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

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The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged

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very good

418 Reviews
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Reviews: 418
Hads: 649
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 21%
Wants: 182
Gots: 172 | 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: 418 | Hads: 649
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.51/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from 1/2011 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours dark, dark red brown amber. No head or carbonation. Rich aroma of brandy, dark fruits, malt and alcohol. Nice. Dark fruits with an emphasis on plums, brandy, some sherry notes. Heavy bodied and complex. Finishes sweet and boozy. A pleasant complex strong ale. This will definitely be interesting to age. It needs a bit more carbonation to rate higher, but I'll still get this again. (453 characters)

Photo of Derek
3.03/5  rDev -20.5%
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? (1,055 characters)

Photo of Gobzilla
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights and a thin head that left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots od dark fruits especially raisins in the aroma with plenty of brandy woody barrel character, hints of vanilla, slight vinous notes, pear esters, maple syrup tones and plenty of booze.

T: the pear and maple syrup was more apparent on the taste alongside woody brandy barrel character, dark fruits, vanilla accents, and quite a bit of heat.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, woody, dark fruity, boozy, and sticky finish.

O: it was an 09 vintage and it was still pretty hot, I honestly thought it would have mellowed out somewhat; still tasty though. (740 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.77/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle, split with Lexx at Beerbistro.

Poured into snifters, a cloudy brown/orange, thin tan head forms, settles down to a thin ring, leaves some spots on the glass, and has some nice legs. Smell is amazing, sherry, oak, rich raisins and fig, toffee, brandy, some alcohol, vanilla and chocolate, dark fruits, bananas foster, insanely rich, sweet brown sugar/molasses, just great. Taste is just as good, lots of toffee coated figs and raisins, brandy and oak, alcohol, vanilla, rum raisins, chocolate, bourbon, date pudding, caramelized bananas, toast, simply amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, low carbonation, warming, alcohol hidden very well, really coats your mouth and is insanely smooth for such a big beer. Very long finish, very rich, one of the best liquids I've ever put in my mouth. (824 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.21/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a 750ML bottle. 2008 Edition, purchased in Ft Collins for ~$30.00

Caged and corked, it had a small pop when I pulled the cork.

It pours a very dark brown with some hues of red and no head of foam....jsut a ring around the glass. Ok, so there is some foam. ;^)

The smell is loaded with brandy and dark fruits, some vanilla, and a big caramel malty sweetness. It smells nice if a bit boozy but at 12%abv, it's certainly no lightweight.

The taste is yummy. Plenty of sweetness from the malt with a reasonable(read not overdone) flavour of the brandy, light notes of chocolate, good dark fruitiness, and a nice touch of vanilla. There's lots of warming after the swallow but I don't mind that at all. Very tasty.

The mouthfeel of the liquid itself isn't bad but if there was a little mor..nevermind, I'm not going down that road.

Drinkability? This is a powerful beer, make no mistake about it but I'm enjoying the complex flavours that leave me smacking my mouth, trying to find anything that I've missed and I probably did. lol.

Bottom line: Great taste and smell and good drinkability. I'm not at all unhappy that I bought this bottle.


2009 Edition, 375ml bottle, corked and caged.

A nice pop when I removed the cork, some foam was heading for the opening of the bottle but stopped short.

A vigerous pour gave me a fine line of foam that quickly subsided to just a ring around the glass and a few small islands in the middle. The colour looks black but it *could* be a very very dark brown. No hint of any hues shining through.

The nose has a big Brandy presence that brings the big alcohol. Some dark fruits make it through as well as some vanilla but the Brandy aroma is strong.

Tasting this puppy now. I'm getting Brandy, good milk chocolate sweetness, assorted dark fruitiness, notes of vanilla, a hint of some fruit tartness(just a hint)and lots of warming. Wow This sure is tasty but the alcohol is all of the 12% that it's listed as. I've had the Bourbon offering as well and I think this one is a bit hotter.

It has a fullish mouthfeel and, I think, perfectly light carbonation for this monster of a brew.

Drinkability? Let me put it this way...I'm glad it's only a 375ml bottle as I think that's the only way to go for this son of a gun. Tasty and smooth drinking yeah but the abv is killer.

Rating: 3.0/4.0/4.0/4.5/3.5 (2,357 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jh1982 for breaking this out for the Marquette/Syracuse game during March Madness. Sweet 16 baby! Pours much darker than I expected, looked at the bottle again to make sure this wasn't the bourbon. Low carbonation, but didn't expect much, and would say it didn't really seem to have much impact on the beer, this seems like one meant to have very little carbonation.

Good oak and vanilla aromas complementing the brandy. Also chocolate?

Taste, nice, a little sweeter than the bourbon version, a definite sipper. Licorice and chocolate seem there. Wood flavors. Raisins. I think I like the blended version better. (625 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.23/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle opened on 10.15.13
2010 Vintage

A - Pours a very dark brown and completely flat. No head at all.

S - Sweet, syrupy, dark fruit.

T - Very sweet and bitter fruit. Not good.

D - No carbonation to speak of with a heavy body.

O - Sweet, syrupy, dark fruit with no carbonation. No thanks. (294 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

375ml corked and caged 2008 bottle poured into tulip 28/5/13 thanks MasterSki and Sean9689 for sending me one of my longest standing wants

A dark cola liquid but there's just a slight poof when I pop the cork, even dumping it right down the center I get just a short lived film that leaves no lace, just a few pin prick bubbles but for the most part it looks pretty still. some sediment and legs on the side of the glass is something I don't see everyday

S lots of caramels and toffees, brown sugar both crystals and burnt, vanilla and brandy's strong, some sugar coated raisins with a hint of straight booze and oak, smells pretty solid

T a little more booze then the nose and loads of brandy, still woody and some candied dried fruits still there and less sugars and caramels, tastes good but the noes was much better

M silky but flat, some tannins but there's heat too, I like the aftertaste of brandy and caramel but its very still with just a couple bubbles and it may be just a couple as in two bubbles

O I want to love this beer as it smell great and tastes solid but it's pretty much dead in other areas, smell and flavor goes a long way but I'm not getting the whole package

This would be a world class beer if some issues were dealt with, I've only had a few beers from this brewery but I've noticed a trend (1,326 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.12/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour reveals no head and no residual foam. The color is a murky Coke and coffee colored brew.

Very viney aroma. The brandy barrels really add punchy grape, vinegar aroma to this beer. Combined with that is a greenapple, toasted malt, and barnyard backup aroma.

Very tart fruity yeast flavors combine with the winey, earthy, oakey, Brandy barrel flavors. This makes a tart and chalky dry palate with some alcoholic heat.

This beer was interetsing, but definetly not what I expected or hoped for. Especially for the price. (524 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 release, 12.7oz bottle, $15.99 in Chicago. The price is high, but I was glad to get a smaller bottle as I'm pretty sure 750mL would be way too much of this beer. The beer is dark brown and opaque, thin ring of head, no lace but above all there are BUBBLES! The aroma is strong brandy, caramel-like sugar, plums and other dark fruits, boozy alcohol. The taste is all brandy, I'm not sure how much the base beer matters against the strength of these barrels. I'd like to try Angel's Share without the barrel aging so I could get a better feel for the beer itself, but that's not to say this isn't good. Any flavors I list are likely to be from the brandy, dark fruits like figs and plums, strong booze, etc. Lightly carbonated with a velvety mouthfeel, I honestly think the light mouthfeel suits the style well. (814 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
2.99/5  rDev -21.5%
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. (811 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Brick Store during the LA/Port kick-off.

Pours a surprisingly dark brown color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sticky caramel malts with large amounts of vanilla and booze-soaked dark fruits - plums and raisins. Also present are hints of toffee and butterscotch.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by heavy toffee and butterscotch flavors. Midway through the sip the barrels come into play, with moderate amounts of vanilla and boozy brandy notes. Hints of dark fruit flavors come into play near the end of the sip before fading out into a moderately sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was a fan of this beer and I found the base beer was augmented very well by the barrel. Well worth a shot. (1,017 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 750ml bottle.

Pours a dark, dark brown color, with a thin, wispy, beige-hued head. Some amber hues when held up to the light. Pretty flat and wine-like in appearance.

Aromas begin with lightly sweet caramel maltiness, which is immediately joined by dark fruity notes of homemade jam and marmalade dosed with caramelized/burnt sugars. As it warms the aromas become more brandy/barrel forward with booze soaked dark fruits and light oak char.

The tastes begin with sweet dark fruits, spiced fig jam, toasted/burnt bread, vanilla, caramelized sugars and particularly punchy oak tannins. A very meager hint of roast as it warms in the background. As it continues to warm, you are greeted with more puckering oak combined with some belly-warming, soul-pleasing brandy. Touch of earthiness in the semi-sweet finish.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with no carbonation but plenty of warmth. Oak and brandy become more dominant as it warms; drinks more like a thin liquor as you continue to sip. Flavors linger on the palate long after you sip, and sip you must.

Overall this was a nice beer to sample and one I was quite excited for as I newly found out I like brandy quite a bit, but the lack of carbonation and heavy oak makes it a task to consume an entire bottle, even over a 3 hour period. Much more suited for the new smaller 375 bottles but a touch more carbonation and restrained barrel flavors would have made this much more approachable and enjoyable. (1,472 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 375ml bottle into my Orval glass. This is a 2009 bottle.

The beer pours a very dark brown, you can really tell the difference between brown and black on this one. There is no carbonation at all. No head comees up at all.

The aroma is super sweet and matly. Vanilla dominates this then you get some nice notes of brandy, and wood.

The taste is all malt, tons of vanilla again almost all the way through the finish. At the end there is a little wood and an alcoholic finish.

The feel is really weak here. Its very light feeling without much of a finish. There is a light warm feel.

Overall, this is ok, nothing special, the grand cru crushes this. (671 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes taken on 11/10/10 at the Armsby Abbey. Poured into a snifter. This is a 2009 batch.

A - A rich, dark not quite black pour with no light passing through. There was a one finger dark tan head that dissolved quickly into a tan halo.

S - Unlike the more aggressive bourbon barrel-aged Angel's Share this alcohol, the brandy, is more subdued allowing dark earthy fruits and a touch of carmel to really pop.

T - Very, very similar to the nose with just more dark fruits and carmel. There is a nice interplay of the delicious brandy and your typical strong ale flavours.

M - Low carbonation, creamy. The brandy is present on the mouth, but more subtle thanks to the aging.

D - The year really helped this strong ale out. Flavours have melded very nicely to create a very solid ale. Smooth, creamy, and potent with nice complex flavours but would still benefit from more aging. (886 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap, brouwers hard liver festival

appearance: served in an unbranded snifter - dark chocolatey body, thin mocha cap

smell: strong waves of barrel and brandy, dark chocolate, spiced cookies

taste: rich and spicy - potent brandy presence, lots of impact from the barrel, raisins, caramel, nutty, coconut. Pretty wild stuff - nice to sample on tap and avoid the astronomical bottle prices (and sh1tty carbonation issues)

mouthfeel: big and rich - not a barleywine

overall: tasty - more interesting than the bourbon version, but not as good (544 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at good dog in philly

Pours totally black, thinner tanned head, very little lacing or retention on the glass.

Huge brandy notes with earthy wood and heavy syrupy sweetness, vanilla and tannins add some flairs, honey with dark fruit as well.

Big slap of boozy brandy with plenty of barrel presence. Higher sweetness level with syrupy molasses, maple, honey, and a pile of dark fruit. Earthy roasted malt, caramel stickiness. Raisins, dates, and figs. Finishes warm and almost cloying, super rich overall.

Full syrupy body, lower carbonation (but absolutely not flat), sticky and chewy. Great flavor, nice barrel integration, very rich but an excellent beer. (671 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.69/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Lost Abbey. Despite the incredible fall from grace that this beer has had to endure, it still was one of my most anticipated beers of the day. Enough so that I was willing to drink a pint in a warehouse when it was 100 degrees out

A: Dark chestnut brown with a thin brown head with OK retention. Great clarity, this beer looks pretty nice. Retention could be better, but at 12%, that's asking for a bit much

S: Insane. Brandy booziness layered over complex sweetness with caramel, dark honey, mild nuttiness. Alcohol is practically non-existent. Oak is present, with a tannic character that works well with the booze.

T: Opening up with sweet brandy and plenty of complex fruity sweetness - figs, caramel, honey. Rather light in body, and that prevents this beer from being cloying (it's far from it), and the drying tannic finish is excellent

M: I can see why the carbonation is essential - it simply highlights everything that's good about this beer - an excellent palate, a mild zing to go with both the dryness and the tannic finish. Fantastic stuff.

D: If I wasn't going to an epic tasting after this, I would have drunk the hell out of this and the bourbon AS on tap. Excellent beers, along with DDG, the only beers I kept wanting to drink in the 100 degree heat. (1,284 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12.7 oz bottle split and poured into a tulip. 2009, 11.5% ABV, "Brandy 09" printed on the bottom of the bottle.

Thanks to cjacobsen for this brew!

A - Clear dark brown with zero carbonation (from Lost Abbey? THAT never happens), this brew has no bubbles at all. Not even a vigorous swirl can bring anything out.

S - Huge boozy aroma with a big barrel nose. Denatured cleaning alcohol behind with a beefy roasted malt scent. Brandy aroma is big. It's a bold nose with very little complexity.

T - Dark roasted chocolate malt and coffee with mocha notes and molasses on the finish. Warm brandy and oak is a good addition and thankfully never gets as solvent-rich as the nose.

M - Zero carbonation really hurts this brew. The medium-full body feels somewhat thin without it. Smooth entry to a somewhat hot finish. Warming through and through.

D - This is a decent beer but a little over-the-top. The lack of carbonation is hurtful for both the beer and the brewery that doesn't seem to care. Another year or two to mellow this one out would be nice. (1,051 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml courtesy of RomanW70. Pours the color prune juice with no head. Nose was vanilla, booze and a suggestion of grapes. Taste follows nose with the addition of some cocoa. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with an almost non-existent carbonation presence. Delicious beer with great complexity. This beer doesn't need a lot of carbonation, but a trace more would have really made this beer exquisite. A great offering nonetheless, but definitely one to share. (453 characters)

Photo of champ103
3.04/5  rDev -20.2%
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. (766 characters)

Photo of rfgetz
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with mahogany highlights, starts with very small cap of khaki head, gone very quick. Scent is rich and complex... notes of brandy, port wine, chocolate, fig, prune, oak, vanilla, lightly burnt carmel. Taste combines all scattered notes of scent perfectly, rich, deep dark and complex - a definite sipper. Full bodied, lower carbonation. The burbon version works a little bit better with the make up of the beer (deep and dark) while the brandy version adds a little bit of brightness. Draft adds more to the experience in body for sure as opposed to bottle. (576 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4.29/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to my boy Lunch for sending me this one in a past trade! 2009 Vintage! Tasted back-to-back-to-back with Bourbon and Grand Cru. Served from bottle into a Surly Darkness snifter. Poured a murky dark brown with a basically non-existant off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, wood, massively sweet alcohol (brandy, yum!), and subtle peat. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, wood, very sweet alcohol (more brandy!), and subtle peat. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was an excellent brew. I enjoyed this one quite a bit more than its bourbon counterpart. This could have to do with the fact that I enjoy Brandy over Bourbon, but this one was just much sweeter and more inviting. Definitely great flavor and aroma going on here. Really glad I got the chance to try this along-side the Bourbon version for comparison, but this one definitely took the cake between the two. (998 characters)

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

375mL bottle, corked and caged, stamped "Brandy 09" near the bottom

Pours a deep chestnut brown with a large amount of haze. Almost purple in color and no head whatsoever. Only a few brown bubbles on the pour.

The nose is big and bad. Brandy dominates with figs, molasses, dark cherries and a slight woodiness. Largely boozey and a tad overwhelming.

Raisins and figs with dark cherries. Booze dominates with a finish of heat and tobacco. The brandy is almost too much here. It toes the line well, but pulls back just enough.

There's not much carbonation here at all. Syrupy with loads of heat and a medium body.

It took me a little while to warm up to the amount of brandy the aging imparted on this beer. I wavered between not liking it and loving it throughout drinking the bottle. Really on the fence here. (814 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black-ish color with a small tan to no head. In the aroma, dark fruit,, brandy notes and hints of alcohol. In the taste, brandy, small oak notes and alcohol taste in the end. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry to sweet brandy like aftertaste. Big brandy presence, small oak notes, and its a sipper. (336 characters)

The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 418 ratings.