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Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale | Rogue Ales

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Morimoto Black Obi Soba AleMorimoto Black Obi Soba Ale
389 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 389 |  Reviews: 232
Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.37/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Photo of kjkinsey
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Knapp85
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of dmorgan310
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

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Photo of largadeer
3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of Boone757
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of chinchill
3.76/5  rDev +3%
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!

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Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
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 oberon
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
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 Gagnonsux
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.05/5  rDev +11%
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 smcolw
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of russpowell
3.54/5  rDev -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

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.99/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 389 ratings
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