First Frost
Fullsteam Brewery

First FrostFirst Frost
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Style:
Winter Warmer
Ranked #25
ABV:
8.8%
Score:
87
Ranked #13,694
Avg:
3.94 | pDev: 11.42%
Reviews:
30
Ratings:
83
From:
Fullsteam Brewery
 
North Carolina, United States
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  23
Gots
  21
SCORE
87
Very Good
First FrostFirst Frost
Notes: Persimmon (Diospyros Virginiana) — literally, “fruit of the gods.” Sweet and savory, with natural notes of cinnamon and apricot, the orange-globed persimmon fruit truly is heavenly. But it’s not until after the first frost that persimmon turns from astringent and bitter to a luscious fruit worthy of the gods.

This bountiful yield produced a complex, fruit- forward winter ale. The beer’s notes of holiday spices come entirely from the native persimmon and the beer’s Belgian ale yeast. At 12% ABV, it's a strong beer -- a fireplace ale for sure -- brewed with the harvest in mind, not a specific style.
Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 83 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Verecund:
Photo of Verecund
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The first bottled beer from Fullsteam. A winter ale brewed with 75lbs of locally-gathered persimmons. Picked up a few of these at the Sam's release on 02.04.2011; opened on 02.05.2011. Bottle #048 of 800.

Pours a darkened prune, with a burlywood-hued half-finger head. It recedes to a contact lens about the rim of the glass, accompanied by a milky blot of foam sporadically resting on the rest of the surface. Subsequent pours yield a full one-finger head with very bubbling activity that settles down nicely.

Smells like spiced cake or mulling spices: allspice, cinnamon, minor star anise, and dried fruit. On the tail end of the nose, I pick up on a wonderful sweetness that avoids classification (think halfway between orange and raspberry). The yeast is quite present. It's soft, but complex.

Brown sugar maltiness, sweetened cocoa, some clove spiciness, allspice, and cinnamon. The fruitiness is sweet, reminding me mostly of apricot (hold the beer in your mouth and introduce oxygen - there, that's where the persimmon shines), but there's a pleasant pecan nuttiness mid-palate, and the finish is spicy and slightly tannic.

Medium-bodied, with just under medium carbonation. At times, it seems too watery. The finish is slightly dry and borderline astringent.

It hides its ABV well, but warms as you get further into the bottle. Overall, I'm a fan of persimmons and this beer delivers both conceptually and executively. If I hadn't been told that persimmons were in this, I'm almost positive I couldn't pinpoint it - but the generic brown maltiness really shows the fruit's complexity: it begins like gingerbread, shows its fruity sweetness, and finishes nutty and spicy. There's room for improvement, but a nice showing from their first bottled beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours into a large tulip glass a clear amber shade with a lacey slight off white head atop.Spiced yeasty esters in the nose along with a noticeable sour element.Belgian yeast flavors with a tannin-like fruitiness with a light lactic touch in the finish.Not bad a little different than I was expecting but quite good.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.11/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First Frost pours a hazy dark brown with a creamy off white head on top. The foam dissolves slowly down to a sheet on the beer, leaving behind lines of lace on the glass.

The aroma is estery, with notes of alcohol, pine and peppermint. Hints of ripe fruit and spices.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft, slightly creamy with an effervescent fizz. The flavor is malty and sweet with spices mixed in. It begins with bready malt notes, which is quickly followed by pine, cinnamon, nutmeg and peppermint(?). Quite interesting. It finishes sweet with hints of brown sugar. Once gone the the pine and nutmeg linger on the palate.

I'm not very familiar with persimmons, but it's definitely an interesting flavor. This is a complex beer loaded with flavor. However, a little age could smooth out some of the alcohol notes.

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Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looks like apricot juice sitting in the glass hosting a pale tan quick fading head that barely reaches an inch. Nose has a lot of fruit going on with hints of apricot mango in dried persimmons. Really a nicely fragrant beer. Taste is strongly of dark fruit at first yielding to a more juicy fruit profile as you continue to drink. The yeasty feel of this beer is very much on the Belgian side. Kind of reminds me of a mix between a Belgian Strong dark ale and a good Belgian pale. Overall this and Seshan deal this hard to categorize but very enjoyable. I would really like to see this beer with several years of age on it. I will definitely track more down if I can. Indeed very careful because this one drinks way too easy for 12% alcohol by volume.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 789 of 800.

Nice, fig-colored brew with little to no head. Aroma of dark fruit and candy sugar.

You'd fear a persimmon brew might be brutally sweet, but this is excellently balanced and very drinkable.

I may be in the tank for Fullsteam, but even so I'm rather impressed with this beer. Reminds me of a dubbel, with a nice, fruity component.

Would love to have been able to try the sour version...

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Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by bmannig, thanks Ben. Beer is the first bottled example from Fullsteam. Nice.

Beer is hazy and kind of orange with a nice soft white head moderate carbonation and some lacing on the glass. Looks good.

Aroma is estery and spicy with a little bit of nutmeg or allspice and this spectrum of bubblegum esters, sweetness and breadiness. It's smells good but there is a lot going on in the ester department.

Beer is nice, light in body, sweet up front, lots of yeastiness in it with some mild fruit. I don't think the persimmon comes through very much but I can taste the fruitiness of it. It's a decent beer, a good winter warmer for sure. I'd have it again.

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 336 of 800

Appearance: Pours a burnt caramel color with a rocky head that streaks lacing

Smell: Floral stone fruit, with a spice cake aspect - persimmon pie, in its essence

Taste: Persimmon pie, right off the bat, with all the fruit and holiday spicing that entails; by mid-palate, some earthy hop bitterness intrudes on the sweet flavors, just in time to keep the sweetness from cloying; the finish is nicely balanced and very fruity

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, with moderate carbonation

Overall: A fine brew for Fullsteam's first bottled effort; the flavors are balanced and the alcohol is held in check

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Photo of whartontallboy
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of dirtylou
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage, 750ml, split

Muddy amber body - really minimal head. Aromas of dry malt, sugars, and earthy dark fruits. A bit of a floral taste, malty, earthy, spice, corriander. Interesting, though not particularly great. A bit of a dry finish - more belgian dark than winter warmer to me.

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Photo of jak
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of ygtbsm94
2.75/5  rDev -30.2%

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall I was a little disappointed in this beer. I have fond memories of harvesting persimmons in childhood, and I love the taste of these underutilized fruit. The Southern variety is something special and packed with flavor, as long as they are harvested very ripe to avoid the astringency. No problem with that here- in fact, no real problem with flavor at all- there is very little of any kind. You get a vague musty fruitiness, some very light tartness, and a bit heavy fry maltiness with a hint of bitter. Very, very little persimmon flavor, just that muskiness that could be from any sort of fruit and some sugars that are a bit too converted. I'd be fine with that if some interesting (but clean) funky flavors had been created, but that didn't really happen. Pours a murky chestnut as well, with a short but reasonable tan head. There is at least a promise of persimmon in the aroma, but that simply isn't delivered in the flavor. I really wanted to like this beer, but it just isn't happening for me.

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Photo of atsprings
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a standard pint glass a crisp dark amber with a thin lasting head that leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is a bit of sweet fruits in front of toasted malts. The taste is a nice amount of sweet berries in front of toasted malts with a nice lingering fruit finish. The beer is medium bodied with mild carbonation and a nice subtle dryness. This is a very enjoyable fruit ale, one I will look forward to next year.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to jason for sending me this as an extra no less, wow man.

very nice, and very dark which surprised me a bit. Full brown color with a nearly opaque consistency, this was a nice looking warmer right out of the gate. Nice two inch head of tan settled down quickly and eventually left behind only token side glass lace, but some nice carbonation could be seen coming up from the bottom.

The aroma was light at first, but as it warmed seem to pick up a bit in intensity. Lots of caramel, cinnamon and dark earthy hops were stealing the show on this one. Quite nice actually just a bit light for me. The flavor was much nicer though. Rich with a healthy dose of cinnamon and spice but not enough to really push it over the top and make it mind-blowing. Interesting as it warmed as some tart fruit started to come forward and the caramel getting sweeter, turning the feel almost over on it self from a nice medium body to almost syrup like by the time I finished it. Smooth and creamy the aftertaste was solid, leaving me linger on a nice note of dark fruit and a subtle vinous like bitterness. Somewhere lost between a drinker and a sipper, it was easily very enjoyable though.

Overall I thought this one was very well done. A good, classic take on the style that definitely did not disappoint

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Photo of gford217
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, #1779.

Pours a deep copper that looks almost black in the glass with a small fizzy beige head that recedes to a small collar and collection of bubbles fed from the middle.

Aroma is fruity with the persimmons definitely coming through, but sweeter than just the fruit, caramelized sugar maybe. There are hints of spices but very faint.

Taste is also dominated by the fruitiness which comes is two waves - first, the slightly tart persimmons, second, the fruity esters.Then some spices, which are more prevalent than in the aroma, especially in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with soft carbonation, fruity and dry in the finish.

This is my first Fullsteam brew and I'm really enjoying it. It's certainly a unique take on a winter warner.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a lightly hazy burnt orange/copper in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate golden honey colored highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a large patch of thin film covering the entire surface of the the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted, pale, and caramel malts with a moderate amount of sweetness. Slightly stronger than moderate aromas of persimmons and light aromas of holiday spices (nutmeg, allspice, black pepper). Light to moderate aromas of light fruit (apple + pear) and spicy yeast.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of toasted, pale, and caramel malts with a moderate amount of caramel + light fruit (apple + pear) sweetness. That is followed by light flavors of holiday spices (nutmeg black pepper, and allspice). Moderate flavors of spicy saison/Belgian yeast and a moderate to slightly stringer flavor of persimmons which contribute to the lingering sweetness.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Very enjoyable, very interesting, and quite easy to drink considering the strength. I like the combination of the sweetness (which is present but not cloying), spices, and fruit flavors.

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Photo of avalon07
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had an amber-ish color and a cloudy consistency. There was a quarter inch of foamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A solid aroma of malt, spices, honey, dark fruit, and caramel.

T: Tasted of a good amount of malt (not overdone), a decent amount of honey, some spices (cinnamon), a lot of dark fruit (cherry, raisin), a little apricot, a tinge of caramel, and a bit of the advertised persimmon. This is a fairly complex flavor. It's a bit on the boozy side, but the fruit ingredients offset this pretty well. On the whole, a solid flavor.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a warm, yet sharp, finish. Full-bodied.

O: If you like beers with big characters, check this out. Drinkable.

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Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of fehrminator
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of SLeffler27
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours gem clear, SRM 16-17 (dark copper), with lots of random, fine carbonation under a one-inch, creamy ochre head that has amazing longevity. A dense coating of foamy lace lines a Lost Abbey pint glass.

The aroma contains light gingerbread and spruce with very faint spices and plums.

Cinnamon and graham crackers are prominent as First Frost warms. The flavors overall are clean, but lack the punch and complexity generally sought after in this style. A subtle, lingering dry finish brings out dark stone fruits. Style guidelines aside, this was quite enjoyable.

The full body is complimented by a light, creamy texture and faint, prickly carbonation. Alcohol is present, but not hot, possibly due to the noticeable residual sugars.

This is a good sipping beer, but perhaps better with a rich, meaty meal.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bmanning for opening a bottle of this. Served in a snifter.

Pours a moderately-hazy orange color with a single-finger white head and a bit of lacing. The nose brings forward a bit of light spicing and a bit of fruitiness. The taste adds a bit more fruit and a bit of earth. The persimmons are there, but not over the top. Body is light with good carbonation. Drinks fairly well and was a nice take on the style. Certainly couldn't tell that the ABV was this high.

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Photo of ncstateplaya
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of devilben02
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of mactrail
4.26/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Uniquely fruity and very drinkable amber ale.

Beautiful amber brew with dark caramel and red highlights. Nice foam, and lingering carbonation in the mouth. This is just an intriguing beer with dark notes of dates and maybe licorice with the edge taken off. The body is not heavy but the flavors are rich. If you like persimmons you would be surprised to not really taste them. But if you're adventurous, you'll discover an indefinable new flavor. Thanks to Fullsteam for a great experiment that should be an annual event.

I love interesting flavors for beers, and some like this persimmon seem to be just right. Label notes they "foraged" 75 pounds of wild persimmons, and this is the native American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) not the familiar comercially-grown Japanese varieties. And the frost in the name refers to the time-honored way of ensuring the astringency in the fruits is mellowed.

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Photo of EasyReader
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

First Frost from Fullsteam Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 83 ratings