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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

671 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 671
Hads: 1,734
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 11.32%
Wants: 594
Gots: 534 | 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: 671 | Hads: 1,734
Photo of DaveAnderson
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2009 bottle, poured into a Darkness tulip.

A: Looks like cowboy coffee, only less carbonated. You would need to add CO2 to reach "flat". It's muddy and murky, which would be promising, if only it weren't flatter than the Texas Panhandle.

S: A lot of Bourbon-barrel beers smell great. This is no exception. It has the usual notes -- toffee, caramel, oak -- but I can't help thinking it would reveal more of itself if it had some bubbles popping. A little time and temperature change does not seem to coax more depth from this beer. Pity.

T: There's a sourness that wasn't hinted on the nose. It is otherwise very consistent with the smell. The label says 11.5% (I presume later years are the listed 12.5%), but it's well-masked.

M: Lack of carbonation really hurts this beer. It just seems thin.

O: I presume I would have given this beer at least 1/2 points higher on every metric, if it had even modest carbonation. As is was, I was really disappointed.

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Photo of McD0uche
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass:

A: Pours a black/brown color with a light brown, one-finger head. The retention isn't great and there isn't any initial lacing to speak of. Carbonation is completely absent. As you consume the beer, the overall stickiness becomes apparent, with streaks of lacing ringing the glass. This latter quality ups the overall appearance.

S: A pleasant, complex aroma that includes toffee, malts, raisins, sweet bread, vanilla, and a bit of oak. A healthy dose of a booziness floats in the scent as well. Overall, it smells outrageously delicious, and I'm salivating just contemplating the taste.

T: The taste is very similar to the smell, with sweet raisin bread filling out the backbone of the flavor complex. Toffee flavors and malt notes float in the mix, with a big, hefty, boozy flavor kicking you in the dome on the way down. Finishes bitter. Since the flavor is intense and the alcohol is heavy, this beer is best enjoyed slowly at a sipping pace.

M: Soft and velvety. The carbonation is so subdued, you wouldn't really notice it unless you tried. Overall, it's alright. It works with the flavor and strength of the beer, but doesn't have any qualities to write home about. Probably the weakest aspect of the beer.

O: Generally speaking, this was awesome. Despite a lazy appearance and lackluster mouthfeel, this strong ale came through big time on smell and flavor. It compares very similarly in taste to Firestone's Abacus (now §ucaba) barleywine, so if you haven't ever had a chance to try that, this can fill in as an imitator. Kudos to Lost Abbey for putting out a memorable strong ale.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml, '08 Vintage
Snifter, split bottle between two people
***600th BA review***

A: Pours completely carbonation less. Flat. Flatter than flat. Dark dirty brown. Reddish hues towards corners. Murky brown color. Carbonation is knocking this down for me.

S: Rum soaked raisins. Dark fruits. Barrel is there. Vanilla notes. Wood. Toffee and caramel for sure. Maybe some oxidation too.

T: Tons of dark fruits. Rum soaked raisin. Lots of vanilla. Lack of carbonation sucks, but the flavors are still very good.

M: Full bodied. Carbonation lack sucks.

I know this beer would have been killer if there was carbonation, and maybe a little less age on it.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: no head or lacing on a deep brown body.

S: butter, bourbon, oak, roasted malts and syrup.

T: movie popcorn butter, fairly bitter with the bourbon and oak very strong here. The roasted malts are mild with sweetness from vanilla late in the finish.

M: thick body and light carbonation. this one probably lost its carbonation as I have heard others from this brewery do.

Overall: I have a hard time with the buttery flavors overpowering my taste buds with some bourbon stouts. so for my tastes, this is a good rating considering the butter notes are off set well by the other flavors.

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Photo of nickfl
4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours with almost no head on a very dark brown body. Low retention and no lace.

S - Boozy notes of vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak with brown sugar, molasses and lots of toffee.

T - Sweet, thick malt up front with notes of caramel, vanilla, and toffee. Lots of vanilla and whiskey character in the middle and a finish of peppery bourbon, bakers chocolate, smoke, and lingering charcoal.

M - A moderately thick body, low carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - well, it is a little low on carbonation, as feared, but it is in not excessively sweet and it is wonderfully complex. The dark chocolate is not excessively sweet but has an intensely dark character to it that works well with the whiskey notes. Dense and complex with a sweetness that lingers just a bit more than it should.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Angel's Share is a quite nice barrel-aged strong ale. Still... it could have been much better. I had this later in the night so I was a bit drunk. My notes aren't the best as a result.

A: Dark black with noticeable sediment and particles floating around. 3.5

S: Sweet malty. Barnyard. 3

T: Malty with some bourbon barrel. Sharp Bourbon-alcohol. yum. 4

M: Foamy. 4.

O. 4.

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Photo of FreakyBeat
1.67/5  rDev -60.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I'm all for a heavy beers, complex beers, unusual beers; I can appreciate that a lot of work went into this one, but this poorly-conceived beer simply isn't enjoyable to drink - it doesn't work.

Appearance: As many have noted, one immediately notices when pouring that this beer has very little carbonation. There is no head to speak of. As for color, it is deep and dark, like oil.

Smell: The smell is predominantly bourbon and caramel. A little one-sided.

Taste: It tastes like a sticky, syrupy, diluted bourbon. The alcohol is front and center, but it has a cloying and thick saccharine bitterness to it that makes it very unappealing to drink. It's only about 1% of beers that I wouldn't bother to finish - if this one hadn't cost so much I would have just chucked it. It really was a chore to drink. It is unfathomable to me why this beer isn't more carbonated - it's absolutely necessary.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, syrupy. Lack of carbonation makes it feel sticky and heavy.

Perhaps other reviewers got versions with more carbonation, which would have helped a lot; as it was, I thought it was a terribly-executed beer. And I was going into it expecting it to be fantastic. Perhaps the biggest letdown of a beer I've ever had - the price is absurd for the quality.

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Photo of Etan
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12.7oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Mahogany body with a small beige head.

S: Huge coconut and vanilla tannins, warming alcohol, prune, caramel.

T: Rich caramel, spiced raisins, chocolate, creamy vanilla, booze-soaked oak, sweet toffee.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium-bodied, creamy.

O: Extremely tasty thanks to the awesome barrel character. I'd take this over Deliverance any day.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clearly printed "BOURBON 2012" on the neck of the bottle. Nice 12.7 ounce corked bottle.

A - Hazy brown, slight lacing. A touch of burgundy in the body and orange hues on the edges.

S - Deep, dark bourbon bouquet. Its sweet and viscous in the nose, with strong aromas of oak and alcohol. A dark sugar complexity with molasses and brown sugar. An earthy dryness and whiskey kick.

T - Deep and rich taste. Dark, sugary sweet bourbon. The alcohol is spiced, warming, and tingly in the finish. The oak stands through plenty but is smooth and mellow with the amount of sweetness present. This is my favorite bourbon barrel beer to date because it doesn't have that fiery bourbon kick in the throat. This beer's abv is presented wonderfully and smoothly.

M - Medium bodied the beer is soft and luscious. Just enough carbonation to hold up to the sturdy body. Once again, its very easy drinking for its strength. Warming finish all the way down.

O - Delicious, complex brew with a lot of character and harmony.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ketan for picking this up for me on his trip to San Diego.

A. Pours a very dark, tobacco brown. Half finger of tight, cream colored head. Very uniform and good looking head. Lacing is excellent.

S. Wow, excellent. Dark, ripe stone fruit, raisin, vanilla, toffee, roasted cashew, and a healthy dose of bourbon. Pleasant roasted nuttiness.

T. Toffee, caramel, vanilla, and dark fruit. Big kiss of booze and some burn on the end. Little bit of earthy darkness from the barrel.

M. Full bodied, cloying, and marshmallow like.

O. A very nice brew, definitely holds up against some of the better. barrel aged strong ales and barleywines out there. Very glad to have enjoyed this one.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. Thanks to ShanePB for sharing.

A: Pours a dark brown color with no head or lacing at all...does not bode well for this beer.

S: Nice aroma of bourbon, roasted malt, caramel, and a hints of dark fruit and chocolate.

T: Very nice flavor profile of bourbon, some oak and vanilla with brown sugar and caramel.

M: Totally flat. Not unexpected really based on previous reviews, but was still hoping this bottle was carbonated. Can see how it would be great with some bubbles.

O: Again, besides it being flat, I enjoyed this beer very much.

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Photo of cvm4
3.84/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark brown with no head whatsoever.

S - Bourbon, sweet vanilla, caramel & oak.

T - Very sweet vanilla and tart following into an oak center with toffee and bourbon finish.

M - medium body & carbonation.

O - A flow down bourbon lane. Very good slightly too tart for me.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter at the Cloverleaf Tavern.

Bourbon Barrel Angel's Share pours a very deep mahogany, with a faint bit of caramel foam crowning the beer. The nose is absolutely heavenly. There's tons of caramelized brown sugar to form the base, and it's augmented by vanilla and oak. Bourbon is a subtle addition to the picture. The flavor profile is a little bit more rough. There's still some lightly burnt sugar, vanilla, and wood, but the bourbon presence is more brassy and harsh. Here it's the center of attention, with everything else playing more of a supporting role. The body is full and rich, but the carbonation is barely there. I like a more restrained carbonation for a malt forward beer, but this is a bit low even for me, and leaves the beer feeling flat. Bourbon Barrel Angel's Share is a decent to good beer right now, but I think it could use a little bit of time to really hit its stride.

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

375ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

A: Pours a cloudy brown color. No head is formed. No lacings are left

S: Smell is great. Strong on wood and whiskey (Oh yeah! :)). Toffee, Caramel, roasted malts and alcohol

T: Delicious. Sweet upfront: toffee and caramel malts. Oak. Roasted malts bitterness. And some earthy hops bitterness too

M: Heavy body. Really molasses. Low carbonation. Sweet upfront and pleasant bitter aftertaste

O: Very drinkable. Excellent beer

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle, 2012 vintage, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a deep caramel ruby color, produces a wiskp of beige head, leaves little lacing.

S- Delicious aroma of smooth bourbon, sweet caramel, dark fruit, molasses and vanilla.

T- Sweet and boozy up front, lots of caramel, vanilla, fruit and molasses, towards the finish the bourbon and oak become more noticeable.

M- Full-bodied, smooth, rich feel.

O- A delicious beer, the flavors are rich and decadent, it's a real treat to drink.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a large snifter

A: pours a deep brown with no light transmission. small tan head recedes quickly to form a small collar around the glass
S: smells of bourbon with notes of caramel, oak, vanilla, a tinge of chocolate and hint of coffee along with a bit of alcohol and booze.
T: lighter than I anticipated from the nose. those same flavors are there but muted a bit. still a lot of oak vanilla and caramel. slight alcohol burn and booziness. fairly smooth though. aftertaste is pretty alcoholic but has some notes of chocolate, caramel and vanilla
M: light carbonation and a surprisingly thin mouthfeel. it doesn't feel like it has the substance of a 12.5% beer. not bad though, and I'm quite pleased that it's carbonated.
O: buying this beer was a gamble due to lost abbey's purported carbonation issues, but this is fantastic with loads of complexity and great flavors. I'm gonna need to pick up another one.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pour: Pours a muddy dark brown with bits of khaki sediment floating around. Barely any khaki head. I'm not gonna lie, this is an ugly looking beer. Sometimes I wish this wasn't a review point because, especially in this beers case, it tells nothing of the gem it really is.

Smell: Bourbon vanilla and dark fruits (fig, raisin). Some chocolate in there too, not much booze on the nose for me.

Taste: This beer really made me say wow on the first sip. I did not expect the complexity it flexes at all. Boozy bourbon up front that lends superb bourbon characteristics without being over the top. Vanilla, typical to the bourbon, complements. Next, dark fruits from the nose shine. I expected the bourbon and fruits to play around through the finish, but as I swallowed, milk chocolate exploded to hold onto the lingering aspects of this brew. Not overly sweet and incredibly complex.

Mouthfeel: Even how this stacks up over the palate evolves through a single sip. Splashy at first with some heat, the dark fruit mid-palate brings with it a great chewiness that smooths out and becomes creamy on the finish. A very heavy beer, which I was pleased with because I wanted a sipper out of this.

Overall: I didn't think this would beat Deliverance for me, but it definitely done. One of the most complex beers I've had, and I think that term gets thrown around too lightly. Again, I wish appearance could be neglected for this beer, because it doesn't do any justice to what the beer is really about. Seek out hands down.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle poured into a CBS snifter. No bottle date.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown, translucent at the edges, opaque everywhere else. Lots of chunky sediment near the end of the bottle. No head. Flat as hell.

Smell - Bourbon, vanilla, lots of booze. Toffee and burnt sugar. Booze. Whoa.

Taste - Bourbon, vanilla, oak. Barrel is strong. Lots of vanilla and toffee. Sweet. Oaky and boozy. Buttery in the finish. Oaky and just a touch bitter in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Flat. Thick, but not too syrupy. Boozy and not easy to drink.

Overall - This was much better on tap. The carbonation probably has a lot to do with it. This is my first flat Lost Abbey bottle. I did pretty well, I think. Good beer. Terrible QC.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Side by side of 2010 and 2012 vintages
Poured into duvel glasses

A: both brews pour with little to no head, the younger has a bit more of a film that sticks around the side of the glass, no lacing on either. The body color is a dark brown burgundy.

S: 2012: at first I get a blast of straight booze, then after my nostrils calmed down and this brew warmed I noticed a nice chocolate like aroma along with a delicious sticky caramel/toffee aroma along with a nice bit of vanilla, I get a slight coffe nuttiness in there as well, this smells truly delicious.

2010: the alcohol is much much more mellow, the smell is similar to the younger version but less sticky by far, it seems like everything got toned down a notch and is now blending seamlessly, a bit more oak and dark fruit then in the younger.

T: in comparison the changes in flavor profile are much like the changes in aroma. The 2012 has a more sticky sweet caramel, and a lot of vanilla, while the 2010 is more mellowed and rounded, with more pronounced oak and dark fruit.... They both have this nutty chocolate fudge like aftertaste I love it.

M: both have very little to no carbonation and are on the heavier side of things, the 2012 seems to have a nice touch of sticky creamyness to it that has dissapeard from the 2010, the 2010 is more viscous, I felt like both could have used a bit more carbonation and a slightly thicker creamier mouthfeel.

O: a great brew, it's awesome getting to do this side by side and see how the brew changed, along with my palate, when this brew originaly came out, was when I first started drinking craft beer, and i thought it was disgusting, now I think it's phenomenal.

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Photo of mahak213
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one in a trade, thanks so much sixt9coug!

Appearance: Pours a deep brown, almost black beer with the thinnest ring of head you can imagine. Whatever head was there dissipated very quickly. Looks like very little carbonation.

Smell: Strong bourbon notes with hints of vanilla and booze in the back. Boozey in the most appealing sense of the word. Very sweet smelling.

Taste: initially very sweet on the palate, a marshmellowy candy, vanilla sweetness. Bourbon undertones throughout the entire taste profile, finishing with a very pleasant toasted coconut. Boozey, helps to cut the sweetness of the beer and adds a nice bite to the finish.

Mouthfeel: smooth and creamy, lightly carbed and coating.

Overall: What a special beer! Really excited to get to try this one. Wish I was able to get some more lost abbey offerings!

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Photo of jbaker67
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a deep reddish brown to black with a tan colored head that stats for about 2 minutes. Aroma of sweet bourbon and dark fruits like figs. A bunch of vanilla and some alcohol. The taste is sweet with some vanilla accents and a slight heat. There is a caramel taste at the end along with the heat. The carbonation is spot on and the feel is silky smooth.

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Photo of Philousa
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Imbibed on tap at Harry's Hofbrau on 7/1/2012. This is a 2012 batch.

The beer sits a dark violet, brownish, like a drip brewed coffee, no cream. Poured with a slight ring of head around the glass. I can't even cover the top with a good swirl. Aroma starts with wood/oak with mild bourbon. Dark fruits - plums, dates - lies behind the stronger aromas. Black licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, and wood dominate the palate on the first sip. The vanilla and wood stick around the whole time as it warms. There is a firm alcohol bite and fumey aftertaste. This beer ain't kidding! Teasing out the malt: lots of caramel sweetness to counter the alcohol bitterness. I'd attribute this sweetness to bourbon's natural sweetness, but I'm no hard alcohol expert. Makes me wonder what the brandy barrel aged version tastes like. Also, some raisin comes as it warms. Middling mouthfeel with a very dry aftertaste.

This comes across as an old ale to my untrained palate. The strong alcohol flavor is biting and abrasive, but in a beery way. It's just a notch below distilled, and there is complexity there. This is the best beer of that style I've had thus far. This is a treat. I'd only want this a couple times a year, if that.

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Photo of IKR
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

Appearance: Very dark reddish brown with a fairly generous beige head that gradually subside to a thin cap. The 2012 is really carbonated.

Smell: Mild Bourbon, vanilla, coconut, and slight oak notes.

Taste: A mixture of Bourbon, vanilla, toffee/caramel, some roast malts, and oak. The finish is slightly sweet with a hint of the bourbon and vanilla from the barrel. Hidden alcohol.

Mouth-feel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation (again, I'm reviewing the right beer).

Overall: Good beer and with the 2012 being properly carbonated (Kudos to Lost Abbey's QC improvements), it is a real treat. Pricey, but for those who can swing it a worthwhile purchase.

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Photo of tut2528
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Absolutely no pop upon opening the cork. No carbonation whatsoever. Pours an extremely dark brown, no lacing

S: awesome huge smell of raisins, plums, molasses, and immense oak.

T: nice balance of dark fruits (figs, plums and prunes), well complemented by bourbon and oak. A nice creamy vanilla provides another nice addition. Alcohol is only slightly noticeable

M: definitely needs more carbonation as it is surprisingly light on the tongue

O: definitely a beer I wish I could obtain on a regular basis. I think this brew provides a nice gate-way to more complex brews. I find the drinkability rather high and the ABV is very well hidden

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Photo of yamar68
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an ominous black with a slight edge of ruby clarity. The finger of off-white head is short lived but even without hardly any retention, there is some pretty impressive lacing and some sexy legs.

Nose is pretty damn boozy... some fresh tequila notes surface immediately. Sweet caramel and hot citrus. More tequila... was this aged in a tequila barrel? Seriously, I'm getting all sorts of tequila notes. Sweet booze, some leather and obvious wood. I'm intrigued.

Mmm... I was afraid of more tequila, not the case. Hot bourbon, rich woods, strong vanilla bits, some of that leather, plenty of heat that somehow doesn't inhibit the other flavors. Very interesting stuff. Like a bourbon/beer hybrid... tasty.

Very glad to have had the chance to try this one. Unique, warming, and not entirely flat!

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
94 out of 100 based on 671 ratings.