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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

420 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 420
Hads: 660
Avg: 3.83
pDev: 19.84%
Wants: 184
Gots: 170 | 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: 420 | Hads: 660
Photo of deltatauhobbit
2.75/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2009 Vintage
12.7oz Cage and Corked Bottle

Ahh, the infamous Brandy Angel's Share, saw this at Julio's and couldn't pass up the chance to try the (potential) trainwreck from Lost Abbey, although the pricetag was close to scaring me off.

Pours into a chalice, dark brown color with only a hint of bubbles (shocking!), no lacing but she has legs on the glass.

Smell has a large presence of oak and caramel malt, bit of a soy sauce presence, huge aroma of alcohol, even picking up grapes...

Taste is an odd mix of oak and caramel malt, significant alcohol burn, very soft carbonation (there is a slight hint of it, but you kind of have to search for it), sticky in the mouth but not overly syrupy, still picking up that weird soy sauce with grapes taste.

Honestly, it's not as bad as I was thinking (not Triple Bock bad), but I won't be buy this ever again, not even at a significantly cheaper price such as $3. Maybe it needs a bit more age to mellow out the alcohol and wood characteristics. I've got its brother the Bourbon version, so we'll see how that one stacks up with my lower expectations.

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Photo of nataku00
2.77/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

On tap, poured into a wide mouth chalice type glass. Very dark brown beer with no head with the beer filled to the brim of the glass. Dark and murky, not much carbonation was visible.

Very complex aroma, dark brandy soaked fruits, raisins and plums, dark caramel, vanilla, oak, chocolate. Alcohol was very present on the nose as well.

This is a big and heavy beer on the tongue. All the flavors from the nose hits your tongue at the same time and smack it around. Big sweetness, dark brandy soaked fruits and boozy, dark caramels, darker sweet malts, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, and oak. Flavors were a mess and I didn't know what to make of it.

No carbonation. Absolutely still, making this very sweet, sticky and syrupy, forcing me to take verys mall sips. A little carbonation would have helped the flavors be more balanced. Very warm alcohol lingers in your throat.

Some good bold flavors there, but they're too much when a beer is completely flat. Left half of the pour in the glass on the table when I got up and left.

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Photo of Daniellobo
2.78/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Either a provocative barrel sour/wild ale or a pretty much infected bottle…

Presentation: 12.7 oz brown corked and caged bottle. Lost Abbey retro framed label with an illustration of a cellar where a fairy shines from the central barrel. Barrel offers a note about intent, process, and main characteristics of the brew. Shows 11.5% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Deep dark amber-brown pour, no head as it pours… faint rings bubbles.. with no retention or lacing. Really flat even for a barrel aged brew.

S - Long dark sugar sweetness, molasses coating dark fruit notes… malty… chocolate… Emerging long distant booze barrel...

T - Flavor hmmm, what a twits! Brandy notes, with that fruit and sugar under a sour apple cover! Very enticing at first… Then the sourness coated in that memory of the barrel takes a somewhat repetitive rhythm, vinegar… Ouch, it feels infected as it flows, either that and/or this is a pretty wild, wild ale...

M - Medium/full body with low/flat carbonation, and a bitter/sour energy that holds up the flow. A threat to bore the palate but as a sipper it does not quite do it at any point..

O - Enticing sipper initially, not so much as it progresses… Uff, tough one to crack in the end. Infected?

Notes: What a pity… Either Lost Abbey was trying to pull off a provocative barrel sour/wild ale or this one is very much infected. It really does not work very well either way.. Stimulating at first, tiresome rather quickly as it was asking to meet the drain... What an amazing disconnect between nose and palate… Sure, there is a link, but a thin and veiled one. And of course, all things considered, it feels like I paid waaay too much for this one. Wondering if this is an off quality-control bottle.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.78/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Flat, viscous, brown (hint of orange). Very little carbonation and no lacing. It looks like a glass of cola that has been left out over night.

S - Vanilla and oak - they sure deliver on those promises. Bourbon, molasses and alcohol. A nice aroma after all.

T - Initially, it is vanilla, cola and alcohol. Then the taste morphs into cola, oak, vanilla, molasses and alcohol. Aftertaste is of... uh, play-dough, grilled moss and alcohol (it is weird - but better than it sounds). Honestly, it tastes a bit like jack and coke - maybe with a splash of vanilla extract.

M - Thick like syrup and a little of an alcohol burn. Pretty refreshing though.

D - This is basically bottled jack and coke - for fifteen dollars. Honestly... for the price I am very disappointed. If the bottle was five dollars, I'd be less bitter and never buy it again because I'm not a huge fan. For the price I expected more, but this just isn't very good. I'm disappointed and saddened.

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Photo of Mavajo
2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours pitch black with absolutely zero head. Can already tell that the infamous reputation for being flat is well-founded.

Aroma is actually quite interesting. An odd and interesting blend of vanilla, grape, oak, alcohol and caramel. The taste, on the other hand, is just plain odd. Sour/tart, a grape-like character, alcohol burn, malt, roast, licorice/molasses. Not appealing.

And as the pour indicated, dead flat. Medium to thick.

Two things kill this beer. Lack of any carbonation, and just the odd taste. Boy am I pissed that I bought multiple bottles of this shit. Didn't realize it was the Brandy at the time. Lesson learned.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
2.81/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a snifter

A Pours a very dark brown with red highlights. No carbonation at all.

S The nose is quite nice and very sweet with notes of plum like fruit, and some brandy. Also present is a bit of caramel.

T The taste follows the nose with lots of brandy and caramel. Again very sweet. ABV seems well hidden.

M Flat and thin. Not pleasant.

Overall while this one smells nice nothing else about it stands out in a good way. A huge miss by Lost Abbey and a waste of money at $16.00

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Photo of TexIndy
2.9/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

2008 Edition. Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a snifter. Cork comes out with barely a sound and this after storing warm for months to get some carb going per the forum tips. Flat Abbey strikes again! It was a dark brown with mahogany edges when against the light. Even with a very hard pour there was no head - just a few stray bubbles scattered about. Obviously no lacing.

The aroma was good with oak, vanilla, dark fruits and brandy being very dominant. The taste followed the aroma with oak and alcohol being the main players. Flavor is hurt by lack of carb. I think this is my first brandy beer so can't compare it to other brandy's but would compare nicely to bourbons. Mouthfeel was blah. Absolutely no carbonation so very watery and slick.

Overall, yet another disappointment from Flat Abbey. They continue to baffle me. Their Duck Duck Gooze, Cable Car and Isabelle Proximus are hall of fame beers and among my all-time favorites. But multiple others are just flat, un-carbonated disasters. I got this one for free from a buddy or I'd be pissed about spending $30 for a flat beer.

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Photo of InlandTaipan
2.9/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was poured from a bottle and when uncorked made no noise.

A: Poured a dark raisin color. Head was taupe and diminished quickly.

S: This beer is sour. I know The Lost Abbey creates sour beers, but I did not think this was one of their sours. Harsh vinegar like aromas and minimal malt.

T: The flavor is delicious (planned or unplanned). Flavors reminiscent of figs, chocolate, toffee, and grape with cutting sour detail.

M: Pretty thin overall and flat.

O: This beer tastes great, but there are several portions of it which have you asking questions.

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Photo of drewba
2.91/5  rDev -24%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

09 Brandy poured into a tulip. I cracked this tonight because I had a friend who said he had an infected bottles, let's see how it goes.

A - opaque slick black with zero head and maybe 30-40 bubbles. After those pop, it's completely flat and stagnant. When I swirl the glass it looks like water, doesn't have any legs and does not produce any bubbles, really boring.

S - sweet vanilla, toasted wood, mild chocolate and a sharp alcoholic finish.

T - Opens with some muted vanilla and caramel sweetness, some nice roast, coconut and tons of milk chocolate and mocha. The sweetness becomes overwhelmed by harsh wood and booze.

M - medium bodied, but flat as hell. Its' only saving grace is that the flavors are sticking to my palate a bit.

O - The good news is that this isn't infected, but the bad news is that overall it's underwhelming. After a couple years, the booze is still present and sharp, the wood is burnt and harsh and the appearance and mouthfeel are subpar. The brandy is very subdued compared to a year or so ago.

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Photo of sessycuban
2.92/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

750ml bottle shared with a friend.

A - The beer pours flat, with no head, kind of like a bottle of port. A very rich dark brown, slightly viscous.

S - Lots of bourbon, caramel, and toffee. A lot going on here, but it comes together fantastically.

T - The beer tastes of bourbon, toffee, and caramel malts. A small but pleasant bitter hop presence. Slightly vinous, but not too hot. Very balanced.

M - The medium to heavy body works perfect for this beer, but the utter lack of carbonation destroys the mouthfeel and makes the drinking experience unpleasant.

D - Beer should be adequately carbonated; this beer is not, and is almost undrinkable. While the recipe is perfect, the absence of carbonation takes away from an otherwise fantastic beer. Avoid the 2008 batch, unless on-tap.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12.7 oz, Corked and Caged bottle "Brandy 2010" printed on the side, ABV 11.5%:

A: Well...the first thing that I noticed was the absence of any carbonation. I contacted the brewery and they indicted that the beer should have some carbonation, but ultimately I could not get the beer to produce a head. This was very much not what I expected at all. Aside from that the body of the beer was a thick dark black.

S: A pungent boozy aroma dominated, with a hint of sweetness and woodiness to it. Pretty well what I expected from a beer that had been in brandy barrels.

T: The taste was spot on with the nose, perhaps a hint of vanilla as well. I think that the taste suffered due to the lack of carbonation.

M/D: The beer was like drinking syrup, very heavy, no carbonation to mention, as noted above, so this pretty well ruined the feel of the beer as well as the drinkability of the beer.

Highly disappointed, as I have tried several other beer by Port/Lost Abbey and have not been disappointed. More than likely I will try this again, but it is tough shelling out $12 for a beer and being completely unsatisfied.

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Photo of zachary80
2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to tat2dhllblly for the trade at DLD 2012.

12.7oz C&C. 2009 vintage. Pops open with only the slightest hiss

Pours very dark brown with no head. No lacing.

Aroma is good - sweet and malty, smooth.

Flavor is harmed by the lack of carbonation, otherwise follows the aroma. Hard to pick out any details, but melds together well.

Mouthfeel also takes a huge hit. Light alcohol presence is welcome and not harsh at al.

Overall the lack of carbonation pretty much ruined what seems like it would be an excellent beer. I would never be able to pick out the brandy barrel aging, but it does seem complex.

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Photo of ejquin
2.96/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: Brown/Burgundy with no head whatsoever

S: Figs, raisins, alcohol, molasses, brandy butterscotch

T/M: I'm not going to belabor the point, but the mouthfeel suffes significantly from the fact that there is zero carbonation. The taste is similar to the nose, only boozier. Lots of figs and rasins with brandy mixed in.

So i read the guys review below me and he declared his as not flat, though really undercarbonated. This is completely flat. Like a smidge above water, and really, it ruins everything for me. $30 drain pour, but you live and learn.

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Photo of Chaney
2.98/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I need to thank my good buddy Blake for bringing this 2009 vintage back from Philly sometime last year. Blake, get thee to BA!

Barely even a thud for a cork pop.

A: No head whatsoever, with a dark brown (burgundy), prune juice-like appearance. Even though there was no head, the liquid was glistening and shiny, sort of like Venom from the Spider-Man fame.

S: Lots of brandy.... maybe straight up brandy even, with a distinct scent of butter and oak. Unfortunately, I also got some urine on the aromatic profile.

T: There was some major heat on this mother, and not in the most pleasant way. After a while I got used to the booze and didn't notice it as much, unfortunately the chalkiness started to get to me.

M: Of couse the carbonation is extremely low to non-existent, but that is not the point of this experiment anyway. What would have made this better for me would have been MORE sugar. That would have aided considerably in cutting through the solvent.

O: This seems to be a polarizing brew for sure, and I can definitely see why. I respect it, but don't particularly care for it.

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Photo of bluejacket74
2.99/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12.7 ounce (375 ml) caged and corked bottle, 2010 vintage. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a murky brown color with no head and no lacing at all. The cork was on the bottle tight, but once I got it out and there was no "pop", I figured this would be a flat bottle. The brew smells like dark fruit, brandy, molasses and caramel. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also a red grape and a bit of a weird tart fruit flavor. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little slick with pretty much no carbonation. I'm lucky I didn't get a totally infected bottle of this, it could have been a lot worse. This wasn't an awful beer, but it wasn't really enjoyable either. I'd like to try a good bottle of this brew at some point in the future, but that's not going to happen anytime soon after drinking this one.

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Photo of atigerlife
2.99/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2008 bottle. Rather pricey.

Bottle opens with no pop. No head. Dark. Looks like prune juice.

Aroma is sweet, malts and prunes [maybe I'm just hung up on the appearance!].

Taste is of dark fruits, coffee, alcohol, vanilla and woody. Somewhat medicinal.

Mouthfeel is flat, slightly dry.

The brew is OK, but nothing exciting. Certainly not worth the price that was paid. Rather unimpressed.

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Photo of samie85
2.99/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2010 Brandy bottling.

A-Pours a deep coffee color with a slight rim of tan head.

S-Brandy-soaked plums with vanilla and a bit of chocolate.

T-Brandy upfront with some plums and some chocolate and some hot alcohol burn on the finish.

M-Almost no carbonation with a thick body and a very hot alcohol burn.

D-The alcohol burn fades a little as it warms to room temp., but it still lingers which really hurts the drinkability for me. I do enjoy the flavor profile, though the price point is really discouraging me from trying this one again.

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Photo of Derek
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2010, 375mL, 11.5%.

Thanks to Rutager, I've been wanting to try one of these for a while.

A: Almost still, murky brown, no head, no lace.

S: Sour cherry, golden raisin, dates and plenty of brandy. The aroma is divine.

T: Sour cherries, bit of vinegar, hints of lactic acid. Dates, golden raisins, brown sugar & nuts. Modest bitterness; although it's rather sherry-like, the alcohol is very subtle. Much more like a Rodenbach than an American Strong.

M: Very slight carbonation; Moderately full body is fairly creamy; surprisingly acidic. Certainly different.

D/O: Surprisingly tart. Is that intentional? I have to say I really disliked the first few sips and wondered if it might be a drain pour. For some reason I kept going back and was strangely intrigued. There really is a lot of depth here, but it's just not my cup-o-tea.

Okay, so I left the last 3rd of the bottle and cracked a Supplication, which wasn't nearly as sour.

I think this was a good brew, but it's gone bad. And the fact that it's still means they actually bottled it this way?

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Photo of brentk56
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

2008 Bottling

Appearance: As others have noted, this looks like prune juice, not beer - no carbonation at all

Smell: The best attribute of this beer, as the lack of carbonation has no impact; the boozy element hits the nostrils right away, with a little bit of burn; underneath is the dark fruit (prune juice, perhaps) and brandy

Taste: Prune dominated dark fruit, with raisins and molasses, up front; by mid-palate, they oak and brandy elements rise to the fore and linger after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body and flabby, with no carbonation but plenty of warmth

Drinkability: The flavors are enjoyable but this beer seems to be heading downhill, not only from the lack of carbonation, but from the effects of oxidation; such a pity that the carbonation issues across so many of the Lost Abbey beers have compromised the brewery's reputation but they chose economics over reputation

Note: I am now drinking the 2009 on 4/1/11 and have gotten over the lack of carbonation and decided just to focus on the flavors. While I am going to leave the ratings from the 2008 alone, I have to say that I am rather enjoying the taste of this one. The port-like character of the aroma and the taste is enticing and, while there is some booziness, it has mellowed into a flavorful melange.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Re-review. 2008 375ml bottle.

A - Pours black, no head, totally flat. A few bubbles here and there on top, but otherwise, not much else to speak of.

S - Bourbon, chocolate, oak, dark fruits.

T - Similar to the nose. Too hot for me and with zero carbonation, it's not very appealing at all. Pretty much a "hot mess", if you will.

M - Medium to heavy, no carbonation, not very smooth.

D - No thanks for the 2008 version. I'm going to review once again when I crack a bottle that's a different vintage. This one is a no-go. I have to drain-pour this bottle...couldn't drink this any longer.

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Photo of champ103
3.04/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a 2008 bottle. I found it for a decent price, and thought I would give it a try. As I pull the cork, no pop. Grr.

A: Pours a dark brown color. A tiny bubbly head forms and recedes to nothing in a second. No lace.
S: Dry wood, smoke, vanilla, sweet toffee, and chocolate in the nose. Tons of alcohol.
T: Very sweet. Lots of toffee and vanilla. Cloyingly sweet. Dry wood and smoke. Tons of alcohol
M/D: Thick and syrupy with no carbonation. The lack of carbonation and alcohol makes this a slow sipper.

I wanted to see if the 2008 finally carbonated. It is not, and pretty much ruins this for me. I don't want to harp on that issue to much. It is what it is. I hope I can find some 2009, which I hear is suppose to be carbonated. Will update my review then.

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Photo of evilkalla
3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Serving: 350ml bottle into a snifter. I'm not sure what vintage this is, although the bottle looks very new and the ABV is listed at 11.5% instead of 12%.

A: Pours a murky, cloudy brown. Flat and lifeless. I guess this beer was intended to be this way? Not impressed at all.

S: The smell is a huge step forward. Plums, raisins, figs and vanilla dominate the aroma. Almost comes across like a dessert wine. Very nice.

T: Has a slightly sour sort of raisin-esque character to it. The GF tasted it and said it reminded her of prune juice. I can detect some hints of wood in here but this just isn't very good. Alcohol is not really noticeable, so it has smoothness going for it.

M: Flat, astringent and lifeless. Awful.

O: This beer smells good but it fails in pretty much all other respects. I like a lot of the other beers from this brewery, but this one is just not for me. I would avoid this one.

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Photo of Overlord
3.06/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

**here's my original review from years ago:

To be quite honest, I've enjoyed the Lost Abbey beers, but not as much as their reputation would have led me to expect. I picked up a half case of Angel's Share, and tried one tonight. It is, to summarize, a triumph.

Pours a murky reddish tan, with a fairly minimal deep tan head. Looks appealing, but it is the smell that first lets you know this is something special. I rarely, if ever, praise a beer extensively for its aroma, but this is both a treasure for your nose and your taste buds.

Rich with oak, candied molasses, plums?/figs?/raisins?/cherries?/prunes? and god knows what other dark fruits, the hint of carbonation gives a wonderfully complex malty backbone just enough "levity" to spruce up this heavy, heavy concoction. There's brandy, some chocolate (dark, bitter chocolate), and a whole bunch of other stuff going on here as well.

I was blown away.

**How can I leave the above review intact? This no longer reflects the Brandy Barrel Angel's Share that has been released. Apparently the flat, un-carbonated monstrosity that I purchased at an inflated price was "intended" as an "English Barleywine" with absolutely no carbonation, and I was just too dumb to realize it. I will average the scores of one of my favorite beers, and come up with something that reflects the two vintages.

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Photo of rpstevens
3.07/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

2008 750ml bottle shared by jammalamma, poured into a dogfish signature glass. The cork pops without a sound.

The pour yields no head at all, there is a murky amber layer on top of a brown/black head that lets a little light through around the edges.

The smell is molasses, vanilla, brandy booze, dark fruits and sweet caramel. The nose is by far the best part of this beer.

The taste follows the smell nicely, vanilla, molasses and brandy, with more oak characteristics that mellow it out. The alcohol isn't as present in the taste as the smell.

The mouthfeel is incredibly thin, and there is NO carbonation at all in this beer. If this were carbonated it would be better than the bourbon version, the flavors are more balanced and the scent is awesome, but the drinkability is awful, like a thin cough syrup.

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Photo of TK5150
3.07/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not sure of the Vinatge, the year was printed pporly on the bottle.

A- Pours dark brown with pretty much no carbonation or head.

S- Smells of molasses, caramelized malts, oak, and brandy/grapes. The best part of this beer.

T- Tart chardonnay (tart/sour white grapes) and oaky tannins. A bit buttery as well. Hints of sharp cheddar cheese. Not hot at all, but a warming sensation is felt down the esophagus. A very tart beer, actually. Just a weird flavor combination that doesn't really work.

M- Lighter side of medium bodied. Fairly smooth. Flat.

O- A major disappointment from The Lost Abbey, especially at the massive price point. The bourbon version is much better, but either way, these angel's share versions are really expensive for what you get.

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The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 420 ratings.