4 Elf by Dark Horse

4 Elf Winter Warmer by Dark Horse Brewing, Marshall, Michigan

© 2014 popsonhops

Tasting: December 6, 2014
Style: Old Ale
Beer #: 662

4 Elf by Dark Horse

Thankfully, most of the pumpkin ales have either disappeared or have hit the bargain bin. If you’ve read this blog even semi-regularly, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of pumpkin ale. Each year, I’ll try one or two with the lowest of expectations in hopes of being marginally surprised. I don’t know, a weak beer jacked up with the periphery accent spices in pumpkin pie just doesn’t do it for me. However, this year my patience paid off and I found pumpkin respectability in Rumpkin from Avery (91 points) – a massive 16.74% alcohol by volume (ABV) beast and Almanac’s Heirloom Pumpkin (90 points) – a barrel-aged barleywine.

That being said, I’m not a fan of holiday or Christmas ales either. These ales tend to have a similar spice base of cinnamon, clove and ginger. So again, I go into the season in hopes of finding one I can call a favorite. I’ve picked a couple for this year – 4 Elf from Dark Horse and Sleigh’r from Ninkasi.

4 Elf is also the name of Dark Horse Brewings annual holiday event. It marks the brewery-location release of bourbon-barrel aged (BBA) Plead the Fifth and other brew house rarities. This year, it happens next Saturday, December 13th. According to Dark Horse’s website, the brewery has 42,816 bottles of the BBA Plead the Fifth for sale. Hopefully, some hit the trade market soon thereafter. They also offer a rum-barrel version of 4 Elf and they’ll have 4,320 available next weekend.

Anyway, onto 4 Elf the beer. It’s billed as a winter warmer and at 8.75% ABV, it could deliver some heat. Nose is of the familiar fall spice – ginger, nutmeg and clove. Some roasted grain flavor tucked underneath. Does have some mild heat. This is a one and done – it’s eh – 84 points.

Read my thoughts on Rumpkin Here

Read my thoughts on Heirloom Pumpkin Here

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