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River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale - River Horse Brewing Co.

River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter AleRiver Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

275 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 275
Reviews: 168
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 14.08%

Brewed by:
River Horse Brewing Co. visit their website
New Jersey, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: dsa7783 on 03-22-2008)
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Ratings: 275 | Reviews: 168 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Morris Tap and Grill 11/22.

Pours a dark reddish brown, but with no foam. Little, if any nose, hard to draw out any discernable scent. Slight cherry malt taste. Fruity. Little belgian yeast taste. Hard to judge this one, not noteworthy in any direction. Probably need to get another one.,

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2013 13:05:43 | More by KTCamm
Photo of ranger60

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had it on tap at Southside Grille in South Bound Brook, NJ.

Appearance - very interesting, very red, hazy. no head at all

Smell - has a typical Belgian ale smell, but seems a little sweet.

Taste: very good...picking up all the fruits and spices you'd expect of a Belgian dark ale.

Mouthfeel: wouldn't mind a bit more carbonation

Overall: bartender at Southside Grille recommended it, after a did a 5 beer tasting and did not include it. I love Belgian dark ales...this one is not bad, but is lacking some punch overall.

Serving type: on-tap

01-25-2013 19:01:19 | More by ranger60
Photo of BeerKangaroo


4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Huntley Taverne, Summitt New Jersey:

A: dark cloudy brown colored body with no carbonation seen rising and no head.

S: sweet caramel up front with some light raisins and plums in the background.

T: basically the same adding a bit of cherries in it.

M: medium and had a decent amount of carbonation to it. No alcohol was felt which helped to make this fairly drinkable.

O: I would say this was a pretty good Belgian Dark. I would have this again.

Serving type: on-tap

11-25-2012 02:27:40 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of MattyK

3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- dark, cloudy, unfiltered Belgium dark ale.

S- sweet Carmel/brown sugars, raisins, plums, tad bit of some cherries.

T- definitely sweet sugars right off the bat. Can definitely identify its Belgium base, but not overwhelming, tasting a lot of dark fruits such as plum, raisins, and cherries. Very proportionate in all flavors.

M-moderately carbonated, being an 8%'r the alcohol hides very well within the initial taste. Seconds after consumed the slight burn from the alcohol comes into play on the tongue.

O-overall I think this is a great Belgium ale to kick off the winter season. Excellent flavor of the fruits for an 8% beer, but at the same time has that unique Belgium characteristic to it.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2012 00:29:22 | More by MattyK
Photo of jjchristiano

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Went to a RiverHorse meet the brewer event and this was one of the taps. Served from a small 12 oz tulip glass. I really enjoyed the beer and found it very true to its Belgian Dark Ale style definition. A great beer to sip by the fireplace. Not a beer for guzzling at a tailgate.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2011 12:11:25 | More by jjchristiano
Photo of david18

New York

4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at Sputen Duyvel last night and enjoyed it very much. Poured into a wine glass, like everything at that bar, it had a great dark color and and excellent flavor that had both the aroma and essence of belgian wheat with the complexity of dark malts that was both belgian and classic winter.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2010 23:10:22 | More by david18
Photo of thequeen711


3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This deep amber brew has caramel malt infusion. Light hoppy and considerably lower sweetness compared to most Belgian Ales. Light lacing from the tap, nose of malt makes this brew an enjoyable treat for the winter months. We were right at the brewery for this tasting, so this is fresh as fresh can be!

Serving type: on-tap

08-12-2008 00:39:35 | More by thequeen711
Photo of Brianmerrilyn

New York

4.05/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into mini heffe glass at 08 Long Island Crawt Brew festival. As per brewer on site, 8%ABV with a dark caramel accented color. Smell has a bouquet of aroma bursting forward. The Taste was a subtle sweetness and a light Mouthfeel finish that was very pleasing to the pallet. A very easy beer to drink with the high ABV not discernable. Good job!
Jan2010 tasting @the Bronx Ale House
A: Poured into a Ommegang Hennepin glass at the Bronx Ale House to reveal a two finger plus head. Condensed cascading lace to a fingertip rim. Slight speckles on the glass. Color was iced-tea brown with ruby red tints towards the bottom.

S: Immediate malt profile comes through with perhaps crystal malts. Dash of candied fruit perhaps.

T: Follows the nose but has quick transition to spicy burn in the aftertaste.

M: Medium to light with good retention.

D: A very good winter beer with more of a sweet profile rather than a spice bomb.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2008 15:52:49 | More by Brianmerrilyn
Photo of Foxman

New Jersey

3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It came to me a rich, rby red, just short of brown, with a light tan head, maybe a finger's worth, that laced the glass nicely as it drained.

The first wave of the aroma carried malt, baked and sweet, with a tinge of hop floweriness fleeting in and then out in the background.

The first sip delivered the roasted malt sweetness the aroma anticipated, complete with a caramel swirl, and maybe some dark fruit earthiness. A doughy yeast note lurked, then gave way to a rather vague, light hop bitterness. The flavor in this beer developed and waned quite quickly, leaving little as a memory of itself, betraying a somewhat sparse character.

It is medium bodied, but thinner than expected, and it never really coats enough to leave anything behind as a legacy.

It's a big beer that fails to deliver on its bigness. Sure, the ABV is high, but that leads you to expect more than what you get, which is a rather fleeting, almost confused matrix of components that break down into a weakening mash before you can get your tongue around what's going on. I wanted to like this beer, but one is my max at any time, and then only if it's top dog in the DBF, something that's not likely to happen on any given evening.

Serving type: on-tap

04-21-2005 14:05:11 | More by Foxman
Photo of pezoids


3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the tap, this beer poured out a very dark and clear copper color with some dark cherry red highlights. Topped off by a small but frothy off white head of foam. The nose is light and fruity, with oranges and cherries detectable. Vaguely spicy and nutty. The body is pretty light but has a noticeable malt sweetness with a dry finish and has a lingering hop bite. Flavorful, drinkable and pretty decent overall.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2003 11:48:59 | More by pezoids
Photo of Act25

New Jersey

3.71/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is my favorite River Horse so far. It's an authentic Belgian Dark Ale.
After 3 tries, this beer is getting better. Which is saying alot. A must try.

A: Energetic brown body, hazed, with thick retentive head and lots of lacing. Looks as it should, as a 2nd or 3rd tier belgian dark ale.
S: Aromas of flower store, candy store, bananas and Belgian yeast. More fruit than flowers.

T: Taste follows smell, and is sweet to bitter arc, with sweet winning, but not cloying. Bit too sweet and fruity, but complex and good. Lots of yeast, not as much spice or mystery as the real deal. Makes me want a salty cheese or pretzel.
M: Plenty of body with moderate amount of carbonation. A bit of weight and stickiness, a little bit too sweet in finish. Ding for being a bit mouth coating in finish.
O:"almost as flavorful as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale" but not as complex or counter balanced by bitter, pepper, spice.

I'd drink this again, and I'd include in a Belgian taste off.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 01:59:57 | More by Act25
Photo of Johnny_Muir

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass. Dark for a Belgian ale (at least in my limited experience), reddish orange rust lava, or lipton tea. Cloudy as all get out, with a nice yellowish head. A delicious beer from my home state. First NJ microbrew I've ever had in fact. 8.0% abv is awesome too!

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2014 23:11:00 | More by Johnny_Muir
Photo of ChrisNYCLIDC

New Jersey

4.14/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Really enjoyed this beer more than I thought I would. Usually not a fan of winter seasonals but this one was rich in flavor, dark, but not too dark and could definitely taste fruit, caramels and other warm flavors. Not a bad aftertaste I get with these wintery beers, not too sweet either. Quite enjoyable from a small brewery near me that I've really grown to like.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 02:55:22 | More by ChrisNYCLIDC
Photo of Chessmaster


3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear amber with a finger width of white head that dissipates to a thin cap

S - Typical Belgian beer smell -- dark fruit, caramelized sugar. Little to no hop aroma.

T - Similar to smell - an acceptable Belgian beer flavor -- dark fruit with lingering toasty caramel notes

M - Average carbonation, medium to slightly watery mouthfeel.

O - A solid interpretation of the Belgian dubbel style, though definitely not as good as the real thing.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 20:09:51 | More by Chessmaster
Photo of mvanaskie13


3.83/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass, color is brown, tan edges, head is light tan, nice presentation at about 1/2 inch thick, dissipates to ring and bubbles.

Smell is pretty neutral for a dark ale of this size, mild caramel notes, hints of toffee and raisin, yeast phenols are barely noticeable.

Taste is a step up from the nose, very noticeable caramel malts, toffee, touch chocolate, approaching raisin and plum notes; yeast off products are pleasant and not overdone. Sweetness is appropriate and so hard to believe this clocks at 8%.

Mouthfeel is slightly drying, a little expected since the strength is at this level, otherwise flavors linger well on the tongue and checks, carbonation is moderate.

Overall, a very nice belgian dark ale from river horse, taste is great, notes are not as strong in the nose.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 00:06:12 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of mikeg67

New Jersey

2.96/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle from Trader Joes. Pours dark amber with a tall, foamy, off-white head. Aroma is of bready malt, alcohol, brown sugar and dark fruit. Body is full and smooth. Taste is of bready malt, caramel, drying alcohol, earthy hops, brown sugar and cooked vegetables. Finish is long and dry. I will skip this brew next time.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 14:34:21 | More by mikeg67
Photo of LCB_Hostage


3.76/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I found this to be a pleasant surprise. I got it in a mixed pack and it's been sitting for a while. No best by date on the bottle, and from what I can tell, no harm done by the passage of time.

This poured a deep, rich reddish orange with a substantial, quick-fading head. The aroma was bready with the expected coriandar and mace in the background, and with no discernable hoppiness.

Flavor-wise, however there was enough hop character to balance the malt and make this a very satisfying, well-balanced beer. I found this to be far more crisp and refreshing than I'd expected from a winter ale, with plenty of carbonation. If it weren't marked on the bottle, I never would have guessed this was rocking an ABV of 8% -- it wasn't at all boozy. All-in-all this reminded me more of a saison than a winter ale, so perhaps I should be grading it down for that. But given that I like saisons, I'm giving the boys at River Horse a pass.

I'm not that knowledgeable about Belgians in general, so take my opinion for what it's worth, but I found this to be a very enjoyable brew that I would consider sessionable, if not for the high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2013 17:21:17 | More by LCB_Hostage
Photo of chefhatt


3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a glass, it has a reddish brown color body with a thin tan head. The smell has a dark fruit and sweet aroma. The taste has a rasain, dark fruit flavor. It also a has a belgian yeasty flavor. The mouth feel is very nice not heavy with medium body. Overall a pretty good belgium

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2013 01:44:54 | More by chefhatt
Photo of cbutova


3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- 12oz bottle poured into a regular-sized tulip. Dark red-brown body with a definite haze to it. One finger light brown head forms and has lackluster retention. A ring and cloud with big bubbles remains and leaves just a few webs of lace.

S- Belgian yeast with a large amount of dark fruit, which is slightly medicinal, up front. Hints of clove, banana, spice, alcohol and apples; likely also from the yeast. Not much beyond that besides some slight toasted malt sweets.

T- Yeast forward again, something I would expect from this style. Light fruits like white grapes and apples come through more here but there is still some dark fruit, not medicinal though. Belgian yeast spice, pepper, zesty citrus peel, banana, clove and some alcohol hints too. Brown sugar, toast and caramel come from the malt and probably sugar additions.

MF- Dried out body but one that does not feel thin. Slightly creamy with moderate carbonation. Light spicy bitterness in the finish.

Really not bad for an American Belgian style ale. I find that fruit notes from the yeast like apple and raisin really drive the beer but don't overwhelm. ABV doesn't bother me but it is not the most well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2013 03:21:53 | More by cbutova
Photo of Ryanm1


4.33/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown into a glass with about a finger of white lacing.

Tingley mouthfeel.

Very powerful smell of cherrys and similiar fruit esters along with a smell of alcohol present as is such in other high abv beers that use belgian yeast.

As for tastes its got the sweetness I expect in my belgians. Kind of tastes like a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Slightly bitter aftertaste.

Great beer if you like winter belgians.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 02:15:58 | More by Ryanm1
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

3.03/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

River Horse's Belgian Freeze pours an opaque burnt copper, with just over a finger of bone colored foam. There's a little bit of head retention, and not much lacing at all. There's a lot going on in the aroma, with caramel, bready, fig, berry, and clove aromas all easily appreciable. The first two are just a little too prominent for my taste though. The flavor profile is the same story. Yes there are some fruity esters and some clove like phenols, and I even enjoy how they're balanced relative to each other (with the former shining more than the latter). The problem is how prevalent the malt character is. There's more caramel and toasty bread than anything else. The body is headed in the right direction (dry), but it's not quite light enough. Similarly, there's some life to the carbonation, but I find myself looking for even more. Still, the mouthfeel is very close to being great. Belgian Freeze is a pleasant enough brew, but it just doesn't blow me away as a Belgian Dark Ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2012 04:46:43 | More by axeman9182
Photo of metter98

New York

3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is relatively clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense light beige head that has very good retention properties and hardly died down.
S: There are aromas of candi sugar, bananas and Belgian yeast in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a little sweetness along with notes of toffee and hints of Belgian yeast.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. No stickiness is present.
O: I found this beer to be easy to drink and rather enjoyable because it was almost as flavorful as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale while having a lighter body.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 03:40:58 | More by metter98
Photo of Chas58

New Jersey

3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler filled at Joe Canal's Iselin into my Weyerbacher Tulip Glass

Appearance: pours a very cloudy orangeish brown with a very active head that is tight but dissipates fairly quickly. A very nice lacing remains. 

Smell: a malty yeasty, almost bready aroma, very understated and pleasant. I expected more, whether alcohol or spicing. 

Taste: a malty very pleasant but not overally memorable. I continue to search for more, but find just the balanced malty yeasty ale

Mouthfeel: tight light carbonation with a typically Belgian yeasty film

Overall: there is nothing to dislike about this beer, it is well crafted, well balanced and very reminiscent of a Belgian Dark ale, but it also does not challenge the style. I would drink this again, without a problem, but it is not unique. 

Serving type: growler

12-09-2012 00:42:01 | More by Chas58
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a deep amber/brown in color with a finger of head.
smells of raisins, dates, fig, apples, banana... a cross between a quad and winter warmer.
tastes of brown sugar, raisins, a slight cocoa flavor, apples, cinnamon, banana.
medium/full body, low carbonation, creamy on the lips..

a sweet and tasty treat. a great seasonal with awesome artwork. it's like drinking an oatmeal raisin cookie.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 18:28:55 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of SpdKilz


3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another thanks to Dan (DSlim71) for this extra. Cheers buddy!

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a semi-opaque brown color. About a half finger of tan head appears that dissipates quickly leaving decent lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – Dark fruits such as plums, dates, and raisins. Malty sweetness, brown sugar, spices such as clove, and some honey.

Taste – While the aroma did not lend itself to the “Belgian” style…the flavor sure does. Lots of Belgian yeast, cloves, banana, candied molasses, dark fruits such as those aforementioned, and just a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, decent carbonation.

Overall – To be frank, not as bad as I feel some people make it out. While not “good” per-say…not horrible. As the beer warms some tart cherry notes come through which are pleasant. In addition, the Belgian yeast is not that noticeable (good thing for me) so that bumps it up a point or two. A decent beer to finish the night with before getting up early to fly to Miami for a wedding. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2012 03:50:38 | More by SpdKilz
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River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale from River Horse Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 275 ratings.