Dark Horse 4 Elf | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse 4 ElfDark Horse 4 Elf
Very Good
843 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 843 |  Reviews: 208
Photo of AdmiralOzone
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours coca cola in color and thickness. Smells of all the regular Winter Warmer spices that I'm familiar with, but heavy on the clove. Flavor is cinnamon and cloves. Passable overall.

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Photo of goingbrokeonbeer
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with a quarter inch head that disappears quickly. Smell is spice for days, a little over the top for me so take this for what it's worth. Taste is nutmeg, cinnamon spice, and bitterness. Not my thing for sure.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a pint glass right from the growler.

Appearance: Tranprarent dark Amber with medium bubbles to the body creating an off-white head rising maybe half a finger's length off the body. Drops to nada after two or three sips with zero lacing.

Smell: cinnamon and nutmeg scent when with a light dose of hops to go with.

Taste: Sweet apples and cinnamon with a bitter to sour malt feel. The alcohol seems more evident factoring in it's not so stronger abv level. I like it, makes me think a bit of rum raisin just a bit.

Mouth: Medium carbonation and definitely above average stickiness.

Overall: Good brew and nice way to start the new year, smooth and easy to like. Good after dinner and even better in a glass. Salud!

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Photo of AnitaBrewski
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Josholson666
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of TTripp725
2.58/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Photo of avalon07
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick texture. There was a quarter inch of foamy, off white head that lasted a short amount of time. Sparse lacing.

S: A nice aroma of nutmeg, malt, cinnamon, and dark fruit. A lot going on here.

T: Tasted of a decent amount of malt, several different spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves), a little bit of chocolate (could've used a bit more), dark fruit (raisins, in particular), and brown sugar. A solid enough flavor that doesn't quite live up to the expectations of the aroma. Still, not a bad flavor.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a mostly dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a slightly uneven, if ultimately likable beer. Worth a look.

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Photo of Tone
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong sweet malt, slight chocolate, hint of spice, hint of yeast, slight alcohol, pale malt, and a hint of biscuit. Fits the style of a Winter Warmer. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of caramel malt, sweet malt, hint of biscuit, slight spice (cardamon), hint of alcohol, hint of yeast, slight roasted malt, and a hint of pine. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, blend, and complexity.

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Photo of basaywhat
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Pours dark brown with some reddish highlights. Small beige head. Aroma features spices, along with some roast and chocolate, molasses, light fruitiness.

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Photo of Zazzi82
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Dragginballs76
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - The beer pours black and pretty thin with off white to tan head. Lacing streams down the glass as you drink it.

Aroma - The biggest thing I notice is the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. There is nutmeg and all spice as well nose is what I would want in a winter warmer.

Taste - The taste has more roasted malts than I detected in the aroma seems to make it a little bitter. The cinnamon and nutmeg is there very similar to the aroma maybe not quite as strong. Clove and brown sugar are pretty noticeable as well.

Feel - This beer has a medium feel maybe a little high on the carbonation and a bitterness that seems to linger.

Overall - The beer is pretty bitter initially which is a little off putting but as it warms it seems the cinnamon and spices help to balance it. I am not a huge fan of winter warmers but this may be my favorite so far.

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Photo of calcnerd
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Ardeer
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of pagesofphotographs
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Botulizard
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into tall glass: color is dark brown, head is light tan with fine bubbles; head presents about 1 inch deep then dissipates to a ring and light top with some lacing on the glass.

Smell is moderately spicy: prominent flavors are not overdone and include ginger, cinnamon, clove, allspice - the blend is very good and not too heavy in one way.

Taste is more malty than the aroma with the spice providing balance: malt is light toast, some roast and chocolate; spices are similar to the aroma but with less depth.

Mouthfeel is malty and a little sweet at first, then it becomes crisper, carbonated than maybe necessary for a winter spiced ale.

Overall a good winter ale with moderate spice aromas and nice malt balance in the flavor. ABV is hidden very well.

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Photo of ovaltine
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jzlyo
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is nutmeg/cinnamon/spices and malts. The flavor is nutmeg/cinnamon, malts, mild fruit/berries and a mix of mild sweetness and slightly sour in the finish.

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Photo of PJCarnell
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Fishwhisperer
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of redfox405
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DissentFatsquirrel
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of BigRed10
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up at a Whole Paycheck in Manhattan for something like $2.99 USD.

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Brown glass bottle. Pry-off crown cap. Artful label art with a red and white holiday theme.

8.75% ABV. "Winter warmer spiced ale." 36 IBU.

HEAD: ~3-4cm in height. Pale khaki colour. Nice even consistency with a nice thickness to it. Soft enough. ~8 minute retention. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Opaque dark brown-black. Floating yeast particles are visible within.

Appears well-carbonated. Not unique or special, but generally appealing. Head retention is better than you might expect in an 8.75% ABV winter warmer.

AROMA: Whoa - big vivid spice presence redolent of nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar (not a spice, I know, but it fits into that schema), cardamom, vanillin, and clove. Vague dark malts (brown and schwarz, I guess?) lend this its backgrounded sweetness. Some raisin, maybe? Yeast profile is clean, not estery; I suspect an American ale strain instead of an English strain (to its detriment).

Aromatic intensity is average. I find no overt hop notes. No off-notes. Not boozy; the aroma suggests maybe a 5% ABV beer.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Cinnamon, clove, brown sugar, nutmeg, cardamom, brown malts, schwarz malts, brown sugar. The marriage of spiciness to malts works well, but I'm missing yeasty complexities and any hop presence whatsoever. Some sprucey/evergreen-forward hops would be at home in this build.

ABV is well-disguised, but some alcohol warmth wouldn't be unwelcome, and might play to the clove-forward medicinal vibe nicely (think clovey hot whiskey on a snowy night).

Balanced but not perfectly dialed in. Texture suits the taste without really being in perfect harmony therewith. Medium-bodied, smooth, wet, slightly sticky, and unrefreshing, with moderate thickness and weight. A more gooey, soft, warm mouthfeel would better suit the spiciness of the flavour profile. This texture fails to elevate the beer as a whole or to accentuate specific flavours.

Average flavour duration and intensity.

OVERALL: A competent winter warmer with a nice spice profile and a well-hidden ABV, but little else. Discerning drinkers might find its relative simplicity underwhelming, and there's definitely room for improvement, but it's nice middle-of-the-road holiday season fare from a wonderful brewery. I'm glad I tried it once, and I'd probably buy a 4-pack if offered at better prices elsewhere in the U.S., but it wouldn't be a repeat purchase for me at the $2.99/bottle pricetag.

B- (3.33) / WORTHY

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Dark Horse 4 Elf from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 843 ratings