Heart Of Darkness | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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Heart Of DarknessHeart Of Darkness
Very Good
1,443 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
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Ratings: 1,443 |  Reviews: 341
Photo of UnionMade
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a tar black, completely opaque even around the bottom of the glass. A thick topping of darkish beige mist coats the viscous looking liquid, leaving some blobs of lace clinging to the glass. Decent retention, dropping out almost entirely with a few sips left.
The aroma is very chocolatey, with a solid amount of oatmeal lending it's distinct, almost milky, smoothness. Heaps of roasted malt, with an enticing bittersweet aroma. Some charred grain and coffee, with a slight buttery tinge. Mild black cherry and fig.
The flavor starts with impressive roasty malt. A touch grainy, with a strong chocolate taste, along with a sweetly mellowing oatmeal smoothness throughout. Some coffee flavor, moving into a cautious fig, riasin and cherry fruitiness. A bit of slick butteriness in the mouthfeel. The finish is a restrained burnt bitterness, assisted with a pinch of grassy hopping. Very smooth and easy drinking, supported by slight, fluffy carbonation. A burly medium body, assuredly assisted by a bit of yeast presence. A lingering roasty aftertaste, with a suggestion of cherry cordial.
One of my favorite oatmeal stouts, and probably my favorite 12oz offering from Magic Hat. My only complaint is that this isn't offered year round, even though some package stores try to pretend.

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Photo of mikeys01
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours out an asphalt black, with a slight frothy brown head. Aroma is very roasty with just a bit of coffee and a hint of bitter hops. Taste is full of roasted malt along with pronounced flavors of coffee and chocolate, and thin wisps of smoke. Very smooth and creamy throughout, with a nice hop bitterness firming it up toward the end. Body is quite medium, not heavy at all. The HOD is a very drinkable stout indeed, good offering from the Hat.

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Photo of Stimack
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brew pours very dark, I would say black in color. Nice size head that dissipates pretty quickly but has excellent lacing. It has a very nice semi sweet smell with coffee and smoked aromas. The taste is excellent, a real nice tasting stout. It is a little bitter but goes very well with this brew. Can taste the smoke like roasted flavors with a hint of butterscotch? Also seems to have a smoky fruit taste that goes along with it very well. Has nice carbonation and over all a very nice beer. I think it is one of the best that I have had from Magic Hat. Labeled as a oatmeal stout, but I have a hard time associating oatmeal with it, but regardless it is a phenomenal brew in my book.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Head pours with a Guinness cascade before settling into a frothy mocha milk shake three-to-four fingers deep. And the body lives up to the name, with just a line of ruby red at the bottom of the glass.
Excellent lacing. Good roasty nose, chocolate and coffee and liquorice (oh my!). Roasted malts escort the chocolate and expresso across the tongue, and into a mild earty hop finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I like, and I don't sense the rounding of the oatmeal. Mouthfeel aside, this a good stout. Don't be afraid of the dark.

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

Pours a really dark(duh)black with a big fat espresso colored head. Smells very strongly of coffee. Lots of lacing and retention. Nice looking brew.

The taste is most excellent. Lots of big dark malt, coffee, deeply roasted and burnt nut. Carbonation is a little too noticeable but tolerabe, and mouthfeel is on the medium oily side. Low ABV makes this a easy drinker for the long term. Nice job MH.

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Photo of mschofield
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany approaching black. Tight small bubbled tan head.
Musty wet malt aroma, chocolate, coffee grinds, a note reminiscent of dumping water on a campfire, dark chocolate, caramel and burnt wood.
Dark roasted malt taste, strong coffee flavor, dark fruit (raisin and cherry) and anise. I wasn't picking up any oatmeal, didn't even realize it was an oatmeal stout.
Medium feel, full robust taste, a bit too assertive taste.
Would be a session beer if the flavors didn't overwhelm my palate after the second one.

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Photo of RocketWidget
4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes in a twelve ounce brown bottle with a cool eye picture on the label. My cap reads “Keep the Pace, go to Space”.

Pours a mighty fine black obsidian color, just perfect. Head could be more thick though. Smell is of oats, malt and honey. Taste is, in a word, BAM. Oats and malts and roasted coffee combine in a complex roll in your mouth, potent from the instant I touch the liquid with my mouth until seconds after swallowing. One of the strongest flavored stouts I’ve ever had, kickass good. This would go great with a heavy, full bodied meal. Man I love this stuff. Is it the fact that I have matching Magic Hat pint glasses to drink out of that make it this good? Donno, but drink this stuff!

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Photo of aracauna
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Good black beer with a sandy light tan head that lingers. Good roastiness in the aroma. I'm getting charcoal and espresso in both the aroma and the flavor. The roasty notes come in heavy up tops but fades into a light chocolate and bitterness in the short finish. Seems like it needs something else in there to support the roast up top. Still a good stout, though.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a thin brown head. Smells lightly nutty and of oats.

Taste is heavenly. Oaty, smoky and bitter just about sum this brew up. Hints of sweetness in the background and also lightly chocolatey. Mouthfeel is smoky and that bitter chocolate really begins to shine in the aftertaste. Really good, really drinkable.

A fine winter offering from Magic Hat. This one is definitely a hit.

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Photo of kmo1030
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

black with a brown head, how a stout should look. nutty expresso-like and slightly smokey smell, with hops more apparent than one would think. the taste is where this beer shines. it's nice and mild, nutty, buttery, slightly smokey, with chocolate and caramel flavors as well also has a strong backbone of bitter expreso and hops. sort of thin bodied for the style, but this doesn't significantly change my opinion of it, it may even lend to it's drinkability. overall really drinakable for a stout, which are usually a little too rich for me to have a few of.

weird note: as i reach the bottom of the glass, and the beer warms, the hops have started to smell a little like weed. hmmm.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.65/5  rDev +19.8%
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 NJpadreFan
3.15/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

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Photo of DagFishHead
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown/black body with mahogany highlights. Coursely-bubbled frothy chocolate milkshake head fades to an 1/8" cap with small dollups.
Smell: Roasted sweet malt, milk chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla, mellow graininess and earthy hints.
Taste & Mouthfeel: Starts smooth with sweet and smokey, slick malt. Thin at the top with light carbonation. Finishes smokey, earthy, with some bitter hop dryness. Too thin for me.
Drinkability: A nice, lighter stout. Could easily enjoy a group of these.

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Photo of BigPapaLager
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the eyeball label to the black as night pour, this brew was visually appealing. There was a stubby but long last head. This stout was smooth drinking, with no powerful carbonation present. Words for this are: deep sweet malt. One of my favorite brew from Magic Hat

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, presented in a shaker pint.

Beautifully black, topped by a dense tan coloured head. Head retains fairly well, & will come right back with a swirl of the glass. A thin sheet of lace leaves a trail all the way to the bottom of the pint.

Roasted grain, chocolate, coffee, & hops. Smelling this immediately relaxes me.

Dark chocolate, bitter espresso, raisins, roast grain, & a decent hop bite. Tasty hop burps. On the thin side of full bodied, smooth, with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of edchicma
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This reminded me of Murphy's Irish Stout, which I really liked. This offering had a similar nice pronounced malty smell and nice dark
appearance. Taste was light but with an excellent body and toasted malt presence. Well rounded in mouthfeel and very easy to drink. Surprising brew...didn't feel like 5.3 abv....more like a session beer. Definitely worth trying.

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Photo of Brent
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
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 silks636
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. brown bottle. Freshness date marked. Cap quip urges, “Be a winner, share your dinner”.

Appears opaque brown. Thin taupe head which quickly dissipates to a ring around the glass. Light and spotty lacing. Aroma of roasted coffee and black licorice. Very faint traces of dried fruit/raisin scents present as well. Taste begins a touch bitter then gives way to a deep roasted/burnt malt flavor over a mild underlying creamy sweetness. Some hop twang is present momentarily toward the finish, and provides a nice contrast to the semi-sweet burnt coffee taste. Aftertaste is dry with a touch of smoky grain. Mouthfeel is more watery than I would have liked.

Not a bad stout, but one I feel is a bit on the timid side. Allowing it to warm slightly definitely helped the cause. A drinkable brew indeed, but there are much better stouts to be had.

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Photo of littlebibs
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another stand out for Magic hat. This very dark concoction with a caramel tasting creamy head
and chocolate notes made this oatmeal stout one of my favorites. This beer goes down so smooth, theres no problem drinking several of these, a great finish.
I believe this is a seasonal for the end of the year holidays but
I could sip and savor all year. Exceptional taste and one to find.

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Photo of stirgy
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very dark mahogany brown color, which the light just barely shone through. Nice rich and creamy head. Roasted chocolates and coffee in the aroma. Not much body. A watery stout here. The roasted grains leave a bitterness in the back of the throat. Some perfumey and toasted flavors come out as you drink. This is a nice light stout. Not very rich, but enjoyable.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color was black, with a great head. Smell was of sweet roasted malt. Taste was very sweet.....with a coffeeish taste. Mouthfeel was smooth. Drinkability-wise, as many as I could get down.

Probably my favorite Magic Hat brew of the ones I've had so far. A solid stout that stands up well to some of the British ones, and one I definitely hope to have again!

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Photo of oberon
3.41/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black with a medium off white sticky head,the aroma is chocolaty and kinda smoky smell was not that great to me.The taste is chocolaty and nutty with some definent hoppy bitterness in the finish.Not a bad beer but average compared to alot of standards.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears completely dark opaque until held up directly toward the light in order to unveil deep ruby edges around this brew with scattered lacing formed by a thin tan moccha colored head. Aroma contains deep notches of chocolate, coffee, tones along with a slightly burnt fruit tones caramelized down to a reduction. The flavors a reminscient of a dry Irish but with so much more character and flavor the deep dry roasts are present, but in addition a cocoa infused cappucino with a sour acidic tone finishes out the robust flavor of this stout similar to an Imperial but lacking body and alcohol to label it so. Flavors are there including the fruit tones mouthfeel is full but by no means chewy which adds to the drinkability of this outstanding session stout no cloying carbonation or flavor profiles here just a well made true to the style stout.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nothing but meat and potatoes.

I bashed Guinness so I guess I can't sing the praises of a basic stout like this. But I guess Heart of Darkness just seems a little more refined. I'm wasn't born a stout man, and unless there's more than just the basic elements in them, I can't say they're something I thoroughly enjoy. I'm not going to get this again, but I can't say I'm disappointed. It's good for a stout, but a plain ol' stout ain't nothing special.

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Photo of tavernjef
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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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Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 1,443 ratings