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Descendant Dark Ale | Mystic Brewery

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very good
44 Reviews
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Descendant Dark AleDescendant Dark Ale

Brewed by:
Mystic Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Mystic Descendant is a strong dry stout made with molasses and Saison yeast for rustic, tavern ale character.

It is meant to be served at warmer/ cellar temperatures as were similar tavern ales in the era before refrigeration.

Added by BostonBrewins on 10-22-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 44 | Ratings: 153
Photo of johnnnniee
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours the darkest of browns with very faint brown highlights when held to light, a spirited level of carbonation produces a head that fills half the glass no matter how it is poured. Smells of caramel, brown sugar, roasted grains, burnt sugar, dark fruits, yeasty phenols, there's a lot going on here and so far its all good. Taste is dark malts, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, raisins, prunes, plums. This is very complex lots of stuff going on here. Medium to thick body, quite a bit of carbonation, maybe too much, sweet saison-esque mouthfeel. I really enjoyed this beer. The carbonation might be a touch on the high side, but the flavors and aromas are fantastic. I would say this is more of a Belgian strong dark than a stout, but when a beer is done this well who needs labels really?

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Photo of Guess2814
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I think this beer is certainly a good beer. Every time I go to the Mystic Brewery this beer is always brewed the best. It has a nice dark look to it with a bit of a chocolate taste to it. A stout that is just right as far as alcohol percentage. Must try if you like Stout beer. CHEERS!!!

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Photo of elNopalero
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #200!

I picked up a bottle of this and their saison on a recent Boston outing. The saison was excellent but this beer is the one that I really shows Mystic’s unique voice coming through. The Descendant is a hybrid stout/porter fermented with a proprietary house saison yeast, brewed “in homage to our immigrant ancestors.” Now that’s a philosophy I can get behind!

This is from Batch 001. It pours a malty cola color with a nice creamy head. Smell is reminiscent of a solid stout—roasty malts dominate, with some dark coffee and toffee in the mix. A sprinkling of dark chocolate rounds it out.

The roasty notes carry over to the taste, with a clear dry finish. Light in body for a stout. Starts off sweet, in the manner of a darker English mild-style beer (aged in cabernet Sauvignon barrels, perhaps? Seems like it strikes a similar flavor profile and mouthfeel to some of the things I’ve tried from Austin’s Jester King) but in a stout-porter hybrid form. Simply wonderful, a great find!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

i really wouldnt have called this one a stout at all, much more brown than black, hardly any of the dark roasted grains coming through in this one, but the label on my bottle is much different than the one pictured, so perhaps they have changed the recipe around a little bit. it was more of an english strong dark ale, a grain driven beer built to showcase some of this intense molasses in here, really almost more of a dark amber or copper color than a black beer, but thats just me. the head is huge and leaves a serious beer mustache as i drink it in. aroma of burnt sugar and nutty english bready malts, residual sweetness, and a strong and flavorful english ale yeast, quite rustic in nature. the molasses totally leads in the flavor, that raw black sugary depth, playing well with the yeast, but being pretty dominant over it. the beer ends up not being overly sweet despite being flavored predominantly by the molasses. its an odd synergy, but it really works. full body for sure, but a richness and creamy feel that mystic beers often achieve, must be the yeast. carbonation is lively for a thicker darker beer, and the overall here is something unlike any other and very special. well worth the cost, i think all of the mystic beer is.

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Photo of BostonBrewins
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a not quite jet black with a big frothy tan head that hangs around.

S - Wow that's funky! Overtones of farmhouse yeast dominate this one. Coffee and a bit of chocolate are in there too, but the aroma is all about that Belgian funk.

T - As with the aroma, earthy yeast notes are front and center. Peppery spice is there the whole way. Dark fruit too is there too. Undertones of coffee and dark chocolate. A bit woody. Some nice complexity here. I can't make out the molasses, but I have a feeling it plays a role in delivering the dry finish.

M - Carbonation level is fairly low, I imagine this was done to stay consistent with the english porter/dry stout theme. Works pretty well although I'd be curious to see how it would taste if it was bumped up a bit. Medium bodied. Very creamy too, almost chewy.

O - Conceptually this is very interesting. A hybrid English Porter/Irish Dry Stout fermented with a saison yeast with molasses too?!? Great idea, excellent execution.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

From the caged, corked 750 ml. bottle marked Batch #006. Sampled on May 23, 2013.

It pours a very dark chocolate brown but looks darker once it is in the glass. Very heady with a puffy, fluffy tan colored head that lingers.

The aroma is full of coffee and dark fruit like cherry. Playing second fiddle are the chocolate and yeast esters.

The body was the weakest part of this one coming in at about medium with an astringency the made my tongue slick.

The taste also brought out the dark coffee notes and dark malts withe dark fruit more in the background. There is a mild hop bitterness that leads to a dry finish. I found it to be quite good.

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Photo of SirSketch
4.11/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Large light brown head over a muddy brown beer.

S - Sweet, nutty and chocolaty malt aroma, wet grass (like moss?) and what smells like a ton of Belgian candied syrup, obviously coming from the molasses added. There's also a vinous, fruity quality.

T - Very dark malt forward, mainly nutty, medium toast malt and a touch of roasty, biting black malt. Not as sweet as I anticipated, and actually noticeably bitter. The Belgian yeast presents itself at the end with a kiss of banana.

M - Medium-full body that lightens up with a rush of creamy carbonation.

O - Very malty, complex, satisfying beer that is somewhere between a Belgian dubbel and roasty porter.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of this today at Bermans in Lexington. Not really sure that this beer fits in to any specific style category, but lets give it a go, and see what happens. The color is quite dark, but just a shade or two away from being black. A nice pillow like white heading perks up right away. Some roast comes through in the beginning of the smell, along with some yeasty tones, chocolate, cola and brown bread. Lots of stone fruit comes through in the flavor initially, with the molasses ending things on a sweet, yet somewhat spiced note. There are some robust notes to it that are found in some dubbels that I am not crazy about, but the yeast they are using here is really alive and in your face. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, with a good level of carbonation, and certainly plenty going on complexity wise. I must say that I was not as taken as some others were with their Saison, but this one really delivered for me. It is very reminiscent of Brooklyn Local 2 if you ask me. Either way, this one gets two big thumbs up from me. Cheers

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Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle purchased as a single from somewhere localish. Corked and caged.

Poured into a Harpoon LE tulip, formed a 2" light brown head over the almost opaque dark brown/burgundy brew. Head lasts and lasts, with thick lasting lace. Aroma is tart cherries and coffee.

Taste is chocolate sweetness to start, light fruitiness in the center, and closes with a soft bitterness that leaves with a tart aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is pretty good. Interesting brew.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from batch 3.

Pours nearly opaque and very dark brown. Two-plus inches of tan foam settled slowly into a solid skim coat and dots of lacing.

Aromatics lead off with roasted malts, brown sugar, bubblegum, chocolate, and apples. Hints of coffee, char, and dark rum follow through.

Medium to fuller bodied with a velvety mouthfeel. A bit lush.

Dark chocolate, Kahlua, espresso, and bananas start the palate. Shades of dark rum, raisins, and oreo shells follow through.

Finishes with lingering roast, chocolate, and a hint of grape jam.

Tasty brew, somewhere between a stout, dubble, and quad.

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Photo of Maxwell
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer pours a molasses color and sits in the glass as mahogany brown with a massive head of light khaki-colored bubbles of all shapes and sizes, which takes its time in dissipating. The head leaves a ringed lacing of fat soapy bubbles on the glass. In body, the beer appears too dark for light to penetrate it, though it did seem clean as the beer was being poured. That being said, the folks at Mystic are the wizards of yeast, and they don’t filter their beers, so I’m willing to bet there are a few floaties hanging out in this beer. On the nose, the beer smells initially like a metallic pear, but not in a bad way. As you shove your nose in this beer it opens up into soft cocoa scents with touches of earthy espresso and dark fruity notes. The smell is soft and subtle on the nose, much like an Irish dry stout is, but this smell is also deeply complex and interesting with yeast esters. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet and then tart, and then slightly bitter with roast. In flavor it begins like a classic stout with dry roasty chocolate and coffee flavors and even a touch of coffee, but this is then blanketed as the taste moves forward and yeast esters plunge onto the tongue to suggest funky dark fruit flavors with a slightly metallic twinge. Pear and even slight peach flavors can also be tasted in the esters. The beer finishes closer to a dry stout with bitter roast, but with a nice tart dark fruit kick that adds complexity to the finish. The aftertaste is fairly soft and sweet with light fruit flavors and a faint reminder of dried roast malt with a touch of smoke. In the mouth the beer feels fluffy with medium carbonation and a slight pucker from the acid. In body the beer feels just about medium, and after the beer leaves the mouth is left slightly dry but puckering. Overall, this is a fantastically bizarre beer. It’s not an Irish dry stout at all, though it does show some qualities of a dry stout. It has amazing funky esters, and could quite well be the start of a new style. A New England Dark Ale! Or a Suffolk Dark Ale if we must call it that… Whatever it is, it is super drinkable and tasty, with amazing and flavorful yeast character. Try this beer! It is bizarre and tasty!

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black in color, 1 inch head, low carbonation, opaque

Smell: dark fruit, pumpernickel bread, chocolate and light char

Taste: dark fruit, pumpernickel bread, chocolate and light char

Mouthfeel: medium-high carbonation, medium body, sweet with slight char bitterness

Overall: Tastes like a dubbel mixed with an Irish stout. Very interesting and complex combination of flavors. A nice and complex brew that I will pick up again.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown with a half finger light brown head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of sweet dark toasted malt, molasses, nuts and a hint of dark fruit and chocolate. Flavor is dark toasted malt with light char, cocoa, dark stone fruit, light suggestions of Belgian yeast, molasses. Medium bodied with light creaminess. Nice, and unusual flavor progression starting with the nice lighly smoky toasted malt, molasses and chocolate with developing Belgian flavors of dark fruit and yeast, then finishing with solid chocolatey dark malt. The Belgian flavors lightens the middle flavor, but does not add tartness nor becomes a dominant flavor. The balance is well done and quite interesting. Much maltier than a Belgian stout, with a very flavorful English or dry stout profile. I liked this quite a bit and will look for other ales from this brewery.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into snifter, batch #016. Pours clear very dark brown color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces t oa small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, raisin, plum, fig, date, cherry, molasses, toast, dark bread, pepper, light char/coffee, herbal, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of roast/bready malt, fruity/spicy yeast, molasses, and earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big chocolate, cocoa, raisin, plum, fig, date, cherry, molasses, toast, dark bread, light char/coffee, herbal, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/roasted bitterness and yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, raisin, plum, fig, date, molasses, toast, dark bread, pepper, light coffee/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of roast/bready malt, fruity/spicy yeast, molasses, and earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate bitter/roasted dryness after the finish as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice English/Belgian stout style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of roast/bready malt, fruity/spicy yeast, molasses, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on. This has the balanced character of a dry stout and English porter as advertised; with some additional spicy Belgian yeast character. A unique and very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of YouSkeete
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with a black appearance, two-finger thick light khaki head. Big smoky booziness with a complex arrangement of molasses, heavy cream, ground coffee, bittersweet chocolates, and dark fruits such as figs, cherries and dates come off the aroma. First sip is heavy on the dark fruits, moving into the creamy richness of coffee, bittersweet chocolates and molasses. Hints of smoke and bourbon make their way through into it's medium-sized body. Mildly bitter, rich and complex mouthfeel. Smooth and dry, boozy finish.

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Photo of u2carew
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle
A) Pours with a big tan colored head, settles slightly but not much - good retention. Tight and creamy. Opaque body.
S) Roasted malts. Hints of coffee and chocolate.
T) A spicy opening to this brew - pepper, alcohol. Earthy, chalky. Hints of molasses. A bitter bite in the finish.
M) Medium to full body. Dry finish.
O) A very good brew. I'd definitely have another. A diverse flavor profile with a lot of good things going on.

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Photo of jlindros
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small fizzy head, leaves a bit of lacing as it fades, over super dark molasses brown color hint of maroon light sneaking through.

Nose is sure interesting, lots of molasses, a bit syrupy, caramel, hint of black patent malt and slight hint of roast, then light dry saison rustic malts and fruity spicy saison yeast, and hint of cocoa to finish it off. Touch of esters.

Taste is more of the same, starting with dark malts, lots of dark crystal, hint of chocolate and black patent I think, and caramel flavors. Then molasses brings a nice almost syrupy flavor but not much, with a slight nutty hazelnut flavor, and touch of prune. Wants to get syrupy but doesn't, but does get a bit creamy. A bit of booze brings some esters as well. Also easy underneath is a bit dry rustic saison yeast with hint of spices. Finishes still bit sweet but drier, a bit bitter, more molasses and dark malts, hint if saison spices.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bodied, dec carb, slightly syrupy and creamy, hint of warming booze.

overall really interesting, nice dark malts and molasses, light saison flavors, drinkable despite the booze, very interesting and tasty.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Will pour a five+ finger cream head that fades very slowly to a thin layer leaving a thick lace. Black color, no highlights. Strong carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Roasted malt nose and flavor is malty, bready, fairly smooth. The 7% ABV is totally hidden. $9.99 for a 750ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml into a duvel glass

A: settles almost completely black... Just a little light around the edges when held to the light. Ferocious two finger head even after a gentle pour.... Dissapates slowly and leaves virtually no lacing. Good lookin beer dispute the no lacing thing... Oh yeah and the head has a touch of mocha color to it.

S: light roast and coco... Blending with light belgian yeast aromas.... Begins to remind me of a hot coco like aroma with a touch of black coffee... The aroma is very pleasing and well balanced.... The Belgian yeast seems to blend in nicley and not overwhelm the malts and grains here.

T: much like the nose... I get yeasty breadiness up front melting into banna and fruity hints of rasin and dark cherries. over roastyness and chocolate.... Again the yeast blends very nicley here not overwhelimg the other flavors bit adding a nice accent and complexity. Different and enjoyable. As the brew warms some nice caramel notes start to show.. This brew is really growing on me the more I drink and it warms.

M: light/medium body with medium/high aggressive carbonation... Giving the body an fluffy creamy mouthfeel... It's almost to much carbonation... And I think I wish it was a tad thicker And with slightly less carbonation... Pretty easy drinking. Deffinatly dry.

O: a very interesting and complex brew... A lot going on here between the malts and yeast notes.... And deffinatly a more carbonated mouthfeel then I am used to... Overall I enjoyed this brew and would deffinatly drink it again. It just seems to grow on me more and more as I drink it.

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Photo of ksimons
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-very dark brown with no visible highlights seen and a nice creamy looking head that sticks around for the glass

S-dark malt, dark fruits, molasses, a nice hint of chocolate and coffee, and then some Saison yeastyness. Very interesting

T-taste is similar to the smell, dark fruit comes up dominant, followed by dark bread, very light dry coffee, and chocolate. Not picking up as much yeast in the taste.

M-Descendant just reaches a medium body, medium carbonation. Wish there was just a little more body in this one

Overall a very interesting, complex beer. I really enjoyed it and will definitely try it again.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Descendant pours a very dark brown/near black into the glass, with a massive creamy off white head on top. The foam dissolves very slowly and leaves the glass coated in lace as it descends to the surface of the beer.

The aroma is not too strong and is malty with a sour twang mixed in. Notes of molasses, roast malt, yeast, clove, pepper and flowers. Almost reminds me of a Belgian beer.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is smooth with an oily feel on the palate and soft effervescent carbonation. The flavor is malty and sweet with some spice and flowers at the end. It begins with roast malt and chocolate. In the middle some dark fruit notes (raisin or fig?) and molasses appear. It finishes dry with a touch of clove and hint of flowers. Once gone the chocolate, dark fruit and clove lingers on the palate.

This is an interesting, complex beer. There's a lot of different flavors in each sip that work in harmony together. No one flavor dominates.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Popped the cork and poured into my Portsmouth tulip exactly like Coke - dark mahogany with fluffy sticky tan head that slowly settles to a lumpy film.

The nose is lightly grainy, some Belgian yeast notes with a little roast/dark chocolate.

A sip is thinner and lightly carbonated. I get the dry stout vibe from the subtle roast and a nice molasses sweetness and spiciness that blends with the Belgian yeast.

This is a unique brew. It's a bit like a Belgian strong dark ale without the strong...and less of the Belgian. It's certainly got easy drinking porter qualities. I get what they were going for and I respect the endeavor.

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Photo of mlazzaro
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml Bottle, cork and cage
Completely opaque black as black can be. No light can be seen though any part of the body. Creamy tan head that holds up nicely. Impeccable head retention and lacing. Really nice looking. Smell is kind of off putting. I can pick up on some dark malts, and light Belgian yeast. Almost has a wine character to the smell. Roasted barley really pulls through on the sip. Much thicker than I expected (which is relieving). Tastes like a stout, just Belgiany. Nice malty aftertaste. Molasses is mild competing against the malt bill. Pretty interesting beer. Oak in hitting the end of the sip. Bitterness in pleasant and suiting. I like it more as I sip on, but this has some odd conflicting flavors in my humble opinion. Interesting concept. Excellent presentation. Look forward to more future beer from Mystic.

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Photo of Cord018
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- jet black with a big frothy head.

S- coffee and a little chocolate. First off you can pick up the smell of a Belgian dark ale with the coffee and chocolate coming in after reminding you of a stout.

T- raisins, dates, coffee and a little chocolate. Very interesting. I can taste the belgian dark ale followed by a stout and porter. You pick a bit of the alcohol but it is far from overwhelming.

M- carbonation, yet smooth. Not heavy at all, very drinkable.

O- this is a very interesting beer. I am a big fan of the darker beers so this appealed to me. The Belgian dark ale, stout and porter mix is done very well. You can taste and smell each one. Very drinkable beer as well. A bit too carbonated but once it settles it is a winner. I will definitely look out for other Mystic brews.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Approx 16 oz. Poured from the cask (@ the Union Brewhouse) into a srandard pint glass. Sort of cola brown in color, you can see light brown highlights on the edges. Looks like a little setiment floating around, but eventually falls to the bottom. Off white colored head about 1/2 finger thick doesn't last every long, slightest of slight lacing.

Smell is pretty good. Pretty earthy, slight roasty to a weak, almost charred smell. Very bready, the yeast is a very dominant feature in the smell, almost Belgian-like.

Tast has a lot of similarities as the smell. A certain bitterness throughout but isn't too overwhelming. Roasty with some slight bitter (cooking) chocolate tones. Much like the smell, its very bready and grainy. Slight herbal and earthy hop flavor with a hint of alcohol. Funny the combination almost gives it a slight soy sauce flavor; very interesting.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Full flavor but very soft, gentle feel. Not too carbonated, but it gets a mulligan since its cask. Unbelievably smooth the whole way through with a. Perfect butter bute at the end. Overall a real quality beer. I'm very happy to have tried it on cask.

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Descendant Dark Ale from Mystic Brewery
3.78 out of 5 based on 153 ratings.
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