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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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1,640 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,640
Reviews: 660
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 11.21%
Wants: 579
Gots: 509 | FT: 42
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: 1,640 | Reviews: 660
Photo of Bung
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2009 12.7 oz. Seems like a good choice for Turkey day evening.
Suprised and impressed with the dark brown murkiness of the pour. Disappointed with the zero apparent carbonation

Aroma is much nicer. Malty molasses, raisin, brown sugar and vanilla.

Taste is much much nicer. Caramel, toffee, bready, brown sugar, malty goodness. Finishes with some cocoa, peat, vanilla. Surprised by the chocolates coming through. Really something nice.

Nice medium body. Mouthfeel is slick, but bearable. Would obviously be helped by some more carbonation. Not as sticky as I would have expected with pretty much no carbonation. Still I didn't find the abv offending, just some warming.
Does get to be a bit much to handle as it warms.

Bet this stuff is just outstanding on draft. Probably near outstanding when they bottle properly. This was very good.

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For this Thanksgiving I am giving thanks by having this beer. Really beutiful deep ruby brown hugh, but still. I mean flat. The aroma is saturated with vanilla, oak, bourbon, and notes of raisins and dry cherries. The flavor of this beer is unreal. Tons of sweet malts, the aformentioned vanilla, bourbon and oak. Some dry fruit flavors make apperances. I detect faint chocolate notes. A hint of heat and alcohol on the back end, but less than I would have though with how still it is. Smooth and slick mouthfeel. I'd say this is one hell of a sipper.

Photo of bosco7
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2009 vintage

Poured into a snifter. Dark with absolutely no head due to the booze.

Smells phenomenal. Has that distinctive Lost Abbey caramel raisin aroma. Bread and bourbon.

Profound flavor profile here. Raisins, toffee, bread pudding, and sweet sweet bourbon. Almost overwhelmingly boozy.

Mouthfeel is luscious but the bourbon really detracts from this.

Overall this a really great beer but the bourbon really detracts from its drinkability. This 12 oz. bottle could definitely satisfy 3 people. Recommended.

Photo of tops851
4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a very large wide bowl wine glass.

A - Dark, opaque maroon-raisin colour that almost turns clearer towards the edge as if a pure alcohol "floater" were present (which there very well could be at 12½%)! No head at all, no; none whatsoever. Gone. (Save for a few "archipelagos" in a very dark sea, and when swirled they slide down the glass VERY sllloooow).

S - Woooow... yummy. Strong sweet whiskey notes for sure, (kinda Yukon Jack-like nose actually) sweet caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, faint toasted coconut even, definately expressive.

T - Follows the nose.Soft Scotch-Bourbon, vanilla, rich caramelly oak faint coconut. Not too sweet but definitely dessert! Boozy notes adding to the dark rum-raisin-surprise complexity for sure, oh;.. it's rich baby,.. it's rich!

M - Heavy syrupy body, mild carbonation, coatingly luxurious.

D - Amazing. Duh definitely NOT a session beer (can you say "too loaded"), but so smooth it's ridiculous for what is essentially "wine." A top "nightcap nipper!"
I was really having a tough time coughin' up $16 for a 375ml, but really wanted to taste it bad enough, sure glad I did. This beer really highlights bourbon barrel aging in a way I have yet to experience. Allagash Curieux was smooth but I could barely tell, whereas this REALLY let's the whiskey notes sing. Love this ale alright,.. probably too much for how bad it stings the pocketbook!

Photo of argock
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Might as well make it a great one to start the next 1000 reviews...

Served on-tap in a 10oz goblet at Sunset Tap and Grill (Allston, MA).

A: Nearly black with dark brown highlights at the edges. There is a thin cap of beige head that leaves intricate lacing with progress through the glass.

S: Bourbon soaks through the aroma in all phases but both sweet and dark chocolate and espresso run through this very sweet brew. Toasted malt and earthy hops are bit players.

T: The sweetness of this brew really works well in its many facets with sweet chocolate, espresso, cocoa, and more leafy hops than in the nose. The malt sweetness is powerful without being overpowering. Definitely a sipper and a damn good one at that. The roasted/toasted flavors provide nice accents and enhance the coffee and chocolate flavors very well. Alcohol is masterfully absent -- it's a very well-crafted beer that deserves the praise it garners.

M: Carbonated (yay) with a smooth but less full feel than I wanted in such a big beer. The asftertaste is of a very dark cocoa mocha.

D: I really enjoyed this brew and would definitely have it again, but it is a one-and-doner because of the heavy sweetness and ABV. Still, I am very glad I had a chance to try this one.

Photo of crossovert
3.22/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12.7 oz corked and caged brown bottle. 2010 vintage. 12.5% alcohol.

It pours a dark brown with a fizzy off-white head that never gets very large and dissipates immediately with no lacing.

The smell is dominated by bourbon through and through. There are hints of oak, alcohol, and fruits. It isn't super complex, mainly bourbon. There is a hint of chocolate that hints in but never becomes super noticeable.

The bourbon dominates the flavor, though it isn't as alcoholic as I was expecting. It has some caramel, vanilla, and oak, but that is about it. There is some walnuttiness that comes through, almost like a stale maibock in the finish I was hoping for something with more complexity, this is basically bourbon flavored beer.

The bottle was overpriced, it is a bit overhyped.

Photo of jpmclaug
4.89/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into my Lost Abbey Tulip. Got this at Redstone Liquors on my last Boston trip.

A - Dark, almost black body with a small tan head that quickly runs away.

S - Wow... real sweet. Strong bourbon notes on top of a big sweet caramel, vanilla body. Brown sugar, molasses is also present. I'm impressed.

T - Follows the nose. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel and oak all mix together and it goes down fairly smooth. Boozy notes only add to the complexity.

M - Heavy body, light carbonation and a slight burn

D - Amazing. I was thinking that this wouldn't stand up to its reputation but it has easily met that. This beer really highlights what bourbon barrel aging can do. Love this one. I will have to pick up more of this the next chance I get.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Dreadnaught33. Thanks Jonathan!

The beer has a color similar to that of a cup of coffee or perhaps cola. There is very little head that leaves absolutely no lacing. The aroma is bold and powerful. Caramels and butterscotch candies soaked in bourbon over a strong malt bill. The taste is very bold and enjoyable. The feel would be great if this beer was adequately carbonated. I would definitely drink this again.


2008 vintage

Carbonation was perfect. Similar flavor. Still some heat, but delicious.
4/4.5/4.5/4/4 or 4.5

Photo of rudzud
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
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 JAXSON
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2009 750ml bottle. After anxiously twisting off the cage, the cork pulled out with a muted, anticlimactic "pup" sound. Shit. Poured a still deep brown into a brandy snifter. Definitely some nice, big bourbon on the nose, with rich dark chocolate, tobacco, plums, and figs. Good nose. Flavor is big, rich, and decadent. Dark unsweetened chocolate, plums, a bit of a vinous grapey character. Tobacco and leather in there. A bit of hot bourbon around the edges. Good flavors, but this thing is basically near flat and the palate just does not properly carry the flavors. Shame, this would have benefited greatly by some carbonation.

Photo of BrianBoruma
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Snifter glass

A: Only complaint is thin head that dissipates quickly. Was off white, now gone. Sad. Body is dark, black, appears viscous as I swirl.

S: I could smell this forever. Lots of spicy oak and vanilla notes. A bit of toffee in there too. I want to keep smelling this.

T: Exactly like it smells. First impression is vanilla, backed by the woody oak from the barrel aging. Lingering burn from the alcohol though on the back of the throat. I feel it slide down and settle into my belly. It's giving me the warm belly feeling, I like that. Toffee notes aren't as pronounced as in the smell. Main impression is of vanilla and oak and some dark fruits.

M: A little thick for a dark strong in my opinion. It's not overly displeasing, just more what I would imagine the mouthfeel of a barleywine or a stout to be.

D: I would definitely have another one, on a cold night when I want to drive the cihll from my bones, but at 12.5% it would be just one more. Anything past that and I'm sleeping at the bar.

Photo of coldmeat23
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
VINTAGE: 2010 375ml Corked & Caged
Super thanks to BigTomZ for hooking me up with this one!

This one pours up a very dark brown color with a slight golden tint, at the edges. A small-ish tan colored head forms and dissipates to a thin, spotty surface covering film. The lacing is in spots, which slowly slide down the side of the glass, through the oiliness, to the liquid.
A slightly better head would get this one a perfect appearnace score...lost .5 for the small head.

Good god, I love the smell of this one! Bourbon notes are all up in your face. Not bashful about it, at all. I love that!
The wonderful part is that you can also easily find massive oakiness and vanilla notes. Along with brown sugar, toasted caramel and black strap molasses notes. There's some kind of dark fruit sweetness buried in there, as well.

Roasted malt notes blend with vanilla, oak and bourbon, to create something wonderfully delicious. Nice....
Dark and golden brown sugars both play here, along with that molasses that was spotted in the nose. The caramel has gone down deep, but the dark fruit presence has come up a tad bit. Definite hints of dates and a light fig taste.
The booziness does not hide itself inside of this one. You feel and taste every bit of the 12%abv, and it's oh so good!

This body is thick. Not quite Dark Lord thick, but possibly the closest that I've yet found. Very oily and viscous. The low level of carbonation is perfectly set for keeping this one just active enough.

Okay, as much as I love it, the in-your-face booziness of this one does not lend itself to extreme drinkability. Other than that though, it has great flavor and amazing body, meaning that I'd never turn this one away.
Delicious! Totally worth the effort that it took me to finally land one of these.

Photo of jwinship83
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
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 dstc
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky mud color with absolutely no head. So yes, no lace.

Strong alcohol aroma. Bourbon and plums and plenty of sweetness.

Big boozy taste. Sweet caramel malts with bourbon flavor. Oak hints and a sweet vanilla taste.

Thick and slick mouthfeel with a big alcohol bite.

Wow, powerful stuff. One bottle will do ya.

Photo of DNICE555
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Batch - shout out to thebestever

A - Dark brown body with a small ring of head that dissipates quickly. Appears carbonated!!!

S - Bourbon, oak, vanilla, malt... very nice

T - Bourbon, vanilla, oak, malt, and a bit of alcohol

M - Huge flavor with a nice low level of carbonation

D - A very well done ale. Very bold. For a 12 percent ABV this is very drinkable.

Photo of jhc01
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - No pop when I pulled the cork. Pours a dark brown with no head and no bubbles.

S - Bourbon, oak, vanilla. Seemed a little heavy on the bourbon.

T - Little to no carbonation. Strong bourbon taste up front giving way to smooth malty finish.

M - Sweet and coating. Full body but very smooth for such high abv.

D - Good drinkability. Bourbon was a little heavy for my taste.

Glad I got to try one. Still have one in the cellar to try again down the road.

Photo of nycwinter
3.2/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

375ml bottle poured into a snifter. Stamped near the bottom reads, "Bourbon 2010"

A= Not very carbonated, viscous, and no head to speak of. Black body with dark orange-brown hues where the light hits it at the rim of the glass.

S= Bourbon soaked raisins hit the nose first. Some sourness comes through as the glass is swirled.

T= Very sweet caramel malt and alcohol hotness in the beginning, middle, and end. There is some wild yeast earthiness mixed with sourness. Very barley wine like other than what the wild yeast adds to it.

M= Dry with mid-heavy viscosity makes this a sipper.

D=Not sure if I could do this again without a friend to share it with. Strike that...an angel to share it with.

Photo of tang3nt
3.62/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

Photo of TK5150
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of nrbw23
3.06/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a deep brown color with no head at all. A handful of bubbles that's all.

S- Smell is toffee and caramel malts, oak, vanilla, and bourbon.

T- Big bourbon with just a touch of malts and a bit of oak. I really like the bourbon.

M- Full in body and no carbonation.

D- I enjoyed the big bourbon taste but it was incredibly hard to drink, as it was pretty much flat. Not sure if I got a bad bottle or what. I'll come back to this one some time but until then not really impressed with this one.

Photo of hophead247
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It was carbonated....Dark brown in color with a tan head. Aroma: Bourbon, molasses, dark fruits, and vanilla. Taste: alot of molasses, bourbon, chocolate, dark fruits, oak and vanilla. Body is big but the beer is actually very smooth. Alcohol is moderate in the finish. I've been wanting to try this for a long time...with carbonation that is, and it did not disappoint...

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From tasting notes, 10/8/10.

Bottle to a snifter.

A: Dark, dark brown to black color. Not much carbonation to see, looks very viscous and tasty.

S: Lots of Bourbon burn up front, dark fruit, prunes, grain alcohol, oak, and also this candy-like sweetness. Smells very tasty to a big beer guy like me.

T: Wow, awesome. Lots going on here. Bourbon influenced huge malt beer with dark fruit, confection sugar, alcohol burn, leather, oak, and lots of other flavors that are hard to pinpont but add to a huge complex brew. Great to a hypotaster like me.

M: Viscous as it looked, but in a medium heavy way, not an overpowerly creamy way. Just enough carbonation for a beer like this IMO.

D: Tastes really great, but would be tough to get by a bottle (even 375) without help! Awesome. I continually will be trying to get my hands on this and all the variations of it.

Photo of sweemzander
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage.

(A)- Pours a pitch black color; one of the darkest strong ales in memory. Produced some minimal tan bubbles.

(S)- A rich profile of molasses, brown sugar, caramel, fig, raisin, cocoa, and a mild butterscotch aroma. Rich does not really cover it; very decadent and dessert-like.

(T)- Very much like the smell predicted. A rich core of a molasses/caramel/cocoa profile. Sweet, but not overly sugary or unbalanced. I like its delicate/complex nature despite its full body.

(M)- A good carbonation level; not flat by any means, but lower than your typical beer. Has a nice balance to it. Sweet and rich, but restrained. Great ABV integration for being 12.5%; feels much less than that. Thick, but not overly so; a happy medium of strength and complexity.

(D)- Despite its richness, strength, and full-bodied profile; it is quite enjoyable and delicate. Has a nice sweet smoothness with a warmth great for those cold winter nights. I would get more of this for special nights if the price was not so ridiculously high; which happens to be my biggest complaint for this. $17 for this tiny bottle? Really?

Photo of ZX6Chris
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch from the beginning of 2010

A-Dark but with hints of brown liquid around the edges.Small amount of head that quickly settles to a ring around the edges.

S-Bourbon! And I like it! Oak, vanilla, sweet malts.

T-Bourbon, boozy, oak, vanilla, chocolate.

M-It's a big beer that's well carbonated to help it go down.

D-Just amazing. I really enjoyed the glass but don't think i could of had too many. Enjoy this in moderation.

Photo of ncaudle
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from 12.7 bottle into large snifter. my bottle states abv of 12.5% no idea what year/vintage. I think I see the remains of what might have been a date code on the glass but it was unreadable.

after hearing so many stories about Lost Abbeys brews being consistently flat I feared the worse. a funky, thick brown with visible chunkiness (yeast?) gave off only the tiniest bit of a head appearing at the edge/ring of the glass. confidence was not high.
either I'm wrong or it's an overblown issue...

bourbon hits the nose but not overly so. while I couldn't smell anything else it wasn't like I had my nose stuck in a glass of Bourbon, like Goose Islands BCS. ooh, the taste has much more of a bourbon quality than the smell. not sure how they did that! thickly, sweet, chocolatey stoutish. this is an American Strong Ale? ok... surprised but I'm not complaining.

definitely a sipper. at 12.5 you aren't going to have more than 1 in a night, yet, a could sip on this all night... on a fri/sat.

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,640 ratings.