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Heart Of Darkness | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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very good
325 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 325 | Ratings: 1,383
Photo of Jadjunk
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Heart of Darkness is brewed in the style of an English Stout. Available as part of the Magic Hat Winterland Variety Packs and as a stand alone 6 pack seasonal, returning after a many year hiatus.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served north of 51º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy frothy medium brown head over an inky black body. Head retention is above average and the body color is dark and solid. Lacing is medium thick and consistent. Very nice appearance. 4

(Smell) Deep roasted caramel malts, notes of chocolate and licorice, medium sweet over mild earthy bitter balance. Aroma has a medium potency. Very dark and roasty aroma. Very enjoyable. 3.75

(Taste) Heavily roasted barley sweetness, semi-bitter chocolate and earthy hop notes. Balance is about right on, with just enough earthy and hop bitterness to counter the malt sweetness. A notably robust licorice character graces the end of this beer. Despite a heavier body, there is a good deal of drinkability to this beer. I could manage enjoying a couple of these in a row. Enjoyable flavors, high drinkability all makes for an enjoyable stout. 4.25

(Mouthfeel) Carbonation is very mild, creamy smooth with a touch of air and mild chocolate bitterness for balance. Malt presence is mildly fluffy and very roasty. Body is medium+ for stouts, medium/heavy overall. Alcohol presence is very low. Very enjoyable balance and texture. 4.25

(Overall) Drinks much like a flavorful, earthy European-style stout but with a delectable creaminess and accessible body it's a tasty and drinkable stout for sure. One of Magic Hat's most cherished releases, this warrants a return visit every year. Highly recommended. 4

Magic Hat Brewing Company's
Heart Of Darkness Stout

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Photo of Neorebel
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This stout has an excellent near-black opaque appearance. There seems to be some carbonation here. The initial pour produces a huge, khaki colored fluff, and the bubbles themselves are dense like sea foam. This later goes down, but not completely - there's always a little cover over the dark beer. Bonus points for that! The aroma is a breeze of pure bliss through my nostrils! It's main characteristics are vanilla cream, milk chocolate, and sweetened coffee. However good, it is fairly straight forward. The taste is very similar to the aroma, with a good balance between the bitter and the sweet aspects. That slight fruit flavor so telling of a Magic Hat brew is here, of course too. It feels light in the mouth and the finish has a roasted flavor and a dry effect to it. Overall, it's a nice stout that goes down easy when you're not in the mood for a 'big' beer.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep black with a creamy dark khaki head shows a saturnish ring lacing down the vessel.

S: Big dry chocolate and dark fruit with a touch of creamer.

T: Black coffee flavor, freshly roasted grounds, bitter. Took me off guard at first, not used to a magic hat being so aggressive with a bold in your face character. Burnt chocolate, creamer, bitter and earthy with silty campfire notes. Ends with some burnt wood.

M: Creamy silky oats, bitter and earthy, good substance softly carbonated with a gentle campfire fade.

O: Overall a good bold flavor, bitter, dark burnt roasted nature and a step in the right direction for magic hat.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color, practically black, about a finger and a half of head, light tan color, fades at a very slow rate and leaves some small bits of lacing on the glass.

Smell has a strong cocoa aroma, the chocolate really hits the nose right away and is the most dominate feature but also blocks any other aromas from forming.

Taste is a little more straightforward, roasted malt upfront, the cocoa presence is much lighter in flavor than it is in aroma, burnt malt bitterness and a slight metallic flavor in the aftertaste, body is surprisingly thin with a carbonation that just seems too aggressive.

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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 Jwale73
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in a willibecker. One of the original brews that got me into craft back in the day so let's see how it has held up. Pours the color and clarity of cola with a quarter inch, fizzy, tan-colored head. Nose reveals roast, lactose sweetness and a metallic aroma towards the back. Taste consistent with nose; however, there is also an acidity that cuts through the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a carbonation that falls just short of lively. Acidity is light, but lingers along the taste buds at the back of the tongue between quaffs. Overall, this beer has held up pretty well considering the last time I had it was in the mid 90's. That said, it's definitely not as robust as I recall, but a respectable beer nonetheless.

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Photo of DMXLOX22
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single of this at my local establishment, Civera's Deli. This should be a nice one to taste. It came pretty highly recommended by another customer.

Appearance: Pours a dark, roasted, blackish and inviting pour and leaves a delicious, lacing, one inch head that takes its time to dissipate which doesn't hurt it at all.

Smell: Roasted malts with a sweet touch of coffee, toffee and chocolate. Also some barley malt thrown in, but not a whole lot. Enough for me to notice I guess.

Taste: First notice is roasted malts that remind me of an oatmeal stout, but sweeter. The chocolate and coffee-like flavors kick in as soon as the roast is gone. Residutal sweetness is something that this beer actually shows off. Does finish off a bit dry, but the sweetness and dryness are there in fair balance.

Mouthfeel: Thin for a dry stout, but not too thin if that makes sense. Has moderate carbonation.

Overall: I actually am glad the local recommended this beer. Pretty darn delicious. I would definitely try this beer again. Everything seemed to somewhat surprise me about this one, Highly recommended to anyone who wants a good stout to enjoy

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Photo of RickS95
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark, but not quite pitch, black. There is a red hue that's present from the beginning of the pour. The head has a nice cascading buildup, leading to a dark tan, very foamy top. Thickest lace I can recall.

Lots of char in the nose, clearly some roasted goodness has been taking place. Faintest hit of bittersweet chocolate along with anise or licorice making a cameo.

Very English taste in that it favors the bitter v. the sweet for a stout. A bit of toffee meanders in with the chocolate and again, roasty malts dominate. As it warms, cocoa seems more prevalent.

It's very smooth and creamy. It's got the bitterness down pat so you know you're drinking a beer and not a milkshake, but it's never too bitter. More sweetness starts to develop the more the beer warms leading to a semi-dry finish that makes you want to take another swig. It's very easy on the palate.

This is terribly easy to drink. While 5.7% ABV isn't exactly session material, it goes down so easy with a smooth character that you'll want, and be able, to have quite a few of these. Really a nice rendition of an English classic.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with a finger of tan head. Roasted and burnt barley, full mouthfeel. Prickly carbonation burnt bitterness on the finish. Hints of coffee and dark chocolate. Nothing crazy here just a standard drinkable stout, wouldn't get it again though. Pretty bold flavor though for a smaller beer which is good

Anyone know why this is categorized as an english stout?

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Photo of JohnFatAss
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown in color with a creamy tan head.
The smell is of sweet roasted malts and dark chocolate.
It tastes of roasted malts, dark chocolate. There is a touch sweetness in the middle with a little milky creaminess that I love. It finishes dry with a little bitterness.

Overall, a fantastic stout from Magic Hat.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark brown color with dark tan/eggplant head

smell - dark chocolate, roasted barley, coffee

taste - flavors of dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, coffee, roasted barley

mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium, tight carbonation, flavors are fairly balanced, good deal of roastiness/bitterness on the back end

overall - decent,solid stout, great value. I would definetly drink this again

Price Point - $6.99/6 pk 12oz bottles

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Photo of rajendra82
3.51/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The beer poured out promising, looking dark brown to black, with a small head. The aromas were dominated by the carbonation at first, but opened up into chocolate and coffee upon prolonged inspection. The taste was somewhat disappointing to me, as the coffee, toffee, and chocolate flavors were nice and clean, but they felt diluted due to the thin and tinny mouthfeel. I m glad I only bought a single. A case of what could have been.

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Photo of psykad
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured pitch black with a brownish, 1 finger head that didn't last long.

S - Smokey, coffee, caramel, and chocolate. Very appealing.

T - Same as the nose. The smokiness of the roasted barley is there all the way through and lingers for a little bit. Seems on point for the style

M - Lighter than I expected. Somewhat watery with a sticky finish.

O - This is my first taste of a Stout and, per the style description, it seems like this one stacks up. It's a very enjoyable beer. The smokiness is a dominate feature, but not off-putting.

Verdict: I would have another!

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Photo of Mit
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a-pours a dark black colour with no visibility through the glass. Coffee colour with a mocha head that is relatively short lived.

s-some dark fermented fruit notes....sweet...with a slight burnt coffee undertone....quite pleasurable.

t-Creaminess....slight burnt coffee flavor...lingering on the palate...as I made my way through the pint the fruitier flavors began to make themselves known. Very nice...

M-Good...in keeping with the abv.

O-Quite liked this despite not being the biggest fan of the stouts....it's up there with some of the greats.

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Photo of Antikythera
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend of mine from Vermont pointed me to this stuff years ago. Magic Hat and Dogfish Head were the first craft beers I ever drank. Now that I'm living in the US I can get it again.

a: warm dark red-brown. Head is fizzy like pop and dissipates fast.

s: chocolate and caramel.

t: toasty and sweet. But:

m: too fizzy. The fizz is getting in the way of the flavour.

o: great stuff, especially for the price. Could be better if it was a little less bubbly.

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Photo of Apellonious
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz from a six pack

Time to revisit an old friend.

A - jet black, with a cream colored head that quickly dissipates to a thin sticky lace.

S - coffee, chocolate, smoke

T - if you don't like the smoke, get out of the fire. Toasted grains, coffee, chocolate. Hints of some fruit and vanilla for a mild sweetness.

M - carbonation is solid, mouthfeel is full.

O - used to be one of my favorites stouts (was it discontinued for a while?). A highly drinkable stout, especially for those who like a smokey aftertaste.

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Photo of cbutova
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have heard pretty nice things about this beer. Random mix-a-six grab get's the job done.

A- Poured into a tulip from the bottle. If this beer was a heart it would be pitch black, blocking any light from entering it's tortured soul. The creamy head on top of the stout is nice and brown with a thick, frothy texture. Cap retention is nice and thick webs of lace form quickly and

S- Strong roast profile right off the bat, you can tell they didn't skimp on the roasted malts. These malts give a great cocoa powder note as well as hints of caramel, cereal grains and general roastiness.

T- Roast malt forward again as well. Not quite as rich as the nose leads me on to think but still satisfying cocoa, coffee, licorice, burnt, charcoal and roast notes. I also get hints of dark fruit, vanilla, nutty malt and earthy hops.

MF- The feel to the body is very creamy and foamy when agitated which makes it very smooth. The carbonation is on the higher side of thing but it suits the drier flavor (for a stout) and lower ABV.

Certainly one of the better MH offerings I have had in a while. I used to always buy the mixed seasonal 12 packs but haven't lately. Worth trying for sure.

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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.

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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)

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Photo of jlindros
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

"Don't be a pig when you swig" wise words from the cap.

Pours a larger darker colored 1.5 finger head that fades at a med to slower pace, decent fluffy lacing, over just about pitch black beer.

Nose starts with dark malts, chalky powdered chocolate, hint of roast, bit of caramel, hint of smoked malt, chewy malts and maybe oats, the combination of the roast and smoked malts combine to give a strange bitter almost acrid like aroma.

Taste starts with some smoked malt actually, but that gets drowned out quickly by other dark malts, a little roast and black malts, hint of baker's dark chocolate but barely, more like chalky powdered dark malt flavors and not even cocoa, hint of caramel and vanilla, but at least not acrid. Yeast kicks in slightly with a light yeast flavor. There is a slight metallic twinge as well, and just a hint of earthy hops. Finish brings more bitterness, mostly from dark malts but a little bit of the hops, earthy spicy but light, fluffy dark malts as well as chalky powdered black malt and roast lingering, and hint of smoke.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, plenty of fluffy carbonation.

Overall not bad, not bad at all. Surprised from Magic Hat these days. Most of their beers seem to really have gone downhill, and this is the brewery that got me into craft beer so it was hard for me to see them fade out. This is nice, good malts mostly, dark malts without much char, although there was a slight metallic flavor, nice touch of smoke and just a faint hint of cocoa that I would have liked to come out more, and hops are very light which I also would have liked ot see more. Otherwise a decent beer.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into british pint glass. Black/brown, shows clear deep red in the light on the edges. small tan head that dissipates quickly with a little lacing. Smell said "toasted" more than "roasted" to me for some reason, but the taste disagrees. Coffee and roasted malt all the way, with a rough but creamy mouthfeel. Excellent stout, bittersweet chocolate upfront is balanced by the bitter finish. Loved it!

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Photo of MadScientist
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: A black beer that allow some light through on the edge showing good clarity and a deep garnet tint. The light brown head has a decent retention time and made of compact bubbles.

S: a strong roast and coffee aromas with moderate figs and plum notes. A bit of dried fruit. Some moderately light malt sweetness and a soft vinous character. I get a little spicy hops aroma but my sinus want me dead so I can't rely on my nose that much today.

T: A pretty fruit stout with a bit of sweetness. There is moderately-strong juicy, dark fruit flavors of plums and figs with a pretty solid roast malt flavor that brings some coffee and bitter chocolate without any dark malt sharpness. There is a light citrus to grapefruit hops flavor which is probably the Apollo hops as flavoring. The balance is slightly bitter but there is some malt sweetness throughout. The finish is medium and the aftertaste is of fruity and cocoa.

M: Lightly creamy with a full body and moderate carbonation. No astringency, maybe a slight chalkiness.

O: A fruity and soft stout with light bit of sweetness but a bit more bitterness. The dark fruit from the malt blends well with the citrus and grapefruit from the hops making for a sort of juicy stout. I'd call this a Foreign Extra Stout for BJCP style. Nice, when did we get to start using quarters of a percent?

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I picked up a six pack of Magic Hat's Heart Of Darkness last week for $7.89 at Meijers. I'm not really a big a Magic Hat fan but a few friends were telling me this was a decent beer so I thought I would give it a chance, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date, 2012 vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks really nice, it's got a good clean look to it that fits the name, I like it. It poured a very dark brown color that was pretty close to being black and it had some slight ruby highlights when held to the light with three and a half fingers worth of darker tan head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and left lots of nice sheets of lacing. This is a pretty damn good looking stout, the color could have been just a little darker but other than that this beer is pretty good looking.

S- The aroma starts off with a good amount of malts that have a higher amount of medium sweetness to them and impart some grainy, medium toasted, oats, and a good amount of chocolate aromas. After that comes a nice nutty aroma with some coffee and dark fruits showing up towards the end. The aroma was nice, it didn't have the greatest roasted aromas, but it had a good amount of other aromas that made it fairly complex, I like it.

T- The tastes seems to be pretty similar to the aroma, it starts off with a good amount of malts that have a medium amount of sweetness and impart some grainy, roasted, oats, a little bit of coffee, and chocolate flavors, the roast seemed to be on the medium side. After that came some molasses and a nice nutty flavor followed by a slight smokey flavor on the end with a lighter amount of bitterness and a roasted oat and nutty aftertaste, This was a good tasting beer, it was a little different from the normal Oatmeal Stouts and it had a little more complexity then most, I liked it.

M- Pretty smooth, silky, very creamy, on the thicker side of being medium bodied, with a good amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was pretty good, the extra creaminess worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good and different example of the style, it had some decent roasted and oat flavors to it with some great complexity and a fitting mouthfeel that made it fairly memorable. This beer had pretty good drinkability, it was pretty smooth and the flavors did a good job at holding my attention, I could see drinking a couple of these but after that the thickness might become too much, it's a good late fall beer. What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance and mouthfeel they were both pretty well done and very pretty true to style. What I liked the least about this beer was the aroma, it was nice, but it was just a little thin and it lacked the tons of rich and roasted malts that I normally find in the style. I would buy this beer again, in fact I already went back to the store and bought another six pack, it's reasonably priced and a decent tasting Oatmeal Stout, I recommend it to anyone who likes the style. All in all I was happy with this beer, even though I was told it was good, I always have my doubts with Magic Hat, but this one turned out to be a nice surprise and it showed me that Magic Hat can actually make a decent beer. Good job guys, if you start making more beers of this quality I may actually end up becoming a fan one day, Cheers!

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

12 oz. Brown Bottle. "Find a way through play."

A: Pours a deep black with a half finger of creamy tan head. Turns thin but
remains for the long run. little lacing.

S: Sweet and creamy with butterscotch and vanilla. A mixture of roasted
malts and light hops. Overall very nice and inviting.

T/M: Creamy smooth with a nice crisp carbonation feel. Medium bodied.
Roasted malts and barley with other tangy flavors. Slight hop bitterness
comes in with an earthy dry finish. Roasted flavors linger.

O: Top notch stout. Great taste and easy to drink. One of Magic Hats best
offerings. Try it, love it and repeat.


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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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Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 1,383 ratings.
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