TWELVE | Ithaca Beer Company

very good
90 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by klewis on 01-01-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 143
Photo of templar316
4.87/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a perfect deep amber. Soft caramel and apricots on the nose. Tastes of candi sugar and dates, a biscutty sweet malt dance past blending into a mild apricot finish with a soft dry finish. This has been in my cellar for years and was well worth the wait! Poured side by side with new 3phils this was a fine example of the benefits of ageing...

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Photo of klewis
4.67/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy, dark ruby color with a huge , frothy head. Good sustain with decent lacing.

S: A bready, yeasty smell with aromas of pepper and other miscellaneous spices.

T: Big, complex, and wonderfully balanced. Mild phenols mix with soft flavors of prunes, walnuts, and figs while a mixture a spices mask any appearance from the alcohol.

M: Big and full-bodied with a champagne-like carbonation. Finishes quite dry.

D: Absolutely delicious. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of david18
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a very interesting aroma and flavor that has a much smokier and hoppier sensibility than I would have expected from a quadrupel. I did not have a very big glass (it was afternoon and I didn't want too much alcohol) but what I had was excellent and I may go back there tonight to get another one.

Overall, good light color, great flavor, aroma and mouthfeel. One of the better US/Belgian fusion beers I've had.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I hope to make it to Ithaca later this year, but in the meantime, picking this up in Philly is just fine by me. Batch E!020.

A: Poured into what I felt would be an appropriate St. Bernardus chalice. It was a decision that played out very well... it pours beautifully. Dark brown topped with an easy three fingers of creamy tan head.

S: Some soft notes of caramel complement a rather modest and yet complex aroma of dark breads along with a touch of biscuit. I even find myself picking up on some leafy notes... I almost want to say grassy, but it's not quite that. Some hints of dark fruit, though nothing in particular stands out, and it's quite mild - but certainly there, playing a role.

T: Rich and malty, and I would go so far as to say that I am finding a bit of nuttiness in it, which is not expected, but very welcome. Like the aroma, dark breads are noted, as are some and maybe even a bit of an intriguing spiciness of nothing in particular (that I can place a finger on, at least!). Some modest fruitiness, perhaps most like plum. The very balanced characters of both the aroma and flavour do great things for this beer.

M + D: Quite a big body, with a big, sparkling carbonation to go with it. It's a quality I tend to enjoy very much in a such styles... a rich, and almost drifting over the tongue just enough to be savoured and then lifted away in the finishing dryness. I do find that it feels a little bloating, but nothing there is a deal-breaker. They've done very well at putting together an American brewed take on the style and, while they can stand up quite proud among the quads on the other side of the pond, they make home proud with a bit of an American take on it. Very nice. Hopefully I'll get my hands on some more before it's all gone!

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Photo of stakem
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I purchased this bottle freshly after release and cellared it for approximately 6 years prior to drinking/reviewing.

750ml into a matching Ithaca excelsior tulip. The brew is a dark mahogany color with ruby clarity and a khaki cap a finger strong that fades slowly.

The aroma is malty and sugary smelling like caramel, molasses, raison and bread.

Taste brings much of the same focus on malty sweetness with a very mild oxidative note. Raison, prune, plum and dates all wrapped up in caramel, molasses and bread to biscuit malt.

Medium in body with modest carbonation. I cannot believe I waited 6 years to open this brew. Not sure how it was fresh but it is exquisite now.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got from jjayjaye through a trade...thanks man! Poured from a 750ml bottle into my chalice. Pours a lighter brown, like ice-tea...but ends up very muddy brown in the glass. Tons and tons of creamy tan head. The head has excellent retention...and is SUPER frothy! Leaves wonderful full coated lacing all over the glass. As the beer settles, the head remains a good 1/2 inch or cream, and tons of spotty settling at the bottom of the glass. The longer it sits, the thicker the sentiment gets too.

Aroma is awesome and full of fruit and Belgian yeasts. Very malty to the nose...booze is pretty hidden for 12%...but slightly detectable.

Creamy, smooth, sharp, crisp...and a nice bite! A solid Belgian Strong ale with nice spices. The booze is a lot more noticeable through the mouthfeel...and swallow for that matter. Very good beer! Ithaca really knows how to make a solid and consistent line-up of beers! I would say this is just a step down from some of the Trappistes Belgians, but right there with the best American version Belgian beers.

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Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Capped and foiled bomber, Batch E!020, $11.99 @ DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. Pours murky darker brown. The head is huge, rocky and long lasting, going to multi layered froth, and leaving world class lacing. Dark, ripe fruit infused nose, with raisins, rum, and a spiced up yeasty snap. Full flavor NY State take on the classic Belgian style. Soft and buttery mouthfeel, this one is quite yummy already, curious what a year or two in the bottle would do. More ripe fruit, raisins, figs, vanilla, cloves, warming alcohol, yeasty spiced up finish. Flavorful, complex and nicely crafted, understated,highly drinkable..real nice job here by Ithaca

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to ybnorml for this brew.

Batch: E!023

Poured into a Westy glass a very nice grapy color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger thick/creamy light tan head, with lots of small islands left behind. The nose is malty, very slight yeast note, figs, raisins, plums. The taste is very nice, slightly sweet, malty, some yeast notes, lots of figs/raisins/plums. Full/Medium body, ABV is almost not existent. Very Drinkable, a very tasty brew. Thanks Wayne!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a chalice. The nose is some pretty dark brown with a nice tan and creamy head. The nose brings forward some really nice dark fruits with some fig and dates being the most prominent. The taste is more dark fruits with a bit of booze and quite a bit of complexity. The mouthfeel is a bit creamy with a really nice body. Drinks quite well and I'd love to see how this ages.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.31/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch E!20

A: I knew this would be a gusher and it still took 3 glasses to hold this monster back. Dogfish super glass comically oversized Dogfish tulip AND an Ithaca pint glass. 12? fingers of slightly tan head. The beer itself is a nice looking deep burnt rusty brown color. Tons of visible carbonation.

S: This is so overcarbonated you can actually get the CO2 for the first couple of min it is in the glass. Not the smell mind you but the sting in your nostrils. Reminds me of the smell of taking an airlock off a carboy. Once that comes down you get some burnt candi sugar. Lots of sweetness. Molasses. Little bit of booze. Some dark fruit. Once the carbonation dies down it has a great nose.

T: The taste is smooth. Dark fruit. Really nice malt backbone with a slight hint of smoke and leather. Little bit of toffee. Raisins. The alcohol is masked completely. It has a nice complexity to it and a knock could be it is too smooth.

M: Carbonation is a huge issue with this beer. After an hour in the glass it is ok.

D: I like this beer after a while. The carbonation issue is huge. It really ruined what otherwise was an excellent beer. Have a few more in the cellar and they will be sitting for quite a while. I knocked it on appearance for the overcarbonation and gave it a 4 on mouthfeel after a while.

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Photo of Boto
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle: Thanks to my brother-in-law for sharing this. This one pours a fairly opaque brown color. There was a fairly substantial head, but it didn't last long. It left a little lacing. Nice aroma of yeast, breadiness, candi sugar, dark fruits. The taste is along the same lines. Dark fruits, some candi and caramel sugar, breadiness. The alcohol is hidden in this one. A real nice Quad.

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Photo of dougofthefuture
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed as part of blind BIF #6.

A - Murky brown, with a nice two finger head that has some staying power.

S - Wow, this smells great. The first thing that comes to mind is fudge brownies. Follow that up with some dark fruits, and a very noticable vinous port-like character. 4.5

T&M - This has to be a winter warmer or spiced up BSDA. Either way, very fitting for the coldest day of the winter so far. This is immediately warming, with lots of undisernable spices (cinnamon? clove? nutmeg?) and a nice strong finish without much boozy bite. Fairly highly carbonated, it walks a fine line between too light or too syrupy. The fruitiness is present, but in more of a phenolic yeast character than a sweetness or body. Must be a belgian strain. 4/4.5

O - This is a great cheery beer. I want to eat a fudge browny with it. Very well balanced for being so spicy. 4.5

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Photo of Gmann
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Out of a 750ml foil and capped bottle. Pours a dark chocolate brown color with an explosive tan head, watch out for this one. Lots of big bubble in the head, which slowly settles leaving some chunky lacing. The aroma is disappointing for a big brew. I pick up some fruity sourness but that is it. The flavor starts of chocolatey and woodsy, which is very nice, gives it an earthy edge to a style that can be overly sweet and fruity. Some brown sugar/dark candi sugar sweetness, some tobacco. The quad has a light dark fruit tart finish. I wish most quads/BSDAs tasted like this, great balance. The feel is moderate with fizzy as hell carbonation, very burpy. Seems that they used champagne yeast. It is a touch hot from the ABV. Though overcarbonated, it suits the brew well. This drinks very well for a BSDA, nice earthy offset to the sweetness, nothing cloying on this one. Biggest negative to the brew is easily offset by burping, which I like doing. An excellent American made quad.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch 020.

A gusher right out of the fridge, with a couple of ounces on the countertop even with a glass at the ready. Two inches of liquid with four of rocky foam which continued to climb up out of the glass. A solid, dense biege foam cap for the duration of the glass with plenty of spongy lacing. The body is mahogany with ruby hues.

Aromatics lead off with grape jam, Jolly Ranchers, clove-spiked cotton candy, and rum-soaked raisins. Plenty fruity and very quad-like.

Medium bodied with a tacky, sticky mouthfeel. Carbonation is soft with a prickly edge.

Grape bubble gum, plump malt, dark sugars, plums, raisins, and dark rum start the palate.
Warming alcohol adds some depth and heft, but is seriously well hidden.

Finishes with lingering grape jam, rum, raisins, and warming alcohol.

Great quad. Bigger than average and the sweetness is in check. Plenty of quad character and no hint of infection, contrary to what the gusher eludes to.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, dark fruit and chestnut hints. In the taste, a white grape fruitiness and dry nuttiness. A smooth and medium to big mouthfeel, with a sticky fruit and dry nuttiness in the aftertaste. Nice flavor, fruity and dry, easy to drink, and hides the ABV quite nicely.

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Photo of Mgaide
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Monastery-style Quadrupel Ale has a translucent chestnut color, which I expect is the result of being non-filtered. On the nose it displays a pleasant maltiness, with hints of chocolate, expresso, and nutmeg. The first thing that stood out on the initial sip was a "sit up and take notice" effervesce that delivers a tongue tingling sensation. On the palate, spices mingle with nuts, dark chocolate, faint black licorice, fruitiness, and expresso. The finish on this bad boy lingerers and the subtle spiciness hang on the tongue while nuisances of chocolate, coffee, and malt start to take over and then shift to a enjoyable dryness.
To me this ale has a quality that most 12% Ales can only hope to attain, and that is a nice balance and concentrated flavors that conceal the high alcohol content. This ale has a lighter mouthfeel that also belies its ABV. In sum, this is a quadrupel ale that is satisfying, balanced and deliverers the goods.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich dark brown color with a bit of red mixed in and a finger of tanish head atop. The head fades fairly quickly down to a thin layer leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is mix of sweet dark fruit (plum and raisin) and some sweet malt. There is also some earthiness and a bit of booze as well.

T - Starts off with a lot of dark fruit flavors and some earthy malt flavor and a bit of caramel malt. Through the middle some brown sugar, a bit of smoke, and some spiciness. The finish is a mix of dark fruit flavor and some booze that lingers nicely.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Fairly smooth and a touch think and syrupy. The finish is fairly sweet with some booze warming as well.

D - Very drinkable. A nice American take on the Quad style. The addition of the smoky flavor in the beer is really nice and everything feel well balanced.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 12 is 12% abv and comes in the Excelsior Series bottle; wine shaped and capped with a thin rubber sleeve. I let the bottle rest out of the fridge until it came to the bottom of the cellar temperature range at 12C (54F). Immediately when I opened the bottle it surprised me - without warning the obviously still active yeasts gave way to a massive rush of excitement pushing an aromatic white foam, fairly constantly, out from the bottle.

Really, the foam would not stop. I had an inkling of what would happen here based on the picture of this beer on Ithica's website, but even still I could barely believe what was happening. I poured two snifters as gently as I could and was aghast by the results. What I ended up with was less than an inch of beer, and a FULL glass of head. Deep, dense, airy and pillowy head. It was ridiculous; I had never seen anything like it before.

Whats more, is that as I was starring at this beer in astonishment, the bottle continued to erupt with foam at me! I could see that although the fluid line was significantly reduced in the bottle, the head continued to develop and rise in the bottle until it was left with no option but to escape. It took over 5 minutes to properly pour two snifters of the Ithica 12.

I am not sure exactly what yeast strains that Ithica has used, although I would be very interested to find out, but they obviously really enjoyed this beer. And once given a taste of oxygen they burst back to life eating everything and creating CO2 as fast as they could. This was really very extraordinary.

Eventually, I was able to pour two well presented glasses and it did manage to create a very lovely beer - well, some may not describe it as lovely. With the last bit of sediment swirled and laid to rest in our glasses, the 12 formed a murky and cloudy maroon garnet beer with dark shades of golden brown, dark amber, burnt orange, and mahogany. The head, while much more subdued than before, was still a massive, airy pillow of foam resting contently on top this opaque, but very appetizing beer. The head was over two inches and showed dense carbonation towards the bottom, but large airy bubbles near the top. It was an pale egg shell color with an almond creamy off-white glaze. Very dramatic so far.

The nose was massively perfuming blasting complex Belgian yeasts, spice and dark ripe fruit at me. As I was hoping, the scent was a playground of flavor - dry dark chocolate, figs, raisins, caramel, light toffee, dark malts, pepper, a touch of citrus, earth and funk all came together in an ever tangling mixture of aroma. Hops were present bringing fresh fields and a touch of flowers, but mostly deep malt, spicy dried fruit and yeast dominate the air near this beer.

I gently lifted the dark and ominous beer to my mouth and let a deep and soothing wave of Belgian and American flavors rush over my palate. By Belgian and American I mean that its complexity, delicate flavors, and perfect aromas came in with a massive and never ending crush of exuberance. The spice and yeast is noticeable from start to finish, so once you get beyond that prepare for smooth and creamy dark malts bringing caramel, dates, prunes and zest. Apricots seem to meld with cocoa and light roast brining a soft but large earth sweetness to the party.

That was really what surprised and impressed me - there are massive and complex flavors here, but they are all on their own level perfectly crafted; they just run at you with an insane amount of excitement. This, along with the beer's premature foaming leads me to believe that it is still in its infancy - three, four or even eight years from now this beer could mature into an unrivaled vintage, and a prize in anyone's cellar.

But now, it still had much To offer. The mouthfeel was surprisingly smooth and gently carbonated - it made the head seem more like a krausen than head (Krausen is a foam that develops on the surface of a wort as the active yeast is fermenting it creating a slew of byproducts and flavors). After some funk and light tartness hums past the malty fruits and esters, a spicy and crisply dry finish quenches - it has earthy hop notes and floral yeast still raging inside it. The finish here is dry, but with much effort.

I am left with the taste of chocolate and caramel doused with a good amount of spicy and complex yeast. Mellow sweet fruits still fume off my tongue, as does rich malt. This Quad was exceptionally entertaining, slightly confusing, but very delicious. As much as I did enjoy the 12, it is not among my favorite of the style, although I am also left wondering how this will be in five years. The next few bottles that I can get my hands on will find their way into my cellar - thats for sure!

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Date: 15 December 2010
Glass: Standard 10oz snifter
Type: 750ml

Poured into two snifters, and shared with my father. Poured slightly aggressive for a 2-finger head, reducing to a film, with lacing covering ~80% of the glass. Color is cloudy dark brown with a beige head. Aroma of a heavy yet pleasant Belgian yeast strain, slight smoke, leather, candi sugar, toasted malt and raisins. Taste is splendid and complex. The Belgian yeast is subtle and not overpowering. Flavors follow of very sweet candi sugar, light smoke, sweet raisins, and lightly roasted malts.

This beer dries the palate like an expensive wine, begging my brain to reach for another sip. There is hardly hotness of alcohol...impressive for a 12% quad. Nicely done, Ithaca. You're quickly becoming my favorite brewery.

EDIT: I should have waited to review until I reached the end of the bottle. The last pour is very yeasty but very delicious, and adds a milk chocolate flavor to the beer.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

3 years in the cellar... now is your time, 12, now is your time...

Pours with a surprisingly healthy 1cm of creamy, tan head, over an opaque ruby to brown body. Head fades to thick ring that hangs around forever.

Aromas are full of sweetness and fruit. Deep, rich sugar-bread, which includes cinnamon spice, molasses, raisins, cherry, and a touch of orange spice.

Mouthfeel is insanely smooth, creamy, and rich. Tons of sweetness in the flavor, including red licorice, plums, cherry cola, milk chocolate, and oak. Darn tasty.

Maybe it's been too long since I reviewed a Quad, but I don't see how this averaged out in the 80's... I think this pup is pure 90's quality.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle, batch E!020, allowed to warm some before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

I crack open the bottle, and there's a massive gush and persistent foam over. It takes almost half an hour for the beer to fully settle down. When it does, it pours a color that dances between the expected plum and more of a burnt chestnut color. The light tan head is massive and impressive on the first pour, sticking around forever and leaving gobs of lacing. Subsequent pours are a bit less impressive though. Nose is a fairly nice blend of brown sugar, alcohol infused dark fruits, and a hint of spice. The flavor shows more of a shift towards caremlized brown sugar, which works well considering the beer is relatively dry for a quad. There's still plenty of rum soaked plums and raisins, along with just a touch of fig and clove. The body is a little bit light for the style. Carbonation is picture perfect, but I wish the overall mouthfeel came off a little bit creamier. All in all Ithaca's Twelve is pretty darn good beer. Especially after a year, as I think the alcohol presence in the flavor profile is picture perfect, enough to give a warming sensation without even hinting at a boozy quality. It's a very good quad, and a worthy celebration of another anniversary for Ithaca.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Monastary-style Quadrupel ale. Batch E!021.

A: The label best describes the coloring so I cannot take credit here, a chestnut pour that had glistening highlights of cadmium orange. Against backlighting the color appeared a dark ice-tea color with murky burgundy glimpses around the glass edges. The head is slight, about a finger high, pie crust in color, with a medium sense of retention.

S: The alcohol is very well mannered here on the nose for a quad with a defining touch of sherry and some barrel woodiness. After some agitation the alcohol tends to show though a bit more along with some dark fruit of prunes. My overall impression was on that was mixed, thankful for the restraint of such a large beer, but somehow still left me wanting more.

T: The flavor opens with a heavy show of malts laced with some Belgian candy sugar. Dark fruit of black cherries and plums add some spicy and sweet notes complimenting the warming alcohol and caramelized sugars. Spicy licorice, warm cola combine with the earthy and woodsy german hops. The finish finds a particular spiciness of fennel sweet mixing well with the sweet caramelized sweet palate. I absolutely love how the alcohol adds its own spiciness, with enough to be appreciated, but never distracts, from the other flavor and attributes. In the end were some smoky woody afterthoughts.

M: Thick luscious malt lie heavily on the tongue with a syrup like consistency. Warm, spicy feel on the inner cheeks while the swallow reveals boozy sweet dried rum.

D: The abv of 12% was never a hinderance or overbearing like many other quads and actually felt a few points lower. This one was more focused on the sweet malty nature with spicy alcohol notes that remains very manageable consumption wise. Easy drinking for a quad and highly enjoyable.

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Photo of mjaskula
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was a huge gusher. I had to leave it in the sink for a while, I might have lost a quarter of the bottle to foam. Other than that surprise this beer is pretty great.

Served in a sniffer. As expected from the gushing this beer pours with a giant tan head. As it falls it becomes rocky and clings to the glass very thickly, almost too thick to be called lace. The beer itself is dark brown thick and hazy.

The aroma seems thick dense and complex, it's sweet, malty, strong and alcoholic with dark fruits. The flavor is very sweet, and somewhat nutty and a bit alcoholic. There's a lot of fruit flavor: dark fruits, fig, prune, apple, and tropical fruits.

The mouthfeel is dry and clean, and even though it was a gusher it doesn't see to be highly carbonated. Maybe most of the carbonation left the beer earlier.

I really like this beer, I'm going to have to search out more ithaca beers, I haven't had that many.

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Photo of number1bum
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon cracking the cap on this one a huge hiss of carbonation had me scrambling toward the sink. I was sure this was going to be a gusher but it didn't quite reach the crown. The pour was a semi-dark brown with a big, fizzy head that quickly filled the glass. This was a slow pour, and reveals a beer that does not look as thick as I'd expect from a 12% quad. Retention is very good, with a creamy full lace and a rich coating on the sides of the glass. Edit: when I went back for my 2nd pour the foam had indeed reached and rolled over the crown; in fact it was bizarre because in addition to chunky foam on the side of the bottle there were also a couple of clumps of brown yeast sediment.

Smell is big and fruity, with lots of dark fruits, slightly sour cherries, a bit of raisin, and some green apple. Malt-wise there is some bready, slightly sweet caramel, a hint of smoke and some toast. Some nice yeast character too, which is spicy and floral and is undoubtedly contributing some of the fruity esters. Really nice, complex nose.

Taste is maybe not quite as complex as the nose, but still has a lot of character. Tastes of semi-sweet caramel malt and slightly toasty bread. Spicy yeast like the nose, but not as estery. The biggest difference is that it's not nearly as fruity as the smell. There is some dark fruit and a hint of apple but that's about it. Fruit comes out a bit more as it warms closer to room temp. Finish is smooth and clean.

Mouthfeel is exceptionally creamy and smooth, but it's also only a medium body and feels a bit too light for the strength of the beer. Carbonation is very active but does not detract from the creaminess of the beer. Would rate higher if it had a bit more meat to it.

This is a well done, tasty beer from Ithaca. Love the complexity of the nose although I wish it translated more fully to the palate. I wish I could say that this would be a good candidate for aging but given the carbonation issue and the gushing I can't imagine it doing anything but getting worse in that regard. Probably better to drink it now if you're holding it. Cheers to another great year IBC!

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Photo of asabreed
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


I hate to use capital letters, but let me preface this quickly by saying a few things. I need to learn not to put bottles of beer on wine racks, especially beers that aren't corked, but I did it with this one two nights ago. As I was talking to a friend today on the phone, I picked up the bottle to read the label again, and I noticed my fingers were slightly wet, and the smell was beer, and the beer was indeed coming from the Twelve bottle.

Worried that this may have been a bad bottle, I decided not to screw around anymore, so I put it in the fridge for about 50 minutes and just opened it 10 minutes ago.

If you've read more reviews below, you'll know that this is pretty much a gusher, most likely because I imagine the champagne yeast levels weren't as tweaked as they needed to be as it was bottled.

I had to use a pint glass, my Brooklyn tulip, and a Samuel Smith 12 oz. nonic (all three clean glasses within reach of the cabinet) to combine pours before the carbonation stopped finally and slowly gushing out of the top.

Now, I'm pretty sure, due to the reviews below, that it's not just my bottle. So is this intentional? Did Ithaca put too much champagne yest in this sucker?

Not sure, but let's go ahead and get it reviewed, not that half the bottle has been sipped and transferred and finally all, so far, poured into the Brooklyn tulip.


Appearance: If you read what I wrote above, you know this is a gusher. That said, it's also a very pretty beer in the glass. Extremely dark red, almost opaque, with a huge lighter mocha-colored head that just erupts, growing rocky dense crags at the top of the body, and leaving crater-sized holes as it dissipates, along with raucous sheets and caverns of lacing clinging to the glass.

Smell: Belgian yeast and dark fruit esters dominate this beer, along with earthy and soil-like phenols coming through. There's definitely some unsweetened cocoa and chocolate malt presence too, along with some sweeter caramel. There also seems to be a huge sense of spice in here, but I imagine it's the different strains of yeast rather than spices, but the huge peppery tingles the nose a bit, in a good way.

Taste: Thinking of age, and I'm not one to usually say something this -- maybe because I just can't detect it -- but this one's definitely a little hot on the palate. I'm not sure if it's the alcohol I'm discerning, but you can definitely tell this is a strong brew. It doesn't take away from the experience, but it's definitely present here. Also, there are the dark berries from all the fruit esters, in addition to some citrus. A lot of spiciness from the yeast. Some nuanced caramel and chocolate sweeter malt flavors. And some nice bitterness from the hops at the end, lingering with the chocolate and sweeter flavors and the earthiness also from the yeast.

Mouthfeel: The champagne yeast and Trappist yeast really makes this wonderfully full and creamy and spritzy all at the same time. One of the best things about this beer, despite the initial gushing of the first few pours.

Drinkability: Will age mellow out the carbonation truly? If so, let this one sit in the basement, and DO NOT let it sit on a wine rack; make sure you keep it upright. I think I paid around $8 for the bottle, and to me, for something like this, that's a steal. I wonder if it would've made a difference if it were corked and caged instead of capped? I can't help being caught up with the carbonation issues, but I'd be really interested to open a bottle two years down the road and see what happens. Maybe grab two, but this is definitely more than worth a shot overall.

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TWELVE from Ithaca Beer Company
3.89 out of 5 based on 143 ratings.
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