Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse Fore Smoked StoutDark Horse Fore Smoked Stout

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:

Added by Mitchster on 12-13-2002

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Reviews: 443 | Ratings: 1,113
Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Fore looks like it must require a rig, hoisting system, and industrial-sized drill string to produce - nevermind the bottle, how much does it cost by the barrel? Inky, oily, dense, and dark... all words to describe this formidable looking stout. Even its wicked mocha-tinted head is intimidating.

While impressions of burnt logs (i.e., oak) are plausible, the smoke element here is not an overtly "campfire" one and has none of those sooty, fireplace-in-need-of-cleaning notes. If anything it smells of singed hickory or charcoal and is a smokiness associated with BBQ cooking.

And yet it's so very acrid - like burnt coffee. Indeed, Fore tastes just as it looks: black, raw and unrefined. Flavours of dark-roast coffee beans and bitter, smoky cocoa nibs dominate, with only trace amounts of (relatively) sweeter fermented barley grain to lighten things up with a little nuttiness. The taste is likely to stick on your tongue for days.

As it warms, the peat component becomes more apparent. (I should have already mentioned this recipes uses peat-smoked malt in place of beechwood-smoked which is customary of Rauchbiers.) The result is an intense and gritty earthiness that, on some sips, contributes unique (if minor) notes of sea weed, moss, and scorched earth like those of certain single malts.

Eventually, the peat influence permeates its way throughout; before all is said and done you're sure to be smelling a trace of composting vegetal matter alongside all those acrid and smoky coffee beans. It's subtle enough to be unnoticed or ignored if desired to but for me, as a lover of Islay scotches as well as strong stouts, it's what makes this one come out on top. Loved it.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 12/1/2014 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains smoked malts, dark chocolate and some fruit.

T: The taste starts out with a strong smokiness that is followed by strong flavors of dark fruit and licorice. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is very mild but brings some balance. The after-taste is sweet and smoky.

M: A little crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of Beer-Ed
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Pours black with a brown head. Aroma of coffee, espresso, chocolate, roast and little bit smoke. Aroma is more chocolate, very light smoked, coffee, low body. Good stuff, not special.

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Photo of Nutwood
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance : Dark to opaque mahogany, little to no head.
Nose: Smoke, burnt toast, dark bread
Mouthfeel: Right on for a stout, medium full with some sharpness from the smoke.
Taste: Good, straightforward, nothing unusual or gimmicky, but also unremarable. Nicely burnt toast made from dark dark bread.
Overall: A good affordable go-to when you just gotta have smoked stout.

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Photo of hardy008
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark black with a less than one finger mocha head. The aroma has dark chocolate, smoked malt, dark roasted malt, and coffee.

Has a smoky flavor with bot some sweetness and bitterness. There smoked malt, chocolate, dark roasted malt, and coffee. There is also some earthiness.

Medium to full bodied with modest carbonation. There is a light smoked malt aftertaste, Very easy to drink. Worth buying again for sure.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The deeper that I go into the Bottle Backlog Eradication of the Summer of 2014, the more wild the beers that are surfacing! A smoked stout!?! What next?

I was anxious to begin and gave it a pretty heavy-handed pour before sitting back to watch the pseudo-cascade. It settled pretty quickly into two fingers of deep-tan/light-brown head, but what happened next was particularly remarkable. It seemed to collapse inwardly on itself and fell much more quickly than I expected, becoming mere wisps. Color was Opaque Black (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose was very smoky, but in more of a burnt charcoal way than the smokiness of a rauchbier. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was more like bittersweet chocolate mingled with a sweet smokiness. It kind of put me in mind of chocolate-covered bacon, which I have tried. I am a fan of smoked beers, but this was a bit sweeter than I like, especially since it seemed to be getting in the way of the smokiness. Finish had that same bittersweet smokiness that I had been getting throughout. I was really kind of underwhelmed, especially given the hype and scores assigned to this beer. Not bad, per se, but leaving a lot of room for improvement.

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Photo of jwc215
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with a thin, lasting brown head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, roasted coffee, dark earthy tones with a hint of anise.

The taste is of sweet chocolate, smoke (meat-y?) and coffee. It has a lingering earthy finish.

It is medium-to-full bodied.

An excellent, complex but very drinkable, smoked stout.

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Photo of barhoc11
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, even for a 7% stout, there is no light getting through this thing

S: Not a lot going on with this

T: Smokey and fruity but not very multidimensional

M: Good thickness to it, not much to complain about

O: Not bad for a smoked stout but not something I would want to have every day

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Photo of fscottkey
3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Notes: Born on 1/21/14 (current date 6/20/14).

A: pours an oily black and looks thick as it glub glubs out of the bottle. There was a 1/2 finger brawn head that receded quickly to a thin layer.

S: Not getting a lot on the nose.

T: Smokey coffee flavor up front. With a smoke aftertaste.

M: A bit of tingle from the carbonation. Not think or chewy like I anticipated from the pour.

O: This is kind of one note. The smoke is smothering anything more complex. I know it is a smoked stout - so that should be the expectation - but I hoped for some other flavors somewhere in the palate. It is decent tasting but lacks a strong nose and depth int he taste.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours nearly black. This is as dark a beer as I've ever had - even direct sunlight only barely penetrated at the very edge. The head was chocolate brown, but very thin and with no lacing.

S: Faint smokiness that could be from burnt grain or smoked malt. Chocolate and coffee notes are both present. There's some molasses and dark fruit notes as well.

T: Malt flavors yield sweetness for a brief moment, then the stronger notes of toasted grain take over. Tart fruit flavors take their turn at the forefront, then fade as bitter and finally acrid flavors move in at the finish. The smokiness is there throughout, but always in the distant background of the other flavors.

M: Moist, with below average carbonation. It's somewhat chewy, but less so than I expected from the appearance. Booze is detectable, but not harsh.

O: But for the lackluster head, this is a beautiful stout. The smoke was weaker in both aroma and taste than I'd hoped, or at least seemed that way next to the potency of a stout that nears imperial status. Enjoyable, but not a home run.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into stout pokal; jet black, one of the darkest beers I've seen. Nice solid two-finger head of the darkest brown foam I've ever seen, it was the color of dark chocolate ice cream. Head recedes after a few minutes into a nice ring of foam.
Smells like dark chocolate, coffee, campfire smoke, metallic roasted malt, and hints of sweetness.
Taste follows nose in ingredients but not in quantity. Sweet milk chocolate and toffee take the wheel while bitter coffee/chocolate and ashy smoke try and backseat drive to no avail. Leaves the mouth in sticky sweetness with some lingering bitterness and an ashy feeling like you've been sitting around a campfire for a while.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, clean and wet. Finishes a bit dry at the very end but not much.
Overall, this is a tasty stout. However, with the smoke not playing much of a part and the relatively light body compared to the sweetness of the flavor, you could be convinced this was a chocolate porter or something perhaps. I'd like more smoke from a "smoked stout," but it's still tasty and interesting.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is black, but I am noticing some almost red(?) or is it rust(?) hues around the edgers. Very interesting.

Smells like a bonfire, the smokiness is the only thing I can smell.

Taste follows up to the smell, very smoky, slightly sweet caramel hints, but mostly tastes like burning wood.

Mouthfeel, like sucking on burnt woodchips.

Overall this is a mediocre option at best from Dark Horse, I'll stick with Plead the 5th.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a pitch black color; the pour itself would make a typical imperial stout blush. The head is a finger high and tan in shade. Retention is about average, maybe slightly below average. No lacing on the glass, though, which is disappointing.

S: This is a very roasty-smelling beer, with chocolaty and molasses undertones. The smoke is existent in the background, along with some cream and a gentle twinge of dark fruit. It doesn't have overpowering smokiness, and the base beer hits all the ticks of what I want from a good stout.

T: To start (and really, to finish as well), it has a smokiness more closely resembling dried wood than cured ham - it's definitely not campfire ashy, though. Midtaste notes of licorice, dark fruits, and powdery cocoa help balance out the smoke. At times, it's even subtly tart. The only real complaint is that it's a bit low on flavor; unfortunately it's enough to keep it just out of 4 territory.

M: I love the dryness, the high attenuation, and the pre-swallow creaminess of the feel. There are a lot of residual sugars, though, which slows down drinkability...slightly. The thick texture would do an imperial stout proud (but could use a beefier flavor profile to help support it). Nicely carbonated.

O: Another solid Dark Horse stout, plain and simple. It's so, so close to being great, it just needs a 'bigger' flavor to support its big mouthfeel. Still, I'd gladly buy and drink it again.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.06/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle marked 7394 73W0229 at 45 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of toasted malt
Head small (1.5 cm), light brown, creamy, rapidly diminishing to 2 mm ring
2 mm sediment in bottle, firmly attached to bottom
No lacing
Body dark brown/black, totally opaque
Flavor of toasted malt, very light and slightly sweet; no alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl, no smoke; flavor dies quickly with no aftertaste.
Palate medium to full, creamy, nearly flat.

Lack of head and lacing detracts from the appearance and the unassertiveness of the flavor certainly lower rating. This meets the judging requirements for a stout. It is very easy drinking, nearly a session stout, with no hint of smoke. Perhaps someone was smoking while moving the grain?

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque but clear thick jet black in color with light amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the surface of the beer and a hint of cola brown highlights. The beer has a half finger tall mocha head that reduces to a large thin patch and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of chocolate and roasted malts with some light hints of smoke.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of roasted and chocolate malts with a moderate amount of milk chocolate as well as some hints of sweetness. Light notes of smoke towards the finish and there is a light to moderate amount of lingering bitterness in the finish.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light to moderate amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Rich and enjoyable with very nice flavors/aromas and a subtle amount of smoke. Easy to drink and definitely one to grab again.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Maudite snifter. Very impressive pour. The beer is very black and produces a dark brown frothy head. The smoke is quite evident on the nose, but not overwhelming. It accompanies the sweet and roasty notes of the malt and produces a very pleasant aroma.

Medium-full body and a roasty, smokey flavor. Very faint sweet notes up front, then some roastiness and enough smoke to tame the other flavors. The smoke is not excessive, but still announces its presence. It comes in around mid-palate, carries through the finish, and has a drying, almost tannic effect on your mouth. I get flavors of wood, licorice, black tea, and unsweetened cola. The feel is plenty firm and a little oily.

I'm not a good reviewer of smoked beers since I tend to avoid them. I did want to review this one because I wanted to review all 5 of Dark Horse's numbered stouts and I also like to expand my beer-drinking horizons on occasion. I am happy to report that this beer, unlike some smoked beers, did not taste like someone put out their cigarette in it. It's more of an American Stout than a Smoked Beer. Sadly, I think the smoke robs the beer of some of its richness and malt character and makes it taste a little bland on my palate. Fans of smoked beers may still want to check this one out.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled December 23rd. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint on March 24th. $2.19 single.

Appearance: Pitch black with a fizzy dark brown head that goes away quickly. No lacing. Pretty average.

Smell: Roasty and smokey with an almost caramel popcorn aroma. I really like it. Not as smokey as some other stouts I've had, but it's there nicely.

Taste/feel: Hm. Alright. Well, I can say that it's quite bitter, but not a good bitter. A burnt sort of bitter. I can't really so much taste a burnt flavor, but the bitterness reminds me of... burnt. Not in a horrific, it-ruins-the-beer way, but I could do without it. The mouthfeel is more like a porter than a stout, as it feels relatively thin with a medium-to-high carbonation. The smoke flavor is in this beer like it is the aroma -- complimentary, but quite mild. In comparison, the smoke in this beer is a decent bit less significant than the blueberry was in Dark Horse's Tres Blueberry Stout. There's no "meatiness" that I love in a good smoked porter or stout, just a smoke and coffee flavor that combines to give an ashy vibe. As it warms, that "burnt bitterness" I was talking about goes in the backseat, and a sweetness comes through without accompanied flavors (dark fruits or whatever else).

All-in-all, my least favorite of One, Too, Tres, Fore, and Plead the Fifth if that counts. This would be a good one for people who like stouts, but not so much smokey ones. The smoke is in this beer, but not in a huge way like I guess I was hoping.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Inky black. Thin khaki collar. Extremely dark.

Smell - Smoke. A little woody. A little meaty. Coffee roasted malt aroma.

Taste - Rich smoke. A bit of rich, sweet, coffee malts. The smoke gets a little bitter. Seems like it could get too bitter, but never does.

Mouthfeel - Bitter. Sweet, but masked by smoke. Medium heavy body.

Overall - I really like this beer. Almost too smokey, but never crosses the line.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pitch black, no head to speak of
S: Coffee, cocoa and woodsmoke
T: Like the nose, coffee and cocoa up front then some roasted malt followed by woodsmoke
M: Medium-bodied
O: Well crafted and a tasty stout, nothing I haven't had before but I wouldn't hesitate to get this again

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black body with one finger brown head and minor lace patches all over glass. Not completely meaty like a german smokebeer but the aroma Is an intense smoked malt bomb with pretty much everything else subdued. Thick, fuller bodied and even chewy, bready, there are some bitter chocolate sweet notes and the balance is great b/c the smoked taste is not as strong as the aroma and doesn't kill the other taste sensations. A little bit of heat in finish that derives from both the smoke and alcohol and overall leads to a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of illpass78
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a stout glass.

Appearance: Pours a thick black with some red notes at the edges. Head is very minimal and dissipates swiftly. Just about no lacing. No light is getting through this one - it's really dark.

Aromas: Smells like roasted, smoky malts and dark chocolate. It's not a smoke bomb, but it's definitely got a nice smoky presence in the nose. Some molasses notes, too.

Taste: Tasty. This beer has a slightly sweet kick to it that balances out the smokiness and roastiness. The taste follows the nose, though there is a BBQ-like taste to the finish that the nose didn't hint at. I like it. A very drinkable and pretty delicious stout.

Mouthfeel: It's a tiny bit thinner than I had expected, but that adds to the drinkablity in a pleasant way. Could pair with a meal easily.

Overall: This beer gave me the impression that it was going to be a big, bold smoke bomb of a beer that was going to basically be like drinking a camp fire. It's not that, but it's something better - a terrific, balanced, nuanced stout. Would drink again.

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Photo of joe1510
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle
$7.49 6-Pack
Rudy's liquors - LaSalle, IL

All five of the beers in Dark Horse's Stout series are about as black as you can get from fermented barley. No highlights, no color even when poured. This beer is just flat out black. The head fizzles up to a finger of mocha creaminess and settles rather quickly to a crackling ring of foam. Thin lace lines get left behind,

Right off the bat I get a tendril of smoke. It permeates every aspect of the smell but is in no way overpowering or one dimensional. Rich, deeply roasted barley is the main player front to back. A touch of lactic sweetness and a faint nuttiness wrap things up to my liking. Fore isn't the most complex out there but the richness makes up for any lack of layering.

Roasted barley and singed barley, from the smoke, get things moving along and lead from start to finish. Hazelnut comes through soft mid palate and fades into coffee and cream finish. The note of cream adds the faintest touch of lactic sweetness while the roast brings some moderate bitterness. Though not as rich a the nose, the flavor profile certainly doesn't disappoint.

The body of Dark Horse's stouts are always amazing. They somehow always nail this dense, velvety, moderately heavy body with zero stick. It always amazes me the amount of body they can pull out of a 7% beer. A decent bitterness remains after each swallow and the finish slowly dries up.

Fore isn't my favorite of the series but it is a damn good stout with a touch of the unique. Rich, bold, dense, and velvety about wrap up this beer. An approachable smoked beer for someone wanting to give one a try for the first time.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Very black on the pour with a half inch of brown head. Retention is decent at best. Lacing sticks in thick rings.

S: Campfire, fudgey undertones, berry fruits charcoal.

T: Huge hit of smoke. Very sooty and ashy. Campfire. Fudge sauce underneath. Hints of cola and perhaps a touch of vanilla. Red berries. More ash and woody smoke on the finish.

M: Medium body. Slight creaminess. Crisp bite of seltzery carbonation.

O: Very smokey. A pretty decent beer. There's just enough offered beyond the smoke to keep it interesting.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours with a rich finger of dark tan/khaki head which settled in but was present while drinking. Sits black in the glass with no active carbonation.

Smell: Smokey front. Lots of smoke with a rich caramel, molasses, and dark fruity body. Creamy malt pokes its way through the big smoke body. Mossy hop presence as well. Rich caramel and molasses comes through again on the finish adding some complexity besides the smokey malt.

Taste: Some smoke on the front but more subdued then you would think after the aroma. Candied, overly sweet malt pops up and clings to the palate. Sweet, really sweet continues toward the back end and finish with some grassy hops.

Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth mouthfeel but the sweetness lingers and refuses to leave.

Overall: This one is all over the place. Really enjoyed the aroma but the taste and mouthfeel were off. The hoppiness in the taste does not go well with the smokey tones.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, dated 308th day of 2013; too lazy to do the Julian conversion. Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 2/4/2014. Thus continues the exploration and reviewing of the 2013-2014 edition of the Dark Horse seasonal stout series.

App- Very dark brown body, thick dark brown head with OK retention but leaves a beautiful thick collar. Not much lacing.

Smell- Smoked malts, roast malts, faint black coffee. Smoke as advertised but nowhere near campfire smoke, is more subtle which is appreciated. Not complex or too intense, but solid.

Flavour- Up front is a nice bitter espresso mixed with roast malts; middle palate brings a bit of soy sauce/umami flavour, finishing with a thick bitter smokiness and earthy hop flavours. Interesting but not complex.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, good carbonation; aftertaste is smoky much like faint cigarette smoke, but in a more pleasant way. Earthy bitterness finishes off the beer which is balanced between dry and resinous.

Overall- Decent smoked beer, interesting to try and review. Having had this several times, I don't think I'll get this again as I'm not a fan of smoked beers in general.

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Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,113 ratings.
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