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Demo - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

139 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 139
Hads: 404
Avg: 3.45
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 6
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: NEhophead on 01-13-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Demo is a deliciously dark lick of an India Pale Ale. It’s medley of roasted malts and heady hops will have your senses dancing to the beat of a different I.P.A.

45 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Demo Alström Bros
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Reviews: 139 | Hads: 404
Photo of mbaldwin22
4.35/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first Beeradvocate review, I chose to start with this beer because I was absolutely shocked to see the poor reviews it is receiving. Magic Hat's Demo is one of the best new beers I have tasted in a long time.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown/black with a creamy head about one finger width that lasts for the whole beer.

Smell: Smells of hops, chocolate, roasted coffee and roasted malt.

Taste: Excellent. A cross between the smooth richness of a stout with the floral bitterness of an IPA. Strikes an excellent balance between sweet and bitter.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Highly carbonated, yet smooth. Has a somewhat thin mouthfeel, but the creamy head and rich flavors add a certain depth. Not quite a session beer, but certainly not too heavy to polish off a six-pack.

serving: bottle

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I get that roasted dark coffee/chocolate bitterness even some lactose stout smells followed by citrus floral smells from the hops.

You definitely get the chocolate roasted coffee tastes right up front followed by citrus and piney bitterness. The best thing is how the bitterness from the roasted malts and the bitterness from the hops combine together.

The only thing keeping this beer from being outstanding is the thinner mouthfeel and maybe a LITTLE more hops but im not complaining too much at all. With that being said it seems masterfully crafted the bitterness and roasted qualities coming together in unisen to create honestly my favorite magic hat offering.

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Photo of Guden
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice dark brown color, small head which recedes quickly, not what I was expecting when I saw IPA on the bottle but I'm buying it.

S- Yum, roasty toasty coffee and light caramel, smells like a porter, maybe a bit of hops

T- Wow, I am liking this one. The roasted flavors blend with the high hoppiness in a great great way. I don't know how this is an IPA but it sure is delicious. Maybe a cross between a porter and an IPA but it works very well

M- Good, moderate carbonation bristling with just right body to balance out everything, maybe a bit more carbonation could have sent it over the top for me

D- Great, maybe not the most drinkable because of the hoppiness but I could easily put away a 6 pack of this if I had it

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Photo of therica
4.12/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay, looks like I'm going to be waaaay above the power-curve on this rating. 3 bottles from the Spring 2011 12-pack, 3 nights. The first two were stunning but I ruined the effect of the 3rd bottle by having a strong Mountaineer Vandalia dark hoppy ale before it. But overall this stuff was great, in my experience. In fact, I was totally psyched.

A= dark brown, slightly glassy, nice tan head.

S= overwhelming hops florals, caramel and dark malts with chocolate.

T= repeating the nose, a really nice mix of hops florals, modest bitters, toasted malts, caramel, coffee, chocolate, very nice.

M= light caramel, loads of hops florals and some reasonable bitters to savor; dark chocolate/coffee.

D= I'd go session on this if I could find it sold separately. Having to buy a 12-pack mix just to get 6 decent beers (3 ea Demo & Vinyl), 3 okay (Circus Boy) and 3 crappo (#9) that I hate is ridiculous. Maybe Magic Hat will wake up on this idiotic strategy as well.

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Photo of mattgreger
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased this brew within the Magic Hat Spring Sampler pack.

This brew poured a dark brown, almost black color. It had a nice fluffy mocha colored head, that lasted for quite a bit and left some great sticky lacing on the glass while drinking the brew. So far its looking really good.

After the pour this brew gets better, it has a a nice roasted coffee flavor that has notes of caramel throughout. It almost smells like a porter. Very toasty smelling brew with a nice kick of hops.

I am really enjoying this brew. It has some great flavors, which are all roasted/toasted, blending really well with the hoppiness of the brew. When its being called an IPA, im still kinda confused, but who cars. this brew is pretty good. Its almost as mix. It has the nice toasted flavors of a porter, but hoppy character that gives it some life. I like it a lot, especially at it warms.

The mouthful on this brew is great. With a nice carbonation that has some life that balances this complex brew very well. I think if the brew had some carbonation added, it would put this as on of my top brews to date, at least in this style. Still very good none the less.

The drink on this brew is pretty good. A beer drinker who isn't into hoppy brews, might shy away, but anyone else should definitly give this brew a try. Its got great flavors, while remaining balanced and having a nice crisp finish. I will certainly enjoy the other bottles in my sampler.

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Photo of vicsju1991
4.06/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Duvel snifter
A -huge expresso head, jet black body good retention and lacing
S - roasted malts, a little coffee
T - mostly coffee and roasted malts, tastes much more like a porter than the other black ipas i have had,
M - easy to drink very full and smooth
O - good interesting beer, would have accepted it as a hoppy porter or a black ipa

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Photo of hosehead83
4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark brown/black in color, with a big rocky head of tan foam.
Aroma-Dark toasted malt
Taste-Roasted malt, coffee, subtle citrus note. Big roasty finish. Could have used a bigger dose of hops in my opinion for a bit better balance.

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Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with brown hues and a foamy thick head that slowly descends to a bubbly cover. Wispy lacing sticks.

The smell is of robust, deep-roasted coffee with some earthy, herbal notes that blend well.

The taste is very roasty - stops just short of burnt. The hops and roasted malt blend to leave a long, bitter, dry finish.

It is robust - hits full-bodied. Alcohol well-covered. Almost silky, though there is a slight sharpness to it.

I have found that there is sometimes a conflict between the hops and roasted malt in this style, but not so much so here.
I do prefer "American Black Ale" over "Black IPA". But, regardless, this is an enjoyable hoppy, roasted black ale. Roasty and bitter, but not overwhelmingly so.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer is definitely underrated here on BA. pours a heady chocolate syrup color with a lot of carbonation. smells like sweet milk chocolate, lots of hops, and smokey burnt malt. flavor is cocoa on the front end with all the hops and roast on the back end. maybe a hint of rye spice in there as well. its balanced and big, but its smooth and drinkable in feel, with a velvet texture and a medium body. overall an excellent late summer beer when the evenings are chilly and a little more oomph is needed. should have higher scores on here.

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Photo of stampfler07
3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours very dark brown with a very foamy and thick brown head, some suspended sediment is visible

S- Hints of cocoa, roasted malt, not too much hop

T- Very dark roasted malt, some notes of dark fruit, really light notes aftertaste of cocoa

M- Light in carbonation and body, surprisingly so

O- Not really what I expected at all given the IPA label on the bottle, it's still good though with some nice flavors, very little hop though

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Photo of Jason
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date inkjet printed on the neck of the bottle.

Tan head and lacing do a great job with dressing the glass, opaque brown color talks about being black. Stodgy pungent hop nose with a charcoal burnt graininess in the nose. Smooth with some crispness on the backside. Some burnt flavors from the malt, some sweetness as well. Hoppiness is pungent and pulls on the palate. Finish goes towards dry with a clean roasted flavor and lingering hop.

Solid, perhaps one of the best beers Magic Hat has come out with in years. Only gripe is that I expected it to be full on black ... splitting hairs now.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, grassy hops and some chocolate

T: The taste starts out a sweet milk chocolate flavor and a hearty roasted malt character. The hops presence is mild for the style but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Freshness date of April 30, 2011 on the neck. Poured into a tulip pint: A good three-and-a-half fingers of loose-beaded mocha head over black body with deep plum highlights. Some heavy, sticky lacing around the sides.

Nice hoppy aroma, with some cool orange & grapefruit zest, even a little mintiness, over a mild biscuity roast, not too sweet (toast points?).

Some moderate hoppy bitterness in the taste, as well, with the citric characteristics again. The finish is, again, nice roast malt, ends very much like a porter, with a little coffee darkness thrown in. Mmm, I like that - good balance of "light" & "dark" flavors. A little brownie-like aftertaste lingers.

Medium-full-bodied with some action from the hops. Kind of sticks around in the aftertaste with a little astringency, but not bad.

This is the best thing I've had from Magic Hat in a while. A little more porter-ish than a lot of black ales I've had, which is fine with me. Doesn't tip too far in either direction.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.91/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing pale about this one, but nothing that black about it either. So, it's a very dark IPA and a hardly-black Black Ale. Color is a dark reddish brown, mahogany maybe, and the head is a fluffy, creamy, meringue-firm sort of dirty white. I dig.

Nose is truer to style than its appearance. Lightly burnt grains, hint of smoke, citrus-y hops -- very clean despite the "something's burnt" element. Truth be told, not as burnt smelling as many others in this style. Everything is balanced well, the somewhat conflicting citrus and charred grain aspects mingling nicely.

Appearance would indicate that the burnt taste of many ABAs is going to be lesser here, and it is. You get more of a nice caramel-y, smoky toffee kind of taste instead, and the citrus-like hops don't abrade against that but instead mesh well within. The burnt aspect comes in the finish, and plays tricks on your tongue (burnt or fruity, or burnt fruit?). The feel is smooth and airy, soft and slick, and keeps Demo's drinkability high.

Gotta love the label, a 45 rpm demo record label. Very good beer too, a slightly different take on the style. But for their "IPA on Tour" series, I'm most anxious for the return of Encore.

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Photo of barleyroad
3.91/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah, DARK, like no light in appearance. Very malty in smell, lacking in that hoppy aroma. Mouthfeel is quite interesting, leaving the mouth nicely. The taste is a nice blend of roasted hops.This is a good black IPA, and the hops are grrreat. Indian Pale Ale just got married to a porter, wow. We have the hoppiness of a good IPA and the mellowness of a good porter.

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Photo of weller1js
3.9/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

appearance: pours a dark brown, partially opaque with visible floating sediment; lighter carbonation, bubbly head leaving a bubbly-foam lacing.

smell: piney hops and malts are slightly toasty, tickles the nose readily easily.

taste: hop sensation is immediate, blending with the mild toasty-earthy malt taste, progressing to a light, tangy-hop bitterness in the finish, surprisingly balanced.

drinkability: darker than a typical IPA, the character of the malts successfully complements the well-hopped taste, very drinkable.

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.89/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a pint glass:

A: deep dark black colored body with a small tan head that lasted for a good full minute. What there is of the lacing is spotty and slides down the glass slowly. No rings are left.

S: basically roasted coffee beans with a bit of dark chocolate. The hops are very faint in the background.

T: dominated by the roasted coffee beans with some malts coming back.

M: medium with a decent level of carbonation felt, mostly smooth and very creamy.

O: this is definitely one of the better offerings from Magic Hat. However, I think the hops are a bit weak for it to be an American Black Ale.

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Photo of generallee
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a Pint glass. ("3/4 Pint of Ale" as they say on the label.) The label has a freshness date of "May 31 2011" and the abv is listed at 6%.

Appearance: It has a very dark look in the glass with some very deep dark garnet colored highlights showing through the beer. I also noticed some fine sediment hanging in suspension within the body. To cap off this beer I got a dense tan head which stands two fingers tall. This head has excellent retention and coats the glass with lacing.

Smell: I get a dark roasted malt character with hints of coffee and caramel. Hops are lighter than the malt and add some citrus and herbal notes to the nose.

Taste/Palate: The palate opens up with mild sweetness, roasted malt, coffee and toasted bread with citrus hop notes quickly moving in. It finishes with pleasant herbal/leafy hop bitterness fading slowly off the tongue. It has a creamy and smooth mouth feel with pleasant soft carbonation.

Notes: It come off more as a Porter than IPA but is still very tasty and beautiful.

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Photo of shand
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic.

This is a great looking brew, a deep-brown color with three fingers of head that retain well and leave great lacing down the glass. The aroma is of some nice hoppiness paired with some roasted, slightly smoky malts. Well, this is another odd one from Magic Hat. Can't say I've had something like this yet. The taste on this is a bit like a hoppy porter for sure, but with a stronger hop aftertaste, and a thinner mouthfeel. Roasted and smoky malts hit first, followed up by some restrained hoppiness. The hoppiness becomes more apparent on the finish, but never quite provides the bitterness I'd like. Still, a good beer, even if it doesn't quite tick the black IPA marks I'd like.

The mouthfeel is very crisp and well-carbonated, it's quite a bit lighter than the oppressive-looking brew in the glass would lead you to expect. The drinkability is also quite good, I drank this rather quickly. Another strange brew from Magic Hat. Almost reminds me more of an amped up Schwarzbier because of the cleaniliness and mouthfeel, but the lingering hoppiness on the finish (and the fact that this is clearly an ale, not a lager) betrays that description. Give it a try.

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Photo of alanmarks
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Think of an English IPA who married an American Stout in Burton-On-Trent. If you are looking for a Dark Caskadian Ale, this ain't it. It's not an "in your face" IPA, but a more subtle and digified English IPA with notes of coffee and roast. Finishes quite dry for me, a surpoisingly good beer with lunch, not to heavy but full on flavors.

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Photo of zac16125
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
no born on date or other distinguishing numbers

A: Pours a very dark brown, flirting with black, with 1.5 fingers width of light mocha colored head that takes a decent amount of time to dissipate down to a thin film which remains throughout the drink. Leaves very trace spotty lacing.

S: Aromas of milk chocolate and coffee, along with some piney hops, and a very subtle hint of dark fruits in the form of raisin.

T: Milk chocolate, roasted malt, subtle dark fruits, milk, a touch of biting hop bitterness but not much. The hint of piney hops is pretty much all the hop presence that can be found. I actually really enjoy the taste, but the palate profile is much more porter than black IPA.

M/D: On the thin side of medium bodied, with a carbonation sting. High drinkability though, definitely a sessionable beer.

O: Overall, I really like this brew, but it certainly comes off as a sessionable porter or American stout, much more than it does a black IPA. I am a big fan of the black IPA style, but it seems very few are able to pull it off to what I think is the desired standard (see Stone Sublimely). I won’t dock this too much for not fitting the style, because it seems like no one can pull it off except Stone. An enjoyable drink nonetheless.

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Photo of smcolw
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown color and lightly cloudy. Good starting head that settles to a single layer of bubbles. Very good rim lace after each sip.

Dark but dry malts to the nose. Lesser hop smell. Light yeast aroma.

Quite dry, almost astringent. Slightly thin bodied, the carbonation does match this well. Good darker crystal malt flavors--slightly nutty. The hop balances the malt well, but is not distinct. Overall, a very drinkable, if non-distinct, black beer.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of the spring 12pack at Market Basket in Somersworth. Pours an opaque black body with well over an inch of khaki-colored head. Citrus and dark chocolate dominate the aroma. Toast and dark chocolate just slightly overpower the hops. Medium in both body and carbonation. Pretty damn good, though I wouldn't know it was supposed to be a "black IPA" if the label didn't say so. It definitely seems more like an American porter to me. Either way, it's tasty.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark black with brown highlights around the edges. Little head/lacing, but copious amounts of dense particles floating (almost stationary) around my glass...I give points to beers that aren't ashamed to show where they came from.
The head that was visible for a brief minute appeared to be a light tan.

I made the slight mistake of judging this beer as a "cold server," but upon reconsideration, I would have liked to see how this beer smelled at warmer temperatures.
Although I am slightly desensitized to hops, there is still a slight bitterness. However, a majority of this beer is devoted to a burnt toffee/caramel malt. A little aeration goes a long way with this beer.
Also, a little more alcohol really would have helped to crank up some of the aromas this beer is hiding.

Initially I'm only getting rich, toasty malts with hints of the hops that would qualify this beer as being on an "IPA tour." Although initial impressions of a beer can go a long way, the truth unfolds to reveal this beer's true balance between a lingering burnt/bitter aftertaste and initial sweet/burnt maltiness. All prejudices aside, this is one of the better Magic Hats I've tasted in a long time.

Roasted malt up front with a toffee sweetness that follows. The aftertaste is bitter, but the palate is still coated heavily with roasted malt.
No heavy alcohol and the body is between medium-full.
My only major complaint is I would have liked to get more hops upfront.

Overall (Drinkability):
Smooth, easy to drink, can drive home after having a couple.
I paid $0 for this beer, snagged it out of a friend's variety pack (which was fair priced to begin with). I appreciate Magic Hat's efforts to produce different "IPAs on tour" to try and tap into the east coast IPA market, but a huge "under-hopping" leaves this beer out of its league.
With great beer comes great responsibility. I feel responsible to stand up to this beer/brewery that has had their name run through the muck after their recent acquisition by Anheuser; I think Magic Hat is making an effort...so far it's just not enough.


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Photo of barnzy78
3.82/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, pours dark brown/chestnut in color, capped with a frothy tan head that holds great retention and leaves good chunky lacing n the glass. Downside to the appearance is chunks of yeast particulates suspended throughout the body of the ale. Aromas are roasted malt, anise, dark chocolate, some fruitiness. Tastes are dark fruit, cherry, dark chocolate, anise, leathery earthiness, piny bitterness on the finish. The bittersweet dark chocolate lingers with the pine on the palate, creating a nice complex balance to the ale. Medium bodied, creamy but resiny towards the end. Overall, nice offering from Magic Hat - one of the better ones I've had from this brewery.

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Demo from Magic Hat Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.