Odd Notion - Chocolate Belgian Stout (Fall 2009) | Magic Hat Brewing Company

very good
112 Ratings
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Odd Notion - Chocolate Belgian Stout (Fall 2009)Odd Notion - Chocolate Belgian Stout (Fall 2009)

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-02-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 112 |  Reviews: 84
Photo of irishking1977
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Part of a mixed 12 pack:

A: Liquid tar. I don't think I've ever seen a darker liquid before. Virtually no head whatsoever. It looks like a black wine.

S: Mild dark candy sugar, malt, and a tinge of alcohol. Not too shabby.

T: Appearances can be deceiving. It has a good mixture of malty and candy sugar. There is a slight alcohol burn, But it's masked fairly well by the other flavors. Pretty good.

M: Decent carbonation, which again, is deceiving because there was virtually no head and it appeared to be either a black wine or a really dark barley wine. Regardless though, Fairly decent balance between carbonation and the few distinguishable flavors.

D: Probably not a session beer, but a few of these could get the job done. It's not nearly as filling as the appearance would suggest. Again, this is a deceitful beer. But in a good way.

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Photo of xanok
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap from the Gingerman in NYC.

A-Near jet black. Unlike most reviewers here, mine actually had decent head. Still almost no lacing.

S-Smokey and roasted malts, chocolate, yeast. Everything here smells smokey.

T-The malts are the dominant flavor here. Smokey malts. Hints of some sort of nuts as well.Tastes of caramel and chocolate in the finish. Others are saying dark fruits in the taste as well, I'm not tasting it though.

M-Medium body. Had a bit of a lasting effect inside the mouth.

D-Very good drinkability, although I don't see what makes this beer a Belgian style. I could see myself having a couple of these in a session. This one was definitely a surprise. I haven't been impressed with any of Magic Hat's offerings as of late, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

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Photo of capra12
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed solo @ the gingerman NyC

Appreance jet blac with little head whhc left no lcing

Smell: earthy with dark malts and earthy grains.

Taste: opens rather malty with dark grains and roasted malts. Which come in through the end.

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied with s slight roasted coffee on you

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Photo of hreb
2.84/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Odd Notion Fall 09 pours black, like stout, with a thin brown head that disappears quickly. Cold 12 oz bottle poured into tapered pint glass. Aroma is slightly more hoppy than appearance suggests, and sweeter/estery like either a hefeweiss (which this isn't) or a belgian dark ale (which this apparently is!).

First sip is alarmingly thin. Not "thin" like a dry stout, but more like a black lager. Smokey, and stery flavors still come, but otherwise the beer is mostly bland. Not overly carbonated, and hides the 6.2% ABV quite nicely. Still, overall I'm not impressed.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle from a variety 12 pack. Thanks to my BIL Kevin. Poured into my Adnams Imperial tumbler. BTW, this is a belgian stout, not a belgian dark, and I'll review it as such. Appears a very dark brown color letting no light pass through. The head is about two fingers tall and ecru in color. Nose and flavors consist of a slight char/smokiness, dark chocolate, roasted malt, the smokiness is more prevalent as it warms. This also brings out notes of milk chocolate and dark cherries. A quick swirl of the glass releases a huge blast of sweet cherry candy into the nose. Body seems a bit thin for the style with adequate carbonation and a slightly slick, bitter finish. Pretty tasty stuff. Check it out while it's still around.

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Photo of Winter
4.36/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a light brown head. The aroma consists of chocolate, molasses, cocoa powder and some Belgian yeast. The mouthfeel is full-bodied. This is complex and wonderful. Dark roasted malts & chocolate start things off. A hop bitterness dries things out in the middle and is carried through into the finish. Just before the finish Odd Notion reveals it's Belgian character with a unique flavor imparted from the yeast. The finish is smokey and the dark roasted malt taste comes full circle. The chocolate and smokey characteristics of this beer are really enjoyable.

This is a great rendition of Odd Notion and for a Belgian Chocolate Stout. It's different than I was expecting yet, perfect for Fall and the Halloween season. I could totally enjoy this around a fire outdoors on Halloween evening.

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Photo of jsimmons
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Motor oil. This beer has the same dark color and viscosity of used motor oil. Completely opaque, and with very little head, but some thin, filmy, dark brown bubbles that quickly dissolve back into the brew. It's not completely off-putting, but still a bit disconcerting for a beer that isn't supposed to be a stout or heavy porter.

S - Smells...Belgian. There's a certain hard-to-describe "greenness" to every Belgian brew I've ever had (from blondes to quads), and it's definitely here as well. Besides that, there's the obvious dark roasted barley, espresso, and...is that prunes?

T - Heavy, heavy roasted malt, but without the usual bready yeast notes that go along with it. Expected coffee and chocolate (but the bitter, unsweetened variety) tastes come along. There's a bitter kind of spiciness on the tongue - nutmeg or cardamom, maybe - but it's very subdued. I'm reaching here, because there's not a whole lot of deeper complexity. In that respect, it's not quite as Belgian, at least not as far as I can taste.

M - More fizziness than expected, actually. The beer is much thinner in the mouth than it looks in the glass, and there's hardly any of the stickiness one expects from a beer this consistency. The aftertaste is odd and unpleasant, though - sort of the same as coffee that has sat in the pot a little too long.

D - This is actually my second on the night, and it doesn't get to be as much of a slog to finish near the end of the glass as other beers that are this dark. It certainly makes a nice beer to sip and actually gets a little tastier as it warms up.

I have to say, all things considered, I like it. It's a pretty good beer for sipping as I write (yes, I'm taking a break from writing to write more - sue me) and it's not so alcoholic that it impedes my mental skills. I would certainly drink another one on such a quasi-productive evening.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

opaque Darkness, mocha coffee foam head, nice retention.

I'm really enjoy the sweet fruits and big malts in the aroma, red grapes, sour dates, soft and tangy with chocolate malt and a dry-sour yeast aroma that is really nice. mild heat at the end.

roastie, dark malts bitter chocolate with a dry and earthy yeast. The hops and earthy yeast adds a really nice counter-punch to the malt. both spectrums of flavor's are allowed to shine! bitter and dry effect is pretty heavy and a dense malt complexity of sour fruits and black coffee. yeah, it all works pretty well, although the chocolate malt is a bit too slick and heavy feeling, full bodied with a decent bite though.

This is a stlye bender for sure, it's a nice complex yeast but the malt comes off as too chunky for my taste.

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Photo of BeerPhan86
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was recently in Burlington for a job interview so I stopped by Magic Hat to decompress. They were bottling Howl and I was psyched to get a chance to try it early, but unfortunately the sampling keg was tapped. I did get to try this Belgian Chocolate Stout (Odd Notion) and was very impressed, so much so that I ended up getting a growler to bring back home.

A - Pours black as motor oil with a one finger medium brown head.

S - Smells like an Imperial Russian Stout to me. Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, hints of raisin and toffee. Plenty of roasted malt as well.

T - Predominantly chocolate tasting with a nice coffee undertone, and slight hop bite in the finish. Slightly burnt tasting and a bit more bitter than other stouts I have had. Definitely resembles an imperial Russian stout but lacks the high alcohol content. Very nice. Belgian yeast is also present but not dominating, a very nice touch.

M - Creamy and silky, with just the right amount of carbonation for this style.

D - Surprisingly sessionable, a somewhat lighter version of an imperial stout. I am only finishing the growler because I don't want it to spoil though, otherwise I would pace it out a bit more if I had it in bottles.

Overall, a very nice offering, and it made up for missing out on the Howl sneak preview. For a brewery that has missed more than hit with the Odd Notion series, this is a nice change of pace. Magic Hat really needs to consider getting some big beers on the market and reviving themselves, and I think a tasty stout like this would work well as a big beer. Cheers!

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Photo of dpodratsky3
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from Night of the Living Dead variety pack poured into pint glass

A: Almost black, doesn't let any light through, brown head that starts at a modest size and settles to a covering that lingers indefinitely

S: Roasted malt, although mainly the roasted note comes through, has a kind of spicy note as well something a little different, but interesting

T: Dark roasted malts, pretty much burnt, has a smokey flavor too that reminds me of that spicy aroma I got, that's really the only flavor I'm getting from this, not much flavor just a kind of burnt note almost like over-roasted coffee, a bitter/sourness almost

M: A redeeming quality along with the appearance, refreshing up front carbonation, but still fades to that over-roasted finish

D: Like the mouthfeel it starts good, but a lingering smokey/roasted/burnt note makes it difficult to drink

Notes: Interesting, and I wouldn't have expected anything less from Magic Hat and their Odd Notion. However, it is only that, a kind of novelty to me. Super roasted and burnt flavor dominate. It doesn't really remind me of a belgium in any way though.

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Photo of GrittyMug345
2.58/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz. brown bottle, best by 11/30/09 on bottle, drank 10/18/09. Vigorous pour into a tulip produced a very thin, light brown head which disappeared in moments, black body. The nose is of sweet chocolate, belgian yeast, anise, too sweet. Tastes of acrid olive brine, anise, kind of bitter and unpleasant, hints of cocoa. Thin bodied, decent carbonation. I did not find it very drinkable, it was close to a drain pour at first but got gradually better as it warmed, would not repeat.

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Photo of Buggies
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black with a thin dark tan head. Aroma is of roasted malt... nice coffee and toffee smell with a little chocolate there as well. The roasted grains come out nicely in the taste. An interesting touch of smoke too. A little bitter bite too. I taste a lot of fruit also from the yeast?

This is a good beer. Reminds me more of a stout... but the Belgian yeast adds more too it. The fruity yeasty notes come out nicely.

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Photo of ujsplace
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into an oversized pint glass.

A: Very dark, with a brown head that dissolves fairly quickly leaving little to no lacing. reminds me of an imperial stout in appearance.

S: Molasses, roasted malts, coffee, some over-ripened cherries...

T: Mildly roasted coffee, spicey hops that strike a nice balance between some of the malt sweetness. The alcohol is there, but not in your face...

M: On the lighter side of medium, but there is a wee bit too much carbonation in the mouthfeel. It would certainly be a bit better if the carbonation was dropped back a bit.

D: I think that this is another good brew from Magic Hat. Unfortunately, I did not review Odd Notion last year, but if my memory serves me correctly, that was good as well. I could definitely sit down and have a nice session with this. Caseworthy to be sure.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Chouffe tulip

Pours a viscous, used engine oil black with a brown head that rose to fill the tulip. The head fell slowly and left some mild lacing, but nothing to get too excited about.

The nose has a lot of roast. Deep roasted malt, dark belgian chocolate, molasses, raspberries, and spicy phenols. A very impressive nose. Not overly broad, but pretty deep. The layers of roast is extremely impressive.

Deep roasted coffee beans, almost charred with bitter dark chocolate. A spicy clove character seems to pop up towards the end. The finish is bitter with a touch of sweetness. Complex for sure.

The carbonation is tuned up a touch too much to really let this beer shine. A thick, creamy mouthfeel is inhibited by some fizzy bubbles. Full bodied for sure, but it lacks that truly creamy, robust mouthfeel I was hoping for.

The alcohol showed up towards the end and left a slight warming in its wake. Overall though, well hidden and drinkable for the style.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured deep brown with a tan head that left just a light bubbly ring around the glass. No lacing.

Deep rich scents of french roast coffee, light smoke, molasses, dark chocolate, and a whiff of alcohol.. Belgian Dark Ale? Really?

Nice strong flavors that blend and balance perfectly. Coffee, then some sweetness, with hints of licorice, burnt toast, and a very light sourness at the end. Alcohol is there but not in the way at all. Absolutely great.

Medium body and light carbonation make this one easy to drink. This should be a regular thing from these guys. Try this if you can.

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Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: pours viscous and black with a caramel colored head with little retention. The ale has no sign of lacing, and is opaque even when held to the light
S: the bouquet is rich with hints of coffee, oatmeal, and anise.
T: quite rich, mildly sweet with notes of chocolate, caramel, and the subtle sourness that is often associated with the use of oatmeal.
M: this ale has a full body with a slight chalky texture. The carbonation tingles the tongue as bubble form on it.
D: I was shocked that such an amazing ale came from a one-time release. I'm not typically a fan of Magic Hat's somewhat bland repertoire, but this one is exceptional. I want to mention that whoever dubbed this a Belgian dark is insane. This is a stout, and a damn fine one at that.

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Photo of deapokid
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Liquid is a dark, chocolate color with a thin, brown sugar head. It's absolutely impervious to light, like a melted Hershey's bar in a glass.

The scent of cocoa, licorice, maple syrup and a faint whiff of alcohol permeate this brew.

Wait... hold on one second! This is a f'in stout, not a Belgian dark ale. All the stout flavors are there and they hit me immediately. There's coffee bean, oatmeal, chocolate, anise, etc. As a matter of fact, this is a pretty tasty stout, taking me back to the good old days when Magic Hat still brewed the Heart of Darkness.

As for the mouth, this smooth ale softly coats the tongue on the front end, followed up with a tingly big flavor finish.

Compared to most chocolate stouts, this is actually a bit more refreshing, since the flavors never overpower the clean finish. It elegantly packs the aromas and tastes of the big boys, but with an ABV that makes it easy to take down a few.

P.S. Isn't it time to make a Belgian Stout Style category? This would fit there perfectly.

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Photo of thain709
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a deep black color...there wasn't much light coming through or even highlights...a thin tan head formed and fell rather quickly...still left some lacing

S - The nose is comprised of roasted malts...a little on the sweeter side and not burnt...chocolate and a hint of coffee

T - This is a pretty balanced taste...the malts are definitely roasted and are present throughout the whole beer...they provide a sweetness to the beer but it's not cloying...there is a mixture of molasses and chocolate...and there is almost a hint of coffee bean bitterness at the end...I picked up some dark fruits...the only Belgian part of this beer

M - Medium bodied...the beer feel short here for me...I wanted some more thickness and creaminess to it...actually pretty crisp

D - I wouldn't quite say that this one is a Belgian style ale...but it's pretty darn good for what is in the bottle...Magic Hat has a winner right here in Odd Notion Fall '09...maybe they should produce some more darker beers?

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Photo of allengarvin
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark brown color with a dark-tan head. Is that style right? This smells like stout, with chocolate and roast malt aromas. No hint of any interesting yeastiness. Lots of roastiness in the flavor as well, with a bit of cocoa. Doesn't resemble any Belgian I've ever had.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick viscous black with a small amount of tan head that fades fast and leaves little lacing. Wasn't really expecting something so dark to come from Magic Hat so this might be a treat (or trick).

Smell has a rich roasted malt aroma, some molasses and chocolate.

Taste is a lot of roasted malt, slight burnt aspect, hints of chocolate and a little larger hint of coffee and molasses, quite bitter, heavy carbonation almost cola-ish.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours Stout-like enough with a dark brown, opaque appearance. A loosely knit head gives lightly tanned foam that laces fairly and with little legging.

Very smokey for a beer that should be centered around roasted malts and spicy Belgian yeast. Malts bring a lot of roasted and char aromas and flavor with a coffee, burnt cocoa, and hazelnut hint here and there. Belgian character is slight but with light tartness of blueberries, black raspberries, and currants, and grapes.

Quite sweet and abrasive textures work to dry out in the end but can't hardly seal the deal. A lot of cola-like residual sweetness is left on the mouth's surfaces. The beer is kinda everywhere except for the focus on chocolate and Belgian traits. Smokey as hell though.

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Photo of DannyS
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours thickly; a stout-like pitch black with very little head. Despite the lack of top foam, it looks velvety smooth.

S - Roasty coffee, smoky notes, and a background aroma of dried fruit. Picked up an occasional whiff of some sort of unpleasant mustiness.

T - Very roasty bitter with a twinge of sweetness in its robust, smoky profile. A slightly sour, fruity profile begins to seep through as it warms. Does not finish dry, but the bitterness lingers.

M - Thick, smooth, and pretty fizzy. a good balance of textures.

D - The ABV is a titch high and the bitterness does stick around for a while, so it's not really a session brew, but finishing a whole glass is not difficult at all.

Overall - It's officially a Belgian ale, but seems to carry traits of stout and even rauchbier. A delicious mutt of a beer.

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Photo of chickencoop
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excited to have this, picked it up at a Whole Foods in a sample pack. Not my favorite as a whole, or comparing to their other beers, but based on other beers in this style it is solid. It's smoky, dark and smooth. Complex flavors in the mouthfeel onto the finish. This isn't the most drinkable beer, based on how heavy and rich it is, it's like eating one of those massive slices of chocolate cake at Cheesecake Factory, but the first few bites and sips are worth it.

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Photo of u2carew
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Consumed on 9/7/09
A) Opaque. Pours with dark tan head. Lacing is thin, semi-sticky.
S) Bready. Caramel. Chocolate. Light brown sugar notes. Some maple syrup below the surface.
T) Roasted grain. A mellow smokiness up front. Cocoa and coffee in the finish and lingers in the aftertaste.
M) Fizzy. Thick. Chewy. Full bodied. A lingering residue in the aftertaste.
D) Before knowing the classification - the initial thought was "a stout from Magic Hat? No way!" A very good brew.

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Photo of squirrelpirate
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Magic Hat Odd Notion Fall 09 pours a dark brown with a reddish tint and a very minimal brown head that barely coats the top of the beer. The aroma consists of molasses, cherries, nuttiness, roasted barley, and coffee notes.

Coffee, tart cherries, and chocolate come through very strongly in the taste, along with some alcohol, roastiness and sourness. An extremely pleasant blend with a slight bitterness at the end.

It has a lighter mouthfeel than you would expect and is very smooth. In between medium and full-bodied with appropriately low carbonation. This is certainly not a session beer, and therefore gets docked points for drinkability, but is very enjoyable. I want to get my hands on more of these!

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Odd Notion - Chocolate Belgian Stout (Fall 2009) from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 112 ratings.
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