Saturday, March 31, 2012

Magic Hat #9 (2012 re-review)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (637) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 30, 2012
I don’t think it’s any secret that Magic Hat #9 is one of the few craft beers available on the mainstream market. Most people know it’s infused with apricots and thus consider it a beer for girls, yuppies, hipsters, etc. It’s actually one of the beers that turned me on to craft beer a few years ago and while I don’t like it quite as much today, I can honestly say it’s not a bad beer at all. Sweet, fruity, flavorful, and well-balanced - the marks of a good beer in my book.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Bright orange color with a distinct haziness to the body but plenty of visible carbonation. Forms an average-sized white, foamy head, which mostly dissipates and leaves no lacing.

Smell: As soon as I popped the top the apricot aroma was noticeable. It’s a candy-like smell of real apricots, flowers, and candy. Sweet to be sure, but a closer whiff reveals the pale ale core.

Taste: Magic Hat #9 begins with a light floral sweetness plus some pub-style bitterness, perhaps even a little tangy. It transitions to the fruity side rather quickly as the sweet, rich flavor of apricot envelopes the palate. This flavor seems to be both authentic and artificial (I’m guessing it’s from extract rather than actual apricot but who knows). It’s similar to a juice-from-concentrate taste, but it’s not overly sticky or syrupy.

As it finishes, the apricot flavor fades away slowly as the initial bitterness re-emerges. There’s a even a quick kick of hops followed by sweet, honey-like, light maltiness on the finish. There’s a very brief flavor of apricot in the aftertaste, but it seems to disappear very quickly. That’s nice because it prevents the apricot component from tasting too much like cough medicine. Although a lingering fruity aftertaste might make the beer more well-rounded.

Drinkability: With a crisp, cold, wet mouthfeel and a smooth finish, Magic Hat #9 is a very drinkable beer. It’s very refreshing both during and after each swig and performs even better during the warmer months. At only 5.1% ABV you could easily throw back a few bottles of this before it begins to catch up with you. The well-balanced palate makes it a great introductory craft beer. Nothing I’d pair with food (aside from actual fruit maybe), but a satisfying beer you don’t have to think too hard about.

Grade: 8/10

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