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 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 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 TastyAdventure
3.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A - Dark dark brown. light cream colored 1 finger head that fades quickly. not like a saison at all.

S - chocolate, coffee, slight spicy hops. It smells nice, but not at all like a saison

T - nearly burnt grain, coffee, a little flat on taste in the beginning. mild spicy earthy hops i think, bitterness seems to come from the heavily roasted grains. not at all like a saison


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Photo of Krieger783
2.28/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I was pretty disappointed in this beer. I have never had a saison this dark before, and I didn't expect it to be dark in the first place. There is nothing on the carton or bottle to indicate that it is a dark beer, and as dark beers go this one's still not winning any awards either. When I feel like a saison, this is almost the opposite of what I want. Very strange. Not terrible, but close. I'm trying to describe...maybe, rotten apples and copper coins?

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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 flowner120
1.32/5  rDev -59.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Avoid this beer - the color should have been warning enough...

The smell is off-putting; burnt and sweet malts.

This beer tastes like the runnings of an ashtray left out in the rain. It is utterly repulsive with a strong tobacco flavor followed by hints of metal and a slight roast/smokiness.

Mouthfeel is least offensive aspect of the beer - medium to high carbonation helps keep the flavors from staying too long on your tongue.

Overall this beer is an aggressious attempt at not only a (dark) saison but just as a drinkable beer in general. If I was Magic Hat, I would seriously consider scrapping this beer all together.

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Photo of horshamguy
3.14/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

A--Dark, rich looking brown beer. Nice head with limited life, but good lacing.
S--Sweet, roasted caramel. All malt, no hops.
T--Sweet, caramel malts. A bit of roasted/burnt something. I'd rate it 3.75 if it was something besides a saison, but it doesn't seem to have anything in common with other saisons I've had.
M--Medium bodied. A lot crisper than the appearance would imply. Carbonation feels just right.
O--I'd rate this an excellent beer, if it was an English ale or some other type. It doesn't even faintly resemble any other saison I've ever had. I don't even know how to rate it fairly, It is simply not what's advertised. It's excellent, but not what it calls itself.

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Photo of MaxRebo
1.9/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

This beer is garbage. Smells of burnt malts. Very dark, looks like a porter or a stout. Very little head or carbonation. It is absolutely not a saison. It is a dark burnt malty mess. I should have read the reviews before ever ordering this crap. Be warned. Would not recommend if you actually want a saison.

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

A little to dark in my opinion for a Saison. Poured a nice caramel brown with a head that dissipated quickly leaving a bit of lacing. Taste and smell were both on the malty end of things, almost a Guinness like feel. To me a bit thin tasting. I was wanting more considering the beers appealing caramel brown color. All in all not bad but I will not be rushing back for more.

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Photo of wraynathan
3.01/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type:



Nice dark roasted color.


I can really smell the malt of the beer as well as some earthy/nutty tones.


The taste is not bad. The blend of the caramel malt and the smoky taste of nuts. Also some earthy tones. The taste is kind of bitter/sour, but not terrible.


This beer is medium bodied. I feel a lot of carbonation and a little thicker than I would have expected. The bitter/sour taste is definitely present. The carbonation and mix of the bitter/sour taste, gives a slightly abrupt feel to the mouth.


Not my favorite beer. It is not terrible, but not something that I would consider a "go to" beer.

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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 Hopdaemon39
3.34/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz into a variety of glasses but this time a wine glass- pours a dark brown/ruby color with one finger of head, good retention, and a nice ring of lacing.

Smell is minimal- some roasted malt notes, a tiny bit of yeast and maybe some smoke.

Taste is nice- caramel uo front followed by yeast and smoke, continues with rich caramel malt and smoke, finishes slightly sweet.

Mouthfeel is pretty good- medium light body, moderately carbonated, a little thick for the abv. It's all right- nothing special but not bad.

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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 SerialTicker
3.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: I haven't had many saisons at all, but I wasn't expecting this -- a dark, ruby black color. Two or three fingers of a khaki head on it, with some very nice lacing. Really a great looking beer.

Smell: Has that saison-y funk to it, for sure. That same sort of apple-trunk aroma that you get from similar yeast strains. Pretty sweet. A nice hop presence. Despite the darkness of the beer, I don't pick up roasty notes. Not bad.

Taste/feel: Definitely starts off with that slight twangy funk, and it lasts until you swallow... then roasty notes come in and linger for a little while. Not really bitter or sweet, but there is a sort of tangy quality to it because of the yeast. The carbonation in this is also quite high and prickly, which opens up the taste buds a bit. The feel is pretty light.

Interesting... like I said, I don't know much about saisons, but I remember mine being a pale gold color before, I didn't know they could vary so much. It has the saison character in the nose and on the front of each sip, but the roastiness was an unexpected, but nice addition. Not a great beer, but a pretty tasty one regardless.

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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.

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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 ocelot2500
3.03/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours deep cops color with a tight off-white head that leaves rings of lacing.

Smells of some roasted notes with an emphasis on earthy tones.

Tastes of the earthy tones with a bit malt character behind it. Toasty coffee and a bit of chocolate come through. Touches of dark fruit sneak in. Some brown sugar comes in as well. More porter like than said on.

Mouth feel is medium-light with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this isn't bad, but I find the overall profile could use some refinement as well as a little more oomph.

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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.

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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.

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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 JMScowcroft
3.31/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Magic Hat Brewing Company - Séance, poured into a Fiddlehead snifter.

Look - Pours dark brown black but light sweeps through the body. Small bubbly head that dissipates quickly and leaves quickly dissipating lacing.

Smell - Cola scent with roasted woodiness, coffee, cocholate, and dark fruits.

Taste - Carbonated snap and coffee, cola taste, roasted/burnt malts.

Mouthfeel - Rests bitter and cocoa. Dry. Not boozy, drinkability is decent.

Overall - Tastes like bitter coffee flat chocolate cola. Would not get this one again personally. Some might enjoy but I was not one of them that found it to be that great, though it was relatively true to the style. More like a mild ale than anything else.

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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 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 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 TheZzyzxScarecrow
3.2/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got this in a Magic Hat sampler 12 pack. This beer doesn't taste (or look) anything like a saison. It tastes kind of like a slightly-burnt porter, and is really watery.

It doesn't disgust me, but I'll probably never drink it again unless its given to me for free.

Not a good representation of the saison style at all.

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