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Demo - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DemoDemo

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

401 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 401
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 15.12%
Wants: 5
Gots: 16 | 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:
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 added by: NEhophead on 01-13-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 401 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jason
3.98/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Jason, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of Metalmonk
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

Metalmonk, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of rtepiak
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this is interesting crossroad in american beer. its has the temperment of an APA but with the malt character of something quite heavy. this beer although isn't heavy. on a scale of density and darkness hops being the golden, fresh, and dry and coffee being that rich, thick and backend flavor. this is something in the middle. almond and toast. but bitter. this seems to me that quality of something that is a RIS in grit but without the body. this is not a brown malt. its not malty. but it has a character of somewhat bitter malt and a tad toasty.

pour is brown dingy with a beaut of a head of crag large bubbles. nose of almond and coconut which fades quickly to mineral and toastiness. palate is hard and somewhat coffee bitter with a toasty coffee finish. a bit loose around the edges but must say that i had a good bottle then a bad one. almost a bad coffee and good IPA hybrid.

rtepiak, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of sdj5
3.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks very dark, maybe a reddish-brown, but very close to black. Smells like a relatively hoppy Hershey bar. Taste is a crisp hop bite, with chocolate and roasted malts mixed in and then more of the expected bitterness on the end.

The IPA label seems wrong because this beer is not what it says on the box. However, I do think it is a good beer and would drink it again, regardless of the error in judgement.

sdj5, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of busterthecat
2.65/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

best by: may 31 2011, poured into pint glass

A- A modest brown hue. A creamy head forms with some sticky lacing.

S- Smooth roasted malts. Some chocolate, a creamy sweetness, some earthy piney hops finally comes through. Malt mostly.

T- A big taste of chocolate and mild roasted malt upfront. Smooth. Hops are mostly absent. Some faint bitterness with no direction.

M- Medium to light bodied, wet, lingers ok. Kind of thin and watery.

O/D- No alc. Quite unimpressed. More like a watery stout then a ABA.

busterthecat, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of Dotcubed
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not sure why the label says IPA, maybe it's meant to be like a "B" side?

Very dark, pudding skin of soft foam.

Almost coffee smell.

Burnt flavors. Creamy. Some smoked accent.
Tastes like coffee.

Bitterness like an IPA but attributes from something other than hops...

Thinner mouth feel.

Stamped Best buy March 31 2011

Dotcubed, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of joelshults
3.2/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not an IPA. This beer is tasty. A very smokey, dark beer, but nothing like any IPA I've ever had.

Has more of a lager flavor to me than an ale. If this had been labeled "Magic Hat Schwartzbier" I would've given it an A.

I'm just not sure at all how this is labeled an IPA.

joelshults, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of Ralphus
3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy brown with an offwhite head that recedes to a ring of foam. Some lacing is left behind.

The smell is smokey pine. Nice hopping.

The taste is a slightly ipa taste with some smokey malts. The combination doesn't work too well for me as the malt is not that sweet. The beer just seems to be missing something.

Mouthfeel is ok, albeit a little gritty if that makes any sense.

Overall.. not a beer I'd go for again.

Ralphus, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of Clownpants
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Love IPAs, but not really a huge fan of black ales. Here the black ale was more powerful than the IPA taste...thus the lower rating. It has a great first taste, but the aftertaste was very dark and not of the traditional IPA bite. A well brewed beer, but not my favorite.

Clownpants, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of Kendo
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Body is dark brown with a small tan head that settles fast. Leaves some lace.

S: Leafy, herbal, earthy hops over a touch of malt. Not terribly strong in the nose.

T: Doesn't really taste much like an American-Style Black Ale; at times I think Rauchbier or Schwarzbier, at other times I think Porter. . . . There's some char or charcoal, a touch of roasted barley malt and leafy hops at the finish. Neither as chocolatey nor as roasty as I like for the style. And while we're at it, not as hoppy either - at least, not the juicy, citrusy, piney (American) hops I like.

M: Body is light-to-medium in heft. Carbonation is too active and sharp, not at all creamy and smooth.

O: The beer is OK. I had a few of them and wasn't disgusted by that. But they didn't really hold my interest either. Overall impression: there are much better beers of this style.

Kendo, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of OneDropSoup
3.95/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

OneDropSoup, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of generallee
3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

generallee, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of tempest
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had at bottle at Allentown Wegman's with some BBQ brisket in the cafe. Poured with an impressively thick light brown head.Not a bad combo. Bascially, this was a pleasant, creamy porter with a mix of black barley roast and grapefruit and citrus rind hops. I'd have like more hop character to make this more than a bitter American porter, but it's a tasty porter nonetheless. Drinkable for the strength, but not too thin.

tempest, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance:
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.

Smell:
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.

Taste:
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.

Mouthfeel:
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.

Cheers.

ThePorterSorter, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of Daktyls
3.4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown almost black with a half-finger mocha head that dissipates to a patchy lacing. There is also quite a bit of brownish particles floating in the beer which I'm somewhat concerned about because not many other reviewers made note of it.

S: Dark malts are present immediately, followed by chocolate and citrus notes. Herbal hops take somewhat of a back burner, but are present.

T: Something seems off here. I'm not quite sure what it is that's off, but it's something. There's definitely some herbal hops present, but it's very hoppy, almost as if the visible sediment were hop particles themselves.

M: Lightly carbonated, light body, a generally light beer considering the alcohol content.

D: I'm not particularly impressed here. Yea, it's drinkable, but as a whole it's not particularly memorable.

Daktyls, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of mattgreger
4.05/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

mattgreger, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of Billolick
3.18/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle, Best before info etched onto the next of the bottle.

Pours quite dark brown, under a larger, fluffy and staying medium mocha head, that fades to a thicker film and leaves tons of thick sheeting and bands of unsophisticated looking lace.

Chalky chocolate laden nose.

This brew is a ragged mess, with more chocolate, more chalkyness, dark malts, hops somewhere in the back ground, but somehow not making sense nor dancing well with all that chocolate flavor. Finish is thin and not all that pleasant. C'mon Magic Hat, does anybody taste this stuff before it leaves the brewery?!?

Billolick, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of Guden
4.2/5  rDev +22.1%
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

Guden, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

smcolw, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a muddy deep brown with a tan head that disspiates to a skin rather quickly, leaving thin lacing on the glass.

Aromas of pine hops, dark malts (crystal & US chocolate), and faint hint of spearmint. Some fresh earthiness also.

Taste has more malts than the nose, but still sufficient hops. Burnt coffee (in a good way) and chocolate maltiness with piney hops. A nice hint of citrus blends well with a dark bitter chocolate ending.

Thin mouthfeel, high carbonation, crisp and slightly dry.

Second time was a charm with this one for me. I like the complexities, even though I'm not a big fan of the American Black Ale. The hint of citrus and bitter chocolate finish really boost the taste rating for me.

ThreeDimesDown, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of SteelerNation
3.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one last night so I am doing this from memory.

My overall impression of the beer was very good from a taste standpoint, but there were some major flaws with the brew. By the name "Demo" its pretty clear that this beer isn't 100% there yet, but it was also behind where I thought it would be.

First off, it pours a black semi-opaque color with a nice roasty head and good lacing. However there are chunks of green sediment floating in this beer. I am OK with hazyness or a little yeast on the bottom, but I could see chunks of hops and break floating in suspension. This came off as very unprofessional for a brewery of this size.

My second problem with this brew is that I don't buy that it is an IPA or even a black IPA. It's really just a hoppy porter. The hops don't dominate like they should in an IPA. I get more roasted malt on the palate than hops.

Other than that it has very nice characteristics: a nice roasty smell and taste, fresh American hops, a well balanced malt and hop profile. Very unrefined, but not far off from a solid brew. Highly drinkable without any astringent aftertastes or off flavors.

SteelerNation, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of WesWes
3.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is average. It has a dry, roasted/black malt scent along with a mild hop nose. It's pretty tame compared to most black IPAs. The earthy, roasted character is too intense and dwarfs the hops. The taste is average as well. It has a muddled flavor that boasts of earthy black malts and citrus hops. It's bone dry with too much roasted character. The hops sneak through in the finish, but are hidden through most of the drinking experience. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty undrinkable beer. I have enjoyed most of their IPA series, but this one needs a serious tune-up.

WesWes, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of therica
4.1/5  rDev +19.2%
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.

therica, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of boudreaux
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From Magic Hat's Spring Variety Pack. Best by 4/30/11.
Claims to be a black IPA.

A: True to its description, it's really, really dark; dark brown/chocolate in color; light mocha/tan head, about 1/2 finger thick; leaves nice lacing, though

S: great aromas, with heavy malt; pleasantly surprised to identify notes of citrus and chocolate, with a touch of hops; kinda smells like a chocolate-covered oranges with a touch of bitterness

T: not sure what I expected, but I was unprepared for this flavor; roasted malt flavors are strong, with a slight bite from the hops; also a creamy yeast taste present; good, but not what I was looking for

M: creamy, as noted by the yeast in the taste section; not quite thick enough to be a stout or porter, but not light/biting enough to qualify for IPA; interesting

D: Pretty easy to finish; kinda got bored by the end of the glass, which surprised me considering all the unexpected characteristics of this beer; my tongue was caught between wanting more and being tired of the flavors

boudreaux, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Body is dark cocoa brown with a cloudy amber appearance once held toward the light, big light tan head dwindles slowly with fine evenly strung rings of lacing. aroma has dark mint hints of nearly burnt ash with mild to dark notes of cocoa. Very herbal highlights amongst the backdrop of dark roasted malt character this is pretty amazing for what it is. Flavor has mild dark chocolate brownie notes drizzled with mint icing light on candy heavy on herbs and endurance...pretty amazing actually, one of the beers that you try not to remember but actually grows on you with each sip. Mouthfeel is medium bodied dark silky smooth body with evenly done carbonation I can't complain about the texture or body in this one. Drinkability in this one isn't bad at all, I don't judge it but I'm scared about what it thinks about me.

WVbeergeek, Feb 25, 2011
Demo from Magic Hat Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 401 ratings.