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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,335 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(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 santoslhalper
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearence: Pours the normal black stout color. Thin (very thin) chocolate head.

Smell: Smells chocolatey. Mostly bittersweet chocolates with a nice oat background. Smells better than most otmeal stouts do.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tastes nice and sweet. A suprising amount of espresso notes rise up, eventually dying into a well balanced hop ending. The oatmeal tastes great and doesn't overpower the rest of the brew. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy.

Drinkability and Overall: So far I've been unimpressed with the beers my friend brought me from Magic Hat. This one is the best I've had, and definitly doesn't follow the trend of the other beers from this brewery. A solid, strong, and very drinkable oatmeal stout that is one to try.

Photo of LarryKemp
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This stout poured what appeared to be pitch black until held up to a light an then a slight redness can be detercted. The tan to brown head was not particularly creamy but was quite persistent and lingered on the side of the glass.

The roasted aroma filled my nose the moment I removed the cap and the smell lingered for some time. It reminded me of a drink from Starbucks. Rich and creamy.

This beer is on the sweet side of balanced. Just when I was about to say very sweet, the roasted bite kicks in and moves the balance of the beer toward the middle, but not quite.

The mouthfeel was not as creamy as I had hoped. It is medium bodied and does have a smoothness without being oily.

This is a beer that Malto brought down to Dallas and is a damn fine stout. I particularly like its sweetness and wish I had a couple more. Hey Malto, I will trade you a couple Texas Tornados for a few more of these!!!

Photo of ybnorml
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very dark brown/black beer with ruby highlights. Has a small dark beige head that leaves quickly. There is a tasty sweet malt aroma with a good coffee background. The flavor starts with a strong bittersweet chocolate character and that slips nicely into a sweet licorice finish. The mouthfeel seemed a little thin for what I expected.

Photo of Hibernator
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle and served in a tulip pint glass. Cool looking Magic Hat label design. Freshness date is notched to be enjoyed before February 2005.

Jet black color with a nice, fluffy 1 inch tan colored head. Sticky lacings are clinging all over the sides of the glass.

Aroma of licorice, roasted coffee and molasses.

A very soft bodied stout that blends roasted malt flavors and a minor hop bitterness. Flavors of chocolate, creamy butterscotch, and roasted coffee.

This is a great stout and one beer that I am glad to see on the shelves. I didn't realize until recently that this was a Magic Hat Winter seasonal.

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

This brew pours a pretty opaque black color with just a hint of ruby hues and a firm offwhite head that leaves a nice lace. Aromas show off bits of bittersweet chocolate, hints of roasty dark malts and oats, and an array of coffees. For flavor this brew starts off quite creamy with oats and roast like flavors competing on the main stage. Following a slight coffee / chocolate tone makes itself present with just a tiny hint of sweetness and a slight charcoal almost smoke like flavor (which doesn't work well for me). The oats make their way back into the picture after this, with also a slight toffeesque like flavor finding its way into the picture. The finish to this brew is nicely bitter with a semi astringent roast flavor that lingers on the tongue. This beer has a nice mouthfeel to it, being fairly light bodied and creamy, with a nice slightly biting carbonation. Overall a decent session stout but nothing worth going out of your way to pick up.

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

Heart of Darkness was served from a 12 oz. bottle adorned with very n(eye)ce label. In a pint glass, the beer was black with tawny edge accents, and was topped by a thin brown head. The nose was excellent, offering roasty, lighly smokey chocolate maltiness and strong enticing accents of vanilla and sasparilla. The stout tasted good as well, with a lightly roasty choco-coffee malt base that opened up with cola and sasparilla notes and finished with yummy, vaguely smokey, bittered choco-cola-coffee flavors. The body was full and smooth, and the carbonation was appropriate. Heart of Darkness is a very good, balanced and tasty session stout.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. amber bottle. "Best by" notch on the back of the bottle indicates that this is best enjoyed fresh. Given that the "April" was notched, I wonder if it might have been a litte past its prime.

Poured a pitch black inky darkness with a solid caramel-colored head that laces all over the glass. Aromas are roasted coffee, caramel, toffee, and bittersweet chocolate. Flavor falls short. Starts with a flavorful and smooth dose of thick stouty flavors of roasted coffee beans and grain, but quickly dies off to a unpleasant, almost sour aftertaste. Roasted nut aftertaste. Slightly thin mouthfeel. A drinkable stout, but one that I'd had much bigger hopes for when I started.

Photo of MattFrenzy
4.97/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Very dark brown with tan, foamy head that eventuallyl recedes to a decent amount of lace. Reminds me of coca-cola for some reason.

Smell: Smooth and malty, sweet, slight hint of hops but no alcohol, nutty, oatmeal, roasted, mmm.

Taste: Oh so smooth, roasted coffee with a malted aftertaste that lingers and begs for more. Sweet but bitterness shows through as it warms up. Extremely drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium thickness for a stout, minor carbonation but nothing annoying... can I say smooth any more?

The first time I tried this beer I turned to my buddy... "Oh... my... god... This may be the best beer I've ever tasted." Still holds true... this is one of the greatest stouts in my opinion and I would drink this constantly if I could... would take this over Guinness any day of the week. Superb.

Photo of shapudding
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Creamy brown head atop pitch blackness. Scents of toffee, orange, chocolate...
Tastes of dark roasted malts, bitter coffee, and chocolate. Great amount of flavor. Found this one pleasantly surprising for Magic Hat, as there was sucha hub-bub about them that when some bottles showed up being held for a buddy at a local pub I was kinda excited, then tasted, then felt like I had waited all year for a carnival that showed up with one ride. This was yummers. Very smooth and creamy, full of flavor. Not too heavy or complex, not too intense. Good stuff.

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was poured from a dark 12 oz. browner bottle with a secret “best by May” notch. This pours into me pint glass while yielding a totally dark pour and zero light permeatation. A slick thin khaki head just laughs at the idea of sticking to the glass, while covering me pinter. After digging in half way, a few swirls evoke that tan cover right up again.

Dark coffee roasted nose with a toffee twinge added. This has the easiest nose I’ve ever sniffed out of a stout. MAGIC HAT really has its own respectable unique thing goin’. As she warms, scents of awl-kee-hawl slowly pervade.

Dark looking, but not dark tasting. A MAGIC HAT house flavor of juicy juice in the taste reminiscent of apple juice or cider greets a more mocha coffee taste and semi-dark malts.

Easy juicy body to this stoudt which lends to a good Drinkability for a stout. This is far from a “need a knife and fork to drink it” type stout.

Last swigs: Fruit hints of grapes combine with easy mocha to offer a pleasant summer style stout with good drinkability. An excellent convert beer to bring the A-B/M/C crowd to the “dark side” of better beers. Thanks to my friend JBDubs for bringing this down fresh from her hometown of Millis, MA.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Photo of mzwolinski
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color with a very thin, dark tan head. Aroma is slightly roasty with hints of bittersweet chocolate. The mouthfeel is hearty but not overly so. Decently roasty up front with a chocolatey sweetness in the middle and a fairly sharp hop bitterness at the finish.

Photo of chaduvel
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Great looking heart of darkness color, dark tan head. Smell of roasted oats and coffee. Taste is nice, with licorice, coffee, and roasted bitterness. Mouthfeel is very weak and watery, however, leaving me quite disappointed. Not bad, but there are much better oatmeal stouts out there.

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

Pours black with red highlights and alight tan head. Very attractive beer. Minor-sized head produced fades quickly but leaves samll beads of laces on the glass.
Aroma of roasted barley, espresso, black licorice and wood and earth tone. Great aromatic aroma.
Flavor notes of coffee, malted milk balls, oatmeal and earthy bitter hop notes giving off moderate bitterness.
Mouthfeel starts really well with full feel but then fades at the end to a slightly metallic and somewhat watery finish. Only quasi-nhegative about the beer.
Drinkability was high would like to try on draught to get full enjoyment.
Great stout, thanks PBrian and Beerluvr for these beauties.

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

Poured into a pint glass, the black brew formed a finger of brown foam. It had a roasty coffee aroma and a flavor that was only slightly more complex. There were chocolate notes on top of the the roasted malt base. I wouldn't call the malts burnt, but the roasting was a bit stronger than I tend to prefer, influencing the drink ability score. The beer was lighter bodied than I would have expected.

Photo of Beersignal
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was very dark... in fact it was BLACK! Very faint crimson highlights shone through as it was diluted by light. Quite a sight to see such a dark beer. The tan foam which capped the beer was initially dense and generous but waned quickly to a thin slick of bubbles which left a fine lace on the glass.

Nose is rife with toasted malts, and molasses upfront. Dark roast coffee and a hint of freshly ground black pepper followed by biscuit aromas close out the olfactory loop. Pleasant smell.

Fine but dense carbonation greets the palate as the first sip enters. Medium bodied and creamy liquid yields a passive malt character sustained by a duet of bitter flavours from the dark malts and hops. The final is of fresh hops and a mild but sustained residual sugar.

Nicely executed stout with a solid burnt malt foundation that lends the beer much of its character. Will look forward to rediscovering this stout

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

12oz bottle

Apperance; Foamy tan head, nice lace rings. black, black.

Nose: Sweet sugars (thats not an oxymoron). Carmel, butterscotch. toffee.

Taste: Usual stout taste. That, plus a light fruity taste. It's a lighter stout. It is very drinkable.

Notes: This brew had great rings. the haed does not stick around too long, but the lacing around the glass leaves some nice thin rings.

Photo of BeefyMee
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: I don't give out fives too often, but the beer was flawless in this department. Almost pure black body with a tan head floating on top and nice lacing on the sides.

Smell: Smells like Magic Hat. What the hell makes that happen? I don't know, but I like it. A pleasant roasted aroma is present as well.

Taste: Man I'm glad I let this warm up a little. It's such a flavorful brew, which is obvious when it's just chilled. There is a strong roasted, oatmealy flavor all the way through. The aftertaste is of creamy milk chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a load of character.

Drinkability: I would drink these as long as I could, but one feels a little heavy in my stomach as do most oatmeal stouts.

Beef Notes: A truly great beer from one of the best breweries in the US. I will be returning to it again and again and again and...

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

The beer pours a tar black, completely opaque even around the bottom of the glass. A thick topping of darkish beige mist coats the viscous looking liquid, leaving some blobs of lace clinging to the glass. Decent retention, dropping out almost entirely with a few sips left.
The aroma is very chocolatey, with a solid amount of oatmeal lending it's distinct, almost milky, smoothness. Heaps of roasted malt, with an enticing bittersweet aroma. Some charred grain and coffee, with a slight buttery tinge. Mild black cherry and fig.
The flavor starts with impressive roasty malt. A touch grainy, with a strong chocolate taste, along with a sweetly mellowing oatmeal smoothness throughout. Some coffee flavor, moving into a cautious fig, riasin and cherry fruitiness. A bit of slick butteriness in the mouthfeel. The finish is a restrained burnt bitterness, assisted with a pinch of grassy hopping. Very smooth and easy drinking, supported by slight, fluffy carbonation. A burly medium body, assuredly assisted by a bit of yeast presence. A lingering roasty aftertaste, with a suggestion of cherry cordial.
One of my favorite oatmeal stouts, and probably my favorite 12oz offering from Magic Hat. My only complaint is that this isn't offered year round, even though some package stores try to pretend.

Photo of mikeys01
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours out an asphalt black, with a slight frothy brown head. Aroma is very roasty with just a bit of coffee and a hint of bitter hops. Taste is full of roasted malt along with pronounced flavors of coffee and chocolate, and thin wisps of smoke. Very smooth and creamy throughout, with a nice hop bitterness firming it up toward the end. Body is quite medium, not heavy at all. The HOD is a very drinkable stout indeed, good offering from the Hat.

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

Brew pours very dark, I would say black in color. Nice size head that dissipates pretty quickly but has excellent lacing. It has a very nice semi sweet smell with coffee and smoked aromas. The taste is excellent, a real nice tasting stout. It is a little bitter but goes very well with this brew. Can taste the smoke like roasted flavors with a hint of butterscotch? Also seems to have a smoky fruit taste that goes along with it very well. Has nice carbonation and over all a very nice beer. I think it is one of the best that I have had from Magic Hat. Labeled as a oatmeal stout, but I have a hard time associating oatmeal with it, but regardless it is a phenomenal brew in my book.

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Head pours with a Guinness cascade before settling into a frothy mocha milk shake three-to-four fingers deep. And the body lives up to the name, with just a line of ruby red at the bottom of the glass.
Excellent lacing. Good roasty nose, chocolate and coffee and liquorice (oh my!). Roasted malts escort the chocolate and expresso across the tongue, and into a mild earty hop finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I like, and I don't sense the rounding of the oatmeal. Mouthfeel aside, this a good stout. Don't be afraid of the dark.

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

Pours a really dark(duh)black with a big fat espresso colored head. Smells very strongly of coffee. Lots of lacing and retention. Nice looking brew.

The taste is most excellent. Lots of big dark malt, coffee, deeply roasted and burnt nut. Carbonation is a little too noticeable but tolerabe, and mouthfeel is on the medium oily side. Low ABV makes this a easy drinker for the long term. Nice job MH.

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

Deep mahogany approaching black. Tight small bubbled tan head.
Musty wet malt aroma, chocolate, coffee grinds, a note reminiscent of dumping water on a campfire, dark chocolate, caramel and burnt wood.
Dark roasted malt taste, strong coffee flavor, dark fruit (raisin and cherry) and anise. I wasn't picking up any oatmeal, didn't even realize it was an oatmeal stout.
Medium feel, full robust taste, a bit too assertive taste.
Would be a session beer if the flavors didn't overwhelm my palate after the second one.

Photo of RocketWidget
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes in a twelve ounce brown bottle with a cool eye picture on the label. My cap reads “Keep the Pace, go to Space”.

Pours a mighty fine black obsidian color, just perfect. Head could be more thick though. Smell is of oats, malt and honey. Taste is, in a word, BAM. Oats and malts and roasted coffee combine in a complex roll in your mouth, potent from the instant I touch the liquid with my mouth until seconds after swallowing. One of the strongest flavored stouts I’ve ever had, kickass good. This would go great with a heavy, full bodied meal. Man I love this stuff. Is it the fact that I have matching Magic Hat pint glasses to drink out of that make it this good? Donno, but drink this stuff!

Photo of aracauna
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Good black beer with a sandy light tan head that lingers. Good roastiness in the aroma. I'm getting charcoal and espresso in both the aroma and the flavor. The roasty notes come in heavy up tops but fades into a light chocolate and bitterness in the short finish. Seems like it needs something else in there to support the roast up top. Still a good stout, though.

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