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4 Calling Birds - The Bruery

Not Rated.
4 Calling Birds4 Calling Birds

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

535 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 535
Reviews: 189
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 47
Gots: 376 | FT: 30
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Spiced Strong Dark Ale. The Twelve Days of Christmas series continues! We took inspiration from the traditional winter warmer for our fourth verse, integrating gingerbread spices into a robust dark ale. Notes of licorice & banana bread mingle with dark fruit, molasses and bitter chocolate for a perfect cold weather sipper!

(Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 10-25-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 535 | Reviews: 189 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Sixofsigmas:
Photo of Sixofsigmas
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Sixofsigmas, Oct 04, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of dcurrin
4/5  rDev +5.3%

dcurrin, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of bdkucharski
3/5  rDev -21.1%

bdkucharski, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of NWer
4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the Elliott Bay Pizza & Pub in Mill Creek in a Duvel tulip.
Appearance is dark brown smallish head.
Take a basic Belgian Strong Dark Ale and spice it up for the holidays and you have 4 Calling Birds. Ginger on the nose and ginger in the taste. Sweet. Very sweet in the aftertaste that makes you aware of the upcoming holidays whether you're ready or not.
A fantastic job in my opinion. A great seasonal that blows your typical winter warmer away.
Buy this.
By the way, the 11% ABV is well hidden so be careful with this one.

NWer, Nov 01, 2011
Photo of jp7161
4/5  rDev +5.3%

jp7161, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Callmecoon, Jan 21, 2014
Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 ounce growler filled at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

The pour is pretty much basic black, under a dark tan head that lasts a bit then goes to a tiny bubble film, and respectable low sheeting and some bits of lace.

Burnt malt, licorice, ripe dark fruit in the nose.

Full flavor BSDA, loads of ripe figs, raisins, dark malts, licorice, bitter chocolate. Dense, flavorful and complex. Alcohol well hidden. Quite enjoyable winter sipper/nightcapper

Billolick, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of GarrettB714
5/5  rDev +31.6%

GarrettB714, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +5.3%

bpfrush, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

The Bruery Provisions
Orange, CA

Dark brown with ruby edges and a thin khaki colored head--lines and dots of lacing left down the glass.

The best part of this beer is its aroma, and it's superb! This is one of the most successful "specialty" aromas I've experienced: fresh gingerbread cookies, cinnamon, brown bread, and all-spice. This reminds me, literally, of my grandmother's Persimmon cookies she bakes every Christmas.

The flavor is disappointing after such a wonderful aroma. The ginger/bread is quite muted, and while still tasty, the flavors seem hollow and lacking: brown bread, a touch of spice, and a moderate level of bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel with ample carbonation, and zero alcohol presence. This beer does not drink like an 11% ABV beer.

A lovely Christmas ale. I can't wait to open a bottle of this on a cold night.

ehammond1, Nov 03, 2011
Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +5.3%

SPRichard, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of lanamj
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle served into a pilsner.

A- Nice dark, dark ruby-black color. Thick foamy egg shell head that hold well with heavy lacing.

S- Ginger spice, dark fruit, nutmeg, vanilla and raisin. You can smell the booze but the sweet dark fruits and hot spice blend well with the alcohol heat.

T- Nice ginger spice with a sweet finish. I get some yams and vanilla as well as graham cracker. Some yeast and molasses lingers on the tongue. Dark fruit and booze generate the sweet back bone. Very good flavor and with age should be very good.

M- Medium- heavy carbonation, which for a Belgium style beer is expected, with a smooth flowing feel. For the high alcohol on this its rather easy to drink. I feel with age this one will become o so chewy.

O- A decent beer with lots to look forward to with age. I feel it was very creative for the style. I could only drink one of these although its rather approachable. I really look forward to drink an aged one.

lanamj, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of pwoods
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Kels for the sharing the bottle.

750ml capped Belgian bomber poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep dark brown and sits nearly black in the glass, no light getting through. Moderate head on the pour with only a bit of retention and not much lacing.

S: Very subtle aroma, even after letting it warm up. Some of the ginger bread aroma with some light black licorice. Light malt and yeast. Very subtle overall.

T/M: More of the ginger bread spice and black licorice. Some caramel and brown bread malts. The yeast is slightly bigger, but still not huge. Body is medium to medium full with good carbonation.

D: Tasty holiday seasonal but leaves a little something to be desired. Myabe just more depth.

pwoods, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of SolarMikey
4/5  rDev +5.3%

SolarMikey, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of jmadrigal2
4/5  rDev +5.3%

jmadrigal2, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of ste5venla
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

ste5venla, Jul 07, 2013
Photo of Brenden
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a viscous, heavy black beer. A tan head almost a finger tall fades somewhat quickly but leaves a steady foam. Lacing is a little light, not quite patchy but almost and in a pretty good quantity.
The nose is lightly spicy, both nutmeg/allspice and lightly peppery, with a heavy molasses note under a big malty foundation.
The taste is heavy, not overly sweet but with a huge cloying molasses. Raisin is evident alongside the molasses and, not to disappoint, a light gingerbread flavor lies underneath. Spices pop up in the finish. The molasses really blankets some of the other flavors and makes it a sipper, also adding a touch of a metallic tint. With that and an accompanying anise note, it's hard to believe this isn't a doppelbock.
This one feels as thick and viscous as it looks. There's only the very faintest crispness, but it flows smoothly. The only thing is that, for how this beer is constructed it should be thick but is extremely heavy.
I like this beer, but it's a gentle sipper and probably needs to be split.

Brenden, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of ONovoMexicano
4/5  rDev +5.3%

ONovoMexicano, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of Soxfanmcgee
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Soxfanmcgee, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of mdaschaf
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. Thanks to Scott for this one!

A: Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights. A one finger, tan head forms upon pouring with decent retention. Some lacing forms briefly, but does not last.

S: Lots of holiday spices, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and a lot of gingerbread. There is a little bit of Belgian yeast and some bready malt.

T: The gingerbread comes through on the flavor profile, not really cookie like, as some people had described it, but more like actual gingerbread. A little bit of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and chocolate.

M: Medium bodied with active carbonation, rather bubbly.

O: I was hoping for gingerbread cookies, and was slightly disappointed. I liked 4CB a good bit, but am fine drinking a bottle and saving the other. Not something I am going to run out and get more of. Will be interesting to see how it holds up.

mdaschaf, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of JosephThompson
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

JosephThompson, Sep 06, 2013
Photo of Varkias41
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Varkias41, Dec 20, 2013
Photo of MrVonzipper
3.05/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Rtaps for sharing this bottle.
Pitch black with a 1cm tan bubbly head. Short retention. Spotty lacing. 

Big spice on the nose. Predominantly allspice and a touch of ginger. That's pretty much it. 

Flavor is again full of spice. Allspice mostly. Very spice dominated. Dark malt and Belgian candy sugar show up a little bit too.

Medium bodied and high carb.

Overall ok. IMO too Heavy on the spice. Just one note.

MrVonzipper, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of GilGarp
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 no capped bottle served cool into a goblet.

Deep brown color with good clarity and thick head. It settles quickly and leaves no lacing.

Aroma is sweet but with unpleasant undertones of spice and medicine.

Flavor isn't much better. The malts seem to be pretty solid but the spices and yeast to overpower everything.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is a little too high.

Overall disappointing considering the Bruery's reputation and the price. Should get better with age though.

GilGarp, Dec 04, 2011
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4 Calling Birds from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 535 ratings.