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 morimech
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first beer from Ithaca Beer Co. Thanks to jwc215. Poured into my Duvel tulip. Pours dark brown and appears black in the glass. A large tan head forms and lasts a long time. Rich aroma of sugar, dark fruit, and yeast. Smells sweet. I am not so impressed with the flavor. The yeast dominates the flavor with a dry breadiness. All the fruity flavors are lost. Just a hint of spice in the finish. The yeast hurts the body as well. Has a chalky, clingy feel. Otherwise it is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. It would not take much to make this beer a lot better. Maybe I got a bottle that the yeast went crazy.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an Ithaca snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a 1.5 finger fine, light tan head that recedes as quickly as I can measure it into a thin wisp floating atop the brew. Beer is a unique near opaque dark purple-brown. Lacing sits where the head used to be with a waterfall effect to the level of the beer. Pretty beer.

S: Big pleasing Belgian yeastiness upfront with a mix of various ripe dark fruits and cocoa nibs.

T: Again, Belgian yeastiness is present upfront with an ample mix of over-ripe prunes. This blends neatly into an aggressive cocoa flavor that makes this beer a bit too abrasive and powdery. Hurts my throat when I swallow. Finish is a ripe fruit sourness mixed with a slight bitterness from the cocoa. Finish is oily, thick, and smoky, but thankfully, dissipates quickly.

M: Medium bodied, highly carbonated, and extremely coarse. I feel like I'm drinking undissolved cocoa powder at times and its hard to keep down. Watery in the mouth with a finish that just keeps getting thicker. This one is saliva inducing.

D: I won't be having this again. As it warms, this beer becomes more and more aggressive and harder and harder to keep down. Belgian side is nice and complex and I appreciate that. However, the cocoa side has me fighting to finish this one. I won't be revisiting this one again.

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Photo of tigg924
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: minimal head and carbonation, cloudy, chestnut brown in color

Smell:toasted malt, plums, hops, alcohol, and bread

Taste: bread, apple, raisins, and roasted malt

Mouthfeel: semi-sweet, modearte carbonation, medium bodied

Drinkability: An average saison that I want another of, but am in no rush to get. Not a bad effort.

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Photo of Kadonny
2.76/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: A murky brownish color with a hint of read. A large two finger off white head leaves nice glass lacing.

S: Bready and grainy with some musty funk and dark fruit. Some caramel sweetness comes through.

T: Yeasty funk up front with darker fruit flavors, grains, caramel malt, some sugar sweetness and a huge very offensive metallic flavor on finish. The finish is really turning me off.

M: A bit thin with alcohol flavor and that metallic taste.

D: Low, I could barely finish the bottle.

Overall not my favorite Ithaca beer by a longshot. I really did not enjoy this beer and will not reach for it again. Shame.

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Photo of movingtrain
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a Caracole glass.

So, the bottle reads, "Belgian-Style Amber Ale." But, BA says it's a Saison...which, if it is, I have never seen one this dark.

Pours a dark amber color with a good finger head on top.

Smells of those fine Belgian aromas--dark candy sugar, molasses, dried fruit, cereal, chocolaty malts, and cinnamon.

The taste is bitter on the tongue, but sweet on the finish. There is a slight metallic element here. The alcohol is fairly present, but decently balanced with the other flavors. I'm getting some raisin, almond, wheat bread crust, cinnamon spice, bitter apple, and hints of molasses.

Overall, this is a tasty beer...not one I would seek out at the store, but one that is worth a taste, for sure. Ithaca makes some fine brews, and this one is an excellent experiement for the Winter.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Recently picked up a 6'er of this at Big Z's in Huntington, NY after a "Taste of NY" beer tasting event that they hosted. I tried 2 others from Ithaca and at least 2 from each of several other breweries from NY and this was one of my favs (hence leaving with the 6'er).

Poured from 12oz bottle into an Ommegang tulip.

A - Poured a deep dark ruby brown with hints of amber on the sides when held to the light. Very thin yeasty head.

S - Sweet candy followed by citrus and malty fruitpunch. Great smelling beer.

T - Cherry, grape, sugar, citrus, orange and some alcohol spices. Really complex Saison. Much darker and rich in flavor than some others I've tried. The alcohol is definitely there, but the blend is pretty even and smooth.

M - Crisp and evenly blended. LOTS of carbonation, but it goes well with this beer. One of my favorite seasonals I've tried this year.

D - At the tasting, after trying everything I found myself going back and forth between this one and the capt lawrence liquid gold. Cold Front is an extremely drinkable brew and I think this one would be accessible to a wide variety of palettes.

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Photo of bobsy
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was pumped to find this beer on tap at Coles.

Essentially a dark saison, this beer pours a deep mahogany with a tan head that drops to a film, but leaves some nice lace spots. The aroma is sweet and spicy, not all that heavy for a saison, but nicely put together. There's some depth from the wheat and a nice peppery zing in the nose.

Like the aroma, this is sweeter than you'd usually find for the style. Lots of candy sugar, dark fruit and chocolate (perhaps chocolate malt lends more than colour to this beer). A surprising amount of roast in the middle. Some nice peppery yeast in the finish, and a good wheat zing that stops things from becoming cloying. There's also a pleasantly assertive bitterness. The body is crisp and well-clipped, and its medium mouthfeel and carbonation suit the style well.

I think this is the darkest looking saison I've ever had, and the added roast and dark fruit flavours certainly make it distinctive and stand out from the field. Its perhaps sweeter than I'd prefer, but still gets a big thumbs up from me!

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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 CHickman
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a 1/4 inch foamy tan head; smells of malt, yeast, spices, coriander, cinnamon and dark fruit.

Tastes of sweet malt, yeast, spices, coriander, cinnamon, dark fruit, caramel, chocolate, faint hops and then comes a roasted malt finish. Nice balance with light carbonation and sweet malty start then a roasted finish on the dry side.

Pretty good beer that is a good US representation of a Belgian style ale, which actually leans towards a US brown ale style. There is a nice mix of flavors that kept my palate guessing and interested, and this is another enjoyable beer from Ithaca.

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Photo of dacrza1
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Situation: Sunday after Christmas--what a good celebration...
Glassware: Rare Vos slanted pint...
Appearance: tremendously erupting thick brown head that serves a quarter of the glass... velvet black when held to the Christmas tree--a dark take on the saison indeed...
Aroma: the spices and cloves pleasantly frame the hops; a full-bodied flavor is foretold in the aroma...
Palate: vivacious, active medium-bodied ale; warming but not hot; alcohol strengthens as an undergirding form...
Taste: light fruitiness dances above mellow maltiness and softened floral hops--yet this beer also has a fortified strength that makes ir a good winter match...
Overall: a strange blend of a brew--heady and heavy at times, creamy and gulpable at others; fits the winter sampler, and if available around ehre, I might even seek it out on its own merits...

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip. Poursan almost opague color but when held up to the light it is a deep ruby color. Off white color heading little heading around the edges.

Smell of clove is immediate as soon as I popped the cap. A sweet candy sugar aroma in the middle with subtle spicey finish.

Taste is awkward. Roasted malt but is immediatley put aside by the belgian background. Clove , zestiness , a bit of a yeastiness to it as well. The subtle spiciness in the nose is apparent the taste in the end.

Mouth I'd say is medium to full bodied. Decent carbonation. A linger of spices and clove is left on the palate.

A unique beer that I did not expect whatsoever. Darker heavier malts with a belgian background. One of my new favorites from Ithaca.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
2.73/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12 ounce glass with a very generous 2 inch or so of head. The color is very dark almost like a dubbel. Yeasty, spices in the scent. Flavors of bread dominate, a few notes of fruity sweetness. But mostly yeast flavored. Alcohol is pretty apparent and warming. Not flavorful enough to reach for this one again.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle on 12/4/09

A - pours a dark chestnut almost black with a little bit of foam

S - malty, with hints of spices, brown sugar, nothing too overpowering

T - maltiness throughout the mouth, some spices, slight belgian pepperness, some brown sugar sweetness

M - nice peppery mouthfeel, good carbonation

D - not bad though i don't know if i'd seek out another

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Photo of Minotaur
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark brown beer with some amber highlights form the tap at Blue Tusk into a pint glass; the head is about one finger's worth and hangs around for most of the beer. Upon drinking through the glass some frosty lacing remains.

There is a definite dark and roasted malt, spice, yeast, candi-sugar/molasses element.

The taste is reminiscent of the aroma but it is not overly sweet. It is actually more pleasantly bitter, toasty, rich and bready tasting (like its Belgian origin) than would initially be expected. This lends a heartiness vs. a "desert" flavor. The spices are mellow like mulled wine rather than fruit-cake like. The use of the wheat malt leaves a very chewy flavor and mouthfeel.

This beer is quite drinkable with a moderate alcohol and little of that taste coming through. Cold Front was the "surprise" winner at our Blue Tusk outing. It is a well thought-ought, crafted, and balanced winter ale.

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Photo of ProLiquorMan
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks very good. A really dark brown/amber color. A short head that dissipates quickly.

Hard to describe both the smell and taste! Smells like dried plants. Grassy? Hay? I have no idea. It's a nice smell but I can't really pinpoint. Yeast blended with a slight hint of cheesiness.

The taste resembles the nose. Dry and slightly yeasty/cheesy.

This is ale is quite the enigma. Can't really pinpoint the flavors but I like it! A good flavorful ale.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 12/30/09 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, wheat, dark fruit and dark malts.

T: The taste is sweet with flavors of dark fruit and some spices. Then some wheat and Belgian yeast breadiness that come in next. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The hops presence is mild very mild but still brings a good balance. The after-taste is bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style while adding some variation, this is a very nice Belgian beer that is worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in a pint(ish) glass.

Appearance: very dark brown with ample head and thick lace

Nose: horse blanket, old grass, minor dark fruit

Taste: smokey, aged and complex, minor dark fruit in the finish

Mouthfeel: crisp and effervescent

Drinkability: this is a great cold weather day brew to drink during a snow storm

I didn't pay attention to the label when I opened the beer. I thought it was a traditionally hoppy winter ale. Much to my surprise, its a dark farmhouse ale. Wow, get this if you have a chance. It is a beautifully different rendition of the traditional saison.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A Saison / Farmhouse... interesting. Bottle says this is a Belgian style amber.

Pours cloudy brown with tons of foam that rise over the sides of the pint glass. It dissipates slowly, clinging to the glass as it recedes.

There is a distinctive fruity yeast aroma. However, the yeastiness in the taste is pleasantly subdued. A lot of dark malt flavor underpinned by a belgian yeastiness. Reminds me of a Hook and Ladder Backdraft Brown fermented with a Belgian strain. Not bad at all, as I am not a fan of the yeast-forward beers.

The mouthfeel is moderate with above average carbonation - right in line with the style. The 7.2% ABV is pretty well hidden.

Overall, a very good attempt at a style that I don't regularly drink or particularly care for.

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Photo of number1bum
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, sort of like a cola color, with about two inches of quickly rising tan head. Head settles slowly and keeps a decent lace, along with a few splashes of stick on the sides.

Smell has some dark caramel sugar, sweet, freshly baked bread, some yeasty character and a bit of spice. It's pleasant, but not terribly strong or very complex.

Taste also starts with some dark caramelized malt, bread dough and subtly musty yeast, and finishes somewhat spicy with a hint of bitterness. A bit of anise flavor too. It's a bit more complex than the nose was, and it's quite smooth and flavorful.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty crisp, with a very clean finish. It dries out in the finish as well.

This reminds me quite a bit of Sierra Nevada's brown saison. I quite enjoyed it and considering the very reasonable pricetag I'd definitely pick it up again. Worth picking up for sure.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

Deep russet color with a fluffy beige head that had plenty of legs and left bits of sticky lacing.
Belgian yeast and spicy aroma, nice.
Taste is very good, fine balance of roasted malt, Euro-hops and 'farmhouse' yeast spices.
Medium bodied with a clean, crisp feel.
Very tasty, easy drinking beer.

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Photo of jwc215
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by January notched on label.

Pours almost black with a thin, tan head that lasts awhile before becoming a swirling patch. Little lacing sticks.

The smell is of cotton candy, banana, caramel/toffee, anise and slight roast.

The taste is of sweet cotton candy (though sweetness is lost), bananas, slight roast and anise. Some alcohol shows. It has an earthy/herbal, almost metallic bitter touch in the finish.

The carbonation is towards effervescent. It has a light side of medium body. There's a slight astringency/coarse feeling to it.

Not too sweet or spicy. A bit of a rough edge to it. Interesting, and a decent attempt at a "Belgian-style" brew from a brewery that doesn't specialize in Belgian-style brews. But it was a sipper, and satisfied enough to just have one 12 oz. bottle of it. A bit of bready funk well into aftertaste, but the immediate aftertaste (dirty coins?) I wasn't too fond of.

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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 ClockworkOrange
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A saison? Label states it is a Belgian-Style Amber ale. Anyway, a 12 oz. bottle purchased at Abe's in Bethlehem for around $1.75. Poured into my nonic pint glass. The ale appears the color of dark cloudy iced tea with about an inch of creamy off light tan foam. A nice looking pour. Lots of yeast, bananas, cherries, apples, slightly sour flavor, cloves. A sour, bitter, sweet, spicy drink from start to finish. Medium to full bodied for the style and amply carbonated. A lot going on here for the money.

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Photo of josefnewsong
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - pours a dark ruby/brown with little head and little to no lacing (maybe because the girl poured it this time)
s - smells immediately of alcohol, then hints of dark fruit and spice
t - dark fruits, some kind of roastiness, and hints of spices that i can't quite pinpoint individually
m - a little syrupy at first, fairly full-bodied, with a nice carbonated finish
d - i could toss back a couple for sure.

Similar to Ommegang Three Philosophers with less taste complexities, less fruit, more spice, and less so maybe not that similar but that's what it's reminding me of at the moment....
As it warms the subtle tastes start to pop out a bit. I like.

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Photo of ericmunley
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Went to my local Wegman's with a $10 bill and an adventurous mood. I've been spending the cold Pennsylvania winter enjoying stouts, so I figured I'd give this Belgian-style amber ale a go.

Ithaca Cold Front pours a very dark, almost opaque amber with a creamy pinkish tan head. Decent head retention and lacing. Pretty formidable looking beer.

Has the standard boozy Belgian smell with some dark fruit in the nose. Nothing out of the ordinary for this style of beer.

The taste was a pleasant surprise for the price of this beer. I had one with my brother, and he compared it to the St. Bernardus Christmas offering...which is high praise. Booze up front with dark fruits and some bitterness at the end (a good bitterness though...almost an oaky character).

Cold Front's mouthfeel is about average. It is a slighly syrupy, liberally carbonated ale. I'm used to drinking low carbed stouts so I'll chalk that up to the transition.

Drinkability is surprisingly good for an almost-7% ABV beer. I had two bottles without breaking a sweat.

Overall, Ithaca's Cold Front is a solid beer. Fans of true Belgians might not be as forgiving as I, but I enjoyed the drinking experience. If you have $10 that's burning a hole in your pocket, pick this sixer up.

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