Gift Of The Magi
The Lost Abbey

Gift Of The MagiGift Of The Magi
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Farmhouse Ale - Bière de Garde
Ranked #49
Ranked #24,455
3.84 | pDev: 11.46%
The Lost Abbey
California, United States
Very Good
Gift Of The MagiGift Of The Magi
Notes: It seems that everyone knows the story of the Three Kings. Sent to follow the star in the sky each brought a gift for the baby they sought. One King brought Gold, the other Frankincense and the other Myrrh. Many breweries produce a Christmas Seasonal beer and this is our beer to celebrate the holiday season.
Reviews: 321 | Ratings: 757 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of MikeWard
MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle into a tulip. NO freshness dating.

Looks very nice in the glass. Deep burgundy red body with a small but persistent off white head. Decent lacing at first

Aroma of boiled candy and sweet malt.

On tasting, it initially follows the nose. It is quite warm in the throat. Then, as was the case in TLA's Devotion beer, a wave of dry hopped bitterness comes in, crushing all before it.

Mouth just above medium, finish sweet then dry bitterness.

Overall, not a bad beer by any means. Some might appreciate the dry hopping to balance out the sweetness. I am less enthusiastic about it.

Dec 20, 2020
Photo of TrojanRB
TrojanRB from Texas

3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear coppery amber with persistent white head

Smell is raisin, rum, brown sugar

Taste is definitely a bit of farmhouse funk...different flavor profile from the nose. Lots of muddled flavors, but the most prominent is a charred caramel

A little oily, moderate can tell it’s high ABV but I wouldn’t have guessed >10%

Feb 18, 2020
Photo of jmdrpi
jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle

tan colored, clear, foamy head. funky earthy aroma, bready and spicey. taste is complex and a bit grassy and herbal, dry. thin bodied.

Jan 24, 2020
Photo of JackRWatkins
JackRWatkins from Alabama

2.77/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

A: Pours a deep ruby red with a creamy, two-finger beige head
S: Strong notes of cherry, dark fruit and raisin with something of a candied prune note as well, a touch of sugary sweetness and a slight tartness coming through
T: Immediately, pretty off putting. Doesn't much resemble it's nose, is a Bière de Garde in name only (though to be fair I wasn't really expecting it to be traditional). This beer has a strong, chemical astringency right out the gate that I find very hard to get past. The booziness here is handled well, (noticeable but not painful). It is very malty, and some dulled undertones of the fruit suggested in the nose do come through. There is supposedly Brettanomyces in this beer, but I'd say you are about as likely to notice that as you are the candied yams they added late in the boil (if you are now staring at the label wondering where it says anything about candied yams, it doesn't, because they didn't and that's my point). The astringency does dissipate but for my money it doesn't exactly leave much behind to enjoy or discuss. At this point it kind of tasted like a less flavorful cherry cough syrup.
M: medium body, medium carbonation, decently dry but not overly so.
O: This was my first non-collaboration beer from The Lost Abbey and I have to say, I hope they make better beers than this because if this was all they made I might suggest that they should stay lost. That being said, this isn't awful, but it isn't good. I would never order it and if it was offered to me, I would likely turn it down. I like strong beer, but the beer has to be worth my sacrifice of drinking other, lower abv beers (anything lower that 10%) and this beer is not worth it. I hate to say it but, skip this one. If you want a good Bière de Garde similar to this in approach, might I suggest Smistletoe from Smuttynose and if you want a more traditional Bière de Garde then go for Cuvee Des Jonquilles if you can find it and if not that then there's really not a great one (that speaks truly to the style) that's easy as pie to get so just don't worry about it.

May 17, 2018
Photo of Avitra
Avitra from Switzerland

4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

An almost warm lager, it has some bitterness, though very different than that of an IPA. There aren't many 12% Lagers, and there's no question this one is boozy due to it's alcohol content, but overall pretty balanced between citrus, bitterness and booziness. Good beer by one of my favorite breweries,, but not as great as some of their others

Dec 31, 2017
Photo of Beginner2
Beginner2 from Illinois

4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Now in its tenth year, this is the only Christmas beer I know that also is a biere d'garde. And it is brilliant !
In fact, it reminded me of Dupont's Avec Les Bons Voeux. I hope to have them alongside each other next year.

Great with food. I had this with a varied cheese plate at lunch. (I know, a bit strong for lunch... but even the wine drinkers liked it.) As for the label's claim of Brett, I was apprehensive. If there is Brett, Lost Abbey hides it better than any... IMHO.
Other than less alcohol.... If there is a way to improve this ale, I do not know what way that is.

Dec 20, 2017
Photo of BeerDawgs
BeerDawgs from Georgia

4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - Murky, cloudy brown, with 1/2 a finger of head and no lacing

S - Belgian yeast, candy sugar, apples

T - Hoppy, sweet, and a hidden ABV.

F - Medium carbonation, medium body.

O - This brew is a few years old, but tasty still.

Aug 13, 2017
Photo of danasofia
danasofia from California

4.83/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a goblet glass. Nice, quick-forming white head that fades to lacing quickly. Large chunks of sediment visible in the bottle.

Look - Overall color is murky orange/amber, more reddish when held to light or with less beer left in the glass. Doesn't catch much light and is very opaque, nice but nothing special.

Smell - Earthy and grassy outdoor notes, sweet malt, faint alcohol, and orchard and stone fruit.

Taste - The highlight of this beer and a surprise after the nose. Unusual funky flavors (earthy, herbal, outdoor, woody ), very subtle fruity tartness accompanying acrid, leathery brett flavors, prominent pear, apple, and peach flavors that are tempered by the brett and biscuity malt. Earthy and spicy European hops. Nutty and woody flavors on the finish that highlight the alcohol, which is hidden very well otherwise. Most of all, this beer is still a lager despite how unusual it is. The sweet, biscuity malt is akin to a steam beer and the body and carbonation are on-point for the lager style. An incredibly interesting brew because it mixes those lager traits with brett, high abv, and nutty/woody amber flavors. Surprisingly drinkable and refreshing for its alcohol content and unusual flavors.

Feel - Very nice and also in line with lager style. Fairly light, but more sticky and viscous. Definite alcohol presence and high carbonation for such a strong beer, this complements the spicy hops and the initial sip resolves quickly, while the bitter and acrid herbal/woody flavors (from the addition of frankincense and myrrh?) linger significantly.

Overall - A fantastic brew if you approach it looking for the ways that it is a lager, probably disappointing if you look for other qualities (wild ale, sour ale, strong ale, or what have you). Incredibly unusual and worth a try, but not necessarily something to have again and again.

Jun 27, 2017
Photo of jopezu
jopezu from Georgia

4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a murky, dark copper-mahogany with a medium head that hangs around for a bit. nose; bread, yeast funk, brett, hay, & light berry scents. taste; biscuity malt, band-aid brett, vinous grape, pear sweets, banana, yeast, light ethanol, hay/grass, & light citrus hops. all-around musky & "earthy". medium carbonation & mouthfeel. the 12%abv is wonderfully tamed. among the nicer of the "wet blanket" beers i've tried! :)

Jun 03, 2017
Photo of q33jeff
q33jeff from New Jersey

2.76/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

On Tap at Uno's. California No IPA day.

LOOK: Caramel color. Zero head.
AROMA: hops, but stale. Light banana,
TASTE: hoppy, funky, touch of pine,
FEEL: Medium body, low carb.

OA: I would not categorize this as a holiday beer. Spice is non existent. No sweetness. Ok, but not something I'd look for.

Jun 03, 2017
Photo of Tone
Tone from Missouri

4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, yeast, alcohol, mustiness, stone, hint of citrus, slight spice, and slight earthiness. Mouth feel is very sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. There is also a dryness and slight alcohol bitterness. Fits the style of Biere de Garde. Tastes of sweet malt, fresh pale malt, yeast, strong alcohol, slight piney hops, spicy hops, slight floral notes, and a hint of spice. Overall, great appearance, amazing aroma, good body and blend. The complexity of the aroma and body is a real treat.

Feb 05, 2017
Photo of meinperpetualmotion
meinperpetualmotion from Illinois

3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: very appealing, darker than gold. smooth creamy head. one of the best looking beers of this color I've seen.

S: faintly sweet and boring. no fruit tones but a bit of herb--wormwood?

T: much better, sweetness is present but not too dominant. The alcohol is hard to taste, but it definitely slows you down quickly. still not getting any tartness, just some mild hops in the finish.

F: absolute best thing about this beer. It feels like cream when you swirl it around in your mouth. thick and luscious.

an adequate beer redeemed by extraordinary looks and texture. might try again some day, but it's not cheap.

Jan 30, 2017
Photo of Chizoad
Chizoad from California

3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sitting on the shelf at Trader Joe's was this unknown beauty, this season's Gift of the Magi. I had a bottle of Fin du Monde in hand but swapped it out for this. $9 for a 12% abv beer, quite impressive. I'm a fan of The Lost Abbey, especially Inferno, so I'm excited to try this monster.

I swear this thing says "Lager" on the side of it. Somewhere. But when I poured this out it looked like no lager I've ever seen. Amber, hazy, decent head on it. Lots of lacing clinging to the glass. It kind of looks like wild honey.

Aroma has golden raisins, maybe some cardboard, doesn't jump out of the glass at all. A little disappointing.

Taste is a much better version of the smell. Well balanced bitterness, boozy, malty. An unusual beer without much complexity. Perhaps it's the lager yeast. The claim is that some Brettanomyces was used but maybe most of it died at 12% abv, because I'm not tasting much of the funk. It's there, but nothing like, say, Orval. In my opinion, the booze overwhelms any subtleties. If you are drinking this, you should let it warm in the glass a little because it does change. For the better? I am not convinced, but it does change.

Great mouthfeel, perfectly carbonated. Just the right density, but the beer itself is just slightly cloying at times. I'm sure I'll be drunk enough that I won't care in a short while.

A good beer, and unusual. I give high marks for originality, but take some away for the lack of complexity. Especially disappointing given the possibilities that Brettanomyces creates. Won't buy it again, but glad I had one.

Nov 23, 2016
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster from Michigan

4.29/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Evidently brewed with Franki8nscence and Myrrh, fermented with a lager strain, dry hopped, then bottled with Brett. "A Massive golden ale" (not golden), 12% ABV. No other details via the website or bottle. (video says Tettnang and Saaz)
Corked and caged 750ml, purchased at Binnys in Chicago.
Pours out to a hazy medium amber, forming a tall whipped yellow head with very good retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate, ~2.5 carbs or so. The nose opens with brett, followed by some tropical fruit, minimal hop nose, not much in the way of belgian phenolics. Taste opens with a nice sugary candi syrup like sweetness, followed by a really nice brett and tropical fruit note, then followed by bananas foster in the middle and aftertaste. Bitterness is quite firm, even though it's sweet up front, the bitterness gives the impression of a dry finish. At 12%, it's not boozy tasting, and I'm not detecting any flaws.

I think this one would benefit from aging. The hop bitterness might mellow out a bit, and the brett will gain more character and dry it out a little bit. I'd be interested in trying an aged version of this, but as it is, it's pretty solid. Not a typical quad (as I was thinking when I bought it).

Jul 09, 2016
Photo of Brolo75
Brolo75 from California

3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle poured into a Lost Abbey rastal glass

A: Pours a burnt, rusty orange with a cream colored head, decent amount of carbonation, some head retention, head was full and creamy, some lacing, looks pretty good.

A: Hint of brettanomyces, some pepper, spice, hint of clove, some fruit like aromas, lots of aromas going on, all subtle.

T: Belgian yeast, biscuit, bready notes, some brett funkiness comes through, finish is dry. As the beer warms some hints of apricot, pear, green apples. It has a noticeable medicinal taste that throws the beer off.

M: Medium bodied mouthfeel with a crisp, dry finish.

O: Not sure what to think of this, lots of aromas and flavors, it's not bad but nothing impressive. There is a noticeable medicinal flavor that is out of place, besides that this would be a really good beer.

Feb 02, 2016
Photo of cheer4beer_
cheer4beer_ from New Jersey

3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is my first experience with this style of beer. I likes the look of the beer right after the pour. It had a large foamy head and a cloudy brown amber color. It had a toasted malty aroma with a malty sweetness. The alcohol taste was very present up front after a few sips the alcohol taste mellowed, Aa mild hop flavor is also present.

Jan 11, 2016
Photo of MonkeyBread
MonkeyBread from Nevada

3.24/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Described as a ramped up Biere de Gard with Brettanomyces added and clocking in at 12% this is a truly strange combination. Very dark beer, a little too dark for a Biere de Garde. Very opaque dark brown. Smell is of little. Barnyard funk, dust, dirt.

Tastes like nothing I've had before and not in a good way. Astringent black bread, moss, sour horse blanket, medicinal herbs, malty English biscuits with a hot alcohol after taste. This is drinkable but not by much. Only excuse I can make is at least it is 12%. A strange mess of a beer.

Dec 29, 2015
Photo of BeerDocT
BeerDocT from Georgia

4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a chilled tulip glass.

Appearance 4.0: I was expecting a golden beer like the other bier de gardes I have tried! This beer is an amber color with a good (1/4") head. No lacing.

Smell 4.25: Nice bouquet and pleasantly unusual. Smells sour, musty and peppery. I also detect hints of brettanomyces, which is not a bad thing in my book.

Taste 4.25: Front is somewhat sour, but this quickly switches into the Middle where a huge wave of tangy and sweet malt invades from all angles. A slight alkaline hop hit comes in at the Finish, along with a slight chocolate taste. Aftertaste is short, bitter and very refreshing after the malt wave. In the Aftertaste, there is a slightly warm feel of booze in the mouth, but no actual boozy taste.

Mouthfeel 4.25: Good and balanced mouthfeel for a beer this big. The beer is just expertly balanced on the palate at almost every level.

Overall 4.25: Very enjoyable, delicious beer., is this strong... but is entirely sessionable. Would be fantastic in front of the fire on a cold winter night. Unfortunately, it is 70 degrees here in December in Georgia as I type this. I just need to turn up the A/C I guess! A bit expensive, but you are getting a 12% beer and an unusual (and delectable) style. Recommended.

Dec 28, 2015
Photo of NiceTaps
NiceTaps from New Jersey

3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750ml bottle in a tulip glass.

L- Bottle conditioned looking reddish honey-brown color with a durable 2f off-white colored head. Decent lacing and bubbles.

S- Malty sweet booziness. Some yeast and light fruit hops.

T- Like a Belgian strong ale. Yeast, malt fruit and floral. Some spice. The flavors nicely trump the alcohol sweetness. Better than I expected.

M- Smooth medium body. Drinkable high abv ale. Dry hop finish for balance.

O- Again, better than I expected, but more like a strong ale. One glass was enough, I'm glad that there was someone to share it with.

Dec 20, 2015
Photo of bmeehan
bmeehan from Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gift of the Maggi pours a beautiful shade of reddish brown and tastes mildly fruity with a dry aftertaste. I find it pairs well with a spicier food, but I think it'll pair with the typical foods Belgians pair well with as well (cheeses, salty meats, etc.) This is a great beer from a great brewery.

Dec 19, 2015
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
1000lbgrizzly from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cloudy amber, jaundice head that retreats to a ring with islands, good carbonation. Aroma is of earthy yeast, faint spice, light fruit, piercing alcohol. Flavor diminishes the alcohol, but adds mild barnyard funk, in addition to the pepper spice and faint apricot/orange/papaya fruit. Biggest contributor is the earthy, chalky yeast, a positive person would call it rustic. Medium, viscous body.
Surely as exotic as the magi's gifts, but surely less enjoyable. Heavily reminiscent of a Belgian triple, this beer brought earth, fruit, and spice in equally timid amounts, but basked them all in a chalky and alcoholic overtone.

Dec 10, 2015
Photo of draheim
draheim from Washington

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750mL into a tulip. Pours a clear amber w/ a 1-finger off-white head.

Aroma is fruity and sweet, bready and floral. Belgian yeast, fermented white grapes.

Taste is sugary sweet - dried apricots, raisins, prunes. Floral Old World hops provide a moderate bitter counterbalance.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied, lingering aftertaste.

Overall a good beer, but not really all that true to style.

Mar 15, 2015
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown color with a slight haze. Fizzy head that dies down to a ring, with carbonation rising up and creating a foam island in the middle. The aroma has brown sugar, butterscotch, toffee and dark fruits. The flavor has more dark fruits, caramel and citrus. Slight earthy flavor like dry wood rounded out with a kiss of alcohol. Really damn smooth for 12% abv. Impressive beer that reminded me of a Trappist quad.

Feb 19, 2015
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore from Oregon

3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Lost Abbey in San Marcos, CA.

A- Clear reddish-brown body. Half finger white head, relatively minimal retention time, no lacing.

S- Cloves, non-specific spices, dark fruits, crackers, bread, toffee. Reasonably spice-forward. A bit of alcohol.

F- Dark fruits, cloves, bread, plums, crackers, more holiday spices that I can't put a finger on at this particular moment in time. It's a reasonably strong beer with decent complexity in terms of the amount of flavours, but it doesn't seem to completely jive together here.

M- Medium in body, a bit syrupy and sweet on the finish with the accompanying spices adding a bit of herbal bitterness. Good carbonation. A bit of boozy heat on the backend.

O- Decent Biere de Garde, a lot of things going on but it's a bit heavy handed and a bit too much to drink for me.

Final score: 3.55

Dec 14, 2014
Photo of BenwayPHD
BenwayPHD from California

4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Pours an orange red with a three finger light mocha head that sticks around for quite some time. The nose is very yeasty and spicy. Orange peel, coriander, currant, and a sweet bready malt. The flavor follows the nose pretty closely, but there is an unexpectedly strong hop bitterness. Normally, I find a strong hop presence distracting and out place in this style, but here I like it.

Dec 09, 2014
Gift Of The Magi from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 757 ratings