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
Reviews by Floydster:
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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More User Reviews:
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 CaptinRedBeard
4/5  rDev +9.3%

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 Photekut
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.5/5  rDev +23%

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 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 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 mrkrispy
2.25/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a hazy, cloudy brown with a nice head. Haze didn't settle, stayed cloudy as is common with many saisons.

Very odd aroma. Off putting actually, unpleasant. First thoughts is a vegetal aroma, never a good sign. Chives? James pointed out celery. That's it! Aroma of Celery. If we had peanut butter we'd be good, but we don't, so it's not.

Beer has a light body. Definitely some funk, somewhat of a nice sourness although it finishes a bit acetic. Earthy as in a dirty barn, without the benefits of Brett. Some spice, reminds me of the water that canned peppers come in. Spicy beans? Vanilla is extremely faint, mid tongue. Chocolate is non-existent, either it already faded away or they didn't use enough.

This beer is a mess. The aroma is horrible, near Plug-Your-Nose-to-Drink...contamination from the oak? It is definitely sour but not smooth, and it isn't balanced out with malt or sweetness. Goes in too many directions to be layered or complex or be successful as a Saison or a Sour. Purported chocolate must be hiding in the Shire with a unicorn. Hopefully Batch 2 works out better.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

Photo of hopdog
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml caged and corked bottle shared courtesy of egadgi'llhaveyourbrisketdoneby9:30pm.

Poured a medium to deeper brown color with an averaged sized off whte head. Aromas of chocolate, lighter vanilla beans, woody, and earthy. Tastes of chocolate, vanilla, woody, fruity, and earthy. I wrote down this one was 'different'. The aromas and tastes seemed like they were from different beers. Had a lighter sour and tart finish. This one grew on me more and more as I drank it.

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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 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 mymrnngjckt
4.72/5  rDev +29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A big thanks to Jason (clockworkorange) for this beer.

Beer pours a dark / hazy brown with a small head. The smell is excellent. Light on the oak smell with a real deep chocolate/nut smell. I couldn't really smell the vanilla until it warmed up. The taste was superb. The right amount of carbination in the mouthfeel balanced with a nice sour/wildness. Citrus, vanilla and cocoa powder on the tounge.

Truly an amazing beer. The best I have evern had from Bullfrog.

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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 Deuane
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I must confess to something....this bottle is the third interaction I have had with this beer. The first was at the 2008 X-mas party where I was offered a sniff and a tiny sip....the stuff was heavenly and I couldn't wait for the release. Second was just after the release and a small group of us shared a short, it was a mess. Odd vegetable notes and super funk....not good. Now, tonight is my third.

Well, after the nervous (and difficult) opening the aroma is...thank goodness, not a hint of cabbage!

A-Simply gorgeous looking brew--deep brownish copper with a billowing light tan head that slowly reduced to a solid cap and left copious ringing lace.

S-Tartness, light cocoa, spicy/earthy hops, some light smoky oak and hints of vanilla bean. Building dry/bitter cocoa as it warms.

T-Bitter chocolate, woody and earthy with a finishing sour twang. Quite complex and very interesting. There is so much going on though that discerning individual flavours becomes challenging and tiresome.

M-Medium-light bodied with complex lingering flavours and a dry finish. I really like the "zing" on the palate and the dryness.

D-Light sourness with a tart/drying finish. Magic Beans grew on me more and more as I drank it. I am so glad this one came out a winner. I am wondering if there was a "problem" with the run....where some bottles got infected in a "bad" way and some well...the way they intended. I am thinking this might be the reason for the polarizing ratings this beer has received.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thank you, Scott! I took this beer to a tasting last night, it was about as polarizing as the reviews indicate.

Dark brown pour with a tan head. Retention is good. I personally loved the nose - cocoa, funk, barnyard, vanilla - earthy and complex. Opens sour with a bit of vinegar and cocoa. The acetic note is surprising, but welcom. Complex with oak and vanilla following through. Drying on the finish with plenty of carbonation, this beer is good. The acetic character gets to be a bit much, hampering the drinkability and feel

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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 number1bum
4.57/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

MANY thanks go out to ClockworkOrange for this treat!

Pours a somewhat murky reddish brown color with about a finger and a half of tan head. Head settles to a mostly full lace and leaves numerous splashes of stick on the sides of the glass.

Smell is funky and sour, with aromas of tart black cherries and lemon. Next comes some cocoa, caramel, and earthy, woody oak. Vanilla and grapes pop in now and again, as well. Really complex; each sniff produces something slightly different.

Taste starts off with the same tart fruitiness that I picked up in the smell - again I'm thinking black cherries, plus grapes and lemon. There is some earthy and funky character that seems to be a combination of the yeast and oak; the flavors meld nicely and are very complementary. Into the finish there is some cocoa and bakers chocolate, some dark caramel sweetness, vanilla, and some woody oak. A bit of tartness lingers on the palate, as well. The flavors here all blend together beautifully and it's exceptionally smooth. It's complex and layered nicely, and they seem to have aged and released this right at its peak, as there is barely a rough edge to speak of. The brett has been given time to work its magic but the barrel aging has helped the entire beer meld together and smooth out. It's funky, tasty, complex. If I had to nitpick just a tad I'd say there is just a bit of a tannin-like bite that maybe I'd like not to be there, but that's truly a nitpick. Awesome.

Mouthfeel is dry from start to finish, medium in body and perfectly carbonated. Tartness makes the tastebuds pucker midway through, and then smooths out into a long lasting dry finish.

This is as good as advertised. Whenever I find myself licking the inside of my mouth to soak up every ounce of flavor I know it's good. Just incredibly smooth given the level of funk and sourness; I'm really not sure that aging this much further would add a whole lot. This lives up to the hype big time. A truly unique experience. Thanks again Jason for the opportunity.

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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 Beerisheaven
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, I needed to go to the toolbox to remove the cork. I was convinced it was cemented to the bottle.

A - Poured from the bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Pours a nice inviting brown with a creamy head.

S - A really interesting beer in that both the aroma and taste change their profile as it warms. Initially, the smell is yeasty, oak, earthy, and a little citrus like which changes as it warms as a rich cocoa smell starts to appear. To be honest, I did not pick up the vanilla much in the nose, the smell of the chocolate is much more pronounced than the vanilla.

T - The taste initially is a slightly sour saison which again becomes a little richer as it warms. I tasted oak, earthness, and a little mustiness as well. All very nice. Considering that I am not even close to being a sour fan, the initial tartness was intriguing to me and I found it enjoyable. As it warms, the taste profile changes so that the chocolate starts to surface more. As noted above, I did not get the vanilla nearly as much. Very complex, although I hate using that term. Bullfrog has jammed a lot into this bottle to be sure.

M - Very nice, proper carbonation.

D - I am not sure that I could drink the full bottle myself, it is a great split for you and a special beer drinking friend.

Overall, I really liked it and it is not my style of beer. I am glad that I have a couple of more bottles left to try as it develops further. One final point, get it very cold and then allow it warm over the experience.

Bullfrog has done well with this one.

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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 sholland119
3.36/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Pours a very hazy copper amber, a few shades lighter than iced tea, A nice tan head lingers and lingers. Great lacing.

S-Lots of sour tartness. There are hints of wood and cocoa as well. The sum of all this is a beer that smells almost vegetal and cabbagey. Unique and not entirely pleasant.

T-Tart and almost astringent. Some bitter cocoa at the end of the finish. Not sure these flavors work together in a way that I find pleasing.

M-Quite dry, medium bodied and moderately carbonated.

D-Interesting, unusual, maybe unforgettable. But I am not sure any of these are compliments in this case.


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Photo of CoolJosh
4.82/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW, huge thanks to treyrab for literally pulling this one out of his ass. This maniac some how came up with a few bottles after the beer had been sold out for few days.

Poured into a tulip.

Really thick and hazy dark chocolate brown, one of the most bizarre looking beers I have ever come across. A creamy light yellow head sits atop the body ever so gently. No light manages to pass through the haze in the body.

As I dipped my nose into the glass, lemon, brett, cocoa, and slight vinegar scents slap me in the face. As off the wall as that combination sounds, it blends together impecibly. A very nice oak scent tags along with the afformentioned to provide a more antiquated smell. There is tons of funk in this glass, with nothing but surprises.

When the beer hits my mouth I nearly fell over. Bitter cocoa nips blend so incredibly well with the incredibly smooth funk that is provided by brett. Incredibly smooth which comes from sitting in Bullfrog's basement 2 years. Tart raspberry and vanilla comes out with slightness, and mixes with the lemon really nicely. Musket grapes are definitely showing through, with a few other tannens. Silky smooth mouthfeel.

I truly am in shock at how well this beer comes together, given the immense variety of flavor and complexity. Awesome beer!

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