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Before The Dawn - Steel Toe Brewing

Not Rated.
Before The DawnBefore The Dawn

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

128 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 128
Reviews: 21
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 7.09%
Wants: 74
Gots: 39 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Steel Toe Brewing visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  13.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Black Barleywine aged in bourbon barrels. Before the Dawn is a fusion of a Barleywine and a Russian Imperial Stout. Layer upon layer of complex malt character is what makes this beer so special. Caramel and toffee give way to molasses, coco and roasted malt. This rich and warming beer underwent a lengthy aging process in bourbon barrels which lends a wonderful oak and vanilla character followed by moderate tannin in the finish.

(Beer added by: claaark13 on 06-28-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 128 | Reviews: 21 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ElfKicker
3/5  rDev -31.4%

ElfKicker, Oct 06, 2012
Photo of morimech
3.46/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

From the second release a day after picking it up at the brewery.

Dense, dark, thick black fluid with half a finger head that stuck around for good long time. The chocolate colored head settles to a thick cap. A lot of spotty lacing is left down the glass.

Bit of a weird aroma and not at all what I was expecting. Chocolate protein shake, wet lumber, vanilla, and lightly roasted malt. No significant sign of alcohol.

Not that whiskey forward but the barrel does play a significant flavor factor. I get more vanilla and woodsy flavor, then the whiskey. Some roasted malt with notes of chocolate and coffee. I could swear they put some lactose in this beer. Slight alcohol flavor and heat in the finish.

Thick and rich body. Very nicely carbonated gives a silky smooth, big beer feel.

I know the beer was originally brewed to be an imperial stout. I honestly do not know why they would go away from that style descriptor as it has better stout qualities, such as viscosity and luscious mouthfeel, than a lot of big stouts. I do not think barleywine when I drink this. The Bourbon barrel did not come through that well and this beer has some bizarre flavors for a barleywine or imperial stout. Huge letdown.

morimech, Mar 30, 2014
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

t0rin0, Feb 20, 2013
Photo of tom10101
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

tom10101, May 19, 2013
Photo of VeganUndead
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

VeganUndead, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

johnnnniee, Aug 24, 2013
Photo of Wowcoolman
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Wowcoolman, Jul 08, 2014
Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is very dark brown in color with a khaki head. A light roastiness followed by tons of whiskey, vanilla, caramel, and dark fruits. A really nice barrel aroma to this. A light oxidation on the palate, but really great barrel flavors. Whiskey, vanilla, caramel, and dark fruits. There’s a rather strong roasted malt note, and some spiciness of wood and rye.

womencantsail, Aug 07, 2012
Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -8.5%

mendvicdog, Apr 12, 2014
Photo of HoppyHopperton
4/5  rDev -8.5%

HoppyHopperton, Jul 12, 2014
Photo of jodan
4/5  rDev -8.5%

jodan, Sep 04, 2012
Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Kramerbarthomer, Jun 02, 2014
Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -8.5%

duceswild, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of baybum
4/5  rDev -8.5%

baybum, Jun 03, 2014
Photo of 3Hops
4/5  rDev -8.5%

3Hops, Aug 02, 2012
Photo of Rutager
4.01/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Steasy66!

Appearance. Pours pretty much black with a finger of thick tan head.

Smell. Dark malts, caramel and a little chocolate, molasses and a bit of licorice.

Taste. Whiskey and molasses, vanilla and chocolate, dark roasty malts and maybe a drop of coffee.

Mouthfeel. Full body, warm booze, smooth low carbonation.

Overall. Nice stuff. Wish I had noticed the abv before I decided to solo this. Should be interesting anyways....

Rutager, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of Powderhornphil
4.01/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a brown ring around the very edge. About a half finger head. When the head settles it looks like an oil slick.

Aroma is dark fruits, molassis, caramel.

Tastes of charred fruits. Caramel, brown sugars. Lots of the deep fruit notes of a barley wine. Bitter charred stout notes.

Medium mouthfeel. Big sticky sweet finish.

Overall nice beer. Not as hot as I would have thought.

Powderhornphil, Sep 15, 2012
Photo of maximum12
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Haven't sampled this since the day of the release when I popped bottle open to share with the homies in the Beer Bus. I liked it then; but the heat! Has it calmed? We shall see. 750 ML bottle split with my wife before a Breaking Bad episode.

Pour is dark December no stars black. Nose is rustic roast, vanilla, with a peck of vanilla from the whiskey.

Before the Dawn has a unique fingerprint. Wow. Tons of roast that's co-mingled with a Halloween bag full of toffee, which perhaps justifies the 'Black Barleywine' monicker. Touch of spice. Vanilla comes on like a divorced suburban housewife on the finish, along with a shot of bourbon & a bludgeon of alcholic wooziness. Creamy & sweet. Despite the booze, I'm at least three ounces ahead of my wife already. That can't be good. I have two flights of stairs to climb later.

Before is mellowing, like a glacier. I might be dead before the alcoholic canines fully disappear. Nonetheless, one more excellent beer out of Steel Toe, & I'm always looking forward to the next thing coming out of the tanks.

maximum12, Nov 18, 2012
Photo of dbossman
4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with hardly any head and minimal lacing

S: Malty, boozy; some bourbon and dark fruits; man, that smells good

T: Not too complex but tasty; bourbon, oak, and dark fruits blend together nicely

F: A touch thin but creamy enough to create a decent mouth feel on the finish

O: A very nice, boozy and yet not-too-complex barrel-aged barley wine; I wish it tasted as good as it smelled but I will take it nonetheless--it's a nice beer

dbossman, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of tewaris
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks black, duh.

Dark and chocolaty aroma with with a good presence of barleywine fruitiness. Tastes big and somewhat boozy with a finishing roast and you can tell that it started its life as a stout (if the rumors are true).

However, there's plenty of toffee sweetness and dates/figs notes that make it a barleywine alright. Much lower barrel presence than their first one (Lunker) but delicious nonetheless.

I am comparing it to a 2+ years old Nightstalker because that's what this is reminding me of. The mouthfeel could have been better. Overall it is very good and I might have rated it higher had there not been a pour of MOAS on the side to keep things in perspective.

tewaris, Jul 06, 2012
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.16/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

thanks to egrace84 for the bottle share!

poured into crooked stave tulip glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with thinf brown cap that quickly drops to mo head.

Smell: Big spicy rye malts. Oak, vanilla, smoke, and cherries. Big notes of black licorice.

Taste: Rye whiskey upfront. Black licorice. vanilla and oak. Finishes with roasty / smokey notes and a lingering light char.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low carbonation. Smooth beer with a little bit of a booze burn.

Overall: This one is big on the rye malts and black licorice. I do really enjoy the charred aftertaste that just lingers on for a while. This is a solid BA American Barleywine that travels the path less ventured.

4DAloveofSTOUT, Feb 06, 2013
Photo of claaark13
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cork and caged 75cl bottle served at cellar temp into a Hill Farmstead tulip. Schlais is the man. This is a "Black Barleywine" aged in rye whiskey barrels.

A - Nearly black pour with a 1" creamy mocha head. Turns into some nice lacing. Looks more like a RIS. Seems to stick relaly well to the sides, but the legs don't remain too well. It looks fantastic, but I'd expect this out of a RIS, not a barleywine. Confusing?

S - Loads of caramel upfront. Dark malts, some spices. There is some barrel as well. Smells like a regular BA Barleywine.

T - Carmel, some vanilla throughout. Mild spices come through. Very smooth, vanilla finish. Some woodiness comes around as well as some mild booze. A little bit of roast starts to come through. The finish shows the slightest dry character mixed with creamy roast. Spiciness from the rye barrel is present. Minimal alcohol present considering the ABV%. Mild hops in the middle show as bitterness. I find a little coffee as well.

M - Somewhere between medium and thick. Feels pretty thick and creamy on the tongue.

O - It seems like the roast is what differentiates this from a regular American Barleywine. This is a great beer. Really tough to compare it to the Barleywine style. The spices from the rye barrel are a bit light, but the caramel/vanilla is nice. The roast gives it some RIS characteristics, but the Barleywine seems to still dominate. Don't age this, drink it now. I need another one. This is very interesting.

claaark13, Jun 29, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at GRG1313's tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, wood, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with nice stout like qualities that work well with the barleywine characteristics.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 05, 2014
Photo of mothman
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short review: reminds me of BCS

Light tan head. Color is black.

Aroma: a lot like BCS 

Taste: more BCS flavors but a little bit of coffee and roast

Mouthfeel: warming and smooth. Medium carbonation. Full bodied. Ends with a bit of roast and heat.

Overall, a really great beer. Really surprised with this one. Really reminds me of BCS.

mothman, Jul 27, 2012
Photo of jtladner
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

jtladner, Saturday at 10:24 PM
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Before The Dawn from Steel Toe Brewing
96 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.