Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States | website

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 CaptDavyJones
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
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 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.

 1,341 characters

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

A saison? Label states it is a Belgian-Style Amber ale. Anyway, a 12 oz. bottle purchased at Abe's in Bethlehem for around $1.75. Poured into my nonic pint glass. The ale appears the color of dark cloudy iced tea with about an inch of creamy off light tan foam. A nice looking pour. Lots of yeast, bananas, cherries, apples, slightly sour flavor, cloves. A sour, bitter, sweet, spicy drink from start to finish. Medium to full bodied for the style and amply carbonated. A lot going on here for the money.

 504 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours brownish orange with an off-white head. A ring of retention all thru the pin. No lace.

Smells spicy, yeasty, a little toasted wheat, a little sour funk.

A Belgian-style brew for sure, we have some toasted malt, some candied notes, a little yeasty funk, moderate bitterness, and a mild bitter and slightly bready-sour note at the end. I like the grain in this one, and the finish is nice.

Medium bodied - barely. A little light.

Overall, this cannot compete with Belgian brews - uh, from Belgium -- but this is a very decent domestic version of the style. I wanted a bit more of the toasty note, but that is my only complaint. To find this quality in a 6 is a nice opportunity of all of us. Decent brew.

 712 characters

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Off tap at the brewery this beer was a dark garnet/copper color with two fingers of khaki-colored head. The aroma was spicy with hints of fruit, wild yeast and sandalwood. The flavors were odd! A combination of earthy malt first then followed by a sourness in the middle coupled with the tart notes of Bret-like yeast. Hints of roasted malt appeared as it warmed up along with more esters and caramel malt. The mouthfeel, body and carbonation were all average. A Belgian dark ale? I wasn't exactly sold.

 503 characters

Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Russian River stemmed Belgian glass.

A - Pours a quite dark brown color with ruby highlights when held up to the light. A finger of cream colored foam sits on top for a brief duration and then falls to a thin surface layer and a bit of lace left on the glass.

S - Very fruity up front (black cherries?) with a distinctive spicy, clovey and Belgian yeast character mixed in. Just a hint of alcohol finds its way to the nose too.

T - Still thinking black cherries after the first sip. Lots of Belgian yeast character, cloves are prominant in the flavor. Some sharp/crisp hop bitterness blends nicely. Overall, I'm fairly impressed by this one.

M - Medium bodied with fairly high carbonation level. Sits on the tongue for a moment before sliding to the swallow. A cooling clove/spice sensation on every sip fills the mouth.

D - Very nice example of an American Belgian ale. Lots of Belgian character, pretty authentic overall. There are definitely better ones out there, but this does a pretty good job at the style. Probably won't get to revisit this one, but glad I got a chance to give it a try.

 1,126 characters

Photo of schoolboy
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Woo hoo! This is today's sleeper. I thought I had remembered good things about Ithaca beers. It was a good memory and this is adds to that.

First off, I am heading back to that store and buying MORE. It was a super deal - $6.99 for 6. I don't think that's right. This tastes like something that should be more expensive.

Very authentic tasting. Rich and Belgian tasting. Dark and kind of woody. This is how it should be. At $6.99, I'm getting as much as they have!

 467 characters

Photo of Jayli
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
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 TheBrewo
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into our tasting snifters, this deep reddish mahogany colored beer throws up an impressive four finger head of creamy tan bubbles. Retention is phenomenal, and the lacing is as thick as the head. Carbonation appears average, and there are bits of yeasty sediment floating about the thick haze. The nose is rich with a deep caramel malt base, and strong fruity notes of pear, red apple, and raw plantains. The malts show a brown sugar sweetness, and even a bit of a smoky quality. Metallic yeast is also abundantly clear, completing the Belgian picture. Our first impression is that this is a nice, sweet, smooth, and boozy beer, with a contrasting bittering finish. As we sip, caramel malts, brown sugar, strawberries, and a lemon freshness combine for a robust start. The grain deepens with a bit of a roasty and steely quality. The yeast adds metal and bite, becoming most noted at the peak of the swallow, at which point a good deal of the sweetness is lost to souring and bittering grain. These last two notes pull us deep to the finish, where the grain becomes even more souring and puckering, with a hint of acetylaldehyde tartness. The grain is muddy, with mineral and chalk, and that metallic yeast from the nose. Booze comes in at this point, offering that classic peppery rumble. There is the faintest balance of sweetness from dark cherry and ripened strawberries. The aftertaste breathes more with that souring grain, yeast, clovey phenols, and sweetness of toffee and caramel malts. The body is medium and the carbonation is big. Each sip gives fantastic audible froth, slurp, cream, and smack. The mouth is initially coated, but eventually dries with a souring astringency. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the crazy look, the nose, and the creaminess to each slurp. The nose gave a rich and appropriate preview of what was to come in the nose, while the flavoring subsequently delivered on all accounts. The end actually became a bit muddled, and the sourness of grain took away from the initial balanced and sweetness of the brew. Additionally, the feel was beautiful at the outset, but the huge carbonation became overwhelming at times. This is a great beer, but some aspects could use some refinement.

 2,297 characters

Photo of aerozeppl
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black. Black saisons seem to be one of the in beers this year. Has a half finger of bone colored head with a touch more brown thrown in. Spotty lacing.

S: Belgian yeast is up front. A little bit of roasted malt and a medicinal smell in the back. Little bit musty as well.

T: Taste is weird. It tastes like a saison but with a little bit of roast thrown in. End on a sweet note.

M: LIght bodied and well carbonated.

D: A good beer but not something I would want to drink all the time. A great winter beer though.

 518 characters

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip. Poursan almost opague color but when held up to the light it is a deep ruby color. Off white color heading little heading around the edges.

Smell of clove is immediate as soon as I popped the cap. A sweet candy sugar aroma in the middle with subtle spicey finish.

Taste is awkward. Roasted malt but is immediatley put aside by the belgian background. Clove , zestiness , a bit of a yeastiness to it as well. The subtle spiciness in the nose is apparent the taste in the end.

Mouth I'd say is medium to full bodied. Decent carbonation. A linger of spices and clove is left on the palate.

A unique beer that I did not expect whatsoever. Darker heavier malts with a belgian background. One of my new favorites from Ithaca.

 744 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 949 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
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 goblue3509
3.39/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a slight one finger head which leaves no lace presence. The aroma is of candied yeast a bubblegum like aroma with a nice dark fruit aroma after. The taste has a caramel malt backbone there is then a big candied yeast flavor, again it is a bubblegum like flavor. There is also a dark fruit in the back end. The mouthfeel is light and thin. Overall it was a solid brew, it is not best in class but it is a good beer. Not as complex as some.

 468 characters

Photo of generallee
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

 800 characters

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.

 760 characters

Photo of vande
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BA lists as a Belgian Dark Ale, yet the label clearly states Belgian Amber Ale...one and the same?

A ~ a foxy dark brownish-orange in color with a thin layer of head that lacks much body... yet the beer itself is quite active, as the bubbles continue to rush to the stop at a speedy rate...

S ~ somewhat muted notes of malt, maybe hints of citrus, and darker fruits...

T ~ again, somewhat muted, but sweeter than i'd have guessed.. bits of malt, dark fruit, slight sugar...hard to tell though...

M ~ fair body with a somewhat smooth, creamy texture...

O !

 560 characters

Photo of BB1313
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best Before March 2010. 12 oz bottle poured into standard pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, almost black.. reminds me of Coke/Pepsi. Very nice fluffy head and nice lacing. The smell is wonderful, filled w/ cherries and candied sugars. The taste is more bitter than I anticipated. Along w/ the cherries and fruits, there is a strong chocolate/toffee presense. The mouthfeel is nice for the style, very carbonated. Drinkability is ok, one worked for me.

Perhaps this would be more enjoyable when it's cool out versus this heat we're dealing w/ now. Nonetheless, this is a pretty unique brew.

 593 characters

Photo of yesyouam
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ithaca Cold Front... Amber Ale? This beer is brownish black with a smooth, dense, light brown head that has excellent retention and lacing. Dark fruit and clove are prominent in the spicy aroma. It's medium bodied, foamy and lively with a chalky finish. It has a bold, phenolic flavor that's nicely balanced with a touch of sweet, sour and bitter. It gets chocolaty and dusty at the finish. There are lots of cloves and prunes throughout. This is nice. What's with the interwebz calling this a Saison? To me, this is more along the lines of Trois Pistoles.

 556 characters

Photo of mikeg67
3.91/5  rDev +6.3%
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 number1bum
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, sort of like a cola color, with about two inches of quickly rising tan head. Head settles slowly and keeps a decent lace, along with a few splashes of stick on the sides.

Smell has some dark caramel sugar, sweet, freshly baked bread, some yeasty character and a bit of spice. It's pleasant, but not terribly strong or very complex.

Taste also starts with some dark caramelized malt, bread dough and subtly musty yeast, and finishes somewhat spicy with a hint of bitterness. A bit of anise flavor too. It's a bit more complex than the nose was, and it's quite smooth and flavorful.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty crisp, with a very clean finish. It dries out in the finish as well.

This reminds me quite a bit of Sierra Nevada's brown saison. I quite enjoyed it and considering the very reasonable pricetag I'd definitely pick it up again. Worth picking up for sure.

 896 characters

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.

 634 characters

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.

 731 characters

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

 383 characters

Photo of BeerResearcher
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown bottle. Best before date etched on label (but no mention of what year)
Served in in Westy goblet.
It pours a dark leathery brown color with a firm 2" foamy head along with some patchy and trailing lace.
The smell of doughy malt rises and falls at first pour. Earthy and woody smells edge forward, as does the clovey yeast and resinous hops. A little spice and hint of citrus pulls though. A very slight rum perfume is way in the background.
The flavors match the smells fairly closely. A bit sweeter in taste than in the nose. Close your eyes and you are drinking a Belgian Brown Ale.
I'm a bit surprised at the ABV. I would have guessed 6%...tops.

 661 characters

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