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Ravell | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 283
Photo of psuKinger
3.62/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle given to me by my neighbor Brian, poured into a standard nonic.

A: Pours a moderate shade of black, with a thin slightly-off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S: Roasted barley lies prominantly underneath the advertised Vanilla. The vanilla is undeniable.

T: Taste follows the nose; roasted barley underneath strong vanilla notes, with a moderate amount of coffee/java on the back end, "as is tradition" for a porter like this. The vanilla is pronounced.

This is a one-trick pony. It's a classic American porter with a strong vanilla presence. The funny thing is? It actually kinda works here. It's not bad.

M: Lighter/thinner than expected for the shade/style, but still has some "oomph" to it. A strong roasty presence sticks around on the finish, and carbonation seems appropriate.

D/O: As I worked through the glass, the roasty-vanilla flavors became monotonous. It's not a bad beer, but not a terribly drinkable one, either.

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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 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 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 dogfishandi
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

served on tap at mammoser's tavern in hamburg, ny into a pint glass.

pours out pretty much black, some slight rubiness evident in the light. creamy light tan colored head with some decent head retention and some decent lacing.

some nice roasted malts, slight creamy vanilla. gets a little sweet as it warms.

again, some nicely roasted malts, slight creamy vanilla, definatly not that noticable however. a little dark fruits with a bitter cocoa finish. becomes sweet as it warms, almost a smartie like taste?

medium bodied, good carbonation for the style.

overall, pretty decent porter, vanilla is definatly in moderation.

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Photo of Jayli
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at Piecasso in Stowe, VT 12/6
Served in a pint glass

A: This beer pours a deep, dark, opaque, almost black with a 1/4 inch of light brown foam on top. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: Nose is roasts, chocolate, and vanilla.

T: Taste starts with nice rich chocolate notes. Big roast comes in mingled with vanilla. Vanilla seems to really dominate the latter portion of this beer with some sweet caramel and toffee. After a second time ordering this beer - there's a hint of smoked character in the finish that cuts the vanilla flavoring a bit.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, thin but slightly crisp and slightly creamy.

O: Goes down ok, ok tasting, not too filling, mild kick, ok represntation of style. The vanilla is a touch over the top for me. However, if you like vanilla beers, this would be one to sit with.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an almost pitch black with ruby edges. About a fingers worth of brown head recedes fairly quickly

S: Strong notes of coffee and vanilla with burnt malts and dark chocolate

T: Very malty with notes of vanilla, coffee, dark chocolate, and slight hops

M: Light-medium bodied with plenty of carbonation

O: A good porter, but I wish the vanilla stood out more in the taste. Certainly wouldn't be my go-to, but it's definitely solid

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.
I havent had this in nearly 8 years...last i had was a growler filled at the brewery during college and havent seen it since.
One of my favorite all time porters...
coffe smokey aroma with a chocolatey vanilla finish. Smooth and drinkable. I just wish the abv was a bit higher...
Love it.

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Photo of Gmann
3.82/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep brown color with a short dense khaki head that settled into a sparse cap.

The aroma is of a pumpernickle malt, wet wood with just a wee hint of smoke. Some brown sugar sweetness. Don't pick up much, if any, vanilla but I like the earthy aroma.

The taste is woody with hints of char and smoke. Some light roast bitterness pops through in the end. The malt is quite bready and there is some caramel sweetness. Has a tea like bitterness and lemony astringency in the end. Again, not much vanilla.

The feel is moderate with prickly carbonation, which eases the drinkability. Malty sweet but does have a roasted bitterness in the finish, which is also a bit dry.

I like the earthiness of the porter but don't get much, if any, of the vanilla. Its enjoyable.

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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 DrDemento456
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep dark black with just a slight hue of red amber at the base. Head is a half inch of mocha colored head that quickly clears to a lace ring.

S - Fairly roasty but faint with tones of chocolate and molasses.

T - Wow this porter is thin but I reach for notes of roast and chocolate which taste kind of burnt. Flavors are well rounded and drinkable.

M - Light but I will forgive it since it's a magic hat beer.

Overall not something I would reach for again but it does have enough flavors and is sessionable to make it a good beer. Ow and it's better than howl if you can't tell the difference your touched in the head.

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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 TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 11/27/2011 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, coffee, vanilla and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with flavors of coffee and vanilla up front. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in along with a mild but complementary hops presence creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a very solid poundable porter worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of shaunb81
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Work of Beer guest tap...

Appearance - Pours a nice, chocolate brown with a minimal cream head.

Smell - Chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Mmmmm....

Taste - The chocolate and vanilla are super apparent and the coffee comes through at the end. Slightly bitter and malty.

Mouthfeel - Nice density and a little creamy. Not too watery and the perfect amount of carbonation.

Overall - Good stuff here. Very drinkable and it makes me very happy. Don't sleep on it...

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a deep dark chocolate hue with bright ruby highlights around the edges of my Allagash chalice. Big thicket of tan khaki head forming niecely and dwindling slowly with laced around the sides of my glass. Aroma has dark malts with a hint of dark cocoa creamed with a touch of vanilla flavored creamer this has a touch of coffee notes as well. Herbal hops peak through in the nose. I have to say what a nice sampler pack they put out, the great dark lager and nice wheat IPA, with this tasty dark beer. The #9 is the clunker of the bunch, but my wife usually drinks 'em down for me without any complaints. Flavor is almost dessert like, a nice semi roasty sweet stout with a creamy vanilla finish. You could almost dip chocolate chip cookies in this and be satisfied, herbal hops are taking a back seat to sweet vanilla and dark ccocoa bursts. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied carbonation is full carrying each sip through the palate nothing cloying it just works well. Overall an enjoyable beer, way better than most recent Magic Hat samplers very good mix of beers, I love the Howl, like the Encore, and I'm pretty happy with Ravell a beer I haven't seen from the Magic Hat crew in quite a few years.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Actually I first first had a taster of this at Pinocchio's in Media, but I think there was something wrong with the tap line there; perhaps they had just put it on and the lines weren't flushed completely. At that session, this beer looked and tasted completely different, being light tan in color and seemingly watered down. But I'm pretty sure I got the genuine effect at Capone's, and that is what this review refers to.

Poured a dark mahogany, rusty around the edges, with a small but solid eggshell head. Aroma of cocoa, leather, and very vegetal vanilla beans. Taste of cocoa, more bitter than sweet here, quality tobacco, leather, wood, and vanilla beans, again, more vegetal than extract-ish. Medium-bodied, a bit chewy, and drinkable, but perhaps a little heavy in the stomach. I'm not a huge fan of Magic Hat, but this one was not bad...glad I gave it a second chance.

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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 Thads324
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark dark brown, almost black. Tan head with a hint of red. Dissipates very quickly and leaves a bit of lacing. Aromas of roasted coffee beans, hot chocolate and oatmeal. Not really any vanilla. Tastes much the same, a bit watery and then a good blend of roasted malt and sweet creamed coffee. Finishes with an odd faint wood. Mouthfeel is great, silken and easy going although full-bodied.
A good brew but a weird finishing flavor, possibly from the yeast. A greatly smooth beer. I'd enjoy another.

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Photo of wedge
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Lose your troubles in the bubbles"

I haven't seen this one around in six or seven years...

Very dark brown, nearly black, with a tight, creamy brown head on top. Malty cocoa and vanilla aroma laced with smoke. Sweet vanilla and black malt roast on the tongue. Some chocolate and coffee and a hint of char in the back. Medium-light bodied...goes down easy. Pretty much as I remember it; a satisfactory session-strength porter.

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Photo of MsRif
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

*UPDATE* 11/11/11:

I had this brew again at a different pub, this time at Capone's in Norristown, PA. Totally different experience. Appeared heavier and darker with a nicer head. Good retention and lacing. Smelled of sweet dark malts, coffee, vanilla...YUM. Tasted like it smelled. Complex and well-balanced. Really, I am wondering if I had the right brew the first time or if maybe it had been infected. Regardless, I would certainly have this brew again.

Full-bodied with low carbonation. Smooth. Very enjoyable...recommended.

Bleh...this is not a very good brew...

Very dark with a tan head and reasonable amounts of lacing. Aroma was not strong at all but I got hints of chocolate and roasty malts. Taste was...well..watery? It tasted like used coffee beans that had been mixed with water. Maybe I got a tainted batch of something...but wow...after a few quality drinks this one was just so sub-par. I only had a 4oz sample...I wouldn't have had anything more than that in regards to this beer.

I tried to drink it slow, keep it in my mouth...everything...still it was just watered down coffee with cocoa nibs to me. Not good at all. Mouthfeel was thin to medium...actually...mouthfeel may have been the best quality of this brew.

I did not enjoy this beer. I finished the sample and moved on to better brews. Not really recommended other than for experience/comparison.

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Photo of bobhits
3.56/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

They tell me brewed with vanilla! The nose is of a porter with coffee and chocolate only subdued by perhaps vanilla though that isn't a term I'd have used without the nudge.

Oh out of order but it is a porter that's WELL carbonated and has sticky lacing, but isn't all that thick...it's magic hat and a porter.

The taste is milk/powdered chocolate, coffee (ground) notes, and yes a hint of vanilla that could be mistaken as a part of the chocolate. Very porter like in nature with some toffee and caramel notes tipping their cap perhaps undeservingly so.

Very nice porter that misses the mark on expectational and in some cases given good. There is something about Magic hat that just always leaves their beer short of the goal, I believe this to be the yeast but there is more than even that here. A brewery that just seems blind to the their flaws.

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Photo of therica
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like it.

One of the selections in their Fall 2011 Winterland variety pack.

A= near-black, decent tan head with nice lacing.

S= dry chocolate, hints of hops florals, coffee, slight liquor notes. The vanilla is nicely apparent.

T= dry chocolate and dry coffee, rather bold yet balanced with the vanilla. Appropriate bitterness and hops florals. Occasional hints of dried dark fruits and plum.

M= dry chocolate and dry coffee, slight astringency and interesting tongue numbness. Light sweetness.

O= definitely another impressive offering from the reformed and more recently creative Magic Hat.

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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 beerthulhu
3.84/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Vanilla porter.

A: Poured a dark opaque color with a medium beige head with very little lacing left behind.

S: a nice roastedness, dry coffee grinds, French vanilla swirl coffee mate and sweet chocolate.

T: there was dark coffee beans starting things out, with some French vanilla hazel nut cappuccino, and a slight brunt bitterness which faded to a semi-sweet dry finish. There was a light smoked woodiness as well in the finish.

M: a tad light per style and a little thin.

D: Drinkability was good and enjoyable, solid example and one of their better beers.

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Photo of tayner
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2004 bottle cracked at a tasting.

this poured a cola color with some red/burgundy edges. there was a little ring of head that remained and decent lacing noted.

Nose was pure fresh vanilla beans. I did not smell like artificial vanilla but the whole bean variety. very strong, vibrant smell.

Taste followed suit, heavy vanilla up front. there was some malt in the mid palate to balance the vanilla, but this leaves no doubt that it is a vanilla porter.

The mouthfeel was a bit watery which could be due to the fact it is only 4.8% and thus not alot of malt was apparently used, but i think it held up well over time, although i have not tried this fresh so i cannot compare.

This was an easy drinker if you like vanilla. I would love to try one of these fresh.

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