Magic Hat Odd Notion - English Dark Mild (Summer 08)

RATINGS: 79   WEIGHTED AVG: 2.98/5   SEASONAL: Series   EST. CALORIES: 126   ABV: 4.2%
A stupendous Midland Mild Ale whose epic malt infused acts of sweet caramel sensations leave all who pour it speechless. Its roasted notes of sun soaked grain are appearing in the Summer Variety Show in a not to be missed engagement. Brewed with Belgian Candi Sugar.

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muzzlehatch's rating

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
muzzlehatch (4975) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - JUN 6, 2008
12 ounce bottle from the summer variety pack, purchased at City Market in Burlington, VT (June 2008) and sampled at cellar temperature from a Samuel Smith glass. A big fizzy faintly tan head disappears rapidly above the translucent dark walnut body....nose is strongly nutty, sugary, somewhat loamy/earthy....simple malty-sweet body is pretty tasty with notes of molasses and vanilla, but the too-thin body isn’t supportive enough and it all peters out too quickly. Just OK.

bytemesis (9510) - Sunnyvale, California, USA - APR 27, 2012
Bottle, pours clear dark amber with minimal off-white quickly dissipating head. Aroma is of roasted malt and little else. Taste is lightly malty, perhaps nutty. Watery in mouth, very mild and unoffensive. Not a lot going on here.

FROTHINGSLOSH (8291) - GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 22, 2012
Sampled from a 12 oz brown bottle this beer poured a dark brown color with a large foamy dark tan head that faded quickly and left decent lacing. The aroma was toasty and nutty with hints of cocoa and wood with a very faint vague fruity undertone. The flavor was nutty and toasty with light notes of wood and cocoa. The beer turned somewhat bitter on the finish. Medium body. Ok.

ChadPolenz (1847) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - MAR 27, 2010
I’m a fan of dark beers, probably because they have the most taste. Sure, dark beers tend to be much heavier in body and aren’t ridiculously easy to drink, but the flavor quality more than makes up for it.

Magic Hat has been one of my favorite breweries of the last few years, because they know how to take a fairly standard beer (summer ale, hefeweizen, pale ale) and put a new spin on the same old formula. However, with this summer’s “Odd Notion” beer, “English Dark Mild,” this Vermont-based brewery is obviously trying to imitate traditional English brown ale like Newcastle. It’s a valiant effort, to be sure, but the end result is a surprisingly average beer.


Dark beers have a tendency to pour very smoothly and English Dark Mild certainly follows in that habit. It forms an average-sized head which doesn’t linger very long, but never evaporates completely. The color is also reminiscent of brown ales in that it’s actually a very dark red hue, almost maroon, but leans more towards out-and-out brown.

This beer definitely has the typical brown ale characteristic of a roasted aroma. It’s not quite as strong as some other beers of the type, but it’s pretty appealing to the nose (certainly much more than any mass-market beer).


Since this beer has such a deeply-roasted aroma, I was expecting a very strong, almost smoky taste. I was quite surprised when the flavor fell a bit flat. The best way to describe it would be a “watered-down brown ale”. Sure, there is some roasty character to the palate, but it’s very subtle.

At least the beer is extremely smooth and easy to drink. The flavor might be a bit weak, so perhaps this accounts for the ease of the drinkability. Brown ales tend to be smooth anyway, and if there’s something Magic Hat’s beers are known for it’s their clean finish. The beer doesn’t seem to be heavily carbonated and the flavor isn’t too strong, so it’s no wonder it drinks as easily as juice.


People don’t like to drink dark beers on their own, because they tend to be very filling. Beers in the tradition of English Dark Mild are usually very complimentary to a dinner, but this particular brew is much lighter in body than you’d expect. Don’t let the dark color fool you, this is a beer you could easily go through many bottles or pints without feeling full or bloated.


Magic Hat’s Odd Notion Summer 08 “English Dark Mild” is one of those beers that will definitely be enjoyed differently by everyone. Lightweights could easily consider it too strong while connoisseurs might consider it not nearly strong enough for their enjoyment. That’s why I give it an average rating of 3, but still recommend it. It’s definitely worth trying, but might not leave a very lasting impression.

Cletus (6368) - Connecticut, USA - JAN 10, 2009
Pours dark brown with a thin tan head. Smells of oats, some yogurt, nutty, earthy. Tastes lightly tarte and chocolatey with a finish that yields a citrussy bite. Interesting.

Dogbrick (14326) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - DEC 29, 2008
This beer pours brownish-amber with a medium foamy light beige head that diminishes slowly. Thin strings of lacing on the glass. Aroma of mildly roasted malt and nuts. Light to medium body with flavors of roasted nuts, peat malt and a bit of chocolate. The finish is sweet with a short roasted malt aftertaste. Overall the beer tastes pretty good but falls short since nothing really resonates.

Beerdedone (3480) - Croydon, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 28, 2008
Bottle. Pours brown with a small beigh head. Aroma is malty, toasty, nutty and has a touch of chocolate. Flavor is moderately sweet with caramel malts, dark fruit, light chocolate, candi sugar and some nuttiness

adrian910ss (2606) - Doylestown, PA, USA - DEC 11, 2008
On draft at Capones. Pours a deep mahogany maple oak color with a thick creamy tan head. Aroma of watery malts and watered candied sugar. Taste of watery malts and candied sugar. Not much flavor.

Lubiere (14262) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 7, 2008
Clear brown ale with a thin off white head. Aroma of roasted malts, distillery, a bit pungeant. In mouth, a rather light and watery mild, with light sweet malt, a bit of nuts...disappointing for Magic Hat. On tap at Mahar, May 31, 2008.

Ron (4264) - Rochester, New York, USA - NOV 21, 2008
Bottle.Pours black with little to no head. Nutty, roasted aroma. light body, smooth, somewhat smoky taste and quite dark. I thought it might be a very light porter. It was different.

egajdzis (6830) - Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 1, 2008
Poured a reddish brown color with a small, light tan head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of caramel, toast, citrus, and light nuts. Taste of sweet, candy sugar, caramel, and light citrus in the finish.

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