Dark Horse Raspberry Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

236 Reviews
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Dark Horse Raspberry AleDark Horse Raspberry Ale

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Mitchster on 08-05-2003

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Reviews: 236 | Ratings: 700
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I like this raspberry ale because it has more of a malt base than just white wheat, and while the berry doesn't come through and blow your mind, and it doesn't stand out really in any way, its important to remember that this is good because its different, innovation pays, at least for me. hazy almost amber copper color to this, minimal white head and a pink tint. the nose mixes sweet and tartness of the berry with a sweeter and larger malt profile than usual for a fruit beer, which to me is this beers most redeeming asset. the taste has a surprising amount of front of flavor hops to it, before the fruit flashes in and then the malt finishes it. an odd flavor journey really, filling for the style, and without a ton of real raspberry in the taste. I do like the mix of richer grain and fruit. fuller bodied and rather poorly carbonated, but a cool beer nevertheless.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours out as a hazy golden colored ale with a fizzy white head. The head doesn't leave much lacing really. The smell is sweet with raspberry aromas billowing from the glass. The taste wasn't as strong with fruit as I was thinking it was going to be from the smell. The taste was on the lighter side that left a dry fruity malt aftertaste. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad here. There was a decent carbonation and was rather refreshing. This was good but not my favorite Raspberry ale.

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Photo of metter98
3.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is yellowish amber in color and poured with a finger high off white head that died down but never completely faded away.
S: There are strong aromas of raspberries in the nose.
T: The initial taste is filled with pleasant flavors of tart raspberries; however the aftertaste is off and doesn’t leave you longing for another sip. The citrus flavors from the hops and the raspberries don’t seem to pair well together.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Provided you can get past the finish, the beer isn’t that difficult to drink.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.07/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

With the raspberries front and center, the beer that is built around the fruit supports the candyish additions, yet struggle to compete with its flavor and strength.

The Raspberry Ale pours an unexpected hazy orange hue and not with the expected redish tint. Thinking that actual raspberries were used in the beer and not colored artificially gives a lot of hope in this fruit beer going forward. The beer builds a creamy and somewhat dainty white head that withstands the session with consistency and ease. Although the beer looks "fruity" it doesn't reveal its secret view from a distant glimpse.

But the aromas sure do- this beer is raspberry through and through. The scent of ripe, fresh picked raspberries calm the olfactories in ways that only raspberries can. A timid support from malt offers a mild grain-derived sweet impression, and light starch while any hop attributes hide behind the pectin of the fruit. Perhaps a spicy note of ginger balances the fruit as much as any other component of the ingredients and likely results from the alcohol and phenols from yeast.

Fruity-rich flavors are certainly fueled by the raspberries, but additional wheat beer-like fruitiness exacerbates the sweetness and fruity notes. A firm and protein-rich flavor and yeasty taste supports the fruit and buffers against the fruit's acidity and the tannin that the fruit may project. Light on hops, the beer remains fruit and malt balanced going well into the finish.

The fuller-than-should-be texture is pushed higher by a lot of unresolved sweetness by both the fruit and from malt. With little balance from hops, and only a slight acidic counterpoint, the beer remains malty until deep into the finish. With little reprieve, the beer is lightly cloying and avoids alcohol warmth and dry malt character.

I rather enjoy the authentic fruit flavors of the beer, but the lack of balance from hops, dryness, or acidity limits its drinkability. For the staunch beer enthusiast, this beer may not cut it, but hey- chicks dig it!

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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey color with a reasonable sort of head that retains and laces respectably

Smell: Smells like fresh raspberries; tart rather than sweet

Taste: On top of a biscuity base, the tart raspberry flavors build from the outset through mid-palate with only the slightest hint of sweetness appearing at mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors start to fade away

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I like the fact that the raspberry flavor stays true to the fruit and that the beer is a neutral palate against which the raspberries get to strut their stuff; however, I also wish that there were a bit more bulk and complexity here; its essentially a chick beer that guys can tolerate

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a really strange orangish brown color with a bit of haze and not much of a head or lacing. Nose is a bit strange as well with some raspberries that are a bit tart and sweet. Mild malt backing. Taste is again an odd raspberry combination. Decent feel between the raspbery components. Interesting but not terribly good.

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Photo of mothman
2.16/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours 1 finger of white head. Color is murky pink hued golden orange.

Aroma: Fake raspberries (artificially). Caramel and some spice.

Taste: Same raspberry flavor. Fruity pebbles. Kind of bland. Spices. Band-aid flavor.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. Lighter bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, not a very exciting fruit beer. The raspberries taste way too fake. I'd choose a different fruit beer over this one.

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Photo of oberon
3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the Brass restaurant in Mount Pleasant on tapas night $1.00 off so I gave it a shot,pours a hazy blond with the red raspberry tint.Aromas of fresh raspberry puree and wheaty malt,flavors are not as tart as expected more sweetwith a firm dry malt backbone.Not really a fan of the style but gave it a try not all bad for the style but I wont have it again.

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Photo of superspak
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy golden orange color with a nice 1-2 finger frothy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Good bits of foamy lacing cling down the glass. Aromas of tart raspberry, bread, herbal, floral, and light caramel, Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and decent strength. Taste of biscuit, toast, light tart raspberry, herbal, floral, and light earth. Lingering notes of toast, biscuit, raspberry, herbal, floral, and earth on the finish for a bit. Not nearly as much raspberry in the taste as I expected from the aromas. Mostly biscuit and herbal hops. Minimal cloying flavors on the finish and fairly dry. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly syrupy and crisp mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with pretty much no warming on the finish. Overall, not a bad beer; but it was seriously lacking in the fruit department in the taste. Was very easy to drink.

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Photo of jlindros
3.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Fizzy head rises up about a finger and fades so quick I had to blink to even remember seeing it. The beer is a mostly clear very slightly hazy bright reddish slight orange and rust color.

N: Eh, what I was afraid of. Sweet extract syrupy aromas with a light raspberry. A touch of a nice malty aroma adds at least some light to it.

T: Also mostly what I expected. Lighter in flavor overall. Some light malts, very light, little extract syrup flavors, and some pseudo raspberry juicy. A little creamy too. I think most beers like this are designed for, intro to beers, like #9.

M: Very light with lower carbonation.

F: Well, at least its a clean on the finish, light and thirst quenching on a hot day. But slightly watery and lingering little raspberry and malt extract syrup.

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Photo of chinchill
3.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz undated bottle served in a snifter. Some sediment remained in the bottle despite a full pour.

The body is a red-orange-amber color, topped by a thin and fragile bone-colored head.

Aroma: RASPBERRY! with sweet malts and a suggestion of caramel. Fortunately, the flavor is not near as sweet as the smell, and is outright tart before the finish. A touch of citrus and bitterness from hops too. Admirably good, natural raspberry aroma and flavor.

Medium-light body seems a tad thin; medium-low carbonation and some dryness in the finish.

O: a well done fruit beer.
{lightly revised in August 2013 following a on tap tasting}

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Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy golden orange with a finger of foamy brite-white head. A thin and wispy retention leaves back some OK looking spotty lacing. The aroma is fresh smelling raspberries with some underlying sweet notes of wheat and a bit of floral hops. Not overly assertive but pleasant enough.

The taste is similar with some (slightly tart) raspberry character and a sticky feeling mix of sweetness and light citrus. Touch of hop bitterness in the back offers balance. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a prickly carbonation but I'm also getting an underlying heavier syrupy feel underneath.

Straight up raspberry beers aren't quite my thing but this one was decent. Not exactly earth shattering or anything but it drank well and was fairly pleasant.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.42/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"She wore a
Raspberry beret
The kind u find in a second hand store
Raspberry beret
And if it was warm she wouldn't wear much more"

--Prince Rogers Nelson

Bright pumpkin orange that I swear has a faint reddish blush. The color of the beer is great, but the head is lousy. It's beige in color and has the consistency and lack of persistence of the most adjunct-riddled macro lager. Actually, most of them look better than this these days. It's already down to less than one finger and has left the glass as clean as a whistle.

There are no surprises in the nose, in either direction. The beer smells like a garden-variety amber ale with a less than overwhelming amount of natural raspberry added. I like the fact that it smells like fruit rather than extract and that it doesn't remind me of an alcopop. My expectation meter has just been reset to 'don't get your hopes up'.

It's a good thing my hopes weren't up because Raspberry Ale is merely okay beer. It's a straightforward version that shows a surprising lack of creativity from a brewery that I thought was full of it. Any number of regional craft brewers could produce a fruit beer to equal this one. Just add a few bucketfuls of berries to your most neutral beer and... voila.

Despite the fact that bees are drawn on the label ('because they just look cool'), no honey was used. I could have come to that conclusion on my own because sweetness is hard to come by. DHRA is primarily bitter without being overly so. I think more raspberry flavor might have helped, but this really isn't such bad beer in the end. The above taste score is a shaky one though.

The mouthfeel is light to light-medium and doesn't hold up as well as it should all the way to and through the swallow. I'm not surprised that the bubbles don't last until the finish since they did such a shoddy job with the creation and maintenance of a decent looking head.

As far as I'm concerned, Dark Horse needs to retool Raspberry Ale. Who knows, maybe they sell boatloads of it to those who are frightened off by anything that isn't light and fruity and easy to drink. It's all of those things, but I require more than that. I suspect that most BAs do too.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

cherries and hints of woody notes. Spices of all kind blended in, rich as all hell, this was more of a cherry ale then a stout, but superb. A Rich, tart and yet sweet cherry notes, peppery and loaded with spice. Such complexity,richness, this was indeed exactly what I was looking for. Smooth, light body with a nice carbonation that was great for an ale, but light

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Photo of billab914
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Alesmith pint glass. It poured amber orange in color, with a thin white layer barely covering the top of the beer.

The first thing noticeable in the aroma is the raspberry flavor. It has more tartness to it than sweetness, but both are present. Behind the raspberry is a malty, slightly grainy base with just a hint of caramel.

The raspberry comes through with more sweetness in the taste then it did in the aroma. The tart fruity flavor is there as well. Like in the nose the malty flavors come through to provide a base for the beer. Pretty decent raspberry flavor overall.

The mouthfeel is light and carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is decent, it shows some nice raspberry flavors to it. It was pretty easy drinking and I can see a lot of casual drinkers liking this beer. It wasn't one of the best fruit beers I've had but it was definitely above average just based on not having a huge extract flavor to it. I probably wouldn't buy it for myself again but my girlfriend would definitely buy it for herself.

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Photo of smcolw
2.98/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Modest head, sticks around for a while. Settles to a thin layer. No lace that stays on the glass. Cloudy and orange-red color.

Sour and earthy, almost like urine. Not much raspberry.

Strong raspberry sourness--very tart, particularly in the swallow which leaves a lasting aftertaste. Rich body with a generous level of carbonation.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.58/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Random pick to fill my mixed sixer today. Yeah, I'm honest like that. It pours a somewhat hazy straw-amber topped by a healthy finger or two of dusty light-cream foam. The nose comprises stale raspberries, wheat, corn, flowers, and a hint of blueberries. The headliner berries may come off as stale, but the smell isn't yet objectionable -- just not thoroughly fresh. The taste holds notes of medicinal and artificial raspberry, dehydrated strawberry (like the kind you'd find in Special K and other such cereals), toffee, musty wheat, lemon rind, and a touch of weak clove. Okay, it kinda starts off fine, but devolves quickly into tongue pain. The body is a light-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly slick and kinda grainy feel. Overall, another failure at making a palatable raspberry-infused beer. Why is this so damn hard (asks the homebrewer who has failed all sorts of times before...)?

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Photo of woodychandler
4.42/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The last of my three bottles from a recent trip to TJ's in Paoli.

My pour resulted in a finger of ecru head with decent retention. Nose was filled with sweet red raspberry! I have recounted many times in my reviews of my late paternal grandmother's raspberry bush in her backyard garden and let this be no exception. Color was a slightly hazy reddish amber. Mouthfeel was medium with an unexpected raspberry tartness, as opposed to the perfumy taste that accompany many raspberry beers. I should be drinking this on a hot summer's day, rather than a chill Thanksgiving morning. C'est la vie! Finish was very dry. Zephyr winds could be heard blowing across the Sahara. I think that I may sweeten this up with a shot of that Labatt's Porter from earlier.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deeply hazed amber with a nice off white highly carbonated spritzy, yet well formed head. Minimal thin speckled lacing is left behind.

Aromatics contain tart raspberries and a touch of yogurt lactic qualities, and that's pretty much it. No cloying sweetness just a deep sense of fresh fruit arises.

Flavors have earthy raspberry seed and musty powdered yeast interacting with more tart slightly lactic qualities, interesting. No boatloads of sugar subtle sweetness with more fruit flavor that finishes extremely dry especially for a fruit beer. The bees on the label have me confused, I'm not thinking there is any honey in the brew based on taste but the label it may be hidden among the fruit puree.

Body is light with sturdy natural flowing carbonation levels again the dry and tart characteristics linger on the palate and definitely dominate overall feel of the beer.

Drinkability is decent not interesting enough to grab a whole six but definitely worth a try on occasion. Betterr than 99% of the other fruity candy beers that are marketed these days.

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Photo of vfgccp
2.88/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A – Deep, opaque apricot color. White head hangs around with ok retention but doesn’t leave much lace.

S – Tart raspberry spritzer. Almost like a light raspberry bellini.

T – Light raspberry jello and seltzer flavor. Faint orange zest. The mineral character goes well with the raspberry, but there’s just not enough flavor there to really get you excited about going back for more.

M – Thin, but despite it’s high level of carbonation it still comes off watery. The finish is semi-dry with a perfume of raspberry.

O – Light flavor hurts this brew, but would it would be as easy to drink as a flavored sparking water on a scorcher of a day.

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Photo of johnnnniee
2.83/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly cloudy deep golden color with a smallish white head that shows marginal retention. Smells of raspberries and faint bready malt. Sweet malty aroma with a distinct tartness that I assume is from the berries. Taste is malty sweet with tart raspberries and a hint of Belgian yeasty esters. Medium body and carbonation level with a slick almost sweet mouthfeel. This one was kind of meh. I wouldn't be surprised if this bottle had been sitting for a while before I purchased it.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a lightly clouded medium-dark amber, average head...no hint of fruit in the appearance really, fairly plain.

Smells of light sweet berry, candied sugar, raisin, other generic malt character.

Tastes pretty similar--some moderate sweet berry but not a huge fruit character, some other plain sweet malt.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, solid carbonation, good drinkability.

This is okay, I like it, but it needs a lot more fruit to really shine. I'm confused about why so many breweries still make lackluster fruit beers after the examples set by New Glarus and Selin's Grove.


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Photo of tdm168
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A - dark orange with a thin, white cap of foamy head that quickly fades to a thin lacing

S - sweet, tart raspberries with some faint breadiness

T - mildly tart raspberries, some sweetness, some caramel, mild bitter finish

M - very crisp, overcarbonated, light bodied

The overcarbonation here really impacts the overall experience of the beer. The bubbles on the palate confuse the taste buds and cover up some of the flavor. It also makes the flavors that do come through seem fleeting. I think it achieves what it set out to do. It is refreshing, it's fruity without being over the top, and it's light bodied and very easy to drink. Unfortunately, I'm unimpressed. This isn't a beer I'd like to have again.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass, sure why not!

Dark dull amber brown, with not much head, a faint off white appearance five to some good rising carbonation from the body. I will say it's better than average, but nothing really grabbing me, I wish I could say more.

Nose grabs next to nothing in fruit character. Faint bitter bile smell, but luckily a nice bready soft biscuity malt comes to the rescue with some soft crackery graham cracker. Raspberry forward on the nose.. no..

Moving along the palate hits, and improvement is a big step up. Giant pie and crusty malt taste and finish with an almost rhubarb and fruit component. Tartness no, but a soft malt bodied crust mixing with a true fruit component.

Overall, gives to a fruit pie component with a lingering crusty finish. First whiffs and impressions though are not that impressive, mixing with an appearance that is less than satisfying. No major complaints, but no raves either here...

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazed amber hue. Solid crown of white foam above.

Nose is a sweet, yeasty blend of raspberry, wheat, and some sour notes. Nice.

Tart, then sweet, full of fruit, yeast, wheat...raspberry flavor lays rather low. Just enough.

Not much more to say about this one. Refreshing. Quaffable.

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Dark Horse Raspberry Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.38 out of 5 based on 700 ratings.
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