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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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666 Reviews
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Reviews: 666
Hads: 1,713
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 18.4%
Wants: 592
Gots: 525 | 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 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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Photo of danieelol
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Adam @ Platinum.

Have been eagerly anticipating this one as for my money Lost Abbey make some godlike stuff.

...And it's carbed. Thin half-head, but it's there. Dark, dark black (not the "burgundy coloured" beer claimed on the label). Good lacing. Head can be enhanced with some intense swirling also, at least initially.

Rich aromas of bourbon, muscatels, burnt tyres, rich rich cream desserts. An earthiness. Chocolate/ vanilla. Rich stuff.

Taste is massive muscatels and port. Very porty. Lots of chocolate and vanilla; and alcohol but it's never unwelcome. Huge chocolate port flavours in this. Fig. Mix of nutty, grapey flavours.

Mouthfeel is silky and a bit hot; really dry beer actually. The sugar is comprehensively hidden by alcohol.

Overall a superb, very rich beer. Big sipper.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
3.52/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed a bottle of this on Saturday, 19 May 2012.

A: Translucent deep, dark amber in color. Almost no head.
S: Alcohol (almost overpowering) with sweet bourbon undertones.

T: Strangely , the smell and tastes are quite a bit different. Sweet flavors of bourbon, dark fruits and a nice heat from the alcohol, but no overpowering alcohol taste as in the smell...really nice flavor with a lot of good depth.

M: Very light, almost watery (could be influence by drinking a couple of heavy stouts before this beer).

O: Really nice; not outstanding (especially since the price of these bottles is borderline ridiculous), but a good beer that is drinkable in moderate quantity (like one of these a night). Definitely not the beer you want to have a few of.

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
3.89/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12.7oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: No head to speak of, body is a very dark brown.

S: Deep aged stout aromas, this is how some 4-5 year old stouts I've had smelled. Add extra some boozyness though.

T: Nice dark malt flavors, heavy bourbon flavors as well.

M: Pretty flat, nothing to lift the thickness of the beer.

D: Overall I'm not sure about this one. It's very good, tastes like someone added a shot of bourbon to an old RIS. It's so different however that I find it hard to determine if I'd buy it again.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz bottle served in an oversized wineglass.

pours a dark, murky chestnut tone reminiscent of a quad, only darker. not much of a head, but i'm not going to hold that against it too much due to what it would appear the lost abbey is going for here, dialing back the carbonation.

the aroma is out of this world. bourbon, vanilla, malts, molasses, butterscotch, alcohol, a touch of caramel, oak... really fantastic. i could smell this all night.

taste is also fantastically complex: a melange of the aroma profile plus subtle notes of chocolate and some dark fruits that combine with the alcohol to suggest almost a muted vinous character. wow, excellent flavor profile.

very, very low carbonation, reminds me of SA utopias, both from the flavor profile and low carbonation. really enjoying this beer. drinkability is a tougher nut to crack. this has instantly jumped into my top 5 favorite beers, but i can't see drinking more than one. i've had some other lost abbey brews and always seemed to be underwhelmed, but not here. well done.

original review on: 07-26-2010

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Photo of vic21234
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter. Served at cellar temperature.

A- Corked bottle opened with a weak pop. Pours very cola-like, dark with some light appearing through the top of the glass. A small amount of head quickly fades to just a filmy lacing along the side of the glass.

S- Smells very boozey with the bourbon shining through. Some caramel is hidden in there as well.

T- Starts off smooth with some caramel notes. I also get the oak/ woody notes, but really no vanilla. The back end of the taste is all booze.

M- Little to no carbonation, this one is a definite sipper. The 12.5% ABV is certainly apparent, and I would possibly call it one of the hottest tastes beers I've had, which isn't a bad thing. Each sip ends with a warming alcohol tingle down my throat.

Good stuff, would have liked to had two bottles so I can lay one down for even longer to see if the boozey notes subside a bit.

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