Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Heart Of Darkness | Magic Hat Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Heart Of DarknessHeart Of Darkness
Very Good
1,408 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,408 |  Reviews: 333
Photo of jjamadorphd
3.12/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I had some high hopes for this brew...Oh well...

Out of the glass it was very impressive - dark liquid, tannish head, and good lacing - very appealing to the eyes. But the rest of the brew was middle-of-the-road. The smell was a tad malty, but that was about it, the mouthfeel was light and watery, and the taste was uninspired. Nonetheless, it wasn't a bad stout, just not one of the better ones I have had.

 412 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

When I recently saw this in the mix-'n'-match cooler at the FGBS, I had an acute feeling of deja vu. This beer has been on this site since 2001 & I could swear that I had previously reviewed it, but no evidence exists to support this supposition! How very odd. Well, no time like the present!

From the bottle: "Limited Run"; "Diabolically Delicious Stout"; "Heart of Darkness is a diabolically delicious stout with a silky, full-bodied mouthfeel swirling around a dreamlike undercurrent of bittersweet chocolate from deep roasted malts."

Having Pop!ped the cap, I decided to go with an aggro, heavy-handed pour just to shake things up & see what's shakin'. I watched as it performed a pseudo-cascade that formed two fingers of dense, foamy, light-tan head with decent retention, leaving sticky lacing in its wake. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing light penetration only at the edges where cola highlights could be seen. Nose had a rich, dark chocolatey roastiness with a light amount of smoke. Mouthfeel was medium, but slick on the tongue. The taste was odd - chocolatey, but muted or somehow off, like carob or a weird not-quite-chocolate flavor. Hmm. Finish was dry, but it left an odd aftertaste of something akin to chocolate, but not exactly. It was not bad, but it just did not scratch the itch as I had hoped.

 1,330 characters

Photo of darth_punchbowl
2.8/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Purchased from the state liquor store in Draper, UT in a 12 oz. brown glass bottle and chilled. Served in a goblet. Half an inch or so of beige foam head that disappeared quickly without lacing. Aroma was all roasted malt with a touch of wet apples. The flavor was quite underwhelming and I thought the carbonation was way too aggressive to be described as "silky." It could benefit from a nitro treatment instead. I had a hard time differentiating the caramel, coffee, and chocolate dimensions, probably due to the carbonation. There are many better stouts. I'm not understanding the glowing reviews, and will have to try it again.

 632 characters

Photo of ichorNet
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very glad this brewery finally brought back the only beer I have ever truly loved from them. I have long been a Magic Hat detractor... their tasting and tour reeks of being paid by external capital (though they deny and deflect from such questions if asked, interestingly enough) and most of their brews are pedestrian at best. Though some have good ideas behind them, the end result tends to have everyday-drinkers in mind. Not a bad thing in and of itself, but they are owned by FIFCO via NAB as of 2012. Interestingly enough, that's about when I last saw this very beer in stores! HOD has since been re-booted into their "limited run" lineup, and I am glad to support such a move. From what I remember, this is a truly great beer.

I fondly remember this beer as an early favorite in my craft stout-loving days... it pours with a a very deep brown color, bordering black, except around the edges where it seems to retain some slight bits of brown and ruby. The head is quite retentive and sits at about a finger-and-a-half at its highest point. Lace is fairly consistent and decently-tiered but also a little cobweb-like in appearance. Overall, a good looking English-style stout.

Nose is full of strong notes of roasted barley, chocolate, black patent malt and dark fruit. There's a bit of light caramel that comes out here, but this is essentially the most explicitly "to-style" English stout made (in my market at least). Notes of herbal hops, treacle, slight dark fruit (cherry pits, plum and raisin) and damp earth. A true treat to the nose. Super well-constructed.

Flavor leans heavily on the caramel and darker, sweeter malt without going too bitter. Some fruity notes pop out around the mid-palate, lending notes of plum and red apple, but I mostly get English toffee and herbal flavors upon first sip. Heady roast from black malt towards the finish, but there's also a balancing sweet note that definitely speaks of a solid combination of crystal malts. Pretty complex dry Belgian dark chocolate toward the end of the palate in each sip. Finish is earthy, leafy and hoppy with moderate-to-high bitterness, mostly as a balance and foil against the chocolate-y and caramel-forward malt elements.

Feel is quite adequate for the strong flavors present here. I like the fact the carbonation is essentially just a helpful aspect here; it could easily get in the way, but it's dialed-in in such a way that it helps carry some complex roast and cocoa flavors without intruding on the palate. Overall, this remains an excellent choice for an everyday-stout, and seems to be one of the only beers Magic Hat has ever fully-succeeded at. If they keep making this, I will keep buying it. It's that good!

 2,705 characters

Photo of lck
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of DerwinWentworth
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of LexDood
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of zotzot
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MichaelProcton
4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Totally opaque inky black, with a thick, chocolate milk-hued head that fades pretty quickly. Sweetly bitter chocolate is all I pick up on the nose. There's a lot more going on in the flavor. You immediately get the roasty coffee and chocolate bitterness, but there is also a good bit of sweetness to balance things out. The back end gives you a bit more bitter to mellow out the whole experience. Mouthfeel is just right; substantial without being bitter. A strong beer that I enjoy.

 489 characters

Photo of Steve_Studnuts
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of garymuchow
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

More sweet towards chocolate and little roast. Some yeast notes too. Black body snd full dense light brown head. Thick snd sticky.
Quite bitter and surprisingly so to me. More roast here and less chocolate. Wow is this dry on the finish & with the bitterness that's a flavorful and long finish. Full for a smaller beer. I like thi style and this is done nicely.
Thanks Sparky.

 383 characters

Photo of Mooslerfitness
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of williahd
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of robebo44
3.36/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Wizzle32
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of hozersr
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Wheels2532
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jonathan-Morgan
4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JustLikeMyDad
2.43/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of DaveCash
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It pours a pitch black giving the same color body. A full lumpy white one inch head appears and lasts for a good five minutes. The body is too dark for any carbonation to be seen rising. The smell has some coffee and chocolate up front but in good balance with a nice roastiness to it. The taste is basically the same with a dry bitter aftertaste and finish. The palate is about a medium, fairly creamy with nothing harsh on the tongue. It is mostly drinkable, probably could have several of these in a session. Overall, this is good for the style and good for me.

 564 characters

Photo of deeman13
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Timc32
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of q33jeff
3.26/5  rDev -16%
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 Jhfinn
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 1,408 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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