Heart Of Darkness | Magic Hat Brewing Company

very good
326 Reviews
Heart Of DarknessHeart Of Darkness

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: English Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our inky-black stout had a smooth, round palate with a dreamlike undercurrent of bittersweet chocolate. This dense liquid-silk summoned hope from hibernation and balanced winter's endless white snows with a rich swirl of creamy black rapture.

30 IBU

Added by stirgy on 10-03-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 1,387
Photo of Beaver13
2.12/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours black with a medium creamy light brown head that retains well and laces the glass some.

The aroma is astringent (almost plasticky) chocolate malts with roast.

The flavor is lots of patent malt with heavy roast and a little sugary, lactic sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and watery.

Overall, watery and lots of roasted patent malts.

 364 characters

Photo of SerialHiker
2.41/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Appearance: Pours obsidian with dark khaki colored head about a pinky finger thick…nice looking stout…(3.75/5)

Smell: Nothing…the faintest cocoa aroma, I had to really get my nose in there to smell anything…(2/5)

Taste: Rich malt, some chocolate, some coffee…there’s also some caramel sweetness…it’s a basic stout taste…(2.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Medium body…some carbonation, very little flavorful fluff…chocolate and malt all over the palette…(2.5/5)

Overall: At first, I wasn’t too impressed with this beer…it sorta does taste like a home brew, which is fine, but I expect a bit more from a fairly large brewery like magic hat…although, I kinda feel like all magic hats taste the same…anyway, the warmer this gets, the better it tastes…the chocolate and coffee come out of hiding and make this a much more pleasurable experience than when it was cold out of the fridge…a very pleasant chocolate, coffee and malt aroma is there too…so much better! I’m still gonna give this a 2, but if it’s served closer to room temp, it could be a 2+…(2.25/5)

 1,086 characters

Photo of cavedave
2.66/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Black and thick, with a hat of light tan lather that snaps back to a thin ring.

Hints of anise come up with the roastier aspects with just a hint of herbal hop and coffee to add to the aroma. Along the way I get dark chocolate whiffs. Weak bouquet, though, not a lot going on.

Neutral sweet and burnt sugar, dark chocolate, instant coffee, licorice, ends with the herbal and tha ash, some burnt licorice taste too (only way I can describe it, and not in a good way.)

Thin for a stout, nicely low carb., not clean flavor, cling on palate builds, finish really weird root beer as it warms.

Am not enjoying this out of balance, overly rooty, stout. Sorry I took a friend's recommend on this one, and bought the whole six. Root beer (stout) float anyone?

 766 characters

Photo of waughbrew
2.87/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

true to the darkness claim, but had a small, short-lived head: after a few seconds the top of the beer looked strangely like an oil slick. Decent aroma mostly made up of roasted and burnt malts and a wee bit of oatmeal. The flavor is too one-dimensional for me (and too much black patent bitterness). It seems to start very similar to how it finishes, with little change in between. I prefer more complexity in my oatmeal stouts, but being Magic Hat the brewers were probably going for a session-style oatmeal stout. And for that, it is fine. An average beer in my book.

 570 characters

Photo of blakelive784
2.88/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a non transparent dark brown color with tan head, two finger head. It's decently thick but retention is poor. Meh.

S - Heavy roasted malts up front. Semi-sweet dark chocolates and dark roast coffee. Light sweet, burnt caramel. Moderate strength. Seemingly well balanced and inviting, but it's missing the complexity I look for in a great stout.

T - Thin roasted malts mingle with instant coffee. I'm a little disappointed. It doesn't follow through. No cream. Bitter coffee. A bit watery, even. Lightly sweet chocolate. It's simple and bland.

M - Medium bodied, thin and way too carbonated.

D - It's an average stout. Nothing great, but not terrible. I'd pass on it in the future.

 763 characters

Photo of Jimmys
2.89/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into long-stemmed chalice. 0913 on the neck of the bottle. i assume this is the best before date.

A: body is pretty black. head is frothy and a light brown hue. retention is great with some good lacing clumps left behind.

S: acrid roasty aroma. very acrid. smells dry. i find the acidity to be a bit off-putting.

T: starts quick. similar to the nose, the roasted malt is a bit burnt and almost stings the palate. chocolate and coffee flavor lingers into the finish.

M: definitely a mild carbonation that works well with the brew.

D: the acidity of the roast is a bit too much for me. both in the nose and on the palate. unfortunately unenjoyable.

 669 characters

Photo of JohnnyMc
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first Stout from Magic Hat!

Pours out a pitch black with a thin mocha/tan head.

The aroma has notes of bittersweet chocolate, lactose, sugar and light roasted characteristics.

The taste is mainly the bittersweet chocolate notes, followed by the sugary type of sweetness and roasted malt. There is a hint of hop bitterness that helps to balance out the sweetness.

The body is medium and the mouthfeel is pretty creamy.

Definitely not bad, but very standard. I would have liked a bigger mouthfeel and some coffee notes in addition to the chocolate. Worth trying.

 572 characters

Photo of Minkybut
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this average beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was very gark and poured a really dark head. I was hopeful. The beer did not really have much of a smell to me maybe coffee hits. The beer was smooth but I got to say for a Stout, it was pretty tasteless I thought. Good lacing was present but I prefer taste. I will not buy again.

 347 characters

Photo of PincheNorteno
3.1/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pub glass. This is a very mild light stout. It's mildly sweet and malty without much complexity aside from a bit of subdued chocolate. It would be tolerable for a newbie, but probably a bit of a let down for someone who actually enjoys stouts that have kick. Not a whole lot going on here. There's a bit of head, some sudsy lacing, but it pours sort of flat.

 392 characters

Photo of bmeehan
3.13/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Admittedly, I'm not a stout drinker, so when I do drink a stout, I'm doing it more for the sake of seeing if my taste has changed than I am just to pour a beer into my mouth. That said, I didn't like this beer very much and thought it was too strong/bitter, but don't take my word as gospel regarding anything stout-related. Don't do it! Stop reading this!

 356 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.13/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This "almost black" beer throws a small brown head with little retention. Not a lot on the nose. Maybe some slight roasted tones. Nice creamy, velvety mouthfeel. The tastes in this stout are pretty subdued. Nothing overwhelming. The body is light to medium (thin for a stout). Some of the slight tastes I pick up are sweet chocolate and java. There is a bitterness on the finish, but not much before that. A pretty average stout in my opinion.

 452 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Heart of Darkness- Magic Hat, "you are next in line"

H.O.D poured a midnight black with a small tan head.
aroma was of roasted coffee, nuts, chocolate.
taste was of roasted hops, malt, chocolate, burnt wood & milk.
mouthfeel was creamy up front with a ashy bitterness in the back.

overall, a decent stout that I could enjoy slowly. #9 is still the supreme beer from Magic Hat.

 385 characters

Photo of mlichens
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Tasty, bitter, and another interesting beer from Magic Hat. However, I was disappointed. I'm a stout fan but this lacked some of the sweeter/coffee like after tastes that you find in more traditional stouts. Always worth a try from this brewery, but I think I'll stick with Shakespeare.

 286 characters

Photo of ElijahRivera
3.17/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with no date consumed on 12-28-13 and priced at $10 for a 6 pack.

A- Opaque black body with a short, light mocha head that stuck around for a while.

S- Unusually for a stout, the most prominent aroma is a phenolic/yeasty one. That is grounded by some roasty chocolate, which is still beat out by some aromatic ginger-like spice and citric/herbal hops. There might be some acidic espresso roast in there too. Strange bouquet for a stout, but not necessarily negative. There is also a weird soy sauce or almost balsamic vinegar aroma.

T- Starts with a hint of bittersweet cocoa powder, which quickly transistions into an acidic, spicy, herbal middle. Then it finishes with slightly bitter roasted malts. Some hops and coffee in the retro-olfaction. The strange/off elements that are in the aroma are also present in the flavor profile. I'm beginning to think it is detracting from the quality of this stout.

M- A little thin bodied for the style. Some carbonation. Mostly smooth on the palate with a semi-dry finish.

O- Underwhelming, disappointment of a beer that I had high hopes for. I don't normally trust Magic Hat to put out a high quality brew, but I was hoping this one might be different based on reviews and scores I've read. However, there wasn't enough boldness or richness of flavors I expect in a high quality stout. That coupled with too many off aromas and flavors force me to give this brew regrettably low marks.

 1,447 characters

Photo of VoodooBear
3.21/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Presentation: 12 oz. brown bottle, served in a steidel. The bottle cap reads: "Dont' mock a soul hundreds of years old".

Appearance: Very thin, cream colored, 1/2 finger head that disappears very quickly. Little lacing can be seen. It's a deep brown color, more like black when it's in the glass. Looks very mysterious.

Smell: It has a faint aroma. It's mainly a smoky malt smell with some hops in the background.

Taste: Very rich and complex taste. The malt flavor dominates with strong chocolate notes and some coffee in there as well. Overall, kind of smokey. A little hop bitterness finishes it up.

Mouthfeel: Very little carbonation, and it feels a little watery compared to other stouts that feel fuller. It's strong and creamy, finishes dry.

Overall: A very well put together stout. The chocolate and coffee notes, along with the smokeyness give it a very interesting and warm feel. It's a winter seasonal through and through, meant to be had on a cold night.

 972 characters

Photo of Jomolieri
3.22/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Good beer. Good flavor. But it's forgettable.

It's got a nice lingering bittersweet chocolate but lacks a strong creamy touch and sweetness that I would've liked and I think would've made it a bit more stand out.

The flavors are all fairly subtle compared to other stouts such as the Victory Love Stout.

The body is medium but seems a little weak.

Overall I'd recommend it as a casual beer but nothing that I'll savor every sip of.

 437 characters

Photo of ExtraStout
3.24/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint tumbler. The beer was very dark and poured a dark tan head.
I was hopeful. The beer did not really have much of a smell to me maybe coffee hits. The beer was smooth but I got to say for a Stout, it was pretty tasteless and I thought a bit thin. Good lacing was present but I prefer taste. I will not buy again.

 344 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.24/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

I wonder if ol' Joe Conrad is getting royalty checks...? Regardless, this stuff pours a bleak mahogany topped by a finger of tan foam. Darkness, eh? Not quite, buddy. The nose comprises roasted malts, toasted oats, and a touch of coffee. There we go, back on track. The taste brings in more of the same, though everything is now overly roasted and/or toasted. Dammit. At least it's not all bad this time. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a very dry finish. Overall, a schizoid little stout, one that's too thin and too roasty for its own good.

 622 characters

Photo of q33jeff
3.26/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25


Bottle to pint glass
LOOK: dark black, light head with lacing.
AROMA: barley, hops, a touch of coffee on the nose.
TASTE: Coffee, toast, chocolate. A touch of bitter citrus/rind in the aftertaste.
FEEL: not very smooth for a stout, chalky, rough.

Good beer, not great. A bit disappointed as a fan of stouts and magic hat.

 352 characters

Photo of ZoomanCru
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Heart of Darkness – Stout (5.7%) - Magic Hat Brewing Co. (Vermont)

App: Pours essentially black with some slight reddish hues to the extreme edges of the glass. Dark tan two finger head settles, but retains a nice half finger head all the way down. Very nice lacing.

Smell: Dry, roasted malt aromas dominate the nose. Slightly sweet and earthy together. Chocolate aromas very present. Slightly woody. Not too strong a bouquet on this one.

Taste: Lots of roasted flavors competing for attention. Some slight chocolate on the foretaste thats quickly overturned by the deep, dry, and almost acrid flavor of roasted barley. Not particularly strong in flavor, but very well balanced. Bitterness from hops and roasted grains well balanced by faint sweet caramel flavor, but overall this is a very dry stout.

Mouth: Pretty heavy bodied as is to be expected. Dryness is pleasant and uplifting of the sweeter characteristics of the foretaste. Little heavy on the carb.

Home tasting, 12oz bottle into Tulip glass. 1/29/14.

 1,031 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown in the glass. A coarse head froths up and lies down. Medium body. Sprightly on the tongue but not at all creamy.

Interesting winey flavor. Dark and deeply roasted malt flavors. A surprising sort of Stout. Chocolatey and just slightly sweet. Kind of a mineral taste, sort of chalky. Fairly tart. Just a modest bitterness with an edge of sourness. Burnt caramel in the finish.

I'm not sure this is so sensational, but it's certainly a deeply flavorful brew. From the 12 oz bottle bought at Grapevine Liquors in Denver.

 535 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Haven't seen this offering yet from MH so picked up a sixer of it. Pours a jet black with tannish head. Nice roasty aroma. Taste is medium bodied, a bit bland. Nice mouthfeel.. but I feel it's a bit lacking taste, not overly hoppy but doesn't have the usual nuttiness of an oatmeal stout. I was surprised to see this one rated so high... seems like an average, drinkable stout to me, nothing too special about it.

 413 characters

Photo of mattkoon
3.31/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

i bought this heart of darkness for a pie recipe that i got off magic hats website. the pie was great, but the beer isnt as bold as i would expect from something called "the heart of darkness." the color is an almost opaque with a nice slight crimson tint. the smell is nutty, maybe some hazel nut and chocolate malt. the taste nutty and smokey, but it quickly wanes to a watery nothing. i wish this was bolder, and packed a little more of a punch. over all its not worthless but when im in the mood for a stout, however, i usually want something bolder and more flavorful.

 573 characters

Photo of BWED
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

A- Just enough light comes through to show a deep deep brown, and a little red-amber highlight under the head. Head is two finger creamy, cappuccino-like, light brown. Retains a good 1/4", just enough to get a tiny foamstache on every sip. Splatters of lacing ring around the glass.

S- Dark roasted coffee, with a sweet hint. No noticeable hops.

T- The coffee is up front, with a slightly sugary aftertaste. I have to say though, the taste is not as bold as the smell. It almost seems diluted.

M- Medium-light body with a creamy-fizzy tingle of carbonation, but still fairly smooth. Somewhat dry, too, thus fitting a one criterion of an English stout.

O- Being a stout guy, I can't take this as my favorite, but being a stout guy, I could take this a few rounds instead of sacrificing myself to Guinness or a cheap shitty light beer. It's smooth, has a moderate ABV, and is light enough to knock a few back. It wasn't satisfying enough to have just this one, but I'll remember it the next time I plan on getting fired up!

 1,083 characters

Photo of far333
3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After having written the review just below for the bottled version, I went to my favorite beer bar and found the draught version, and immediately asked for a pint. I have to say (and the rest of the draught reviews seem to agree) that the draught version is similar in all respects except the flavor and aroma. The flavor is milder and smoother, and the hop flavor takes over. The hints of chocolate and coffee seem to be lost in both flavor and aroma. The head also seemed to run away too quickly. Still a very drinkable and enjoyable stout, but the bottled version really stands out in the crowd, where the draught version is just another oatmeal stout.

 655 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 1,387 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.