Dark Horse 4 Elf | Dark Horse Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
193 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Dark Horse 4 ElfDark Horse 4 Elf

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.75%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by granger10 on 11-27-2003

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 193 | Ratings: 790
Reviews by inlimbo77:
Photo of inlimbo77
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

4 Elf Winter Warmer '11
Pinocchio's snifter

A: Pours a very deep dark brown color. Basically opaque. Some reddish hues around edges. Initially about a quarter finger if off white head. Then it blended into a thin layer if bubbles and a ring.

S: On the nose, dark fruit/spice/chocolate/mild coffee. Even through sickness, getting those spices: cinnamon and nutmeg and clove. I'm surprised they held up so much over a year.

T: On tip of tongue, you get a hit of spice. Cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. then you get more chocolate flavors drifting into the porter/stout. It's a nice little sip, although it's not a favorite style of mine. Just a taste of this would have been enough.

M: Full bodied. But seems nicely carbonated

 723 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | 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.

 840 characters

Photo of majorbase2
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

 850 characters

Photo of oberon
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours into a becker a deep roasted walnut brown with a creamy half finger tan colored head atop,great color and love the creamy head.Winter mulling spice and sweet alcohol in the nose,alot of nutmeg is detected.Lower carbonation with a creamy feel,it slides down easy.Spicy to the hilt on the palate with some cake-like notes,like a CHRISTmas spiced cake,the alcohol sweetness gets bigger as it warms.This a winter sipper,like others have noted, you can't drink to much of it,a full on spicy winter warmer here.

 511 characters

Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of tectactoe
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of OhioBobcat
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of GameOfBeers
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle

A: Dark brown almost like a really dark tea.

S: a hint of vanilla ,nutmeg,malts and cinnamon.

T:roasted malts,cinnamon and nutmeg.

M: very smooth and lightly carbonated.

O:it's a nice one for these breezy nights.Not my favorite winter warmer but not my least favorite.Worth a try.

 311 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 release. Deep murky opaque dark brown pour with a quarter inch of tan foam on top. Aromas start with roasted malts entwined with a bold mix of spices. Clove is upfront with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and holiday bread baking spices. Notes of chocolate and some fruit accents. Reminds me of baking Christmas cookies and of rich spice cakes.

First sip brings smooth semi-sweet roasted malts wrapped in a warm blanket of spices. Clove, nutmeg, ginger and some cinnamon. Tastes like a spiced dark rye bread. Flows down with a bit of sweetness and lots of lingering spice. I can see how some may find it overly spiced but to me it was very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy and smooth. The malt body here is well placed and the alcohol is never too much in the flavor. This ends up being quite warming in the end and the mix of spices really work. I personally enjoy the forward clove aspect. A stellar spiced brew from Dark Horse. Paired well with some Carr Valley Menage cheese and fun to drink in the summer. Thanks hoppymeal!

 1,041 characters

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

On tap.
Arrives a deep, dark brown, nearly black with virtually no head. No lacing to speak of.
Aroma is roasty: coffee and chocolate with a bit of nutmeg, tree nuts and cinnamon.
Tasty beer. Lots of chocolate goodness as well as those yummy holiday spices in just the right amount as well as a bit of fig and a bit of booze.
Mouthfeel is rather thin.
Nice holiday beer.

 371 characters

Photo of MaybeSoMaybeNot
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of heddar33
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of alarmclock314
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've had several 4-packs of this beer now. 12oz bottles, all from 2015. Pours somewhat opaque brown with a medium sized tan head; some lacing. Yeast on the bottom of the bottle carries over into the glass. Smells mostly of sweet malt and ginger with some nutmeg, clove, allspice, and toasted caramel. The taste follows very closely and has kind of a gingerbread vibe; ginger, clove, malt, and caramel. The alcohol is fairly present but is less noticeable when it warms up. Above average body and average carbonation. Overall, it fits the style well as a spiced, malty, and boozy beer.

 592 characters

Photo of VernonKell
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Billolick
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle w/o bottling/vintage dating.

Pours dark and murky, slight darker head, leaves fine scattered lace bits.

Dark chocolate nose.

Flavorful. with more chocolate, dark caramel malty notes.

Pleasant and warming winter warmer.

 238 characters

Photo of Guinnsslvr
3.57/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of tigg924
3.57/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

 189 characters

Photo of reitzbrewing
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Pint.

Appearance: Very dark, chocolaty brown with decent light tan head.

Smell: Nutmeg, clove, allspice and an undefinable sweetness.

Taste: Some spice upfront, but a very sweet core of fruit (plum, cherry, berry), chocolate and even light coffee. The spices are evident and lingering on the finish, with nutmeg, clove and allspice. There may be some English-style hops as well, but it could be mainly the spices.

Feel: Medium to full body with moderately low carbonation. Finish is more sharp than truly dry.

Overall: Some Porter/Stout notes with this Spiced Winter Warmer. It actually reminds me of a ramped up Anchor Christmas Ale, which is mostly a good thing, but this beer is not quite as harmonious. Still, this is a good choice for the Holidays.

 803 characters

Photo of Jackalope1977
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rsquared59
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MattyG85
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark blackish brown with a moderate amount of rising bubbles. About one finger of tan head that quickly fades into a thin patch. Leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. Some sediment settles around the bottom.

Smell: A toasty, bready, and fairly sweet malt forward aroma with a big presence of winter spices. Toasted and roasted malts with big hints of biscuit, chocolate, toast, sweet caramel, toffee, cream, grains, nuts, and yeast. Big scent of winter spices including hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and ginger. Sweet hints of brown sugar. Dark fruit hints of raisin, fig, and prune. Subtle hints of earthy hops. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma hints at, a toasty, bready, and fairly sweet malt driven taste with lots of winter spices. Toasted and fairly roasty malts with notes of biscuit, toasted bread, chocolate, sweet caramel, toffee, cream, yeast, grains, and nuts. Big presence of winter spices with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and clove. Also some sweet notes of brown sugar and syrup. Dark fruit undertones with notes of raisin, fig, and prune. A pretty nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and fairly slick and syrupy. Pretty smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid take on a winter warmer. Good spice presence with the sweet dark malt.

 1,430 characters

Photo of Mantooth
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Dark Horse 4 Elf from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 790 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!