Séance - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

462 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 462
Reviews: 79
rAvg: 3.17
pDev: 17.03%
Wants: 4
Gots: 40 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  4.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jackal on 07-31-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 462 | Reviews: 79
Reviews by thecheapies:
Photo of thecheapies
3.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Seance is definitely a black saison. It has a dark brown porter-like look to it. Only a thin sheet of foam stays aboard, not the gushy white head I like to see in this style.

Strange malty aroma has dark spice elements with whiffs of cinnamon and mace, but with a mild, but stingy, saison yeast tartness. Citrusy pale meets malty dark Belgique. Very herbal, and only lightly medicinal. Notes of nectarine and lemon are very faint. Has aromatic nuttiness.

Ah, too much malt sweetness and roast. The yeast backs up with a funky dryness that feigns tartness. Bland middle, but the drier and semi-bitter finish is nice. Spare fruitiness reminds me of lemon rind and pith, but quietly so. Malts take over with a semi-dry light roast (sans bitterness) with herbal spice carrying in. Doesn't speak to me just by being easy drinking. I'd rather enjoy a louder flavor profile of a sweeter or fruitier saison. While the combination of a half-life carbonation and skim milky body is a generous offering, it's the imbalance in the recipe that sinks this ship.

More User Reviews:
Photo of ExtraStout
3.09/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: This saison...pours out jet black with a nice 1/2" white head slowly faded leaving good level of foam on top, nice lacing.

Smell: Pleasant bouquet, but the emphasis is on the yeast more than anything else. Sour smell with slight hints of roasted malts.

Taste: Front is dry and slightly sour. Middle is also dry, with a brief hint of roasted malt. A funny thing happened on the way to the finish: a taste reminiscent of the way a well-used ash tray smells. This unpleasant taste is all in the top of the palate and leads into the finish. The finish is dry, slightly sour and filled with a subdued peat-type smoke. Aftertaste is where one finally gets some flavor profiles from the (I assume) saison yeast.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is a bit but the carbonation helps to elevate the overall enjoyment of the beer.

Overall: This is not an awful beer, but certainly it is not good. This beer is a chimera, an unholy and unwieldy blending of disparate elements. It doesn't really work.

Photo of Jason
3.28/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Look: Dark mahogany brown, nearly opaque. Decent lacing.

Smell: Candy sugar, mineral, spice, toasted bread, faint candied fruit

Taste: Crisp, chicory, carob, dry-ish, light hopping, toasted grain, salty, dried grass, grainy finish

I don't really see any sort of "Sasion" like qualities here, an ok brew.

Photo of Cavanaghty
4/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a sample glass.

Appearance: Darker brown color, with a beige head.

Smell: Smokey like aroma, with malts, hops and floral notes as well.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Smokey wood flavor, with malts and hops, and some earthy tones.

Overall: Excellent Saison, really enjoyed the unique flavor of this beer.

Photo of chinchill
3.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours a very dark brown with a small head that mostly dies away quickly but leaves a good amount of tan lacing on the glass. Dark for style, and the aroma and flavor are unusual too.

The aroma features dark malts, roasted nuts and chocolate. These carry over to the flavor where some tartness joins the mix. Hints of fruit and hops in both the nose and flavor, with only the slightest touch of funk.

Medium body; crisp, medium carbonation; rather dry finish.

O: a distinct and rather unusual saison worth trying.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.64/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear dark brown appearing black in the glass with a thin slightly tanned head. Not much lacing on the side of the glass.

S: First thing I notice is a belgian yeastiness with a touch of banana. Roasted malt with a hint of smokiness. Nutty qualities are present too.

T: Mild flavor that is characteristic of the dark saison style. Roasted malt blend with a banana yeast, bit of sweetness yet also smokiness. Aftertaste lingers with a yeasty flavor.

M: Medium body with ample carbonation. Pretty crisp finish that has a touch of stickiness.

Overall a nice entry beer for those who are interested in dark saisons. Doesn't get too roasty, smokey or yeasty on you, but still has all of those flavors balanced nicely.

Photo of dacrza1
1.63/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

DATE TASTED: November 8, 2013... GLASSWARE: Kisatsky's Tavern pint... OCCASION: post soccer/rental car/surgery Friday!... APPEARANCE: jet black body; slush brown, chunky, topographically significant head that laces thickly as a cloud--promising... AROMA: peat, lactic, soda pop and funk--NOT the barnyard variety; more of a porter than a saison--a mislabel?...PALATE: full-bodied, powerfully off-kilter residue--not enjoyable...TASTE: first, the aftertaste: malt that drags and offers a mucused experience; actually tastes more like old pint glass than a refreshing saison...OVERALL: a disappointing seasonal, given the foreboding label and the usually enjoyable experience when drinking a saison; drinks too much like a chore, almost begging unfair comparisons to other, more reputable Hats or saisons...

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown with good foam. Rather red under the light; not really what I'm used to in a saison.

Smell: Fermented grapes and caramel. Very faint, but it does have saison smells.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Tastes exactly like it smells. Pretty refreshing with a solid mouthfeel.

Overall: More of an amber than a saison.

Photo of Hopdaemon39
3.34/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz into a variety of glasses but this time a wine glass- pours a dark brown/ruby color with one finger of head, good retention, and a nice ring of lacing.

Smell is minimal- some roasted malt notes, a tiny bit of yeast and maybe some smoke.

Taste is nice- caramel uo front followed by yeast and smoke, continues with rich caramel malt and smoke, finishes slightly sweet.

Mouthfeel is pretty good- medium light body, moderately carbonated, a little thick for the abv. It's all right- nothing special but not bad.

Photo of KTCamm
3.27/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Single bottle poured into a pint glass. 10/1

Pours dark brown with high white/off white foam. Bubbly and settles slowly. Bright nose, brown sugar, malty, cola. Taste is a wall of hop and earthy tree bark. Is that birch? Funky, but off putting. Iffy.

Photo of tone77
3.47/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, a bit of malts. Taste is roasted malts, some spices, finishes dry, not really the flavor profile of other saisons I have had, but not bad. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

Photo of goochpunch
3.96/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours out brown with a thin, frothed milk head. Smells of chocolate, roasty malts, and spicy yeast. Flavor starts off sweet but finishes a bit dry. Dark malts and Belgian yeast merge well in this beer. Bit of bitterness in the finish. Chocolate-y aftertaste. Mouthfeel is moderate in body with a lively carbonation. Pretty awesome autumnal beer. The mix of spice and dark malts on this chilly day hits the spot. Plus 4.4% and lots of flavor. Can't beat that. What are people hating on with this beer?

Photo of puboflyons
3.84/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on September 3, 2013.

It has a much darker than typical pour for a Saison with this chestnut brown color and red highlights flickering on the edge of the glass. Small head that becomes a ring eventually.

The aroma is of dark fruit and more like red wine so I would call it grape-like with coffee esters, earthy hops, and yeast.

The body is about medium.

The taste tends to come up a bit more sour than the aroma might suggest with a similar grape note in the flavor followed by a warming mild to moderate hop finish. Those hops do something to make it feel like there's a lot more alcohol than the 4.4% ABV would imply. I drank it rather quickly.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.03/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours deep cops color with a tight off-white head that leaves rings of lacing.

Smells of some roasted notes with an emphasis on earthy tones.

Tastes of the earthy tones with a bit malt character behind it. Toasty coffee and a bit of chocolate come through. Touches of dark fruit sneak in. Some brown sugar comes in as well. More porter like than said on.

Mouth feel is medium-light with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this isn't bad, but I find the overall profile could use some refinement as well as a little more oomph.

Photo of Immortale25
3.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and random specs of surface foam. Semi-resilient cobwebs of lacing.

S- Kind of odd coffee aroma that's not indicative of a Saison, black or otherwise. Has an unpleasant funk to it as well.

T- Coffee continues in the taste and so does this strange funk that's unlike anything I've had before. It must be the particular Saison yeast strain they used but it doesn't mesh well with the heavy roast of the malt.

M- Thick but bright with medium-low carbonation and a mostly full body.

O- A failed experiment riddled with off flavors.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.49/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Magic Hat Séance has a thick, beige head, a very dark brown appearance, and some decent lacing left behind on the glass. The aroma is of medium-to-heavy roasted barley, wood smoke, cream of wheat, and bread crust. Taste is of those elements, with some sort of spice (white pepper?), sugar, powdered milk, hop bitterness, and oats. Mouthfeel is medium, and Magic Hat Séance finishes lager crisp, refreshing, and easy drinking. RJT

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.08/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. A new beer from Magic Hat, acquired as part of the Magic Hat Night Of The Living Dead variety pack. Expectations are relatively low for this one. The cap says "drink it down & lose your frown". Sounds good to me.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours a cola brown color; mahogany / ruby in the glass. Just over a finger of creamy fluffy tan head.

S - The first thing I smell is chocolate / coffee and roasted malt presence. Some crisp yeast presence and some faint brett, but it isn't exactly what I would call "funky" or "farmhouse". Beyond that, there isn't really anything to it. Doesn't smell bad, but very lackluster.

T - Taste follows the nose: bland and fizzy. Some malt roast, light unsweetened chocolate, some char, crisp carbonation, and maybe some mineral presence.

M - Feel is thin, watery, and over carbonated. Some dry light roasty notes lingering on the palate.

Overall, a pretty disappointing lackluster of a beer. Reminds me more of some kind of a weak porter or a brown ale rather than a saison / farmhouse ale. I really don't know what Magic Hat was going for with this one. Over carbonating a weak porter doesn't make it "farmhouse". I won't have any trouble finishing these off, but it's not something I'd seek out again.

Magic Hat Séance ---3/5.

Photo of MaxRebo
1.9/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

This beer is garbage. Smells of burnt malts. Very dark, looks like a porter or a stout. Very little head or carbonation. It is absolutely not a saison. It is a dark burnt malty mess. I should have read the reviews before ever ordering this crap. Be warned. Would not recommend if you actually want a saison.

Photo of Badger6
3.22/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Temp at sampling was around 47-48F. I think it might be a bit better nearer 52-54F.

A: This is saison? It's almost pure black, like a porter, minimal light passes through. Built a small tan head, that receded to a nice frothy surface layer with a ring at the glass edge. Some lacing.

S: Does not smell like a saison. Some yeastiness, but lots of roasted malt, hints of sour.

T: Again, more like a porter, but starting to get saisony. Slightly sour up front, but then gives way to lots of roasted malts (hence the dark color) that carry to the finish, which is again sour. There was a hint of something smoky in there too, but not really well defined. There is a bitterness to the aftertaste.

M: Heavily carbonated, in fact so much so that what would likely be a heavy mouthfeel is moderate to light.

O: I was confused, the label says saison, the aroma and taste hint heavily toward porter, then finish out saison-like...and then the mouthfeel. This is an interesting beer...I suspect my ratings would have been higher if they'd called this something other than 'saison.' No idea what, but its Magic Hat, those guys are creative and can pull off unique, so give it a unique style name.

Photo of TBoneJones
2.62/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Posted from an earlier tasting:
Pours a dark brown (this is a Saison?!) in my pint, lively bubbles barely visible in the deep body, finger-width tan head tapers down to a smaller surface film.
Smells of malts and of toffee/ anise. Odd and not expected for the style as indicated by the label. Slight hint of a hoppy funk that otherwise can be indicative of a saison, however I don't see how this can mesh as a saison with the other oddities detected by my nose.
This is a mess for me. Like a basic coffee porter wishing to be a saison, but failing to realizing it can only be a porter. Dark malts and burnt. Soapy. Aspirin. Dry. Ample carbonation. A beer I cant recommend, but to give credit where credit is due, it certainly lives up to its name in that nothing good comes from "black magic".

Photo of BeerDocT
2.77/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

First off, just want to say I love the label art on this beer. Spooky owl...grasping hand...candles...blowing leaves...very cool! How will the Fall seasonal inside taste? Here goes... .

Appearance 3.25: This saison...pours out jet black. Yep. A jet black saison. Nice 1/2" white head slowly faded leaving good level of foam on top. Makes my saison look like "3/4 pint" of Guinness. Very nice lacing.

Smell 3.0: Pleasant bouquet, but the emphasis is on the yeast more than anything else. Sour smell with slight hints of roasted malts.

Taste 2.5: Front is dry and slightly sour. Middle is also dry, with a brief hint of roasted malt. A funny thing happened on the way to the finish: a taste reminiscent of the way a well-used ash tray smells. This unpleasant taste is all in the top of the palate and leads into the finish. The finish is dry, slightly sour and filled with a subdued peat-type smoke. Aftertaste is where one finally gets some flavor profiles from the (I assume) saison yeast.

Mouthfeel 3.0: Mouthfeel is dry, but the carbonation helps to elevate the overall enjoyment of the beer.

Overall 2.75: Was there a fire-sale on smoked grains in Vermont this summer? First their black amber ale and now this saison. What is up with the guys at Magic Hat? This is not an awful beer, but certainly it is not good. The smoked grains and the saison yeast do not go together well and often clash, leading to flavor profiles like the "ash tray effect" described above. This should have been worked out in taste-testing long before this beer was set loose on an unsuspecting populace. This beer is a chimera, an unholy and unwieldy blending of disparate elements. It doesn't work. The best thing about this beer is the art on the label. I really want someone to spray-paint a duplicate of it on the side of my Chevy van.

Photo of RingoBro
2.48/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Made my own six pack and decided I'd try one of these since I'm a big fan of several other magic hat beers. It's a very dark beer and has decent head on it. Not sure what's in this beer, but I could swear I could faintly taste chocolate. Overall, not a big fan of this magic hat and I will not be picking it up again.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.59/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 9/29/2013 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, roasted malts, wheat and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with a hearty roasted malt character, wheat and a decent Belgian yeast backbone. Then some flavors of coffee and chocolate come in. The hops presence is mild but brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry.

O: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent variation of style, it’s a decent beer to drink for a while if you want something a bit different.

Photo of jwc215
3.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear medium brown with a rocky tan head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of bubblegum/cotton candy with brown sugar and some roast.

The taste is of bubblegum/cotton candy mixed with brown sugar with a roasted chocolate/coffee backing. The initial sweetness is balanced by roasted dryness in the finish.

It is rather thin, though not watery. It has something of a "flat" feel to it, though it is easy enough to drink.

This is an interesting version of a dark(ish) saison. Low abv and interesting flavors make it easy to drink.

Photo of Xach
3.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

First dark beer rating.

A - Very dark. Small head that lasted about 30 seconds. Opaque. Looks like a dark beer should look.

S - Ok, this my be random, but I'm smelling some olive. The people with me agree, so either they've been drinking, or it's legit.

T - Heavy on the malt, light on the hops. A slight bready taste. Nothing that quite stood out, very average dark beer.

M - Very carbonated, overpowers the taste quite a bit.

O - The carbonation brought it down, but still okay beer. This is now our benchmark for dark beers.

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Séance from Magic Hat Brewing Company
73 out of 100 based on 462 ratings.