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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 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.

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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 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 rlee1390
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear light amber with a two finger head.

S-Some dark fruits and raisins, some yeast as well. Slight, slight hops.

T-Similar to the nose, with sweet dark fruits as the main attraction. Mild bitterness in the finish.

M-Creamy, rather carbonated and medium bodied.

O-Another solid beer from Ithaca, an interesting choice for a winter seasonal but good nonetheless.

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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 philbe311
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Two plus fingers worth of delicate fluffy light khaki colored head with a bit of a rocky top... Average retention yields to a thick layer of slightly rich moderately creamy lacing... The color is a deep warming ruby red... A slight bit of rapid paced carbonation can be seen rising at the top of the glass...

S - Candy apples... Dark fruits... A touch of cinnamon... Toffee... A bit of smokiness... Some slight Belgian yeast notes...

T - The aromas translate on the palette but they seem to become quite muddled and confused... An odd mix of dark fruits, spice, smokey wood character and sugared gummy candies... Perhaps some tobacco notes as well...

M - Medium bodied... Dense... Biting carbonation... Turns a bit too swishy and foamy for my liking... Uneven and not very consistent...

D - A less than inspiring Belgian Dark Ale... Probably my least favorite Ithaca offering to date... Not terrible, but not anything I would either recommend or reach for in the future if provided the opportunity...

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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 muletrane
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (best by 12/12) into a Bruery tulip.

A: Pours a hazy plum colour with 2.5 fingers of dense, creamy light tan head. Good retention and lacing.

S: Lots of Belgian style yeast notes and dark fruits. Also a touch of tartness as well.

T: Similar to the nose with a touch of spiciness but doesn't quite reach the same level. The flavor is still nice and very drinkable. Finishes dry with some lingering yeast notes.

M: Moderately thin body with moderate carbonation.

Overall I think this a solid winter offering from Ithaca. Alot of nice Belgian characteristics in this beer. Not too spicy like some other winter offerings.

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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 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 horshack7
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Into a tulip is a deep, rich and dark mahogany with amber hues around the edges. Above all that is an tan head that is two fingers tall.

Aroma: Faint notes of figs, plum, solid amounts of banana bits of molasses. Toffee, and dark bread notes towards the back.

Taste: Banana, plums, ripe fruits, figs. A fairly smooth mouthfeel with a touch of stickiness and a little bit chewy. At the end is a wisp of black licorice.

Notes: Dam tasty all over. Cheers.

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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 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 DrinkSlurm
4.01/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Pony Bar, NYC. Poured into standard pint. Raison brown amber color. Strong belgian aroma...sweet and malty.
Belgian yeast dominates, with hints of toasty fruit and vanilla. Very nice winter style from Ithaca Beer Company...and overall a nice brew.

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Photo of hippityhops85
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the Blue Dog in Lansdale, PA. Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass.

Pours a murky brown with ruby highlights. Lots of beautiful lacing with this glass. Must be quite fresh.

The nose has a ton of lager-like aspects to it with a belgian character tying it all together. Really looking forward to it.

The taste follows suit. It was poured super cold so the initial tastes had a strong lager-like character but as the beer warmed the spicy, clove-like notes of the Belgian yeast became apparent. This beer transformed a lot as it warmed.

The mouthfeel was nice and crisp. It finished super dry which I was happy about. It did pick up a slight medicinal note towards the absolute end of the glass which was slightly off-putting but other than that, I was happily surprised.

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

A dark mahogany brown color with a solid light tannish colored head and lots of lacing. The aroma brings a chocolaty clove banana malt medley with a vague swampy seaweed element. Really unique and very nice. The flavor offers charcoal/smoked malt over clovey yeast, orange peel hop and burnt coffee. Very different and tasty. This stuff is medium bodied with a bit of a glassy smooth feel but a tingly carbonation. Not bad at all, recommended.

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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 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 brewsclues
3.49/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into Chimay tulip glass. Decent head that dissipates pretty quickly and not much lacing to speak of. This has a beautiful dark-reddish-brown, which looks almost amber in the direct light.

There are lots of competing flavors in this one: smells range from raisins/dates to caramel and winter spices, although there is strong fruit smell to it (bananas) and some sweet candy. This has pure Belgian-goodness written all over it. Really fun to parse out.

Taste - good, but a little disappointing after some wonderful olfactory notes. A little too bitter at the start, and very, very sweet on the tongue. Raisins dominate the tastes. There's definitely more than a hint of alcohol taste (not overwhelming), and plenty of malty molasses.

Aftertaste is not as pleasant as I would have liked. A little chalky and (as one reviewer, vfgccp, mentioned) a bit of a charcoal finish. Definitely takes away from an otherwise solid beer. But the "warm belly" factor certainly adds some points back.

A good, if unspectacular, and strong winter-warming beer. My wife and I used to love living 5 minutes from Ithaca Brew Co., although after a year removed from having Cold Front, I'm not as impressed as I once was. Still, a solid beer.

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Photo of amphion1065
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. pour into a tulip at Bukowski's in Inman. I knew nothing about this beer before ordering it, and my curiosity got the best of me. Reviewed from notes.

The body is a very dark amber, brown shade. A half-finger off white head last for quite a while. Really gorgeous lacing, with cascading sheets of soapy foam all over my glass.

The aroma is utterly beguiling. I got a ton of peanuts from this - it really reminded me of Short's Uber Goober. Amber malt, with a touch of sweetness and bread. Dark chocolate. Espresso grounds, with a coffee bitterness.

The taste is similarly confounding and unique. Again, just a boatload of peanuts at work here. The spice profile is very interesting. After about twenty minutes of drinking my glass, I determined that the most predominant spice in the mix is cardamom. Very floral.

The carbonation is on the low side, but it feels smooth and rich. I spent quite a while drinking this, although that's more a testament to the complexity of flavors than any particular flaw.

A very unique beer, and one I'm glad I had the chance to try. I couldn't see myself enjoying this with any regularity, but it is an interesting showing from a brewing that can really pump out some innovative beers.

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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 !

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Photo of silentjay
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a muddy brown that shows amber hues when held up to the light and a decent off-white head that quickly recedes, but leaves behind some good lacing

raisins, molasses. plenty of toasted, slightly roasty malts, but with the belgian fruit, spicy, phenolic character behind that.

tastes like a belgian dubbel turned down a few notches, but with some added roast. raisins, molasses, caramel, and toasty malts with a significant roast on the swallow and some spices on the finish.

a slightly watery body with a prickly carbonation and a syrupy and slightly boozy finish.

overall, this drinks pretty easy, but lacks a depth of character and with a phenolic boozy finish.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: deep ruby red/tan body, finger head, beautiful lacing

S: malt, mild citrus, nuts, caramel, ripe fig/dates

T: sweet ripe (dates/figs), malt, light bready/biscuity
smooth/semi-dry finish

M: medium body, smooth mouth

O: Very nice Winter offering.
Ithaca has delivered another fine brew.
I would get this again and recommend.


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Photo of jsanford
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Mad Elf Tulip Glass.

A - Pours a dark mahogany with a 2-inch creamy khaki-colored head that settles to a thick cap. Quite pretty, actually.
S - Dark and malty, with a good dose of caramel, dark candi sugar, port-soaked dates, bubblegum, and a spicy Belgian yeast.
T - More dark flavors of caramel and toffee, candi sugar, raisins, and dates with some bready malt and peppery yeast character. Yeast almost reminds me of a Saison, which is perfectly fine with me.
M - Medium bodied with fairly sharp carbonation and a moderately dry finish.
O - I really liked this one, it makes for a great Wintertime sipper!

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Photo of steve8robin
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a recent trade. 12oz bottle, best before January. Ah well, let's see...

A: A deep clear ruby with some burnt brown color blended in. Very nice color. A thick 1 inch tan head that fades slowly to a lace atop the brew. Very good.

S: A nice clean malty scent with some mild spiciness and vanilla blended in. A mild rye on the backend. Good.

T: Hmm, unique. A nice bready malt with some roasty malt blended in. A hint of burnt coffee in the middle and some nice spices on the back. Good.

M: Medium body with a nice carbonation. A nice spicy finish. Good.

O: All in all, this is a great solid beer. Way to go Ithica! Good if you like spiced winter brews.

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