The Bruery – 4 Calling Birds review

The Bruery 4 Calling Birds

I know, the holidays are over. But it is still the Winter season, and there’s still plenty of beer to be enjoyed! This one was consumed on Christmas Eve 2011.

4 Calling Birds from The Bruery is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, and is 11% ABV. This is part of the 12 Days of Christmas series. The Bruery will release a beer every year, and started with A Partridge in a Pear Tree. This is the fourth in the series. Each beer is made to be aged until the 12th year of the series (12 Drummers Drumming).

From The Bruery’s website:

Spiced Strong Dark Ale. The Twelve Days of Christmas series continues! We took inspiration from the traditional winter warmer for our fourth verse, integrating gingerbread spices into a robust dark ale. Notes of licorice & banana bread mingle with dark fruit, molasses and bitter chocolate for a perfect cold weather sipper!


The beer pours a deep, dark reddish brown – almost black. It had a mocha head with large bubbles, and disappeared quickly. As I drank, there was no head and no visible carbonation. Large alcohol legs grab the edge of the glass. Not a bad looking brew.


Slight booze hits the nose at first, but isn’t off putting at all. There is a ton of spice character, including ginger and perhaps allspice which is reminiscent of a gingerbread cookie (though, not as sweet). Lots of dark fruits come through, and there’s even some stout-like aromas, including roasted malt character and chocolateThis beer has an extremely complex aroma. Lots of stuff going on – all of them pretty nice!

The Bruery 4 Calling Birds Label


Whoa, what a crazy beer. The first taste I get is a pure molasses flavor, and not really in a good way. I taste some ginger, and the beer has some slight tartness and lots of Belgian spice character. I definitely taste ginger which gives it a slight kick at the end of the tongue. Booze comes through, but for the most part the alcohol is pretty well hidden. I hate to say it, but the molasses flavor is a little off-putting. If you’ve ever tasted pure molasses, you’ll know what I mean.


There’s a tiny bit of carbonation in this brew. The body is medium, and it finishes slightly dry. It’s not as thick as I expected, and is fairly drinkable for a beer with such high ABV. The mouthfeel is much better than the flavor of this beer.


I’m pretty disappointed in this one. It’s not bad at all, but it just doesn’t work for me. This is the 4th of 12 beers in a series, so I’m curious how this will age for the next 8 years. I can only assume it will smooth out and not be as all over the place as it is now. Is it worth buying? Maybe for the collection aspect, but I would recommend aging this one for awhile.


SCORE: ★★ 2/5

This review can also be found at Snobby Beer.


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avatar About Max Spang

Max Spang is a professional video producer and co-founder of Catapult Creative, an avid home brewer, and an amateur connoisseur of fine craft beers. With a focus on promoting the craft beer community in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, he is ever vigilant in hunting down the next great sample, pint, or bottle of beer.