Dark Horse 4 Elf - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse 4 ElfDark Horse 4 Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

684 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 684
Reviews: 178
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.87%
Wants: 54
Gots: 109 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  8.75% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: granger10 on 11-27-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 684 | Reviews: 178
Photo of tigg924
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Taste is cinnamon, clove, and dark roasted malt. This one hits all of the expected notes in a winter warmer. While I have others I prefer in the style, I certainly would not pass this up.

Photo of majorbase2
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with a huge foamy off white head. Good retention. Leaves a lumpy, uneven head with spotty lacing.

Aroma is heavy on spices, ginger, molasses, graham cracker, cinnamon, and a hint of caramel. Very pleasant.

Tastes like a porter. Lightly roasted chocolate and nuts. Brown sugar. A small amount of hops. Gingerbread is still there, though not as strong. Very faint cinnamon. A little too heavy on the spice, though. There's really not much going on in the taste, unfortunately. It just kind of lacks character, if that makes sense. A little more hop bitterness than expected here.

Medium bodied. LIttle carbonation. More of a sipper at 8.75%.

Overall, started out with good potential, even after the first sip, but really faltered from there. Still a solid brew, but not DH's best, so don't go out of your way for this one.

Photo of wattersmike90
4.55/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed one of these from D&L truk stop in Aubrun, NY. If you enjoy spicy winter brews, this is for you.

Reminds me of the Southern Tier Warlock.

Photo of MaximalC
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark cola color with a thin head of coarse, khaki bubbles that are gone in a flash. The aroma is a sweet, wintery funk comprised of molasses, gingerbread, lebkuchen, caramel, and allspice.

The taste is spicy up front with a big kick of allspice, nutmeg, and warming alcohol that dominates the subtler flavors. Some caramel, gingerbread, and hints of roasted malt comprise the sweeter side of the beer. A pleasant toffee aftertaste finally manages to find its way through on the back end. The surprisingly prickly carbonation amplifies the spiciness, while the medium-heavy body provides an appropriate foundation for the vibrant flavors.

Overall, this is an aggressively spicy, flavorful brew that could only be appropriate for the season. I’m not especially keen on allspice to begin with, and in this case it’s far from balanced. I had this on tap a couple months ago and recall a much mellower brew, so I’m not sure which experience is more representative of the brewers’ intention.

Photo of ta_hagen
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice warm winter Ale, perfect for a cold winter day after shoveling some snow.

Photo of Immortale25
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass. Bottleneck says 260-13.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/4 inch tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a small center patch of bubbly surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Earthy spices such as clove, allspice and anise.

T- Has this kind of umami flavor where there's a savory, beefy quality on top of the spices. Alcohol is very well-concealed and there's a hint of brown sugar but, other than that, isn't particularly bitter or sweet.

M- Creamy and slick with medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- A very unique take on a winter warmer which has me scratching my head on whether I truly like it or not. In the end, I dig it for the plain fact that it's so smooth for how strong it is. Also, there's a complexity to it that you don't find in most winter warmers. Truly its own unique beer.

Photo of smakawhat
4.41/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Deep dark mahogany red, a bit opaque with not too much hues and slightly muddy looking. Manages a tan very creamed two finger head, that easily sinks to a simple one finger puck very slowly.

Excellent classic winter warmer aroma. Hints of nutmeg, big sweet brown spices of clove and cinnamon. Excellent bready tones very much like a fruitcake going on, just excellent.

Palate is just full of classic balanced flavors. Huge gingerbread notes on this thing, with great dry nutmeg and cinnamon character. Simple malt backbone with a moderate feel. Aftertaste leaves a great dry hint of fig and spice. Warm ginger comes with

This is an excellent warmer, nailing all those classic spices and bringing more to the palate than just a sugar rush and a mess.

Photo of martyl1000
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Side Door, Madison. Whoa. That's some serious flavor. Too sweet for me, though.

Photo of HattedClassic
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a nice tan and creamy head that does not dissipate very quickly and takes a while to dissipate. The beer itself is a dark and opaque black with little bits of sediment and a very nice bubble presence.

The beer smell has the usual sugar and spice and everything nice note to it in addition to a little boozy smell. The spices are sugar, clove, cinnamon, and gingerbread. The beer also has a roasty coffee note to it and sweet malt smell.

The beer taste has the gingerbread, cinnamon, clove, and sugar notes as well as a sweet malty taste. The taste also has the roasted coffee notes from the smell. The end result is a slightly roasty gingerbread beer, which is pretty good. In addition, the beer also has a slightly boozy note that does not detract from the other flavors.

The mouthfeel is pretty heavy bodied and vscous. The beer has a very thick texture like liquidated gingerbread cookies. The feel is pretty good and the carbonation is enough that it adds a bit more texture. However, it can fell a bit dull and sometimes off.

Overall, a pretty good winter warmer and worth getting.

Photo of secondtooth
3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very dark chestnut/black, with ruby highlights. Average head of tan bubbles, and a fair, loopy lace.

Aroma: Ah, the spices! Cinnamon, clove, and others providing a rich and strong olfactory experience right off the bat. Easy to detect the Xmas theme here.

Taste: Heavy on the palate, with that potent dose of winter spice. I also get a little chocolate undertone happening, and a bittersweet finish that definitely packs some heat. Overall, a solid and enjoyable winter warmer.

Photo of Stezz420
4.84/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1st beer from dark horse. Probably the best winter warmer I've had to date.


Dark stout looking beer. Decent head with good retention.

Smells like christmas popery, surprisingly very citrusy also.

Tastes like how it smells. A little bit of dark malt and chocolate come through also.

Perfect amount of carbonation goes down very smooth.

Over all im glad I tired this beer while it was around. Would love to try the barrel aged version if I can find a bottle.

Photo of Jaybirdbrew
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A great winter warmer ale, spices are not overwhelming and the beer's flavor is complimented by the added spices. I'd drink it twice.

Photo of BeccaH
1.35/5  rDev -64.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This beer had way too much spice.

Photo of parris
4.63/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beer looks and tastes fantastic. Up front it's like a nice trappist quad, but it finishes a little hoppy. Definitely recommended.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.31/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a teku glass (HA! I bet you guys didn't think I had one of these! Merry freakin' Christmas, everyone!!!)

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with lots of ugly, chunky sediment at the bottom of the glass. The head is a finger high, with a khaki shade. Retention is good and the texture is creamy, also. A bit of lacing is left on the glass. Typical of many Dark Horse brews, it's not exactly pretty to look at (no thanks to its unfiltered nature). (2.75)

Smell: This is around a 7/10 as far as Christmas spicing goes. I'm picking up plenty of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. There are also additional notes of graham cracker, caramel, and dark chocolate. While this is a nice aroma altogether, there isn't much here to separate it from other winter warmers. (3.5)

Taste: Okay, but THIS does. It opens up with a surprising amount of roast, coalescing with the notes of allspice and caramel. Appropriately for the style, a hoppy touch finishes it off. The back end is also a touch acidic - it's hardly to the tomato-esque levels of Sapient Trip, though. While the spices are nicely restrained, it seems more chaotic than balanced in its complexity. Still, there's no hint of the alcohol whatsoever. (3.25)

Mouthfeel: Really crisp and light - this is where the unfiltered nature really shines. While it becomes slightly warming when it properly warms up, it conceals the alcohol extremely well. Carbonation is middling. (3.5)

Overall: The aroma revealed a fairly standard winter warmer. The taste, however, showed off a roasty, almost crisp wassail that's practically dangerous. It isn't my favorite winter warmer, but hey, it's still well worth a look. (3.25)

3.3/5: Far from perfect, but it's definitely not boring, either

Photo of GregBarleycorn13
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Too much clove or allspice for me. Great dark brown color though.

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tasted from a twelve ounce bottle on December 23, 2014.

Photo of lilsmizzul1225
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very particular about winter Warmers the idea of a gingerbread flavored beer sounds great and it smelled wonderful but it was a little overpowering on the taste. I feel like the strong sugary flavor needs to be a tad more subtle like in Lagunita's Brown Shugga. Still a pretty good and festive beer though.

Photo of dhannes
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L=Very dark brown, hint of red, with large, ecru colored foam head.
S=Nutmeg and other spices.
T=Like a stout with nutmeg/pumpkin spice/egg nog in the background.
F=Modest carbonation...but rather thick/not a session beer.
O=Unique change of pace...recommend as an after dinner desert beer. I am going to cellar the other 3 bottles until next year.

Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
2.86/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Too much clove for me.

Photo of DonovanD
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

The only thing questionable to me, was the aroma... Will have to test more from different glasses and places. Taste is very holiday, scotch ale / mild stout.

Photo of Cylinsier
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

Pours stout black, light yellowish lacing for a head.

Smells of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, roasted coffee, and toast.

Flavor is of mesquite, burnt toast, cinnamon, and cloves. Light dry hops in the finish.

Medium body with minimal carbonation.

An interesting and aromatic winter brew that tastes more like a bland imperial stout than a winter warmer. It's not bad, just slightly uninteresting in the flavor. Otherwise, it'd be a great stout. Worth a try but probably not a revisit.

Photo of Chaney
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an Elysian glass.

A: Poured a dark, burnt wood color with some little yeasties floating around.

S: Loads of caramel and the thing just screams holidays with it's candy-like disposition. Sure the nutmeg and cinnamon were both present, but I got more Payday candy bar than anything. Sexy!

T: Much more cinnamon and less sugar on the taste. The nutmeg pretty much shot up through my nose as I was tasting it. Seriously, the more sips I took, this became quite the spice bomb. Holiday through and through with some traces of Coca-Cola on about the 3-4th sip or so.

M: Some lacing left on the glass, but most of it pretty much dropped back down into the vat below. A good amount of carbonation and to be honest, I wish there was just a tinge more.

O: It is pretty much what it claimed to be: A big, holiday, spice beer. Cheers!

Photo of Trooper92292
4.88/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Great for the holidays by a warm fireplace. I originally gave this a lower rating but I just had it on tap at one of my favorite bars and it's even better. A great winter beer from Dark Horse.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - mostly opaque, a hint of brownish red around the edge. Light mocha head settles and holds at a thin cover. Lace on the glass is thin, sticky.

Aroma - a lightly smoked, peaty malt sitting under a blanket of anise and perhaps some ginger and/or clove.

Taste - malty, lots of cinnamon. Chocolate on the swallow and loads of cloves. The swallow is all cinnamon and clove, super spicy, I dig it.

Mouthfeel - slightly heavier than average, nice for this style. Carbonation is just a bit fluffy to help counter.

Overall - a delicious warmer, darker style with lots of spiciness.

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Dark Horse 4 Elf from Dark Horse Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 684 ratings.