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Gift Of The Magi - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Gift Of The MagiGift Of The Magi

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

671 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 671
Reviews: 302
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 52
Gots: 104 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-10-2007

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 671 | Reviews: 302
Photo of chrisafari
3.64/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note: I am reviewing this as a "Biere de Garde" instead of a "Belgian Strong Pale Ale."

Vintage 2007.

Aroma: Candied sugar, molasses, banana and plum. Slight aroma of citrus hops in the background. Aroma is really fresh. Aroma is off for the style: should be more malty and toasty with a "cellar-like" aroma.

Pours reddish golden amber with an off-white head about 3/4 of a inch thick.

Flavor: Begins with big flavors of mango, citrus and banana. The finish, however, is spicy (ginger/peppery) and dry. After a few seconds the final finish spreads a welcome warmth down the throat. (Again, off for the style).

Body: medium body. It is pretty easy to form a head with a quick swirl. No lacing formed, however.

Drinkability: medium to medium high.

Overall: really quite enjoyable and unique. Something that I will try again next christmas season. I like to compare this to the 2008 vintage to see if a year of age helped or hindered the flavor and aroma.

This would have received a higher rating if this beer was a "Belgian Pale Ale" (as described in BJCP style guidelines). But, Tomme stated that he was attempting a "Biere de Garde," and as such falls short in the aroma and flavor categories.

This is, however, a very good Belgian Pale ale and a beer that like to live outside the style guidelines, which I give Tomme credit for.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very opaque tawny color, with a nice off white head on top. Low retention level with a very reserved sticky ringlike lacing. Wonderful fruity aroma, mostly plums and pears, with a big honey note. Light funk in the nose. This smells phenomenal. Smells syrupy. Flavor is just so overwhelming. Major brett funk but the malts just overpower this beer. Major flavors of honey, pears, and fresh plums, with an expectional funk. Some alcohol esters do take away some flavor, but lightly. Mouthfeel is very warming and smooth for the bite. Carbonation level is mellow, which I prefer with the style. I will definitely drink this again.

Photo of Haybeerman
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Lightly clouded coppery color. Poured a 3 finger coarse tan head that dissipated slowly. Thin bubbly lace.

S: Sweet malts and light, slightly musty fruits and yeasty esters.

T: Sweet, dry light-colored fruits. Finishes with spices and alcohol.

M: Medium side of full body. Ample carbonation in good balance. Beer is smooth and warming.

D: Good beer no doubt. The dryness and abv make it more of a sipper.

this was the 2008

Photo of biegaman
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A fresh 2008 Edition.

In creating an homage to biblical era figures Lost Abbey must have really stuck to theme. It would seem by the looks of things that the beer was brewed according to the standards and methods of the time. It is dismally murky and shows absolutely no signs of carbonation. Nevermind a foggy windshield or muddy ground water, the dreary earthy tones of orange and brown combine to look like a solid chunk.

Its musty, mildewed, lightly soured, almost squalid smell enhances my belief that this beer is seeking out to imitate ales of biblical times. Of course this has nothing to do with quality control, rather it's the use of Brettanomyces and, judging by smell, they've only begun their work. At this point the 'funk' fails to jump out at you and leaves no strong, distinct impression. Give them more time however...

Within its bouquet I detected notes of tart green and sour red apple, tropical fruits (mangoes, kumquats), raisins, nectarines and banana smoothie. Its flavour, however, steers wide clear of fruit, it's a concentration of dry unusual wood and subtle unfamiliar spicing (*little do I know yet how right I am!*). My sips concur with the impression I had with aroma: at this stage it's good, but with a little more time it could be great (or at least much better).

Either from warming or because I've now seen it confirmed on the brewery's website, I notice the frankincense and myrrh a lot more. I can't claim to being very familiar with either, but I'd say the myrrh herb most closely resembles peppercorns and the frankincense has a definite wood character, close to balsa wood, and leaves lasting notes of both tree bark and sap.

Frankincense is largely hailed for its aromatic quality and that resiny character definitely came through more once the air got to it. The myrrh, which comes from dried tree sap, also imparted a lot of resin and rosemary flavour. Both are tasty but overly dry. Considering the dryness of Bretts, the mouthfeel had little grace what so ever. Add to it approximately 10% alcohol - all of which is present- and it's not exactly an 'easy' drinking beer.

It took some time but this beer found its way into my good books. Tomme Arthur must be one of (if not the) most prolific brewers and the idea of using frankincense and myrrh for a Christmas seasonal is an idea I commend. Although this fresh sample didn't leave a great impression, I'm sure allowing the Brettanomyces more time will do the beer well - luckily I'm stocked up with both vintages!

Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 edition, thanks to biegaman for sharing this bottle. Poured into a large red wine glass because, a) I was too lazy to go fetch a proper beer goblet, and, b) because I am, afterall, thatwineguy. Opaque gold-brown colour initially reminded me of a prune puree, by half-glass the beer took on an orange glow. The head was sparse and fleeting with a sketchy, surface film, a ring and minor lacing. No visible carbonation. Smell of fresh peach, pleasantly understated, with a hint of rosemary. By half glass and with warming, this beer came to resemble a clear cognac in appearance with a bit of a wisp floating in centre glass.

The alcohol was apparent but well integrated, nice malt and bitterness blend, the latter more predominant with warming. I thought this was very much a Strong Ale, nicely balanced with an apricot aftertaste and more peach notes. It was not overly dense but had substantial body and mouthfeel, a flash of orange zest here and there and a muted alcohol backdrop. Overall, sufficiently complex with a fleeting but refreshing citrus flash here and there making for a most interesting mouthfeel and very drinkable beverage... thanks, Jan.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.57/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a golden caramel-brown body with a dense thick light tan head of foam that last and lasts. There is a good carbonation of tiny bubbles that supports the head.

S- This beer has a slightly sweet musty smell that starts as caramel that grows as the beer warms but melds into a bit more of a pineapple aroma with a note of cardamom. It finishes with a nice pine needle hop note that increases in spiciness as the beer warms.

T- This beer has a smooth sweet note that has some caramel qualities to it but is overtaken by a toasted malt flavor. There is a softer earthy flavor that has a minty quality to it along with some peppercorn hints and a bretti tartness. The finish of this beer is a soft piney hop flavor that lingers just a bit.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a full texture on the tongue. There is no alcohol heat noticed until the last sip.

D- This is how spiced winter beers should be. Good solid beer with some mysterious spice qualities that can't be teased apart. All the flavors work well together complimenting each other. They managed to put spice and malt and hops together and it works. I don't know if they used Frankincense and Myrrh but whatever it is its great.

Photo of MadsH
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazy light amber with almost no carbonation and very little head.

Smell: Sweet, loads of red fruits (strawberry, cherry, raspberry), light caramel, light alcohol, light brett and a little dark rum as it warms up.

Taste: Spicy, strong pepper in the front, hops, hop bitterness, light brett, alcohol, finishes with a long lasting bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with very little carbonation.

Drinkability: Complex, but lacks carbonation. After the smell I was surprised by the taste (not positively), particularly the hops and the bitterness. I considered not finishing it, but as I do I find it enjoyable. It is probably a beer that will change a lot with age as brett develops and hops fade.

Photo of mully
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a copper/ apricot color with a thin head thet sets up thin and fades pretty quickly

spicey yeast is prominent a little tartness present some malts and some hints of apple as well.

tastes like perfume, not in a bad -- way very spicey, interesting, but not "ohhhh interesting" not many beers like this. subtle malt sweetness, tangy/astringent some from the hops some from the spices.

dry mouthfeel, good carbonation spices linger for a while.

this is a good beer I have another to try next cristmas in my cellar. I don't know how much of it I could drink though.

Photo of lhaqq
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque caramel orange body with a large billowy off-white head.
S: Smells of spices, alcohol and some sweet dark fruits.
T: Similar to the smell but with less alcohol. Enjoyably sweet without being cloying.
M: Smooth and clean but still substantial.
D: Masks the 10% abv really well. Probably would have a hard time polishing off a pint bottle by myself but could enjoy splitting one.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage in 750 corked and caged into Duvel tulip. Little to no pop from the cork...

Fair amount of haze and proper copper bourbon body. Topped by extra-thin yeasty head - quite flat. Will reserve judgment until second pour...OK, that's a 1/2 finger head. Making progress.

Lots of oily bourbon brett funk - hay, horse blanket and other barnyard detritus...in a pleasant way. Good sour citrus with backbone of caramel malt. Nice sour consistency - hops have a fair amount of pine. Heavy but subdued yeast electricity.

LOVE the huge oak quotient up against the raw and dry brett tinge. More hop pine - austere bitterness - almost like balsa wood instead of pine...Citrus bounces up a little. Sweetness comes out with a little warmth - brown sugar and more bourbon. Dry raisins, plums, dates, sour cherries and maybe more apples with warmth. Still a little dry, though.

The tightness of this deal really brightens up. It's so crisp on the palate. The alcohol of the bourbon and oak really thumps on the brett to make it synergize. Finish is tight but that's expected.

They want contemplative...they goddit. Totally a sipper over a couple of hours.

Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(2007 bottling - tasted Dec 2008)

Appearance: Pours a cloudy peach nectar color with a reasonably fluffy head (foam burst forth from the bottle after the initial pour); it wasn't as impressive as I thought it was going to be, but there was decent retention and plenty of lace

Smell: This is one unusual aroma and I am limited in my ability to capture the elements as I haven't smelled frankincense and myrrh in a while (if ever); in any event, there is stone fruit (nectarines and apricots), bitter orange peel, peppery spices and a developing sour funk; boozy, as well

Taste: Opens with a blend of the fruits and the spices and moves in a funky direction by mid-palate, with plenty of pithy bitterness, as well; after the swallow, there is a depth of flavor that is part fruit, part funk, part balsa wood, and ultimately quite dry; the herbaciousness in the aftertaste is slightly medicinal but again, defies my vocabulary

Mouthfeel: Moderate to full body, slightly creamy, with medium to high carbonation; a bit of warmth in the gullet from the alcohol

Drinkability: Looking over the reviews of others, I wonder whether this is not a beer that needs a year, or more of age; I recall Tomme Arthur posting that the Brett takes a while to ferment in the bottle and the lack of carbonation others are experiencing was not an issue in my aged bottle; in any event, to my palate, this was one of the top offerings from Lost Abbey

Photo of damienblack
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an amberish brown, minimal head, decent lacing around the glass. smells musty, and like candied sugar. Upon tasting, a dry beer, but not very sweet. At first the spices take over, and then a hop bitterness kicks in, more bitter than what I was expecting from this. Heavy alcohol presence combined with the bitterness detract from the overall experience for me, as I was expecting something a little sweeter (more along the lines of how Allagash spiced this year's Fluxus.) Not much of a fruity taste, either. The brett gives a slightly sour presence, but it doesn't dominate. I guess the best description would be like Christmas out on the farm somewhere (or in a stable, go figure). Combines spicing with a dry grassiness. Not a bad sipper, but overall not quite what I was expecting.

Photo of yemenmocha
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft Dec. 2008, softer & sweeter malt character than bottled version. Also more bready and sugary.

Pours hazy amber/orange with slight neon quality, generous white head retains well

Nose is musty lighter fruits.

Palate is tangy fruit, rich malt, alcohol, and hops at the back of the palate.

Finish is long and again tangy fruit with some alcohol warmth.

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pored from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass. Poured out a cloudy amber color with decent white heading. Some nice holiday spices are immediate to the smell with some dark fruits. Heading disapates very quickly to nothing. Immediate taste malt and very very heavy with the alcohol aftertaste with a bitter settling, almost unenjoyable.The first glass I drank was fine the next I must have drank too quickly and woke up an hour later.

Photo of advm1
4.37/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It was the day after Christmas and the pub menu said "gold, frankincense and myrrh" so I gave it a try.

Poured out a deep amber color with a tan two finger head that quickly receded to almost nothing into a 12oz tulip. Lacing slid down the glass with each sip but hung around till almost the last drop. The aroma coming from this beer hit me before I even picked up the glass. It was like a cornucopia of fruits. I could smell cherries, apples, raisins or prunes and it seems they didn't even try hiding the scent of alcohol, which I didn't mind at all after I took a sip. The taste reminded me almost of wine with lots of alcohol undertones. Again, cherries and apples were very present. Mouthfeel was a bit oily on the lips but finished clean. Not too easy to drink due to the alcohol being so noticeable. I wouldn't be able to handle more than one or two of these before calling it quits. A great ale indeed.

Photo of russpowell
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cheers to my friend Eric for hauling this from Cali! Pours caramel with 2 fingers of tan head. Minimal head retention & lacing

S: Apples, candi sugar & apricot

T: Apples, candi sugar, & leafy hops. Dryness, leafy hops, & candi sugar, jammyness, dirt, plus lemon hops are all there as this warms. Finishes fruitty & dry, plus some grapefruitty hops

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation

Drinks pretty slow, due to the dryness, the brett didn't really help or hurt this one

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle. 2008 release. Thanks to Bring of this one!

A- Body is a thick, murky light brown color. Pours with a small head which eventually fades to a very thin collar and leaves little to no lacing behind in the glass. When held up to the light, the cloudiness is uniform and thick as the light shines through on the sides of the glass.

S-What comes to the nose first is the spiciness of this brew. Then a bit of tart plums and behind that is a hint of apples and funk.

T-The flavor is heavy on added spiciness upfront (clearly gold, frankincense, and muhr ;) with a slight tart plum essence, and a substantial malt and yeast backbone. The flavor gets spicier for the finish (much like a really spicy winter warmer) but you can also taste a hint of tart apples and Brett funk come forward for the finish. A little bit of spiciness and a little bit of residual bitterness lingers.

M-Low to medium tingly carbonation and medium weight body. The mouthfeel is very concentrated but not too thick or under carbonated.

D- I was really looking forward to trying this beer and picked it as my Christmas beer, and that is exactly what the character is of this one-a Christmas beer. Its a good beer and I wouldn't mind trading for and aging this one but the flavors (particularly the spiciness) come through a little strong.

Photo of RunDWP
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I appreciate a gift from any one, especially Magi, but you know what, this one under whelmed me a little. Of course, Jesus would be very forgiving but me on the other hand, well, let's just say I'm far from perfect.

I will say it seems like it would pair great with certain foods, the yin to the right yang. Not that I'm into namby-pamby philosophy or anything like that.

I poured it carefully into a tulip glass so as not to disturb the yeast on the bottom, resulting in zero foam. Usually, any brew will foam up a little when poured this way, but this surprised me. Nice copper color in the glass.

I don't have a sensitive nose, but what I could smell was a little musty and funky. I've smelled a lot worse barnyards.

On to the taste, I was expecting some fruit, but really never detected any. There was some nice, toasty yeast and a zippy clove, cinnamon spice kick, that woke me up, without really giving me a punch in the mouth. Slight sour note as well. Besides that, I really didn't detect much else, besides a little alcohol. Some hop bitterness started to kick in as it warmed.

Good level of carbination, could have easily been harsh in the mouth with all that spiciness and alcohol, but was pretty drinkable.

Seemed incomplete as a sipping beer in some way I can't quite describe. I think this would work much better paired with dark chocolate, strong cheese, or maybe a savory beef or lamb dish.

2008 edition, in 750 ml corked bottle.

Photo of DrJay
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from mikesgroove. Thanks!
2007. Seemed appropriate for enjoying on Christmas Eve. It poured with a thin beige cap that formed a thick collar and sheets of lace. Great head retention. The beer itself was a hazy tawny amber with a constant stream of bubbles rising to the surface. The initial aromas were caramel and light herbal and floral hops, a bit grassy too. As it warmed there was a hint of earthiness and tart acidity. Light herbal bitterness with a delicate flavour, a combination of caramel sweetness and cereal grains. Alcohol was present in the finish, along with a light lingering white pepper spice. More earthiness and tartness appeared as it warmed. Moderate carbonation with an airy, light texture. The medium body was a bit creamy and there was mild warmth. Very nicely balanced overall. Mellow, elegant flavours really melded well together. Brett character was light, but definitely a contributing characteristic, and the year it's spent in the bottle may have brought this out more.

Photo of gford217
3.59/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle courtesy of KingG poured into a snifter. I couldn't think of a more fitting beer to drink on Christmas Eve than this one.

Pours hazy amber with strong orange hints when held up to light. The head is off-white and fairly large, receding to a ring quickly and leaving only traces of lacing.

The aroma is a curious mix of toasted malts, spices and some sweet fruits. The breadiness of the malts is probably the most dominant with the spices playing a supporting role. There are citrus hops in the nose as well.

The taste doesn't have quite the sweetness that I detected in the aroma, with the toasted malts really dominating the taste. The finish is definitely dry and some interesting spices as well, presumably the frankincense and myrrh, though I doubt I could identify those spices anyway. I didn't get as much of the hops in the taste.

This mouthfeel is well-carbonated and very dry with a spiciness that zings the tongue throughout the finish.

Another interesting and tasty brew from Lost Abbey, though I wouldn't put it near the top of my LA list. The spices really throw a unique twist into the beer.

Photo of aforbes10
2.18/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bought at Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley and saved until tonight. Pours a muddy brown with zero obvious carbonation...until a couple of seconds pass and a short head forms. Still looks a little tepid. Smells a bit of spiced malt, but mostly of strong fruity ethanol. Flavor is a lot like the aroma...dry malt with hints of spice but then a massive ethanol attack. Very aggressive and lingering alcohol, distracting. No sense of the Brett that the bottle says has been added at bottling. Syrupy mouthfeel. Nah. Not my favorite.

Photo of Slynger
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage one year aged - Christmas Eve 2008

Pours a hazed coppery orange with a nicely sized lid of fine bubbled, fuzzy-creamy light tan.

Aroma has some sweet pear qualities with apricot and yeasty esters.

Flavor is dry lightly sweet and lightly tart funky of the above fruits. Perfumish and flowery as well with a nice spiciness to it.

Body is full with a lean towards medium carbonation is nice and fluffy and the slide down is nice, though not quite smooth.

Nice beer, although I don't know if aging it a year improved it or not. May pick up a 2008 and see how that compares.

Photo of roadhouse
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my new Orval goblet.

Appearance is a slightly hazy copper hue with a quarter inch off-white head that settles out to a skim. Still it manages to leave some nice looking lace.

Aroma is slightly sweet with some tropical fruit notes and a nice Brett character of old leather, sourness, and general funk.

The taste is initially sweet and caramelly, in fact almost barleywine like. That quickly changes though as the Brett character comes in a slight tartness envelopes the palate but it is more funky than sour. Fruitiness from the aroma comes through again as well.

Mouthfeel is medium in body, and very smooth and creamy.

Overall I was slightly hoping for more of a sour character so I was slightly disappointed, though it's still a good beer. Sweetness was a bit off-putting.

Photo of Slatetank
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to mughugger for sharing this brew.
A - a strawberry shade with a minimal white head that doen't hang on very long. The clarity is good and visually appears effervescent

S - a pleasant yet restrained fruit and brett nose
mild spice and hints of papaya seem to come forward

M - a dry, spiced and effervescent mouthfeel with hints of malt

T - the flavor has many things like papaya and other tropical fruit as hinted at in the nose. The brett has a slight funkiness with earthy and mild horsiness. The flavor has a yeasty spice and the malt is dry and complimentary. A subtle hint of toasted grain and similar malt flavor as the yeast flavors mesh.

D - A very complex brew and one I would love to try again. Somewhat restrained but right on for the style IMO. This is an excellent beer and Lost Abbey gets a lot of flavor out of the yeast in this brew.

Photo of alovesupreme
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light shade of yellow, with a nice light head that sits around for a minute or two.
Smells strongly of incense, apparently frankincense and myrrh with some Belgian yeast in the mix.
A little spicy with some alcohol presence, the spices are unconventional but pleasant.
Good carbonation, with a solid mouthfeel.
All in all a solid beer. I was a little intimidated originally by the fragrances but it pulled through. I probably will not buy this again for a while but was happy to have tried it.

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Gift Of The Magi from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 671 ratings.