves heaps of clingy lacing,the smell is dark roasted malts,cooking chocolate,dark chocolate,tobacco and dark coffee,the mouthfeel is just over light bodied and well carbonated with tastes of dark roasted chocolate malts,bitter black coffee,earthy hops,dark chocolate and finished with a cappicino bittersweetness and overall its alright and easy enough to drink but nothing outstanding cheers. (488 characters)

Photo of gpogo
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
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. (591 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown color with a thick layer of creamy tan head that fades to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Sweet with a lot of roasted grain. There is a mild caramel malt smell along with some dark chocolate and a touch of dark fruit.

Taste: This one was a pleasant surprise. Tons of roasted malt makes this beer stay more on the bitter side of the spectrum. There is some sweetness, but the roasty flavors win the fight. The finish is bitter from the roast.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I was pretty happy with this beer, but a little more sweetness in the flavor would have put it over the top. (718 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
2.94/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black with a lasting, light tan head.
Sweet-smelling, some soy sauce shows along with roasted malt. Little else. Very faint.
Better flavours, with some spicy hops, roasted malt and liquorice. Again, quite sweet.
Carbonation is too high.
Not great. (257 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (558 characters)

Photo of Amalak
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (422 characters)

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Tokyo Black from Yo-Ho Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.