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 purplelizard29
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An absolutely stellar stout by Magic Hat. Growing up in the Northeast, we were constantly looking for that one beer that's so hearty that it warms you up quickly, but that one can enjoy for the taste during the summer; we found that beer in this.

A- A thick pitch black. Head is a finger's worth of cream colored foam.

S- Initial smell is an almost vegetal malt, that smells roasted. A bit of fig in the smell as well.

T- Chocolaty, with a bit of malt flavor mixed in. Didn't get hoppy to the point where it was overwhelming.

M- Immensely creamy. This was arguably the creamiest beer I've ever had. It went down so smoothly that it was shocking. Sat on the front of the palate mostly, and not too much any aftertaste. A light hop coating on the back part of the mouth.

O- An absolutely excellent stout that I recommend everyone give a try. It's not insanely strong, there's no alcohol taste, just beautiful creamy, coca goodness. I don't always like Magic Hat, especially their ales, but this one was spot on to my taste.

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Photo of BeerPhan86
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool to see them bring back another blast from the past, I have not been very impressed with the new beers this company has been making for the last couple of years. Poured into a Magic Hat pint glass for novelty's sake.

A - Black as the Vermont night with about a finger of light brown head. Lacing isn't too sticky but there is good retention on the head.

S - Coffee dominates the nose, but there are hints of chocolate and dark fruit. Very smoky/roasty smelling.

T - Roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee up front. Signature Magic Hat yeast and a little alcohol in the finish, which has a slightly smoky flavor. A little bitter and dry in the finish. Really well balanced and pleasant flavors during cold weather months.

M - Smooth and creamy with moderate carbonation.

O - Just a really nice, well rounded stout that makes a great replacement for Howl. Hopefully it will stick around for a while, I think that beer nerds will be happy that it is back. It was certainly nostalgic for me to finally buy some Magic Hat again.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 1/5/12

Appearance: Dark brown, some clarity around the edges - decent size, beige head - fades quickly to a little ring and a wispy cap - leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: Roasty and lightly sweet - roasted malts, lightly burnt - lots of chocolate, particularly cocoa and milk chocolate - some burnt sugar and caramel - oatmeal and some light hints of citrus in the back

Taste: Follows the aroma, with some nice chocolate and oats - milk chocolate, cocoa, and tootsie rolls - lightly sweet - oatmeal sprinkled with caramel and molasses - some light citrus - some dry roastyness, mild burnt - medium bitterness - chocolate malts - not a particularly complex malt profile, but it works

Mouthfeel: Somewhat creamy thanks to the oats, but still rather thin - light, honestly - decent carbonation

Overall: More like a minor organ of darkness

This is not particularly dark. But it's better than the (current) average Magic Hat beer. It's nicely roasty with some nice chocolate. I had this on tap about a month ago, and I remember it being better than this bottle. Thus, I'm being slightly generous with my scores.

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

The beer poured pitch black and produced a finger high tan creamy head. It stays arround and leaves some lacing.
The smell is of roasted malt, dark chocolate butterscotch, toffee.
Tasting the beer the roasted barley notes, dark chocolate and malt is up front, being met by some toffee and butterscotch in the middle. The finish is bittersweet with typical stout notes.
A medium bodied very complex Session Stout, which I only can recommend!
Great job!

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: deep black/light rust hue, khaki finger head, standard lacing

S: chocolate, roasted malt, toffee, nuts, mild licorice

T: vanilla, chocolate, rich roasted malt, mild bitter finish

M: med body, light smooth with semi-dry finish

O: WELL DONE, MAGIC HAT!! Just when I had given
up on you, this is mighty fine. Insanely session stout.


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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 silverking
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours almost pitch black, but it is a very very dark reddish brown. Nice frothy tan/mocha head that diminishes to leave a nice thin layer of foam with very nice lacing. It smells of roasted and burnt malts with a hint of chocolate and hops. There is a lot of that burnt malt taste up front that fades to coffee and cocoa, and finally bitter hops. It is moderately heavy on the palate with low carbonation. mouth feel is creamy, then dry as the hops dominate the palate. Overall, very good. It was a pleasant surprise in the magic hat winter sampler pack.

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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.

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

Heart of Darkness has a beautiful deep brown pour that borders on black. The aroma is also very nice, there's a solid amount of roastiness with chocolate, coffee and oatmeal tones behind it. The taste has a well integrated roast and oatmeal thing going on at first, with some herbal hops in the background. More coffee tones come through on the finish, with a bit of chocolate backing up everything. The mouthfeel could be a little smoother, but is spot-on with the thickness. Overall, this is a very solid stout. Very enjoyable.

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

Part of a sampler six pack.

Very black with a nice one finger tan head that lasted the whole glass and left good lacing.

Aroma is chocolate, coffee, some roastiness, butterscotch, and a little molasses.

Flavor is very nice. The chocolate is milky, there's some nice roasty malt character with a little burnt, a little coffee, and a lightly bitter finish.

Body is pretty thick and rich, yet easy to drink, with a dry finish and smooth creamy carbonation.

A damn fine beer. I'll have to see if they have sixers of this one at my local store.

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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 Knapp85
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was one that I was pretty glad that they re-released. The beer poured out as a nice deep brown color with a thin cream colored head on top. The retention is very thin with a bit of lacing on the glass. The smell of te beer has a nice aroma of toasted oats and other roasted malts. The taste has a nice rich roasted flavor to it, the oats shine really well in this beer. There is a subtle chocolate note in there also. The mouthfeel is creamy, not overly thick but nicely carbonated and drinkable. Overall it was a good beer. One of the best I've had from Magic Hat in a long time.

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

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some light hints of dark amber along the edges and moderate amounts of gentle carbonation near the surface. The beer has a two finger tall dark tan head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted, almost burnt malts with some notes of chocolate as well.

T: Moderate flavors of chocolate, roasted, and some almost burnt malts. Light amounts of bitterness that lingers in the finish.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Relatively smooth but not as smooth as I expected for the style.

O: This beer is easy to drink but I was hoping for just a little more smoothness in the body and a little more complexity to the flavor.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip after being allowed to warm slightly.

Heart of Darkness pours solid black. A finger and a half or so of mocha foam crowns the beer, even managing to spill out of the glass a little bit. The nose is very nice, based around a roasty coffee aroma. There's also a noticeable smell of star anise that joins the picture. The flavor profile starts out similarly well, with the taste of coffee that's had a bit of cream added to it. The anise is a bit more muted here, drowned out somewhat by a slightly jarring hop presence. The bitterness clashes with the roasty malt character, and the earthy, herbal finish is a little bit overbearing. The mouthfeel is just a little bit short of great. The body is a hair too dry, and the carbonation is noticeably zippy. Both are just off though. I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by Heart of Darkness, Given my lack of fondness for many of the other Magic Hat brews I've had. This one is pretty solid.

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Photo of barczar
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black/brown with ruby highlights and a dense half inch mocha head that leaves sheets of lacing.

Chocolate, coffee, roast malt, and malted milk balls, with a bit of an acrid note form the aroma.

Flavor is roast malt dominant throughout, with a somewhat acrid finish. Coffee grounds and an underlying chocolate flavor hit mid palate and longer into a slightly dry, bitter end. There's a stale character that is somewhat offputting.

Body is on the light side, with low carbonation and a hint of astringency at the finish.

Decent brew, but the acrid character hurts the experience, along with that stale hop character.

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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 ColdWaffles
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

Appearance: Pitch black with a tannish head. Want the head on a stout to stick around a little longer, personally.

Smell: Roasty, malty.

Taste: Taste is pretty good, this is really easy to drink. Pretty rich, very creamy, slight roasty/coffee quality to it.

Mouthfeel: This is probably where it drops off a bit for me. The carbonation on this one is a little stronger than I'd expect and it cuts the good creaminess of this.

This is pretty good overall. Not sure if I'd go back to it a lot, but definitely quality.

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Photo of bambam2517
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle kept at 40F.

A - Drank mine straight from the bottle, friend poured his into a pint glass so we could check it out. Very dark body, weak carbonation and a lackluster foam. Dark in color but not as opaque in comparison to the other stouts we have been going through.

S - Mostly roasted malts, a slightly sweet smell reminiscent of dates to me.

T - Sweet and malty, but doesnt really pack a punch. Best quality is that its muted, not offensive in any way.

M - A bit watery for a stout, but it finishes nicely and doesn't hang on the palate. An easy drinker that I could session on a cold night sitting around with friends.

O - As a beer, its one i wouldn't turn down but wouldn't seek out. As a stout, a little disappointing for me. Reminds me more of a dark English ale.

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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 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 ThisWangsChung
3.47/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown color with good opacity. The one finger tan colored head fades quick, unfortunately.

S: Roasted barley, licorice, hazelnut, and bittersweet chocolate. It's a typical stout aroma with little deviation from the norms of the style, but the execution is good.

T: This seems to be fairly licorice dominated, with the roasted malts sneaking up on the finish. Surprisingly, it has a touch of complexity to it, with occasional hints of coffee, raisins, and chocolate. It's not blowing me away, but I still enjoy it.

M: A very clean stout in general. The thick and creamy body gives way to both dryness and a lingering roasted aftertaste, alongside a touch of astringency. Far from the heaviest stout in the world - but it doesn't try to be.

O: Really not bad at all. I tend to avoid Magic Hat, but this one's good/cheap enough for me to possibly consider getting a 6 pack of.

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

This one pours dark with a nice head that lasts. The smell is roasted, coffee, chocolate. The taste follows the smell with a roasted flavor and chocolate. A bit of sweetness is a nice addition. Body has a creamy feel. Magic hat did a great job with this one. A drinkable and flavorful Stout.

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Photo of nofalltoofar
4.62/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into Imperial pint glass

A: Almost black with a thin white head that dissipates quickly.

S: Dar, sweet, honey and oats with caramel

T: Bitter and hoppy, slightly sweet with notes of honey, caramel, chocolate and coffee

M: Pleasantly carbonated, not excessive. Smooth but still slightly thick, not oily or watery

This is a wonderful beer. I got it on sale for $31. I expected it to be more drinkable for a stout, but it is definitely on the savory side. It is a great winter beer for the fireside and a pipe.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Clear ruby/brown when pouring, black in the glass, one finger tan/brown head, some carbonation.

S-Starts with roasted malt, some burnt notes, chocolate and coffee and faint vanilla, oats.

T-Nice and roasty, slight burnt notes, chocolate and tad bit of coffee, meshes well. Dark fruits, slight vanilla and oats

M-Medium bodied, creamy, some carbonation.

O-Magic Hat mad a great beer, something of theirs I fully enjoyed. Keep this up Magic Hat.

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Photo of Amalak
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. A deep chocolate black color. It has a tan head that leaves some lacing behind.

S. Nice nutty malt scent.

T. This has a nice balanced burnt taste, not over the top. It has a toffee undertone. There's a hint of hop in there.

M. It has a smooth carbonation to it. Medium bodied.

O. Very lovely stout. It isn't overbearing in anyway. If a high alcohol taste and over the top burnt flavor is more your style, this isn't it. But it's a great, balanced beer.

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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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