Cold Front - Ithaca Beer Company

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Cold FrontCold Front

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347 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 347
Reviews: 148
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 15.47%
Wants: 8
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Dark Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WesWes on 09-04-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 347 | Reviews: 148
Reviews by btorsdog:
Photo of btorsdog
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep Dark Brown with beautiful white head and lacing. Faint nose of hops with a mild belgian yeast thing going on. Tastes somewhat strong but with some nice fruity stuff happening to bring it full circle,very nice! Medium mouth but good carbonation ,a lot going on here! Great change of pace brew and the name spells it out perfectly,this is the second year I'll be enjoying this one through the winter. Glad to have come acrooss this one!!!!

More User Reviews:
Photo of steelerguy
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Caramel color, nice light tan head, and moderate carbonation. The head dissipated pretty quickly with some lacing left on the sides.

S - Some light and sweet toffee and chocolate aromas. Some penols also come though that give it a little tang on the nose.

T - Like the smell, a lot of malt up front with a bit of a toffee sweetness. The spice/phenols become prevalent. Then it ends with a bit of hop bitterness.

M - Light crisp feel, quite refreshing feel.

D - This is a good beer, which was enjoyed, but the spiciness becomes a bit tiring after awhile.

Photo of generallee
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured into a tulip glass from a growler which was filled at Consumers Beverage.

Appearance: The body has a dark brownish color with reddish highlights. The pour produced only a small tan head which quickly fades to wispy thin covering. Lacing is minimal and very slick, sliding right down the sides of the glass.

Smell: Its aroma is pleasantly sweet, fruity, estery and yeasty.

Taste/Palate: The flavor starts with sweet malty, bready and earthy yeasts notes for the base. As it warms some mild dark fruity notes come out along with a hint of spice and hops. It finishes with a sort of sweet and funky fruity yeast thing going on. The texture has a firm smooth feel with mild carbonation.

Notes: Overall not a real stand out but it can hold its own and it is very drinkable.

Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, with best before dating notched onto the side of the label. (the month is nice, but dont you really need a year as well, I never understand why this is so hard for brewers to understand...) Pours quite dark, porter like in fact. Darker tan head, frothy and long lasting, then a tiny bubble film and a full collar. The nose I'm picking up is of some chalky chocolate, vanilla and some mild ripe fruit. More light chocolate on the tongue, very ripe bananas, dusty, drying hops, perhaps a hint of the barnyard or funk that others have noted. Decent fall/cool weather quaffer. Quite dry in the finish.

Photo of tigg924
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: minimal head and carbonation, cloudy, chestnut brown in color

Smell:toasted malt, plums, hops, alcohol, and bread

Taste: bread, apple, raisins, and roasted malt

Mouthfeel: semi-sweet, modearte carbonation, medium bodied

Drinkability: An average saison that I want another of, but am in no rush to get. Not a bad effort.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle. pours a big fluffy off white to biege colored head. a little bit of lacing and some pretty good retention. appearence is quite dark almost black. reveals a slight ruby mahgony color in the light. hazy, but not a whole lot of sediment.

smell is quite yeasty, bubblegum, flouride,some ripe dark fruits, sweet malts.

the yeast come in big on the taste as well. flouride, solvent, bubblegum flavors. sweet malts, ripe ripe fruits. some very nice chocolate roasted undertones in there. ripe dark fruity finish.

medium body, dry finish. a little chalky and astringent from the ripe fruity yeasty flavor.

i wouldnt want more than one of these, although its very nice to drink. its definately worth a try, not a bad example of the style from a brewery i wouldnt really expect to know much about belgians. however definately nothing like an authentic belgian. i couldnt see myself ever buying this, but if i was offered, i couldnt refuse.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber mahogany brown hue with a large fine bubbled tan khaki head, forms fine scattered lacing. Aromatics offer up sharp fruity tart/sweet layers intertwined. A bit of floral/grassiness and malts/honey combined to form a very pleasant nose. Cherry earthiness with juicy raisin a bit of tart apple as well, call it a Belgian amber/dubbel it fits the mold. Maybe it's the yeast but this is complex as all hell, maybe a bit too sweet for my tastes but the spicy yeast/tart apples/juicy raisin sweetness with some earthy/herbal faint hops combines to create pure bliss. A really nice seasonal offering more beautiful beer coming out of Ithaca I love these guys. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, bottle says best by February I say forever. Seven percent not really hoppy, a bunch of Belgian yeast packing it's magic this will lay down for awhile. Carbonation is effervescent excellent use of Belgian yeast, really seems like a quality American brewed version. Drinkability I will be back, classic example of why Ithaca beers are a go to option, pure quality expressed with every beer I've had from them.

Photo of dacrza1
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Situation: Sunday after Christmas--what a good celebration...
Glassware: Rare Vos slanted pint...
Appearance: tremendously erupting thick brown head that serves a quarter of the glass... velvet black when held to the Christmas tree--a dark take on the saison indeed...
Aroma: the spices and cloves pleasantly frame the hops; a full-bodied flavor is foretold in the aroma...
Palate: vivacious, active medium-bodied ale; warming but not hot; alcohol strengthens as an undergirding form...
Taste: light fruitiness dances above mellow maltiness and softened floral hops--yet this beer also has a fortified strength that makes ir a good winter match...
Overall: a strange blend of a brew--heady and heavy at times, creamy and gulpable at others; fits the winter sampler, and if available around ehre, I might even seek it out on its own merits...

Photo of prdstmnky
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*review from notes on 9/28/10*

Fairly aggressive pour yields a medium brown ale, with some amber tints to it, a healthy 2+ fingers of tan head, and light lacing. Lots of Belgian yeast and dark fruits, and a bit of spiciness in the nose. The taste seems to follow right along with the smell, dark fruits (prunes, raisins, purple plums), a nice yeastiness (if thats even a word), also some sweetness (caramel / toffee) and spice - a nice flavor profile. I get alot of carbonation in the mouth, and its dry. I didn't have huge expectations going into this tasting, and it pretty much lived up to that - an overall decent Belgian ale.

Photo of asabreed
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. How is this a Saison? Or is it a brown Saison ala SN?

Appearance: A darker and mildly hazy amber with cola-colored lacing that seems to die a bit faster than it should, especially for a Belgian.

Smell: A lot of spice and fruit esters and citrus coming in, with some dark cherries, pungent apple skin, and a lot of earthiness with some mild funk. Balanced but could be more complex. Still fairly nice.

Taste: Spicy, yeasty, distinctly Belgian, with a good amount of citrus hop bitterness and some good dark fruit esters and prominent apple skin. A mild, mild bit of earthy funk too. But the finish is just gone before you know it, which takes it down a notch for me.

Mouthfeel: Gets to be a bit chalky with the swirl and pour near the end, but before that it's medium bodied with good all-around coating carbonation and doesn't seem cloying.

Drinkability: A solid brew from Ithaca -- I just want to know what the hell it is. As a Belgian, it's a great sipper over the course of an evening. As a Saison, well, I'm not sure. Worth a try, and I'd try it again.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to Lumdog millionaire for sending me this bottle among many many other Ithaca treasures. You da man Paul!

Appearance, im not sure what to make of it. It's certainly not normal for the style listed, but this looks and smells like a BSDA, so im gonna review it as such for now. Pours dark and slightly murky with amber highlights and a stark white head that retains pretty well and leaves ok lacing down the glass.

Nose is of alot of belgian malt and smells pretty significantly of star anise. A little saison like yeast peeks its head out.

Yep. Pretty good stuff here. Belgian malt although not terribly sweet, does start us out. There is definitely some star anise in this beer, and it compliments it quite nicely. The finish is fairly dry, and im not sure what kind of yeast was used, but it really seems like it has a BSPA or saisonish yeast profile. An interesting amalgam of belgian classics.

Mouthfeel is pretty solid. Not too thick, right where it should be viscosity wise. Carbonation is right where you'd want it.

Drinkability is very solid for what i would peg to be an 8.5ish abv. Could easily put away a few of these.

Overall a very nice belgian style concoction. I like the mixture of belgian traits that come into play. A nice drinkable and flavorful beer. I like how packed with flavor it is while maintaining sessionable drinkability. Another winner from Ithaca, who continue to impress.

Photo of Sammy
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Boring Belgian, had at Clark's Ale House in Syracuse. Very yeasty, medicinal. Dark colour. Mouthfeel above average, but still unsatisfying. Not too sweet other than the yeast, not getting much spices, though licorice and chocolate malt.Coca-cola like.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an Ithaca snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a 1.5 finger fine, light tan head that recedes as quickly as I can measure it into a thin wisp floating atop the brew. Beer is a unique near opaque dark purple-brown. Lacing sits where the head used to be with a waterfall effect to the level of the beer. Pretty beer.

S: Big pleasing Belgian yeastiness upfront with a mix of various ripe dark fruits and cocoa nibs.

T: Again, Belgian yeastiness is present upfront with an ample mix of over-ripe prunes. This blends neatly into an aggressive cocoa flavor that makes this beer a bit too abrasive and powdery. Hurts my throat when I swallow. Finish is a ripe fruit sourness mixed with a slight bitterness from the cocoa. Finish is oily, thick, and smoky, but thankfully, dissipates quickly.

M: Medium bodied, highly carbonated, and extremely coarse. I feel like I'm drinking undissolved cocoa powder at times and its hard to keep down. Watery in the mouth with a finish that just keeps getting thicker. This one is saliva inducing.

D: I won't be having this again. As it warms, this beer becomes more and more aggressive and harder and harder to keep down. Belgian side is nice and complex and I appreciate that. However, the cocoa side has me fighting to finish this one. I won't be revisiting this one again.

Photo of dirtylou
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, hilliards can-pint

I didn't realize what style this was when I poured it, or I may have considered an alternate serving vessel. Regardless, this was a nice little winter seasonal - big belgian yeast profile, brwon sugar, banana, fruity esters, quite sweet. Not a game-changer, but quite drinkable and a nice change of pace for me on this given day

Photo of Gmann
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with a tight off-white colored head that dissipated into a solid ring. The aroma is sweet, some banana and clove, not much else. Though one dimensional, I enjoy the aroma so the rating is higher. The taste is similar with the banana and clove; perhaps some barnhouse and brown sugar. Despite the dark color I do not pick up any roasted flavors, no malt sweetness but no roasty/toasty either. The flavor profile is interesting; nice clove and banana, a bit of barnhouse leads to a Belgian style but not far off from a German weisse style. I like the brew just cannot figure out what it is or resembles. The feel is light to moderate with soft carbonation; finishes sweet and spicy. I enjoyed this brew though I cannot figure out what it is. All I know is I like the flavor.

Photo of morimech
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first beer from Ithaca Beer Co. Thanks to jwc215. Poured into my Duvel tulip. Pours dark brown and appears black in the glass. A large tan head forms and lasts a long time. Rich aroma of sugar, dark fruit, and yeast. Smells sweet. I am not so impressed with the flavor. The yeast dominates the flavor with a dry breadiness. All the fruity flavors are lost. Just a hint of spice in the finish. The yeast hurts the body as well. Has a chalky, clingy feel. Otherwise it is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. It would not take much to make this beer a lot better. Maybe I got a bottle that the yeast went crazy.

Photo of animalchin
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Semi-clear maroon body with a brownish tint alongside a thick smooth to rocky head at the initial pour. Appears a more brownish, burnt orange toward the light. A little reserved in aroma, but picking up some dry malt alongside dark fruit and spice. Very aggressive taste - plum, dark cherry with very reserved action concerning the hops, with a little more malt upfront.
Has a certain thickness in feel, accentuated further with the active carbonation.

Definitely a fine Belgian ale worth trying, and it's made in one of my favorite towns of all time. They have a great interpretation on the style - not too complex, but also keeps your senses quite active. Would love to try this baby on tap.

Photo of Minotaur
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark brown beer with some amber highlights form the tap at Blue Tusk into a pint glass; the head is about one finger's worth and hangs around for most of the beer. Upon drinking through the glass some frosty lacing remains.

There is a definite dark and roasted malt, spice, yeast, candi-sugar/molasses element.

The taste is reminiscent of the aroma but it is not overly sweet. It is actually more pleasantly bitter, toasty, rich and bready tasting (like its Belgian origin) than would initially be expected. This lends a heartiness vs. a "desert" flavor. The spices are mellow like mulled wine rather than fruit-cake like. The use of the wheat malt leaves a very chewy flavor and mouthfeel.

This beer is quite drinkable with a moderate alcohol and little of that taste coming through. Cold Front was the "surprise" winner at our Blue Tusk outing. It is a well thought-ought, crafted, and balanced winter ale.

Photo of puboflyons
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on November 13, 2011. It pours a handsome looking dark amber with a nice, silky, tan head that lingers. The aroma is emboldened with blended European malts, yeast, and a freshly baked bread element. The body falls well into the medium range but it is kind of carbonated. The taste begins powerfully with candied sugar and sweet Belgian malts at the start followed by a slightly unexpected sharp hopped bitterness at the tail end. It really catches the feel of a good Belgian influenced dark ale but it seemed just a little off the mark. But it would not stop me from buying it again.

Photo of hippityhops85
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the Blue Dog in Lansdale, PA. Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass.

Pours a murky brown with ruby highlights. Lots of beautiful lacing with this glass. Must be quite fresh.

The nose has a ton of lager-like aspects to it with a belgian character tying it all together. Really looking forward to it.

The taste follows suit. It was poured super cold so the initial tastes had a strong lager-like character but as the beer warmed the spicy, clove-like notes of the Belgian yeast became apparent. This beer transformed a lot as it warmed.

The mouthfeel was nice and crisp. It finished super dry which I was happy about. It did pick up a slight medicinal note towards the absolute end of the glass which was slightly off-putting but other than that, I was happily surprised.

Photo of philbe311
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Two plus fingers worth of delicate fluffy light khaki colored head with a bit of a rocky top... Average retention yields to a thick layer of slightly rich moderately creamy lacing... The color is a deep warming ruby red... A slight bit of rapid paced carbonation can be seen rising at the top of the glass...

S - Candy apples... Dark fruits... A touch of cinnamon... Toffee... A bit of smokiness... Some slight Belgian yeast notes...

T - The aromas translate on the palette but they seem to become quite muddled and confused... An odd mix of dark fruits, spice, smokey wood character and sugared gummy candies... Perhaps some tobacco notes as well...

M - Medium bodied... Dense... Biting carbonation... Turns a bit too swishy and foamy for my liking... Uneven and not very consistent...

D - A less than inspiring Belgian Dark Ale... Probably my least favorite Ithaca offering to date... Not terrible, but not anything I would either recommend or reach for in the future if provided the opportunity...

Photo of SickGnar
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark & tawny reddish amber - almost a warm brown. Slightly hazy with plentiful bubbles rising to join the good-size, fluffy, light tan head. Foam turns sort of rocky then fades to a cap and leaves some nice lacing - especially at first.

S: Belgian nose in a yeasty and fruity way. Fruit is estery grape skins, dark dried fruits, and a light zesty twang. Yeast is a bit peppery (a sort of saison character), but also blends well with a bread crusty malt aspect. Picking up some darker, roasty malts too. Not much in the way of hops. Intriguing and inviting.

T: A bit of candy sweetness accents the toasty bread crust malts. Faint caramel with some darker stuff lending a nice toffee edge. Dark fruit (raisins & prunes) seem malt derived and blend in with the estery grape skins and soft almost citrus yeasty twang. Yeast also lends a bit to the bready aspect is more peppery up front. There is also a super faint clove note. Hops make an appearance at the end and come across as spicey and herbal. The aftertaste is almost abrupt - even crisp - and then some earthy bitterness lingers on with a slight, slight funk. Just a tad more robust would get the next rating.

M: Slightly under average attenuation with a bit over average CO2. Almost full, yet lively. Some residual sugars to chew on. Finish trends semi-sweet, and is balanced by a peppery twang. Just a touch warming.

D: Not as funky or out-there as some Belgian style interpretations. It does hit the right notes and is reasonable complex, but just lacks a little in the umph department. I do like how the yeast gives a bright, zesty, sort of counter-seasonal (almost summery) twang. Great as fall or even spring seasonal.

Photo of bourbonbock
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a six pack of this at the Ithaca Beer Company. Although they were out of this on tap I generally like Belgian Ales so I picked this up.

A. Great looking beer! This pours a deep amber with glints of caramel. The head is extremely frothy and verrrry slow to dissipate.

S. Roasted barley and yeasty overtones. The smell is somewhat subdued compared to the flavor. Or I may just be drinking this one a little too cold.

T. Spicy roasted malts with a very good yeast profile. This beer has a very malty profile with only a little hint of hops in there to balance it back a little bit. The aftertaste is getting to me a little bit in the back of the throat.

M. Very heavy and almost excessive carbonation. I think this beer would be much more balanced if IBC were to tone back the carbonation slightly.

D. I drank this one back quick. It was good but it'll catch up to you quick. Definitely not a session ale.

Overall a very good beer. The presentation is great each sip has left a ring around the glass.

Photo of danmcg62
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a nice cherry red-reddish brown color. Head is about a thumb width. Head holds up nicely.

S-A real nice smell to the beer, very pleasing to the senses. Huge floral notes up front. I don't know if "amber" refers to a colder time of year, but I smell a season. Almost like a late fall/early winter combo (p.s. I know amber refers to color ;)) A tad fruity as well (can't place the fruit smell).

T-Almost a grape/apple cocktail. I like this very much. Hops are present at the top of the mouth.

M-Super smooth and a bit chewy. I like the way the beer feels in my mouth.

D-Insanely drinkable for a belgian style ale. Smooth drinking.

I've enjoyed this beer for a few months now. I'm glad I've gotten around to finally reviewing it. Ithaca is slowly becoming one of a my new favorite breweries.

Photo of scottg
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to beertruth.
12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark brown color with a thick one finger off white head leaving light lacing that slides back to the beer. Floral and yeasty aromas- banana, clove, and spices. Strong spice flavors- corriander and clove with pale malt and some lemon. Medium body and carbonation with an extra dry finish. Different from other saisons I've tried, not as clean but good none the less.

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Cold Front from Ithaca Beer Company
82 out of 100 based on 347 ratings.