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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.

136 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 136
Reviews: 21
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 7.08%
Wants: 77
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: 136 | Reviews: 21 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MNPikey
5/5  rDev +14.2%

MNPikey, May 11, 2014
Photo of CWhite
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

CWhite, May 06, 2014
Photo of SaxmanRick
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

SaxmanRick, May 04, 2014
Photo of Ristaccia
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Ristaccia, May 03, 2014
Photo of Mdog
4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black, good sized brown head.

Smell: Rich, malty, coffee, chocolate, vanilla.

Taste: Excellent chocolate flavor, plenty of bourbon and vanilla notes. Not boozy for its strength.

Overall: Wow, what a great beer! Stands on par with any of the big name bourbon barrel aged beers. It does taste like the base beer is a big stout than a barleywine, but is so good in any case. Steel Toe has another winner here.

Mdog, Apr 20, 2014
Photo of PerHops
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

PerHops, Apr 16, 2014
Photo of billhelm
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

billhelm, Apr 15, 2014
Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -8.7%

mendvicdog, Apr 12, 2014
Photo of CCutch
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

CCutch, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -8.7%

duceswild, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of mmulebarn
4.25/5  rDev -3%

mmulebarn, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of lonewolfcry
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

lonewolfcry, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of bum732
4.25/5  rDev -3%

bum732, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of Dave2234
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

Dave2234, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

belgbeerdrinker, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of striker2160
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

striker2160, Apr 02, 2014
Photo of ddavison
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

ddavison, Apr 02, 2014
Photo of ToadiesForCody
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

ToadiesForCody, Mar 31, 2014
Photo of jera1350
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage- Thanks Rouse!

Pours a thin black color. Has the look of a dark colored barleywine. Thin head of khaki foam and a bit of lacing.

Lots of bourbon/whiskey in the nose. Vanilla, light roast, oak and toffee with a hint of alcohol.

Even after a year, the barrel notes are intense. Not overly so, just very up front and delicious. Loads of bourbon, vanilla, toffee, caramel and some roasted malt. There is a bit of coffee that comes out in the aftertaste. Slightly boozy and warm.

Heavier end of medium bodied, very smooth and mildly dry.

I can't imagine how hot this must have been fresh. At this point, it could benefit with some more age, but it is damn delicious as is. Teeters on the line of stout and barleywine, but I think the latter is more accurate. Packs a punch in abv and flavor and is amazing in the barrel aged beer category. Great job Steel Toe!

jera1350, Mar 31, 2014
Photo of DAThompson
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Luckily, I was able to make the release party, so my first taste of Before the Dawn was right from the Steel Toe Taproom.

The pour was dark and opaque; almost black. There was a finger of light tan head on the pour. Chocolate and malt came across on both the smell and the taste. Although the barrel could have been stronger, I enjoyed the more subtle, almost sweet, rye barrel flavor. That taste of rye really made the beer stand out from all of the other bourbon-aged beers that I've had. Although this was billed as a barley wine, it was much more stout-like in character in my opinion.

DAThompson, Mar 31, 2014
Photo of TubaDan
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

TubaDan, Mar 31, 2014
Photo of morimech
3.46/5  rDev -21%
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 tuckerlikesbeer
4.25/5  rDev -3%

tuckerlikesbeer, Mar 30, 2014
Photo of TboneRN
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

TboneRN, Mar 30, 2014
Photo of moneynoobject
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

moneynoobject, Mar 30, 2014
Before The Dawn from Steel Toe Brewing
97 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.