Black Magic Woman | Hornbeer

very good
18 Reviews
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Black Magic WomanBlack Magic Woman

Brewed by:

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by emerge077 on 12-06-2009

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Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 53
Photo of Gardendk
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Jet black with a inch thick light brown head. Lacing ok

S: More smokey than I expected. Wood. Dark chocolate

T: Follows the aroma, but also some coffee. The smoke is more present in the taste. than the smell. Becomes dominant in the end

M: Medium/Heavy for beeing a RIS. Not well balanced. The alcohol comes through too strong and the smoke (even though I love Rauchbier) feels misplaced.

O: My first RIS in years and the experience was mixed. It got my hooked on these heavy stouts again, but I immediately felt I wanted something better. Not a bad RIS, but whith so many good ones out there, this is a "been here, drank that" type of beer.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a large tan head.
Nose shows hefty peat along with some more woody smoke notes. A bit of chocolate and roast too.
Similarly smoky flavours, lots more peat. A fair whack of roast and some booze and herbal hop bitterness.

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 500 ml bottle to a snifter.

A: this beer pours a deep deep brown with a thick beige head that lasted for quite a while before eventually giving way to an island of bubbles. Fantastic lacing was left behind as the head broke.

S: roasts, coffee, peat, leather and smoke. The aroma reminds me of winter by the fire.

T: Roasts and coffee are up front with smokiness coming later along with some bitterness.

M: moderate carbonation and a full body, the only downside is the alcohol comes through a touch too strong at times.

O: color me impressed. A really nice beer with a great aroma and taste. This is a winter beer to me, it reminds me of time at the camp by the fire. Birch smoked malt? Are they trying to appeal to Canadians? It makes me happy.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle purchased from LCBO for $7.70 CDN into a pint glass. Served well-chilled.

Appearance - Impossibly dark brown, virtually midnight black in low light. 2 fingers of frothy dense brown head with great retention. Classic "heavy" beer appearance. Did I mention the great retention? There's still probably a head on this beer in my stomach although it did visibly lighten in color. Nice lacing left on the glass.

Smell - Smoky, some coffee and firewood. Earthy peat notes too. Incredible amount of smoke aroma coming from the bottle itself, almost up there with Rauchbiers. Really pleasant since it is warm and appetizing but not overdone with smoke.

Taste - Smoky and malty up front transitioning to an earthy coffee flavor and then a hint of something sweet like caramel crossed with vanilla. Bitterness stays in the back but moves forward at the end of the sips and doesn't relinquish it's hold on your tongue in the aftertaste. Noticeably less smoky than is present on the nose.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and rich with some tingling sensation on the tongue. Dense and velvety smooth. Moderate carbonation.

Overall - An excellent RIS, with huge flavors and big aromas. Smokier than many other RIS's but not to the point of being overdone.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

(4.25) A: Near pitch black with a beautiful tall and creamy mocha coloured head. Long lasting retention and streaky lacing.

(4.25) S: Peaty (herbal-like), smoke, dried dark fruits (figs & dates), molasses, bitter chocolate, and caramel. This has a unique herbal-smoke element that adds a layer of depth to the more typical aromas for the style.

(4.0) T: Peat, slight smoke, bitter molasses/chocolate, sweet caramel, anise, and dark fruits. Similar to aroma with great bitter earthy tastes coming through in the form of peat, anise, and molasses. Highly bitter with an equal dryness in the finish.

(3.75) M: Full bodied with mild carbonation. Slick and thick with a slight gritty texture.

(4.0) D: This is very nice and something I would pick-up again. Bitter herbal-earthy flavours are the standout qualities for me.

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Photo of biegaman
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Magic Woman has got me so blind I can't see... or maybe it's just that dark and opaque. Either way, don't turn your back on this baby - it's got a head that's coloured like iron oxide with molten rock-like fieriness. When the foam looks like that, rest assured the beer will be rich.

It'd also be reasonable to expect a beer brewed with birch- and peat-smoked malt to smell distinct but this lacks any telltale signs of its unique ingredients; the smokiness of this bouquet extends no further than coffee levels. In fact, it smells more like a raw cocoa pod.

Each sip offers a mouthful of crumbled Oreo cookies and a big swig of black coffee. There's chocolatey wafers and creamy vanilla. The smoke and peat elements are surprisingly (perhaps disappointingly) subtle. It gets a bit more 'woody' and earthy with warmth but, by and large, it tastes like your run of the mill Russian Imperial Stout.

Birch-smoked malt is uncommon - I can't think of another beer I've tried that uses it - but peat-smoked malt I'm very familiar with, and I can't help but lament the lack of earthy, iodine-y, sea brine notes I associate with peat smoke. Once again, this isn't much smokier than your standard espresso or dark chocolate. This doesn't make the beer bad, just a bit disappointing.

Hornbeer put their spell on me - Black Magic Woman got me singing "I need you so bad, I can't leave you alone". Like Santana (or Fleetwood Mac, who originally recorded the song) it's a classic: rich, smoky, chocolatey, dessert-like and satiating. This beer pushes all the right buttons and is a great example of the Russian Imperial Stout style... but could be a bit better.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Best Before August 30, 2021. Bold prediction!

The beer is black with a large cocoa-coloured head. Very good retention.

Nose contains anise, smoke, roasted malt and some peat. Some caramel.

Taste is similar. Roasted malt, caramel, smoke, peat. Chocolate and some anise. A bit of a grassy flavour.

Full bodied, moderately carbonated, thick and big.

Overall, nice stuff indeed. The smoke is present and flavourful but not the focus.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle, thanks to hoppypocket for the trade. Label sez this is good 'til 2022, but I'm not waiting that long (my favorite armchair may be gone by then).

This beer pours like fresh motor oil - a solid, unyielding, highlight-free black, with a whole handful of puffy, densely foamy, and bubbly mocha brown head, which leaves some stellar variable webbed lace all around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of smoked, lightly peated caramel malt, bittersweet chocolate, dry coffee grounds, stale licorice, singed leather, a bit of molasses, and faint earthy, herbal, and leafy hops. The taste is more dry, roasty-toasty bready caramel malt, a hint of treacle, thick, mildly bitter mocha coffee, earthy dark fruit (prunes, cherries, and dates), oily leather, vegetal smoked peat, and a soft earthy hoppiness.

The carbonation is quite tame, but supportive where it needs to be, the body a solid heavy weight, unctuous, generally smooth, and more than a tad creamy. It finishes on the sweet side, all malty and fruity, the rather ingrained smokiness finding it strangely hard to crack that nut.

Overall, this particular Black Magic Woman is a splendiferous RIS, nicely roasted and sweet, with the exact astringency one gets from the peat treatment kept mostly on the fringe here. Well rounded, full, and duly warming, yet without any wayward heat. I could go on, but my 'vintage' Lazyboy is beckoning.

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3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Tumbler glass. Enjoyed on agt´12. Pitch black in color. Dark beige crown shows fairly good retention.Thin layer remains on top. To the nose: black & chocolate malts, strong coffee & burnt touch, herbs & flowers as well as fresh yeast too.Flavors are expected from aromas. Full body, soft carbonation. Fudge bitter chocolate, coffee infusion & prunes with licorice notes are shown in the middle.Oily texture. Strong bitterness lingers into a roasted dry finish. Licorice on the aftertaste.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a dark brown/black color with a light tan head that collars around the glass. Smokey, leather, and roast. Medium/heavy mouthfeel. Sweet dark chocolate notes quickly transitions to a smokey, roasted note that lingers. The booze doesn’t show through as much as I would think. Some lace on the glass. Overall, I wasn’t expecting this to be as smokey as it was but it wasn’t too bad.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large darn brown frothy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with dry notes is OK. Taste is also a mix between some dry roasted malt with light coffee notes and subtle unrefined grain notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I though this was OK but there something in the dry aftertaste (I have a hard time putting my hand on it) that wasn’t too my liking.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of papat444. Bottle date of 23.04.2021?
Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Poured medium/dark brown colour and settled black. One finger of thick, foamy espresso coloured head formed and slowly receded.

S - Intense nose up front full of roasted malts, smoke, licorice, cocoa. A burnt smell is fairly predominant, likely a by-product of the smoke, and it becomes slightly off-putting.

T - Roasted, slightly burnt malts. Intense smoke. Some chocolate and coffee and a touch of licorice. The smoke is overwhelming and distracts the palate from the other flavours that are present.

M - Medium body, light carbonation.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

50cl into Rochefort glass...Dark black with a light tan head, not much retention, ok lacing...The super malty pour with sweet chocolate some coffee and smokey backbone. The smoke has an ash and light pork bite to it...The taste is dominated by the smoke but its a cigarette ashy smoke not smoke that has nice pork accents. The ash almost makes it a little difficult to drink. There is some light chocolate to start but the middle, and especially finish are chalky and ash.

This is too ashy to drink, unless you are a smoker probably not for you.

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Photo of krunchie
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque black, thick like tar, adequate tan head and nice lacing. Very thick and dense liquid!

S: Dark chocolate, espresso, dark rye bread, sharp dark malt notes (like black patent and roasted barley), syrup and just a hint of smoke. Yum yum!

T: Black coffee, dry dark fruits (figs, dates and raisins come to mind), strong cocoa, rye bread. A bit more of that smokiness again, like peat smoked malt (reminds me of a scotch), however veeery subtle - which I find really pleasant. This beer is very well balanced, which I've found to be very rare for beers in this style. Many high gravity stouts tend to be WAY too bitter imho, however this beer is perfect! Bra jobbat, danskar! :)

M/D: Silky smooth, rich, perfect carbonation (low, true to the style), leaves a chocolatey semi-dry feel and flavor on the palate. I could drink this all night and be happy

If this beer wasn't so expensive (62 SEK ~ 8.5 USD for a 500ml bottle), I'd buy much more of it. It's a very nice beer, true to style, smooth and tasty, yet very well balanced and drinkable. I truly recommend it!

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Photo of rarbring
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is pitch black, with a brown head that leaves some lacing.

The smell is full of burned aromas, malt, bread, coffee beans. Some dried sweet fruits, plums and raisins.

An upfront sweetness, dates, figs and brown sugar. Smoky nuances like burnt crust, bitter cocoa and coffee beans.

Low carbonation, a full body, smooth, oily and warm. afterwards a dry feeling.

A no-half-measures well done imperial stout IMHO, a bit expensive though.

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Photo of dqrull
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as night with a very dark head that leaves spotted fat-looking lacing.

Smells hugely of chocolate, intertwined with light hints of fruits, some leather and coffee aswell, maybe a hint of liqourice?

Taste is huuuuge chocolate, both dark, bitter high percent cocoa, and creamy sweet milk chocolate. The chocolate is joined mid palate by a fruity hint of stron wine (port, sherry), very lightly. There is also some vanilla riding along with the fruity chocolate and a light hint of mid-roasted coffee beans. The fruity chocoalte really goes great with the peripheral vanilla.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, almost a bit oily, carbonation is light, with small soft bubbles.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is lots of meaty smoke along with heavily roasted malt. The flavor is meaty, ashy smoke along with roasted malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generous extra from anders36, thanks! Shared this with a few other BAs yesterday, review from notes.

Jet black, smooth satiny surface, long lasting head with dimpled craters of tan foam.

Aroma was different than your average RIS, due to the use of peat smoked malt. Some dry bakers chocolate, also woody tobacco, barn timber and saddle leather. It didn't come across as smoky, but more of an earthy, woody peat character. Maybe a touch of oxidation, but it wasn't distracting.

Dark chocolate, earthy, vegetal, peaty. Tobacco notes with a dry, nearly smoky finish. There was the underlying 10% abv, but it was well integrated.

Feel was rich and dry, fairly agreeable and standard.
Overall it was best shared, the 50 cl/16.9 oz. bottle was a good size to split with a friend.

Here's a rough translation from the Hornbeer site via Google:
"Our bid for a different stout with peat smoked malt.
Here is a real "mandfolkeøl" with much of it all. The beer is brewed from roasted barley malt, birch smoked malt, peat smoked malt, caramel malts and alemalt. The beer has more hops than usual to balance the strong malt profile. To food is a strong dessertøl or dark chocolate. Strong cheeses are also a nice accessory, but that is also allowed to drink it without anything other than a good armchair."

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Black Magic Woman from Hornbeer
3.98 out of 5 based on 53 ratings.
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