4 Calling Birds
The Bruery

4 Calling Birds4 Calling Birds
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The Bruery
California, United States
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
3.82 | pDev: 12.83%
Jul 24, 2022
Oct 25, 2011
Very Good
4 Calling Birds4 Calling Birds
Notes: Spiced Strong Dark Ale. The Twelve Days of Christmas series continues! We took inspiration from the traditional winter warmer for our fourth verse, integrating gingerbread spices into a robust dark ale. Notes of licorice & banana bread mingle with dark fruit, molasses and bitter chocolate for a perfect cold weather sipper!
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Rated: 3.71 by westcoastbeerlvr from California

Jul 24, 2022
Rated: 4.1 by RMW66 from Australia

Oct 05, 2021
Rated: 4.11 by JamieDuncan from Maryland

Jul 06, 2021
Photo of HattedClassic
Reviewed by HattedClassic from Virginia

3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
The beer pours a nice khaki colored and creamy textured head that dissipates fairly quickly. The beer itself is a cloudy chestnut brown.

The smell is good. It has a variety of spices such as ginger, bits of cinnamon, and anise. It definitely resembles a banana bread like smell. There is some candi sugar but the other notes override it.

The taste is similar to the smell. The spice notes are fairly strong but there is the addition of light dark fruit notes such as dates.

The feel is decent. It has a medium body but feels slick and really slippery.

Overall, a good beer with a lot of powerful flavors that make it delicious and warming on a cold day.
Jan 03, 2021
Rated: 3.49 by michiganmatt from California

Dec 31, 2020
Rated: 3.75 by Stengelfoot from California

Dec 29, 2020
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Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Original 750ml bottle from 2011
Poured into a teku

A- pours deep brown in color with a ruby hue, one-finger foamy light khaki head that reduces to leave nothing behind

S- smells of figs, raisins, banana bread, candi sugars, gingerbread, black licorice, fruit cake, walnuts and anise

T- sweet and malty up front with notes of brown bread, caramel, chocolate, toffee and fruit cake. Mid-palate gives notes of black licorice, ginger and walnut banana bread. The finish gives dark fruit notes of raisin, figs and dates. Peppery yeast and and fruit cake on the linger

M- medium body with virtually no carbonation leads to a slick mouthfeel that gives just a hint of carbonation foam to turn into a slightly creamy finish

O- pleasantly surprised with how this one held up. Dark fruits, banana bread, licorice, ginger are all still to be found
Dec 22, 2020
Rated: 3.94 by Beer21 from Florida

Mar 25, 2020
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Reviewed by IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2019 rebrew poured into Trillium The Six States goblet and allowed to warm.

L: 1F or so fizzy light brown head with poor retention, leaves only a ring. Beer is very dark brown.

S: Banana bread and cloves. Gingerbread, dark fruits. We've got ourselves a winter warmer here, I think.

T: Incorporates a lot of the smell into the taste. Gingerbread and raisins, winter spices, banana.

F: A tad light for the style in terms of what you might expect, but only a tad. Little carbonation. Construction and balance pretty good. A tad watery, perhaps some aging would help.

O: Might be the best of the 12 so far.
Feb 24, 2020
Photo of brycemc
Reviewed by brycemc from California

4.57/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75
Look: Deep brown almost red, fine head, bubbles. In a tulip out of the fridge.

Smell: Spice and fruit (dates, raisins). Smells like a fruit cake. Amazing.

Taste: Spices are dominant at first sip, but not overpowering (somewhat cold still). Dry chocolate notes on mid and finish. Some bread too, but dark dark bread (pumpernickel or spice bread). Malt on the lighter side but perfectly balanced.

Feel: dry and light bodied for 11%. Great spiced dry finish.

Overall: very good, maybe my favorite of the 12 so far (drinking in order). 1 and 2 were solid belgian styles, 3 was just mediocre, but this is special. I like it!
Dec 30, 2019
Photo of rodbeermunch
Reviewed by rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
I need to get my shit together and organize all these beers in the cellar.

Anyways, another Days of Christmas beer I wasn't fond of. Pours a dark brown color but without the heavy viscosity of a porter/stout. 1/2" of beige head on it, decent retention. Aroma was of holiday bread. Nutmeg, gingerbread, raisin, prune notes in the aroma. I like the smell, but am wary that these smells generally translate into a taste and mouthfeel that is less enjoyable than the smell.

And there it is. All the spice rack and fridge drawer things I dislike. Bitter dark fruit, an alcohol stab that actually is less damaging than I expected. Could actually say this hid the alcohol decently. A mix of raisin, prune, stronger than expected bitterness, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, sherry, brandy, dark licorice, clove, mild brown sugar, just not my jam man. Where I could get into this beer is if I had like 6 people splitting it, but drinking more than 10oz of this in a sitting is a challenge. They do seem to get better with age though as the spice rack chills out more.
Dec 27, 2019
Photo of REVZEB
Reviewed by REVZEB from Illinois

4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
With the series at fruition, got to go to an event featuring all 12 in the series so I could fill in the first four I missed out on. Dark brown mostly opaque body with a tan cap. Gingerbread and holiday spice lead the nose, with brown sugar, biscuit, caramel and cinnamon. Taste is equally festive, but the spices dominate more, cutting out nuance. Some dark fruit survives to compliment. Feel is spiced, warm, somewhat boozy, and full. Good for Christmas time, but otherwise no need to seek out.
Dec 27, 2019
Rated: 3.99 by Cpmitchno1 from Virginia

Dec 05, 2019
Rated: 4.21 by smithj4 from New York

Dec 23, 2018
Rated: 3.96 by Abe_Froman from Massachusetts

Oct 19, 2018
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Reviewed by macrosmatic from Florida

3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3
Reviewed from (long-standing) notes. Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Russian River snifter glass.

A: Dark brown, and stops just short of being opaque. Forms about a finger of tan head that fades quickly over a low amount of visible carbonation.

S: Dark sweet malts, sweet fruit - raisins and some tart cherries. A bit acetic, and some minerally dryness.

T: Dark sweet malts, dark fruit (raisins, plums), and still a touch of acetic acid, cherries, and vinegar. Allspice, ginger, and cinnamon on the exhale. The spices and sweet malts last in the hang.

M: A thick sticky body with low (but fitting) carbonation sensation. The alcohol is apparent but not obnoxious.

O: Well...spiced = not my favorite. Acetic = slightly infected (?? ). Either way, this was weird. It doesn't seem intentional, but it's not horrendously strong or anything. Though the weird flavors do increase as the beer warms. I'm not sure this bottle is quite right. If the second bottle I have is any better, I'll update this review.
Jun 22, 2018
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Reviewed by WickedBeer from Alabama

4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Wades Wines 12 Days of Christmas Tasting. 12/22/17. Agoura Hills, CA. This bottle was a 2011.

Pours a deep raisin brown. Nearly free of lace, no head.

Aromas are full of dark fruit.. raisins, plum, sherry... a lot going on but really good.

Again tons ignore dark fruit.. caramel, molasses, slight booze, prominent sherry flavors. Complex and really nice.

Super smooth, sticky, and a nice burn on the way down.

I think time did this beer wonders.. with a profile similar to a braggot, the overwhelming sweetness I’m sure it had back in 2011 has been mellowed out and well balanced with prominent booze, molasses, and caramel.
Dec 23, 2017
Rated: 4.08 by DVMin98 from North Carolina

Jul 10, 2017
Rated: 4 by Dactrius from Netherlands Antilles

Feb 05, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by elamb106 from New York

Jan 05, 2017
Rated: 3.85 by kingmaker from Louisiana

Dec 10, 2016
Rated: 3.58 by mtomlins from Canada (ON)

Oct 13, 2016
Rated: 4 by WastingFreetime from Wisconsin

May 28, 2016
Rated: 4.24 by 2GOOFY from California

Apr 15, 2016
Rated: 3.72 by BYOFB from Wisconsin

Apr 09, 2016
Rated: 3.75 by acurtis from New Jersey

Mar 22, 2016
Rated: 3.04 by Akeah from Colorado

Mar 16, 2016
Rated: 3.53 by RBorsato from Virginia

Feb 22, 2016
Rated: 3.9 by user785335 from Florida

Jan 28, 2016
Rated: 4 by Taby from California

Dec 28, 2015
Rated: 4.25 by crob3888 from California

Dec 28, 2015
Rated: 4.1 by AMCimpi from New York

Dec 27, 2015
Rated: 3.78 by Keananmichael5 from California

Dec 22, 2015
Rated: 3.91 by kmanjohnson from California

Dec 22, 2015
Rated: 4.06 by Raziel313 from California

Dec 22, 2015
Rated: 4.28 by Buck_Jones from Michigan

Dec 16, 2015
Photo of mwilbur
Reviewed by mwilbur from Minnesota

4.39/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter. Cellared and served at 50 F.
A: Pours a thick, dark brown with 1/2 inch dark mocha head. Decent retention (which is surprising given the age of this beer). Settles down to a thin skim. Faint lacing.
S: Whoa...loads of spice! Cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, all spice, and a hint of clove. Smells festive! Dark dried fruit (more prune than raisin), sweet caramel malt, dark honey, molasses, and alcohol soaked vanilla beans.
T: Follows aroma fairly closely. Loads of spice (see above) and a note of cola too. Prunes, thickly sweet caramel malt, molasses, honey, bourbon, and oaky vanilla.
M: Medium-heavy body. Drinks a tad lighter than ABV (but not much!). Darkly sweet and spicy. Thick feel and a bit of creaminess. Lingers fairly well on the palate, but you can tell it has weakened a bit here over time.
D: For a festive dark ale, this really hits the spot! And it has held up much better than I had anticipated (although it really should if it is supposed to last another 4 more years when the series concludes). A nice winter sipper.
Dec 06, 2015
Rated: 4.43 by Robdiesel21 from Michigan

Jul 20, 2015
Rated: 3.29 by DucksFan16 from Tennessee

Jul 16, 2015
Rated: 3.79 by jfstilling from South Carolina

Apr 28, 2015
4 Calling Birds from The Bruery
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 593 ratings