A few years ago “dark beers” started showing up on the supermarket shelves in Japan. I think every major mass-market brewery has a porter-imitation brand, but Tokyo Black from Yo-Ho is a whole different world.

Tokyo Black

It’s black. I mean it. It’s such a dark crimson-brown-black that my room light can’t breach it. It has a cafe latte colored, really strong but short dry head, and barely any noticeable lacing.

It has the good old porter smell that I like so much. Caramellish as should be, but rather on the burnt than on the sweet end. I’m so used to drinking espresso coffee all day that this porter doesn’t even register to my senses, though people seem to find coffee-ish notes dominating in the aroma.

The taste itself is surprisingly thin after the relatively strong smell and the impressive color, and the dry bitter aftertaste is what dominates the taste experience. I’d swear I can feel some fruity notes in there, but it’s so light that I can’t focus on them properly. The roasted malts and the bitter hops are the lords here.

I expected a bit of a thicker taste for a porter, but I guess this lighter take is a way to go as well.