Cold Front | Ithaca Beer Company

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Cold FrontCold Front

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WesWes on 09-04-2009

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Reviews: 147 | Ratings: 346
Photo of muletrane
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (best by 12/12) into a Bruery tulip.

A: Pours a hazy plum colour with 2.5 fingers of dense, creamy light tan head. Good retention and lacing.

S: Lots of Belgian style yeast notes and dark fruits. Also a touch of tartness as well.

T: Similar to the nose with a touch of spiciness but doesn't quite reach the same level. The flavor is still nice and very drinkable. Finishes dry with some lingering yeast notes.

M: Moderately thin body with moderate carbonation.

Overall I think this a solid winter offering from Ithaca. Alot of nice Belgian characteristics in this beer. Not too spicy like some other winter offerings.

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Photo of asabreed
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. How is this a Saison? Or is it a brown Saison ala SN?

Appearance: A darker and mildly hazy amber with cola-colored lacing that seems to die a bit faster than it should, especially for a Belgian.

Smell: A lot of spice and fruit esters and citrus coming in, with some dark cherries, pungent apple skin, and a lot of earthiness with some mild funk. Balanced but could be more complex. Still fairly nice.

Taste: Spicy, yeasty, distinctly Belgian, with a good amount of citrus hop bitterness and some good dark fruit esters and prominent apple skin. A mild, mild bit of earthy funk too. But the finish is just gone before you know it, which takes it down a notch for me.

Mouthfeel: Gets to be a bit chalky with the swirl and pour near the end, but before that it's medium bodied with good all-around coating carbonation and doesn't seem cloying.

Drinkability: A solid brew from Ithaca -- I just want to know what the hell it is. As a Belgian, it's a great sipper over the course of an evening. As a Saison, well, I'm not sure. Worth a try, and I'd try it again.

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Photo of jlindros
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was expecting a much lighter beer, being called an "amber" ale, but it is Belgian and I guess made for winter-ish time. It forms a creamy and fizzy 1 finger head that fades at a medium pace, over very dark chocolate brown colored beer.

The nose has some Belgian dark ale aromas, some dark candi sugar, a little brown sugar and molasses, some fruit too, little raisin, some dark malts, Belgian dark malts, crystal malt, a touch of booze, and a faint chocolate malt aroma.

The taste comes more with porter like flavors. Some roasted malt, a hint of chocolate again, some toasty malts, dark Belgian malts still, touch of toffee. More sugar as well, a little candi sugar, touch of molasses, and caramel malts. Some fruit too, little raisin and other dried dark fruits. SOme sweetness with a touch of warming booze. I also get a little coffee, the fresh coffee flavor with a little acidity and juicy coffee taste. It finishes with a little roasted malt minerality, and a little bitterness coming out on the finish too. A touch of a sticky feel at the end, and some lingering candi sugar, and toffee.

The mouth is medium body with some syrupy feel and decent carbonation. Long syrupy sticky finish too.

The drinkability is a little lower, but OK for the style at least. It has quite a bit of sweetness and syrupy tastes, and sticky finish, and drinks a little warm for only 7.2%. It's a definite winter or late fall cold day to sip, perhaps by a fire, or while cuddling with a loved one.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a plain old pint glass before supper. No best by date, but i'll assume it's fresh.

Chestnut brown with ruby red highlights towards some light, Cold front is indeed a dark ale that is a dark amber as well. A sustaining off/white caramel colored foam stood to an inch before settling to a frothy cap leaving blotchy spots.

CF's nose is bold and bursting with varying scents although it's a bit muddled. There is alot of spices and a big yeasty scent giving slight barnyard/saison type scents. Some earthy hops in here, nothing citrusy though. Malts in the back reminding me this has a amber base.

Beginning middle and end with the yeast upfront and noted. Barnyard and a light musk with heavy handed bread, you can just taste it. Under that a small wheat underneath some barley. Toasted malts give off the amber ale in the end. The Belgian comes out in the yeast, but perhaps too much. The spices are big, but I can't place them. Sadly, i don't get any fruit at all from this.

A healthy medium build with enough carb to cut through the liquid to hit the tounge although lightly. There is a big aftertaste of spice that STAYS. This was good for a gander but I think that ull do. This was a good one to sip on from time to time, big gulps would of drowned out the palete real quick with spice and yeast which docks drinkability a bit.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours brownish orange with an off-white head. A ring of retention all thru the pin. No lace.

Smells spicy, yeasty, a little toasted wheat, a little sour funk.

A Belgian-style brew for sure, we have some toasted malt, some candied notes, a little yeasty funk, moderate bitterness, and a mild bitter and slightly bready-sour note at the end. I like the grain in this one, and the finish is nice.

Medium bodied - barely. A little light.

Overall, this cannot compete with Belgian brews - uh, from Belgium -- but this is a very decent domestic version of the style. I wanted a bit more of the toasty note, but that is my only complaint. To find this quality in a 6 is a nice opportunity of all of us. Decent brew.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: deep ruby red/tan body, finger head, beautiful lacing

S: malt, mild citrus, nuts, caramel, ripe fig/dates

T: sweet ripe (dates/figs), malt, light bready/biscuity
smooth/semi-dry finish

M: medium body, smooth mouth

O: Very nice Winter offering.
Ithaca has delivered another fine brew.
I would get this again and recommend.


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Photo of StoneTSR
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Deep, dark brown with a hazy opaqueness which would come through more clearly if this beer weren't so dark. A fantastic, inch-thick head with very big, homogeneous bubbles. It did dissipate quickly, but an eighth of an inch remained strong long after the rest had faded. The only area it lacked in was lacing.

SMELL: Strong smoky aroma with hints of malt and just a wisp of coffee and chocolate.

TASTE: Smoky, oak, malt flavors with hints of spice, coriander and raisins. While the Cold Front tastes malty it is, somehow, not too sweet. A nice balance.

MOUTHFEEL: A bit syrupy, but with a light sparkle. Smooth and easy drinking.

OVERALL: I initially tried this beer at the brewery in Ithaca and remember being quite delighted in the taste after the bartender described it for us. Typically a Belgian-style amber would be too sweet and not hoppy enough for me. While the hops weren't there, it wasn't sweet at all and actually was quite delightful. A shame this was only brewed once.

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Photo of FeloniousDrunk
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured deep reddish brown from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. A 1-finger ecru head showed, then dissappeared into a whispy ring around the glass. Not much lacing.

Smell is of coriander, bananas, malts, and fruit.

Taste is spicy, banana-bread, coriander, allspice, alcohol. Not too shabby, but I've had better.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin and syrupy, with some bright carbonation at the front.

Drinkability gets a hit due to the powerful flavors that can overwhelm over a session.

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Photo of Throckmorton
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - deep reddish brown, slight head

s - subtle malt, very slight funk, perhaps some bit of unidentifiable spices.

T - nice, crisp, with a bit of spice and distinct Belgian character funk.

M - medium

D - nice beer, fun to try, slow drinker for me. good winter brew.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark, hazy walnut brown with red highlights around the edges. The head is big and fluffy but goes away quickly

S - Plums, cherries, hint of alcohol. Some toffee and rawhide notes as well

T - A nice full fruity body with hints of roasted malts and chocolate. It's got somewhat of a dry finish, that's just a bit unsettling.

M - I think it's a bit too carbonated, but it has a nice fullness to it.

D - It's got a warming quality to it, which is nice, but it's also surprisingly heavy, so it's not really great.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 10/11/2009. Growler from Big Z Beverage. Pours a dark brown with a very small white head. Aroma of roasted nuts, spices (pepper, clove), and Belgian yeast. Flavor is quite spicy upfront with some roasted nuts and malty character as well. Pretty decent, more like a BSA than saison though.

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Photo of silentjay
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a muddy brown that shows amber hues when held up to the light and a decent off-white head that quickly recedes, but leaves behind some good lacing

raisins, molasses. plenty of toasted, slightly roasty malts, but with the belgian fruit, spicy, phenolic character behind that.

tastes like a belgian dubbel turned down a few notches, but with some added roast. raisins, molasses, caramel, and toasty malts with a significant roast on the swallow and some spices on the finish.

a slightly watery body with a prickly carbonation and a syrupy and slightly boozy finish.

overall, this drinks pretty easy, but lacks a depth of character and with a phenolic boozy finish.

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Photo of steelerguy
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Caramel color, nice light tan head, and moderate carbonation. The head dissipated pretty quickly with some lacing left on the sides.

S - Some light and sweet toffee and chocolate aromas. Some penols also come though that give it a little tang on the nose.

T - Like the smell, a lot of malt up front with a bit of a toffee sweetness. The spice/phenols become prevalent. Then it ends with a bit of hop bitterness.

M - Light crisp feel, quite refreshing feel.

D - This is a good beer, which was enjoyed, but the spiciness becomes a bit tiring after awhile.

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Photo of MistahBeah
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear chestnut hue. Lively bubbly white head with mild retention. I would expect some more retention for the style. Some spots of lace

Smells of dark and citrus fruits - cherries, lemon, plums, raisins, some tart apples also. Actually this smells pretty tart. Caramel malts and a faint roastiness. A definite smokiness wraps it up

Taste is very malt-forward. Roasty and smoky. Those tart fruits begin to shine through next. Lemon, tart berries, cherries. Some sweet plums and raisins. A good deal of spice - definitely picking up some pepper and coriander. Some herbal bitterness rounds out the spices. This is a pretty complex beer

Feels lively. Carbonation and spiciness play on the palate nicely. Light body for the style. Clean, even a tad watery

Overall a tasty compex Belgian style brew. Pretty well-balanced. No alcohol detected here. Not a great example of the style but better than you'd think. Worth a try for sure

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Photo of WesWes
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a complex array of crystal and roasted malts along with a funky saison yeast aroma. The taste is decent. It has a pretty good malt bill that's a bit sweet with caramael malts. The yeast provides a good deal of esters. It's funky, but not as much as would be the case with just pale malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a nice idea. I like the taste, but I'm not in love with the beer as a whole. I'm not sure I like the choice of yeast with this one. Anyway, keep brewing up the good shit, Chief!

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Photo of brentk56
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a rather modest head for a Belgian style beer; a reasonable number of dots linger on the tulip's side

Smell: Caramel, powdered sugar, banana and spice cake elements

Taste: Opens malt-forward, with the caramel, but an odd assortment of spices build through the middle; there is some banana and spice cake but also a cherry medicinal aspect that lingers well through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I would characterize this as Belgian-influenced rather than Belgian-style and, while I rather enjoyed the beer, I was not fond of the medicinal taste; the mouthfeel was very American and not at all in the Belgian manner

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Photo of prdstmnky
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*review from notes on 9/28/10*

Fairly aggressive pour yields a medium brown ale, with some amber tints to it, a healthy 2+ fingers of tan head, and light lacing. Lots of Belgian yeast and dark fruits, and a bit of spiciness in the nose. The taste seems to follow right along with the smell, dark fruits (prunes, raisins, purple plums), a nice yeastiness (if thats even a word), also some sweetness (caramel / toffee) and spice - a nice flavor profile. I get alot of carbonation in the mouth, and its dry. I didn't have huge expectations going into this tasting, and it pretty much lived up to that - an overall decent Belgian ale.

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Photo of m1ked
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single 12 oz bottle from WF Bowery beer room, right before the Vikings-Cowboys playoff game.

A- Pours an almost opaque red-brown-black. When held up to the light there is a slight brown-garnet lighting poking through. Gives a 1.5 inch sandy colored head that fades with some minor lacing on the edges.

S- I get dark banana and cloves right off the bat, some sweetness like a powdered donut.

T- I get the clove and some banana in the front, with some peppery notes, caramel and raisins. It almost seems like a hefe and dubbel hybrid. It clearly has the belgian notes (I'm guessing from the yeast used). There is a lingering metallic bitterness that I don't like.

M- Medium-mild bodied that does have a lingering presence on the tongue. Mild yet constant carbonation. Overall the mouthfeel is unremarkable, but not in a bad way, more like a backseat.

D- I don't see myself drinking alot of this, I think the banana/clove notes are too pronounced to be able to drink much of this. Its not bad, just not something I would drink alot of, but I am glad I got to try it, and I m glad they try different styles too. BTW it is listed on the bottle as a belgian amber- not a saison, but whatever.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks nice. Smells nice. A decent stab at the style. Won't go down as the greatest Belgian amber ever, but it's still coming off respectable. Could stand a bit more tweaking and smoothing around the edges, but it definitely works. Especially considering the style and how often it's mediocre at best.

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Photo of aaron72
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

poured from a bottle into a unibroue belgian style chalice glass.

it pours a cloudy dark red, amber color with a 3/4" head. the head is tan & robust at first then fades quickly to lacing on the glass. their was a bit of sediment on the bottom of the bottle that i swished to top my glass off with.

the smell is of sweet & sour fruit, smoke & very little hops. a very odd smelling brew!

the taste up front is sour fruit.... slight belgian spice... uhhh?.... i like the yeast flavor.... the alcohol is there but well hidden... ive never tasted another ale like it.... slightly smokey & the hops are not prevalent. the taste is belgian but not quite belgian. paradoxical.

the mouthfeel is slightly carbonated & smooth.

this is an original brew! the bottle says "belgian style amber ale" & i would agree. it's belgian inspired but original all on its own. as the ale warms it offers more belgian flavor notes.... i really dig this brew as it's very easy to drink. i give the ithaca brewery credit for this daring offering!!

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Photo of puboflyons
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on November 13, 2011. It pours a handsome looking dark amber with a nice, silky, tan head that lingers. The aroma is emboldened with blended European malts, yeast, and a freshly baked bread element. The body falls well into the medium range but it is kind of carbonated. The taste begins powerfully with candied sugar and sweet Belgian malts at the start followed by a slightly unexpected sharp hopped bitterness at the tail end. It really catches the feel of a good Belgian influenced dark ale but it seemed just a little off the mark. But it would not stop me from buying it again.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark & tawny reddish amber - almost a warm brown. Slightly hazy with plentiful bubbles rising to join the good-size, fluffy, light tan head. Foam turns sort of rocky then fades to a cap and leaves some nice lacing - especially at first.

S: Belgian nose in a yeasty and fruity way. Fruit is estery grape skins, dark dried fruits, and a light zesty twang. Yeast is a bit peppery (a sort of saison character), but also blends well with a bread crusty malt aspect. Picking up some darker, roasty malts too. Not much in the way of hops. Intriguing and inviting.

T: A bit of candy sweetness accents the toasty bread crust malts. Faint caramel with some darker stuff lending a nice toffee edge. Dark fruit (raisins & prunes) seem malt derived and blend in with the estery grape skins and soft almost citrus yeasty twang. Yeast also lends a bit to the bready aspect is more peppery up front. There is also a super faint clove note. Hops make an appearance at the end and come across as spicey and herbal. The aftertaste is almost abrupt - even crisp - and then some earthy bitterness lingers on with a slight, slight funk. Just a tad more robust would get the next rating.

M: Slightly under average attenuation with a bit over average CO2. Almost full, yet lively. Some residual sugars to chew on. Finish trends semi-sweet, and is balanced by a peppery twang. Just a touch warming.

D: Not as funky or out-there as some Belgian style interpretations. It does hit the right notes and is reasonable complex, but just lacks a little in the umph department. I do like how the yeast gives a bright, zesty, sort of counter-seasonal (almost summery) twang. Great as fall or even spring seasonal.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Totowa for the holidays since it was the only winter seasonal that they had that I hadn't tried yet. This wasn't a bad beer and only seemed to be "strong" in name as neither the taste or amount of alcohol in this was terribly heavy.

This had an opaque brown hue to it and only a little bit of head and lacing to it as I poured it out. The mouthfeel was a bit thin and contained the typical clove and dark fruit (plum, fig) notes to it that one would expect in a beer like this. Just a hint of caramel stickiness in the back before the sour aftertaste kicks in - this is Belgian in taste but the flavors need something like wheat to give them more body and durability.

Sure enough, this was strong enough to warm me up and I could easily have had another in a sitting if it was cold out as it's been here lately. This isn't bitter and the little amount of yeast is just enough to perk this beer up and make it a nice, mellow choice for dark early winter nights!

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Photo of almychristopher
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this beer pours a brown color, crystal clear with some red hightlights. the aroma deffintely prsents those nasty farmhouse esters... god bless 'em. there's a bit of roasty toastiness going on from the malts... the taste follows with a nice bit of malty sweetness, with the saison yeast doing there thing with the esters producing the requisite fruitiness and earthiness. the medium body and the tart finish makes this a nice drink. thanks for the growler pour weswes.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear light amber with a two finger head.

S-Some dark fruits and raisins, some yeast as well. Slight, slight hops.

T-Similar to the nose, with sweet dark fruits as the main attraction. Mild bitterness in the finish.

M-Creamy, rather carbonated and medium bodied.

O-Another solid beer from Ithaca, an interesting choice for a winter seasonal but good nonetheless.

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Cold Front from Ithaca Beer Company
3.68 out of 5 based on 346 ratings.
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