1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Black's Dawn - Cismontane Brewing Company

Black's DawnBlack's Dawn

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

197 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 197
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.36%

Brewed by:
Cismontane Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Named after Black's Beach

(Beer added by: DoubleJ on 07-03-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 197 | Reviews: 51 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of HopHead84


4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap at Stone.

A: Black with a big light brown head.

S: Nutty and earthy with robust coffee notes. Brown sugar blends with molasses, dark chocolate, and restrained licorice notes. Roasted malt is prominent.

T: Rich dark chocolate with a monolithic dark malt presence. Roasted with molasses and brown sugar. Nice coffee profile with a mild astringency. Moderate earthy bitterness and a dash of booze in the finish.

M: Full body with upper medium carbonation and a sticky, silky, full mouthfeel.

Overall: A nice Imperial Stout. Rich, bold, and balanced.

Serving type: on-tap

05-23-2012 05:18:14 | More by HopHead84
Photo of Merkur


4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Ritual in San Diego.

Had in a snifter.

Beer poured very dark brown, almost black with about a half finger worth of white head.

The beer smells of strongly of espresso and coffee. Very roasty.

The taste follows the smell with a nice, roasty flavor of coffee and a bit of chocolate.

The mouthfeel was just a bit too thin for my liking with very little carbonation.

Aside from being a bit thin, this was a very enjoyable stout.

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2012 15:45:38 | More by Merkur
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch foamy dark khaki head that fades to an oily film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, coffee beans, and some bittersweet chocolate aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, coffee grounds, and dark chocolate syrup. A nice mild roasty bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good coffee stout with a great balance of coffee and dark chocolate flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

10-23-2011 20:32:32 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of augustgarage


3.13/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap @ Blue Palms Brewery - served in a goblet.

Opaque seal brown body with a whisper of ran bubbles up top, settling into a thin collar and oily webbing. Anemic lacing.

Coffee, roast barley, and a touch of diacetyl in the nose.

Carob, earth, black pepper, brown butter, and stale coffee to start on the palate. Taste brings to mind a 24hr greasy spoon catering to somnolent truckers on some remote interstate. Finishes with a pleasing toastiness, though the diacetyl persists.

Oily, medium bodied, with low carbonation.

A decent coffee stout marred by a few defects you might expect from a home-brew.

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2011 05:46:03 | More by augustgarage
Photo of dbmernin83


4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a light brown head and great lacing
Smells of coffee, and booze.
Big coffee, a little chocolate and boozing sweetness.
Good carbonation, on the lighter side of imperial stouts making it extremely drinkable.
A fantastic coffee stout. Everything I look for in a stout, and a little more.

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2011 07:07:13 | More by dbmernin83
Photo of notchucknorris


3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Pizza Port Calsbad

A: Black with a one finger tan head and pretty good retention.

S: Coffee, oats and a lot of wet earth. Perhaps a bit of licorice as well. As the beer warms, it begins to smell more smoky with a bit of smoked herring coming into play as well.

T: A bit of coffee and roasted/charred malt with a slight bit of roasted oat sweetness without the smooth mouthfeel. A bit of a smokiness in the background as well. Pretty solid, but not sure I would go for this again.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2011 05:16:12 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Milder dark appearance than some stouts, nothing bad. Good coffee aroma, first and foremost.

Coffee through and through, not over the top, complimented by ample chocolate, hides the alcohol. Easily a breakfast style tailgating beer.

Reminiscient of Speedway Stout, although nowhere near as thick. Like a small beer version of that.

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2011 22:53:55 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Wowcoolman


4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at The Yard in Santa Monica.
An excellent representation of the style- strong notes of powdered cocoa leaving a dry, bitter finish. Comes across balanced, not boozy. Excellent body with a creamy mouthfeel and good head retention. Very enjoyable from start to finish. I will certainly now want to try more from this brewer.
Cismontane means "on this side of the mountain" and the brewery is located east of Irvine. Blacks Dawn confirms that the brewery is quality driven. I've seen their product show up at establishments that feature California beers. If you frequent such places, beers like this are your reward.

Serving type: on-tap

07-01-2011 05:39:00 | More by Wowcoolman
Photo of jminsc76


4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slight bit of head, mildly beige and brown in color atop a very dark brown body. Looks like an espresso milkshake.

Aromas of cocoa and coffee, well-balanced, intensifying as I allow it to warm. A little bit of burnt sugar and dark chocolate as well.

Complex flavors of roasty coffee, chocolate, and the aforementioned brown sugar from start to finish, with the ultimate finish exhibiting some nice espresso bitterness. Woo wee! that’s a good dessert stout. Flavorful and rich yet isn’t overpowering in the slightest. My only complaint is it seemingly loses complexity near the end, with the first 75% as transcendent.

Mouthfeel is ebullient and smooth, though not pillowy considering it’s brewed with oats.

Overall, Blacks Dawn is delicious. Not since Green Flash’s Double Stout have I had something as flavor impactful as this one, and if I could select its secret weapon I would go with the oats. Even though they appear to do little for the mouthfeel they balance the intensity of the coffee and brown sugar, so as to optimize the sweetness. Even restraining it. Highly drinkable; I’d down two or three per sitting.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2011 05:39:27 | More by jminsc76
Photo of CaptDavyJones

New York

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

Had this on tap at the Hyatt Orange County, CA. Absolutely pitch black with a nice tan head that stayed; very good retention.
The aroma was predominantly coffee with hints of cocoa coming through.
Taste upfront was also of roasted coffee with hints of cocoa bitterness coming through towards the end. Medium to full bodied stout stout.
I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth this stout was. The alcohol made it's presence felt slowly. This is definitely a sipper.
I am glad I got a chance to try this, definitely not disappointed. Wouldn't hesitate to try it again if and when I visit CA again.
Worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

04-09-2011 02:33:24 | More by CaptDavyJones
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at the brewery on a recent trip to Cali in the company of womencantsail, t0rin0, and fbm115. Served from tap into an imperial pint glass. Poured pitch black with a minimal off-white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, and slight coffee. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark chocolate, caramel, slight coffee, and slight cream. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this brew wasn't that bad. It was very nicely balanced, but just lacked in intensity and the flavors I find most enjoyable. With that said however, it had a nice aroma and flavor going on. A must try if you are in the area.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2011 16:24:04 | More by thagr81us
Photo of womencantsail


4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is nearly black with a thin layer of mocha colored foam that has pretty decent retention.

S: Tons and tons of coffee on the nose. Lots of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and a lot more coffee just for good measure. Pretty simple, but very enjoyable.

T: Again, the coffee steals the show. There is a mild caramel malt sweetness and a fairly significant roasted malt flavor, too, but the flavor is certainly characterized by the coffee. There is a slight creaminess to the finish, which is nice.

M: The body is medium, not super rich for an imperial stout, but adequate, and the carbonation is medium.

D: I wasn't sure how good this one would be, but I had heard a couple people recommend it and I'm glad they did. A very enjoyable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2010 00:34:26 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Halcyondays


4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark umber brown with a soft light tan head, nice lace. Solid look.

S: Coffee city, the beans here do the work with a hint of dark chocolate.

T: Lots of sweet black malt, not really a roasted flavour with a lot of coffee. The oats really come in in the finish with some tasty sweetness and round out the flavours.

M: Moderate full-bodied brew, very smooth from the oats. Velvety.

D: There was a point while I was drinking this it reminded me a lot of Peche Mortel, which is always a good thing. A great first impression from this semi-new brewery in Santa Margarita, I'd love to try their other stuff.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2010 03:47:39 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of SwillinBrew


4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, this beer surprised me. I don't know why, I guess I wasn't expecting it to taste so good.

Had this on tap at the brewery and it poured black like looking at an expresso in a glass cup. Chips ahoy cookie colored head about a fingers worth foamed on top leaving a robust arching lace on the glass.

Bouquet of freshly ground coffee beans right out of the kiln and into the grinder tantalized my nose of with hints of the joy to come, a full envelopment of my olfactory senses. Very robust and satisfying.

Rich coffee and light roast fills the mouth with a smooth touch and penetrating flavors. Hints of molasses vaguely perceived slow dance in a sweetened cup of african java... such a solid and bold taste. I think a komodo dragon grew the coffee beans. If you like alesmith speedway stout or Founders breakfast stout, you'll love this beer.

Very drinkable and it will sneak up on you... the alcohol is hidden very well.

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2010 04:44:29 | More by SwillinBrew
Photo of IntriqKen


4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Like coffee?
This is the freshest cup of java you will every find.
Pours a deep, dark black in the glass with a decent two fingers of tan bubbles that melt slowly leaving a nice mapping in their wake.
Aroma is nice sweet coffee. Darkly toasted malt, brown sugar, and freshly ground sumatra coffee hits the nose.
Mouthfeel is rich, creamy and smooth....tiny bubbles make it almost seem nitro but without the nitro aftertaste.
Your tastebuds are delighted with freshly ground sumatra coffee, brown sugar and smooth grained oatmeal.
Hops only exist to keep the brown sugar in check and the aftertaste is pure coffee and maybe a hint of nuts.
This one definitely tasted like 'breakfast in a bottle' to me.
Totally smooth and mellow without a hint of bitterness.
Careful - the 8% ABV is not apparent in the taste and this one can creep up on you.

Serving type: on-tap

08-01-2010 23:00:08 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of DoubleJ


3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The newest beer in the Cismontane lineup, a coffee stout brewed with brown sugar and oats. On-tap at the source, on to the beer:

Yep, it's black. The head retention on top is fair. Anyways, this is a coffee stout that leans towards the coffee side. Roasted coffee in the aroma, lots of roasted coffee in the taste, a little sweet from the brown sugar, a little astringent too. The alcohol hides itself well in this medium bodied beer...maybe a whisper light for its size.

You better like coffee if you're going to drink this, as it is very coffeeish. I happen to be a fan of coffee stouts, so this was no problem. It could use more "beer" in the formula to get it to the next level.

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2010 04:30:52 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of bluejacket74


4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 ounce bottle. Served in a Great Lakes Brewing goblet, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch and a half tan head that stayed around for a long time. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and some vanilla. The taste is mostly like the aroma, but there's the addition of some brown sugar and some burnt/charred malt. I think it's a mostly roasty tasting stout, but with a nice amount of sweetness, too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and coating with moderate carbonation. I think it's a good brew, I wouldn't mind trying this again in the future. It's the first Cismontane beer I've tried, so I'll have to try some of their other ones soon. $5.19 a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 22:18:07 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of maximum12


3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Kyle2K10 for this extra, knocking one more want off my long & distinguished list. 22 oz. bottle with a label that appears to have been designed as a freshman class project split with my wife.

The pour is black, carbonation is starting down the barrel of little to none. Strong coffee is the only note coming off the beer, unless you count roast. OK, roast & coffee.

Black's Dawn is like a coffee snuff film. Coffee in the foreground, mid-palate, & finish. Sharp, acrid bitterness is prevalent. Malt sweetness. If I squint I could imagine the blurry outlines of other flavors, but really, I'd just be making it up. It is smooth, I'll give it that, but 11 ounces is enough for me.

Right down the middle arrow of the bowling alley: this is as routine a coffee stout as exists on the Planet Earth. Not good, not bad. Just beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 03:05:24 | More by maximum12
Photo of charlzm


3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Consumed January 18th, 2014 from a bottle purchased in either 2011 or 2012.

Beer is black with only the slightest deep brown highlights when held to intense light. Moderate pour results in creamy, two-finger light brown head.

Aroma is deep, dark, rich coffee. Perhaps a little dark chocolate as well, but it could also be wishful thinking.

Flavor is intense; dark roasted malts immediately give way to a dark roast coffee flavor. Baker's chocolate also. Warming and bitter with a long, granular aftertatse.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy at first but finishes a little thin. Very warming.

Very nice coffee stout; comparable to Speedway though with less subtlety.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 02:36:19 | More by charlzm
Photo of Omnium


4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pitch black with a finger of tan head, nice thick islands of lacing.
S - Very complex aroma, massive roasted malts and coffee beans, dark chocolate, some dried apricot, a little smoke, even some piney hops.
T - Very rich roasted malt and coffee flavors with a silky dark bitter chocolate, a hint of the smoke, hop bite of pine and resin.
M - Rich full and silky, a nice bitterness too.
O - Very good complex Imperial stout, lots of great flavor.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2014 04:14:57 | More by Omnium
Photo of arizcards


4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 500 ml bottle from Total Wine in mid-August for $6.99.

Beer poured black with a nice tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose has hints of coffee and mocha.

Taste is bitter chocolate, coffee grounds, roasted malts. This is slightly sweet but the hopping level keeps things balanced nicely.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this is a very nice brew. Lots of flavor going on here without a huge abv. Recommend to try it if available!

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 00:29:03 | More by arizcards
Photo of RaulMondesi


4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Local beer, so Raul gonna do it like a cheerleader on a pompom.

Black like a cockroach, but tasty like a morning in Florence. It's thick, it's rich, there is chocolate, and there is a tinge of coffee. Raul approves, but like your grandmama pinching your cheek, it's a lil too sweet. Raul will put up with the pinched cheeks (especially when they always come with a $20 - thanks, grandmama) but he obviously would rather not have to put up with it.

Have a good one, my children.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 01:33:21 | More by RaulMondesi
Photo of Sladesmom


3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: It is a dark, rich color with almost head and nice lacing.

Smell: I smell a roasted, coffee smell with a hint of chocolate and vanilla.

Taste: It tastes rich with a full coffee flavor. It goes down smooth with a bitter aftertaste.

Mouth Feel: It is thick and smooth.
Overall: I find this to be a rich, flavorful stout. It is a very full chocolate coffee flavor and goes down easy. If you like stouts, this is definitely one to try

Serving type: growler

10-22-2013 03:43:17 | More by Sladesmom
Photo of Smarty_Pints


4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours almost a complete black just like the name. It had little to no head but does leave behind a good amount of lacing.

S- Roated coffee hit you first it also has a tad bit of vanilla and dark chocolate to italso, not very complex but nice.

T- Taste follows the nose roasted coffee vanilla and chocolate and a bit of the alcohol comes through.

M- Not overly thick like some stouts but has a good weight to it.

O- Blacks dawn is a great example of a coffee stout. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys stouts.

Serving type: growler

09-15-2013 02:50:15 | More by Smarty_Pints
Photo of pkalix


4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

thick and super dark brown. no head on the first pour into my tulip glass.
smell is all chocolate and coffee. roasted, of course.
nice and thick. coffee hits first, like a heavy starbucks (they OVER-ROAST everything there, i'm not sure why). slight bitterness at the finish. very heavy. very filling. obviously going more for taste than abv (7.2 ? ).
2nd pour, more vigorous than the first, still only produced a skim layer of brown froth. others are saying they got some foam, but i'm not seeing it. maybe just a little older? coming from the corner liquor store? it would help if they put a date on their bottles... they ought to care about what the customer is actually getting, right?
overall, it was alright. I suppose 85 is "alright" in my book. most alcohol is good, I think. as long as it's made with decent ingredients and care. it's the "jose cuervos" that give give ya headaches the next morning and fool people due to the "company brand". I feel this is a solid 85.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2013 20:40:05 | More by pkalix
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Black's Dawn from Cismontane Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.