The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged - The Lost Abbey

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,683 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,683
Reviews: 668
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 11.42%
Wants: 584
Gots: 511 | FT: 43
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottoale on 08-23-2006

Down in Kentucky and across the pond in Scotland, distillers who age their whiskeys for many years refer to the evaporation of the spirits from their barrels as “The Angel’s Share.” We couldn’t agree more. Each time a barrel is filled, a measure of liquid seeps into the oak and is lost for good.This striking Strong Ale is brewed with copious amounts of Caramel malt to emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors found in freshly emptied bourbon or brandy barrels. The beer spends a year in oak before it is packaged for release.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,683 | Reviews: 668
Photo of gregalobeer
3.78/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I bought the Angel's Share at my usual store with lots of corked big beers on the shelf. It must have been positioned above the wrong price tag that day (and I must have been stocking up), because I don't remember spending $30. Though last time I went, that was the price. In any case ... I wasn't setting the bar particularly high to "get my money's worth."

My first reaction was that the beer had very little carbonation. I am vindicated by the other reviewers who had the same reaction from the bottled Angle (I know, I shouldn't have read them before; won't happen again).

The color and smell were impressive, despite the poor carbonation. Alcohol was apparent. So was the brandy casking. The beer tasted almost like a martini with bourbon coating the tumbler and a raisin/carmel/malt-heavy brown ale in the mix.

I had a lot of fun drinking this beer for about 10 minutes, sipping more than gulping, though I prefer a mouthfull with darker beers.

All in all, the lack of carbonation didn't bother me really. There's plenty to like about Angel's Share in the non-carbonated bottle. I didn't finish it, but I enjoyed it. I recommend splitting it with a few buddies. Approach it like a nice scotch.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.79/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

I've gotten a pair o' these guys in recent trades/BIFs, so thanks to those who sent them! I think this particular bottle came from GoGriz.

VDubb seems pretty interested in this one, so here's some more vicariousness. It pours a bleakly murky brown with not much of a head to speak of. The nose is rather bourbon-centric, with some oak, milk chocolate, vanilla, caramel, pretzels, and a smidge of roasted malts piled in there as well. The taste similarly whiskey-forward, with an added kick; the rest of the smell's constitutive elements, minus the chocolate, return for a second season, but the bourbon seems to have an ego issue that would preclude further contract extensions. The body is fairly hefty, with a very light carbonation (I thought the '10s fixed this...?) and an almost chewy feel. Overall, I feel this brew just missed the landing zone, fracturing a leg on landing. It'll heal, but the memory will malinger for a while. I'm thinking about aging the other bottle, if only to see how things go if the bourbon settles a tad. Beyond that, the other flavors seemed kinda weak, and the almost-flat, murky liquid was not very appealing. This one just wasn't fully for me.

Photo of tempest
3.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Bookstore Speakeasy. I'm told this is one of 4 kegs in the state. Lucky me.

The beer doesn't live up to the hype, but it's still pretty tasty. In short, it was a large snifter of bourbon candy. The character was rich and sweet, but the flavors were too smooth, making it hard to pick out many flavors. It came off a little dull for such a big beer. The bourbon character dominated and as it warmed the alcohol began to emerge. I'm glad I tried this beer, but wished it had approached everything I'd heard about it.

Photo of unitmonster
3.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lost Abbey, 8/13/11. We had a sample of all their bourbon beers on tap for a friends 30th bday.

A - Dark, but not black. More like a very dark barley wine.

S - Sweet taste of the Angel's Share strong ale, and then some bourbon mixed in.

T - This beer is almost too sweet. Out of the three that we tried (Bourbon Santa, Older, Bourbon AS), this one was my least favorite.

O - Great beer, but the sweetness is too much for me.

Photo of rayjay
3.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage into a goblet

Still appearance. Tiny bubbles around the edge and that's it. I was expecting this, and not offended by it because of my love for traditional English strong beers which are often quite flat. Murky appearance, deep dark brown beer full of hazy stuff (looks like yeast slurry).

Rich aroma just full of bourbon barrel. Intoxicating and strong aroma. Smells great but rough around the edges (young) and mean (high alcohol).

Lots of sweet bourbon flavors everywhere. Sweet toffee and cookies, rich black malts (no real roasted bitterness, just dark richness), carmel malts, bitterness from alcohol. Lots of very smooth bourbon masks the beer underneath. Lots of mineral water too.

The flat mouthfeel was nice with Older, but not quite working with this one. Needs more CO2, certainly the downfall of this brew. Way flatter than an English barleywine, of which I've had many. More like a watered down glass of whiskey. Value is also factored in to this review, as an expensive beer like this should have no obvious flaws.

As delicious as it is, it's a waste of great beer to serve like this. Lack of carbonation cuts way back on the drinkability, also the mouthfeel, aroma, and appearance, and why the hell not the flavor too.

Edit: I had this on tap in 2007 for the first time, and noted how flat it was (and liked it). I also like this year's flat Santa's and Older...it just somehow didn't work out for this beer like it should have. Recommended if you have $30 to blow, otherwise you'll find beers this good in the $10-15 range.

Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark brown color with almost no head. Not much lacing, either.

S - It smelled of vanilla and oak with some toasty notes. Light caramel notes, too.

T - It tasted very malty with a strong boozy character. Some oak, bourbon and vanilla flavors.

M - It was fairly crisp and sharp. A full bodied ale with a clean finish.

O - This was pretty tasty. A nice bourbon barrel aged brew.

Photo of rudzud
3.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken on 11/10/10 at the Armsby Abbey. Poured into a snifter.

A - A rich, dark not quite black pour with no light passing through. There was a one finger dark tan head that dissolved quickly into a tan halo.

S - HUGE bourbon aromas upfront. After getting past all that bourbon there was some dark earthy fruits and a touch of carmel.

T - Very, very similar to the nose with just more dark fruits and carmel. Still that huge bourbon flavours that really is first and foremost.

M - Low carbonation, creamy. You can really feel the alcohol on the tongue.

D - I almost feel that this needs some age on it, as the alcohol is FAR too up front with this. Smooth, creamy, and potent with nice complex flavours but still far too agressive.

Photo of egajdzis
3.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy red brown color with a small, light tan head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of roasted malts, light cocoa, vanilla, dried fruits, caramel, and a bit of bourbon as well. Taste of more cocoa, some roast, raisins, and other dark fruits, some vanilla, oak, and a bit of bourbony alcohol in the finish. I guess I'll be part of the camp who prefers the Brandy version to this one, but big thanks to EDA for sharing this!

Photo of birchstick
3.81/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - color is rustic brownish without any head to speak of

S - the nose is of sweet bourbony aromas of vanilla and some caramel; there are also dark fruits present on the nose

T - sweet dark fruits open this one up nicely. Next up are some raisins and sticky malts mixed with a little cola. A load of bourbon shows up on the backend and overwhelms everything else. Pretty solid taste profile going on here.

M - flat and watery, underwhelming

D - this is a solid beer, love the bourbon and vanilla flavors in it. For some reason, it just seemed to fall a bit short as a complete beer, though. The price point has kept me away from it in the past and I think it will continue to do so in the future.

Photo of far333
3.82/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opaque and murky medium brown with orangey highlights, some soapy low foam bubbles up slightly leaving no head.

Aroma of nutty cocoa, brandy, dark malt and overripe fruit. Rich flavors of dark malt, whisky-soaked raisins, some oakey woodiness, vanilla and marshmallow, some cocoa. Very strong and boozey, but not too overpowering.

Moderate mouthfeel despite nearly no carbonation, a bit of tingle in the finish. Some warming of the cheeks and numbing of the tongue. Tasty beer, but IMO perhaps a bit overhyped.

Photo of GbVDave
3.82/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a corked and caged 12.7oz bottle into two FoBAB tasters. Thanks to HollyAnn for the assist!

BOURBON 2010

A: Took a little effort to get the cork out but there was no "pop" when it released. A vigorous pour netted a tiny but creamy film of mocha colored foam. Head retained for about 30 seconds and not one speck of lace was left behind.

S: Very nice aroma of bourbon, dark/fudgy chocolate, bruised dark fruit, brownies, brown sugar, and wet barrel.

T: Pretty much as above with the addition of a pretty distinct alcohol flavor. It fits in nicely and doesn't detract from the savory flavors.

M: A bit more slick and syrupy than I would've cared for. This could've used some much needed carbonation. Finish is quite long and develops nicely.

D: Splitting this small bottle was just the perfect size. Our taste buds were wrecked by this and we wondered how this would've scored if it had some frigging bubbles in it. I love paying a premium for flat beer.

Photo of OnThenIn
3.82/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A tiny bit of a dark tan hed that dissipates instantly. The beer itself is a very dark brown.

Smell: The aroma is dominated with vanilla, bourbon, alcohol, dark fruits, and plums.

Taste: A fair amount of sweetness, with a good bit of alcohol presence without being too hot. A tiny bit of bitterness to balance out all of the sweetness. There is some serious bourbon and a hint of vanilla, with a back end of dark fruits.

Mouthfeel: It was lighter than I expected with a medium to full body that didn't coat the mouth like I expected.

Drinkability: The first half of the 375 ml was not a challenge to drink, but by the last quarter of the bottle I wished I had split the beer with someone. It is rather powerful in flavor and just an intense beer that really is best in small quantities.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.84/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle we picked up at the Lost Abbey/Port brewery. We poured into a wide mouthed wine glass to allow the beer to breath a bit. The beer is an extremely caramel-brown color, with an appearance of thick, syrupy consistency. No head or other signs of carbonation. Definite aromas of oak/wood, as well as sweet malty/sugary smells. The beer has an initial sweet malt flavor, heavy in molasses and caramel notes, that remains robust but becomes crisp on the finish. The bourbon barrel aging definitely had a huge influence on this brew. Deep down, there are hints of some spice that dances in and out of your mouth. The overall sweet flavor makes this a very rich beer for me personally. I do enjoy the robust and strong flavors. The finish, as I said, is crisp, with slight sweet and sour highlights.

Photo of cvm4
3.84/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark brown with no head whatsoever.

S - Bourbon, sweet vanilla, caramel & oak.

T - Very sweet vanilla and tart following into an oak center with toffee and bourbon finish.

M - medium body & carbonation.

O - A flow down bourbon lane. Very good slightly too tart for me.

Photo of Dope
3.84/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date is obscured a bit, believe it to be a 2010 bottle. Possibly 2011.

A: Just the tiniest hiss as I remove the cork. Pours a very dark brown. No head, no lacing. Appears to be almost completely flat just like the terrible brandy version I just endured. Let's see if we can go 0/2 when drinking extremely expensive beers. Swirling it produces just the tiniest bit of foam for a second, so there is just a little bit of carbonation at least.

S: Smells like bourbon mixed with rubbing alcohol. Get some nice vanilla. Swear I get a band-aid type aroma too.

T: Bourbon up front, lots of it. Nice caramel and vanilla mixes in with some bright toffee. Get some chocolate in the middle, maybe a little char too. Finishes with a slap of grain alcohol and some oaky notes. Very boozy, lingering alcohol in the aftertaste.

M: Heavy but not as heavy as you'd expect a 12.5% flat beer to be. I think the high amount of bourbon waters it down and cuts it nicely with tons of alcohol. Still lacking, unfortunately.

O: Huh, that was a close one. Fully expected this to be terrible like the brandy version but it's pretty good. Super boozy and heavy on the bourbon. Flatness (though not completely flat) hurts the mouthfeel but honestly not as bad as you'd expect since the bourbon cuts the beer nicely. It's basically a sweet chocolate bourbon bomb, that's the best way I can describe it.

Photo of scottfrie
3.85/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12.7oz bottle into snifter. Bottom of the bottle says Bourbon 2010. Consumed 8/5/2010.

A: Pours an extremely dark woody brown that looks black with basically no head. The beer is not flat, but it hardly frothed up with a vigorous pour. Faint collar around the glass that left spots of faint lace.
S: Big wiff of bourbon with a touch of vanilla and raisins. Very strong smelling. After it mellows a bit I get notes of dark fruit and various spices. Potent but great smelling.
T: Lots of bourbon, raisin, caramel, molasses, vanilla and woody spices. Definitely a sipper. Alcohol has some heat to it. Aftertaste is full of butterscotch and toffee. Slight medicinal cherry syrup notes as well.
M: Thick mouthfeel that is slick and pretty much flat. Alcohol is hot and rich. Could use a year or two.
D: Very smooth, complex and delicious flavors, but the alcohol overpowers much of them. I'm not opening my other bottle for a while. This beer could also use more carbonation. I don't know if it's just my bottle or if LA famous carbonation issue has reached my taste buds. Either way not a bad brew...if you like bourbon.

EDIT: 3/28/2012. Two year old bottle is still surprisingly hot and bourbon forward, and still very under-carbonated. I wasn't expecting it to get anymore bubbles, I'm just saying all the bottles I've tried are flat. Alcohol burn has gone down slightly, but not as much as I was expecting. Still a good beer, but if you hate bourbon stay away.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.85/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle is definitely under-carbonated, but the firm pour still elicits a cap of large bubbles. These settle down quickly, and the alcohol keeps the lace from settling on the glass. Amber brown color that settles into a deep brown in the glass, only lightened by a certain amount of ruby highlighting. I would hope for more carbonation.

The nose is quite vinous, with a lot of darkly fruity, bourbon-accented notes. Vanilla, woodiness, and a bit of diacetyl all make an appearance. There's a lot going on, and the power is good.

The flavor is strong and full. Complex notes of butterscotch, toasted malt, caramel and Goji berry run deeply through the tongue. Definitely a sipper, although 12+% doesn't weight quite as much in the mouth as I thought it might. The Bourbon is present, with lots of vanilla, hints of chocolate, a spicy oak pepper, and a mix of dessert-type wines. The mouthfeel is a little light given the overall size of this thing.

Underneath is a somewhat musty flavor, like its been aged, but this is a 2008 bottle. Very intriguing and complex notes, although a little bit "off". Not overly inviting or easy to drink, but a lot of fun and definitely off the beaten path. I expect nothing less from the Lost Abbey.

Photo of notchucknorris
3.87/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black with almost no head.

S: Pretty amazing smells out of this one. Lots of bourbon sweetness, caramel, oak, coconut and chocolate. Smells fantastic.

T: Lots of dark and booze soaked fruit flavors. A good bit of sweetness from the bourbon and some notes of wood. A bit boozy on the finish, but pretty tasty stuff.

Photo of homebrew311
3.87/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on draft @ Durty Nellies. Not a bad deal @ 7.50 per 10 oz considering an 375 ml bottle costs 15.99 at the store.

A; pours a murky dark brown, opaque, no head... doesn't look pretty but at 12.5% and a barleywine, I wouldn't expect much more

S: wow--- bourbon all over!! it is super strong. lots of vanilla and boozey notes, not picking up much in the way of beer notes, maybe some sweet malts...

T: just like the nose, this one is stiff when it comes to the bourbon. Tons of vanilla along with some sweet malts, somewhat spicey and boozey on the finish

MF: medium body- not thick and syrupy like I'd expect for a barleywine (this is a +)

D: well drinkability is a an interesting term when it comes to a bourbon barrel aged barley wine that hits 12.5 in the ABV dept. But I must say, this is balanced nicely as it isn't overly hot and there are a lot of delicate bourbon features present. My only complaint is that the bourbon hides the base beer too much.

Photo of DaveAnderson
3.87/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2009 bottle, poured into a Darkness tulip.

A: Looks like cowboy coffee, only less carbonated. You would need to add CO2 to reach "flat". It's muddy and murky, which would be promising, if only it weren't flatter than the Texas Panhandle.

S: A lot of Bourbon-barrel beers smell great. This is no exception. It has the usual notes -- toffee, caramel, oak -- but I can't help thinking it would reveal more of itself if it had some bubbles popping. A little time and temperature change does not seem to coax more depth from this beer. Pity.

T: There's a sourness that wasn't hinted on the nose. It is otherwise very consistent with the smell. The label says 11.5% (I presume later years are the listed 12.5%), but it's well-masked.

M: Lack of carbonation really hurts this beer. It just seems thin.

O: I presume I would have given this beer at least 1/2 points higher on every metric, if it had even modest carbonation. As is was, I was really disappointed.

Photo of 50marathons
3.87/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Good flavor. Notes of vanilla.

Photo of Auracom
3.88/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. cork&cage bottle share on Halloween 2011. 6-7 oz. poured into my snifter

A - Yup, flat. Deep brown coloring. No head or lacing. Retention amounts to a few light brown bubbles clinging on the sides of my glass.

S - Umm... bourbon. And a hell of a lot of it. Alcohol, oak, caramal, toffee, brown sugar, and syrup sum up the secondary aromas.

T - Not nearly as hot as I was expecting. Initial flavor is brown sugar and syrup followed by bourbon-whiskey barrel. Middle of the tongue highlights a bit of vanilla and oak. Backend shifts to dark fruits and caramel/toffee sweetness. Finish is mouthwatering and alcohol linger in the aftertaste and heats my throat for minutes afterward.

M - Medium body. Obviously low carbonation but I don't believe it ruins this drink. A bit smooth.

D - Judging from the aroma alone, I'd have said this tanks in drinkability. The taste really makes up for the nose in complexity, character, and balance. Still, it's as much a sipper as there's ever been and my friend ended up finish my final 2-3 ounces for me.

Photo of jwinship83
3.88/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle. 2010 bourbon barrel edition. drank from my new belgium globe glass.

A- the cork comes out of the bottle with a very faint hiss. i was told that this one would have carbonation, but it appears that i was lied to. the pour itself is a very murky dark brown colored body with no more than a crown of khaki colored head. no lacing sticks to the sides of my glass.

S- what this beer lacked in appearance, it made up for in the nose. it starts out with sweet caramel malts. theres also some brown sugar in here. very sweet smelling. somewhat fruity as well. mostly cherries and dates, but a little plum also. the bourbon character is quite strong. so is the oak. there is also a fairly strong odor of alcohol in this one.

T- the taste starts out with a kick of bourbon. after that come the sweet malts i could smell. lots of caramel and fruits. cherries, plums, and raisins. the barrel aging makes itself known with plenty of vanilla. theres a little bit of alcohol burn also, but its very forgivable considering that this is a barrel aged barleywine.

M- the mouthfeel is this and syrupy. palate coating. there is a decently strong warming from the alcohol, but its expected. the carbonation is low, even for the english barleywine style which is supposed to have a low level of carbonation. not quite flat, but not what it should be either.

D- this is a slow sipper for sure. ideal for colder weather but i can see this being enjoyable anytime. more than one isnt an option because its too strong, and too expensive at $17 per bottle. ill pick up another one next year.

Photo of smcolw
3.89/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown color. Light shines through only on the edges. Beige head. Great right lace after each sip.

Strong sweet molasses to the nose. Lots of raisin.

Overwhelmingly warming from the alcohol. Save this as a dessert. Think dark treacle on the tongue. Very thick body with a low level of carbonation.

Photo of MrDanno96
3.89/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

A: Looks like one of the uncarbonated bottles... Cork came out with barely any sound. Pours a dark brown/mahogany with virtually no head. No lacing to speak of, but there are some legs sliding down the sides of the glass.

S: Figs, chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, and a mix of nondescript booze and warming bourbon. Sweet and complex.

T: Lots of dark fruit sweetness, some dark chocolate, vanilla, and a little bourbon flavor too. Just a touch of bitterness hits the palate in the finish. Pretty nice balance overall, but it became just a touch cloying towards the end of the glass.

M: Thick and full bodied and pretty harsh from alcohol. The alcohol bite was a little surprising considering this bottle had 2 years on it. There was absolutely no carbonation in this either. Due to the nature of this brew, I don't think the lack of carbonation took TOO much away from the experience. However, I do think it would have been better with the appropriate amount of subtle carbonation.

D: An interesting sipper that I enjoyed trying. However, it's definitely not worth the $31.50 I paid for this 750 ml bottle. Now that it comes in smaller bottles I'd probably give a newer vintage another go.

The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,683 ratings.