Posts Tagged ‘black’

Figure 1. Asahi Black


Asahi Breweries control Japanese beer consumption with a staggering 40% of the market share (Wikipedia, 2010).  Asahi have been producing beer for well over 100 years and have recently started dabbling in beer styles beyond their usual Super Dry offering (Asahi products, 2010).  One member of this diversifying range of beverages is Asahi Black (黒生, Kuronama), a 5% alc. vol. “Munich-Type” black lager (Asahi kuronama, 2010).

The English version of the website contains useful information, however, it is the Japanese language website which provides a host of information for the bored imbiber.  Aside from the usual downloadable wallpapers, there are additional delights such as “after 9 stories”, history of black lager and black lager cocktail recipes (Asahi kuronama, 2010).


This experiment was designed to investigate numerous characteristics of Asahi Black including, but not limited to, aroma, flavour, colour, satisfaction and vessel design.


A 350 ml can of Asahi Black was obtained from a specialist Japanese bottle store for NZ$3.80.  The can was refrigerated to 4oC before the integrity of the can was breached under controlled conditions using the supplied puncturing device.  The contents of the can were decanted into a clean glass vessel.  Aroma was evaluated by smelling the beer.  Flavour was analysed by tasting the beer and discussing it with a research collaborator at great length and, subsequently, satisfaction was assessed.  The glass was held up to a standardised light to evaluate the colour and aesthetic aspects of the vessel were considered.


Results for Asahi Black are shown in table 1 below.

Table 1. Characteristics of Asahi Black

Characteristic Result
Aroma Presents a strong roasted malty nose with a chocolatey undercurrent mixed with buckwheat groats and Kiwi brand shoe polish.  A slight hint of sweet smoke hides in the background
Flavour First taste is overpowered by considerable fizziness.  Once prepared for the carbonation onslaught, the flavour is low on the tongue with bitterness reminiscent of coffee or dark chocolate.  A remainder of burnt caramel lingers long after the liquor has been swallowed
Colour Deep shade of brown resembling an iced long black (Americano) coffee with the ice removed, or even a globally renowned cola beverage
Satisfaction Surprisingly drinkable, however the excessive carbonation guarantees that bloatation would determine the final quantity the drinker is able to consume
Vessel Design A gold, black and red can with an interesting crossover of English and Japanese informing of the beverage’s German origins (see figure 1)
Head A fizzy cream-coloured head dissipated within 54 seconds
Drinkability 5



The overriding carbonation of Asahi Black tainted the drinking experience and resulted in an uncomfortable, distended-stomach feeling for over 90 minutes after the single can had been finished.  It is beyond the scope of the current study to evaluate the performance of Asahi Black when incorporated into the suggested cocktails such as “Fruit Original” or “Moon Stone” (Asahi kuronama, 2010).

Finally, the researchers were left with a nagging question about the paradox which arises from the naming of the product.  Asahi translates to rising sun, but when coupled with ‘black’ an uncomfortable illogicality of the rising sun delivering blackness occurs.  However, rumination surrounding this troublesome absurdity was frequently interrupted by severe bouts of eructation.