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Tokyo Black - Yo-Ho Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tokyo BlackTokyo Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.

76 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 76
Hads: 174
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 18.93%
Wants: 18
Gots: 19 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 76 | Hads: 174
Photo of WillCarrera
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a completely opaque, midnight black, it doesn't produce a lot of head but what's there is almost mocha brown before it fades to a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

S- Roasted malts, coffee, it smells nice but I wish there were more going on here.

T- More roasted malts and coffee, some char and chocolate with a slight metallic coffee grounds taste on the finish, again it's not a bad flavor, but it's a bit thin and watery and tends to ride more heavily on the finish than at the beginning.

M- The beer's weakest point, the body is light and a bit too thin, good carbonation and an otherwise nice, creamy feel and dry finish, but it's definitely too thin for a porter, there just isn't enough substance to it.

O- A decent, easy drinking porter, the flavors are pretty good but the body is a bit too thin, a good beer that could have been so much better.

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Photo of snogglethorpe
4.31/5  rDev +14.9%
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 alexhahn82
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Black, two finger head that quickly dissipates. Black, oh yeah, its black too! Almond colored head that is a pleasant color to see.

S - NADA. ZIP. NOTHING. Small hint of dark roast and that is a far stretch.

T/M - SMOKE! Mild carbonation, a very minor finish of chocolate.

O - 5% ABV - kind of a tame porter in my opinion, Meh... middle of the spectrum, don't seek it out, but if its there give it a shot over something else you may have had.

PP (Price Point) - $4.99 for a 12oz can, again, Meh. Would be more appropriate at $3.50 or so for a can.

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Photo of beertunes
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of JayQue
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good American Porter. Pours a dense black color with a medium size dark tan head. Head retention ok, good thick lacing.

Strong and pleasant aroma. Coffee predominates but there are smoky and roast malts and some chocolate in the aroma. Taste is the same. Coffee is on top, chocolate and smoky malts are very apparent also. Nice blend of flavors, very tasty.

Mouthfeel is crisp and spritely, rich enough and the beer goes down very smooth.

This is a good American Porter...A bit pricy at $4.99 a can but a very worthwhile beer.

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Photo of broken22
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
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 woodychandler
4/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of teromous
2.3/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I think it is awesome this is listed as an American Porter.

A: Well, it's dark with about 3/4 thumb of tan head. There is no lacing.

S: It smells of roasted coffee and I pick up a little alcohol. In fact, it smells a lot like coffee.

T: It has a coffee taste. The flavor is pretty underwhelming...I guess I expected it to have more flavor. It's very mellow on any flavors and has no bitterness at all. It just tastes like watered down coffee. It's not infected or anything so I wouldn't say it's awful, but I'm definitely not impressed.

M: The mouthfeel is bland. It's a wet beer, without much malty character. Not much carbonation...feels like cold water. Blah.

O: I wouldn't drink this again. I guess I thought this would be better for some reason. Is it possible for a beer to leave you depressed?

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Photo of OneBrewru
3.08/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tokyo Black pours thin and is jet black. The head is mocha brown and remains for about 30 seconds. Moderate lacing lines the glass.

The smell is mostly of bitter coffee and dark chocolate. The smell, like the beer itself, is a bit thin.

The taste is only a little bitter with coffee and chocolate notes. A slightly metallic aftertaste lingers.

The mouthfeel is thin but smooth and soft. Perhaps a little more prickly carbonation than a porter should have.

Overall, this beer is ok but not great. Yona Yona Pale is a better offering fro Yo Ho.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.09/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
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).

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Photo of Guitarctica
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
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 +6.9%
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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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.75/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of railcaider
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is an opaque jet black with tan head. The head is more rich and creamy than foamy. The most prominent smells are sweet chocolate and coffee, but there is a bit of a roasted toffee aroma.

As with any beer, the taste changes depending on the temperature it's served at. The first sips I took had a very sweet chocolate taste, but as the glass warmed up a bit this became milder, like dark chocolate. Either way, the creamy mouthfeel goes well with these flavors. The carbonation is subdued and the finish is very smooth, but there is enough body to prevent a watery taste.

I really enjoy this beer, especially since this creamy style is rare in Japan. It's beers like this that made me a fan of Yo-Ho Brewing.

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Photo of RedBeerchetta
4.24/5  rDev +13.1%
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 juju7
4.35/5  rDev +16%
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 Onenote81
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
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 SargeC
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Intensely black colored brew topped with a dense, brown head that really stands up.

Smell: Hints of dark chocolate. A slight hint of minerals. Vanilla and a touch of hops.

Taste: Bold malt flavor. Very well crafted and balanced between the strong malt flavor and the hops that finish off the taste. I had been missing the porter style for some time, so this hit the spot.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Nice porter consistency. Feels solid throughout but lightens up in the finish and presents a chalky profile that allows the flavors to linger.

Drinkablity: Great porter. An awesome example of what Japanese craft brewers are capable of. It is also nice that it is a little bit easier to find than many other craft brewery's beers. The can makes it highly portable as well.

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Photo of toweringpoo
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer looks thick on the pour and the rich one and a half finger head which results is a really beautiful light tan. It has the consistency of a milkshake. Really enticing.

Smell is a bit weak. Smoky notes. Super roasted malts. A bit of coffee here and there. Nothing to write home about.

First sip, taste is...interesting. Smoky almost rauch-like, creamy, then chocolatey. Coffee notes are there as well. As well as something else that I'm reeaaaally having a difficult time putting my finger on... I think its something from the bitter chocolate but I can't be sure.
The bitterness is there but any hop flavor is undetectable. I'm not a big porter drinker but this one is unlike any porter I've had. (Or maybe I just forgot what they taste like, it's been so long since I've had one.)

Very unique, complex beer. I wouldn't drink a bunch of these. Never was my favorite style but I appreciate a good beer when I taste one and this is one.

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Photo of Tsuriman
4.48/5  rDev +19.5%
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 vikingmike
4.83/5  rDev +28.8%
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 bobsy
4.63/5  rDev +23.5%
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 Weizenmensch
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a tan head. Some head retention, a good amount of lacing, and low-moderate carbonation (that I can see, anyway). Appropriate for the style.

Smell: Nice and complex - certainly moreso than just about any other Japanese beer that I've tried since moving here! Almondy nuttiness, in fact very nutty, some walnutty dry-but-sweet aromas in there. I'm surprising myself that I can even recognise the different nuts in there! Otherwise, that satisfying rich charred dark malt smoke smell... and maybe some stone fruit too. Pretty complex when I sit back and think about it.

Taste: So much more than your average supermarket-bought Japanese beer! Even the other dark styles like Yebisu Black etc. Malty sweetness, nutty astringency, unusually bitter hops that are very distinctive, and which I've definitely had before in some of the Wig and Pen's (Canberra, Australia) dark ales... but I'm out of practice so I can't recognise them. Not as much to back it up as I would have expected though - not a lot on the palate besides the aforesaid bitterness. A bloody good beer for Japan but nothing on similar ales I've had in the past.

Mouthfeel: Rather lacking. The beer is frothy and thick in the front of the mouth, but thin on swallowing. I suppose that's what the brewer intended - a relatively easy drinking porter to have on a lukewarm weeknight (such as tonight!). However, there is a stouty thickness to it, with a watery aftertaste (well, not exactly watery, but definitely thin) that doesn't blend well. Still, it's all right for the style.

Drinkability: I could definitely have another two or three of these, but after that I'd be wanting some lager to wash down all the thick malty astringent residue from the roof of my mouth! In fact, if these were alternated with a nice crisp pilsener or sweet malty lager, that would make for a fine night's beer drinking, and I could drink this beer throughout. Alas, a crisp pilsener is not to be found in this country, and happoushu may have to suffice!

Overall: Awesome for Japan, still quite adequate for anywhere outside England or America.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
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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Tokyo Black from Yo-Ho Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.