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Cold Front - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
Cold FrontCold Front

Educational use only; do not reuse.

148 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 148
Hads: 347
Avg: 3.68
pDev: 15.22%
Wants: 8
Gots: 20 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 148 | Hads: 347
Photo of claspada
2.04/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Aromas are all Belgian; dark fruits, mostly prune, and a mild spice notes. Some light hops but this is mainly caramely/candy sugars, not bad but there's something missing.

The taste is hard to swallow, literally... Some malty dark fruits but the yeast flavor is extremely overpowering and the banana/cloviness is so prolific and one-dimensional it makes the mouthfell suffer as well. I do not think the "dark farmhouse" worked out as well as the brewer hoped, really hit or miss so far for me on the Ithaca collection.

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Photo of vfgccp
2.37/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

NOTE: best before date says April, drank in November. Poured into a pilsner glass.

A - Beautiful, deep mahogany brown. Tall head that creamed up nicely.

S - Light booze, mild spice.

T - Woody-charcoal, maybe some oak. Light resiny hop bitterness in the back of your palate. The flavors are pretty dead. The charcoal doesn't feel right.

M - The body feels too light. The flavors slip down my throat before I really had a chance to catch them, and all I was left with was a dry rolling charcoal.

D - Try it if you can find it fresh, Ithaca is a great brewery and it's my own fault for not waiting to find a non-expired bottle :( Definitely send this back if it's past the freshness date.

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Photo of msquared36
2.49/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 1.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Very dark brown with a copper tint, but not opaque. Ver little lacing.

Faint toasted malt scent.

Label says Belgian style amber, not sure why though. Coffee is the predominant taste with a slight sour aftertaste.

Very watery with almost no noticeable carbonation.

Reminds me more of a weak and watery stout than a Belgian.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
2.73/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12 ounce glass with a very generous 2 inch or so of head. The color is very dark almost like a dubbel. Yeasty, spices in the scent. Flavors of bread dominate, a few notes of fruity sweetness. But mostly yeast flavored. Alcohol is pretty apparent and warming. Not flavorful enough to reach for this one again.

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Photo of Kadonny
2.76/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: A murky brownish color with a hint of read. A large two finger off white head leaves nice glass lacing.

S: Bready and grainy with some musty funk and dark fruit. Some caramel sweetness comes through.

T: Yeasty funk up front with darker fruit flavors, grains, caramel malt, some sugar sweetness and a huge very offensive metallic flavor on finish. The finish is really turning me off.

M: A bit thin with alcohol flavor and that metallic taste.

D: Low, I could barely finish the bottle.

Overall not my favorite Ithaca beer by a longshot. I really did not enjoy this beer and will not reach for it again. Shame.

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Photo of blackened1339
2.8/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this beer in a make your own six pack @ Wegman's. I consumed straight out of the bottle. Perhaps I would have gotten a better sense of this beer if I had consumed it in a chalice or had more than one, but overall, it just struck me as being very weird. Like drinking Yoohoo from a swimming pool. There was a weird taste I couldn't describe, my boyfriend called it floral (which I can understand coming from Ithaca) but to me, it was awkward...like chlorine.

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Photo of SFLpunk
2.8/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to shrek806 for this extra! 12oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Best Before notched between the N and D.

Pours a calm dark dark amber brown with some very thin off-white head.

Aroma is fairly muted with some burnt caramel notes and a little wooliness. Toasty oak chips come to mind.

Palate is crisp but oddly astringent. Hop bitterness right off the bat, with some faint yeast-driven acidity that makes this a mouth-watering brew when agitated. Dark caramel and generic Belgian yeast notes. Something tastes burnt in here, like over-toasted oak chips or something.

Notes: Not impressed. I think it's needs some re-tooling in the yeast department.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.81/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a dark brown with garnet highlights. Head is beige, nice retention, and leaves light lacing.

S: Nose is interesting with Belgian yeast, herbal hop bitterness, spices, dark fruits, & caramel and bready malts. Nothing too over powering and slightly on the weak side.

T: An unusal combination of dark fruits, an odd oaky taste, toasted bready malts, spices, some earthy hop bitterness, and finishes with a farmhouse funk. The difference flavors don't mix well and seem to be competing with each other.

M: Medium body; light carbonation; creamy and smooth mouthfeel.

O: Overall, I don't think this is a terrible ale, I just think that there is too much going on. In my opinion, the Belgian style mixed with the amber ale style doesn't mix well here. I personally wouldn't drink it and even though I got a six pack, I'll probably give the rest of the pack away.

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Photo of atr2605
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours a deepamber/brown color with an off white head about one fingerswidth, not the best retention
S-raisins, caramel, smells a bit boozy for being only 7%
T-starts with a bit off the caramel flavor buts turns into a yeasty olive flavor. Not good
M-Medium Light
O-not a fan, nose was a bit off but still had some of the typical characteristics but the flavor was way off.

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Photo of cbutova
2.85/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Never seen this one, love that Ithaca is back in all of MA.

A- Poured into a pint glass with a cloudy dark red-brown body. Small creamy, light tan head forms to about one-finger but doesn't retain all that well. Creamy ring leaves some legs but no significant lace sticks around.

S- Not the strongest of aromas for a Belgian-style ale but I get a good amount of raisin, dark fruit, yeast spice and brown sugar.

T- Takes on a different feel from the aroma to me. It still starts out with raisin, tart dark fruit and yeast spice (clove). It takes on a weird roast malt flavor that almost has an ash-charcoal BBQ feel. I also get grapes, plum vinous notes, brown sugar and slight medicinal notes.

MF- Creamy moderately thick body with silky carbonation. Tart and bitter finish on the palate.

I dunno what in the flavor gives it this flavor but it has a slight resemblance to wood ash and I hate to say it cigarette smoke. Overall it's like raisin ash/charcoal. This might be the first time I have gotten this off flavor. This isn't strong enough to kill the beer but it brings it down a bit.

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Photo of utopiajane
2.89/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ithaca Cold Front poured a caramel color with almost no head and no lacing. I expected frothy and creamy and when I saw it I checked and saw the freshness date was close but not past. Look is cloudy with a a thin ring and spotty lacing. Nose is bready, malty, a bit of Belgian yeast and nutty. Taste was terrible. Like stale peanuts that came out of a tin can. Stale, flat, metallic. Had a little resin and hop bitterness but the flavors were dead. Alcohol was right up front on the palate. I rated it as high as I did because of the fact that in the 6 pack 1 or 2 of the bottles were just slightly better than this. It has potential.

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Photo of tigg924
3/5  rDev -18.5%
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.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle on 12/4/09

A - pours a dark chestnut almost black with a little bit of foam

S - malty, with hints of spices, brown sugar, nothing too overpowering

T - maltiness throughout the mouth, some spices, slight belgian pepperness, some brown sugar sweetness

M - nice peppery mouthfeel, good carbonation

D - not bad though i don't know if i'd seek out another

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.19/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A seductive mahogany with red highlights, this one is crystal clear with a big foamy head. The snifter glass becomes coated with a web of fine off-white lacing.

Im not sure this is too style, as the aroma is grainy and similar to a recently dowsed campfire. There is some horse blanket and peat bog, but band-aids and rubbing alcohol are far more evident.

Cold Front is acidic with light bitterness. There is pepper and black tea here, and a long finish.

The snifter glass is challenged by the lively carbonation of this medium body dry beer with no alcohol presence. It does leave a sticky residue on the lips.

This beer lacks any real distinction, and with some unpleasant attributes leave me disappointed, but with a strong stew, it would probably work.

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Photo of Sammy
3.2/5  rDev -13%
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.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown color with a smallish off white head that displays moderate retention and minimal lace. Smells of brown bread, dark sugars, licorice, and spicy Belgian yeast esters. Taste is sweet with brown sugar and caramel mixed with some dark dried fruits and anise. The yeasty phenols are strong with this one and for me a bit overpowering. I can tell if I'm picking up some spices in this or if its the earthiness of the hops deep in the background. Medium to thick body with a moderate level of carbonation and a thick sweet sugary mouthfeel. I tried but this one is just not for me.

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Photo of AwYeh
3.22/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a very dark amber, almost opaque, with a huge foamy head. Despite a cautious pour, I couldn't get the whole 12oz bottle into my 16oz snifter.

S: Smell is earthy, of spicy Belgian yeast and banana.

T: Taste is much more bitter than I expected; the earthiness of the smell is bolstered here with an additional bit of tartness on the finish. Oddly enough, I'm picking up very little sweetness, although there is a distinct roasted malt flavor prevalent upon warming.

M: Medium body, slightly creamy with lively carbonation.

D: Don't think I would have any more than one of these at a time; bitterness without much standing up to it hurts drinkability. If you would plan on having several, I recommend letting them all warm considerably before beginning.

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Photo of smcolw
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Impressive four-finger head that dissipates slowly leaving chunky bits of lace on the glass. The color is dark amber/light brown with a mild chill haze thrown in.

Strong yeast aroma--quite biting although not quite "Belgian". Earthy malt nose as well.

Slightly sour with biting bitterness that comes from nondescript hops. The alcohol is notable and warming. The yeast shows up on the tongue. Dark malts are present but not strong. Body is thin as is the carbonation level.

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3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass.

A: Garnet or russet colored with an above average size creamy tan head. Great retention. Spare lacing. The body has an 85% opacity and ruby edges line the glass.

S: Malt heavy, sweet smelling dark fruits, mainly raisin/prune, herbal hops, lightly spiced and pronounced Belgian yeast. The yeast is very distinct and recognizably Belgian. (Coincidentally, a quick check on the Ithaca website reveals: "fermented with a legendary Belgian 'Farmhouse' yeast."

T: Exactly what you would expect given the nose. Only weaker.

M: Dry finish. Seems to lack sweetness and is much too thin for my preference.

D: The Ithaca website calls this a Belgian-style Amber Ale and the BA website is calling it a Belgian Dark Ale. Whatever this beer is, it's certainly not a BSDA which is what the pub menu led me to believe, and possibly why the Cold Front received mostly average ratings. Or maybe it was on the merits of the beer alone... Nonetheless, this one needs some help...or heart...or tweaking or something.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
3.29/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Very dark brown, close to black, only amber at the edges when held up to light. Small white head, large bubbles, not foam.

S - Spicy, raisins, black licorice, light roast.

T - Peppery, spicy, like a Belgian should, some more of that black licorice, ends with some malt sweetness.

M - A bit thick when compared to Belgian beers, but perhaps that is the winter style coming through, low carbonation.

O - An interesting blend of the amber ale as a Belgian and a winter ale. Caught my curiosity, I usually enjoy Ithaca's offerings, but this one just didn't do it for me. Enjoyed the one, but I won't come back to it.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle

Appearance - Clear copper/brown colour with a large size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for longer than average.

Smell - Malts, caramel, yeast, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and some raisins. There is also some banana flavour mixed with cherries and yeast. Unfortunately the beer also has a but if a rusty/vinegar taste to it. It ends with a malty/yeasty aftertaste.

Overall - This seemed more like a home brew than something from Ithaca. I'll admit that it got better as it warmed up in my glass, but it still seemed to be a bit of a mess. It's not balanced and the taste is strange.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ithaca Cold Front
12 oz brown bottle
Best before December notched on the side label
Served in a Harpoon Leviathan glass

Pours a rustic brown with some hazy orange highlights on the bottom of the glass. A decent head forms on top, but turns to a thin lace.

Whiffs of a funky belgian yeast with some spices and interesting smells.

The mouthfeel is creamy with a sugary caramel malt backbone. Too sweet with brown sugar dominating the palate. Things get interesting and not particularly enjoyable on the finish. Belgian yeast flavors of black pepper, bubblegum and dehydrated banana chips.

The problem is the flavors are not balanced here, the beer is all out of whack. I can't see myself having more than one of these at a time.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.31/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Darkest of browns in color with an off-white foam that looks like mocha cream. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts, some bread notes.

Taste: Dark fruit, coupled with some mild chocolate. Faint coffee and roasted flavors. Hops have died down to a ghost bitterness that keeps the beer from being cloying. After some time in storage, this beer has had the malt take over with just a wee bit of alcohol being noticed.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. A bit thin. Carbonation is OK, though somewhat low.

Drinkability: Decent tasting, but alittle past it's prime. What's there is nice however, and if this is in your cellar it may be time to consume.

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Photo of movingtrain
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a Caracole glass.

So, the bottle reads, "Belgian-Style Amber Ale." But, BA says it's a Saison...which, if it is, I have never seen one this dark.

Pours a dark amber color with a good finger head on top.

Smells of those fine Belgian aromas--dark candy sugar, molasses, dried fruit, cereal, chocolaty malts, and cinnamon.

The taste is bitter on the tongue, but sweet on the finish. There is a slight metallic element here. The alcohol is fairly present, but decently balanced with the other flavors. I'm getting some raisin, almond, wheat bread crust, cinnamon spice, bitter apple, and hints of molasses.

Overall, this is a tasty beer...not one I would seek out at the store, but one that is worth a taste, for sure. Ithaca makes some fine brews, and this one is an excellent experiement for the Winter.

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Cold Front from Ithaca Beer Company
83 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.