Séance | Magic Hat Brewing Company

79 Reviews
Read the review

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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 469
Photo of microbrewlover
4.59/5  rDev +39.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours black in color with a two finger tan head which lasts for several minuets. Moderate carbonation and medium to high lacing which stays on the glass until the end.

The smell is fruity, nutty and earthy. Heavy with roasted and sweet malts. Some chocolate and maybe brown sugar.

The taste follows the nose with sweet and then roasted malts dominating. There is a bitter element, similar to coffee. Fruits and nuts come in in the middle then light spiced hops appear on the back end. All very well balanced.

The mouthfeel is thin and creamy; very drinkable. Some, not much, bitterness left in the mouth after swallowing.

Overall this a very well balanced beer. A little different than your usual Saison due to it being dark with very thick roasted/burnt malts. It is an interesting mix from Magic Hat; I would buy it again.

 838 characters

Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.25/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beer has been retired, so cannot review anymore. Liked it back then, but I am sure I would not rate it as high now since I have had much better Saisons.

 153 characters

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.

 333 characters

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.

 537 characters

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?

 500 characters

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

I picked this up at wegmans, enjoyed chilled in a cervoise.

The color is practically black, opaque with tan head of about 3 fingers w/ average bead and good retention with sticky lace. The smell has dark malt and saison yeast character with mild phenols and spice with light roast ester and woody aroma. The feel is very good with deep malt and medium high carbonation and light bitterness with gentle sweetness/mostly dry texture and somewhat spiced finish

The flavor is toasty and dry but not bitter at least in the malt or not burnt with light yeast flavor that has a saison fruit element with light herbal note from the hops with gentle nutty cocoa aspect with mild hint of woody tobacco as it finishes. This is a very good dark saison of the more sessionable variety

 775 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.88/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: A dark cola-like color, under a cream colored head that leaves a film and good splotches of lacing.

Aroma: Yeasty and sweet, hints of bubblegum and spices.

Taste: Dark breads and noted yeast open up this beer, followed by sweet bubblegum with some darker notes of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Quite light, easy to drink.

Overall: Not my favorite style, but I enjoyed this one more than most I've had.

 435 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.84/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on September 3, 2013.

It has a much darker than typical pour for a Saison with this chestnut brown color and red highlights flickering on the edge of the glass. Small head that becomes a ring eventually.

The aroma is of dark fruit and more like red wine so I would call it grape-like with coffee esters, earthy hops, and yeast.

The body is about medium.

The taste tends to come up a bit more sour than the aroma might suggest with a similar grape note in the flavor followed by a warming mild to moderate hop finish. Those hops do something to make it feel like there's a lot more alcohol than the 4.4% ABV would imply. I drank it rather quickly.

 687 characters

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.

 785 characters

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.

 395 characters

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.

 282 characters

Photo of Neorebel
3.77/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Seance from Magic Hat pours a surprisingly muddy brown color with a decent khaki colored head. (for some reason I did not think this was a dark Saison) The liquid is actually revealed to be almost as light as a raw umber hue when held up to light. There is some evidence of carbonation, too. The aroma is pleasant and inviting. I nice bouquet of lavender and spice, cherries, eucalyptus, lemon, and toasty bread scents fill my nostrils. The flavor is quite similar to the aroma, revealing only a little more. The toastiness in the aroma comes off as smoky, and the cherry sweetness dominates a little more. I do happen to like the way those two bigger aspects blend though. There's a yeasty farmhouse flavor present enough as well. The herbal finish comes off a little sharp with a tingling sensation. It's got a pretty light mouthfeel to it. Overall though, this is very unusual but I would say worth trying. It is one of the beers in Magic Hat's roster that has a bit more substance.

 985 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.68/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear medium brown with a rocky tan head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of bubblegum/cotton candy with brown sugar and some roast.

The taste is of bubblegum/cotton candy mixed with brown sugar with a roasted chocolate/coffee backing. The initial sweetness is balanced by roasted dryness in the finish.

It is rather thin, though not watery. It has something of a "flat" feel to it, though it is easy enough to drink.

This is an interesting version of a dark(ish) saison. Low abv and interesting flavors make it easy to drink.

 532 characters

Photo of I3eck
3.65/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle -> Wine Glass

A: Coffee-brown with an orange hue, unfiltered haze, little sediment, head quickly dissipates.
S: Roasted coffee, malty, dark chocolate, earthy.
T: Black coffee bitterness, malt chocolate, smoky (wood smoke).
M: Surprisingly light to medium body with fairly high CO2.
O: Packs a light of flavor for such a light mouth feel. I love coffee so I can appreciate the bitterness and coffee undertones. Reminds me a lot of a stout. Little too smoky for my liking. Interesting for Magic Hat indeed.

 515 characters

Photo of CloudStrife
3.64/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear dark brown appearing black in the glass with a thin slightly tanned head. Not much lacing on the side of the glass.

S: First thing I notice is a belgian yeastiness with a touch of banana. Roasted malt with a hint of smokiness. Nutty qualities are present too.

T: Mild flavor that is characteristic of the dark saison style. Roasted malt blend with a banana yeast, bit of sweetness yet also smokiness. Aftertaste lingers with a yeasty flavor.

M: Medium body with ample carbonation. Pretty crisp finish that has a touch of stickiness.

Overall a nice entry beer for those who are interested in dark saisons. Doesn't get too roasty, smokey or yeasty on you, but still has all of those flavors balanced nicely.

 764 characters

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.64/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark muddy brown with a big caramel colored head.

Smells like a saison, musty grapes, sour Belgian yeast. Slight floral aroma rounds things out.

Taste is really quite delightful. It is a nice herbal bitterness to cut through the sweet and sour musty grape. It also has a touch of caramel malt sweetness. I wasn't sure what to expect from these guys with a saison this color, but I am pleasantly surprised and enjoying this.

 435 characters

Photo of pls2087
3.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Nice nice dark brown, hint of red. Opaque. Nice thick one-finger head that sticks around.

S: Roasted malt, smokiness, hint of spice

T: Nice malt flavor. Subtle smoky flavor comes through as well.

M: Creamy feel. Slight carbonation.

O: Different type of beer for me. Enjoyable. Seems like a light Rauchbier.

 314 characters

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.6/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown with good foam. Rather red under the light; not really what I'm used to in a saison.

Smell: Fermented grapes and caramel. Very faint, but it does have saison smells.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Tastes exactly like it smells. Pretty refreshing with a solid mouthfeel.

Overall: More of an amber than a saison.

 322 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.59/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 9/29/2013 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, roasted malts, wheat and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with a hearty roasted malt character, wheat and a decent Belgian yeast backbone. Then some flavors of coffee and chocolate come in. The hops presence is mild but brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry.

O: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent variation of style, it’s a decent beer to drink for a while if you want something a bit different.

 790 characters

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.

 398 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.55/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

my marks here reflect more a comparison of this beer to other, perhaps more authentic, dark saisons, and is not necessarily a reflection of this beer in isolation, which is actually quite enjoyable, just missing the style marks a bit. the new magic hat fall seasonal pours a muted cocoa brown with a half inch of off white head that fades quickly. I smell saison yeast briefly, but its crowded out by heavy roast barley and chocolate malts that are just too strong for the yeast to come through. that's not a good thing in a beer that's supposed to be yeast first, but it tastes great, and the dark wheat malt lends some fun sugar to the mix. the yeast strain clearly isn't as aggressive as some of the Belgian ones, not that its complete, but it doesn't have a robust enough flavor profile to match the darker malt intensity. its also too full bodied and not carbonated brightly enough, compared to the styles best that is. a little dusty or chalky on the tongue, but it seems autumnal somehow. on its own, its a great darker early fall ale, light enough to be sessionable, but deep enough to work in colder weather. if dark saisons didn't exist and this was a first for me, its marks would be higher. I like magic hats progress lately into new styles, the gose this summer was cool, as was the hicu beer. this is a good continuation of that trajectory and its well enough executed for me to buy more.

 1,402 characters

Photo of barczar
3.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque deep brown that appears brilliantly clear when held to light, with a frothy tan head that slowly dissipates.

Roasted malt, burnt sugar, soy, and chocolate form the initial aroma. There's a subtle hint of yeast funk.

Flavor is odd. There's a very savory, salty, nutty, earthy thing going on, with a backbone of roast malt and burnt breadcrust. Tar, tobacco, and leather come to mind. Subtle citrus fruitiness from the yeast character lightens the flavor and adds contrast. There's a bit of barnyard character, but it's secondary. Estery notes of bananas and bubblegum emerge late.

Body is a touch light, with prickly carbonation and light alcohol warmth.

Strange representation of a saison. It's so unexpected that I'm having trouble deciding how much I like it. I do wish the funk and yeast character were more pronounced. The burnt character is a touch overwhelming.

 887 characters

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!

 516 characters

Photo of micromaniac129
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I wasn't expecting a dark session, interesting.
Well it pours a dark brown. The head is small with some tight bubbles that linger a good while before fading. The mocha head leaves spotty lacing.
The aroma is malty. There is some faint wispy yeast and wispy faint roastedness.
Drinks dry and tart. Feels thin on the palate, watery. The taste has a bit of smokiness in it or maybe peet. Some yeast and wheat malts possibly.
There is a metallic bitterness in the aftertaste that lingers a long time.
Not a bad beer but I won't go running for another.

 547 characters

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.

 271 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Séance from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.29 out of 5 based on 469 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.