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 ikantspel
4.44/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml served into a duvel tulip

pours an almost pitch black with a small head that has a reddish hue to it

too much spices. i can make out a nutmeg and clove. really sweet though like ginger snaps

this is beyond complex. hits right away with the spices, kinda turns sweet from the belgian yeast, then cinnamon kicks in a little, finished off by a coffee swallow.

this is one helluva beer, would buy it again to age for about 5 years. would love to see how the flavors turn out

 481 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Bangers & Lace. Served in a weizen-shaped taster glass.

A - Finger of foam settles to a thick collar but minimal lace. Very dark brown body.

S - Roasted malts, dark chocolate, candi sugar, light Belgian yeast presence, and a light amount of Christmas spice - cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice.

T - Taste is heavy on dark chocolate, roasted malts, licorice, candi sugar, and lightly phenolic Belgian yeast. Christmas spices are far more present in the taste than in the aroma. Finish is quite bitter, with heavy black licorice present. Alcohol is quite well-hidden.

M - Creamy, full body, with lower carbonation, and well-hidden alcohol. Sufficiently hefty for the style and ABV. Quite easy to drink.

D - Not my favorite type of beer, but pretty good at what it sets out to do. I think this will actually be quite good when barrel-aged, as the spices should fade out and be replaced by bourbon and barrel goodness. Two Turtle Doves is still my favorite from the 'standard' series.

 998 characters

Photo of MarkVegas
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of tjfinkle
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%

Photo of brewcrew76
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Murky dark brown with a thick tan head and weird brown patches floating on the foam that look like little cinnamon islands amongst the head. Foam oozed out of the bottle upon opening.

S - Allspice, cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg with some Belgian yeasty esters. Smells just like gingerbread.

T - Molasses, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar, dark fruits, sweet caramel, light chocolate and a touch of alcohol.

M - Full body, maybe a touch syrupy with a lot of carbonation.

D - An interesting Christmas beer but a tad bit sweet and too dessert like for me.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.
Had during a drizzly cold Sunday afternoon.

A - Pours a very rich mahogany color with some nice dark brown hints and caramel edges. There is a nice 1 inch head that has some nice dense bubbles with some larger ones intermingled. The head recedes at a good pace. The head is a light tan and cream color that recedes to a nice mat.

S - Delicious sweet caramel notes with some awesome spice mix. Quite complex and smooth nose. There is some nice cinnamon and gingerbread in there with slight nutmeg. Definitely some slight Belgian like clove. Very nice christmas notes in the nose. Slight phenols present.

T & M - Starts off with some bready sourdough notes. Then a quick sweetness comes up with some molasses mixed in with the Christmas spice. Gingerbread and a bit of cinnamon. Slight vanilla notes are present. There is some slight alcoholic heat but the beer is quite drinkable and the ABV is pretty well hidden throughout the taste. Very well crafted BSDA. It definitely has some nice Belgian-yeast notes but is then accentuated and complimented by the spice added to the brew. There also seems to be some slight peppery notes. As it warms there is some slight dark fruit notes that prevail through the spice but only as a secondary flavor. Hops are not that noticeable with a sticky and warm finish. Mouthfeel is nice and medium with a smooth profile and some crisp carbonation.

O - The beer is good and from memory is my favorite of the 12 days so far. The brew falls well into the BSDA style and adds some nice variety with the spices. Slightly complex.

 1,609 characters

Photo of dylnthmsn
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of leschkie
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Huge spice and dark fruit sloshed with alcohol. Sounds better than it is. Very sweet, lots of plune flavor. You can pretty well go through the spice cabinet on this. Cinnamon bark is dominant with charred raisins and a woody taste. Big malt but the barley is lost in the fruitcake. Red brown in the tulip glass as Local Habit in San Diego. Decent carbonation. Nose is spice and wine barrels.

I taste just a little plastic in this but maybe it's an overdose of some spice. Not exactly drinkable but certainly interesting for the ridiculous stew of flavors.

 556 characters

Photo of eatabag
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of M27
5/5  rDev +31.2%

Photo of muletrane
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Bruery tulip.

A: Pours black with a dark ruby hue. 2 fingers of light frothy tan head that settles quickly. Little to no lacing.

S: Alot of gingerbread spices in the nose. Very pleasant and smells like the holidays.

T: Gingerbread spices come through as the dominant flavor here. Sweet with lingering spiciness in the finish. Also finishes slight sticky and dry. Some warming alcohol presence as well.

M: Heavy body with light carbonation. Chewy and sticky. Long lasting finish.

Overall this a solid offering from the Bruery. Really smells and tastes like the holidays. A little on the sweet side but still very enjoyable for me. This will be nice with some age on it.

 707 characters

Photo of jeffoatess
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of nightwing002
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of GarrettB714
5/5  rDev +31.2%

Photo of Nightrain87
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of steve8robin
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this beer at a local brew shop. 750ml bottle...

A: A super deep, almost black, ruby red with a nice 1+ inch mocah colored head that fades quickly. Good.

S: I get some nutmeg and mild bourbon upfront. Some clove and hints of dark fruit hit the middle and some sweet malt scents on the back. Good.

T: I get some medium nutmeg and clove flavors upfront. Hints of sweet malt and some figs. I get some mild creamy vanilla on the back. Good.

M: Medium body with a heavy carbonation. A creamy spiced finish. Good.

O: All in all, this is a good brew. I find that the beers from this series always end up being good, but never great. Actually, this entire brewery seems to do that for me. They produce solid beers, but always seem to fall just shy of amazing beers. Here's another to toss into that category. Good, but not great.

 829 characters

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

The latest in the Twelve Days of Christmas series, served from a bottle into a Bruery tulip.

Beer is black with a thin tan head, small bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet with hints of allspice and ginger.

Beer is medium in body and sweet throughout. Very spice forward, very flavorful. An enjoyable beer. Although this is a rather simple tasting one, it will be interesting to see what it is like in 8 years.

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Photo of AlexM
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of Reagan1984
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My Gosh, the aroma is so thick and spicy. Screams gingerbread and also some burning rubber. The rubber aroma continues to come forward as it warms. Some thick sweetness as well with brown sugar taking the lead. Some cherry and/or stone fruit aroma as well.

Chocolate, black cherry for a moment, then spicy gingerbread smacks you. Just beyond that you get the flavor version of the burnt rubber I described above. In this form it’s slightly medicinal. Tons of spice here. I get some additional herbal flavors that didn’t present themselves to me in the aroma. At this point, I can’t decide if I like this or not. Leaning towards a negative as I continue to work through my glass.

A touch powdery on my tongue. Smoothens out after this initial feeling. Fairly bold body here, but not quite sticky. Close though.

In the end, I am not a fan here. While there is a lot of complexity, I would rather call it confusing at this point. Not sure the elements work together. Given that this was made to age for 8 years, there is hope it will come together. We’ll see. For now, not a great beer.

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Photo of flexabull
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

More and more Bruery Beers are showing here in town, very happy to see them here.

Pours a deep brown color with a very nice off white head.

Aromas are of ginger bread, belgian yeast, hard candies, cloves and other mixed spices.

Taste is very ginger forward, dark ginger bread, really creamy, with some brown sugary sweetness. Background has some spicy notes and Belgian yeast flavors. Finish is warm, but the alcohol is fairly subdued.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, with good full body.

All in all, an interesting beer that has elements of a winter warmer (think Anchor Steam) and a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It certainy is interesting and flavorful, but I think I'd rather pass on this considering that this tastes more like a souped up winter warmer, but with a pretty steep price tag. With that said, I'd recommend giving it a try.

 836 characters

Photo of patm1986
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of wattershed
4/5  rDev +5%

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