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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 347
Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Brigid's, Philly, PA

Pretty decent. Had on tap in December, so I figured it was a winter warmer, and it wasn't, but it was vaguely similar.

Poured a slightly hazy mahogany brown with a small head that dissipated quickly. Caramel malts in the nose with some essence of dark fruits. The taste was mostly caramel malts up front, light sugar, and some dark fruits and spices in there, but not very distinctive. Medium body and a bit of film left in the mouth. Decent and moderately drinkable.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.39/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a slight one finger head which leaves no lace presence. The aroma is of candied yeast a bubblegum like aroma with a nice dark fruit aroma after. The taste has a caramel malt backbone there is then a big candied yeast flavor, again it is a bubblegum like flavor. There is also a dark fruit in the back end. The mouthfeel is light and thin. Overall it was a solid brew, it is not best in class but it is a good beer. Not as complex as some.

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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 vande
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BA lists as a Belgian Dark Ale, yet the label clearly states Belgian Amber Ale...one and the same?

A ~ a foxy dark brownish-orange in color with a thin layer of head that lacks much body... yet the beer itself is quite active, as the bubbles continue to rush to the stop at a speedy rate...

S ~ somewhat muted notes of malt, maybe hints of citrus, and darker fruits...

T ~ again, somewhat muted, but sweeter than i'd have guessed.. bits of malt, dark fruit, slight sugar...hard to tell though...

M ~ fair body with a somewhat smooth, creamy texture...

O !

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Photo of david18
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very good beer. Part of Ithaca Brewing's promotion that they're having at the amsterdam ale house in New York City. A very good beer. Dark in color, very belgian in flavor and aroma. Great carbonation. Mouthfeel is good and I enjoyed drinking it.

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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 tubdog13
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First review - woohoo

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A - Light brown color when held up to light
with a slight cloudiness, shows little or no
carbonation, alive and inviting, left a 1" head
a heavy handed pour, good retention

S - Sweet/Roasted malts with a spicy/piney
hop smell

T - Floral to piney hop taste, slightly sweet

M - Chewy with medium body

D - Nice after dinner beer with a warming affect,
would probably drink two at most on a snowy

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Photo of brewsclues
3.49/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into Chimay tulip glass. Decent head that dissipates pretty quickly and not much lacing to speak of. This has a beautiful dark-reddish-brown, which looks almost amber in the direct light.

There are lots of competing flavors in this one: smells range from raisins/dates to caramel and winter spices, although there is strong fruit smell to it (bananas) and some sweet candy. This has pure Belgian-goodness written all over it. Really fun to parse out.

Taste - good, but a little disappointing after some wonderful olfactory notes. A little too bitter at the start, and very, very sweet on the tongue. Raisins dominate the tastes. There's definitely more than a hint of alcohol taste (not overwhelming), and plenty of malty molasses.

Aftertaste is not as pleasant as I would have liked. A little chalky and (as one reviewer, vfgccp, mentioned) a bit of a charcoal finish. Definitely takes away from an otherwise solid beer. But the "warm belly" factor certainly adds some points back.

A good, if unspectacular, and strong winter-warming beer. My wife and I used to love living 5 minutes from Ithaca Brew Co., although after a year removed from having Cold Front, I'm not as impressed as I once was. Still, a solid beer.

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

Poured in a snifter. Bottle date good by March.

Good caramel color Light aroma of caramel and toffee.

Carbonation a bit strong.

There is caramel, some lemon, and too much alcohol

in the finish for the ABV.

An okay beer. Drink warmer for a more balanced taste.

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Photo of amphion1065
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. pour into a tulip at Bukowski's in Inman. I knew nothing about this beer before ordering it, and my curiosity got the best of me. Reviewed from notes.

The body is a very dark amber, brown shade. A half-finger off white head last for quite a while. Really gorgeous lacing, with cascading sheets of soapy foam all over my glass.

The aroma is utterly beguiling. I got a ton of peanuts from this - it really reminded me of Short's Uber Goober. Amber malt, with a touch of sweetness and bread. Dark chocolate. Espresso grounds, with a coffee bitterness.

The taste is similarly confounding and unique. Again, just a boatload of peanuts at work here. The spice profile is very interesting. After about twenty minutes of drinking my glass, I determined that the most predominant spice in the mix is cardamom. Very floral.

The carbonation is on the low side, but it feels smooth and rich. I spent quite a while drinking this, although that's more a testament to the complexity of flavors than any particular flaw.

A very unique beer, and one I'm glad I had the chance to try. I couldn't see myself enjoying this with any regularity, but it is an interesting showing from a brewing that can really pump out some innovative beers.

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Photo of metter98
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy brownish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that died down rather quickly, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are lots of earthy aromas of yeast in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of earthy yeast and lots of malts (but without any associated sweetness) and hints of dark fruits. Peppery spices are evident in the finish. No bitterness is noticeable.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation. There is a bit of dryness in the finish.
O: The beer hides any traces of alcohol very well but would be a lot more drinkable if it had some malty sweetness.

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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 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 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 philbe311
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Two plus fingers worth of delicate fluffy light khaki colored head with a bit of a rocky top... Average retention yields to a thick layer of slightly rich moderately creamy lacing... The color is a deep warming ruby red... A slight bit of rapid paced carbonation can be seen rising at the top of the glass...

S - Candy apples... Dark fruits... A touch of cinnamon... Toffee... A bit of smokiness... Some slight Belgian yeast notes...

T - The aromas translate on the palette but they seem to become quite muddled and confused... An odd mix of dark fruits, spice, smokey wood character and sugared gummy candies... Perhaps some tobacco notes as well...

M - Medium bodied... Dense... Biting carbonation... Turns a bit too swishy and foamy for my liking... Uneven and not very consistent...

D - A less than inspiring Belgian Dark Ale... Probably my least favorite Ithaca offering to date... Not terrible, but not anything I would either recommend or reach for in the future if provided the opportunity...

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Photo of suspect
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A: Crystal clear amber color. Aggressive center pour leads to a 2 finger light khaki head that fades slowly to a slight ring and a cumulonimbus cloudy looking center. Lacing is pretty consistently spotty.

S: Grainy malts, yeast and some hop bitterness. Diacetyl and a touch of booze shows up in the nose as well.

T: Follows the nose but pulls a few flavors from an amber lager which is a bit unexpected. The grains are nice and the malt is really the all-star here. Not much else in flavor here.

M: Crisp finish, medium body. Perfectly carbonated.

O: An easy drinking Belgian Dark that I'm pretty sure doesn't really fit the style.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Going into this I knew it was old, finding it in the dollar beer section but I never had it. With good reviews and little sediment in the bottle I picked it up.

A - For what it's worth it does produce a nice 1/4 inch of tan colored head a top of some deep ruby brown colored beer.

S - Initial smells are still rather strong of caramel malt, fruity yeasts, and mild hops.

T - Taste is pretty good with the hops giving it a bitter almost cardboard like bitterness. I am surprised how bitter this is rather than sweet but fruity yeasts do play a part in keeping it from being too bitter. Not bad.

M - Mouthfeel was nice with a medium bodied and no chalky yeasts.

Overall I am not sure how great this beer was but a year or two (maybe more) down the road it's good.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Robocop

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle served at Mavis Winkles in Independence, OH into a pint glass. Pours a copper/amber color with a thin, creme-colored head.

Has a sweet smell, with grapes, cherries, and other dark fruit. Smoky malt and yeast are also present.

This beer has a sweet start, with fruit juice, some toffee, and malt, ending with a raspberry tart finish, with a hint of lemon.

Thin to medium bodied, although the mouthfeel improved as it warmed.

Drinkable enough, though I'd probably want to let it sit longer than my typical 5-10 minute wait time if I order this out again.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown bottle. Best before date etched on label (but no mention of what year)
Served in in Westy goblet.
It pours a dark leathery brown color with a firm 2" foamy head along with some patchy and trailing lace.
The smell of doughy malt rises and falls at first pour. Earthy and woody smells edge forward, as does the clovey yeast and resinous hops. A little spice and hint of citrus pulls though. A very slight rum perfume is way in the background.
The flavors match the smells fairly closely. A bit sweeter in taste than in the nose. Close your eyes and you are drinking a Belgian Brown Ale.
I'm a bit surprised at the ABV. I would have guessed 6%...tops.

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

12 oz. bottle. pours a big fluffy off white to biege colored head. a little bit of lacing and some pretty good retention. appearence is quite dark almost black. reveals a slight ruby mahgony color in the light. hazy, but not a whole lot of sediment.

smell is quite yeasty, bubblegum, flouride,some ripe dark fruits, sweet malts.

the yeast come in big on the taste as well. flouride, solvent, bubblegum flavors. sweet malts, ripe ripe fruits. some very nice chocolate roasted undertones in there. ripe dark fruity finish.

medium body, dry finish. a little chalky and astringent from the ripe fruity yeasty flavor.

i wouldnt want more than one of these, although its very nice to drink. its definately worth a try, not a bad example of the style from a brewery i wouldnt really expect to know much about belgians. however definately nothing like an authentic belgian. i couldnt see myself ever buying this, but if i was offered, i couldnt refuse.

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

Pours a dark brown with little to no head and some light lacing. Slight banana and clove aromas. Flavor is very malt with that lingering banana. No hop character to speak of. Not that I would expect it with this style. Definitely could throw a few back without having to change. I like the fact that its not overly spiced like a lot of christmas/holiday beers seem to be as of late.

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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 347 ratings.
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