Staff Magician
Mikkeller Brewing San Diego

Staff MagicianStaff Magician
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New England IPA
Ranked #2,213
Ranked #19,277
3.87 | pDev: 6.98%
Mikkeller Brewing San Diego
California, United States
Very Good
Staff MagicianStaff Magician
Notes: New England Style Pale Ale hopped with Mosaic, Citra and Nugget.
Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 109 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Mikkeller Brewing SD "Staff Magician"
16 fl. oz. can "BORN ON 10/11/2019 13:01:50 RABBIT IN A HAT" and sampled on 01/20/2020
$3.49 @ Roger Wilco, Pennsauken, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: So this is a New England style pale ale at 5.5% abv? Sounds pretty basic. It's poured the expected hazy golden-orange body beneath an inch and a half of fluffy white foam. The aroma offers a combination of sweetish golden malt and floral, citrusy, and otherwise tropical fruits as well as some apples and berries. It's noticeable but not really bright. On to the flavor... well that's fuller, and again, the sweetish golden malt comes through clearly but remains well-tied to the hops. I'm getting some mango, tangerine, lemon, and a hint of peach. I wouldn't call it mildly fruity but it is on the softer, more restrained side. The upside of that is that it works really well with the rest of what's there. The sweetness of the doughy malt amplifies the fruitiness, but there's also enough bitterness to dry it. It lingers softly with just a bit of earthiness and resin left behind. In the mouth it's medium to medium-light in body but it feels more "medium" because of the additional proteins. They, in combination with a fine-bubbled and moderate carbonation, leave it velvety smooth. So what to say about this? As far as "juicy" NEIPAs go it's quite pedestrian, and yet it remains quite drinkable in its own right. It's not bombastic, it's not brash. It's soft and supple while still retaining the character of the juicy NEIPA style - I note "juicy" because there's also the more resinous and dank version of the NEIPA. Would I have it again? Yeah, it's easy. I could crack one of these each night after work with no questions. Out at the pub with a less than stellar tap list, 100%, and even if there was a stellar tap list I always fall back on something after the first two or three "special" beers. It's 5.5% but with a little care you could session this.
Review #6,913

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.67/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Staff Magician pours a hazy bronze color, with a small, but long lasting head. Sweet and farm like aroma. Flavor has earthy spice notes, some tropical fruit, with a more bitter finish. Good body and feel. Overall, its a more bitter NEPA.

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Photo of chinchill
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Crafty Beer Guys pub.
Pour is cloudy pale golden with a decent head.
Juicy with mixed citrus peel flavors. Moderate bitterness for style.
Near medium body and carbonation.

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Photo of dfillius
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Lighter in color and a bit less hazy than the rest of the pack. Would do better to have some more head and better retention. About 1/4 finger head from a moderate pour. Great tropical fruit flavor and overall sweetness, but stands apart from the pack again with a noticeably drier finish. Nice, and great that it’s only 5.5%

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Photo of nodder
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Another NE style beer wayyy under-rated. I have had Tree House and many other of the "highly rated" NE beers and this stands with them imo. Hazy orange with tropical fruit smells and taste. Amazing for a 5.5% beer. Highly recommended.

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Photo of mactrail
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Cloudy light amber brew with plenty of foam in the tall goblet. Mouthfeel is frothy in a pleasant way. Aroma of citrus and a bit of pine. A touch of lemon and sweet bread. Gunk in the back of the throat makes it less than happily drinkable.

Flavor is resiny with a bitter aftertaste. This is the murky style of flavor. It seems to go down easy enough since it's not over-hopped or overly strong. Faint praise. From the 16 oz can purchased at Barons Market.

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Photo of beersampler6
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very well-done ale by an amazing San Diego brewery. Pours a nice slightly hazy orange-yellow with a little nice head and spotty lingering lacing. Smells of fruity citrus and piney hops. Tastes of nice fruit hops - tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, orange, pineapple, mango - along with some piney and herbal hops, vanilla, biscuit and a great malt backbone. Well-balanced, smooth, just enough bitterness. Clean crisp mild mouthfeel, great carbonation. An excellent brew and I would definitely buy it again.

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Photo of stoumi
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Staff Magician pours a golden amber with a slight cloudiness, a small and well defined head lingers leaving a spiderweb like lacing down the glass. The smell is full of tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple, mango and peach on the nose with citrus peel zest and a light hint of pine or pepper. The taste is a sweet citrus up front with a combination of stone fruits, melon and an array of citrus. A light malt bill with a hint of melon sweetness, makes this a well balance pale ale. Not really a West Coast pale ale, but not entirely Northeast hazy. This is a San Diego style hazy pale.

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Photo of gatornation
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slight hazed straw color with a white head. smell had lemon grass and citrus aromas. Taste was floral with citrus and lemon,with cracker meal malts some grassy herbal notes. A dry mouth feel with little bitterness and citrus zing. Twas good but unlikely to buy again.

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Photo of AdmiralOzone
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy lemon yellow with a thick white head that lingers and leaves beautiful lacing. Aroma is faint lemon, orange and melon. Flavor follows, sweet citrus fruits and melons with very little bitterness. Feel is smooth and creamy. Overall another decent beer with too high of an asking price.

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Photo of VoodooBear
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 16 oz. can with the canning date printed on the bottom. Served in a Willi Becher glass.

Appearance: It develops a thick, foamy, three finger bright white head that sticks around for a while and leaves some thick lacing. The color is bright, hazy yellow with a hint of transparency.

Smell: The dominant aromas are floral, fresh hops with some dank, musky pine resin notes in the background.

Taste: Sweet and hoppy, with a dank, pine resin finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy but surprisingly refreshing with low carbonation.

Overall: Northeast inspired and brewed in the West Coast, this is not as hazy or hop forward as most of the New England style brews that are in currently in vogue. It's still a nice and refreshing beer with a good amount of hop character nevertheless.

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Photo of Tony210
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light cloudy straw color, minimal head. Soapy, malty aroma. Pretty crisp, light hop bitterness. Fairly underwhelming.

16 oz can dated 18101
3.25 rating

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Photo of kitch
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A one pint can, canned on 23rd May 2018, and poured into a white wine glass.

Appearance: A hazy golden orange colour with a two finger white head that had good retention and left some nice lacing.

Aroma: Citrus peel and rind, lightly soapy with hints of peach.

Taste: Tropical and citrusy fruit notes, mango, grapefruit, orange rind, with light bitterness and a hint of floral.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Quite nice and although the flavours are there, the intensity was a bit lighter than expected.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a solid beer, a hazy pale type, but there is an unexpected and interesting element to this that really threw me off, smoke! not sure if this was poured through a tainted line or what the deal is, but i got a decided smoke profile to the grain in this all the way through my glass, and my colleagues, can this be intentional and part of the recipe? im not sure, i wouldnt think so, but i have learned not to put anything past mikkeller. washed out light orange color with no visible sediment but plenty of haze, and a tall white head, looks lively, smells fresh on the hop side of things, grapefruit and melon to me, loosely tropical, oily and even a little sweet when i taste it. the grain is starchy and earthy and dry and sort of raw, some oats or raw wheat or both must be present, but then the smoke thing comes in the finish, not acrid or too intense, so it doesnt disrupt the flow too bad, but its there at the end pretty distinctively, making this unique, especially against the light fruitiness of the hops. it extends the beer in a good way, but i am definitely left scratching my head. i liked this even with this smoke element, but will have to try from a can next time to see what thats all about...

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Photo of Billolick
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tall can, I dont see any freshness/canning date info.

Nice looking hazed, lighter NEIPA pour, leaves a load of fine lacing ALL over the glass...nice look to this one.

LIght fresh fruit sniff, with melon, kiwi and mango coming to mind.

Pleasing crisp and bright tasting IPA, I get limes, pineapple, melon, firm and highly enjoyable in the mouth, with limes and a hint of hop resin in the finish...well done and well worth a try

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

This one pours with a very hazy and bright looking yellow/orange color, with a small head, and lots of lacing.

This smells like piney hops, doughy/bready malts, light pink grapefruit juice, and mango.

This is pretty light, but still full of flavor. It's got a crisp bitterness on the finish, and a hint of supporting malt character. The main fruit flavor is dry mango, with a hint of grapefruit as well.

This is light bodied, crisp, clean, and super, super drinkable, with a good level of carbonation.

This is just another awesome beer from San Diego outpost of Mikkeller- I've enjoyed almost all of their beers so far.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 4/22/2018. Pours moderately hazy/cloudy golden amber/light orange color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, peach, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, papaya, mango, melon, berry, citrus peel/zest, light pepper/pine, wheat, biscuit dough, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus/fruity/tropical hops and bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, peach, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, papaya, mango, melon, berry, citrus peel/zest, light pepper/pine, wheat, biscuit dough, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Light pine, citrus peel/zest, herbal, grassy, spicy bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, peach, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, papaya, mango, melon, berry, citrus peel/zest, light pepper/pine, wheat, biscuit dough, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/fruity/tropical hops and bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance; and zero cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol for 5.5%. Overall this is an awesome NE pale ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/fruity/tropical hops and bready malt flavors; very smooth and refreshing to drink with the mildly bitter/drying finish. Spot on soft feel for the style. Awesome Mosaic/Citra showcase. Very juicy and lightly dank hop complexity; perfect malt balance, not overly sweet. A very enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

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Photo of metter98
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is very hazy yellow in color. it poured with a finger high frothy white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of tropical fruit hops—mangos and papayas seem to stand out in particular—are present in the nose along with some hints of orange citrus.
T: The taste has flavors of stone fruits with notes of mangos and hints of orange citrus. Little, if any bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. No crispness is perceptible.
O: This beer has an interesting mix of aromas and flavors but isn't quite as "juicy" compared to some of the other New England-style IPAs that are available.

Serving type: can

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a fairly hazy, almost murky pale to medium golden yellow in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising along the edges of the glass and faint medium bright yellow + faint apricot colored highlights. The beer has a three finger tall sudsy foamy white head that slowly reduces to a large patch of slightly mottled thin film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of juicy citrus/grapefruit, citrus/orange, tropical/mango, tropical/pineapple, and stone fruit/apricot hops over the top of light aromas of biscuit + caramel malts with a light amount of caramel sweetness.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of biscuit + caramel malts with a light amount of caramel sweetness. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of juicy citrus/grapefruit, citrus/orange, tropical/mango, tropical/pineapple, stone fruit/peach, and stone fruit/apricot hops which impart a light amount of bitterness which fades away quickly leaving lingering tropical + citrus hop flavors.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly fluffy with a light amount of dryness in the finish.

O: Easy to drink with well hidden alcohol and a pleasantly lighter mouthfeel. Refreshing and enjoyable with a really nice hop profile.

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Photo of JamFuel
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy yellow, with fine, high foam.

Smell is tropical and juicy, with mango and citrus leading the way.

Taste is more citrusy than tropical, some otes of pineapple and orange combine with a very nice, balanced biterness and a crisp, dry finish.

Mouthfeel i medium, well carbonated.

Overall, a very refreshing APA, well made and balanced.

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Photo of dertyd
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a hazy yellow color, with 2 fingers of white head(looks like pineapple juice)-------------- the aromas are of citrus, stone fruit and lesser pineapple(light aroma)------------- the flavors are of orange, grapefruit, pine, and lesser pineapple, the beer has a full mouthfeel with a lightly astringent finish-------------- overall this was a nice hazy pale ale, juicy wile staying light and refreshing-------

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Photo of Stefantheviking
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours with nice foamy head that quickly leaves large spots of lacing. Smell is subtle with Initial taste of melon and oats, a bit more bitter than you would expect from a pale. Following comes a little citrus/grapefruit and ends with some coconut on the back end. Lingers slightly but dry. I don't get a blast of "Juiciness" as you may come to expect from anything NE style but don't call this wrong. It's there just not the forefront! I enjoyed this beer, easy drinking, not too heavy and just right for a warm day.

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Photo of TheBrewsky
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz can into 20oz tulip glass. No observable canning date.

Look: Pours light yellow, with medium hazy appearance. Formed about 1/2 of a bubbly head, which quickly dissipated. Left a good amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Really subtle smell. Little hints of citrus fruits, such as orange, and grapefruit. In the background, maybe a little pineapple, lemon, and stonefruits such as peach and apricot.

Taste: Subtle as well. Hints of orange and pineapple, with back end of apricot and grapefruit. Hop profile is mild. Has a watery taste to the beer, as if it is really diluted. Leaves a strange residual coating on mouth and tongue, but no aftertaste.

Feel: Water and thin. As said above, it coats the mouth oddly. I am just not feeling the "feel" on this one. Really watery.

Overall: This isn't anything crazy. It is drinkable, but doesn't seem to have much going on for it. I kind of expect more from Mikkeller due to experience alone. Regardless, glad I tried it. Cheers!

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Photo of Draughted
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Smells musky. Very bitter fot a hazy pale. Looks great, but finishes acidic and dry. Not juciy for NE style or really any discernible tropical hop flavors. I dont know the hops used, but seems to be the bitter ones like old pales and IPAs.

By the way, if this site is accurate, then it seems to be their thing - bitter beers (3 in the top 5 of most IBUs):

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Photo of BrotherDylan
3.37/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The malt profile is great, the color is beautiful, the aroma and flavor are disappointing.

To start, the beer has diacetyl in it. Sloppy fermentation is a fatal flaw in of itself, but couple that with an unreasonable price tag and you have yourself a recipe for a hard pass.

It's not that the beer is bad or the hop profile is off or anything. It's just that poor fermentation and experimental hop flavors for $6 a can is unjustifiable. Mikkeller makes good beer, they always have. But as has happened before, when Mikkeller married less-than-stellar brewing practices with experimental flavors, the beer falls flat.

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Staff Magician from Mikkeller Brewing San Diego
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 109 ratings