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Asahi Black (Kuronama) - Asahi Breweries Ltd

Not Rated.
Asahi Black (Kuronama)Asahi Black (Kuronama)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

127 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 127
Hads: 286
Avg: 3.55
pDev: 20.56%
Wants: 16
Gots: 41 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Asahi Breweries Ltd visit their website

Style | ABV
Munich Dunkel Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 06-01-2002

"a premium dark ale."
View: Beers (43) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 127 | Hads: 286
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.14/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, biscuit, and slight char-like aromas. Taste is much the same with roasted grain flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that is drinkable but it smells slightly better in my opinion.

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Photo of metter98
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear but very dark garnet red in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high tan colored head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface, a collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of dark malts are present in the nose along with some hints of caramel and nuts.
T: The taste has flavors of nutty and caramel malts with hints of cola; there are some hints of initial sweetness which are then followed by a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels light-bodied, a little watery and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is extremely easy to drink and can be considered sessionable.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.31/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Who knew that there would be a market for Dark German Lagers in the land of Rice Beers?

Asahi Black pours with a deep garnet, nearly bark brown color. Its brilliant clarity casts ruby highlights and bronze shaddows. Ample carbonation streams through the lager to form a dainty sheet of foam on the beer's surface. Dissipating fairly quickly, the lager trails with random spots of lace.

Distinctive aromas of light roast, toast, light coffee grounds and a hint of chocolate. Decorated with mild raisin and licorice fruitiness, the clean toasted malt profile shows a delicate ester profile. Its early palate is slightly of caramel and sweet cereal grain. Dry on the middle palate, the taste is scant with the robust pilsner malt to back up the toast and fruit and leaves the scent and taste needing a tad more support. Its finish is short, toasted and nutty with the flavor of more delicate coffee and dates.

Light on the palate, the lager sheds its carbonation quickly as it has little malt support to retain much creaminess. Though the beer thins out considerably, it remains refreshing from the try toast elements and slight coffee-like bitterness. Shy alcohol warmth and mild grain-derived astringency closes the beer with a linger of fruit and toast.

Though largely void of malt underpinnings and roundness, its understated savory taste lends itself to seared fish and robust sushi dishes.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

334ml (ok) bottle - a much more impressive presentation than their standard rice lager, it would seem.

This beer pours a clear, dark reddish cola brown colour, with two fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and mostly creamy tan head, which leaves a thick arched ring of villain's lair lace around the glass as it rather slowly falls away.

It smells of lightly roasted bready caramel malt, a bit of lactic sourness, subtle coffee grounds, bittersweet chocolate, and semi-sweet, dried orchard fruit. The taste is toasted bready malt, a bit of caramelized molasses, singed black fruit, faint bitter chocolate, an oily nuttiness, and earthy, softly leafy hops.

The carbonation is on the low side, but supportive enough as required, the body a decent medium weight, mostly smooth, and even a tad creamy. It finishes off-dry, the chocolate-tinged malt becoming more prominent as the roasted character fades into that good night.

A nicely rounded, and fully flavoured dark lager, and true enough to the European style. 'Light' is a but a mere dot in the distance, for all those who might mistake this lager for something, well, a lot more ordinary.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one tonight at dinner as the girlfriend wanted to eat sushi.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a lot of red highlights. The head is off-white and dissipates quickly.

S: A decent enough nose on this one, mostly roasted malt with a slight coffee aroma.

T: This beer has an interesting flavor to it. There is certainly the roasted malt flavor, but also a touch of coffee and even a bit of what I would describe as cola.

M: The body is medium and surprisingly creamy with plenty of carbonation.

D: I'm not generally expecting a lot when I order one of the Japanese beers, but this one was quite good. I would definitely do so again if I see it on a menu at a Japanese restaurant.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle - $2.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a very dark walnut brown body with a beige-colored frothing of a head.

Smell: While it comes up a bit short of being either truly roasty or chocolaty, those are the initial impressions I get from smelling this one. Also presents are notes of dark bread, caramel, with a dark fruitiness smelling of prunes.

Taste: Mild coffee and dark chocolate flavors with a taste of coarse pumpernickel bread splashed with a bit of sweet cola. Hint of sweet caramel as well. Slight dark fruitiness. Scant hop presence, though some bitterness is provided and more than welcome. Finishes relatively clean with only a small touch of bitterness at the tail end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A "Munich-Type" beer according to the bottle cap. Japanese brewing know-how teamed up with a German-style recipe, it's good to see those two countries coming together for something other than world domination. Though still a lager brewed with both rice and corn, it at least offers something a bit different from Asahi.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I haven't seen this beer for a while, so I was excited to find it at the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, NJ. I bought a 6-pack for $14.99 + tax. (And a whole lot more!)

In my mind, Asahi Kuronama is more like a German schwarzbier than anything else. Perhaps it can pas as a Munich-style dunkel, but I think it's too rich for that.

It's black with a tan head that holds well and leaves nice lacing about the glass. The aroma is fairly closed, and it expresses a suggestion or really dark, almost burnt caramel, but nothing more. It's certainly not roasty or chocolatey. And that mostly follows into the flavor. It's dark but it's not really roasty, and it has lots of nutty and caramelish flavors as well, but only minor suggestions of chocolate. And some hops appear, in this case spicy and lightly woody and leafy. It offers that sweet malty note at first, but then it vanishes in the finish, leaving it clean and dry. Again, no roastiness or chocolate-like flavors remain. And it's quite drinkable. There's a lot of flavor there, but it's superbly balanced and it never builds on the palate. It's like each sip is its own little reward, and you could keep going back to the well all night for little dollops of refreshment.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Munich-Type Asahi? Okay. Cool.

Pours pretty dark brown with a thin creme head. Nose is quite malty and sweet with what's coming off as molasses. A bit too malty sweet really. Mellows out enough as time goes on to make it drinkable enough. Decent, yes. Especially coming from a major brewer.

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Photo of chinchill
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz 2009 bottle served in a pint glass

Clear dark mahogany on pour but nearly black in glass. 1 finger of tan head disappeared very quickly leaving no lacing or even a ring.

aroma: Sweet medium roasted malt and molasses. Somewhat floral with hints of dark bread and dark fruits. Approaches 4.5.

Taste follows aroma, allow not as sweet as aroma. Elements of rice or corn?

M - medium-light carbonation; medium body. A bit of tongue bite; given the ABV and sparse hops, this must be a rather high acidity.

O - a drinkable and tasty brew. Aroma is the strong point IMO.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is a mix of cocoa and roasted malt. Smells a bit like a stout and nothing like I expected. The flavor is also stout-like. I get a lot of chocolate and roasted malt, mixed with some light coffee and milky lactose notes. Overall, this reminds me a lot of a milk stout. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.95/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Asahi has a dark side as well? Ok, I have known that for some time, but failed to pull the trigger. Thanks to Tina, I got to work with six-pack, but for this review, a single 11.3 ounce bottle will do. On to the beer:

Don't be afraid of dark brown with ruby colored hues, or you will be missing something surprisingly good. A thick head forming with rocky formation...I told you, don't be afraid of how it looks. It smells rich, smokey, dark cocoa, with a whistle of husk. If all you drink is Coors Light, you will be shocked, because not only do you smell something, you taste something too. And what a surprise to this Beer Advocate! Much of what I drink can be considered "craft beer", so tasting a rich and delicious dark beer from Asahi that can hold its head high is one of the biggest shocks I have found to ooze out of the macro world. Not only malty, but pleasantly smoked. A note of vague fruit and raisins and me thinks it's a bock. The smokey aftertaste finish the beer on a wonderful note. Rafting in a medium and smooth body, it's hard to emphasize how much that Kuronama surprised me. On par with many dunkels coming out of Bavaria.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.45/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm quite impressed with this little beer. A bottle poured into a pint glass produced a "light" black pour, a bit thin looking. Not a bad off tan head I might say. Lacing isn't much, but a quick swirl brings back the head in no time, and all the way down to the end.
malty, musky aroma. Sweet roasted caramel with some dark chocolate. Faint anise and plum
Tastes, to me, like a introductory malt bomb. Perhaps I was expected something a bit drier. This has a slight smokiness to it on top of the roasted malt. Chocolate isn't strong, but it's there, towards the back, bitter.
Finishes quite well. Not sticky or with that stale malt I sometimes get in dark lagers.
nice brew.

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Photo of tempest
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle at EuroMarket in Queens. I wasn't sure what to expect here, but it's basically a classic, inoffensive dark lager with a hint of roasted malt. There was a smooth body with just a little more weight than a standard lager. It's sweet up front with a dry finish. Not a bad beer.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.21/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle, I don't know why this is the EDL category, it's an ale on the label and I remember reading in one of Michael Jackson's books that this was a stout, anyway,

A: Pours black with a finger of light tan head, good retention, spotty lace.

S: Light roasted malt, coffee.

T: Dark chocolate with a lot of charcoal, but not overly burnt. Minor notes of raisin/dark fruit, but really in the background, better as it warms up.

M: Very dry, thin finish, fizzy on the palate.

D: This was OK, I expected a little more, I've been wanting to try this for a while, nice enough.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
2.06/5  rDev -42%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

334cl bottle poured @ home into a Westmalle chalice during October 2012, just after it's best before date.

Deep ruby red body with thinning tanned head on top: the head becoming a wisp and collar a bit too quickly for my liking.

Struggled to find any aroma at all: hints of maltiness as it warmed I suppose.

The taste was too close towards a Pepsi Cola with alcohol for me. Wasn't impressed at all. It had almost the same texture and body feel as well.

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Photo of wl0307
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Coming in a 334ml slim brown glass bottle, the gravity is 5%abv. as stated on the beer label. BB 01/09/2006, served lightly chilled in a slim goblet.

A: pours a very dark brown colour, with caramely red glows; the tan head comes thick and very foamy with superb retention, against a lively carbonated body--looking very decent and elegant.
S: a semi-thick note of buttery+toffeeish+caramely malts and bitter-sweet burned sugar dominates, sprinkled with lots of brown sugar, bread-crust like grainy note and a very faint trace of hops. Slightly overly malty whereas other elements are subdued, yet crafted nicely all the same.
T: upfront the texture is indeed akin to a rice-added lager with its slightly thin-ish and metallic touch, but not too much of a distraction. Like the aroma, the palate is dark malt-dominated, with plenty of caramely flavour of dark malts and bitter-sweet burned/roasty and sweet-coffeeish edge of roasted malts, backed by a slightly rough, chewy, whole-meal bready as well as nutty malts underneath. Rather clean finish with only a touch of sugar, true to a dark lager, but the roast-malty and nutty aroma and a residual chewy texture sustain nicely at the back of the palate.
M&D: medium-plus bodied for a Schwarzbier-style lager, the rich and grainy content makes it a quite chewy and enjoyable beer. And, fortunately, the added corn and rice are not played to the detriment to the beer's texture, thus I'd say this Japanese brewery's self-appointed task of producing a Munich-style dark lager (as specified on the beer cap) is no disappointment at all.

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Photo of tone77
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of roasted malts. Taste is also heavy of roasted malts, some mild notes of coffee, some notes of chocolate.Feels light in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

334ml bottle poured into Unibroue glass feb18 2010

A not far from cola with the fast falling tan head to match, lots of bubbles stuck to the side of the glass but to dark to see bubbles inside

S some molasses with a little chocolate and raisin

T not far from the smell but with some very mild coffee

M decent carbonation gives it a slightly creamy feel but it's still fairly light in the mouth surprising considering the color

D better then expected and that's never a bad thing but not blown away by any aspects of this beer

not a bad beer and for a big brewer from Japan I was fairly happy with what I got for my money

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Photo of dgilks
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, brown colour with a small, tan head. Average head retention.

Nice, nutty, bready aroma with distinct yeast and caramel notes. Decent.

Malty yet crisp and dry. Slightly roasty with more yeast notes.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

A decent beer from Asahi and a real surprise.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.95/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a tempting cola brown, nearly opaque, with a thin tan head - but the latter may be an artifact of the waitress’ pour. Aroma is crisp and malty with hints of molasses and caramel. Flavor is crisp and malty, like a typical lager but with a stout-like undertone of molasses and a hint of smoke. Texture is fairly smooth and tingly, rather typical. A good one to have at a Japanese restaurant.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
2.9/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours very dark brown with copper highlights and a small tan creamy head.
Soft, sweet aroma of roasted barley, tar, and faint hints of cocoa. Other than that, very clean.
First up in the flavour department is some toasty and bready sweet malt, before a moderately roasty note kicks in along with some chocolate hints, with support the gently bitter finish.
Carbonation is much too high, and the body is very watery.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a cold pint glass at a restaurant. Light black color with some ruby highlights. Head fades away quickly into some large brown bubbles.

A bit cold, but has a deep earthy malty nose...somewhat stout like. Smells pretty good and fresh. Has hints of rice and chocolate.

Light bodied and tasty roasty malts are foremost. A bit of sweet chocolate and nuttyness...almost like a schwarzbier. A surprisingly flavorful and balanced offering from one of Japan's largest breweries. Me likey, might have to grab a sixer of this soon.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.26/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dining out in a Japanese restaurant for my daughter's birthday, this seemd like the best bet for a beverage. It was dark brown, almost black, with a thin head. Aroma was lacking. A little sweet, that's all. Improvement in the taste. Somewhat of a milk chocolated/caramel taste, not unpleasant. A bit on the thin side in the mouth, but good enough for me that I had two of them.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cola brown that's garnet in light with puffy sepia head that fades fast.
Ash, tin, cherry stones, and grass on the muted nose.
Brown bread dough, sugar coated raisins, miso and cola, a little roasty edge, then cut hay hops.
Malteser finish and tingly linger.
Crisp, fizzy, light, flinty.

Confused by this one - Roger Protz says that Japanese black lagers are "more Saxon than Franconian" - schwarzbiers, not dunkels.

Nevertheless, this lines up with all the right sweet, bready dunkel notes (albeit in a watered down fashion) and the hops are there. Maybe I'm supposed to ignore the rice and corn, but this is thin by any lager standard, yet still sweet enough to almost cloy, and the roast is more burnt sugar than chocolate.

Quenching, but I feel like a headache is not far away.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well after seeing this beer for years in Michael Jackson books it finally shows up in Vancouver. This is a real smooth dark lager that has a very nice malty finish. Finesse is the name of the game in this beer. There is a nutty roasty note in the midbody which I really enjoy. So much more flavourful than their Dry.

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Asahi Black (Kuronama) from Asahi Breweries Ltd
81 out of 100 based on 127 ratings.