Before The Dawn | Steel Toe Brewing

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Before The DawnBefore The Dawn
201 Ratings
Before The DawnBefore The Dawn

Brewed by:
Steel Toe Brewing
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.70%

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.

Added by claaark13 on 06-28-2012

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 201 |  Reviews: 33
Photo of ElfKicker
3/5  rDev -31%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.2/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle shared by Curran last night.

Pours a light black/dark brown, with a small, fizzy head, and basically no lacing.

Out of the bottle, this smelled kind of like dirty diapers and bandaids. Once poured out, this aroma luckily faded a bit, I get some caramel and chocolate, but I also get a bit of metallic aroma as well. This isn't boding well.

For a 13.7% ABV BA stout/barleywine, the flavor kind of falls surprisingly flat. There's an odd vegetal quality, along with the aforementioned metallic feel, along with the expected black malt, chocolate, and caramel. It all just doesn't pop the way you'd expect it to, unfortunately. It seems like the bottle was possibly compromised.

This is medium bodied, with a lower level of carbonation, and a thick, creamy mouthfeel. This at least feels right.

I feel like I wasn't drinking the same beer that everybody else was drinking- there was definitely issues here.

 915 characters

Photo of morimech
3.47/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

 1,211 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -19.5%

Photo of tom10101
3.5/5  rDev -19.5%

Photo of Sanderson
3.55/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Photo of VeganUndead
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of Wowcoolman
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of Nichols33
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Kevinpitts
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of brentk56
3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Couldn't possibly be any blacker and the head is as dark as any I have seen; though the foam doesn't get that high, it leaves viscous spots of lacing

Smell: Molasses, licorice, charred oak, Bourbon, pine, prune and chocolate; quite boozy

Taste: Molasses, licorice and prune, up front, with a growing burnt oak character; Bourbon and pine build, after the swallow and there is some chocolate in the finish; still quite hot and boozy, even after a year

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Overall: I had high hopes for this beer as I have enjoyed most everything else I have tasted but, despite the creativity of brewing a black barleywine, the flavors really clash

 714 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

 365 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Shared with JLindros and Threelions.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark black hue with a thin mocha head that fades to leave light halo and thin wisps.

S - Aromas of somewhat black malts, caramel, light, roast.

T - Taste is much much better, chocolate, caramel, bourbon, faint alcohol. Really smooth and clearly aged, very mellow and balanced.

M - Mouthfeel is really nice, creamy, alcohol hidden well.

O - Overall, this beer was really good. I had high
higher expectations but yah, this was good.

Serving type: Bottle

 541 characters

Photo of MNBeer1017
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jlindros
3.97/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

 580 characters

Photo of Umdrunner
3.99/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured black with thin tan head that disappeared quickly. Scent was roasted malt, boozy, chocolate. Flavor followed scent. It seemed a little bit too burnt tasting for me, especially for a Barleywine. Overall, very complex and tasty, though not my favorite BA offering from steel toe.

 284 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of ucsbmullet
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jeffrey2310
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of jodan
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of baybum
4/5  rDev -8%

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Before The Dawn from Steel Toe Brewing
Beer rating: 4.35 out of 5 with 201 ratings