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Cold Front - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
Cold FrontCold Front

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

337 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 337
Reviews: 148
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 15.19%
Wants: 9
Gots: 15 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: WesWes on 09-04-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 337 | Reviews: 148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of StoneTSR


3.65/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

12-29-2010 03:29:58 | More by StoneTSR
Photo of AwYeh


3.18/5  rDev -12.2%

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.

12-27-2010 10:05:36 | More by AwYeh
Photo of Jayli


3.93/5  rDev +8.6%

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.

12-20-2010 21:27:52 | More by Jayli
Photo of JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev +3%

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!

12-15-2010 00:52:09 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of TangTKE402

New York

3.65/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

12-15-2010 00:20:16 | More by TangTKE402
Photo of pmlondrigan

New York

3.93/5  rDev +8.6%

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.

12-10-2010 22:11:58 | More by pmlondrigan
Photo of mikeg67

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +8.6%

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.

12-07-2010 20:45:30 | More by mikeg67
Photo of anotherpg


4.25/5  rDev +17.4%

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.

12-07-2010 01:37:17 | More by anotherpg
Photo of LeibJ

New York

3.88/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

12-06-2010 20:58:11 | More by LeibJ
Photo of ColdPoncho


3.65/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

11-30-2010 23:21:07 | More by ColdPoncho
Photo of steelerguy

New York

3.68/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

11-21-2010 22:23:30 | More by steelerguy
Photo of vfgccp

New York

2.33/5  rDev -35.6%

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.

11-19-2010 02:39:05 | More by vfgccp
Photo of btorsdog


4.33/5  rDev +19.6%

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!!!!

11-14-2010 01:24:04 | More by btorsdog
Photo of dcx10music

New York

4/5  rDev +10.5%

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.

11-08-2010 17:21:44 | More by dcx10music
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

2/5  rDev -44.8%

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.

11-08-2010 16:56:31 | More by claspada
Photo of zdk9


3.83/5  rDev +5.8%

A- Pours out a dark deep walnut brown that's impenetrable to the light. A finger of pretty froth that leaves some pretty lacing.

S- Smells of dark dried fruit, wood, rum, unbaked dark wheat bread.

T- Taste is malty, dark wheat, light rum. Some roast- well toasted almonds perhaps.

M- Bitter and dry on the sides of my mouth. Sweet in the middle. Alcohol is pretty hot in the throat. Carbonation is higher than expected. A lot of stuff going on in the mouthfeel.

O- An interesting beer. Good flavors, complexity, interesting mouthfeel. I like it. Another good offering from IBC and continuing their foray into Belgian offerings.

11-07-2010 20:44:27 | More by zdk9
Photo of prdstmnky


3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

*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.

11-07-2010 04:13:45 | More by prdstmnky
Photo of jlindros


3.63/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

09-25-2010 18:40:54 | More by jlindros
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.33/5  rDev -8%

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.

08-24-2010 13:42:30 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of BB1313


3/5  rDev -17.1%

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.

07-18-2010 20:59:24 | More by BB1313
Photo of hossua34


4.35/5  rDev +20.2%

A - Thick, dark brown-black color. A large, fluffy head that lasts a long, long time. Quite a bit of lacing.

S - Very complex scent. Fruity bread dough, rye crust, molasses, spice and a zesty citrus overtone. Very strong and appealing.

T - Very Belgian taste. Molasses and gingerbread notes. Spicy and sweet at the same time. Banana-like fruitiness, with a tart finish.

M - Couldn't ask for much more.

D - A bit of a citric aftertaste, and I could stand the finish being a little less sour. However, overall this beer was way more than I had expected. Definitely will be buying this again.

07-03-2010 22:04:04 | More by hossua34
Photo of bourbonbock

New York

4.08/5  rDev +12.7%

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.

06-29-2010 02:36:46 | More by bourbonbock
Photo of BEERchitect


3.45/5  rDev -4.7%

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.

05-26-2010 05:53:33 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.55/5  rDev -1.9%

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.

05-12-2010 12:24:09 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of generallee

New York

3.98/5  rDev +9.9%

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.

05-04-2010 16:33:58 | More by generallee
Cold Front from Ithaca Beer Company
82 out of 100 based on 337 ratings.