Johana Hikiyama Black is a 5.5% black IPA from Johana Beer, based in Toyama, Japan. It was first released in 2016 and appeared in their spring seasonal lineup again in 2017, though it’s unknown whether it’s become part of their all-year lineup or not? I guess it’s only taken Japan a couple of years to catch up with the black IPA trend that most of the world went through back in 2007 and 2013 – what’s next? New England style IPAs? Hope not.
Johana Hikiyama Black Aroma and Taste
Another black IPA to come out of Japan’s breweries laging behind the rest of the world – is that a good thing? Sometimes, yes. It means a lot of beer styles that are quick fads escape coming over here and the breweries can concentrate on making good, solid beers. Sometimes no, as it means the breweries play catch up trying to emulate a style that quickly fades from popularity.
Johana Hikiyama Black is a prime example of that. Coming about 9 years after the style first really took a foothold, Johana Hikiyama Black is a prime example of a beer that emulates rather than tries to be its own beer. It poured out a pitch black colour with a fine white head on top, that faded fast to a few bubbles around the outside. It had the aroma of a strong stout with hints of chocolate and coffee coming through, with a faint tinge of liquorice permeating through some light citrus aroma. If this had been a blind taste test then I would have guessed Johana Hikiyama Black was a schwarz or porter rather than an IPA. Some hints of acrid black malts came through too once it had warmed up.
Black IPAs – a style noone really truly wants but will drink if it’s on sale it seems as Johana Hikiyama Black has managed to capture those feelings well. It’s peculiar body of chocolate and coffee, along with a hint of citrus bitterness, while interesting is just plain weird. It’s almost as if someone tried to make a pale ale but halfway through thought, fuck it, let’s make a porter and whack in some black malts. The best thing about Johana Hikiyama Black is its dryness but even then the acrid black malts come on a bit too strong for you to enjoy it.
Johana Hikiyama Black The Bottom Line
Johana Hikiyama Black is one of those beers you don’t really want but if you see it, you might want to try it. Drink it quick if you do.
Where to Buy Johana Hikiyama Black
Johana Hikiyama Black can be bought online at the following places: