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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

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States | website

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

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.

Added by scottoale on 08-23-2006

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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 1,799
Photo of BlindPig
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours with a huge (looks over carbonated) tan head on a dark amber/brown body. After first pour it seemed like it was just that one over carbonated and rest had a nice 1" head to it and left a nice lacing always covering the top.
S-Big bourbon and oak in the nose. Big sweet caramel and candied fruits. Bread comes through nicely too. Strong hint of vanilla also. Maybe just a touch of grass hops.
T- Follows the aroma. Hops do come through a lot more in the taste than they do on the aroma. Big dry oak barrels with bourbon and vanilla, then the warming of bourbon coming in later. Grass hops leave tongue dry with the help from the wood and breads. Nice balance of fruits in this also.
M- Medium to full body with low carbonation. Has a sticky feel to it and a very big nice warming from the alcohol.
D- I love it. It has been a long time since I have had the original Angel's Share which I'll compare it to tonight. It's nice to finally have another barley wine.

Edit: review comparison: Unlike the bourbon barrel the brandy heats up a lot stronger (even with more age on it). Not as smokey and woody character to it. Instead you have upfront brandy which hits your tongue very noticeable. Leaves a bigger bitterness as well IMO. Think I prefer the bourbon barrel just due to the more complex wood characters that come through along with the smokiness. I thought that balanced everything out and made it better "rounded" than the brandy does.

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Photo of 0110x011
4.95/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lost Abbey is, without a doubt, my favorite brewery. This beer is one of the reasons why.

Pours a dark, dark brown with red highlights into a snifter. Thick, off-white two finger head fades fairly quickly, leaving a thin collar and spotty lacing. Sweet malts, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of booze on the nose, with some spice and dark fruits in the mix as well. Chocolate hits the palate first, with the bourbon & vanilla quickly backing it up. The complexity of this stuff is unreal. Oak, fig & plum, spice, sherry, and a bit of alcohol all fade in & out with each sip. Magnificent. Coarse carbonation takes a bit away from the mouthfeel, but only slightly. Insanely drinkable. The 12% abv barely shows.

Believe the hype.

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Photo of errantnight
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5


But only an ounce or two lost as it is hastily decanted into a pair of Delerium Trements tulips.

This might be the most intensely, and awesome, aroma'd beer I've ever had. There's a booming bourbon note that blends smoothly into a warm, almost citrus hop aroma, melding with rich, toasted malts and gently simmering caramel. Exceptional doesn't really cover it. You can smell it from a mile away, and it's delicious. You lean in close, and it's not explosively boozy or rich, the nuances just unfold. Spectacular.

Aside from the slightly overmuch carbonation that booms and folds, it's a purdy looking rich amber brown.

Biiig vanilla sweeping through the middle before running into a tanniny bourbon ball. Just too strong on the bourbon. It tastes like some was poured into the glass. Could we get some unblended, fresh Angel's Share to be blended in a la Rodenbach? That would make for a spectacular beer. The oak and tannins are way too prevalent, none of the nuance and texture present in, say, Curieux. Cooked marshmallow and roasted and toasted malt notes bring together a phenomenal base for this beer this is overwhelmed by its barrel partner.

Too carbonated by half, maybe an entire volume. This should have a full, silky mouthfeel. And while it's smooth, there's a lively spritziness that is unnecessary, and really, just wrong.

Despite my qualms, the aroma keeps bringing me back. And the hint of something perfect underneath it all. Keep one for the cellar and see if the more extreme notes drop out in time, and look forward to next year to see if the barrel aging profile gets refined over time.

Unworthy of its place as one of the most perfect beers in the world... but conversely, very worthy of the hype as something interesting and spectacular in its own, roughly honed way.

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Photo of gford217
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours super dark brownish amber with a massive rocky 3 finger head that almost overflows the snifter. Retention and lacing are excellent.

S: Smell is wonderfully sweet with brown sugar and caramel. There is a definite boozy bourbon aroma as well but extremely well integrated with the sweetness of the malts. I actually also got the slightest hint of sour in the nose at the finish.

T: As much as I would like to "buck the hype", this is one of the best tasting beers I have ever tasted. It's wonderfully creamy with molasses and caramel up front with the bready malts. The bourbon is present but very subtle and plays with the sweet vanilla tastes and dark fruits. In a word, spectacular.

M: As mentioned before, for a bourbon barrel beer this one is incredibly smooth and creamy yet highly carbonated. The bubbles just tingle the tongue...so, so good.

D: This is my first Angel's Share and I have to say it's one of my desert island beers - near perfect. The flavors are so big yet so well balanced, the hype is completely deserved. I need more of this now...

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Photo of prototypic
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to Adam for sending me this one. Flat out phenomenal beer. Thank you.

Appearance: It pours a very dark mahogany color. There's a hint of red peaking around the edges. Carbonation is extremely active and yields a nearly four finger deep head that's mocha brown in color. It was extremely slow to dissipate and left an excellent coat of lace on the glass.

Smell: This is a very unique and excellent aroma. It's very malty and features a refined bourbon smell. The bourbon appears to be perfectly blended and the nose suggests it plays a more subtle, complementary role rather than simply overwhelming the other scents and flavors. This is my preference for the style and the aroma has created extremely high expectations. There are some light spicy notes as well as a distinct toffee aroma. It certainly has an oak/wood chip scent. Light vanilla and dark fruit round it out.

Taste: With the nose raising my expectations even further, the flavor delivers and then some. Wow! This is one hell of a fine tasting beer. It's malty and sweet up front. It has a unique toffee flavor that distinguishes it a little from other releases of this style. The bourbon flavor emerges and is a near carbon copy of the nose. It's extremely well blended and complementary in nature. Vanilla and light spice flavors really open it up. It's very complex and tasty. Oak, light dark fruit, and very faint roasted coffee flavors emerge on the tail. Finishes sweet with a slight alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied. Feels a little thinner than I prefer. This would be an absolute knockout if the feel were just a little smoother. It just lacks that ultra-creamy smooth feel that I was hoping for. Carbonation is high and active, but doesn't negate the feel. Drinkability is extremely high. At 12%, it's very strong. But, alcohol is barely noticeable and it's difficult to savor. It's just too damn tasty.

I had high expectations for this one and they've actually been exceeded. It's hard to find any fault in this beer. My one small criticism is that it needs to be a tad thicker and have the feel smoothed out a little. Nevertheless, Lost Abbey has crafted a world class beer with this one. You must find it...somehow, someway.

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Photo of SQNfan
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured mahogany in color with a creamy head. The nose was nicely complex with scents of roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate, dark fruit and a slight herbalness. The palate is similarly complex and medium to full-bodied with great richness and balance. There is plenty of carbonation to keep this deep beer fresh. Aging should allow this to mellow out a bit and be potentially perfect for my palate.

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Photo of robotfeet
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had heard a lot of talk about this beer and was finally lucky enough to try it. Wasn't sure what to expect at first. The pour is dark brown with descent head. It has a lot of distinct flavors in the taste, however they are perfectly balanced so that no one is too strong. The taste is very rich. By far the best beer that I have ever had. Although not something that you could drink more than a couple of glasses of due to the rich flavor. If you can locate a bottle of this limited release, I would highly recommend it.

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Photo of pwoods
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Big thanks to mikesgroove for this brew!

12.7oz. brown corked/caged bottle, poured into a snifter. '08

A: Huge pop from the cork, then some spillage. Pours a very deep brown, nearly black, completely opaque. A big ass head, at least 2 1/2 fingers in the snifter, holds very nicely. Tons of sticky lacing.

S: Tons of bourbon. Lots of caramel and buttery toasted nuts. Little hints of vanilla and some spices. Alcohol is present and pleasant.

T/M: Alcohol is much more potent in the taste, maybe a little sting and a huge warmth all the way down and lasting in the belly. More of the same from the nose but with some milky chocolate and syrupy molasses. The bourbon is delicious. Has a bit of yeast... actually a bit like a Belgian yeast. Carbonation reminds me of a Belgian, too.

D: Very slow sipper. It's in a 12.7oz bottle for a reason. Damn tasty and will cap my night, nicely.

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Photo of weeare138
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 version - Appears a turbid dark russett brown with a dark tan head tan that slowly fades into a small collar. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of mollasses, brown sugar, caramel, creme brûlée, vanilla, port, bourbon, and complex cocoa infusions.
Taste is of the aromas with sweet bourbon based bread pudding... Very beautiful.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sweet, cake like, yeasty, dessert drink for the ages that I would put up there with the finest bourbons, brandy, or ports.

Old Review from 2008 A- 4.5, S - 4, T - 4, M - 4, D - 4
Much thanks to TomDecapolis for this...btw, I've never seen pressure like this in a bottle, other than the Saint Bernardus Christmas bottle that I opened at Tom's place. This bottle couldn't wait to pop the cork out. Tom barely touched the cage 1 turn and the cork shot out like a 12 gauge blast, leaving a mark in my 9 foot high ceiling. WARNING: Point cork away from anyone, or anything of value.
Appears a dark, russett brown with red edges and a mild, 1 finger tan cap with a thick collar. Scattered lacing is left all over the glass.
Smell is of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and caramel.
Taste is of the saturated oak, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, and dark fruit.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, hot, oaky, with chewy, sugary caramel along the palate.

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Photo of sessycuban
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this in a trade with Joey. You're a good man, Joey.

A - The beer pours a muddy brown. Perhaps a bit over-carbonated but I just let it settle. Great lacing, very sticky head.

S - Bourbon and caramel. This beer screams Tennessee.

T - Lots of caramel malts, huge malty backbone. The bourbon barrels also give it a slight peet taste. Yum!

M - Medium to full bodied, very rich. This one is definitely a sipper.

D - Much too hot for my taste, but a very interesting beer. I can't quite believe that this beer is only 12.5% abv as it is very boozy. Thumbs up to Tomme for putting out another creative brew.

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Photo of bgramer
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Whoa - when popping the cork, you could smell the bourbon instantly, and oh what a heavenly smell.

Poured into my glass cold so it wouldn't gush as much out of the bottle, it was dark and purpley. As it warmed up, it smelled so sweet and I tasted the bready bourbon sweetness. It definitely has a candied and spicy flavor that gives it an awesome balanced complexity over the oak and bourbon which blends well together.

Imagine how well this is going to age! I'm looking forward to trying this again soon.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mikesgroove for this one. It was a cold and rainy day here and as I have nothing to do this evening so I figured I could give beer my full attention. When I opened this it was a gusher and my first one but it settled down and poured into my Riedel crystal snifter.

A - First of this is one heck of a beauty of a beer. The color is a dark, plum purple that borders on the verge of black and is completely opaque. No light gets through it at all and has one beauty of a head. The head is a light mocha colored color and leaves a ton of lacing.

S - Smells is a big and complex nose. Get hints of dark fruits, candied plums and dates. Also there is a big, sweet shortbread biscuity smell that is sweet and also a hint of vanilla as well. Mixed in is a spicy hint of whiskey and bourbon that you can tell is a result of the barrel aging. Also get a hint of an alcohol wafting up from this one as well. Nose has just a bit too much alcohol in it for taste as it seems to dominate just a bit and would probably mellow out with age.

T - At first the taste is a sweet caramel and shortbread. Has that sweet biscuity aspect that sits up on top. After that there is a ton of dark fruit especially the sugary plums, dates and figs. Even reminds me a bit of a port as well with the sweet dark fruit aspect of the flavor profiel This then settles down and get a kick of alcohol and the spicy whiskey aspect comes through. After this sits in the mouth, get a nice long lingering whiskey aftertaste of cinnamon and oak. I love all the complexity and changes in this one as each sip is a bit different. Has a nice warming aspect to it on the end and the flavor just lingers on.

MF - So this is a nice feeling in the my mouth. It has a nice stickiness to it that is not at all cloying and comes in and rolls over the tongue. It was a nice smoothness but yet it manages to change with the beer. At the end, there is a nice spicy tingle that sits on the tongue. Not at all astringent despite all of the alcohol in it that I could taste in it.

D - Overall this is a great beer that just bring so much to the table and yet it is complex and completely in balance. The nose is nice and dominated by the oaky and bourbon spiciness. The taste runs the gamut from sweet, spicy, fruity. I would love to try to get a hold of some more of this and even try to age some if I could wait long enough not to drink it. I think it would be interesting to see if the beer mellowed out in a Definitely a top tier beer and one of the best I've had. Also a sipper not because it is overly strong or out of balanced, but because each sip is so complex that it deserves your full attention and is a beer that requires your full attention.

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Photo of Floydster
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle picked up for me at the brewery from seaoflament, thanks a lot Carlos, my bottle says 12.5% ABV, saved this for my 700th review, poured into my New Belgium snifter

A-Almost black in color but very dark brown with some dark red around the edges, 1/2 inch frothy light tan head that stuck around longer than I have ever seen one, with no exaggeration it was over a half hour, just not budging, after that it left some nice lacing, perfect appearance

S-The obvious aroma from the beginning is bourbon and a good amount of it, provides a somewhat stinging and spicy aroma, tons of caramel is in the nose as well which is where this beer gets its fair share of sweetness from, lots of oak, also burned sugar, toffee, very faint dark fruits, and vanilla

T-Started off with a spicy bourbon flavor, faded into some sweet malt and vanilla in the middle, finish had some booze but was mostly a caramel sweetness, burned accents and sugar present throughout the entire hour and a half I sipped on this, later on the bourbon became more subtle and lots more vanilla showed up and was even present in the aftertaste at times, slightly warming going down but nothing too serious, complex flavor makes you want more after every sip, by the end I could still taste the bourbon slightly but there was a nice mixture between milk chocolate and sweet vanilla, incredible balance and unique to say the least

M-Loads and loads of carbonation and I knew that once I popped the cork, body was medium size, motuhfeel was full of bourbon so it was mostly dry and boozy, but there was also some sweet and slightly roasty accents, taste lingered for quite some time, especially once it warmed

D-Could have drank a full 750 ml of this but would not need to, this beer was amazingly drinkable for over twelve percent but it is still very strong which is why I cannot give it a five, alcohol is also more present in this one, still tremendously smooth and easy to drink

Did not enjoy this one as much as the brandy version but it was still awesome, would say this version is more similar to a barleywine, the smaller size bottle was a perfect serving too because of how strong it is, this one was a serious gusher this is one of the most unique beers out there and if you have not tried either of the Angel's Shares then you really need to, will definitely drink again in the upcoming years, congratulations to Tomme again for brewing yet another masterpiece

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Photo of younger35
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this brew from both Metallitone1 and WeisGuy in recent trades. This is my second brew from The Lost Abbey and I enjoyed the first one, tremendously. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale tulip.

Appearance- We got a gusher here! Served at a painful 40-45 degrees for this very reason, although it didn't work. Once I got the bottle under control it poured a very dark brown with hints of dark ruby around the edges. A decent one finger head forms that is very vibrant and active and only stays around for a short while. Leaves absolutely zero cap and ultra thin collar with zero lacing.
Smell- Deep burnt brown sugar is rich and vibrant with loads of oak and vanilla. Very woody and earthy with hints of sweet bourbon. A weird sort of dark fruity plum and fig backbone is well hidden behind the brash oak. I wasn't sure at all what to expect out of this brew (American Strong Ale leaves it pretty wide open) but the nose gives me a clear idea.
Taste- Deep dark and woody with a strong bourbon start that is borderline too much. Sort of sweet, sort of bitter, but plenty of dark roasty toffee. Bold vanilla coats my entire mouth in a milky sweetness seems to really supercharge the bourbon oak. A bit hot once the initial blast of flavor settles a bit but nothing intrusive. If anything, it seems to add to the nutty/woody bitter chocolate aftertaste.
Mouthfeel- Pretty rich and hearty for having a fairly big ABV. Creamy and full of life with a bit too much carbonation. This would be a definite 5 if it wasn't for the over carbonation.
Drinkability- Overall this is a pretty tasty brew that I really enjoyed. That being said, there's no way I could ever drink more than one. The oak and bourbon teeter on the border of being absolutely delicious and way over the top. Either way, its good to the last drop and ridiculously complex. Big thanks to Tim and Shane!!

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful deep brown color dark and beautiful. The small tan head quickly dissipates slowly. Average lacing and surprisingly above average carbonation. Usually, barrel aged beers become flat. Not this beer. I appears o be bottle condition. Smell of strong bourbon and sweet roasted dark malts. Tastes of strong bourbon/whiskey, coffee, sweet roasted malts, coffee, and toffee. Complex and very tasty - This WORLD CLASS. Drink and Enjoy!

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Photo of JonathanL7890
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle from Southbay - Thanks Joey.
Shared this among 4 friends. Poured into an 8oz snifter. Pour was dark brown- black with an aggressive brown head.
Aroma was very bourbony , some caramel notes also.
Taste was very complex. The bourbon was not as prominent as in the smell. It blended well with the malt and hop flavors to bring out a wonderful cornucopia of tastes. Raisin, carmel, vanilla, woody oak fantastic.
The alcohol was well hidden and not noticeable at all until it warmed the gullet.
Mouthfeel was silky smooth - definitely a 5.
Drinkability - off the charts -- I wish there was more than a 375ml bottle.
Definitely a pleasure to drink this.

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Photo of tpd975
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow 9 months since my first review and I am about to review beer 400. Not bad considering I only review the good shit.

After careful consideration I picked this one. I am so lucky to have gotten two of these bad boys via trade. Thanks to CoreyRhoads and franksnbeans for these. It is a perfect brew for #400

A: Popped the cork and foam immediately came flowing from the bottle. Poured it into a Russian River Barrel Aged Tulip. The beer was a radiant dark black/brown hue. The head with four fingers high, big, bold, and rocky. Tons of carbonation this one... it did not want to die. Once it finally died down it did leave nice spots of lace all the way down the glass.

S: I am in love. Wow this smells even better than bourbon. Tons of oak and vanilla right up front. I have had some hard to get highly regarded bourbons from little known Kentucky distillers that did not smell as nice as this one. Beneath the barrel is a nice complex brew. Nice tones of dark fruits, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and chocolate. Boy can't wait to taste this one.

T: Best barrel aged brew period. (Though to be honest I won't compare it to barrel aged stouts as it's a whole different monster). The flavor is wonderful. This has the perfect amount of bourbon goodness without going overthetop at all. Tons of oak, vanilla, and whiskey. That being said the wonderful flavors of the ale Lost Abbey started with are not lost. Nice whiskey soaked dark fruits make an appearance. As does nutty toffee and burnt dark brown sugar. Soo complex and sooo good. Wonderful.

M: Medium in body smooth and creamy. If there is one flaw it may be a bit too over carbonated.

D: So nice. I had planned to share this one and to be honest I am glad I kept it all to my self. It has been quite sometime since I enjoyed a brew this much.

Overall: This is what barrel ageing is all about. Lost Abbey took a world class ale blasted it straight into another dimension. The wonderful nuances of bourbon barrel ageing really comes out in this beer. What separates it from the others is that the barrel does not detract from the ale. It is wonderful in every sense of the word. Great, Great, Great. What a fitting beer to drink for number 400. I love it, I love Lost Abbey, and man do I ♥ beer.

Cheers, Prost, Slainte, Vashe zdorovie .... To Lost Abbey, To BA, and to this 400 and 400 more.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

what a great beer. What a rollercoaster of an experience. Initial carbonation was just short of a gusher but still it took forever for the foam to settle into a drinkable state. That nit pick aside, this is a phenomenally balanced robust, soft, deceptive, satisfying beer.

The price of entry is sinful but the result is decadent! I'm glad I took a leap of faith and bought this one. Oh, one last sad note - at 375ml's this one is over all too fast.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to tayner for an amazing trade.

Pours a dark brown and ruby with a huge rocky light tan head. Appears to be quite overcarbonated. Nose REEKS of bourbon heat and dark fruits, wood. Taste = Bourbon! dark fruit, caramel, bourbon soaked raisins, vanilla, caramel apple, wood and bourbon and alcohol on the finish. Wonderful. Great sweetnes lingers in the mouth and on the lips. This one will be amazing after a few years in the cellar. Mouthfeel is suprisingly thin and waaayyy more carbonated than I expected. Drinkability is good for the style, but will greatly improve with some cellaring I think. Certainly an amazing concoction, bourbon is right up front. Defenitely a great cellar candidate. Pleased to have had the opportunity to have tried it. Thanks again, Dana!

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

The cork flew out of this 375ml and then the beer erupted. Dark brown, it looks just like the brandy version. Nice bourbon and wood smell. Tastes like cola and vanilla coupled with bourbon, some licorice. This is a very flavorful beer and the alcohol was well hidden. I preferred the profile on the brandy barrel version a little more but this was still very good.

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Photo of MiguelMandingo
4.97/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Damn. First, big thanks to Joey at South Bay Drugs for selling me this bottle. He is awesome, and everyone should check out his online services. And thank you Tomme Arthur, for allowing Joey to sell this at his establishment. Again, damn... this beer is amazing. Worth every penny, all 2,500 of 'em.

I unhinged the cage, and 15 seconds later the cork flew out of the bottle with the force that could have easily removed an eye. The beer started to foam out of the bottle and I was able to save the vast majority of the beer before it landed on the table. I poured the brew into a snifter, and sucked up the 3 or 4 milliliters that landed on the table with a long slurp. My fiancee laughed at me, but I wasn't going to let any of this beer go to waste.

Poured a 375ml bottle into a snifter.

Appearance - After the cork exploded out of the bottle, it produced a 4 finger tannish rocky head. It slowly dissipated to a thin crown that never fully disappeared. A swirl of the glass brings the head to a full 2 fingers - great retention. It leaves spotty lacing behind the further along I drink. It is a deep translucent, nearly opaque, deep brown color.

Smell - Oh man this smells fantastic. I love bourbon. It has the perfect level of sweet vanilla, woody oak, and bourbon scent - it doesn't beat you in the face. All of the scents associated with the bourbon transition to toffee, caramel, burnt sugar and a hint of chocolate. Toward the end of the scent, the presence of dark fruits, cherry and an herbal note make itself known. The scent is very complex, and though bourbon component is the dominant feature of the scent, it doesn't hinder the other scents from making their mark.

Taste - Where is the ABV? It says that it is 12.5% on the bottle, where are they hiding it? Man...the flavor is every bit as complex as the scent. The flavor opens with woody oak, vanilla, and bourbon and transitions into toffee, caramel, chocolate covered cherries and dark fruit. The flavor profile is an evolution, each flavor melding into the next. The bourbon is a huge component of the flavor, but just like the scent, it doesn't prevent the other flavors from making their presence known. It has a creamy flavor which my palate ties to the caramel. The aftertaste has a very pleasant flavor of oak and toffee that lingers long after each sip. I am struggling not to drink this one too fast. A lot of bourbon barrel aged beers seem to soak up the bourbon flavor and heat, but this beer doesn't taste hot - this beer is definitely infused with the flavor of bourbon, but I don't detect the booze at all. Well done, Tomme, well done...

Mouthfeel - It has a medium body. It is creamy, silky, and smooth as it travels over the tongue. Initially, the carbonation left a prickly, dry finish. The longer the beer sits, the less prickly it feels, and the more creamy it becomes. It feels thick as it first runs over the tongue, and then seems to thin out. I would have liked the thickness to persist throughout the entire sip - hell, now it just seems like I am nitpicking. Oh, who am I kidding? - I can't find anything wrong with the mouthfeel. It is just so creamy, and slightly sticky. The alcohol is absent in the mouthfeel, but not in my stomach - very warming. And it isn't absent in my brain function either...

Drinkability - This beer is nothing short of amazing. This is truly a feat of brewing prowess. Where did you hide that 12.5% ABV, Tomme? I don't believe you. This has been an absolute pleasure to drink from start, to... well, I'm not finished with it yet. The urge to drink this beer gives me the same sensation as I felt when I was quitting cigarettes..."just hold out for another couple of minutes... don't give in to the urge... drinking too fast... come on, maintain... SHIT! I am taking another sip."

Just get a bottle. These words won't mean anything until you taste it yourself. This is a beer that should be experienced, and only a lucky few of us will ever be able to. Get a bottle and drink it by yourself. If you are lucky enough to get a second bottle, share that one with friends.

Joey - you are awesome! Thanks for supplying the lucky few of us that actually acquired a bottle. I am in your debt. I didn't do you the favor by buying it, you did me the favor by selling it.

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Photo of toreysan
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a - very rich looking dark brown with nice mellow head. great lacing.

s - wow! smells of dark carmel, subtle vanilla and caramelized sugar.

t - like no beer i have ever tasted! extremely complex and delightful. i can taste the bourbon barrels. sweet oak. a little black licorice?

m - mmm. velvety, smooth, good amount of carbonation. finish is to die for!

d - this is so good it pains me that i cannot get this as often as i would like. thank you sooo much chefscott79!!!!

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Photo of
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

375ml bottle.

Poured a very dark brown, virtually opaque even when held up to light. Edges suggest red tones. Formed a massive, creamy, tan colored head. Lacing was minimal, good legs after the head moved on.

Aroma gives away the bourbon barrel right out of the gate. Dark fruits (cherries & figs). Just a touch of funkiness. Pine and herbal notes. Overall, scent is very sweet.

Taste gives me coffee and chocolate. Bourbon and vanilla. Cherries, caramel and the herbal notes near the end.

Body is full and silky. Carbonation is high initially, but calms down a lot. Medium in dryness, seemed to be more noticeable in the finish than while drinking (that statement makes very little sense, even to me, but I don't know how else to express it). Alcohol content starts to warm you up right away.

This is an incredibly complex beer. Calling it a strong ale is almost insulting, but I don't know where else it should go either. I sipped this over the course of two hours and enjoyed every minute of it.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle release; Sampled April 2008
Wow, Bourbon Barrel Angel's Share is a gusher, I lost something less than a quarter bottle, even though the bottle was at 48°F / 9°C. A careful pour yields an over-flowing six-finger thick, darkened tan colored head. The beer is a deeply burnt, amber color, and shows a hint of concentrated ruby if held up directly to the light. Rich caramelized malt notes are immediately proceeded by Bourbon barrel notes of vanillin, spicy oak / Bourbon and some buttery oak character. The barrel / Bourbon notes are fairly restrained, but still are perhaps the most noticeable character in the aroma. As my nose gets used to the beer, the butterscotch / butter barrel notes become more apparent as does a warming alcohol aroma. Even a touch of mustiness seems to lurk in the background. The Bourbon barrel character actually gets a bit sharp, even harsh at times, but for the most part the nose remains deeply caramel infused, smooth bourbon barrel character.

It has been ten minutes since pouring this beer and it is still quite well carbonated; a quick swirl of my glass releases the excess CO2 though. Sweet and deeply caramelized with malt induced flavors of toffee and raisins. Starting in the middle a toasty, brown malt character kicks in and provides a touch of dryness, though not enough to offset the lingering, rich, complex, malt sweetness that just sticks to the palate. Quite a bit lighter than one might expect from a beer that is 12.5% abv; it does have some heft to it as it is certainly a sipping beer, but it definitely has a light feel to it and at times can seem a bit thin. The Bourbon barrel character is quite a bit softer than it was in the aroma. Typical flavors of spicy oak, vanillin and buttery oak (this last more so in the finish) are found here and the Bourbon provides some alcohol heat. Somehow the beer actually tastes a bit vinous to me; a mix of port, sherry and a full bodied Sancerre. The finish is spicy and sharp with hot Bourbon notes (though not overwhelmingly so).

Somehow not nearly as well integrated, nor nearly so tasty as the 2006 Brandy version (I have yet to try the 2007). I could see this getting close, but somehow the base beer has changed too much while residing in the barrel. I wonder if the changed flavor, lightened body, along with the gushing, is caused by a slight infection? If so it is not so much as to drastically effect things or even be overtly noticeable, but this beer is just enough off to keep it from being great.

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Photo of Lothore
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me first say that at first I really wanted to not like this beer. Something about this whole frequent special releases thing kind of rubs me the wrong way for some reason.

A- I have to say this looks just about perfect. Very dark brown, almost black with a creamy, tan head that leaves quite a bit of lacing as it falls.

S- Smell is very enticing, sweet, brown sugar, spices, almost detect a sour note towards the end, slight coffee, a bit of bourbon.

T- Taste is much different than I was suspecting from the smell. Tastes creamy, mixed spices in the middle, sweet cream, a slight bit of bourbon. Can detect the alcohol warming but it blends in so superbly. The sweetness wears on you after a while. Definitely a sipper.

M- A bit thinner than I would have guessed, very crisp with a lot of carbonation. Refreshing, I'm a little tired of beers that are way too thick, this is excellent.

D- I really really wanted to not like this beer. I tried to find as much wrong with it as I could but I just couldn't. Not a huge fan of the brewery, didn't buy into the hype and I loved it. Try to get a bottle now why there is still some in circulation, you won't regret it.

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
94 out of 100 based on 679 ratings.