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

22oz beer into a Chimay goblet.

Interesting brew... Has an odd, almost bourbon-like taste to it and a buckwheat-like grainy texture.

A black color and porter-like consistency and a tan head with a slight carbonation. Strong bourbon smell, with some birch, nut, and brown bread. The soba is a strong, sour, almost putrid taste, but the wheat rounds it out a bit and has a roasted molasses taste. A little citrus to finish it off.

A caramel malt flavor and graininess in the mouth, with a syrupy finish. Certainly a nice finish, but not quite as well balanced as most stouts or porters (has the unequal finish similar to many smoked beers).

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- looks black like a porter, but is a clear, very deep burgundy when held up to the light. dense stiff tan head holds itself firmly dropping off plenty of lace as it goes, eventually settling with a big rising dome in the middle where i poured.

S- roasted and toasted grains, wood, bark, cigar, milk chocolate, weak coffee, very nutty, almost like hazelnut, well water, holiday bread, almond, cassia, caramel.

T- roasted and nutty, very grainy, little or no fruity flavor that can sometimes come out in these dark ales. very grainy and substantial taste, nutritious, cocoa and coffee, and i nice hop bitterness to blend with the roasted bitterness. some grapefruit cascade flavor is sensed on the back of the tongue but is for the most part overtaken by the malt flavors. very nice balance. finishes as any mild stout or porter would, with lingering coffee and burnt caramel and grain flavors.

MF- lighter than it would appear, this one hovers around medium bodied. medium carbonation as well. somewhat crisp when cold, but becoming a bit syrupy as it warms.

D- as interesting as the lighter version with perhaps a bit more depth. nice and hoppy, but i wouldn't have guessed there were any odd ingredients in here if i didn't know better. i can taste the buckwheat cuz i KNOW it's in there, but those flavors are similar to, and can be interpreted as, flavors that we get from different varieties of barley malt. especially when the whole shebang is roasted.

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Photo of bbeane
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Let me start by saying that I just reviewed the regular Soba Ale a few days ago. I had always enjoyed the regular, but was less impressed with this Black Obi.

A- Very dark, almost black in color with a thick brown rocky head that leaves a fair amount of lacing

S- A similar peculiar smell to that of the regular Soba... sweet and nutty

T- Similar, yet less impressive than the regular in my opinion. Similar notes of flavor in a darker stout like beer

M- Smooth. Very little carbonation, bite, or lingering flavor

D- Smooth and relatively easy to drink. Not as heavy as the color would lead you to believe


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Photo of PatrickJR
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Deep reddish brown, but not quite opaque. Garnet highlights on the edges. A finger of light tan head rises and falls to a persistent cap. Minimal lacing.

S - Unique and interesting aroma. Buttery and nutty smells linger with a bit of toasted malt and caramel. A spice character runs underneath with hints of chive, allspice, and even a bit of ginger. Chocolate is also detectable along with indistinct herbal aromas. Not sure what the buckwheat is specifically contributing here, but it's all working together nicely.

T - Not quite as exciting as the nose but still unique. Roasty and buttery notes hit first with a bready, almost nutty sweetness. Bittersweet chocolate bubbles in and out as well. As the malt pulls back, intensely herbal hops take the stage. Suggestions of everything from tea, to rosemary, to oregano come to mind with cut grass and chive flavor as well. The herbs give way to a little bit of spice character, particularly something in the range of mild ginger or anise while an earthy/herbal bitterness grows. Toasted malt and vague herbal notes linger into the aftertaste with a moderate bitterness.

M - Originally I'd given the mouthfeel a 3.5, but the carbonation really hasn't held up well. Medium bodied, smooth, with a moderate carbonation at first. However, as the beer has breathed and warmed, the carbonation has fell to a minimal level leaving the brew a little flat tasting.

D - My first experience with a beer brewed with buckwheat, and overall a pleasurable quaff. Really unique stuff going on here which must be the buckwheat as this brew has (thankfully) escaped the "sameness" plaguing much of Rogue's line up. Interesting and notable hop bill as well spanning a wide range of flavors.

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Photo of tjsprague
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is a very very dark copper red. It looks black until you hold it up to the light. It had about a half inch of head with faded into nothing.

Smell is very malty and sweet with a nice nutty aroma from the buckwheat.

Taste is really good. I like the other two Morimoto beers and this is no exception. Style wise it is similar to a brown ale but with a more refined flavor. It comes on malty and finishes with the buckwheat nutty flavor.

Mouthfeel is good, very nutty and lightly carbonated.

A drinkable beer, this is another good offer from Rogue.

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Photo of brendan13
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a pint glass a dark brown with a 2cm beige head that falls fairly quickly leaving a significant lace.
S - Subtle roastiness, coffee and a nutty earthiness. Some very vauge floral hop character.
T - Much like the smell but the soba flavour comes through a bit more.
M - Light to medium bodied, fairly high carbonation.
D - Quite a flavourful beer & quite sessionable.

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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 cjgator3
3.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a large light tan head that possesses amazing retention and solid lacing around the glass as well.

S- The aroma is very nice. It is very malty and nutty with some chocolate and just a hint of caramel.

T- The taste like the aroma is deliciously malty with some roast and a nice nutty finish with a touch of hops. This is not an overly complex beer, but it is pretty damn tasty and very drinkable.

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I really enjoyed this Moromoto Black Obi Soba Ale. It's something different than the norm and was very tasty. Recommended!

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Photo of treehugger02010
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just had this at Kelly's Taproom in Bryn Mawr, PA. I poured it into a nonic glass.
Appearance: The body is pitch black. The head is a thick tan color, two fingers tall, no lacing but great retention.
Smell: The aromas are chocolate, toffee and expresso.
Taste: The tastes are sweet dates, grapes, figs and toffee.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is very smooth and thick.
Drinkability: This is a great beer. It is a shame it has been retired.
Don't drink and review.

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Photo of Douglas14
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a flat black color with a small white head that dissapears rather quickly. The smell is of floral fruits and lightly roasted malts. I almost get a oxidized off-flavor too. There might be some liquorice in the nose too. The flavor is bitter and doesn't have enough sweetness to balance it out. I get that same oxidized flavor in the taste also. I'm guessing it's the roasted soba...

Anyway, definitely glad I was able to try since I am a huge Rogue fan as well as a fan of Morimoto.

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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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