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

Not Rated.
The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged

Educational use only; do not reuse.

671 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 671
Hads: 1,733
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 18.4%
Wants: 593
Gots: 535 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 671 | Hads: 1,733
Photo of bbb099
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Split with mjyoung.

Appearance - No foam or head when poured. It appears to have a watery consistency. Color is a deep dark brown.

Smell - Heavy roasted barley aroma along with the alcohol smell you'd expect from a strong ale.

Taste - Very rich. Has smoky and nutty flavors followed with a light alcohol aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Quite flat. Avoid this beer if you prefer a well-carbonated beer.

Drinkability - Smoother than what I expected. A great winter beer in my opinion as I gulped this down after spending time outside in the cold.

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Photo of hdelavega
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage (a still batch) poured from a 12.7oz bottle to a Duvel Tulip glass thanks to a buddy Kevin. Poured with vigor to the glass, this brew yielded no head at all with zero lacing but has nice strong legs. The color is a deep murky brown with slights hints of red in the hue. The aroma is wonderful, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, caramel, sweet dark fruit, malt, and a very small amount of booze, the woody aroma I normally find in barrel aged beers is pretty dim. Now I find that oak in the flavor. Very earthy and woody right up front, also vanilla, some sweet plumb, roasted malt, and fig. I find a lot more booze in the taste than I did in the nose, but still pretty well balanced. The mouth feel is pretty interesting... No carbonation at all. However, normally I just get a warming sensation from the alcohol, in this case the lack of carbonation lets me enjoy the light tingling sensation on the back of my tongue from the alcohol that the carbonation normally covers up. It has a light syrupy feel, but also has the same cloudy tongue coating texture you get from a strong cup of cuban espresso that is starting to cool down. It defiantly has some warming to it as well.
I guess this batch was still due to bottling problems when they started using the 12.7oz rather than the 750ml, but I am still really glad I got to try it. I defiantly experienced some flavors and sensations that are normally a little harder to detect. I certainly would like to try the carbonated version, but Im not complaining about this accident!

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Photo of Birdiebeagle
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2008 Pours an iced tea brown with no head at all. No lacing also, as figures. Has a sweet aroma of bourbon,wood, vanilla and caramel. Has a very light carbonation. The flavor is thick and alcoholic. Has sweet malts and a good burn to it. Has an oily texture. The body is full. Has a strong finish with a sour aftertaste. Shared this with friends and it has good points but seems to miss alittle.

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Photo of RomanW70
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great thanks to Jwale73 for sharing is absurdly great beer! Pours black with a minimal head. Nose is absurd, maybe the best I've ever O smelled it for about 10 minutes. Vanilla, caramel, toffee, oak, bourbon, and dark fruits. Taste is excellent as well, incredibly rich and complex, with maple, toffee, bourbon, vanilla, and raisins dancing in a thick, rich goodness. Finish has some alcohol, but nicley balanced by a little sweet and a little bitter. Just a wonderful beer.

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Photo of tedsox31
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12.7 oz size into a brandy snifter. There is almost no head to speak of. What does rise up fizzles quickly. The color is black.

The aroma is extremely strong with bourbon, and oak, vanilla, and raisins. The bourbon is quite intense at first, but as it warms the other scents come through.

Once again, bourbon is the main player here, There is also a lot of vanilla, some roastiness as well, and sweet oak. Some other complex flavors linger in the background.

The mouthfeel is very calm, not much carbonation, and very full. It goes down surprisingly easy for the abv, and has a lovely warming presence.

This is a very delicious beer. The bourbon is quite present at the beginning, but recedes into a very balanced beer once it is warmer. There is a lot going on here, but it is rich enough that I am content with only one. Another wonderful offering from The Lost Abbey.

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Photo of mjyoung
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split with bbb099. 120z bottle in Anderson Valley snifter.

A: A dark brown, almost black, color with little to no head. It appears very thick, almost viscous, reminiscent of warm molasses.

S: Very pungent. A strong odor of bourbon that hits you over the head with a brick wrapped in gold foil. A powerful malty smell lurks beneath the liquor, waiting to pick up the pieces the gold brick leaves behind.

T: As I raise the glass to my mouth it smellss like someone poured a shot into my beer. I think this beer would be fantastic with another year in the bottle, but as it is it's almost a little too strong. The strong taste of toffee drives away the initial scent of bourbon, with chocolate and a dark nutty fruitness (raisins?) lurking around the corner. There is the lightest hint of hops, but you have to look to find it. The smooth finish completes the taste nicely.

M: A thick syrupy deliciousness that fits the beer perfectly. It doesn't seem to flow, rather to slide.

D: This is definitely a sipping beer. Very smooth, but the alcohol makes it hard to imagine drinking copious quantities

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Photo of grumpy
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy cow! I can’t even begin to follow CharlesDarwin’s review. There nothing left to cover! So, I’ll just say that this is a huge, complex, delicious Barley Wine. If you hopheads that like your American BWs to be 1st cousin to an I2PA could pull yourselves away for one moment and give this stuff a whirl….

Yes, it’s worth the price.

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Photo of TK5150
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle with no indication of vintage or which barrels were used. ..."freshly emptied oak barrels"....stated on the back label. So, this must be the first bottled release of the bourbon version. 2007/2008?

A- A loud pop as I uncork this beer, but I knew this was going to happen. This is the highly carbonated batch, so I had my glass ready to pour. Pours dark brown with a decently large light brown head. Highly carbonated. Dark brown body is opaque; you cannot see anything through it. Great legs as well as great lacing.

S- At first I get some funk, but after that mostly wafts off I get lots of caramel, oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Huge raisin and plum notes dominating as well.

T- Caramel, raisins, plums, oak, bourbon flavor (but not the heat), some bread, and a lingering vanilla/caramel combination. Almost no evidence of alcohol, it is expertly masked. I have a feeling this is much more mellow now than it was fresh. Very well blended. I think I'm being a bit nice with a 4.5 rating for taste, but whatever.

M- Highly carbonated and very medium bodied. The biggest disappointment of this beer is the "extra" medium body. The beer is incredibly smooth though. Later on in my sipping, the carbonation becomes nearly non-existent, making the beer even smoother.

D- Unbelievably drinkable for a 12.5% beer. I have never had a beer of this strength drink this easy. Alcohol is essentially completely masked. I could drink this 375ml bottle very quickly, but I choose to savor.

Overall, I have no reason to believe this beer will get any better with further age. Its already mellowed and fused very well. Too much carbonation, lighter body, and its "mellow" character detract from this a bit for me, but it's still quite nice. Glad I opened this when I did. A nice vintage which I will likely never have again.

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Photo of kdahnke123
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter at room temperature.
A - Poured a medium brown color with minimal head which quickly disappeared leaving minimal lacing.
S - Has a very pleasant smell. Bourbon, alcohol, dark fruit and plenty of medium roast malt.
T - Carmel, dark fruit and bourbon and a long lasting alcohol finish.
M - A little on the light side for mouthfeel. Low on carbonation.
O - I have wanted to try this for a while. It has a very nice smell and flavor. It is a little pricey given all the other high end BA ales out there. It's worth trying once but I would stock up on Fremont or Firestone Walker for cellaring.

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Photo of bradford
2.49/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I went down to Lost Abbey for the BBAS release sometime in 07 or early 08, can't really remember. The release party was fun, lots of good people and good beer flowing in line and inside. I bought 6 bottles at $15 a pop! Consumed with some of my good buddies February 09.
Bottle chilled and opened with little carbonation that quickly disappeared. Muddy brown color that really lost my attention due to the lack of carbonation.
Smelled strongly of bourbon and vanilla with raisins and a nutty finish. By far, the best part of the brew for me.
Taste really suffered due to lack of carbonation. All I tasted was raisins and acrid, burnt oak. I get very little bourbon and vanilla that the smell alluded to.
Mouthfeel was not bad, but nothing special. Again, the carbonation would have boosted the score here tremendously.
Drinkability was very poor. This was my third bottle, plus my two samples at the brewery, and they have gotten progressively worse in my opinion. Two of the three bottles I have opened were nearly flat, while the other was a gusher and I lost over half the contents.
I know I am in the minority here, but for $15, I expected a lot more, at least a properly carbonated beer. And now the price of a flat 750 mL bottle is $34.99 @ Hi-Time! Are you kidding me? A brewery releases a beer that has some flaws...fine, it happens. But doubling the price in doing so? You are out of your mind. I know Lost Abbey is catering to an upper-echelon clientele, but give me a break. That is ridiculous.
Note: This review is not based on one single "bad" bottle, and is not a slam against said brewery. More a mounting disappointment with both this over-priced (in my opinion) beer and talented brewery that is losing a loyal fan base because of price gouging.

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Photo of BigE90
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage poured into my Deschutes Sniffer glass

A: Poured virtually black, very little light coming through unless you hold up to the light. Not head, only a few bubbles evident.

S: Vanilla and Caramel jump right out followed by the alcohol. Then some fruitiness comes in to balance out the full fragrance.

T: Taste flat, the alcohol on this is very evident. I don't know if more aging would help but it taste a little hot to me. The Vanilla and Caramel are right there followed by some fruit, maybe figs or dates.

M: Strong alcohol is overpowering everything.

O: A little disappointed. Had the Brandy version a while back and I was very pleased. I hope this will mellow some with age. The flavors are there it is just not the right time yet to consume.

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Photo of cannabanaceae
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky to get this one in seattle after finagling.

Look, Very dark brown with a beautiful head retention.

Smell, The smell was like carmel and bourbon with a little hop presence.

Taste , was Bourbon up front followed by hop bitterness then a malt backbone. This was the best breakfast ive had for quiet some time.

Had a little burnt brown shards in the bottom of my glass. This was extemly drinkable and is worth all the hype surrounding it. I WANT MORE!

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Photo of Lordquackingstic
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a mini snifter three ways.

A: Wow! Carbonation ahoy! Go Lost Abbey! Slightly see-through black with brown around the edges.

S: Sweet vanilla with oaky bourbon and malty goodness. Chocolate notes follow behind a slight alcohol burn to the nostrils.

T: Brown sugar, dark molasses, vanilla coffee beans, a mix of bitter and milk chocolate, strong bourbon notes, restrained sweetness.

M: Long and lingering oaky vanilla aftertaste. Medium-low carbonation. Mouthfeel is full.

O: This is a fantastic ale, and although it's quite a bit pricey, it's worth at least a try or two. Would love to buy more to put away for a couple years.

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Photo of airohead2001
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12.7 oz bottle. This is one I've been waiting for - one of the first beers I looked for when I first got into good brews. 2010 vintage.

A - Dark brown with red rims when put up to the light. A rough poor yields a thin head that quickly fades and gives rise to a ring of bubbles that lines the rim of my Westvleteren snifter for the duration of the drink.

S - Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, oak, booze. Wonderful smelling beer - far better than I was expecting.

T - Sweet, vanilla bourbon up front with dark fruits and charred malts bringing up the rear. Again, better than I expected.

M - Excellent mouthfeel. Thick and sticky with just the right amount of carbonation.

D - This is a hot one. I chose to tackle this small bottle on my own, and it might not have been the best idea.

All in all, this is an excellent beer. From my year or so of being on BA, I've noticed that this beer is one of the most heavily scrutinized beers (along with Dark Lord) on this site. Yes, it's expensive, yes, it's really hot, and yes, there isn't a ton of carbonation. However, it is an excellent beer - one that every BA should seek out if given the opportunity to try some.

Given the price tag, this isn't a beer I will be drinking again in the near future; however, given the right occasion, I will definitely try some again. In fact, I'm anxious to get my hands on the brandy aged and grand cru as well.

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Photo of surfer4life
4.89/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poored into a flute from the Tap.

A - Dark dark brown, with a small head. No lacing to be seen.

S - Bourbon Bourbon Bourbon. Hints of oak, vanilla, raisins, molasses and caramel. The smell was overwhelming at first, I must have been smelling for at least 10 minutes before even thinking of having a taste.

T - Bourbon Bourbon Bourbon. So smooth. For 12% acohol, the alcohol taste was not overwhelming, but was very evident. It's hard to describe all that is going on with this, fruitiness in the form of raisins and plums, sweetness of caramel and toffee, coffee in the mix.

M - Crisp clean and smooth, the palate was addicted on the first sip. This beer just feels like heaven in your mouth.

D - SO drinkable. The beer is one of the best I have had and I am lucky to have had it. I'm glad I asked what the unmarked Lost Abbey tap was. Because the bar that shall go nameless, was not advertising they had it.

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Photo of srroos
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap at the brewery during the release. Came pre-poured, so the head was already settled into a tan ring. Deep, dark brown and opaque. The smell is dominated by the bourbon and oak. The flavor is similarly dominated, but also malty and sweet. Very creamy mouthfeel and goes down smooth despite the high alcohol.

I really want to try this head-to-head with the last release to see how they compare. I think the bourbon barrel version is less subtle and complex, but equally delicious.

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Photo of fartingdog
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Dark with deep amber highlights when held to the light. Tan head dissipates to a thin layer. Nice lacing on the glass.

S- Oh god, this is good- rich and complex. Pit fruit (plum?), vanilla, light oak, hints of bourbon. Luscious.

T- Malty, rich and complex. I get bourbon, vanilla, hints of cherry, fig and oak. Big, bold and amazing.

M- Rich throughout the mouth, not too thick, not too thin- just right for a beer like this. Pleasant alcohol warming in the finish.

D- Well, this is perhaps my most favorite beer, ever. I would drink this daily if I had the stores. Absolutely amazing stuff. Definitely a bit of heaven.

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Photo of USCTrojanBrian
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz bottle Poured into a tulip glass.

Massive initial head aided by an unsteady, strong pour (oops). Dark as night. Beautiful bubbles in the head, lots of carbonation visible through the glass.

Raisin in the nose, perhaps? Nothing too dominant, but I can tell it's gonna be sweet. Taste very similar/trademark something about it to everything else I've had from Lost Abbey.

Chocolate. Alcohol. Super carbonated, not affecting mouthfeel but I can just see the bubbles bursting through the head. A hint of vanilla.

Creamy as it warms up (as opposed to watery or syrupy/gooey).

I'm really enjoying this, the overall flavor trumps whatever individual notes I'm picking up. Not a flavor I'd usually enjoy either, but the texture, the aroma, the flavors are working in combo really well. Well worth the raves it draws.

The one setback is, and maybe its just my own taste, I'm not getting a lot of the oak/bourbon in here. Maybe it's the sweetness (and I like bourbon because of its sweetness) in this that reveals the bourbon character, but I don't know.

Can't complain, I recommend this to anyone, its more of a sit at home and drink beer than a bar beer, if that makes sense. Grab a book, have some cheese or chocolate nearby, sit in a comfy chair, and relax type beer.

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Photo of ItsMe
4.84/5  rDev +14.2%

Snow day. Bourbon barrel aged beer with cork and cage. It's gotta be good right?!

Pours a murky dark mahogany with a thin rim of a head

The nose is heavy on brandy, vanilla, plums, raisins, chocolate, and oak.

The taste follows the nose. Very sweet. Vanilla, chocolate, and dark fruits. Alcohol warmth hits you in the chest in a nice way.

Super creamy and smooth. Light/medium carbonation, very easy drinking.

This beer is easily worth large price tag.

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Photo of BrewMonkey
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the West Coast Barrel Aged Beer Fest in Hayward, CA.

2006 vintage. Poured dark brown with yellow/orange highlights. Aroma mostly of bourbon and toffee, with a tiny hint of alcohol.

Aroma carries through in flavor dominated by bourbon, vanilla, toffee and caramel, with an underlying belgin ester quality. Creamy mouthfeel.

Damn good stuff for sure, and glad I got to try it so I know for certain this is wildly overpriced and not something I would purchase on its own. Not nearly as complex as I would have expected, came across as less intersting than other barrel aged ales I've encountered, such as Firestone 11 and a handful of others sampled at the same event. Good stuff again, but the wife and I agreed that for something with such hype and inflated pricing, it's a bit mundane.

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Photo of grandq
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from a 350ml with a MASSIVE cream head that I could not keep in check and a virtually black body - looks like a dark plum. The head just...keeps...growing... Surprised I didn't have a gusher on my hands. Getting fig above all else from the nose, backed up by brown sugar, a really rich caramel scent and the suggestion of bourbon ("might I recommed you have some bourbon in you beer, sir" it says). I reply that I would, and taking a drink, I'm quite pleased with my bourbon-rific concoction I've been served. Beyond that, there's almost too much to describe here - caramel, prune, fig, cracked black pepper, oak, chocholate, vanilla, some more bourbon, a little fusel burn ("is 'burn' a flavor... really?" it questions) and a caramel finish again on the end. Quite cyclical, which just begs one to continue the cycle. Might be too much oaky bitterness at warmer temps. This is rich as all get out, but the mouthfeel is surprisingly light - and that's a welcome thing. Were this even a touch more viscous, I think it might approach undrinkable. A sipper, a dessert beer, and even at this size sharing is mandatory, but delightful to drink. The taste bud overload of richie-richness is nigh overwhelming - teeters on the edge of being way too much ("why, I believe I could say the same of you" it opines) but buries the needle just before the line. Quite good, but some flaws here and there that distract from pure drinking enjoynment

...uh, and points deducted for it being sentient...

Big thanks to IntriqKen for the bottle

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Photo of Kbogac
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this on draft in a small snifter. Dark brown/black with minimal foam. The smell is great. Malt, chocolate, caramel and huge burbon. It almost jumps out of the glass at you. The taste is similarly great. The burbon is up front along with coffee, chocolate and caramel. The alcohol while not overpowering is present. Great beer with tons on flavor.

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Photo of Koufax21
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Wow... What a disappointment. After having this on tap a few months ago and enjoying it, I decided to buy a bottle. I ignored beerandraiderfan's warning and bought my 14.99 - 12.7 oz. bottle. To his exact description... No carbonation. I mean none. I thought this was only similar in the aroma. Sweet, bourbon, caramel. The taste was off. Some kind of acrid, sour flavor. So disappointed in the bottle version. Just for the record... On tap is 10x the beer. Poor bottling.

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Photo of gregc
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Dark syrupy brown, small tan head, looks intense.

So much going on her...Big bourbon smell, brown sugar, vanilla, figs, smokey rasins and a small amount of funk. The taste is increadable...so complex, everything from rasins soaked in bourbon, oak, vanilla beans, maple syrup, dark fruit and wet hay, the alcohol is very well balanced with the rest of the components of this beer. Slick mouthfeel, super smooth. Very drinkable but it sneaks up on you.

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Photo of spoons
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip

Pours a dark brown color with watery edges. Looks a little syrupy. Absolutely no head or carbonation to speak of. You can see the alcohol in the form of legs around the sides of the glass.

Smells like a lot of cheap vanilla and malt. Like a port. Chocolate and alcohol (harsh). Some darker fruits like figs and raisins. Whisky.

Taste comes in smooth and syrupy. Tastes like bourbon. A lot of caramel and vanilla. With no carbonation this reminds me of Utopias. Like a not so great port, very muddy. As far as placing it in the beer catergory its not so bad. Could use a little more time.

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
94 out of 100 based on 671 ratings.