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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

631 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 631
Reviews: 414
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 180
Gots: 169 | 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: 631 | Reviews: 414 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scottoale
5/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 vintage-750ml. cork finished brown bottle with classy styled, artistic labels.

This ale pours a deep, rich mahogany-black with a fat finger of mustard-tan head. Fine carbonation bubbles thicken the frothy cap that eventually settles to a ring with patches on the surface. In the Duvel tulip this stuff looks mouth-watering.

Huge, complex aroma...sweet dark ripened fruits, vanilla, oak, molassas, licorice and big note of alcohol that really surfaces as the brew warms. I absolutely love the smell of this ale.

The flavor...ah, the flavour...this fine coctail of a beer is Heaven sent. Sweet dark caramel malts explode with flavors untold. Rich dark fruit of fig, prune, raisen, along with licorice, vanilla, oak and spirits, give this brew a flavor that I honestly crave. This is one ale that leaves no room for improvement...this is as good as it gets, period.

Big body with perfect carbonation and a velvety mouthfeel. A very boozy, yet not overwhelmed by the spirits that were previously in the oak, awesome ale.

This ale deserves all the praise that it gets...yeah, it is that good (hype or not)!

Thanks Tomme!

Photo of srroos
4.87/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL corked and caged bottle into a Duvel Tulip. Originally reviewed 12-10-07, transfered from the Bourbon Barrel version.

A: Pours an opaque dark brown with caramel edges. The one finger head was rather short lived. Not the best looking beer I've ever had, but hardly much to complain about.

S: Primarily aromas of oak and caramel, with some bittersweet chocolate aroma as well. Between the vanilla of the oak and caramel aromas this is a very sweet smelling beer, but there is a hint of sour in the nose. Very interesting and complex.

T: Powerful oaky taste that dominates the palate while the beer is cool. As it warms, the bitterness and spiciness increases drastically. Very malty as expected, yet not too sweet. So much flavor packed into one beer, but no one flavor takes over once the beer warmed to proper serving temperature. Incredible!

M: Very full bodied and complex as described above, but not too heavy or syrupy on the tongue. Other reviewers seem to consider this a flaw, but to me this seems proper for the style. Any heavier would have been too much. Well carbonated for the style. Right on the mark!

D: Very drinkable, in fact, downright scary drinkable. I am looking at the last few sips of the bottle in my glass as I type this. Downright incredible for the high alcohol content. Sadly though, I can't give a perfect score in this department due to the rarity.

Overall, this beer totally lived up to the hype. It was worth every mile travelled, every minute waiting in line, and every penny spent. I only wish i could have purchased more. A truely remarkable beer and worthy of the highest of scores!

Photo of WeisGuy
4.82/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

[This review was moved to the bourbon barrel version for some reason...so I'm copying back to where it belongs...originally reviewed on April 7]

Big thanks to Jw347 and sfoley333(I think, it's been awhile) for bottles of this delicious beer. This is a 2007 vintage - brandy barrel aged.

a - pour a deep dark brown nearing black, two finger light brown head in my tulip, decent retention and lacing, a whole lot of little bubbles rising up throughout the session

s - very intense caramel malt and alcohol backbone on the nose, great notes of cherry, plum and raisin, lots of dark fruit, vanilla and oak present as well, hints of brown sugar and molasses, incredibly complex!

t - nice caramel malt sweetness up front, mid-palate has a whole lot of dark fruits, cherry and raisin, all underlined by notes of vanilla and oak, finish is more of the caramel with dark fruits along with some booze, which adds nice complexity but doesn't overwhelm, this is what oak aging should be

m - medium-to-full bodied, good deal of carbonation, but not too much, active in the mouth, alcohol warming, well balanced between sweetness and dryness on the finish

d - for a big, big beer, this rates as pretty drinkable to me, the complexity keeps me wanting to take more sips and it's not overly harsh on the palate, towards the end of the bottle, the abv definitely catches up to you though

Props to Tomme on this amazing beer! This is what oak aging should be...not overwhelming but smoothing out flavors and adding complexity. I'm really looking forward to trying the bottles of Bourbon-barrel aged AS.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle served at 50 degrees and poured into gold rimmed New Belgium Snifter

A - Poured a very dark brown, nearly opaque with only the slightest bit of light coming through on both the sides and the bottom of the glass. Very rich color, with slight reddish tints, but mostly just a deep russet brown. A smallish maybe one finger high head of gold and tan colored foam rose up from the bottom and lay across the top of the glass like a pillow. This settled down eventually, but left behind a thin film covering the top and very nice side glass lace. The side glass presentation was a bit remarkable in that it almost had a gold shine to it as it swirled around, very nice looking.

S - The aroma was huge, and full of alcohol from the first whiff. I did not think this would be coming off as strong as it did. Lots of wood and oak like aroma mixed in as well. I had to let this one sit and warm up to see what else was going to be coming through from it. The next whiff was much more complex then the first. Lots of oak notes still underlying, however these were now being layered in with a good bit of dark fruity notes, plums, or raisins perhaps. Still a touch hot from the aroma, as the alcohol was very discernable. There was definitely some spiciness to it as well, like a good spiced rum smell almost. Very dark and complex, I was getting the feeling that this one was going to put a hurting on me.

T - So I build it up and dive in for a taste. I had waited a long time to try this one, and I was not disappointed. Avery robust and full flavor profile, this was definitely one to sit down and think about as you go through it. A full on blast of spiced alcohol was the first thing that I noticed, kinda hot, but as it warmed it mellowed out and by the end of the session had all but blended into the background and simply become an outstanding ale. Loads of dark fruit notes were permeating through the flavor. Prunes, Raisins, Figs all very discernable in the flavor and really adding balance to it as they melded together. Lots of spice here as well, very big. The notes of oak and wood in the flavor were clearly becoming evident as it warmed, giving it a very subtle, yet very powerful presence. I can see why people rave about this; it is very unique, very dark, and very seductive almost. The flavor really needed some time to catch up with you, the first few sips were nothing compared to the last few, really outstanding I have to say and very different then anything I had in the past.

M - Super smooth and creamy, this medium bodied ale was just about perfect in the way it should have felt. Great carbonation profile throughout the session really never let up and gave it that silky smoothness that really lets the flavor pop and keeps it from getting too heavy. In fact it was really not filling at all, despite how big it was it was excellent as far as that.

D - Now if there was ever something designed to be sipped, this was it. I mean it was tremendous, and to be honest, I did not share and took care of this bottle on my own over the course of about 3 hours. It was just amazing how well it tasted. I thought in the beginning it was going to be a little too hot, but that was my fault for serving too cold, or being to anxious take your pick. But after letting this come up in temperature, it turned into one of the best I have ever had, really a tremendously good beer.

Overall I really loved this one. Now I have not really had anything from Lost Abbey that I have not liked, but this and Devotion on back to back nights have really taken this thing to a while new level. The complexity displayed in the is uncanny and I really had a touch time with this review, as I am not usually at a loss for words with my reviews, but this one had me there, it was just that good. I really look forward to the Brandy and Bourbon barrel aged editions later this year; they will truly be breathtaking as I can only imagine the heights to which this one will get.

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been lucky enough to sample this one several times, from the wood, from the keg, and from the bottle. I do give the nod to the bourbon barrel one for overall beauty, especially from the wood but this one is damn fine as well. Darker than most barleywines, this one is almost the colour of a chocolate Terry's orange from the UK. The aroma is all brandy, chocolate malt, lovely deep fresh baked bread and spice. The taste is great, with a real depth of chocolate, brandy, and deep roasty malt flavors that are all well integrated and integral. The mouthfeel is medium milkshake thick with a great drinkability. Good stuff. I wish they would bottle all in 375's as well, because honestly without a friend to split this with a 750 is too much.

Photo of ArrogantB
2.03/5  rDev -47%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

750ml bottle, 2007 brandy-barrel vintage courtesy of Weibull, thanks! I have been looking forward to this beer and my birthday seemed as good a day as any to pop this bottle. The color is a real nice dark-brown with red edges and a nice foam that dissolves into a smattering of off-white bubbles ringing the glass. It looks good! The aroma is very oaky, woody, and boozy with some vanilla. This sounds weird but the smell reminds me of Oaked Yeti but there is also just the hint of cognac. The flavor is pretty exceptional the moment it passes the lips. It is woody, more booze and sweet syrups abound. Wow, the flavor is also kind of hard to pin down as I am tasting different flavors with each sip, and odd gum flavor like Blackjack and candy. Perfect silky mouth-feel but the drink-ability is oddly not hampered by the ABV and the beer is boozy (in a very good way). This is a very complex tasting beer and if I was more articulate I would tell you why. Instead, all I can say is that if you like barrel-aged beers, seek this out, its tasty. The complexity of the flavor is helpful, aiding the drink-ability making you want to keep sipping and get blasted with a new taste. I had to bump the drinkability score, no problem drinking the whole bottle.

update 11/2008 2007 batch

sour, dirty diapers, drainpour...

update 07/2009 2008 batch

its flat and it sucks, what happened?

Photo of SacoDeToro
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Lost Abbey during the release party.

The beer poured a deep chesnut brown with a small dense off-white head.

The aroma of the beer was full with vanilla, oak, brandy, rich caramel malts, and a faint hint of chocolate. No hops in the aroma. Some alcohol.

The flavor of the beer was a rich creamy caramel vanilla that was balanced by some slight delicate chocolate in the finish. The hops had a decent presence, but were there only so much as to balance out the richness. There were flavors of vanilla, mild oak, and a nicely blended brandy note.

The mouthfeel was viscous, but had a wonderful velvety texture. The carbonation was delicate and dialed in perfectly. Very full bodied.

A fantastically crafted beer with a very nice barrel character. I still prefer the creamier flavors and texture of the bourbon barrel version.

Photo of LittleBreeze
4.67/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasting 3/29/08

Plain and simple...I love this beer. The fruit flavors, dark sugar sweetness, malt and brandy barrel is a near perfect marriage. And unfortunately I don't think any review can do it justice. The balance is incredible. This is a rich sipper. That cuts drinkability just a tad.

Photo of badbeer
1.98/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Very dark brown, almost black. Light tan head with a ring around the glass, no lacing left behind. Smell of brandy, figs, prunes, vanilla; quite sweet. Brandy and some oak greet the tongue intitially, leading into vanillia, figs, and dark fruits. Thicker than medium body, with carbonation on the lower side. Solid beer, but not exactly what I thought it might be. Perhaps some age will develop it more.

Update: I've gotten to try some bottles of this that were not good at all.

Photo of Avryle
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Night in the Woods" tasting 3.29.08
Thanks to drseamus for this contribution of goodness

A- Pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights around the edge of the glass

S- Strong nose of vanilla & wood. Lots of sweet malt coming through

T- Sweet malts right up front then the brandy & wood comes through Lots of caramel & vanilla notes. A lot of complexity to the flavors. Very barleywine in character

M- Very warm & full-boded.

D- Sip slowly & enjoy! There is such a complexity of flavors running through that change as the glass warms in your hand. Disappointed that this will have probably have been my one and only Angel's Share experience.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.7/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go to Drseamus for bringing this beer.

A: Super dark red/brown in color.

S: Dark fruits, raisins, sweetness. Like a barley wine for the most part but with a hint of the brandy from the barrel aging. The complexity of the smell is staggering.

T: Starts off like a standard barley wine. You get the sweetness from the malt up front. Then you get the brandy coming in but it is not overwhelming. The brandy complements the sweetness of the rest of the beer. You get the standard dark fruit as well. Also got a hint of candy sugar in the finish.

M:Nice and thick. Carbonation was subtle but noticeable.

D: This beer is so complex that it almost cuts down in drinkability. Your simple ape brain cannot even begin to process what is being thrown at it. The amazing this is that there is not one taste that really dominates. One of the best balanced beers I have ever had.

Photo of grub
4.88/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle, corked and caged. sampled at beerbistro on feb 27/08. i believe this is the 2006 vintage. extra label added by the LCBO indicates that it is 12.6%abv and not the 11% shown on the label.

pours deep brown, not quite black, with a bit of ruby and orange at the edges. a small dense light brown head forms from the rough pour, dropping slowly to about a 1/16" layer that lingers for a long time. spotty lace.

aroma is great. vanilla and brandy. light alcohol. tons of fruit - date, raisin, dried cherry and cranberry. bread and crackers. raw oak. a nice light smoky character too. a bit earthy. maybe some leather and tobacco leaves too.

taste is excellent. wow. i need a minute to process everything that's going on in this one. brandy and a bit of smoke up front. vanilla. light alcohol. raw oak. crackers and bread. great dark fruit in many layers - date, raisin, bit of dried cranberry and cherry. light caramel sweetness. low bitterness level. rereading this, i really don't think i'm doing it justice. this is a damn fine beer.

mouthfeel is great. low carbonation level, very well integrated and silky smooth. medium body. fairly dry finish pulling things together and helping the drinkability even more.

drinkability is excellent. this may be my new all-time favourite beer. even at nearly $60 a bottle in this restaurant, i want to buy another all for myself and just sit here and savor it for hours. perfectly balanced. perfectly complimentary interplay between the barrel and the base beer, never overpowering and accentuating all the good parts. truly spectacular. such a shame to see the glass empty. need to find another excuse to come back for another bottle while they still have some...

kudos to the staff at beerbistro for the time and effort involved in getting these rare treats available in ontario. it isn't easy, and it isn't cheap, but it's so worth it.

Photo of Viggo
4.77/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

I tried this beer at the Big Beers Barleywine & Belgian Festival in Vail, one of the first I tried (and tried again & again & again…). Angle Share poured a mostly muddy dark brown with some red highlights around.

The nose is malty with noticeable cask and oak condition qualities. Most noticeable is the caramel notes but some fusel and brandy characters as well. The oak flavor is blended nicely overall. Some sugary notes with a touch of molasses and toffee as well as some tropical fruit flavors as well.

The taste is well balanced. I would have thought more solvent like notes but very smooth with nice creamy and malty flavor. The oak flavor is easily detectable with some vanilla and more of a brandy like taste. A nice touch of raisin and plum flavors finish off a smooth flavor. Some off alcohol flavor but surprisingly blended and easy to drink.

Overall this was a very nice treat. I would have expected this would need more aging but is very good as is. I am very impressive with Lost Abbey. Good beer.

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.82/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

thanks to metallitone1 for the chance to try this rare brew! This is a review of the 2006 release.

A - opaque mohagany color, seems almost cloudy as compared to anyting else I've tried from this brewery. Very nice reddish tan head that stays through the full brew.
S - Rich thick caramel, dark ripe fruits oak, vanilla and brandy.
T - a pure masterful symphony of flavors as noted above with a light background hop note to keep it all together perfectly. Did I mention it was a masterful blending of flavors?
M - full bodied, a couple of ticks below too sweet, creamy smooth and heavenly light lingering aftertaste.
D - So smooth and sinful to drink. Drinks like a light abv brew but with so many flavors it is utterly engaging right through till you run out of beer at the end of the glass.

Thankfully I have one more to treasure and savor for a future date!!! A must try beer if you get the chance!

Photo of tayner
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was almost afraid to open this bottle of angel's share to try it, afraid i might ruin the "mystique"... lets hope that isnt the case...

I poured half of the 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass. If i hadnt poured it myself i would almost think it was a glass of rootbeer. There is a small off white head and there are alot of carbonation bubbles attached to the glass to about half way down.

smells of wood and brandy. sweet aroma.. certainly makes me want to taste it..

Oak right off the top with a hot brandy on the way down. You cant miss the 11% for sure in this one. Despite the hotness of this one i can still make out some vanilla and dark fruit hints as well. Very complex with every swallow slightly stronger in one aspect that the other.. a belch brings up the wood strong and hard again...

In the mouth it feels very creamy.. creamier than i can remember any strong ale feeling in my mouth (at least that ive had). The texture of this beer is outstanding.

Drinkability is hindered by two things.. the rarity of this brew and the high 11% abv. I think that aging this one will certainly help mellow that abv and likely allow the overall complexity of the other flavors to be that much better. This is a sipper right now, and i wish i had someone here to help me polish off this bottle... guess i will have to try and polish off myself.. good thing im not going anywhere tonight!

I am glad to have a couple more of these to age, and to possibly compare side by side with next years batch.

Photo of BrewBakerE
4.92/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

o man, got this straight from the brewery and poured it into a brandy sniffter. poured a lot darker than expected but thats a good thing. almost opaque with a ruby hue around the edge. the nose offers up brandy, vanilla, and oak. carbonation is perfect for my taste. this is one of the best beers i have ever drinken. im holding onto my remaing bottles for special occasions only.

Photo of franksnbeans
4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Incredible. Pours a caramel brown, almost opaque with a thick creamy head and contiuous lacing. Nose is big brandy at first followed by caramel, chocolate, dark fruits and if taken in altogether without picking them out it smells like plain yogourt. Big brandy up front but not boozy whatsoever. Chocolate, brown sugar, caramel and dark fruits all take their turn on your pallate then a smooth as silk brandy finish. Insanely drinkable and I couldnt detect half the abv. A world class libation.

Photo of drseamus
4.85/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Repeal Day. Time to pull out all stops. I don't have a Port or Lost Abbey glass so my Westvleteren chalice will have to suffice.

A: Dark brown ruby colored body. It almost looks like a very dark red wine sitting in the glass. Barely enough light passes through to be able to see yeast particles in suspension but I can just make them out. There was initially a small light mocha colored head but it fell soon after pouring leaving only a rim on the edge and a small patch in the center. Fairly typical of a barrel aged beer in my experience. By swirling the glass it seems that the beer is pretty thin but I know better than to judge a book by it's cover. There is almost no visible carbonation.

S: As soon as I popped the cork I could smell brandy. Smelling the beer itself is a magnification of the cork. Brandy, sweet caramel, toffee, vanilla, and dark fruits emanate from the glass. I have never smelled caramel so clearly before in a beer and it smells damn good. Overall, it may be a bit on the sweet end but if so, only by the slimmest of margins.

T: The brandy is very up front but not overpowering. Broken down, I get some caramel, dark chocolate, oak, and a great malt backbone. The caramel is as strong in the flavor as it was in the aroma. The chocolate appears later in the taste joined by a hint of dark fruit and they linger on the tongue, lasting nicely into the aftertaste. There is a slight bitterness in the middle that appears only for an instant before fading into the dark chocolate. As it warms, the flavors become enhanced and richer without becoming too much. If I didn't know this was 11% ABV, I could call you a liar if you told me so. I can't detect any alcoholic burn at all. The smoothness of this beer is out of this world.

M: The body is actually much thinner than I expected, but there is so much flavor packed in there it doesn't even matter. As I mentioned, the smoothness is amazing. It tastes like this should be a sipping beer, but I ended up finishing the first glass rather quickly.

D: There was a decent amount of hype surrounding this beer as there is surrounding Dark Lord. When I finally tried Dark Lord for the first time, I was a bit disappointed. Tasting The Angel's Share for the first time was the exact opposite. This beer is as good as, if not better than the hype as far as I'm concerned. The ease of drinking for a beer of this ABV is incredible and the flavor profile is outstanding. This really is a world class beer.

Photo of oakbluff
4.67/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at the Beer Bistro in Toronto. Gotta splurge sometimes! Dark murky beer with minimal head. Nose is off dark chocolates and fruit- not what I expected for a barleywine! Taste- sublime- the brandy aging has turned this into a very unique beer. Hops are subdued, so really not that much bitterness. Just silky thick tootsie roll, plums and raisins, and vanilla sweetness (to name a few). Almost seems like more Belgian Quad than barleywine. Great sipping beer, but still dangerously drinkable. No hotness to speak of, just pure heaven.

Photo of seaoflament
4.67/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, my 100th review.

2007 Release.

I pour the Brandy Angle's Share into my Stone 11th Anniversary pint glass. The color is a dark caramel, like a wood barrel, with a half inch of cream colored foam. It looks darker in the glass. Carbonation is not too active but a thin layer does sustain for a few minutes and settles to a ring.

The aroma is very complex. There are some light brandy-like notes mixed with some chocolate malts, vanilla and oak, milk chocolate, toffee, and a bit of cake batter. As it warms up I get more aromas of malted milk and woodsy licorice. Hints of cherries, dates, and ripe, soft prunes make an appearance as well. The caramel malt that is mentioned in the bottle is also very present and earlier I described it as toffee; but the caramel malt is used very well and blends nicely to the flavors provided by the oak barrels. One of the best smelling beers I have had! As it comes to room temperature there is more and more chocolate aromas, a decadent beer! I take my time smelling this beer as I do tasting it.

The taste is so damn good, and the alcohol is hidden in the taste but masterfully placed in the finish, creating a warming sensation as you sip this beer. Chocolate, slightly roasted barley flavor or roasted malts, oak, a bit of vanilla, some brown sugar, toasted bread, and a few others I can't describe. The flavor is so well blended that I don't see how much better this can get with ageing, but I'm sure as hell plan to find out.

Incredibly smooth and drinkability is surprisingly very high. I don't remember the last beer I had with 11% that was so easy to drink, watch out people because it does creep up on you!

***Update 11/8/08***

Almost a year since this was released, heard some rumors that this beer might have gotten an infection so I decided to test a bottle out:

Pours similar to what I remember. Dark caramel color with a nice inch of tan colored foam. Decent retention and a quick swirl brings back another half to a full inch of foam.

The aroma is not as intense as I remember it. There is a grape/vinous aroma in the background, signs of oxidation, which is not entirely bad but I remember a stronger Brandy/Caramel malt combination. The aroma also seems thin. There is still a good amount of caramel and milk chocolate notes but again, not as intense as before. Wood and oak aromas are very subtle. I do get some vanilla in there when I look for it. Caramelized raisins, a few other dark fruits, and a hint of alcohol in the back.

Oh no!!!! my worst fears have come true! Sour upfront, dark fruits, raisins, caramel, a bit of chocolate and heat but fuck it all, it's sour!

There's some carbonation but the beer itself feels thin and lacks the delicious aftertaste it once did.

This is sad...

Photo of Floydster
4.9/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I will start off by saying that was the second best I have ever had against Russian River's Pliny the Elder

After lots of contemplation, I chose to drink this one on my birthday last night with numerous attractive beers waiting for me in my cellar and it had to have been the best choice

I bought this at Port Brewing Company last weekend for fifteen dollars and it was worth every single penny, it a 750 ml corked and caged bottle with nice artwork and a cool shape, the brewery spends two dollars for each 750 ml bottle they use just for the glass

Poured into my Flying Dog imperial pint glass with a dark murky brown color and 1/2 inch light tan head that did not budge, this left the most lacing out of any strong ale I have ever seen

Smell was predominantly vanilla and oak with a strong alcoholic aroma, could also smell various dark fruits and hints of rich toffee, I knew this was going to be a winner after catching the first whiff when I popped that cork and it squirted all over the sink

Taste was as complex as a beer can ever get, loads of brandy hit my lips immediately, followed by chocolate and mountains of sugar, ridiculous amounts of caramel, a great oak taste from its aging process that is at least six months long, starts off sweet with a boozy brandy taste that fades into a dry potent dry finish, lots of sweetness throughout this one that definitely makes it a sipper or dessert beer if there ever was one, sugar comes out more and more as it warms to room temperature, always want more after each sip, it is going to be hard to not drink that other bottle of mine soon and it will take more willpower than I probably posses

This had the fullest and thickest body you can imagine, a serious mouthfeel with taste that never mellowed, in your face stuff that keeps packing its punch, not very carbonated which is expected

Granted that this is strong at eleven and a half percent and is super heavy stuff, it is incredibly easy to drink and almost had to pace myself so I could fully enjoy it, took about two hours to finish the bottle myself, I do not even want to know what this beer is calorically but it is probably equivalent to a meal

I had never tried this beer before but have heard a whole lot of hype about it and judging by the line that day I knew it was going to be a fantastic beer but that is an understatement, I cannot explain how amazing this tastes and I will make the drive next time they release this with bourbon barrels in a second

The best Lost Abbey offering I have had and it seems to be their pride and joy as well, good thing they had a six bottle limit because I probably would have emptied out my bank account for these if they had not, hope to try this on tap someday, I got to try Veritas and Funky Barrel the day I purchased these though, that was a nice treat

There is a reason everbody wants this stuff, it is amazing and I wish I had not traded so many of my bottles already, I do not think any barrel aged beer will ever live up to the quality of this one, trade whatever you have in order to get a bottle of this and you will not be sorry, I recommend this over them all, this beer is practically perfect

Photo of Overlord
3.06/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

**here's my original review from years ago:

To be quite honest, I've enjoyed the Lost Abbey beers, but not as much as their reputation would have led me to expect. I picked up a half case of Angel's Share, and tried one tonight. It is, to summarize, a triumph.

Pours a murky reddish tan, with a fairly minimal deep tan head. Looks appealing, but it is the smell that first lets you know this is something special. I rarely, if ever, praise a beer extensively for its aroma, but this is both a treasure for your nose and your taste buds.

Rich with oak, candied molasses, plums?/figs?/raisins?/cherries?/prunes? and god knows what other dark fruits, the hint of carbonation gives a wonderfully complex malty backbone just enough "levity" to spruce up this heavy, heavy concoction. There's brandy, some chocolate (dark, bitter chocolate), and a whole bunch of other stuff going on here as well.

I was blown away.

**How can I leave the above review intact? This no longer reflects the Brandy Barrel Angel's Share that has been released. Apparently the flat, un-carbonated monstrosity that I purchased at an inflated price was "intended" as an "English Barleywine" with absolutely no carbonation, and I was just too dumb to realize it. I will average the scores of one of my favorite beers, and come up with something that reflects the two vintages.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.82/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle, Batch 1, sampled October 2007
The beer pours quite a bit darker than I was expecting. It is an opaque burnt amber color, that shows a brilliantly clear, light chocolate hue as I pour it. The head starts out a fat two-fingers in height and is frothy, rich amber tinged, dark tan color. Quite barrel influenced; some fruity, brandy-like notes are noticeable at first (including some slightly hot notes, that seem alcohol induced, but are really from the oak character). The nose soon picks up notes of oak-derived vanillin, touches of butterscotch and some spicy oak notes. The underlying beer is still noticeable though throughout all of this, though it does play a secondary, supporting role; aromatic notes of deeply caramelized malt sugars, some chalky cocoa notes, touches of toasty malt / dark bread, hints of dark grain notes (chocolate and something like Special B malt) and some fruit notes which meld with some probable brandy-induced aromas. The combination of the brandy & malt produce aromatic notes of raisins, a touch of cherry and some dried fig character. At times the aroma has me convinced that a mix of vanilla & hazel nut extracts has been added to the brew, or at least it seems that way. This is a very nice aroma, while it is certainly highly barrel influenced, it is not so much that it is detracting for me. I could wish that a bit more richness of the base beer came through though.

Soft, creamy, malt textures up front yield to a light spritz provided by the carbonation, but the beer really doesn’t lose that creamy texture. In fact the malts cling to the palate, even coating the mouth in their velvety touch even after the beer has left my mouth. As I was sort of expecting, the oak plays the secondary role in the flavor to the combination of beer & brandy flavors (opposite to the aromas balance). The malt & brandy contribute a nice level of fruit character here, including notes of concentrated raisins, figs, and a very slight cherry note. The fruit notes seem to be slightly roasted in character; the dark malts used here contribute a slightly chalky roast grain character, touches of chocolate & really something that seems like burnt raisins. The oak really provides an incredible balance & contrast to the flavors of this brew. As the beer warms, flavors of sweet nut extracts start to become quite prominent; touches of hazelnut, almond and something much like amaretto become quite pronounced and enjoyable.

The oak flavors are very well integrated here; soft notes of vanillin are noticeable at times, and towards the middle through to the end is noticeable a subtle butterscotch note. Spicy oak flavors are noticeable throughout, but especially show up in the finish; in combination with the hop bitterness, these notes provide a balance to the sweet malt & fruit notes. I get the feeling that this beer has a nice hop influence to it, but for some reason (other than the fair amount of bitterness) I can't separate these contributions out from the rest of the competing flavors. As the beer warms up, the vanilla flavors really become much more prominent.

While I was expecting this to be at least good, I really am impressed how good this really is. This beer really works quite well with the brandy barrel. This is truly and enjoyable sipping brew, as the label states, 750ml is definitely a good size for slowly sipping & savoring amongst friends. I really like the flavors found in this brew as well as the silky textures of the body / mouthfeel; the two really compliment each other quite well. I can't actually the texture of this beer being any better for this particular set of flavors. I really think more brewers need to explore this particular barrel type, as I just transferred a bunch of a Belgian-style Quad from a Heaven Hill Brandy barrel (same type of barrel used here I believe), that is shaping up to be quite phenomenal as well. Speaking of which, the brandy character really seems to move this beer into the realm of a strong, dark, Belgian beer like a Quad; ultimately, I think this is why I like this beer so much, barrel & barley wine did not really excite me that much, but little did I realize that the combination would evoke the complexity & fruit character that I like so much in a really good Quad. Quite surprisingly (at least to this lover of funky beers), this is easily, objectively (removing the situational aspect) the best beer I have ever had from Tomme. I really wish I had at least a couple more bottles of this batch as I have a feeling it is going to age quite well. Without the barrel character (brandy & oak derived), this beer would merely be at most good and more like just decent; really it is the marriage of all of the components of this brew that make it so incredible.

Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chocolate rules! Here is a barleywine well malted by the includion of quality chocolate, and must lead to an increase in score. Because of the darker look, the sweeter chocolate smell, and of course the Hershey chocolate taste with brandy from the barells. Above average mouthfeel. Better more complex barleywines, Belgiums? Of course. A very expensive choice of $70 bomber all-in at Beerbistro.

The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
86 out of 100 based on 631 ratings.