4 Elf
Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Style:
Winter Warmer
Ranked #42
ABV:
8.75%
Score:
86
Ranked #24,499
Avg:
3.83 | pDev: 11.49%
Reviews:
212
Ratings:
854
From:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  59
Gots
  166
SCORE
86
Very Good
Notes: 4 Elf is holiday cheer in liquid form. Spicy aromas like cinnamon and clove give this dark brown winter warmer a proper holiday welcome. Balanced between malt, hops, and spice at 8.75% ABV this beer goes great with all holiday foods—from sweet snacks to the roast beast.
Reviews: 212 | Ratings: 854 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by RoamingGnome:
Photo of RoamingGnome
RoamingGnome from Wisconsin

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Dark Horse 4 Elf Winter Ale

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Capital Brewery snifter. Served chilled.

A) Dark brown with a small off white head that dissipated quickly. Bit of a cola look...

S) I don't get much besides a variety of spices. I'd say it was heavy on the clove.

T) Again, heavy on the spices. Some sugary sweetness as it transitioned to room temp. The alcohol is very well hidden.

M) Medium body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is dominated by tingling spices start to finish.

O) I'm sure it's a well crafted brew, but the spice blend here was just not enjoyable for me. It was like my mouth was trapped in a candle shop.

Nov 22, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours chestnut brown with a cream colored almost beige 3 finger head. Light accentuates cranberry hues around the sides of the body.

If there were a festive smelling beer, this is it. Cranberries, holly, nutmeg, pecans, cinnamon, gingerbread, Red Hots, peppermint, hot cocoa...there's no better smelling holiday beer, I guarantee you.

The flavor starts out slightly piney, but quickly develops into banana nut bread, gingerbread with red hots, prune, cinnamon, nutmeg, followed by slight baked brown sugar and molasses. It's just so incredibly festive I can't help but rate it so high.

Buzzing carbonation, alcohol heat, and a dry rubbed finish.

Overall, as a Christmas/Holiday ale, 4 Elf NAILS it. I mean just NAILS it. Nothing better captures the aromas, flavors, and warmth of the holidays. Best holiday beer, and beyond impressed.

Jan 20, 2016
Photo of majorbase2
majorbase2 from Wisconsin

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.

Feb 23, 2015
Photo of oglmcdgl
oglmcdgl from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at hulmeville inn. In a pint, christ that way to big for this beer in july.

A- a good finger of tan head sits atop a deep dark red brown brew.

S- fall spice and roasty toasty malts. Lots of dark raisin bread with cinnamon brown sugar on top. Cloves and nutmeg.

T- like really good fruit cake. Dried candied fruits and fall spice. Cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg on top of sweet money bread with dried cranberries, cherries and candied walnuts.

M- nice feel on this one. Slightly less then mid in the body department and a bit higher in carb.

D- nicely drinkable for the style and I'm not usually a fan. I like this one though, and in fucking july. I bet I'd like it more in the right season. Ill say this there is no sign of the abv. Ill be sure to keep my eye out for more in the fall.

Jul 03, 2010
Photo of jwps214
jwps214 from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Dec 03, 2013
Photo of gford217
gford217 from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2009 vintage, poured into a tulip.

Pours a very dark mahogany in the glass that shows deep copper when held up to light. There is a big creamy beige head that recedes to a small cap.

The aroma is very sweet but with lots of spices as well. There is an underlying brown sugar and molasses sweetness that has all kinds of different spices on top, especially nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin. Some milk chocolate in there as well maybe.

The taste is even spicier than the aroma with the pumpkin spices coming to the forefront - nutmeg, cinnamon and some ginger maybe. The caramel malt backbone and molasses are present but the spices are dominant on this one.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with smooth carbonation and definitely spicy in the finish.

This is an excellent spiced beer, very big for the style, almost reminds me of a pumpkin porter. Extremely tasty.

Mar 12, 2010
Photo of DruC4
DruC4 from Michigan

4/5  rDev +4.4%

Jan 22, 2014
Photo of broadway848
broadway848 from New York

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Nov 16, 2014
Photo of larbush
larbush from Illinois

4/5  rDev +4.4%

Dec 06, 2013
Photo of CreightonSM
CreightonSM from New York

4.25/5  rDev +11%

Jan 09, 2014
Photo of JasonR1975
JasonR1975 from Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Jun 08, 2014
Photo of tykechandler
tykechandler from Kentucky

3/5  rDev -21.7%

Jun 19, 2014
Photo of CuriousMonk
CuriousMonk from District of Columbia

4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never thought of trying this brew until it came to my attention especially being a Dark Horse fan. Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Pours roasty brown with a thin off-white head that recedes quite quickly. Aromas of nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon, and some orange. Bit disappointed with the taste as it did not mirror the delicious aromatics as initially indicated. Flavors of dark fruit, indistinct spices- perhaps some nutmeg? Somewhat bittery back finish. As mysterious as the flavor is, I am at loss of how well hidden the high alochol is! Medium-bodied with nice carbonation throughout. As the beer warmed up a bit, the more I found myself to enjoy this one. I would gladly have this one again on a cold winter night.

Jan 19, 2012
Photo of Evarigan
Evarigan from New York

4/5  rDev +4.4%

Nov 10, 2014
Photo of tikk
tikk from Canada (YT)

3.06/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Feb 01, 2015
Photo of zrab11
zrab11 from Indiana

4/5  rDev +4.4%

Dec 01, 2014
Photo of Canada_Dan
Canada_Dan from Colorado

3.77/5  rDev -1.6%

Oct 21, 2014
Photo of FrognutUnl
FrognutUnl from Michigan

4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - dark brown with an off-white head.
S - The nose is of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice with very little hop character to speak of.
T - Very similar to the nose with the addition of some chocolate malt. The alcohol begins to poke through as the glass warms.
M - Medium bodied.

Overall, this is what every winter warmer should be. Another hit from Darkhorse.

Jan 05, 2009
Photo of marcb105
marcb105 from Michigan

2.75/5  rDev -28.2%

Nov 30, 2013
Photo of mothman
mothman from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Randalld for this extra

Pours hardly and light khaki head. Leaves some slight splattered lace. Color is a deep caramel brown, pretty much black.

Aroma: TONS of spices. Nutmeg, cinnamon, maple syrup, molasse, and brown sugar. Then I get some caramel notes and ginger in the background.

Taste: First reaction is wow. This is a beast. Tons of spices again. It has a lot stronger taste then one would assume from the aroma. All the same spice notes are here, along with caramel malt. A very big beer. I also get pumpkin which I thought was there, then drank more and realized it was pumpkin.

Mouthfeel: Spiced and creamy. Medium to full bodied with a lower level of carbonation. Ends with a ton of spice and it dry.

Overall, this is a massive beer for the style. I can't believe the abv on this beer. I am really glad I got to try it. It was a good experience. I think this is a one and done however.

Jan 25, 2010
Photo of kirkse
kirkse from Florida

4/5  rDev +4.4%

Dec 30, 2012
Photo of chrishiker1409
chrishiker1409 from New York

4/5  rDev +4.4%

Nov 12, 2014
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73 from Rhode Island

3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle shared with Thirstybird. Pours a deep brown with ruby highlights around the base. Head eventually dissipates into a thin band and a soapy skim. Nose expresses allspice, licorice and sassafras. Taste reveals chocolate, roast, spice, sassafras, licorice and slightly bitter, earthy hops. Mouthfeel is medium-light with an even, crisp carbonation. Complex and interesting with an amazingly well-hidden abv - I can hardly believe it comes in at 11.5%.

Mar 22, 2011
Photo of mklisz
mklisz from New Hampshire

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dec 29, 2014
Photo of heytomcat
heytomcat from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Nov 16, 2013
4 Elf from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 854 ratings