Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet is a 9% Imperial Stout from Hop Kotan Brewing, based in Kamifurano, in Hokkaido, Japan. It’s part of their “Freedoms” lineup, and can be found in bottles only at the time of writing. Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet takes it name from the locally grown vegetable – the sugar beet – that is grown around the area. While Kamifurano is slowly becoming one of Japan’s major hop growing areas, the sugar beet far outnumbers the amount of hops grown in a year, and as such, Hop Kotan Brewing wanted to utilise this vegetable in one of their beers. The “yoake” part of the name can be roughly translated into “breaking dawn”, perhaps with the implication that Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet is a beer for those long nights.
Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet Aroma and Taste
Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet poured out a pitch black colour with a large amount of frothy, tan head on top that faded to leave tan streaks down the side of the glass. The aroma though was quite light – nothing like I was expecting from an imperial stout. Usually, they are bold with chocolate and coffee, with molasses but Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet was far lighter, due to the amount of sugar beet used in place of malts. The prototypical aromas of an imperial stout were there, but so much lighter than one might expect – and I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. There were some hints of roasted black malt, but everything just seemed, well, soft.
The body was more of the same – a very light mouthfeel that was missing out on the gloopiness I have grown to love with imperial stouts. And that’s what happens when you use sugar to make alcohol – you end up missing out on a lot of the extra material that comes with using malts, such as proteins and residual sugars that help to create that mouthfeel. While Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet had a smooth backbone to it, with chocolate and coffee present, it was easy drinking on the palate, making Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet a dangerous beer to have next to you. The aftertaste was a gentle, lingering chocolate and coffee, with some ashen black malt to it.
Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet The Bottom Line
Get rid of the sugar beet and give me some proper imperial stout.
Where to Buy Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet
Hop Kotan Yoake no Beet can be bought online at the following places: