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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 smcolw
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Large, beige head that recedes steadily to minimal level of bubbles. Ultimately, there is no lace. The color is dark ruby, brown. Light does pass lightly.

Smells a bit milky with light burnt toast in the background.

Mostly malty (of the darker variety), some near-burnt toast flavors. Thin bodied with higher level of carbonation. The swallow has an element of alcohol warmth along with mild hop.

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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 capeannbass36
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle...Batch 001. Bought in October, sat on for 2 months, perhaps should have drank this one "fresh"??

A- After an uncorking...champagne like "POP"...pours a clear very, very dark brown molasses color....red highlights up against a very bright light. Light tan/beige never ending head. Clumpy lacing throughout. Looks great!

S-Really sort of bland. Some dark fruit. Hint of molasses. Slightly bitter on end.

T- More or less follows the nose. Bittersweet finish. A little malt and yeast?

M- A little light for how it looks. Very light carbonation towards the end. Light filmy coating to mouth. Kind of dry.

O- First taste of this style. Nothing to compare it to. Not bad. But, nothing I can say that I would rush out for again.

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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 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 Jason
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown corked and caged bottle. Batch #1

LOOK: Not short of head, towering over the top of the glass. Shade or two from opaque ... full on black.

SMELL: Carob, chicory, nougat, faint yeast, toasted dark bread, ripe plums, green peppercorn, herbal, charcoal.

TASTE: Medium body, smooth, over-toasted bread, unsweetened chocolate, muted blueberries, burnt raisins, kiss of fig sugar, mild char, yeast, mellow herbal hop, estery, dry finish.

This beer is starting to grow on my, love the tri-hybrid style going on here. Stout & porter with a Belgian flare. A lot of flavor to take in here, a clear sipper as it ends up being super complex. I definitely will be revisiting this beer / future batches.

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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 Gushue3
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Even with a gentle pour theres a gigantic head 3-4 times the size of the boy. Very foamy and thick head with lots of retention. The body is a very dark brown that can be seen through right around the edges.

S Brown sugar and molasses sweetness come out along with a subtle alcohol scent.

T much like the nose with molasses and some sweetness. Some roastiness and a slight bitterness on the finish. Reminds me of a brown ale with a little more sweetness.

M Lighter side of medium with lots of bubbly carbonation.

O Nice beer here. A combination of nice flavors but nothing really stood out to me. Slightly over carbonated I felt but not a bad beer.

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Photo of silentjay
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

loud pop of the cork and a huge head hints at some aggressive bottle conditioning. a muddy brown body with a light tan head that fills more than half of my duvel tulip. the head sticks around for a while letting the beer warm a bit and laces a ton when it finally decides to recede.

lots of dark fruits, some roasted malts, no hops detected. molasses, yeah, but its not dark molasses. caramel toffee cocoa dried figs raisins and a slight funk can all be detected.

dried fruits come first, then roast comes in bringing behind it some bitter cocoa and caramel sweetness. a slight woody hoppiness and maybe some roasted nuts come in as well and a slight funk comes in for a quick visit. some spice from the belgian yeast comes on the finish and lingers with some fruity sweetness for a while. somewhat metallic at times, which detracts a bit. a lot going on, but nothing grabs for your attention.

a bit light and with a thin finish but a sweet coating left behind.

It's good. not as good as their saison, but one I enjoyed. I wouldn't be opposed to trying subsequent batches of this beer as it has underlying potential that it seems to fail to cash in on.

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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 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 Dope
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: A dark brown pour with a ridiculously huge fluffy light brown head. Retention and lacing both seem to be nice.

S: Roasted malt and chocolate mainly. Spicy too and with a little bit of alcohol burn. Smells pretty similar to a lighter stout or a porter really. Not your typical belgian dark.

T: Pretty watery right off the bat, surprisingly. Roasted malt and chocolate here but fairly subdued due to the thinness. Tastes not too far off from a guinness, though perhaps even more thin, despite the much higher ABV. Little bit of spice.

M: Super thin and watery, really detracts from the beer unfortunately.

O: A very interesting idea but the execution fell flat unfortunately. It tastes like a really thin porter basically. Some mild belgian influence but nothing really stands out. The watery aspect really lowered the scores too. Unfortunately the taste and mouthfeel just do not match up with the looks and aroma.

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Photo of nas5755
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- black with some brown hues close to the bottom of the glass. A nice head with solid retention

S-some molasses and a bit of belgian yeast

T- not quite a Belgian, not quite a dry stout. An interesting take on the style. some roasted malts, some Belgian yeast, some molasses and peppery spice. Very dry and a little nutty on the finish.

M- dry and bit on the thin side, good carbonation levels

O- I enjoyed the take on this beer. I think the recipe needs to be dialed down and tweaked a bit. Either go bigger with more body or tone down the abv and make this session-able. Lots of potential and worth picking up and trying. My scores slightly reflect the style classification but this beer doesnt and cant fit into any category.

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Photo of Shaymus
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours very dark with strong pillowy head that fades to a thin covering while consuming!!

S. A sweet almost tart molasses aroma. The belgian yeast comes in with a bit of an alcohol finish.

T. The flavor is roasty with molasses and again that tartnes/tang. kind of stoutish with the exception of the yeast.

M. Actually felt this was a big plus. It is light but, the carbonation is strong and sticks around.

O. I liked it, not as nice as the Saison but, the yeasty tartness & roasty flavor coupled with the mouthfeel "carbonation" make it nicely enjoyable!

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Photo of rudzud
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle at the Julio's release. Poured into a duvel tulip.

A - Pours a deep, dark, what has to be clear black with a two finger off mocha head that faded to leave a halo and minimal cloud.

S - Different nose. Light smokeyness combined with roast malts and chocolate/coffee. Some light subtle belgian yeast notes.

T - After the strong booze taste and slight metallic there are some nice roast coffee and light chocolate flavors. Not getting much in the way of hops, but, there is some pleasant belgian yeast.

M - Really surprising mouthfeel. Excellent carbonation, light, prickly, almost refreshing. Only knock is the ABV is somewhat hot.

O - I remember liking this alot more at the tasting I was at. Its still a nice beer, just, not up to par with their saison.

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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 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 VelvetExtract
3.11/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Is the cork kidding me? One moderate push via my thumb easily sends the cork flying to the ceiling with a frightening pop explosion. Blew the cork-guard clean off. Anyways… Pours like cola. Color is brown but with transparent edges. Big tan head. Head is bubbly but dies away quickly and leaves a slight bubbly layer atop the liquid.

S-The nose is strange. This beer smells like an intense combination of chocolate and ashy bonfire. Very burnt nose. The alcohol is far too intense. It actually stings the nostrils. I am beginning to wonder if something is wrong here. I have heard that some of Mystic’s first batch of Saison had a super-boozy nose and flavor. I had two of the first batch of Saison and had no problem; but I have heard others who have.

T-The flavor does not display the super-boozy quality like the nose. This beer tastes like a Rauchbier almost. Smoky and a bit salty. Chocolate and a tiny hint of coffee too. Slight hop bitterness on the back end. Molasses is there too. Definitely different. Doesn't really appeal to me.

M-Much lighter than the look would lead me to believe. Moderate to high carbonation. Feels almost watery at some points.

O/D-I love their Saison. I think it may be my favorite Saison. But this one does not impress me at all. The nose is off putting. The flavor is strange. The feel doesn’t match the style well. Just not very good. At $8.50 a bottle, I will finish it. However, I wish I had waited for someone to tell me about this before I tossed out nearly $10 for this one.

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