adam129er (1) - - DEC 14, 2012 does not count
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 20/20
This beer has great spices and wonderful aroma it's make you feel like your drinking a gingerbread house and I personally feel that it ages well also. I pulled one straight from the cellar and put one in fridge to see if there was any difference and the cellar (55f) had more aroma and flavor than the really cold one from the fridge this beer will never leave the cellar unless it goes straight into a glass
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
marv3mania (185) - Lansing, Michigan, USA - OCT 25, 2013
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Appearance is dark brown, almost black, with a slight ruby tint. The head is dark tan and paper-thin. Aroma is holiday spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc. There is also a light cocoa scent and a very faint roasted malt smell. Absolutely lovely. And it begins to spread through the room as it warms. The taste is a weaker version of the taste. Itís very good, but it simply tastes a bit more watery than I had expected. A very easy drink, especially due to a complete lack of alcohol taste. The mouth is also a bit thinner than expected. Overall, this is one of my absolute favorite beers.
MarkSachon (949) - Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 4, 2015
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
12 oz draft at Mad Mex in Pittsburgh. Chewy and delicious. Some hints of tar and dark sugars. A slight banana finish.
DarkElf (3059) - La Jolla, California, USA - FEB 26, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
18-Sep-06 (12 oz bottle: Obtained 15-Apr-05 in trade with Eyedrinkale, thanks Mike!) I might as well say this right up front... This beer is frigging amazing! Iím drinking nirvana. It brings peace and tranquility to my hectic life. All of lifeís worries are completely forgotten as I savor each and every drop of this delectable beverage. This Vintage 2001 winter ale from Dark Horse is about five years old now and is wooing me in just about every possible way with a wonderful complexity of genuinely delicious flavors and a terrific evolution from start to finish. The initial attack: rich, dark, moderately bitter, roasty malts combine with sweet, dark fruits and plentiful spices (especially nutmeg and clove), and are balanced by a mild cherry-like tartness thatís makes me reminisce about some of my favorite wood-aged dark ales. Tremendously flavorful, and so many flavors, all in exceptional balance. A light smokiness begins to emerge in the mid-palate, increasing intensity for a delightfully smoky finish. And given the age, Iím amazed that the typical chocolate and earthiness I get in most aged dark ales isnít present. In other words, I think this beer still has much more life in it and would still be amazing a few years from now. The nose shows a more chocolaty maltiness, not so much roast, but the nutmeg and clove are ever-present. Inarguably full-bodied and round right into the long finish, but with the bitter roast and spices lingering on the palate for several minutes, even the mere suggestion of a cloying nature is outside the realm of possibility. Carbonation is still ample but gentle on the palate. The color of the light-blocking body is deep, deep, deep, deep brown with a bit of ruddiness at the edges. Fairly small, tan head when poured, but given the age of this beer, itís entirely forgivable as far as Iím concerned. Nevertheless, a modest ring of bubbles clings to the edge of the glass for the entire session. Iím not one to gush so effusively over a beer very often -- Iíve had a lot of amazing beers in my life, but this beer is truly one of the most complex and exquisite holiday ales Iíve ever had. I had no idea this beer was this good or this RARE. Iím really sad that I drank this beer at home alone instead of at OíBrienís so my other Ratebeer buds could experience just how incredible this beer is. I bow my head in appreciation to the talent that was responsible for making this bottle of beer. And a second bow to Mike for magnanimously sending me this rare treat.
Benjii (3049) - Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - OCT 31, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
On keg at The Holyrood 9A. Pours a very dark brown colour with a ruby tinge. A fantastic aroma of spiced pumpkin, chocolate, marzipan, caramel and alcohol. Similar flavours with mild carbonation and an oily mouth-feel. Light CO2 prickle and a dry finish. Superb!
chucklemation (1444) - Royal Oak, Michigan, USA - NOV 14, 2014
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours a dark brown with a white foam head. Aroma is allspice, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Those aromas come out nicely in the flavor as well, which is also sweet and a little bitter. Has a full body mouthfeel. Delicious.
EyeAmBaldman (461) - Illinois, USA - FEB 22, 2016
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours opaque dark mahogany with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves minor lacing in the glass. Aroma is nutmeg and cinnamon. Taste is strong, spicy with loads of nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon, some cloves and a hint of caramel. The warmer it gets the spicier it is. Finally a beer from Dark Horse I can get behind. I like this one.
jwtinn01 (34) - louisville, Kentucky, USA - DEC 25, 2013
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This beer pours deep brown with a tan head. A perfectly spiced winter warmer that has a great flavor. One of my favorite Christmas drinks.
mgajdaczewa (1715) - Katowice, POLAND - JAN 9, 2014
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
W aromacie nuty palone przełamane winną słodyczą oraz wyraźnym goździkiem, razem tworzy to bardzo zachęcającą mieszankę. W smaku růwnież wyraźny goździk, ale także paloność, czekolada z mlekiem, wyraźne nuty laktozy przywołujące na myśl milk stout skontrowane nutami winnymi. No i wyraźna, średnia goryczka. Świetnie ukryty alkohol. A największą zaletą tego piwa jest nienaganne ułożenie, żaden element nie przeszkadza. Świetne!
ChadPolenz (1700) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 21, 2014
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
I like winter warmers, but itís rare I have one that truly amazes me anymore. Dark Horse 4 Elf fortunately is one of the exceptions to that rule. It has the right spice palette in the right proportion and at the right strength for my preference. It definitely succeeds as a liquid Christmas cookie Ė and isnít that what a winter warmer should be?
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 10/30/14 and cost $3.65 ($0.30 per ounce).
Appearance: Black, stout-like body with brown highlights. Pours to a two-finger, tan, frothy head which laces and retains very well.
Smell: Classic Christmas cookie spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, plus some Belgian-like dark fruit character.
Taste: Dark Horse 4 Elf is, admittedly, a bit simple of a brew. The spices dominate the palette, and thereís not much distinctiveness in the way of malts and hops. That being said, the actual taste of the beer is so delectable that I donít even really care if itís simplistic. Thereís a Snickerdoodle-like sweetness right away. Akin to gingerbread, pumpkin bread or even banana bread. Light spice character tap dances on the tongue. Itís not until the second half when a rush of even stronger, spicier, almost herbal-like seasonings emerge that you realize how gentle the initial spice character is. An intense, almost smokey flavor creates for a dry spicy astringency. Itís so potent, in fact, that it can be felt in the sinuses afterwards (not unlike horseradish Ė but not to that extent). Thereís a mild chocolate flavor lurking in the background as well as some mild dark fruits or fruit cake taste as well. These flavor combinations repeat after every swig and it never grows old. Thatís what makes for an excellent brew.
Drinkability: Iím not sure the base brew style of this beer, though it appears to be a porter or some kind of dark/black ale. The mouthfeel is thicker than most winter warmers Ė but not thick, chewy and sticky and definitely not crisp. It has a soft, smooth texture and finish to match. The 8.75% ABV definitely creates for some gentle warmth, but at no point does Dark Horse 4 Elf drink or feel like a boozy sipping beer.