Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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
Reviews: 139 | Hads: 404
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.

 629 characters

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.

 680 characters

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.

 984 characters

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.

 1,196 characters

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.

 364 characters

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.

 528 characters

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.

 606 characters

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.

 1,074 characters

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.

 1,204 characters

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.

 338 characters

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.

 1,298 characters

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.

 453 characters

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.

 483 characters

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.


 2,145 characters

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.

 673 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.81/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Magic Hat Demo
12 oz. bottle, freshness code ink-jetted on neck of bottle.

Appearance: Very dark brown body beneath a creamy tan cap (current style guidelines call for a "white to off-white" head). It's obviously got some body to it as I can see particles in suspension. Very fine bubbled carbonation.

Smell: Roastiness like cold black coffee, char, minimal hoppiness that's semi-floral and kind of like wet foliage.

Taste: Dark chocolate with a fruity edge (blackberry, perhaps currant, some orange) upfront and across the middle. A dry, charcoal-like roastiness allows for just a medium-level bitterness to balance it. There are some low-level hops in the background that emerge in the finish as the dark malt fades, with more orange-like citrus and a bit of spice (unless that's the alcohol), followed by more leafy and floral character.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth with a moderate, fine-bubbled carbonation.

Overall: While it's not a bad beer (it's actually pretty enjoyable), I certainly wouldn't label it as a "black I.P.A.". It's just too roasty with that charred dryness to it (how they got that using chocolate malt as their darkest malt, I don't know). And honestly, I don't think there are enough hops to it. It works on the bitterness side because of the drying quality of the roastiness, but the flavor hops shouldn't be relegated to the finish, they should be right up-front. And the complete lack of hops in the nose is almost unacceptable for a black IPA, it should be full of piney and resinous Pacific northwest hops. On the other hand, beer is beer, and experimentation is good, so taking it just at a hedonistic level I'd say it's my favorite Magic Hat beer.

 1,706 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.81/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark black color with a large light tan head with great retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is dark roasted malts, hints of coffee and sweet chocolate. With this being a "black IPA" I was expecting more hops.

T- The taste is dark and roasty with a good amount of bitterness in the finish from the hops. Tastes good!

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, Demo is a tasty beer. Worth a try!

 467 characters

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Date: 8 May 2011
Glass: Standard nonic
Type: 12fl oz bottle

Pours a 1-finger head, reduces to heavy film, lacing is surprisingly sticker for a typical Magic Hat. Color is deep copper-brown.

Aroma begins with some roasted malts and coffee, lightly hopped. No other ingredients than that, but the quality of the aroma is rather nice.

Taste of roasted coffee leads the charge, even lighter in roasted malts, but specifically no dark malts seem to be large in flavor. Hops are present, but light and on the bitter side.

Mouthfeel is not a palate-destroyer, and drinks as a great dark session beer. As the beer descends down the glass, the following sips the hops seem to hit the taste buds before the beer actually hits the tongue, making this extremely enjoyable. Their "on tour" series beers always impress me.

 812 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Another 'IPA On Tour' series brew, I've had quite a few. I am shocked when a nearly black brew comes out capped with a mocha head; I didn't know it was a Black IPA. The beer is a bit ruddy looking for the CDA/ABA style. It seems to present a look like I would expect from a Porter.

S - The nose tells me this is not like most of the other CDAs I've had in that it has taken on a lot of roasted characteristics from the dark malt, not just color as is often the case.

T - The taste reinforces elements found in the aroma such as prominent roastiness and coffee-chicory notes. There is also a grassy, green hoppiness, reminiscent of fresh-cut grass or aloe sap. I am a huge fan of the malt, not so much of the hop.

M - Medium-bodied and sharply carbonated. It could've been a bit softer in the effervescence dept. Otherwise, it is good.

D - Another solid offering from the 'On Tour' series, which is just about the only thing MH puts out that is worth drinking these days.

 978 characters

Photo of KTCamm
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark black with some off white foam. Slight patchy on top. Roasted coffee smell. Dark chocolate too. Light mild pine-hop taste buried in an espresso malt. More Malt than bitter. Somewhat of a bitter remains, but mild. Some carbonation. Enjoyable.

 302 characters

Photo of JohnTerrizzi
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type: poured from bottle into clear glass beer mug.

Appearance: dark brown almost black. completely opaque when held to the light. semi-tan off-white head that dissipates fairly rapidly. some lacing.

Smell: strong roasted malt aroma with hints of chocolate and hops.

Taste: strong roasted malt flavor with better cocoa after taste. some very faint hints of hops. the hoppiness emerges as you make your way to the end of the beer.

Mouthfeel: semi full bodied. nice carbonation. a little prickly on the tip of the tongue.

Overall: not a bad beer. more like a porter or stout than a black ipa. I was expecting more hops but I would definitely drink it again.

 668 characters

Photo of scootny
3.76/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark clear fluid. Huge head lots of lace and retention. Smell is dark malts with brown breadiness. An English style fruitiness in the yeast. Light notes of coffee and chocolate. A bit mild for an IPA. Taste is full of char and firm hops with a super malty nut brown core. Toffee sweetness. Mocha flowing into full coffee flavors bloom on my tongue. Hops are a unique combo of leafy with grapfruit. Finish is dry and somewhat short with a lingering dark roasted grain malt and mild grapefruit hoppiness. Feel is mildly carbonated like an English cask ale with a gentle touch of creaminess. A touch of thickness in a medium weight ale gives a nice body. Quite drinkable and tasty. Very English in character and subtly satisfying. Just seems to be missing a big distinguishing quality about it to set it apart. Then again does it need to. Well done MH, a very nice beer

 866 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I guess this is the last beer on the IPA on tour and since most offerings were good I picked it up.

A - Wow a nice murky brown which I didn't expect with a nice inch of head that turns to a sticky ring.

S - Nothing really stands out, mild roast malts with a touch of chocolate... no hops? Isn't this suppose to be an IPA?

T - Well it's not bad. Nice taste of mentioned roasted malts maybe a bit of chocolate but hops taste pretty subdued. Slight if anything.

M - Light to medium, pretty drinkable.

D - Not something I would pick up again. I really liked the Encore better and hoped this was kind of like this, if anything a black IPA but with roasted malts to the extreme it doesn't seem to even be IPA or Black IPA. Still pretty good and better than BMC.

 760 characters

Photo of CaptJackHarkness
3.74/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce bottle from Spring Fling variety assortment.

Smells of fig, dates, dark fruits with a hint of grass.

Stoutlike deep brown/black body with a very full dark beige head. Laces glass almost lovingly. Tastes like a hoppy milk stout with coffeee and caramel notes. Ironicaly the cap states "All hopped up and nowhere to go".

 333 characters

Photo of morebeergood
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at Trader Joe's for a buck or so. Poured into a regular pint glass. Dark brown color, with a slight white head and some lacing. Aroma had notes of espresso and chocolate. Taste was appealing. I liked the flavors of cocoa, black licorice, and roasted malt. No real presence of hops. Lots of flavors resembling a porter, but with a smoother ale body. Mouthfeel was ample and full bodied. I liked this beer as great dark ale. One of the better MH beers I've tried in a long time.

 495 characters

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