hvac4sl (31) - Dowling, Michigan, USA - FEB 27, 2003
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Reddish dark brown colored. Poured little to no head. Aroma was fruity, pumpkiny. Mouthfeel was medium with a strong pumpkin pie taste with a hint of chocolate malt. As hard as I tried to find some hops, they weren't there. No matter, this beer makes a great nightcap, especially on a 5 degree night, which is what was intended.
ColovianTrader (333) - - DEC 24, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Flavors of allspice, nutmeg and ginger jump out. Sugar cookies sweetness throughout. Hints of clove. Light malts throughout.
Chad9976 (1248) - Albany, New York, 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.
Alengrin (2463) - BELGIUM - DEC 21, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
A cold and gloomy December day seems like the perfect opportunity to open an American winter beer. This ale pours a very dark hazy chestnut brown colour, almost black, under a moussy and stable but rather thin, deep yellow beige head leaving good lacing. Strong aroma in which the ethereal, perfumey spices are immediately evident: cloves, aniseed and the nutmeg I use to season potato mash; other impressions of chocolate, cinnamon, orange peel, raisins, blueberries, bayleaf, mint, coffee grounds, orange peel, brown rhum, black pepper, gingerbread and íspeculoosí, dried leaves, old cookies. Taste begins immediately spicy, with sharpish peppery accents along with some candied fruits, banana, dried citrus peel; medium carbo, smooth and somewhat oily mouthfeel, pleasant caramelly and nutty malt sweetness, drying towards the finish, retronasal strong spiciness, aromatic, with a long and dry ending of roasted, black coffee-like bitterness, peppery and leafy hop bitterness, warming, gin-like alcohol and nutty malts. A very agreeable beer, which I would classify as a spiced Christmas ale in the Scotch legion, as there are still a lot around in Belgium in this time of the year.
Mep3222 (578) - East Greenbush, New York, USA - DEC 20, 2014
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Spicy malty aroma and flavor. Dark. Slight sweet finish. Full flavored. Not too spicy. Nice winter beer. Well done.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
Westchesterco (1107) - mclean, Virginia, USA - DEC 20, 2014
3.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 8/20
Poured from a bottle it is a dark brown with a slight head. The aroma is of cloves the taste is cloves and cinnamon and resonates strong on the palate
Iphonephan (3637) - McLean, Virginia, USA - DEC 20, 2014
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
From a 12 oz bottle shared at home. Pours blaci with a tan head. Aroma of cinnamon and clove. Flavors of licorice and leather with lots of pie spice. Bitter finish.
ARH (559) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 19, 2014
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Clove notes accompany a toasty aroma initially which turns to fresh baked gingerbread rather quickly. Cookie and a biscuity cracker aroma poke through late and overtake the previous notes. Itís a deep, dark, and opaque cola brown color with an oily look (noticeable on the edges) and topped by a foamy soap, beige, moderate sized head. Snow drift lace is left on the glass with a thick, sudsy and uneven retention on the surface. The taste is a medium bitter and medium / medium light sweet. The beer is sticky with an abundant, soft fizz cqrbonation and a medium full maltbl body. Notes of chocolate and cola hit the palate initially, followed by a roasty, biscuit-cracker and hints of caramel and nuts sneaking in late. Thereís a bit of resin at the finish, but mostly a burnt, sugary, and syrupy flavor. Some malty, syrupy, burnt sugar notes linger with a strong roasty flavor in the aftertaste, but it mellows quickly and cleans up nicely.
Ferris (5000) - Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 17, 2014
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draft - Vintage 2013 - Dark fruit, cardamom and other light spice. Deep maroon with a decent beige head. Dark chocolate, light Christmas spice and a light boozy finish. Very rich and nice for the cold weather.
jgb9348 (4851) - Arlington (Pentagon City), Virginia, USA - DEC 15, 2014
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Deep hazy and pungent deep dark amber coloured body with a very defined two centimetre tall tan head - very nice looking and showing some ruby tints when held up to a light. Aroma of alcohol, pit fruits, toffee, earth, scotch, vanilla and tons of spices - cloves, anise, allspice and even some spruce noticeable. Full-bodied; Very spicey flavour at first that hits hard and very nice - deep and pungent throughout with a lot of caramelised sugars, some notes of pit fruits and a scotch and alcohol flavour noticeable throughout. Aftertaste shows earth, spruce, pine, vanilla and some cognac, all balanced well with some sugars and depth - the complexity is nice as well. Overall, a very nicely spiced beer with a good depth and even better complexity - great to sample and while not the best in this category, one to try if you can find it! I sampled this twelve ounce bottle purchased from Total Wine in Alexandria, Virginia on 20-November-2014 for US$2,49 sampled at home in Washington on 14-December-2014.
voyageurmike (64) - Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 14, 2014
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Served in sampler. Very dark brown with nice clove aroma. Sweet spicy start leading to a bitter short finish. Good choice for a holiday brew.