1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

1,282 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,282
Reviews: 320
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 61
Gots: 89 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heart Of Darkness Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,282 | Reviews: 320 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SixpointJMH
4.53/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep black with a thin head that quickly dissolves yet never completely disappears. predominantly smells of coffee with hints of chocolate. there is a definite roasted flavour here as well as smoked malts and coffee as mentioned above. though certainly not light, much easier going down than would appear. not nearly as heavy as other stouts. overall, one hell of a stout and one hell of a beer in general. my favourite in the magic hat family.

SixpointJMH, Feb 11, 2003
Photo of Thrasher
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow, a lot of people have reviewed this beer in the past few days. Opaque black with ruby edges. Head was small but did not vanish. Appealing aroma of roasted barley, chocolate, coffee, grasses. Sharp tasting, like many of MH's brews, with a bold assertive flavor that informs the drinker, hey we are not dicking around here. Roastiness takes a while to settle in, very warming and invigorating. Some light smokiness in the background, a little bit of greasiness too but not repugnant. Hops are grassy, drying, and refresingly bitter. A perfect balance between bitter and sweet. Other reviews have talked about creaminess but I'm not getting it. I would say this is a bit slick for a stout, maybe even a little thin. Stickiness is appropriate and delightful. Each sip requires another, a very drinkable beer. An exquisite beer for a snowy winter's day.

Thrasher, Feb 11, 2003
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is just like the Conrad novel. Dark! Really dark with a thin tan head. The smell was the best part of the beer because it reminded me of one of my favorite things to do. Take a big whif from a bag of freshly ground coffee. There were also some smells that made it smell a little like damp earth too. Excellent smell! The taste had little hints but wasn't quite as good, but the thickness made up for that. Magic Hat has a winner here.

GreatPondBrewer, Feb 09, 2003
Photo of waughbrew
2.85/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

true to the darkness claim, but had a small, short-lived head: after a few seconds the top of the beer looked strangely like an oil slick. Decent aroma mostly made up of roasted and burnt malts and a wee bit of oatmeal. The flavor is too one-dimensional for me (and too much black patent bitterness). It seems to start very similar to how it finishes, with little change in between. I prefer more complexity in my oatmeal stouts, but being Magic Hat the brewers were probably going for a session-style oatmeal stout. And for that, it is fine. An average beer in my book.

waughbrew, Feb 09, 2003
Photo of jeffboo
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Heart of Darkness, thanks to Kunzbrew for sample. A black beer with some red glow while backlit. The aroma is huge, lots of chocolate,roasted grain, and raisins in this tan foam. The flavors are of espresso,and bitter chocolate that lingers on when the glass is set down. Unfortunately the body is too thin and flavor too dry to get the maximum flavor out of the ingredients.A little more sweetness and the body filled out and this one could stand out. But until then..........

jeffboo, Feb 07, 2003
Photo of MJR
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

My first Magic Hat brew...I've been looking forward to this!

Underneath the cap says: 'Come to the Night...of the Living Dead.' Nice cheap advertising for their annual Halloween bash!

Appearance: Pours an incredibly dark brown with reddish highlights. A light tan head starts thick and shrinks down to a thin cap.

Smell: Has an aroma of heavy roasted coffee with just a touch of bitterness. There's a touch of an earthy smell too, perhaps from the oatmeal?

Taste: Lots of coffee character with a smooth flavor that bounces back and forth between roasted and burnt. There's a nice general hop bitterness that is present the entire tasting, but get's a bit stronger in the finish. A touch of chocolate is buried in there too. Overall, the flavor is a bit grainy. Nice...

Mouthfeel: Somewhat dry and crisp, but the body is 'way' too thin for an oatmeal stout. They should thicken it up for a more chewy mouthfeel. Oatmeal stouts could be one of my favorite styles, but I can't seem to find one that's thick enough for me!

Drinkability: Very good. I could drink this brew all night. The finish is just dry enough to warrant another pint.

A 'thank you' goes out to Mike (kunzbrew) for sending me this one in a beer trade!

MJR, Feb 07, 2003
Photo of stegmakk
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a tan and very lacy head.
It had a mild malty and chocolate aroma.
There was a malty flavor with a subtle sweet aftertaste. Overall a very good flavor from beginning to end, however a little too tame.
Medium bodied. Wish it was ceamier.
Not a bad brew from Magic Hat. I might put this into my beer purchasing rotation under the less frequent.

stegmakk, Feb 07, 2003
Photo of beerluvr
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured with a tight tan head over a dark brown with reddish highlighted liquid. Very nice aromas of coffee and chocolate over a background of roasty grains. The taste is a bit thin in the mouthfeel department, with flavors of highly roasted malts...not much in the way of sweetness, or oatmealy smoothness. A nice level of hoppiness mixes with the roasted grains to lend a very sufficient and enjoyable bitterness to the mix. Things finish up on a dry and roasty note. For the price ($5.99) it's a very nice, tasty stout...easy to drink in quantity.

beerluvr, Feb 06, 2003
Photo of BeerAngel
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost jet black with garnet highlights and comes with a nice tan two-finger head. The aromas of roasted malts and chocolate are dominant and make your mouth water. Holy Kamoly or however you spell it! This stuff is smooth and mirrors the aromas along with perfectly blended hops to make one great tasting brew! The mouthfeel is medium bodied yet finishes just slightly thinner and with a burnt chocolate flavor. Very good brew! Thanks to BIGDEB for sending me this brew! Cheers!

BeerAngel, Feb 03, 2003
Photo of purplehops
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Heart of darkness pours a deep black with garnet high-lights and a very thin tan head that disappears quickly, leaving little to no lace. The aroma is roasted grain and charcoal with a hint of citrus. The taste starts with a rush of coffee and black malt with charcoal and a hint of cocoa. The finish is very dry with some carbonation prickle on the tongue and flavors of roasted malt starting to blend with hop bitterness. The aftertaste is coffee and citrus hop flavors lingering for quite a while. The mouthfeel is light and acidic. To light for a stout IMHO.
Overall a nice blend of flavors but nothing really special. IMHO it could use a richer and thicker body and a little more aroma. I wouldn't turn one down but at the same time I wouldn't go out of my way for one.

purplehops, Feb 01, 2003
Photo of scottum
4.65/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mint! I got a free Magic Hat pint glass with the six pack of this favorite brew of mine. Pours our black as black can be. Tastes oh so good! Not quite as nice as on tap, but I won't complain because this is just such a great beer! Thank you Magic Hat!

scottum, Jan 30, 2003
Photo of kelticblood
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Heart of Darkness poured out a solid black with great carbonation and appearance.The aroma for me was coffee and chocolate,and maybe a bit of smoke.The first sip was all smoke and coffee in flavor.Starting to leave trails of lace with each sip.Kind of an oil like mouthfeel.Not much carbonation in the actual mouthfeel.An earthy,peat,smoke,and coffee taste.The texture seemed a bit watery for a stout.Overall very good but not great IMO.

kelticblood, Jan 24, 2003
Photo of Brewzzle
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A sweet coffee chocolate aroma to start with along with a head that fizzles quickly. A typical dark reddish brown color.

To taste it is very straightforward, roasted malt, coffee and a hop bitterness to balance it out. Aftertaste is more of the same but with a thin watery body which kind of spoils the whole experience. Body is medium to light, seems appropriate though.

An easy drinking stout, very typical of the style. I was a little dissapointed, I was hoping the Magic Hat people would do something special with this one.

Brewzzle, Jan 19, 2003
Photo of Viking
4.63/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an inky brownish-red, almost black. Small off-white head. If you look closely, and have patience, you may see a trace of CO2 in the body. Hade fades quickly, leaving a thin, spidery lace. Aroma of roasted oats, with hints of chocolate and (unless my nose decieves me) coffee. I also seemed to notice a faint trace of maple syrup in the aroma after the beer had warmed a bit (possibly my imagination). Flavor packed with roasted oats, hints of chocolate, and faint bits of smoked peat. Moderately bitter throughout; slightly more bitter in the finish. Has a lingering aftertaste of bittersweet chocolate. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. An excellent session stout.

Special thanks to pbrian for sending this on my way!

Viking, Jan 14, 2003
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Magic Hat beer, I have heard and read so much about these beers.
This one comes in a 12 fl.oz. bottle with a rather strange psychedelic purple and orange label that has a solitary single eye that simply sits and stares at you with the words Heart of Darkness in black text below, with the word Stout in white text to the left of the eye. The label is in the mold of Edward Munch’s “The Scream” Slightly disturbing.

Black but not thick, quite thin when poured, struggles to maintain more than a thin broken brown head, which spoils the appearance and leaves minimal lace.
Aromas are of deep roast malts and nothing else. Tastes are also highly roast, burnt, cremated deeply dead tastes that are sarcastically laughing at the living world. Amazing depth to the burnt roast flavors in the middle of this beer, very wholesome. Mouthfeel is indeed solid and very smooth - silky burnt residues cling to the palate long after the beer has gone. A nice crisp bitter finish with some sweet fruitiness in the end.

A full-bodied Stout that impresses, I would like to try this beer on draft; I have a feeling that this may be the better medium for a beer of this intensity.

Thumbs Up to BigDeb for this Sample - Nice One Deb.

TheLongBeachBum, Jan 13, 2003
Photo of Reverand
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This truely captures the essence of a stout.This brew was black as the night with a small creamy tannish head.Belgian lace left its mark all the way to the bottom of the pint glass.Roasted barley and a sweet carmel chocolate smell. Extremely smooth and easy to drink. Full bodied the way a stout should be.

Reverand, Jan 12, 2003
Photo of yen157
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Almost black. Very, very, very dark red. Pretty head of big bubbles and some bulges made up of leaner bubbles, both tan in color, decorated the top of this beer. Funky lace stuck to the sides of the glass. Coffee and some fruitiness from hops, maybe raspberry-like, make up the nose of this elegant stout. Tasted of nicely toasted grains and either wood or nuts, I haven’t made up my mind. Some charcoal flavor exists as one would expect, but it doesn’t add much bitterness as is often the case. A tiny sourness pops up every now and then just adding to the complexity of the brew. Extremely creamy in the mouth. Overall, very good stout. A nice change from overly assertive stouts.

yen157, Jan 08, 2003
Photo of kunzbrew
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark coffee colr with little head that leaves a nice sexy lace behind. The smell of coffee and nuts fill the nose with great pleasure. The oats are not as strong as they could be but thats ok. The finish is very nice. there is not a strong coffee flavor on the pallette at the finish. This is a very nice beer to compliment tonight dinner.



kunzbrew, Jan 07, 2003
Photo of koolkat
4.7/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh the heart of darkness. One of my favorite beers of all time. An excellent dark beer without the dark beer lingering aftertaste. A beer that even non darkbeer drinkers will still drink. I always manage to pick up a couple of cases and some growlers whenever I am back home in Vermont.

koolkat, Dec 22, 2002
Photo of proc
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very good stout. Pours out to the usual blackness of the style with a slight head and decent amount of carbonation. Aroma is of that of coffee with a slight caramel presence. This is a very balanced stout. There is a beautiful taste of roasted malt that is followed on the swallow by a mellow, but tasty, hop presence. I am so used to the hop kick of the Bell's stouts, that this was a bit mellower in comparison, but it lended to the balance of the beer. A highly drinkable stout. Delicious.

Thank you to BIGDEB499 for sending this my way.

proc, Dec 19, 2002
Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +16%
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.

Jason, Dec 05, 2002
Photo of doerickson
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Cambridge Common. Black with a tinge of dark ruby around the edges. Three quarter inch fine bubbled tan head. Aromas of dark chocolate and coffee, with a hint of earthy hops. Light carbonation, medium-heavy body. Creamy mouthfeel. Flavors of coffee are up front, with some chocolate milky sweetness and a nice subtle hop presence to balance. This is a top-drawer New England stout.

doerickson, Dec 02, 2002
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very tiny 1/4 inch head that did not last more than 10 seconds. Dark as night. The smell is coffee and chocolate malt, very nice. The taste is very unique. Dry, complex yet well balanced. The finish is dry with a bit of malt. I would love to try this on tap.

CharlesRiver, Nov 18, 2002
Photo of Murph
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Black with some faint light coming around the edges a creamy light brown head with a strong lace. Great coffee and dark chocolate aromas with only a slight roasted/burnt bitterness. Roasted coffe starts out on the tongue but makes a transition into some strong bittersweet chocolate flavors. Silky smooth on the tongue and exceptionally creamy. This brew is definitely one of the most drinkable full flavored stouts out there. Definitely one of my favorites from Magic Hat, this is one first class brew. Thanks to Bierman9 for the sample.

Murph, Jul 07, 2002
Photo of ElGuapo
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a fine stout by a fine brewery. magic hat seems to be a pretty good brewer of beers. i am a fan of a few of their beers, and this one is the best. it is dark, coffee flavored and simply delicious, just like a fine woman

ElGuapo, Jun 30, 2002
Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,282 ratings.