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

50 Reviews
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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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 61
Photo of tempest
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pulled out of a variety case.

Well if Magic Hat set out to make a craft-brewed macro-style lager (and I think they have), they succeeded. The aroma has pale barley and cooked corn, while the flavor has a bit of yeast-driven sweetness and light bready malts. The flavor is full, the body is still thin enough to make this a throwback beer, and it's clearly an adjunct lager. I guess it's good beer. I might say it's like PBR, but cleaner. You can really taste the ingredients here.

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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 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 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 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 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 soupyman10
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got it out of a MH taster a friend picked up for the debate (seemed appropriate to be drinking a beer with Uncle Sam on it). I will say it was better than I expected, although that's not really a hugely ringing endorsement. Not terrible to look at, although the head was weak and there was no lacing. Aromas were light and malty. Flavor's are really fruity - I got a fair bit of apricot and some citrus in there (and there was an occasional, off, peanut butter flavor as well - it fortunately only peaked through every once in a while). Body was medium, good carbonation. Overall, not too bad, and an easy one for drinking.

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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 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 semihobo
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from the fall participation 12-pack.

Body is a nice hazy straw color, pours with a petite white head that is dense and has average staying power.

Smells of corn and (even though the website lists Columbus hops) fresh noble hops.

Taste is very crisp, herbal hops, with a firm, dry malt base. I believe the 35 IBUs. Slightly ashy with some pepper. Finish is very clean with lingering bitterness.

Thick mouthfeel for the style, the syrupy body and prickly carbonation complement the hops.

I don't know why they added corn, but this is pretty interesting. The hops profile makes this worth tasting, although I'd prefer more a little more sweetness and don't really feel like another one. A hoppy macro lager?

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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 ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, orangey-gold body with a bubbly white head, but it soon departs.

Smell: Pale malt aroma with a distinct scent of floral, spicy hops. Distant note of fruit in the background.

Taste: Pale malts with a light hint of toasted grains. A single, solitary drop of honey provides some sweetness. Spicy, floral Saaz hops with a medium bitterness that holds beyond the finish, even. Finishes dry and quite crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Potentially in the pocket of Big Bitterness, the Participation Lager makes as much sense as picking Palin as a running mate.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into pilsner glass.

A - Yellow/golden with a slight haze, darker than most similar lagers. A half inch of head rises and falls quickly, leaving nothing. No lace.

S - Bready, biscuity malt provides the backbone for a huge spicy, grassy hop aroma. Nothing amazing but not bad either.

T - This brew feels like some kind of hybrid between a decent macro lager, an all malt lager, and a bit of German pils. The malt and corn has a very mild, but unique sweetness, likely a direct result of corn being used. Mid to late palate the brew bitters up a little bit, with an indistinct spiciness and slight herbal quality from the hops. Aftertaste is bready and slightly bitter.

M - Lots of carbonation, but not overdone like the typical BMC product. Body is approaching medium.

D - These flavors (or lack of) coupled with a bigger beer character and level of quality aren't my thing; it's an inbetween that I'm not likely to ever crave. Either I need the pale fizzy or I need something altogether different. Still a good beer, but not something I'd seek out again.

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Photo of wedge
2.86/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

"It's trippy to be a hippie"

Pours yellow with a slight bit of haze and a sticky, frothy head. Sweet corn and veggie aroma with some dry grain and yeast...not the best smelling thing in the world, but acceptable for what it is. Husky grain and rough, spicy hop flavor. A touch of metal. Not really my cup of tea to be honest...it's kind of funky. Crisp, dry, and not watery.

Average in most aspects, but it's not something I'd ever vote for.

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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 ATLbeerDog
2.05/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

From a bottle - Pours a light clear pale with a small almost non existent head. Smells of some spices and light malt. First sip is surprisingly bitter in Hillary sort of way. Very light bodied... has the backbone of a John Edwards. Not worthy of my vote.

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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 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 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 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 windigo32
2.41/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Pours a light amber with roughly a one finger head. There are many strings of fine bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

S: Smells lightly of grain and malt with a slight floral hint to it.

T: There is a background of malt, but there is a dominating hops bitterness to the taste. The bitterness is very pronounced in the aftertaste as well.

M: Feels light and a bit airy from the carbonation.

D: I'm generally a lager fan, but the bitterness from the hops was a bit much for me. One and I was done. If you're a fan of hops, this would be a good beer for you.

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