Archive for the month “March, 2013”

Black’s Dawn – Cismontane Brewing Company

cismontane-blacksdawn_bttl8.5% ABV, 50 IBUs, 30 SRM
Purchased at City Beer Store in San Francisco ($5.99/16 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This imperial coffee stout brewed by Rancho Santa Margarita-based Cismontane pours a licorice black with a bubbly brown sugar head and a nose of chocolate-covered coffee beans, caramel, wood, and dark fruits.  Black’s Dawn leads with strong coffee and hay, with mocha coffee and a prominent bitterness coming to dominate the back end.  The finish is pretty clean, with neither the syrupy residue you often find in strong coffee beers, nor the velvety and decadent texture of many imperial stouts.  Instead, the lasting impression is of wood, smoke, and a profound coffee and hop bitterness, along with touches of vanilla and an unusual grape or berry note that I can’t quite place. 

toasts-3.5    3.5 Toasts


 toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts


Gift of the Magi – The Lost Abbey (Cellar-Aged)


10.0% ABV
Purchased at Total Wine and More in late December 2011, cellared for 1 year, and poured into tulip gla

His Notes:

The Lost Abbey’s high-alcohol holiday biere de garde pours a reddish-orange with a voluminous, frothy, dirty-white head.  The distinctly Belgian nose offers pineapple, barnyard funk (due to the brett-aided bottle-conditioning), and other tropical aromas.  The first swallow has more caramel and grass than I remember – with a darker hue to match the more robust flavor – and a long, boozy, incredibly pleasing warmth to the finish.  This is no longer the “contemplative biere de garde” promised on the bottle; instead, it’s a brutish strong ale for a lonely Christmas Eve, with a mouthful of dusky hops entering on subsequent swallows.  Gift of the Magi has a fascinating mélange of flavors, ranging from grassy to woody to spicy and slightly fruity, offering new discoveries with each sip.

toasts-5-small    5 Toasts

Her Notes:


 toasts-4.5    4.5 Toasts

Original Review from January 2012:

10.0% ABV
Purchased at Total Wine & More ($3.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

This Lost Abbey Xmas annual pours a murky orange with a frothy, quickly retreating, off-white head.  The smell is strong with grapes, fresh dark fruits, berries, spices, and barnyard funk, along with the unmistakable quasi-tropical aroma of wild yeast.  Very inviting on the palette with fruit, grass, and a mild sourness, but it quickly warms up to reveal layer after layer of woody texture and complex spice.  Gift of the Magi is a fascinating hybrid of a Belgian farmhouse beer and a spicy winter ale, with oak notes, brandy, orchard fruits, bready yeast, and wild grass all present.  It gives you so much complex flavor to chew on, you can easily overlook the double-digit alcohol content.  A real masterpiece, Gift of the Magi overwhelms you with its Tower of Babel flavors instead of its’ ABV.

toasts-4.5    4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:


 toasts-4    4 Toasts

Post Navigation