3.7AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
If a brewery is going to self-apply what is still a new style to a new beer they’d better come correct. Magic Hat Demo claims to be a black IPA and for the most part it is, but it’s not quite as hoppy as the average drinker might expect from a beer of the style.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.
Appearance: Opaque black body, forms a somewhat small, dark khaki foamy/frothy head. Good retention and lacing.
Smell: Very mild nose with mostly porter-like aromas of toasted malt. Some subtle earthy hoppy scents, too.
Taste: Up front you get light citrusy bitterness, then it changes on a dime to a more porter-like flavor of toasted malts with mild sweetness. It finishes with a tasty dark chocolate bitter/sweetness, and finishes a tad dry. There’s a little bit of coffee flavor and bitterness in there somewhere, which is interesting. But at only 45 IBUs it seems lacking the hop bite I expect out of a black IPA. It’s more accurately described as a hoppy porter.
Magic Hat Demo is definitely well-balanced, though, as it’s not too sweet and not too bitter. Aftertaste is perhaps a bit cleaner than it should be, but at least the beer doesn’t overwhelm. There’s really no flaws with the palate, and the presentation it offers is nice and satisfactory. I’d prefer a little more robustness but this will do.
Drinkability: With a somewhat thin and noticeably carbonated mouthfeel, Magic Hat Demo is probably the most crisp black IPA I’ve encountered. There’s definitely energy across the tongue due to the hops and the CO2, but it goes down very smooth. The 6% ABV seems a little high, as the palate isn’t quite as energetic as the mouthfeel, but that enables it to be drank in larger quantities. An ideal starter black IPA.