4 Calling Birds | The Bruery

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4 Calling Birds4 Calling Birds
Very Good
578 Ratings
4 Calling Birds4 Calling Birds

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!

Added by Thorpe429 on 10-25-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 578 |  Reviews: 191
Photo of bmf0
1/5  rDev -73.8%

Photo of khargro2
1.25/5  rDev -67.2%

Photo of brez8791
1.25/5  rDev -67.2%

Photo of stevefinny
1.25/5  rDev -67.2%

Photo of Hugonaut13
2/5  rDev -47.5%

Photo of donkeyrunner
2.04/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark brown. Head is quick to fizzle out into an amoeba shaped skim.

Smells rancid. Slightly rotten, fermenting dark fruit to be exact. Very potent nutmeg and cinnamon on top of that trash heap.

Brute force, Ronnie Coleman strong gingerbread spices with that same fermenting dark cassis, elderberry and soggy tobacco in back. Yuck.

A double drain pour. My wife and I have a tradition of drinking the previous years Christmas Bruery offering while opening gifts. After dumping 3 French Hens we said 4 Calling Birds would be our last if it went down the drain...

 564 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
2.36/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

pours a very dark mahogany brown with a tan head and tight little bubbles. The nose is a mess. Spicy phenolic mess with tons of candied sugar, banana, and a toasted to burnt malt underbelly. The taste is much of the same with unintegrated messy malt backbone. Roasty burnt chocolate and brown malt, candied sugar and banana. Light phenolic twang. The body is slick and oily, a touch thin with moderate carb. This is tough to drink, definitely will not finish 12 oz let alone a the entire 750.

 492 characters

Photo of dmsohyea
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

Photo of doucmehu
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

Photo of Stoutsman
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

Photo of rpaul2012
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

Photo of headyhopzhead
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

Photo of drummermattie02
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

Photo of cnally
2.66/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A nice little pickup from my favorite store, Stoney's, to cap off a night where we put up our XMas decos.

A deep dark sludge of a brew, totally opaque, more like a imp stout than a bel dark. Tan head.

Aroma comes off excessively woodsy. Certainly a little off, just kind of ascerbic and overly spiced.

The flavor wavers between being too bitter and too sweet. There are slight nutmeg--cinnamon type flavors but are wholly drowned out by the cloying finish. Imagine woodsy eggnog.

Oh yeah, speaking of eggnog--the mouthfeel is creepily similar to it. Too thick. Seriously did they add egg whites to this?

OK. Did I make a mistake buying this? Here's my problem. This is definately not ready for consumption. It needs a year, two, maybe three before some of these agressive characteristics blend together, the feel mellows...but then why rush it to public fresh? If it's on the shelf, it should be drinkable. And this one isn't.

 931 characters

Photo of MaxSpang
2.7/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Served in a Chimay goblet.


The beer pours a deep, dark reddish brown - almost black. It had a mocha head with large bubbles, and disappeared quickly. As I drank, there was no head and no visible carbonation. Large alcohol legs grab the edge of the glass. Not a bad looking brew.


Slight booze hits the nose at first, but isn't off putting at all. There is a ton of spice character, including ginger and perhaps allspice. Lots of dark fruits come through, and there's even some roasted malt character. Chocolate even comes through, making this beer have a complex aroma. Lots of stuff going on - all of them nice!


Whoa, what a crazy beer. The first taste I get is a pure molasses flavor, and not really in a good way. I taste some ginger, and the beer has some slight tartness, and lots of Belgian spice character. I definitely taste ginger which gives it a slight kick at the end of the tongue. Booze comes through, but for the most part the alcohol is pretty well hidden. I hate to say it, but there's a hint of "soy sauce" in this guy...


There's a tiny bit of carbonation in this brew. The body is medium, and it finishes slightly dry. It's not as thich as I expected, and is fairly drinkable for a beer with such high ABV.


I'm pretty disappointed in this one. It's not bad at all, but it just doesn't work for me. I'm curious how this will age for the next 8 years, and I can only assume it will smooth out and not be as all over the place as it is now. Is it worth buying? Maybe for the collection aspect, but I would recommend aging this bad boy for awhile.


 1,651 characters

Photo of CityofBals
2.75/5  rDev -27.8%

Photo of bigaltemple
2.88/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours dark brown, and appears almost black in the glass. Two-finger, dark tan head becomes a thin cap, but shows good retention. Hit and miss spots of lacing.

S - Plenty going on here, but it just comes across a little too jumbled for me. Heavy dosing of spices, with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and lots of malt.

T/M - Much like the nose, a lot of spicing that just doesn't come together for me. The aftertaste is the same, and lasts way too long. Mouthfeel is actually decent, with a full body, and just prickly enough carbonation.

O - Don't plan on drinking again, unless all twelve are in front of me.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
2.93/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Deep dark mahogany. Dark red/brown. Head is fluffy with a loose structure. Solid ring and thin cap at edges. Stronger carbonation than expected. Slightly hazed.

Smell: Bruery Belgian yeast. Candi sugar and gingerbread cookies. Ginger is actually nice and slightly earthy and used in good measure. Sine hints of caramel, but it really smells like a cookies. Sweet and gingery. Other spices from the yeast, clove and allspice, round it out. Malts are on the sweet side.

Taste: Oh hi, candi sugar. Ginger assault. Yeast is spicy and drops some clove. Very yeasty. So much ginger and yeast. Complete lack of balance. It's all spice and candi sugar. Not cloyingly sweet, but super clean sweet. Almost no aftertaste. Definite lack of depth.

Mouthfeel: Full body and a touch dry on the finish. Carbonation is definitely too high.

Overall: I'm really curious to see where this goes in the next 8 years. Maybe it will develop some depth. Maybe.

 952 characters

Photo of beerandcycling88
2.96/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter

A Pours a dark brown color topped with an off white head. Also this one seemed to be very well carbonated as it exploded out of the bottle all over the kitchen.

S Some gingerbread and a bit of molasses, Also a slight medicinal/plastic note is present.

T More gingerbread, some allspice and clove. However there is more of that medicinal/plastic note.

M Full body with lots of carbonation.

Overall this would be better if it wasn't for that plastic note.

 503 characters

Photo of Jeffo
2.97/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Dooper pulled this one out for a random beer night a while back. Thanks for sharing man!

From a 750 into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a fizzy, two finger, medium looking, light tan head with decent retention. Fizzy and noisy, which is annoying. Bistre brown body with lower levels of carbonation. Head fades to a splotchy wisp and ring leaving no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Smells like a Belgian strong dark ale. Caramel, toffee and dark fruits on the nose. Raisins, dates and some spices, with light hints of molasses as well. A nice nose, though not quite bold enough to be really enticing.

TASTE: Follows the nose. Caramel and toffee sweetness along with dark fruits up front. Mostly raisins and dates. Spicy middle in the finish, with notes of ginger bread at the swallow as well. Milder flavors up front, though the aftertaste is somewhat bolder. Sweet dark fruits, caramel, spices and a hit of molasses linger on the palate. Very sweet with very little bitterness as balance. Alright, but not impressive.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-cream on the palate, perhaps a touch watery, goes down fine and finishes very, very sticky. A touch of heat lingers on the palate as well.

OVERALL: I’ve had a few interesting beers from this brewery, but this was the first Belgian style beer I’ve had the chance to try. Compared to brews on this side of the pond, this one was unfortunately quite average. Besides the off-putting head on this one, the flavor, while nice, is simply too mild to be memorable. I would chose a Belgian strong dark from the Low Countries over this every time. Fine to drink, but just nothing special. Thanks again for sharing Doops. Another successful beer night.

 1,723 characters

Photo of bdkucharski
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of tylermains
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of Gonzoillini
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of MinorThreat
3/5  rDev -21.3%

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4 Calling Birds from The Bruery
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 578 ratings