Beer Review 0018: Magic Hat Odd Notion Winter 2010

Magic Hat, located in Vermont, brews a series of beers it calls “Odd Notion” quarterly. The Odd Notion series allows their brewers to experiment and release beer in limited batches, pushing the creative envelope into new and untested boundaries.

The Winter 2010 Odd Notion is classified as a red ale brewed with rye and hibiscus pedals. This is literally all that is known about the beer.

I discovered a bottle of this in the back of my fridge, and since it is February and the conditions are spring-like outside, I decided I should drink this one up to make way for warmer weather beer.

The pour showed more of an amber colored beer instead of the advertised red, with an average head that was creamy and very dense. The head lasted a good while, reducing to a nice cover atop the drink. The body was fairly hazy with no particles or sediment present. Initially, there was some lacing, but it got sparse throughout the sampling.

The aromatics were dominated by very faint and flat hints of malt, specifically caramel and grain on the front end. Buried deep in the back I detected some floral notes; however, these were so hidden, I couldn’t exactly call them hibiscus with a clear conscience. I also picked up a scent of dust, which seems to be common to all the Magic Hat beers I’ve ever partook of. They all have a perfume-dusty aroma going on, if that makes sense.

The flavors for this batch of Odd Notion can only be described as weak tea. I would compare this to watered down Lady Grey tea, with a nice caramel finish that is average in duration and picks up a hint of spice on the very end. The mouthfeel is very thin and overall the palate is disappointed.

I don’t think this particular Odd Notion could be classified a success. It’s just too subdued — I’m left wondering if what flavors that are here were turned up to volume 11, would this be a good beer? Since the Odd Notions are only brewed once, I guess we’ll never get a better rerun of this one.

Magic Hat Odd Notion Winter 2010, 71 points. Price: $1.99 US for 12 oz. bottle.

Under the cap…

In case you are new to Magic Hat beers, each cap comes inscribed with a message underneath. For the bottle of Odd Notion I reviewed, the cap said, “Keep the pace, go to space.”


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