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 pezoids on 10-03-2001

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 1,385
Photo of cpetrone84
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour is black with lots of frothy tan head leaving a thick lace. Nose is heavy chocolate and roast, a touch of tree bark, and a hint chalky. Taste is also chocolate and heavy roast, faint ash, light hop sweetness in the finish. Body is lighter, soft carbonation and creamy feel. Fairly balanced and full of flavor with just a touch of lingering bitterness.

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Photo of Brenden
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Inky black as advertised, in fact too dark to see through at all, this heavy-looking brew develops a small tan head that diminishes somewhat quickly but remains as a heavy foam that leaves some good mixed spotting and patching.
The aroma has the elements I'd expect from a stout, heavily on the roasted side but including an almost lactic sweetness. It is, however, a bit too light.
Heavy on roast in the dark, malty profile, it's likewise heavy on the coffee note. It tends tangy, but that off-note is curbed as it warms. There's plenty of bittersweet chocolate, as advertised, leaning less toward sweetness which is nonetheless complemented by what seems like milk sugars, though it's not a milk stout. Also offered is a hint of toffee. Big barley notes come through all the way as well.
This stout's got the heft, and the appropriate body, but it's way too spritzy. The finish also goes astringent. I can take a little crispness in a stout, but it never abates here.

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Photo of leprechaunandfatman
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As the name would suggest, it pours black, with a nice bit of head that lingers well. The smell is very coffee-like with some smoke, in other words, delicious. Like the smell, the taste is rich and coffee, or maybe even espresso-like. Heavy in flavor and that flavor is wonderful. Leaves a nice smokey after taste. Overall, a wonderful stout! Highly recommended.

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Photo of tavernjef
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid black, light just gets sucked in like a black hole. Thin, then faded tannish head, lacing minimal and stringy. Faint aroma of roastyness malts and crispy with maple and nut notes. Taste is mildly roasted malts, lightly mixing with chocolate and nuts, but barely there. It has a moist, thick mildly luscious start then goes into a bit weak hoppy dryness and twingy bitterness thats muted in woodyness, smokey, toothpick, bark, cardboard maybe? Tastes are a bit too light and short lived. Full, rich, creamy, medium bodied and medium heavy with a slight carbonation feel and a thin dry finish. All around good effort. Kalamazoo has to make a trip to the New England area. I know I'll probably catch hell for this one. All around good effort. Like the label too. Still not up to top notch though.

Thanks to jeffboo for the bottle who got it from a traveling buddy.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours jet black, ring of brown foam. Layer remains on top. Big rich roasted nose. Espresso loaded. Dark chocolate too. Creamy roasted flavor. Dry finish. Very flavorful. Ever so slight bitter in the close. Quite tasty. Magic Hat really pulled this one off.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours two and half fingers of head on a pitch black body.
The aroma is roasted malt, molasses, milk and a little wood.
The taste is a little earthy, more roasted malt and a little chocolate. Mild bitter note on the finish.
The texture is fairly smooth with a little fizz.
Pretty good. I enjoyed the smooth texture and great appearance.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful stout from the folks at MH. It pours out a super dark, opaque black colour with a very fluffy, tan/cocoa coloured head of foam. The aromas are of chocolate, caramel, dark roasted malts, slight bittering hops, and some more cocoa! The taste is very chocolatey and the roasted malt flavor is bready and excellent. The mouthfeel is thick, but just right for this type of stout and the drinkability is excellent as well. Wow, this is one of the best beers that Magic Hat makes. Hands Down.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Magic Hat beer, I have heard and read so much about these beers.
This one comes in a 12 fl.oz. bottle with a rather strange psychedelic purple and orange label that has a solitary single eye that simply sits and stares at you with the words Heart of Darkness in black text below, with the word Stout in white text to the left of the eye. The label is in the mold of Edward Munch’s “The Scream” Slightly disturbing.

Black but not thick, quite thin when poured, struggles to maintain more than a thin broken brown head, which spoils the appearance and leaves minimal lace.
Aromas are of deep roast malts and nothing else. Tastes are also highly roast, burnt, cremated deeply dead tastes that are sarcastically laughing at the living world. Amazing depth to the burnt roast flavors in the middle of this beer, very wholesome. Mouthfeel is indeed solid and very smooth - silky burnt residues cling to the palate long after the beer has gone. A nice crisp bitter finish with some sweet fruitiness in the end.

A full-bodied Stout that impresses, I would like to try this beer on draft; I have a feeling that this may be the better medium for a beer of this intensity.

Thumbs Up to BigDeb for this Sample - Nice One Deb.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. Acquired as part of the Magic Hat winter variety pack. A new to me seasonal, expectations are about average.

Poured into an over-sized wine glass.

A - Pours a dark cola brown colored body; opaque black in the glass. One finger of light mocha head with some decent staying power.

S - Smell isn't half bad. Some light powdery chocolate, cold coffee, roasted malt, some sugary cookie dough like smell, & some creamy lactose. Smells of raisins and dark chocolate as it warms.

T - Taste follows the nose nicely: bitter cold coffee and powdery chocolate, some creamy vanilla, bitter chocolate malt roast, and a smooth creamy finish.

M - Feel ends mildly bitter and sticky. Thin and light-bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, a nice light bodied stout from Magic Hat, probably one of their better beers, well worth picking up the winter variety pack just for this beer alone.

Magic Hat Heart Of Darkness ---4/5.

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Photo of wedge
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Participation Makes A Great Nation"

I have to admit, I was very excited to see this for sale at the local super market. I haven't had one of these in probably six or seven years since it disappeared from shelves in New England. This used to be a favorite and was one of the first stouts I really came to enjoy back in the early days of my craft beer drinking, so I hope it holds up to how I remember it.

Pours pretty black with a chestnut glow towards to bottom of the glass. On top is a thick mass of creamy foam with enough frothiness to leave behind some decent lacing. Chocolate, creamy coffee, toffee, and black malt aromas along with a touch of fruitiness. Creamy, bittersweet, dark chocolate roastiness in the mouth. Dark malts, a hint of vanilla, charcoal, dark fruit. Silky smooth medium body.

Well, I still like it! Is it as good as it used to be? I have no idea. I may have rated it higher a while back and I was surprised to see that I didn't rate it when I had the chance, but it's still a nice rendition of an oatmeal stout and certainly one of the better beers Magic Hat is currently putting out. It's good to see the hypnotic eye in my fridge again. Meeemoriiees...

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.42/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Magic Hat Heart of Darkness Stout has a thin, cream-colored head, a very dark brown, inky appearance, and thin lacing left behind. The aroma is of blackened or dark-roasted malt and a bit of fruit. Taste is of the same with a black bread note, some acidity, and a mild bitterness. Mouthfeel is rather watery, and Magic Hat Heart of Darkness Stout finishes dry, a bit powdery, and pleasant. Overall, this is worth checking out.


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Photo of Treyliff
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black with a one finger light tan head and some short-lasting lace

S- dry, with some vinous aromas, charred dark fruit, and a bit of butterscotch

T- right off I notice a astringent tartness, then the other flavors begin to emerge. Notes of day old coffee, bittersweet chocolate, charcoal, campfire, some burnt toast and finishes dry with a bit if hops and a smoky/charred linger

M- medium body, med-low carbonation, slightly creamy mouthfeel and dry finish

O- this was the first Engkish stout that I have tried, it's a very interesting style. I was quite surprised how tart it was and the charred notes were certainly noticeable. Pretty interesting and definitely worth a try.

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Photo of beergoot
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black body with a medium-thick, foamy, tan head. Mild roasted and charred grain aroma with hints of chocolate. Charred grains and bittersweet chocolate flavors; slightly acidic; very faint hop bitterness. Medium bodied with a slightly rough feel; dry finish.

A respectable stout with bold flavors decent, all-around character.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a near pitch black color with 2 fingers worth of tannish brown head

S: Nice and roasty, with plenty of charred malts and some bitter dark chocolate. Also get some light coffee notes

S: Follows the nose. Very roasty with a light note of MH yeast followed by a wave of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Finishes slightly astringent and bitter

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth

O: A very solid English stout. The roasty notes help to keep sweetness to a minimum and make the drinkability even better. The chocolate and coffee notes are very pleasant as well. One of my favorites from MH

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice near black colour, with a cream coloured head of about a finger, and it leaves some nice lace. The aroma is roasted barley, cocoa, light roast coffee, and a hint of toffee. The taste has heavy dry cocoa powder notes, and touches of coffee and sweet roasted maltiness. The feel is nice and creamy, with a medium body, solid carbonation, and a clean finish.

Could it be?! The first beer from Magic Hat that actually impressed me! Most things have been average, so I actually put back the sixer in favour of a single...might have to revisit lol

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Photo of alexgash
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle.

Ruby highlighted dark root beer brown body. Pinkie finger of dense, dirty sand head. Nice lacing. Nose of roasted barley, coffee, cocoa nibs, milk chocolate, and vanilla. Complex and very appetizing.

Light roasted coffee bitterness up front. Smooth blend of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and peaty malt fill up the palate. Dark chocolate and cocoa nib bitterness into the finish. Hints of vanilla and dark fruit linger. Medium-full body with a nice, smooth, creamy feel. Very nicely done! Might be the best Magic Hat beer I've had.

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Photo of Brent
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Don't mock a Soul hundreds of years Old." I'm sure that cap quote will keep me up at night, pondering the meaning (as will the creepy staring eye on the label), but, all MH funkyness aside, this is a really interesting brew. Great chocolate malt flavors with a bit of coffee mocha, flavors you would expect from a sludge-brew, yet this beer is quite light and almost airy and somehow avoids being watery. A lighweight stout with lots of flavor - a description one would normally find mutually exclusive.

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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.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz beer was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a small mocha head that reduced to a thin layer quickly. It is a pitch black color with with no clarity.

Smell: Roasted coffee, mocha, and some smokiness.

Taste: Roasted coffee is there like it should be. Some bittersweet chocolate, ash, and smoke too. A little bitterness in the end too.

Mouthfeel: tingly bitterness, smoky, medium carbonation, medium bodied, and a little watery.

Overall: A style you don't find too often but happy to have enjoyed this regional brew.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as tar with a dark tan head. Sadly, retention isn't that good, dropping to a thin film within a minute. Just a ring remains and a little scattered lace.
Smell is toasted malt, char, smoke, cardboard, bitter/baking chocolate. Really well balanced.
Taste is exactly the same, charred/toasted malt, smoke, cardboard, baking chocolate with a hint of whiskey floating around in back. Great balance, great complexity.
Light to medium body, medium effervescence. Dry throughout with just a faint hint of warming. Pretty bitter and a lot less body than a stout should have. Otherwise, a really nice brew.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - black with a tan head that thinned to a layer leaving plenty of lacing behind.

S - roasted coffee with a hint of chocolate.

T - rich roasty flavors with espresso coffee bitterness on the finish.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation and a smooth feel.

O - a good example of the style.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on-tap at The Sunset in Boston.

This stout poured a dark, black color with creamy, tan foam that settled but left some lace on the glass. The smell was rather minimal but some dark malty aromas, including a touch of coffee, could be detected. The taste was full of dark malt with a bit of coffee and chocolate. The mouthfeel was dry and smooth with medium body and moderate carbonation. Malty but on the clean side. This was a nice stout which seemed to be leaning towards a dry, Irish stout, more than an oatmeal stout.

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Photo of Todd
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice opaque black colour with a tight & patchy cream/foam head. Aromas include roasted, day old coffee/coffee beans, black liquorice. Tight lively carbonation. Smooth, creamy and robust with an astringent roasted barley flavour, smoked malts, wood, black liquorice and molasses. Sweetness is mild. Hop bitterness is thin with a limey backbone that peaks and puckers for a brief moment. Dry, crisp, grain and raw on the edges of the palate. Finish brings some dryness to the mouth, as well as some lingering burnt flavours.

Dry, complex and damn tasty ... a real nice stout.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - opaque with a light mocha head, fluffed and sticky. Great lacing and resilience.

Aroma - dusty grains and a nice roasty sniff with a touch of coffee.

Taste - slightly sweet grains to start, followed by an excellent roasted character. Just shy of ashy, the balance to the sweet is spot on.. Ends with a dry, toasty warmth.

Mouthfeel - medium weight, supportive but not in the way. Average carbonation, everything where it should be.

Overall - excellent English stout, no-brainer for a session brew.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.54/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep dark brown, nearly black with a nice finger of smooth looking lighter coffee colored head. Retention is ok, very thin layer covering most of the surface after about 2 minutes, lacing looks decent as well.

S - Sweet chocolate, caramel and possibly vanilla, smells fantastic. Roasty/slightly bitter malts (coffee maybe?) as well, oats and lactose are present.

T - Mostly roasty up front, pretty bold and some hop bitterness (carbonation is pretty strong initially) dominate. As the bitterness subsides the sweetness kicks in. Honestly not getting too much of an oatmeal taste, mostly chocolate/caramel/dark roasty malts. Thinking about retracting that lactose comment....

M - Relatively light bodied, carbonation is overpowering initially, it could just be a mix of flavors and strong carbonation but it seems a little over carbonated. Id prefer a smoother heavier oatmeal stout, not awful but not ideal imo.

O - Pretty tasty, nothing to write home about but you could certainly do worse. The strengths of this brew are its bitterness and aroma. The weaknesses are its bitterness and its over-carbonation/mouthfeel. The head made me think it would be a bit thicker and creamier/lesser carbonated but that was not that case.

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Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 1,385 ratings.
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