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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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

625 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 625
Reviews: 413
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 20.42%
Wants: 179
Gots: 167 | FT: 9
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 625 | Reviews: 413 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of merryjoulton
2.35/5  rDev -38.5%
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.

Photo of 0110x011
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reconditioned 375ml bottle, 2008 vintage
Reviewed from notes.

A - Pours a meaty dark brown. Thin, wispy head. Thin collar. No lacing whatsoever. Not the prettiest beer I've ever seen.
S - vanilla, oak, brandy, cocoa, caramel, toffee, amaretto. Very aromatic.
T - caramel, vanilla, oak, brandy, tannic, cocoa, booze. The flavors blossom exponentially once it gets to about 55 degrees. Highly complex and deep.
M - Thin body; carbonation is there, but it's still a bit too light. More would have livened thing up quite a bit.
D - Medium at best. More bubbles would definately have helped.

On tap, this beer is rivaled by very few; from any serving type, it still is in the upper echelon aroma and flavor wise. From the bottle, however it's mouthfeel takes more away than it contributes.

Photo of Zorro
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Angels Share. July 4th 2009.

Left this warm for a few months, result? Still no carbonation.

Murky brown colored beer with no head. 3

Smells very boozy and strongly of grapes and whiskey, vanilla and brown sugar. Scents of rum and especially brandy. No other way of describing this though, this is a highly aromatic and boozed up beer.

Starts out dry and not nearly as boozy as it smells. Lots of vanilla and oak flavor. Bourbon is the main flavoring here. Strongly boozy though and very warming in the chest.

Mouthfeel is OK; the bottle did manage to create a feeble carbonation in the mouth so this is Luke flat if you know what I mean. Maybe Luke fizz would be a better word?

First thing about drinkability is that this is a nearly flat beer that costs $33 a bottle. Tasty beer but that flaw isn't a point of recommendation, for $33 they should be able to put the fizz in.

Photo of mjl21
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Acquired as an extra...thanks Ryan! This is the infamous 2008 version. 375 ml bottle poured into a snifter. Comes in at 12.5%. This has been sitting in a dark corner of my kitchen for a few months now to try and increase the carbonation.

A-Before reviewing the contents, I want to point out that there was no pop when the cork was removed. Without any force you could put the cork back into the bottle. It pours a dark brown. Pouring the beer right down the middle of the glass results in no ring or filmy layer. There are no visible bubbles breaking the surface of the beer. There is no lace left on the glass, but this one does have legs.

S-Oh sweet barrel aged beer heaven. The brandy barrel gives this an incredible nose. The brandy and oak from the barrel are forward throughout the beer. The booze is noticeable, but not overpowering. It lets you know you are drinkg a 12.5% beer. Lots of raisin and plum are apparent. It does not take long for the vanilla and molasses to come out. The sweet notes continue to be amplified as it warms.

T-The stone fruits soaked in alcohol are quite noticeable. They stay throughout. The booze is quite drying on the tongue and is very noticeable at the beginning. After a few sips it begins to numb the tongue and becomes less noticeable. After the stone fruits hit, the sweetness from the caramel malt comes in big mid-sip, along with vanilla. The finish is purely sweet chocolate. The chocolate is the predominate aftertaste.

M-As everyone has mentioned, there is NO carbonation whatsoever. The lack of carbonation really makes this beer seem off, but by no means undrinkable.

D-The beer smells great and all of the flavors are there for a great BA beer, but NO carbonation makes it seem flawed.

This beer stirs up as much passion in people as religion and politics. After months of reading about this one, it was time to remove it from its resting place. I was not holding out much hope for this one, so the disappointment level was reduced. I know they are offering reconditioned versions of the 375 ml bottles, but I feel that is way too much of a hassle. Since they released a flawed, but safe to drink, product, I am going to review that version. I feel that this has the makings of a great beer. It smells great and the flavors of the beer were quite apparant. I would be willing to try the next version provided there was quality control checks to guarantee the beer was truly ready for consumption.

Photo of charlzm
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage - consumed 06/26/09.

Nearly opaque dark molasses brown in the snifter. The bottle was uncorked with a nice little pop, but there was virtually no carbonation in the beer. Looked a bit thin in the glass.

Very aromatic: sweet with brandy as the dominant note. Some wet, resiny wood character present in the bouquet as well.

Pronounced wood character to the flavor (not oak, but... something else). Sweet alcohol, presumably from the port aging. Some cherry notes. Fleeting hint of diacetyl butteriness in both the flavor and texture: not unpleasant. Under all that, a virtually overwhelmed dark malt base.

As foreshadowed two sentences ago, the beer goes down very smoothly. Balanced and drinkable at two years out. A little carbonation would have done wonders for this beer.

For the price, I don't think I'll be pursuing this brew anytime soon. It's certainly one to try if you're at all a fan of old ales or old stock ales (J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, Old Engine Oil, etc...)

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from the lost abbey event on april 21, 2009, at the publick house in cambridge, ma, during the week of the craft brewers conference. served in chalice.

dark brownish red. intense ruby under the light. very creamy head, slowly down to wisps and ring, and eventually nothing. no lace sticks either.

aroma: woody oak and sweet dried currant and molasses, almost rum-like and not typically brandy. more woody vanilla. caramel. hints of tobacco. whiff of alcohol and trace phenols.

taste: very similar fruity rum and brandy note with oaky vanilla, brown sugar and dried fruit tones. woody character has a not-quite-leathery hint. maybe more moist sweet tobacco. some booziness, but interestingly smoothed out somewhat by the moderate hop bitterness. slightest twinge of acidity towards the finish actually adds to complexity. faint coffee-ish note in the aftertaste.

more stuff to note and pick out in the taste than the aroma, but the latter was more generally pleasing overall.

feel: starts quite smooth considering the alcohol, then a moderate tannic astringency. gentle but EXISTENT carbonation gives lift and helps with body.

a very nice beer on-tap and force-carbonated. i also tasted this on-tap a couple months earlier at EBF 09, and liked it. both times the carbonation was gentle, but EXISTENT. i tasted the nearly-flat bottled version in early april, and my opinion stands - potentially a great beer, but without the carbonation, it just doesn't warrant the price. i'd probably be giving a lower score review for the bottled version, but didn't bother to have a review-sized sample. not sure when i'll ever get the chance to either.

all that said, this here draught version is pretty nice. life-alteringly phenomenal? probably not. but give credit where credit is due - and constructive criticism where that's due as well.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The much anticipated and heavily scrutinized beer finally sits in my chalice and begging to be drank.

Without over doing it, the beer can be summed up with words like port, chocolate, raisons, plumb, cherries, rum, licorice, apples, figs, dates, nuts, berries, vanilla, caramel, sorgum, grapes, anise, currant, pepper, vineous, woodsy, nutty, bready, candied, whisky... the descriptors can go on and on.

What makes this beer special is the well aged, sherry notes that become the thread that weaves in and out of all of the characteristics of the beer and ties them together. The beer harks to the beers of Sam Adams, in the Utopia and Tripple Bock. Extreamily candies and rum-soakes fruits throughout. Dehydrated fruits of pineapple, cherries, and raisons remind me of an alcoholic fruit cake.

Complex and surreal throughout, this is a unique and unforgettable drinking experience. The beer has a mystical quality about it that goes well beyond beer and into an experience of after dinner wines and brandies- imagine that. The high, and boozy, alcohols don't bother me as they only lead to added complexity, strength and boldness in this beer that strives to behave more like a liquor than a beer.

Sure the recent controversy about the carbonation level has come up and with a lot of dissatisfaction. This beer wasn't carbonated to my liking, but wasn't flat either- perhaps somewhere in between. It may cause the beer to take a hint on the appearance and mouthfeel, but the meat and potatoes of the beer hold firm. This beer ranks up there with the Utopias, J.W. Lee's, and Thomas Hardy's of the world. A truely unique beer. Thanks to Lost Abbey for the challenge of the palate!

Thanks to Adamdc! Rock on Rockstar!

Photo of Reagan1984
4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

O.K. so here is an official tasting/review after letting this lay down for 3 months after release. I kept the bottle at about 65 degrees and rolled it about once a week. This seems to have had minimal effect as the carbonation remained close to non-existent.

Having said that, this is still an excellent beer. One to slowly savor and enjoy the complexities reveal themselves..

Poured this into a couple of snifter glasses and as aggressively as I poured there was no head at all. The beer was a murky brown color that looked like a cloudy Coke.

Aroma was very interesting and I was getting coconut, brown sugar and a touch of vanilla. The slightest touch of alcohol.

The flavor really does continue to evolve as the beer warms.. Early on I was getting more Vanilla, molasses and brown sugar. Later I was getting a smooth chocolate syrup. The alcohol produced a wonderful warming/glow effect, but was never hot. I let my wife taste it and she said..." That tastes like melted chocolate beer" This made me more confident of the chocolate notes I was detecting in the beer. Can't say I tasted "wood" but there is definitely a depth and vanilla notes that are these because of the barrel aging.

The mouth feel was also very interesting. Almost oily but smooth as silk... Obviously, no carbonation to speak of...

I found this to be a wonderful beer and the carbonation issue did not bother me at all. Should it have had more? Sure. Could I have scored it higher? Sure.

Is this a beer that deserves to be bashed? No way.

I am happy to have 2 more bottles.

O.K., there I said it. It's really good!

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Even after everything I've heard about this beer being undercarbonated or having no carbonation, etc. etc. etc. I still find myself here today. I had a sample from a bottle about a month ago and I've seen bottles so readily available for purchase. In my earliest, wildest, beer drinking dreams, this one stood as one of my White Whales, something I wanted and never thought I would ever get. Now I see it every time I go to the store and it beckons to me even though I know the story behind this year's batch. So I bought me a bottle, I debated whether or not I would open it or save it for a while, but seeing as I am off to Hawaii for vacation tomorrow, I just got paid, and the fact that I might not get this chance again I have decided to give it shot and open it today.

That tell tale empty "pop" happened.

A: No head, no nothing, nada, not after a vigorous pour or anything, oh well, I knew what I was getting myself into.

S: Vinous, like a port wine, boozy fruitiness, vanilla, oak, I'd be lying if I said leather, but smelling this beer makes you want to imagine it being there, maybe a bit too much "booziness" a kind of feeling of heat that strong arms some of the other, subtler, more complex aromas. To be fair, this does smell something out of this world.

T/MF: No carbonation, looks like we've got a bottle of wine here now. Smooth, viscous and ever so sticky. This beer is the opposite of subtle, at least initially, boozy, vanilla, caramel covered raisins, grapes, plums, waves of flavor, if a bit one dimensional wash over you with each sip. A heavy, heavy sipper.

D: God, do I wish I knew what this beer was like with some decent carbonation, I think it could be a world class beer if it had some form of mouthfeel that was other than just the viscosity of this beer. Would I drop 30 bucks on this beer again? If I knew it was a carbonated bottle, yes, probably. But I'm not sure if I'm willing to risk another 30 bucks on a gamble. Not as terrible as people make it out to be, but dropping 30 bucks you would hope that you get the product the brewer intends you to get.

Photo of SykDoc
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a corked bottle, vintage 2008 into a tulip. Difficult to cork with no sign of carbonation.

It pours a dark brown that is practically black when held to the light. Essentially no head forms and no lacing. No carbonation is noted.

The aroma is quite intense with notes of oak, brandy and alcohol. A caramel malt/sugary sweetness also hides behind the oak and alcohol.

I'm trying to be realistic with regards to the taste because I feel it would be significantly better if carbonated correctly. There are healthy doses of alcohol, brandy, and oak. A sugary caramel malt taste is also present but gets overridden by the other flavors and alcohol is present at the finish. I gave it the benefit of the doubt regarding the flavor with no carbonation, although it probably would have been higher.

The mouthfeel is poor. It just doesn't have the carbonation which is something that plays out in the recent reviews. No carbonation whatsoever. Despite the sweet and intense flavor, it does not completely destroy your palate and a pleasant alcohol and oak flavor lingers with the sweetness up from. It is full bodied.

Overall, I can see how this beer was rated highly at one point and is now floundering. It has great potential but seems a bit heavy on the alcohol and unfortunately, it is completely flat and this wrecks the beer. I think I would try it again if I knew that it was going to be served the way it should be. A bit disappointing, but I will continue to remain optimistic.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.33/5  rDev -39%
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.

Photo of ejquin
2.88/5  rDev -24.6%
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.

Photo of srandycarter
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The infamous 2008, 750 ml. I was told the larger format was sufficiently carbonated. I beg to differ.

A - No head. No lace. Murky, prune juice.

S - Boozy, brandy quality, cooked fruits vanilla a caramel notes.

T - Nice dark fruit quality, alcohol bite on the way down. Clean finish. FLAT. It skews everything else.

M - FLAT. It skews everything else.

D - FLAT. It skews everything else.

Ok, not flat. One micron this side of flat. If flat baseline was water, this beer would have to be 3 or 4 times more carbonated than it is to be a low carbonated beer. Wasted 30 bucks, but now I can at least object with authority.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle of the 2007 Angel's Share. A release, I'm told, is rather prone to...well, some issues. Let's hope this little rendezvous is issue-free (at least for the next half hour)!

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with a thinnish, wispy, beige-hued head.

Smell: Lightly sweet-smelling, particularly fruit nose smelling of homemade jams and marmalade dosed with sugars, booze, and dusky wood notes.

Taste: A sweet (initially) swirl of dark fruits, spiced fig jam, graham cracker crumbs, vanilla sugar, and particularly punchy oak tannins. Very meager hints of roast. A small sprinkling of dark brown sugar and lightly smoked fresh grains. Faint earthy bitterness perceived midway. More puckering oak tastes as it is unwavering. Tablespoon of belly-warming, soul-pleasing brandy. Touch of earthiness in the semi-sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: For me, it wasn't quite deserving of the perceived inflated hype and permissive praise, nor was it one of the accused, loathsome issue-prone bottles. So, I hit happily somewhere in the middle -- a fine beer to accompany me through a few episodes of House and catching up on my e-mail.

Photo of brdc
1.9/5  rDev -50.3%
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.

Photo of GRG1313
2.33/5  rDev -39%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Tasted shortly after release 2009 and was very disappointed by one of the most expensive ales on the market. Post tasting discovered that Lost Abbey supposedly has said that despite it's release it "must be aged" at least another six months! What's that about? They released it and are now stuck with the results. (I will, admittedly, taste it again at least 6 months from now and probably even later).

However, perhaps it shouldn't have been released and would have benefited from age at the brewery. Pours brown with no head. Thick carmel and malt nose and pours and feels thick in the glass (a good thing). Big body with bold and somewhat unpleasant flavors of burnt carmel and toffee with tons of malt. A big ripe apricot flavor and character with some sour possibly brettanomyces characteristics. Thick sweet malt flavors with sour undertones.

Very light, almost non-existent carbonation. All in all, not very pleasant. Will try again in the future. Lost Abbey is going to be stuck with these kinds of reviews and conclusions if it releases beer unreasonably early. Just my opinion.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.22/5  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.

Edit:

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

Photo of OlieIPA
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

After having a pint of both Bourbon and Brandy Angel Share at the 3rd Anniversary party the other day...I couldn't resist opening this gem with some good friends of mine.

A: Pours...well, I hate to say it...like poopy water that needs to be treated through a wastewater treatment plant...that I can design by the way. Civil Engineers are awesome! Anyways, like everybody has mentioned, there was absolutely no carbonation pop when I uncorked this beast. There was absolutely no head to go along with it, even after I had it poured 2 ft from the top of my brandy snifter. I understand that this beer had issues, well at least this batch, so I'm going to give it some benefit of the doubt.

S: Love it! Vanilla, caramel, oak, and strong barleywine characteristics. The alcohol bite and robust brandy character is definitely present as well, which is fitting for a beer of this caliber.

T: The oak and barleywine quality takes over the flavor profile much more than the vanilla and caramel does, but they do add a slight touch of complexity on the finish. As PatronWizard indicated, the oak character has a "wood-zee" like taste that is easily detected on the palate. Alcohol is well balanced as well.

M: Thick and absolutely flat! I had this on tap the other day and it was still relatively flat...but not to this extent...so I am not sure what to think. Should have more carbonation, but I don't think it affects the overall view of the beer too much...I think there is too much complaint over this aspect of the beer. Still, average at best in my opinion.

D: Comparing the tap and bottle version within days together was quite interesting. After all the bad attention this beer has had lately, I still find this a worthy beer...and one that should be on the top 100.

Overall: A great beer! If I were trying to give advice...don't review the 2008 edition, because I don't think it gives credit to overall greatness this beer actual has. Cheers!

*Note: Appearance/Mouthfeel is based on both tap/bottle.

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Perhaps the most contentious beer of all time? Well, that's probably a stretch, but lawdy if this beer hasn't been the subject of, likely, too much negative attention. Anyway, picked up a 750ml for $30 at my local Whole Foods:

Appearance: The flatness of this batch of Angel's Share, or any other beer that experiences some carbonation issues, is, in my opinion, not so much a problem for the drinking experience, as it is a problem for the visual aspects of the beer. No carbonation means no head and no lacing. I tend to place a lot of weight on a beer's lacing, in particular, and to a lesser extent its head, so when there's just nothing in my glass upon constant swirls, I have to give it a low rating. Body color can, of course, make up for where the lacing or head lack, but this one is a sort of off-brown greyish black that is just, well, not appealing at all, especially when held up to a light. That being said, I do, when I hold it up to a light, see some slight carbonation bubbles! Additionally, if you put your ear up to the glass, you can hear some definite popping. My bottle's been sitting for some time, so it's possible that this is because the yeast is beginning to do its job. I wouldn't, for what it's worth, call this beer completely flat.

Smell: Front-end is burnt sugar aromas - butterscotch most prevalently, followed by lighter caramel notes. Slight cocoa permeates, also, followed by the brandy, which isn't particularly overpowering, surprisingly, but definitely could use some mellowing out. "Hot" alcohol aroma follows, which definitely detracts. Back-end includes some fruity aromas, including dark cherries and black licorice. Oak and leather are back there, also.

Taste: Here is where the beer shifted into awesome for me. Very sweet, deep butterscotch, milk-y horchata-like flavor, followed by slight, very well accented oak. Coffee, chocolate follow on the back-end. Sort of espresso-like, but, again, bit into by a milkiness that's hard to describe. Black licorice, anise, cinammon. Brandy is MUCH more subtle here. "Hotness" is hard to find for me at this point. Really, pretty incredible, this young, and will probably only improve with age. Very deep, layered, rich flavor.

Mouthfeel: It's flat, but not that flat. Definite perceptible carbonation. Slick and slightly hot. No astringency.

Drinkability: I love the way this tastes, and that alone can keep me sipping on it. 12% is very well hidden, I think.

Photo of bort11
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another flat handed slap in the face from mikesgroove.

12.7 oz bottle, corked,. caged, and dated 2008. Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack Series goblet. No head, no lace. Looks like one of those notorious "Flat Angels". Color is a dull and murky dark brown.

Smell more than makes up for the dull appearance. Rich coconut, sweet alcohol, wood and brandy. Taste is also very sweet and woody. Alcohol spices up the mouthfeel, but otherwise very flat, thick and syrupy

For what it's worth, it still tastes very good. More like a liquor than a beer.

Blipped "Angel" by that dog

Photo of jwjon1
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I've been wanting to crack one of these open since release, but have hesitated to do so with the hope that 1) carbonation would improve, and 2) this beer ages with the best of them. Curiosity and impatience got the better of me tonight.

Cork pulled out without fanfare: no pressure build up whatsoever. Poured into a wide tuliped wine glass (Oregon PN stem) with absolutely no head but a miniscule ring around the edge. Stunning brick red-brown color fading to straw yellow then clear at the edges with ethanol legs of all things... quite unexpected from a brew.

If you can get past the alcohol stare down in the glass enough to stick your nose in it, you are in for a treat. Absolutely smells outer-worldly, as a first rate barleywine should. Sure, you get the brandy immediately. But you also get candied fruit, dried figs, cacao or perhaps roasted coffee, and molasses. I could smell this for hours.

Which is about the only thing I wanted to do after sipping it. The high alcohol made the brew quite unpleasant to drink. At first, I did my best to warm it up and pull off as much alcohol as possible. Bad move as I only succeeded in making the alcohol even more pronounced. Then I stuck my glass in the fridge to cool it down--which helped the drinkability and taste significantly, but which also muted the smell. At the end of it all, I decided just to recork the remainder of the nearly full bottle with a standard wine cork to pull open another day. I simply could not drink more than half a glass, despite how tempted I was just to sniff a glass the rest of the night.

And as far as carbonation goes: I've stored my bottles in a cellar (65C) since release and didn't bother pulling these to a hot box or warmer room prior to opening the first bottle. The carbonation was admittedly minimal, but certainly present as tight bubbles noticable only upon drinking, presenting almost a mineral tinge on the tongue that quickly dissipated after sitting in my glass for a bit. I don't mind flat barleywines in the slightest, but once the minimal co2 blew off in this one, I just kept feeling like I was drinking a distilled spirit.

If you need a nightcap to share with 20 friends, look no further. If you are looking for a drinkable brew... here's hoping the edges soften with time.

Photo of paco1029384756
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark burgundy color with a very small head and a fine ring of lacing.

Scent of oak, brandy, caramel, dark fruit and some alcohol. An excellent, though fairly hot scent, the alcohol isn't overbearing.

Taste of oak, vanilla, caramel, honey, dark fruit and a hint of chocolate. Alcohol is noticeable here too, but it really only hurts the drinkability, the flavor is still great.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied and smooth, nearly flat.

Photo of nickd717
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado on Lost Abbey night. Tomme didn't show up which was a bummer. Oh well. Wow this is good. Dark brown, almost black, with a light tan head. Aroma is sweet with vanilla, oak, dark fruit, roasted malt, and some alcohol. Flavor is more of the same - really complex and really, really, REALLY good. A lot like a fine port with roasted malts and all kinds of other great stuff. I couldn't get enough of this beer. Smooth and full on the palate with low carbonation.

In response to the carbonation issues I've heard about: sure it was a bit flat, even on tap, but nothing to end your marriage or break your flat screen TV over (sorry, inside BA joke)!

Photo of DigitalHype
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 750 ml bottle, poured into clear chalice.

Remove the cork. No pop. Poured, or maybe coaxed, out a very think, chocolate-brown concoction. No head, whatsoever. Maybe that is ok at 12.5 ABV? But, I wasn't expecting it to fall this flat.

The smell is the best part in my opinion. Lots of chocolate smell. Rich and sweet smelling malts. Rasin, molasses, roasted banana. Reminds me of a good dark rum, more than the brandy barrels used for aging. Alcohol is not very noticable on the nose.

First taste has less sweetness than than I'd predicted. Chocolate, caramel, rasin, and oak. Just a tiny bit of smokiness. This must have been for the dark angels. The ABV really starts cooking on the finish, and does drown out some of the subtlety and complexity I'd hoped for. Not sure how this would hold up in the bottle. But, some more maturation might help it calm down a bit. There is no carbonation. I'm not sure if that is expected? Like the label states, "Make sure you share."

Photo of froghop
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a dark plum with a thin beige head that dissapate quickly, and not much lacing,

smell is of red grapes, sweet, some cocoa, and dark fruits.

taste is of cocoa, some sour malt, dark fruits, and some wood, ends of alcohol and and little bitter.

overall very, very good.

The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 625 ratings.