Odd Notion - Participation Lager (Autumn 2008) | Magic Hat Brewing Company

61 Ratings
Odd Notion - Participation Lager (Autumn 2008)Odd Notion - Participation Lager (Autumn 2008)

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A Pre-Prohibition Lager brewed with corn.

Added by Brad007 on 08-08-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 61 |  Reviews: 50
Photo of Brad007
4.6/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is available in the new Participation 12 pack sampler from Magic Hat. I'm glad they decided to release a new Participation beer. I still remember Participation Ale from 2004 (and I still have the empty bomber!).

Color: Pours a mild golden amber color with a thin head and decent carbonation.

Aroma: Strong, sweet aroma of malt upfront with only a touch of hop bitterness in the nose. Basic.

Taste: Smooth with a decent amount of breadiness upfront. Not too sweet. Strong hint of hop bitterness in the middle and towards the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: Breadiness and hop bitterness linger on the tongue. Very nice mouthfeel, like a pale ale or IPA.

Drinkability: From what I've mentioned, this is a decent lager from Magic Hat. It's better than Mother Lager as well. I think I sampled this at the brewery before they gave it a name. It tastes better in bottle form so could be a tweaked recipe. Definitely a worthy lager and I like the fact that they took the time to put emphasis on the hops.

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Photo of becktone
4.32/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 9-9-08

Eye: Deep gold coin in color, very nice. Carbonation looks lively as it ascends to the pillowy off white head that holds strong at 3/4 of a finger. Lacing almost forms sheets along the sides of the glass, rather it forms rings-thicker in the center, thinning out at top and bottom and separated by spotty clear glass between the next ring.

Nose: A hoppy lager! It makes me happy. Hop aroma is very much akin to that of a Czech Pils, that grassy, earthy, spicy, floral aroma. Under that I get cascade hops, or at least some variety of American hop often used in APAs. Very nice hop aroma, I'm impressed with this one. Malt doesn't come through too much, this one seems more about the hops.

Tongue: Wow! This is one interesting lager. Tastes just like an APA. Grainy and husky notes make up the malt profile of this one. Hops are the same as in the aroma-mostly grassy, some woodiness, and hugely floral...however; unlike an APA there are no citrus notes from hops here. Very neutral yeast here, I don't get anything from it, very clean.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Medium light body with light and delicate carbonation that cleanses the tongue once the beer is swallowed. The beer is smooth and well rounded and has an overall round, smooth character to it. Were it not for the bottle stating that this is a lager, and the overall smoothness and roundness to it I'd think it were an ale, and APA to be exact. This is a very interesting beer, get out there and try it....its one that makes a nice session beer. Unfortunately in my locale I can only find this is mixed twelves, don't know if elsewhere its being sold in a sixer...but I'm tempted to buy the mixed 12 just of this one. Get out and try this beer, get out and vote...and don't be stupid and vote McCain, we don't need another four years of Republican stupidity, vote Obama.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.29/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

try to impress.. And you make a Mess

A. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Murky yellow with a soapy head with little craters on it. Recedes to nothing.

S. Smells of musty yeast and some grain. Reminds me of a wheat beer in the nose.

T. A very tasty macro here. In fact, possibly the most tastiest ive come accross. Let me delve into this. The first attribute I must point out is the flavor. A lovely flavor in this beer. Some sweet malts and slightly mild but citric hop character. Little to no astringency, a mild corn sweetness is barely noticable. Hints of brown sugar. Excellent.

M. On the heavy side of light bodied. Full bodied for a macro style beer. Chalky finish leaves me wanting more.

D. This is an amazing take on a macro lager. Ive had very few macros if any this good. I hope this becomes a regular release.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.15/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another Magic Hat mixed pack, another three #9s I don't really want. Glad my wife's okay with them. For the 100th time, Magic Hat: PLEASE ease off the #9 in the mixed packs. Please?? If this year's election buzzword is "change", maybe you could adhere to that too? Y'know, in the spirit of this beer?

Off the soapbox and into the glass goes MH's new Participation Lager. Produces a thick billowy head, creamy on top, slightly rocky (looks like the surface of the moon), typical lager gold with great clarity and big bubbles pushing slow toward the top.

Aroma is boiled veggies with a more musty/basement weirdness and heavier sweetness than most lagers. Some light hops too. Interesting smell, especially considering the style.

Flavor is big and juicy at first, then dries out leaving a peculiar spicy flash in the finish. Caramel, butterscotch, a smidgen of burnt sugar--or maybe brown sugar--and only the mildest hit of that metallic thing you get with many in this style, and even here it's not annoying or cloying. A certain spiciness prevails throughout, damned if I can properly nail it, but if pressed I'd fall back on cinnamon. Pretty assertive texture, not overly carbonated but just a really solid presence and relatively big feel for a lager. If we're supposed to review according to style, then I gotta give this macro lager high marks.

I'm pleasantly surprised. The flavor is completely satisfying, and it doesn't immediately make you think "Magic Hat". It's great when any brewery has its own niche flavor, but Magic Hat stuff sometimes blurs together because of the brewery's unique twist on things. This one stands on its own. I'd buy it again if I didn't have to adopt three more #9s to do it.

Under the cap: "Red Sky at Night, Sailor's Delight"

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Photo of lpayette
4.09/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to buy this cool looking variety box just to try this beer. I'm not sure what happened with the first bottle I tried because I hated it... but on my second bottle (almost a week later) I'm really enjoying it. I'm usually pretty consistent with my judgement on beer so... maybe I got a bad bottle somehow the first time around? Nope, I think I figured it out- drink this one colder. I mostly drink ales so didn't think it was a big deal to quickly throw this one in the freezer to cool off a bit before drinking. Much better cold.

Appearance- pretty clear with a bright white head. standard american lager look.

Smell- Hoppy. Almost smells like an IPA; in fact, that's probably what I would have guessed it was based on the smell alone.

Taste- Hop bite is reminiscent of HI.P.A. (which by the way I would like to lobby for replacing circus boy as an all-year beer so I can justify buying more of these variety boxes). Smooth. A little taste of corn/maize- though I might be off on that one.

Mouthfeel- puckeringly bitter. nice carbonation. a little dry just from the bitterness alone.

Drinkability- quite a turnaround from my initial impression when I apparently either had a bad bottle or just a warm one. It went from a beer that I could barely finish to one that I could easily session.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.06/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Call it a 'Get Out The vote' brew, newly released in celebration (?) of the 2008/9 election. Poured into my glass a bright, golden hue with a pure white head. Laced very well and displayed good retention too. Aromas of dry malt, yeast with hop hints underneath. Tart, crisp and clean on the tongue. Hops come forward first, then the yeast, both making it a little bitter initially. But there's a hint of sweetness in the malts that follow. Mouthfeel is very nice, semi-filling, smooth and refreshing. Delicately balanced with just the right amount of carbonation. A very good Lager overall and one of the best brews this brew produces. Respect to South Burlington.

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Photo of TheBierBand
4.02/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased this as part of a mixed 12 pack of Magic Hat offerings. Seems that this one is an urge to get the live music fans out to vote (hence: Participation). The bottle is brown with a red, white and blue label. Freshness date notched: "Enjoy by end of month notched": Dec. '08.... I'm about 20 days late on this... but here goes:

Poured into the pint glass to form a 1" head of semi-dense, pure white foam. The beer itself is just a touch hazy... and a light orangy yellow. A touch darker than your run-of-the-mill macro lager.

Smell: This beer has a much more pronounced smell than an average macro. You can pick up a grassy scent like fresh mown hay and a hint of sweetness... very nice.

Taste: So much better than the "STANDARDS" of this category. Much more flavor. Starts with a little sweetness from the malt but it quickly fades to a bitter, grassy bite from the hops. This is not my favorite style of beer, but it is GREAT when compared to Bud or any of the other macros that exhibit a marked absence of flavor. The beer has a lingering hops aftertaste.

MF: Nice.... a lot more body and a bit of creaminess. So much better than the "norm" for this style.

Drinkability: OK... if you're looking for an easy beer to drink.... this is good. This is what the macros should aspire to. This would be a good "cross-over" beer for someone to try to get them interested in craft beer. Not my favorite style... but a good beer none-the-less.

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Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by November "08:

Part of Autumn '08 variety pack (though I got as a single from a friend):

Pours hazed golden with a thin, but lasting, white head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is grainy and grassy with floral and citric notes.

The taste is of lightly carmelized graininess with a lime-like citrus backing. There's a touch of apricot with a grassy/floral bitterness in the finish. Pretty hoppy.

It's on the lighter side of medium-bodied with a smooth creaminess.

Quite a bit of subtle complexities for a lager, with a nice bitterish finish. I would certainly pick up a 6-pack of this if it were available that way!

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Photo of iceball585
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pale yellow color, semi-cloudy, white thin fluffy layer that faded to a thin ring

S- Corn, toasted grains, pale malts, citrus, light hops

T- Pale malts, corn, lemons, earthy hops bite near the end

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth, crisp, slightly dry finish

D- Definitely worth buying again

I really wish they would brew this one more than once every 4 years. Pick up some before it's all gone.

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Photo of therica
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice promo-beer for the 2008 US Elections which I hope they continue.

A= golden yellow, foamy head when poured which dissipates into pooling and tracss of lacing.

S= nice hops and malts, slight scent of tangerine.

T= mild hops bitters, rich yet not too bold malts, mild carbonation, very nice standard Lager which is a head above US macro's. Tangerine taste present and in the finish, also seems to contribute some citrus-skin tartness to the bitters. Would make a great dinner beer or standard decent stock swill. Mildly noteable, most likely their goal for an affordable micro.

M= mild bitters present from start to finish and lingering, with slight sweetness and malts on the tongue.

D= very drinkable, any time, any quantity

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Photo of jeffmonarch
3.96/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Golden yellow with a thick white head.

S - Sweet malty smell. Light fruit.

T - Wow! There is a lot of hops. I was not expecting this much hops. This could pass as a Pale Ale not a Lager. It's good but I find it hard to believe that this is a Lager.

M - Light bodied with good carbonation.

D - I really like this beer but again, is this not an Pale Ale?

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.87/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

AN interesting beer for sure.. this was part of the summer seasonal mixed 12 pack on clearance (only $6.99 and it's best by date is January '09!!!)

Tastes like an American Pale Ale to me.. not sure if putting it in the same style category as Bud/Coors/Busch does it justice. Pretty hoppy and very drinkable, also pours very cloudy which is kinda interesting. Smooth and enjoyable, would definitely have again.

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Photo of kels
3.86/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a 3 oz sample of this in a tiny little cup at the 2008 Fries Cafe BeerFest in Clifton.

Appearance: The most notable thing about this beer is the tall, frothy, creamy white head. It's so thick and fluffy that it almost looks marshmallowy. The color of the beer is a light golden. Light lacing is left behind as I drink.

Smell: The smell is hard to detect despite the gigantic head - light grainy scent.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The contrast of the creamy head and the light, crisp liquid is really enjoyable. It adds depth the the well-carbonated beer. At first this tastes like a pretty typical lager enhanced by a spicy hop note. The more I have though, the better it gets. The aftertaste is very good and well-balanced with a slight maltiness evening out the hoppiness. The aftertaste also holds nicely for a little while, which is the reason I think it tastes better as it goes.

Drinkability: Very high - could definitely drink several of these.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy golden orange. Looks like a hefe. Ha, leave it to Magic Hat and their "elixirs"...a marco style lager that looks like a german hefe. Dirty white head graces the surface and drops sporadic patches of lace behind. Aroma is sweet and slightly grainy. Cereal grains type of feel on the nose. Spicy taste to it. I get the feel that some extra element was added to this potion. Ginger?? In any case, it's a flavorful beer with hints of weizen and lager. Peppery and herbal. Doughy malts. A soft lingering bitterness. Meidium bodied and fairly spritzy with the carbonation. This is certainly an agreeable beer.

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Photo of Gehrig
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly clear medium gold body with a thick finger of off-white head. Traces of lacing and little head duration deprive Participation Lager of a better score. Modest whiffs of malt and bitter hops confront the nose; decent but very straightforward aroma.

The taste represents an improvement over the first impression categories, nicely balancing smooth malt with the moderate hop bite. Hops emerge early and much more in the finish. I like the malt taste and texture, more complex than the pedestrian, sweet corn malt that characterizes so many macros. This has hints of caramel and a slight toffee taste. It should be bolder in malt content, aroma and taste, but it's on the whole fairly good.

This is not a knock-your-socks-off lager, far from it. Yet it is fairly solid if unspectacular, smooth and enjoyable. It lacks a Wow! factor, but won't offend either. Worthy.

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Photo of pwoods
3.84/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a decent sized sample at the Clifton Beerfest at Fries Cafe.

A: Light amber pour. Nice head, thick and creamy, pearl white. Great retention and decent lacing.

S: Grainy lager aroma. Light floral hops. Not much.

T/M: Tastes close to a Vienna lager with Munich malts and a healthy dose of hops. It's similar to Smooth Hoperator but much lighter. Good citrus notes, mostly lemon. Reasonable bitterness level.. especially for Magic Hat(and a lager). Medium light bodied with smoothing carbonation.

D: Easy to drink and pretty interesting.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep gold color with a white head that dies down, but clings to the glass. Mild aroma of clean malt and faint hops. The flavor trades off slight sulfur, soapy hops, and grassy notes. I wish the flavors would stay in place here - sort of take a place in line and wait their turn; only because it's a lager I guess. On the lighter side of medium bodied, and the hops persist on the finish. This is a pretty good effort from a brewery I periodically malign.

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Photo of FuzzyGuy84
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a shaker pint

A - Golden color with a splash of orange, a little darker than an average lager. Light head with good retention. Medium carbonation. Slightly cloudy.

S - Bright, clean aroma. Slightly sweet with a good hint of malt.

T - There's a lot of flavor in this beer. Roasted malt flavor comes through very strong, almost a bit much for me. Very clean though with an excellent finish. Certainly above average.

MF/D - This is a well made beer that is perfectly drinkable. I think with some tweaking and cleaning up Magic Hat could make this a year round. It's a bit too bitter to be a perfect lawnmower beer, but it's close.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.77/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow, tinge of orange.

Smell has a strong bready aroma, malty, slight citrus presence as well as some yeast, certainly more interesting than most macro lagers in the smell department.

Taste is light and crisp, malty with a bready/yeasty aftertaste, almost surprises me since this doesn't quite taste like a macro lager.

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Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date notched. Under the cap reads "Enjoy a Heart, it's A Work of Art." Not sure what that means but I did eat some chicken hearts at a Brazillian BBQ joint. As for the theme, politics and beer should never meet though being a neutral point of telling you to get off your ass and vote comes across well.

Pale yellowish golden color, decent frothing with some sticky lace on the glass. Sweet grainy malt meets a mildly pungent grassy hop in the nose. Just enough crispness to get by, moderate sized body. The malt kicks things off with a toasted husky flavor then quickly lets the light but rough edged corn flavor and finially the hops jump on with a grassy note that just does not want to leave. Finishes dry with lingering grain and hops.

I dig this beer a lot, not as clean as your typical retro lager and not as drinkable either ... it makes up for all of that with the amount of flavor that is throw at the taste buds.

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Photo of scifan
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A great beer from Magic Hat. Picked it up in a variety pack wish you could find it in a sixer. Get some malt and lots of hops with the nose. very nice. Don't know if this is an adjective but smells very magic hatish. Taste is much like the smell. Malt at first then the hops hit you to balance it out, again has that signature magic hat taste to me. Enjoyed this lager and I am normally an ale man.

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Photo of almychristopher
3.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this beer doesn't look much like a macro lager, it pours a cloudy golden yellow color with a frothy off white head that recedes to patchy lace. much prettier than any macro lager I've seen. the smell is good with a bit of sweet malt and hops to compliment the decent lager aroma. the taste is nothing to write home about, a bit of sweet malt up front, and some floral hop bitterness at the end, nice crisp carbonation, but a bit heavier than you'd expect. the beer's decent, but i'm glad it's the seasonal.

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Photo of glid02
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a mixed sixer from Whole Foods on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a clear gold color with a one-finger white head. The head dissipates quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Not much as far as lacing.

Smells of grass and sweet malt with a small amount of floral hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet malts up front with a slight grassy flavor. The hops come through a bit at the end with a small amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness and active carbonation that makes this go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I wouldn't want a drink a whole lot of these but one is pretty refreshing.

Overall this is a pretty solid lager in my book, nothing overly exciting but pretty well done. Worth a shot.

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Photo of williamherbert
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Glowing golden color. Huge puffy white head. Hazy, not clear. Lots of upfloating tiny bubbles. Good frosty lace.

Crisp lager smell, with lots of real barley. Some woody, oaky East Coast hops. So competent you'd think it's an ale.

The taste of the hops have seriously oily pine, like a friggin' Christmas tree. Sharp and pungent. Malt is overwhelmed. Could use more balance. Hops are really heavy, bitter.

The feel is fizzy but creamy. Not the thin lager I'm used to. It's a hoppy lager, could be a pils with different hops. A piney, creamy lager. Malt is overshadowed, but it's a real lager.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not real sure about the characterization for this beer. It seems to have a strong pilsner malt backbone similar to a German Lager or Bohemian Pilsner- not with the emptiness that rice or corn riddeled American Micros have. So the beer fares pretty well with me. A strong straw color with a mild haze, froathy white head that endured the session. Aromas of pilsner malts are overtaken by American hops-- I generally think that pilsner-type beers are under hopped anyway. Flowery and perfumy with the hop character with a mild citrus note and agressive bitterness. A touch of sulfer and vegitalbes come through as the beer warms, but didn't seem to deter too much from the taste. Firm in the body with a crisp hop finish. A fairly good beer that seemed to come out one season too late.

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Odd Notion - Participation Lager (Autumn 2008) from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.5 out of 5 based on 61 ratings.
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