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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

642 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 642
Reviews: 417
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 180
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 642 | Reviews: 417
Photo of jwolfie70
2.36/5  rDev -38.4%
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.

Photo of GClarkage
4.64/5  rDev +21.1%
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.

Photo of rye726
4.77/5  rDev +24.5%
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.

Photo of JonathanL7890
4.89/5  rDev +27.7%
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.

Photo of Billolick
4.67/5  rDev +21.9%
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....

Photo of HopHead84
4.69/5  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.

Photo of MisterClean
4.94/5  rDev +29%
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.

Photo of abfraser
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
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

Photo of joepais
4.54/5  rDev +18.5%
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

Photo of tjthresh
4.52/5  rDev +18%
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.

Photo of Crosling
4.7/5  rDev +22.7%
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.

Photo of gford217
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

Photo of magictrokini
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of JoeMayo
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

Photo of beachbum1975
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
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!

Photo of waltonc
1.06/5  rDev -72.3%
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.

Photo of largadeer
4.69/5  rDev +22.5%
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.

Photo of egajdzis
4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
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!

Photo of kirok1999
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy copper with bits of lacing and a thin white head.
Smells of a nice mix of sweet and bitter fruit. Some malt sweetness as well.
Taste is somewhat sour and acidic. I expected much more sweetness. Lots of fruit yet the bitterness overwhelms. There's a lot going on yet I wonder if this might have had an air leak into the bottle.
Feels rich and tightly carbonated, almost has a sting to it on the tongue.
Not so easy to drink due to the sourness.

Photo of hopdog
4.62/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle shared courtesy of TomDecapolis.

Poured a dark mahogany color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of oak, woody, vanilla, dark fruits, caramel, toffee and light bourbon. Tastes of bourbon/brandy (stronger than the aromas), brown sugar sweetness, caramel, dark fruits, and oak.

Alcohol content well hidden. I went back for seconds of this one and would have gotten more if any was left (good thing I have some more at home!).

Notes from and tasted on 4/18/07

Photo of tpd975
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, to Dave, aka ibrew2or3 for this one. You Rock my friend!

A: A deep russet brown hue with ruby highlights, small tan head and good lace.

S: The nose starts out nice and fruity with hints of plum, raisin, and starfruit. Touches of spice with notes of cardamom, clove and anise. Hints of nutty toffee, roasted malt, and vanilla before the barrel kicks in.

T: Wonerful malt caramelization starts this one off with a bang. Some semi-sweet chocolate comes next with hints of pure vanilla beans. Vinous qualities come thru and then boom, the barrel. Light toasted oak and hints of booze finish this one off in a light but perfect way.

M: Medium full body with moderate carbonation. Just a touch of booze from the barrel.

D: Wonderful! Give me a cigar, and a 750 of this gem and I am set for the evening.

Thanks Dave, this rare gem was a real treat!

Photo of BeerTruth
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

***Moved - Reviewed on: 01-24-2008 00:13:56***

Huge thanks goes out to sirhc and wetherel for this rare treat.

750 mL cage and corked bottle poured into a chalice.

Pours a dark molasses with a t hin half finger head that quickly dies down to a thin ring of bubbles. Swaying the glass back and forth leaves a sticky webbing on the sides. Rich brown sugar and caramel engulf the senses with a tiny hint of bourbon. Sweet raisins, dates, and fig dance in the nose as well. Heavy vanilla and a slight oak aroma can be detected too. Not as strong smelling as I had anticipated, but I think that's why I enjoy it, not overpowering. Taste is smokey sweet malts up front of chocolate, caramel, and butterscotch. Woody vanilla notes with pepper and spice dry the mouth a tad. An interesting pumpkin bread flavor on the tongue as well. Surprisingly I find very little alcohol on the tongue with this one. Mouthfeel is not nearly as heavy as I was expecting. Medium to full silky smooth body with a tingling carbonation. A sipper for sure, but I pretty much knew that would be the case. I look forward to see what a few years will do to this. I can't wait to try more barrel aged beers from Lost Abbey. Thanks again guys for hooking me up with this beauty.

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

The beer pours with a dark coffee color and a small tan head that clings to the sides of the glass. The smell is sweet dark chocolate, a light fruitiness, a moderate booze, and wonderful barrel aged sourness. The taste, wow. I had a bottle of this fresh and on tap and it had evolved. It is not as sweet and brandy-like now and the sourness has really become dominate. Sweet malt, carmel, liquor filled chocolates, slight oak/barrel, brandy, sour, funkiness from barrel aging (oxidation). The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a slight alcohol burn, and a clinging finish. For an 11.5% abv this beer goes down easily, maybe too easily. I really like this beer and am glad I have few more sitting in my cellar. I hear the next batch (2008) will be from freshly emptied brandy barrels, so I look forward to that beer.

Photo of Blursimarsi
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(Bottle, thanks WeeHeavySD) Pours very dark brown with deep reddish hints and a light brown head. Elegant and complex aroma with tones of chocolate, caramel, nuts, English toffee, English fruit cake, lingonberries, blackberries maybe some blueberry and strawberry jam and a wide subtle fruit spectra of raisins, plums, sweet pears, yellow apples and banana in the background. The oak wood blends in very well with soft tones of vanilla, cocoa nut and some butter. Also some hints of yeast, sugar, spices, peppery mint and sal ammoniac. Well balanced alcohol warmth carrying every aroma beautifully. The nose is extremely soft with notes of gruel. The flavour starts of with a second of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit. Then a rather full caramelly and fruity sweetness comes along with some fiery alcohol. The finish carries all the sweetness with a balanced sour berry touch. Oak, vanilla and some subtle sugar sources goes through every stage of the beer. Undertones of dark berries and dark fruits like raisins and black currant lemonade. Hints of liquorice, salt and hops. Medium to full sweet and syrupy with a light tart edge. Light bitter and light dry. The mouthfeel is maybe the best ever with a silky, smooth and velvety character. The carbonation is perfect for the mouthfeel and carries the beer gentle down your palate. Sugar, chocolate, vanilla, salty liquorice and some earthiness linger in the aftertaste. Near full bodied. What a perfect beer from our new favourite brewery! Yeah baby!

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The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 642 ratings.