Dark Horse Rod - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse Rod
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BA SCORE
85
very good

63 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 63
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 14.81%
Wants: 4
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  ABV ?

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: drxandy on 05-28-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 | Reviews: 30
Reviews by ElizabethCraig:
Photo of ElizabethCraig
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Dark Horse Brewing co.

Scent: I didn't get a big nose from this - just a slightly grainy scent.

Color: Muddy dark brown/red. It probably would have not been easy to get a different color, but I would have preferred more red to it just for aesthetics sake. Plus it's more romantic and stuff, considering how this is marketed.... =)

Head: light white, dissipated quickly in the plastic sample cup.

Taste: Medium to mild carbonation, I think this carries the earthy taste though more. Medium grainy, nicely bitter but not too much so. Around a minute after you sip it, you get a dark earthy taste - great taste, not 'off' but just a nice herbal note. The bitter seems to me that it comes from the herbs in the beer, maybe the damiana or the ginkgo in particular.

Warms up nice and malty with a more sweet herbalness to it. Not a sweet chicky beer by any stretch, but comes into its own as you sip.

I like this beer, I wouldn't choose it for everyday drinking, but I'd like pair it with a port-infused cheese to see what happens flavor-wise.

More User Reviews:
Photo of tigg924
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Union Ale House Weymouth--served into a pint glass

Appearance: moderate carbonation, minimal head, dark red- brown in color, cloudy

Smell: pine hops

Taste: caramel with big piney hops

Mouthfeel: sweet start with a bitter spike in the middle and a less bitter end, medium-high carbonation, medium-light body

Overall: Worth a try and above average for a red ale. Yet after a pint, I have no desire for another. I would not turn this down either.

Photo of djmitche
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at local option here in Chicago - the best kept beer bar secret. The pour had a nice, persistent head that fell but continued to lace nicely. The aroma is mild, and only really appears after the beer warms. It's coffee and maybe cherry The flavor is nice: strong malt flavors but not sweet, with a nice hop backbone. The mouthfeel is what you want from a Dark Horse: chewy but not thick. Overall, this would make a great session beer, but it's not topping any of my "amazing beer" charts.

Photo of sleestak4life
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Dark Horse. Pours ruddy with a medium, creamy off-white head. Aroma is toffee malt and herbal with pronounced hops and an underlying earthiness. Flavor is citrus hop forward, crystal malt and a lingering herbal bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied. My favorite amber by a long stretch.

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery. Reddish brown, IBU of 10, with taste from an unlikely team of herbs found to give tartness in various teas, including hibiscus. Above average mouthfeel.Still tasted as if hops, and perhaps caramel for drinkability. A good changeup.

Photo of prototypic
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rod arrived a really nice copper or amber color. There's a touch of haze, but not much. Crimson highlights are noted with backlighting. The top was covered with vanilla colored bubbles. They covered the surface, but that's about it. Lacing was a little sticky, but light overall.

The nose is pretty good. It could use a little more strength. There are some sweet caramel notes up front. Smells like bit of toasted malt is in there, as well. Hops emerge with a nice mix of floral and citrus notes. The citrus notes seem secondary, but definitely add some grapefruit and orange to the mix. The floral hops smell a little grassy and herbal. Alcohol is not noticeable.

The flavor kicks off with a blend of caramel and toasted malts. It falls on the sweet side, but it's not overly sweet or sugary. The hop profile is definitely interesting. I have no idea what specific hops were used. Their flavor is primarily herbal with a little grass and citrus grapefruit thrown in for good measure. It's a little bitter and dry, but the malts do a pretty nice job of balancing. The hop averse shouldn't be offended. Alcohol is masked very well. Finishes with a sweet, herbal, and bitter combo.

Rod has a light medium body. Carbonation seems light and restrained. Ultimately, it's smooth and easy drinking. I stopped at one pint, but could have easily (and happily) tackled a few more.

Rod is a pretty nice release from Dark Horse. For a hoppy Amber Ale, its flavor is rather unique. Herbal hops seem to lead the hop charge, and it works really well with the toasted malt presence. I generally prefer a stronger citrus flavor, but it wouldn't be as unique if that were the case here. Rod is definitely good stuff. I wouldn't mind seeing it in bottles. Check it out if you have the chance.

Photo of tempest
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a glass at Liberty St. Tavern. It was a dark amber with a short off-white head. This was a wonderfully balanced beer that reminded me of a smooth Belgian quad, but with with a little roasted kick. There's also a tasty share of earthy, citrus hops that blend into the fruity spices. Check this beer out if you get a chance.

Photo of osusullins
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a pretty decent red. Not the best I've ever had, but very drinkable. I remember when I heard that it was brewed with aphrodisiacs I started buying it for every pretty girl I saw. lol.

The pour is a dark amber. With a little tan head.

Smell is biscuity with some caramel sweetness. You can smell the floral herbs. The nose isn't overpowering, but it is definitly plesant.

Taste is good. You get alot of the malts. Some hops but not much. Mostly bready with subtle caramel and some nice floral notes. Very light body and easy to drink. Crushable beer.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber. Decent white rocky head holds for a minute, then fades to a thin layer. A few spots of lace.

Nose full of caramel, a few fruity notes. Floral and earthy hop notes.
Caramel malt, a bit of sweetness. Just a hint of spicy flavor. Just enough earthy bitterness and a hint of fruit to balance.

Medium body, good amount of carbonation. Pretty drinkable. Not bad.

Photo of GbVDave
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip at Jerry's 6/28/08. Thanks to TomMorris for the assist!

A: Served a cloudy dark brown color. Like English Breakfast tea. Off white/light tan head that's about 1/2 finger thick.

S: Interesting aroma. Sweet caramel with a decidedly dry feeling. Spices and hops with a dose of earthy tropical fruit.

T: Exceedingly dry hoppy profile. Very natural and herbal. Dry yet sweet caramel. Spicy mango/pineapple tropical fruit that's washed by a fantastically dry and herbal spiciness.

M: Sweet and juicy fruit that's countered by a large dry and spicy mouthfeel.

D: Don't know the abv, but I suspect it's pretty hefty. Surprisingly refreshing for a beautiful summer day!

Photo of Roeters
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with a light thin head

S: Sweet aroma with just a slight hoppy smell of citrus and herbal aroma

T: Very smooth, great from the start to the finish. All aspects of it just work, Incredible

M: Good! Light sweetness with a good bitterness and alittle carbonation bite

D: This is a great beer, the herbs are said to be an aphrodisiac. But, I couldn't get women to come home with me tonight!

Photo of TheHoppiest
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler I filled a Heinen's in Brecksville into a pint glass. Pours a cloudy tea color, very unfiltered, with a thin ivory colored head.

Has a roasted malt smell, with toffee notes. Starts malty, has a nice hoppy taste midway through, ending with fruity sweet. Toffee and caramel start it out, with grapes and apricot finishing it and a nice hop bitter chasing it. Medium bodied, with a bit of a sharp finish. This is a nice-tasting beer, and certainly one of the better amber ales I've had.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.25/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. On tap at Dark Horse.

Pour brings a rusty caramel color with a bit of a head and not too much lacing. Nose is lift citrus and floral hops with a bit of earth.and malt. Taste is biscuity malt and mild hops. Decent bitterness in the feel. A pretty good beer all around, but not my favorite of the day.

Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap@ armsby abbey.

A: Fluffy 1 finger head fades slowly, dark murky brown color.

N: Lots of dark malts, brown sugar, chest malts, sligh bitter hop addition.

T: starts with chest malts, creamy, some sweet brown sugar, refreshing though, little grassy mild bitter hop addition, touch of smoke even.

M: Med body with decent carbonation, creamy.

F: lingering creamy malts almost nitro, touch of brain sugar and sweetness lingering, touch of smoke and mostly sweet.

Photo of hopdog
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's. Ha, ha, should I be enjoying Dark Horse's Rod?

Poured a deeper and cloudy/muddy amberish color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of some citrus, toastiness, and a trace of herbalness. Tastes of stronger herbalness, toasted grains, citrus, and some caramel. The herbs are definitely more present in the tastes.

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed, for free (kinda), at The Map Room.

Into a pint glass, pours a mahogany red, with a decent head to it. Not much lacing, which happens at bars more often, I think. It smells like a pretty hoppy red, nice citrus and fruity hops, a bit floral in character, with some nice toasty and biscuity malts.

Now, it had that kind of 'Red' feel to it, whatever that is, but really, this seemed to me like a biscuity IPA, lots of hops just like the nose, a lovely mouth, super easy to drink. Not a beer I got too excited about, nevertheless, a tasty sessioner.

Photo of Ryan011235
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap in a pint glass at the brewpub on 7/21/12

A) Pours a dark, rusty/crimson brown; dense appearance. One half finger head thins to a soapy layer. Some drippy lace.

S) The aroma has strong notes of floral hops, sweet bread and caramel. Milder hop overtones of citrus and pine. Full, resinous aroma. Smells pretty good.

T) While exhibiting a balance in the aroma, the taste has much more focus on the hops here there is a showing of pine and citric pepperings. Toasted bread and caramel; somehow this beer manages to stay rather dry.

M) Medium-plus feel; it is resinous and oily. Puffy, rolling carbonation.

D) Overall, ROD is maltier than I prefer. That said, it has full flavor and is not lacking in feel. I appreciate that in the style.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a shaker pint glass at WhirlyBall Vernon Hills.

No need for aphrodisiacs in the beer when you've got such an attractive and attentive (and knowledgeable) bartender. Quite. Anyway, this stuff pours a sunset ruby-amber topped by a half-finger of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises caramel, very light roasted malts, very light cocoa powder, and orange zest. The taste brings in more of the same, though the roast and cocoa elements come off further blended into the surroundings, muting them slightly. Some flowers also find their way in their as well. Not bad, actually. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a nice brew, one you don't see every day, and one you're not gonna be too upset to see on any kind of regular basis.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Alchey in Madison.

A: Served in a pint glass filled completely to the top. Redish brown hue. No head no lace. I can't fault the beer for the head issues. After a couple sips lace rings remain around the glass so that's positive.

S: A solid dose of earthy hops and carmel malt. Maybe a touch of spice.

T: The hops give a nice citrus bite up front. Large amount of carmel malt smooths this one out. Nice spiced finsih.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

D: Overall a nice effort. Easy drinking and enough complex flavors to make me want another.

Photo of davedahl
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Traditionally I'm not a "red" fan since they can get kinda sweet/malty for me. But I trust Dark Horse and gave it a whirl...

The pint-glass-beer was poured from a bar keg. Zero head....but I think that was by design by the barhand, no sweat.

The appearance is an opaque amber with a hint of red around the edges.

The smell is primary malt - definitely some roasted malt and possibly some rye malt (?) at the end of the nose.

Mouthfeel - slightly over carbonated, but it came from a bar keg so I won't let that reflect negatively. Full, slightly chewy in a pleasant way.

Taste - lots of malt. Toasted specialty malts keep it from being cloying. A slight spice in aftertaste.

Overall a great red ale. I'm not a big fan of reds but this one has changed my thinking of what reds should be.

Photo of Mistofminn
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Goblet (but actually closer to a Sniffer) at Stub and Herb. It's dark ruby amber color, really appealing. It has an off white head with decent retention and impressive lacing.

The aroma is quite good. I was expecting a more hoppy aroma, which this isn't, but it's still good. I get caramel and a tropical fruit that I can't put my finger on, but reminds me of apricots, but much more tropical, if that makes sense. More malty than hoppy, and a pleasant surprise.

You can definitely appreciate this hand crafted ale. Caramel malts and sweet and tart tropical fruits band together to form a very interesting and enticing brew. Good stuff. There is a slight bitterness, but this might be something that someone who hates "bitter" beers might even like.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but has a nice bite from the carbonation. Slight bitter aftertaste dukes it out with the juicy fruitiness. Drinkability is really high, this is some great stuff.

A couple notes. First, I remember the menu saying the ABV, but I didn't memorize it. I'm positive it is at least 6%+, probably more like 7%+.

Second, the menu labeled this as Dark Horse Rod "The Boner Ale." That cracked me up and I had to try it.

Photo of Urbancaver
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tastes of rye and floral hints... Definitely a red ale in it's base... Not particularly unique but definitely a solid beer. The floral flavors are a bit overpowering. Well carbonated but not very drinkable. I sampled this at the catskeller as a 4 ounce pour and opted against a full glass...

Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the menu at Melt, listed as "name: Dark Horse Rod, style: Amber Sex Panther Ale". OK, I guess I HAVE to order it.

Poured a nice dirty brown with off-white head. Ok retention and lacing, but nothing special. Smell is a bit of hops and a bit of malt, nothing too distinctive really. Not bad though, the hops show through in a more citrus light, whereas the malt is more rye-toast oriented. Taste follows suit, this is a hopped-up red. Some other flavor to it that I can't quite put my finger on. Herbal? Not bad, just different. Other flavors pop in and out--dark fruit, smoke, No. 2 pencil, etc. MF was decent, moderate body with decent carbonation. A good drink, I had two.

Photo of mothman
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass. Color is a bronze dark amber. Came with no head so no lave either.

Aroma: so grassy hops, but mainly a malt flavor with caramel and citrus blend.

Taste: here there is a lot bigger of a grassy hop profile, but the caramel malts and citrus blend together well after the hops hit.

Mouthfeel: some hop bitterness, fairly crips. Medium bodies with a good amount of carbonation. Ends with a weird fruity aftertaste.

Overall, this is an ok beer, nothing special, but drinkable at 7.2% abv. Not something I would buy a lot of.

Photo of drpimento
4.58/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Man, this is killer brew. Served with a nice, thick, creamy, foamy, frothy, very light tan head that lasts a while, and lots of lace. Color is a hazy, amber red. Aroma was malt n hop. Flavor is an excellent blend of malts with a little roasty, tad fruity, chewy hop, a little dry. Body is just right for this beer: full mouth, perfect carbonation. Finish is like flavor and of medium long lenght and little if any alcohol. Woulda rated the nose better but my snooter don't work so well.

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Dark Horse Rod from Dark Horse Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.