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Heart Of Darkness - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Heart Of DarknessHeart Of Darkness

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,345 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,345
Reviews: 325
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 78
Gots: 126 | 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:
Beer added by: pezoids on 10-03-2001

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,345 | Reviews: 325
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed a growler of this after they tapped the last keg for the season. Out of the glass and into another this brew was an opaque, dark brown with a wood stain meniscus. Thin, one finger head of tan foam. Aromas of coffee, milk chocolate and hints of vanilla. Flavors were similar, chocolate, roasted malt, sweetened coffee and grainy oats in the finish. Very smooth drinking but the body seems a bit light for the style. Still, a good Oat Stout and glad I picked it up.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown/black color with a decent sized tan head that persists for a little while. Smells of bitter roasted grain with a heavy coffee type aroma. A bit earthy, tart fruit, and dark brown sugar round out the nose. The flavor is burnt sugar, tart fruit, sweet candied sugar, a hint of earth and little else. Fairly dry finish. Medium to light body with a moderate to high level of carbonation and a bubbly roasty bitter mouthfeel. So either my palette has really changed since I last tried this or this beer is just not the same. I could drink this if I had to, but with so many choices these days why should I settle for mediocrity?

So a friend of mine finds some beer in his cellar that he forgot about. We have no idea how old this bottle is, but we drank it on 6-11-08.

Bottle opened with a big hiss, and when poured seems a bit over carbonated. Pours a nice black with slight brown highlights on the edges. Creamy tanish head that stuck around for a while. This beer smells amazing. Dried plums and raisins, chocolates, coffee. Taste is creamy smooth chocolate, some coffee, some fruits, a little bit of oxidation, but not horrible, and a strong roasted grain that lingers at the end. Body is medium and mouthfeel is creamy. I was surprised at how well this one held up given that its at least 2 years old and low on the alcohol side. I would have loved to tried this fresh! Yet another great brew that Magic hat wrongly decided wasn't worthy.

Photo of muffinman703
4.58/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite imbibes from Magic Hat. Had to travel to the Artifactory to get it. Definitely worth the trip to get it.

The Heart is as advertised, dark (black). Putting the glass up to your wazoo, you get the aroma of a good hearty stout.
Taste is great, with a little more carb than a Guinness, for a small kick.
Finishes on the sides of your tongue and stay around to exhale through your nose.
I could drive back today for more of the Heart.

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

Back on tap (only at the brewery's store) for samplings and growler fills. Poured from the growler into a tumbler on 02.29.2008.

Pours a chocolate brown in color; near opaque with burgundy hues. Creamy, off-white head that plasters the glass' sides leaving sticky, condensed lacing. Lots of webbed lacing with good strength.

Milk and dark chocolate aromas; semi-sweet. Lingering floral-perfume with touches of medicinal notes and astringency. Caramel and dried coffee beans.

Caramel and bittered chocolate up-front followed by dark, fruity esters: fig, raisin, dark cherry. Hazlenut and coffee beans with a pleasant creaminess interact with the floral hops giving off a touch of must. The finish is dry and airy leaving a bland, caramel aftertaste.

Full in body; smooth, but dry in spots that give this stout an airy film-like texture.

This beer was a classic back in the day. Either my palate has changed since its retirement or the recipe has. Disappointing to say the least, considering how happy I was to hear of its return.

Photo of Brad007
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Photo of jamie2dope
4.72/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this 12 ounce bottle sitting in my house for quite some time now, and figured there was never going to be a time where the occasion seemed appropriat enough for me to open it, so I said, the hell with it, open it whenever you feel like it, and thats what i felt like tonight. Pours a nearly pitch black color, slightly brown towards the top, with a nice white lace for a head. Aromas that surfaced were nice cocoa, milk, coffee, toffee...very truffle oriented. Taste was about as nice as it comes with a stout, caramel, milk chocolate, espresso, burnt coffee bean, cherries, tobacco...it never seemed to end on new tastes to come up with. Mouthfeel was somewhat light bodied for an oatmeal stout...but that was not a bad thing...made it more drinkable in the end. I never thought that this beer would age well, but after all of this time sitting above my fridge, I have found that it has grown to be a beer to be revered in every respect of the word. I have to admit, as I was pouring it into the H.O.D tulip glass, I felt like I was saying goodbye to an old dear friend. I have a feeling that one of these days I'll stumble upon this beer in a dusty corner somewhere, but if not, It was great getting to know it. This was probably the first stout that really got me engorged in the style. Shame on MH for discontinuing it....as close to sacriledge as you can get with beer as far as Im concerned. Cheers

Photo of weeare138
3.57/5  rDev -8%
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.

Photo of unknownlamer
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I found a six pack of this at a beer store down the street from my dad's house sitting lonely on a rack covered in dust. As it wasn't my money being wasted if it turned out to be off I took a risk ;-)

June was notched on the label as the drink-by, so I assume that it was meant to be had before June 2005. It held up until the end of December beautifully, and I am very glad that I took the chance on it.

It poured a deeo black with a large medium brown head. It was beautiful in the glass. The lacing was thick and sticky too. The aroma was very roasty with strong hints of bitter chocolate, and was still very bold. The smell was wonderful!

The flavor was fairly mellow, but still delicious. Roasted grain mixed with chocolate, and mild toffee. The grain bite was very mellow and almost not there at all. As it warmed a bit of plum came out while the bitterness remained fairly low.

The mouthfeel was silky smooth, and I think it was the best feeling oatmeal stout I have ever had. The low carbonation perfectly complemented the medium body, and the smoothness from the oatmeal made it a joy to drink.

When the last bottle of this is gone I shall be quite sad. It is a shame this was discontinued.

Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
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

Photo of tekk9
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a deep black with a rapidly disappearing light tan head. The nose has earthy, chocolate tones with a hint of hops at the end. This is not a powerful stout, but it is not a weak one by any means. It has the classic coffee, chocolate, caramelized flavors that you would expect from a stout. Although it is a bit thin feeling. It has a slight carbonization, which I appreciate. This beer goes down very smooth.

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in April, date notched March, so it may be past its time. Pours very dark, coppery highlights. Bubbly stoutish head that fades with thick lacing. Nice molasses smell on top of a bit of roastyness. Creamy taste counters more coffee notes. Despite that, it’s a very smooth overall package.

Photo of brentk56
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
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

Photo of clvand0
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Thanks to sulldaddy for this one. Pours a dark brown with a small head that has nice retention and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma has a lot of chocolate character with a little sweetness and a slight buttery thing. The flavor has a lot of the chocolate flavor with some roasted malts. The mouthfeel was just too thin on this one. Could use a lot more body. Tastes very nice, but I just want more thickness. Drinkability is good.

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

It pours a deep murky brown, though it could be easily mistaken for black in the rightn light. A sparse and quickly ebbing finger of light brown head peeks in and out.

The aroma delivers the coffee and chocolate notes of roated malt, along with a sherry/soy undertone. A vague hops air flits on the periphery.

The first sip conveys the dusky, tart flint of roasted malt and oatmeal, along with the mentioned chocolate and coffee earth tones. Sherry appears here as well, along with a distant cherry fruitiness. An almost vinegary tang carries through toward the finish, then gives way to a lightly lingering hops bitterness. The flavor, while multifaceted, comes across as thinner than it should.

This is suprisingly light bodied. While not watery, it does not have the presence on the palate that a stout generally delivers.

The tart character that over-emotes in the flavor takes away from what might have been a nicely complex beer. I seem to be going against the grain here, but there are other oatmeal stouts out there, Samuel Smith's springing to mind, that I think way outdo this one. It's a bit out of balance, and that doesn't settle well with me. That's not to say I'd turn one down if offered it by someone, but you can rest assured that I will not be the one doing the offering.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew comes to me through sulldaddy and clvand0. It pours a deep dark brown color with a finger of head that falls to coat the beer. The nose is really nice, withsome nice chocolateyness and a somewhat lacto creamyness. the flavor is a little more thin than the nose would say. The chocolate is there, with a bit of roasty goodness, but I wouldl like to see more in there. The feel is moderate, maybe a little watery for me. Overall, this is a nice brew. The flavor could be more robust and the feel could be a bit thicker. Other than that, good brew.

Photo of mentor
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good fricking lord. This was a fantastic beer. Thanks to Sulldaddy for the opportunity. Poured a single finger brown head over a pitch black liquid. Smelled sweet. Of licorice and molasses, roast grains, some Fuggles hops, and a hint of alcohol. Tasted chocolatey delicious. Very caramel and toffee flavored with mild roast. A hint of vanilla and a hint of chocolate-covered-cherry (like the fine candies that have a cherry liquor. Gentle and nice with a somewhat dry, but highly refined chocolate flavor. Medium body and mildly carbonated. Could use a bit more evervesence, but I'm really reaching to find *something* to complain about. Gimme a 6er and I'll give you 6 emtpy bottles. Really a fantastic beer.

Photo of arguemaniac
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have had a lot of Magic Hat before and on the inside of all the caps there are these little sayings. But underneath the cap from the bottle that I used in this review was the best one so far: “Pull my finger but do not linger.”

Appearance: Black, almost entirely opaque, with a short-lived, tan head which leaves a thin, wispy lace.

Aroma: Heavy roasted aromas with chocolate and coffee (mostly the latter, though). Some floral hop aroma too.

Taste and Mouthfeel: A very deep roasted coffee flavor, with chocolate, espresso and even a smooth hint of vanilla. Some hoppy bitterness but mostly coffee roastiness in the finish. The mouthfeel is slightly oily but somewhat thin for a stout. Mild carbonation.

I have to say that while this was a very enjoyable beer it really doesn’t taste like most of the stouts I’ve had. It’s more like rich, earthy porter. The questionable style-classification not withstanding, this was a very good beer: smooth, roasty and very tasty. Highly recommended.

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

Appearance: Pretty dark, nearly opaque. Thick, rich, tan head and plenty of it.

Smell: Typical stout nose -- dark, roasty chocolate and coffee dominating with a goodly amount of hops.

Taste: Roasted barley. Plenty of malt sweetness. Coffee and chocolate as well. Hoppy finish. Slight earthy/musty taste. A little light in body, but perhaps I've just been drinking too many Sam Smith Oatmeals lately.

Drinkability: This is an extremely drinkable beer. I think it might be the lighter-than-expected body coupled with the well balanced malt/hops that make this a very drinkable beer. Too bad I only have one more bottle of it.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of alexwag
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark, but not inky, with a medium-density head of about one finger which dissipates fairly quickly. Some lacing with swiss-cheese type holes that sticks around for a bit.

Smell, as has been noted, is not overpowering by any means. You have to really get in there to get much impact from it aside from background.

Taste is malty up front, but not terribly so. Then the carbonation, which is moderate, kicks in quickly after that with a dash of hoppiness which becomes more central towards the end of the taste. A grainy, but not unpleasant, nuttiness comes on the back of the tongue along with some roasted notes. At the very very end it almost tips back to some light sweetness, which is quite pleasant when you stick with it. Finishes with an invitation to come back for more.

Though I prefer the more elusive Ravell porter from Magic Hat I appreciate Heart of Darkness' pleasant drinkability, smoothness and medium complexity. I'd get it again, but not when the stronger Ravell is about.

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

Maybe I just don't want to like magic hat because of the funky naming of their beers, but this was quite nice. Smooth, caramelly (sp?), fully black--just how you like it, and just enough body to make this a nice stout worthy of the $3.99 a six-pack I paid for it on sale. I would buy it again even at full retail. Enjoy--I did.

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

Sampled on-tap at The Sunset in Boston.

This stout poured a dark, black color with creamy, tan foam that settled but left some lace on the glass. The smell was rather minimal but some dark malty aromas, including a touch of coffee, could be detected. The taste was full of dark malt with a bit of coffee and chocolate. The mouthfeel was dry and smooth with medium body and moderate carbonation. Malty but on the clean side. This was a nice stout which seemed to be leaning towards a dry, Irish stout, more than an oatmeal stout.

Photo of Shiredave
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very black beer. Tall brown head leaves a caramel lace glued to the glass.

Aroma is negligable- it may just be this bottle but I dont ever remember the nose of this beer being anything special. A slightly sweet, smokey/ roasty aroma.

The flavor on the other hand, is quite special. Lush and smooth up front flavors of coffee and burnt sugar, creamy mouth feel from the oats which also provide a little bit of mouth feel and texture to an otherwise light bodied stout. Ok... light middleweight. Lots of roasted barley flavor as I like it - none of the heavy chocolate malt flavor that so many American stouts have these days.

Finish is clean and roasty with a lingering bitter from both dark grain and hop. A very nice, easy drinkin Oat Stout.

Photo of Dithyramb
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased on the north side of Baltimore at Pinehurst liquors. Said that I was looking for something different, this was their only porter/stout that I hadn’t tried just yet. The typical catch your eye promotional marketing that you see with the Magic Hat line. They don’t produce the most awesomest beer out there, but they definitely look different on the package than the rest of the pack.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark black. There is not much head without a hard pour and very little carbonation evident
Smell: Soft, sweet malts on the nose with a touch of bitterness
Taste: The usual stout flavors with a bit of tangy flavor on the middle and end of the flavor profile that was decidedly different. A friend was claiming that this was due to the oats in the brew. Tasted very fruitlike, almost like a currant with bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy and smooth, it had a light to medium mouth feel. Appeared to lack a bit of oomph. The currant flavor was different, but the brew appeared to lack qualities in several other areas. I’ll finish the sixer eventually, but this might not be one I’ll be coming back to.

Photo of jed
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Comes in a brown, 3/4 pint bottle with a maccabre eye on the front label. Best by the end of March, 2005. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, oily black. Very uniform coloration, with no light getting through. Head is on the small side, about one finger, with weak retention. As the head dissipates, it leaves behind a trail of white lace.

Smell: Sweet oatmeal and roasted malt mixed with caramel and some raw alcohol esters. No hop precense in the smell.

Taste: Smooth, initial sweetness is hit by a mild wave of toasted malt. Some caramel notes, along with coffee flavors. Initial taste fades to a mild hop bitterness, again balanced by the malt. As the beer warms, more assertive bitterness and a more distinctive roast malt flavor. Finish is slightly dry, with lingering bitterness punctuated by some caramel.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, but surprisingly thin for such a complex, tasty stout. The mouthfeel is the only really disappointing element of this beer.

Drinkability: Solid. Lacks the huge alcohol content of something like Storm King, but too flavorful and heavy to be a session beer. Still, it's nice to have a stout with a relatively low ABV other than something like Guiness or Beamish.

Without doubt the most impressive Magic Hat beer I've had. I realize that Magic Hat takes some heat from the craft beer community for offerings like #9, but Heart of Darkness is an excellent oatmeal stout. This beer, along with Ravel, are definitely worth purchasing. Highly recommended.

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Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,345 ratings.