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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 claspada
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A dark dark amber with off-white head. Aromas are quite contrasting and complex. There's some iced-coffee, though very mild, with some cream and molasses, earthiness, and roots, along with some dark bread crust, craziness...

Tastes follow the nose, really complex. The beer initially tasted like schwartzbier but then I get some earthiness (from the hops I guess) and some fruitiness and this medicine (cherry cough syrup) character which isn't bad, just different. Rogue's Pacman yeast is also detectable but not as much as in their other beers. Mild coffee, but not bitter, with some faint hops in the end.

This is a really complex beer, not sure if the other Soba ale from Rogue is at all similar but now I have to go try it to compare. This beer is many different styles combined at once, they clash, but not in a bad way. I have never been so intrigued and pleased at the same time, especially from a beer under 5% ABV.

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Photo of rjimlad
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep sarsaparilla colour with yeast sediment and rich tan head. Nice fruity aroma with a melange of toffee, roast malt and some sort of fruit like dates or something. Just a hint.
Flavour is the same with roast beef and molasses. Add some indistinct fruit and a fine carbonation. This is really enjoyable and complex. I found it hard to place but thoroughly liked it. A pity it's deer in Oz.

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Photo of wl0307
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The same as the previous reviewer, the bottle I've got here is at 5%abv.; purchased at the UTOBEER beer shop in the Borough Market, London, coming in a 650ml brown bomber. BB date unknown.

A: dark brown-ish in colour, topped with a thick and well-lasting light tan froth supported by the endless streams of lively carbonation. Enticing in appearance.
S: a touch of licorice+ginger candy underscores the main aroma mixed of caramel, burned malts, longan-fruits and juicy&thick flowery fragrance of US hops. Pleasant, hoppy, semi-sweet malty like a premium bitter or brown ale in some ways.
T: a light-bodied swallow of caramel (with thin-bodied sweetness), licorice and lightly bitter-sweet toffee makes up the foretaste, leading smoothly to an interesting mid-taste consisting of undertone of longan-fruits, raisins, bitter chocolates, brown bread, etc.; the semi-bitter, dry-ish aftertaste is reminiscent of Roibush teas with a little nice tannin, while lingering maltiness is very different indeed, supposedly the work of soba? Hoppiness is in general balanced seamlessly with the malts and plays the second fiddle all in all.
M&D: quite clean on the palate, while the finish features a faintly powdery texture; med-bodied, reasonably flavoursome, this is a very drinkable brown ale that never goes quite thin or watery.

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Photo of Trizzle
4.17/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really expected this to be rated higher than it is... It is definitely not a fruit/vegetable style (both my bottle and the rogue website say the only ingredients are water, malted barley, hops and yeast) and this bottle (imported to Europe) says 5.0%abv not the 4.8 shown here. Did I get a collectors edition?? Too late. I drank it.

L: Black and slightly murky but nice dense head with top retention and laces beautifly.

S: sweet dark malts, light spiced raisins and some oil hop hints.

T: lovely sweet malt and light fruity hops and some subliminal soy sauce and mirin. Not greatly complex but At 5% (or 4.8) you don't really expect it to be huge.

M: medium malt body with good carbonation.

D: great. A touch on the sweet side but could pound this all day.

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Photo of andyfrancis
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black, root beer when held to light. nice enough light brown head.

Smells fresh. Almost a cucumber like quality, which is confusing given the color. Roasty malt presenting itself more as it warms.

Great light, earthy flavor. Soda water and a hint of bitterness on the finish. Very sessionable.

I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this beer.

All in all, an interesting brew that lends itself well to light food and cheese pairings. Great with fresh chevre and pain au levain or cream cheese and a bagel.

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Photo of MikeBrandman
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep body into a hefeweizen glass. Brown, red, black, and slight golden hues. 3 fingers of off white, slightly creamy head, with a little rockiness to it. Decent lacing, but I was expecting a little more. Mostly translucent, close to opaque. No visible carbonation or sediment.

S - Very interesting rosy smell off this. Very powerful smell. Slightly syrupy sweet. A little roasted as well.

T - Interesting taste, definitely unlike anything I've ever had. Again, syrupy sweetness. Dark fruits and caramel. Almost honey sweetness to this. Initially very carbonated, but faded down a little bit. Good nutty taste to this as well. Slight hop bitterness, but not very pronounced. Unbalanced in favor of the malts. No alcohol taste, which isn't very surprising since it's only about 4.5%. Still not very refreshing, but more on the savory side.

MF - Something about this beer doesn't rub me right. A little graininess to this. Rather offputting considering the syrupy taste and smell to this. Slightly on the heavier side.

D - Not terribly drinkable. A little on the heavy side and the flavor doesn't lend itself well to drinking a lot or frequently.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had in a pint glass at Sushi Rock in Cleveland. Pours dark brown, with a bubbly tan head. Large bubbles popped out of the bottle after it was poured.

Has an almost wheat smell, somewhat yeasty. It has a somewhat sour taste, barley and malt, with almost a nutty or sesame aftertaste. Has a fair amount of carbonation. The taste improves when paired with the octopus salad.

A thinner mouthfeel than I'd expect from the color.

Was a decent pairing for sushi, but better for the octopus salad. Would definitely get again over the typical Sappro or Kirin.

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Photo of Chronofied
3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cellar chilled temperature, poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Quite dark, but not opaque. Lacing is present but not huge, head retention is excellent. Not very visible carbonation.

Smell - Malty smell, with some light wheat but not very full on grain. Perhaps a very faint ginger. Aroma is not heavy/strong.

Taste - Surprisingly refreshing... light and slightly tart, nutty flavor. Toasty malt and herbal hops follow, a little bit toasty. Aftertaste sticks around for a time.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied, this guy's moderate carbonation brings it out well. Overall fairly light, certainly pleasant.

Drinkability - Quite drinkable... the flavor is pretty unique, and with the low gravity it doesn't punch hard. Drinkablility is above average.

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Photo of bludtek
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend told me about this beer and said it was worthy of a try. Poured from a 650 mL bottle, it is a deep, deep brown colour with a very long lasting beige head and pronounced lacing.

The smell is a mixture of floral and resiny hops, coriander, boiled vegetables, and freshly baked cookies.

Toasted malt is apparent to the finish. A touch of starch is noted, as is spice, and what appears to be some buttery oatmeal.

This beer is smooth and nicely carbonated with a clean finish - medium bodied. I would definitely try it again.

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Photo of Richardberg
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - bomber poured into a pint glass. ruddy brick, almost like desaturated maroon. enormous cream-colored head & lacing.

S - roasty grains & nuts, banana ester, slightly sweet (fig-like, not sugary), touch of floral hops aroma

T - fairly normal by comparison. just a very malty ale. somewhat metallic. pretty neutral on the bitter/sweet scale throughout.

M - medium body, nicely foamy without being fizzy, "wet" finish

D - interesting brew that goes down easily. not totally sure how it all fits together but I wouldn't mind trying again.

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Photo of BeerGodz
2.92/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Look: Brownish red color, massive head that will not go away with insane lacing

Smell:Roasted malt, nuts, buckwheat

Taste: Up Front: Buckwheat, coffee. Finish: Chocolate, slight metalic taste, then more chocolate

Mouthfeel: Light/Medium body, high carbonation

Drinkability: The sharp carbonation bite made this harder to drink than it could have been

Overall Impression: It was impossible to pour this beer without excessive foaming, and since the head retention excellent, that was an issue. The high carbonation killed this beer in mouthfeel and drinkability as well. That sucks, because it had a pretty interesting flavor. I'm hoping this was an isolated incident.

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Photo of mempath
4.37/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

beautiful deep red-brown with a massive pancake batter head that sticks nicely. wonderful buckwheat bready smell. sweet faint black strap molasses notes in there, too. very rich and deep. the taste doesn't quite match the look and nose of this, but it's still quite good, bready-malty, some nice slight sourdough sourness. i think the mouthfeel is about the same...could be better but it's still quite good. a bit thinner than i'd like, but carbonated just right, this is nonetheless quite drinkable. easy to drink and quite a joy to drink.

that said, it's a bit pricey...why?

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Photo of vkv822
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber into pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown with a slight red tint with hints of gold and a foamy light tan head with decent retention.
It has a rich roasty malt smell, with notes of nut and light coffee. The taste is a very roasted malty coffee flavor with more hints of nuts. The roasted coffee flavor reaches a slight astrigency as it warms. The mouthfeel is a bit light, but still very enjoyable.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the flavors I found in this beer, and quite enjoyed the nut flavors and it's over all drinkability.

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Photo of tigg924
3.17/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: 1/4 head, dark red/brown in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: sweet fruit, malt, brown sugar, and a touch of hops

Taste: same as the smell with a touch of wood--sweet fruit, malt, brown sugar, and a touch of hops

Mouthfeel: slightly bitter, medium/light bodied, and high carbonation

Drinkability: Not as impressed with this as the other Morimoto ale from them. I think the taste here seemed rather muted throughout. The smell is good but after that the ale is just ok. I will not be buying this again at the price.

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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 donkeyrunner
3.46/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My girlfriend bought this because she likes buckwheat. Buckwheat makes me gassy. I'm assuming she doesn't know that yet...but she soon will.

Are we sure this is Rogue? Where's the mug and fist pump? I call shenanigans. Near opaque dark brown with a 1 finger beige head. Good retention.

Smells like buckwheat and dog.

Tastes like buckwheat pancakes dipped in a so-so brown ale. Somewhat of a nutty complexity that I enjoy. Typical Pacman mouthfeel.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.39/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this at Bert's Bierhuis in Utrecht.

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a big fluffy medium-thick off white head with very good retention. Dark brown, almost black, opaque, with some ruby hues. Higher levels of carbonation evident in the form of smaller bubbles. Head slowly fades to a healthy film cap and leaves some immediate lacing. Good film stays with lots of pretty lacing down the glass. Looks like a good-looking porter.

SMELL: Decent strength nose of buckwheat with some roasted hints. A faint touch of chocolate and dark fruits in the background with a bit of a floral hop kick as well.

TASTE: Roasted buckwheat up front with some bitter chocolate and coffee notes through the middle, leading into some bitter hops at the end. A bit of a grainy fink going on as well. Powdery finish with a mild but long lasting roasty, chocolaty, bitter-sweet aftertaste. Odd, but nice. Kind of like a dry stout with buckwheat.

PALATE: Medium body and higher end carbonation. A light and powdery feel on the palate. Smooth, goes down very smooth and finishes very dry, almost too astringent. Again, strange, but interesting.

OVERALL: Decent beer and drinkable enough, but I'm not sure what I think of it. I enjoyed it enough, and I get the feeling this beer is exactly what it was intended to be, but I'm not sure if I'd really want it again. Glad to have had it though.

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Photo of BigDank
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured a pretty dark brown but not too dark to see through with some light. Practically no head except when poured hard. Fairly smooth, not overly carbonated so pretty easy on the tongue. Nothing overwhelmingly present that really stands out but some mild fruit flavor, mild hops, and what seems a slight spice flavor. Low in alcohol so between that and the easy taste the drinkability stays at a decent level. Wouldn't be a problem to have a few. One of Rogue's better offerings I would say. I will be revisiting this brew and recommend it to anyone who likes slightly fruity beers.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber served into a tulip

Pours a chocolate brown that is red in the center when held to direct light. The mocha head is fluffy at one and a half fingers size. This looks an awful lot like a porter, frankly. Indistinguishable from a porter, even. The lacing is actually quite lovely; great rings of notched foam around the whole glass.

I can make out the buckwheat (soba) immediately, especially after having had the other Morimoto soba ale. It smells wet and more earthy than your standard malted barley. This buckwheat is roasted (hence the dark color) so there are some chocolate & coffee undertones. Roasted soba doesn't lend itself to those flavors nearly as well as barley, so there is a slight disconnect going on. Hoppy? Yeah, it is. Also, there is a metallic twinge to the beer that might be coming from the hops. Either way its unpleasant but not so much as to overshadow the other aspects of the beer.

I had the porter comparisons in my head ever since the pour, but the taste beckons the dry stout style. Black Obi Soba Ale is light and pretty refreshing in the way that dry stouts tend to be. Its just enough roasted flavor to keep things interesting. The hop character is surprisingly pronounced. Grassy, vegetal hop flavors mostly -- and they go with the grainy/funky/nutty/sweet taste of buckwheat. It doesn't have the undercurrents of black... currant... like the OG Soba Ale does, but the roasted character makes up for it.

I enjoy the mouthfeel here. Its not thick by any means but its not water-thin either. The OG Soba Ale was a superb meal beer, and Black Obi is no different. I paired it with a dish of pot roast and carrots and the beer was tough enough to stand up to the rich meat. I'm rating the drinkabilty as high as I am not only because of its individual merits in that category but also because of that impressive balance -- its light but also strong enough to handle some heavy meat dishes.

Just like the OG Morimoto Soba Ale, Black Obi is a wonderful and unique beer to enjoy, especially with food. Its definitely earned its black belt. Roasted buckwheat -- different but ultimately successful.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was poured into a mug and was pretty attractive. Dark brown with some red highlights, a thick tan head. Not much aroma, just some sweet fruit. The taste was an improvement,with some dark fruit, hazlenut, and a little late hops. I enjoyed it, but it is a different beer.

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Photo of dgilks
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a deep dark brown verging on black with red tinges. Fluffy tan head with reasonable retention and lacing.

Massive sweet hop aroma with lots of citrus and floral notes. Tasty with a slight maltiness.

An interesting beer with light earthy roast notes imparting bitterness and complexity. Buckwheat is evident but certainly not overpowering. Some light fruitiness from the hops is also present but nowhere near as powerful as in the aroma.

Mouthfeel is interesting with it starting off very smooth and silky with a medium body and average carbonation. The beer starts to grip the palate with what comes across as quite heavy tannins. An interesting and different approach.

This is a tasty brew but it lacks in overall complexity and fails to really show off the central ingredient. The mouthfeel isn't bad but the grip does make it a bit more difficult to drink.

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Photo of Tates
3.43/5  rDev -6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This smokey, dark toasted rice ale is without a doubt an ale so don't serve it too cold. The earthiness is present but not overpowering and is still somehow light

I'd pair this with a grilled sesame tuna or a wood-plank-grilled-salmon and you will not be disappointed.

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Photo of katan
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bomber into a pint

A - Pours a dark brown with light amber highlights. Reminds me of a medium strength porter. Head formation is eggshell/off white. Not well retained, leaving behind a light film. Low carbonation appearance.

S - Starts off with that funky fruity note of the soba, with only a light amount of chocolate notes in the background. Soba is just weird to me.

T - Starts off with a roasted malty note, none of which I would say is much different than a porter. Mid-stream does show some bitterness - but none of the hopping that they suggest. Finally the soba makes its funky vegetable like appearance in the aftertaste.

M - Moderate to strong body - carbonation bite is muted. Little clinging or coating. Not oily.

D - Pretty easy drinking - not filling and abv is manageable. Flavors are just too funky to be a session beer.

Another interesting Morimoto beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi-transparent mahogany with a fairly thick, fluffy, light dirty tan head that hangs around for a bit. Aroma is strong and malty with smoky and nutty hints. Flavor is malty with hints of hops, roast nuts and caramel and even a bit of oak. Texture is lively and tingly, sometimes just a wee bit wan but still good. It leaves a mysterious aftertaste a little like smoked wood.

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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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