Black Toad Dark Ale | Black Toad Brewing Co.

509 Ratings
Black Toad Dark AleBlack Toad Dark Ale

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

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Ratings: 509 |  Reviews: 261
Photo of morebeergood
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at TJ in Brookline for $1. Poured into a beer glass. Very dark brown color, and a large head. Nice lacing on the glass. Overall nice presentation. Smell was of faint traces of chocolate. Taste was a lot better than I was expecting. Very flavorful combination of cocoa, coffee, and malt. Nice and hearty mouthfeel, with the malt giving it a good backbone. Smooth and easy to drink. For $5.99 a six pack, this goes on the list as another example of very well priced beers at Trader Joe's.

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Photo of GreenCard
2.91/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: dark chestnut brown with ruby highlights, good clarity, medium layer of tan froth

Aroma: light roast and malt; bit of brown sugar

Flavor: medium malt sweetness with a weak coffee bitterness on the back end; hints of brown sugar and vanilla pipe tobacco; finishes semisweet

Mouthfeel: medium body, spritzy carbonation, soft texture

Other comments: Meh... fairly lacklustre.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.03/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black Toad pours with a solid brown base color, ruby and crimson highlights and bright clarity. A lightly tanned head rises and retains for a much longer duration than I expected.

Aromas are malty with toffee, toast, light roast, and fresh baked bread crust. Herbal hops make a modest impression. Pretty clean and simplified nose.

Flavors re-affirm the toast and bread crust with a crisp and dry toasty mouthfeel. A bit more fruity with grapes, plumbs, and dates than the nose suggests. A long, soft linger of herbal hops and bread crusts.

Sweet and medium textured up front but the beer fades quickly into dryness first, and then a weaker, more watery cola-like flavor late.

A fair, simple, and non-offensive note. Though it will have trouble competing with Great Lakes Eliot Ness, this beer compares favorably against Voodoo Black Beer and Michelob Amber Bock.

Thanks Steve for sharing.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.53/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ugh, you say this is a porter? Seems like a brown ale. Pours kinda dark, but lacks the thickness to be a stout, pours thin like a weak brown ale. Smell, not attractive, no hop character, lots of toffee.

Taste, more toffee, some burnt malt, doesn't smack of chocolate or coffee like you might expect from the color. No hops. Thin malt. Pick one, don't not have either. Mouthfeel is lacking, no depth, no heft, thin, watery for a porter. Can't be drinkable if I don't like anything else about it. The last one of my 6 pack sat in the fridge for over a year. I forget who the sucker was that drank this.

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Photo of Eisen
4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poored from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith glass:

Very nice two finger white head that contrasts beutifully with the darkness of the beer. Small amount of head stays until the very end and produces wonderful laceing. The lower abv allows for this beer to be drank all night, and the flavor allows you to actually want to. There is nothing that boldly stands out in the flavor, but instead it is very well balanced. This great balance of suttle flavors of nut, coffee, chocholate perhaps leads to a very drinkable beer. Being $5.99 a six pack from trader joes makes this beer all the better.

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Photo of argock
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass mug. Best by date 07/21/10 on back label. Single purchased at Trader Joe's (Short Pump, VA) for $1.17.

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights and short 1-2 finger light brown head with moderate retention and craggy line of lace.

S: Nice roasted aroma with delicious black coffee and cocoa notes finished with a solid herbal, leafy hops contribution

T: Flavor is light porterish with roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate and nicely rounded out with herbal hops. A nice mild acrid note as well.

M: Body is a little light for the style but has a level carbonation level and a cocoa finish.

D: A very drinkable beer but straddles brown ale and porter styles. I will pick this up when I'm in the malty mood.

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Photo of tjd112
3.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in Westfield, NJ at the only Trader Joe's with a liq license.

A - Very good lacing, half-finger head, black to dark brown body
S/T - Like roasted nuts, especially chestnuts, with subtle chocolate notes
M - Very well done, smooth without destroying the intended flavors
D - A stand out ale on its own

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Photo of blackearth
2.99/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at Trader Joes. Pours a black body with dark brown corners and a thick off-white head that falls to a cap. Aroma of dark roasted malts and a bit sweet cream. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Flavor is sweet with a bit of a metallic hint to it. There's a chocolate bitterness in the finish that sticks around for far too long. This is a bit overly sweet to be high in drinkability.

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Photo of brentk56
3.63/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear mahogany with a tightly bubbled beige head that leaves some dots and strands of lace

Smell: Brown bread, nuts and caramel

Taste: After the brown bread opening, the caramel sweetness takes over, bringing along some nutty flavors by mid-palate; after the swallow, the caramel sweetness tends to dominate, with hints of flecked chocolate in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A little too sweet for my palate, and more like an English Brown than a Porter, this beer has a lot of flavor and is very easy to drink

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark brown about midway between mahogany and cola with a fairly thick if not persistent pale cinnamon head. Aroma is strong, smoky and malty with nutty and molasses hints. Flavor, unfortunately, does not live up to the promise of the aroma - it is malty with nutty and caramel undertones but lacks the nice smoky touch of what I regard as a true porter. Texture is quite smooth and just a teensy on the watery side.

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Photo of PatronWizard
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another birthday six pack! The wife already put down four of these so they must be pretty good.

Pours a cola coffee shade of brown. Nice one inch head comes up, settles over the course of two minutes. Good looking brew.

Smell isn't overwhelming, but very nice just the same. Roasted coffee and malts. Maybe a slight milk chocolate aroma.

Flavor is backward from the smell. First off is a nice bite of milk chocolate, followed by a lighter hint of the roasted coffee. Actually tastes really good.

Medium bodied, moderate or greater level of carbonation which encourages drinking.

Wow. I have a very good overall impression of this puppy. A surprisingly tasty American porter.

Overall: welcome in my home anytime

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Photo of tatoodkelt
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Comsumed 7/17/09- from notes. Had dinner at a buddies house in VA where unlike MD you can get beer in grocery stores. Picked this up at a Trader Joe's.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Very dark brown with a creamy one finger tan head that faded pretty quick. not too much lacing.

S- Roasted coffe and dark chocolate. Kind of faint aroma over all.

T- Same as the smell with some hints of citrus too.

M- Light to medium. Actually seems to border a brown ale more than a porter to me. Medium carbination.

D- Pretty easy to drink, great session beer.

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Photo of haddon
2.18/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

got this from a pick six from TJ"s. poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- dark cola appearance with little to no head. small amount of lacing that doesn't hang around long

S- nutty smell with a faint hint of chocolate and burnt coffee. not much going on with the smells

T- can taste the malts with a burnt coffee and nuts. the carbonation is overwhelming and tends to drown at the other notes

M- thin, watery and again, too much carbonation. almost fizzy in the mouth. couldn't let it sit on the palate too long...just not that enjoyable

D- not sure if it was the beer or am I just not a fan of porters. the carbonation is so strong it almost taste more like a cola than a beer. won't buy again.

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Photo of asabreed
3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Fairly light for a Porter, with an off-white head and little lacing aside from streak-hints of such.

Smell: Mild black coffee, roasted malt sweetness, low-end bitter chocolate, and some citrus. Balanced and complex enough to enjoy.

Taste: Roasted malts, dark bitter chocolate, a hint of black coffee. Finish is mild black coffee for the most part, with a bit of roasted malt sweetness. Also there's an interesting hint of orange candied citrus going on, which adds a cool element to the overall experience.

Mouthfeel: A bit watery and thin for the most part, though it doesn't hurt the flavors coming through as much as I thought it would initially.

Drinkability: A decent Porter for the price. Could be a little darker and have more flavor, but that would of course jack up the price. And it's light enough to drink on a summer day without being too thick or overpowering. I'd drink it again.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with a best by date of october 22, 2009 poured into a standard pint glass.

A- this one pours a very dark brown colored body. ruby red can be seen around the edges when held up to the light. a small khaki colored head forms and quickly becomes no more than a crown.

S- roasted malts and sweet milk chocolate are the first things i notice. a small amount of coffee/hops at the end.

T- the roasted malts and chocolate come through strong. theres also some coffee/hops at the end, just like i could smell. theres really not much else. it tastes good, its just really not complex at all.

M- a little thinner than i would have liked. pretty smooth despite the high level of carbonation for the style.

D- easy to finish and at one dollar a bottle, this is a fantastic bargain. something ill pick up again and a pretty good porter. im not sure its as good as alot of the eastern european porters, but its different. check this one out, trader joes has some pretty good "no name" beers.

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Photo of porterwoobie
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: medium brown, very slim off-white/semi-tan head, no lacing

S: some chocolate and coffee, a roasted smell. the aroma is kind of faint.

T: roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and caramel. finishes slighly sweet.

MF: light to medium bodied, medium-high carbonation

Drinkability: decent beer, very drinkable. i'm sold on pretty much all the beers you can get from Trader Joes. very good beers for the price.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As they say on the bottle, this is a walnut color with a fairly monstrous head. Tall and whipped, leaving thick ass rings of lace. Pretty impressive. The nose is quite fruity, with a little bit of buttered toast and even a hint of roasted coffee toward the back. Relatively mixed nose, seems to hint towards a British style of dark ale.

The flavor is fairly middle of the road, but does pack a certain chunkiness - the carbonation and mouthfeel leave a smooth, full, creamy impression. The malts are sugary up front, with raisin and even caramel eventually giving way to a bit of roasted grain and an acidic, short finish.

This is a great price for a beer. This is a great beer for the price. Not a great beer, but not a bad price. Get it?

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Sampled straight from the dark brown bottle. This label, black with a vertical oval of tan as a background to its name and a golden seal displaying the shadow of a toad.

S - Mild chocolate aroma.

T - Burnt chocolate and robust coffee flavors. It also has a hint of malt near the start.

M - The texture is coarse and abrasive throughout. From the tip of my tongue all the way to the swallow.

~ Krista brought back a sixer from Illinois a few weeks back. I didn't share these with anyone.

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Photo of Buebie
3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a brown long neck twist off bottle. Went into a pub glass and formed just over an inch of tan head.
Leaving some pretty clingy thin coatings of lace.
Color is brown with some redish warm hues when held to light.

Aroma of cereal grains, alot of molasses, dark fruit, and a little bit of hops.

Taste is also picking up a good amount of molasses, chocolate grains and lots of cereal grain flavors. As well as dark fruit, figs and plums through the swallow. Some grassy hops at the finish with just a touch of bitters mixing with the very grainy taste. Not husky.
Too much molasses flavor.

Mouthfeel is crisp with carbonation adding to its drinkability to kinda smooth out the heavier maltyness.
Its super drinkable and excellent about the style. But, there was somthing in there that just didnt taste like my thing with the dark fruits and molasses.

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Photo of emerge077
3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drinking this now, it seems like either a "Porter Lite" or a Munich Dunkel with substance. It has the roast and lactic sweetness of a Porter, but the light passes through it, and it glows crimson red when backlit. There was a sizeable head of tan foam, some fragmented lace. The faint aroma was sweet and nutty.

Taste was nice, moderate cocoa sweetness, some toffee, and traces of almond or walnut in the aftertaste. Minor roasted barley and leafy hop flavor in the back, not bitter at all though. Feel was good, ample carbonation, slight fullness to it, but went down easy. Overall I was pretty impressed with this, and it can't be beat for the price.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from trader joe's, with best by date of 06/07/09. tasted in mid-late march, 2009

dark brown w red ruby tint. gemstone clarity under the light. tand head is relatively thick, then fades to wispy layer and ring, then eventually nothing. very thin lacing up top, then some slightly thicker rings, then nothing for the bottom part of the glass.

aroma: faint estery fruitiness (dried fruit) and gentle dark caramel and roasted malt. grassy hop and charred malt whiff, with subtle notes of coffee.

taste: combination of roasted malt, caramel, coffee notes. hint of grassy hop, with moderate bitterness (both from hops and roasted malt), then trace of fruit or molasses, into acidic coffee tones, and then moderate coffee-like bitterness.

light to medium body, some astringency and acidity in the finish. carbonation is prickly but not overdone.

not bad for the price.

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Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells of dark roasty malts, biscuity, coffee and all that stuff that comes with a porter.

Taste is the same, mouthfeel is good - slightly carbonated and has a nice thick mouthfeel.

I'm going to ignore the fact that this is $5.00 a six pack... because if I keep factoring that into my reviews all Trader Joes brands will be A+. Seriously, the product for the price is well worth it. Now if I compare it to the other porters I've had (which are usually twice the price) I would call this right in the middle average. Maybe even above average.

I'm not sure if I would get again, when it comes to porters I don't mind spending the extra couple dollars for some of the offerings we have around town.

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Photo of tbeck
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with very little light coming through. Has a decent tan head that dissipates quickly into a good collar. Laciness was thin. Fruity and malty aroma. Taste is earthy and nutty. Beer has a bitterness that stays in the background that keeps it interesting. Light and crisp mouthfeel, good medium body. I really enjoyed the flavor, very mellow and complex. This beer sits light, a number of these can be had in a sitting.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark brown body with a thin, wispy, white head.

Smell: Dark, roasty malts with rather light notes of chocolate and fruit. Light notes, mind you.

Taste: Dark malts with a taste of chocolate-covered roasted grains and a nutty caramel sweetness. Minor hint of fruit. The bottom drops out and things get a bit watery midway. Light floral, herbal hops with a mild bitterness. Finishes dry and crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Well, it's be no means outstanding, but it's certainly one of the better beers from the Trader Joe's lineup.

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Photo of selecter70
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of nicer Trader Joe's beer offerings, actually made by the venerable Goose Island, this dark lager does hold up, although not quite to some other dark lagers out there. A rich brown-black pour to black, with beige thin 1 finger head & good lace. The aroma is definitely of hearty roasted dark malts & orange-spiced coffee, a bit odd, but ok. The mouthfeel is a bit oily but the body is good, medium & rich, with good malt flavors with the slightest hint of hops. Not the most complex one out there, but a good, readily available dark lager.

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Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
3.6 out of 5 based on 509 ratings.
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