Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale | Rogue Ales

232 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Morimoto Black Obi Soba AleMorimoto Black Obi Soba Ale

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
12 Ingredients:
Malts: Roasted Soba, Harrington, Metcalf, Munich, C-15, C-60 and Carafa Special No. 2
Hops: Horizon, Sterling and Cascade. Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

30 IBU
75 AA
36º Lovibond

Added by freed on 07-22-2004

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 232 | Ratings: 388
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.37/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, grain, molasses, earth, floral, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, grain, molasses, earth, wood, and butter flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer with interesting aromas, but the butter like flavor I am getting detracts from this one's drinkability.

Serving type: bottle.

 646 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I thought rogue was through making these, so I was super excited to see this on the shelf. the pour is jet black, inky and thicker, with a hard to control rising off white head that has a mind of its own. it smells like burnt toast and a really weird malt profile. had to google it to learn soba is Japanese buckwheat, which definitely provides some interesting smells and tastes here. its sort of like rye in terms of smell, bold and fully rich, but the flavor is much more mild, without the spice and with a starchy sort of feel. with the other black roasty malts and bittering hops, I think it works great in this beer. there is also a new yeast going on that's foreign to my palate, or maybe its just the buckwheat again, hard to tell, but its pasty in texture and bitterly bland in a good way of that's possible. a complex brew with an exceptional mouthfeel. huge body and plenty of carbonation, it really shocks the palate as something different and well done. I like this better than the imperial pils, and fully support anything involving chef morimoto, his work in the kitchen is unrivaled.

 1,099 characters

Photo of Knapp85
2.98/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not the biggest fan of this one. I had this one right after the other Morimoto Ale and found this one to be a little awkward. The pour looked good, had a deep brown color similar to a black lager but with a super sized head on it that was tan in color. The lacing was pretty good too. The aromas were mixed on this it has grassy aromas and some herbal notes. The taste was a little strange. I'm can't really explain it. I just tasted gross to me. I was able to finish it but I won't being buying this again.

 507 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pleasant and safe beer although the lable and packaging promised more. Smells mildly and sweetly roasty with a light, smooth roundness. Looks like Coca cola, perhaps a bit darker and with much better carbonation and head retention. Tastes pleasantly roasty, moderately sweet, and mildly spicy. Light alcohols persist into the finish. Feels smooth and refreshingly light to the palate. Finishes a bit airy for a dark, roasted beer. Though nice and without flaws, it falls a little lackluster.

 493 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. 'Black sash' - I'm wondering where that comes into play here.

This beer pours a very dark reddish cola hue, with two fingers of foamy, bubbly ecru head, which renders some decent layered webbed lace around the glass in its meandering, slow wake.

It smells of sweet roasted nutty malt, vegetal buckwheat, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is more edgy, grainy buckwheat, dry roasted malt, a hint of earthy coffee/chocolate, and some floral/earthy hops. If I didn't know better, I would have guessed that this is some sort of beefed-up Guinness clone.

The carbonation is on the low, hard to discern side of things, the body medium-light in weight, and generally smooth. It finishes mostly dry, the nuttiness and sideshow buckwheat graininess lingering.

While this is replete with a flavour that I don't get much exposure to (the Yakisoba noodles that I indulge in frequently bear no relation to this), I still quite enjoyed the light, roasted, and nutty nature of this beer. Not quite sure what style of beer this is, as the vegetable/herb classification seems way too pithy and general for such an interesting offering.

 1,136 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark chocolate in color with great head retention and tons of foamy lace.

S: I couldn't detect much other than some dark-roasted coffee aromas with this one, even at warmer temperatures.

T: Nutty and earthy, with a surprisingly crisp aftertaste for such a dark beer. While I wouldn't consider this one of Rogue's better dark beers, it has a unique character.

M: Fairly mellow carbonation and surprisingly not very thick, despite its appearance.

D: An easy beer to drink due to its fairly low ABV and crisp character. I like this, but Rogue has done better. Worth a try.

 576 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle (courtesy of Okbeer): Poured a pitch-black ale with a medium head with average retention. Aroma of bitter hops with some strange spice that I don’t think I have encountered in beer before. Taste is a mix between the roasted malt, bitter hops and this strange spice. Body is too thin and carbonation is very low. This is not bad but nothing extraordinary either; I’d still go with the mocha porter any day thought.

 422 characters

Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poures a near pitch black but not for the ruby highlights when held up to the light with a big fluffy off white head that clings to the glass nicely,wow a real cascade presence in the aroma wich was entirely unexpected due to the fact well it is Rogue,a nice roastiness also shows itself nicely.Slick mouthfeel to this slides down with ease,interesting melding of flavors firmly nutty with some roasted malt as the core but there is very much a PW hop presence not so pronounced but it lets itself be known.Very interesting and flavorful ale I will be sure to grabe more.

 571 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bomber served in a snifter.

A: Pours dark mahogany with a small, light tan head. Leaves a small spots of lacing. More or less clear.

S: Sweet aroma featuring mixed grains with fruity overtones, toffee and a hint of red wine barrel. Improved with warming.

T: A more complex and unusual flavor than expected even given the rather unusual and rather complex aroma. Diverse tasted malt aspects, presumably including buckwheat. [Actually, there is a somewhat clear note of buckwheat in the finish,] Hints of toffee, dark fruits and hops. Low bitterness,

M: very good body with medium carbonation. Fairly clean and semi-dry finish.

O: quite distinct, very interesting and well-crafted, with a good sweet/bitter balance, However, neither the aroma nor the flavor profiles were entirely to my liking. As intended, I guess, excellent with Asian cuisine. From memory, more interesting but not quite as enjoyable as Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale. Not a fruit/vegetable beer!

 970 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains dark fruit, caramelized malts, some spices and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong caramel & dark fruit sweetness, followed by some spicy and herbal flavors. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Flavorful, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, it’s ok for something different but there are other similar beer I would choose first.

 748 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.99/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber - $4.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, walnut brown body with a smallish, wispy, off-white head.

Smell: Earthy, roasty, and a bit sweet-smelling. There are aromatic notes of mild coffee, nuts, molasses, and caramel with an undercurrent of lightly spiced grapefruit segments.

Taste: Lightly roasty malts with some slight coffee tones and hint of fire-charred nuts. Some sweeter tastes of earthy molasses, dark caramel, and maybe, just maybe, a bit of chocolate follow. Spicy, citrusy blend of hops with a medium amount of bitterness. Subtle hint of licorice emerges late. Finishes dry, roast, and with an errant, lasting taste of burnt bread crusts.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation, though there's a slight effervescent crackle to it.

Drinkability: Worth a try, though perhaps a more worthy of a try than their other soba-based brew. Quite quaffable all around though.

 944 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful, red and white, silk-screened, Japanese-themed bottle. Dark brown with generous highlights of bronze, gold and red. I continue to be impressed with the appearance of Rogue beer. I don't remember when I last saw one that was less than beautiful. The head is toasted beige in color and is firmly creamy. Thick splotches of lace occupy the glass just above the beer's surface, with scattershot lace seen higher up.

I like the nose much more than the nose on the lighter soba beer, Buckwheat Ale (Morimoto Soba). It's darker and richer, which effectively camouflages the relatively unappealing, or at least uninteresting, aroma of buckwheat itself. It's dark malty, nicely fruity and impressively molasses-like. Think Scotch ale without the peat.

Although the flavor doesn't quite hold up its end of the bargain, it comes close. Black Obi most resembles an Irish dry stout on the palate. There's quite a bit of roastiness, so much so that it edges toward bitter and borderline astringent. Scorched black coffee is probably the best comparison that I can come up with. Those last two sentences make it sound as though this beer is unappealing. It isn't.

After several mouthfuls, I'm feeling better about things. The lightly sweet fruitiness of the buckwheat is more apparent and mingles well with bittersweet chocolate and treacle notes. In addition, the grapefruit zest zestiness of the Cascade hops has come to the fore. There really are a lot of flavors in this beer, though I can't say that I'm thrilled with the combination. Good, but not special.

The nearly unbroken wall of lace on the glass opposite is great; my next pour should add another heavy coat of crust. I'm sure the mouthfeel was designed to be elegant rather than heavy-handed, scrimshaw rather than chainsaw carving, but it doesn't quite pull it off. It's closer to medium than to light, is a shade undercarbonated and doesn't have a great deal of mouth presence.

Black Obi (the wide belt on a kimono) Soba Ale is a better beer than its lighter counterpart. The roasting of the buckwheat brings out flavors that are preferable to the unroasted fruit and the different malt and hop bills are more to my liking as well. It doesn't quite make it over the hump called 'recommended', but I'm still glad this is a bomber.

 2,305 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nearly opaque in its darkness was the only saving grace to this one.

The aroma was pleasant, albeit a little lighter then I was expecting. Nice touches of molasses and maple syrup weighed in heavily, though the spices seemed to be all but covered up under a bit too hot alcohol profile. The flavor though started to redeem itself quite nicely. Rich notes of maple syrup and molasses washed over the tongue immediatly, falling into a spiced yam like flavor that was layered on top of a nice bready malt profile.

 511 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.54/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Lincoln, Neb figured what the heck?

Pours Dark ruby red to mahogany with a tightly packed 2 fingers mocha head. Good head retention & lacing

Smell: Slight malt, smoky &licorice hints. A slight mustyness detracts

Taste: Dark malt, smoked malt (slight) and light licorice notes. Also faint tappiocca (sp? ie rice pudding) flavor. Finishes fruitty & with hints of saspirilla?

MF: Good carbonation but a schkoosh thin for me

Drinks okay, couldn't drink more than a few, not complex enough to hold my attention all night or day as the case may be. I enjoyed this more than the sobe ale I tried by far

 630 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black/deep brown with reddish highlights

S - Slightly floral, wheaty aroma

M - light bodied, dry feel with sweet finish

T - Fruity, meaty wheat-like. Slightly citrus perhaps hops or yeast flavors. A subtle spice flavor akin to ginger or cinnamon. Not an overwhelming amount of flavor but light buckwheat or soy elements for sure.

D - a mellow easily quaffable brew. I appreciated the dark soba elements, but they don't really take the spotlight. A dry ale taste is the major factor with smooth creamy wheat tastes. I would give it another go.

 558 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Decent head, but I like the abundant ring lace. The color is deep ruby brown where light comes through the center of the glass.

Dark coffee malt aroma. Slight cream, little else.

There's a stout element to the flavor of dark, unsweetened coffee. The body is very thin with a high carbonation. The aftertaste is all burnt malt flavors, no notable hop.

 352 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black in color with a big, fluffy tan head.

S: A bit smokey, definitely a lot of roasted malts in this one. Also coffee and nutty smells coming from this beer.

T: Lots of roasted/toasted flavors, nuts and coffee, woody. A bit of sweetness, but a lingering astringency.

M: Medium in body, but a bit of lingering bitterness.

D: Good variety of flavors to make this somewhat complex and not overpowering in any sense.

 421 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black Obi is dark brown, almost black with a large tan head. Head is fairly creamy and thick. Aroma is sweet and nutty, almost nutmeg-like actually, atop a roasted malt body. Flavor is dominated by a smoth nutty flavor, similar to hazelnut, with an edge of caramel. Malt base is sweet and lightly roasted with a vague chocolate flavor in the mix as well. Overall flavor is just a bit on the thin side for this to be truly great. Drinkability is very good, I could definently kick back with this again. I think Texas now has the entire Rogue Morimoto line, except for the imp pilsner, too bad that's the one I most want to try.

 626 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark with wonderful cherry red highlights when backlit. Small kaki head with low retention.

S - Raisin, brown sugar, molasses.

T - Wonderfully interesting. Raisins, porridge, cream, earthy roast, honey. Mocha latte finish with a touch of citrusy bitterness. All the flavors are standards but the way the soba holds them together is something I can't quite describe. It's very different and very enjoyable.

M - Medium-light body with a strange dry/sweet finish, where the texture is dry but the aftertaste holds a residual sweetness.

D - Flavors are little too big to really session with, but overall it's very pleasant.

O - Definitely give this a try.

 660 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Hoyt for sharing this bomber with me.

A - brown with ruby edges; soft, white head that has good retention

S - nutty, caramel; similar to a brown ale

T - nutty, caramel, faint roastiness, earthy, mildly bitter

M - crisp, overcarbonated, medium bodied

This beer was a bit off for me. It had a nice flavor, similar to a brown ale, but it wasn't full flavored enough for me. I wish it had been a bit more assertive. It may be worth a try, but I won't be trying it again.

 481 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle:

Pours medium-to-dark brown with a thin, fluffy white head. Trailing lace slides down the glass, with a bit of stickage.

The smell is of lightly roasted buckwheat/soba, citric notes and Rogue's signature Pacman yeast.

The taste is of roasted nuts, roasted buckwheat/soba. The roasted character (charred) comes close to masking. Mildly astringent. Dry finish.

Fuller side of light-bodied/light-side of medium border.

Drinkable considering over-charred/astringent character.

 491 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's black, alrighty, nearly opaque, but with crimson shining around the sides, and the head is big, tan, and chunky, leaving lace, and slow to settle.
Nose is a little grainy, but mostly smooth, creamy.
Taste, full-bodied, thoroughly flavorful, malty, rich, solid, ..tasty! Roasty! Intriquing...what should just be a smooth food-chaser has got some guts, some sturdy character, a real, true presence on the palate.
Very substantial, and ...yum...I could throw back a couple or three of these, for sure.
I said "solid" already, so...'nother good one, Rogue! Mmmmm!

 570 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

04/25/06- Purchased at Draeger's Market in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle, no freshness date given. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Medium black color, 3/4 inch white head. Average lacing left behind.

Smell- Sweeter smell with some heavily roasted malts. Not much hop scent.

Taste- Very bland. Almost a charcoal like smokey taste going on. Very deep roasted malt. No sweetness at all. Dry with a bitter hit. Maybe a light touch of chocolate.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation, bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- This is one of the few beers I have had that really didn't taste like anything. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good. It was just there. Kinda like an Irish Dry Stout, except with out the minimal flavor. To this beer I say...huh? I guess that means it's kinda interesting in it's own sorta way. But then again this is me talkin' after three bombers.

 884 characters

Photo of dvmin98
1.98/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into standard pint glass (all we had at the beach).

The smell was of malts and pepper?

This beer seemed to literally have no body to it. It was like watered down soda. The taste was not good at all. I think I had my hopes up since this was a Rogue product.

To be honest, I poured it out half-way through. Hopefully, we had an old bottle or something, because it was just not enjoyable.

 395 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Black in color with burgandy highlights. A nice 1" tan head. Some mild lacing develops through the drink. The aroma is of hazlenuts and coffee. Roasted malt, bitter chocolate, coffee, nuts, prunes is nicely balanced with nice bitterness. There was also something about the overall flavor I couldn't identify.

Mouthfeel is dry and smooth. The bitter chocolate tones linger into the aftertaste. Overall a different tasting brew, but one 22 oz. bottle was enough to enjoy.

 472 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale from Rogue Ales
3.66 out of 5 based on 388 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.