Beer is Good – Battle of the Black Cans

What should I find at the supermarket than two new-ish dark offerings from mainstream breweries.  Decades ago, it was “Dunk” (heck, that’s so old, it exists only in my memory and I can’t find anything about it online… did it even exist?  It had Arnold the Governator in their advertising and was product-placed on some stewardess drama) which faded from popularity, but now darks are back, albeit still on the tamer end of the flavor scale.  From Yebisu comes the Creamy Top Stout aimed to compete with the widgeted Guinness, and Asahi Dry Black, a dark lager offering.  I actually had the Yebisu Creamy Top Stout on draught at a restaurant in Okayama last year, but this is the first time I’ve tried the Asahi Dry Black.

Both beers have a very dark color, but both are translucent.  The Yebisu is more toward a dark, shoyu brown whereas the Asahi has a hint of a redder tone.  The Yebisu pours with a fairly good, moderately persistend head, but the Asahi has a lighter carbonation level and its thinner, more heavily attenuated structure doesn’t support a head as long.  As expected, the Yebisu being a stout has a thicker, creamier flavor with a hint of sweetness, and the Asahi being a dry beer has more of a bitter note with the added smokiness of a dunkel.  The hopping is evident in the slight sweentness of the Yebisu, and in the bittering and aroma of the Asahi.  The Yebisu actually comes fairly close to the benchmark Guinness, but has a lighter overall flavor.  The Asahi on first taste has a hint of the phenolic stanky-sweet sneeze smell flavor that the horrible Kirin Stout has, but whatever causes that goes away on subsequent sips.  The Asahi really is not unlike what it’s name suggests – a dark-roasted malt version of their standard Super Dry.

More pictures of the Yebisu Creamy Top Stout.  Not sure what’s up with the texture on the can top, but maybe it’s to promote carbonation nucleation for creating a heavier head during the pour?

More pictures of the Asahi Dry Black

Recommended (both)

Three out of four darkly roasted monkeys

198-yen (about $2.54 USD) each (if I remember correctly) at the supermarket.  Haven’t seen the Yebisu varietals at convenience stores, but I have seen the Asahi Dry Black.

2 Responses to “Beer is Good – Battle of the Black Cans”


  • Maybe so the blind can tell which “beer” it is? I’m assuming that’s what the braille says.

  • The braille just says “alcohol”, so you could potentially use the nucleation dimples to tell this one beer apart form others in the ‘fridge. Things would get more complicated if you had shochu-soda and whiskey-water cans in there too, since those have identical “alcohol” braille too. I guess the whiskey-water cans are shorter, and at least one brand of shochu-soda has a faceted can surface, but telling beers apart would be challenging. The Asahi Dry Black did have a matte finished can that did feel different than a shiny can – not quite “cat’s tongue”, but you could tell it apart.

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