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Cold Front | Ithaca Beer Company

148 Reviews
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Cold FrontCold Front

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States | website

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 347
Photo of claspada
2.04/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Aromas are all Belgian; dark fruits, mostly prune, and a mild spice notes. Some light hops but this is mainly caramely/candy sugars, not bad but there's something missing.

The taste is hard to swallow, literally... Some malty dark fruits but the yeast flavor is extremely overpowering and the banana/cloviness is so prolific and one-dimensional it makes the mouthfell suffer as well. I do not think the "dark farmhouse" worked out as well as the brewer hoped, really hit or miss so far for me on the Ithaca collection.

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Photo of zdk9
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours out a dark deep walnut brown that's impenetrable to the light. A finger of pretty froth that leaves some pretty lacing.

S- Smells of dark dried fruit, wood, rum, unbaked dark wheat bread.

T- Taste is malty, dark wheat, light rum. Some roast- well toasted almonds perhaps.

M- Bitter and dry on the sides of my mouth. Sweet in the middle. Alcohol is pretty hot in the throat. Carbonation is higher than expected. A lot of stuff going on in the mouthfeel.

O- An interesting beer. Good flavors, complexity, interesting mouthfeel. I like it. Another good offering from IBC and continuing their foray into Belgian offerings.

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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 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 Stinkypuss
3.31/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Darkest of browns in color with an off-white foam that looks like mocha cream. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts, some bread notes.

Taste: Dark fruit, coupled with some mild chocolate. Faint coffee and roasted flavors. Hops have died down to a ghost bitterness that keeps the beer from being cloying. After some time in storage, this beer has had the malt take over with just a wee bit of alcohol being noticed.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. A bit thin. Carbonation is OK, though somewhat low.

Drinkability: Decent tasting, but alittle past it's prime. What's there is nice however, and if this is in your cellar it may be time to consume.

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Photo of BB1313
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best Before March 2010. 12 oz bottle poured into standard pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, almost black.. reminds me of Coke/Pepsi. Very nice fluffy head and nice lacing. The smell is wonderful, filled w/ cherries and candied sugars. The taste is more bitter than I anticipated. Along w/ the cherries and fruits, there is a strong chocolate/toffee presense. The mouthfeel is nice for the style, very carbonated. Drinkability is ok, one worked for me.

Perhaps this would be more enjoyable when it's cool out versus this heat we're dealing w/ now. Nonetheless, this is a pretty unique brew.

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Photo of hossua34
4.4/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Thick, dark brown-black color. A large, fluffy head that lasts a long, long time. Quite a bit of lacing.

S - Very complex scent. Fruity bread dough, rye crust, molasses, spice and a zesty citrus overtone. Very strong and appealing.

T - Very Belgian taste. Molasses and gingerbread notes. Spicy and sweet at the same time. Banana-like fruitiness, with a tart finish.

M - Couldn't ask for much more.

D - A bit of a citric aftertaste, and I could stand the finish being a little less sour. However, overall this beer was way more than I had expected. Definitely will be buying this again.

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Photo of bourbonbock
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a six pack of this at the Ithaca Beer Company. Although they were out of this on tap I generally like Belgian Ales so I picked this up.

A. Great looking beer! This pours a deep amber with glints of caramel. The head is extremely frothy and verrrry slow to dissipate.

S. Roasted barley and yeasty overtones. The smell is somewhat subdued compared to the flavor. Or I may just be drinking this one a little too cold.

T. Spicy roasted malts with a very good yeast profile. This beer has a very malty profile with only a little hint of hops in there to balance it back a little bit. The aftertaste is getting to me a little bit in the back of the throat.

M. Very heavy and almost excessive carbonation. I think this beer would be much more balanced if IBC were to tone back the carbonation slightly.

D. I drank this one back quick. It was good but it'll catch up to you quick. Definitely not a session ale.

Overall a very good beer. The presentation is great each sip has left a ring around the glass.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A spicy and sweet Belgian Ale that has sugary and grain undertones.

The beer begins with a heavy looking pour into the glass. A dense tan head forms up the glass and evenly disipates to none at all. Solid brown with burgundy highlights, showing moderate haze.

Cotton candy confection aromas rise first and provide the spring board for stone fruit notes and spicy phenolics. Toast and alcohol notes are evident.

Very sweet taste from beginning to end. Sugar coated plumbs, figs, dates, grapes, raisons, cherries, and apples make a dramatic and flavorful first impression. The beer never turns but as the sweetness subsides, there's a real lack of pilner malt breadiness in support, allowing the beer to finish with a soda pop sugary taste. The alcohols and spices weave together for a varying display of flavors. Still, the lack of malt allows the grain flavors and light acidity to rise in the finish.

Bold and creamy at first, but as the carbonation falls, the body becomes increasingly heavy, weighted and mildly syrupy. Grain textures come into play as the sweetness fades into alcohol and spice. A bit bitey in the end could be of spices or hops.

Cold Front has some pleasantries early on, but the beer becomes messy once the lack of malt flavor and body becomes evident. It's kinda like having all the best Christmas ornaments, but the tree is in shambles.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Rust orange with so much carbonation that a massive crown of soft and fluffy foam was a foregone conclusion. Actually, there aren't *that* many visible bubbles, so things may be all right in the end. Some lace manages to stick.

Even though IBC describes this brew as a Belgian-style amber ale, it smells like a Belgian dark ale. Some percentage of roasted malt (in addition to wheat and Munich) will do that. The nose is fruity and spicy and slightly phenolic and... enjoyable.

Cold Front does taste Belgian, so props for that. Trouble is, it doesn't come together as well as it could (partly as a result of the mouthfeel) and will probably miss out on a good score as a result. Let's see what the middle four ounces have to say for themselves.

Specifics include dark fruits, pumpernickel toast, black pepper and clove. There's a little too much Band-Aid phenolic character for this to be a keeper. Besides, the beer is too thin and too harshly bubbled to seep into the taste buds like it needs to in order to impress.

While the passage of time helps the mouthfeel to some extent, it never does rise above average; especially when compared to a real Belgian brew. Drinking it fresher might have helped, but then any 7.2% ale that can't last for two seasons beyond the release doesn't deserve high marks.

Ithaca Beer Company has given us some amazing ales (Ten and Old Habit come to mind). Cold Front didn't leave me chilly, but I never did really warm up to it either. Thanks to jwc215 for the bottle.

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Photo of generallee
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured into a tulip glass from a growler which was filled at Consumers Beverage.

Appearance: The body has a dark brownish color with reddish highlights. The pour produced only a small tan head which quickly fades to wispy thin covering. Lacing is minimal and very slick, sliding right down the sides of the glass.

Smell: Its aroma is pleasantly sweet, fruity, estery and yeasty.

Taste/Palate: The flavor starts with sweet malty, bready and earthy yeasts notes for the base. As it warms some mild dark fruity notes come out along with a hint of spice and hops. It finishes with a sort of sweet and funky fruity yeast thing going on. The texture has a firm smooth feel with mild carbonation.

Notes: Overall not a real stand out but it can hold its own and it is very drinkable.

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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 beertunes
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another thanks to orcasteve. Poured into balloon goblet. Poured a slightly translucent mahogany color. This beer is called an Amber by the brewery, but it's very dark. It had just under an inch of medium tan head that had moderate retention and just a little lacing.

The aroma was sweet and fruity, with just a bit of spiced yeast scent. The flavors followed along loyally, there was nothing on the tongue I didn't pick up on the nose.

The body was good, solid but not heavy, lingering but not sticky or clingy. Drinkability was good, I could easily drink a growler of this without getting bored.

Overall, a very good beer that doesn't really match the style the brewers chose for it. Worth trying if you see it.

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Photo of lovindahops
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into ithaca pint glass (yup, went to the brewery today)

A- dark as night. Looks like a coca cola. Good rocky head that disappears. Lacing not that great

S- great belgium scents of cinnamon, bananas, and toffee. Very fruity and flavorfull. It hides the alcohol well

T- brown sugar surrounds a dark flavor profile. Very sweet malty flavor that is surrounded by the toffee flavor. Bready flavor exits

M- decent carbonation with a thick flavor

D- another good brew from ithaca brewery. The dark flavors provide a good brew for the colder seasons. I really recommend this for someone who wants a filling, flavorful craft brew for the cold

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Photo of TheTrevor
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark brown with ruby highlights and a big fluffy three-finger tan head. The smell is very Belgian, with some of the characteristic yeastiness and a bit of fruitiness and spiciness. The taste starts off with some sweet breadiness with a bit of alcohol in the middle and some spiciness in the finish. The mouthfeel is satisfying thick with some fine carbonation. This beer is probably my favorite from Ithaca, if I didn't know better you could probably convince me it's actually from Belgium.

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Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Russian River stemmed Belgian glass.

A - Pours a quite dark brown color with ruby highlights when held up to the light. A finger of cream colored foam sits on top for a brief duration and then falls to a thin surface layer and a bit of lace left on the glass.

S - Very fruity up front (black cherries?) with a distinctive spicy, clovey and Belgian yeast character mixed in. Just a hint of alcohol finds its way to the nose too.

T - Still thinking black cherries after the first sip. Lots of Belgian yeast character, cloves are prominant in the flavor. Some sharp/crisp hop bitterness blends nicely. Overall, I'm fairly impressed by this one.

M - Medium bodied with fairly high carbonation level. Sits on the tongue for a moment before sliding to the swallow. A cooling clove/spice sensation on every sip fills the mouth.

D - Very nice example of an American Belgian ale. Lots of Belgian character, pretty authentic overall. There are definitely better ones out there, but this does a pretty good job at the style. Probably won't get to revisit this one, but glad I got a chance to give it a try.

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3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass.

A: Garnet or russet colored with an above average size creamy tan head. Great retention. Spare lacing. The body has an 85% opacity and ruby edges line the glass.

S: Malt heavy, sweet smelling dark fruits, mainly raisin/prune, herbal hops, lightly spiced and pronounced Belgian yeast. The yeast is very distinct and recognizably Belgian. (Coincidentally, a quick check on the Ithaca website reveals: "fermented with a legendary Belgian 'Farmhouse' yeast."

T: Exactly what you would expect given the nose. Only weaker.

M: Dry finish. Seems to lack sweetness and is much too thin for my preference.

D: The Ithaca website calls this a Belgian-style Amber Ale and the BA website is calling it a Belgian Dark Ale. Whatever this beer is, it's certainly not a BSDA which is what the pub menu led me to believe, and possibly why the Cold Front received mostly average ratings. Or maybe it was on the merits of the beer alone... Nonetheless, this one needs some help...or heart...or tweaking or something.

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

Off tap at the brewery this beer was a dark garnet/copper color with two fingers of khaki-colored head. The aroma was spicy with hints of fruit, wild yeast and sandalwood. The flavors were odd! A combination of earthy malt first then followed by a sourness in the middle coupled with the tart notes of Bret-like yeast. Hints of roasted malt appeared as it warmed up along with more esters and caramel malt. The mouthfeel, body and carbonation were all average. A Belgian dark ale? I wasn't exactly sold.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Woo hoo! This is today's sleeper. I thought I had remembered good things about Ithaca beers. It was a good memory and this is adds to that.

First off, I am heading back to that store and buying MORE. It was a super deal - $6.99 for 6. I don't think that's right. This tastes like something that should be more expensive.

Very authentic tasting. Rich and Belgian tasting. Dark and kind of woody. This is how it should be. At $6.99, I'm getting as much as they have!

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Mr. Beery, Bethpage, NY.

Poured a deep amber hue with a half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a bold ester, candy sugar and an earthy hop.

The taste consisted of an upfront spicy ester, followed by a light sweetness and finishing a bit bitter.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty dark ale.

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

a: deep brown in color, head light to average

s: some lighter aromas of dark fruits - mostly prune - and a mild spice, lightly hopped, some heavier sugars, not bad but there's something missing

m: light-medium body, dull carbonation

t: malty dark fruits and a yeast flavor that seems to be one-dimensional spice, prunes, mild hops and a slight sharpness, don't think the "dark farmhouse" worked out as well as hoped, but it's a reasonably enjoyable beer

d: reasonably drinkable, but not much here to bring me back

heavy chalice at Eulogy, Philadelphia

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Photo of BeerGodz
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: Deep chocolate color, fizzy head that dissipates quick, good lacing

Smell: Brown sugar, alcohol, wood, slight banana

Taste: Up Front: Cola, spice, burnt toast, clove
Finish: Toffee, chocolate, bread, slight banana

Mouthfeel: Slightly sticky, carbonated, dry

Drinkability: I probably wouldn't drink more than 2 of these in a sitting

Overall Impression: This is an OK beer. I'm not running around naked singing "Halleluiah" while I'm drinking it! It didn't hit my "Belgium G Spot", but it wasn't the worst beer I ever drank. Try it, you might like it.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ithaca Cold Front has a body that is about the color of cola, with a small tan head that as ok retention and leaves a few scraps of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is big on sweet malts complemented by a bunch of peppery and clove-like yeast scents. A little bit of saison yeast is in there also.

Most of the flavor of Ithaca cold front comes from what seems like a blend of a few different malts to me. Lots of sweetness with flavors of caramel, toffee and some bread-like notes. A hint of dark fruits gives way to a good dose of peppery yeast that comes with what seems like a bit of clove. After that some funky saison yeast rounds out Cold Front.

For a Belgian dark or amber, the mouthfeel might be a little light to moderate. For a saison, it would be way too heavy. I'll assume this is an amber that just happens to have some saison-type yeast and say the mouthfeel is ok.

I got to sample this beer quite a few times, from when it was first tapped at the brewery until months later at local bars both on-tap and in bottles. The fact that I kept trying it reveals that I liked it every time. I have to say, that the spring saison from Ithaca, Ground Break, is better, but that doesn't diminish the fact that Cold Front is a pretty good beer itself.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.19/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A seductive mahogany with red highlights, this one is crystal clear with a big foamy head. The snifter glass becomes coated with a web of fine off-white lacing.

Im not sure this is too style, as the aroma is grainy and similar to a recently dowsed campfire. There is some horse blanket and peat bog, but band-aids and rubbing alcohol are far more evident.

Cold Front is acidic with light bitterness. There is pepper and black tea here, and a long finish.

The snifter glass is challenged by the lively carbonation of this medium body dry beer with no alcohol presence. It does leave a sticky residue on the lips.

This beer lacks any real distinction, and with some unpleasant attributes leave me disappointed, but with a strong stew, it would probably work.

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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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Cold Front from Ithaca Beer Company
83 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.
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