Black Toad Dark Ale
Black Toad Brewing Co.

Black Toad Dark AleBlack Toad Dark Ale
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Brown Ale - English
3.66 | pDev: 13.93%
Black Toad Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Black Toad Dark AleBlack Toad Dark Ale
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Reviews: 274 | Ratings: 557 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of paging12
paging12 from Virginia

3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Great look. First sips had serious hop bitterness. Mellowed as the drink went on. Great smell. Toffee and chocolate. Sweetness lacing on the lips. A little light on the mouth.

Dec 22, 2019
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EJPA_0425 from California

3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

For a Trader Joe's brew. This one is quite good. Pours a fizzy malty brownish white head. Has a nice clear brown color. Smell is nothing special other than roasted malts. Tastes like clean and mildly roasted malts and almonds. Has a pleasant nutty aftertaste. Not too Bitter like some other dark ales so I definitely recommend trying this one if you live near a local Trader Joe's.

Nov 08, 2019
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Ceddd99 from Michigan

4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

So far I am really impressed with this brewery. I love their Spring Prost Maibock, the Heller Bock is also good and this is one of the best brown ales I've had.

May 16, 2019
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defunksta from North Dakota

4.11/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle at 45 degrees,

Look - Pours a dark black color with mild to moderate foamy head.
Smell - The aroma is predominately bittersweet chocolate malts but has a dry bitter end... very similar to a Guinness.
Taste - Flavors of milk, but predominately bittersweet chocolate and coffee .. There is a roasted malt/barley flavor that leaves a toasted bread and coffee flavor that lingers. Some roasted toffee and caramel bread flavored malts. Appropriately hopped and heavily bittered. The flavor is mostly bittersweet chocolate and roasted barly, but it has an surprisingly amount of cocoa flavor and not too overwhelmingly sweet.
Feel = Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. A creamy, mouth-coating finish of chocolate, yet dry, flavorful, and not overly sweet.

Compared side by side to Perrin's Black (German Schwarzbeer): It is similar in color, body, and alcohol. However, this one has the roasted malt/barley bitterness present. It provides the bittersweet & sour flavor from the burnt malts. More like a stout or porter. Both finish appropriately dry.

-Overall - A well made bitter and balanced dark ale. It is similar to a stout. Compared to the Trader Joe's Stockyard Oatmeal stout this one is is flavored with much more coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Less sweetness. The bitterness is profound, which I can appreciate in addition to the dryness. Definitely fits my profile of brew for a dark ale. I would describe it as a similar but more improved Guinness. Again, a well made product from Trader Joe's. Such balance between bittersweet chocolate and bitterness. Not overly sweet by my standards which is hard to do. The bitterness defines the beer from the rest. Give this beer credit where it's due for $1 a beer... A dark ale that balances hop bitterness and malt sweetness impressively well. You'll see me rate this above average and highly recommend.

Jan 30, 2019
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Helluvaz from California

3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Normal normal dark ale. Better than industrial craft, but I did not see the soul and heart from the brewer in this beer.

Look: dark chocolate color with creamy head.
Nose: roasted barley malt, toast, a little bit coffee, but mostly char coal.
Taste: above average, 3.5
Finish: roasty finish, 3.5
Overall: 3.5

Nov 28, 2018
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Beginner2 from Illinois

3.79/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In my never-ending mission in life of rooting-out under-rated beers and highlighting their possible joys, I get to review another brew from TJ !

Looks are quite good for quite a long time; an inviting foam lasts almost to the ale's quick end.
Smells are mostly malt, but toasted well. Tastes are largely the same, but a few hops come in to delicately dry out the malt. All ends well... or at least above average.

Because it has mastered its contract brewers and marketing for its retail outlets, TJ offers mostly good beers at a great price. For those good values, I give them a big Overall hug.

Nov 10, 2018
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MeanMotaScootah from California

3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I am not sure what style this is cuz it ain't a brown ale and it ain't a stout so I guess it's more of a stout light. The aroma is slightly nutty with some malty raisin thrown in for good measure. The taste is slightly earthy, some dark hops is detectable, smooth creamy with some coffee notes. I'd say this is more on the stout side vs. the brown ale side but who am I to say. A nice brew if you dig stouts and brown ales.

Aug 27, 2018
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hopmashian from Florida

4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.25

Trader Joe's offers up some tasty surprises such as their Moon X pinot noir. Here's another: Black Toad dark ale. I totally agree with the Alstrom bros review, however i would up the rating to 4.25. And would add that a piece of English Stilton cheese, (which I just happened to have on hand) goes perfectly with it. Yeah, I just finished the 1st btl. And it taste even better as it warms, but not too much. I will be looking for this again as it's an affordable nut ale or light porter. Good for a session as it's not heavy like a stout etc.. I have a few more bottles in the fridge. So I'm gonna continue my research and crack another.

Jun 18, 2018
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Spikester from Oregon

4.06/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with three fingers of tan head. Rings of lace left as liquid drops.
Smell is molasses with a bit of herbal floral hops.
Taste is roasted malts molasses and herbal bitter hops.
Mouthfeel is light to medium with good carbonation. The finish is wet and balanced.
Overall a tasty and different ale. I enjoyed it.

Mar 21, 2018
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AfricanPete14 from South Africa

3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had a full dark brown look, with a good scent of molasses and malt as well as an oak/fruity smell. One of the better smelling beers that i have came across. The taste was a very nutty flavor with a faint taste of northwest hops.

Dec 30, 2017
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NickSMpls from Washington

3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich dark brown, but not stout/porter opaque. Very thick, frothy head and sticky lacing. Has a molasses / grainy sweetness aroma which is diferent and a plus. Very malty body and taste, with just enough hoppiness to keep things intersting Bottle doesn't say if the hops are British, but they could be by the taste. We've not heard of the brewery before. Found these at Trader Joe's in Vancouver, WA.

Dec 30, 2017
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OzmanBey from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +36.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an easy drinking dark ale with a lovely chocolate smell and flavor, along with a nice barely taste that sits on the tongue. I highly recommend this for anyone who likes dark Ale.

Dec 19, 2017
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tucson_brewson from Arizona

3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bottle from Trader Joe's, poured into a pint glass.

L - Pours a dark reddish brown with about a finger of off white head. Leaves a thicker lacing and sticks to the glass nicely throughout.

S - Dark fruit, burnt sugar, caramel, roasted malt, definitely more caramel sweetness above all.

T - Bitter dark chocolate, cherry, grape, and bready malt with nutty earthiness quality. No hop presence. A sweeter finish than most other dark beers I've drank.

F - Creamy and smooth, medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Pretty balanced mouthfeel.

O - Another decent ale from the JosephsBrau folks. It's very sippable and something for those who like their darker ales more sweet than bitter. Nothing spectacular but I might pick it up again if I'm in the mood for a dark beer and at Trader Joe's.

Dec 10, 2017
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sneakymagician from Michigan

4.65/5  rDev +27%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It has a chocolatey taste, with a roasted finish. The finish becomes more bread-like, as the beer sits. It's sweet, but not overly so. I was pleasantly surprised. It's hard to beat the price for this quality. I may have found a new session beer.

Jul 23, 2017
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Stoutmaster9 from California

4.52/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

While writing this, I'm wearing me heavy metal Toad ring!

Nice smoke from the bottle. One finger head, vanishing fast. A ruby brew, when held to the light, otherwise dark brown.

Smells primarily of roasted malt.

Initially watery, nutty hops, roasted malt. Half way through, as it warms a tad (pole), the refined flavors will unfold in ways one will either love or hate (or loves to hate!)

A subtle brew, a mellow sipper, perfect for cool, damp days, almost on par, I suppose, with Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale.
Goes well with "Crunchy Frog" (beloved reference from Monty Python's Flying Circus!)

Jun 13, 2017
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Mitzvahman72 from California

4.88/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Nicely balanced with a color that’s in between dark magohany and ruby (Chestnut describes it perfectly!), there is a fantastic blend of subtle toffee, toasted biscuits, black tea, light coffee and a near-robust nutty flavor that follows the aroma very, VERY nicely. Although it does get a little hoppy, the mild sweetness balances it out. The nicely smooth carbonation makes this beer an enjoyable brew. Overall, this MAY be a good substitute for Goose Island’s Nut Brown Ale! Until Goose Island brings it back, you’ve got yourself a lighter version of the stockyard stout that is enjoyable anytime, even if you like a good stout like the stockyard! Other good nut brown ales to try are those from the Carolina Brewing Company, the Santa Fe Brewing Company and even the Coconut Molasses Brown Ale from Duck Foot Brewing Company. While not a nut brown, the Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale from New Belgium Brewing is also worth the mention.

Jul 15, 2016
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UPMD_Bill from Maryland

3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Drank from bottle. Smells of coffee and caramel, taste same with a bit of brown sugar. Lots of roast malt. Like a porter but a little lighter. Simple but good. Would get it again.

Jul 07, 2016
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DarkSideOfTheMoon from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a bottle from local Trader Joe's 6-pack sampler. Poured into a pint glass - light 2-finger foam. Very opaque. Smells of coffee, dark malts, caramel - very appealing. Taste is lighter than expected but a very good thing. Dark, roasty coffee notes abound. Light mouthfeel to this one as should be expected from a dark ale. Really good brew that I would go back to on damp, chilly night!

Jun 07, 2016
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Guppy314 from District of Columbia

3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown but not opaque. Dense foamy head that dissipated quickly. It has a toasted nutty taste plus fulsome malty flavors with a little toffee. But thin compared to a Porter. Bought a Trader Joe's. Not really worth a repeat.

May 25, 2016
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beergoot from Colorado

4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Chestnut brown body; thick, frothy head; sheets of lacing left on the glass. Nutty, chocolaty aroma; chicory. Toasted grain sweetness; nutty; hints of brown sugar yet not overly sweet; toffee; low-key presence of hop bitterness. Heavy body; warm and soft mouthfeel; softly sweet with a mild dryness at the finish.

Great combination of dark, roasted malt grains with a mild sweetness and a simple touch of hop bitterness.

May 22, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

2.68/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Originally listed as a porter, thankfully the wise acumen of other raters got this changed over the years to an English brown ale. More fitting.

Looks brown, thin 1/5" head, lighter brown. Smells of fetid swamp water with unsweetened stale toffee in it, the hard ass candy kind in a 110 year old's candy dish.

Taste reveals more toffee, brown malt, can't bring out any coffee or chocolate malt flavors. Thin bodied. Picked these up at Trader Joe's. Had some nuttiness in the mouthfeel. Would not repeat. I don't get the high reviews for this. In every category it is average at best. . .

May 10, 2016
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devo1980 from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I REALLY like this beer. DARK DARK DARK!
Got it cheap at Trader Joe's - so perhaps that influences my rating, but it is strong, black and smooth. Very much enjoyed it and will gladly purchase agian.

May 09, 2016
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(My sample was awesome, I don't know why there's poor reviews)

Poured into a large handled stem glass. A dark chestnut color forms into a tarry blackness with 90% opacity, light barely penetrating and lighting up the edges. Head is khaki colored and 3 fingers tall, recedes to 1 finger after a few minutes.

Smells of black molasses, dark malts, black karo syrup, walnuts, and a strong herbal note of dried parsley.

The flavor is actually quite delicious. Spanks of hop bitterness dance around a body of dark bread crusts, malt o meal, corn syrup, and a slight hint of vinegar. Lingering flavors of pickled bread crusts and piney hop remain on the palate.

Feel is delightfully creamy and well-carbonated. Ends with a distinct semi-dry parch.

Overall, Black Toad is a pretty solid Schwarz. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. Nice work!

Apr 06, 2016
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gee0001 from Arizona

4.31/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Would I drink it again? Yes! I’d buy this dark beauty again. It’s a healthy beer with a medium to full body that drinks heavier than it looks. It’s quite satisfying and enjoyable to consume. Cheap buy at Trader Joe’s.
Head: A nice looking tan head. Head is thin and gives away to a little lacing.
Appearance: Pours chocolate brown and sits dark brown in the glass with an amber hue. This is a good looking beer.
Smell: Some hints of a malty beer to come but not overly fragrant.
Taste: Light chocolate on the front end with a roasted nutty flavor. Healthy malt and touch of earth. There is a smooth touch at the end.
Finish: It finishes strong and leaves you with a pleasant after-taste

Feb 27, 2016
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zinklesmesh from New York

4.38/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a really good beer. Caught me by surprise, as it's one of those "no-name" Trader Joe's beers that goes for really cheap. It's almost more of a stout or porter than a brown ale. Really tasty, with nice roasty, nutty, chocolaty malt flavors. It almost works as a budget replacement for Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale for me, since it tastes similar and costs 1/3 as much.

Nov 12, 2015
Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 557 ratings