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 stirgy on 10-03-2001

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Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 1,387
Photo of shapudding
4.48/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Creamy brown head atop pitch blackness. Scents of toffee, orange, chocolate...
Tastes of dark roasted malts, bitter coffee, and chocolate. Great amount of flavor. Found this one pleasantly surprising for Magic Hat, as there was sucha hub-bub about them that when some bottles showed up being held for a buddy at a local pub I was kinda excited, then tasted, then felt like I had waited all year for a carnival that showed up with one ride. This was yummers. Very smooth and creamy, full of flavor. Not too heavy or complex, not too intense. Good stuff.

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Photo of thlayli87
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black as night with 2-3 fingers of tan had that lasts for quite a while. Good lacing on the glass as the head recedes.

S - Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, candied sugar.

T - Strong chocolate flavor with some coffee tones. Molasses, pumpernickel bread, and a lingering bitter bite like a good strong cup of coffee.

M - Fluffy, velvety, chewy. Full body with medium carbonation.

O - Delicious and satisfying stout. Somewhat warming. Very enjoyable, and one of the best stouts I've had. A go-to brew for me in the winter months.

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
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 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 mentor
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good fricking lord. This was a fantastic beer. Thanks to Sulldaddy for the opportunity. Poured a single finger brown head over a pitch black liquid. Smelled sweet. Of licorice and molasses, roast grains, some Fuggles hops, and a hint of alcohol. Tasted chocolatey delicious. Very caramel and toffee flavored with mild roast. A hint of vanilla and a hint of chocolate-covered-cherry (like the fine candies that have a cherry liquor. Gentle and nice with a somewhat dry, but highly refined chocolate flavor. Medium body and mildly carbonated. Could use a bit more evervesence, but I'm really reaching to find *something* to complain about. Gimme a 6er and I'll give you 6 emtpy bottles. Really a fantastic beer.

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Photo of BeerAngel
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost jet black with garnet highlights and comes with a nice tan two-finger head. The aromas of roasted malts and chocolate are dominant and make your mouth water. Holy Kamoly or however you spell it! This stuff is smooth and mirrors the aromas along with perfectly blended hops to make one great tasting brew! The mouthfeel is medium bodied yet finishes just slightly thinner and with a burnt chocolate flavor. Very good brew! Thanks to BIGDEB for sending me this brew! Cheers!

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Photo of ski271
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought this on my skiing excursion to share with friends. Figured they like it and it was a huge hit. It's an inky-black brew with a small, off-white, lasting head. This beer is very roasted-smelling and it seemed to perfectly match the snowy, woodsy outdoors at the ski resort. The taste is lightly bitter up front, then the toasted malts take over bringing some sweetness in. It's big enough for what we wanted without being too heavy. Probably the perfect beer for that moment, and just a really good easy-drinking stout. This one is a winner I highly recommend.

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Photo of BeefyMee
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: I don't give out fives too often, but the beer was flawless in this department. Almost pure black body with a tan head floating on top and nice lacing on the sides.

Smell: Smells like Magic Hat. What the hell makes that happen? I don't know, but I like it. A pleasant roasted aroma is present as well.

Taste: Man I'm glad I let this warm up a little. It's such a flavorful brew, which is obvious when it's just chilled. There is a strong roasted, oatmealy flavor all the way through. The aftertaste is of creamy milk chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a load of character.

Drinkability: I would drink these as long as I could, but one feels a little heavy in my stomach as do most oatmeal stouts.

Beef Notes: A truly great beer from one of the best breweries in the US. I will be returning to it again and again and again and...

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Photo of wingman14
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with brown highlights, with a mocha head. A very nice pour for a stout, a powerful smell, chocolate, roasted malt, and sweet notes. The taste follows suit, powerful taste, the roasted malt stays throughout, starts sweet ends malty. The roasted malt stays in the aftertaste, great flavors with good balance. A good mouthfeel for an English stout, medium-light, good carbonation, nice and smooth. Overall a great flavor, and easy to drink, a great beer, definitely worth checking out.

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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 beergeek279
4.42/5  rDev +13%
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 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 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.

 1,116 characters

Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This one from magic hat pours pitch black.

There is a light roasty aroma.

The mouth feel is smooth.

The taste starts out with some dark malts and turns to a glorious chocolate note.

Overall, the taste of this beer is remarkable for nice oatmeal stout and the price makes it even sweeter. I would recommend this one to anyone.

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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 doerickson
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Cambridge Common. Black with a tinge of dark ruby around the edges. Three quarter inch fine bubbled tan head. Aromas of dark chocolate and coffee, with a hint of earthy hops. Light carbonation, medium-heavy body. Creamy mouthfeel. Flavors of coffee are up front, with some chocolate milky sweetness and a nice subtle hop presence to balance. This is a top-drawer New England stout.

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Photo of RocketWidget
4.36/5  rDev +11.5%
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 Hopdaemon39
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic tumbler- pours a thick black color with two fingers of beige head, good retention and a few streaks of lacing.

Nose is full of dark roasted malts, coffee grounds, dark chocolate, nothing too astringent. Rich and delicious smelling.

Taste is very much like the nose- rich coffee and chocolate notes, roasted barley, a tiny bit of bit of hop bitterness, a little oatmeal on the front palate.

Mouthfeel is exceptional- as they advertise, silky smooth and luscious. Medium to full body, mild soft carbonation, long bittersweet finish. This is maybe the best beer that I've ever had by Magic Hat. I'll be getting more of it (and it'll be the first time I've bought magic hat for myself in quite some time).

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Photo of NedShakeshaft
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The label is wacky even for Magic Hat. However, the brew is definitely no jape.

Pours black (very, very dark brown to be exact) with a solid tan head that stuck around for the duration. What slight dissipation occurred left nice lacing on the glass.

The smell was like, "whoa." Very aromatic for the style. And complex. Roasty malts hit you but it's underlined with chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. Maybe toffee, too. Citrusy hops present as well. A lot going on, but it's all good.

Delicious. Roasted dark malt taste with notes of dark chocolate and coffee. Much hoppier than average for the style. Finished dry. The bitterness didn`t hang around, which is a huge plus for any stout.

I thought the mouthfeel was a bit off. It`s thin for the style. Well-carbonated. I was expecting something creamier. Perhaps this shouldn`t be surprising -- all of Magic Hat`s brews seem to have that effervescence that dances across your tongue on the way out. Maybe it`s their equipment, or their process. Maybe it`s just part of the `Magic.`

Very easy-drinking. Had no trouble putting away three of these bad boys. I wouldn`t be surprised if it became a permanent offering.

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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 aaronh
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a thin tan head that displays decent retention. It eventualy fades to a thin ring around the edge. The color is a very deep brown, tinged with burnt mahogany. The aroma is delicious, with caramel, molasses, coffee, bourbon malts, and a bit of sweet fruit. Maybe even a touch of smoke in there. On top of all that aroma, there is still a "freshness" to the nose. The first sip is all about the coffee, actually more like a double espresso. Then a bit of dark chocolate creeps in, followed by the caramel. Each sucessive sip, the flavor profile changes slightly. A nice bitterness is found on the finish, with lingering notes tat intermingle all the previous flavors in an ever-shifting kaleidescope of taste. The mouthfeel is decent.

This is actually a good drinking stout, reminiscent of some of the lighter dry irish stouts. Taken in that context, with the dryness of this beer, both the mouthfeel and drinkability are right on. I just expected a bit more body in the mouth. This beer may be the 'Heart of Darkness', but it really lights up my heart. A very enjoyable brew that I look forward to enjoying again. A dual thanks goes out on this one. One to Deb for Beering this Forward to me, and a second to Loren for providing a few more to enjoy later. Can't beat great BA's. They make every beer more enjoyable.

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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 plaid75
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black hue with a three finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a robust roasted malt with charcoal and a touch of lactose.

The taste offered waves of roasted barley, back malt and a lingering smoky charcoal. The flavor was rounded out by a hint of lactose.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a dry finish.

Overall a very well constructed stout. A very pleasant winter treat.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night with some ruby highlights, a big frothy coffee colored head hangs around and clings to the glass leaving a trail.

Coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and molasses is detected in the nose.

Good punch of bitter coffee up front, followed by roasted malt with some slightly sweet molasses notes which all but hidden in the lively dance of carbonation. Finishes with a smooth coating of chocolate - bitter and a little dry. This is a delicious beer.

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Photo of littlebibs
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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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Heart Of Darkness from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 1,387 ratings.
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