used to think that Sam Adams was the best American craft beer, but I’m
beginning to realize that line pales in comparison to Magic Hat. A beer
I’ve never enjoyed by Sam Adams is their scotch ale because it was
entirely too smoky and harsh, but Jinx by Magic Hat is essentially the
same beer and yet I genuinely enjoy it. Those Vermont brewers sure know
what they’re doing.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
As is the
case with most Magic Hat beers, Jinx has a bit of a gimmicky marketing
style to keep its style a mystery (“an ale inspired by medieval
chemists” according the packaging). However, all I had to do is crack
open a bottle and upon first whiff it was clear to me this was Scotch
ale style beer. The aroma of deeply roasted, peat-smoked whiskey malt
The beer pours very smoothly and forms a rather
small, soapy, off-white head which never completely dissipates and
leaves some lacing on the glass, as well. The color is an attractive
tea-colored appearance of very dark red and brown with a cloudy
Since I knew just from the aroma
Jinx was likely in the Scotch ale style, I was wasn’t expecting much
taste-wise since my other experiences with such beers have been
disappointing. Much to my surprise I found this brew to be much tastier
than I had anticipated. There definitely is a smoky taste to the palate,
but it’s a much more subtle flavor.
Jinx drinks like a
traditional English brown ale and is reminiscent of this summer’s “Odd
Notion” beer – English Dark Mild. Instead of having a roasted or nutty
taste, the flavor here is more like Scotch ale with significant caramel
flavoring. It’s also very malty in the porter style, but its sweetness
keeps the smoky taste from being overwhelming.
beers are usually best drunk cool instead of ice cold, but I found Jinx
to taste equally good at either temperature. Thankfully, its finish is
fairly consistent as well. This is a beer bursting with flavor and
although it has a smoky characteristic, it finishes fairly smooth
(smoother than you’d expect a beer of this complexity to finish).
describe Jinx as anything other than full bodied would be a lie, even
Magic Hat’s own website describes it as such. However, a beer that falls
into the heavyweight category tends to scare off non-connoisseurs, but
that shouldn’t be the case with Jinx. I was able to drink two bottles in
a row on a full stomach without feeling the least bit full or bloated.
Thanks to its great taste and easy finish, this is the type of beer you
could go through many bottles before you felt the need to stop.
course, it should be noted that Jinx is one of the most potent beers on
the market with a 6.9% ABV. I would recommend it as an alternative to
your usually party beer since it’s got nearly double the alcohol and
obviously a much more delicious taste than any mass market lager.
Magic Hat can make Scotch ale that I enjoy, then I might be willing to
give some other beers of the style a closer look. It’s difficult to
imagine any of them topping this one, but at least now I finally have a
frame of reference I like.