River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale | River Horse Brewing Co.

River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter AleRiver Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale
377 Ratings
River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter AleRiver Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale

Brewed by:
River Horse Brewing Co.
New Jersey, United States

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our warming winter Ale is amber in color, malty and full bodied. Belgian yeast provides a variety of delicate characteristics in the nose and on the palate.

Added by dsa7783 on 03-22-2008

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 377 |  Reviews: 180
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A dark coloured ale, with a sour yeasty aroma, and a sour yeasty taste, something like a Belgian shwartzbier. Medium mouthfeel. Fizzy carbonation, like Dr. Pepper.Carmel, toffee, orange and spicy herbal juicey. Not bad, sweetness makes it drinkable. a fair Belgian ale.

 269 characters

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Knapp85
3.03/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out with a decent looking amber color. The head was pretty big at first but settled into just a thin layer over the beer. The smell of the beer has some spice to it mixed with malts. The taste of the beer was more of an autumn spiced beer than a Christmas one. The flavors were mixed between sweet and spicy. The mouthfeel was alright, nothing too crazy here. Overall I wasn't too impressed with this brew.

 423 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.13/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Was surprised to see this at my local beer store.. never heard of this brewery and they never carried any of their other beers. Also, only 12 reviews of this guy on here.

Well, it's nothing spectacular. I know on here it says ?ABV but on the River Horse website it lists this at 8% ABV. You can definitely detect that.. this beer doesn't mask the alcohol kick at all, but being a winter seasonal I don't really mind that. There is a definite caramel aroma and taste but I have a feeling this isn't too "Belgian" in the way it tastes. Not too bad but I would only have one of these in a sitting, a decent beer.

 610 characters

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is relatively clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense light beige head that has very good retention properties and hardly died down.
S: There are aromas of candi sugar, bananas and Belgian yeast in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a little sweetness along with notes of toffee and hints of Belgian yeast.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. No stickiness is present.
O: I found this beer to be easy to drink and rather enjoyable because it was almost as flavorful as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale while having a lighter body.

 688 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.82/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a bottle into a dinner glass.

A: Amber-brown colour. Bad head. Kind of appealing.

Sm: Musty malt, hint of prune, treated barley, maybe an adjunct, nuts (almond?).

T: No, not almond - caramel! The body is built strangely for a winter amber. The finish is nutty, not hoppy. The balance is biased towards the finish.

Mf: Too smooth, a bit too wet. Nicer towards the finish.

Dr: Too much caramel. Too expensive.

 448 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of oline73
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of candi sugar with some dominating Belgian style malt. Taste is also a nice enough mix between some candi sugar and nice Belgian malt with some fruity ester and a lightly spicy yeast. Body is not as full as I would have liked it with some good carbonation and no presence of alcohol. Not bad but makes me want to learn more from this brewery.

 451 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The very dark and reddish-orange accented caramel-colored body of River Horse's Belgian Frostbite alludes to the intrigueing and unique chocolate notes found in both its aroma and flavor. The nose is malty, caramelish and subtly chocolatey, with a soft fruitiness (dull plum?) and hint of background spice (most likely from the yeast). It's medium-full bodied, lightly zesty, and then creamy across the palate. The flavor is rich but not overwhelming, and loaded with soft nutty malt, dark fruit (raisins, dark fruit skins, prune), a touch of wood, a hint of licorice, and a mild note of chocolate that appears in the finish. It's quite nice, and best enjoyed just slightly warmer than a regular pint but not at cellar temperature (maybe 40-45F).

 746 characters

Photo of jlindros
2.88/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Found this bottle on the back of a shelf dusty, probably about a year old so not very fresh, hope that didn't ruin the beer. Poured into oversized bubble wine glass.

A: Very dark brown color with slight maroon tinge almost no light, light frothy head the dissipates very slowly but leaves the remnants of the head for a while

N: Nose is smooth light, slightly malty, pretty fruity, slight vanilla, touch of raisin, some alcohol and yeast

T: Lots of fruit and raisin, a strange toasty fig newton like taste, very chewy, some alcohol, a little sour, it does taste a little old and past its prime, not much for Belgian at all except the alcohol sour dark fruity taste and some yeastiness, slightly buttery, pretty phenolic (finally figured that taste out with this beer)

M: Chewy and pretty thick, decent carbonation

F: Finishes pretty sweet and strange malts, more of that fig newton like taste, leaves a dry rotten fruit taste in the mouth, phenolic and a slight slimey trail on the tongue with toasty buttered popcorn

Final thoughts: Not sure if this beer is way past its prime, or if this is usually how it is. I'll have to try to revisit when it's fresh. Its got some nice dark fruit taste and good malts, but too much rotten fruit and phenols, sticky and chewy, not the best drinking experience

 1,303 characters

Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have had the chance to try a few River Horse brews when I lived in the Philly area and honestly wasnt all that impressed but Iam gonna give them a go again.This offering poured a deep murky ruddy brown with a tight formed 1/2 finger slight off white head that was gone quite fast leaving no lace behind.Aromas of vanilla,raisin,roasted nuts and slight phenols are pretty appetizing,I like the flavors going on mainly because the phenolic flavors dont dominate somewhat pruney and raisiny with some herbal sharpness and cola lingering flavors with a hint of earth as it warms.Goes down very easily the mouthfeel is spot on not overly heavy for such big flavors,I like it better than most I think.

 697 characters

Photo of smithj4
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of vfgccp
4.21/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of paulish
4/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of woodychandler
3.42/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin, off-white head that quickly reduced to wispiness. The color is a reddish-orange/brown and the nose is really sweet, almost sugary. The mouthfeel is medium with a malty presence at the front and then finishing with a lightly bitter hoppiness. I find it kind of light in the taste department, which leads me to wonder if the clarity is the result of over-fining, which usually leads to a reduction in taste. I have noted the same phenomenon in another brewery's Belgian-style ale. Note to you brewers out there: Hey, it's a Belgian-style beer! It can be cloudy. You need not make it clear and pretty on my account.

 618 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cherry caramel with juicy orange edges. While not as expansive as the heads on most Belgian versions of the style, Frostbite's head is a generous two fingers after a controlled pour. The foam is toasted sawdust in color and is rich, thick and creamy. It looks like butter pecan ice cream as it melts (sans pecans) and deposits a shredded circumferential sheet of lace.

The nose is dark malty, sour and phenolically spicy. For some reason though, even though it's purported to use an authentic Belgian yeast strain, the beer doesn't really smell authentic to me. The various pieces of the olfactory puzzle don't fit together well enough and don't add up to anything all that compelling on an individual basis.

On the palate, Frostbite is as sour as it smells. I may be able to get past it to appreciate the rest of the flavor profile, but I don't really care for this degree of sourness is my BSDAs. Why on earth is an 8% beer listed as a BDA anyway? An ABV of 8% is 'strong' where I come from. Happily though, the alcohol is well-buried.

I didn't expect this degree of phenolicity at all. I don't mind it in small doses, but when a beer tastes like it's been spiked with a generous shot of Laphroaig, it's time to break out the Band-Aid comparisons. Otherwise, it's sweetly caramel malty with very little contribution from hops. There's a modicum of clove spice I guess. Hard to tell under all that puckery tartness. Time to invest in a new yeast strain River Horse.

The body is okay for the stated style (BDA), not for the actual style (BSDA). A beer with this much flavor and this much alcohol should have a body with more than a trace of viscosity. It doesn't need to be hippopotamus-like, but a bit more heft would be welcome. I have no quarrel with the un-Belgian degree of carbonation; then again, I've grown to like and appreciate the exuberance of most Belgian beers.

River Horse Belgian Frostbite is an odd brew that would be much better with a new, cleaner yeast strain. I wouldn't say that it's a chore to drink, but the intense sourness is beginning to wear on me now that I've entered the home stretch. Is it worth climbing aboard this horse (okay, hippo) at all? As is, I'd have to say no.

 2,218 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark brown liquid poured down into the glass. A huge head of tan then rose up to a height of around two inches before settling back down into a frothy and foamy cap that stayed with it throughout the session. Only real knock here being too much head if anything. Aroma was fairly light, nice spice notes up front, hints of caramel, dark prune like fruit notes and a hint of cinnamon of all things. Carried over well in the flavor which was equally rich. Strong notes of spice up front and a smooth, mellow texture that really seemed to hit the nail on the head. Earthy and herbal with nice hints of dark fruit, I really felt it summed up the part quite well

 657 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.81/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of malfunxion
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, w/o any freshness dating. This one pours a good looking mahogony, its clear and supports an off white head. Respectable, fine lacing left on the glass. Nose here is herbal and spicy. This is a better then average American take on the style. Not overly bold nor complex, but a decent everyday Belgian style ale. Notes of raisins, some rum, minor candi sugar type notes and a fairly dry finish. Sort of Belgian Dark Ale "Light"

 442 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours dark brown with dark orange hues and a thin tan head that dissippates to a smell patch despite continual rise of carbonation.

The smell is of caramel/toffee - towards chocolate with a touch of toast and some sour notes.

The taste is of caramel/toffee - towards chocolate, as in the aroma. Also as in aroma, some sour notes come through. I'm contributing part of the lack of depth to a weak yeast strain, though this is perhaps not the only "fault". (The sour notes I'll put in that category too). Malty with a roasted touch and a hint of alcohol pretty much sums this one up.

I don't know about "Belgian-style", though there is enough to it to give it the benefit of the doubt on the style. There is something pleasant enough about it, but doesn't stand up to be much in the end.

 816 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale from River Horse Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.6 out of 5 with 377 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.