Rum Barrel Aged 4 Elf
Dark Horse Brewing Company

Rum Barrel Aged 4 ElfRum Barrel Aged 4 Elf
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Winter Warmer
Ranked #19
Ranked #11,932
3.95 | pDev: 8.1%
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Very Good
Rum Barrel Aged 4 ElfRum Barrel Aged 4 Elf
Reviews: 9 | Ratings: 108 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuyFawkes
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Late 2015 vintage; drank 1/14/16 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small khaki head; decent lace.

Cinnamon, cream & raisin notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Cinnamon & dry plum flavors up front; cream notes on the finish. Faint booze heat emerged as this warmed.


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Photo of Treyliff
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter
2015 vintage

A- pours a dark brown color with a razor thin foamy off-white head that has short retention and reduces to a ring

S- aromas of rum & cola, Ginger, brown sugar, clove, brown malts

T- light mix of Christmas spicing:clove, ginger, maybe a hint of cinnamon. Mid-palate gives notes of cola and brown sugar. The finish givena hint of sweet rum with ginger and clove on the linger

M- medium-light body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and finish

O- plenty of spices, makes it hard for the rum to keep up at times

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Photo of Radcpa
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown appearance with minimal head. Sweet rum aroma. Taste is also a sweet rum without any alcohol aftertaste but a little carbonation aftertaste that is a little thin.

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Photo of maximum12
2.89/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to DogfishRyan for this bottle, & for feeding me plenty of other beers over the past few months. 12 oz. split with my wife as the warmup band.

Pour is dark brown with red foil. The rum cuts the Food Kitchen spicing of the base to a level where it’s indistinguishable from a spiced rum nose: cinnamon sure, but plenty of light Captain Morgan. I can’t tell where one begins & the other leaves off. But it’s noice.

4 Elf Winter Warmer – Rum Barrel Aged is too close to its (not very good) base beer. Cinnamon, spice, & there might be some rum present in the effervescent heat, it makes a minimal contribution to the taste. Huge bananas/clove takes over the middle & runs the rock through the end zone, down the tunnel, & out onto University Avenue. Low carbonation makes this heavy; six ounces was probably too much.

The nose is a big step up from the original: the rest of it is the same beer I didn’t care for the first time around.

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Photo of atone315
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Did they age this in Captain Morgan barrels? Holy spice bomb!!! Overall, a decent beer to sip on a 5 degree Wisconsin evening. However, I will not be hunting this one down next year.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2014 vintage bottling. Pours hazy very dark brown color with a 2 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, molasses, toffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, brown sugar, brown bread, chocolate, toast, spiced rum, and herbal spice earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, spices, and rum barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, molasses, toffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, brown sugar, brown bread, chocolate, toast, spiced rum, and herbal spice earthiness. Light earthy spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, molasses, toffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, brown sugar, brown bread, chocolate, spiced rum, and herbal spice earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, spices, and rum barrel flavors; with a great malt/spice/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barrel aged winter warmer style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, spices, and rum barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gracing the bars and shelves for several winter seasons, Dark Horse's 4 Elf now goes under the preverbal knife for a rummy facelift.

Tawny and hazy, the barrel-soaked winter warmer pours brown with brazen peps of cola among its margins. Creamy early but simmering with delicate creme soon after, the beer simply stews with scorched molasses, molten chocolate with earthen and peppery peat. Its spicy tingle nods to the rum barrels as the first sip resonates with porter-like tendencies in its dark chocolate and coffee tilt.

Across the middle, the malty influence relaxes- turning from creamy and toasty and toward savory, succulent and dessert-like. Siding with port and brandy, its rum envelope is hardly ignored as spicy cinnamon, nutmeg and clove balance its alcohol-laden sweetness to near perfection.

As its carbonation retracts, the ale becomes more and more savory and decadent as it saturates the tastebuds with alcohol thinned molasses, chocolate and sultry oxidation. Its tannic barrel bite ensures a woodsy feel with chalk and dryness for added drinkability despite its long-lasting barleywine trend.

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Photo of Fargrow
4.34/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is very similar to regular 4 Elf, so it's delicious. The winter warmer spices are very strong so the rum is hidden. My guess is it probably didn't spend a ton of time in the barrel. All you need is a few seconds in the barrel, wax the top, and then you can charge more. Right?

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to mikeymikee for tossing this my way at the end of a massive tasting after we popped one at the end and I was super impressed. Enjoyed from a batch 2 oversized TB snifter.

a - brew pours a deep brown that settles as black in e glass. Finger of frothy off white bubbly head from a hard pour that didn't hang around but left some bubbly oil slicks on the surface...stringy lacing clung tot the glass as I sipped the brew.

s - nose is probably the highlight. Holiday festiveness over a winter warmer. Makes me think of candy canes and all spice glazed over a caramel base. Hints of rum but not dominant in any way.

t/m/o - beer leads with caramel and toffee with some holiday sweetness and zing. There is a tickle of a rum like tingle, but this doesn't have a big barrel presence...would love to try side by side with the regular. Gives the impression that it was aged over soaked spirals or if in the barrel, it must've had a short stay...that being said, mighty tasty beer. Fairly easy drinking and glad to have a closer look after being really impressed with this at the end of a tasting. The night of the tasting, I had drank a lot of different beers, and this one has a unique flavor that really cut through my overly fatigued palate. Still good tonight but not quite the revaluation it was the other evening.

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Rum Barrel Aged 4 Elf from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 108 ratings