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

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

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174 Reviews
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Reviews: 174
Hads: 341
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 9.6%
Wants: 6
Gots: 39 | 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

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 174 | Hads: 341
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A dark coloured ale, with a sour yeasty aroma, and a sour yeasty taste, something like a Belgian shwartzbier. Medium mouthfeel. Fizzy carbonation, like Dr. Pepper.Carmel, toffee, orange and spicy herbal juicey. Not bad, sweetness makes it drinkable. a fair Belgian ale. (269 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
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. (688 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out with a decent looking amber color. The head was pretty big at first but settled into just a thin layer over the beer. The smell of the beer has some spice to it mixed with malts. The taste of the beer was more of an autumn spiced beer than a Christmas one. The flavors were mixed between sweet and spicy. The mouthfeel was alright, nothing too crazy here. Overall I wasn't too impressed with this brew. (423 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of candi sugar with some dominating Belgian style malt. Taste is also a nice enough mix between some candi sugar and nice Belgian malt with some fruity ester and a lightly spicy yeast. Body is not as full as I would have liked it with some good carbonation and no presence of alcohol. Not bad but makes me want to learn more from this brewery. (451 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cherry caramel with juicy orange edges. While not as expansive as the heads on most Belgian versions of the style, Frostbite's head is a generous two fingers after a controlled pour. The foam is toasted sawdust in color and is rich, thick and creamy. It looks like butter pecan ice cream as it melts (sans pecans) and deposits a shredded circumferential sheet of lace.

The nose is dark malty, sour and phenolically spicy. For some reason though, even though it's purported to use an authentic Belgian yeast strain, the beer doesn't really smell authentic to me. The various pieces of the olfactory puzzle don't fit together well enough and don't add up to anything all that compelling on an individual basis.

On the palate, Frostbite is as sour as it smells. I may be able to get past it to appreciate the rest of the flavor profile, but I don't really care for this degree of sourness is my BSDAs. Why on earth is an 8% beer listed as a BDA anyway? An ABV of 8% is 'strong' where I come from. Happily though, the alcohol is well-buried.

I didn't expect this degree of phenolicity at all. I don't mind it in small doses, but when a beer tastes like it's been spiked with a generous shot of Laphroaig, it's time to break out the Band-Aid comparisons. Otherwise, it's sweetly caramel malty with very little contribution from hops. There's a modicum of clove spice I guess. Hard to tell under all that puckery tartness. Time to invest in a new yeast strain River Horse.

The body is okay for the stated style (BDA), not for the actual style (BSDA). A beer with this much flavor and this much alcohol should have a body with more than a trace of viscosity. It doesn't need to be hippopotamus-like, but a bit more heft would be welcome. I have no quarrel with the un-Belgian degree of carbonation; then again, I've grown to like and appreciate the exuberance of most Belgian beers.

River Horse Belgian Frostbite is an odd brew that would be much better with a new, cleaner yeast strain. I wouldn't say that it's a chore to drink, but the intense sourness is beginning to wear on me now that I've entered the home stretch. Is it worth climbing aboard this horse (okay, hippo) at all? As is, I'd have to say no. (2,218 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark brown liquid poured down into the glass. A huge head of tan then rose up to a height of around two inches before settling back down into a frothy and foamy cap that stayed with it throughout the session. Only real knock here being too much head if anything. Aroma was fairly light, nice spice notes up front, hints of caramel, dark prune like fruit notes and a hint of cinnamon of all things. Carried over well in the flavor which was equally rich. Strong notes of spice up front and a smooth, mellow texture that really seemed to hit the nail on the head. Earthy and herbal with nice hints of dark fruit, I really felt it summed up the part quite well (657 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have had the chance to try a few River Horse brews when I lived in the Philly area and honestly wasnt all that impressed but Iam gonna give them a go again.This offering poured a deep murky ruddy brown with a tight formed 1/2 finger slight off white head that was gone quite fast leaving no lace behind.Aromas of vanilla,raisin,roasted nuts and slight phenols are pretty appetizing,I like the flavors going on mainly because the phenolic flavors dont dominate somewhat pruney and raisiny with some herbal sharpness and cola lingering flavors with a hint of earth as it warms.Goes down very easily the mouthfeel is spot on not overly heavy for such big flavors,I like it better than most I think. (697 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The very dark and reddish-orange accented caramel-colored body of River Horse's Belgian Frostbite alludes to the intrigueing and unique chocolate notes found in both its aroma and flavor. The nose is malty, caramelish and subtly chocolatey, with a soft fruitiness (dull plum?) and hint of background spice (most likely from the yeast). It's medium-full bodied, lightly zesty, and then creamy across the palate. The flavor is rich but not overwhelming, and loaded with soft nutty malt, dark fruit (raisins, dark fruit skins, prune), a touch of wood, a hint of licorice, and a mild note of chocolate that appears in the finish. It's quite nice, and best enjoyed just slightly warmer than a regular pint but not at cellar temperature (maybe 40-45F). (746 characters)

Photo of jlindros
2.88/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Found this bottle on the back of a shelf dusty, probably about a year old so not very fresh, hope that didn't ruin the beer. Poured into oversized bubble wine glass.

A: Very dark brown color with slight maroon tinge almost no light, light frothy head the dissipates very slowly but leaves the remnants of the head for a while

N: Nose is smooth light, slightly malty, pretty fruity, slight vanilla, touch of raisin, some alcohol and yeast

T: Lots of fruit and raisin, a strange toasty fig newton like taste, very chewy, some alcohol, a little sour, it does taste a little old and past its prime, not much for Belgian at all except the alcohol sour dark fruity taste and some yeastiness, slightly buttery, pretty phenolic (finally figured that taste out with this beer)

M: Chewy and pretty thick, decent carbonation

F: Finishes pretty sweet and strange malts, more of that fig newton like taste, leaves a dry rotten fruit taste in the mouth, phenolic and a slight slimey trail on the tongue with toasty buttered popcorn

Final thoughts: Not sure if this beer is way past its prime, or if this is usually how it is. I'll have to try to revisit when it's fresh. Its got some nice dark fruit taste and good malts, but too much rotten fruit and phenols, sticky and chewy, not the best drinking experience (1,303 characters)

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Was surprised to see this at my local beer store.. never heard of this brewery and they never carried any of their other beers. Also, only 12 reviews of this guy on here.

Well, it's nothing spectacular. I know on here it says ?ABV but on the River Horse website it lists this at 8% ABV. You can definitely detect that.. this beer doesn't mask the alcohol kick at all, but being a winter seasonal I don't really mind that. There is a definite caramel aroma and taste but I have a feeling this isn't too "Belgian" in the way it tastes. Not too bad but I would only have one of these in a sitting, a decent beer. (610 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.82/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a bottle into a dinner glass.

A: Amber-brown colour. Bad head. Kind of appealing.

Sm: Musty malt, hint of prune, treated barley, maybe an adjunct, nuts (almond?).

T: No, not almond - caramel! The body is built strangely for a winter amber. The finish is nutty, not hoppy. The balance is biased towards the finish.

Mf: Too smooth, a bit too wet. Nicer towards the finish.

Dr: Too much caramel. Too expensive. (448 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

it's still winter, I can still enjoy this, though it's a balmy 25 degrees out...

Dark brown color, nice, though modest cocoa tan foam above...adequate...

Aroma: malt, sweetish, dark, cocoa and nut and...rather rich, likable...

Very tasty on the tongue, too...cocoa rings loud, dark fruit, deliciousness, dates and nuts, and all those other things...rich, molasses-y, ...big and rich, sez I, no country music fan...

Biggish body, longish finish...sweetness, richness, and full of flavor. Delish...I just keep on enjoyin'... (534 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.02/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another random bottle, can you tell how bored I am. Beer is dark amber / red with a thin head of tiny bubbles, no retention, carbonation low, lacing moderate to low.

Sweet, malty, bready, smells pretty good.

Beer is light in body with an odd bitterness late in the palate, you know, this tastes like a Belgian amber I brewed once. It's estery and bright on the palate, well carbonated, it tastes pretty good. I'd have it again. (429 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours dark brown with dark orange hues and a thin tan head that dissippates to a smell patch despite continual rise of carbonation.

The smell is of caramel/toffee - towards chocolate with a touch of toast and some sour notes.

The taste is of caramel/toffee - towards chocolate, as in the aroma. Also as in aroma, some sour notes come through. I'm contributing part of the lack of depth to a weak yeast strain, though this is perhaps not the only "fault". (The sour notes I'll put in that category too). Malty with a roasted touch and a hint of alcohol pretty much sums this one up.

I don't know about "Belgian-style", though there is enough to it to give it the benefit of the doubt on the style. There is something pleasant enough about it, but doesn't stand up to be much in the end. (816 characters)

Photo of WesWes
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a solid malt scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts along with some Belgian candy sugar. It's refreshingly fruity with just bit of tartness. The taste is decent. It has a smooth, malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes with some moderate esters. There is a hint of earthy/roasted character as well as a bit of tart fruit. The mouthfeel is decent as well. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. It seems as though this could have been a little heavier. This is an easy drinking Belgian beer. Is it the best out there? No, but it's not bad and it's a hell of a lot cheaper. (725 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin, off-white head that quickly reduced to wispiness. The color is a reddish-orange/brown and the nose is really sweet, almost sugary. The mouthfeel is medium with a malty presence at the front and then finishing with a lightly bitter hoppiness. I find it kind of light in the taste department, which leads me to wonder if the clarity is the result of over-fining, which usually leads to a reduction in taste. I have noted the same phenomenon in another brewery's Belgian-style ale. Note to you brewers out there: Hey, it's a Belgian-style beer! It can be cloudy. You need not make it clear and pretty on my account. (618 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark brown color with some reddish hues. Relatively thin head, but it remained for a while. Some light lacing was formed on the glass during the drink. The aroma was malty with some hints of spice. The flavor was strong on the roasted malts and yeast. The spiciness was lighter than expected for a winter ale. The body was slightly thin and the carbonation was light. Tasty, but not overly exciting. (408 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, w/o any freshness dating. This one pours a good looking mahogony, its clear and supports an off white head. Respectable, fine lacing left on the glass. Nose here is herbal and spicy. This is a better then average American take on the style. Not overly bold nor complex, but a decent everyday Belgian style ale. Notes of raisins, some rum, minor candi sugar type notes and a fairly dry finish. Sort of Belgian Dark Ale "Light" (442 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The good: Smooth with well-hidden alcohol.
The bad: Mostly tastes like like an overly sweet brown ale.

Smells like very herbal dark grains, licorice like. The taste is a slightly sharp and sweet with a little spice and white grape. There's also a little grassy bitterness at the end, but overall I don't have enough going on. It's just a bit plain for an 8% Belgian. Not bad, maybe just not for me. (400 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber/ chestnut brown color with ruby edges and a thin head that quickly fades. Sweet malty aroma with subtle spiciness and dark fruit. Nice malty character with dark cherry flavor as well as some peppery spice, hazelnu and some other dark fruit. Nicely balanced. (276 characters)

Photo of weeare138
3.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a dark brown with tiny bubbles rising to the top with an off white head that sticks around. Slight lacing is left behind.
Smell is of vanilla, caramel, raisins, figs, brown sugar, and cola. Close to Belgian but not quite there.
Taste is of the same aroams with a slight bitterness and a touch of sweet and sourness being buried in this one.
Mouthfeel is smooth, lowly carbonated with a slight bitterness and dryness that probably comes from a cocoa powder.
Drinkability is good. This is not a bad beer for a brewery out of Jersey. (542 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger, light tan head that quickly fades to a ring leaving a traces of lace. Deep amber almost black color. Very light carbonation and medium bodied. Sweet toffee nose. Starts sweet and malty, fruity, finish has hints of hops. $1.75 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. (296 characters)

Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber hue with an off white creamy head. There was good lacing and retention.

The smell featured initial black licorice and orange peel aromas with mild dark fruits and some various herbal spices.

The taste consisted of a dark chocolate, dark sweet fruits, orange peel and licorice. Some earthy ginger flavor as well.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness and slightly creamy.

Overall a very flavorful and unique winter beer, and accessible Belgian Strong Ale. (486 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to plaid75 for this one.

Pours a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice small fizzy off-whtie head, some, but not much sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, picking up a lot of black licorice for sure, and some caramel. The taste is malty, bitter, licoricy, and some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice brew, but the licoricy is a slight turn-off. Would buy localy if available, but definitely not a BSDA by far. (446 characters)

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

12oz bottle from squidswilbsquids as part of the Beer & Gear BIF. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" light tan head above the clear coppery brown brew. Head fades slowly, with average to good lacing. Aroma is grain husks and spicing. Taste is lightly fruity grain husks, with a tinge of wet malt to it, and a light warming at the close. Mouthfeel and drinkability are pretty good, with the fruitiness maybe a bit cloying after awhile. This hits me as an acceptable brew, but nothing earth-shattering. (546 characters)

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River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale from River Horse Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.