I have a strange relationship with Konomi Nante Kiitenaize SORRY Kurogo Imperial Porter. The first time I tried it I thought it was off. Straight up, bad can. I just couldn’t explain it. It was supposed to be a porter, right? What’s with all these weird nutty sugary other flavours? (Don’t say “nuts and sugar”, you’ll ruin the surprise)
Another point is that this beer is pretty hard to find in the wild. So the next time it popped up in the shop was a few months later, and I had been introduced to barrel-aged beers by then (a revelation!). I thought, “Aha! This one must be one of those ones that are done with the beer in the thing!” (It’s a strong beer. Give me a break). It tasted nothing like the sake-barrel beer I had recently tried, though. Back to the drawing board.
Third time’s the charm, then, as I finally decided to look at the can to see what it’s all about. My Japanese had improved enough to understand what magic runes were making this beer taste all weird and shit.
The name means something like “Sorry I didn’t ask you what you liked”. Yeah, about time, beer. You little weirdo. The tagline is “A drinkable dessert”- the colour black is commonly associated with desserts in Japan, with stuff like sweet bean paste and brown sugar being popular components. Black isn’t seen as a weird food colour here like it is in the west- do you remember last year’s Burger King Black Burger story? Total non-story here.
Ok, so onto the beer. It’s made with a whopping ELEVEN ingredients- no wonder it’s classed as a happoshu. We have black sesame, pine nuts, blackberries, black beans, black rice, brown sugar, honey and a few other bits along with the usual barley and hops. Even now, there are some ingredients I’m not familiar with.
There’s little head to speak of when pouring this; the nose is slightly coffee but mostly brown sugar. The flavour is immense and very licquoricey, and surprisingly not cheesy (Yay!). This beer is heady and complex; the strength lends it a sake-like feel, hence my confusion the second time I drank it. The aftertaste is all in the mouth.
Like I say, there are a few ingredients that I’m not familiar with, so my brain is equating them with just a vague chemical-y taste. The first time I had this I went in totally blind and thought it was horrible. Second time, I was vaguely aware and enjoyed it more. If you want to extrapolate, I imagine that familiarity with every ingredient will make it the best porter by a Japanese brewery on the market today.
Konomi Nante Kiitenaize SORRY Kurogo Imperial Porter One paragraph review
This beer demands the impossible: no expectations of what it will taste like, and simultaneously complete awareness of what it’s offering. It’s a dense, layered imperial porter, that will even put off people who actually like porters. It occupies a niche within a niche within a niche. If there’s space for you in there with it, you’ll fit in fine.
Where to Buy Konomi Nante Kiitenaize SORRY Kurogo Imperial Porter
Konomi Nante Kiitenaize SORRY Kurogo Imperial Porter can be bought on the Yo-Ho Brewing shopping site at Rakuten here though at the time of writing, it had sold out.