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4 Calling Birds - The Bruery

Not Rated.
4 Calling Birds4 Calling Birds

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

527 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 527
Reviews: 188
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 46
Gots: 371 | FT: 28
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)
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Ratings: 527 | Reviews: 188 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Bruery Tasting Room. Light brown coloured body with generous 3/4" retained head. Dry, average mouthfeel. Astringent and dangerous kick of alcohol not felt by the spice. Smell is like a sour brown Belgian.cola,Licorice, ginger. Sour and spice and nice, a sipper.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2012 04:20:36 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

03-01-2013 15:09:57 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Bruery Provisions in Orange, CA.

Pours a clear dark reddish brown with a khaki head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace slide back down into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruits, and some spice aromas. Taste is of malt, dark fruits, and the spices with ginger coming out as a main flavor. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with lots of spices. Nothing too great though.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2012 21:09:28 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +5%

11-27-2011 06:04:30 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from the October Rare Beer Club shipment. Served in a Bruery tulip.

Pours a very, very dark brown that is bordering on black. Initially foamy light mocha head rises high but falls fairly quickly, leaving a nice collar behind. The nose brings forward a bit of molasses and toasty gingerbread. Light sweetness and a touch of clove.

The flavor fits the holidays quite well. Lots of gingerbread spices with clove and a faint bit of cinnamon, allspice, or something like that. A bit of dark molasses is there along with mild sweetness. I doesn't quite come together all the way, though it is promising. Medium body with low-to-medium carbonation. No indication that this one is 11%. Quite tasty, but didn't quite meld. There are some slight plastic notes to the nose and finish that take away from what is otherwise a nice spiced beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2011 00:34:26 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark yet clear mahogany in color and poured with a thin dark beige head that quickly faded away, leaving only a thick ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: Aromas of spices really stand out in the nose.
T: Quite complex, the flavor is rather malty with notes of spices and a hint of licorice. There is a bit of sweetness.
M: It feels slightly more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation with a bit of smoothness.
O: The alcohol is well masked considering this beer’s strength.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 03:42:41 | More by metter98
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cola color with a very modest head that quicly becomes a ringlet, leaving very little lacing behind

Smell: Gingerbread soaked in molasses, with undertones of dark fruit and burnt bread

Taste: Molasses flavors dominate the front-end, overwhelming the gingerbread, though the spice cake flavors do emerge by mid-palate; rather sweet, after the swallow, with berry and sweet cherry flavors as well as a hint of banana

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying, as the sweet flavor dominance on the finish and the molasses, up front, provide a rather un-balanced character; not really a BSDA - more like an Imperial Winter Warmer

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2012 01:35:47 | More by brentk56
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.1/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Bruery

Almost black with a dense khaki head. Smells roasty and mildly acidic. A little bit of fruit, mostly prunes and some raisins. Roast, char, and burnt sugar. Maybe a bit of licorice flavor. Heavy on the prunes and raisins. Medium bodied and high carbonation.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2011 21:13:55 | More by womencantsail
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4/5  rDev +5%

11-23-2013 22:43:48 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle - $10.49 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a very dark brown, roasted walnut-toned body with a medium-sized, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Roast and a heavy scent of toasted pumpernickel bread dosed with star anise, burnt almonds, fennel seed, and ground mace. And a further hint like they snuck in a small splash of Jäger. For a second, it makes me think of a bigger, emboldened Anchor OSA at an exorbitant cost.

Taste: Sweetish roasted malts, toasted malts, and with an unforgiving, and good on it dark breadiness all the while. Slight bitterish chocolate. As with the nose, it's got me thinking of that perennial favorite, Anchor Christmas ale, just decidedly bigger and with a noticed Belgian kick to it. Rich blend of spice character pairing with some slight dark fruits and larger touch of bruised, brown bananas. Picks up some black pepper alongside the heated, belly-warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: Pumpergingernana bread! Would prefer a little less heat and a little more carbonation to keep things moving along, but 4CB is fairly decent all around. As it is, it's a beer that has me ready for a looonng winter's nap.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 19:24:09 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

4/5  rDev +5%

11-23-2013 20:10:49 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: almost no head on a deep dark amber brown body.

S: lots of dark fruit including raisin, plum, fig and cocoa with a nice dark chocolate and vanilla presence. hint of gingerbread and roasted malts.

T: dark chocolate, vanilla, dark molasses, light peppers, dark fruit mostly plum and strawberry, roasted malts, well hidden booze, tart and as usual very complex

M: fairly thin for what I was expecting. moderate carbonation. not very dry for the style.

Overall: this one is really drinkable, more so than I would think. Definitely very complex

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 03:45:12 | More by kylehay2004
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spycow

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

01-13-2013 19:57:31 | More by spycow
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

4/5  rDev +5%

11-26-2011 13:39:32 | More by GRG1313
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a really nice reddish brown color with a decent foamy head on top. There wasn't much in the way of lacing or retention here. The smell of the beer had some really nice herbal notes to it along with a touch of what I think smelled like mint. The taste of the beer gave off some Christmas berry notes along with some spices and again some light flavors of mint. The mouthfeel of the beer was soft, gently carbonated and drinkable. Overall I thought this beer was better than the 3 French Hens I had last year. I would probably drink this one again.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2011 21:55:38 | More by Knapp85
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dirty John's tulip pint glass.

The way things are going with me, I might be stuck with just the even-numbered entries in this series... Anyway, this one pours a very dark brown topped by a finger-and-a-half of bright tan foam. The nose comprises cocoa powder, black pepper, nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, toffee, Belgian candi sugar, and light roasted malts. The taste brings in more of the same, with the spices really taking center stage: It's like liquefied gingerbread dipped in chocolate to a major degree. Good times. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, a very enjoyable brew. 'Nuff said.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2011 05:58:42 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark, dark burgundy color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It had nice retention and left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of nutmeg, licorice and some dried fruits. There were mild notes of biscuity malt.

T - It tasted of black licorice, Christmas spices -like nutmeg and cinnamon. Nice bready malt backbone with a touch of dried fruit flavors.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish a subtle alcohol warmth.

O - This is a really complex beer with good flavors. Nicely done. I'd like to try more from the series.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2011 02:51:33 | More by zeff80
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle aged for 1 year. As a gingerbread inspired beer, this more or less hits the mark. The body is a hazy dark brown topped by two fingers of dense, clinging froth. The nose is heavy on molasses, tart dark fruit and caramelized banana, with an undertone of spice. A year of aging has caused the spices to drop off considerably; I remember them being almost overwhelming when the beer was fresh. Nutmeg seems the dominant spice now, with a touch of ginger. On the palate it's still somewhat boozy and could probably benefit from another year of age. Banana and dark fruit esters wash the palate first, followed by rich molasses and a slightly astringent and bitter kick of nutmeg and allspice. Sweetness is moderate, not cloying by any means, and there's a sturdy dark malt backbone that does taste a hell of a lot like gingerbread. The finish grows a bit harsh after a while, making it a chore to drink more than one pour. Further aging may improve this. As it stands, it's a solid but flawed beer. If I had any more bottles, I'd give them at least another year.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 00:06:42 | More by largadeer
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

09-02-2013 18:35:29 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Bruery "4 Calling Birds"
750 ml bottle, capped.

If there's a bottling date I can't find it, but let's face it, we know that it's at least eight months old, if not more. It was stored upright, and gently moved, and the first pour was spectacularly clear.

In the nose it's softly chocolatey, a touch fig-like, and gently spicy with notes of ginger, probably cinnamon, and what seems like nutmeg but might not be.

The mouthfeel is creamy, even silky, but also with a gentle bristle of carbonation that comes on with a light bit of energy but then fades readily away.

Not surprisingly, the flavor echoes what the nose has suggested. The malt is a bit more caramelish, and also even slightly fudge-like... ... still there's a bit of actual golden grain flavor to it too. Regarding the fruitiness, there is a little bit of fig, but there's also some raisin as well, both dark and golden. I love that kind of dried-fruit sugariness, and the spices work really well with it.

So here's where the aging comes in. I had this several times on tap when it was first released, and I wouldn't say that it's really changed that much. It's pretty much the same beer, but the spices are slightly softened, and I think the alcohol is even more subdued. I remember it having just a slight bit more zest and zing. And I think that the fruitiness has softened a touch as well, becoming more like dark dried-fruit than it initially was (possibly because an anise-like character has risen a little bit).

So was aging it a bit a success? Yes, I think so... it's certainly not a failure, but at the same time I don't think I would age it any more. On the other hand, you never know what's going to happen (absolute greatness?), but I sense a little hint of oxidation sneaking in and I'm not sure where that might head to with another quarter year or more on it.

Overall I thought it was a remarkable beer. I shared a few bottles with a table of friends during the 2011 holiday season, and (with the exception of the Lagunitas Sucks, which was great as well, but completely different) everyone felt that this was the best seasonal beer we'd tried because it offered all of the spice that a beer like this needs without going too far.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 23:03:54 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a small head of light tan foam on top of an opaque, dark brown body. The head settles fairly quickly but leads decent traces of lace on the glass.

S - Graham cracker and chocolate, with some roasted nuts, caramel, and ginger.

T - Spicy chocolate up front with caramel and bready malt. Some clove and ginger in the middle with a bit of vanilla, and more chocolate in the finish.

M - A moderately thick body, average carbonation, and a reasonably dry finish.

D - Nicely done, this beer doesn't sound good to me when I read the description, but it is actually very good. The spices and malt blend better than I would have ever expected and it is oddly drinkable for a beer of this strength.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 03:41:41 | More by nickfl
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Bruery 4 Calling Birds, Dark Ale Brewed With Spices. Alc 11% by Vol.
"The fourth verse of our "Twelve Beers of Christmas" saga incorporates gingerbread-like spice into a a rich and robust dark ale. Happy Holidays!"

wait, there's more! "4 Calling Birds is suitable for aging up to eight years (soon after the release of Twelve Drummers Drumming") when cellared properly…and blah, blah, blah…I'm not waiting 8 years, I'm drinking it now. Eight years. Never done that. Maybe someday. But, not now.

Pours a dark brown, with a bustling tan head that zips down to nada in no time.

Nicely spiced aromatics, some cinnamon, clove, ginger a little. Okay, maybe a lot. With sweet malt, lightly roasted, below. Lovely, lovely stuff.

Tasting it, spice notes rank highest on the palate, ring loudest, and start out hot. Fairly bristling in the mouth, some pepper playing around, clove ginger, etc. Solid malt holds steady below. Mighty malt, thick in the mouth, turning cool and mellow. Mmmm, I'm liking this one better. Seeming one-dimensional and blase at first, it's growing in complexity now. Not quite as rich as an Imperial Stout, but lots of molasses, dark rum, cocoa. Malt and spice mix well, now.

Alcohol is hidden for the time being, but it won't be long before it comes ring-ding-dinging on down. …yep, it's happening. We're down to the last couple ounces, and the clanging chimes of doom are ringing.

Beautiful birds, these, dark and spicy. Very satisfying. Not sure if I could, or would…or anyone should, sit on this for eight years. Go for it, though, guys. Sit on it like hens. Wait, that was the last one, right?

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2012 09:56:27 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Bangers & Lace. Served in a weizen-shaped taster glass.

A - Finger of foam settles to a thick collar but minimal lace. Very dark brown body.

S - Roasted malts, dark chocolate, candi sugar, light Belgian yeast presence, and a light amount of Christmas spice - cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice.

T - Taste is heavy on dark chocolate, roasted malts, licorice, candi sugar, and lightly phenolic Belgian yeast. Christmas spices are far more present in the taste than in the aroma. Finish is quite bitter, with heavy black licorice present. Alcohol is quite well-hidden.

M - Creamy, full body, with lower carbonation, and well-hidden alcohol. Sufficiently hefty for the style and ABV. Quite easy to drink.

D - Not my favorite type of beer, but pretty good at what it sets out to do. I think this will actually be quite good when barrel-aged, as the spices should fade out and be replaced by bourbon and barrel goodness. Two Turtle Doves is still my favorite from the 'standard' series.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2011 01:51:54 | More by MasterSki
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in North Carolina in Hickory or Asheville... Drank this about a week ago, review from notes

Pours mahogany with a thumb of mocha colored head. Some lacing &head retention

S: Plums, cherries, cinnamon & ginger bread

T: Follows the nose up front along with dryness. Dryness, gingerbread & molasses as this warms. Finishes with gingerbread sweetness, a touch of herbal hops & molasses

MF: Chewy with restrained carbonation

I love gingerbread, so I really enjoyed this one

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2012 02:31:21 | More by russpowell
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The latest in the Twelve Days of Christmas series, served from a bottle into a Bruery tulip.

Beer is black with a thin tan head, small bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet with hints of allspice and ginger.

Beer is medium in body and sweet throughout. Very spice forward, very flavorful. An enjoyable beer. Although this is a rather simple tasting one, it will be interesting to see what it is like in 8 years.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2011 01:39:39 | More by drabmuh
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4 Calling Birds from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 527 ratings.