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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 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 metter98
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy brownish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that died down rather quickly, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are lots of earthy aromas of yeast in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of earthy yeast and lots of malts (but without any associated sweetness) and hints of dark fruits. Peppery spices are evident in the finish. No bitterness is noticeable.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation. There is a bit of dryness in the finish.
O: The beer hides any traces of alcohol very well but would be a lot more drinkable if it had some malty sweetness.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is one of those beers i got wasted and sick drinking too many of years ago and have unfairly sworn off ever since. i revisited it yesterday and have to say, ive really been misssing out. this is an exceptional beer, totally different from the countless generic winter beers out there now. the pours is dark dark brown, but not thick or heavy looking, light still passes through, and there is a smallish off white head around for just a few seconds before it flattens out. the nose is really odd, smokey but not quite at that rauch level. there is also belgian yeast and candy sugar present, making this more of a dubbel than an amber in my book, but its more than that. there is that life and limb birch syrup smell and taste as well, which doesnt come across as very sweet here, but it adds a lot of depth to the aroma and flavor. its woody in taste, oaky, kind of drinks like and old ale, but this is certainly a curious mishmash of styles. complex malt profile on the medium to heavy roast side, but tempered by a very vibrant belgian yeast strain. the alcohol content is just right for these cold dark months, and the light carbonation combined with the fuller body make this is nice winter beer that sticks to your guts in all the right ways. one of ithacas best seasonals.

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Photo of brentk56
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a rather modest head for a Belgian style beer; a reasonable number of dots linger on the tulip's side

Smell: Caramel, powdered sugar, banana and spice cake elements

Taste: Opens malt-forward, with the caramel, but an odd assortment of spices build through the middle; there is some banana and spice cake but also a cherry medicinal aspect that lingers well through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I would characterize this as Belgian-influenced rather than Belgian-style and, while I rather enjoyed the beer, I was not fond of the medicinal taste; the mouthfeel was very American and not at all in the Belgian manner

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A spicy and sweet Belgian Ale that has sugary and grain undertones.

The beer begins with a heavy looking pour into the glass. A dense tan head forms up the glass and evenly disipates to none at all. Solid brown with burgundy highlights, showing moderate haze.

Cotton candy confection aromas rise first and provide the spring board for stone fruit notes and spicy phenolics. Toast and alcohol notes are evident.

Very sweet taste from beginning to end. Sugar coated plumbs, figs, dates, grapes, raisons, cherries, and apples make a dramatic and flavorful first impression. The beer never turns but as the sweetness subsides, there's a real lack of pilner malt breadiness in support, allowing the beer to finish with a soda pop sugary taste. The alcohols and spices weave together for a varying display of flavors. Still, the lack of malt allows the grain flavors and light acidity to rise in the finish.

Bold and creamy at first, but as the carbonation falls, the body becomes increasingly heavy, weighted and mildly syrupy. Grain textures come into play as the sweetness fades into alcohol and spice. A bit bitey in the end could be of spices or hops.

Cold Front has some pleasantries early on, but the beer becomes messy once the lack of malt flavor and body becomes evident. It's kinda like having all the best Christmas ornaments, but the tree is in shambles.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Rust orange with so much carbonation that a massive crown of soft and fluffy foam was a foregone conclusion. Actually, there aren't *that* many visible bubbles, so things may be all right in the end. Some lace manages to stick.

Even though IBC describes this brew as a Belgian-style amber ale, it smells like a Belgian dark ale. Some percentage of roasted malt (in addition to wheat and Munich) will do that. The nose is fruity and spicy and slightly phenolic and... enjoyable.

Cold Front does taste Belgian, so props for that. Trouble is, it doesn't come together as well as it could (partly as a result of the mouthfeel) and will probably miss out on a good score as a result. Let's see what the middle four ounces have to say for themselves.

Specifics include dark fruits, pumpernickel toast, black pepper and clove. There's a little too much Band-Aid phenolic character for this to be a keeper. Besides, the beer is too thin and too harshly bubbled to seep into the taste buds like it needs to in order to impress.

While the passage of time helps the mouthfeel to some extent, it never does rise above average; especially when compared to a real Belgian brew. Drinking it fresher might have helped, but then any 7.2% ale that can't last for two seasons beyond the release doesn't deserve high marks.

Ithaca Beer Company has given us some amazing ales (Ten and Old Habit come to mind). Cold Front didn't leave me chilly, but I never did really warm up to it either. Thanks to jwc215 for the bottle.

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

I was expecting a much lighter beer, being called an "amber" ale, but it is Belgian and I guess made for winter-ish time. It forms a creamy and fizzy 1 finger head that fades at a medium pace, over very dark chocolate brown colored beer.

The nose has some Belgian dark ale aromas, some dark candi sugar, a little brown sugar and molasses, some fruit too, little raisin, some dark malts, Belgian dark malts, crystal malt, a touch of booze, and a faint chocolate malt aroma.

The taste comes more with porter like flavors. Some roasted malt, a hint of chocolate again, some toasty malts, dark Belgian malts still, touch of toffee. More sugar as well, a little candi sugar, touch of molasses, and caramel malts. Some fruit too, little raisin and other dried dark fruits. SOme sweetness with a touch of warming booze. I also get a little coffee, the fresh coffee flavor with a little acidity and juicy coffee taste. It finishes with a little roasted malt minerality, and a little bitterness coming out on the finish too. A touch of a sticky feel at the end, and some lingering candi sugar, and toffee.

The mouth is medium body with some syrupy feel and decent carbonation. Long syrupy sticky finish too.

The drinkability is a little lower, but OK for the style at least. It has quite a bit of sweetness and syrupy tastes, and sticky finish, and drinks a little warm for only 7.2%. It's a definite winter or late fall cold day to sip, perhaps by a fire, or while cuddling with a loved one.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 12/30/09 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, wheat, dark fruit and dark malts.

T: The taste is sweet with flavors of dark fruit and some spices. Then some wheat and Belgian yeast breadiness that come in next. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The hops presence is mild very mild but still brings a good balance. The after-taste is bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style while adding some variation, this is a very nice Belgian beer that is worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks nice. Smells nice. A decent stab at the style. Won't go down as the greatest Belgian amber ever, but it's still coming off respectable. Could stand a bit more tweaking and smoothing around the edges, but it definitely works. Especially considering the style and how often it's mediocre at best.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

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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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Photo of jwc215
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by January notched on label.

Pours almost black with a thin, tan head that lasts awhile before becoming a swirling patch. Little lacing sticks.

The smell is of cotton candy, banana, caramel/toffee, anise and slight roast.

The taste is of sweet cotton candy (though sweetness is lost), bananas, slight roast and anise. Some alcohol shows. It has an earthy/herbal, almost metallic bitter touch in the finish.

The carbonation is towards effervescent. It has a light side of medium body. There's a slight astringency/coarse feeling to it.

Not too sweet or spicy. A bit of a rough edge to it. Interesting, and a decent attempt at a "Belgian-style" brew from a brewery that doesn't specialize in Belgian-style brews. But it was a sipper, and satisfied enough to just have one 12 oz. bottle of it. A bit of bready funk well into aftertaste, but the immediate aftertaste (dirty coins?) I wasn't too fond of.

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Photo of WesWes
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a complex array of crystal and roasted malts along with a funky saison yeast aroma. The taste is decent. It has a pretty good malt bill that's a bit sweet with caramael malts. The yeast provides a good deal of esters. It's funky, but not as much as would be the case with just pale malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a nice idea. I like the taste, but I'm not in love with the beer as a whole. I'm not sure I like the choice of yeast with this one. Anyway, keep brewing up the good shit, Chief!

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Photo of Gavage
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: hazy dark brown in color with a 1" fluffy head. It falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: yeast and spices are very pleasant.

Taste: malt sweetness, big yeast flavors, brown sugar, clove, and a general spiciness wraps itself around the beer. There is also a big earthy profile with this.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp to start, less so at the finish. Very long aftertaste as the flavors stick to your tongue for a while.

Drinkability: decent cold weather beer based on the flavor profile. More of a slow sipping beer for me, and more than two or three would be pushing it in a session.

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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

12oz bottle poured into a plain old pint glass before supper. No best by date, but i'll assume it's fresh.

Chestnut brown with ruby red highlights towards some light, Cold front is indeed a dark ale that is a dark amber as well. A sustaining off/white caramel colored foam stood to an inch before settling to a frothy cap leaving blotchy spots.

CF's nose is bold and bursting with varying scents although it's a bit muddled. There is alot of spices and a big yeasty scent giving slight barnyard/saison type scents. Some earthy hops in here, nothing citrusy though. Malts in the back reminding me this has a amber base.

Beginning middle and end with the yeast upfront and noted. Barnyard and a light musk with heavy handed bread, you can just taste it. Under that a small wheat underneath some barley. Toasted malts give off the amber ale in the end. The Belgian comes out in the yeast, but perhaps too much. The spices are big, but I can't place them. Sadly, i don't get any fruit at all from this.

A healthy medium build with enough carb to cut through the liquid to hit the tounge although lightly. There is a big aftertaste of spice that STAYS. This was good for a gander but I think that ull do. This was a good one to sip on from time to time, big gulps would of drowned out the palete real quick with spice and yeast which docks drinkability a bit.

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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 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 plaid75
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Mr. Beery, Bethpage, NY.

Poured a deep amber hue with a half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a bold ester, candy sugar and an earthy hop.

The taste consisted of an upfront spicy ester, followed by a light sweetness and finishing a bit bitter.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty dark ale.

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Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Explodes out of bottle with a 5+ finger khaki head that fades quickly to a thin layer, leaving some lace. Hazy amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Belgian yeast nose and flavor is caramel and Belgian yeast, hops are subdued. $2.35 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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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 beertunes
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another thanks to orcasteve. Poured into balloon goblet. Poured a slightly translucent mahogany color. This beer is called an Amber by the brewery, but it's very dark. It had just under an inch of medium tan head that had moderate retention and just a little lacing.

The aroma was sweet and fruity, with just a bit of spiced yeast scent. The flavors followed along loyally, there was nothing on the tongue I didn't pick up on the nose.

The body was good, solid but not heavy, lingering but not sticky or clingy. Drinkability was good, I could easily drink a growler of this without getting bored.

Overall, a very good beer that doesn't really match the style the brewers chose for it. Worth trying if you see it.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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