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Participation Ale - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Participation AleParticipation Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

53 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 53
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 14.96%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: taez555 on 11-16-2002)
View: Beers (37) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 53 | Reviews: 43 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by PopeJonPaul:
Photo of PopeJonPaul


3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Started by drinking this one straight from the bottle at the tailgate party for the soon-to-be-5-0 (now 5-1) Jets. Smelled like a chocolate lemon, I had to pour some in a cup to see what the heck it was. Nice reddish brown with a thick head, tases like a mix of mellow semisweet chocolate, coffee and bitters. Smooth and drinkable but could use a bit more body, almost like there's a pilsner hiding underneath. Still quite refreshing and took the edge off the 3 Belgians I knocked down before stumbling into the stadium.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2004 02:55:11 | More by PopeJonPaul
More User Reviews:
Photo of thatoneguymike


3.25/5  rDev -10%

04-13-2014 17:13:55 | More by thatoneguymike
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3.25/5  rDev -10%

11-22-2013 21:39:19 | More by Enriquehopnog
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3.5/5  rDev -3%

07-22-2013 17:45:16 | More by BlissJunkie
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3.5/5  rDev -3%

07-01-2013 01:47:49 | More by morrowd3
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2.25/5  rDev -37.7%

03-13-2013 23:02:48 | More by chippo33
Photo of cliff1066


3.5/5  rDev -3%

01-28-2013 02:21:58 | More by cliff1066
Photo of djrn2

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -16.9%

06-14-2012 00:18:55 | More by djrn2
Photo of jfcaa193


4/5  rDev +10.8%

02-18-2012 22:39:55 | More by jfcaa193
Photo of jharkins07


3/5  rDev -16.9%

02-09-2012 19:44:38 | More by jharkins07
Photo of JAHMUR


3/5  rDev -16.9%

01-20-2012 13:25:34 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of WakeandBake


3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes Oct 15, 2008
Bottle. Golden orange color pour with a big soft fluffy white head. Aroma of floral and bitter hops,some spicyness,a faint whiff of lemon zest.Pleasent flavor of pale malt and spicy citrus hopps,dry corn bread,and just a touch of honey.Light body with a crisp finish. Pretty good

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2009 17:06:49 | More by WakeandBake
Photo of NoahSYGG

New York

4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this in a sampler 12 pack. Unfortunately I didnt have a pint glass to rate the looks, but the aroma was great. A nice malty smell with a piney cascadey hop aroma. The flavor was crisp with a nice hop kick, but not too hoppy where I couldn't taste the malty. A nice light bodied beer that I could drink all night.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2008 22:46:10 | More by NoahSYGG
Photo of putnam


2.25/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Presumably "please drink by the end of December" means "please drink by the end of 2004." That being said I just finished an Italian Pilsner brewed at least 18 months ago and it still blows away even the fresh competition in its class. "Best fresh" beer styles should be able to hang after the expiration date.

Very dark brown, rose red highlights. Tissue-thin sheet of foam. Oreo cookie and molasses aromas. Bone dry, very thin textured and astringent with hops tannins. Tangy seed flavor join the halting, short finish. No suggestion of fruit anywhere, but no real signs of "burn" or other stress. It's been cellared at 60 deg. F since the winter. Exceedingly light and watery tasting.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2005 23:50:34 | More by putnam
Photo of clvand0


4.28/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sulldaddy for sending this one my way. This one pours a dark brown color with a small head that has good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma has a lot of chocolate malt and a slight bit of roasted malts. Smells very good. The flavor is almost identical to the aroma: Lots of chocolate goodness with a slight roastyness. I think this could use a little bit more body, but it's nice with the meduim mouthfeel. The drinkability is great. Good brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2005 15:11:45 | More by clvand0
Photo of kmpitz2


4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to sulldaddy and clvand0 for sharing this with me. It pours a dark brown color with ruby hues. A small head falls to coat the brew. The nose is really nice. There is some chocolate and coffee tones along side roastyness. The flavor is nutty, chocolatey, slightly coffee bitter. Lots going on there. It leaves a nice sweet chocolate on the tongue in the finish. The feel is moderate, with a moderate carbonation. I would like a little more in there. I could be happy drinking this all day. Very smooth and easy drinking. I like it.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2005 23:57:17 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of mschofield


3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby red-brown, topped with a one finger creamy khaki head, leaves webs of lacing.
Fruity aroma, molasses, flowers and cocoa, powdery.
Toasty, nut taste, caramel, fruity, floral, toffee and cocoa, some butter but it's not overpowering.
Medium bodied, good but not great.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2005 23:56:32 | More by mschofield
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.18/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Translucent, deep burgundy-brown with a dense cap of pale ecru foam that is persistent, but leaves no more than a meager amount of lace in specks and spatters.

Cocoa powder is the dominant member of the nose. I would normally say chocolate, but it doesn't smell rich or sweet. It has more of a powdery, almost flinty, character. It's also weaker than it should be.

In terms of flavor, Participation is nothing more than a fair to middlin' brown ale whose worst fault is its light body. The flavor doesn't have a chance to make a statement because it isn't permitted to hang around all that long. Although it's still lightly chocolatey, it's as far from the notion of thick, sweet, rich melted chocolate as is possible. It's lightly ale fruity, but is still hop deficient. On the positive side, I don't appreciate much Ringwood yeastiness.

As noted, the body/mouthfeel is too light, even when taking style into consideration. It's also weakly carbonated. This is a fairly easy drinking beer if flavor and mouthfeel aren't high on your list of gotta haves. Unfortunately, they're all that really matter to me.

We aren't that far past the election of '04, so this bottle should still have been fairly fresh. It tastes a little stale though, but that may be because the flavor profile doesn't set my world on fire. Participation is an average English Brown that definitely doesn't get my vote. Thanks to far333 for the bomber.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2005 16:18:22 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Boto


3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber: This one pours pretty much a brown color, with maybe a twinge of red. Some off white head that dies out quickly. Hints of both vanilla and chocolate to the nose. Also a bit of roastiness. The taste has more notes of chocolate and coffee than anything else. There are also possible some hints of hazlenuts. A touch lighter than would be expected.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2005 01:15:43 | More by Boto
Photo of Thrasher


3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, the 2004 presidential election has come and gone, but this beer showed up in my Christmas stocking, and now seems as good a time as any to give it a try. It's a roasty brown ale that tiptoes into porter territory, pouring a dark chestnut with ruby tints as one holds it up to light. The head is smaller than desired, but sturdy and leaves spiderwebs of lace. There's a pleasant aroma of roastiness, chocolate, strong caramel, and a seaside saltiness that must come from the yeast. The flavor carries over all these flavors and even adds a touch of peat from the gentle, grassy hops; I really like the way this beer is balanced. A strong malted brown sugar quality threatens to take over, as often happens in robust American brown ales, but it recedes so that the beer is mellow, buttery, smooth, balanced. The porter-like roastiness adds another dimension. With all these flavors working successfully, it is a shame the flavor of the beer is, in the end, obscured and somewhat watery. While everything is present from the first sip, the finish quickly cedes to a blank, wet nothing. Some lingering roastiness or perhaps a rolling grassy hop flavor would be most welcome here. In all, the beer resembles the election to a T: a lot of hopeful promise in the beginning, but by the end, a big fat disappointment.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2004 04:23:19 | More by Thrasher
Photo of NEhophead


4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz brown bottle.

Creamy 1" tan head that fades to a sheet after a moment; average retention. Some dense and layered lacing with solid strength. Thick brown with a very present red tint.

Slightly sweet hazlenut and coffee aromas; A very pleasant toasted malt nose as well.

Coffee and roasted malts; hazlenut and other nut flavors; semi-sweet. A light bitterness followed by a roasted nutty aftertaste.

Medium bodied; but on the lighter side for the style. Clean and crisp on the palate.

Drinkable for the style; I was surprised at how much I liked this one. Very flavorful, balanced, and pleasant. Worth a try and I'll be going back for more before the next rotation. Good job to Magic hat with this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2004 14:43:43 | More by NEhophead
Photo of bditty187


3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, dark ruby-brown in hue. The head was creamy-beige in color; at the apex the foam was a little over one finger in height. Head retention was fair; it dissipated to a bubbly cap. A soapy collar remained for the entire consumption. Subsequent lacing was basically none. The nose is surprisingly boastful; the key aromas are caramel malt, butterscotch, chocolate, hints of roast. The hops don’t offer much, maybe some herbal qualities at the distant back. I like the bouquet. I’m fond of Brown Ales with a good roasty backbone, this one isn’t beefy but the nose is too maltiness for it not to be pleasant. Inviting. The palate is quite yummy! My disclaimer, I’m a sucker for Brown Ales. Anyway, the first thing I taste is a dry, nutty, char that lingered to the finish. In the middle is an herbal hop presence. Modest caramel flavors, more so the malt comes off “true,” kind of clean and not very sweet. Light butterscotch. Earthy. English in nature. Pleasant. Roasted aftertaste. I have no complaints with the palate. I split my bomber; I reviewed half of it and drank the other half with a turkey burger smothered in roasted garlic mustard and cheddar cheese on a toasted bun. It was a great combination. Almost medium in body, low carbonation, the mouthfeel is a bit thin but it is tolerable. Good enough but far from great. Plenty drinkable, no issues here, the low abv is a plus too. The easy of consumption is related to the lack of complexity in the palate. In this case that is not a knock against the beer. Sometimes simple is good. Thanks UnionMade!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2004 19:47:41 | More by bditty187
Photo of AlexJ

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour definately has a lot more to it than bottled version. Deeper and darker, almost mahogany brown, slightly hazy, with a creamy head that leaves a thin trail of lacing.

Nose is full of chocolate, sweet malts, toast, modest coffee and soft hints of floral and tea like hops providing roundness.

Flavor follows suit with a distinct nuttiness and added roasty, chocolatey goodness. Finishes with a mild dose of English style hop bitterness. Draft is the best way to enjoy this limited offering.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2004 23:05:53 | More by AlexJ
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.23/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bright burgundy brown, thin head.
Nutty nose, dark fruits, herbs and minerals.
Big carbonation, fiercely fizzy, very cola-ish, smallish hops, then fading and faint, meek mouthfeel, ...flavor's unimpressive, finish doesn't do much, and it's all a far too watery affair.
A safe choice for a "cause" beer, and I can't fault them for that, really.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2004 04:14:46 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of bceaglejoe


3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber purchased at Marty's Liquors, Allston, Mass. on 12/3.

This poured a beautiful dark brown with a light coffee-colored head that dissipated rather quickly. Remnants left a nice ring around the glass that retained itself as I drank it.

It smelled like a combination of rich coffee and a well-known Vienna lager.

This was the first English Brown Ale I have tried. I guess I am not really big on this style. But objectively I thought the taste was pretty good. It tasted very much like coffee, perhaps with a little caramel mixed in. Slight aftertaste which was pretty nice. It felt very smooth in my mouth, without the bite found in other beers.

I don't know how much of this I could drink in a row. But for one who prefers this style, this beer is very drinkable. Get it while it lasts, or wait till the next election cycle...

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2004 21:51:23 | More by bceaglejoe
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Participation Ale from Magic Hat Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.