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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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1,611 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,611
Reviews: 655
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 11.45%
Wants: 575
Gots: 499 | 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: 1,611 | Reviews: 655 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bonkers
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 375ml bottle into a snifter. Almost jet black with no light getting through and an almost nonexistant head. There is lots of bourbon on the nose, as well as vanilla and oak. The taste follows the nose, lots of hot bourbon. It does mellow towards the finish, leaving the slightest little alcohol burn. The brew is full bodied, and low in carbonation. The beer is a nice sipper. A very good brew that is very overpriced.

Photo of djmichaelk
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle from 41st Ave Liquors in Santa Cruz, CA.

A - As to be expected with the high ABV, the head is small to nonexistent. Not much evidence of carbonation, which gives me a momentary panic remembering the 2009 issues, but it's a beautiful dark brown, with rusty brown highlights at the edges. Gorgeous outside of the lack of head.

S - I get a lot of bourbon. More than I thought I would. It gets more subtle as it warms up, and some dark fruit and toffee comes through later, but that's all you get at first. I can't say that I don't like it -- I **love** bourbon.

T - At first it was too cold, so all I got was a smack in the face from the bourbon. But as it warmed, it really opened up like I'd hoped. Bourbon (obviously) in the front, then brown sugar in the middle, with raisins, figs, and black cherries in the long finish. One of those that you just want to savor forever as you go.

M - Well, when cold, it seems almost flat. But as it came more toward room temperature, it fluffed up and was much more carbonated. Much more. I almost didn't believe the difference. This is definitely not a 2009 bottle. Very thick, well carbonated, and almost chewy.

D - Ok, I know I'm going off the script here, but how can any 12.5% beer be drinkable? I guess this one is as much as it can be. I was kind of hammered for a while after this one, so I took notes and settled down before typing this up. But there's just no way I could sit and drink more than one of these in a sitting. Just for the flavor I'll give it just above average for this class of ABV.

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

Bottle dated 2010 and stamped Bourbon on the bottom edge. Also a new bottle style for Lost Abbey...same bottle as the Red Poppy and not the long neck bottle. Poured from a 375ml bottle into my Koningshoeven small snifter glass. Pours a super dark brown/chestnut color. Uh-oh...don't tell me this is another carb-problem batch from Lost Abbey! No head at all, beer looks completely flat. The appearance of the beer itself is awesome, just lacking the head.

Aroma is great! Huge bourbon, dark over-ripe fruits, and a slight vanilla note. Lot's of complexity in the nose.

Ok, here's the deal. The carbonation is definitely on the low side...but not horribly flat. The flavor in this beer is so good, the small amount of carbonation isn't killing the beer at all. Still can't help but wonder how this beer would taste and feel with more carbonation. Flavors are oak, bourbon, dark and over-ripe fruit...raisins being one, vanilla, and roasted malts. The bourbon aspect of this perticular BA beer is great! Strong booze warmth all over the mouth, down the throat, and into the stomach. A great beer!

Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Joe - much obliged!

Pours a chestnut brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth and sweet caramel malts with good amounts of vanilla and bourbon. Also present are deep milk chocolate aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Robust caramel malt flavors - sticky yet far from cloying - that indicate the base beer must be a pretty damn good beer in it's own right kick things off. Soon afterward milk chocolate flavors join in along with darker toffee. Midway through the sip bourbon and vanilla flavors make their way into the flavor profile, carrying through to a sweet and crisp ending with a bit of heat.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a very nice thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have another.

Overall I was impressed with this bad boy, and was happy that the carbonation was at a good level. After having the Grand Cru and Bourbon I'm very interested to try the Brandy. I'd be willing to be that it's worth a shot, as is this one.

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

375ml bottle from Sinners Club shipment.

Cork pulls with the tiniest of "pft", poured into a tulip. Deep mahogany with edges of reddish chocolate brown that touches the glass. No head, but faint lacing swirls atop. Smells of bourbon and vanilla, with some fainter notes of chocolate. Bourbon up front, like taking a watered down shot, as the palate warms chocolate and figs come up. Slightly dry with alcohol burn, the modicum carbonation helps to take the edge off of the bourbon and distracts enough to taste the other elements of the beer. Mouthfeel isn't as thick, but we will see as it warms. Not something you would want to session all night, but is a good treat to sip on for a bit.

Photo of chaz01
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a sample tasting at Dark Lord Day -- big thanks to the folks in SF who brought this. Took a picture of the label and what I tasted (and am reviewing) is a smaller bottle - I think it's 12.7 ounces -and says "Lost Abbey 2009" and below says "Malt beverage aged in oak barrels -- Angel Share Ale".

A: Dark brown almost black in appearance, with little head or carbonation present

S: Pleasant alcohol and brandy aroma along with some vanilla and oak.

T: Intense flavor that just really blew me away. More pleasant brandy and alcohol flavors, along with dark fruits, vanilla, oak and roasted maltiness.

M: Little or no carbonation gives the beer more brandy-like qualities. Full bodied, thick and oily.

D: My first experience with Angel Share -- this was a sheer delight to taste. Very much a sipping beer, I'd rank this up with any barley wine or after dinner cordial.

Photo of MrDanno96
3.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of jamie2dope
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer, along with it's Brandy aged cousin have caught a lot of flack for carbonation issues on this site, so lets see how this year's version came out. The cork comes out with a light pop, better than none I suppose, and pours out a deep, dark brown, with just lacing as far as heading is concerned. My first thought is that while there may not be a whole lot of carbonation, at least there is some. Anyway, nose is amazing, with huge bourbon characters, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit. Bourbon, caramel and molasses dominate the taste, with tiny hints of earth as well. Mouthfeel is thick and boozy, but curbed at the same time by the carbonation that is there. This is not really a bad thing in my opinion, as this beer acts more like a spirit than most others, and deserves to be sipped and savored. Drinking this beer is a wonderful experience, but I warn you to take it slow, as it has kicked my ass on more than one occasion when having it out at a bar. Final thoughts are that despite all the criticism of Lost Abbey for the carbonation thing on last years brandy and bourbon batches, this beer is literally unlike any other. Even with zero fizz, this beer is a wonder to drink. Would I like some more carbonation? Yes, for sure, but it is still one of the most interesting and complex beers on the general market right now IMO. Now all I need to do is try the Grand Cru version of this brew, and I am good to go. Cheers

Photo of oceanman
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of natelocc787
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage.

Angels Share is a fitting name for this heavenly ale. Tiny head but no head needed for this fine sipper. When then chalice was tilted only slightly, it took literally almost 30 seconds for the last bubbles to reach the surface. And I only tilted it enough to show a 1/4 inch of lace. A lexicon of flavors show in the nose and taste, one of the most complex and well crafted brews I've come across. Molasses, figs, caramelized candi sugar, plum, chocolate covered dark cherries and bourbon. Much more. Carbonation was low and the mouthfeel was pure velvet. Perfect. I'm on my way to grab more this weekend, don't be scared to drink it fresh, I know it can be cellar'd but it's hard to imagine an improvement over this.

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

A bottle from the 2010 release.

A: A dark brown color with a slight muddiness to it and a medium tan head.

S: Very strong and pleasant vanilla aroma along with some mild oak, toffee, and a heavy chocolate. The bourbon is warming and inviting.

T: The alcohol is not overwhelming at all, despite a strong bourbon presence in the nose (and a pronounced flavor). The vanilla, chocolate, toffee, and molasses carry the beer and work wonderfully with the booze and oak.

M: A full bodied beer to say the least with adequate (low to moderate) carbonation.

D: I have a hard time choosing which I like better, the brandy or the bourbon. But luckily both of them are generally available and neither is a bad choice.

Photo of ricke
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage.

Pours a very dark brown, almost opaque. No head whatsoever.

The aroma is a bit restrained due to the obvious lack of carbonation, but it's still quite impressive with smooth bourbon notes on top of toffee, nuts, oak and vanilla. Lovely hints of vinous fruits.

The flavor is sweet and warming. Perfect integration between the bourbon and the malty backbone. Notes of vanilla, nuts and oak blend wonderfully with caramel malts, toffee and leather. Ends warming with notes of alcohol, bourbon and dried fruits.

Full-bodied and smooth but it feels a bit dull in the mouth as it is as flat as [insert something that makes a dirty joke out of this].

Photo of DoubleJ
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another on-tap beer I enjoyed at Beachwood BBQ, and another with WTF pricing (read the end). On to the beer:

Dark brown color, not a whole lot of head or retention for this beer. Strong barrel aroma. That's the bourbon talking with notes of maple and raisins. The taste was bliss at first sip. Just tons of maple and raisins. But the further I got along, the beer lost of its lust. It was still good, but not as heavenly, and it seemed to "thin out" some. Fruity alcohol infused well within this beer. Not viscous, rather it went down easy.

It's good, just not shit my pants good. $30 for a 25.7 oz bottle in stores, but "just" $6 for a 10 ounce draft (about $15 for 25.7 oz on draft), what gives?

Photo of Halcyondays
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a very dark brown with a whisp of an off-white head. Fair head retention.

S: Elegant full bourbon nose. Vanilla central, wood, a joy to smell.

T: A rather roasty, dark chocolate flavours meets me initially. The bourbon comes in and smooths it out, but this is almost stout like at times. Not sure if there's less residual sugar than Brandy Angel's Share but it certainly tastes like it. A good flavour, but not as strikingly delicious as the Brandy version for me.

M: Full-bodied, thick, nice warming alcohol in the finish. Light carbonation.

D: I've only had tasters in the past and have wanted to have a full pour of this. It's weird to have a beer on-tap that's much cheaper than in the bottle. This is good, but for Angel's Share it looks like brandy is the way to go, my palate is clearly gravitating towards the brandy barrel aged beers, but I certainly enjoyed this.

Photo of WanderingFool
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Angel Share pours flat black into the glass. Dark brown edges when held to the light. No carbonation or head is present. Reminds me of a cold cup of coffee.

The aroma more than makes up for the flat appearance. Lots of oak, vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit and alcohol.

This full bodied beer is very smooth and silky with an oily feel on the palate. The flavor is full of oak, vanilla, chocolate, ripe fruit, bourbon and a touch of smoke. As it warms some maple notes come out. It finishes oaky and leaves behind flavors of vanilla, bourbon and oak.

This is an intense, full flavored beer that's easy to drink. It needs more carbonation, but otherwise what a great beer!

Photo of jrallen34
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I drank this 2009 version from a 375ml bottle into my Orval glass.

The beer pours an ugly dark brown with not carbonation at all. I got no head rise, I heard the 08 had a carbonation problem, 09 too?

The aroma is relatively strong delivering a ton of vanilla on the nose with a finish that provides some nice depth with oak dominating followed by some distinct bourbon flavor.

The taste is super super sweet. There is a ton of vanilla, which is nice, but probably too much here. BI BCS is a better example that provides the perfect amount. The vanilla would be more tolerable if it was better balanced out with other flavors. If there was big hit of oak or bourbon to break up the vanilla which really lasts to the end, then it could be ok.

The feel is pretty poor, its very light without much lasting flavor.

The drinkability is limited by its one-note-edness.

Overall, a little disappointed here. The bourbon is better than the brandy version, but the Grand Cru dominates, them both its not even funny. A couple minor changes and this could be really good.

Photo of thain709
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2008

A - This beer pours a deep and thick brown body...it's not black but a very dark brown...there was absolutely no head...actually a few spots of faint lace did show up

S - The oak aroma really filled the nose...bourbon and vanilla were mixed in there...some notes of dark fruits (raisins and dates)...a nice chocolate aroma

T - The flavors really worked well together until the bourbon/alcohol presence took over...a sweet vanilla flavor hits you up front and mellows out into the sweet caramel flavor of dates...the bourbon flavor takes over midway through the beer and took away all of the other flavors for me...if the oak characteristic was tuned down a bit it would have worked better

M - Full bodied...smooth and chewy...leaves a linger chocolate flavor that creeps up a minute or two after you swallow

D - I shared this bottle on my birthday which was an awesome birthday present...but I was left a little disappointed...the beer starts off with nice flavors but the oak (bourbon) age just got to me

Photo of thequeen711
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured a deep rich brown, no head, not even lacing. Aroma of dark fruits, caramel, molasses...a mild oakieness also. The taste was definitely of the dark fruits (from the aroma), and the alcohol comes in to play, not too sweet again, not too boozey. After this glass warmed to room temperature, the taste was more prevalent of the flavours. I recommend drinking this at room temp to appreciate all the flavours of the fruits, as well as the sweetness of the caramel and molasses. Port Brewing does it again!

Photo of treehugger02010
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this 12.7 ounce bottle at TJ Everydays in Paoli, PA. It came in a snifter. It came too cold so I let it warm for awhile.
A: The body is a dark deep purple. The head is nonexistent. No lacing.
S: The aromas are caca, alcohol and oak.
T: The flavors are mocha, grape and slightly warming alcohol.
M: The mouthfeel is very smooth and the body is full.
D: This beer is great.
Don't drink and review.

Photo of rye726
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy mahogany with a thin tan head.

Nose has bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, toffee, cherries, plums and chocolate.

Taste has booze drenched fruits, wood, vanilla, caramlized candies, whiskey, cocoa and sweet bready malts.

Creamy body is lightly carbonated. Long, lasting finish.

Great stuff, another well done barrel aged beer from Lost Abbey.

Photo of mdfb79
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 2/6/10 notes. Got to try this thanks to a generous BA at SC Day.

a - Very very brown, almost black pour. No carbonation.

s - Bourbon is obviously the biggest smell here, but also a little bit of oak and caramel. Smells great.

t - Bourbon again is the main taste here, but also get a little oak, caramel, and vanilla. Reminds me of BCS a bit, a little bit hot.

m - Full bodied and a litt hot from all the bourbon.

d - Overall I really like this one, but it was a little hot. I'm a big bourbon fan so loved the smell and taste and would definitely like to try this one again.

Photo of ccrida
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draught at Brouwer's Big Wood, served in a snifter, Angel's Share Bourbon Barrel-Aged is black with a small tan collar leaving no lace.

Smell is big caramel, some raisin and lots of bourbon.

Taste is also big on the caramel, some sweetness countered by some roast, raisiny and hot.

Mouthfeel is slick and dry, with very low carbonation.

Drinkability is average, not nearly as exciting as I hoped, this is way over priced, I'm glad I only spent $9 on a draft then $30 on a bottle! I will definitely never bother with this again unless the price comes way down, in line with the plethora of other bourbon barrel aged bombers, $8-10...3 times the cost and average for the style.

Photo of BS68280
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of punkrkr27
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

375mL 2009 bottle. Dark nearly black pour with some mahogany highlights and no carbonation.. Very rich dark fruit with notes of vanilla bean, oak, and alcoholic bourbon. There's also some hints of tobacco and black tea. The flavor is almost too rich at first but as it rolls past your tongue it leaves wonderful notes of dates, oak, cognac, vanilla, bourbon and a nice alcohol kick on the end. The body is oily and full with no carbonation and strong alcohol warming.

Photo of Xul
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Upon opening, the cork's removal makes a definite sound - very encouraging. Pours an opaque brown with absolutely no head, although a scant bit of lacing sticks around for a while.

S: Bourbon. Heavy bourbon up front although I wouldn't call it overpowering and despite the fact that it's been well over six months since it was bottled, it hasn't mellowed too much, other than a bit of heat going away. A melange of aromas lie behind the bourbon - vanilla, oak, caramel, dark fruits (especially raisins) and a hint of chocolate.

T: The bourbon is less dominant in the taste than the aroma, with the dark fruits and caramel coming up front. The bourbon, vanilla, and oakiness come in on the second half, leaving a balance at the end of all of the flavors involved. Each sip leaves me contemplating each component, but enjoying the overall sum more than any specific piece.

M: Sufficient carbonation to be enjoyable...perhaps there could be just a touch more, but compared to the bourbon barrel Santa's Little Helper, this is a world of difference.

D: If not for the price and availability, I could sit down and drive a few bottles of this in an evening...and then sleep very, very soundly.

The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,611 ratings.