Heart Of Darkness | Magic Hat Brewing Company

very good
1,387 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

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 1,387
Photo of isubsmith
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pretty dark, nearly opaque. Thick, rich, tan head and plenty of it.

Smell: Typical stout nose -- dark, roasty chocolate and coffee dominating with a goodly amount of hops.

Taste: Roasted barley. Plenty of malt sweetness. Coffee and chocolate as well. Hoppy finish. Slight earthy/musty taste. A little light in body, but perhaps I've just been drinking too many Sam Smith Oatmeals lately.

Drinkability: This is an extremely drinkable beer. I think it might be the lighter-than-expected body coupled with the well balanced malt/hops that make this a very drinkable beer. Too bad I only have one more bottle of it.

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Photo of edchicma
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
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 Bills453
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into my Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance - black as night with a nice milk chocolatey head that is lingering nicely.

Smell - roasted malt, coffee, some nutty smells as well.

Taste - again, a nice mixture of malts, coffee and chocolate flavor. Actually one of the more fantastically blended stouts I've had.

Mouthfeel - smooth and fantastic.

Overall - a great stout, I am quite surprised at how much I like it!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Magic Hat beer, I have heard and read so much about these beers.
This one comes in a 12 fl.oz. bottle with a rather strange psychedelic purple and orange label that has a solitary single eye that simply sits and stares at you with the words Heart of Darkness in black text below, with the word Stout in white text to the left of the eye. The label is in the mold of Edward Munch’s “The Scream” Slightly disturbing.

Black but not thick, quite thin when poured, struggles to maintain more than a thin broken brown head, which spoils the appearance and leaves minimal lace.
Aromas are of deep roast malts and nothing else. Tastes are also highly roast, burnt, cremated deeply dead tastes that are sarcastically laughing at the living world. Amazing depth to the burnt roast flavors in the middle of this beer, very wholesome. Mouthfeel is indeed solid and very smooth - silky burnt residues cling to the palate long after the beer has gone. A nice crisp bitter finish with some sweet fruitiness in the end.

A full-bodied Stout that impresses, I would like to try this beer on draft; I have a feeling that this may be the better medium for a beer of this intensity.

Thumbs Up to BigDeb for this Sample - Nice One Deb.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
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 Jimbrewmore
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is great, very dark, nice brown head on it and pours just like a stout should into a glass, thick head that's slow to go away.

Smell has suttle notes of chocolate, and minimal coffee aroma.

Taste is phenomenal in my opinion, very smooth with an even amount of bitterness that goes just right with the smell and what you would anticipate out of a stout. Easy to drink with perfect carbonation and is not super filling for a stout.

Overall I was very happy with my purchase of this and would definitely drink it again, I am always iffy about some of the magic hats I try but I definitely did not go wrong with this one

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Photo of puboflyons
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on December 2, 2013.

The pour is very dark brown that nearly appears black unless held to the light. Long lasting soft tan head sits quietly on top.

The aroma is of dark malts, coffee, some chocolate, and a touch of plum or other dark fruit.

The body is medium but it is also smooth and soft.

The dark malts and coffee are the welcoming ingredients in the flavor but it does not take long for a notable dry hop bitterness to emerge at the end and speak for the stout on its own. It really tastes the way I like my English stouts to taste.

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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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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 nUgZ
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown/black color with a half finger head and some lacing.

S: Really nice blend of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and espresso. Sweet and inviting!

T: Very much like the smell, with the addition of some smoke and a touch of bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Pretty smooth.

O: This is a very enjoyable stout. It's well balanced, tasty, and easy to drink. I prefer Imperial Stouts, but this is a great example of an English Stout.

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

Light brown/khaki head. The beer itself is jet-black. Great lacing. Smells incredibly smoky. I heard the bartender tell someone this was a "smoked porter", and it's easy to believe. It tastes pretty light, and heavily of toasted oats. Great, tingly mouthfeel. Feels light, and is highly drinkable.

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Photo of jed
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Comes in a brown, 3/4 pint bottle with a maccabre eye on the front label. Best by the end of March, 2005. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, oily black. Very uniform coloration, with no light getting through. Head is on the small side, about one finger, with weak retention. As the head dissipates, it leaves behind a trail of white lace.

Smell: Sweet oatmeal and roasted malt mixed with caramel and some raw alcohol esters. No hop precense in the smell.

Taste: Smooth, initial sweetness is hit by a mild wave of toasted malt. Some caramel notes, along with coffee flavors. Initial taste fades to a mild hop bitterness, again balanced by the malt. As the beer warms, more assertive bitterness and a more distinctive roast malt flavor. Finish is slightly dry, with lingering bitterness punctuated by some caramel.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, but surprisingly thin for such a complex, tasty stout. The mouthfeel is the only really disappointing element of this beer.

Drinkability: Solid. Lacks the huge alcohol content of something like Storm King, but too flavorful and heavy to be a session beer. Still, it's nice to have a stout with a relatively low ABV other than something like Guiness or Beamish.

Without doubt the most impressive Magic Hat beer I've had. I realize that Magic Hat takes some heat from the craft beer community for offerings like #9, but Heart of Darkness is an excellent oatmeal stout. This beer, along with Ravel, are definitely worth purchasing. Highly recommended.

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

A thoroughly dark stout, pouring with a deep black color and a quickly fading caramel head.

The aroma is that of a good stout, with the chocolate malt tones coming through strongly, and a good amount of roasted malt. A *bit* of coffee smell, but on the "sweet" end of the coffee spectrum, not harsh.

The mouthfeel is very full and rather sweet. Unlike most stouts, while there is definitely that bitter flavor characteristic of stouts, this bitterness is rather mild, resulting in a very smooth stout. And it's lightly carbonated, so you don't have much of the acidic sting from the carbonation.

Overall, a very respectable stout, one of the best that I regularly have the pleasure of drinking.

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Photo of Chas58
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler filled at Joe Canal's Iselin into my Firestone Walker Nonic Pint Glass

Appearance: Pours a jet black, almost sucks the light around it into the glass. A frothy head of two fingers grows on top an persists, leaving a nice lacing

Smell: Coffee is the first aroma that hits my nose, and as my second favorite drink, that is good. You are also aware of a Cocoa and Chocolate aroma that enters subtlety behind the initial coffee aroma. A subtle vanilla was apparent after several sips ( I do not like most vanilla, but this was well done) .

Taste: Delightful with a richness and complexity that delivers the coffee, Cocoa and some hint of hop. The taste is not sweet, this has a hop bite more reminiscent of a porter.

Mouthfeel: A very tight carbonation that accentuates the coffee and provides for a nice feel

Overall: The beer lies somewhere between stout and porter and that will delight lovers of both. I found this a nice sippable beer, but without any hint of alcohol, very quaffable. I think the complexity will satisfy the lover of Porters, and a stout drinker will clearly enjoy the richness. This is not Winter Aleor a spiced ale by any means, but a really solid hopped stout.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very tiny 1/4 inch head that did not last more than 10 seconds. Dark as night. The smell is coffee and chocolate malt, very nice. The taste is very unique. Dry, complex yet well balanced. The finish is dry with a bit of malt. I would love to try this on tap.

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Photo of Bucktron18
4.26/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A little late for a winter seasonal, but for a dollar a piece you can't go wrong.

Pours black with a good thick head that lasts. Smells of dark roasted malts and slight hints of burnt coffee. No hop aroma to speak of. Hits first with a strong roasted malt and dark roast coffee. Slight bitterness evens out the maltiness in the middle. Finishes dry with some lingering dark malt and slight roasted fruit flavors. Great mouthfeel. Light carbonation just barely tingles with each sip. Very smooth and drinkable.

Overall a very nice stout. Not to aggressive. A very good stout for someone who normally drinks lighter beers and wants to try something new.

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Photo of arlo19
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Pours black. Aroma is roasty, bitter chocolate, coffee. Taste is biscut, dry and bitter with a light mouthfeel. No booze. Aftertaste is coffee. My guess of 6% abv is close to the actual 5.7, so no surprises there but it is still balanced. Overall, this is very good and an easy drinker.

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Photo of Brad007
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It appears that this beer has been resurrected.

Color: Dark black color with one-finger head.

Aroma: Smooth and malty with coffee and vanilla overtones. A bit of chocolate as well. Pretty sweet.

Taste: Smooth and malty upfront. Oatmeal shows in the middle. Smooth and coffee-like in some ways. Some chocolate as well. Coffee shows up mainly at the back of the throat

Mouthfeel: Smooth and dry. Oatmeal and coffee in the finish. The aftertaste lingers quite a bit.

Verdict: I didn't even realize that this was supposed to be an oatmeal stout. It's not bad but not the best I've had. Still quite solid.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow, a lot of people have reviewed this beer in the past few days. Opaque black with ruby edges. Head was small but did not vanish. Appealing aroma of roasted barley, chocolate, coffee, grasses. Sharp tasting, like many of MH's brews, with a bold assertive flavor that informs the drinker, hey we are not dicking around here. Roastiness takes a while to settle in, very warming and invigorating. Some light smokiness in the background, a little bit of greasiness too but not repugnant. Hops are grassy, drying, and refresingly bitter. A perfect balance between bitter and sweet. Other reviews have talked about creaminess but I'm not getting it. I would say this is a bit slick for a stout, maybe even a little thin. Stickiness is appropriate and delightful. Each sip requires another, a very drinkable beer. An exquisite beer for a snowy winter's day.

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Photo of bgillespie
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a small tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Roasty and chocolate. Maybe a little coffee.

Taste: Malty, smokey, some chocolate and coffee. Similar to a Guinness and rivals it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and easy to drink.

Overall: I was not expecting this from Magic Hat, one of their better beers. Great taste, smooth, and easy to drink.

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

Nice opaque black colour with a tight & patchy cream/foam head. Aromas include roasted, day old coffee/coffee beans, black liquorice. Tight lively carbonation. Smooth, creamy and robust with an astringent roasted barley flavour, smoked malts, wood, black liquorice and molasses. Sweetness is mild. Hop bitterness is thin with a limey backbone that peaks and puckers for a brief moment. Dry, crisp, grain and raw on the edges of the palate. Finish brings some dryness to the mouth, as well as some lingering burnt flavours.

Dry, complex and damn tasty ... a real nice stout.

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

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle and served in a tulip pint glass. Cool looking Magic Hat label design. Freshness date is notched to be enjoyed before February 2005.

Jet black color with a nice, fluffy 1 inch tan colored head. Sticky lacings are clinging all over the sides of the glass.

Aroma of licorice, roasted coffee and molasses.

A very soft bodied stout that blends roasted malt flavors and a minor hop bitterness. Flavors of chocolate, creamy butterscotch, and roasted coffee.

This is a great stout and one beer that I am glad to see on the shelves. I didn't realize until recently that this was a Magic Hat Winter seasonal.

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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 GilGarp
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served cold into a pint glass.

Nearly black in color and with a thin layer of head, it settles quickly but leaves some nice lace on the glass.

Aroma is sweet, like milk chocolate, with a slight roasty quality.

The flavor is balanced with sweetness up front but a good dose or roasty dark malt bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated.

Overall a nice, robust, roasty stout.

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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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