Fore Smoked Stout is an American Stout featuring peat-smoked malts. This is a winter seasonal belonging to their “holiday stout” series, released in January, and sold in four-packs (I can’t believe I’ve been sitting on this for one year). Aromas resemble charred hickory, dark chocolate, burned coffee, molasses, walnuts, and a faint hint of berries.
The palate makes a roasty start like a bar of dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao, then dark roasted coffee notes begin to take hold. Details of toasted hazelnut and oat grains fill the middle register. Burnt caramels fall to the back in mild sweetness, which then confront a roasted bitterness to unite in agreeable balance. Alcohol adds a touch of fennel before the closing, where it ends on somewhat of a sour note with a whisper of fruit released from the hops. The aftertaste leaves a lingering taste of campfire smoke and barbecue. Mouthfeel is super creamy and smooth, then gentle carbonation gives way to a dry conclusion.
Overall, I find very little influence from hops – this is all about the malts, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The elements of bitter, sweet, and sour don’t necessarily fall in sequence, but everything eventually comes together harmoniously. The smoked grains magnify the roast in a complementary flavor reminiscent of barbecued meat over coals. Its dark complexity could almost be compared to the depth of a Double Stout. Dark Horse know how to work those malts. They sure can brew up there in Michigan! If you’re a Stout lover, go get it for the holidays. I recommend it.