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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

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very good

623 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 623
Reviews: 413
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 20.42%
Wants: 174
Gots: 166 | 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:
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 added by: Jason on 04-23-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 623 | Reviews: 413 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigbelcher
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Despite the well documented and accurate posts about the lack of carbonation I bought a bottle to split with some friends. A very slight pop. Poured no head whatsoever. The beer is flat. However in the vein of Sam Adams Utopias this beer really doesn't need the carbonation. The brandy barrel aging comes through big time in the aroma. Flavor was that of sherry with a little bit of oak. Like most high alcohol beers it is on the sweeter side. Not cloying but more a a rich caramel sweetness. Depsite the lack of carbonation the beer is medium to full bodied. A great beer and much maligned in my opinion because it doesnt need the carbonation.

bigbelcher, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of raoulduke37
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Still lacking some carbonation, but the overall appearance is pretty appetizing. Dark and viscous, thick, with an attractive swirl of foam - really an apparition of a foamy head that could be.

Smell is very complex - dark malts, roasted almonds, vanilla, chocolate - it smells like a chocolate stout, really.

Tastes a bit like a stout also (probably because of the lack of carbonation. Strong phenols are prevalent throughout, but by no means the only flavor - plenty of molasses, raisins, vanilla, and some banana.

Mouthfeel is a bit chewy, warming on the way down, and decently creamy throughout. I would hesitate to drink too many of these - it's a huge beer with a high a.b.v. Definitely a treat, not a session.

raoulduke37, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of Sean9689
2.98/5  rDev -22%
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.

Sean9689, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of Halcyondays
4.63/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle, 2008 edition,

A: Pours a murky brown with no head, just a smattering of ochre bubbles.

S: Great smell, oak, vanilla, wine grapes, brown sugar.

T: Taste is outstanding as well. The flavour is vibrant and complex - heavy toffee and vanilla. Brandy barrel aging is evident, sweet fermented fruit and butterrum candy.

M: Flat, but in this beer I didn't really mind. The flavour keeps your attention, and with the high alcohol, the beer really drinks more like a fortified wine or dessert wine (Pedro Ximenez sherry).

D: This is the second time I have gotten to try this gem of a beer and the taste has been incredible each time. I know people are complaining about the carbonation issues, but I think the controversy is a bit overblown in the context of this beer.

Halcyondays, Apr 07, 2009
Photo of Birdiebeagle
4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle 2008 Pours a murkey brown with no noticable head what so ever. Has a wonderful aroma of wood, sweet fruits, vanilla, and sweet caramel. Has a awesome flavor. Very lightly carbinated. An Awesome mouthfeel. The alcohol is well hidden. Very well balanced. Has a great mouthfeel. A real good finish. This is a wonderful beer. Makes me wish I was an angel for my share. Very well done.

Birdiebeagle, Apr 07, 2009
Photo of maskednegator
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Similar blackish red as Coca Cola. Thin, dark tan head, good retention.
Smell: Vanilla, toffee, brown sugar.
Taste: Figs, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, oak, honey. Little bit of coffee bitterness in the finish, also a bit of an alcohol burn in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, but not syrupy at all. Very dry, very little carbonation.
Drinkability: Definitely a sipper. One could easily split a 750 six ways.
Verdict: Orgasmic.

maskednegator, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of jwolfie70
2.3/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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

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

jwolfie70, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of GClarkage
4.68/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

03/06/09- Shared at a tasting with BA member Talisker.

Presentation- Either a late '08 or early '09 release. Last shipment of the Sinners Club. 375ml bottle, caged and corked. Poured into my Westvleteren chalice.

Appearance- Murky and thick looking pureed raisin color. Oh so slight head upon pour and quickly vanishes before your eyes. Leaves some light lace remnents. but looks very docile.

Smell- Lots of caramel, lots of rasins and dates. Definite alcohol scent. Couldn't really detect if it was bradny or not though.

Taste- The smell pretty much rounds it out. Very slight alcohol burn. Definite brandy barrel flavor. Lots of caramel and candied rasin flavor. Minor hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Ultra low cask-like carbonation level. Gets a touch watery after the swallow at times...about the only picky drawback. Lots of sugary fruit goodness in the taste.

Drinkability- Tremendous beer, whatever type it may be considered.

GClarkage, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of rye726
4.75/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark mahogany with a thin tan head.

The nose has bready malts, chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla, oak and lots of brandy.

The taste is equally complex yet perfectly balanced. More chocolate, ripe pitted fruits, molasses, roasty malts, peppery boze, caramel, raisins, figs, dates, brandy, wood and vanilla.

Full body silks over my palate with ease. Perfectly delicate carbonation. Delicious stuff.

rye726, Mar 04, 2009
Photo of JonathanL7890
4.9/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a couple of samples at the Extreme Beer Fest.
Poured from a pitcher with little apparent head.
Appearance is a dark, dark brown, almost black, not quite.

Aroma was oak ,vanilla, some caramel notes also.
Taste was very complex. The oak was not as prominent as in the smell. It blended well with the malt and hop flavors to bring out a wonderful array of tastes. Raisin, carmel, vanilla, woody oak fantastic.
The alcohol was well hidden and not noticeable at all until it warmed the gullet.
Mouthfeel was silky smooth. A little more carbonation would've made it a 5.
Drinkability - excellent. I hit the booth a couple times for this.
Definitely one of my favorites. This makes me weak in the knees every time I taste this.

JonathanL7890, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of Billolick
4.7/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, on tap at the EBF, this past Saturday. The only brew I took notes on all weekend. Enjoyed 2 large sized samples that were truly savored. Poured burnt dark chocolate, near black, under a fierce looking dark tan head, sticks and sticks and emits loads of raisins and bourbon to the waiting nose. Rich, chewy and complex in the mouth and around the tongue. I picked up luscious notes of more raisins, dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, ripe dark fruits...lovely beer....

Billolick, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of HopHead84
4.68/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 Brandy Barrel on tap at O'Brien's Lost Abbey night. Pours nearly black with a tiny head and no lacing. Strong aroma of Brandy, dark fruits, sweet toffee, vanilla, and oak. The last Angel's Share I enjoyed was the bourbon barrel, and this is my favorite of the two. Delicious brandy character throughout, with hints of vanilla and oak. Alcohol is strong but I love it. The finish is long, sweet, and full of brandy. One of my favorite barleywines. Full bodied with low-medium carbonation.

HopHead84, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of MisterClean
4.95/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On board with bifrost. Best beer at Toronados barleywine fest, enjoyed on the 15th. Glad all of my friends hated it, more for me!!

A - Poured dark brown with no head. No dissipation and no lacing, um, no head.

S/T - Brandy and equal amounts of honey/toffee malts.

M - So rich delicious. Excellent mouthfeel and full-bodied. Really felt this would go well with a good book and a brandy glass.

D - My #1 at Toronados, no doubts.

MisterClean, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of abfraser
4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the Toronado event last night in SF.

A: Not the most attractive looking beer. Black, with no sign of carbonation yet again (see my past Lost Abbey reviews for more on the lack of carbonation). It could have been sitting out all night for all I know--that's what it looked like.

S: Much better. Just an amazing smell of oak, vanilla, dark fruits, brown sugar. Amazingly complex here. Honestly, I don't remember the difference between this and the bourbon barrel aged. I look forward to the Sinners shipments to better compare. Either way, great stuff

T/M: Sweet sugary oaky fruit. Everything on the smell and then some. Vanilla is very noticeable. The mouthfeel, while still nice, gets dinged in my book because of the lack of carbonation. Overall, amazing stuff.

D: Pretty intense. Two glasses at most for me. On a side note, I can't believe this stuff was $3.50 with the happy hour pricing. God, I love Toronado

abfraser, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of joepais
4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go out to Jw347 for this long time want a 750 ml Bottle from 07 with gold metallic lettering caged and corked 11.5% ABV. When I opened the cork a nice pop ensued. No sour in the cork aroma Yea! I was concerned after reading some threads so I chilled this one down and went for it

The bottle pored into a snifter produced a tan head for a minute the trailed of to a nice thin lace. The body was a dark I mean dark brown with burgandy highlights.

The aromas coming from my glass are incredible it really wasn't a special occasion today but smelling this glass made it one.
It has an awesome balance of sweat malts and brandy some whiffs of alcohol come thru as well. A nice oak presence, caramel, vanilla, I could go on and on. This brew deserves to be in the top 100.

Flavor wise this follows the nose, medium in the mouth and somewhat creamy. Some of the flavors I found that weren't mentioned above were raisins, dark fruits, and brown sugar.

This is a great sipper that will be enjoyed through the night glad I got to try it and it wasn't infected. I must say this is defiantly my favorite American Strong Ale I have tried so far. I will defiantly seek another Angels share out for the future

joepais, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of tjthresh
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown/mahogany with a brown head. Heavy dark friut aroma with lots of oak. Rich, and very malty with lots of fruity goodness up front. This was the last beer of a long night of sampling for me and Mike. Hopefully I will be lucky enough some day to have another bottle of this fine beer.

tjthresh, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of Crosling
4.72/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Version at GABF. Multiple samples over several days. Perhaps the best beer at the whole festival. At least the very best barrel aged beer. Chocolate, caramel, toffee, fruit, brandy. Complex, very concentrated. Great finish. The 2006 was a brilliant beer and was the standout at the 2007 GABF as well. Im concerned about my remaining bottles of 2007 though.

Crosling, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of gford217
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle courtesy of KingG poured into a snifter.

I've been looking for this for quite a while and couldn't wait to pop the cork. It pours dark, dark brown with hints of mahogany showing through the edges. The head was bubbly and short lived and left only traces of lacing.

The aroma is huge and complex, and it really opened up as the beer warmed a little. There are tons of dark fruits in there with figs and raisins on top of a brown sugar sweetness. There is some vanilla and brandy as well.

The sweetness of the aroma carries over to the taste with the caramel malts and brown sugar underpinning everything else. Dark fruits, vanilla and a slightly more noticeable brandy presence than the aroma suggests.

The mouthfeel is slick and almost syrupy with little carbonation.

This is a great beer, though i definitely prefer the bourbon version. Very drinkable for the ABV and I look forward to the newest version coming soon.

gford217, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours darker copper, slightly hazy, with a small ring of bubbles around the edges. Alcoholic nose, mostly brandy. Slightly medicinal, oaky, and a hint of pine tar. Lovely, creamy feel. Brandy up front, but not as powerful as in the bourbon barrel version. Vinuous flavors of red wine and fresh white grapes throughout. A bit of cream and vanilla, and a warm, alcohol finish. I thought this was superior to the bourbon barrel.

magictrokini, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown in color. Some ruby highlights that give the sense of reddish/purple highlights. Smell is very dark, ripe fruits. Plus a lot more brandy than I was expecting. This is incredibly boozy. Taste reaffirms the nose. I can't get over how much brandy flavor is in this beer. You can barely taste the underlying barleywine. This is a brandy bomb! Still some dark fruits trying to make their presence known, but the brandy barrel just won't let that happen. This is a huge, very big beer. I've yet to have anything even close to this experience.

FtownThrowDown, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of JoeMayo
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a thick, very dark brown, nearly black. The beer is lighter around the edges and has no head at all.

S- Dark malty aroma with a very sweet smell. Roasted malt, cocoa, and vanilla all come through. Complex smells from the oak and the brandy come through very clearly. A warm alcohol smell also hits the nose.

T- Very big and malty. Sweet with both malt and with alcohol. Well-balanced and very roasty. Complex oak and vanilla tones lie behind the very apparant brandy flavor. Slighty more boozy than I would have liked.

M- Almost no carbonation at all. I alway aim my lost abbey corks into an empty corner, because I expect the cork to blow off, but with this batch, there was barely a puff when the cork came out. Rich body, but slightly hot with alcohol.

D- This one needs to be sipped because it's such a huge beer.

JoeMayo, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of beachbum1975
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to pwoods for sharing this one for me and my 200th review - at last!!!! This is one of two bottles we have from the same vintage, so this will be 1 of two reviews...

Gorgeous, Lost abbey 750ml bottle with cork and cage. Pwoods says this one has been sitting in his cellar for about a year! Served around 50 degrees.

Pours a clear, ruddy dark brown and rests in my snifter black with a light tan head and minimal lacing...

Smells of sweet vanilla, some strange undefinable funkiness...

Tastes is a complex mix of vanilla, light smoke, rich dark fruits. To be honest, the mouthfeel, tartness, body and flavor are reminiscent of Magic Hat's Feast of Fools - strange...

Thanks so much for sharing pwoods!

beachbum1975, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of waltonc
1.05/5  rDev -72.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

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

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

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

waltonc, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of largadeer
4.7/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'06 vintage on tap at The Bistro's barrel-aged beer fest. Had a few glasses of this one.

Appearance: Dark ruddy amber, a bit hazy. The small tan head disappears pretty quickly, leaving a speckling of lace.

Smell: Smells of dried fruit, toffee, figs, vanilla and molasses with an undercurrent of brandy.

Taste & mouthfeel: Caramelly malt, chocolate, caramelized figs, raisins. Medium-full in body with low carbonation. Vanilla beans, subtle tannins, this has a pretty up-front barrel character. The brandy version is distinctly different from the bourbon barrel variety, namely in the vinous, fruity nuance that the brandy barrel lends the beer. Delicious stuff.

largadeer, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of egajdzis
4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a reddish brown color with a thin, light tan head, that left sticky lacing on the glass. Aroma of tons of dark fruits, vanilla, oak, cocoa, caramel malts, and a touch of alcohol as well. Taste of some toffee, roasted malts, dried fruits, more oak, and vanilla, with a bit of alcohol in the finish. Fantastic barleywine, thanks EDA!

egajdzis, Nov 09, 2008
The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 623 ratings.