Dark Horse Brewing gave their 4 Elf Winter Warmer Ale all the elements of a good winter brew: lots of malts, spices and alcohol, yet ended up with a very drinkable beer.
4 Elf pours dark burgundy with a tan head that transforms to lace in a few seconds. Candy malts and spices greet your nose. The cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice are blended nicely. The spices are there, but do not dominate the beer as some spiced Christmas ales. I pick up a touch of chocolate and caramel sweetness with the malts. The hops add depth and body and help with a medium-long finish. It’s 8.75% ABV and very drinkable. As it warms in the glass the spices yawn and stretch as if emerging from an afternoon nap. 4 Elf has a soft carbonation and smooth mouthfeel.
It’s not heavy, overly sweet, or too spiced. Sorry, for all the negative comparisons, but it’s important to note when reviewing spiced Winter Warmers, which tend to lean in those directions.
The brewery makes a barrel version each year for release at 4 Elf party that I would love to try.
Question: What do you think of 4 Elf? You can leave a comment by clicking here.