Starting way back in 1988, Rogue Ales & Spirits opened a brewpub along a creek in Ashland, Ore. where it served up pints of American Amber and Oregon Golden. It has grown substantially since then and have been one of the foremost trailblazers in utilizing adjunct ingredients to flavor beer.

The beer we are looking into today, Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale, is part of a series of beers called the Morimoto Signature Series. They began brewing these beers back in 2003 and did so in conjunction with chef Masaharu Morimoto, if you were/are an Iron Chef fan then you are familiar with him. Three beers are in the series, the aforementioned, Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale, The Morimoto Soba Ale and Morimoto Imperial Pilsner.

Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale

The beer is brewed with 12 ingredients, malts: Roasted Soba, Harrington, Metcalf, Munich, C-15, C-60 and Carafa Special No. 2. Hops: Cascade, Horizon and sterling. Yeast & Water: Rogue’s Pacman Yeast and free range coastal wars.

If you’re getting ready to Google what soba is, it is the Japanese word for buckwheat, commonly in the form of noodles, and is the signature ingredient in this line of beers.

Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale pours a very deep dark black that gives way to a walnut frame. The head matched more of the outside frame, it was a lighter brown and overall had a really nice look to it.

After taking in several deep breaths of the beer I am getting a lot of roasted malt, burnt coffee, burnt sugar, very earthy notes, like dirt or very dry rich cocoa. There is some smokiness hidden in there somewhere and a somewhat off aroma that I can’t quite put my finger on, it’s a mild astringent thing that comes in at the end.

Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale

The initial taste is sort of like day old coffee, there is a roastiness there, but also that astringency that was on the nose that comes through very presently at the beginning. It eases its way into a more enjoyable baker’s chocolate flavor in the middle and finishes with a pretty nice nutty flavor. The end is definitely the best part as it is has a really mild pecan or walnut flavor that is very smooth.

Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale
BREWERY: Rogue Ales
LOCATION: Newport, Ore.
STYLE: American black ale
ABV: 4.8 percent
IBU: 30
PRICE: $6.99
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
At the end of the day this beer doesn’t do a whole lot for me, it’s not bad for the price, but there just isn’t really much going on that is great or even good. Rogue makes a lot of solid beers, but this one was a bit of a letdown. It’s seems to be more of a gimmicky beer than a well executed ale, if soba is your thing, then by all means give it a try, I don’t think you’ll run to the sink to pour it out, but it would not be something I would be interested in visiting again.
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