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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: 29
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:
Photo of benbking
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, very minimal lacing.
The smell, as others have noted, is the quite exceptional.
It smells like the Belgian Strong Dark ale of my dreams.
The taste is a slight let down after the smell. Ginger and Plum and getting the right toy but the wrong color on Christmas morning as a 5 year old might experience.
Fairly smooth but not quite where I'd like it to be. I'm hoping aging will improve.
Overall a satisfactory beer and the best smelling beer ever. Give it a shot! I look forward to editing this after a year when I crack a bottle with age on it.

benbking, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of thedindaniel
4/5  rDev +5.3%

thedindaniel, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of StayWhatYouAre2
4/5  rDev +5.3%

StayWhatYouAre2, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +5.3%

bpfrush, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of tylermains
3/5  rDev -21.1%

tylermains, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev +5.3%

jerz, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev +5.3%

TurdFurgison, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of TheRealDBCooper
4/5  rDev +5.3%

TheRealDBCooper, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of Retsinis
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Retsinis, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of DJButters
4/5  rDev +5.3%

DJButters, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of MrFootstones
4/5  rDev +5.3%

MrFootstones, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of sind310
5/5  rDev +31.6%

sind310, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of jlb502
4/5  rDev +5.3%

jlb502, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of AndresR
4/5  rDev +5.3%

AndresR, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of CelticAleMan
3/5  rDev -21.1%

CelticAleMan, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Skuter
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Skuter, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of mthomas84
4/5  rDev +5.3%

mthomas84, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Rollzroyce21
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Rollzroyce21, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of kevanb
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This Belgian style dark ale pours a very dark brown color that borders on black with hints of red when held to the light. The color is unlike most Belgian Style dark ales as the black is so predominant it appears to be more porter or stout like than Belgian. The head is a really thick dense light caramel color that has very nice retention and great lacing. It has a very pleasant holiday aroma, lots of gingerbread and nutmeg spices as well as some darker fruits, reminiscent of plums or dates. The flavors are a bit different, not as spice laden as the nose, a bit darker and less explosive. The gingerbread is certainly apparent, but the dark fruits really show their stuff, but the balance is interesting. The resulting flavor reminds me of tobacco, and not in a bad way. The finish is heavier on the spices and adds that burst to the flavors. The beer does have a really nice smooth body that is a bit creamier than other darker Belgian style ales, which I find adds a nice touch to the holiday spices

Verdict: I found this to be a really interesting and enjoyable beer to drink. Definitely put me in the mood for the holidays, mostly the delicious deserts that the holidays provide. I’ll be interested to see how this beer fares after a year in the cellar.

kevanb, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of adman08
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very dark mahogany. Not much head but a nice ring forms on the surface of the beer.
S-Very sweet aroma with a hint of cloves of nutmeg and some biscuit.
T-Initial sweetness along with some roasted malt and biscuit and a hint of chocolate. Fairly strong alcohol.
M-Slightly sweet start with good carbonation. Finishes with some roasted dryness.
Overall, a pretty good Belgian style dark strong ale. This is one of my favorite styles, this one is good but not great. There's a little too much spice, I look for more of the traditional dark sugar sweetness.

adman08, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of BeerImmediately
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into tulip in the 40s, reviewed into 50s.

Pours with 2F of tan head over an opaque black body. Some lacing, as it fades to a solid ring.

Aromas are full of deep, dark fruits. Plums and raisins, toffee, shoo-fly pie.

Lot of fig and prune in the flavor. Rich holiday spices take a back seat. As it warms, I'm getting soy sauce and brown sugar reduction sauce. Some Jagermeister in there, too. This thing drinks like a doppelbock, not a BSDA.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy.

I sure hope this ages well, as I picked up 4 bottles.

BeerImmediately, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip as per the bottle.

4.0 A: Black color. Two and a half fingers of dense frothy, light brown head. Retention is pretty good given the ABV and no lacing is left.

4.5 S: Smells like a Belgian pumpkin pie taking sanctuary in a ginger bread house. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, pepper and gingerbread. Candi sugar. Underneath there is molasses, caramel, and candied plums. Booze pokes through, but overall this is quite nice. Spices work really well with the base.

3.5 T: The taste is good, but it's a bit more muddled than the nose. The spices join the caramel and in doing so lose their individual flavors a bit. However, the bigger problem is the sweetness. Huge plum and prune flavor, but sweet sweet sweet. Sugar plums (whatever they are) must be at work. Nice Belgian spiciness. Molasses. A bit of booze, but not too much.

3.5 M: Full body. Good moderate carbonation. I like the full body, but the large amounts of residual sugar cause the alpha amylase to ball up in my mouth. Otherwise fine.

3.5 D: This is a typical Bruery beer in that it's super sweet, seemingly underattenuated and somewhat muddled. However, this is one of the better versions of it. I don't look forward to attaining diabetes when the full 12 days vert gets consumed.

DavoleBomb, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of flannelman808
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown and showing just a little bit of a copper coloring around the edges through light. Retention is ok and not much lacing to speak of.

S: Gingerbread and dark fruit (plum) lead the way.

T: Very rich milk chocolate swirled with dark fruit takes center stage. Coco powder ginger bread spice finish is more of an afterthought. This is pretty underwhelming for mainly that reason.

M: chocolate mousse

O: underwhelming and overly sweet this beer is one pretty much one dimensional.

flannelman808, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Stone IRS tulip. Incredibly dark, looks like espresso. Very dark roasty brown with a light brown, thin head that rests on top. Lots of roast on the nose. Belgian yeast spiciness, not to mention actual spice. Cinnamon, anise, and nutmeg definitely. Has quite a nice subtle licorice hint. Sweet candied sugar. Tastewise, more of the same. Incredibly rich. Beyond full flavored. A touch of roast and more of that Belgian spicness. The licorice is more pronounced and the sweetness that permeated the nose comes through. More cinnamon. The mouthfeel is perfect. Maybe the creamiest beer I've ever had. The bubbles are tiny, no prickles. Fan-freaking-tastic beer.

WestValleyIPA, Nov 08, 2011
Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very dark brown/red pour. Nice fluffy chocolate milk colored head. Great lacing and retention.

S: Wow. One of the rare 5s. It smells like grandma's house at christmas. Gingerbread cookies. Lots of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and ginger. Like spiced bread too. Amazing. Sometimes I even swear I smell apple pie. The smell is pure black magic, there is no other explanation!

T: Similar to the nose but with tons of molasses and caramel. Lots of spices in here still making it almost borderline harsh. Super duper sweet. No real indication of alcohol despite the 11%.

M: Pretty syrupy, almost cloying from the sugar. Otherwise nice and full bodied.

O: Great christmas beer. Honestly the taste was almost a letdown after smelling it, but that speaks more to the amazing aroma than anything. I spent more time smelling this than drinking it. The taste would have been a 4 if it wasn't a bit too sweet.

Dope, Nov 07, 2011
4 Calling Birds from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 535 ratings.