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Heart Of Darkness - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Heart Of DarknessHeart Of Darkness

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BA SCORE
88
very good

1,125 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1125
Reviews: 316
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.05%


Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
English Stout |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Our inky-black stout had a smooth, round palate with a dreamlike undercurrent of bittersweet chocolate. This dense liquid-silk summoned hope from hibernation and balanced winter's endless white snows with a rich swirl of creamy black rapture.

30 IBU

(Beer added by: pezoids on 10-03-2001)
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Ratings: 1,125 | Reviews: 316 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serviceable drinkable stout. A half a year past expiry, I don't believe it made a difference. Mellower stout which was nice, also noticeable watery. Refreshing. On sweeter side, Chocolate malts, modestly bitterness in mid-sip. Dark colour, understated coffee and roast.
2012 version:On draft at jfk5 bar nysb just tapped black with foam and lace
roasted coffee coffee ground taste
decedrinkabilityity mochocolateate as it warms
decent stout

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2005 02:33:48 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Barely opaque dark walnut; certainly not the light eliminator that I would expect from a beer named 'Heart of Darkness'. The head is the color of cork and is several fingers of quality. Dense, lumpybumpy and coarsely pitting, it throws up thick chunks of foam that look as if they'll stick around for the duration.

The nose is a wonderful combination of fudgey chocolate brownies and chocolate pudding sprinkled with ground coffee beans. That reminds me of the only joke that I've ever made up. Q: what do you call a brownie with nuts? A: a cub scout. This one is positively oozing with roasted barley and is, by far, my favorite Magic Hat nose. Other than the hoppy beers of course.

Lovely flavor; still firing on all cylinders on the palate. For some reason, bittersweet chocolate and coffee have traded places and the java is now in charge. I prefer chocolate, but this is such tasty stuff that I'll let it slide. The oats provide some measure of sweetness, but Heart Of Darkness is primarily a bitter, dry stout. Or, to be more exact, it's on the bitter-dry end of the oatmeal stout continuum.

I love hops to contribute flavor to my stouts and that's exactly what happens here. There's a subdued, but real, bitter citrus zest presence that is most noticed on the finish. The mouthfeel is as smooth and as lightly silky as possible given the relative lack of heft. As with most (all?) Magic Hat offerings, the body/mouthfeel could stand to be filled out a bit.

Heart Of Darkness is a flavorful, hugely drinkable (dare I say session?) stout and is one of the best offerings that I've run across from this particular brewery. Thanks to far333 for providing.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2005 22:12:18 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a decadently dark brown body with a little head that doesn't leave much lacing

Smell: Roasted malt with a touch of chocolate and coffee

Taste: Starts out rather mild, with the roasted malt and oatmeal flavors making their presence known; finishes dry and surprisingly hoppy, with some residual sweetness

Mouthfeel: A bit thin for a stout, with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A very pleasant drinking stout, with a lighter body that certainly fits the "less filling" side of the old Miller Light argument; but I say it "tastes great," too

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2005 23:00:31 | More by brentk56
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Rattle n' Hum, New York, NY

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high beige head that has excellent retention properties and hardly died down.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of chocolate in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of chocolate malts and also has hints of roasted malts.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of smoothness, but not as much compared to other beers in the style.
O: This is a rich tasting oatmeal stout that is deceptively easy to drink. The only drawback is it seems that it could have used more flavors of roasted malts.

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2012 20:17:02 | More by metter98
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black with a medium off white sticky head,the aroma is chocolaty and kinda smoky smell was not that great to me.The taste is chocolaty and nutty with some definent hoppy bitterness in the finish.Not a bad beer but average compared to alot of standards.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2003 00:46:49 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

I wonder if ol' Joe Conrad is getting royalty checks...? Regardless, this stuff pours a bleak mahogany topped by a finger of tan foam. Darkness, eh? Not quite, buddy. The nose comprises roasted malts, toasted oats, and a touch of coffee. There we go, back on track. The taste brings in more of the same, though everything is now overly roasted and/or toasted. Dammit. At least it's not all bad this time. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a very dry finish. Overall, a schizoid little stout, one that's too thin and too roasty for its own good.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2012 04:33:09 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is fully black, with a big, tan head. Aroma is full of all of the things I enjoy and expect from any stout worth it's salt: rich, roasty espresso notes. Mouthfeel is full, sweet, rich, with loads of beautiful, sweet notes, and bitter ones, too. Tasty, toasty, roasty, with a long, luscious finish. A fine and tasty stout, with a slightly sweet aftertaste, and just a touch syrupy. An excellent, but ordinary, stout, and I give up props to UncleJimbo and purplehops, my twin EastCoast providers. Though, I may suggest, that Joseph Conrad might have something more sinister in mind.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2003 01:04:03 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 2/23/2013 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with a hearty and slightly smoky roasted malt character. Then some mildly sweet flavors of coffee and chocolate come in. There’s also some dark fruit flavor in the background along with some mild hops bitterness creating a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly smoky and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, decent representation of style, it’s a solid beer but there are several other stouts I would pick first.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2013 17:20:59 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Magic Hat's best rated and most widely available beer currently according to BA.
Production code: K29261, according to freshbeeronly that's Oct. 29 of last year, 120 day shelf life, so about a month past code if that info code is accurate.

Looks nice in the glass, copious lace forms delicate strands and webs around the edges of the glass, the creamy tan foam doesn't break after the first couple sips. Nice gradation around the edges, the lace blends seamlessly into the surface.

Aromas of cocoa, carob, roasted barley.

Flavors of chocolate milk, carob, slight amount of roast barley and ash in the taste as well. Mellow and fairly smooth, light carbonation, slight astringency. It's good, nothing groundbreaking, though i'll probably reach for local options before this, i'd drink it again and seek out a fresher sample next time.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2013 02:40:38 | More by emerge077
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has a rich malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and some black malts along with a very good hop aroma that actually gives it a refreshing quality. The taste is awesome as well. It has a very smooth malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes a bit bitter and hoppy in the aftertaste. The oatmeal adds a slightly dry texture on the tongue. It is rich and creamy; very nice. The mouthfeel is great. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great stout. It has everything; a great drinker.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2005 19:05:07 | More by WesWes
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a one-finger, light brown head of foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of strong roasty notes, toffee and molasses.

T - It tasted of rich roasted malt, chocolate, burnt molasses and toffee. Nice bitter hop bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a really good stout. Probably the best I've had from Magic Hat.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 02:35:02 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

"Don't be a pig when you swig" wise words from the cap.

Pours a larger darker colored 1.5 finger head that fades at a med to slower pace, decent fluffy lacing, over just about pitch black beer.

Nose starts with dark malts, chalky powdered chocolate, hint of roast, bit of caramel, hint of smoked malt, chewy malts and maybe oats, the combination of the roast and smoked malts combine to give a strange bitter almost acrid like aroma.

Taste starts with some smoked malt actually, but that gets drowned out quickly by other dark malts, a little roast and black malts, hint of baker's dark chocolate but barely, more like chalky powdered dark malt flavors and not even cocoa, hint of caramel and vanilla, but at least not acrid. Yeast kicks in slightly with a light yeast flavor. There is a slight metallic twinge as well, and just a hint of earthy hops. Finish brings more bitterness, mostly from dark malts but a little bit of the hops, earthy spicy but light, fluffy dark malts as well as chalky powdered black malt and roast lingering, and hint of smoke.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, plenty of fluffy carbonation.

Overall not bad, not bad at all. Surprised from Magic Hat these days. Most of their beers seem to really have gone downhill, and this is the brewery that got me into craft beer so it was hard for me to see them fade out. This is nice, good malts mostly, dark malts without much char, although there was a slight metallic flavor, nice touch of smoke and just a faint hint of cocoa that I would have liked to come out more, and hops are very light which I also would have liked ot see more. Otherwise a decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 04:26:15 | More by jlindros
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was one that I was pretty glad that they re-released. The beer poured out as a nice deep brown color with a thin cream colored head on top. The retention is very thin with a bit of lacing on the glass. The smell of te beer has a nice aroma of toasted oats and other roasted malts. The taste has a nice rich roasted flavor to it, the oats shine really well in this beer. There is a subtle chocolate note in there also. The mouthfeel is creamy, not overly thick but nicely carbonated and drinkable. Overall it was a good beer. One of the best I've had from Magic Hat in a long time.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 21:59:24 | More by Knapp85
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears completely dark opaque until held up directly toward the light in order to unveil deep ruby edges around this brew with scattered lacing formed by a thin tan moccha colored head. Aroma contains deep notches of chocolate, coffee, tones along with a slightly burnt fruit tones caramelized down to a reduction. The flavors a reminscient of a dry Irish but with so much more character and flavor the deep dry roasts are present, but in addition a cocoa infused cappucino with a sour acidic tone finishes out the robust flavor of this stout similar to an Imperial but lacking body and alcohol to label it so. Flavors are there including the fruit tones mouthfeel is full but by no means chewy which adds to the drinkability of this outstanding session stout no cloying carbonation or flavor profiles here just a well made true to the style stout.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2003 06:55:15 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black in color with a 1/2" tan head that quickly fell to a spotty surface residue. Flat looking. The aroma was of roasted malt, coffee, and a chocolate sweetness.The flavor was on the sweet side as roasted malts, coffee, and mild bitterness didn't cut through the sweetness. Some chocolate and caramel tones are evident.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Finish contains coffee and chocolate tones that linger briefly on the tongue. Drinkability is OK, but there was something about this brew that did not excite me at all to have another.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2005 13:11:50 | More by Gavage
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown in the glass. A coarse head froths up and lies down. Medium body. Sprightly on the tongue but not at all creamy.

Interesting winey flavor. Dark and deeply roasted malt flavors. A surprising sort of Stout. Chocolatey and just slightly sweet. Kind of a mineral taste, sort of chalky. Fairly tart. Just a modest bitterness with an edge of sourness. Burnt caramel in the finish.

I'm not sure this is so sensational, but it's certainly a deeply flavorful brew. From the 12 oz bottle bought at Grapevine Liquors in Denver.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2012 07:13:48 | More by mactrail
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

magic hat in colorado, nice! this must be newish from them, havent seen it before. it pours a shockingly black color, dense as hell, no light getting through this baby. theres a bubble mocha head on it about an inch to an inch and a half tall, and some nice sticky lacing. it smells really basic, no chocolate, no espresso, none of the frills. just really dark bitter malt and some decent bittering hops. the flavor is also much without the extras, although i do taste some dark cocoa in there. there is a great bitterness from the malt, and a ton of body (but not sugar) from the oats. good carbonation and melty smooth texture. havnt had a lot of good dark beers from magic hat before this one, but this i can really get into. a perfect winter seasonal.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2012 00:27:31 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A hot pink swirl that flows in to a hypnotic eye adorns the 12oz brown bottle. This time my fun filled crown pop open with "Big Brother is watching TV". Freshness date clearly marked.

Appearance: As black as night with a creamy light tan head that stays for the duration. The Brussels lace looks like a frothed latté.

Smell: Some soft sweetness, slight butterscotch and light earthy musty roasted and hoppy aromas flow to the nose.

Taste: A touch of tangy roasted barley, malt sweetness and a hint of butterscotch in the start, but the goes to more tangy charcoal-like roasted flavours and burnt raisins with a simple and pleasing hop bitterness. Touch of musty earthiness. The after taste leaves more lingering roasted and light burnt fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a crisp yet modest carbonation. Creamy and smooth on the palate.

Drinkability & Notes: Oh what a wonderful stout ... roasted flavours are very rich, a hefty brew to be had. A stout lovers snowy day dream it’s a seasonal brew and thankfully it has come back around.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2002 13:16:43 | More by Jason
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a snifter. The brew appears black in color with a dark tan head. Some spotty strings of lace coat the glass as the cap fades.

The aroma is burnt and roasty. Some anise, char and leather. Trace hints of milk chocolate are the last things noted across the back.

The brew loads up with a of bitterness upfront like burnt grain, char, ashy anise and leather. A touch of citrus to herbal hops attempts to brrak things up before almost a meaty and beefy smokiness to the finish.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is interesting dry and lots of bitter roast quality. Not terrible but also not something I can see myself returning to have again.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2013 16:37:30 | More by stakem
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Actually sampled and noted on 9/28/05...
Appears black with a 1 finger tan head that actually sticks around and slowly fades. Streaky lacing is left behind.
Smell is of chocolate, oatmeal, caramel, and cream.
Taste is of the same smells with a touch of butter and mild hops.
Mouthfeel is chewy, slightly sweet & robust. A tad bit thin. Slight bit of bitter hops and slick butter resound.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2006 02:32:44 | More by weeare138
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black hue with a three finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a robust roasted malt with charcoal and a touch of lactose.

The taste offered waves of roasted barley, back malt and a lingering smoky charcoal. The flavor was rounded out by a hint of lactose.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a dry finish.

Overall a very well constructed stout. A very pleasant winter treat.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 00:12:34 | More by plaid75
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

3.13/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This "almost black" beer throws a small brown head with little retention. Not a lot on the nose. Maybe some slight roasted tones. Nice creamy, velvety mouthfeel. The tastes in this stout are pretty subdued. Nothing overwhelming. The body is light to medium (thin for a stout). Some of the slight tastes I pick up are sweet chocolate and java. There is a bitterness on the finish, but not much before that. A pretty average stout in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2002 21:19:31 | More by Bighuge
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep black with a creamy dark khaki head shows a saturnish ring lacing down the vessel.

S: Big dry chocolate and dark fruit with a touch of creamer.

T: Black coffee flavor, freshly roasted grounds, bitter. Took me off guard at first, not used to a magic hat being so aggressive with a bold in your face character. Burnt chocolate, creamer, bitter and earthy with silty campfire notes. Ends with some burnt wood.

M: Creamy silky oats, bitter and earthy, good substance softly carbonated with a gentle campfire fade.

O: Overall a good bold flavor, bitter, dark burnt roasted nature and a step in the right direction for magic hat.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2013 01:54:10 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Magic Hat Brewing Co.
Heart of Darkness

LOOK: Dark brown ale bordering on black. Light tan foam topping the beer and leaving plenty of lace.

SMELL: Smoky roasted malts with some chocolate and coffee notes.

TASTE: Roasted malt flavor and some citrusy hop bitterness. Almost like a medium strong fruity coffee. Solidly bitter, partly from malt astringency and definitely from the hops. As it warms the malts stand out more and the flavor improved. Its good for a stout to have coffee and dry cocoa notes and this ones got em'.

FEEL: Medium bodied, smooth and a bit creamy. A tad thin but not too bad, this has a pleasant feel to it.

OVERALL: Not a bad stout. Interesting hop character, and a good malt base. I recommend letting this warm up alittle before partaking.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2012 20:53:33 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It appears that this beer has been resurrected.

Color: Dark black color with one-finger head.

Aroma: Smooth and malty with coffee and vanilla overtones. A bit of chocolate as well. Pretty sweet.

Taste: Smooth and malty upfront. Oatmeal shows in the middle. Smooth and coffee-like in some ways. Some chocolate as well. Coffee shows up mainly at the back of the throat

Mouthfeel: Smooth and dry. Oatmeal and coffee in the finish. The aftertaste lingers quite a bit.

Verdict: I didn't even realize that this was supposed to be an oatmeal stout. It's not bad but not the best I've had. Still quite solid.

Serving type: growler

02-09-2008 01:29:47 | More by Brad007
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Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,125 ratings.