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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

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671 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 671
Hads: 1,734
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 11.32%
Wants: 594
Gots: 534 | 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: 1,734
Photo of mahak213
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one in a trade, thanks so much sixt9coug!

Appearance: Pours a deep brown, almost black beer with the thinnest ring of head you can imagine. Whatever head was there dissipated very quickly. Looks like very little carbonation.

Smell: Strong bourbon notes with hints of vanilla and booze in the back. Boozey in the most appealing sense of the word. Very sweet smelling.

Taste: initially very sweet on the palate, a marshmellowy candy, vanilla sweetness. Bourbon undertones throughout the entire taste profile, finishing with a very pleasant toasted coconut. Boozey, helps to cut the sweetness of the beer and adds a nice bite to the finish.

Mouthfeel: smooth and creamy, lightly carbed and coating.

Overall: What a special beer! Really excited to get to try this one. Wish I was able to get some more lost abbey offerings!

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Photo of steadydose
4.69/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

375 ml bottle 2009 version

Cork came out with an audible pop, Co2 mist escapes from the bottle. I usually don't smell the cork, but the aroma that came out of the bottle, prompted me to take a whiff. The smell of chocolate and bourbon were easily recognizable, this is going to be good.

Beer is dark brown, carbonation is evident with bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass. No lasting head, just a little froth around the edges of the glass, looks like a creamier coca cola.

The aroma is where this beer shines. Smell is wonderful. A mix of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and toffee. Just an overall sweet aroma, which grows more complex as the beer warms.

The taste follows the smell with bourbon, vanilla, slight bitterness. This beer finishes with some heat. Lots of bourbon flavor, damn good.

Mouthfeel is nice. My bottle is definetly carbonated, prickly on the toungue at first then beer ends up with a soft and creamy mouthfeel.

Smelling and savoring this beer is an absolute treat. Deep, luxurious, and delicious all come to mind when I think of describing this beer. One of my favorites of 2009, I can't imagine this beer gets any better with age, luckily I have a few more bottles to find out.

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Photo of Telix
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Taken from OLD notes, so I apologize:

A: A deep chocolate with fainter brown on the edges. Shows very minimal carbonation. It actually looks kind of thin...

S: Intense. Sweet, raisiny, some bitterness. Hoppiness is evident. Some cocoa.

T: Quite sweet, quite intense, with a porty, raisiny character. There is a bitter bite that shows a high level of hopping. There is a big, zesty character on the entire palate, which makes it feel effervescent on the tongue. There is some chocolate, and the finish is big, zesty, and bitter. It's an interesting brew. Big, boozy, sweet, with a huge tongue-zipping bitterness. Maybe some blueberry? Other fruits?

M: Pretty solid. Zippy on the tongue. Not too thick. The lack of carbonation lends to a bit of syrupyness.

D: Hrm. Sooo sweet, sticky, flat, pruney, porty... I could have had half the amount and been OK with it. Does that say something about it?

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Photo of oceanman
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage

Brown with a purplish tint, no indication of carbonation. Does not resemble beer, but looks intriguing.

Aggressive bourbon aromas burn the inside of the nose with a deep inhalation. Vanilla, chocolate, and layers of dark fruits.

A bourbon-y alcoholic burn dominates, but is complemented by interesting vanilla notes. There is an underlying sweetness which is effectively masked by the alcohol, but which occasionally makes its presence known. The mouthfeel is actually not as thick as expected. No carbonation, which works fine for the pensive mood of this beer. The finish lasts forever and is wonderfully evocative - licorice, toffee, pecan, plum, et al. Bourbon is well integrated into this beer, as it's not clear where the beer ends and the bourbon begins.

I could definitely spend a few hours on these 12.7 ounces. Certainly an experience, though not one I could afford to have often.

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Photo of JonathanG
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hops & Pie, served in a Great Divide tulip.

I couldn't drink more than 1-of these, and for me, it needs to be the last beer of the night. With that being said, this was an excellent way to end the meal.

This is the closest beer I've had to a Madeira. It really reminded me of a Madeira with the dried fruit and oxidized notes of raisins, hints of prune, and walnut-like notes, as well as a bit of maple syrup. I like the nose better than the palate, which is a bit sweet for my personal tastes. Good, nonetheless.

Lightly carbonated. With a few swirls, a minimal head re-forms and subsides quickly. Definitely on the sweeter side of things. Nice complexity on the nose and palate, with the aromas blossoming and the flavors becoming more pronounced as the beer warms-up a bit.

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Photo of jamex
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S - An amazing bouquet when poured into my glass. Imagine legitimate bourbon poured upon freshly cut cedar. Then add dates or figs, maybe dark cherries or grapes. Throw in some beautifully cut oak.

T - More of the same as smell, with a more pronounced date/fig note. Major oak/cedar/bourbon taste.

M - Very buttery, yet exactly what needs to be felt with a brew such as this.

D - Warning: If more than two of these are imbibed you might run the risk of your face melting.

This was an amazing beer - but in NO WAY a session beer. Drink this and you're done - at least I was...

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Photo of VRH
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Pours very dark, with a small tan head. Buttery, boozy, wood aromas up front, lead to a smooth caramel, sweet cocoa, toffee taste on medium to full bodied palate. Excellent.

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Photo of pepsican
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very dark ruby, near black with a medium sized off white head. Aroma was strong bourbon and vanilla. flavor was vanilla, oak, bourbon, candi sugar, and caramel. A bit over carbonated, slight hint of the abv but not bad. This would have been much better without the explosive carbonation, but still a pretty solid beer.

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Photo of swthomas55
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked 375ml bottle at Papago Brewing, Scottsdale, AZ. 4/12/11. Poured into a snifter. No vintage marked on the bottle. Presumably the most recent (2010?)

Even though it's still cold from the cooler, an intense fruit - bourbon aroma rises from the glass. I am getting plums, pineapple, maybe peaches, and vanilla. Wow.

It's a deep brown, clear, with no head.

It enters the mouth like an aged sherry, and fills my palate with dried fruits that just go on and on and on. The finish is amazing, persisting for minutes. Mincemeat and molasses with rich malt are here in abundance.

There is no carbonation, but it doesn't need any. It is full and smooth, with some warmth. Despite it's strength, this beer is totally smooth. It's still a sippable beer, but there is not much heat from the alcohol.

I really can't come up with sufficient superlatives for this beer. It is truly amazing, a masterful blend of beer, barrel, and age.

After reading the other reviews, I have to agree that some carbonation might improve the beer. I maintain that it doesn't need it, in the same way at a fine sherry doesn't need carbonation. But the possibility of improvement forces me to reduce the 5 I gave to flavor down to 4.5, and to reduce the mouthfeel ranking similarly.

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Photo of tang3nt
3.62/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Sunset Bar and Grill on a recent vacation to New England.
Pours a dark brown/black color with tan head. Poor head retention.
Aromas of mostly bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla. Smells tastey.
Huge bourbon flavors up front, and a very strong caramel/vanilla finish. Not much hop presence at all and a lot of viscosity.
Nearly no carbonation in this one, very flat, pretty much expected considering all the other LA beers I've had in the past.
This beer is very drinkable, despite the 12% abv and non existent carbonation.
Overall I really did like this beer a lot. I think it probably would have been better if it had more carbonation but overall a very good brew. Especially happy I was able to try it on tap and avoid the $16-17 375 ml price of buying it elsewhere.

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Photo of McD0uche
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass:

A: Pours a black/brown color with a light brown, one-finger head. The retention isn't great and there isn't any initial lacing to speak of. Carbonation is completely absent. As you consume the beer, the overall stickiness becomes apparent, with streaks of lacing ringing the glass. This latter quality ups the overall appearance.

S: A pleasant, complex aroma that includes toffee, malts, raisins, sweet bread, vanilla, and a bit of oak. A healthy dose of a booziness floats in the scent as well. Overall, it smells outrageously delicious, and I'm salivating just contemplating the taste.

T: The taste is very similar to the smell, with sweet raisin bread filling out the backbone of the flavor complex. Toffee flavors and malt notes float in the mix, with a big, hefty, boozy flavor kicking you in the dome on the way down. Finishes bitter. Since the flavor is intense and the alcohol is heavy, this beer is best enjoyed slowly at a sipping pace.

M: Soft and velvety. The carbonation is so subdued, you wouldn't really notice it unless you tried. Overall, it's alright. It works with the flavor and strength of the beer, but doesn't have any qualities to write home about. Probably the weakest aspect of the beer.

O: Generally speaking, this was awesome. Despite a lazy appearance and lackluster mouthfeel, this strong ale came through big time on smell and flavor. It compares very similarly in taste to Firestone's Abacus (now §ucaba) barleywine, so if you haven't ever had a chance to try that, this can fill in as an imitator. Kudos to Lost Abbey for putting out a memorable strong ale.

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

I had the pleasure of sampling this at the Strong Ale Fest at Avery Brewing and at the Lost Abbey 4th Anniversary party.

Dark brown color with small head. The aroma is alcohol bourbon with carmel, toffee notes. Sweet bourbon malty taste with alcohol and vanilla. Alcohol warmth. Medium body. A very pleasant experience that tipped off my tasting at the 4th Anniversay party. The rest is a haze.

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Photo of GrandCruDrew
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 Bottle poured into my KBS glass and tasted side by side with a FW Abacus '11.

A- Dark brown, almost black, great carbonation and immediate head, about 1 inch, tan in color. But, decent retention and minimal lacing.

S- I can smell the age, caramel, yeast, malts, def less oak and vanilla then Abacus, but some is there. A little sweetness.

T- Identical to the nose, def Strong Ale w/age, almost Belgian like. Would like more vanilla and bourbon.

M- Good, has a short finish at this point.

Overall- Good beer, Glad I have had it at this age, but would rather have it young.

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Photo of mmercede
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on Cask at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA

A: Jet black with amber hues in the light

S: Oak, whiskey, sweet complex malt, dark fruits

T: A very nice strong bourbon flavor. Almost comparable to a Manhattan. similar to the smell with all sorts of complex malty flavors. The wood is especially evident toward the end.

M: Thick and Oily, but nice. Definitely a sipper.

D: I liked this one slightly more than the brady version. However, I'm not actively seeking it soon. I think it could age very well though.

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Photo of BS68280
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to dregs78 for a great trade! Poured from an 09 375ml bottle into my trusty DFH signature glass. Please don't be flat, please don't be flat.

A: Very dark brown. When held up to the night it is obvious that it is more of a dark cloudy brown then black. A couple bubbles... it turns out this isn't a completely flat one. Very very very lightly carbonated, no head but not completely flat.

S: Up front is a good amount of bourbon which fades into a tempting sweet vanilla, carmel. Boozy, but once you get past that it gets better.

T: Again with the bourbon up front. This rivals BCS with the amount of bourbon. A little oaky flavor and burnt malts which is followed by a good bit of alcohol heat. I am left with a taste of sweet dark fruits and a slightly chocolatey burnt malt.

M: Medium to thick body. Pretty flat too but i still like it a lot.

D: I thought this was a damn good beer. However the heat is a little much and the ABV shows through more than many other beers I've had.

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Photo of mphopkins99
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to barleywinebrewer for passing this one on.

Poured darn near black, no head and almost no carbonation to speak of. Smell of oak, caramel and a very heavy bourbon presence. Went down amazingly smooth, particularly for a 12.5% ABV. Just a wonderful, warm alcohol presence.

The ABV limits the drinkability, but this is a fantastic beer that should be savored and enjoyed. Well worth seeking out.


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Photo of explosivebeer
4.95/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's difficult to write an appropriate description of a transcendental experience. This divine concoction changed my perspective on what beer could be. It offers every bit of complexity of a great wine melded with the deep satisfaction of a superb beer. Most barleywines seem to be overly sweet or harshly alcoholic but the balance in this beer is tremendous. Do whatever you can to secure some of this incredible beer.

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Photo of bball208
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is my new favorite beer of all time.

Despite it's lackluster appearance (almost no carbonation at all), since it carried more characteristics of a bourbon, it was actually okay with me that it was a little bit flat.

It poured a syrupy dark brown to black. you could see tons of legs on the side of the glass. Again, zero head.

It smelled like everything wonderful that i've ever smelled in one beer. I got sweet milk chocolate, tons of vanilla, oak, little cappucino, just a tremendous smelling beer.

The taste was mindblowing after the first sip. I knew it was my favorite. It goes down like silk, coats your mouth in what feels like liquid chocolate. You get some real nice burn from what tastes like bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, and molasses. The beer enters as an imperial stout, and exits like a bourbon whiskey. Incredibly complex, smooth, balanced, and... well perfect. The flavors of this beer and the makeup of it actually makes sense that there is very little carbonation. Carbonation really would seem to get in the way of the deep richness that this beer has to offer.

I will definitely pick up as many of these I can find IF i can ever find it again. Very hard to find.

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Photo of IPAkindaguy
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I cant openly say I am not that into bourbon aged beer, simply for the fact if I want bourbon, Ill just drink bourbon.

A: Dark, Deep brown color, has a short thick rim of a lighter brown top. Head almost reminds you of a choc. stout. Appearance was actually desirable.

S: First sniff and that whiff of bourbon just hits you. You know where this is leading this into you as you take one whiff. Powerful stuff.

T: What was the smell leading up to you may ask? BOURBON, strong alcohol bite to this beer. Has a subtle caramel back taste to it.

M: Just as the appearance let you know, this has a dark, heavy mouthful to it.

D: Better shared if coming from a bottle, but on tap best beware it might take a little while to finish this one alone.

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Photo of GuruDel
3.37/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

375ml bottle into a tulip, split 3 ways

A: Pitch black pour yields no head, no bubbles, like pouring cold black coffee into a glass. Definetly an 09.

S: Big boozy dark fruits, oak, vanilla and chocolate.

T: Taste was mainly boozy dark fruits but as it warmed up, oak and vanilla crept in with some dark chocolate at the finish. Once this got to room temperature it was sweet, so sweet that it was like drinking a glass of maple syrup.

M: No carb what so ever, dead flat which made this harder to drink. Syrupy consistence coats the mouth and lingers for some time.

O: a fine beer for sure, just wish it had carbonation. I will seek out other vintages.

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Photo of DrSpaceman
3.16/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into snifter, pours flat muddy brown. Before warm up, beer is strongly sulfurous. No smell, largely unpleasant. As beer comes up to temperature more dried fruit, oak, and vanilla come through in the smell. Belgian candi sugar, oxidation, and booze. Less refined than expected, especially at this price point. Feel is too thin for the alcohol content, definitely has some heat on the finish. Overall, I am underwhelmed with both Angel's Share and Deliverance Ale.

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Photo of SuperWhite92
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from my 375ml corked bottle into a Great Divide Tulip. Cork basically exploded off of the bottle.

Pours a dark black with a slight reddish brown at the edges. Head is a medium tan color and the beer is overcarbonated enough to warrant an extremely slow pour.

Smells like heaven. Hints of oak, maybe a slight boozy aroma. A bit of vanilla I think.

Tastes like it smells. Well, sort of. It's better. There's a slight bourbon flavor, which unlike a lot of beers, is very subdued and balanced with the other flavors of vanilla, oak, maybe some dark fruits, and a bit of caramel. Minimal amounts of alcohol are present in the taste. Very impressed.

Mouthfeel is where I feel this beer suffers. There's simply too much carbonation in here. Instead of feeling a syrupy thickness I feel a fizzy bubbling sensation. With as relatively thin as the beer is, I feel it would serve better with a heavier mouthfeel.

However, I think that after you move past the beers somewhat fizzy nature, it's very very drinkable. None of the flavors are overwhelming and always in balance. The only thing that would stop me from drinking more of this would be the lack of availability (I had to get this VIA trading) and the fact that the ABV would knock me onto my ass in a hurry. Especially because it's so well hidden.

I am very impressed with this beer as a whole. Most of the regular Lost Abbey brews I've been unimpressed with, and with all the hyped up beers I've tasted recently, this is one of a few that I feel lives up to it's hype.

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Photo of nelson4
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was at BevMo and I thought I recognized the name. Boy was excited when I got home.

A - Poured almost flat, but then slowly, as if it was just a wee shy, it started to bubble. A creamy head developed and slowly disappeared until it was just a thin ring around the edge. The color was dark and clear with a slight reddish note as I held it up to the light.

S - Smell of caramel, vanilla, and chocolate sweetness. I would compare it's aroma to some of my favorite port's (wine for you beer only's) Normally, I have to work to get an aroma out of a beer but this beer jumps out but stops before it becomes overwhelming.

T -I take a sip and expect to be overwhelmed with that alcoholic kick that so many of these 'types' of beer have. I have become accustomed to it, but this is very different. It has a creamy taste that slowly warms into a sweet butterscotch chocolate taste. It really is like no beer i have ever had. I cannot write enough about it. The aftertaste is a vanilla stickiness. I am completely amazed.

M - Creamy and smooth with not a lot of carbonation. Goes down with minimal heat, but after sitting for a second I begin to feel it warm. This is way too smooth for a beer at 12.5%

D - I can't believe I am going to give this a 4. I poured into a tulip and fully intended to sip it until it drifted away, but i can't help but keep allowing sips to turn into swallows. This beer is probably mislabeled because there is no way 12.5 % can be this smooth and tasty.

Overall - This has vaulted to the top of my personal rankings right next to the Pliny's and Founder's Breakfast. I am not sure it gets much better than this.

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Photo of richalexander78
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark with a strong black Cherry aroma. I had this at Brouwers in Seattle during a lost abbey and port tasting. The initial drink is great, heavy strong licurice and sweetness. The finish was a little funky. This was my first lost abbey and a great way to start off.

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Photo of GoldenVIKE
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: hazy brown-mahogany color with almost no head or visible carbonation.

S: caramel, dark fruit, malt, woody whiskey

T: Very sweet taste of rich caramel, toffee, and dark fruit. Very malty and earthy wood flavors with just enough of a bourbon presence to add complexity, but it's not overpowering by any means. Did not get as much of an alcohol burn as you'd think given the 12% ABV.

M: Medium bodied with almost no carbonation. I'd prefer more carbonation given the fact that this isn't a boozy beer.

O: Very unique, complex and interesting. I'd be curious to try the brandy and bourbon-aged varieties in one sitting to compare

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