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 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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.37/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours a very dark brown with a small head that mostly dies away quickly but leaves a good amount of tan lacing on the glass. Dark for style, and the aroma and flavor are unusual too.

The aroma features dark malts, roasted nuts and chocolate. These carry over to the flavor where some tartness joins the mix. Hints of fruit and hops in both the nose and flavor, with only the slightest touch of funk.

Medium body; crisp, medium carbonation; rather dry finish.

O: a distinct and rather unusual saison worth trying.

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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.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.15/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear but opaque very dark brown in color with light amounts of gentle carbonation along the edges of the glass and some faint cola brown + amber highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy/creamy tan head that slowly reduces to a half finger thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of roasted malts and toasted bread along with some faint hints of spices.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavors of toasted bread and roasted malts. There are some notes of chicory and dark chocolate as well. Light flavors of spices (possibly from the yeast) and a light amount of bitterness that lingers.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light hints of dryness in the finish.

O: This is a strange beer that does not really fit well into any style and I don't think that I am a fan of it... I will not be getting this one again. I really did not get any of the saison elements to this beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.93/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

12 ounce bottle - $1.79 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown body with some amber edges when held to the light. Very thin, evaporating, off-white head.

Smell: A bit tartish, a bit earthy, with a kick of spice. Slight roast, off-brand cherry cola, subtle smoke.

Taste: Wheat wrapped in ancillary, earthy dark malty touches, some darkish caramel, cola, walnut, even some light chary elements. The light sweetness lands alongside the spicy yeast character, fruity touches, and smokiness. A little aspirin, licorice. Near-crisp, tartish, spiced finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: As phoney as a seance, I'm left feeling a little bit hoodwinked and cheated. Wait. Where's my wallet?

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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

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

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Look: Dark mahogany brown, nearly opaque. Decent lacing.

Smell: Candy sugar, mineral, spice, toasted bread, faint candied fruit

Taste: Crisp, chicory, carob, dry-ish, light hopping, toasted grain, salty, dried grass, grainy finish

I don't really see any sort of "Sasion" like qualities here, an ok brew.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.68/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in an Ohio State shaker pint glass.

Nothing like a beer to accompany lone viewings of romantic comedies, amiright? (*sniff*) Anyway, this stuff pours a sunset sienna-topaz topped by a finger-and-a-half of khaki foam. The nose comprises toasted wheat bread and a bit of what seems like charred sesame seeds. The taste holds notes of fennel, lightly-toasted rye bread, the vaguest possible sense of fruit in the distance, and a pinch of cardamom. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, I'm not sure I fully get where Magic Hat was going with this. I mean, it could be construed as a "black saison" or something to that effect, but there's zero trace of the base style here. If anything, it's more like an odd brown ale or dark mild or something along those lines, 'cause there's no sense of Belgian-like yeast, there's little to no farmhouse-ness, and the maltiness, rather than balancing or playing off of the aforementioned missing parts, dominates the proceedings, precluding any future cooperation. Suffice it to say, I did not enjoy this, neither as a saison nor as anything else.

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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 stakem
3.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter. Thanks to wishuwerebeer for sharing. The brew appears a reddish color with nice clarity. A huge khaki head almost fills the glass entirely.

The aromatics are quite malty with scents of caramel and toffee sweetness. It is almost meaty and earthen with some herbal hops. Quite strange, cant really figure out what the deal is with this based off the nose alone. A strange brown of sorts?

The taste is mutually malty as the aroma would lead you to believe with toffee to caramel and molasses. It is earthen with minerals all across the back that hint towards carbonic quality. This brew screams strange brown ale yet again.

This is a medium bodied offering that is fully carbed. After looking at the label I am perplexed by the listing of saison. I really dont get any saison character from it. I think they missed the boat with this one, really.

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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.

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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 Stinkypuss
3.47/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark amber color with fine clarity. There is a dense off white foam that has some staying power. A black Saison. Aroma of musty basement, bread, sweet fruit, and some grassy, herbal touches.

In the taste, black patent malt, mild tartness, lemon, citrus rind, grass. Like an English mild spliced with a tart refreshing Saison. Some earthy hops round out a roasted, bitter affair that has a nice snap of lemon. Good coffee and nuts like roast.

Overall, this was a mellow, easy drinking dark Saison. Mellow and inoffensive, I could definitely see myself having this again. The sum is better than all its parts.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.38/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and random specs of surface foam. Semi-resilient cobwebs of lacing.

S- Kind of odd coffee aroma that's not indicative of a Saison, black or otherwise. Has an unpleasant funk to it as well.

T- Coffee continues in the taste and so does this strange funk that's unlike anything I've had before. It must be the particular Saison yeast strain they used but it doesn't mesh well with the heavy roast of the malt.

M- Thick but bright with medium-low carbonation and a mostly full body.

O- A failed experiment riddled with off flavors.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.12/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep brown color with a one finger of thick cream colored head. The head very slowly fades over time leaving a nice level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is very sweet with a strong caramel smell mixed with some chocolate, raisin, prune, and cola. Behind all the sweet smells, is a brown bread aroma as well as a little bit of yeast.

Taste – The taste is much less sweet then I would have originally anticipated from the nose. It begins with a light caramel flavor mixed with a light amount of roasted malt. The roasted flavors get a little bit more intense taking on a slightly more bitter coffee flavor. Some chocolate flavors come to the tongue more toward the middle of the taste, being accompanied by some yeast which brings with it some more tart and funky tastes. In the end, as a light cola and grassy taste and a bit of an earthy flavor come to the tongue, one is left with a slightly bitter, funky, and roasty flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thinner side with a carbonation level that is on the slightly higher side. The thinner body is not really very fitting for the more roasted flavors of the brew, but both the thinner body and the higher carbonation are rather decent for the saison tastes of the beer, so overall it if pretty decent.

Overall – A decent brew, although nothing all that fantastic.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
1.82/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a WTF IS THIS. Dark ruby body, two finger khaki head - there was literally no warning of this being a dark saison. None. Anyways, the head doesn't have very good retention, but does leave a bit of lacing behind. I'm not docking points because of the look, though.

S: The aroma should have thrown me a curveball about the look. It's quite high in both caramel malts and sweetness. A bit of oatmeal presence, also. Not very yeasty at all, there's little sense this is even a dark saison rather than a simple session porter. And I haven't even got to the unpleasantly smoky, rotting meat notes I'm picking up! : | The dog food quality tanks the nose utterly - in fact, I kind of don't want to drink this now...

T/M: It tastes like it's trying so hard to be a dark saison. It has the (somewhat) lively feel, and it has the dry finish. But the unpleasant melange of roast, caramel, smokiness (not the good smokiness you get out of Schlenkerla's rauchbiers, either), and wateriness ruins any chances of this being remotely good. Despite the high sweetness, the feel is okay for the style. Otherwise? Bah, who cares.

O: The drizzling shits, plain and simple. I normally avoid Magic Hat, and this brew reminded me exactly why I do so...

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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 mfnmbvp
3.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. A new beer from Magic Hat, acquired as part of the Magic Hat Night Of The Living Dead variety pack. Expectations are relatively low for this one. The cap says "drink it down & lose your frown". Sounds good to me.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours a cola brown color; mahogany / ruby in the glass. Just over a finger of creamy fluffy tan head.

S - The first thing I smell is chocolate / coffee and roasted malt presence. Some crisp yeast presence and some faint brett, but it isn't exactly what I would call "funky" or "farmhouse". Beyond that, there isn't really anything to it. Doesn't smell bad, but very lackluster.

T - Taste follows the nose: bland and fizzy. Some malt roast, light unsweetened chocolate, some char, crisp carbonation, and maybe some mineral presence.

M - Feel is thin, watery, and over carbonated. Some dry light roasty notes lingering on the palate.

Overall, a pretty disappointing lackluster of a beer. Reminds me more of some kind of a weak porter or a brown ale rather than a saison / farmhouse ale. I really don't know what Magic Hat was going for with this one. Over carbonating a weak porter doesn't make it "farmhouse". I won't have any trouble finishing these off, but it's not something I'd seek out again.

Magic Hat Séance ---3/5.

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

Magic Hat Séance has a thick, beige head, a very dark brown appearance, and some decent lacing left behind on the glass. The aroma is of medium-to-heavy roasted barley, wood smoke, cream of wheat, and bread crust. Taste is of those elements, with some sort of spice (white pepper?), sugar, powdered milk, hop bitterness, and oats. Mouthfeel is medium, and Magic Hat Séance finishes lager crisp, refreshing, and easy drinking. RJT

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

A- Very dark brown body, foamy tan head. Nice head retention with some lacing.

S- Smells malty, like a brown ale or a marzen. Caramel malts, earthy aromas, hints of dried fruit.

T- Tastes like a brown ale too. Some nutty flavors, caramel malts, slight metallic taste. Maybe a hint of farmhouse yeast, but again, more like a brown ale.

M- Crisp and smooth, medium bodied, medium-high carbonation. Pretty full for 4.4% abv.

O- Not sure how this is a saison. Would be a pretty good offering from magic hat as a marzen or brown ale for the fall, but not a good example of a saison.

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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 thecheapies
3.38/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Seance is definitely a black saison. It has a dark brown porter-like look to it. Only a thin sheet of foam stays aboard, not the gushy white head I like to see in this style.

Strange malty aroma has dark spice elements with whiffs of cinnamon and mace, but with a mild, but stingy, saison yeast tartness. Citrusy pale meets malty dark Belgique. Very herbal, and only lightly medicinal. Notes of nectarine and lemon are very faint. Has aromatic nuttiness.

Ah, too much malt sweetness and roast. The yeast backs up with a funky dryness that feigns tartness. Bland middle, but the drier and semi-bitter finish is nice. Spare fruitiness reminds me of lemon rind and pith, but quietly so. Malts take over with a semi-dry light roast (sans bitterness) with herbal spice carrying in. Doesn't speak to me just by being easy drinking. I'd rather enjoy a louder flavor profile of a sweeter or fruitier saison. While the combination of a half-life carbonation and skim milky body is a generous offering, it's the imbalance in the recipe that sinks this ship.

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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.

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