Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 420 | Hads: 660
Photo of Rutager
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

2010 poured into a stemmed Lost Abbey tulip.

Appearance. Pours a murky cola brown with no head, very still.

Smell. Boozy brandy, some old wood and vanilla, cherries and dark berries. This actually smells quite nice.

Taste. Old wood and raisins with a bit of sour grape juice, just a little bitter cocoa powder. Not very boozy, especially considering the abv.

Mouthfeel. The body is a nice medium-full but the near complete lack (and I say near because there actually is a very small amount) of carbonation is just not very pleasant.

Overall. This beer is just a great tragedy for me. A fine brew that's ruined by having no carbonation. Maybe this was the brewer's intention but it wouldn't be my choice as a consumer. Bummed that this cost me $17. More fuel for the devil side of my love/hate for this brewery ;-)

Edit: I drank the whole thing! Not sure if it was a train wreck that I just couldn't turn away from, or if I couldn't bear to pour so much $$$ down the drain ;-)

 983 characters

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.

 557 characters

Photo of rodlavers
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, split and poured into a snifter. Such a weird beer.

Murky brown in color, absolutely zero head. Serious legs.

Boozey, I guess brandy aromas. It almost smells like a wine; nearly sour, but also sweet.

Taste is really sour and tart, but does improve as it warms. Brandy, and some subtle notes of oak and perhaps light, light caramel.

Mouthfeel is like a wine, really smooth up front and bitter on the end. No carbonation.

Overall not nearly as good as the bourbon, but worth a try. Such an interesting beer.

 524 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to AndrewK for sharing this one at his tasting.

2009 vintage.

Pours an almost opaque brown-black with no head and no lace. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, raisins, dark fruits, vanilla, brandy, and wood. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish and a woody aftertaste that lingers after each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is good beer that smells better than it tastes. I just wish the carbonation level was better.

 503 characters

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.

 758 characters

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

 621 characters

Photo of B33R501
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

needed something hefty after 2 nitro cans of youngs double chocolate (that was interesting) this will do. $7.00 per 10oz serving at a little oasis Ortino's Northside makes this a must buy. seen this priced $22-$25 12 oz bottle, that's ridiculous, it's a beer. i completely agree with something i saw posted here, paying more than $1 per ounce any beer, you're paying too much.

pours very dark not much head or carbonation but i didnt think this was flat at all. nice aroma of brandy sweetness and caramel, almost barleywine like. taste follows, the wood aging very evident, sweet but not cloying at all. this beer demands to be sipped and savored, just a little alcohol let's you know this is serious.
smooth and satisfying, massive yet delicate.

outstanding. but i still wont pay $22 for 12oz.
great little hideaway bar, also picked up 6 celebration, listed $4 each, they gave it to me for a reasonable $12.

and much better than kbs. on par with 2 fantastic beers, central waters bbb and weyerbacher insanity.

 1,014 characters

Photo of Tilley4
2.51/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

It's with some hesitancy that I even bought this beer but while I'm down in Atlanta, I did some shopping around and found 3 bottles of this staring back at me... I know of the carbonation issues they've had... but I bought it anyway. I just couldn't pass it up as it's probably the only bottle I'll ever have of it....

Pouring it into a red wine glass.. Here we go...

Well, it's definitely lacking carbonation... Pours like thinned down motor oil... Hmmm...

I'm actually digging the aromas I'm getting off of this... Big doses of oak and brandy and vanilla... Doesn't smell boozy though... Very intriguing aromas... Very complex...

And... nope... Flat and watery right up front and then I'm overwhelmed by this musty sour earthiness that wipes out every positive thing about this beer away... I love sours and wild ales but I don't think this is what they were looking for with this at all... It's painful to sip on... I'm trying to like it and give it the benefit of the doubt and pick out some positives but.... With a little carbonation and that putrid sourness gone, this would be a really good sipper at the end of the night..

As is? Drain pour and at $14.99 a pop, a rip off. I should have listened to my instincts on this.... I now know why there were 3 more on the shelves...

 1,289 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.51/5  rDev +17.8%
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 MDDMD
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-dark brown color with no head

S-brandy, molasses, hints of dried fruit

T-molasses, dried fruit, some malt flavor and oak with significant brandy flavors coming through

F-medium body with minimal carbonation, smooth

O-an interesting strong ale, but too much brandy and no carbonation of note

 297 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a brown color with a red tint. Almost no head and no lacing.

S - It smelled a little like Sweet Tarts candy. Some caramel sweetness, too.

T - It tasted sweet and slightly tart. Lots of booziness. I guess a little brandy taste. Some maltiness with hints of caramel and Belgian spices.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice beer. Don't know if this was how it was intended, but it certainly was interesting.

 472 characters

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?

 1,055 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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 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

 515 characters

Photo of claspada
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
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 chugalug06
2.51/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5


A - Amazingly FLAT. Very oxidized looking. Thick and syrupy. Very caramel colored. No fizz. No head. No Lacing.

S - Very vanilla. Strong heat scent. Very raw scent. Not overly impressive. Tons of caramel, but overwhelmed by chocolate sugary malt.

T/M - Not stimulating, at all. Flat, no bubbles :( Strong HEAT! Not appetizing. Strong vanilla and brandy.

O - Very disappointing, especially at the $20 price point. Not recommended. I really wanted to like this beer, but it let me down on too many levels. This brew was a total mess.

 541 characters

Photo of emerge077
2.48/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks Don for the chance to try a bottle i'd never take the risk on... an aged 750 served in a snifter glass.

Pours a tawny dark brown, transparent in the glass with a feeble ring of bubbles around the edges. No visible carbonation, looks a bit still.

Smells interesting, likely infected, but a bit of sour mash, maltiness and odd musty barrel character. Taste touches on these notes with a bit of tartness and a mealy unpleasant taste as well. Thin and tart, the drain drank more of this than I did :(

 507 characters

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.

 1,761 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.52/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Bottle labeled BRANDY 2010 poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Dark brown with no carbonation at all and not a single bubble of head.

S - Brandy and a big sweetness up front with caramel, brown sugar and molasses. A touch of chocolate in the background.

T - FLAT, as I suspected from the pour. Trying to ignore the flatness, there is a big sweetness up front - dark caramel, molasses and brown sugar flavours all mixed together. The brandy and oak flavours are secondary but still in good proportion. The alcohol is slightly noticeable but not overly for the ABV. A hint of chocolate and some dark fruit notes come through in the background.

M - FLAT. The body is otherwise medium.

O - Was really looking forward to this beer and it turned out to be a very expensive drain pour.

 779 characters

Photo of PatrickSwayze
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber black in appearance with absolutely zero dome to it.

S: Deep raisin and chocolate vanilla with a hint of oak booze

T: Tastes  like a boozy bliss mix with chocolate raisins and whiskey vanilla like oak flavors. Really complex though a tad flat

M: Decently thick with low carbonation but intense complexity on the taste buds. Balanced between dry and sweet.

O: I really enjoyed this beer though i feel it came off a tad flat. Exquisite complexities from the barrel aging 

 484 characters

Photo of drowland
4.78/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Rating 1700! 375 millimeter bottle sampled at RBWG 2010 - shared by kp, I believe! Huge Wow this is amazing. Dark reddish/brown pour with a small tan head that fades fast. The aroma and flavor are both awesome vanilla, apples, coconut, barrel, and so much more. Amazing stuff!

 276 characters

Photo of beerpirates
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml poured into my lost abbey stemware glass
12.5 % ABV

A: Pours a deep reddish brown collor . No sign of carbonation , no head , flat.

S: brandy, raisins, molasses and some vanilla, nice complexity. As it warms, the vanilla gets stronger.

T: brandy, raisins, molasses, sweet malts, dark fruits, vanilla and a strong alcohol presence. As it warms, vanilla becomes more pronounced. This one is definitely a sipper.

M: on the thick side, but not too much, absolutly no carbonation, which is not a huge negative as I don't think this needs much carbonation to begin with, but a little would help.

O: not a bad beer, I prefer the brany version above the bourbon version !

 675 characters

Photo of koopa
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2008 vintage 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Pours like flat coca cola.

Smell: A muddled mixture of dark malts and faded brandy rounded out with a hint of oak.

Taste: Same as the nose but less pungent and more flabby. No alcohol heat or residual sweetness at this point.

Mouthfeel: Thick side of medium bodied with barely any carbonation.

Overall: This was one of the notorious "flat abbey" beers back in 2008 and 3 years of aging certainly hasn't helped it improve.

 466 characters

Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kojevergas for this one. Poured into a Gouden Carolus tulip at altitude in Denver.

A: Pours a strange, dark hazy caramel color that’s darker on the bottom of the glass than at the top. No head at all.

S: Strong brandy notes, raisins and a bit of vinegar.

T: Sour wine-like notes, quite a lot of brandy flavor. Yeast on the finish. This one is really unique – unlike anything I’ve tasted before.

M: Full-bodied with a wet mouthfeel and a little bit of tingling carbonation.

D: Perhaps it’s because I’m not familiar with the way brandy tastes, but this beer was very different from anything I’ve had before. If you’re looking for a new experience, this is a good choice.

 697 characters

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.

 904 characters

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