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The Angel's Share Grand Cru - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
The Angel's Share Grand CruThe Angel's Share Grand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

253 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 253
Reviews: 111
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 9.63%
Wants: 182
Gots: 34 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  16.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bitterbill on 02-15-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

A blend of both bourbon and brandy barrel aged Angel's Share aged in oak barrels from 1-5 years
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 253 | Reviews: 111
Reviews by VAbdoyan:
More User Reviews:
Photo of weatherdog
4.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had side by side with the 09 Brandy with a huge thanks to Tony for providing it at a March tasting.

It pours a very lively dark brown, almost black, with a nice ring of bubbles surrounding the glass.

The first thing that hits he nose is the huge tannic red wine. Its got lots of dark fruits like figs and plums. Hints of vanilla thrown in there as well. I'm just loving the red wine character thats dominant in the nose. If the taste is anything as complex as the nose I'm in for a treat.

The taste has a nice sweetness throughout it. Barrel aging is very evident with oak and vanilla, and just a little bourbon. Once again the sweet red wine character is there and it adds a facet of complexity I've never had in a beer. As it warmed just a little alcohol made itself present. I know this beer has many different types of barrels in the blend and I would have thought that they would turn into a muddled mess by looking at the blend on paper. I can seriously pick out so many different flavors I would have never thought possible in a beer.

The body is medium/light, much more so than the 09 Brandy I had right next to it which may be attributed to the evident carbonation. i drank this one slowly but only for the simple fact that it was so complex I wanted to appreciate everything this beer had to give.

I had this beer side by side with the 09 Brandy and this one just blew it out of the water. It was so good it was the highlight of our whole tasting. I think Tomme should keep this type of blend going, since even though it is more expensive than just the regular Angel's Share, it is actually worth the high price tag. This beer was a real treat and up there as one of the best beers that have ever graced my lips.

Photo of chinchill
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a small snifter.

Essentiially black; excellent lacing.

Feel: excellent except for some high ABV harshness; near full body; very good, if relatively high (for style), carbonation.

Taste: Sweet up front; Rich and complex; dark roasted malts dominate the bitter/sweet aftertaste.

O: Outstanding. Improved with warming and more warming.

Photo of glid02
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Joe - thanks!

Pours a hazy Werther's butterscotch color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin ring around the glass leaving light lacing but solid legs.

Smells of large amounts of everything - butterscotch, smooth caramel malts, vanilla, brandy, booze-soaked plums, and milk chocolate. The nose has a lot going on.

Tastes similar to how it smells, although not quite as complex. Caramel malt and butterscotch flavors with hints of darker toffee kick things off. Midway through the sip dark fruit flavors briefly come into play before being overtaken by good amounts of milk chocolate and well-integrated booze flavors - vanilla and mild butter. These flavors carry through to a crisp and sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was impressed with the complexity with this beer and there's not much else to say that hasn't been said. Well worth a shot and I'll be interested to see how this compares with the normal Angel's Shares.

Photo of pwoods
4.82/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Stoad for the bottle!

375ml split with Kels, poured into snifters.

A: Pours a murky brown, opaque. Moderate head on the pours with only a ring of retention. Decent lacing. Lots of barrel, obviously. A good swirl brings the head back but there's too much abv and barrel to hold it long. The beer takes on a bit of a raspberry color once it get further down in the glass and the light tries to get through it.

S: Holy fuck, this is how a beer should smell. A good amount of bourbon and brandy with a slight nod to the bourbon. Lots of alcohol from both but fitting for the beer. Lots of barrel, deep and dank, that compliments the big alcohol and malt profile. Big deep chocolate and molasses notes. Brownie and spicy brown bread. Unbelievably complex.

T/M: Very very good. Lots of alcohol right when it hits your tongue but instantly mellow out in to a nicely oxidized, supremely complex sipper. Some definition between the bourbon and brandy but plenty of melding and smoothing out of the alcohol. More of the big barrel profile but mellowed and blended in nicely with the alcohol and complex malt bill. More of the chocolate and molasses with some spicy brown bread. As it warms even further, the alcohol starts to come out in the swallow and warms the belly even more. The body is medium full to full with more carbonation than I expected but still low and smooth enough to not take anything away from the beer.

D: ABV is high but it's so smooth and complex that I want another sip as soon as I swallow. Definitely a home run with this one.

Photo of Brenden
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm so glad I got to try this one; I didn't realize it was a limited release, so even more thanks to a74gent for offering to get me this one and bringing it home for me. Notes are a couple months old.

The color is a thick, somewhat viscous dark brown that's just a bit too dark to see through and has some reddish hues in the light. A light brown head about a finger high forms that leaves some good lacing.
There's just so much going on in here, beginning right off with an aroma that comes pouring out powerfully. All kinds of sweetness, including toffee, vanilla and caramel complimenting dark fruits, a boozy bourbon or brandy-like smell, and a light note of wood. Brown sugar and fig sweetness comes out as well.
This is certainly a sipper, and quite boozy without having an overly alcoholic presence. This beer is somehow very much like a bourbon or a brandy without being too much. Othwerise, all the complex sweetness comes out that's in the nose, primarily vanilla and plum/raisin with the others underneath. Lest is get too sweet, the dryness of the oak flavor really adds a nice element of balance, and malts aren't lost in translation. Hops are also light but present.
This would seem to be a beer that would lend itself to a certain heaviness, but, while it is certainly fuller in body, it isn't too heavy. Carbonation is light and works well.
This one was just fantastic, and, while expensive, I'm certainly glad I got to try it.

Photo of nkersten
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a NB globe. Very dark brown slightly translucent at the edges, thin foamy tan head settles to a ring at the edge of the glass. Smell is lots of dark fruit, raisins, oak, bourbon, a bit of apple and grapes, alcohol. Taste is boozey barrel up front followed by a silky, buttery vanilla, bourbon, oak, grape skins, slightly tannic, raisins, and a bit of heat in the finish. A very heavy body with low carbonation. The heat takes away from the drinkability a little, but overall this is a very tastey beer.

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

300 ml of a bold blend. Black with little head. Mostly bourbon in the aroma and taste. Full mouthfeel. Very drinkable, but it is to be sipped and not gulped. Grape is a distant flavour.Enjoyed as a barleywine, complex, and would like to have again further along aged.
Big thanks to JMBSH.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Matt (mtunnell) for this one. Poured from a corked and caged 12oz. bottle into an oversized Southampton snifter.

A: Cork ejects with a moderate pop! This beer is carbonated! Goodie!!! Standard pour yields a .5 finger fine light brown head that dissipates quickly. A thick layer of foam clings to the side of the brew. Beer is a cloudy, near opaque dark brown. Lacing is spotty and sparse with little cling. Nice legs though. Pretty standard for the style and needs a little help in terms of clarity.

S: Nose is aromatic and complex. Booze, vanilla, oak, chocolate, prunes, raisins, molasses, and brown sugar. Heat is apparent but the flavors are really well integrated in this one.

T: Opens caramel, molasses and brown sugar. Very sweet. Hints of vanilla are apparent at the start. Booziness becomes heightens in the middle, complementing prunes, raisins, and other dark fruit sweetness. Chocolate and sweet figs towards the end along with a pleasant sweet roasted malt flavor. Finish is brown sugar and more caramel and molasses with a sticky, sweet molasses finish. This is heads and shoulders above the Brandy and Bourbon Angel's Share. A phenomenal brew.

M: Medium to full bodied and moderately carbonated. Hot and slightly lively in the mouth but smooth and warming going down. Finish is messy with an aftertaste that lingers. The ABV could be hidden a bit better but overall very solid.

O: I personally see Lost Abbey and Tomme Arthur as very hit or miss. In this case, Angel's Share Grand Cru is a definite hit. Good carbonation, great complexity, and very solid feel. This one's worth seeking out and trying and will only get better with time.

Photo of cjgator3
4.09/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed at Hunahpu's Day 2015 in Tampa at Cigar City Brewing

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.84/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the beer that got me into limited releases. Went to the first release when they put it in bottles. I lost some respect for it during the carbonation fiasco but this Grand Cru version has restored my faith.

Review #300

Pours a super dark brown. Thin tan head dissapated fast. No lacing.

Aroma is crazyest of any beer I can think of. Soo much dark figs and raisins. Little bit of chocolate. Lots of oak compared to the other versions. Very pot wine-ish.

Mouthfeel is malty and sweet but not too much. Perfect carb on the lighter side.

Overall I love angels share and it was my first rare beer I ever drank. Which makes it appropriate for me to make it my 300th review.

Photo of nickd717
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap (?) at Toronado barleywine fest 2010. The question mark there is due to the fact that I heard this beer didn't exist on tap, but it was definitely Angels Share Grand Cru on the list for this fest. Maybe they poured it out of bottles behind the scenes - who knows?

Pours very dark brown and more opaque than pretty much anything else there. A nice one-finger tan head sits on top and lasts a long time.

Amazing aroma: caramel, chocolate, brandy, bourbon, red grapes, and oak.

Flavor is also really excellent, as all Angels Share incarnations are when they're carbonated. Brandy and bourbon along with cabernet grapes, oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, chocolate, and mild roast. So much going on there. Also a little alcohol.

Fairly full body with a great carbonation level (medium-low) and a little booziness, but not enough to make it a chore to drink. Nice one, Tomme.

Photo of Kegatron
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

375 ml corked and caged bottle into a Lost Abbey stemmed glass. Thanks go to Sean9689 for hooking me up with this in a trade.

Pours black at first but holding this up to the light reveals more of an actual deep dark brown body on this, topped with about a ½ finger of fizzy burnt mocha head. This dissipates pretty quickly, finishing with a thin foamy ring around the edges that maintains itself nicely and ringing the sides of the glass with light spotty lace and oils that slowly ooze down the sides. Bourbon and brandy play tug-of-war in the nose with notes of fruit, vanilla, and burnt spicy molasses all mingling together into a powerful mélange of woody, sticky, and charred barrel character. Cocoa powder, sugars, and toast sit way underneath but are present if you dig pretty deep on this. Warm alcohol fusels sting the nose a tad.

The taste is once again a tale of two barrels, with the fruitiness, vanilla, and caramel flavors of the brandy mixing with the tannins to give this a green tangy tartness that spreads out through the profile and fluctuates in intensity as I work the bottle. Burnt molasses and brown sugars from the bourbon sit underneath and latches on to the base notes of chocolate and roast. Overall this comes off as a warm burnt stickiness that the drenches the palate and finishes with a smack of vanilla character and a mouth-enveloping charred dryness that seems to stretch for miles. The mouthfeel is full bodied; with a thick creaminess that gets chewier feeling the longer you hold it in your mouth. There is a ton of slickness from the barrel, giving this a slippery feel that counteracts the heaviness of the body. Speaking of which, the 12% ABV is just marvelously hid and despite the obvious beefy alcohol presence, I can't believe just how smooth this is, with no stinging heat and the alcohol mostly being confined to the brandy and bourbon notes.

Uh, this was pretty freaking good. The tartness threw me for a loop at times (I'm pretty sure that this was just a combination of flavors and not anything infection related) but it seemed to fluctuate in its assertiveness and never really become distracting. What does stand out here is the perfect balance of barrel flavors and the absolutely ridiculous drinkibility for such a huge beer. This is fantastic stuff. The Lost Abbey did right by this release.

Photo of trygger87
4.92/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up at whole foods in SF CA. This beer is dark as night. Pours almost no head to speak of. This beer reeks of boozy dark fruits. With vanilla and toffee under tones. Taste is a bit sour at first followed by a big time whiskey/ bourbon flavor. This beer is really good, though its a bit expensive. I would recommend this beer to any one who likes barrel aged beers.

Photo of thagr81us
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle into a Surly Darkness snifter. Poured a deep red-orange with a three finger off-white very fizzy head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. There was no lacing evident throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, tart, sour, and raspberries. The flavor was of sweet malt, tart, sour, raspberries, and wood. It had a medium feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was not at all what I was expecting based on having Bourbon and Brandy right before this one. This was a completely different beer in my opinion. With that said, I loved it! Really reminded me of a Lambic if I'm honest. Infection? Perhaps... But who cares, this was tasty. Great flavor and aroma going on in this one. The wild character in this one really shocked me in a good way. A definite must try, infected or not, you won't regret it!

Photo of GRG1313
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown/black with a light tan fast fading head.

Nose is all sweet black dark chocolate. Pure, dark, sweet chocolate with a hint of vanilla and an undertone aroma of bourbon.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy and rich. There is elegant "chamgagne type" of carbonation. Viscous and a bit syrupy but generally pleasing; a "big" beer.

Flavors are rich and thick, layered and complex. Black chocolate, sweet black coffee, rum, cooked raisins, prunes and molasses. There is a big licorice character and a big black licorice finish. Sweet cherry/chocolate mid palate but gives way to a licorice syrup and then more black chocolate that would do well with desserts.

This brew is rich and thick and complex enough that I would try it with ice cream! There is an initial bitter burnt molasses character that improves with air and as this one warms.

This one is really not "drinkable" in the general sense of the word. I suspect one would usually consume this much like a brandy or cordial where one would simply sip a small amount. Simply too thick, sweet and rich to really "drink."

More pleasing than the regular Angel's Share.

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

3/9/11. 375mL bottle courtesy hellomynameis. Opaque reddish-brown pour with a small ring of brown head. Very complex aroma of dark fruits, brown sugar, black licorice, bourbon, vanilla, fudge, buttery coconut, and more. Sweet malty flavor that hints at sour grapes along with a solid dose of oak, buttery coconut, vanilla, dark fruits, brown sugar, and more. This is intense and quite nice. It’s like a sour bourbon barleywine. Awesome! Love it!

Photo of alleykatking
4.17/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 375ml caged and corked bottle. Many thanks go out to jdefont for bringing this to a recent tasting. I've been looking forward to this one Justin!

A- Pours a very deep brown color. 1/4 finger tan head that dies rather quickly. Very light spots of lace on the sides of the snifters.

S- This one is interesting to say the least. There is a lot of darker fruits with plums, raisins, and some fig. Heavy alcohol tones which display a light bourbon hint in the nose. There isn't much in the way of the brandy barrel but I suspect this will come out more in the taste. Oak tones come in the ending more which quickly gets covered by a medicinal alcohol aroma.

T- Light roasted malts in the front along with a nice brandy barrel tone (think green apple skins, caramel, and light vanilla) along with a alcohol flavor. Middle of the beer mellows out a bit with darker fruits mixing with brown sugar and light vanilla undertones. The bourbon barrel comes into the ending with a nice warming alcohol from the back of the flavor to the aftertaste. Other ending tones consist of oak and light charred overtones. Some more of the vanilla that comes has been in the whole beer still appears in the ending.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style being a little low (which I think is what they are going for..no carbonation issue here). Barrel notes and light roasted darker fruits left on the palate. Warming alcohol with vanilla, darker fruits, and charred barrels in the aftertaste. Flavors I thought were well balanced for the beer. Heavy drying on the palate from the alcohol. Clean tasting through and through.

D- This was a good beer to sip on. Lost Abbey has never put out a bad beer in my opinion. The ABV was not in your face the entire time in the forefront but you could tell it was a 12% beer. A glass of this of enough for me but I would love to share this one with a friend or two.

Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sean for sharing this one!

Poured the last of the bottle into a champagne flute. From a distance the bottle was throwing off maple syrup and brown sugar aromas. It was black in the center and a burnt russet shade in the meniscus of the glass. There was a feeble skim at first that retreated to a sticky collar at the edges, which stuck around.

Nose had the aformentioned maple and brown sugar, mixed with vanilla and traces of sweet bourbon. Not overly sweet, it had a subtle woody character to the nose.

Super rich malt base, dense and cookie-like, maple, tobacco, dark fruit (currant), with a long, mellow bourbon finish. Rich and viscous, a slow sipper for sure. The alcohol stung the back of my gums a little bit, but it wasn't overtly boozy. Good stuff, though I may prefer bourbon Angels Share.

Photo of smakawhat
3.11/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at Smoke & Barrel DC, for the DC bottle share. From notes.

Really looks like brandy, with a great clear caramel color and amber body. No head presented.

Nose seems intriguing. Mild funk. Closed but a little subtle. Some hiding sweet caramel with a noticeable vinegar and acid. Not sure where this is going.

Palate hits with a giant mix of acid and caramel sweetness. Medium mouthfeel to let some of the malts carry around, but the tartness on this is just huge, with a big blast of acetic quality, which really doesn't mix with this thick caramel at all.

I don't think this is by design, this went somewhere else, it feels like there's a good brew hiding in here somewhere, but I don't even know what to think after drinking this.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Footbalm brought this up for the recent tasting... Huge thanks Eric!! Awesome beer.... really amazing.

Off white head has great retention and lace... deep dark brown brew.. fairly clear...

notes show first, "I could sit and smell this for hours" ... amazingly complex.. dark toast.. caramel.. good barrel presence.. golden raisins.. fruity elements are melted by rich malts...

flavor has some nice vanilla notes that mesh well with the above aromas.. lite cocoa.. something that I associate with figs... cigar wrapper ... fruity and bunches of misc. maltiness... not really "sweet" yet very malty.. nice medium/full body with a tad lighter than appreciated carbonation, but no "dead flat" jokes are needed. This beer is a winner that I would "maybe" kill to have available locally.

Ditmier commented very lovingly (he loves his recent AS bottles) that this isn't as "harsh" as the '09 Brandy AS.. but that is a great compliment.. lush... velvety.. one of the most complex beers out there.... In a perfect world, I want a Magnum!! Not so I can share it, but so I can enjoy it over about 8 hours.

4.5/5/4.5/4/5

Footbalm is the man! Like a beer gangster that just rolls in, corks his outlandish whales.. tells us to enjoy them... and then disappears. Really, though... Eric is a great cat and somebody that I appreciate his friendship.

Photo of berkey
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 oz corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip glass 08/18/10. I'm liking the smaller bottle size, 750ml of this 12% monster would just be too much.

Cork is released with a small but reassuring *pop*, the absence of which was the harbinger of carbonation issues in other versions of this beer. A very small mocha colored head forms and quickly dissipates to a narrow ring around the rim of the glass. Body of the beer is very dark brown, near black and virtually opaque.

Alcohol aroma isn't quite as strong as I expected based on the ABV and my memories of the standard Bourbon version. Chocolate, oak, and slightly acidic fruity notes. I might not say grapes if I didn't read it on the label but they definitely play a part.

First sip and I'm still fairly impressed how well managed the alcohol is on the flavor relative to the high ABV (though it's very clear on the feel). Chocolate isn't as obvious here but but still in the mix along with some toffee and caramel I didn't detect earlier. Where there is alcohol Brandy notes seem to be the most distinct. This could be the grapes playing tricks on me though.

Medium-low carbonation works well on a beer like this. As previously alluded to there's a slight burn on the feel but it's to be expected and not enough to be a problem.

Recommend especially if you liked the Brandy version or have been wanting to try a version of this beer with carbonation.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to Dana for sending me this bottle. I really did not think I would ever get ahold of it to be honest. Served chilled and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 05/14/2010.

The pour is huge, dark caramel color with a huge billowing head of light tan that reaches three fingers high before it settles down and back to earth. Still coating the sides of the glass with loads of sticky lace, the look alone was enough to scare the crap out of you.

Aroma was to die for, literally to die for as the richness of the toffee and butterscotch notes was overpowering. Huge,, sweet, decadent and dessert like aroma. The things dreams are made of. As it warms rich carame and huge notes of bourbon like oak notes come through clearly. This is a very complex and very intresting beer. Each sip seems to be bigger and more complex then the one before. Butterscotch and toffee roll across your tongue, rich, smooth feel, light carbonation but the sweetness is unparralled here. It was like taking angels share and spiking it. A touch of hotness as it works its way though, but overall it was remarkably smooth and easy to sip on, but it did me in for the night that was for damn sure,

Overall I am soo thrilled to be able to have tried this one. I had tried for a while and it was worth the wait for sure.

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%

Generously taken from the cellar and poured by my main man at Beachwood in Seal Beach, CA.

Aged well like the one and only Claudia Cardinale. Had all those rum/raisin barrel textures along with a slight musk from the grape. Kind of like Chopin sitting at the piano, Raul was digging this.

Yep!

Photo of largadeer
4.84/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado's barleywine fest on Saturday. Numerous other beers were ignored so that I could savor a few glasses of this.

Opaque dark chocolate brown in the glass, topped by a quater-inch of caramel-colored froth. The head recedes to a crown that lasts until I finish my glass.

The aroma has a beautiful balance between barrel and beer; I smell brown sugar, raisins, figs and toffee alongside strong but not overwhelming bourbon, which seems to have taken precedence over the brandy barrel components. There's a slightly tart vinous quality along with subtle sherry-like oxidation in the background. Alcohol is present but subtle, lending another layer to the complex aroma.

Similar flavors are present on the palate, opening with brown sugar, sweet and tart dark fruit, caramel, lightly boozy bourbon and earthy oxidation. Dried fruit and sherry appear mid-palate along with a kick of bourbon, though it's all remarkably smooth and balanced. The blending of new and old vintages was handled brilliantly; there's a bit of fire from the newer vintages and a bit of oxidation from the older, with neither one overwhelming the palate. The cabernet franc-infused component of the blend makes its presence known as well, lending a vinous backbone that's simultaneously sweet and tart. The body is smooth, rich and nearly void of any harshness, and carbonation is at a perfect moderate level, while the finish lingers on for ages with flavors of dark fruit, sherry, tannins and brown sugar. Easily my favorite batch of Angel's Share yet.

Photo of Xul
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark brown with some very slight amber hues when held up to the light. A frothy, one-finger beige colored head forms but settles into a thinner layer - not quite a head, but more than just lacing. Some light lacing is left down the glass as it's swirled and consumed.

S: The various barrel components are each very evident, as bourbon and brandy notes stand out, along with a sweet vinous quality from the cab franc grapes. Behind each of the specific barrels lies a light oakiness, evident but far from overpowering, followed by a toffee base with loads of vanilla, dark fruits - figs, dates, raisins, and hints of cherries, along with some light caramel.

T: Starts out with sweet toffee and caramel, along with a heavy dark fruit character, predominantly figs and dates. The cab franc grapes come in and give just enough character to remind that they're there, but never enough to overpower any other element, for the duration of the sip. Oak is apparent along with vanilla and while both bourbon and brandy are easily detected, the bourbon is the stronger of the two. The finish is sweet, but far from cloying with a light booziness creeping in, imparting a bit of a warming quality.

What bumps this from a 4.5 to a 5 for me is the fact that even though this is a big beer, it's ridiculously well integrated with subtle qualities, and no one barrel component is overwhelming.

M: Close to full bodied with low to moderate carbonation - plenty of bubbles for what it is, but it could be just a bit thicker. I understand that's partially a byproduct of the older barrels, but it would be easy to just rate this straight 5s if we started making allowances for special circumstances.

D: Ridiculously drinkable for a big barrel aged barleywine...the alcohol heat becomes a bit more apparent as it warms, but it goes down far too easily.

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The Angel's Share Grand Cru from The Lost Abbey
96 out of 100 based on 253 ratings.