Tokyo Black - Yo-Ho Brewing Company

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Tokyo BlackTokyo Black

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BA SCORE
85
very good

74 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 74
Hads: 167
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 16
Gots: 15 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 74 | Hads: 167
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 GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with a medium dark khaki head that fades but is nice on the pour.

Nose is full of plumed coffee/plumed chocolate. Hints of vanilla and a hint of coconut and carmel.

Mouthfeel is medium thin but nice carbonation and decent balance.

Flavor profile is simple but nice roasted coffee and hints of chocolate malt and cocoa. Tastes a bit like a chocolate/mocha malt flavor.

Finish is cocoa/bitter chocolate and bitter roasted coffee. Finish is long lasting. (465 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer is almost jet black in color (only some traces of amber are visible near the edge of the glass when it is held up to the light). It poured with a finger high tan head that died down but consistently covered the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of lactose, similar to what you would expect from a milk stout.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors similar to that of a milk stout. There are hints of burnt malts in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium- bodied and slightly thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation that tingles your tongue.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink and goes down easily. (651 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.09/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Eric for this can. Served in a tulip.

Pours black with a huge tan head and quite a bit of nice, streaky lacing as it falls down the glass. Eventually this settles into a thin cap that looks nice around the edges of the beer. The nose is pretty plain and is disappointing after viewing this thing. There is some mild roast there and maybe an undercurrent of chocolate, though that might be stretching it a bit. The flavor involves some mild roast and a touch of dark chocolate. The body is medium and it has an off-putting dry, roasty finish. An okay beer, but not something I would seek out again. Thanks again for the gift, Eric. (641 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single can from Healthy Spirits. Served in a stemless wine glass.

Black body, frothy tan foam. Creamy texture, with lots of lacing all around the glass. Foam breaks up in a pattern that looks like a floating bed of seaweed in the ocean.

Dark chocolate, mellow roast, malted milk balls.

Lightly bittersweet flavors of chocolate, and mellow coffee. Some lightly charred roasted barley comes through in the middle. Flavorful and smooth, with a creamy feel. No off flavors, and overall clean. A nice Japanese Porter, up there with Hitachino and Baird in my humble opinion. (573 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the Red Paddle Bistro at the Gunflint Lodge.

A - Poured out a jet black color with a one-finger head of tan, bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled roasty with some subtle floral notes.

T - Good roasted malt backbone with chocolate and toffee flavors. Light piney bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied porter with a dry finish.

O - This was a nice find - a canned craft ale from Japan while in Northern Minnesota. (479 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.21/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the tick, Bobby.

A: The pour is not quite black with a big, soapy, mocha head.

S: Big time roasted malt aroma with coffee and coffee grounds being quite noticeable, too. Slightly acidic on the nose with some bitter dark chocolate coming through.

T: More chocolate than I was anticipating with quite a bit of bitterness. Definitely a solid roasted malt character along with coffee. Again, there's a definite acidity to the beer.

M: Medium in body with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: Not sure why this is getting such high marks on here. I thought this beer was pretty mediocre (at best). (607 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can - Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a Tokyo black body with a tall, growing, toasted khaki head. Splotchy lacing on the descent.

Smell: Chiefly malty nose, scented with well-kilned grains, ground-up Whoppers, and mild, less-than-robust coffee.

Taste: Roasted barley, a sliver of smokiness, and some baker's chocolate stirred up with burnt sugars. Restrained woodiness underneath the malts. Pinch of powdered milk. Faint hint of dark fruitiness. Very subtle spiciness and earthiness from the hops. Low bitterness. Finishes dry and fairly clean.

Mouthfeel: For a churning and vigorous-looking it was on the pour, the mouthfeel is only medium-light and fairly soft. Sure, it's not Isabelle Caro thin, but still. Medium-light carbonation.

Drinkability: It tastes decent enough, but I wish there was just a skosh more to the body of the beer. Give it a try if you don't mind plunking down four bucks or so for a can of porter. (970 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 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 dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with very little hints of very dark brown when held up to the light. The beer has a three finger tall pillowy dark tan head that reduces but leaves about a half finger tall head covering the entire surface of the beer. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Overall the beer has a rather mild smell, which is a little unexpected with the style. I detect a light amount of dark roasted malts and a creamy lactose (like you would get in a milk stout).

T: There are dark roasted almost burnt malts with a light amount of bitterness. The bitterness only lingers a very short amount of time and is not overly intense or aggressive.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of effervescent carbonation. Slightly on the thin side.

O: This beer is very easy to drink and quite enjoyable. I could easily see this being a sessionable beer, especially in the early autumn just as it is starting to get cool/cold in the evening. (975 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Today's CANQuest (TM) Sumo event pits no less than woodychandler versus Kitazakura at Ryogoku Kogukikan on a cloudy, full moonlit night. This will be a monumental bout as Kitzakura does not look kindly upon foreigners and as he stares up at the moon for guidance, woody merely quaffs a beer and awaits the referee's signal. This beer (and match) brought to you by JayQue, a recent promoter on the scene and one unaware of woody's prowess with regard to the CAN.

As the pair of daunting sumos go into their crouch, the dreaded Crack & Glug is heard from near the ropes, unleashing beads of sweat upon the brows of these heretofore unshakable opponents. Word passes that the Glug has produced two thick, unmovable fingers' worth of deep-brown head and Kitzakura shakes his head at his unbelievable bad luck and again gazes up at the moon. woody bows down, both to the beer and his opponent, smelling a rich, dark chocolatiness from the former and flop sweat from the latter and he smiles in anticipation. The former is as dark as the night might be, were it not for the moon over head and his opponent has a white pallor from being dusted with powder and salt. They crouch and simultaneously jump up as the ref jumps back! woody is comparatively small, but his size allows him to slide between his opponents' widespread legs and take hold of a thick ankle, enabling him to quickly topple his giant opponent! A sip of beer is needed and it tastes of burnt charcoal, smoke and dark chocolate and woody is re-energized as his now embarrassed opponent lumbers nearer, nearer ... The lunge of the ogre-like Kitzakura is too telegraphed and woody leapfrogs him, pushing his shoulders to the mat as the ref signals the finish! The beer's finish is smoky, dry, bittersweet and he signals for another as praise is heaped upon him by all in attendance. (1,841 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 Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this single can from Total Wine. Pours pitch black with a nice beige head. Smells quite toasty and with distinct notes of blackstrap molasses, but it doesn't smell sweet. In fact, it's quite dry. The taste is interesting- also very dry, with an almost meaty, savory flavor up front, followed by charcoal notes, and grassy hops, as well as some bitter chocolate, some light nuttiness, and roasted grains. Very dry, but quite smooth in the mouth, this has a nice lingering bitterness as well. A pleasant surprise. (521 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 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 beertunes
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this randomly at the grocery store the other day. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured black, just a touch of translucence at the edges. An inadvertent over-aggressive pour gave me over 3 inches of rocky, medium brown head that had very good retention and zero lacing.

The aroma was richly malty with some roast tones. The flavors were almost all roasted malt, just a hint of hop spice, with a coffeeish finish.

The body was surprisingly thin, way too thin for the style. Drinkability was good, the beer went down smoothly and easily. Overall, a decent beer. Worth trying if you see it. (588 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours opaque black with a half finger light brown head that dissipates relatively quickly, no lacing. Aroma of roasted malt a bit of coffee. Smooth subdued chocolate, roasted malt and light coffee flavor with a slight hint of smoke at the finish. Light to medium bodied. A pleasant, well integrated but not too complex porter. (360 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 Cyberkedi
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (477 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a blackish body with quick dying tan head on top of a mild but pleasant malty aroma. Pick up caramel/chocolate along with roasted/bready malts - touch of coffee. Medium-bodied and chewey, goes down easy, but just falls flat in taste department. Chocolate and caramel sweetness is minimal and touch of sticky malts are rather not well-balanced with mild coffee malts. Decent beer out of a can that was cheap; no real complaints. (434 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 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 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 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)

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