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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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 325 | Ratings: 1,383
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 bigbeerdrinka
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a pretty opaque black color with just a hint of ruby hues and a firm offwhite head that leaves a nice lace. Aromas show off bits of bittersweet chocolate, hints of roasty dark malts and oats, and an array of coffees. For flavor this brew starts off quite creamy with oats and roast like flavors competing on the main stage. Following a slight coffee / chocolate tone makes itself present with just a tiny hint of sweetness and a slight charcoal almost smoke like flavor (which doesn't work well for me). The oats make their way back into the picture after this, with also a slight toffeesque like flavor finding its way into the picture. The finish to this brew is nicely bitter with a semi astringent roast flavor that lingers on the tongue. This beer has a nice mouthfeel to it, being fairly light bodied and creamy, with a nice slightly biting carbonation. Overall a decent session stout but nothing worth going out of your way to pick up.

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Photo of scotorum
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled September 29th 2013.

Poured from the 12 oz,. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Black with clear dark ruby highlights when seen through light, finger thick tan head receded quickly to partial surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Mild dark chocolate.

t: Dark chocolate and cold coffee with some bitter hop balance. Bitterness lingers slightly at the sides of the tongue.

m: Light to moderate.

o: A good easy-drinking, dinner companion stout.

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Photo of emerge077
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Magic Hat's best rated and most widely available beer currently according to BA.
Production code: K29261, according to freshbeeronly that's Oct. 29 of last year, 120 day shelf life, so about a month past code if that info code is accurate.

Looks nice in the glass, copious lace forms delicate strands and webs around the edges of the glass, the creamy tan foam doesn't break after the first couple sips. Nice gradation around the edges, the lace blends seamlessly into the surface.

Aromas of cocoa, carob, roasted barley.

Flavors of chocolate milk, carob, slight amount of roast barley and ash in the taste as well. Mellow and fairly smooth, light carbonation, slight astringency. It's good, nothing groundbreaking, though i'll probably reach for local options before this, i'd drink it again and seek out a fresher sample next time.

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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 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 mzwolinski
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color with a very thin, dark tan head. Aroma is slightly roasty with hints of bittersweet chocolate. The mouthfeel is hearty but not overly so. Decently roasty up front with a chocolatey sweetness in the middle and a fairly sharp hop bitterness at the finish.

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Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serviceable drinkable stout. A half a year past expiry, I don't believe it made a difference. Mellower stout which was nice, also noticeable watery. Refreshing. On sweeter side, Chocolate malts, modestly bitterness in mid-sip. Dark colour, understated coffee and roast.
2012 version:On draft at jfk5 bar nysb just tapped black with foam and lace
roasted coffee coffee ground taste
decedrinkabilityity mochocolateate as it warms
decent stout

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

P- Als of Hampden

A- black ink and dark coffee color. Light tan head with minimal lacing. Quite opaque as well.

S- dark roasted malts and coffee in the nose.

F- Oooh a roasted coffee malt. It feels like I am drinking beer coffee. Very tasty

M-creamy and thick bodied. Like drinking black coffee with booze.

O- not a bad stout. the flavor really saves the nose and appearance though.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany color with a creamy, mocha head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of coffee notes along with some cocoa.

Tastes of nice roasted notes with some sweetness to it. Notes of coffee and coca come through backed up by some brown sugar. Some oats come through in the middle along with a little nuttiness. Ends with a little earthy hop bite.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is pretty good and better than I expected.

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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 TheBrewo
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

We pour a brew of the deepest black. It puts up a two finger head of creamy and cakey light brown bubbles. This shows excellent retention, leaving sticky sheets of lacing as it slowly glugs away. Carbonation appears average, and no sediment or haze is noticed. The aroma shows dry malts, of cooked caramel and coffee, with bready yeast, hints of vanilla, and a far off grassy hop. The chocolate enhances with warmth, giving a more milk chocolate richness, while a yogurt-like sourness comes to enhance the more sour notes. Metallics and char come out too, with intermittent echoes of sweet booziness. Our first impression is that the flavoring is nicely creamy, and soothing. As we sip, we notice a rich malt character, wrought with smoky char and roast. This is quickly followed by a sour quality of mashed grain and booze, and a smooth hint of mustiness. The peak follows with chocolate dust dryness, with wet caramel, and a flash of white sugar sweetness, much like when sugar dulls a stark black cup of coffee. The balance is nice at this point. The finish is equally as smooth, with iced coffee, charred grain, puffs of smoke, and general grainy sweetness. There is also a final limey sourness, mixing with that souring grain bite from the finish, causing need for additional balance. The aftertaste breathes of charred grain, smoke, that mustiness from the nose, fermented grain, light barnyard grass, and dry yeastiness. The body is medium to full, and the carbonation is medium. The mouth is met with a smooth and creamy beer, that shows nice sip, slurp, cream, and froth to the sip. The mouth is left cooled, but bone dry, as the roast and char of the malts meet with booze and distant hops to suck the palate of moisture. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the appearance. The coloring was deep, while the head showed great retention, with many bubbles remaining until the very last drop. The nose was full of notes, but we found them to be a bit subdued collectively. The taste followed in very much the same vein, with the flavoring being inclusive, but not as entirely robust as hoped for. The feel, however, was silky and smooth to fit the style, but not enough to make you forget in full the duller aroma and flavoring.

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Photo of mattbk
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured nice and thick, with pretty creamy head, a very nice start. Black, opaque.

S: Roast, but acrid, milk sugar, maybe a bit of hoppiness. No chocolate or coffee.

T: Strong roast, not bad, a bit acrid as was the nose. No lactose in the taste, no caramel either, but a bit sweet, not too too bitter from the roast. It's not bad, fairly one dimensional though.

M: Like the mouthfeel, medium heavy, a bit dry though.

O: A decent stout, not over the top or very interesting, but solid.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in April, date notched March, so it may be past its time. Pours very dark, coppery highlights. Bubbly stoutish head that fades with thick lacing. Nice molasses smell on top of a bit of roastyness. Creamy taste counters more coffee notes. Despite that, it’s a very smooth overall package.

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Photo of aracauna
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
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 Stinkypuss
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Magic Hat Brewing Co.
Heart of Darkness

LOOK: Dark brown ale bordering on black. Light tan foam topping the beer and leaving plenty of lace.

SMELL: Smoky roasted malts with some chocolate and coffee notes.

TASTE: Roasted malt flavor and some citrusy hop bitterness. Almost like a medium strong fruity coffee. Solidly bitter, partly from malt astringency and definitely from the hops. As it warms the malts stand out more and the flavor improved. Its good for a stout to have coffee and dry cocoa notes and this ones got em'.

FEEL: Medium bodied, smooth and a bit creamy. A tad thin but not too bad, this has a pleasant feel to it.

OVERALL: Not a bad stout. Interesting hop character, and a good malt base. I recommend letting this warm up alittle before partaking.

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Photo of weeare138
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Actually sampled and noted on 9/28/05...
Appears black with a 1 finger tan head that actually sticks around and slowly fades. Streaky lacing is left behind.
Smell is of chocolate, oatmeal, caramel, and cream.
Taste is of the same smells with a touch of butter and mild hops.
Mouthfeel is chewy, slightly sweet & robust. A tad bit thin. Slight bit of bitter hops and slick butter resound.

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased on the north side of Baltimore at Pinehurst liquors. Said that I was looking for something different, this was their only porter/stout that I hadn’t tried just yet. The typical catch your eye promotional marketing that you see with the Magic Hat line. They don’t produce the most awesomest beer out there, but they definitely look different on the package than the rest of the pack.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark black. There is not much head without a hard pour and very little carbonation evident
Smell: Soft, sweet malts on the nose with a touch of bitterness
Taste: The usual stout flavors with a bit of tangy flavor on the middle and end of the flavor profile that was decidedly different. A friend was claiming that this was due to the oats in the brew. Tasted very fruitlike, almost like a currant with bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy and smooth, it had a light to medium mouth feel. Appeared to lack a bit of oomph. The currant flavor was different, but the brew appeared to lack qualities in several other areas. I’ll finish the sixer eventually, but this might not be one I’ll be coming back to.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.56/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

What a country....Heart of Darkness in my Stop & Shop! Goes in the cart next to the english muffins. Bottle requests I enjoy by April '05. I could normally care less about the appearance of a brew's bottle, but this label is awesome!

This beer is incredibly dark...dark at night w/ no light passing through. Almost a full finger of head after a moderate pour...cocoa in color.
Chocolate, coffee, raisins....this beer is packed w/ aromas.

Taste is less than exciting...a decent flavor, hint of cherries and java but it has no distinctive flavor jumping out at me.

I need to assume this beer was once cold, sat at room temperature, and then chilled again. It gets a little better once it warms up, but it is a bit too bitter on this serving. The aftertaste is ok...I would prefer the mouthfeel to finish a bit more dry. I'm not craving another after this pint...drinkability will have to suffer a bit.
I have had this before (bottled) and should have reviewed it then...I would have been much more kind. I have a 5 pack now and will enjoy them as much as I can.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, char, and slight cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with char, cocoa, and dark fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but has a slightly better set of flavors in my opinion.

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Photo of purplehops
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Heart of darkness pours a deep black with garnet high-lights and a very thin tan head that disappears quickly, leaving little to no lace. The aroma is roasted grain and charcoal with a hint of citrus. The taste starts with a rush of coffee and black malt with charcoal and a hint of cocoa. The finish is very dry with some carbonation prickle on the tongue and flavors of roasted malt starting to blend with hop bitterness. The aftertaste is coffee and citrus hop flavors lingering for quite a while. The mouthfeel is light and acidic. To light for a stout IMHO.
Overall a nice blend of flavors but nothing really special. IMHO it could use a richer and thicker body and a little more aroma. I wouldn't turn one down but at the same time I wouldn't go out of my way for one.

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

It pours a deep murky brown, though it could be easily mistaken for black in the rightn light. A sparse and quickly ebbing finger of light brown head peeks in and out.

The aroma delivers the coffee and chocolate notes of roated malt, along with a sherry/soy undertone. A vague hops air flits on the periphery.

The first sip conveys the dusky, tart flint of roasted malt and oatmeal, along with the mentioned chocolate and coffee earth tones. Sherry appears here as well, along with a distant cherry fruitiness. An almost vinegary tang carries through toward the finish, then gives way to a lightly lingering hops bitterness. The flavor, while multifaceted, comes across as thinner than it should.

This is suprisingly light bodied. While not watery, it does not have the presence on the palate that a stout generally delivers.

The tart character that over-emotes in the flavor takes away from what might have been a nicely complex beer. I seem to be going against the grain here, but there are other oatmeal stouts out there, Samuel Smith's springing to mind, that I think way outdo this one. It's a bit out of balance, and that doesn't settle well with me. That's not to say I'd turn one down if offered it by someone, but you can rest assured that I will not be the one doing the offering.

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

Back on tap (only at the brewery's store) for samplings and growler fills. Poured from the growler into a tumbler on 02.29.2008.

Pours a chocolate brown in color; near opaque with burgundy hues. Creamy, off-white head that plasters the glass' sides leaving sticky, condensed lacing. Lots of webbed lacing with good strength.

Milk and dark chocolate aromas; semi-sweet. Lingering floral-perfume with touches of medicinal notes and astringency. Caramel and dried coffee beans.

Caramel and bittered chocolate up-front followed by dark, fruity esters: fig, raisin, dark cherry. Hazlenut and coffee beans with a pleasant creaminess interact with the floral hops giving off a touch of must. The finish is dry and airy leaving a bland, caramel aftertaste.

Full in body; smooth, but dry in spots that give this stout an airy film-like texture.

This beer was a classic back in the day. Either my palate has changed since its retirement or the recipe has. Disappointing to say the least, considering how happy I was to hear of its return.

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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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