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Before The Dawn - Steel Toe Brewing

Not Rated.
Before The DawnBefore The Dawn

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

147 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 147
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 7.57%
Wants: 87
Gots: 37 | 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:
Beer added by: claaark13 on 06-28-2012

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 147 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ElfKicker
3/5  rDev -31.2%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.2/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle shared by Curran last night.

Pours a light black/dark brown, with a small, fizzy head, and basically no lacing.

Out of the bottle, this smelled kind of like dirty diapers and bandaids. Once poured out, this aroma luckily faded a bit, I get some caramel and chocolate, but I also get a bit of metallic aroma as well. This isn't boding well.

For a 13.7% ABV BA stout/barleywine, the flavor kind of falls surprisingly flat. There's an odd vegetal quality, along with the aforementioned metallic feel, along with the expected black malt, chocolate, and caramel. It all just doesn't pop the way you'd expect it to, unfortunately. It seems like the bottle was possibly compromised.

This is medium bodied, with a lower level of carbonation, and a thick, creamy mouthfeel. This at least feels right.

I feel like I wasn't drinking the same beer that everybody else was drinking- there was definitely issues here.

Photo of morimech
3.47/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of tom10101
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of Sanderson
3.55/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Photo of VeganUndead
3.75/5  rDev -14%

Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Wowcoolman
3.75/5  rDev -14%

Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Photo of rudzud
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Shared with JLindros and Threelions.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark black hue with a thin mocha head that fades to leave light halo and thin wisps.

S - Aromas of somewhat black malts, caramel, light, roast.

T - Taste is much much better, chocolate, caramel, bourbon, faint alcohol. Really smooth and clearly aged, very mellow and balanced.

M - Mouthfeel is really nice, creamy, alcohol hidden well.

O - Overall, this beer was really good. I had high
higher expectations but yah, this was good.

Serving type: Bottle

Photo of jlindros
3.97/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to rudzud for sharing.

Light fizzy dark head, nice legs, pitch black.

Nose is pretty interesting, lots of fudge and cocoa, chewy dark malts, dark choc and nice cocoa fudge caramel, faint oak and bourbon.

Taste big fudgey cocoa, chewy dark malts, cocoa, some booze and cocoa, fudgey, chewy, create dark choc, etc. Finish dark fudgey cocoa, bitter notes, Light roast, etc. into a mild vanilla barrel and some bourbon notes.

Mouth is fuller bod, decent carb, light booze.

Overall interesting, a bit too dark and roasty for a barleywine, more like a stout, but nice beer.

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Jeffrey2310
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of HoppyHopperton
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of jodan
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of baybum
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of 3Hops
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Rutager
4.02/5  rDev -7.8%
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....

Photo of Powderhornphil
4.02/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Very dark body. Nearly black. Almost no head.

Smell - Molasses and whiskey. Lots of dark brown sugar.

Taste - Very sweet. Strong oak. Whiskey isn't that strong, but it complements the malt character well. Intense molasses and chocolate malt. Oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation. Medium heavy.

Overall - Excellent. I like the molasses component.

Photo of maximum12
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of dbossman
4.09/5  rDev -6.2%
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

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Before The Dawn from Steel Toe Brewing
96 out of 100 based on 147 ratings.