Magic Beans | Bullfrog Brewery

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Magic BeansMagic Beans
43 Ratings
Magic BeansMagic Beans

Brewed by:
Bullfrog Brewery
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ClockworkOrange on 04-06-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 43 |  Reviews: 35
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of drummermattie02
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a medium brown color with decent clarity. Marred a bit by some floating sediment. thick finger of dense tan foam which hangs around for a minute or so.

S - Vanilla...sweet and spicy with a bit of apple. Rather tart overall.

T - Tart, a bit apple cidery. Some chocolate and vanilla, touch of dark malt, lactic sourness, touch of acetic vinegar too.

M - Thin body with a foamy, mid-level carbonation. Some vanilla creaminess smoothes things out.

O - Overall, not outstanding, pretty good and enjoyable. Definitely interesting and a bit different from other offerings out there.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.5/5  rDev +23%

Photo of stakem
4.4/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Jason (ClockworkOrange) for opening this at his most recent tasting. The brew pours an amber brown that is quite hazed. A creamy tan head sits atop the brew and as it recedes, leaves spots and a webby pattern of lace on the glass. When held to the light, you can see some orange coloration and more of a yellowish tint of clarity around the edges.

The smell of this brew is strong with cocoa nibs right out the gate. There is a bit of a lemony lactic note as well as some dryness of oak and mild pepper quality. More smells reveal some fruity rind character. When swirled some sulfur notes come out.

The taste includes just as much cocoa nib flavoring as the aroma would lead you to believe. It is a bit earthy before blending into some lemony lactic notes. Through the body are some fresh grain flavors and mild peppery spice from the yeast. Some oak is present across the back in a very mild yet noticeable way. The inclusion of vanilla brings the whole brew together in very tight and enjoyable package. The vanilla really exaggerates the cocoa inclusion that starts to pick up some sweetness towards the end of the glass.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. An absolute awesome and unique arrangement of flavors. Jason mentioned to me that right from the get-go there was a noticeable bottle variation between the people who purchased bottles. You can see that from the reviews below as well. Luckily, this one was amazing. Either a good bottle or nearly 3 years of cellaring has made this beer fantastic. I wish I could drink this on a regular basis.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this retired gem.

The beer pours a brownish-amber color with an off-white head. The aroma is very odd, with a lot going on. I get what appears to be a nut brown ale, with a lot of cocoa and vanilla mixed in. There is also a big peanut butter component mixed in to the aroma.

The flavor is fairly different than the aroma. You still get the nut brown notes, with some cocoa and nut notes, but that is where the similarities end. I get a lot of Belgian yeast notes, with some orange and lemon notes also mixed in. There is a little bit of funk from the yeast, but not any real sourness.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Overall, a very odd beer that has a lot going on. I really liked it, even though I have no idea if this is what the beer was supposed to taste like.

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Photo of Photekut
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of ygtbsm94
2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

Photo of CaptinRedBeard
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of corby112
3.29/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes, consumed the day of the release.

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with ruby/mahogany edges and a one finger light beige head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Odd aroma with a blend of earthy oak, funky yeast, cocoa and sweet malt. I'm not picking up much vanilla but the sour chocolate presence is really strange. That combined with the oak make for a unique nose but not in a good way.

Medium bodied with again, an odd combination of flavors. Lots of earthy oak and sour funkiness up front countered by dark malt and sweet chocolate. Similarly to the aroma, I'm not picking up any vanilla at all. It might be there but with everything going on it's lost to me. Funky without being acidic with sweetness from cocoa and malt making for one strange beer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

light brown colored pour here with a small head on top that was maybe a quarter of an inch before settling back down into essentially nothing. Tart aroma here, sour apples coming through very clearly. Hints of maybe some light cocoa, not much though and I am nit sure where the chili peppers that were advertised should have been coming from. Smooth, light body here with a sour, apple vinegar like flavor from start to finish. Mellow chocolate notes were way hidden in the back and the overall feel of this was that of a classic sour ale. Smooth, and very drinkable.

Overall not bad, but not at all what it was advertised

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Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 750 mL bottle, corked and caged, from the brewpub. I believe that Deuane picked this one up for me.

A: The saison is, while not quite dark, a robust ferrous hue. Still translucent, the ale glows. A white head accompanies the first pour, quickly whittling down to a thin pool, a pangaea in my glass.

S: The nose is complex. Wood is immediately evident, an oaky strength. Chocolate needs a little bit of time to emerge, releasing its powdery sweetness when the ale warms up. The chocolate crowds out any vanilla, although the oak provides a bit. A very interesting note on the beer, which is now 2 and a half years old.

T: Sourness, oaken vanilla, chocolate. That's a tall order for one beer (but, then again, Terry's saisons are up to the challenge). Tartness flicks at my tastebuds, a lemony citrus flavor that segues into the oaken frame of the ale. Chocolate, in a powdery sweet presence, lingers over the entire ale. In a way Magic Beans reminds me of Fantome ale, wild with a wide-ranging flavor profile. Each sip brings both the oaken wildness and chocolate back into focus. Kudos to the dryness, it gets going midway through a glass. The lingering chocolate is a treat. In that finish, vanilla bean sweetness finally makes an appearance - a nice way to cap off the ale.

M: The complexity, so much going in, is very Fantome-like. What I didn't appreciate 4 years ago is now a masterpiece. The tartness, never overpowering, holds the oak and slowly brings the choclate and vanilla to the forefront.

D: There is no hint of the heavier alcohol presence. The tartness and array of spices hit all the right spots. Bullfrog has mastered the art of the saison. Here's to hoping that it continues.

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Photo of womencantsail
1.84/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Thanks Deuane for sending this one to me in the Secret Bunny BIF. Shared at the Sour Fest Eve tasting.

A: The pour is an interesting almost chocolate color with a big off-white head.

S: The aroma is initially tart chocolate, if that makes any sense. A fair amount of vanilla, oak, and lemon juice. Just a very odd combination.

T: The flavor is like rancid Tootsie Rolls (if they could go bad, I suppose). There is plenty of milk chocolate, vanilla, lemon juice, and spoiled milk. The combination of and transition between tartness and sweet chocolate flavors is just wrong.

M: The body is light to medium with a high level of carbonation and a lingering sourness.

D: This had to be a mistake, as there is no conceivable way that the brewers thought this was a good idea.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
1.96/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Big thanks to McDiddyPop for sharing this

A - Mahogany, translucent, wispy white head.

S - Strange earthy chocolate chalky aroma, like Kaopectate plus cocoa and potting soil.

T - Nose, but worse; add mildew to the dirt and chalk, and put in some cocoa and carob powder.

M - I suffered through this as much as I could, for the sake of a fair and accurate tick.

D - Bullfrog is mad suspicious... I wouldn't go trading away the cellar for this H.S...

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Photo of BTPete
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Didn't seek this one out too aggresively but recieved in a trade.

A: Murky brown with a tan head that fades away leaving spotty lacing.

S: Funky yeasty nose. Nice earthy character and subtle hints of chocolate and oak below that.

T: Surpised at the nice oak vanilla and chocolate character. Reminds me of bitter bakers chocolate. Dry ending. Certainly some funkiness in there too but not overpowering.

M: Nicely carbed (bottle popped when opened), medium body, dry finish.

D: Really fun and interesting beer. Really glad I got to try this and was a funky twist on a saison that worked for me.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by heliosphann late at night after Dark Lord Day. Thanks Scott! Reviewed from notes

Pours a dark amber/copper color. The aroma is tart pears, apples, and a hefty dose of oak. Trace of cocoa are present as well.

The flavor is hugely oaky, with a lot of dusty cocoa up front as well. Not super sour, but there is a nice tartness that adds some depth and helps shape a very unique overall flavor profile.

The body is medium and the carbonation is high but soft. The dryness here is absolutely bone-sucking, definitely gave us some cotton mouth. Overall I thought this was a very good beer and would love to try it again.

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Photo of tpd975
4.28/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky brown hue with amber highlights. The tan head is one finger in height. Nice retention and lace.

S: Unique aromas. Dark fruits, with a dark berry tartness. Nice blast of bitter bakers chocolate, and coffee.

T: I will tell you A+ for a new take on the style. Hershey's Cocoa powder up front. Notes of coffee and dark fruit. Hints of raspberry tartness and wood.

M: On the fuller side of medium, great carbonation to carry the unique flavor.

D: Pretty good. I like when people push the envelope, BullFrog pulled it off with this one.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to Jw347 for this one.

Pours a murky reddish brown with a fizzy off white head that actually lingers quite well for the style (considering this a wild ale, not a saison) and leaves ok lacing.

Nose is very flemish in nature with some lactic and oak notes, slight sour cherry in the nose. Definitely not smelling any chocolate or vanilla.

Hmmm. Quite interesting. This is definitely a wild beer. It has the tartness of a flemish ale without too much of the vinegar profile, which i actually prefer. I do get some of the vanilla, although it is very, VERY subtle. The chocolate is virtually non-existent in the taste. As it warms these flavors increase, but still are far from dominant. The finish is nice and dry, with lactic funk lingering on into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is right where you want it for a beer like this one. Slightly high carbonation, good clean easy drinking viscosity, and a great dry pucker on the finish.

Drinkability is actually pretty strong on this one. Its pretty smooth for a wild ale, and isn't abrasively carbonated or too sour.

Overall, this is a very nice beer from Bullfrog. After having a few of the quite over-hyped and over-rated brews of theirs it is nice to see one that lives up to its ranking. I don't know why this is classified as a siason. I know its base is saison noire, but this is by all means a wild ale. And a good one at that! A very pleasant brew, one i would like to put some age on. Not getting alot of the chocolate or vanilla profile that is supposed to be in here, which is maybe a good thing, but its tasty stuff. These flavors increase a little bit as it warms, but are very much an accent and not a dominant part of the flavor. I would definitely buy this again if it was local. Good beer.

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Photo of gford217
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle, courtesy of CoolJosh, poured into a tulip.

Pours a dark, hazy brownish amber with a huge fluffy off-white head that shows excellent retention and hangs on as a large cap for the duration. Sheets of lacing are left on the way down.

The aroma is very interesting with all kinds of things going on that I don't normally get together in a beer. There is light earthy funk with some spicy yeast but it's counterbalanced in the nose with a chocolate sweetness. There's also a tart lemony presence and maybe some vanilla, though it's pretty faint.

More interesting stuff in the taste with the lemony tartness and earthy funk coming out a little stronger than in the aroma. The initial sweetness of the cocoa powder doesn't stick around long and there is a faint toasted malt presence as well. The finish is dry, very much like a saison with some lemon zest and spicy yeast. There does seem to be a little bit of cocoa and vanilla sweetness lingering in the aftertaste though. Intriguing flavors.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with strong carbonation and has an weird melding of dark roasted malts and lemony funk on the palate.

Well, I definitely didn't know what to expect with this one and, honestly, I'm not exactly sure what I got after the fact. It's got a bizarre combination of flavors that don't quite come together for me, but I still found myself enjoying each sip more and more. Weird but good.

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Photo of joe1510
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Another big "Thank you" goes out to MasterSki for sharing this beer last night. Magic Beans shows off a chestnut brown body with enough tiny floaties to make it hazy. A light beige head grows to a finger in height before slowly settling to a cap and leaving drink lines after each drink. This beer showed nice retention and decent lacing.

The nose is nothing like any other saison I've encountered. There's a good deal of both roastiness and coffee with a touch of vanilla and a lactic sourness that's very light. When Magic Beans warms up the chocolate and vanilla really come forward to make for a damn fine nose quaffer. Like I said, this is nowhere near a saison. I've sampled Saison Noire, the base beer, a couple times now and I can find that beer nowhere in Magic Beans.

The flavor mimics the nose rather closely with a well rounded roastiness including malty and coffee. The vanilla and chocolate both become well rounded and delicious with some warming. There's not a whole lot of funkiness in the flavor but for mild, barely noticeable, lactic sourness in the way back. A touch of unidentified fruit flashes here and there; while I can't put my finger on them they all seem to carry dark skins.

The body is right down the middle of the spectrum with a moderate but soft carbonation. A touch of stickiness shows itself from middle to end and the swallow is on the dry side.

This was an easy brew to drink. I could have easily killed an entire glass to myself with no problems. The vanilla and chocolate make for an interesting sipping style brew.

This was possibly the best Bullfrog we sampled at the tasting in a long list of Bullfrogs. They brew solid beer over there but the hype has really gotten the best of them. Thanks for sharing another mighty fine brew, Alex!

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Photo of MasterSki
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Avalon68 for sending this my way. Shared with a bunch of the Chicago crew. Served in a tulip glass.

A - This is the best-looking Bullfrog brew that we've had all evening. A couple fingers of off-white foam with some glass-coating lacing. The body is a slightly unattractive hazed light brown-orange color.

S - Roasty stout flavor with tons of coffee and vanilla flavors, some light funkiness and hint of sour cherries. Reminiscent of Surly Two and Perseguidor 4 in some ways with the combination of roastiness and sour fruit. The sour/tart notes really come out as it warms.

T - The taste is a surprise, with way more sourness and only light roastiness and vanilla persisting into the aftertaste. There's some nice tart fruit (cherry and cranberry) flavors in there as well. Solid stuff - cherry stout with funk!

M - Medium body, nice residual stickiness, lower carbonation, soft texture. Light dryness in the finish. Well hidden ABV.

D - This is a pretty intense brew, and the sour fruit character got to me a little bit by the end, but it's definitely one of my favorite Bullfrog brews.

This isn't really a "saison", but it's still a pretty solid brew.

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Photo of HopHead84
2.47/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Consumed on 8/14/2009 and poured into a snifter. I drank this next to Saison Noire, Magic Beans' base beer, to compare the two. This is the second bottle of Magic Beans that I've opened. I didn't review the first one because I thought I had an off bottle, but it turns out that this bottle was exactly the same.

The beer is swamp water red with a small fizzy head. The head quickly disappears and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is bad. There's no subtle way to put that. I liked Saison Noire, but this is very disappointing. Think a conglomeration of medicinal, plastic, rotten cocoa, dirt, and oak. There's a dash of vanilla but it's not strong. There's a touch of tartness.

The taste is a bit better than the nose, as the flavors are somewhat harmonious, but not quite. It opens up with cocoa, segueing into vanilla and oak. The flavor is very earthy, with some light lactic notes. There's a distinct taste of metal that I'm never able to shake, but it doesn't completely ruin the flavor. Tartness is at a low-medium level throughout and acetic acid is apparent. Alcohol is hidden and the finish is dry.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is very dry.

In the end, this beer is cacophonous with some off flavors and a downright bad aroma. Don't seek this out.

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Photo of Floydster
1.96/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle acquired in a trade with akorsak recently, opened tonight with a few friends and unfortunately not one person I was with enjoyed this, poured into my Duvel tulip glass, color is golden orangish brown with some murkiness, nearly two inch bubbly white head that goes away very quickly, no retention or lacing, weak lacing, aroma is very muddled and consists of lemon juice, milk chocolate, funk that you would expect from an infected beer, and some other citrus, no coffee or vanilla in the smell which is supposed to be the most dominating characteristics, flavor starts off with a weird sourness followed immediately by sweetness, middle consists of cocoa and citrus which did not work together, finish is very dry with acidic brett and old cream or milk, some oak comes out later on, the sweet and sugary tastes do not work at all with sour and dryness from the yeast, slightly dry, citrusy, sweet, and misplaced mouthfeel, thin bodied, too much carbonation, taste lingers for a few minutes, could barely get through my seven or eight ounces, this stuff seemed off and was not smooth in the slightest, heavy on the stomach and hard to get down, one of the worst beers I have had in a while and certainly from Bullfrog, was really looking forward to trying this one and now I wished I had never traded for it, would never drink again even if it was given to me free of charge, not recommended

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Magic Beans from Bullfrog Brewery
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 43 ratings