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4 Calling Birds | The Bruery

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4 Calling Birds4 Calling Birds
Very Good
577 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: 577 |  Reviews: 190
Photo of homebrew311
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours dark brown, creamy light brown head, nice head retention

S: nose comprises of cinnamon and ginger along with dark fruits, notes of plum and candy. Smells like Christmas.

T: taste starts out with dark fruit and molassess, cinnamon dominates, nice balance, a bit of maple on the finish

Mf: thick body, smooth mouthfeel, low carbonation

O: this is my favorite installment of the 12 beers of Christmas, nice integration of seasonal spices

 447 characters

Photo of joefc
5/5  rDev +31.2%

Photo of DaBubs
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Jules11788
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of HopHead84
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap at Provisions.

A: Dark brown with crimson notes near the edges of the glass. The head is an inch of beige foam.

S: Gingerbread! Yes, it is so, and it smells pretty damn good. Dark sweet bread with candi sugar and maple. Plum, grape, and raisin emanate from the glass.

T: The flavor is also full of spicy gingerbread. Candi and brown sugar with light dark fruit esters: plum and prune. The beer is lightly bitter. Alcohol is well masked.

M: Medium body with lower high carbonation.

Overall: A nice holiday ale with a potent ginger kick. 

 560 characters

Photo of Holland
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of CAPorter
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of barfdiggs
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Dirtyrat91740
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Popp24
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of JazzIPA55
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of imbibehour
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Woah this is one heck of a BLACK body going on here perhaps a hint of brown... however, a simple foamy nice light brown coffee tan head in appearance.

Nose is gingerbread. Truly. How does that happen? Brown spices of nutmeg, and sweetness abound. Behind that a nice biscuit like feeling of graham crackers. This is impressive.

Chewy dark malts, mixing in with gingerbread. A good pleasing simple mouthfeel, lots of molasses that are tolerable on the finish without a sweet sugar rush. Not too dry either. A nice quinine like finish towards the front of the palate that lingers. No sense of alcohol heat or booze.

Overall as described this beer delivers as it mentions which is very impressive. Have to score it high. Liking this ginger angle, and it's not a sugar sweet bomb, I call drinking win.

 844 characters

Photo of horrorspecialty
5/5  rDev +31.2%

Photo of Amdy
5/5  rDev +31.2%

Photo of marieow
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Diomede
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of ShanePB
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle shared with Nick at Craft Ale House. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Dark brown with lots of reddish undertones throughout the beer, not black but in dim lighting it would certainly appear that way. Creamy, bubbly off-white almost tan head resurfaces with a few swirls but doesn't leave any lace to see. The consistency gives me an indication this is going to be well carbonated.

S: Quite the blend of of dark malts with a Belgian spicy flair. You can immediately tell the profile is of the style starting with the chocolate malts that lay a nice foundation for the aromas. Lots of gingerbread, dark spices of peppercorn and cinnamon. Decent variety going on though the malt seems to be the obvious focus.

T: Rich lightly toasted chocolate malts mixes with a distinct gingerbread flavor. Baked fresh gingerbread, Belgian yeast, spice, cinnamon and into the back of the palate is a bitter hop note that's gone almost as quickly as it appeared. Very different yet strikingly average, not bad by any means but nothing special, either.

M: As suspected, quite carbonated and bubbly all over the palate. Clean and scrubbing but it gives the body a lightness I'm not necessarily a fan of for these heavily spiced beers.

Absolutely drinkable and enjoyable in its current state although I'm certain these spices will all but diminish in time. Perhaps they'll blend and mellow into something entirely different, but it's a pretty average but tasty beer as it stands today.

 1,479 characters

Photo of 01Ryan10
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of brotherloco
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml capped. Served in a tulip at 50 degrees.

Pours a dark brown with ruby red highlights. Three fingers of pillowy dark beige foam, takes a nice long while to settle. Moderate amounts of broad lacing left in glass.

Aroma of sweet chocolate malt, Belgian candi sugar, and dry Christmas spices. Some fruits. I definitely get the gingerbread note, but also some vanilla and pepper. Has a root beer float quality.

Flavor starts out soft and sweet like spiked hot chocoloate, but slowly transforms into a more creamy, but bitter coffee. Roasted coffee really emerges in the finish and aftertaste. Flavor evolves at a nice moderate pace, and sweetness sticks around the whole time. Spices are really well blended. Big 11% ABV is very well buried in this flavor.

Medium bodied with medium and very soft carbonation. Feels a little thin, but creamy, and quite drinkable for the strength.

I really like this beer in its year of production. Got another tucked away in the cellar that I hope to sample in 8 years.

 1,009 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.36/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours leaving a nice tan foam. The color is a dark brown, almost black, making it look like a porter/stout. Suprisingly faint smell, with a mix of spices and a Belgian yeastiness. There isn't much malt/fruit aroma and no alcohol considering the strength.

The dark malts taste a bit weak in this brew also, allowing the clove and ginger spices to dominate. The beer tastes very mild for 11% ABV, but that's not really a good thing. Perhaps it's the carbonation, but this just seems kind of watery especially at the finish.

When I heard it was gingerbread-like I expected a completely different beer, something sweeter, a bit robust, that actually tasted like ginger-bread. This was just a very average, spiced winter beer.

 725 characters

Photo of sbricker
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of MikeRMII
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of nrbw23
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown color with a fizzy light tan colored head. Head fades away pretty quickly, becoming a ring of bubbles and leaves very little lacing.

S- Picking up quite a bit of spices here. Cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and darker fruits. A nice amount of yeast too.

T- Quite a bit going on here. A ton of spices here cinnamon and nutmeg are leading the way. This one reminds me of a huge winter warmer style every thing is huge. Darker fruits, a touch of yeast and brown sugar.

M- Medium in body and a bit on the higher side of carbonation.

O- I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Looking forward to this one in a few years.

 635 characters

4 Calling Birds from The Bruery
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 577 ratings
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