Brewmeister Mondays: Black Toad Dark Ale

Posted on January 4, 2011


As my luck would have it, PZ Myers was sent a 12-pack of various beers and is now in the middle of his “12 days of beer” blog theme.  But check the dates–WLP started its Brewmeister Mondays before PZ began his 12 Days of Beer!  Yeah, that’s right. . .

I picked up this interesting six-pack at the new Trader Joe’s in Davis.  It was on sale for $5.99.  I rather like the bottle, as it brings out the herpetologist in me.

Here are the stats for this handsome brew:

Opacity:  3.9.  I have to admit, this is one of the darkest ales I have ever seen.  It definitely contends with some of the lighter porters in opacity.  Compared with other ales, its opacity is unsurpassed in my experience, but my scale is absolute–light to dark.

Color: A dark brown, with possibly the faintest tinge of red.  The red only comes out when held up to a light.

Head:  4.0.  The head was good, while it lasted (that’s what ze* said).  Started out strong, but the did not last.  It has, what I will now coin, ephemeral head syndrome (EHS), although a mild case in comparison to other beers.  EHS is a serious problem with beer, and the syndrome tends to be correlated with opacity.  Darker beers tend to have a strong, long-lasting head, while light beers tend to have EHS.

Aroma: 4.0.  Slightly nutty.  Fuller in body, but similar to Newcastle Brown Ale.

Flavor:  4.0.  This ale is the big brother of Newcastle Brown Ale.  I’ve never cared for Newcastle, due to its lack of a robust taste.  This ale, however, is much better than Newcastle.  It actually has taste instead of giving you false hopes it will be tasty simply by having a dark hue.  The taste is a bit nutty and is not hoppy at all.

Mouthfeel: 4.2.  Slightly more carbonated than I like, but not crazily so.

Finish:  4.3.  No bitter aftertaste.  However, nutty flavor doesn’t linger for too long.  It is quite pleasant upon exhalation through the nose right after a mighty sip.

Overall:  4.07.  I enjoyed the beer, even though it wasn’t a stout or a porter.  That’s saying something.  This is something I will have again, not only because of the killer price at Trader Joes, but because it’s a quality dark ale.  I haven’t had a dark ale like it.  I drank it with cayenne chicken breaded with chickpeas flower, topped with avocado and tomato salsa with a side of baked zucchini.  I must say that it paired well with the spicy chicken and zucchini very well.  Go out and get yourself a 6-pack.

* “Ze” is a gender neutral pronoun.


Posted in: Brews