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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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,552 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,552
Reviews: 649
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 11.45%
Wants: 562
Gots: 472 | FT: 37
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: scottoale on 08-23-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,552 | Reviews: 649 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of John_M
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Drafting Room in Exton during their Lost Abbey/Port Brewing event.

The beer pours a rich dark brown color with very good head retention and lots of sticky lacing. The beer is very viscuous appearing, looking almost like dark chocolate mud. The nose is very rich, sweet and attractive, with considerable chocolate, brown sugar and molasses. There's also some underlying spice, which includes a hint of black pepper. Flavors replicate the nose, but with a bit more hoppy bitterness then I recall from the bottled version. This helps to cut the sweetness somewhat, though this is still a very rich, sweet tasting beer. Mouthfeel is rich, very full, and long. The carbonation is fairly low (nothing like the bottles of brandy AS however), which adds to the smoothness on the palate. Drinkability is OK, though you can tell the alcohol is up there, and it wears on you after a while.

An excellent beer (of course), though without doubt a little bit goes a long way.

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

Pours a deep brown/black, nose is alcohol, dark fruits, and heavenly goodness. Taste is dark fruit, caramel, and something else I can't put my finger on. This is definitely a sipper, but one that is lovely to experience. Despite some alcohol in the nose, it is hidden well at serving temp, but emerges to create more hotness as it warms.

Photo of rudylaw
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Local Option

Pitch black, with a light brown, foamy head.

Smells divine! Very sweet with oaken qualities. There is a bourbon bite along with some vanilla.

It tastes even better! There is a strong alcohol presence but the bourbon isn't as overwhelming as I thought it would be. There are dark fruit skins here, some vanilla notes and chocolate.

This is a sipper but just a little thin in the mouthfeel for me. Also, you cannot do more than 2 helpings of this in a night. It'll floor you... as it did me. Just an awesome, all-around beer!

Photo of spointon
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I poured this from a 750ml brown bottle (2008 vintage) into a St. Bernardus chalice glass. As I eased the cork from this bottle I could tell there was no pressure inside the bottle helping to push the cork out...and alas this turned out to be one of the infamous uncarbonated examples of Angel's Share.

A= Poured a slightly murky blackish brown color. With a super hard pour I was not able raise any sort of head. Completely still beer. No lacing at all.

S= The aroma of this ale was very boozy and filled with dark, sweet, malty notes. There were also some nice vanilla and oak character in there as well, but this was harder to find in the wash of bourbon.

T= Similar to the nose. Started off with sweet dark malts and caramel then the bourbon kicked in and brought some light vanilla with it. No hops to speak of. Lots of alcohol throughout leading into a somewhat hot finish. Lots of chest-warming alcohol aftereffects.

MF= Medium bodied, with zero carbonation. The flatness gave this a thin and watery feel.

D= The no carbonation thing is a huge flaw in this beer, but it had its moments. The ABV makes this a sipper either way. I would love to try this again if it was properly carbonated.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375-ml 2010 vintage. Poured into tulip.

A- Pitch black with a hint of brown. Hard pour yields a half finger bubbly off white head. Dies down to a bubbly ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Little spots of lacing on the way down.

S- First up is dark fruits (raisins and plumbs). Bourbon, vanilla, oak, and alcohol.

T- There is oak, raisins, plumbs, and bourbon up front. Caramel, toffee, vanilla, and fudge cake. A lingering oak/vanilla flavor.

M- Heavy and thick with light carbonation, and some warmth from the alcohol.

D- Quite good for the abv. A delicious beer. The 2010 is a great improvement over the 2008.

750-ml 2008 vintage. Poured into tulip.

A- Very dark brown. No head. No lacing.

S- Very sweet. Vanilla, oak, a little chocolate, and definitely some bourbon.

T- Dark fruits (cherry/raisin), vanilla mid palate, bourbon flavor cleans out the back end.

M- No carbonation. This really shouldn't be classified as an American Strong Ale. It is much more akin to an old ale. Quite similar to The Bruery's Papier.

D- Probably not gonna be sessioning this one anytime soon (not to mention how much that would cost).

$30 is pretty steep, but if you like port wines or like other beers like Papier this is right up your alley.

Photo of MisterClean
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to concours95682, for the flat abbey

A - Pours dark mahogany, with a 1/2 finger of head. It dissipates instantly with no lacing or carbonation. Please Tomme, check your bottling line. There's probably a flaw in your physical sanitation that is causing the problem.

S - Chocolate, light roast coffee, bourbon, oak and vanilla. Wow, very good.

T - Heavier notes of dark chocolate, coffee, bourbon, oak and vanilla. As it warms up there is lots of caramel and butterscotch flavors, appears to have gone through a 120 minute boil at least.

M - Light to medium in body, malt dominated, and smooth. Where's the alcohol? Amazing for a 12% beer.

D - A very complex beer and good overall. With some carbonation and a heavier body, this beer would receive perfect scores.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, a Lost Abbey beer that lives up to its billing.

The beer pours with a cola-like russet brown/red color with slight haze. Light carbonation allows a lace of foam to settle and blanket the beer. Light on lacing but brandy-like with the legs.

Irresistable aromas of heavy malts, cotton-candy sweetness, sweet rums and brandy alcohols, dried fruits of currants, plumbs, dates, prunes, grapes, raisons, apples, and berries. Hops are low and may take on an herbal tone that gets lost in the woodsy oak and nutty character.

Flavors are more balanced between the sweet malts, fruits, and alcohols; and the bitter and tannin rich woods and hop bitterness. Still has all the right ingredients but the bourbon flavor and oak character interfere with the delicate sweetness more in taste than in aroma.

Rich and rounded up front without thickness or heaviness. Tanin astringency helps to dry out the beer going into the finish; maybe too much. Powdery and bitter late.

It's obvious to see why this is among the world's best beers. If the rest of the beer lived up to that aroma, we'd be talking flawless here.

Thanks JNN4V!

Photo of rpstevens
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to overlord for the trade, poured from a 375ml bottle into a snifter.

The pour creates a thin mocha head on top of a deep brown/ruby/almost black body. The head fades very quickly, there is little carbonation on this brew. The lacing is oily, but slides down the glass quickly.

The smell is pretty one dimensional, it's mostly just the bourbon. If you are persistent there are some tobacco and chocolate notes, but they are pretty much drowned out by the bourbon/alcohol as well.

The taste is better than the smell would have indicated. There are some hints of dark fruits, chocolate and the barrel starts to come through and neutralize the bourbon a bit. The bourbon flavor is intense on this one though, a bit too much.

The mouthfeel is fine for the style, I don't think big strong ales and stouts have to be carbed up to be pleasurable, but a little carbonation wouldn't hurt either... The alcohol is very present throughout, this might get better with age, but all that bourbon might take over as well, it's hard to say. The intense bourbon and alcohol flavors make this a sipper, and not a beer that I am anxious to revisit.

Photo of rayjay
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
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 yemenmocha
3.43/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Corked bottle opened up without much sound and the virtually-uncarbonated black ale poured into my two large snifters. No head whatsoever, which ruined the appearance for me.

Nose has a delightful aroma of bourbon and roasted malt, perhaps with some very dark chocolate and/or coffee bean.

Flavors are good with a bright and sweet bourbon flavor that mixes well with the roasty/chocolately malt.

Mouthfeel is ruined with the lack of carbonation.

Drinkability suffers because it has no carbonation. It's like drinking wine or some other beverage than beer that isn't carbonated. Like many others, I want my $30 back.

Photo of Damian
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from a 12.7 ounce bottle
Served in a snifter
Acquired in a trade with mikesgroove

Review #450

The beer poured a dark brown color with a thin, bubbly, tan head that quickly faded to a thick, frothy, lasting ring. Definitely lighter in color and thinner in viscosity than I anticipated.

The aroma was outrageous. Holy bourbon. After cracking the cork, I could smell the beer from nearly two feet away. Super sweet and oaky with strong notes of vanilla. Pure Madagascar vanilla beans, to be precise. Dried fruits (figs and plums) came through as well. Almost candy-like.

The taste was very similar to the aroma. Super oaky and bourbony with a rich alcohol warming. Vanilla and brown sugar came through strong. Maple sugar notes appeared as well. Some dark fruits (prunes and raisin) were also detectable. The beer was a touch roasty and spicy on the back end with a dry, woody, tannic, alcohol-rich finish. As much as I enjoyed the bourbon element in this brew, the beer became rather hot by the drink's end.

The mouthfeel was light, frothy and a touch airy on the palate with a crisp, large bubbled carbonation. I cannot remember having a beer that was so high in alcohol yet so thin in body.

This beer is definitely a sipper. Because of the intense sweetness and the overwhelming alcohol presence, it is best enjoyed in small quantities.

The Angel's Share was definitely one of the most bourbon-rich brews I have ever tried. While I loved the flavor and aroma, I found the intensity of the alcohol to be distracting. A bit more time in the cellar perhaps might help it mellow out.

Photo of RustyDiamond
3.23/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared with bro-inlaw in two RR BA stems. Cork really popped out and said "Merry Christmas you shithead sinners!" Small amount of ooze but settled down, thank goodness. Dark brown with ruby highlights. Big head that settled down...beige colored. Deep aromas of vanilla and bourbon, with a slice of pecan praline pie. Truly intoxicating and exotic, to the point that I just could not pull my nose out. Big, malty flavor with some plums thrown in. A touch of hot caramel sweetness, vanilla, bourbon somehow nicely blended together. A noticeable carbonation poke on the tongue. Brightness felt in the mouthfeel, quite effervescent. Beige fizz ring stays on top of the glorious liquid throughout.

Really wish I had more than 12 ounces to share...truly special.

2009 Edition (375ml bottle)
Small pop of cork. Poured into RR BA glass...flat as a 10 year old girl. Dark brown like a cup of coffee. Good flavor, but very sad tasting. The beer is crying. C+

Photo of nickd717
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at a BA event, thanks to Bubba83. This is good stuff, but overpriced at $30+.

A - Pours an opaque dark brown with a small tan head.

S - Booouuuurbon. Lots of it. Also some caramel, spices, and dark fruits.

T - Loads of bourbon, sweet caramel malt, spices, figs/dark fruits, vanilla, and wood. Alcohol also very noticeable. Tasty though.

M - Lots of alcohol on the finish and a medium-full palate. Carbonation is surprisingly medium for a barleywine. Hey, I thought Tomme said this style was SUPPOSED to be flat! What happened?

D - This is good stuff but maybe a little heavy on the bourbon, and that hampers the drinkability a bit.

Photo of Benjaminkeith
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was just up for a great beer so I shelled out the dough and was richly rewarded. Full and vibrant flavors were balanced with subtle undertones that allowed each sip to be different. I don't know if I could drink more than one glass and pairing it with food would be difficult but it was an experience I would not soon forget and would recommend to anyone who likes beers with flavor.

I got the beer at Water Street Wines in Peoria IL and I think they have more but I know that they did not make much of this great stuff.

Photo of paco1029384756
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

20009 vintage thanks to OlieIPA.

Pours a very dark burgundy color, nearly black with a tiny bubbly tan head.

Scent of strong oak, vanilla, prunes, caramel, chocolate, bourbon, and sharp alcohol. A nice strong scent, the alcohol balances the intense oak out well to keep it from being overpowering.

Taste of creamy vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate, dark fruit, sugars, and alcohol. Again, the alcohol seems to balance things out, but it goes to into the finish as well. Big oak and bourbon flavors make for one very tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied, silky smooth and fairly flat. The same sharp bite of alcohol keeps it a bit lively.

A very drinkable, but boozy Strong Ale.

Photo of Gtreid
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

375 ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Dark brown with a slight mahogany hint. The pour produced a small head that quickly receeded and left no lace.

A: Strong burbon, toffee, caramel malts, oak, and vanilla. Very boozy and sweet.

T: Much of the same as in the nose. The malts blend very nicely with the burbon barrels. I get a nice earthiness, with caramel, vanilla, and oak. The beer finishes smooth and dry, as is with most BA beers.

M: Oily, medium to heavy body. My bottle did have some carbonation, but not as much as I had hoped.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is ok for a beer of this strength. But the lack of sufficient carbonation and and the High ABV will limit it a little. Overall, I think this is a good beer. Although, I think there are many other BA offerings out there that are supierior. Skal.

Photo of alexgrahamlv
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown to almost black. No head at all. Nice lacing on the glass. The aromas are intense as I whiff the vanilla upfront, also licorice, brown sugar and molasses. The taste is powerful! I can definitely taste the vanilla and oak upfront. Strong alcohol taste that lingers in the finish. Some residual sweetness. The body is a little thin and I think the finish is a little too alcoholic that lasts way too long. Overall good beer not necessarily a favorite though.

Photo of ghostwalker
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Still, dark reddish-brown appearance.

Nose is brown sugar, vanilla and oak. Heavenly.

Taste is of deep rich sweetness. Highlights are oak with a vanilla bite. It's like an alcoholic chocolate covered cherry. Truly wonderful.

Mouthfeel is zingy, slightly boozy but not astringent.

Drinkability is high. This is a good sipper, boozy but very tasty. Layers of complexity with every sip.

Thanks to juicestam for sharing this treat out here in the middle of the Pacific.

Photo of Traquairlover
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to stevemcqueenjr for this bottle.

12.7 oz bottle from 2009 poured into a large snifter.

A = Opaque with a certain cloudiness to it, chestnut brown with very little head - only slight bubbling around edge of glass.

S = Very strong and sweet smells of vanilla, walnuts, pecans, molasses. Really the thing this smells most like to me is Samuel Adams Utopias, but I'm not sure how much information that conveys to most people. It is very sweet and quite strong. Deep sniffs uncover a high alcohol presence, but that is not apparent on a casual smell.

T = Treacle, charred oak, roasted walnuts. This is still a little too young to have really resolved well, but I can see how it will improve over time. It does have a bit too much of a burnt taste, presumably from the bourbon barrels, that I am not so sure will resolve itself positively.

M = Virtually still liquid, which would be okay if it had slightly more body, but it is a little too thin, even with what is admittedly a heavy body. It is almost like it has two characters, a thin alcohol and a thicker malt syrup. I imagine it will greatly improve in this aspect over time. Great mouthcoating.

D = Not all that drinkable at the moment. A great experiment, but not something that really capture my tastebuds and keeps them longing for more.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2008 I think). Bottle a dark brown with a thick tan head. Aroma of cohcolate, roasted malt and bourbon. Flavor of sharp bourbon initially. Some buttery popcorn too. Hmm, I like the aroma but the flavor is too bourbony. Overall, ok but not great.

Photo of mphopkins99
4.45/5  rDev +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.

Mike

Photo of fiver29
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours very dark brown color with tan head that laces and lasts the entire glass. Aroma is bourbon, oak, vanilla, and earth tones. Has a heavy body. Flavor is oak, bourbon, alcohol, caramel malts add a nice sweetness. Overall, this is a brew that lives up to the hype. I had read reports that this was beginning to sour so I decided to open it. Not with this one. Not a single sour note. The flavors meld together nicely. This would have been even better given more time.

Photo of Diablerie
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Since I first became serious about quality beers, this has been my White Stag. Finally, I was able to try it.

Interestingly, it was not exactly what I had expected. It was darker and much more aggressive than I was under the impression it would (or should, perhaps) be.

I realize that with the 08 batch, there were some complications with the carbonation process, but I don't think that significantly affected the beer in a negative manner.

A--From Cask, served in a pint glass; Dark coloration (zero translucence); minimal head; appears to have a thick, syrupy quality to it.

S--Medicinal scent to it. Definitely catch hints of the Bourbon. Smells slightly of charcoal.

T--A very gruff taste to it. The alcohol content is strong and the beer is complex enough to offset this. However, the alcohol unfortunately comes through on the aftertaste. The bourbon infusion is very noticeable. As I had mentioned, it is aggressive, but otherwise, it is very palatable.

M--It burns a bit, but apart from that, there is a smooth, silky quality to it.

D--Definitely for sipping.

Photo of PhxHorn
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I saved this one for 4 months at 75° waiting for it to carbonate. the cork came out without a pop. It pours a dark cloudy brown, with the slightest of bubbles clawing their way to the surface. Tastes of malt, caramel, coffee, bourbon. A great and powerful combination of flavors. Too bad the carbonation is barely present. There is a hint of head around the edge and on the glass when I tilt it, so there is a little bit, but not much. A major flaw in a great beer. Took me 75 minutes to get through this one, just because it's such a heavy flavor and heavy alcohol and flat. I was pretty tipsy when I was done, and my wife was under the table. We had a good time drinking this, though, and that's what was important. Some bubbles and this would be a great one. Too bad the bubbly guys are missing.

Photo of steadydose
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,552 ratings.