Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse Fore Smoked StoutDark Horse Fore Smoked Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,051 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,051
Reviews: 438
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 9.44%
Wants: 64
Gots: 120 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Smoked Beer |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 12-13-2002

January
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,051 | Reviews: 438
Photo of woodychandler
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The deeper that I go into the Bottle Backlog Eradication of the Summer of 2014, the more wild the beers that are surfacing! A smoked stout!?! What next?

I was anxious to begin and gave it a pretty heavy-handed pour before sitting back to watch the pseudo-cascade. It settled pretty quickly into two fingers of deep-tan/light-brown head, but what happened next was particularly remarkable. It seemed to collapse inwardly on itself and fell much more quickly than I expected, becoming mere wisps. Color was Opaque Black (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose was very smoky, but in more of a burnt charcoal way than the smokiness of a rauchbier. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was more like bittersweet chocolate mingled with a sweet smokiness. It kind of put me in mind of chocolate-covered bacon, which I have tried. I am a fan of smoked beers, but this was a bit sweeter than I like, especially since it seemed to be getting in the way of the smokiness. Finish had that same bittersweet smokiness that I had been getting throughout. I was really kind of underwhelmed, especially given the hype and scores assigned to this beer. Not bad, per se, but leaving a lot of room for improvement.

Photo of jwc215
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with a thin, lasting brown head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, roasted coffee, dark earthy tones with a hint of anise.

The taste is of sweet chocolate, smoke (meat-y?) and coffee. It has a lingering earthy finish.

It is medium-to-full bodied.

An excellent, complex but very drinkable, smoked stout.

Photo of barhoc11
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, even for a 7% stout, there is no light getting through this thing

S: Not a lot going on with this

T: Smokey and fruity but not very multidimensional

M: Good thickness to it, not much to complain about

O: Not bad for a smoked stout but not something I would want to have every day

Photo of fscottkey
3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Notes: Born on 1/21/14 (current date 6/20/14).

A: pours an oily black and looks thick as it glub glubs out of the bottle. There was a 1/2 finger brawn head that receded quickly to a thin layer.

S: Not getting a lot on the nose.

T: Smokey coffee flavor up front. With a smoke aftertaste.

M: A bit of tingle from the carbonation. Not think or chewy like I anticipated from the pour.

O: This is kind of one note. The smoke is smothering anything more complex. I know it is a smoked stout - so that should be the expectation - but I hoped for some other flavors somewhere in the palate. It is decent tasting but lacks a strong nose and depth int he taste.

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours nearly black. This is as dark a beer as I've ever had - even direct sunlight only barely penetrated at the very edge. The head was chocolate brown, but very thin and with no lacing.

S: Faint smokiness that could be from burnt grain or smoked malt. Chocolate and coffee notes are both present. There's some molasses and dark fruit notes as well.

T: Malt flavors yield sweetness for a brief moment, then the stronger notes of toasted grain take over. Tart fruit flavors take their turn at the forefront, then fade as bitter and finally acrid flavors move in at the finish. The smokiness is there throughout, but always in the distant background of the other flavors.

M: Moist, with below average carbonation. It's somewhat chewy, but less so than I expected from the appearance. Booze is detectable, but not harsh.

O: But for the lackluster head, this is a beautiful stout. The smoke was weaker in both aroma and taste than I'd hoped, or at least seemed that way next to the potency of a stout that nears imperial status. Enjoyable, but not a home run.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into stout pokal; jet black, one of the darkest beers I've seen. Nice solid two-finger head of the darkest brown foam I've ever seen, it was the color of dark chocolate ice cream. Head recedes after a few minutes into a nice ring of foam.
Smells like dark chocolate, coffee, campfire smoke, metallic roasted malt, and hints of sweetness.
Taste follows nose in ingredients but not in quantity. Sweet milk chocolate and toffee take the wheel while bitter coffee/chocolate and ashy smoke try and backseat drive to no avail. Leaves the mouth in sticky sweetness with some lingering bitterness and an ashy feeling like you've been sitting around a campfire for a while.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, clean and wet. Finishes a bit dry at the very end but not much.
Overall, this is a tasty stout. However, with the smoke not playing much of a part and the relatively light body compared to the sweetness of the flavor, you could be convinced this was a chocolate porter or something perhaps. I'd like more smoke from a "smoked stout," but it's still tasty and interesting.

Photo of larryarms847
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is black, but I am noticing some almost red(?) or is it rust(?) hues around the edgers. Very interesting.

Smells like a bonfire, the smokiness is the only thing I can smell.

Taste follows up to the smell, very smoky, slightly sweet caramel hints, but mostly tastes like burning wood.

Mouthfeel, like sucking on burnt woodchips.

Overall this is a mediocre option at best from Dark Horse, I'll stick with Plead the 5th.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a pitch black color; the pour itself would make a typical imperial stout blush. The head is a finger high and tan in shade. Retention is about average, maybe slightly below average. No lacing on the glass, though, which is disappointing.

S: This is a very roasty-smelling beer, with chocolaty and molasses undertones. The smoke is existent in the background, along with some cream and a gentle twinge of dark fruit. It doesn't have overpowering smokiness, and the base beer hits all the ticks of what I want from a good stout.

T: To start (and really, to finish as well), it has a smokiness more closely resembling dried wood than cured ham - it's definitely not campfire ashy, though. Midtaste notes of licorice, dark fruits, and powdery cocoa help balance out the smoke. At times, it's even subtly tart. The only real complaint is that it's a bit low on flavor; unfortunately it's enough to keep it just out of 4 territory.

M: I love the dryness, the high attenuation, and the pre-swallow creaminess of the feel. There are a lot of residual sugars, though, which slows down drinkability...slightly. The thick texture would do an imperial stout proud (but could use a beefier flavor profile to help support it). Nicely carbonated.

O: Another solid Dark Horse stout, plain and simple. It's so, so close to being great, it just needs a 'bigger' flavor to support its big mouthfeel. Still, I'd gladly buy and drink it again.

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.06/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle marked 7394 73W0229 at 45 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of toasted malt
Head small (1.5 cm), light brown, creamy, rapidly diminishing to 2 mm ring
2 mm sediment in bottle, firmly attached to bottom
No lacing
Body dark brown/black, totally opaque
Flavor of toasted malt, very light and slightly sweet; no alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl, no smoke; flavor dies quickly with no aftertaste.
Palate medium to full, creamy, nearly flat.

Lack of head and lacing detracts from the appearance and the unassertiveness of the flavor certainly lower rating. This meets the judging requirements for a stout. It is very easy drinking, nearly a session stout, with no hint of smoke. Perhaps someone was smoking while moving the grain?

Photo of dbrauneis
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque but clear thick jet black in color with light amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the surface of the beer and a hint of cola brown highlights. The beer has a half finger tall mocha head that reduces to a large thin patch and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of chocolate and roasted malts with some light hints of smoke.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of roasted and chocolate malts with a moderate amount of milk chocolate as well as some hints of sweetness. Light notes of smoke towards the finish and there is a light to moderate amount of lingering bitterness in the finish.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light to moderate amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Rich and enjoyable with very nice flavors/aromas and a subtle amount of smoke. Easy to drink and definitely one to grab again.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Maudite snifter. Very impressive pour. The beer is very black and produces a dark brown frothy head. The smoke is quite evident on the nose, but not overwhelming. It accompanies the sweet and roasty notes of the malt and produces a very pleasant aroma.

Medium-full body and a roasty, smokey flavor. Very faint sweet notes up front, then some roastiness and enough smoke to tame the other flavors. The smoke is not excessive, but still announces its presence. It comes in around mid-palate, carries through the finish, and has a drying, almost tannic effect on your mouth. I get flavors of wood, licorice, black tea, and unsweetened cola. The feel is plenty firm and a little oily.

I'm not a good reviewer of smoked beers since I tend to avoid them. I did want to review this one because I wanted to review all 5 of Dark Horse's numbered stouts and I also like to expand my beer-drinking horizons on occasion. I am happy to report that this beer, unlike some smoked beers, did not taste like someone put out their cigarette in it. It's more of an American Stout than a Smoked Beer. Sadly, I think the smoke robs the beer of some of its richness and malt character and makes it taste a little bland on my palate. Fans of smoked beers may still want to check this one out.

Photo of SerialTicker
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled December 23rd. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint on March 24th. $2.19 single.

Appearance: Pitch black with a fizzy dark brown head that goes away quickly. No lacing. Pretty average.

Smell: Roasty and smokey with an almost caramel popcorn aroma. I really like it. Not as smokey as some other stouts I've had, but it's there nicely.

Taste/feel: Hm. Alright. Well, I can say that it's quite bitter, but not a good bitter. A burnt sort of bitter. I can't really so much taste a burnt flavor, but the bitterness reminds me of... burnt. Not in a horrific, it-ruins-the-beer way, but I could do without it. The mouthfeel is more like a porter than a stout, as it feels relatively thin with a medium-to-high carbonation. The smoke flavor is in this beer like it is the aroma -- complimentary, but quite mild. In comparison, the smoke in this beer is a decent bit less significant than the blueberry was in Dark Horse's Tres Blueberry Stout. There's no "meatiness" that I love in a good smoked porter or stout, just a smoke and coffee flavor that combines to give an ashy vibe. As it warms, that "burnt bitterness" I was talking about goes in the backseat, and a sweetness comes through without accompanied flavors (dark fruits or whatever else).

All-in-all, my least favorite of One, Too, Tres, Fore, and Plead the Fifth if that counts. This would be a good one for people who like stouts, but not so much smokey ones. The smoke is in this beer, but not in a huge way like I guess I was hoping.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Inky black. Thin khaki collar. Extremely dark.

Smell - Smoke. A little woody. A little meaty. Coffee roasted malt aroma.

Taste - Rich smoke. A bit of rich, sweet, coffee malts. The smoke gets a little bitter. Seems like it could get too bitter, but never does.

Mouthfeel - Bitter. Sweet, but masked by smoke. Medium heavy body.

Overall - I really like this beer. Almost too smokey, but never crosses the line.

Photo of ONUMello
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pitch black, no head to speak of
S: Coffee, cocoa and woodsmoke
T: Like the nose, coffee and cocoa up front then some roasted malt followed by woodsmoke
M: Medium-bodied
O: Well crafted and a tasty stout, nothing I haven't had before but I wouldn't hesitate to get this again

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black body with one finger brown head and minor lace patches all over glass. Not completely meaty like a german smokebeer but the aroma Is an intense smoked malt bomb with pretty much everything else subdued. Thick, fuller bodied and even chewy, bready, there are some bitter chocolate sweet notes and the balance is great b/c the smoked taste is not as strong as the aroma and doesn't kill the other taste sensations. A little bit of heat in finish that derives from both the smoke and alcohol and overall leads to a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of illpass78
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a stout glass.

Appearance: Pours a thick black with some red notes at the edges. Head is very minimal and dissipates swiftly. Just about no lacing. No light is getting through this one - it's really dark.

Aromas: Smells like roasted, smoky malts and dark chocolate. It's not a smoke bomb, but it's definitely got a nice smoky presence in the nose. Some molasses notes, too.

Taste: Tasty. This beer has a slightly sweet kick to it that balances out the smokiness and roastiness. The taste follows the nose, though there is a BBQ-like taste to the finish that the nose didn't hint at. I like it. A very drinkable and pretty delicious stout.

Mouthfeel: It's a tiny bit thinner than I had expected, but that adds to the drinkablity in a pleasant way. Could pair with a meal easily.

Overall: This beer gave me the impression that it was going to be a big, bold smoke bomb of a beer that was going to basically be like drinking a camp fire. It's not that, but it's something better - a terrific, balanced, nuanced stout. Would drink again.

Photo of joe1510
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle
$7.49 6-Pack
Rudy's liquors - LaSalle, IL

All five of the beers in Dark Horse's Stout series are about as black as you can get from fermented barley. No highlights, no color even when poured. This beer is just flat out black. The head fizzles up to a finger of mocha creaminess and settles rather quickly to a crackling ring of foam. Thin lace lines get left behind,

Right off the bat I get a tendril of smoke. It permeates every aspect of the smell but is in no way overpowering or one dimensional. Rich, deeply roasted barley is the main player front to back. A touch of lactic sweetness and a faint nuttiness wrap things up to my liking. Fore isn't the most complex out there but the richness makes up for any lack of layering.

Roasted barley and singed barley, from the smoke, get things moving along and lead from start to finish. Hazelnut comes through soft mid palate and fades into coffee and cream finish. The note of cream adds the faintest touch of lactic sweetness while the roast brings some moderate bitterness. Though not as rich a the nose, the flavor profile certainly doesn't disappoint.

The body of Dark Horse's stouts are always amazing. They somehow always nail this dense, velvety, moderately heavy body with zero stick. It always amazes me the amount of body they can pull out of a 7% beer. A decent bitterness remains after each swallow and the finish slowly dries up.

Fore isn't my favorite of the series but it is a damn good stout with a touch of the unique. Rich, bold, dense, and velvety about wrap up this beer. An approachable smoked beer for someone wanting to give one a try for the first time.

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Very black on the pour with a half inch of brown head. Retention is decent at best. Lacing sticks in thick rings.

S: Campfire, fudgey undertones, berry fruits charcoal.

T: Huge hit of smoke. Very sooty and ashy. Campfire. Fudge sauce underneath. Hints of cola and perhaps a touch of vanilla. Red berries. More ash and woody smoke on the finish.

M: Medium body. Slight creaminess. Crisp bite of seltzery carbonation.

O: Very smokey. A pretty decent beer. There's just enough offered beyond the smoke to keep it interesting.

Photo of KFBR392
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours with a rich finger of dark tan/khaki head which settled in but was present while drinking. Sits black in the glass with no active carbonation.

Smell: Smokey front. Lots of smoke with a rich caramel, molasses, and dark fruity body. Creamy malt pokes its way through the big smoke body. Mossy hop presence as well. Rich caramel and molasses comes through again on the finish adding some complexity besides the smokey malt.

Taste: Some smoke on the front but more subdued then you would think after the aroma. Candied, overly sweet malt pops up and clings to the palate. Sweet, really sweet continues toward the back end and finish with some grassy hops.

Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth mouthfeel but the sweetness lingers and refuses to leave.

Overall: This one is all over the place. Really enjoyed the aroma but the taste and mouthfeel were off. The hoppiness in the taste does not go well with the smokey tones.

Photo of Stevedore
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, dated 308th day of 2013; too lazy to do the Julian conversion. Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 2/4/2014. Thus continues the exploration and reviewing of the 2013-2014 edition of the Dark Horse seasonal stout series.

App- Very dark brown body, thick dark brown head with OK retention but leaves a beautiful thick collar. Not much lacing.

Smell- Smoked malts, roast malts, faint black coffee. Smoke as advertised but nowhere near campfire smoke, is more subtle which is appreciated. Not complex or too intense, but solid.

Flavour- Up front is a nice bitter espresso mixed with roast malts; middle palate brings a bit of soy sauce/umami flavour, finishing with a thick bitter smokiness and earthy hop flavours. Interesting but not complex.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, good carbonation; aftertaste is smoky much like faint cigarette smoke, but in a more pleasant way. Earthy bitterness finishes off the beer which is balanced between dry and resinous.

Overall- Decent smoked beer, interesting to try and review. Having had this several times, I don't think I'll get this again as I'm not a fan of smoked beers in general.

Photo of BMMillsy
4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Bottle from Rebekah. Big thanks goes out to her! Pitch black pour with a nice creamy mocha colored head. Big time roast aroma, bittersweet chocolate, smoke char, and just a hint of sweet dark fruits. Flavor is super rich roasty bittersweet chocolate, subtle molasses and fruit sweetness, and finishing with a big blast of smoke on the palate. A combination of smoke and chocolate lingers for a long, while like smoked mesquite BBQ kind of wood. Big rich mouthfeel--impressive for the ABV--silky smooth with low to low-medium carbonation. Reminds me a lot of Plead the Fifth but with extra extra roast and some smoke. Smoke doesn't overpower which gives this a nice complexity among all the flavors present. This is really really good!

Photo of DougT
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Guinness Pint glass.

Very dark brown to black with a 2 finger milk chocolate head that quickly disipated leaving very little lace. Little to no foam left after a few sips.

Smells of chocolate, coffee, maybe a little plumb. Quite appealing. Not smelling much smoke.

Pleasantly bitter, not harsh, not overpowering, but prominent. I can taste the smoke. I can taste the alcohol. Some sweetness. Well balanced, but a bit subtle for a stout. It's a very nice flavor that makes you want more.

Medium body with some tingle from the bubbles. Like the head the mouth does not linger. Very good but not superlative.

I like this beer. It's very drinkable, but that's sort of it's problem. This is billed as a stout. It's not heavy enough and the smoke is not prominent enough for it's stye and the lack of head retention is a little disappointing. It might be better named a porter and might help having a little age. A date on the bottle would be nice.

But it is really very good. I would recommend it to people that don't necessary want a really heavy stout but might enjoy something smoky with stout flavors in a porter weight.

I think I'll get more.

Photo of mverity
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

NYE bottle share at Proof. Apparently 4-5 years aged. Pours a deep rich black color with very thin head and a decent tan collar. Aroma is lightly smoked malt, and some burnt coffee. Taste is very similar. Taste is not overly smoked, which is a common complaint I have about smoked beers. Thick body and low-medium carbonation.

Photo of keithmurray
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - dark brown, nearly jet black complexion with mocha colored head

Smell - chocolate, roasted malt, char/burnt firewood

Taste - chocolate, roasted malts, hint of coffee, molasses, smoke is present but not dominant or overwhelming

Mouthfeel - smooth, heavy bodied, hearty,thick and robust, medium carbonation, balanced flavors, I like how the smoke is well integrated yet restrained

Overall - this was a stout that I enjoyed, recommended if you like smoke to have a nice role, but not a lead role

Price point - $3/ 12 oz single

Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown, tan head, quick to fade.

S: This was perhaps the best part of the beer, a nice smell of chocolate, with a hint of smoke. Interestingly, having finished the beer 20 minutes ago, I can still smell smoke on my hands, and no, I've not had BBQ tonight.

T: Smoke came up strong during the initial swallow, but faded some as I worked my way through the glass. The promise of chocolate was not fully realized when it hit the tongue, as there were fewer of these notes than I'd have expected.

M: Lacked the gravity I usually expect with a stout, but was pleasant enough.

O: It was a decent stout. The initial spike of smoke was perhaps too much for my taste, but as it mellowed what came through was a reasonable, but not exceptional, take on the stout style. Can't say I mind too much that I have three more, I think I'll try one with a slab of ribs and see how that goes. Still. I also can't say this would be the first pack I'd grab off the shelf the next time I'm browsing the options at my local haunts.

Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,051 ratings.