Ithaca Beer Company

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American Strong Ale
4.1 | pDev: 12.68%
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Imperial American Extra Special Double Red Ale

"Our Anniversary beer, TEN is brewed with too many malts to list and an excess of American hops, including several additions during fermentation.

Enjoy the russet color, aggressively hoppy aroma and flavor, rich body and fiery finish."
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Reviews: 196 | Ratings: 238
Photo of jlindros
3.74/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared with many people at my cellar cleaning.

Light fizzy head, clear cranberry dark brown color.

Nose sweet candy, dark fruit, caramel and toffee, mild oxidation, chewy malts, mild bitter hops, dark fruits and nuts, fig, candy,

Taste sweet little candy, chewy malts, mild bitter hops, mild dark fruits and nuts, caramel, toffee, etc. Little oxidation, loss of caramel. Semi sweet semi bitter finish, chewy, little syrupy.

Mouth is med to heavier bod, syrupy, little carb, booze is hidden well at least.

One of the beers I really regret not reviewing fresh, as it was pretty good back then, and a bit of a let down now. Still had some of the nice qualities, but some oxidation and loss a lot of the goodness. Oh well.

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Photo of rudzud
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to JLindros for sharing.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice crystal clear hazelnut hue with as thin head.

S - Aromas of older malts, cardboard oxidation. Old.

T - Taste is caramel sweetness, toffee, light alcohol.

M - Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

O - Overall this beer was past it's prime.

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Photo of oline73
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this at the November Baltimore BA tasting. Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours a cloudy reddish amber color with a layer of off white head that sticks around quite nicely.

Smell: Definitely malt forward with dark fruit and mild caramel malt note. The overall smell is a bit fruity.

Taste: Definitely reminds me of a red ale. The malt is the dominant flavor but it doesn't seem overly sweet. I'm getting some dark fruit. This beer may be a bit faded due to the age. The finish is slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium to a bit syrupy. Lots of smooth carbonation with a dry finish.

Overall: I liked this beer now, it was probably even better in its prime. Still quite nice.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with an off-white head. The aroma has a lot of the malt I typically associate with red ales, as well as some toffee and grass. The flavor is similar, with a lot of red ale notes, toffee, grass and alcohol. As the beer warms I start to get some cinnamon notes, as well a some pine and resin from the hops. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch E!006; Sampled January 2012
A solid pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a two finger thick, amber tinged, dirty tan colored head. The beer is a dark amber / plum color that shows a lightly hazed brightly red stained, amber color when held up to the light. The aroma smells of lightly aged malt, dark fruit, and aged citrus / berry fruit aromatics (this last seems distinctly like a hop signature). Oxidized, caramelized malt notes lean a bit towards sweet tea (though without the sticky sweetness), definite caramel, toasted-brown-sugar-crusted desert breads and a touch of nuttiness that is even more accentuated by some oxidation character. The hop character here is still quite present, even after four years, though it is certainly greatly diminished it still reminds me of citrus infused berries and ruby red grapefruit.

The beer is fairly sweet tasting, though this is fairly well tempered by a lot of citrus oil hop character, some palate coating hop bitterness and a toasted and nutty / oxidized malt character that comes into its own towards the finish. Flavors reminiscent of caramel soaked grapefruit zest, fresh pine needle syrup, ripe / fresh spruce tips (with that woody / citrus vibrancy). The hop character still has enough vibrancy to them to add a green, almost astringent edge towards the end of each sip, and there is still a lot of fruity hop character here, despite it being obvious that the hop character has been quite reduced since it was fresh. My wife describes the confluence of aged / oxidized malt and hops as smoky, which I can definitely see, but wouldn’t have come up with on my own.

This definitely has a nice character to it; it reminds me a lot of an aged bigfoot; it is certainly better fresh for those that are pure hop heads, but this is close to the sweet spot for the oxidized malt yet still fairly aggressive, but greatly mellowed hop character. Actually, as I work my way through the second glass, after the beer has warmed up a fair amount I really start to get a peaty, smoky, umami / not-quite salty character that is definitely noticeable; I would swear that there is some smoked malt in this, but age could have done it, and seems the most likely that this last is the case.

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Photo of kbnooshay
1.56/5  rDev -62%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I have had this forever! Hope age didn't kill it by turning it in to a malty mess. Poured a very murky orange-brown with virtually no head. Aroma is a pungently nasty. It smells like snot. Seriously. I can pick up some dark fruit and lots yeast but overall something weird is going on. MUST BE THE AGE. UGhhh. So i took a sip, instant drain pour unfortunately. There is no way this is the way it should taste and i feel awful about it.

WHy am i reviewing it then?

Well because the bottle says that that this can be aged indefinitely. Yet the bottle says it can be aged. The hops here have changed into the over sweet bitter death. Mouthfeel is irrelevant. POUR. Soured and ruined. The bad kind of sour!

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.42/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle poured into a Darkness snifter glass, sharred with a fellow BA.

A- Pours a dark brown cloudy color, sediment is evident, decent carbonation, tiny bubbles in the head, one finger off white head that dissipates to a nice layer around the glass.
S- The aroma is interesting, Dark fruits, REALLY malty, bready/nutty notes, some woody notes as well, earthy characteristics, the hops are nowhere to be seen.
T- Huge malt bomb, some dark fruit notes come out (plums, raisins), lacks carbonation, flat, sweet bitterness.
M- Medium mouth feel, under carbonated, alcohol is hidden, dry finish.
O- Interesting beer, would love to try this when it was fresh, can definitely tell this is an aged beer huge, malt bomb, not bad for being almost 4 years old.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.37/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ithaca Ten

Pours a murky brown with small particles of yeast. Decent sized head forms and leaves some lace behind. Aroma of booze, fruits, caramel, and faint butterscotch. In the taste, where once was a hoppy beer, the malt has taken over. Brown sugar, molasses, prune and lots of alcohol make up most of the flavor profile. There is a trace of hops, but not enough to make much of an impression. This is a boozy malt bomb, and at best resembling an aged barleywine. Mouthfeel has held up pretty well, medium to low carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, probably peaked, but at this point, I'd set it aside for a few more years and see if anything develops.

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Photo of vande
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: a dark, cloudy/rusty looking red to the point where it almost looks like a glowing brown....

S: malty, rusty/coppery...carmalized something..toffee? prunes?

T: reminds me of a cross between Chronic and a Barleywine... interesting coppery feel of hops and malts mixed with some dated dark fruits...

M: nothing crazy....

O: pretty interesting. bottles from 2008. I've got one more as well as a 12 and 13 in the cellar...

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

Yet another bottle in my cellar that I probably waited too long to open :o

Appearance: Cloudy burnt sienna pour with a 2 finger buttery/khaki rocky crown that displays good retention and lace.

Smell: Some stale hops, some floral peppery hops, some accentuated malt sweetness, a dash of prune and lots of figs.

Taste: Same as nose.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side of medium bodied and could use a bit more carbonation in my opinion.

Overall: A good beer that was probably even better a year ago!

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Photo of happygnome
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a amber red color with about an eigth inch of head that disappears quickly leaving no lacing around the edge of the glass or top of the beer. some carbonation bubbles can be seen rising to the top of the beer.

S: sweet dark fruits there is very little hop bitterness to balance

T: sweet dark fruits

M: medium bodied beer with good carbonation

overall, i really enjoyed this brew and am glad I got to try it

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Photo of BlackWednesday
3.12/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

0mL bottle, Batch E!006. Poured slightly murky medium orange with a short-lived cap of beige head (subsequent pours left more head, so I’m bumping it up a notch). The aroma was strong with floral notes, peppery spices, and some citrus over a bed of pizza dough, caramel, and redder fruits.. definite alcohol amplification. The flavor was similar in terms of stuff going on, but it lost some of its luster.. caramel and fruity notes at the core with pine, citrus, and spicy bitterness around.. something was breaking down in there, leaving strong, boozy, cardboardey notes in places.. muddled with too much going on. Heavier-bodied on the palate with enough carbonation to keep it moving.. sticky and messy in terms of flow, but it did leave a satisfying feel on the finish.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Live and learn, my review from 2011 wasn't the best experience but tonight, nearly four years later, this has mellowed and improved. Taste, feel, and overall scores have been bumped accordingly, moving my rating for this from 3.13 to 3.55. Good stuff Ithaca, patience paid off. Cheers!


Appearance - pours a big, dark, muddy reddish-brown. Two big fingers of almond foam, slow to form and slow to leave.

Aroma - lots of caramel, fig, a heavy syrupy smell.

Taste - a dry, crackery base grain. Picking up some light taste of the dreaded chlorophenols (Band-Aid). Faded hops provide some bite on the swallow. The CPs fade somewhat as the palate gets adjusted. Alcohol hotness provides an ethanol-like kick that kind of cheapens the experience. The finish is fading heat and residual malts.

Mouthfeel - I do pick up some of the body 'bigness' I expect, but it could use some more dextrinous quality to provide a 'Killians on steroids' effect. Average carbonation.

Drinkability - okay, I have two more of these that I will drink (sooner than later), but at ten bucks a bomber, this is pretty much a thirty dollar fail with regards to aging a beer (especially after reading some of the early reviews...dayyyum). Oh well, win some lose some, I like taking the chance now and again as it does work out nicely sometimes. Didn't this time though. Just enough appreciable beer stuff going on to keep me around, but this did not develop, nor will it, into what I'd hoped. That said, I will sip this down and enjoy it for what it is, namely a slightly messy but workable barleywine.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.96/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. Yet again, I need to thank Kyle for the generosity this weekend!

(A)- Pours a deep reddish amber color that produced a nice tan colored head with decent retention and lace.

(S)- Lots of rich run raisin aromas and a dry oaky nuance.

(T)- Same as the smell. A raisin rich dry oaky profile.

(M)- A good carbonation level. A bit dry and woody, but has some left left in it. Starting to get a bit "muddy"

(D)- It is definitely starting to lose some of its life, so I wouldnt continue to hold onto this if you do in my opinion, but its still enjoyable for what it is.

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Photo of Jesse13713
1.61/5  rDev -60.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Thanks to Aw Yeh for spiltting this beer with me!

Appearance - Pretty impressive lacing on this one. Fairly dark brown with a hint of red. Much darker than I expected. Three fingers of head on this beer.

Smell - Smells very malty and caramel-like. Smells very sweet. I am actually overcomes by the sweet smell in this beer.

Taste - Wow. Very, very hard to swallow. A huge bitter burn on the way down. Quite malty. Tastes more stout-like or even like a lighter Wee-Heavy. This didn't really taste like a red ale and I was expecting more from a double. Slight pepper. Tastes like molasses in a way.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - Entirely too sweet for my tastes. There's no way I can drink this entire 750. The bitterness and sweetness don't combine well together. I gave this beer more than enough chances, but I ended up dumping out my share of it.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into my Narke glass...Dark brown with amber edges give its a glassy sheen. The head sucks and is disappointing. Tope, whispy, watery and big bubbles form a weird cap that has good retention and lacing. Doesn't look right...Malty rye aroma that is very strong; rye, caramel and grass hops...The taste is malty but has an undertow of vomit that is mildly distracting. Caramel and hops mostly. Seems heavily influenced by an ipa.

Overall, not to bad. I'd drink it again but don't think I'd recommend seeking it out with much effort.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. Pours a rusty brown with quite a hefty body, finger of light tan foam. Nose is heavy with malt, hint of fading green hops, a touch of citrus and a nice earthy quality.

Light peppery spice, earth and rust, thick brown malts, hint of cocoa, caramel, toffee, bit of fruit bread, bit of a metallic twang. Lots of love for the malt profile, hops at this point tasted faded, green but a little limp, a hint of citrus, light pith. In that sort of middle ground for hops where it should have been drunk earlier or let lie for longer. Still, surprisingly drinkable for its weight and viscosity.

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Photo of bobsy
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich red pour with a finger of off-white head that drops to a thin cap and leaves a few lace spots. Sweet caramel nose with some peppery spice and alcohol. Flavour is interesting. This is a malty beast of a beer, with layers of caramel providing a sweetness which is amplified by bready malts. The hops have faded a lot, but still lend a faint leafy bitterness that helps provide balance. Still... the malts rule the show. Big, sticky mouthfeel works really well for a brew of this weight and I like it.

Past its prime, for sure, but it grows on you and reminds me somewhat of a decent barleywine. Thanks to Eric for bringing this over.

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Photo of mothman
2.35/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours little head. Color is a hazed copper amber.

Aroma: Caramel and bready malts. Some weedy and grassy some. A bit of spice shows. Big malt profile.

Taste: Metallic flavors, caramel malts, bready, sweet. Hops are faded, but still provide some bitterness. Very malty.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but no good hop flavors. Creamy as well. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sticky and weedy.

Overall, I'd like to have tried this fresh as this one just wasn't doing it for me. It was too malty for my liking and the hops just weren't what I was looking for.

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Photo of Lazerlobe
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Murky brown brew coats my snifter with sticky off white laced head. (how dirty)

S: Bready malt, play doh, carmelized toffee, aging hops and some light EtOH.

T: This is turning in to a solid barleywine. The hop presence is muted but still plays a big role, combining with the rich malt profile. There is a certain balance that these elements strike that weakens the knees. The malt and hops tip the hat at one another when cool, but as it the beer warms past 58 degrees or so, alcohol heat lends an unpleasant heat. I'll accept some blame for the warming as I am trying to finish this bottle off on my own.

M: Rich and sticky on the tongue, biting when warm.

D: Amazing beer, I wish I had tried it fresh. Pro-tip, do not allow to over-warm.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
2.98/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks to rlmartin and Thorpe429 for the hook-up

A - It pours a big orange-amber, with a voluminous off-white head and lots of lace.

S - The hops have faded, obviously, but they still pack a bitter wallop. There is also a ton of rich caramel maltiness. Notes of grapefruit, pine and caraway are also apparent.

T - The taste is quite spicy. Hops are still quite pungent in the mix, and there is a heavy rye-like spiciness that overwhelms the brew. The big caramel malt seems to exacerbate the situation, causing a brew that is too spicy, sweet and bitter. Alcohol is too prominent. The mouthfeel is also a culprit here.

M - Syrupy and sticky. Not helping the whole deal.

D - Past its prime, or perhaps it never had a prime, I can only speculate. I do know that the Ithaca Excelsior! Series tends to be very good across-the-board. This one, not so much.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.13/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a very deep red amber color with very minimal head. The aroma is loaded with malty sweetness and caramel with a slight touch of hops. The taste is super sweet but was expected. Drinks actually fairly easy. Minimal alcohol notes for a 10% abv beer. Medium mouthfeel. Starts with the aforementioned malt sweetness with a subtle hoppiness in the back end.

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Photo of afksports
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Blind Tiger as a continuing part of the Very Special Keg day. Third and final beer of the evening... that I remember.

Originally an '08 brew, this one was cellared and aged - I think for the right amount of time. It had a nice two finger head on the pour into the snifter. Deep red and brown, head had good retention. The smell is floral and sweet, as you'd expect from a complex red, although the hops aren't as present -- which makes sense given the age.

Taste is about the same - less hoppy than you'd expect from the style, but consistent with the age. There's a ton going on in the palate - malts, caramel, citrus, hints of hops, resin. It's big and creamy (that's what she said?) and although a slow sipper, still highly enjoyable.

Thanks, Blind Tiger, for a wonderful evening.

Now it's time for Advil.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Batch E!011 750ml bottle into a Whole Foods 30th Anniversary Imperial pint glass.

A: Opaque reddish-brown with a lingering single layer head.

S: Aged malts, booziness, and slight oxidation unfortunately.

T: Slight hoppiness, sweet malts, and a nice bitter finish.

M: This beer kind of changes "state" as it goes along. At first sip out of the fridge I thought there was no carbonation at all and was ready to drainpour it. I gave it a little time and the carbonation found its way. As it warmed up I noticed some sips were syrupy, weird.

D: I had no problem finishing this bottle by myself within 2 hours.

Overall, this one is a tough call whether to age any longer. If you go by booziness, yes. If you go by oxidation/wateriness/mouthfeel, no.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip; shared at a tasting.

A: Deep, hazy, ruby body with a finger of dark tan foam. Pretty solid.

S: Aged, slightly oxidized barleywine goodness: toffee, caramel, port, and booze. Nice.

T: Sweet caramel, toffee, alcoholic deliciousness. Much like the nose, but even more complex and intense. For a beer that was so hoppy originally, there isn't much bitterness left. I'm not complaining, though.

M: Smooth medium to full body with light carbonation. Nice.

D: Great for the strength and booziness. I'm really not bothered by the alcohol, but find the warmth to lend a nice facet to the overall experience.

Notes: Big thanks to Larry for sharing this vintage goodness with us. I'd been thinking about picking up a bottle of this for a long time (there are still a few drifting around shelves in CT), and having tried it I think I'll definitely pull the trigger. This one has aged nicely, and has the potential to do so for some time to come.


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TEN from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 238 ratings