Séance | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jackal on 07-31-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 469
Photo of mothmanscott
3.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear deep brown bordering on black producing a frothy, tan, somewhat lasting head that leaves splotches & streaks of lace. Aroma is cocoa, dark bread & nutty malts, smoke & a little char, a blend of yeast characters, dark fruit, wood & earthy. Taste is burnt bread, soured dark fruit, smokey roasted nuts, semisweet chocolate & woodsy/earthy hints. Peppery, bitter, lightly sour finish but quickly becomes a bitter/sour/faintly metallic finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium with medium-high carbonation, grainy, lively & biting.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.43/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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!"; "A liquid dance through life's trance"; "a performance in every bottle".

It does not happen often that I am surprised by a beer, but the dark color of this one as it poured into the glass really caught me off-guard! It made the pseudo-cascade very visible, which in turn created two dense, rocky fingers of deep-tan head with great retention. Color was a deep-brown with mahogany highlights (SRM = > 27, < 34) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a bittersweet chocolatiness with a slight mustiness. This is a saison?!? Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium. The taste was very odd (notion) - slightly chocolaty, slightly peppery, kind of musty, a little smoky. Wow! Finish was dry, but just not what I think of when I think of a Saison.

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Photo of KajII
3.43/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

[Suggested Glassware: Tulip Glass]

The pour was a murky very dark brown with an average (1-2 finger) light brown creamy head that slowly diminished, leaving behind a nice creamy film which lasted throughout and produced excellent sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of roasted dark bread malts, grassy hops and a doughy yeast with notes of coffee, dark fruit (plums and raisons), a slight smokiness and a mild nutty presence.

The taste was a lot like the aroma with a bold roasty maltiness and a touch of coffee which lingered throughout, progressing with a nice dark fruit infusion and a mild hint of yeast, with the finish being a bit smoky along with a touch of nuttiness at the end. The flavor lasted an average duration following the swallow, with a roasty smoky fruity taste left lying in the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was just below medium in body with a smooth creamy texture and a nice soft carbonation.

Overall I really find it hard to consider this a Saison. I feel it is more reminiscent of a Doppelbock, but either way it is a very tasty and enjoyable brew...


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Photo of ElijahRivera
3.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle with an illegible date printed on the bottle. It is a 2013 Fall seasonal release, so it is reasonably fresh. Consumed on: December 11, 2013.

A- Rather opaque, black body with a big fluffy, tan head that dies down to a film after one commercial break.

S- Some roasty malts are present along with some yeast aromas. Also, some esters are in there giving off some dark stone fruit and a surprising but not bad olive like aroma.

T- Really spicy first sip. Black peppercorn and some aromatic clove. Also has prominently featured roasty, chocolate flavors. Some spicy, grassy hops follow suit. It also has some esters and some citric, acidic almost salty flavors trying to come through.

M- Light to mid body with a fine carbonation that is on the lower side for the style.

O- A decent attempt at a twist on the classic saison style and one of my favorite beers by a brewery I'm not fond of. An easy to drink, and not boring beer to session. However, for my taste, there isn't enough saison in this black saison. If I had paid the full $17.99 for 12 price tag, I would have been less than satisfied. Thankfully, I got the 12 pack for $7.50 at Oliver's in Albany, NY.

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Photo of TBoneJones
2.62/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Posted from an earlier tasting:
Pours a dark brown (this is a Saison?!) in my pint, lively bubbles barely visible in the deep body, finger-width tan head tapers down to a smaller surface film.
Smells of malts and of toffee/ anise. Odd and not expected for the style as indicated by the label. Slight hint of a hoppy funk that otherwise can be indicative of a saison, however I don't see how this can mesh as a saison with the other oddities detected by my nose.
This is a mess for me. Like a basic coffee porter wishing to be a saison, but failing to realizing it can only be a porter. Dark malts and burnt. Soapy. Aspirin. Dry. Ample carbonation. A beer I cant recommend, but to give credit where credit is due, it certainly lives up to its name in that nothing good comes from "black magic".

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Photo of Badger6
3.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Temp at sampling was around 47-48F. I think it might be a bit better nearer 52-54F.

A: This is saison? It's almost pure black, like a porter, minimal light passes through. Built a small tan head, that receded to a nice frothy surface layer with a ring at the glass edge. Some lacing.

S: Does not smell like a saison. Some yeastiness, but lots of roasted malt, hints of sour.

T: Again, more like a porter, but starting to get saisony. Slightly sour up front, but then gives way to lots of roasted malts (hence the dark color) that carry to the finish, which is again sour. There was a hint of something smoky in there too, but not really well defined. There is a bitterness to the aftertaste.

M: Heavily carbonated, in fact so much so that what would likely be a heavy mouthfeel is moderate to light.

O: I was confused, the label says saison, the aroma and taste hint heavily toward porter, then finish out saison-like...and then the mouthfeel. This is an interesting beer...I suspect my ratings would have been higher if they'd called this something other than 'saison.' No idea what, but its Magic Hat, those guys are creative and can pull off unique, so give it a unique style name.

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Photo of BryanCarey
2.84/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Dark brown in color with a nice head of foam, this saison emits a nose that is somewhat unusual, with scents of sourness and yeast dominating and some tangy chocolate and bread in the background. There is a small amount of lacing and the overall first impression is mixed.

The taste of this beer is unusual, but not necessarily in the best way. The flavors of yeast, bread, some dark fruit, a touch of caramel, and some citrus can be tasted. The beer is medium to light in body and somewhat watery in the finish.

This isn’t the greatest beer I have ever tasted and its flavor seems a tad off, especially for the style. With each sip, I found myself wondering what I was tasting and not even sure if the flavors were authentic. That isn’t good, but at the same time, this isn’t a terrible beer and I can think of many that rate lower. Still, there are better brews out there for the money, whether saison or something else.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.31/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Séance is brewed in the style of a Saison/Farmhouse ale. This is Magic Hat's latest new addition to the seasonal lineup for Fall 2013, replacing last year's Hex. Available in 6 pack bottle formats as well as the Fall 2013 Variety sampler pack.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served above 53º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours an explosive fizzy, foamy caramel-white head over a medium-brown body. Carbonation is vivacious and plentiful. Retention is average and lacing is light and spotty. This is clearly much darker in appearance than the average saison, indicative of potential key ingredient changes. 3.75

(Smell) Aromas of light bready malts with some mild roast, mellow fruits of peppery cider and fainter citrus. Aroma is very soft in potency, with mostly the fruit and yeast profile making the most significant impact. 3.25

(Taste) I'm not picking up on chocolate or potent roasted malts in this beer, but rather a soft caramel bread malt, slightly dry. Floral and fruity hop selections add light flavor and very faint bitterness. Saison yeast is certainly perceivable, perhaps a bit muted, but kindly yields fruity esters, notes of spice, most peculiarly fall spices, like nutmeg. The beer finishes on a semi-dry biscuit malt note paired with some modest fruit and a dash of spice. A bit softer and more drinkable than expected, although the subtlety of the flavor may leave something to be desired, even amongst a style known for drinkability yet charismatic and bright flavor profiles. 3.25

(Mouthfeel) Soft, silky, mildly acidic. Carbonation adds some smoothness and creaminess to the texture as well as a slight peppiness that accents the fruit and spice in this beer. Body is medium for the style, medium overall. Alcohol presence is light. 3.5

(Overall) I'm pleasantly surprised by this new seasonal by Magic Hat. Although it certainly does not hold a candle to a world of fantastic leading Belgian Saisons, it manages to keep drinkable and feels appropriate as a fall seasonal. Magic Hat usually stretches the boundaries for most of their beers, but this one plays a bit closer to style expectations than the rest. While it isn't a repeat beer for me, I found it far favorable to the abominable Hex. 3.25

Magic Hat Brewing Company's

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a nearly dark brown color with foam that overfills the glass.

First sip is taking down the foam that overfills the 20 oz glasss. it tastes malty, with a nice smoky peat malt flavor as well. This beer has a lot of smokey, peat malt flavor, which isn't really a bad flavor.

This is a step down from a malt bomb like Old Chub, but this has a nice smoky flavor that I really do enjoy. I couldn't drink more than one of these at a time due to the intense smoky flavor, but I am enjoying the first one I've had.

Solid beer, would get again if there were no premium beers on tap.

EDIT - this was not reviewed as a Saison / Farmhouse Ale. If it was reviewed to that style it would be much lower. This is more like a Smoked Beer or Scottish Ale.

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Photo of tone77
3.47/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, a bit of malts. Taste is roasted malts, some spices, finishes dry, not really the flavor profile of other saisons I have had, but not bad. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of RingoBro
2.48/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Made my own six pack and decided I'd try one of these since I'm a big fan of several other magic hat beers. It's a very dark beer and has decent head on it. Not sure what's in this beer, but I could swear I could faintly taste chocolate. Overall, not a big fan of this magic hat and I will not be picking it up again.

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Photo of ExtraStout
3.09/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: This saison...pours out jet black with a nice 1/2" white head slowly faded leaving good level of foam on top, nice lacing.

Smell: Pleasant bouquet, but the emphasis is on the yeast more than anything else. Sour smell with slight hints of roasted malts.

Taste: Front is dry and slightly sour. Middle is also dry, with a brief hint of roasted malt. A funny thing happened on the way to the finish: a taste reminiscent of the way a well-used ash tray smells. This unpleasant taste is all in the top of the palate and leads into the finish. The finish is dry, slightly sour and filled with a subdued peat-type smoke. Aftertaste is where one finally gets some flavor profiles from the (I assume) saison yeast.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is a bit but the carbonation helps to elevate the overall enjoyment of the beer.

Overall: This is not an awful beer, but certainly it is not good. This beer is a chimera, an unholy and unwieldy blending of disparate elements. It doesn't really work.

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Photo of bgillespie
3.56/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A very dark brown that pours a thick tan head.

Smell: Chocolate, nutty, roasty, smokey.

Taste: Dark chocolate taste up front, roasted nuts, malty.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Easy to drink.

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised with this beer. I was not expecting much, but the taste is great with a roasty smell. I would buy it again.

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Photo of dacrza1
1.63/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

DATE TASTED: November 8, 2013... GLASSWARE: Kisatsky's Tavern pint... OCCASION: post soccer/rental car/surgery Friday!... APPEARANCE: jet black body; slush brown, chunky, topographically significant head that laces thickly as a cloud--promising... AROMA: peat, lactic, soda pop and funk--NOT the barnyard variety; more of a porter than a saison--a mislabel?...PALATE: full-bodied, powerfully off-kilter residue--not enjoyable...TASTE: first, the aftertaste: malt that drags and offers a mucused experience; actually tastes more like old pint glass than a refreshing saison...OVERALL: a disappointing seasonal, given the foreboding label and the usually enjoyable experience when drinking a saison; drinks too much like a chore, almost begging unfair comparisons to other, more reputable Hats or saisons...

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Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When poured, it has a dark brown color body with a small tan head that quickly lays downvto a thin lace. The smell is kinda nutty almost like a brown ale. The taste has a cc deep rich malt and chooclate flavor to it. The mouthfeel is good and overall a very strange brew.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
3.79/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into snifter.
Pours a deep dark brown, caramel colored 1" head.
Smell was tangy, yeasty, woody.
Taste was better than I was expecting. Rich, complex yeasty tang that we enjoy from saisons.
One problem was the taste would vanish with every swallow.
Mouthfeel was fine. Maybe could use a touch more carb.
Overall, better than I was expecting from the declining Magic Hat.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Seance pours a dark brown color with a small lacing head. There is a malty nutty aroma. The taste has a mellow malty and stronger nutty flavors. Good full flavors, nice body, maybe just a bit over carbonated. Overall I don't know about this being a saison, taste like a nutty brown.

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Photo of tmm313
2.27/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Appearance: Dark brown with a reddish hue. 1 finger creamy head. OK lacing.

Smell: All the aromas are on the light side. Nutty malts, a little char, a touch of dark fruit, and maybe dark cola. Chocolate and coffee in the back. Woodsy. Weird.

Taste: Charred bread, dark fruit, roasted peanuts, just a touch of dark chocolate. Something I just can't pick out - almost like a burnt cedar plank and dried leaves.

Mouthfeel: Light with crisp carbonation. Bitter finish. Sticky, oily coating left behind.

Overall: Weirdest beer I've ever had.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
4/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a sample glass.

Appearance: Darker brown color, with a beige head.

Smell: Smokey like aroma, with malts, hops and floral notes as well.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Smokey wood flavor, with malts and hops, and some earthy tones.

Overall: Excellent Saison, really enjoyed the unique flavor of this beer.

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Photo of atr2605
4/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark coca cola color with a foamy tan head with excellent retention
S-roasted coffee, unsweetened chocolate, some spicy yeast trying to squeeze through
T-more chocolate and coffee that is deliciously toasted and roasted leaving a flavorful background for the yeast to shine through in the finish
M-medium bodied, very sessionable
O-I thought this was a pretty kick ass brew. I havent had many dark saisons that work but I thought this still packed plenty of flavor while stay maintaining the key components of a classic saison.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.27/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Single bottle poured into a pint glass. 10/1

Pours dark brown with high white/off white foam. Bubbly and settles slowly. Bright nose, brown sugar, malty, cola. Taste is a wall of hop and earthy tree bark. Is that birch? Funky, but off putting. Iffy.

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Photo of apants007
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bottle into chilled pint glass.

dark and slightly cloudy. small but thick head. light carbonation with small tight bubbles. smells of toasty grains and dried fruits - a little like a fig newton. tastes of bitter roots - sassafras, angelica root - like an in sweetened cola or root beer. not what i was expecting based on previous saison experience, but interesting. I could see this going well with some spicy cajun food… that's what it's making me crave anyway… better go whip up some étouffée!

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Photo of beergoot
3.2/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Dark, reddish-brown body with a sticky, foamy head. Nutty, roasted grain aroma; faintly smokey. Figs and apricot flavors with a subtle malt undertone; fairly bitter. Medium bodied; somewhat fizzy; dry finish.

A better than average beer yet lacking any real defining character as far as taste goes.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.96/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours out brown with a thin, frothed milk head. Smells of chocolate, roasty malts, and spicy yeast. Flavor starts off sweet but finishes a bit dry. Dark malts and Belgian yeast merge well in this beer. Bit of bitterness in the finish. Chocolate-y aftertaste. Mouthfeel is moderate in body with a lively carbonation. Pretty awesome autumnal beer. The mix of spice and dark malts on this chilly day hits the spot. Plus 4.4% and lots of flavor. Can't beat that. What are people hating on with this beer?

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Photo of runbirddrinkbeer
3.28/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Tried this Fall seasonal poured into a standard pint glass. Dark color surprising for what is listed on bottle as a Saison. Nice malty smoky aroma and equally smoky flavor with nice mouthfeel, but not even vaguely reminiscent of a Saison, more of a rauchbier!! Not bad, certainly not a drainpour, like some have suggested...a 73 average score? That's macro territory! An interesting beer to try.

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Séance from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.29 out of 5 based on 469 ratings.
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