1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Gift Of The Magi - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Gift Of The MagiGift Of The Magi

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

635 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 635
Reviews: 296
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 53
Gots: 92 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
It seems that everyone knows the story of the Three Kings. Sent to follow the star in the sky each brought a gift for the baby they sought. One King brought Gold, the other Frankincense and the other Myrrh. Many breweries produce a Christmas Seasonal beer and this is our beer to celebrate the holiday season.

(Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-10-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 635 | Reviews: 296 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nhindian
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Lost Abbey Patron Sinner's goblet.

2009 Vintage.

A - Pours a burnished copper color with flares of orange playing at the edges of the glass. Very hazy throughout, making it nearly impossible to discern anything about the body of the beer. Two fingers of eggshell-colored head balance out the beer, composed of tight bubbles with nice retention. Lacing is sparse at best, with not a ton of residual lace sticking around.

S - The aroma is pretty neat on this beer. It's spicy, fruity, and woody, but the Brett is carefully integrated among the other notes. I was expecting a bigger Brett character, but can't say I'm disappointed with how it's laid out here, because it allows the other aromas to properly develop. It almost gives a fig, juniper, and dark pitted fruits, which when combined together delivers an almost holiday note; very fitting with the name and label.

T - Much the nose, the taste is equally as appetizing. The malts at first are rich, dark, sweet, and at times even smoky, but it leaves a nice lasting backbone. Then comes the slight tartness from the Brett... I'm not sure if it's the total composition of flavors or the yeast, but it gives me a strong impression of Jackie O's and Jolly Pumpkin beers. The fruits and wood come through next and last into the finish, and again I am getting the bark, figs, berries, and dates that were so prevalent in the nose. It finishes slightly bitter with a bit of an alcohol bite, but overall fairly clean.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with pretty nice carbonation. It's a bit high, but I feel it fits the style and the flavors adequately. It finishes a bit dry, but still relatively sweet.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. This was a pleasant surprise for me, bringing a bold and diverse flavor profile. The Brett is a little bit understated and could use some development, but I prefer its current state rather than it overbearing the other notes. I would like to try this again a little bit fresher!

Photo of mltobin
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle in the cellar for about a year.

Appearance is a light copper color with 2 fingers of head. The nose has malts, citrus, sweet candies, very inviting in general. Upon sipping this heavier Biere de Garde, I am hit by some funk, which is nice. Also, there is pepper, caramel and some more citrus. It is a beer which warms you with the alcohol, but also has a pleasant bitterness in the finish. Perhaps with even more time in the cellar, it would continue to mellow out. It was a nice beer in any event.

Photo of Chaney
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

High octane Biere de Garde. Gotta love it....

I want to thank my buddy from work Blake for bringing back the entire Lost Abbey arsenal a little while back.

Vintage 2009, poured into a DuClaw Colossus snifter.

A: A finger and a half dirty foam sitting on top of a van of mildly cloudy, clay brown-red liquid.

S: Nice! Bright, sparkly candy sugar and pixie stick dust interwoven with a mild sourness... Brett, if you will.

T: The taste was a little more suspect. Very boozy, the alcohol even burns the throat even. Where was the Brett? To be honest, this reminded much more on the Imperial brown ale side than anything. Tree bark roughness, brown sugar, with the most brutal finish on this side of the hemisphere.

M: The thick sweetness honestly didn't bother me, but the rough sandpaper of a finish did. Substantial lacing.

O: I'm a Lost Abbey fan for sure, however, this was a bit rough... even in small doses. I'm glad I tried it, but I expected more. This was a 2009 huh? It's still quite rough. If I were to score another bottle, I would bury in the ground and hopefully someone will dig it up and taste it in about the year 4080!

Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a hazy, orange/amber color with a three-finger, long lasting, khaki colored head of foam. It left some patchy lacing on the glass.

S - It smelled of currants, spices and dried fruits. It had frunky and malty notes, too.

T - It had a spicy bite up front with a malty sweet backbone. Good dried fruit flavors with some phenolic notes.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a fairly dry finish.

O - This is a very good biere de garde. Sampled on the 4th of July but it still worked well.

Photo of NEhophead
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

25.4 fl oz brown bottle, caged and corked; served in an oversized wine glass.

Bottled on 12/07/2010.

Deep copper in color with good clarity. Densely, creamy off-white foam with remarkable retention. A faint ring of lacing with decent strength.

Moderately sweet Belgian candied sugar with notes of honey and vanilla. Raisin, date, and a touch of molasses enhance the candied sugar. A touch of lemon adds a cutting citrus quality to the sweetness and deep alcohol whaffs. Notes of farmhouse must.

The Belgian candied sugar that was promised in aroma is present in flavor; however, it has taken on a more straightforward sugary sweetness rather than incorporated the dark, aged fruit. Stiff farmhouse must with a slightly bitter earthen flavor in the middle; the sweetness is cut for the moment, but the primary flavors are quite muddy.

Almost full in body on account of the sweetness and alcohol character. Slightly over-carbonated.

A lot going on here across the ratings spectrum. The flavors are a bit of a let down; a bit more earthen and muddy than I would've liked.

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

A - Pours with a nice pop. Poured into a tulip with a surprisingly voluminous amount of white head. The color is a medium cherry.

S - Kind of a funky smell, but in a pretty good way. Smell is much like the other Biere de Garde I've had, but with lesser fruity esters, but they're still present.

T - The most notable aspect of this beer is the finish, to me, which is very hot. The rest seems like it's a bit muted. The flavors are there (a bit earthy and musty), but I feel like they're a bit missing.

M - The mouthfeel is good. Very frothy in the mouth, it certainly fills up my mouth with the foam. The finish is, as I mentioned before, very hot.

Overall, this is an interesting beer. The flavors are not wicked pronounced, but they're decent.

Photo of woodychandler
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Once more, transcribed from undated notes. I just remember it was snowing in PHL that day and I was visiting Spanky at Local 44.

My server presented it to me in a 10-oz. tulip, although the aforementioned Spanky was going to let me have a pint at the same price. No, thanks, amigo mio. There was no head to speak of and the beer was a slightly hazy golden-yellow color. Leaning in, I noted an obvious Brett presence on the nose. Mouthfeel was medium with an intense tartness on the tongue. Now, when I say "tart", I mean like fresh-squeezed lemon juice! Puckeringly tart and dry. Finish was Sahara Desert dry. Dry as the Zephyr winds. My entire palate and mouth felt scrubbed squeaky clean. Frankly, this seemed more like something I would want in the summer in lieu of a wheat beer.

Photo of cosmicevan
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 bottle of Gift of the Magi that I picked up at julio's when I was there for thanksgiving.

a - opened the bottle and filled my lost abbey tulip (love it when I've got a glass/brew match). beer poured a pretty stunning reddish amber orange...deep and syrupy looking with a generous frothy off white head that could be rebuilt with a swirl. lacing was spotty, but this is what a beer should look like.

s - really REALLY nice oaky woody vanilla caramel malty sweet smell. fantastic.

t - the same oaky woody vanilla caramel malty sweetness, but with a big booze presence that almost knocked me out on the first sip. the barrel comes across a bit floral. the booze is a bit over the top on such a nice flavor. as I got through more of the bottle and the brew warmed, it seemed to get tougher and tougher to drink, up until I got to the point where I simply could not stand any more of it and it met the drain.

m - subtly bitter aftervibe, big alcohol tingle in my mouth. much thicker and richer than I had expected.

o - overall, reading some reviews going into this left me with some pretty low expectations...although this seemed to be the brew that would fill what I was looking for based on what I had read, so I popped it open. At first I was pretty blown away by the look and smell and it was on the money, but then when I tasted it, I began to understand some of the lackluster grades. I'm a big fan of a boozy beer, but this one was even a bit much for me. as it warmed, the booze did not fade into the background, but rather, it seemed like I was drinking more and more rubbing alcohol...ultimately this brew met the drain and I moved onto something else.

Photo of Mavajo
2.42/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Beautiful appearance. Pours an amber/chesnut body with a billowing cream head. One of the most luscious heads you'll see on a beer -- almost looked like the icing on a gourmet cupcake. Brilliant.

Aroma is interesting. Bit of herbal/spice funkiness. Intriguing.

The initial sip yields much of the same notes as the aroma -- herbal/spice, hints of brett and dry hopping. But yeck...what's with this horrible aftertaste? It's a horrendous chemical/medicinal sort of taste that just pounds my tastebuds. I think it's some amalgamation of the dry hopping, brett...and something else. I'm not sure what it is, but it's awful.

The mouthfeel is good. Creamy and appropriately carbonated.

The appearance, aroma and mouthfeel are all spot on. The initial taste is even okay too...but damn that aftertaste is one of the worst things I've encountered in a beer. I was wincing and yeching after every sip. I tried soldiering through it, but I had to tap out. Can't remember the last time I drain-poured that much beer.

Photo of brewdenver
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown appearance with a very frothy head. Strong fingers around the glass with heavy lacing. Used a New Belgium tulip glass filled it down the side till the last .1L and it was very active. Has an oaky alcohol smell with some hop undertones. Taste is a little bland to me. It seems to be lacking any real characteristic. It has a lot going on but nothing defining. Overall a good beer. Just not one I will be keeping in the fridge.

Photo of jdhilt
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a five+ pillowy, light khaki head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Hazy amber/brown color, ton of yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Nose is a yeasty malt, flavor is spice, yeast and hints of caramel. Sweet and slight bitter finish. High ABV is hidden. Warming. Bottled Dec 2010. $8.99 for a caged and corked 750ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Photo of spicelab
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gorgeous blood-red colour, cracking beige head, good retention. Looks hot.

Pretty funky with balsamic and sour cherry notes - quite kriek-esque. This is matched by more typical belgian yeast, spice and honey. Rather phenolic and boozey. Expected a little more.

Sticky treacle backed up with strong floral and fruity hops. Sour cherry and apple more subdued but definitely there. ABV is noticeable but not as overpowering as the nose indicates. Not hugely complex but quite balanced and a little different. Like it.

Fairly thick and rich, moderately bitter and boozey on the back palate. Carbonation is a little high.

Really enjoyed this overall. A pretty unique and balanced offering without an obvious comparison. Found the 10% ABV a bit high and somewhat detrimental to the drinkability.

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased from Binny's in Naperville IL for $8.99 a bottle. Poured into La Fin du Monde tulip. Bottled 12/07/10.

Appearance: Wow, froth it up. Pours a HUGE white head on a dark copper body. There is some noticeable layering in this glass. A ring stands about a half inch below the hand...

Smell: Got some spicy brett to it, but not a whole lot of funk. Cinnamon, cardamon, and cloves.

Taste: Nice malt, good spice, and a hint of barnyard funk to it...but it doesn't over power the spice profile. Good hops, with a big citrus brett push. Zesty orange finish.

Mouth: Syrupy and thick. Too thick for me right now. I was hoping for a brighter, spicey beer.

Drink and Overall: Overall, it's a good Christmas beer. I'm glad I purchased this bottle, maybe better fresh? I thought the age may have been beneficial, but I probably won't find out. I'll pass next time.

Photo of WJVII
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2/23/11 review session hosted by Cdkrenz reviewed from notes- Cdkrenz sample:
Poured into a pint glass this brew has a nice amber color, red in the light with a bizarre 4 finger head (on every pour). There is a strong hop aroma over powering most other smells leaving spice and clove in your nostrils. The taste is not as overpowering. There is a nice malt balance to the spicy hops. Very thick syrupy hop body with strong carbonation. For our session this was my favorite and despite being 10ABV was quite drinkable.

Photo of cdkrenz
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Body is a clear and transparent orange with an absolutely huge head. I'm talking five plus inches of head with each pour. The head is light tan and consists of large bubbles.

S - Aromas are spicy and malty.

T - Flavors consist of spiciness with sweet caramel and a hint of toffee. This is a tasty beverage.

M - The feel is watery and smooth even though it offers a nice slight stickiness in the finish.

~ I'd certainly suggest this to a friend. I wouldn't mind having this one again. It has the making for a good fall season drink. I like it as a good medium paced sipper.

Photo of ehammond1
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A dark copper and rust with a thick and tight white soapy head that stays perched atop the glass. Rings of sticky lacing slide down the glass. Beautiful.

A combination of lemon and black pepper in the nose. A bit of of dried apricot and some mild Brett funk as well.

Mild lemon, Brett, and a bit of spice. A bit of sweet fruit and caramel malt but a very mild tasting beer in nearly every regard. The alcohol is hidden extraordinarily well. I still don't believe this is a 10% ABV beer.

The mouthfeel is the star of the show with this beer. Highly carbonated, luscious yet smooth, full and bold yet smooth and easy drinking. Little to no alcohol presence. Impressive.

An easy drinking Biere de Garde with a surprisingly high ABV. A good and interesting effort.

Photo of Beernf
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at The Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood, CA.

I have had this beer a bunch, it always seems to accompany some kind of occasion. Like if an office friend is leaving to go work somewhere else, or at a birthday party, that kind of stuff. It adds an element of, i guess, 'specialness' to this beer for me, that always knocks it up a notch. I also really appreciate its wonderful smell, and its incredibly boozy taste. I always think i took a shot of some kind of liquor when i taste this beer for the first time in a night. Heavy malts and that bourbon note really hit home and i usually can only make it through one of these before i need to move on to something else. I still haven't really found a food that pairs well with this beer. I'll keep looking.

Photo of JamisonM
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Vintage 2009 750 ml bottle corked and caged poured into lost abbey snifter

A: Reddish Amber darker then what I was expecting very hazy with a light tan head

S: slightly sweet with a earthy herbal tea note

T: much more tart and bitter then the smell would indicate again herbal tea note in the taste starts off sweet finish is very super dry

M: med mouth with high carbonation

D: not very drinkable tartness gets to you.

Overall: not up to lost abbey standards most of the other beers they make are better in my opinion.

Photo of joshuasamantha
4.72/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance was average- comes in a corked bottle which we accidentally broke into the beer :/ The art they use for the labels are simplistic but enticing nonetheless.

This beer smells so good! I'm not completely schooled on the vernacular everyone is using to appropriately describe beers, but I can say the smell is nice and it makes you want to drink it :)

The taste of this beer is exactly as it's titled-a gift. It has a nice even flavor that most could appreciate.

Gift of the Magi has a slightly thick mouth feel to it but it's a not a bad thing.

The beer is very drinkable; in my beer budget, it is a treat because it's slightly pricey but well worth it. Also, it's a nice beer to share with someone that appreciates quality!

Photo of GilGarp
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 12/7/2010.

750 ml bottle served cold into a goblet. Gift of the Magi is a dark redish brown color with good clarity. Even after a careful pour, the head towers above the rim.

Aroma is spicey and funky but not all that intense. Maybe it's hidden under all of the head.

Flavor is very much the same but with more boldness and character. I didn't think a Biere de Garde could be so strong or high in alcohol but this one pulls it off. Funk and spice in equal measure, more subtle floral qualities.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and high in carbonation.

Overall a solid beer but not as special as I expected from Lost Abbey. Give it a try if you like the style.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish color to light brown color with a light tan head. In the aroma, spicy and a dry, tart white grape fruitiness. In the taste, dry cinnamon, somewhat fruity, especially tart, white grapes. A spicy bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry cinnamon and small tart flavors in the aftertaste. Nice spice and nice tartness, in good collaboration with each other. Hides the alcohol, quite nice for the season.

Photo of cjacobsen
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a snifter.

Pours a rich amber color that looks like honey with a nice, half inch white head on it.

Smells of spices with sweetness sprinkled in there. Has some fruit in there.

The taste is almost saison-esque with the spices and some tart fruit up front. It maintains throughout the and the flavor doesn't really change. You get a bit of the alcohol in the end of the taste as it lingers around. It has a good flavor to it but is quite spicy.

There is a decent amount of carbonation in this one. It's got a little bit of a tart bite to it because of it. Would have liked less.

I'm pleased with this beer. I definitely think that putting some time on it did it well. I wouldn't want to try this fresh, I think the alcohol would be a little more obvious.

Photo of micmillon18
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 Batch. Poured from a 750 ml bottle into an oversized wine glass. Another great piece of album art from Lost Abbey. I have another one in the cellar from 2009. After some research, I'm told the brett yeast climaxes after 2 years or so which is why I decided on the older of the two batches.

A - The beer itself is a pretty deep, amber color. Almost looks like white zinfandel. Head subsided quickly leaving a minimal amount of lacing. Carbonation appears low, which is true to the style.

S - Raisins. Spicy and tangy. Fresh apples. Light scents of citrus roaming around in here. Alcohol is also present.

T - Alcohol definitely present, though not so present that it hurts the flavor. Apples, raisins, lots of spiciness. I can taste orange flavors as well. Sweet flavors start upfront and finish with that boozy taste. A sipper for sure. Reminds me a bit of a dubbel.

M - I'd say the balance is slightly off but that may be due to the beer being past due? Medium bodied.

D - This one is a sipper for sure. The alcohol flavor kind of subdues the maltiness at times though ill see how things go as it warms up a bit. I'm interested to see how the 2009 batch will taste in comparison. Maybe this one was past its prime but its still a good beer.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.

A: Pours a dark golden color with a nice white head.

S: Spices, funky yeast, a bit of alcohol.

T: Quite a bit of spice, white pepper, and a lot of funky "wild" yeast. The spices work fairly well together. Finish is quite spicy as well as a large dose of hot alcohol.

M: Medium bodied, highly carbonated.

D: An interesting beer. A nice sipper for a winter evening.

Photo of perrymarcus
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appropriately, enjoyed christmas day. (review from notes). shared bomber.

pours a hazy amber/brown tone with big two-finger plus creamy head. the pour was not the best, but i didn't want to start a christmas altercation. nice retention, lacing.

nose is a nice bouquet headlined by caramel malts, some fruity notes, spice, and a touch of funk.

flavor follows the nose with a sweeter, fruiter feel out front becoming more earthy by the finish, again with spice and shades of funk. very tasty, flavorful brew. 10% ABV well hidden.

medium-bodied with some crispness; medium carbonation. very drinkable for such a big beer.

Gift Of The Magi from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 635 ratings.