Ravell | Magic Hat Brewing Company

148 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
An enormous play in one significant act, Ravell is a porter brewed with whole vanilla beans, once available whenever young William and father John deem it so.

28 IBU

Added by taez555 on 03-06-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 283
Photo of bewareOFpenguin
1.42/5  rDev -61.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

One word, "blah". I thought only eggnog should have that much vanilla. It looked promising when the bar keep brought it, dark and rich looking. But all taste was eclipsed by the vanilla. It was a chore just to drink it. Avoid this beer, unless you are some kind of eggnog "junkie".

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Photo of jtierney89
2/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a black color with a tan head. Smells of leather, tobacco, charcoal, and burnt dark malts such as bitter chocolate and toffee. Immediately im getting a coffee taste. Gritty in texture but pretty smooth overall. getting some slight vanilla undertones, pretty subdued though. Smooth and decent porter but to be honest it exhibits a lot of the same flavors as howl. Eh :(

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Photo of IPAlot
2.35/5  rDev -37%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This beer reminded me why i'm not allegiant to magic hat's brewing philosophy. They put the added flavoring at the forefront and the beer in the rear. I love vanilla flavor, but I think beer should strive to incorporate the flavor into a balanced tapestry with the rest. This beer tastes like a good cream soda (i don't like cream soda) at the expense of hops and malt. It looks gorgeous, a midnight opacity foretells a dark rich flavor. I know I should be constructive, but the guidelines also say the style should be kept in mind. Porter? I don't taste any. The beer's only redeeming qulity is texture and color, which is scant little for a beer to go on. On a positive note, Magic Hat's graphics are the funkiest around, and the condom animation on their website is hilarious.

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Photo of jcalabre
2.41/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I must say thanks to herbjones for sharing this with me.
This pourse a clear, dark brown/red color. It's transparent, which hints of a light body. The aroma is of chocolate milk, or maybe the chocolate chips used for cookies. Then I tasted it & it went straight down hill from there...
It's pretty thin & watery on the tongue with a slightly hoppy taste. It's good up front, but finishes poorly.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.47/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 ounce bottle poured into a DFH snifter. What starts as a handsome tan head quickly shrinks into a wispy skim. Not much in the way of lacing, but the auburn highlights are attractive.

Subtle nose of cocoa, vanilla and roast. Thin and tangy with a watery finish, this sweetish porter misses the mark. I'm thinking the vanilla probably accentuates Ravell's shortcomings rather than hiding them. Ratcheting up the roast to create a better foil for the sweeter elements would do it a load of good.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.64/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, a sweet roast, but somewhat faint. In the taste, a small caramel and a coffee roast, a bit watery and thin. A smooth and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry, and a sweet coffee like aftertaste. A bit thin, but it has nice mellow flavors.

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Photo of bourbonbock
2.73/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

I poured a 12 oz bottle into a cool pint glass.

A. Beer pours dark brown with a brown foamy head of about 1 finger thick that recedes to a cap quickly.

S. I can make out some caramels chocolates and dates?

T. Roasted body is rounded out by a sweet backboard. Otherwise not much going on.

M. Thick and tangy but rather drying from too much roast.

I like this beer but don't know if I would like it anymore than as a sampler box filler.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.86/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

@ Sunset (who now supposedly clean their lines every 17 days btw).

Black with a thin sheet of head on top. Head never really diminishes and rides down the glass sticking foam to my glass along the way.

Smells like roast malt and vanilla chocolate syrup. Mostly roast malt but a thin, grainy roast malt.

Accordingly, Ravell features thin, roast malt with some vanilla. The buttery ringwood yeast really clashes with the dessert effect and ruins the experience for me.

Choosing from 112 taps I could have found a better beer. Never know 'til you try I guess.

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Photo of RHCP313
2.9/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Playing Fleet Foxes–Fleet Foxes

A: Pours a dark brown, near black. The only light that comes through is a slight ruby/maroon highlight when held up to the light. A finger of espresso head forms and sits for about a minute before receding and leaving spotty lace on the rim of my pint.

S: Pretty nice nose on this. The vanilla comes through just sweet enough without smelling artificial. Notes of maple, fresh bread, brown sugar and caramel. No real hop profile here, but the sweet aromas are pleasant and well rounded.

T: Nicely bitter and roasted malt flavor starts at the front of the palate, but moving back it becomes thin and watery. Flavors are lost until aftertaste when some coffee, roast and honey notes come back. Inconsistent flavors leave me searching. Oddly, in late aftertaste, flavors of black olives begin to form. Very strange.

M: Decent carbonation, but this doesn't move very gracefully across the palate. It starts dry but leaves a slick, oily palate behind.

O: I picked this out of a 12-pack sampler left in my fridge because it seemed like the most interesting offering I have seen from Magic Hat to date. It looks and smells like a nice offering, but the actual consumption of this beer falls short and has some strange properties that are more confusing than anything. I would only drink this again if it were the only non-BMC tap at a bar, which Magic Hat seems to be more often than not.

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Photo of granger10
2.95/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown color with no head whatsoever. Slight lacing on the pour that dissapears quickly. Maybe I got an old one. Anyways, scent reminded me of this french vanilla coffee I've been drinking lately. But it wasn't too nice for some reason. Taste was of vanilla bean, and a lot of it. I tried to get around the strong vanilla taste and couldn't. Well, I did notice some licorice flavor in there and a slight roasted malt taste, but that was it. Finish reminds me of bacardi vanilla, yeah pretty harsh! Overall taste is exactly like rum and vanilla coke. I don't even know if I could tell the difference in a taste test! Improved as it warmed. Probably pretty good when I'm wasted (just guessing here). This one's a little too one-dimensional for me but I am glad to try it, esp. since it's of limited availability.

Thanks to mikeys01 for the sample.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.95/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer looks good. Chocolate bronze color. Slight brown head. Retention is adequate. And the aroma is quite nice and forward as well. It smells like a chocolate shop. But alas, that is were the enjoyment ends. Upon tasting, I find big chocolate and cocoa flavors, but it is very unbalanced. It's got a little of that "Grant's" smokiness to it, but it seems very artificial to me. It's not one I'd grab again.

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Photo of waughbrew
2.96/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I always want to give Magic Hat another chance to impress me, but they never do. A vanilla porter? I like new ideas, but this doesn't work so well for me. It smells and tastes very similar to a root beer/ice cream float except with more chocolate. It is a neat brew i suppose, but I got bored of the flavor before I was half-way done my pint. I don't think I'll have it again.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured chilled in flared glass

A: solid black, thin head; good carbonation, though
S: very light porter aroma; the vanilla beans stand out
T: semisweet vanilla bean porter; low on the hops, simple in flavor profile
M: medium body

an average specimen of the genre

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Photo of Mantooth
3.03/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle I picked up in trade (thanks for the extras SMason!) into a Southern Tier tulip glass.

A: Looks to be jet black in the glass but when held up to the light I see that it's actually (uh - jet brown?) super dark brown with red highlights. There's a minimal head that dissipates quickly and energetic lacing throughout.

S: I'm getting some coffee, vanilla, malt, maybe some coco and oak too.

T: Thin and disappointing. The appearance and nose led me to believe this would be thicker and more complex. Still, there's some coffee up front and a tinge of vanilla in the finish, perhaps even some black cherry in the final sips as the brew made its way from slightly chilled to warm. In that sense it sounds complex I'm sure; however, it's too thin and the hints of character I'm describing are just that, hints.

M: Thin and disappointing.

O: A thin porter with a very nice appearance and an enjoyable nose.

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Photo of BrownNut
3.03/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is billed as "beer brewed with vanilla" but I don't get much vanilla out of it. In a way, that's a good thing, because I don't want a beer that tastes substantially like vanilla (this just came in a sampler pack). But if it's not going to taste like vanilla, why bill that as the defining feature? I get a very little bit of vanilla at the tail end of each sip, more like something just a bit sweet, really barely discernible as vanilla. The main taste is something really roasty, with a bit of char bitter. I've had other beers with this taste, so apparently it's something intentional. I can't say whether it's well done within that context, but personally I don't care for it. I had their Black as Night Lager last night and it had a similar flavor note. I was surprised that they had so much in common given their ostensible style differences. Both were disappointing to me and I'm a big fan of their #9.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.15/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Magic Hat- Vanilla Porter

Appearance- Hazy reddish black with a thick tan head.
Smell- Light vanilla bean.
Taste- Sweet and creamy french vanilla coffee.
Mouthfeel- Light and creamy. Smooth finish.

Overall- A very vanilla flavored porter. Not very complex here. A decent sipper!!

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Photo of Todd
3.16/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle, fresh from the brewery.

Pours a an opaque black with brown and ruby hues. A very nice tan lace crowns the beer, sticking gently to the sides of the glass and retains its appeal well.

Faint aromas of cocoa and vanilla, hints of mineral.

Smooth, with an underlying raw bittiness. Tight carbonation, paired with a quick lived citric hop bite. Initial flavors are rather aggressive, but eventually let their grips loose and allow malt flavors of tobacco, unsweetened chocolate, mild burnt / smoky flavors, and watery coffee. Very little residual sweetness. Notes of aspirin or bicarbonate. Whispers of vanilla bean (hardly as distinct or bold as I'd like). Drying finish with grain husk sitting on the palate.

An okay American Porter, but the vanilla seems much more tame in this new wave of Ravell, extremely sublte, and there's no malt backbone to provide balance.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.16/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Quite dark brown. Good color to it. Head is one finger thick, poor retention.
S- The aroma is pleasing with a touch of sweet vanilla, a bit of roasted malt.
T- The taste was ok at first but I had two main issues with it. First, the vanilla didn't come through that much at all. Second, the roasted malt notes, though welcome, took too much control and came across a bit astringent.
M- Medium-light for a porter. Carb is low. A bit dry in finish. Grating astringency on the tongue.
O- This one is a pass for me in the future.

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Photo of chimaylvr
3.18/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This porter has an appropriate dark brown, coffee-like hue, one finger foam head leaves thin lacing. Smell is subtle, vanilla and toffee, bread, even sweet. Taste relects smell with hints of bitter chocolate in keeping with the sweet, vanilla ingredient; mild roastiness, very palatable. Somewhat creamy mouthfeel.

This beer is good but was expecting a richer, more complex flavor for a self described "vanilla porter". There was no unpleasantness at all but I'll consider this only a slightly above average porter. Not in the category of Anchor or Mayflower but a porter that's not too strong and easy to drink, especially for those daring of the people who "don't like dark beer". Virtually a "light" porter. Do you like light beer? If so you might like this one, if not then perhaps not.

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Photo of Phatz
3.2/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A complete disappointment. Found on-tap at Capone's in Norristown PA.

Appearance: I is served looking like a beautiful stout Dark almost black with a frothy dark tan head and decent lacing

Smell: It has a great chocolate cocoa aroma, lactic and milky and boldly bitter chocolate. Very enticing aroma.

Taste: The Aroma is enticing but the artificial sweetness and chocolate in the mouth is a real disappointment. Yes it is chocolaty and it is almost roasty but it lacks the bitter dryness needed in a porter. It is sweet like a milk stout but laking the complex body. All - in all I think it is mostly a chocolate mess.

Mouthfeel: It is just a bit too sticky sweet all around. The mouthfeel is medium in body but lacks the crisp dry finish of a good porter. I found it a bit cloying.

Drinkability: Finishing the pint was a challenge. It just didn't work for me.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.21/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Magic Hat Ravell

Pours a dark brown with a creamy foam cap. Good lacing down the pint. Light aroma of roasted malt and coffee. In the taste, roasted malts are there giving off coffee and chocolate/vanilla flavors. Sweet, perhaps lactose sugar was added. Mellow, mild, agreeable flavor. Mouthfeel is the highlight of this beer with a smooth, rich, creamy texture. Overall, a pretty average porter but it has its moments.

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Photo of Vendetta
3.24/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Original Rating Date:
June 27, 2008

The first time I had this beer, I was still under 21. It's been a while, but the taste is familiar. Pours a dark, burnt red. Excellent vanilla aroma that smells almost chocolately, as paradoxical as it sounds. Tastes very good, roasted, nutty vanilla... though a bit on the watery side which really drops its rating. Very good brew, could have been far better though.

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Photo of bditty187
3.32/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown hue, it tries to be black in the middle, ruby around the edges, it shows good depth when held to a light. The beige head poorly formed, it never developed beyond a foamy cap then it swiftly faded to a soapy collar. That is disappointing. The subsequent lacing was spotty and hardly noteworthy. The nose isn’t very potent, it is quite airy with an equal mix of chocolate and vanilla, neither dominates, in fact, they work in perfect harmony. Since there is little else in the bouquet, I must admit, I am a tad leery to try this. Some vanilla porters frighten me and I am still recovering from the SA Chocolate Bock I had two months ago. But here goes nothing. The palate is surprisingly neutral, I can’t really call it balanced, it is largely neutral, the scarcely noticeable chocolate and vanilla flavors cancel each other out which leaves a pleasant roasty stout maltiness. But that’s it for taste. The finish is lackluster and oddly prickly, hops maybe? It does possess that mouth-coating tackiness that I dislike in beers of this ilk and it does seem too thin for a porter, even though this really isn’t a porter as it is spiced, anyway. The mouthfeel is adequate but flawed, how’s that? Could I have two of these in a night? No. I could have two of them in a lifetime. This beer didn’t do much for me; nevertheless I need to thank UnionMade for the opportunity to sample this Magic Hat offering.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Magic Hat's Ravell is brewed in the style of an American Porter with vanilla. Previously available during the fall/winter season, this beer last appeared in the Winterland 2011 Variety pack. I missed the pack but was fortunate to find a single bottle of this in an Athens Bottle Shop.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served upwards of 55º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy light creamy brown head. Retention is below average as the head settles out rather quickly to a light surface cover. Body color is a dark brown with deep ruby highlights. Less than pleasing head quality and a lack of lacing doesn't make for an impressive appearance. 3

(Smell) Chocolate cake, very roasty, sweet and robust in delivery. Light icing profile, a touch of cream with faint vanilla bean profile. Touches of alcohol are here and there. Very low hop profile and faint bitterness. Overall, its a simple, chocolate heavy scent but with a warming aroma. Balance is heavily sweet but may tone down by the flavor. 3.75

(Taste) Thinner texture, much less emphasis on chocolate than in the aroma. Tart, mildly bitter black patent malt, dry cocoa powder, and heavily roasted malts with a faint vanilla note in the midsection and increasingly prevalent smoke presence growing on the finish. Sweetness is not as intense as in the nose, but the finish is notably burnt wood and even a touch of cardboard, perhaps a bit strikingly intense. Overall I found that the vanilla didn't have as much of a presence as I had hoped and that the flavor was notably more bitter and even a touch out of balance. The finish, while unique, dominated the majority of this beer and was lasting on the finish. 3.25

(Mouthfeel) Low carbonation presence with a mild creaminess. Finishes dry and chalky. Body is medium amongst porters and heavy amongst all beers. alcohol presence is mild. The creamy carbonation would have better worked with a heavier body and a sweeter flavor. 3

(Overall) I hoped that the beer would have tasted similar to the way it smelled; a chocolate cake with vanilla cream icing would have made for a enjoyable dessert beer. The flavor was significantly different, with possible oxidation, a dry flavor profile and a pretty intense lack of balance, less malt than anticipated. While I don't mind a good puff of smoke on the finish, it seemed overly intense when compared to the pale malt profile of the beer. Vanilla was also faint but added a bit of welcome complexity, complimenting the smoked finish. I'd recommend getting a small quantity of this beer at a younger age, but many of the flavor characteristics, minus some oxidation should still be present. 3.25

Magic Hat Brewing Company's

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Photo of mattcrill
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big thanks go out to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this brew...

Appearance: Dark mahogany in color with ruby edges. A nice off-white head develops and quickly disappears.

Smell: Mild hints of chocolate, carmel, and licorice.

Taste: imitation vanilla, cocoa, and earthy. A cola-like feel with a smoky finish and occasionally a dark fruit aftertaste. Chocolate shows up every now and then as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thin with an almost fizzy, soda-like quality.

Drinkability: Not too bad but nothing over the top. This really doesn't scratch my beer itch at all. A good but not great beer. I'd stay local if I wanted a good porter and I'd do much better.

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Ravell from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.73 out of 5 based on 283 ratings.
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