Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Cold Front - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
Cold FrontCold Front

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

148 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 148
Hads: 347
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 7.55%
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 148 | Hads: 347
Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Brigid's, Philly, PA

Pretty decent. Had on tap in December, so I figured it was a winter warmer, and it wasn't, but it was vaguely similar.

Poured a slightly hazy mahogany brown with a small head that dissipated quickly. Caramel malts in the nose with some essence of dark fruits. The taste was mostly caramel malts up front, light sugar, and some dark fruits and spices in there, but not very distinctive. Medium body and a bit of film left in the mouth. Decent and moderately drinkable. (512 characters)

Photo of animalchin
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
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. (695 characters)

Photo of kflack
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to dogfishandi for this bonus in a trade!!

A: Pours a deep amber color with a one finger frothy head.

S: Mmmmm....smells like fall. Has a crisp malty scent, mild fruit and just a bit of biscuts.

T: This beer reminds me of one of the Magic Hat seasonals, but I can't remember which one (guess I should've reviewed it). A strong hop bite, but not fruity. A wonderful malty backbone, nice and sticky.

M: Low carbonation, which is expected for the style. A nice balance, not too chewy, not too sticky, but not too thin either.

O: A great beer that I am thankfull to have since its not available in my area. Would be a staple in my fall fridge if it was available! (671 characters)

Photo of danmcg62
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
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. (801 characters)

Photo of SickGnar
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (1,691 characters)

Photo of cooch69
4.23/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown. Nice two finger creamy head which keeps well.

Cloves, figs and wintergreen in the aroma.

Taste - Tobacco leaf, alcohol warmth, cloves, some dark malts.

Overall pretty dry and fluffy in the mouth.

This beer was my favorite Ithaca so far. It is easy to drink and pretty damn tasty. (307 characters)

Photo of SFLpunk
2.8/5  rDev -24.5%
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. (654 characters)

Photo of Neecee513
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass

A: Light reddish brown, moderate head and retention

S: Sweet caramel w/ slight spicy aroma

T: Malty/toasty w/ spicy hop bitterness

M: High carbonation, dry finish, medium body

D: Smooth, well balanced, and extremely enjoyable!! (255 characters)

Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy, dark brown with almost no head from a 12 oz bottle with freshness date on the label but no ABV.
Aroma is typical of a belgian; hints of spice, nutmeg and green cardamom, with sweet fruity esters/banana and yeast.
Taste upfront is of cherries, dried fruits (raisins), some licorice and alcohol sweetness, typical of a dubbel. Very good lacing along the insides of the glass.
Mouthfeel falls short of what I was expecting of a dubbel. Nowhere near as silky and creamy as I would have liked. By saying that, I am taking nothing away from this ale, which in its own right is still a solid and delicious brew.
Drinkability is good mainly because the ABV is masked well.
Another solid ale from Ithaca Beer Company and should be tried by anyone who enjoys dubbel's. Definitely recommended. (800 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
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. (1,106 characters)

Photo of TheHoppiest
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle served at Mavis Winkles in Independence, OH into a pint glass. Pours a copper/amber color with a thin, creme-colored head.

Has a sweet smell, with grapes, cherries, and other dark fruit. Smoky malt and yeast are also present.

This beer has a sweet start, with fruit juice, some toffee, and malt, ending with a raspberry tart finish, with a hint of lemon.

Thin to medium bodied, although the mouthfeel improved as it warmed.

Drinkable enough, though I'd probably want to let it sit longer than my typical 5-10 minute wait time if I order this out again. (584 characters)

Photo of StoneTSR
3.66/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Deep, dark brown with a hazy opaqueness which would come through more clearly if this beer weren't so dark. A fantastic, inch-thick head with very big, homogeneous bubbles. It did dissipate quickly, but an eighth of an inch remained strong long after the rest had faded. The only area it lacked in was lacing.

SMELL: Strong smoky aroma with hints of malt and just a wisp of coffee and chocolate.

TASTE: Smoky, oak, malt flavors with hints of spice, coriander and raisins. While the Cold Front tastes malty it is, somehow, not too sweet. A nice balance.

MOUTHFEEL: A bit syrupy, but with a light sparkle. Smooth and easy drinking.

OVERALL: I initially tried this beer at the brewery in Ithaca and remember being quite delighted in the taste after the bartender described it for us. Typically a Belgian-style amber would be too sweet and not hoppy enough for me. While the hops weren't there, it wasn't sweet at all and actually was quite delightful. A shame this was only brewed once. (999 characters)

Photo of AwYeh
3.22/5  rDev -13.2%
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. (765 characters)

Photo of Jayli
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Track 84 12/18
Served in a pint glass

A: This beer pours a mahogany brown with a 1/4 inch of offwhite head. Head disappears immediately, and leaves no lacing to speak of.

S: Nose is dark fruit - raisin, date, caramel and corriander.

T: Taste starts with a good deal of malt in the forefront. Caramel and toffee notes fill the mouth. Raisin and corriander fill the middle. Finish has a bot of oak and hop bite to it.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, crisp at first with an oily finish.

D: Goes down easily, pretty tasty, not too filling, nice kick, and nice representation of style. (605 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Totowa for the holidays since it was the only winter seasonal that they had that I hadn't tried yet. This wasn't a bad beer and only seemed to be "strong" in name as neither the taste or amount of alcohol in this was terribly heavy.

This had an opaque brown hue to it and only a little bit of head and lacing to it as I poured it out. The mouthfeel was a bit thin and contained the typical clove and dark fruit (plum, fig) notes to it that one would expect in a beer like this. Just a hint of caramel stickiness in the back before the sour aftertaste kicks in - this is Belgian in taste but the flavors need something like wheat to give them more body and durability.

Sure enough, this was strong enough to warm me up and I could easily have had another in a sitting if it was cold out as it's been here lately. This isn't bitter and the little amount of yeast is just enough to perk this beer up and make it a nice, mellow choice for dark early winter nights! (981 characters)

Photo of TangTKE402
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured deep reddish brown from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. A 1-finger ecru head showed, then dissappeared into a whispy ring around the glass. Not much lacing.

Smell is of coriander, bananas, malts, and fruit.

Taste is spicy, banana-bread, coriander, allspice, alcohol. Not too shabby, but I've had better.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin and syrupy, with some bright carbonation at the front.

Drinkability gets a hit due to the powerful flavors that can overwhelm over a session. (483 characters)

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice initial pour with one finger of head, medium sized carb bubbles hangs around awhile but eventually fades to a thin film. Color is between a ruddy brown and deep buckwheat honey amber. Aroma is full of banana and clove and dominated by the belgian yeast. The first thing I notice is the flavors of the yeast, again banana and clove. There is a dark bready quality to the body and a nice bite from some hops right at the end. M&D I expect a little more luxuriation in bda, but then again I don't believe this is bottle conditioned at that probably has something to do with that. All in all though this is a nice beer and I like it alot. (639 characters)

Photo of mikeg67
3.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from a variety pack. Pours dark brown with a tanned, foamy, long lasting head. Aroma of Belgium yeast, bread, some dark fruit and hints of spicy hops. Medium, tangy and somewhat sweet body. Flavor of caramel malt, spicy hops and yeast. Long, dry, spicy finish. Very interesting brew. (296 characters)

Photo of anotherpg
4.29/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Came out with nearly half head when poured into a high glass. This amber ale smelled fantastic -- very memorable. The taste is a sweet Belgian dark style -- chewy is the best way to describe it. It's a craft brew for sure: this would scare your average beer drinker away. I'm more of Belgian purist and this is an interpretation of the style more than anything else. Worthy if you can get it. (392 characters)

Photo of LeibJ
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice seasonal beer, the coor was excellent an almost perfect shade of amber (somewhere between red and orange). The color was somewhat cloudy. There was a taste of cinnamon that I did not expect. The smell was just to die for, it was very floral. All in all a beer I would drink again and again this time of year, because it certainly make me feel warmer. (362 characters)

Photo of ColdPoncho
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark, hazy walnut brown with red highlights around the edges. The head is big and fluffy but goes away quickly

S - Plums, cherries, hint of alcohol. Some toffee and rawhide notes as well

T - A nice full fruity body with hints of roasted malts and chocolate. It's got somewhat of a dry finish, that's just a bit unsettling.

M - I think it's a bit too carbonated, but it has a nice fullness to it.

D - It's got a warming quality to it, which is nice, but it's also surprisingly heavy, so it's not really great. (516 characters)

Photo of steelerguy
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (561 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
2.37/5  rDev -36.1%
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. (691 characters)

Photo of btorsdog
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
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!!!! (442 characters)

Photo of dcx10music
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A slightly hazy, bronze steeped tea kind of color. Minimal head that goes away almost instantly.

S - Pretty mild and underwhelming. The maltiness is slightly apparent, but it's neither palpable nor enticing enough.

T - A better version of the smell. The rich maltiness is cut through by a sour bite that warms me up immediately. Very nice.

M - Not bad, but really wish that it was a little richer. This kind of flavor deserves to be a little more viscous.

D - Very easy and smooth going down, and not as filling as one would think. I would gladly reach for another one or three.

Notes - A good way to bring in the fall. It's not perfect, but it warms you up nicely while not filling you up in the process. (714 characters)

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