Black Toad Dark Ale | Black Toad Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
82
good
259 Reviews
Black Toad Dark AleBlack Toad Dark Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Black Toad Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 08-28-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
259
Ratings:
492
Avg:
3.59
pDev:
19.78%
 
 
Wants:
22
Gots:
48
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 259 | Ratings: 492
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with reddish tinges, pretty clear, head and lacing were pretty good.

Aroma and flavor were not bad, but earthines and nuttiness may have overpowered it a bit. Toasty, a touch of roasty, and caramel malts are there I'm not catching much in the way of hops.

Body is medium and it's pretty darn drinkable. No real complaints, but it's also not going to make front page. It plenty drinkable tho.

 406 characters

Photo of illpass78
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown with some red highlights. Head is small and gone fast. Lacing minimal. Attractive beer. More redness noticeable when held to the light.

Aroma: Smells of oak, caramel, toffee and earthiness. Some hop notes are noticeable. Booze is hard to detect.

Taste: Taste follows the nose, but there's also some nuttiness that doesn't show up as much in the smell. Tasty beer. A good companion for sausages on a chilly night. Hop bite is noticeable on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Nice and smooth. A pleasure to drink.

Overall: Very nice brown ale. Would have again.

 623 characters

Photo of lou50rp
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good tan colored head, dissipates slowly, good lacing. Nice mahogany color.
Good malty smell, not too sweet or bitter.
Good malty taste with a bit of sweet and touch of bitter at the end. A good taste. Doesn't linger.
Good light mouthfeel.
A good brew for the cold months, but also would work on warm day, if chilled. and the price can't be beat.

 346 characters

Photo of welldigger888
2.74/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a nice dark ruby hue with tan head and good lacing down glass

aroma of roast malt and stale hops

the roast malt are nice yet the stale hops prevale

nice full mouthfeel that is cursed by the hop staleness

well I will not seek this out, thankful for the bring over but that is all

 289 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.36/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

From the 355 ml bottle dated 07/20/14-13:47. Sampled on March 9, 2014.

It is a very nice looking beer with a dark brown to practically black color and a long lasting cream colored head.

While the aroma brings out some roasted dark malt and nutty characters I tend to get this sort of soapiness like I'm taking a shower. Little to no hope note.

The body is about medium but it is very smooth and creamy.

The taste is generally on the sweet and malty side but it does not go overboard. Nuts, malts, and the most modest of a hop finale. It is easy to drink but it is nothing out of the ordinary for the style.

 611 characters

Photo of theteleman
3.94/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass from a bottle purchased at Trader Joes in Carmel Mountain CA. Amberish dark brown in appearance with a big fluffy head that retains excellent lacing as you sip on the brew. Smells like toffee, caramel, pretty swet scent on the nose. Mouthfeel is smooth and silky the nose is deceptive, was expecting a sweeter taste, but this is very balanced, earthy and malty in taste. First time trying anything from Black Toad Brewing, this was a pleasent brew.

 471 characters

Photo of jawlessbody
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a monic pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, thick brown with an initially large amount of carbonation that makes it's way into a dense 2.5 finger mocha colored head that sadly dissipates quick quickly and leaves little to no lacing.

Smell: Presents sweet, chocolatey malt on the nose with a deep body of roasted coffee and fresh espresso. I also detected hints of nuttiness, bits of brown sugar and toffee, with subtle notes of dried, dark fruits.

Taste: I definitely got the chocolate malt flavors right off the first sip, but those quickly subdued into darker toffee flavors that then morphed into a taste of dates and raisins. All the while there is a lingering, ever-present body of toasted bread an coffee that have just a but of hazelnut/almond flavor to set everything off.

Mouthfeel: This was the most disappointing part of the beer. The head looked dense, but wasn't as creamy as I expected it to be. The body of the beer morphed from thin with lots of carbonation off of the initial pour, into a thicker (but still not creamy) very smooth liquid with little to no carbonation.

Overall: I am very impressed by this beer. Everything about it is incredibly complex, especially for a brown ale. In all honesty, it tastes more like a light bodied stout than a brown to me. I will definitely be drinking more of this in the future. A lot more.

 1,384 characters

Photo of GMB
4.01/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A standard pour of JosephBrau Brewing Company's Black Toad's "Distinctive" Dark Ale yields a seal-brown body that turns ruby red when held up to the light. The sandy head barely makes an appearance, and disappears quickly, though it does leave a thin island cap of semi-sticky foam as a memento. Carbonation was overly excited immediately following the pour, but quickly settled.

Like many of JosephsBrau's offerings, this beer smells sweet. Slightly burnt toffee, freshly baked brown bread, soy sauce, braised prunes.

The taste develops and departs from the nose. Burnt toffee and brown bread are ever present but not overpowering. Subtle notes of dark chocolate and dark-roast coffee appear in the middle and linger. Dry-braised prunes and dates emerge towards the back end and mingle. Nutty flavors are subdued, but manage to slip in here and there; toasted almonds come to mind. If the mouthfeel were fuller and the foam creamier, I'd think I was chewing on a piece of rye bread with prunes, almonds, and a hint of chocolate.

The dark dried fruit flavors in Black Toad certainly do make it a "distinctive" dark (i.e., brown) ale. I'll be revisiting this beer soon.

 1,172 characters

Photo of blackcompg
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Pours a half finger of khaki head, body is a transparent deep garnet reddish brown. Gentle bubbling within the body. Head fades to a cap within a minute, and leaves sparse, spotty lacing.

Smell - Dark fruits, brown sugar, sweet dark wheat bread, and a nice nuttiness, very much like hazelnut.

Taste - Much like the nose, dark fruits, brown sugar, and flavors of wheat bread, and occasional whiffs of chocolate throughout. I get some light minerals at the end of the sip, and some light coffee long into the finish. The flavors here are pretty nice but they are not bold or assertive at all, they are all on the lighter side. Letting this one warm up a bit will help the flavors.

Mouthfeel - Very light side of medium, carb is medium+, but still very smooth. The smoothness of the carb really helps the drinkability here.

Overall - This is a fairly decent brown, definitely on the lighter side - the flavors are good but not bold enough to really make a statement or impression of any kind. A few folks around here seem to like it well enough, give her a try and see what you think.

 1,098 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.54/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Well, I think this is the least offensive beer I have had from Trader Joes, but that is not really saying much.

It has a full, robust nut brown ale look, with a hazelnut center and burgundy edges. A modest off-white cap of tightly formed carbonation fades to a thin ring of larger bubbles after a few minutes.

The aroma is full of milk chocolate, hazelnut, and a bit of coffee and cream.

Each sip starts out with a light burnt brown sugar sweetness, with hazelnut and slight sweet milk chocolate following. These flavors last for most of the sip, with a slightly bitter coffee note toward the end. The flavor is basic and pretty mild.

The mouthfeel falls in the middle in every category. Medium carbonation, medium body, slightly sitcky, slightly oily. If you are trying to create a non-offensive mouthfeel, this is it.

I thought this was fine. A step above Newcastle, but there are much better brown ales around.

 918 characters

Photo of damndirtyape
3.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle served into a shaker pint glass. Part of the best before was smeared, so this is either best by 06/04/13 or 02/04/13.

Appearance: Dark brown on the table, dark ruby red to mahogany when held up to the light. Initial white head upon pouring died back to a thin white foam across the top and some thick strands of lacing here and there. So so in the foam dept, but very nice color beer.

Smell: Malt sweetness, hint of caramel, hint of metallic. Mild.

Taste: Mix of caramel malt sweetness, burnt sugar, and toasted malts up front, then moving quickly into a brown sugar middle. The finish is not very bitter, maybe just a hint of black coffee that's been on the burner too long - or very burnt malt. Not a good bitter finish, a little ashy a times, but enough to counter the sweetness that is in this beer. I have a sweet tooth and so like malt heavy beers, but this one is just a tad unbalanced in favor of malt sweetness. Tasty, just unbalanced. But probably true to style for an English Brown Ale. I just wish it had a bit more hop balance at the end.

Mouthfeel: Sticky on the teeth. Good carbonation underneath.

Overall / drinkability: One is enough for me, I could not drink another by itself. With food...maybe another one per evening, but it's still quite sweet. Might make a very interesting base for a vanilla ice cream float though. Still, a good full-flavor beer. Just make sure you're ready for the sweetness when you pop one open.

 1,462 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Toad Ale has a medium, cream-colored head, a dark brown (ruby, under direct light) appearance, and some splotchy bits of lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of medium-roasted barley and brown bread crust, and the taste is the same, with some underlying caramel and mild hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Black Toad Ale finishes semi-dry, refreshing, and quite drinkable. Overall, this is a very good, sweet ale.

RJT

 442 characters

Photo of BreweryRun
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown ale, from Trader Joe's, poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Smells fairly sweet, with hints of coffee and chocolate.

Taste is less sweet than the smell but not overly so. Notes of unsweetened chocolate and toasted bread. I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Sweetness comes out a little more as it warms which I'm not crazy about but still good.

A very solid brown that I would have again, great price, and easy to get a hold of.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A friend brought a sixer of these to a get-together last night. Poured one into a snifter. Pour yielded a dark chocolate brown with a nice off-white head on top. The nose was sweet like nutty bread, brown sugar toast, and a bit of alcohol.

Moderate depth. Carbonation level is good, but there's a bit of a thin quality on the finish. Sweet nutty flavors - almond bar, chocolate malt, fresh bread. Good finish. This beer was surprising. One I'd never heard of, but a decent one I'd revisit.

[*This paired exceptionally well with a Carlos Toraño Reserva Decadéncia cigar]

 575 characters

Photo of secondtooth
3.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, tawny, murky brown. Moderate head and only a hint of lace here.

Aroma is roasty malts and a little dark fruit. I get a touch of nuttiness, too.

Taste is sweet, with a bit of roast and nuttiness. Seems to me like a brown ale with a little extra char. Easy enough to drink, but not outstanding.

 308 characters

Photo of Jomolieri
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amazing beer for the price... I think I paid $1.00 for this guy at trader joes. Sweet Nutty flavor with a creamy mouthfeel. Some very subtle toffee notes in there. Not overly complex in flavor but it really hits the spot if your looking for a slightly sweet smooth dark ale.

 274 characters

Photo of TheMarkE
3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark brown, like a cup of coffee. Moderate foam dissipates quickly. Not much lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts.

Taste: Malty. I can taste chocolate, raisins and other dark fruit, toffee, and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a slight hop aftertaste.

The Verdict: Good. Rich and malty, this is one of the better beers from Trader Joe’s Josephsbrau label.

 372 characters

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Ruby red with sparse large bubbles. Good tan foam. No lacing.

Smell: Mineral water and a hint of coffee. Very weak, but not unpleasant.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Mostly toffee. Seltzer water flavor/finish. The feel is definitely very good, but the flavor is just alright. Refreshing for an English brown.

Overall Drinkability: Not great initially, but this is actually a very good session. Nothing outstanding, but the feel makes it enticing.

 448 characters

Photo of TastyAdventure
3.64/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Found cheap at Trader Joe's. I think it was only $1.00!

Needless to say, I wasn't expecting much.

A - The head is not impressive, with big bubbles, not much retention, and not frothy or foamy, did not positively add to the taste or mouthfeel. The color is a nice shining brown though.

S - Some sweetness and some hops, I didnt linger here too long because I wasnt expecting much and didnt pick up much initially.

T - Much Better than Expected! you can tell the hop bitterness is strong but they are subdued very well by a equally strong, almost caramel sweetness from the malts. Called a English Brown but reminds me more of a Scottish Ale.

Mouthfeel - nothing too special here, but pleasurable nonetheless. Definitely smooth.

Surprisingly good taste considering the price, head appearance, and smell! A nice regular house beer to have if you are on a budget, or plan on drinking quite a few in one night.

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Photo of fx20736
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bought at Trader Joe's in Pittsford on 3/23/13. Price $ 1.09.

poured from a 12 oz bottle into a large glass tumbler, served at room temp.

appearance: very, very dark amber supports a thin tan head. spotty lacing.

aroma: some lightly toasted chocolate malt.

mouthfeel: decent, pretty good actually.

taste: a nutty, brown bread with just a hint of cocoa.

notes: It's not Goose Island Nut Brown Ale but it is easy drinking and for the price, a good value. Would buy again.

 475 characters

Photo of artdob
3.21/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark ruby red to brown color, like a well steeped Lipton tea.

Nose has a classic roasty malt aroma.

Taste - a watered sweetness, roastiness, mild bitterness. Dare I say some strongly brewed tea tones as well.

Not knocking my socks off. This one is in the ok zone.

 274 characters

Photo of MonkeymooTJ
3.87/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A beautiful brown with spectacular red/amber highlights reminiscent of a late night sunset. Poured a two finger light tan head with considerable lacing clinging to the side of the pint glass. Hidden inside the amber notes float a moderate amount of bubbles. Aroma screams of nutty goodness. Hints of chocolate and raisins are also present. No hops make an appearance. Flavor is malt dominated with a complexity of bitter chocolate, toffee, dark fruits and toasted nuts. A sweet caramel tone lingers along with a very slight butterscotch flavor. There is also a slight roasted bitterness and just a touch of herbal hops. Carbonation leans toward the low side. Combine this with the residual sweetness and it makes for a medium mouthfeel. Overall a very good beer. I really enjoyed the combination of flavors

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Photo of Dave1999
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a red amber colour with a foamy white head.

The smell is dark malts and yeast. Not particularly interesting.

The taste is sweet and malty with a tiny bit of hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

This is one of the cheap beers from trader joes it's not bad at all for not much more than $1 a bottle. Very malty tastes more like an Oktoberfest than a brown ale.

 403 characters

Photo of barczar
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant deep amber with a fleeting half inch khaki head.

Chocolate and toasted malt begin the aroma, with sweet nutty toffee and light roast adding complexity. There's a hint of floral hop character. Diacetyl becomes more dominant as it warms.

Flavor reveals toasted malt, which gives way to moderate roast at mid palate, finishing fairly dry and just a tad bitter. Notes of chocolate and toasted nuts intermingle with sweet caramel malt. Light fruity esters underlie the flavor profile.

Body is moderate to a touch watery, with moderate carbonation and a bit of astringency.

More chocolate and toast than anticipated. Decidedly sweet, but fairly flavorful. Very malt dominant.

 691 characters

Photo of augustgarage
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best before March 13, 2013; poured from a 12oz bottle into my Samuel Smith nonik.

A russet/chocolate/raw umber parade combines to form the dark but clear liquid capped by an active and fast receding khaki head. Vague lacing, poor retention.

Roast coffee, not-quite-burnt toast, and dark malt aromatics invite you to inhale a bit deeper. Hints of walnuts and toffee.

Sweet and rich palate entry with brief but intense sweetness and layered roasted/toasted malt notes countered by a mild clean bitterness from (English?) hops. Clean but complex or complex but clean? My confusion suggests a nice balance which persists into the finish.

Faintly slick modestly carbonated mouthfeel - a touch soft, but satisfactory for the style.

Given the relatively low ABV and the "budget" price-point - this is proving to be quite the Autumn session ale in my home. One of the best values on offer from Trader Joe's. Definitely inspired by a number of Northern style English browns - this beer quietly bests a number of them.

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Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
3.59 out of 5 based on 492 ratings.
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