1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Ravell - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
RavellRavell

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

284 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 284
Reviews: 149
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.57%
Wants: 7
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
An enormous play in one significant act, Ravell is a porter brewed with whole vanilla beans, once available whenever young William and father John deem it so.

28 IBU

(Beer added by: taez555 on 03-06-2002)
View: Beers (33) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Ravell Alström Bros
Ratings: 284 | Reviews: 149 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ppoitras
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Brew City, Worcester, MA.

Pint glass presentation. Minimal head on deep dark liquid. Aromas of coffee and vanilla present, even to not-optimal nose in bar/smoky conditions. Thick malty flavor, with the flavors backing up the aromas. Vanilla flavor not as strong as in the bottle, but still provides a good offsetting flavor to the often strong coffees found in dark beers. One of the few beers I've enjoyed more int he bottle than on tap. If this was on Nitro, I think it would start kicking some ass...

Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep brown color with a tan head that vanishes fast leaving a thin cascade of lace on the pint.
Aroma of chocolate, coffee and vanilla with a lingering residual bitterness in the background.
Flavor of roasted barley, patent malt, chocolate malt, vanilla or hazelnut with some heavy bitterness. Sweet aftertaste after the bitterness is a very interesting end but a little too strong.
Mouthfeel is very true to style and very pleasant on the palate except for aforementioned slightly cloying finish.
Drinkability is failry high, definitely wouldn't kick this out my pint glass.
Thanks to Mikeys01 for my first Magic Hat beer.

Photo of edchicma
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber...Very nice color and decent initial head...almost black...Smell was roasted malt with smoke essence, along with a vegetable-like essence. Taste was was "smoky" and slightly tart...very interesting, and actually quite refreshing. I did not pick up the vanilla that the Brothers did, but did get a bit of smoothness that I would normally associate with vanilla. Mouthfeel was nicely complex...astringent, then with a smoothness that lingered..usually, it's the other way around. Very drinkable and interesting....a different type of brew that is well worth a try.

Photo of kmo1030
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

very dark ruby color ith a thin tan head. i smell strong expresso, then some vanilla, caramel. the taste is like the smell except the vanilla and caramel come through bigger than the expresso, though it kicks in a little harder at the end of the sip with the hops to back it up, a little smoke at the end too? the mouthfeel is a little thin for the style i think. this doesn't significantly detract though, magic hat impresses once again.

Photo of beernut7
4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another promising brew for Magic Hat. Label reminds me of the season of snow and barreling down a hill with reckless abandon. Deep chocolate pour with a quickly dissipating mocha head. Deep chocolate and roasted malt aroma. Perfectly smooth body supports a hint of sharpness and a huge roasted and caramel sweet chocolate flavor. Very good and easy drinking ale with a velvety finish.

Photo of beergeek279
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The color is dark brown, with a bubbly tan head. The smell is the coffee malt with a lot of sweetness. The taste is dominated by the typical coffeeish porter taste, though the vanilla taste adds a bit of contrasting character to the beer. Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability-wise, probably would get too sweet for continued drinking, but one or two is a treat.

A unique porter, with the vanilla nicely matching the coffee/hop bitterness. Though I couldn't drink this everyday, as an occasional treat it's certaily enjoyable, and one I'd have again.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, dark brown color, with reddish edges, and a full, frothy, fluffy tan head.
Aroma: ah! Instant espresso hits in the nose, spice, pepper, and vanilla, and more..Wow, .it's really a complex mix that I couldn't figure out completely at first. Like a ginger cookie in the nose, really.
taste: huge chocolate on the palate, like a pound of baker's cocoa dropped straight on the mouth, met with all these other tasty flavors, rich and sweet, ful-bodied, with a profound, sticky-delicious finish, huge with cocoa, and quite satisfying.
I didn't know what I was getting into here, but it was a very happy circumstance. Cheers to Mr. Rabidawg for sending it out!

P.S. I've had so many other "vanilla porters" before that I just hated, so much that I came to disdain the mention of the phrase..cheers to Magic Hat for turning my hate of this odd "style" into a happy tasting!

Photo of littlebibs
4.58/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What a nice winter porter from the ever surprising people at
Magic Hat. I could just drink these all night. My favorite Jinx
is a smokier version of something similar to this. Heart of Darkness is also black night as this with some similarites but
I really enjoyed this one, especially since its only 20 degrees out.
This one has a great foamy, fawn colored head with great lacing
for the time it took to finish her off. Chocolate expresso, just
a slight smokey underfinish. Delicious, a bit watery but it doesn't
make me feel full nor does it take away from this style, just wanting to appreciate this beauty by drinking more of them.( I haven't tried a vanilla bean/chocolate/coffee/slightly smoked combo quite like
this. I just don't understand why the guys at MH do not put out
this style in a six pack during the winter months??11/07 update )
Winter is so much easier to take around NewEngland when you
can find beers/ales of this quality.

Photo of xgrigorix
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce brown bottle. Best by month notched on label.

Dark tawny brown. A thin, but dense, tan coloured head quickly recedes to a thin halo, leaving some lace behind.

Sweet smelling, with chocolate & vanilla wafting playfully in the nose.

Chocolate & vanilla confirmed. A bit of coffe, but otherwise its kind of flat & one dimensional. A little bit of graininess in the finish. Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. Overall a fun beer.

Photo of rabidawg
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brew that glows a deep ruby when held to light. Creamy, tan head that leaves irregular spots of lace.

Smell: Initially smoky, and highly reminiscent of Jinx. Definite dark-roasted coffee, with just a hint of tobacco spice. A slight green hint.

Taste: A bit thin for a porter, almost to the point of being slightly watery. But no complaints other than that. I can't believe they don't use a smoked malt in this one. Maybe I'm misinterpreting the vanilla, which I hardly noticed, but to me this is a slightly sweet, smoky beer that finishes nice and dry. It sort of draws the sides of my tongue, but that's not a bad thing. I love the way the sweetness comes in a wave, just to be swept away by the slight, but present hops and the uniquely mouth-coating Magic Hat yeast. Let this beer warm, and lovely cappuccino notes rear their heads. Definitely a complete beer, and possibly my favorite Magic Hat beer.

Photo of mikeys01
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is for a 2003 Ravell, served from a 12 oz bottle as opposed to the traditional bomber the Ravell is usually seen in, this one came in a mix pack. Very deep brown to almost black color, but fairly clear witha nice ruddy color when held up to the light. A moderate amount of white head on the pour, which fades slowly. This year's Ravell smels a lot roastier than last year's, with strong scent of coffee and just a little bit of vanilla in the nose. Flavor is dominated with espresso-like roasted malt up front, with undertones of chocolate and vanilla of course becoming noticeable towards the end. Just enough hop flavor to allow a little bitterness in the finish. This beer seems to be a little more full bodied and has much less vanilla flavor than last year, but it may need a bit more time to mellow too before it expresses its full flavor profile. Ravell is traditionally one of my favorite brews from Magic Hat, I'll have to sample some more of this year's batch to determine if that still holds...

Photo of taez555
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

"Don't be an imposter on Humanity's Roster"

12oz bottle.

This beer poured a pitch-black body with a big fluffy white head.

The nose was actually quite an interesting mix of smells. Dark chocolate, chicory, wood, dark soft vanilla, bark, earth, roasted barley, cream, roots, and milk chocolate. Kind of like a kitchen sink of stouts smells.

The taste was almost the same but not quite all together. Medium bodied, very very very creamy. There was very little bitterness. Dark unsweetened chocolate, coffee, espresso, roasted barley, cocoa powder, vanilla, chicory, earth, roots with a mild chalkiness throughout.

It ends mostly with a very mild roasted barley bitterness followed by a long lingering chocolate, chicory, vanilla mix of flavor.

Overall I found this beer a little difficult to drink. The mix of flavors just didn't sit right with me. Sort of like vanilla stout overkill, let's pack every flavor we can into one beer.

On top of that, I've had his beer every time it's come out in the past 3 years and unless my tastebuds have gone crazy I swear they keep changing the recipe. I remember this tasting like chocolate milk several years ago, then it was very watery and tasted like cream soda only a year ago, now... it's like a dark vanilla cream stout.
I'm not sure what's up with it, a great brewery, but not my cup of tea.

Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Printed on the underside of the bottle cap: "Take a day to roll in the hay." A philosophy to live by.

Poured a nice, dark-roasted black. Not much head, even with a vigorous decant. Aroma - wow - very concentrated chocolate extract notes. According to the brewery's website, the beer is brewed with whole vanilla beans - but the aroma struck me as distinctly chocolate. The aroma morphed into vanilla notes on the first sip - very prominent yet well balanced in the flavor profile. A little acidic tartness and a coffee-like bittering at the finish, which was just a bit harsh. Very smooth and enjoyable, a great dessert beer or nightcap.

Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown in color with minimal tan head.
Big mocha chocolate aroma.

Taste follows with plenty of mocha flavor created from the mix of the vanilla and the chocolate characteristics of the malt. It's a good flavor, problem is there is little else to the flavor of this beer. No complexity. Not much in the way of hops.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery for a porter.
Mellow and very drinkable. Little bitterness.

Overall, a solid beer, but this one doesn't excite me.
Big thanks to Mikeys01 for the Magic Hat samples!

Photo of granger10
2.95/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown color with no head whatsoever. Slight lacing on the pour that dissapears quickly. Maybe I got an old one. Anyways, scent reminded me of this french vanilla coffee I've been drinking lately. But it wasn't too nice for some reason. Taste was of vanilla bean, and a lot of it. I tried to get around the strong vanilla taste and couldn't. Well, I did notice some licorice flavor in there and a slight roasted malt taste, but that was it. Finish reminds me of bacardi vanilla, yeah pretty harsh! Overall taste is exactly like rum and vanilla coke. I don't even know if I could tell the difference in a taste test! Improved as it warmed. Probably pretty good when I'm wasted (just guessing here). This one's a little too one-dimensional for me but I am glad to try it, esp. since it's of limited availability.

Thanks to mikeys01 for the sample.

Photo of jcalabre
2.28/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I must say thanks to herbjones for sharing this with me.
This pourse a clear, dark brown/red color. It's transparent, which hints of a light body. The aroma is of chocolate milk, or maybe the chocolate chips used for cookies. Then I tasted it & it went straight down hill from there...
It's pretty thin & watery on the tongue with a slightly hoppy taste. It's good up front, but finishes poorly.

Photo of aaronh
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This 22 oz bottle pours out a luscious, deep caramel brown liquid that is topped by a cappuccino foam colored head that displays very good retention and leaves a thin lacing. The aroma smells like pure vanilla beans, or perhaps a really good natural vanilla ice cream. A slight coffee note is intermingled as well. Not your typical beer aromas, but man are they a great combination. The taste is lighter than expected, with pictures of vanilla ice cream and root beer floats coming to mind instantly. A slight off flavor is mixed in as well, as it seems like the malt tries to push through all the other flavors. It seems like there is a hint of hop bitterness on the finish, which reveals a bit of a light coffee and rootbeer note on the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fairly thin compared to the tastes. I would have loved this beer to have a rich, creamy mouthfeel, but it just doesn't seem to have the malt backbone. The drinkability is very good, with good flavor, light mouthfeel, and mild ABV. A very unique beer that was a nice experience for a mid-spring evening. A big BA thanks to VENOM for delivering this beer.

Photo of kelticblood
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not impressed at all with the head or head retention.Left fair amounts of lace with each sip.Immediate warming feeling felt in the stomach.Great vanilla aroma thats just hinted at,and not to overpowering.The color looks to be black to an extremely dark red.The smoke porter taste is present on the finish just for a second.This beer seems to have stages in its flavor from start to finish which would mean its complex and well crafted.A very good crisp mouthfeel that easy and smooth.A sweetness is also noted on the finish.Leaves a lingering bitterness in the throat.Left alot of sediment in the bottom of the bomber.Medium to full bodied with great malt texture.I think I could get used to this and would definately buy it again.Hops seem to poke their head out later,but are present because of the bitterness.Another well balanced brew from Magic Hat.
Thanks John for the offering.

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
1.35/5  rDev -63.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

One word, "blah". I thought only eggnog should have that much vanilla. It looked promising when the bar keep brought it, dark and rich looking. But all taste was eclipsed by the vanilla. It was a chore just to drink it. Avoid this beer, unless you are some kind of eggnog "junkie".

Photo of francisweizen
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My second Magic Hat Brew and another unique winner! This beer poured a dark milky brown/black/burgandy colour with a nice loose, white head. It had the aromas of Vanilla, White Chocolate and Coffee. It tasted like a nice mix of the above. This is a good tasting, well-made porter, that has some roasted malt-y flavors and some nice, light vanilla and chocolate flavors. This beer is sweet, but not too sweet. The mouthfeel is a medium-average one and the drinkability is a bit low as this is really a beer to savor only once or twice. A very interesting porter and another great brew from MH!
Cheers to paceyourself for sending me this bottle!,
F.

Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Redbones. Wow! This has a big vanilla flavour, not sickly sweet either just lots of vanilla. Vanilla up the nose and all over the palate. The Porter character was solid but let the vanilla have its way, I would have preferred to have this with dessert and not at the beginning of the event. I am sure it would have went awesome with the pecan pie.

Photo of IPAlot
2.33/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This beer reminded me why i'm not allegiant to magic hat's brewing philosophy. They put the added flavoring at the forefront and the beer in the rear. I love vanilla flavor, but I think beer should strive to incorporate the flavor into a balanced tapestry with the rest. This beer tastes like a good cream soda (i don't like cream soda) at the expense of hops and malt. It looks gorgeous, a midnight opacity foretells a dark rich flavor. I know I should be constructive, but the guidelines also say the style should be kept in mind. Porter? I don't taste any. The beer's only redeeming qulity is texture and color, which is scant little for a beer to go on. On a positive note, Magic Hat's graphics are the funkiest around, and the condom animation on their website is hilarious.

Photo of OatmattStout
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

If this beer tasted as good as it smelled it would be one of the great unique porters of the world.. It has a wonderfull fanilla bean driven nose from them being added during brewing process. It smell is sweet and chocolate and makes you really look forward to drinking. The up front tastes are vanilla and toasted moca flavors. At that point is where in my opinion the other personality comes out. An extremely dry and almost tart hop presence. This for me doen't seem to fit with the idea behind this beer, I was looking for a much more malty and richer sweetness to accent the vanilla. All in all it's a good beer and quite unique. I was just expecting a different taste but this beer is definately worth trying.

Photo of inebrius
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a black-centered deep chestnut with a pleasant pillowy cap of sticky foam. Nose is chocolate chip cookie dough just after you stir in the vanilla extract. A draught starts weak but builds in character to finish a long leafy mocha while the Vanilla hangs out kind of linear in a soda-like fashion. A wimpy body eases consumption, but simplifies the beer overall. Still a pretty damn tasty brew and I might be biased by a subconscious disdain for vanilla flavoring in beer, I don't know, you'll have to ask my therapist or my mother.

Thanks Venom.

Photo of waughbrew
3.05/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I always want to give Magic Hat another chance to impress me, but they never do. A vanilla porter? I like new ideas, but this doesn't work so well for me. It smells and tastes very similar to a root beer/ice cream float except with more chocolate. It is a neat brew i suppose, but I got bored of the flavor before I was half-way done my pint. I don't think I'll have it again.

Ravell from Magic Hat Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 284 ratings.