Dark Horse 4 Elf | Dark Horse Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
827 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
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Dark Horse 4 ElfDark Horse 4 Elf
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
darkhorsebrewery.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
827
Reviews:
204
Avg:
3.87
pDev:
11.63%
 
 
Wants:
55
Gots:
155
For Trade:
7
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 827 |  Reviews: 204
Photo of Docrock
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of eifster82
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dsshuck
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tmryan21
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of CharlesK
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of biegaman
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Christmas is the time of lights and yet this holiday seasonal is completely black. Well, not quite. 4 Elf does have flashes of clear, twinkling garnet that give it a slightly lighter air than, say, a porter or stout. Nonetheless, it shares most of their visual characteristics including the creamy, brown-tinged head.

That is most certainly the smell of the holidays - holidays, plural, referring to both Christmas and Thanksgiving. This heavily seasoned bouquet has layers of spice - cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, allspice - that cover everything from pumpkin pie right up to tourtière and gingerbread cookies.

Frankly, it's actually a bit much. Google the 'cinnamon challenge' to see reactions to too much spice. Granted, this is nowhere near that bad. The fact remains, however, that this over-stepped chai-like concoction is almost itchy in the throat and leaves a long-lasting, heavily peppery sensation.

What it needs, if you ask me, is a little more body and roast from the malt to help mellow it out. For such a dark beer there's little by way of flavour - no chocolate, coffee, or toasty nuttiness (or perhaps there is but one can't detect it behind all the fiery ginger, fragrant clove and nutmeg, or zesty orange peel notes).

That abundance of spice and the sufficient alcohol (8.7%) makes stashing a few bottles in the cellar for next holiday season an option. I'm unsure the beer would improve over an additional 12 months (again, it's not terribly malty) but it shouldn't have a problem enduring it if you're curious about a vertical tasting.

4 Elf drinks like a pumpkin ale on steroids and resembles some kind of holiday cheer distillate. I found it a little too thin for its over-the-top spice profile but still managed to enjoy it just fine. It won't be at the top of my list to Santa but I'll still be happy if a few bottles find their way into my stocking again next year.

 1,907 characters

Photo of jakea
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of C_Adams
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of PackenGreen
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Hendrick24
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Beerhemoth
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of martinpfal
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Not too bad. Surely not my fav from dark horse but during the season it works. Clove and nutmeg spice do come through and actually surprising to be at 8.75% abv. Too many other good beers this time of year to really pursue this one.

 236 characters

Photo of Evilyak
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

not a favorite style of mine, but this was a good representative.

dark brown, thin head.

like the other folks said, there's lots of nutmeg in here. other spice, too, but that's the one that pops out. anise or licorice in there, too.

lightly carbonated. pretty clean mouth.

overall, a decent beer - not one i'd grab again but could work nicely in the right environment.

 372 characters

Photo of 20holmbrew
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smells and tastes like Christmas. Lots of spices including cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and nutmeg. High carb with medium mouthfeel. This is my first beer from the brewery, but pretty impressed. I will seek them out again.

 219 characters

Photo of dar482
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in a rich brown color.

The aroma offers some raisin, licorice spice, toffee, caramel, clove.

The flavor follows with more spice and earthiness. Clove, cinnamon, lots of nutmeg, a brown sugar sweetness onto a earthy bitterness on the finish.

 257 characters

Photo of Abe_Froman
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

The Dark Horse 4 Elf is quite decent. It poured an opaque black with thin white head that left a spotty lace. The scent was spice and nutmeg. The taste carried clove and spice. The mouthfeel was medium in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this was a decent Xmas beer that was certainly drinkable after the first few sips.....once the pallet was adjusted....good.

 371 characters

Photo of joecon
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark smooth. The higher ABV is barely perceptible. Spiced perfectly, it doesn't pound you over the head. Very smooth. A keeper!

127 characters

Photo of Smitch
2.64/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Photo of jmdrpi
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On draft, served in goblet

Dark brown in color, fairly clear, foamy head. Very herbal spicy aroma. Ginger, cinnamon, spice. Heavy on the spice flavor - a bit too much for me. Medium bodied.

 192 characters

Photo of Hesscabob
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really, really love this brew. Fits the example of the style perfectly. HInts of clove/nutmeg in the aroma followed by a porter'esque taste/mouthfeel. Had it with about a year on it. Loved it!

 192 characters

Photo of chuckgietzen
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of jrb378
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jvgoor3786
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark Horse 4 Elf from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 827 ratings.
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