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#9 - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,640 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,640
Hads: 5,409
Avg: 3.4
pDev: 32.94%
Wants: 74
Gots: 1,032 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-09-1998

A beer cloaked in secrecy. An ale whose mysterious and unusual palate will swirl across your tongue and ask more questions than it answers. A sort of dry, crisp, refreshing, not-quite pale ale. #9 is really impossible to describe because there's never been anything else quite like it.

20 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of #9 Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,640 | Hads: 5,409
Photo of kojevergas
3.44/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a beer stem-flute. I don't remember where. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a two finger head of slight cream, fair thickness, and good retention. Colour is a transparent clear bright copper.

Sm: Apricot, clean malts, and heavy fruit esters. Clean and fresh. Very welcoming and appealing.

T: Clean apricot, some light background hops, and clean malts as the foundation. Fruity but balanced. Simple yet effective. Very refreshing. Built well for what it is. No complexity or subtlety. Nothing unique here.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours nicely. Doesn't feel tailored specifically to the flavour profile. Light on the palate. A touch too thin.

Dr: Very drinkable. Does what it needs to. They were aiming for a simple refreshing beer, and in that they've succeeded. I'd have it again on-draught if it was offered at a good price.


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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah, one of the first microbrews I've ever had, oh the memories. Label doesn't say too much and I'm always amused how Magic Hat refers to their beers as "3/4 of a pint' instead of 12 ounces.. who are they fooling? Anywho, this beer is just absolutely delicious to me. So drinkable with just a touch of apricot, its a perfect session beer.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.15/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

On-tap at The Celtic Pub in Pawtucket, RI served in a US tumbler glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a little bit of lace on the glass.

S: Heavy fruitiness in the smell (apricot & berries) along with a background of hops and malt.

T: The fruitiness that you get in the smell hits you as soon as you get the beer in your mouth. It overpowers what little hops and malt characters exist in it. It does leave a bitter after-taste, but not the hops-style of bitter that is typically welcome.

M: Very crisp, light-to-medium body, high carbonation, dry finish.

D: It’s light and although the flavor is different, it’s strong enough to make it tasty, but to be perfectly honest; I don’t think I could drink more than one of these. I just didn’t like the flavor enough to stay with it.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.41/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from above the glass about an inch gives this clear honey golden colored beer a pretty big white to off white head that settles into a sort of light lacing.

Dark fruits like apricots, light prunes maybe, with very light hops and caramel malt that is just as light blends well.

The taste is very similar to the aroma with apricots dominating over light caramel malts and light hops.

A very light dry aftertaste with just a hint of dried dark fruits, again apricots sticks out most.

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Photo of Jason
2.56/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date on the back label. Under the cap reads "Don't Pick Your Nose When It Shows". Meaning go to the bathroom and take care of business so no one has to see you digging for gold.

Solid two fingers of head, slightly hazed golden yellow color. Smells of a apricot hard candy and buttered biscuits. Smoothness and crispness I would expect for an English Pale Ale light to medium body ... lighter than I remember. Fruity with obvious fruit flavorings added, dry maltiness is a bit flat and the hops are very modest. Finishes Semi-dry with a feigned sweetness from the fruit flavoring.

So here we have the infamous #9, a beer that took Boston by storm many years ago. Its simply a plain English Pale Ale with flavorings. It was probably the bomb back in the day but now it just does not cut it for me anymore.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.17/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

First had: on tap at Casey's, Newtown Square, PA

It took me a while to finally sample Magic Hat. I didn't even know that #9--their flagship brew--was a fruit beer, specifically, an apricot beer. And I didn't care for it much.

Pours a clear golden-yellow with a quickly dissipating head and moderate carbonation. Aroma is light, with pale malts and fruit on the nose. Light, grainy malt taste, with dilute apricot and a sugary quality. A small hop bite towards the end and some bitter aftertaste. Light bodied and somewhat drinkable, but not really my style at all.

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Photo of russpowell
3.52/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured bronze with one finger of white head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Fruity, mostly apricot

T: Fruitty & jammy with a little bit of citric hops up front. Finishes with a bit of hop snap & apricot jam

MF:Medium-bodied with lively carbonation & good balance

Drinks fairly easy, just too damn fruitty for me. Liked it much more than the 1st time I tried it though. A decent enough fruit beer

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 6/16/2015. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy golden orange color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of apricot, peach, plum, pear, apple, honey, toasted biscuit, herbal, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of apricot, bready malt, fruity yeast, and light earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of apricot, peach, plum, pear, apple, honey, toasted biscuit, herbal, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of apricot, peach, plum, honey, toasted biscuit, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness, complexity, and balance of apricot, bready malt, fruity yeast, and light earthy hop flavor; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly creamy/bready, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 5.1%. Overall this is a very good fruited English pale ale style. All around good robustness, complexity, and balance of apricot, bready malt, fruity yeast, and light earthy hop flavors; and very smooth, clean, and easy to drink. The aromas were stronger on the apricot notes, but still had a good amount in the flavor; and the base English pale ale is very well done for the style. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper almost apricot tone with a nice sized full creamy off white head that leaves bountiful amounts of scattered lacing around my pint. Bottle says brewed with the essence of apricot this is pretty accurate for the aroma in my opinion, there's just a touch in the aroma along with a nut caramel malt character not really detecting any hoppage. Flavor of this beer has a little more apricot coming through then in the aroma but really blends together with a nut character in the taste, nothing expectacular but an easy drinking fruit beer. Mouthfeel is a bit thin but there is some slight syrup textures going on here. Not a milestone go to but a drinkable beer that hit the spot tonight.

Under the cap: "Have 3. Gotta Pee". All I can say is don't break the seal man.

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Photo of chinchill
3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

served in standard pint glass
HOPS: Cascade & Apollo / MALTS: Pale, Crystal

A- yellow-golden. Pours with nearly 2-fingers of attractive off-white head; quickly drops to nice full coat. exceptional lace coating on glass as level drops.

S - very fruity; Apricots!; detectable toasted malts. Highly distinctive (and hard to rate).

T- sweet; mildly malty; unusual. Definitely "not quite pale ale". A slight bitterness eventually emerges in the finish. IBU = 20

M - pleasant; effervescent

O: crisp & refreshing; very good hot weather brew. Also works for me in the other 3 seasons.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.11/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From 4/9/10 notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a straw/golden color with one finger of white head with little retention. Light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus fruits, tropical fruits, and hints of sourness and malts.

t - Taste is again fruit. Some citrus and tropical fruit flavors, and some hops/bitterness on the end.

m - High carbonation and light to medium body.

d - This is one of my girlfriend's favorite beers, but doesn't do it for me. It's easy to drinkg and you could have a few of them, but I wouldn't really want to.

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Photo of smcolw
3.36/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Golden in color, slightly cloudy, gorgeous head with tight thick lace.

Mild malt sweetness is the basic aroma. There's a touch of hops but it is also very mild.

Very fruity flavor, like grape juice. Slight wheat flavor along with a balancing hop. Watery with a quickly fading finish. Not bad, quite interesting. Probably would be good on a summer's afternoon

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A confusing label here. "not quite pale ale" What does that mean? "natural flavor added" Which ones? If you "read" the psychedlic/op-art label, you'll find the image of an apricot. I still don't know why it's called #9..
Peachy color, with a short, white head. Aroma is the very essence of apricots! I read that it's "a pale ale with a spritz of apricot essence." Some spritz! That's the cheif aromatic, and flavor, but, I don't mind, I love apricots! Texture is full and welcome. Light body, good hop play on the palate, but very little bitterness. Malt is in adequate supply. A very tasty , bright, delicious ale, that I enjoyed.
However, my curiousity was originally piqued by an article in All About Beer, which quoted Magic Hat president Alan Newman saying, "I can look people in the eye and tell them 'you'll never have another beer like this!'" Well, I have, it was called Pyramid Apricot Ale! Or maybe Pyramid doesn't get to Vermont?
Thanks to purplehops and UncleJimbo for the trades.

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Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at The Fox and the Hound in Edison, NJ.

Pours copper with nice head that diminishes and sticks around.

The smell is of soft apricot.

The taste is of soft apricot - not overwhelming - but present. A sweet maltiness gives it some body with a hint of balancing, bitter, earthy hops in the finish. Fresh apricot remains, but not strong.

I had this a while back and wasn't so impressed. Glad that I started off with this while watching the football games. Easy to drink and refreshing. This is rated according to style (as it should be)- Can't see myself getting this with any regularity, but for an American fruit beer, it holds up well.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Jet Rock Bar and Grill at LGA (New York)

A: Pours a crystal clear pale golden yellow with lots of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall bright white head that reduces by about 50% but has pretty good retention. Light to moderate amounts of lacing is observed.

S: Some floral and very light grassy hop notes behind a fruity (possibly apricot) aroma.

T: Sweet and slightly fruity upfront with a lot of apricot hints followed by some light bitterness in the finish. The hop flavor could be described as lightly floral.

M: Light to medium bodied with high amounts of carbonation.

O: This is a beer I had very fond memories about from college but unfortunately my palate has changed/matured since then... Still a good beer for a very warm spring afternoon and very refreshing but not as good as remembered. Likely one I will still grab in the future.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.13/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at some bar. Beer served in a shaker pint. After the thread today about #9 and 9# i thought it was fitting that I had never reviewed it and I was now at a bar with it on tap.

Beer is clear and pretty dark amber. Forms a minimal head that breaks and leaves no lacing on the glass. Beer is carbonated moderately. Looks OK.

Aroma is weak. Smells like copyright enforcement, with some graininess and a mild berry smell.

Beer is medium bodied to light in body, fruit is almost entirely in the aftertaste of the beer. Very little carbonation in the mouth. This is an OK beer for a pedestrian but I'm really unimpressed. There is this grainy bitterness to it. Overall its just OK.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.2/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes.

A: Pours clear orange/amber color with a foamy white head that fades quickly, leaving behind little bits of thin lacing.

S: Can smell the apricot right away and a little bit of sugar. A little bit of grainy malt.

T: The fruit flavor comes forward again, and masks any sort of malt or hop flavors.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp and easy drinking.

O: I remember when this was a go to beer, years ago. Now, it just doesn't excite me. I can see why people who "don't like beer" gravitate towards it though.

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Photo of mothman
3.01/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into Rare Vos glass.

Pours 2 fingers of pillow topped white head. Pretty good retention, leaving splattered lace. Color is a clear copper hued gold.

Aroma: Really fruity. It seems very artificial. Lots of berries, bananas, and even some cinnamon coming from the nose. I am not a real big fan.

Taste: Again, more of an artificial taste to it. The berries just seem to fake. The hops are very grassy and mellow. Big fruit taste, in a bad way however. Not enjoying this one to much.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and grassy like. It is sticky and dry, very chewy. Light bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends with a grassy dry aftertaste with tons of fake berries.

Overall, this beer isn't for me. Nothing seemed to work with this beer and I really don't plan on drinking it again. I am glad the price was cheap for this bomber.

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Photo of stakem
2.96/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, slightly orangish-yellow color with 2 fingers of white "big bubbles" head. Leaves spotty lacing about the glass. Aroma has a strange fruit (apriocot) sweetness mixed in with malt. Taste follows suite with the malty apricot-like sweetness playing out most of the flavor profile. Upfront there is a bit of hop bitterness and the finish has a lingering taste of apricot. Not a whole lot of carb despite the big head initially produced. Feel is quite thin. Bottle reads: "not quite pale ale" and I guess I have to agree with it. This definately isn't something I would go after if I was in the mood for a pale ale. It's an interesting beverage but not something I would drink again. I am trying to be fair with this review despite my dislike of apricot and apricot seems to be the center of attention in this beer.

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Photo of tdm168
3.48/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orangish amber with 1/2" of dense, foamy head. Nice retention. Intense apricot aroma in the nose. The taste is sweet apricots up front with some bready malts in the finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied, smooth, and crisp.

This is a decent fruit beer if you're into apricots. Overall, though this is a one dimensional beer with little complexity.

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden color with a thick frothy white head that quickly fades. The aroma is good. It has a citrousy hop scent and a pale malt flavor. It has quite a fruity aroma; maybe peaches. The taste is good. It has a strong apricot flavor and a grainy pale malt palate. It goes down smooth and finishes dry and fruity. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine fruity brew. It has a solid core and excellent aroma.

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Photo of billab914
3.23/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Surly pint glass. It poured a darker golden, slightly amber color with a modest white head to it.

The aroma shows a lot of grainy flavors to it along with a fruity, apricot like flavor.

The taste shows a little more of a maltiness to it. I get a little caramel along with the grainy flavor. Like the aroma, the apricot flavor is there giving it a little fruitiness. A little balancing bitterness is present as well in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is light and carbonation is a little above average. Drinkability is average, it's light and goes down easy but just doesn't do it for me in the flavor department. Not a bad beer but not a great one either.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.2/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours golden orange with a white head. The aroma is very fruity, with lots of citrus including orange, apricot and peaches as well as some lighter malts. the flavor is more of the same with apricots and peaches being dominant as well as some bready malts. No real hop presence. Light mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Overall, a disappointing beer.

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Photo of woodychandler
2.88/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

CAN you believe that I am only the 3rd to review # 9 in a CAN?!? Also, # 9 = # 499. Today's review brought to you by PBS' The Count, who also wants you to give props to the #'s 27 and 81. I personally CAN't believe any of this nonsense.

This was a gift from an Altoona-area distributor in return for my picture. I got the better end of the bargain, IMHO.

From the CAN: "Not quite Pale Ale"; "Ale with Natural Flavor"; "Drink Me". As to that last, what are we, "Alas in Wonderland"? Woe is me!

Unlike that silly little wench, I would NEVER drink and unknown quantity directly from the bottle or CAN. Always decant when possible and take note of off-colors or smells. The Crack & Glug produced just over a finger of thick, eggshell-white head with good retention. Color was a deep, coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was simply redolent with apricots. Apricots?!? WTF?!? I drank some and suddenly, I was shrunken to the point that I could no longer reach the keyboard. Fortunately, Mr. Johnson does not shrink, even in freezing water, and he helped in typing out the remainder of this review. All hail Mr. Johnson! Mouhtfeel was medium with a very apricot-forward flavor on the tongue. Here is where it might help to like the flavor of apricots. For me, a little CAN go a long way. Finish left me wondering whether I had drunk a beer or eaten some preserves. If that is the choice, I will go back to sumo wrestling.

I am not changing anything WRT my original CAN review, but today is Thursday, 17 July 2014. I am now committed to reducing, if not eradicating, my backlog of bottles. This one was part of a local, in-person trade with tone77.

From the bottle: "The ancient ritual of brewing a distinctly rich and flavorful beer is a performance to behold. Our mysterious melange of time-honored ingredients harmonize with chaotic chemistry, humble patience and blind faith to create this unique beer to share in the rousing company of kindred spirits. Cheers!"; "not quite Pale Ale"; "a performance in every bottle".

I used a rousing pour to rouse the beer since it is very early in the morning (0452, local, EDT) and I wanted to make sure that it is as awake as I am. The pseudo-cascade gave way to a finger of yellowish head with decent retention that slowly fell to wisps. Color was a slightly hazy golden-yellow (SRM = > 5, < 7). Nose smelled like apricot preserves and once more, I was thankful for older parents and older grandparents. Both of my grandmothers could cook and both had their own gardens so canning was a frequent activity. Believe me when I say that I know the scent of apricot preserves. Mouthfeel was thin but effervescent. The nose just does not translate to the taste. Yes, it tasted of apricots, but in a small, muted way that struck me as being boring. I hate to say that, but it just lacked any Ooomph! and when I have recently tried other apricot-laced beers that did not lack for flavor, I can only shake my head at this one's popularity. Finish was semi-sweet, perfumey, actually. Meh.

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Photo of smakawhat
2.25/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head Ale glass.

Barely a finger of simple white head is made, not too soapy, has a little bit of puck staying power. Body color is a very clear copper bronze, some mix of rising thin carbonation coming up some slow some fast, but most of it is pretty small. Looks like a brew, but sort of half dead.

A real odd grainy, weird fruit, and smell of bile on this. The vomit smell really starts to dominate. Hints of weird somewhat sweet beet/root vegetables also. Not attractive.

Surprisingly the palate comes off as really neutral and muted. Wetness is what feel primarily, very watery. Fruit hints come out some sort of candy fruit, but I can barely taste it. Watery malt, there is practically no depth to this beer at all.

Overall what strikes me isn't that it necessarily tastes bad, it's just flavorless and there's nothing going on. Time to move on, even for a fruit brew this isn't really delivering.

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#9 from Magic Hat Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 1,640 ratings.