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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

140 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 140
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 7.32%
Wants: 82
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: 140 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

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.

Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +3%

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.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of jlindros
3.96/5  rDev -9.4%
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 XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from eawolff99. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - Tan foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and spots of lace; impressive retention for a 13.7% beer. Body is near-black, which is unsurprising for a 'black' barleywine.

S - Massive rye whiskey and oak aroma, with a mix of roasted malts and caramel sweetness in the background. Vanilla presence increases substantially as the beer warms up, and the choice of rye imparts a nice mildly spicy character. A mix of stout and barleywine characteristics for sure, and while a tad boozy it's not offensive for the ABV.

T - The taste has a bit more subdued rye whiskey presence, with more of the base beer shining through. Starts off roasty and chocolate-heavy but transitions to sweeter barleywine flavors in the finish. The rye is certainly still there but integrates better, and the oak is dialed down a notch or two.

M - Smooth, full body, with sticky and chewy heft to it. Surprisingly creamy and low in oaky dryness considering how potent the aroma was. Well-hidden alcohol makes this a bit deceptive, and there isn't a ton of burn or warmth.

D - A very good beer of which I'd never heard, so kudos to eawolff99 for the recommendation on this one. Great complexity that clearly delivers all the flavor elements advertised from the description: Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged Black Barleywine. Surprisingly mellow already, but should age quite well for a number of years. Deceptive stuff, which resulted in a lot of drunk folk; make sure you have a few friends on hand before opening this one.

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Steel Toe Brewing Before the Dawn Barrel Aged Black Barley-wine Ale. Malt Beverage Aged in Rye Whisky Barrels. Brewed and Bottled by Steel Toe Brewing, St. Louis Park, MN. Zero vowels, consonants, or syllables of gobbledygook accompanying the legal label information.

Utter darkness, completely opaque, with a slight, slim head of cocoa-tinged foam.

Aroma: Whiskey hits first, and nothing but. They spell it "whisky", though, which probably means it's Canadian. Rich, large, and lovely. Vanilla, molasses, black cherry. Pepper and anise. These are all but associations, and just the tip, just the start, only what's popping out at me. A little char and roast roars up, too, lush malt is keeping up with the work of the barrel.

I get the name now, all of a sudden. "It's always darkest…" Damn, why did I not get that till now?

Taste: Thick, viscous, rich, and ridiculous. Huge whisky flavor, intense malt domination, not a whistle from hops, but the viscosity is terribly felt and the tastiness is monumental. All those flavors from aroma come back in spades on the tongue. We've got the char, the roast, the anise, the molasses, a whisper of espresso, and a big bite of chocolate. It's utterly indulgent, and abundantly rewarding. It's goddamned good, is what it is!

What else it is, is a hell of a nightcap. I wish they packaged this in little "nip" bottles, 6 ounces or so, so I can pop on off, and slowly consume as I slip into slumber. Once a night, for nights on end. That's the dream, anyway.

It's a great big, beautiful blend of flavors. The vanilla, anise, cocoa, whisky and molasses all popping out at different intervals, but all part of this wonderful stew.

I just noticed what else is missing from the label. Alcohol content is missing. I'm guessing it's 10-12%.

So huge, so vast, so long. But no "so, long", I'm not even halfway into the bottle. More fun to come. I'm going to slowly sip the night away, and lean back, reeling with the feeling, while Coltrane plays something deep, long and ponderous. Ah, that's the stuff.

Have you ever heard anyone say, "What's my favorite beer? The one in my glass right now." I think that was Michael Jackson. Sounds like him. This is my favorite beer right now. And maybe it will be even after I'm done drinking it. It's amazing. It's perfect. It rocks. Long may it wave.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -8.5%

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.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of KAF
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of ShanePB
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.06/5  rDev -7.1%
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 wethorseblanket
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of drummermattie02
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Duff27
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of thagr81us
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared by caSSino during BRoss242’s send-off party before he moves! Will miss you man! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured black with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, vanilla, dark chocolate, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramel hop, and dark fruit. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly great brew. This was definitely the highlight of the tasting this evening as I was really wowed and shocked at what I found upon first investigation. Everything was really well balanced and all the flavors and aromas were spot-on for the style and with all the right intensity. I could have easy pounded a full bottle of this with no problem, but sharing is caring unfortunately. An absolute must try without a doubt as this was one of my biggest surprises of the year so far.

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Before The Dawn from Steel Toe Brewing
96 out of 100 based on 140 ratings.