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!

Heart Of Darkness - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Heart Of DarknessHeart Of Darkness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,335 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,335
Reviews: 323
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 70
Gots: 113 | FT: 2
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)
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 Heart Of Darkness Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,335 | Reviews: 323 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Acforster2
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of Proclarush
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Appropriately black in color with a tan head. Retention is good, lacing leaves thin rings on the glass.

S: Cocoa powder, earthy and starchy oats lend a slight creamy impression, layered chocolatey scents ranging from milk chocolate to bitter dark chocolate, baked brownies, roasted malts, hint of cola, and berry-like darkfruit wrapped tightly within all this.

T: Cola and molasses register on the palate briefly, and are then swept away as woody and smokey roasted malt tastes build. Brownie batter. Acidic black coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and hints of berry. Starchy oats are most noticeable on the mid-palate, followed by roasted grain with a slight acrid edge. Dries into a lingering finish of strong, rich dark chocolate.

M: Medium bodied. Round and creamy in the mouth with a slight firmness of malt texture. Moderately strong carbonation is a bit scrubbing and just a touch annoying. It really isn't needed here, and bites into an already smooth and velvety texture.

O: I must confess that I'm really not a fan of Magic Hat in general. In my opinion they spend far too much time and effort on the marketing of what is usually very mediocre beer. This beer is a bit of a departure for them, and I'm glad. It took guts for a brewery that normally sticks with very safe, crowd-pleasing beers to release an oatmeal stout as their main winter seasonal. They didn't hold back either; it's very flavorful and robust, so much so that it isn't hard to imagine the casual beer drinker being a bit overwhelmed by it. It seems to be selling very well though, and even the twelve packs are moving. A laudable effort from Magic Hat. I hope this will be around for years to come.

Photo of MyKroberts237
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Brenden
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Inky black as advertised, in fact too dark to see through at all, this heavy-looking brew develops a small tan head that diminishes somewhat quickly but remains as a heavy foam that leaves some good mixed spotting and patching.
The aroma has the elements I'd expect from a stout, heavily on the roasted side but including an almost lactic sweetness. It is, however, a bit too light.
Heavy on roast in the dark, malty profile, it's likewise heavy on the coffee note. It tends tangy, but that off-note is curbed as it warms. There's plenty of bittersweet chocolate, as advertised, leaning less toward sweetness which is nonetheless complemented by what seems like milk sugars, though it's not a milk stout. Also offered is a hint of toffee. Big barley notes come through all the way as well.
This stout's got the heft, and the appropriate body, but it's way too spritzy. The finish also goes astringent. I can take a little crispness in a stout, but it never abates here.

Photo of MikieV
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Rgalvin
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of thecheapies
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Magic Hat Heart of Darkness Stout.

Pouring it into my pint glass, the beer looks solid black with a finger-and-a-half of khaki-colored foam. Mostly dense head is populated by a sea foam-like topping and a few bigger bubbles on the surface's center. The beer drinks down with a little bit of lacing.

At first waft, the beer promotes the central aroma of dark chocolate and black coffee with hints of dark fruits and light cream. Subdued nose offers little of anything else; still malt roasty, but without any indications of burnt or hoppy notes.

Mostly chocolate and coffee on the tongue, Heart Of Darkness also has a tasty creamy note married with some now-apparent roasty grain and some delicate floral hop flavors. The hops are bittering at first, but materialize a little more in the finish. Very malty, all around, but with a manageably sweet decadence accented by semi-sweet cocoa. Both, the coffee notes and the almost-silenced hops, help to stave off the sugars and advocate a very enjoyable drink. Aiding the smoothness is a burly, but milky, medium body and near-sessionable alcohol level. The carbonation is ideal, and does not overpower or try to command attention in this stout.

I would absolutely buy this again. Heart Of Darkness is a lovely surprise from the boys up in Burlington. Wish there were more of these in my fridge.

Photo of jlogan7
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of jjd315
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of poppyjohn
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of outdoor7or24
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.
A: nice dark khaki colored one finger head, heavy lacing present, deep dark brown color
S: bittersweet chocolate aroma, roasted malt, coffee
M: Medium, carbonation
T: bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, roasted malt
O: good solid oatmeal stout

Photo of Makkake
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of Tumble
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a conical pint glass.

The beer is a typical espresso bean black with ruby highlights. A thick oatmeal colored head leaves nice rings of lacing.

The beer smells of chalky cocoa powder, sweet black licorice and hints of vanilla.

The beer tastes much like the smell, although a more burnt malt smokiness presents itself up front. Some oatmeal creaminess in the body. Nice dryness, and some bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is dry, medium bodied.

Overall, solid, nice dry stout with good taste. But ... why is this a seaonal? Nothing at all suggests holiday in this brew. But it's good, unfortunate they limit it's availability ....

Photo of mkrass
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of thlayli87
4.48/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black as night with 2-3 fingers of tan had that lasts for quite a while. Good lacing on the glass as the head recedes.

S - Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, candied sugar.

T - Strong chocolate flavor with some coffee tones. Molasses, pumpernickel bread, and a lingering bitter bite like a good strong cup of coffee.

M - Fluffy, velvety, chewy. Full body with medium carbonation.

O - Delicious and satisfying stout. Somewhat warming. Very enjoyable, and one of the best stouts I've had. A go-to brew for me in the winter months.

Photo of mactrail
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Photo of JSkone09
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of sappypine
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of Bills453
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into my Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance - black as night with a nice milk chocolatey head that is lingering nicely.

Smell - roasted malt, coffee, some nutty smells as well.

Taste - again, a nice mixture of malts, coffee and chocolate flavor. Actually one of the more fantastically blended stouts I've had.

Mouthfeel - smooth and fantastic.

Overall - a great stout, I am quite surprised at how much I like it!

Photo of MacQ32
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep dark brown, nearly black with a nice finger of smooth looking lighter coffee colored head. Retention is ok, very thin layer covering most of the surface after about 2 minutes, lacing looks decent as well.

S - Sweet chocolate, caramel and possibly vanilla, smells fantastic. Roasty/slightly bitter malts (coffee maybe?) as well, oats and lactose are present.

T - Mostly roasty up front, pretty bold and some hop bitterness (carbonation is pretty strong initially) dominate. As the bitterness subsides the sweetness kicks in. Honestly not getting too much of an oatmeal taste, mostly chocolate/caramel/dark roasty malts. Thinking about retracting that lactose comment....

M - Relatively light bodied, carbonation is overpowering initially, it could just be a mix of flavors and strong carbonation but it seems a little over carbonated. Id prefer a smoother heavier oatmeal stout, not awful but not ideal imo.

O - Pretty tasty, nothing to write home about but you could certainly do worse. The strengths of this brew are its bitterness and aroma. The weaknesses are its bitterness and its over-carbonation/mouthfeel. The head made me think it would be a bit thicker and creamier/lesser carbonated but that was not that case.

Photo of genitempo
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pour is basically unlit, mild hint of lighted hue on the outskirts. Beige head with sparse lace that slowly disintegrates.

S - Malts and Chocolate and Caramel are very apparent and pleasant. Subtle hint of alcohol.

T - First sip was probably the best. I really enjoyed it at a colder temp. Uniformed and leathery, with malty goodness. However, the beer became less orchestrated and shrill as it warmed.

MF - Solid burden for a stout. Mild carbonation on the tongue

O - This beer came out swinging, but lost a punch or two later in the game. I enjoyed the experience, but would like to try it on tap. Very impressive endeavor by the guys in Vermont.

Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,335 ratings.