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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666 Reviews
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Reviews: 666
Hads: 1,713
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 18.4%
Wants: 591
Gots: 524 | 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: 666 | Hads: 1,713
Photo of SensorySupernova
4.74/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Black with a wispy brown head and plenty of lacing on the way down.

Smell: Coconut, caramel, figs.

Taste: Up front it’s big time caramel malt with vanilla. Bitterness peeks in a bit. Fades into a woody sweet ethanol taste. Leaves a bourbon aftertaste on the breath.

Mouthfeel: Very thick with fine carbonation.

Overall: Great sipping beer. Strong, boozy, and delicious.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into snifter

A: dark murky brown not much head at all I thought it was flat

S: lots of bourbon, vanilla, toffee, candied fruit

T: soft vanilla, toffee, a little bit of that hot bourbon taste

m: a little thin for this huge of bourbon taste

O: this is a great tasting beer, but I want to pause here and wonder this beer I can taste no base beer. I love the bourbon but what is the point except to round out the rough edges of bourbon with a sweeter taste. Anyway let me think on this I mag edit this.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Pours dense deep brown, not much head, lacy with some legs. The nose is sherry, leather, prune, tobacco, vanilla, hint of bourbon. Big bold palate with dark dried fruit, figs, prunes, sherry, vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate and some malt. Very rich and bourbon.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a dark, ruddy brown color with a head that dissipates nearly as fast as it's being poured, leaving a flat, barren surface with only the thinnest of rings around the edge of the glass. Lacing is spotty and near pin-head in size with virtually no stick.

Smell - Strong, sweet and boozy bourbon notes that hit on caramel and vanilla with hints of oak. Astringency is also quite apparent.

Taste - Less aggressive on the tongue than with the aroma. Deep caramel backbone with flavorful notes of oak and vanilla. Bourbon sweetness without much of the bite. Hints of raisin and faint traces of chocolate. Smooth, sweet finish.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied, near syrupy, with low, lightly tingly carbonation. Smooth. Dry, warming finish.

Overall - Simply fantastic. The aroma had me concerned that it was going to be harsh, but it's one of the smoothest bourbon barrel-aged brews I've had to date. It's a steep price to pay for less than a pint's worth, but if you've got a reason to treat yourself, you could do a lot worse.

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Photo of Jjski
4.75/5  rDev +12%

2014 61 degrees F

dark chestnut,
minimal head,
dark fruit, fig, whiskey on the nose
Yeah its hot this year. When I knew I had some more 2014 ordered : I drank my last 2013 last week, which was smoothly sublime.
Cracked the 2014 tonight and got a huge amount of heat, barrel and vaporous alcohol which blunted the beautiful taste of the 2013 that I recalled from last week.

I had started drinking my barrel aged beers fresh ( and only aging the bottle conditioned and standard non barrel beers) in order not to lose the intended flavors of the barrel aging process. This tends to work on beers that don't have huge barrel components (KBS, Backwoods, Merkin, Clown Shoes barreled beers other than Very Angry Beast). HUGE Brews like BCBS and Bruery Smoking Wood, Bois, & Sucre can handle and benefit from time in the cellar IMHO

This one needs some time. Aged a year: 4.75. Fresh 4.0 The next 4 bottles I have coming are going to get tagged not to open for a year.

Earlier in this evening , I split a 22 oz 2013 Scucaba with wifey: and while it definitely was better than this 2014 Angel, the 2013 Angel was beter than the 2013 Scucaba (again imho )

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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 SurfsideChris
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Had it on tap at Surfside Tap Room in Oceanside California. This year's brew according to Alex, their sales rep, this beer clicked in at 14.8%. Very aggressive and very boozy. Pours a cloudy dark brown with an almost non existent tan head. Beer is phenomenal just not for the faint of heart. Must love bourbon since this one was aged for almost two years in barrels.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. Some effort on the cork, but a good pop, and lots of smoke. Served at 55 degrees.

Minimal carbonation and a deep red garnet walnut like brown color. Body is oily, with a real slick top that cicles in waves. Very little head when produced but a fine tan bubbled collar. Thick alcohol legs on the glass as well.

Nice oak notes, and hints of fruit barleywine like richness on the nose. Soft toffee and a vodka heat of burning alcohol at first but tolerable. Some warmth really brings out some great coconut aromas, and some fruit brandy like warmth. Very nice and impressive, it just comes off a little hot unfortunately.

Palate comes with a very silky feel. Thick and a bit of matching oily character, it coats everywhere nicely, but doesn't come off as sticky. Palate fills with lots of warmth and alcohol heat. Real interesting nutty like aromas of chestnut and hazelnuts fill the mid palate. Big boozy stomach bomb on the swallow for the aftertaste.

Overall it's a nice barrel aged strong ale, but it's just a little too hot unfortunately. Easily worth trying, with much to enjoy still though.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

- 12.5% bot. 2013. consumed 9/14 @ recommended 55F serving temp in a duvel glass.

(4.10) A: Auburn-chocolate pour is thick and viscose on the exit producing a billowing tan head 3+ inches tall. Good retention rate with a milky cream texture with an equally impressive lace coverage that smothers the vessel. Micro-effervesce is light along the edges.

(4.25) S: Aroma of dark rum raisin upon immediate uncorking, with sweet dark fruit liquor (figs and plums). Rich chocolate oak notes with burnt molasses sweetness blends beautifully with a smooth silky coffee roast. The alcohol is fairly reserved for 12.5% aromatic wise with a nice smoothing complexity that flows very well and a good level of awareness.

(4.30) T: The flavor starts off with big alcohol notes, dark fruit, sweet figs and plums following the nose, blending with a whiskey-chocolate combination making a big first impression. Dark raisin, with an earthy bittering finish with some lingering whiskey. The flavor is very polished, eloquent and refined.

(4.15) M: Medium milky body, with a light mention of carbonation. Nice chocolate-alcohol warmth with a slippery smooth texture that just slides off the tongue.

(4.25) O: a world class offering, solid A rating. A bit pricey at $18 spent on a 12 oz but worth the unique experience. Sticky, syrupy, oaky goodness in a bottle with a lingering after-effect of alcohol deep in the belly long after the swallow. Definitely one of the better BA stouts, but its no BCBS by comparison.

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Photo of charlzm
3.59/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Consumed April 23rd, 2014 from an undated bottle that I have had for at least 6 months. Poured into a DFH snifter.

Cork came out of the bottle with the tiniest little pop, indicating that there is precious little carbonation within. A vigorous pour confirms this; no head forms at all. None.

The beer is an opaque dark brown with slightly less opaque deep purple/ruby highlights when held to strong light. Did I mention it has no head whatsoever? The beer does have some modest legs when the glass is swirled, so there is that.

Aroma is candied, pitted fruit, vanilla and wood. Boozy.

Flavor is a lot like the nose: it stars with a strong showing of sweet prunes, dates and raisin. Some thin wood bitterness and boozy vanilla wash in before the whole thing fades into a medicinal memory down the gullet. "Cloying" is a word I throw about a little, but here it is appropriate; this beer is just so boozy and so sweet that it desperately needs some carbonation.

Mouthfeel is slightly thick and slightly slick and maybe even a little oily. If only there were some soft carbonation...

The flavors in this beer are fine, but the lack of carbonation is a critical flaw that causes the whole affair to come down like a house of cards. I won't be buying this one again.

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Photo of SadMachine
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes

A- Pours an opaque mahogany, with reddish brown hues on the edges when held to the light. A finger and a half head of tight tan foam slowly recedes to a collar and film, leaving some lacing.

S- The aroma is rich and complex, very reminiscent of a bourbon barrel aged English Barleywine, but a bit more sharp and assertive. Sweet dark fruits, mostly date and fig, but also black cherries, are the dominant aromas. This is followed by toffee, caramel, and a touch of dark chocolate. A healthy dose of booze, woody tannins, and some faint tart granny smith apple. A lot going on, but lacks a bit of that "wow" factor.

T- When I first sipped this I was wondering where all the flavors were, but when it got to the back of my tongue I was wowed! It's a bit bland and nondescript on the front of the tongue, with just some basic malt and caramel flavor. However, on the back of the tongue I get huge dark chocolate, black cherry, and toffee notes. Caramel and vanilla pile on, and then I'm left with some dry, minutely tart, oaky tannins. Delicious!

M- The mouth feel is incredibly thick and viscous, velvety, with light carbonation. Pretty boozy as expected. Coats the mouth and is pretty drying.

O- Overall this exceeded my expectations, and I wish I hadn't traded away both of my other bottles! An excellent representation of the style.

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Photo of KornWallace
4.71/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Date: 4/6/14
Location: Trade from PA
Glassware: Tulip
Appearance: The beer is black as night. Large viscous ring, no head no carbonation. There is a lot of cling when you sip the beer.
Aromatics: Big dark fruits with plums, dark grapes. Bourbon with a big alcohol smell. Some oxidization, little soy smell.
Flavor: The plums come in strong, heavy on the dark fruit. The bourbon flavoring is nice, warming alcohol, vanilla and some wood.
Mouthfeel: Very viscous, coating my tongue. Very warm alcohol goes all the way down my throat.
Notes: The cork swelled in the bottle, needed a cork screw to get it out. Bottled Dec. 2012. Bottle conditioned for 1 year.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black as night with a murky look to it. Tiny wisp of off white head is scarce. A little bit of Brussels lacing is present. All I get in the aroma is sweet bourbon and a bit of dark malt. The mouth is silky smooth and viscous. The flavor is initially dark malt and roasted barley and quickly turns very sweet with the bourbon,black licorice,fig and plum notes.

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Photo of Jmitchell3
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 375ml bottle into a snifter. Served at 55F.

A: Light off-white head. little retention. Deep reddish brown. Mild lacing, a little clarity around the edges of the glass.
S: Bourbon and alcohol. Did I mention bourbon?
T: wow. Really strong barlywine flavor. With bourbon and warming. Lots of bourbon and warming. Sweet on the first sip, deep bourbon flavor with oak, plum. the flavor is amazing and very pleasing.
M: Medium body, the alcohol is really only evident in the finish with medium warming and a bit of stinging on the back of the throat.
O: Great barleywine, fantastic oak and bourbon flavors. Phenomenal flavors and aroma. Docked points for the moderate warming. Alcohol was evident mainly in the aromas and finish, while the flavors up front were quite pleasant and balanced. Overall, one of the best barleywine's I've ever had. Highly recommended.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Flat Abbey is officially dead, this cork shot out of the bottle with a huge burst of sound. What a great experience, dark almost black burgundy amber body with a light tan head filling my glass. Aroma is straight up bourbon vanilla/oak/charred wood you name it straight up bourbon barrel aging effects. Served at 50-55 degrees, this beer has sweet bourbon notes hidden fruit, plum/alcohol/raisin notes. But a dominant Kentucky bourbon barrel aged beer is perfect for Fat Tuesday, the alcohol isn't nearly as hot as the nose would entail. There's also hints of molasses and other burnt sugars along the way. The woody character on the palate carries each sip, to the bourbon drinker this beer would be a god send, and I do believe it deserves the hype I'm just not a huge bourbon drinker so this wouldn't be my desert Island beer. However, I appreciate the flavors so much that I'm impressed by the amount of bourbon I'm able to pick up, mouthfeel is oily intense and lingering between sips but complex enough and not just straight bourbon barrel aging. I had deliverance on tap and believe me I love it but they are apples and oranges both excellent in their own right I'm amazed at the mellow carbonation on the palate and the smoothness between sips, this definitely deserves the title Angel's Share.

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Photo of pknyc
4.71/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 Vintage that was opened on March 02, 2014. Beer fridge temp (58F).

A: This is a deep brown strong ale. There is a thin ring of tan head that seems to have a pretty good life expectancy.

S: Very enjoyable. Molasses, bourbon, a very slight heat that is perfect for a snowy evening. Some fruit esters. Oak. It is robust and complex and very very good.

T: Fantastic. Sweet, caramel, bourbon, oak, very complex. Very little alcohol (and its 12.5%!) which adds so much complexity. Just a little dark chocolate. Little vanilla. This is very well done and very well balanced.

M: Perfect. Coating with a touch of carbonation which adds complexity. Outstanding.

O: I don't want to repeat myself, but it was very enjoyable, fantastic, outstanding, etc etc etc.

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

This is my first Lost Abbey beer and what a way to start.

Poured a rich burgundy almost black color with light brown head.

Amazing aromas of bourbon and vanilla and sweet malts.

Taste is full of bourbon up front finished by sweet malts and slight burn.

Nicer flavor as it warms with dark fruits, hint of raisin.

Slightly reminiscent of Schlafly Barleywine but not as much bite.

This beer is excellent in hiding the 12.5% abv and presenting the oak barrel flavors that li her nicely on the palette.

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Photo of ItsMe
4.84/5  rDev +14.2%

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

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

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

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

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

This beer is easily worth large price tag.

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Photo of Braseltonage
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle, dated 2013.

A: Foggy brown, opaque beer. Wispy tan head, decent lace.
S: Big dose of raisin up front, rich dark fruits. Overripe cherries. Vanilla, boozy. A little toasty oak, leather on the tail end.
T: Rich, sweet cherry notes up front, slightly viniferous. Some toffee, vanilla. Alcohol warmth comes in towards the finish. Very nice bourbon heat and leathery tannins wipe away the potential for overly sweet cloying feel.
M: Medium to full body. Tiny bubbles, reasonable carbonation. Sticky, but finishes decently dry with the oak & bourbon.
O: Pretty dynamic atrong ale/barleywine. Doesn't "hid" the booze, but doesn't wallop either. Really good and worth seeking out.

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Photo of _IanMcG561
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- Dark brown to black with no head, completely still beer.

Smell- Carmel, Oak, Alcohol, Bourbon

Taste- Rich, Thick, Malty, boozy

Mouthfeel- Thick, Sweet on the tounge, finishes with caramel and bourbon notes. Pairs really nicely with dark chocolate.

Overall- This beer is pretty fantastic, rich in taste, almost like a wave of caramel/chocolate soaked in booze. Goes down a bit too easy for something so high in alcohol. completely still beer, no carbonation.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottling poured into a (proper) Lost Abbey Teku. The pour is very dark, but clear with ruby-red highlights. There is little to no carbonation (certainly not a good sign), but the nose is pretty nice. Lots of dark fruits, alcohol, toffee, and a hint of butterscotch.

Very full body, a sweet flavor profile, and an uber-creamy feel. I expected a hot, boozy mess, but 3 years in my cellar has tamed this monster and showed it who's boss. Lots of sweet, malty, toffee-like notes up front followed up by a mild alcohol warmth accented by some vanilla and chocolate notes. Unfortunately, I don't get much of the bourbon (other than the vanilla), but that's the price you pay for aging beers. Still, I have no regrets. As it is, it's drinking like a liquid Heath bar - full of sweet, syrupy vanilla and marshmallow-like goodness.

I found it interesting how many BAs said this beer (when fresh) was too hot and boozy. Let it be known - this beast has been tamed! It is now a warm, cuddly lap dog in your glass. It licks your face, fetches your slippers, and cowers when you raise your voice. I rank this ahead of Insanity but noticeably behind Bourbon County Brand Barleywine.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bourbon 2012. Opened in Jan. 2014

The beer pours very little head to the point that is virtually non-existant. The beer itself is a deep and dark brown with occasional black areas. The beer is very obscure and dark that it gives off a slick shine in the light. The beer has a very strong smell and noticeable from the other side of the room. The beer has strong notes of vanilla and oak that are supported by fairly sweet malts. The taste is similar to the smell but with stronger notes of vanilla. The beer also a bit of alcohol to the taste and the sweet malts are particularly noticeable with bits of hop in the aftertaste. The beer feel is divine. Despite having been aged for so long, the beer feels extremely smooth and slick with no carbonation. Overall, a great and outstanding beer worthy of the ages.

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Photo of champ103
3.54/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: Pours mahogany, brown color. At first a one finger beige head forms, and recedes in a second. No lace.
S: Vanilla, oak, chocolate. Toasted malts, and molasses. That is it. Pretty straight forward and all barrel.
T: Like the nose, fairly standard for a barrel aged strong ale. Sweet chocolate, vanilla, light oak.
M/D: A fairly lifeless body. Low carbonation, but certainly not flat. Though on the thin side. Fusel, almost ethanol like alcohol. Which makes this a slow sipper.

While this is not nearly as flat as other bottles of LA I have had, and really not bad. This just leaves me wanting more. Fairly standard. Too expensive, and plenty of other better examples of the style. For me, locally brewed at that.

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Photo of tlery
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glass: 12 oz snifter

Appearance: pours murky and muddy with a beige head that nearly completely fades in almost no time at all. No lacing.

Smell: heavy on roasted malt, noticeable sweetness with hints of vanilla, bourbon, barrel wood, and just a modicum of coconut.

Taste: very similar to the nose. Heavy on roasted malts, vanilla, bourbon, some coconut, and lingering wood.

Mouthfeel: lower in carbonation, but manages to be a bit crisp.

Overall: not the most aesthetically pleasing pour, but all other factors trump its underwhelming appearance. After letting this beer warm up a few minutes, I'm tempted to say this is the most delicious beer I've tasted in quite some time.

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
94 out of 100 based on 666 ratings.