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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:
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Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 283
Photo of Brad007
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color with a one-finger head. Aroma is thick and rich with hints of coffee, vanilla beans and cream. Actually, the aroma is reminiscent of cocoa krispies (which is a good thing and something a friend of mine used to describe the aroma of Stone Vanilla Porter). Taste is roasty upfront with coffee and vanilla in the middle that flows into a creamy aftertaste. A few more sips and it feels somewhat thin in body but nothing too serious.

A lot more drinkable than I remember it being.

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Photo of weeare138
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's...though I've had this several times in the past. I'm surprised I have never reviewed it...
Appears a dark brown with a red hue and a thick, 1 finger head of tan, silky foam that slowly fades out. Tons of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla beans, cocoa, cream, caramel, and brown sugar.
Taste is of chewy vanilla cream and yummy, delicate balance that seems to be slightly reformulated than what I remember having in the bottle in the past.
Mouthfeel is smooth, velvetty, creamy, sweet, with a balanced finish.

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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 jmalex
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After getting a small taste of this at the Philadelphia Beer Fest in March, I never thought I'd get to try it again. But thanks to Capone's in Norristown, I was able to score a growler fill of this for tonight.

APPEARANCE: Pours out as close to black as can be with a dark tan head. The head drops somewhat quickly (but this IS out of a growler) to a solid collar and small hazy patch.

SMELL: The aroma is mainly of vanilla with a liquoresque heat to it (presumably from vanilla extract). Black malts lurk in the back providing a balancing bitterness. Bittersweet chocolate rounds out the smell. Hop aroma is non-existent.

TASTE: The initial taste is mostly traditional porter flavors featuring burnt black malt. As the beer crosses the palate, the sweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and especially vanilla flavors start to come on and only intensify to the finish. Hop bitterness is only there to balance out the sweetness.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied with a slightly low carbonation (I'm sure due to it coming from a growler).

DRINKABILITY: Drinkability is great. This is by far the best vanilla beer I've had yet. And absolutely a good ABV for sessioning - it better be since I've got a growler to finish tonight.

So now I'm left to wonder if THIS will be the last time I ever get to have this beer. I sure hope not. Let's hope Magic Hat decides to bottle this again, as it's definitely one of their better beers.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on draft at Capone's 9/20. Served ice cold in a pint glass.
A - Allowed to warm while observing the ale. Black w/ a 1/2 inch tan head. Totally opaque w/ a coating of lace that holds the sides well.

S - Deep chocolate w/ a hint of blackberry and vanilla. Sweet and almost floral scent w/ a hint of brown sugar.

M - Very carbonated and thin for a porter w/ roast and nut qualities w/ a seltzer type finish.

T - The flavor is like Bosco w/ a sort of milky chocolate w/out the creamy and full taste. It has a little lactic tinge and fruitiness like Frankenberry's corn sugar.

D - An ok porter, but it loses a lot after the first 2 sips. The feel and flavor don't hold up the front that the smell and appearance promise.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Capone's. Deep brown color with some amber highlights. Tan head left some decent lacing down half of the glass. The aroma was of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and a bit of nuttiness. Kind of smelled like a candy bar...and that's how it tasted. The almost reminded me of a chocolate malt. Mouthfeel was a bit on the thin side. I could have of couple of these before the sweet flavors would probably start getting to me.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a small tan head and leaves good lacing. The smell is very light with some coffee and dark fruit present. The taste is like the smell with coffee,chocolate, and dark fruit. The m/f is light and the flavors mix Ok. A decent beer,,but not one of the better American porters on the market.

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Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the tap a deep dark brown with hints of ruby hue when in the light a thin light brown head that is gone quickly atop,light roasty notes along with wood and vanilla just a trace of chocolate wich became more pronounced on the palate.To me this beer was like drinking a liquid Three Muskateers bar chocolate and vanilla nuget-like flavors but not overly sweet at least at first,there was an underlying roastiness but it didnt hinder the sweeter flavors much.This became one of my wifes new favorite beers,me I liked it alot but it did become a tad sweet after a bit but what a great dessert brew this would be.

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Photo of tempest
3.77/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was on-tap at the Blue Tusk as Ravell, but names don't really matter. This beer really reminded me of chocolate and vanilla candy. It had a good pitch black appearance with a little foam. Smelled kind of like a Hersey's bar, but without the wax. Really, the chocolate aroma, not cocoa like some beers, was strong. That taste had more of this plus a little vanilla. It was smooth and finished with a respectable bitterness much like the bitterness of a fine, dark chocolate.

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Photo of BuffaloBill91
4.62/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a nice somewhat thin head
The scent is sweet coffee and vanilla. I think that the taste on this is outstanding. Mostly vanilla in the taste with just enough coffee moving in toward the back it..this is easily one of my favorites and definately the best porter that I have tried.. The only way I could see someone not loving this beer is if they do not like vanilla. Mouth feel is excellent nice and smooth with very little carbonation. I think the drinkability on this brew is also outstanding and I could easily drink this entire growler and ask for more. Cant wait to get the the store and buy more.

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Photo of aquatonex
4.45/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the best porters I have had.

Pours dark, dark brown, not a lot of head from the tap, slight lacing. Nose only has slight coffees, not like the usual nasty porter, vanilla and creaminess as well. Taste follows with an incredibly smooth, creamy brew with nice vanilla, hints of coffee, but very well balanced and extremely drinkable. I didn't think I'd like a porter as much as I like this one.

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Photo of kernalklink
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as pitch with a great creamy head. Strong roasted malt and vanilla aromas- the taste was overwhelmingly refreshing- serve a little cooler than normal to get this effect. This will also tone down the flavors which are so well put together- the vanilla which i expected to be slightly artificial tasting was subdued yet strong and natural. There was an earthy note on the backend with some mild yeastiness and slight dry mouthfeel. Very nice offering from magic hat.

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

A: On tap at the Bayou in Albany. . . Body is dark -- looks black when I get it at the bar, but in more light it seems more like a really dark brown at the edges, maybe some mahogany hues coming through. Nice looking head almost the color of chocolate milkshake.

S: Roasted stuff: roasted barley malt, coffee and even a hint of charcoal. Not overly strong, however.

T: Similar to the nose: roasted malt, coffee, cocoa and vanilla. I'm not a coffee drinker, but based on the smell of some of the flavored coffees my wife drinks, I'm thinking this tastes a bit like a Vanilla Hazelnut Coffee (if there is such a thing). It finished with a charcoal sort of dryness that offset the sweeter malt and vanilla flavors.

M: Lighter than expected -- definitely on the lighter side of a medium body.

D: Good. Nice all-around flavors and a pretty light body made this very drinkable -- it was my first pint of the afternoon and it went down quickly. I have to say that the sweetness would keep me from having more than one or two at a time, however.

Notes: I had the Ravell years ago in the bomber bottles and remember one year thinking it was excellent but the next year thinking the vanilla was too overpowering and too much like imitation vanilla. Here it was pretty subdued, providing just a touch of flavor without dominating at all.

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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 plaid75
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep brown hue with a half finger caramel colored creamy head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a sweet caramel malt and a rich coffee aroma.

The taste consisted of a rich creamy burnt grain and coffee flavor. Good sweet malt as well. Hints of vanilla.

The mouthfeel was full and very creamy. Nice dry aftertaste.

Overall a very drinkable and smooth porter. Very sessionable and highly recommended.

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Photo of rickcampie
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

once again this years mardi gras ale was a big hit the atrifactory was busting with people looking to get a taste. i myself bought 10 growlers. this porter has just the rightmix with the vanilla bean flavor. not to overpowering, great finish, growlers wont last long, to bad only availible in winter.

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

On tap at Willimantic Brewery 02.11.07.

Pours an opaque coal in color beneath a slightly off-white creamy head that lingers for a few moments. Ringed lacing with pretty good stick down most of the glass.

Moderately sweet vanilla and cream above a chocolate, roasted malt character. Notes of pine from the hop character as well.

Deep roasted maltiness: espresso and chocolate flavors that are cut from an artificially sweetened vanilla extract and heavy cream. A slightly burnt bitterness is followed by a filmy, artificial-tasting vanilla in the aftertaste.

Full bodied; slightly robust from the roastiness, but mostly film-like from the artificial sweetness.

I used to love Ravell back in the day, but this time around seemed to be too sweet for my tastebuds. I wonder if Magic Hat changed the recipe when they renamed and changed the packaging, or maybe my taste has changed a bit. Either way, it's still a decent Vanilla Porter, just a bit too sweet.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

'You have the Power to rule the Hour'

Sampled with a slice of Cheesecake Factory's Chocolate/Raspberry truffle and obtained the bottle from beachbum just a few miles away. What a pair for dessert!

Appearance - essentially opaque, but just the faintest, deepest traces of burgundy can be picked out along the edge of the goblet when held in front of a lamp. The head is small but creamy. It melts slowly but surely away leaving only a scant layer across the top. Thin wisps of lace left behind in ribbon or agate patterns.

Aroma - smokiness, espresso with a chocolate undertone. Some vanilla enhanced sweetness emerges after a bit, giving the chocolate more prominence.

Taste - roasted, ever so slightly charred malts, followed by a watery sweetness. Coffee notes hitting on the swallow along with chocolate syrup and a touch of alcohol warmth. More vanilla comes out as the palate adjusts and the beer warms. Mild balancing bitterness show a little hop presence but they don't really pull the beer back from the water's edge. Has kind of a juicy ending, not bad but some more pronounced hops would help dry things out a bit. Pairing with the cheesecake brings out more of the malt's roasted smokiness.

Mouthfeel - thin, light feeling, almost diluted-feeling. The beer does well to pull off as much flavor impact as it does with the feel being so watery.

Drinkability - a great introduction to the style but not intended to be a show-stopping porter. The vanilla is a great twist and the lighter body actually gives it a leg up for drinkability as it's not nearly so filling.

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Photo of BadBadger
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a very tasty treat. Nice and dark color. Foamy tannish head. The smell is a mixture of malt and chocolate. The taste mirrors the smell, with the chocolate taking the lead. The chocolate taste tends to mask all other flavor. If there was vanilla in this beverage I could not detect it. A smooth texture, but a bit watery. Overall a rather good brew. Certainly worthy of searching out. Enjoy.

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

The aroma is so hugely big of sweet milk chocolate that you can literally smell it at arms length. Incredibly inviting aroma. Poured a deep black with an ample mocha head. This tastes so good. Chocolate is the one sweet flavor that never gets to be too much in a beer...to me. This was smooth from fore to finish and an evenly distributed chocolate flavor that was balanced with just a hint of roastiness and vanilla. Creamy and sastisfying mouth feel.

I’m a big fan of this.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured a deep, dark brown with a light white head and lots of CO2 bubbles. I noticed notes of coffee and chocolate on the nose. It had a somewhat light mouthfeel for a porter, but not bad, all the same. This is a very roasty drink with notes of charcoal, coffee, and most especially, chocolate, throughout.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.67/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Burnt tobacco brown suffused with red. I can just barely see fading sunlight on the opposite side of the glass. The small, khaki colored cap falls to a thin film without much fanfare and is too soft to leave much lace.

The nose is pretty nice. Chocolate is dominant with strong undercurrents of mocha and vanilla. Since I love the smell and taste of vanilla, I would have preferred even more of it. Different and enjoyable.

Black coffee leads the way on the palate. Bittersweet chocolate is still there, just a small step behind coffee. Vanilla bean has faded, but hasn't quite disappeared. Magic Hat could have turned this into a wonderful vanilla porter; a worthy idea if there ever was one.

The flavor is a little bit sweet, a little bit sour and a little bit bitter. Sour might edge out the others, but it's a near thing. The finish is on the clean side due to the relatively light body. In fact, the body is too light by half, edging uncomfortably close to thin on the swallow. As well, the beer loses its carbonation fairly quickly in the second half and ends up feeling a little flat.

Ravell is an okay porter, but it coulda been a contenda. If the brewery would only firm up the body and jack up the vanilla exponentially, this would (potentially at least) be an outstanding beer. But they haven't and it isn't. It's still worth a look though and I did enjoy these twelve ounces. Thanks once again to far333.

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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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Photo of Citadel82
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an exceptional, easy drinking porter. got this as part of a Magic Hat mixed 12 pack.

Pours deep ruby mahogany with an antique white head that leaves sheets of lace on the glass as it is consumed.

Smell is rich and deep. Earthy, french roast coffee, some fresh fruit of indeterminate type.

Taste is sweet malt, bittersweet chocolate with a smooth vanilla, carob finish.

A medium bodied brew.

Very drinkable this beer, though as others have noted its potential as a session beer is low due to its complex nature.

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

This beer pours dark brown with crimson highlights if held to light. It has a 1/2 finger tan head with poor retention and little lacing. The aroma was of bakers chocolate and coffee. The taste was bitter coffee at first but a vanilla smoothness soon coats the outside of your mouth, it finishes with hints of mocha. This beer is medium bodied and easy to drink.

Reflection: This beer is great to drink with something sweet but I wouldn't make it a session beer.

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