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Heart Of Darkness - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Heart Of DarknessHeart Of Darkness

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

1,124 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1124
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: 1,124 | Reviews: 316 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of yesyouam

New York

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

Magic Hat Heart of Darkness is a solid, black ale with a generous, soft, light brown head that has outstanding lacing and retention. The aroma is kind of tangy with a fair amount of dark roast. There's a note of caramel and some sort of spice. It's smooth and medium bodied with a dry finish that's pretty clean. It tastes pretty dry and roasty with just enough bitterness to balance it out. It is pretty tangy, but not fruity. There are notes of caramel and vanilla. A light, resiny bitterness lingers for a bit after the swallow. This is a really solid offering from Magic Hat. I can down a 6-pack of this with no hesitation.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2013 01:59:06 | More by yesyouam
Photo of ocelot2500


3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany color with a creamy, mocha head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of coffee notes along with some cocoa.

Tastes of nice roasted notes with some sweetness to it. Notes of coffee and coca come through backed up by some brown sugar. Some oats come through in the middle along with a little nuttiness. Ends with a little earthy hop bite.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is pretty good and better than I expected.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2013 03:26:44 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of nUgZ

North Carolina

4.29/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown/black color with a half finger head and some lacing.

S: Really nice blend of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and espresso. Sweet and inviting!

T: Very much like the smell, with the addition of some smoke and a touch of bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Pretty smooth.

O: This is a very enjoyable stout. It's well balanced, tasty, and easy to drink. I prefer Imperial Stouts, but this is a great example of an English Stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2013 00:54:15 | More by nUgZ
Photo of y2jrock60


4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Very dark black and opaque with a tan head with a fair amount of lacing.

S- Prominent bitter chocolate aroma with notes of toffee, caramel, coffee, and a slight sweetness.

T- Thick and smooth upfront with a roasted malt backbone that fades into a nice bitterness. Very well rounded. There is some sweetness in the middle and end as well.

M- Medium-thick bodied with low-moderate carbonation. It starts of thick and has a smooth texture.

O- A very delicious stout and well balanced. It's not overly complicated, but contains a great amount of character. The ingredients compliment each other without trying to overpower each other.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2013 06:17:13 | More by y2jrock60
Photo of emerge077


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 bluejacket74


3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a quarter inch tan head. Both the head retention and lacing are decent enough. The brew smells like roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, coffee and a bit of dark fruit. I think the taste is pretty much just like the aroma, although the dark fruit flavor is a bit stronger. It's also more sweet than bitter tasting. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy, smooth and easy to drink. I think it's a solid brew. Picked up a single at Liquor Barn for $1.79.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2013 00:32:45 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of micromaniac129


3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty desent stout here. It has a rich deep darkness to it but not much in way of a foamy cap, bascially a foamy collar. The aroma has a deep roasted malt nose with underlying milk chocolate. Taste wise it's a little one dimensional. I really only taste roasted malts. Maybe thats enough since it is highly roasted. Usually one would taste other sutle nuiances but not the case here.
Drinks smooth and a bit bitter but also with that being said that also is an underlying chalkiness too. I like this beer it's quite good but also standard fair from Magic hat. What can they do to take themselvies to the next level.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2013 14:20:28 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of 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 Chico1985


3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Under my cap it said "Booyah! Love Luke"...Free Beer From Work time!

Dark brown on the pour, no translucence but some red highlights. Tan head turns to a thick ring and stays that way.

Nose is a pleasant temptress - chocolate kisses, raisins, earthiness, dark bread.

Taste brings on some great roast and milk chocolate tones, some oats, bread and dark fruit. English yeast and some earthy hops. Has a bit of a winter warmer feel minus the spice.

Full mouthfeel with lowish carbonation.

Heard good things and I'm definitely not disappointed. Full, complex flavor in a low ABV stout, and the English-ness makes it rather unique. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2013 23:39:52 | More by Chico1985
Photo of blakelive784


2.86/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a non transparent dark brown color with tan head, two finger head. It's decently thick but retention is poor. Meh.

S - Heavy roasted malts up front. Semi-sweet dark chocolates and dark roast coffee. Light sweet, burnt caramel. Moderate strength. Seemingly well balanced and inviting, but it's missing the complexity I look for in a great stout.

T - Thin roasted malts mingle with instant coffee. I'm a little disappointed. It doesn't follow through. No cream. Bitter coffee. A bit watery, even. Lightly sweet chocolate. It's simple and bland.

M - Medium bodied, thin and way too carbonated.

D - It's an average stout. Nothing great, but not terrible. I'd pass on it in the future.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2013 01:41:25 | More by blakelive784
Photo of wingman14


4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with brown highlights, with a mocha head. A very nice pour for a stout, a powerful smell, chocolate, roasted malt, and sweet notes. The taste follows suit, powerful taste, the roasted malt stays throughout, starts sweet ends malty. The roasted malt stays in the aftertaste, great flavors with good balance. A good mouthfeel for an English stout, medium-light, good carbonation, nice and smooth. Overall a great flavor, and easy to drink, a great beer, definitely worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 02:42:28 | More by wingman14
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: A very dark superior brown, not exactly opaque with heavy bubbles on the top of the body. Head comes off light tan maybe an eighth of an inch.

Smell: Light dark chcolate scent comes off strong but dissipates quickly.

Taste: Strong chocolate feel, an easy bitterness which is easy to get accustomed to. Definitely tastes stronger than what it really is. Heavty malts, with light molasses, IMHO...worth buying.

Mouth: Medium with a slight sweet feel at the end coming off a little dry or maybe it's just me.

Overall: Good beer that I picked up in a variety pack not too long ago and definitely would be on the lookout. Doesn't hit you in the pockets and you definitely get a lot. Grab a glass and enjoy....Salud!

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2013 23:48:40 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of ThePorterSorter


3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at mcgreggors

The beer pours a black with a thin tan head that fades quickly. The nose presents some dry Irish yeast notes, a slight bitterness and sweetness. The yeast predominates the flavor profile along with some semi-sweet cocoa, and a slight bitterness. It's definitely drinkable with a semi-dry, stouty finish. It's a drinkable stout with a modest abv...one of the first magic hat beers I don't regret buying...

Serving type: on-tap

02-27-2013 01:28:15 | More by ThePorterSorter
Photo of Jadjunk


4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Heart of Darkness is brewed in the style of an English Stout. Available as part of the Magic Hat Winterland Variety Packs and as a stand alone 6 pack seasonal, returning after a many year hiatus.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served north of 51º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy frothy medium brown head over an inky black body. Head retention is above average and the body color is dark and solid. Lacing is medium thick and consistent. Very nice appearance. 4

(Smell) Deep roasted caramel malts, notes of chocolate and licorice, medium sweet over mild earthy bitter balance. Aroma has a medium potency. Very dark and roasty aroma. Very enjoyable. 3.75

(Taste) Heavily roasted barley sweetness, semi-bitter chocolate and earthy hop notes. Balance is about right on, with just enough earthy and hop bitterness to counter the malt sweetness. A notably robust licorice character graces the end of this beer. Despite a heavier body, there is a good deal of drinkability to this beer. I could manage enjoying a couple of these in a row. Enjoyable flavors, high drinkability all makes for an enjoyable stout. 4.25

(Mouthfeel) Carbonation is very mild, creamy smooth with a touch of air and mild chocolate bitterness for balance. Malt presence is mildly fluffy and very roasty. Body is medium+ for stouts, medium/heavy overall. Alcohol presence is very low. Very enjoyable balance and texture. 4.25

(Overall) Drinks much like a flavorful, earthy European-style stout but with a delectable creaminess and accessible body it's a tasty and drinkable stout for sure. One of Magic Hat's most cherished releases, this warrants a return visit every year. Highly recommended. 4

Magic Hat Brewing Company's
Heart Of Darkness Stout

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2013 01:33:37 | More by Jadjunk
Photo of Neorebel

New Jersey

3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This stout has an excellent near-black opaque appearance. There seems to be some carbonation here. The initial pour produces a huge, khaki colored fluff, and the bubbles themselves are dense like sea foam. This later goes down, but not completely - there's always a little cover over the dark beer. Bonus points for that! The aroma is a breeze of pure bliss through my nostrils! It's main characteristics are vanilla cream, milk chocolate, and sweetened coffee. However good, it is fairly straight forward. The taste is very similar to the aroma, with a good balance between the bitter and the sweet aspects. That slight fruit flavor so telling of a Magic Hat brew is here, of course too. It feels light in the mouth and the finish has a roasted flavor and a dry effect to it. Overall, it's a nice stout that goes down easy when you're not in the mood for a 'big' beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2013 04:14:01 | More by Neorebel
Photo of 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 deltatauhobbit


3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color, practically black, about a finger and a half of head, light tan color, fades at a very slow rate and leaves some small bits of lacing on the glass.

Smell has a strong cocoa aroma, the chocolate really hits the nose right away and is the most dominate feature but also blocks any other aromas from forming.

Taste is a little more straightforward, roasted malt upfront, the cocoa presence is much lighter in flavor than it is in aroma, burnt malt bitterness and a slight metallic flavor in the aftertaste, body is surprisingly thin with a carbonation that just seems too aggressive.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2013 20:16:28 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of Flounder57


3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz beer was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a small mocha head that reduced to a thin layer quickly. It is a pitch black color with with no clarity.

Smell: Roasted coffee, mocha, and some smokiness.

Taste: Roasted coffee is there like it should be. Some bittersweet chocolate, ash, and smoke too. A little bitterness in the end too.

Mouthfeel: tingly bitterness, smoky, medium carbonation, medium bodied, and a little watery.

Overall: A style you don't find too often but happy to have enjoyed this regional brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2013 07:34:44 | More by Flounder57
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.39/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in a willibecker. One of the original brews that got me into craft back in the day so let's see how it has held up. Pours the color and clarity of cola with a quarter inch, fizzy, tan-colored head. Nose reveals roast, lactose sweetness and a metallic aroma towards the back. Taste consistent with nose; however, there is also an acidity that cuts through the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a carbonation that falls just short of lively. Acidity is light, but lingers along the taste buds at the back of the tongue between quaffs. Overall, this beer has held up pretty well considering the last time I had it was in the mid 90's. That said, it's definitely not as robust as I recall, but a respectable beer nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2013 01:29:05 | More by Jwale73
Photo of DMXLOX22


3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single of this at my local establishment, Civera's Deli. This should be a nice one to taste. It came pretty highly recommended by another customer.

Appearance: Pours a dark, roasted, blackish and inviting pour and leaves a delicious, lacing, one inch head that takes its time to dissipate which doesn't hurt it at all.

Smell: Roasted malts with a sweet touch of coffee, toffee and chocolate. Also some barley malt thrown in, but not a whole lot. Enough for me to notice I guess.

Taste: First notice is roasted malts that remind me of an oatmeal stout, but sweeter. The chocolate and coffee-like flavors kick in as soon as the roast is gone. Residutal sweetness is something that this beer actually shows off. Does finish off a bit dry, but the sweetness and dryness are there in fair balance.

Mouthfeel: Thin for a dry stout, but not too thin if that makes sense. Has moderate carbonation.

Overall: I actually am glad the local recommended this beer. Pretty darn delicious. I would definitely try this beer again. Everything seemed to somewhat surprise me about this one, Highly recommended to anyone who wants a good stout to enjoy

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2013 02:46:58 | More by DMXLOX22
Photo of RickS95


4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark, but not quite pitch, black. There is a red hue that's present from the beginning of the pour. The head has a nice cascading buildup, leading to a dark tan, very foamy top. Thickest lace I can recall.

Lots of char in the nose, clearly some roasted goodness has been taking place. Faintest hit of bittersweet chocolate along with anise or licorice making a cameo.

Very English taste in that it favors the bitter v. the sweet for a stout. A bit of toffee meanders in with the chocolate and again, roasty malts dominate. As it warms, cocoa seems more prevalent.

It's very smooth and creamy. It's got the bitterness down pat so you know you're drinking a beer and not a milkshake, but it's never too bitter. More sweetness starts to develop the more the beer warms leading to a semi-dry finish that makes you want to take another swig. It's very easy on the palate.

This is terribly easy to drink. While 5.7% ABV isn't exactly session material, it goes down so easy with a smooth character that you'll want, and be able, to have quite a few of these. Really a nice rendition of an English classic.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2013 03:23:59 | More by RickS95
Photo of jtierney89

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with a finger of tan head. Roasted and burnt barley, full mouthfeel. Prickly carbonation burnt bitterness on the finish. Hints of coffee and dark chocolate. Nothing crazy here just a standard drinkable stout, wouldn't get it again though. Pretty bold flavor though for a smaller beer which is good

Anyone know why this is categorized as an english stout?

Serving type: on-tap

01-30-2013 23:16:48 | More by jtierney89
Photo of JohnFatAss

New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown in color with a creamy tan head.
The smell is of sweet roasted malts and dark chocolate.
It tastes of roasted malts, dark chocolate. There is a touch sweetness in the middle with a little milky creaminess that I love. It finishes dry with a little bitterness.

Overall, a fantastic stout from Magic Hat.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2013 03:38:12 | More by JohnFatAss
Photo of keithmurray

New York

3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark brown color with dark tan/eggplant head

smell - dark chocolate, roasted barley, coffee

taste - flavors of dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, coffee, roasted barley

mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium, tight carbonation, flavors are fairly balanced, good deal of roastiness/bitterness on the back end

overall - decent,solid stout, great value. I would definetly drink this again

Price Point - $6.99/6 pk 12oz bottles

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 02:37:01 | More by keithmurray
Photo of rajendra82


3.49/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The beer poured out promising, looking dark brown to black, with a small head. The aromas were dominated by the carbonation at first, but opened up into chocolate and coffee upon prolonged inspection. The taste was somewhat disappointing to me, as the coffee, toffee, and chocolate flavors were nice and clean, but they felt diluted due to the thin and tinny mouthfeel. I m glad I only bought a single. A case of what could have been.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2013 05:04:37 | More by rajendra82
Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,124 ratings.