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

Not Rated.
River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter AleRiver Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

175 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 175
Hads: 345
Avg: 3.56
pDev: 19.94%
Wants: 6
Gots: 42 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: dsa7783 on 03-22-2008

Our warming winter Ale is amber in color, malty and full bodied. Belgian yeast provides a variety of delicate characteristics in the nose and on the palate.
View: Beers (30) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 175 | Hads: 345
Photo of dacrza1
3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

DATE TASTED: April 10, 2015... GLASSWARE: Affligem chalice... OCCASION: enduring what hopefully is the last cold night of the spring... APPEARANCE: flourishing, fizzing, off-white head settles from a cloud-like fluff to a consistent thickness; opaque amber body that allows little light through... AROMA: earthy enough with grass and herbs to suggest Summit hops, with a sightly spicy aspect; the backbone of each breathe is the caramel malt--loses its impact after a few swirls... PALATE: somewhat active feeling on the tongue; bubbly mouthfeel slips to a dry, lingering finish; thick overall... TASTE: an underwhelming nondescript mix of lightly sweet and bitter--surprising for a strong ale... OVERALL: a straight-forward, alcohol-masking winter warmer that drinks well and right; a beer that accomplishes its goal...

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Photo of wattoclone
3.34/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium-dark brown with a moderate head. Pleasant aromatic aroma with burnt sugar and vanilla notes. A pleasantly sweet malty taste with an abrupt slightly bitter finish with grapefruit notes. Certainly a well crafted Belgian dark , but the ABV borders on a Strong Dark. Although not necessarily a bad thing, a Belgian Strong Dark would have considerably more flavor to reward the consumption. American craft breweries like to push the envelope of every style, and this is no exception. If the alcohol content were lower, in the realm of a Belgian Dark Ale it would be exceptional. As a Belgian Strong Dark it is middle of the road.

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Photo of epyon396
3.37/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

4.5 oz pour into a snifter at Paganini's in Doylestown, PA.

The look is the high point. A nice amber color with a little bit of cloudiness.
Smells like a typical Belgian, but without the charm. Spicy and some raisin notes, with unfortunately a very faint tinge of peroxide.
Taste was not good. The peroxide was back. My girlfriend said it well "there's almost a medical aftertaste". We jokingly said it was like being waterboarded with a hospital gown and a cheap quad.

River Horse has yet to impress me.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.21/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pours dark and deep auburn, nearly dark amber to brown. thin head as well.

smells sweet, some banana to it. definitely a Belgian style, the candy yeast is present.

taste is sweet, candy yeast is obvious. slight smoky taste to it as well. some bitterness to it as well. goes down smooth, not overpowering but still easy to drink.

overall this isn't bad. nothing special but still good. good for cold weather, which is exactly why i'm drinking it tonite!

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Photo of Antc2382
1.82/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

A let down.. Ive now had plenty of River Horse brews. I am starting to see that they are hit or miss. This was a miss for me.. Pours a
Muddy brown, looks like dirt water. Nose is nothing of note. Taste- eww metallic. I had this on tap so maybe it's off, but not good at all...

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Photo of medicinewheel
3.96/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a brownish-amber color in appearance, poured into goblet, thin head, lacing did not last. Nice offering for the winter. Alcohol present not too strong however. Very nice mouth feel and carbonation. Aroma- some candy and fruit, maybe licorice, relatively well balanced offering. Very nice flavor profile. I enjoyed this version and would and will have again.

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Photo of 57md
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish copper. Mild funk on the nose. The flavor profile follows the nose.

The best thing that I can say about this offering is that the alcohol was hidden well.

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Photo of BethanyB
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: A dark amber, more brown than orange, like a rich caramel. Slightly hazy, yet clear enough to see the carbonation rising to meet a light beige head which starts out strong, but is quick to fizzle out. Neither the haziness, nor the low head are atypical for the style and alcohol content (8% ABV).

Smell: Malt is the surprising focus here--for a Belgian-style beer, I was expecting more fruit and spice. The malt bill is nice and complex, with toasted mixed nuts at the forefront. But Belgian yeast remains unmistakable with that strange, banana liqueur smell. A talented chorus line of dark stone fruit dances in the background; Plums, dates, and figs are suppressed, but hardly silent.

Taste: The malt and yeast combination creates a roasty, candied nut assortment. A drizzle of sweet molasses and the same dark fruit found in the aroma are tamed by the toasted grain, yet remain marked enough to put forth some residual sugar which lasts from beginning to finish.

Mouthfeel: A good level of dryness and carbonation for the style work together to further balance the sweetness and heighten the pleasant alcoholic "zing" found in strong Belgian ales. However, there also exists a delicate smoothness which makes the beer feel more sessionable.

Overall: Like a cross between a solid, yet not quite remarkable Northern Brown Ale and a Dubbel of the same caliber. Deceptive sessionability and a good price make this beer marketable, but at the same time, it lacks the complexity of other Belgian ales.

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Photo of Act25
3.71/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of Johnny_Muir
4.33/5  rDev +21.6%
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!

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Photo of ChrisNYCLIDC
4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
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.,

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Photo of Chessmaster
3.56/5  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.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.81/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of mikeg67
2.97/5  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.

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Photo of LCB_Hostage
3.77/5  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.

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Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
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

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Photo of cbutova
3.59/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of ranger60
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of Ryanm1
4.3/5  rDev +20.8%
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.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.02/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of Chas58
3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
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. 

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.94/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of MattyK
3.41/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale from River Horse Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.