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Chaotic Chemistry | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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Chaotic ChemistryChaotic Chemistry
84 Ratings
Chaotic ChemistryChaotic Chemistry

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Infused with the copper glow of more than 1,000 setting suns. This exceptional offering had infinite body ... a big, sweet malty tumult followed by a long, balanced, hop symphony.

50 IBU

Added by paceyourself on 12-29-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 84 |  Reviews: 73
Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of BlissJunkie
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of cnwillis31
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of woosterbill
2.88/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle of Batch 2, poured into a 25cl Duvel tulip. Really glad I finally got to try this after hearing Hopstoopid120 and Knifestyles go on and on about it for so long. Too bad this bottle as a dud.

A: Hazy deep amber body under a wispy off-white head. Ok.

S: Old, over-aged, and disappointing. Toffee, plastic, must, and boringness.

T: Follows the nose. Toffee, caramel, must, and cracker. At least the plastic doesn't come through.

M: A little thin, a little watery. Not great.

O: This one didn't hold up at all. Pity.


 540 characters

Photo of beerpadawan
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of rangr514
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of GuidedByBill
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of jfcaa193
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of Turbodog666
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes, bottle sent by bill that I aged gracefully for over a year and poured into a snifter.

dark brown color with some light highlights of orange and red around the edges. Small off white head rises up and settles quickly with only minimal lacing and a bare top is left after only a few minutes. Aroma is rich, caramel, toffee, light hops and hints of oak all coming through fairly easily. Nice balance here but not getting that overwhelming barrel aged aroma I was hoping for. Warming does not do much now either as it just seems to bring in more of the hop and hints of boozy alcohol. Light carbonation masks the medium body and leaves the flavor to work its magic now. Smooth, even malts are stealing the show. Rich caramel and earthy tones round out a lightly hot flavor. Almost a popcorn like flavor coming through for me mid palate, buttery and creamy with a boozy finish

 893 characters

Photo of Kshock
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Awesome deep red/ brown color. no carb at all, completely flat.

S- Great aroma of caramel sweetness and bourbon.

T- Super sweet up front but subsides quickly. Great finish on the palate. Lots of bourbon qualities to it, but not nearly as hot as the nose leads on.

M- Light bodied, with a little syrupy quality but not in a bad way, gives it some body to it.

O- Really good beer, lucky to try it. this beer was brewed the year i was in my sophomore year of high school and released the year i graduated (2004). Im now 25 and drinking this. kickass!

 554 characters

Photo of far333
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 1
Bottle 385
Bottled 11/12/02
Aged 36 months in bourbon casks
Bottle conditioned

Purchased at the brewery many years ago from the inaugural batch. Approached this with some trepidation as I've never aged anything this long. Cork is in great shape, pronounced pop as the cork releases, and a wisp of steam rises up.

Golden orange, brassy color with a firm head of orangey-beige foam that settles out to soapy bubbles. Low aroma of citrus and honey.

Flavors of honey and orange rind, boozey bourbon/brandy notes, some Grand Marnier mixed with vanilla and woody flavors, some low mint and grassy nuances. More like a sipping liqueur than a beer.

Low carbonation, slightly watery mouthfeel, but finishes tannic. Slight warming feeling and vapors rising up the back of the nose. Interesting beer, not high drinkability because it's really a sipper and not for everyday, but a nice after dinner drink with friends.

 918 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ditmier I think has been saving this one for a while... Thanks Eric!! Never thought I would get a chance to try this one... especially an old bottle.

This is the cool shaped bottle.... bottled on 11/1/04... Bottle #386.

Pours with a thin white head atop a hazed brown.. not much in the way of retention or lacing.

Nose shows pretty strong woody components melded with a fair amount of bourbon and a little caramel... a bit of sherry shows its age, but it isn't too distracting.

mouthfeel seems a tad thin given the bigger body and the EBW category.. again, some caramel and lite toffee combine with the bourbon vanilla notes and a bit of background lite cherry essence... plenty of wood (maybe too much) ... a little oxidation seems appropriate, but gains with room temperature. I personally think this bottle was on the downslope, but Sam and Eric seemed to really like it... and I am damn appreciative for the opportunity to try it... Thanks again Eric!!


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Photo of McKibben25
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

For such a high ABV brew, I think they have done a great job. I really enjoyed the strong smell of whiskey in the beer. The color was rich and full. Like a nice coffee. It wasn't terribly heavy or filling to drink. It was actually rather light. Kind of like a strong dark Belgian ale. The carbonation and head were what I expected from a barley wine. It was a little hard to drink. The alcohol taste was definitely prominent and could have been masked a little better. But overall a good beer that I hope they brew again.

 521 characters

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch#3, bottled in 2004, bottle #884. Pours amber with tiny tan head. The aroma is rich barrel notes of bourbon, vanilla and smooth even oak. I also get a thin layer of caramel in the background. The taste is sweet up front with sweet bourbon, vanilla and cameral to start. By midway smooth oak notes enhance the other flavors. Into the finish some dark fruity esters are noticed along with persistent vanilla, caramel, bourbon and smooth oak running deep into the after taste. This beer is a bit out of balance with the barrel notes smothering the beer. It could easily age much longer too. Good stuff.

 604 characters

Photo of tpd975
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 bottle brought by the Barleywine king ibrew2or3!

A: Pours a beautiful amber hue with a very small whispy head. No retention or lace.

S: Beautiful aroma. Tons of wood, real vanilla bean, dark fruit, brown sugar, and booze. The aromas are so bold but are really married to one another. Don't know how this is fresh, but when laid down for years it is a REAL gem.

T: Shit its good. To call this complex is an understatement. Tons of barrel goodness. Mild oak with nice french vanilla. A nice roasted sweet malt component hangs around with notes of brown sugar and gooey toffee. Molasses soaked Dark fruit notes dance in your mouth, and in the finish despite the age there is still a nice dose of quality bourbon.

M: Full in body, Rich, Bold, Smooth.

D: One that is a joy to sip. No doubt the best beer I have ever seen Magic Hat produce. That being said this Vintage will hold its own against most any Barleywine.

 920 characters

Photo of shanem
3.27/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: dark amber with no head really at all

S: All hot bourbon heat. Rich alcohol sting with small bits of oak

T: sweet malty flavor with a touch of the oak and maybe some vanilla in the distance but all quickly consumed by very strong bourbon flavor

M: Medium bodied with a slight lingering sweet flavor and more alcohol

D: I've tried this many times, really wanting to enjoy it, but it just seems to alcohol rich even for a barleywine to me. an interesting brew, worth a check, but not really the greatest thing they do

 522 characters

Photo of thekevlarkid
2.72/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Off the tap at The Scuffer in Burlington this English style barleywine was a deep, mahogany color with a thin, tan head that quickly fizzed out to a skim. It did leave fine bands of lacing however. The aroma was sweet and full of figs, dates and alcohol heat. The flavors were huge and aggressive. The bourbon barrel aging was clear though the alcohol punch was such a boot to the head one could almost mistake it for a bourbon! Notes of wood and lots of malt with not enough hop balance though they do show up at the end. The mouthfeel was smooth, the carbonation moderate and the body medium. This one really lacked finesse and I just kept thinking 'if a critic like myself doesn't appreciate it how could the layman?'

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Photo of Damian
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Drank from a 32 fl. oz. growler purchased at the Magic Hat Brewery, Burlington, Vermont
Served in a snifter

The beer poured a cloudy and dark, amber-mahogany color with no real head but an off white, bubbly layer of froth.

The aroma was very boozy and bourbon-like. Sweet, rich and creamy with strong notes of caramel, oak, vanilla and maple syrup. As the beer warmed, the maple syrup became very apparent.

The taste was outrageously bourbony and alcohol-rich. Holy oak aging! Very sweet overall, almost cloyingly so. Notes of vanilla, maple syrup and brown sugar came through strong. Somewhat spicy. Caramel malts were also noticeable. Hops were practically nonexistent. Alcohol dominated from mid-palate into the oaky, uber-bourbony finish. The finish had a far greater bourbon presence than I have ever experienced in a beer. This bourbony sweetness carried long into the sugary, lingering aftertaste. As the liquid warmed, the beer took on fruity, winey, almost port-like characteristics. Overall, very complex and interesting.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied, creamy and smooth with a super fine and mild carbonation. I was expecting this to be a bit more syrupy and viscous. A sticky, sugary film coated my lips with every sip.

Even for an English-style barleywine, this beer was a touch overly sweet and boozy. I would love to taste this brew again with a bit of age on it.

This was a very interesting beer. For those of you who enjoy super sweet, super bourbony beers, this would totally be your bag. Too bad it is not available anywhere except from the brewery.

 1,576 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted from Growler.

Poured a medium and slightly hazy amber-orange color with smaller sized white head. Aromas of caramel, dark fruits, vanilla, some woodiness, bourgon, and some nuttiness. Tastes of vanilla, caramel, and some dark fruits. Bourbon came out a little more in the tastes. Some alcohol in the finish.

 316 characters

Photo of Vancer
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Darn! "Had' to crack a very cool 32oz mini-growler of Magic Hat Chaotic Chemistry - sent courtesy of dmeadows as my SS.

Thanks again Denis!

She poured a sexy hazy mahogany brown, small cap of lazy tan head.

Now to the good stuff - aroma is pure bourbon malt (Jim Beam, I believe). No barleywine here, this is malted bourbon beer with a hint of cherry and vanilla - and I'm luving it! If bourbon beer was a style, it would be my favorite.

A sweet malty finish, the glow in the cheeks showcases the high power alcohol, but it's not over done in the taste.

Superb brew.

 573 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Much thanks to Capones for sharing this from a growler brought from the brewery...
Appears a semi-transparent dark orange toned amber with a small white cap that quickly fades out. A mild collar is left in the glass with mild spots of lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, maple, toffee, and some ripe fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with brown sugar, and flavorful bourbon that makes for an addicting brew.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, with some sticky, sugary, maltiness, and a warming alcohol burn in the finish. This beer has such fine bourbon qualities much like Maker's Mark, or Wild Turkey. Great job!

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Chaotic Chemistry from Magic Hat Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 84 ratings
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