Tokyo Black
Yo-Ho Brewing Company

Tokyo BlackTokyo Black
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Porter
Ranked #831
ABV:
5%
Score:
85
Ranked #29,369
Avg:
3.76 | pDev: 12.77%
Reviews:
97
Ratings:
226
From:
Yo-Ho Brewing Company
 
Japan
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  19
Gots
  31
SCORE
85
Very Good
Tokyo BlackTokyo Black
Notes:
View: Beers | Events
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 97 | Ratings: 226
Photo of puck1225
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bought it at Susan’s Wine shop in Santa Fe, NM.

Poured from a can into a tulip glass. Deep rich brown with good head and lacing. Smell and taste of light chocolate and vanilla. Bit of a mocha finish. Not bad but probably not something to seek out.

 250 characters

Photo of biiru_ojisan
2.16/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2

Pours a big, creamy tan head. Color is black with garnet highlights, crystal clear when held up to the light. The lacing is a bit shit, just little bits of foam that hang on to the glass.

Very sweet on the nose. Roasted malts. Overly sweetened dark chocolate. Some coffee notes.

Tastes much less sweet than the nose would imply, at least for the first few sips. After a few more, the sweetness really starts to build, about to the point of being coying. Has a good coffee character in the middle of the sip. Some, again, overly sweetened dark chocolate. Finishes with a slight bitterness and a bit of minerality.

The mouthfeel of this beer is pretty smooth. The carbonation is prickly, but not too prickly. Right where I like the carb in a porter.

Overall, this isn't a very good porter. I used to love this stuff years ago, but maybe the fantastic price tag it carries in Japan (a country where craft beer is EXPENSIVE) influenced me a bit too much. Here in the States, this beer carries that hefty imported price, it really makes this sub-par porter kind of a miss. Unless you can pick this up for a good price, I would steer clear. There are better porters on the shelves with more depth and a better balance of sweetness.

 1,233 characters

Photo of monkist
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An American Porter! You know it when you taste one... because it's interesting , exciting, hoppy and it HAS TASTE unlike the European porters - of course it's an exaggeration but you know what I mean. Here the roasted malts and the great hops create a balance that makes this porter fun to drink. Yo Ho makes good beers and this is no exception.

 345 characters

Photo of VABA
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a very dark brown with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has nice malt hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a nice malt flavor
M-A light bodied moderately carbonated beer
O-A nice Porter

 196 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown colored ale with a small brown colored head.

Smells sweet and a little metallic. Smells of sugar, chocolate and coffee. Lesser scent of roasted grain and caramel.

Starts out Mildly sweet then chocolate then patent malt. Tastes a little smoky. A not so sweet porter for certain. Medium level of bitterness. Mostly it is heavy on the charred malt.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall it is a decent Porter.

 419 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A dark ale, adopted by America, brewed in Japan. As the fables have it, the porter began as a blend of finished beers. And as the Yo-Ho brewers would have it, the blending of culture in beer continues.

Tokyo Black pours a rather Tokyo brown with a dark and luscious creaminess. As a stiff froth mounts the surface, its scent leads with a toasty, roasty campfire and cocoa medley. Sweetness skirts the tongue with the boldness of sorghum, brown sugar and toffee.

The sweetness trends quickly roasty, foreboding much of the sweetness as the middle palate plays host to a slew of burnt toast, soilish coffee, cocoa and walnut flavors. Caramelized and grilled fruits of grape and blackcurrant adds nuanced British flavor while the hops carry the barkish, woodsiness of coffee to reinforce the darkness and the pleasantly roasted nature of smoldering embers in ale form.

Medium full in body, the rich taste translates to a dry and peppery finish based around the assertive grilled grain qualities and the broad and bitter hops. A medium long aftertaste of carbonized sugars and light ash aids in the beer's digestibility but looses its malty roundness in the process.

 1,166 characters

Photo of GuyFawkes
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Unknown vintage; drank 7/22/18 @ the Yarchives.

Black/brown appearance.

A violent pour yielded a big khaki head; strong lace.

Cream, smoke & mild milk chocolate notes in the nose.

Creamy medium thick mouthfeel.

Cream & mild chocolate flavors up front; dry smoke notes on the finish.

Almost rauch-y; an interesting, if inessential take on the style.

 360 characters

Photo of colts9016
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at 45 degrees. The head is a creamy one finger and light tan with poor retention. The color of the beer is SRM 27 between a ruby brown and dark brown. The clarity of the beer is opaque.

The initial aroma is a medium-dark malt with coffee and chocolate. The beers additional aromas are caramel, with a sweet note, earthy, bready, and a touch of hops.

The first initial taste of the beer is rich chocolate and coffee flavors. The beer has a medium-dark malt with caramel, molasses, bready, earthy, and a touch of hops.

The mouthfeel of the beer is a medium body, carbonation is medium-light, and a medium finish.

The beer is an example of a classic porter. Wonderful flavors and well-rounded beer.

 731 characters

Photo of flyingpig
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

350ml Can from Bic Camera, Akihabara, Tokyo (¥288):
Quite an enjoyable porter & definitely one of the better dark beers that I've tried from Japan, this one coming through with quite a sweet but balanced taste than had a great combination of caramel malts & milk chocolate flavours as well as some earthy malts & vanilla in there. The beer was exactly what I was expecting from the style & it went down smoothly too, it's definitely one I'd have again if I could find it outside of Japan.

 489 characters

Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours pitch black with a nice tan head that sticks around for a few minutes and leaves behind some pretty cool lacing patterns. The nose is of coffee and with some burnt notes. The taste is fairly bitter with some slight acidic notes. Fairly light bodied. Little in terms of a carbonation bite.

 297 characters

Photo of BGDrock
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, nearly black. Dense, chocolate marshmallow head with solid retention. Looking great.
Aromas of bittersweet chocolate, raisins, burnt coffee.
Soft, powdery mouthfeel. Dark chocolate, quite bitter, dark roasted coffee. Touch of vanilla and maple syrup sweetens things a bit. Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation.
It's big on the dark, bitter roast, so if you're down with that you'll love this. It's more akin to a stout in my eyes. Would be a nice winter brew!

 477 characters

Photo of ordybill
4.73/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 OZ can into a pint glass at the World of Beer in Pooler, GA. The appearance is a pitch black color with a huge brown head. The aroma is roasted malt. The taste is big on malt and very flavorful. An outstanding porter.

 238 characters

Photo of Mitzvahman72
3.17/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

With a straight black color, this beer contains flavors of mild caramels, slight milk chocolate and very roasty straight coffee, all of which is very, VERY dry. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth, with a straight coffee aftertaste. It also has a slight coffee aroma with a little must. This is basically another good alternative to coffee. It is also well suited for outstanding traditional Japanese cuisine as well.

 415 characters

Photo of sjdevel
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Jet black with a 1 finger head when poured from a 12 oz. can. Head recedes quickly, but there is some nice residual lacing and a decent foam ring.

Smell: Not very aromatic, but there are scents of charred oak and dark roasted grains. Slight caramel and malt.

Taste: Some bitterness up front. Hops and a lot of dark/burnt grains give this one a nice bite. Some chocolate and hints of coffee. Very dry with no noticeable sweetness. Nice woodsy flavors blast in.

Feel: Full bodied, but a bit thinner than I expected for a jet black porter.

Overall: I have heard about this one for months and heard good things. I was expecting more of a baltic porter for some reason. It seems more like a dry Irish stout than any style of porter. But it is good. Think it was $3-$4 for the single can I bought. Good, but not quite worth it I don't think. Worth a try though at least once!

 900 characters

Photo of Beginner2
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I have Had this several times before BA, but this is the first since joining. So, I review it now.
Tokyo Black is an excellent copy of America's rendition of the porter and an even better adaptation of the English original.
A good Looking porter with a tan head, Tokyo Black Smells mostly of toasted chocolatey malts. First Taste is sweet-ish; but mid-palate has those toasty malts adding just enough bitter. But the bitter keeps coming on and loses its roundness and finishes dry. But, pleasantly so.

Listed in the "1001" beers, the reviewer writes about how the brewer took a U.S. recipe and tweaked it for Japanese tastes. (Well, they did an excellent job of copying, IMHO.) The reviewer also talks about how each of their four beers distributed in the U.S. also have distinct flavor profiles and market segments. The review also noted that Yo-Ho's marketing celebrates Japanese imagery, so I went on their website. Unfortunately, I could not find an English button; so I only looked at the pictures. I did notice they have their four products in gift boxes... sort of like a Bento Box for beer. Clever marketing.

 1,117 characters

Photo of Furlinator
3.91/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From the can this pours near black with a one inch khaki head that remains as a thick ring on top and leaves thick spots of lace. The smell is of baker's cocoa and earthy hops. The taste is a nice balance of roasted malt, cocoa, faint coffee and subtle hops. Pleasantly surprised.

 280 characters

Photo of EmperorBevis
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Canned
Jet Black body with sporadic tan head
Coffee and chocolate aroma with a hint of liquorice
Then the flavour is basically basic Guineas
Nicer carbonation though

 167 characters

Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taste of smoked malt grains, woody.
Toasted malt nose, Black/brown in color, opaque with a tan head of average lace.
Clean finish, slight spice and chocolate character.

 169 characters

Photo of kitschiguy
2.72/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

330ml can from a supplier poured into a 350ml beer glass.

A vigorous pour produced a foamy head that died and left a film. Some lacing.

Nose has lots of coffee, cola and burnt biscuits.

Palate is much like the nose with cola coming through although not particularly well-rounded and not very complex.

Mouth was not great. A bit watery.

Overall I was a bit disappointed with this. I'm finding that many Japanese beer producers tend to focus on clever marketing rather than the product itself which is a shame. As a result I talk to a lot of people who seem to think a product is good just because it's from Japan. As far as beer is concerned this is rarely the case.

 670 characters

Photo of absimp
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

If you're looking for a beautiful dark beer, they don't get much darker than this. Very visually appealing, with an inviting roasted scent. Taste: strong coffee, bit of chocolate, just a hint of fruitiness. For me, the coffee flavor was too overpowering. Pleasant aftertaste, if not a tad bitter. Smooth, slightly dry feel. Drinkable, best enjoyed ICE cold because of such a rich taste.

 386 characters

Photo of spoony
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From an 11.8 oz can (code on bottom says 134904) into a snifter.

A-The beer is good looking and quite black in color. A tall medium-brown head hangs around for a while as I drink, but leaves little lacing on the glass. I can't see any carbonation in the opaque liquid. Nice example of the style.

S-The aroma is heavy on the roasted barley flavors and cocoa. I also sniff some citrus notes, some licorice...and maybe some woodsy cedar notes. Unique and pretty inviting.

T-The taste is also heavy on the roasted barley flavors. In fact, the grain flavors tend towards downright burnt grains at times. The flavor isn't off putting or acrid, but the roast is clearly there. In addition to the grains, I taste some earthy cocoa and milk chocolate, as well as a bit of citrus and astringent hop notes.

M-The body is mostly creamy and robust with a softer carbonation. The beer drinks easily.

O-This is another above-average beer from this Yo-Ho (and in a totally different style than the wit I most recently tried). The beer is pretty traditional, but I feel like there is just enough of a twist to keep things interesting.

 1,122 characters

Photo of D-Rock
4.74/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Purchased in Japan and poured from a can into a lipped glass.

Look: Pours smooth inky black and totally impenetrable. Even holding it up to the direct sun does not reveal any light penetration. The head is thick and coffee colored, about an inch and a half deep, which settles down over several minutes to a thin layer with no lacing whatsoever left on the glass sides. Every once in a while I think I can catch a glimpse of carbonation bubbles jetting towards the surface.

Smell: Coffee, grain, hay, chocolate and honey scents waft up from the glass with the sensation of smelling wet slate. A bitter component to the smell suggests some hoppiness to the beer. Pleasant and wonderfully complex.

Taste: Starts off sweet with a hint of chocolate and coffee taste flowing into a malty character accompanied by mild hop bitterness and burnt grain. A lingering bitter finish asserts the highly roasted grains used in this beer. Extremely mild and flavorful.

Feel: The mouthfeel is ever so slightly dry with the barest hint of astringency. The carbonation bubbles come over the tongue mid swig and provide a rush of refreshment. The bitter finish of the beer is prominent, but not overpowering, giving a nice thirst quenching feel.

Overall: This beer is literally an oasis in a sea of typical bland Japanese beers. Yo-Ho Brewing did an excellent job of creating a textbook porter here. Looking at other opinions, maybe there is something to be said for drinking this "fresh" in the land it was produced, I have always wondered what the effect of shipping a delicate product like beer halfway around the world is. Also to note, there is nothing risky here, just a straight up textbook porter, which is a commendable strength of the Japanese mentality to create a "perfect" product. I struggled to find reasons to fault this beer, but could find few. it really is a great beer.

 1,880 characters

Photo of beergoot
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ink black body with a frothy, light tan head. Strong aroma of roasted and charred grains; charcoal. Chocolate flavors with a bit of lactose sourness; mild hop bitterness. Medium-heavy in body; smooth and silky; semi-dry finish.

A very fine tasting porter that comes across with a nice, balanced chocolate flavor offset with a gently hop bitterness. The body is smooth and velvety and leaves the palate coated with a nice blend of low-key sweetness, mild hop bitterness, and just the right edge of charred grain bite.

 517 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Were it not for the fact that Tokyo Black is actually brewed in Nagano, the name could be taken literally - beer doesn't get much more black than this. Spotting colour or highlights in this glass is as difficult as catching a glimpse at a shooting star; they exists, if only for a rare moment. Even its head is a dark mocha brown that's emblematic of the beer's rich taste and smell.

Porters can be where sweet milk chocolate meets bitter coffee grinds. The style has a magical ability to balance those two opposing elements in such a way that blends one seamlessly into the other. Neither is compromised. Instead, the flavours of each are highlighted; their textural extremes off-set.

Toss in a handful of roasted almonds and hazelnuts as well as few dried berries and you have a beer with a depth and richness that can't be discovered all at once. Porters like Tokyo Black demand slow, contemplative appreciation - even if they do lend themselves to easy, gluttonous drinking.

Buttery brownies and malted milkshakes aren't typical of Japanese cuisine, but Yo-Ho Brewing pulls them off like the recipes were passed down from their grandmother. Those notes of bakers chocolate and icing sugar give it the air of a bakery, even if its density is probably best suited to strong, sharp cheeses.

There's plenty of deserving nice things I can say about Tokyo Black in its own right, but perhaps the best compliment I can pay it is that it strongly reminds me of Fullers London Porter, which, not only is a long-time personal favourite of mine, but also arguably *the* universally acknowledged benchmark of the style. This is a phenomenally flavourful porter that vastly exceeds expectations.

 1,701 characters

Photo of JiuJitsuJustin
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love Porters and Stouts, so I was bias with this. Good tasting beer though, I love the coffee taste that comes with it (as with most Porters and Stouts).

 155 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Tokyo Black from Yo-Ho Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 226 ratings