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The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

419 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 419
Hads: 654
Avg: 3.83
pDev: 24.8%
Wants: 183
Gots: 173 | FT: 10
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: Jason on 04-23-2008

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: 419 | Hads: 654
Photo of therealnomayo
1/5  rDev -73.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

2010 375ml (two separate bottles)

A: Still. Swampy. Cork came out with a squeak and no pop whatsoever. Not a bubble to be found anywhere in the glass.

S: Smell is off. I've had this on draft before and I know immediately something is wrong.

T: It's as if a filthy bar rag used to clean old beer and spoiled fruit slime from the dirtiest corner of the floor in a slaughterhouse was dragged across my tongue. When I drain-poured it, I think I heard the garbage disposal dry heaving and cursing me in morse code.

M: I spit it out entirely too fast to really even gauge the mouthfeel. Really disappointing as this beer can be amazing.

O: "The Tomme" needs someone to introduce him to "The Refund". Total palette-wrecking wallet rape and ruin-er of what could have been a great night of drinking. The only thing worse than these two bottles of beer is the realization that I still have another one waiting, taking up space where my $50 used to be.

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Photo of harrymel
1.03/5  rDev -73.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Vintage 2010

A: pours brown with excellent clarity. Absolutely no evidence of carbonation. Cork removed with no "pop".

S: Minerals. Brett? Very confusing. I've had previous versions, and this isn't adding up.

T: Yup, brett and/or something. Christ, this is super infected. Absolutely horrible. Maybe some of the original beer in there, but mostly, shite.

M: Thin. Flat.

O: This is one of the worst beers I've ever had. I took two sips and poured the rest. Absolutely horrid. I've become more and more leery of all LA beers. Tomme - take care of the issue.

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Photo of HoppyMoth
1.03/5  rDev -73.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

2010 Brandy, poured into a tulip. (Can barely read the little yellow brandy 2010 sign stamped onto the bottle)

A: Black, dead, not a sign of head. Trouble I thought, it might be infected.

S: Fish and chips - pungent vinegar. Very sweet, boozy and smells like a bottle of brandy was poured into a horrible apple cider vinegar.

T/M: Infected! This thick, oily beer sticks to my mouth and tastes like I just licked the bottom of a rotting barrel. I want to drip this onto fried food, marinate a steak in it or spray it on roses to deter deer.

A $16 disaster. I have never had a "good" version of this beer, but I will never again risk paying this much money if THIS is my reward.

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Photo of waltonc
1.06/5  rDev -72.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I have to revise my review of this beer in light of the many infected and/or flat examples I have had. Just not a beer that's worth taking the risk on any more in light of the great expense. Not sure Lost Abbey is capable of brewing a non-sour barrel aged beer any more.

Prior review from 11/28/08: (4.5, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5)

The grand finale beer on cask at the Lost Abbey barrel tasting. Reddish brown appearance. Not nearly as much carbonation as the bourbon version I've had from a bottle. Admittedly, I had a few beers by the time I drank this, so my tongue could have just been scorched, but this seemed a little rough around the edges, not quite as smooth as the bourbon version. Though I hear maybe this is just because we were having a sneak preview of what will not be released in bottles until down the road. In any event, this was still great - lots of dark fruit, oak, vanilla, carmel, and what I guess is brandy (I'm not even sure I've drank brandy before). Definitely distinguishable from the bourbon counterpart. I'd love to try the two side-by-side.

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Photo of sweemzander
1.27/5  rDev -66.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

375mL corked & caged bottle poured into a snifter. 2009 Vintage.

(A)- Pours a thick dark brown almost black color. No head or bubbles despite a vigorous pour; still as wine; flat!

(S)- Tons of sugary raisin and brown sugar. Burnt caramel and booze.

(T)- Very sugary. Tons of boozy heat. A very unpleasant grainy charcoal and graphite flavor.

(M)- Flat as can be. A very bitter charcoal and graphite; almost metallic taste that is very off-putting; syrupy.

(D)- This is flat as flat can be. This is very sickly sweet while being horribly off with a charcoal and graphite bitterness. No thank you. I far preferred the Bourbon Barrel variation better especially considering it wasnt flat!

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Photo of alexhahn82
1.4/5  rDev -63.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

A. Absolutely no head, maybe like 2 bubbles, and I am a semi aggressive pourer who pours down the center to let my beer open up.

Smell. Smells of the brandy barrels that it was aged in, Semi tart almost fruit like scent.

T. Tart like, almost light vinegar. complex but brandy like starts intense and finishes soft.

Mouthfeel. Complex and sour, tart and bitter, yet sweet, the mouthfeel on this is very powerful.

Overall. I have a feeling the bottle was bad not sure though, Not sure if its worth the $16 price point.

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Photo of AgentZero
1.46/5  rDev -61.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

A - From the infamously unactivated yeast = no carbonation batch of '08, this pours out dead flat and looks like coffe that's been sitting around too long or pond water that's starting to scum up. No head whatsoever.

S - Smell caramel, a lot of brandy, I don't like the smell of these at all. Dark fruits, possibly some cherry but for lack of a better term, this just smells weird. Kind of chemically.

T - Not sure how to describe this, some caramal malts, minimal on thte brandy, no real subtlety or complexity whatsoever. Horribly dissapointing, honestly, it's kind of gross.

M - Horrible, thick, oily. No carbonation, between this and the taste this is just bad.

D - Can't drink this anymore, me and my friend dumped it all down the sink. It's that bad. What a complete waste of money.

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Photo of beerwolf77
1.74/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

While hanging out with sweem he twisted my arm into sharing this one with him. I knew going in it was gonna suck but I figured a tick is a tick. I think I should have passed. Upon pulling the cork we heard nothing. I mean total silence. I've heard mice fart louder than the sound that came out of this bottle.

A: Pitch black syrup. No head no lace. Not a trace of a bubble. I think I've seen more head on used motor oil spewing from my truck.

S: Sweet boozy molasses, chocolate, oak and a hint of play doh.

T: Sweet and hot. Booze soaked dark fruit, black strap molasses, prunes, wet oak and a touch of chocolate. Hot and messy. Nearing undrinkable.

M: Syrupy thick. Flat as a glass of tap water.

O: Just a hot fucking mess of a beer. I'm not sure carbonation would have saved it for me. Such poor craftsmanship on LA's part makes me sad for anyone who buys this atrocity.

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Photo of davidbowers13
1.84/5  rDev -52%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. No pop when removing the cork. Not sure if I got an infected bottle having never had it before.

A - Pours a reddish brown with zero carbonation. No head whatsoever. No legs, nothing going on. Boring to look at and uninviting.

S - Vanilla, sour cherries, fruit and a lot of wood.

T - Sour cherries up front. A touch of vanilla. Finishes with a little heat and more sour cherries.

M - No carbonation kills it for me. Tingle on the tongue and coats the mouth well.

O - Disappointed considering the cost. I expected a lot more and was left with a sour, non-carbonated mess.

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Photo of brdc
1.94/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Large corked bottle, 2008 bottling.

It takes a long time to remove the cork, and as it finally opens without a single sound, the reason is obvious - no inside pressure to help remove the cork.
Dark brown colored, absolutely no head or carbonation - looks like a mug of old coffee.
The aroma is actually nice, the only real good thing about this beer - brandy of course, dark fruits, caramel, oak, vanilla and even some coffee that I did not expect.
The mouthfeel is absolutely horrendous, totally flat, feels like a can of soda the next day. That obviously impairs the overall appreciation, and if I feel nice notes buried inside this mess, showing it might have been a good beer, the overall flavors are not pleasant so poor is the mouthfeel. Anyway, some brandy soaked figs, caramel, oak and vanilla can be observed.
It is actually quite hard to rate, as notes are all over the place.
Some quality control and carbonation, this could have been a very good beer. Maybe it would be worth 15 or so. Around 30, I don't think so.
One of my most expensive, if not the most, drainpours.

Addendum: retried now in September, another drainpour. it is obvious that waiting longer will not help this absolutely horrendous beer; the yeast is not viable. Do not waste your money.

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Photo of badbeer
1.98/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Very dark brown, almost black. Light tan head with a ring around the glass, no lacing left behind. Smell of brandy, figs, prunes, vanilla; quite sweet. Brandy and some oak greet the tongue intitially, leading into vanillia, figs, and dark fruits. Thicker than medium body, with carbonation on the lower side. Solid beer, but not exactly what I thought it might be. Perhaps some age will develop it more.

Update: I've gotten to try some bottles of this that were not good at all.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
1.98/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Definitely not impressed with the appearance at all. Murky brown and mud-like in appearance. Absolutely no head or lacing at all.

Smells strongly of alcohol, fruits, and chocolate, with some obvious brandy.

Tastes hella strongly of alcohol, with very pungent over-ripe dark brandy-soaked fruits and lots of milk chocolate.

Hard to drink, very heavy on alcohol. The almost complete absence of carbonation is a big downer.

Overall it's not very good and I won't seek it out again.

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.03/5  rDev -47%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

750ml bottle, 2007 brandy-barrel vintage courtesy of Weibull, thanks! I have been looking forward to this beer and my birthday seemed as good a day as any to pop this bottle. The color is a real nice dark-brown with red edges and a nice foam that dissolves into a smattering of off-white bubbles ringing the glass. It looks good! The aroma is very oaky, woody, and boozy with some vanilla. This sounds weird but the smell reminds me of Oaked Yeti but there is also just the hint of cognac. The flavor is pretty exceptional the moment it passes the lips. It is woody, more booze and sweet syrups abound. Wow, the flavor is also kind of hard to pin down as I am tasting different flavors with each sip, and odd gum flavor like Blackjack and candy. Perfect silky mouth-feel but the drink-ability is oddly not hampered by the ABV and the beer is boozy (in a very good way). This is a very complex tasting beer and if I was more articulate I would tell you why. Instead, all I can say is that if you like barrel-aged beers, seek this out, its tasty. The complexity of the flavor is helpful, aiding the drink-ability making you want to keep sipping and get blasted with a new taste. I had to bump the drinkability score, no problem drinking the whole bottle.

update 11/2008 2007 batch

sour, dirty diapers, drainpour...

update 07/2009 2008 batch

its flat and it sucks, what happened?

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Photo of Beaver13
2.04/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12.7oz bottle, 2009 version. Pours a dark brown black with a little fizz for a head that quickly disappears completely.

The aroma is dark fruits, bready chocolate and molasses, some vanilla and a harsh medicinal alcohol.

The flavor is sweet sugary plums and figs and vanilla with some bready malts and a harsh alcoholic bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with no carbonation.

Overall, it's interesting with a lot of complex flavors, but it's way too over the top for me, esp in alcohol and sweetness - more like a liquor than a beer. Tastes a bit like plum or fig cough medicine.

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Photo of Kagarran
2.04/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

Serving Type: Bought 2 bottles after seeing good reviews. Paid $15 each. Drank from a wine glass.
A: A dark copper color with zero head.
S: Very fruity
T: I actually cringed the first couple of sips I took. You can definitely taste the brandy, but it was not a good thing. This beer played off the tongue as more of a hybrid wine than anything else.
M: The beer was very thin.

Overall: I had huge expectations for my first Lost Abbey beer. Unfortunately, I was hugely disappointed. I wanted to pour it down the drain, but ended up finishing the bottle. I just couldn't stand the thought of pouring 15 bucks down the drain. I even tried letting it warm a bit, in the hopes that it would get better, but it just didn't. I would not recommend this. After going back and reviewing the beer notes on the Lost Abbey website, I won't write off the brewery just yet. This is for those of you who crave the experimental beers!

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Photo of Georgiabeer
2.07/5  rDev -46%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

2008 edition. I won't go into any long diatribe about how much this beer sucked, nor will I address the debate about whether it should have been released or whether the brewery took ownership of the problems with this beer and reasonably addressed them. I will say that I am very, very disappointed by this beer and do think Lost Abbey ought to have been more proactive in dealing with quality control issues with Sinners rather than having the few who initiated resolution of the issue be taken care of, but no one else. When this brewery is good, their beers can be out of this world. When bad...well, here is an example. Pours with absolutely no carbonation. None. Nada, in a beer that screams out for it. Thick and viscous with no head. Without any effervescence, this beer smells flat and overly sweet, with heavy caramel notes and a whiff of brandy that doesn't go nearly far enough to cut the sweetness. The taste is similar, with flat oak flavors out of balance with the light brandy notes and sweetness. Thick and viscous in the mouth, but not entirely unpleasant here. Drain pour for me. This could have been so great- but for the price, I just won't risk it again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
2.12/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter. No idea on the age of this bottle.

Appearance - No pop when I pulled the cork. Lifeless as I pour it. Dark brown body. No head. Not a single bubble.

Smell - Lots of dark fruits. Musty oak. Vinous notes. Acidic grapes. Brown sugar and vanilla round it out. Not a promising smell, since I believe this bottle is from the era of the "troubles" at Lost Abbey.

Taste - Yep, it's pretty tart. Syrupy at first. Brown sugar monster. Oak. Dark cherries. Then a vinegar sourness kicks in. Red wine vinous notes. Oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Flat as can be. Heavy. Sluggish to drink.

Overall - I suspected this might be infected and/or flat. I got both. Anyway, I think I've had this beer on tap a couple times, but I can't remember, so this is the experience I can rate.

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Photo of HopHeadLouie
2.18/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer should never have been released or once it got out it should have been recalled. Mouth feel is appalling! Not "appropriate for the style" not "mildly carbonated" not even close! Dead flat! Dishwater! Smells pleasant enough and you can vaguely see the potential of what it could be if it were properly carbonated, but it's not. It is hard to even describe this swill as beer, it reminds me more of a glass of iced tea after all the cubes have melted. As a Patron Sinner, I am very disappointed that Lost Abbey let this one out of the brewery.

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Photo of SawDog505
2.24/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured very aggressive into a 20 oz Duvel tulip, bottled in 2010. Pours a very dark brown, with no head at all and subsequently no lace. Smell is dark fruits, molasses, whiskey, and vanilla. Taste is not correct, thinking this is tainted. No pop at all with the cork and a very flat and stale tasting beer. Very sour and boozy and this was my daughter's celebration beer. Going to contact brewery. Body thin, terrible carbonation, not sure if it is dry, and going down the sink, what does that say about drinkability? Trying to figure out what to drink now.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.25/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

2008 vintage. 375ml bottle courtesy of mattolesh, poured into an oversized snifter.

Appearance? Open a bottle of Coke, let it sit for a few days to lose every last bit of fizz, pour into snifter. This stuff is flatter than my first girlfriend (in her defense, she was only 6 at the time). Smells good, though, and not just in a “anything’s an improvement over its looks” kind of way. This stuff smells seriously appetizing, a whirlwind of sweetness: brandy, barrel, vanilla beans, fudge, brown sugar, toffee. Unfortunately, being completely devoid of carbonation means delivering on the promise of the nose is an impossibility. You get a sense of what they were going for, but it’s limp, watery and lifeless.

Overall impression: Perhaps the most disjointed drinking experience I’ve ever had. Looks like crap, smells great, tastes OK but suffers immensely from flatness. Sadly, it seems a few tweaks away from excellence. Correction: one tweak away. That tweak, of course, being carbonation.

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Photo of sentomaster
2.27/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

09 Angels Share poured into a bruery tulip

A- no pop from the cork- not a good sign. Looks like another LA carbonation fail job. The pour leads to even more skepticism, not a single bubble to be found. By the end of pouring a dark and sinister liquid from the bottle there appears to be a faint few, tiny bubbles rising within...

S- Major heat coming off this- port wine heat with massive vanilla and fudge

T/M- HEAT....almost zero carbonation, maybe zero. Thick, full and sweet

O- what a disaster. I've had this on tap and it was great, this was terrible. Tastes like 3 shots of Sambuca made it into the small bottle

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.3/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a deep murky brown color ale with no head whatsoever. Aroma of of alcohol vapor with some gross residual sugar. Taste is overly dominated by brandy notes with some sweet sugary malt with an almost gross feel. Body is full with no carbonation and strong alcohol showing. I know the issue this beer had with carbonation but the fundamental issue are bigger then only carbonation - way too much alcohol is showing even though I understand beer as been barrel-aged with a lack of complexity. I must admit that this example is definitely over-hyped and fall well below my expectations.

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Photo of JLeege
2.33/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Brandy 2010 clearly printed on the neck
12.7 oz bottle poured into a LA tulip

Appearance- Pours a deep deep brown with no light entering the glass.

Smell- Dark fruits, caramel, oaky, a wisp of smoke, vanilla.

Taste- Lots of chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and oaky notes. I believe this is the first beer I have had that is brandy barrel aged, and it has much more dark fruit notes than a bourbon barrel. There is cherry, raison, plum, grape. Lingering chocolate with dark fruits on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Flat.

Overall- F-Word. I have finally been stung by LA. The deliverance, older vis bottles I have had have been great and carbonated, this is the first one that wasn't. I have had no problems with their 750's either. Shouldn't have bought 3 bottles of this without trying just one first. The aroma and taste is nice, it drinks quick for 11.5%, but you shouldn't have to roll the dice on a 15 dollar beer.

I love lost abbey, its a blessing and a curse.

Edit: upon opening another bottle, it is slightly sour as well. This beer is a trainwreck. Scores adjusted again.

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Photo of jwolfie70
2.36/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

From the 2008 release. Poured a murky, dark brown, with no hint of carbonation. Smelled of booze, dark fruits and malt syrup. Taste was dominated by a hot alcohol taste. Any amount of carbonation would have been appreciated.

Hopefully this beer will correct itself with time, but unfortunately had to drainpour my bottle about half way through. Very disappointed with this beer, especially after how much I liked the bourbon barrel version.

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Photo of merryjoulton
2.37/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

This is the 2008 vintage. I was very unobservant when I bought this because for some reason I was under the impression that it was a bourbon barrel aged vintage. I think I never made it past "Kentucky" when I read the back label. Anyways.

Pours a murky brown that disappointingly has no head and no film on top. There are bubbles in the beer, but they take a close look to notice. Smell is caramel and booze. Boring. It's hard to taste this when I can't get past the fact that its flat. Mouthfeel is absolutely horrible. Its almost like I'm drinking a beer thats been opened for a week. Drinkability is bad too. I just can't give this a good review. The $32 price tag makes it that much worse. I feel as though I've been duped. Oh well, that's life.

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The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 419 ratings.