#9 | Magic Hat Brewing Company

1,692 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A beer cloaked in secrecy. An ale whose mysterious and unusual palate will swirl across your tongue and ask more questions than it answers. A sort of dry, crisp, refreshing, not-quite pale ale. #9 is really impossible to describe because there's never been anything else quite like it.

20 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-09-1998

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Reviews: 1,692 | Ratings: 5,655
Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.15/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

On-tap at The Celtic Pub in Pawtucket, RI served in a US tumbler glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a little bit of lace on the glass.

S: Heavy fruitiness in the smell (apricot & berries) along with a background of hops and malt.

T: The fruitiness that you get in the smell hits you as soon as you get the beer in your mouth. It overpowers what little hops and malt characters exist in it. It does leave a bitter after-taste, but not the hops-style of bitter that is typically welcome.

M: Very crisp, light-to-medium body, high carbonation, dry finish.

D: It’s light and although the flavor is different, it’s strong enough to make it tasty, but to be perfectly honest; I don’t think I could drink more than one of these. I just didn’t like the flavor enough to stay with it.

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Photo of mactrail
4.01/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not much head but a rather rich mouthful. Malt is full flavored, with a hint of roasted barley, but more biscuity. Flowery, with a taste of sweet orange. Touch of brambly berry with a tangy taste. Nice malty note is the best feature. Very unassuming but one of the more pleasant lagers I've had this summer.

On tap in Manyunk, Pennsylvania at Raven Hill.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.17/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

First had: on tap at Casey's, Newtown Square, PA

It took me a while to finally sample Magic Hat. I didn't even know that #9--their flagship brew--was a fruit beer, specifically, an apricot beer. And I didn't care for it much.

Pours a clear golden-yellow with a quickly dissipating head and moderate carbonation. Aroma is light, with pale malts and fruit on the nose. Light, grainy malt taste, with dilute apricot and a sugary quality. A small hop bite towards the end and some bitter aftertaste. Light bodied and somewhat drinkable, but not really my style at all.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Jet Rock Bar and Grill at LGA (New York)

A: Pours a crystal clear pale golden yellow with lots of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall bright white head that reduces by about 50% but has pretty good retention. Light to moderate amounts of lacing is observed.

S: Some floral and very light grassy hop notes behind a fruity (possibly apricot) aroma.

T: Sweet and slightly fruity upfront with a lot of apricot hints followed by some light bitterness in the finish. The hop flavor could be described as lightly floral.

M: Light to medium bodied with high amounts of carbonation.

O: This is a beer I had very fond memories about from college but unfortunately my palate has changed/matured since then... Still a good beer for a very warm spring afternoon and very refreshing but not as good as remembered. Likely one I will still grab in the future.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear, yellow body with a small, fizzy, white head. Some splotchy lacing on the way down.

Smell: Light pale malt scent with some citrus and yes, even some apricot.

Taste: More of that light pale maltiness, somewhat grainy, and with a medium level of sweetness. Fruity citrus and apricot arrive simultaneously. Medium hop bitterness. Watery, lightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation. A tad watery.

Drinkability: The ladies flanking me at the bar really dug it. A true gulper, if only to get to the next beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.63/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

"... number nine... number nine...
number nine... number nine..."

--from 'Revolution 9' on The Beatles (The White Album)

Light, bright orangish amber beneath a fluffyfirm head of yellowed bone white. The cap is more stubborn than it looks like it'll be immediately after the pour and leaves meandering chunks of soap sudsy foam as it slowly deflates.

The beer smells a little soapy too, like apricot-scented hand cream. Okay, it isn't quite that bad. Let's call it floral and apricot fruity, that's more of a beer-related description. The nose is interesting without being all that appealing.

This isn't my kind of beer. Like the nose, it's still floral and semi-soapy on the palate. Part of the problem is that #9 is, as the brewery describes it, a 'not quite pale ale'. Translation: the hop content is 'not quite' what it should be in order to end up with good beer.

It tastes insipid to me; there's isn't enough malt and there aren't enough hops. What's left? Answer: fresh apricots sprinkled with shavings of Irish Spring. That may (repeat, may) be overstating the case to some degree since the beer is still somewhat drinkable. The body and the mouthfeel are no help at all. Thin and wimpily carbonated just doesn't cut it.

I'm confident that the other bottles from this brewery that currently reside in my basement will be more to my liking (thanks far333). As far as #9 goes, my feeling is that Magic Hat should plunge their (collective) hand back into their magic hat and pull out a rabbit with balls next time.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.2/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes.

A: Pours clear orange/amber color with a foamy white head that fades quickly, leaving behind little bits of thin lacing.

S: Can smell the apricot right away and a little bit of sugar. A little bit of grainy malt.

T: The fruit flavor comes forward again, and masks any sort of malt or hop flavors.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp and easy drinking.

O: I remember when this was a go to beer, years ago. Now, it just doesn't excite me. I can see why people who "don't like beer" gravitate towards it though.

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Photo of russpowell
3.52/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured bronze with one finger of white head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Fruity, mostly apricot

T: Fruitty & jammy with a little bit of citric hops up front. Finishes with a bit of hop snap & apricot jam

MF:Medium-bodied with lively carbonation & good balance

Drinks fairly easy, just too damn fruitty for me. Liked it much more than the 1st time I tried it though. A decent enough fruit beer

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Could not believe I have never drank this one before. Anyway, I decided to order it up at the Saucer tonight. Served in a pint glass. THis one was consumed on 09/07/2008.

The pour was very light peach colored amber. A light haze was enveloped around it, but not terribly cloudy. A nice sized head of maybe an inch and a half came up over the top and settled down gradually, eventually leaving behind nothing in its wake. Loads of carbonation though could be seen streaming up from the bottom of the glass throughout the session.

The aroma was light and very fruity. Much more then I thought it would be to be honest. Lots of light grain, peach, apricot and various other notes along the lines. Not really picking up many hops in here, neither in the flavor. Took a sip and could have sworn this was like a lindemans or something. Lots of light sweet peach and apricot notes. Some light grains and a touch of yeast. Very light body, almost water like in its thinness. Lots of carbonation as well with tons of bubbles just rippling up toward the surface and keeping it the consistency of seltzer almost. Easily sessionable, though a bit too fruity to throw down too much of it.

Overall not bad, for a flagship I would say ehh though. I was not really missing too much holding out for this one, though not horrible, just way too fruity and one sided for me.

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Photo of billab914
3.23/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Surly pint glass. It poured a darker golden, slightly amber color with a modest white head to it.

The aroma shows a lot of grainy flavors to it along with a fruity, apricot like flavor.

The taste shows a little more of a maltiness to it. I get a little caramel along with the grainy flavor. Like the aroma, the apricot flavor is there giving it a little fruitiness. A little balancing bitterness is present as well in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is light and carbonation is a little above average. Drinkability is average, it's light and goes down easy but just doesn't do it for me in the flavor department. Not a bad beer but not a great one either.

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Photo of smcolw
3.36/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Golden in color, slightly cloudy, gorgeous head with tight thick lace.

Mild malt sweetness is the basic aroma. There's a touch of hops but it is also very mild.

Very fruity flavor, like grape juice. Slight wheat flavor along with a balancing hop. Watery with a quickly fading finish. Not bad, quite interesting. Probably would be good on a summer's afternoon

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Photo of Jason
2.56/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date on the back label. Under the cap reads "Don't Pick Your Nose When It Shows". Meaning go to the bathroom and take care of business so no one has to see you digging for gold.

Solid two fingers of head, slightly hazed golden yellow color. Smells of a apricot hard candy and buttered biscuits. Smoothness and crispness I would expect for an English Pale Ale light to medium body ... lighter than I remember. Fruity with obvious fruit flavorings added, dry maltiness is a bit flat and the hops are very modest. Finishes Semi-dry with a feigned sweetness from the fruit flavoring.

So here we have the infamous #9, a beer that took Boston by storm many years ago. Its simply a plain English Pale Ale with flavorings. It was probably the bomb back in the day but now it just does not cut it for me anymore.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.46/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

On tap at Barney's Beanery in Pasadena.

A: #9 is a cloudy light amber color with a fluffy white head that doesn't leave much, if any, lacing in the glass.

S: The smell is incredibly sweet, and not necessarily in a good way. A lot of artificial fruit smell, mostly apricot.

T: The taste is all fake, sugary, candy-sweet apricot. There are probably some other flavors in there, but the aforementioned "quality" is just overbearing.

M: The mouthfeel is surprisingly decent. The body is medium and there is moderate carbonation.

D: This is one of the least drinkable beers I've ever had. It's just so sickeningly sweet that I tried mixing a bit of Stone IPA in it to make it a bit more palatable. I finally just gave up and drank the IPA instead.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.11/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From 4/9/10 notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a straw/golden color with one finger of white head with little retention. Light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus fruits, tropical fruits, and hints of sourness and malts.

t - Taste is again fruit. Some citrus and tropical fruit flavors, and some hops/bitterness on the end.

m - High carbonation and light to medium body.

d - This is one of my girlfriend's favorite beers, but doesn't do it for me. It's easy to drinkg and you could have a few of them, but I wouldn't really want to.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.63/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Man, I'm startin' to dig the discount beer area at a local Whole Foods: I can pick up a brew I've heard a lot about without paying very much. If only more stores did this. This guy pours a mostly clear pale-ish straw topped by about a finger or so of white micro-foam. The nose comprises peaches, wheat, rice, very light toffee, and a smattering of florals. Something akin to a medicinal scent creeps in on the borders, making things seem a bit off. The taste brings this medicine in in the form of an aspirin-like flavor, which ends up dominating things, forcing the apricot, wheat, and hoppy florals to the back (relatively speaking, anyway). The body is pretty light, with an strong moderate carbonation and a fairly crisp finish. Overall, something went wrong here. The fruit dies on the tongue, allowing the aspirin to usurp. It's almost as if they gave up on this one.

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Photo of woodychandler
2.88/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

CAN you believe that I am only the 3rd to review # 9 in a CAN?!? Also, # 9 = # 499. Today's review brought to you by PBS' The Count, who also wants you to give props to the #'s 27 and 81. I personally CAN't believe any of this nonsense.

This was a gift from an Altoona-area distributor in return for my picture. I got the better end of the bargain, IMHO.

From the CAN: "Not quite Pale Ale"; "Ale with Natural Flavor"; "Drink Me". As to that last, what are we, "Alas in Wonderland"? Woe is me!

Unlike that silly little wench, I would NEVER drink and unknown quantity directly from the bottle or CAN. Always decant when possible and take note of off-colors or smells. The Crack & Glug produced just over a finger of thick, eggshell-white head with good retention. Color was a deep, coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was simply redolent with apricots. Apricots?!? WTF?!? I drank some and suddenly, I was shrunken to the point that I could no longer reach the keyboard. Fortunately, Mr. Johnson does not shrink, even in freezing water, and he helped in typing out the remainder of this review. All hail Mr. Johnson! Mouhtfeel was medium with a very apricot-forward flavor on the tongue. Here is where it might help to like the flavor of apricots. For me, a little CAN go a long way. Finish left me wondering whether I had drunk a beer or eaten some preserves. If that is the choice, I will go back to sumo wrestling.

I am not changing anything WRT my original CAN review, but today is Thursday, 17 July 2014. I am now committed to reducing, if not eradicating, my backlog of bottles. This one was part of a local, in-person trade with tone77.

From the bottle: "The ancient ritual of brewing a distinctly rich and flavorful beer is a performance to behold. Our mysterious melange of time-honored ingredients harmonize with chaotic chemistry, humble patience and blind faith to create this unique beer to share in the rousing company of kindred spirits. Cheers!"; "not quite Pale Ale"; "a performance in every bottle".

I used a rousing pour to rouse the beer since it is very early in the morning (0452, local, EDT) and I wanted to make sure that it is as awake as I am. The pseudo-cascade gave way to a finger of yellowish head with decent retention that slowly fell to wisps. Color was a slightly hazy golden-yellow (SRM = > 5, < 7). Nose smelled like apricot preserves and once more, I was thankful for older parents and older grandparents. Both of my grandmothers could cook and both had their own gardens so canning was a frequent activity. Believe me when I say that I know the scent of apricot preserves. Mouthfeel was thin but effervescent. The nose just does not translate to the taste. Yes, it tasted of apricots, but in a small, muted way that struck me as being boring. I hate to say that, but it just lacked any Ooomph! and when I have recently tried other apricot-laced beers that did not lack for flavor, I can only shake my head at this one's popularity. Finish was semi-sweet, perfumey, actually. Meh.

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Photo of stakem
2.96/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, slightly orangish-yellow color with 2 fingers of white "big bubbles" head. Leaves spotty lacing about the glass. Aroma has a strange fruit (apriocot) sweetness mixed in with malt. Taste follows suite with the malty apricot-like sweetness playing out most of the flavor profile. Upfront there is a bit of hop bitterness and the finish has a lingering taste of apricot. Not a whole lot of carb despite the big head initially produced. Feel is quite thin. Bottle reads: "not quite pale ale" and I guess I have to agree with it. This definately isn't something I would go after if I was in the mood for a pale ale. It's an interesting beverage but not something I would drink again. I am trying to be fair with this review despite my dislike of apricot and apricot seems to be the center of attention in this beer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper almost apricot tone with a nice sized full creamy off white head that leaves bountiful amounts of scattered lacing around my pint. Bottle says brewed with the essence of apricot this is pretty accurate for the aroma in my opinion, there's just a touch in the aroma along with a nut caramel malt character not really detecting any hoppage. Flavor of this beer has a little more apricot coming through then in the aroma but really blends together with a nut character in the taste, nothing expectacular but an easy drinking fruit beer. Mouthfeel is a bit thin but there is some slight syrup textures going on here. Not a milestone go to but a drinkable beer that hit the spot tonight.

Under the cap: "Have 3. Gotta Pee". All I can say is don't break the seal man.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.45/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought the 12 pack because I wanted to try the Odd Notion that they only sell in there, so what the hell I'll review their apricot beer. Pours a clear golden color with a creamy white head that dissipates quickly but does leave some nice lace on the way down. Smells of sweet bready malts, apricot, and some other sweet fruits, maybe a hint of raspberry. Taste is slightly tart and sweet. I get some light sweet fruits, a little bread, some light brown sugar. Carbonation is medium to high, mouthfeel is watery bordering on sticky, body is medium to light. Really not as bad as I remember. I wish I could taste some hops in here, and no apricot, but I kind of enjoyed this one a little.

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Photo of tdm168
3.48/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orangish amber with 1/2" of dense, foamy head. Nice retention. Intense apricot aroma in the nose. The taste is sweet apricots up front with some bready malts in the finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied, smooth, and crisp.

This is a decent fruit beer if you're into apricots. Overall, though this is a one dimensional beer with little complexity.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.79/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From Notes of a Recent Beer Tasing Party.

Magic Hat #9 was clear light amber with thin white head. The nose was quite pleasent...wonderful notes of peach and apricot. The taste was decent is a little sweet, certainly could taste the citrus and floral hints. The mouthfeel is tough to gauge, this beer is a situational beer...meaning that you need to have right situation to really enjoy the beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
2.25/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head Ale glass.

Barely a finger of simple white head is made, not too soapy, has a little bit of puck staying power. Body color is a very clear copper bronze, some mix of rising thin carbonation coming up some slow some fast, but most of it is pretty small. Looks like a brew, but sort of half dead.

A real odd grainy, weird fruit, and smell of bile on this. The vomit smell really starts to dominate. Hints of weird somewhat sweet beet/root vegetables also. Not attractive.

Surprisingly the palate comes off as really neutral and muted. Wetness is what feel primarily, very watery. Fruit hints come out some sort of candy fruit, but I can barely taste it. Watery malt, there is practically no depth to this beer at all.

Overall what strikes me isn't that it necessarily tastes bad, it's just flavorless and there's nothing going on. Time to move on, even for a fruit brew this isn't really delivering.

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Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at The Fox and the Hound in Edison, NJ.

Pours copper with nice head that diminishes and sticks around.

The smell is of soft apricot.

The taste is of soft apricot - not overwhelming - but present. A sweet maltiness gives it some body with a hint of balancing, bitter, earthy hops in the finish. Fresh apricot remains, but not strong.

I had this a while back and wasn't so impressed. Glad that I started off with this while watching the football games. Easy to drink and refreshing. This is rated according to style (as it should be)- Can't see myself getting this with any regularity, but for an American fruit beer, it holds up well.

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Photo of Billolick
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale amber, white head, leaving a bit o' lace. mild hop/fruit/apricot/apple aroma. Decent malt backbone, moderatly hopped. Noticable apricot flavoring. All in all a decent ale, nothing too exciting. decent complexity and enough subtle flavors going on to make this one worth giving a try if not seeking out.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A confusing label here. "not quite pale ale" What does that mean? "natural flavor added" Which ones? If you "read" the psychedlic/op-art label, you'll find the image of an apricot. I still don't know why it's called #9..
Peachy color, with a short, white head. Aroma is the very essence of apricots! I read that it's "a pale ale with a spritz of apricot essence." Some spritz! That's the cheif aromatic, and flavor, but, I don't mind, I love apricots! Texture is full and welcome. Light body, good hop play on the palate, but very little bitterness. Malt is in adequate supply. A very tasty , bright, delicious ale, that I enjoyed.
However, my curiousity was originally piqued by an article in All About Beer, which quoted Magic Hat president Alan Newman saying, "I can look people in the eye and tell them 'you'll never have another beer like this!'" Well, I have, it was called Pyramid Apricot Ale! Or maybe Pyramid doesn't get to Vermont?
Thanks to purplehops and UncleJimbo for the trades.

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#9 from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.4 out of 5 based on 5,655 ratings.
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