Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Gift Of The Magi | The Lost Abbey

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
308 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Gift Of The MagiGift Of The Magi

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerBeing on 06-10-2007

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 308 | Ratings: 723
Photo of cjoc83
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My first Lost Abbey beer, and expectations are high given the praise that is heaped upon the brewery on this site. A 2012 Gift of the Magi ($11.50 at the local Wegmans in southeastern PA) pours a cloudy ruby/brown with an initial 3 fingers worth of light khaki head that recedes to a small layer and leaves sparse lacing.

Not getting much info off the bottle as far as the style or taste of the beer goes (besides the fact that it's brewed with Brett), I learn on BA that this is a virgin style for me, a Biere de Garde. The Brett is evident in the nose with some slight yeasty funk and horse blanket, but underneath that is sweet caramel and biscuity malt and a touch of hops. So far so good.

The flavor is a bit underwhelming, but nevertheless pleasant. Musty funk and bready malt intermingle with some subdued sweet brown sugar and earthy hops, but the finish (especially as the beer warms) is quite nice as some ever so slightly tart fruit mixes with a bitter, spicy hop note.

Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. A small amount of heat is noticeable in the finish, but if I didn't know the abv was 10%, I would guess it around 7.5 or 8. Pretty well hidden.

Overall, a solid enough beer, but somewhat disappointing given the high expectations I had for it (which, in hindsight, were unreasonable as I initially thought this was a wild ale when I bought the bomber). The flavors were good, but too subtle. If the Gift of the Magi tasted as good as it smells, I would be picking up another bottle of this. For now, I'm content to try something else from LA. Certainly drinkable and I can appreciate the craftsmanship, but not really my cup of tea. Maybe BdG's just aren't my thing. I'm still very excited to try other offerings from the Lost Abbey.

 1,770 characters

Photo of ojclark
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mild piney and subtly fruity aroma. Cloudy orange/amber color. Somewhat cloudy with a fair amount of sediment. Nice off-white head with good retention. Some bitterness. Fairly spicy with an astrigency that suggests more spice than I actually tasted. Detected some notes of candied fruit (fruitcake). Slightly reminiscent of Orval.

 330 characters

Photo of mully
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a copper/ apricot color with a thin head thet sets up thin and fades pretty quickly

spicey yeast is prominent a little tartness present some malts and some hints of apple as well.

tastes like perfume, not in a bad -- way very spicey, interesting, but not "ohhhh interesting" not many beers like this. subtle malt sweetness, tangy/astringent some from the hops some from the spices.

dry mouthfeel, good carbonation spices linger for a while.

this is a good beer I have another to try next cristmas in my cellar. I don't know how much of it I could drink though.

 570 characters

Photo of FishGetter
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviwed on 12-26-09 2009 Vintage
Nice bottle and cork combo. Cloudy nut brown color. Small head disapates.
Candied fruit nose, figs. Sweet malt tones, some mild hop aroma with a slight boozieness to it.
Tons of sweetened malt mixes with alot of wintery spices, cinnomon, nutmeg and citrus hops. Slight oak flavor and dryness too. Boozie tones to finish it off.
A medium body that builds with aggitation. Spices and alchole linger on tounge.
Nice offering here. Definate winter season brew. A bit to boozie and spicy for the reviewer, but true to the style.

 556 characters

Photo of ChazMania
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged.
A) Interesting pour, very effervescent.

S) Aroma is light and sort of, sort of, well I can't pinpoint it. A little sweet and a little like soil.

T) The first sip was so tasty! Very well balanced and complex. There is alot of hints of fruit but nothing overly sweet, some orange, apricot and raisin. After a few minutes, I looked over at the bottle and it was foaming up with the yeasts. I took my finger and scooped up foamy yeast...not bad! The second pour then became a little more cloudy and more of the earthy tones are coming forward.

M) Very complex. Like a Belgian stong, but not. Like an Abbey Dubbel, but not. Like an IPA, but not.

D). So delicious! Lost Abbey never dissapoints. I love the complexity of all their beers I have sampled and I'm excited to be a patron saint this year!

 818 characters

Photo of abrethanson
4.14/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/07/12 - On tap at Buzz Wine Beer Shop. First impression - tasty and on point for the style but nothing out of this world.

A: copper bronze like it had just crawled out of the electric beach tanning booth. Crystal clear clarity and a tiny bit of white foam sitting on top. Very light lacing sliding down the glass as swirled.

S: I have no sense of smell and my wife was not there to supplement. I am guessing there is a good amount of spice, malt, and booziness.

T: Christmas in a glass. Good balance of spice, malt, and boozy warmth. I wanted to crawl up next to a fire while lying on a bear skin rug in my log cabin. Sweet caramel / vanilla up front with some Brett yeast and a good amount of holiday spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) sprinkled over the funk. The booze comes in at the end and creates the perfect little fire in your belly. About half way though I started to notice that the beer was fairly dry, especially in the back end.

O: Delicious. What a Christmas time beer should be. Definitely the perfect ale for sharing with friends or with your significant other on an intimate evening opening presents.

 1,125 characters

Photo of micmillon18
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 Batch. Poured from a 750 ml bottle into an oversized wine glass. Another great piece of album art from Lost Abbey. I have another one in the cellar from 2009. After some research, I'm told the brett yeast climaxes after 2 years or so which is why I decided on the older of the two batches.

A - The beer itself is a pretty deep, amber color. Almost looks like white zinfandel. Head subsided quickly leaving a minimal amount of lacing. Carbonation appears low, which is true to the style.

S - Raisins. Spicy and tangy. Fresh apples. Light scents of citrus roaming around in here. Alcohol is also present.

T - Alcohol definitely present, though not so present that it hurts the flavor. Apples, raisins, lots of spiciness. I can taste orange flavors as well. Sweet flavors start upfront and finish with that boozy taste. A sipper for sure. Reminds me a bit of a dubbel.

M - I'd say the balance is slightly off but that may be due to the beer being past due? Medium bodied.

D - This one is a sipper for sure. The alcohol flavor kind of subdues the maltiness at times though ill see how things go as it warms up a bit. I'm interested to see how the 2009 batch will taste in comparison. Maybe this one was past its prime but its still a good beer.

 1,254 characters

Photo of ANIMOUL
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The initial taste is that of medicinal alcohol, but in a good way. It soon gives way to the taste of bread and cherries. There is sweet and syrupy aftertaste that lingers. It has a tantalizing copper-brown color coupled with a thick & lasting head.

Overall, a good holiday beer... as in, enjoy it once a year.

 311 characters

Photo of BlackHoleBrew42
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle. Pours a beautiful ruby honey golden nectar color. Can smell the funk, but also grain, oak, alcohol maybe pine and caramelized sugar? odd. Not too carbonated, nice and resinous mouthfeel, sticks around and adds to complexity. Drinks like a less burly barleywine, definitely very very interesting, far more floral notes in the afterburn. Alcohol kinda burns, in a good warming on a cold Colorado night way, but I'm sure the year and half in the bottle has mellowed that somewhat. Its a sipper that i feel is just a step away from being highly sessionable. Biere de garde - Beer for keeping ...Just glad i had the chance to try it, so now i know to go but more and age even longer. Love it.

 700 characters

Photo of nectar14
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At Toronado SD, the 2009.

Gold, amber color with a 1 finger off white head. Decent lacing.

Nose is a bit muted with some fig, raisin, and hops. As it warms and if swirled, there's a wonderful brett aroma. Very inviting.

Wound up pretty tight. Dense, with malt, bitter hops, and other complexities wrapped in there. Figs, incense, and brett.

A bit on the harsh side, but just a bit. Again, needs to settle.

A sipper, not a guzzler.

Overall, really enjoyable. I bet this will be even better out of bottle, and after some time.

 532 characters

Photo of dbONE
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wanted a good beer for Election Night.
Cracked this one just in time for the big news. A tinted redish/ambre/brown appeared from the bottle, a better attempt than Biere de Garde.
I have to talk to Tomme about this....where is the HEAD? Maybe a bad bottle, but there was a big zero for carboation, a first for T.L.A.
The Brett it promised was a bit on the thin side for the flavor and very tame with it's sourness but is nice on the nose. Some sweetness came through with a floral almoast honey dryness.
Spices and dries cherries come in at the end.
Old Ale dominates with a sweet alcohol carmeled apple touch that rings in some sourness and bitterness that finishes a little syrupy and dry.
Hops are noticable and clean for this "style"?
All around good to welcome in the new president. For a second term I would work on it.

 826 characters

Photo of CoalCellar
4.87/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into my goblet.

A: Pours a deep golden color and quickly builds a sustained frothy white head.

S: FUNK! Dark belgian fruits, metallic belgian yeast, BRETT in all its glory.

T: OUTSTANDING! More of a brett flavor than I anticipated. Band aids, musty horse blanket, lemons, oranges, belgian fruits, medicinal flavors, faint hops.

M: Crisp and delicious.

D: Extremely drinkable. Its a crime I can't get more. I could sip this stuff every night. An outstanding christmas ale from Lost Abbey. Can't wait to see what this stuff does in the cellar.

 570 characters

Photo of Jerico
1.8/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured this from a 22oz bottle into a goblet.

A - popped the cork and there was no pressure at all (weirdly), and the beer pours an light amber/medium orange color like iced tea. No head on my pour, almost no lacing.

S - not much there, but what's there is spicy and malty, reminds me a lot of a pumpkin beer. I was expecting some funk too, since the label mentions brett, but I don't get much.

T/M/D - again, I taste malt and pumpkin, but really not very smooth and makes me wince a little (and I like pumpkin beers). I'm not picking the brett up either. I gotta wonder if I got a bad bottle of this - no way I'll be able to finish it.

 639 characters

Photo of chrisafari
3.64/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note: I am reviewing this as a "Biere de Garde" instead of a "Belgian Strong Pale Ale."

Vintage 2007.

Aroma: Candied sugar, molasses, banana and plum. Slight aroma of citrus hops in the background. Aroma is really fresh. Aroma is off for the style: should be more malty and toasty with a "cellar-like" aroma.

Pours reddish golden amber with an off-white head about 3/4 of a inch thick.

Flavor: Begins with big flavors of mango, citrus and banana. The finish, however, is spicy (ginger/peppery) and dry. After a few seconds the final finish spreads a welcome warmth down the throat. (Again, off for the style).

Body: medium body. It is pretty easy to form a head with a quick swirl. No lacing formed, however.

Drinkability: medium to medium high.

Overall: really quite enjoyable and unique. Something that I will try again next christmas season. I like to compare this to the 2008 vintage to see if a year of age helped or hindered the flavor and aroma.

This would have received a higher rating if this beer was a "Belgian Pale Ale" (as described in BJCP style guidelines). But, Tomme stated that he was attempting a "Biere de Garde," and as such falls short in the aroma and flavor categories.

This is, however, a very good Belgian Pale ale and a beer that like to live outside the style guidelines, which I give Tomme credit for.

 1,346 characters

Photo of jdaelhousen
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour produces a large amount of frothy cream colored head. Body color is amber, and the nose contains fruit notes of cherry, lemon and orange zest, a boozy essence trails.
Taste at the center contains notes of tart apple, pear, and cherry. These fruit flavors are backed by a strong boozyness, and the finish provides remaining lingering tartness that makes the mouth pucker a while longer. Overall, a very different beer being that it's a strong biere de garde. Almost replicates a lighter malted barleywine. Excellent quality by The Lost Abbey.

 546 characters

Photo of Heritage02Rider
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got this at a local San Diego restaurant in the Gas Lamp district. I have to say that many of the SD restaurants were carrying quite a selection of delectable California beers and some had quite a few local beers. CA has always embraced their wine industry and now beginning to embrace their brewing. I had this one on tap and thoroughly enjoyed it.

A: Colors is very dark amber. Nearing a nut brown, but not quite.
S: Very light scent. Almost not there... Or I have not olfactory glands.
T: First taste screams malt! Very similar to lesser stouts, but smoother. A bit of an after taste, probably due to the high alcohol content at 10% abv.
M: The mouthfeel is smooth clean and easy with a small amount of back of the mouth bite, reminiscent of an IPA.
D: This was quite delectable and went down easy. I found it very drinkable making it something to be wary of due to the high alcohol content.

 899 characters

Photo of brewdenver
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown appearance with a very frothy head. Strong fingers around the glass with heavy lacing. Used a New Belgium tulip glass filled it down the side till the last .1L and it was very active. Has an oaky alcohol smell with some hop undertones. Taste is a little bland to me. It seems to be lacking any real characteristic. It has a lot going on but nothing defining. Overall a good beer. Just not one I will be keeping in the fridge.

 436 characters

Photo of cheer4beer_
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

 344 characters

Photo of msmezher
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Note: Scores are for my tasting on-tap, but I will include notes on the beer in bottle form as well.

My first smell of Gift of the Magi was of spices, caramel malts, and a tart, sour, lactic aroma. In terms of taste Gift of the Magi matched its smell rather nicely, a medium-light bodied beer with a beautiful sour feel that tasted of cherries, dried fruit, and spices. I almost regretted swallowing this beer, it felt so good in my mouth. I'd give the goblet of this I had on tap a solid 4.5 rating, I really enjoyed it on its own and missed it when it was gone.

I later had Gift of the Magi poured from a bottle and was a little disappointed. I'm not certain if it was past expiration, but the tartness and sourness were almost unnoticeable. The beer still felt high quality, but it was the sourness and finish that were so apparent from the keg that I loved the first time I tasted it that gave it its high ranking. In bottle I would give Gift of the Magi around a 3.75, overall quite good, but lacking the spark I first felt. Again, I cannot be certain of the beer's age/expiration, as the bottle has probably been melted down and made into new bottles by now, so if it was past due sue me.

I <3 Lost Abbey.

 1,217 characters

Photo of WaXHeLL
4.16/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Lost Abbey / Port Brewing's 3rd Anniversary party. 4oz taster. Tasting notes from 5/9/2009.

Appearance: Translucent yellowish-red. Nice looking. Decent head, decent lacing.

Smell: Not much of a smell. Smells pretty smooth with a slight hint of floral hops and yeast. Wish it was a little bit stronger and more complex.

Taste: Comes on strong and bold, and doesn't let up until its done. Very smooth strong floral taste. Starts hoppy, but smooth. Goes down deceptively easy. Slight bitter finish. One of those simple, in-your-face beers.

Mouthfeel: A little bit excessive on the carbonation (yeah, I know, rare for a Lost Abbey beer). Very slight bitterness, but smooth throughout. Feels very good.

Drinkability: Super easy to drink, even with the high ABV. Very tasty and smooth, with just a little bit of complexity. Very versatile -- you could slam this beer, or you might be able to sip it.

Overall: In your face, bold, smooth beer. Refreshingly different.

 974 characters

Photo of Beernf
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at The Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood, CA.

I have had this beer a bunch, it always seems to accompany some kind of occasion. Like if an office friend is leaving to go work somewhere else, or at a birthday party, that kind of stuff. It adds an element of, i guess, 'specialness' to this beer for me, that always knocks it up a notch. I also really appreciate its wonderful smell, and its incredibly boozy taste. I always think i took a shot of some kind of liquor when i taste this beer for the first time in a night. Heavy malts and that bourbon note really hit home and i usually can only make it through one of these before i need to move on to something else. I still haven't really found a food that pairs well with this beer. I'll keep looking.

 760 characters

Photo of chadmoe1
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From notes on 1/3/12 (first beer in 2012!)

A -- Brown with 3/4" white head, slow dissipation; lots of lacing

S -- Malty, boozey, stone fruit, Brett horsey-ness but not overwhelming

T -- Dry and malty, then long sharp aftertaste; toasty (slightly roasty) flavors with little hop contributions

M -- High carb, dry

O -- Really cool beer though maybe not what I've had with other Biere de Gardes. Definitely strong with all kinds of malty flavors. Brett is not overpowering -- a good beer for those interested in trying some Brett flavors.

Bottle, Russian River snifter

 571 characters

Photo of joshuasamantha
4.69/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance was average- comes in a corked bottle which we accidentally broke into the beer :/ The art they use for the labels are simplistic but enticing nonetheless.

This beer smells so good! I'm not completely schooled on the vernacular everyone is using to appropriately describe beers, but I can say the smell is nice and it makes you want to drink it :)

The taste of this beer is exactly as it's titled-a gift. It has a nice even flavor that most could appreciate.

Gift of the Magi has a slightly thick mouth feel to it but it's a not a bad thing.

The beer is very drinkable; in my beer budget, it is a treat because it's slightly pricey but well worth it. Also, it's a nice beer to share with someone that appreciates quality!

 736 characters

Photo of kruthar
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So, some buddies of mine got together for some chill time and we popped open this beer. Let it be noted that before this we had a 2002 westy, best thing to touch my lips, but ill wait to rate that, i got two more. at the moment that beer is better then me and i can't do it justice. But anyways:

A - First pour is reddish auburn in color looking into the light, with a light buildup of reddish brown tinted head. after the swirl the beer chnaged dramatically, like pouring mud into the glass, this quickly changed the whole thing to a cloudy murky brown.

S - smell is fruity, but light, barely any smell at all i can get apples with a wine hint in there.

T - my first impression is carmel apples with a creme middle, but near the end ive got this really wierd iron metallic finish.

M - very low alcohol bite that i dont mind, finishes smooth

D - this is a sipper, its a little alcoholic but very delicious.

 911 characters

Photo of Dennycurr
2.71/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

For those who drink this beer...
Get ready to drink a beer that tastes like there's been a perfume bottle poured into the mix.
YES---it has a distinct flavor and yes....the eyebrows raise, but....whew...it is not for everybody.
The reason I even gave it a bit above average is because the taste is so radical----I dig the difference. Although, this beer would be on the lower rung of diff and distinct beers I would try.
I was told by the people I bought this from, (Monks in Philly), this beer is called the Gift of the Magi because----there is an actual presence of Frankincence and Mir, in the beer.
You actually can taste it.

I give props to a beer that can do that. In fact----that was a big reason I bought it.
Am glad I tried it.
Is a wayyy diff taste than any other beer.
Kudos for that!

But a bit too perfumy, for me.


 843 characters

Gift Of The Magi from The Lost Abbey
3.82 out of 5 based on 723 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!