Ithaca Beer Company

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Rye Beer
3.8 | pDev: 10.79%
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: Malt: 2-Row Pale, Flaked Rye, Crystal Rye, Caramunich, Black Wheat
Hops: Chinook, Centennial, Motueka
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 95 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.01/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

750 mL bottle. Deep brown. Smells of cardboard, sherry, rye, and caramel malt. Tastes of rye still. Grainy brown bread once the oxidation subsides a little. But the oxidation lingers into the finish. Medium heavy. Way too old, but still decent.

Mar 07, 2020
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Ithaca Beer Company "Anniversary Fifteen"
750 ml brown glass bottle, capped and sealed by a shrink-wrapped plastic capsule

Notes via stream of consciousness: So this is 5 years old? Let's see how it's held up. It's poured a slightly hazy dark chestnut brown body beneath a finger-thick head of dense tan foam. It was originally unfiltered but I'm sure it cleared by now, it's just that I disturbed the bottle. Held to the light there are some orange and golden highlights coming through. In the nose it's malty, darkly caramelish, and spicy from the rye. There's also an orange-like fruitiness in the background. I'll assume that's from hops, and that they're not as strong as they once were due to its age but I'm not sure, I never tried it fresh. On to the flavor... very nice. It's got a rich maltiness that reminds me of a bock, and there's plenty of dark caramel, but there's also plenty of rye. I'm surprised that it comes through so clearly in both the aroma and flavor. I'm not picking up any oxidation, at least not the papery/cardboard type, and if it's increased the perception of the maltiness I have no way to tell. A smooth but firm bitterness balances it and it doesn't seem sweet, and at the same time it's fairly spicy which I'm guessing is coming from both the rye and hops - it finishes with some residual caramelish malt, spiciness, orange-like fruitiness, and a little bit of pine and earthiness. At 8.4% I'd think that maybe some of that spiciness is coming from alcohol but to be honest I'm just not finding it anywhere other than that it gives the general impression of a strong beer - you know it's there but it doesn't stand out. In the mouth it's medium bodied and creamy smooth with a very fine-bubbled, natural carbonation that just lightly tingles on the tongue. Looking back, the head help up quite well and there was some nice lacing left behind. Given the amount of malt that's there though, and the fact that it's just 8.4% alcohol as opposed to 10 or 12 it should probably have left more lace. That's pretty much the only fault that I can find with it, and overall it's quite nice as it is. I'm really surprised it's held up as well as it has but I don't see it lasting much longer.
Review# 6,621

Sep 30, 2018
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ClavisAurea from New York

3.64/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2 1/2 year old bottle served at cellar temps in a tulip glass.

Appearance: dark brown with hints of red. Nice head with some lace. Medium body.

Nose: malty sweet, grainy, old hops

Taste: a bit astringent and solventy. Malty sweet and one dimensional. No hop character left.

Overall: the bottle says that this beer can be cellared indefinitely. I think it is past its prime.

Jun 13, 2015
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JMS1512 from New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured with energy into my pilsner glass, courtesy of my brother in Seattle, WA. He gave me three of them as a gift, each etched on the outside with the logo of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command logo. Fun fact- he’s now a civilian. I raise this glass in his honor and honorable discharge.

Sight: Dark amber/brown with an SRM of maybe 24-26(?) body with tan head, fluffy and craggy. It looks like the inside of a volcano initially, but settles down. Small bubbles rise to the surface in a Sunday-driver like leisure. Lacing deposits thick rings around my glass.

Smell: Spicy phenols from either the yeast or the rye. Most of the aroma is subtle. This is a 2013 bottle, so maybe that explains it.

Taste: More tang and spice, with a good malt structure. Sweetness shows up too, and a small bitterness to the finish. Perhaps, since it’s an older bottle, it’s more balanced than Ithaca intended when fresh. One might also detect a little soy-sauce as stated by another reviewer.

Feel: Medium minus, with gentle carbonation. Good finish with the spice and tang.

Mar 08, 2015
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jlindros from Massachusetts

2.59/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

This looks like a really interesting beer, hopefully not too old, with no date, but I don't think it's too old as sixteen isn't out yet and I think I got this a couple months ago.

Pours a slightly darker tan colored fizzy head covering that fades at a med pace, decent lacing and some legs on the sides as well, very dark root beer brown colored beer.

Nose is actually pretty bad... ick, probably older than I thought but it shouldn't get this bad until like 4 years. BBQ sauce and ketchup at first, a big vegetal soy like not so nice aroma. that eventually gives way to caramel and brown sugar, candy like with age, as it starts to open up some mild rye components, amber toasted malts, brown malts, etc, with hints of herbal earthy hops big toasted malts and some estery booze.

Taste brings sweet candy smooth creamy malts, brown malts with a creamy feel, with some brown sugar, caramel, candy syrup, etc, and plenty of toasted brown almost biiscuit like notes. It again gets some of that vegetal BBQ sauce ketchup thing going for it, but not a ton. Some sweetness with candy tastes lead to a bit of warming booze, and some esters, which is probably what leads that BBQ sauce thing. Bitterness catches up eventually, a semi bitter spicy earthy hop thing, wih a mild kiwi like terroir note, but not really any fruits or tropical notes, and some fruity rye flavors, just a touch spicy. The weird yeast additions bring mild phenols with those previously mentioned esters, and touches of baking spices. The big spicy hops really come through on the finish with fair bitterness, bit more vegetal BBQ sauce and ketchup almost soy like thing lingering, sticky syrupy notes, and more phenols and booze.

Mouth is sticky syrupy, some warming booze, lighter carb even esp for a bottle conditioned beer.

Overall blech! really sad at this, drain pour I can't even finish my glass let alone the whole 750ml! This beer was a horrible mess, can't be that old, but seems like it's a 4 year old beer. Big sweet candy with that messy soy and icky BBQ ketchup sauce thing, even the hops were pretty meh that didn't jive well with the sweet candy mess, and weird yeast additions like spices, esters, and phenols. This beer really didn't have anything good going for it, heck even the rye was muted and a weird fruity rye note instead of a nice spicy out front rye. I really haven't been liking the last few Excelsior series beers, so not sure if they're really streching with them, or just went down hill. But ewwww!

Jul 20, 2014
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

750mL capped

appears a nice hazy chesnutt brown in color with rust color, off-white head. decent head retention. earthy, slightly herbal spice aroma, and a bit of estery yeast. malty, bready taste with some of that same earthy mild spice. medium mouthfeel, softer carbonation.

Apr 22, 2014
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SLeffler27 from New York

4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fills a Stiegl stange clear, reddish copper (SRM 21). A huge, billowing, manila, rocky head develops from a sparkling golden cascade. The long-lasting head ultimately leaves patches of webbing on the glass.

Sweet pine and banana give way to light rye and rubber band. Earthy with cloves, this one is quite complex, albeit, confused and pleasant.

Caramel and caramelized sugar open with light bitterness. Rye bread develops with warmth as does a light sourness. Spice and smoldering smoke give way to raisin later in the session.

Fifteen has a full body and almost creamy texture with light carbonation. Alcohol is present but subdued. The finish is dry.

This one has an abundance of character and is quite interesting. One could easily finish a couple of glasses with lively conversation. Enjoy with good friends while eating a variety of sausage or pizza.

Mar 16, 2014
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up at Brass Rail Deli, shared with tenderbranson69 enjoyed chilled in a goblet.

The color is deep brown like coffee with opaque clarity thick rocky head with pale tan shade with fine bead lace stick thickly inside the rim of the glass. The smell has a light earthy nose, slight fruity mildly citrus and tropical with subtle yeasty medicinal ester. The feel is great, very nice balance of sweet malt with creamy body and medium carbonation with subtle spice from the hops and mild alcohol in the finish. The texture of the yeast adds to the wheat smoothness in the malt body with a little residual sweetness in the finish.

The taste is good with some mild spice and toasted flavors up front with a tangy tropical fruit from the hops with light yeast tanginess and some hints of gentle dried fruit flavor with a hint of coffee and pine in the background. The yeast adds a weird phenolic tinge which seems to hint at hefeweizen with a clove almost mincemeat with nutty and fruity combo of malt and hops with some spice and caramel toward the end. Overall this is a hard beer to nail down not a truly cohesive has a mix of ingredients that seem to come at you at various directions on the palate somewhat intriguing yet it doesn't really meet the expectations based on other Excelsior beers I have tried, very good but not great.

Jan 01, 2014
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DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania

3.19/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter.

3.75 A: Black color. Two fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is about average and a 1/2 inch ring of lacing is left.

3.5 S: This sure is interesting. Oddly the first thing that stuck out was a sugary, dried pineapple aroma. Earthy, spicy rye. Hops offer a mix of herbal, tropical, and earthy notes. Plum, currants, and brown sugar. Caramel and bready malts.

3.0 T: The nose is chaotic, but it somehow works. The taste is more chaotic and doesn't. I'm not sure what to make of this. It seems to be part black IPA, part barleywine, part brown ale, and part winter warmer. Again there's a mix of tropical, herbal, and earthy hops. Rye adds its characteristic earthy spiciness. Spicy like a winter warmer. Caramel maltiness with perhaps a touch of toast. Sweet plum and currants. Brown sugar and molasses. Not bad, but not particularly good either.

3.25 M: Medium body, but I swear it feels heavy on some sips and light on others. Plentiful carbonation bordering on too much. Bubbly. Smooth.

3.0 D: Ehh, once is enough for this one.

Dec 29, 2013
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aaron72 from New York

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured basement temperature into a 12oz bourbon glass that i bought used @ goodwill.

the appearance is nice with a big tan frothy head. the color is deep brown almost red in hue. the head faded fast into a nice yeasty layer on the top with nice lacing. it's slightly cloudy... it looks great!

the smell is spicy, fruity & complex. it smells malty, bready & like raisins & plums.

the taste is great... it's quite fruity with a hoppy spice on the finish. for me, it's very pleasant & easy to drink! it's like a big brown ale that has different & interesting things going on!

the mouthfeel is smooth with just enough carbonation. the hop blast is fairly sharp on my tongue but in a good way.

overall, i like to purchase this ale this fall when i find it. it's a nice fall ale... it will give you a nice smile but the alcohol is hidden well! this has quickly become my favorite autumn ale along with brooklyn brown & sierra nevada tumblers.

Nov 10, 2013
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oberon from North Carolina

3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a a cylinder a murky amber brown color with a fluffy light tannish colored head that leaves one and a half rings of broken leace as it settles into a frothy mass.Yeasty spiced phenolic notes mixed with sharp caramel toffee and nuttiness,there is a dry spicy hop note in there as well.Light phenols and medicinal notes upfront on the palate than a big drying earthy/ leafy hoppiness rushes late giving a spicy finish,the rye is there giving off spiciness and light lactic notes.The alcohol creeps a little but the complexity of this beer makes it very drinkable even for someone like me who is not a fan of the phenols.

Oct 04, 2013
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TheSevenDuffs from Canada (ON)

4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - poured dark brown, settled black with a thin layer of dirty white head.

S - bread, brown sugar, roast, spice.

T - big spicy bite throughout is the highlight of this beer. Roast, hints if chocolate, pine, fruit esters, brown sugar, bread.

M - medium with a nice chew. Light.

Sep 15, 2013
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Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

LOOK: Pours a dark brownish amber with a chill haze. Small, silky head has good staying power. Leaves a spotty lacing on the glass.

SMELL: Grains, dark fruit, rhubarb, plum, sweet barley wine like malt accents which add to the overall sweet fruitiness of the aroma. A touch of roasted character comes through as well

TASTE: Big sweet malts, fruity yeast, and a growing snap of spicy rye. The beer evolves as you drink it, after so long the rye becomes the driving force. Nice peppery rye, a little bit of earthy, bittering hop as well. Toast, wheat, a tiny bit of citrus and a noticeable rye presence.

FEEL: Full bodied with a medium carbonation. Smooth, mellow rye ale. There is surprisingly no alcohol presence to the beer, the rye, malts, yeast and hops have seen to that, they are so dynamic in the flavor.

OVERALL: A great rye beer. Really well done. Good rye presence and expressive yeast and malting.

Sep 03, 2013
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rlee1390 from Indiana

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear amber when pouring, black in the glass, fluffy one finger off white head.

S-Rye spicyness, clove, banana, roasted malt.

T-Mix of rye spicyness, roasted malt and clove. Some grass and lemon. Dark fruits and nice bitterness as well.

M-Light, some carbonation and rather creamy.

O-A rye beer that is a rye beer. Possibly has the most rye flavors of any beer I've had. If you like rye this is a must try.

Aug 11, 2013
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Kendo from New York

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the 750 ml capped bottle into a Piraat tulip-snifter type glass. Body is the color of black cherry soda, with a half-finger off-white head. Decent amounts of lacing on the glass.

S: To be honest. . . I don't like the nose. Cloves and rye spice are both evident, and IMO don't play well together scent-wise. Seems to create a slight sour milk smell. After I get past that, I'm getting rye spice, cloves and a Belgian-like yeastiness. Bubblegum perhaps.

T: Tastes come together better than the nose - substantial rye spice. This isn't a rye beer where you sip it and think, "Geez; how much rye did they really use in this one?" The rye is noted. As are the cloves, some dark fruit (think ripe cherries) and then a good amount of hop bitterness at the finish, splitting off from the spice of the rye. Phenolic Belgian yeastiness as well - reminds me of overripe melon to some degree. After a few sips, this grows on you.

M: Medium-to-full in heft. Modestly sharp in carbonation, but not offensively so. In fact, it may help to wake up the taste buds to all that's going on with this beer.

O: Very good. And different.

Tea Leaf Green playing now, pairs well.

Jul 21, 2013
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MadScientist from New York

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: A deep copper that is somewhat hazy. The is made of rocky tan bubbles with better than average retention, falling from a finger to a thin cap of bubbles after a couple of minutes.

S: A mix of spicy phenols, some tropical fruit and a light malt sweetness. There is medium-strong cloves mixing with some rye and at times a slight plastic note. There is medium-low tropical fruit hops aroma somewhere around pineapple and and mango the low intensity make them hard to name but easy enough to distinguish from straight citrus hops.

T: Strong rye malt flavor with medium flavors of clove and spice. There is a medium hops flavor that is pineapple and citrus. The is light malt sweetness in the middle but the balance is firmly bitter with a medium-strong hops bitterness and a dry finish. The aftertaste is of a lingering spicy bitterness.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with a medium level of carbonation and a light creaminess.

O: A rich blend of rye, spice and fruity hops.

Jul 02, 2013
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Dope from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch E!046

A: Pours a very dark brown with a big effervescent tan head. Head fades slowly, leaving a wonderful thin spiderweb of lacing everywhere on the glass. Great retention too.

S: Wow, very interesting aroma. It's tropical fruit and spicy rye at the same time. Unique combination. Spicy cloves in there too? Strong spiciness in general but the tropical fruits temper it a little.

T: Again, very spicy up front. Spicier than even most other rye beers. Lots of sharp rye and cloves. Mild tropical fruit here, not as strong as in the aroma but still present. Touch of sweetness and then a decent wave of hoppy bitterness in the finish. Lingering spicy rye and just a touch of that nice tropical fruit in the aftertaste - quite drying while we're at it.

M: Just medium bodied, smooth. Dry in the finish. Spicy throughout.

O: Very nice rye beer. Very spicy, possibly the spiciest rye beer I've ever had. And I've had a bunch. Definitely a must have if you appreciate that aspect of these beers. There is just a smidge of sweetness and a little tropical fruit hops to balance complement the flavor but it's mainly the spicy rye and cloves. The spice and hop bitterness in the finish can sometimes make for quite a drying hit but it's not obnoxious. Delicious and unique, I enjoyed it.

Jun 25, 2013
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utopiajane from New York

3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark copper brown with a fantastic head of soft foam that fell slowly and stuck to the glass like cotton candy. Left a good thick cap and constantly refreshed with every tilt of the glass. Amazing lace from the top to the bottom of the glass. Nose is sweet caramel and citrus hops. Rye and a good amount of spice. Yeast has a good Belgian aspect. The malt character is cake like, carrot cake, banana bread and there’s lots of clovey, nutmeg qualities too. There’s also banana. Taste is sweet malt that is rather light, the spicy rye and the cake like spices beside that. The banana is all around and there’s even a buttery smoothness. The hops lose all their citrus in the drink but they do finish with some bitter on the back palate, a light pine and peppery bite. It has depth, complexity and balance. The body is silky and very smooth.

I couldn’t help but wonder why I was not appreciating this beer more while I was drinking it. If you ask me, it’s the banana that is the unwelcome guest during the drink and I just didn’t like it with the rye. There’s also an astringency as it finishes that makes the bitter a touch too bitter and the after taste just a little too long. As the beer warms the alcohol pokes it’s head out . It starts out interesting and pleasant but drinks with more difficulty. It falls into the category of a roggenbier and does fine there.

Jun 12, 2013
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a hazy, dark ruby. Very hazy. Head fails to make a full layer atop the beer. Rings of lace. Second pour creates a much, much bigger head.

S-The rye is potent and so are the herbal hops. Spicy and earthy hops with a hint of rubber. Dark caramel maltiness.

T-The hops and yeast start off this beer is a very bubblegummy flavor. Then the is a moment of tropical hoppiness before it is swallowed by the rich rye and dank, earthy hops. Very spicy in many different ways. Hops taste spicy, rye is very spicy and there is a clovey note as well. Its weird but it works.

M-Fuller bodied with softer bubbles. Lingering bitterness. A bit sticky.

O/D-A cool beer with many layers to dissect. Kinda tastes like a rye-onion bagel. I enjoyed this beer if not sole,y for its eccentricity.

Jun 08, 2013
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atr2605 from New York

4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-pours a deep amber with a thick white head with good retention
S-caramel, pine, spicy
T-transitions from sweet caramel sweetness up front to piney hops and finishes with the spicy rye. very interesting flavors.
M-medium bodied
O-A unique rye ale that is worth trying.

May 29, 2013
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kawilliams81 from Illinois

4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml into a Half Acre tulip.

A- pours a dark amber with a huge 3" tan head. 50% of the glass remains covered in thick spider webs of lacing.

S- big banana and clove aroma with some spices and faint citrus.

T- sweet amber malts, banana, clove, dark candi sugar, spicy rye and light pine bitterness at finish.

M- medium body and carbonation. Creamy and slightly syrupy.

O- very tasty beer. Similar to a dunkel Weiss with some spicy rye.

May 28, 2013
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ThePorterSorter from Oregon

3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Acquired recently from BoTW in Rochester

The beer pours a dull, opaque dark brown (copper in the light) with 1/2 an inch of a creamy off-white head that fades quickly with some lacing. The nose is relatively mild (when cold) with notes of caramel, malts, Zeelandy hops, some weird and astringent spice/fruitiness, booze, and carrots (or some root vegetable). Obviously the nose becomes more pronounced as the beer warms. The taste is potent with an initial flooding of rye spice and bitter hops, which transitions into a spicy/malty sweet finish. Initially it's a bit hard to drink, harshly spicy with a bitter astringency, but as you grow accustomed to it, and it warms up a bit, I think it offers something with a relatively unique flavor and drinkability. I'd say this is a try-once and share with friend.

May 25, 2013
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CloudStrife from New York

4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle split and poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a mostly opaque ruby brown with a solid slightly tanned head. Almost too hazy to see any visible carbonation. The head sticks around for the entire glass and leaves some nice lacing along the way.

S: Initial smell is of belgian yeast. Maltiness and spiciness as well. A touch of citrus to it. Has a sweetness to it. Hops and rye come out more as it warms.

T: Well balanced and complex brew. Lots of belgian characteristics to it. You can really taste the yeastiness which has a hint of spice that compliments the rye. Speaking of which has a strong presence. Just a touch of booze at the end. Hops do provide some nice bitterness that lingers into the aftertaste.

M: Light to medium body with a smooth character. Just a bit sticky from the malts but goes well.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer, being a huge rye fan however, that may play a role. Would recommend giving it a go if you're a rye beer fan. Happy anniversary to Ithaca.

May 22, 2013
Fifteen from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 95 ratings