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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

239 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 239
Reviews: 108
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 9.63%
Wants: 180
Gots: 33 | 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:
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 added by: Bitterbill on 02-15-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 239 | Reviews: 108 | Display Reviews Only:
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5/5  rDev +14.7%

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5/5  rDev +14.7%

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5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of russellaaron69
4.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour a deep drown, almost black, with a thin brown head that quickly faded but left a halo like ring around the outside of the glass. Smells like wood, whiskey & dark fruit with a hint of caramel & vanilla. Taste is outstanding. Sweet, burnt caramel with dark fruit (raisins, dates & currants) & vanilla. You can definitely taste the whiskey (alcohol) & wood as well. Mouthfeel is full & oily. I actually found myself chewing after I swallowed a couple of time. Drinkability is very good for such a heavy hitter.

Photo of trygger87
4.93/5  rDev +13.1%
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 FtownThrowDown
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting for this one. Took a while to track down, but thanks to some generous traders I was able to track a couple bottles down. I've heard good things...

Pours a very dark brown in color. There are some reddish highlights around the edges. Looks great on the pour. A nice quarter inch of head forms on the pour. Cheers to Lost Abbey!
Smell is heavenly brandy, toffee and sweetness. Right up my alley. The brandy and the oak are the standouts here. Outstanding.
Taste is even better than the smell. More brandy, oak, toffee, tannins and a subtle sweetness. Incredible. Everything I look for in a sipper. Perfect mouthfeel and amazingly drinkable for the ABV. A truly worldclass beer. Unfortunately this is a little difficult to track down. I could drink this on a regular basis. I hope Tomme gives this one another go around at least. World Class!

Photo of HopHead84
4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Commercial Description:

"Nearly four years ago, we hired some Angels to work their magic on all manners of oak barrels and beers in our barrel program. As Angels go, they're alright. Sometimes they misplace barrels. Other times, they're selfish and hide the best barrels. And at least one of these Angels is mischievous from time to time adding grapes to the barrels to see what might happen. Recently, we found some of these "Angels Barrels" which we'd lost over time. After tasting them, we decided to marry some of the barrels together creating a time in a bottle snapshot of some of our favorite Angel's Share barrels. This Grand Cru bottling has been thoughtfully blended to bridge the first batches with our most recent releases. We hope that you, like us and our Angels, find it worthy of the designation Angels Share Grand Cru."

1/22/11

I had the pleasure of trying 10 different randomly selected bottles of Angel's Share Grand Cru earlier today. Only one bottle showed a slight off note, and it was only really detectable next to the other 9 bottles. On its own, I don't think it would have raised a red flag. I'm not really sure what's going on with the few off bottles I've heard about and the one that I tried, but I think the problem isn't batch wide. That being said, I'd still recommend opening your bottles now because the beer simply cannot improve. It's great right now but I think it was as good, if not better, on the day it was released. What are you waiting for? Drink it.

12/30/2010

It pains me to report that this beer is now infected, and it's not for the better. 5 friends around San Diego (I have 5 friends!) told me about opening infected bottles over the last month, so I cracked one of my own a couple weeks ago...not infected, still delicious! However, the bottle I opened tonight was clearly infected and just not enjoyable. AS Grand Cru as I knew it and loved it is now gone. Perhaps one of my last couple bottles will be fine, but I don't have high hopes for it given the recent trend. If you have it, open it _now_ and you might get lucky. Mine have been stored at 55 degrees, so perhaps those that were cold stored have fared better. With the addition of grapes, I knew that holding on to this delicious beverage for any length of time was a gamble. It was ready to drink when it was released, and I should have drank them all. You win some and you lose some, but with barrel aged beers I seem to losing more often than not as of late. I don't think I'll be hanging on to these types of beers anymore, rather, I will make more of an effort to drink them fresh. Score not adjusted to reflect infection, original score is from 2/14/2010. RIP.

2/14/2010

I tried the beer out of two separate bottles yesterday, but decided to wait and review it after opening my own bottle in a calmer setting. The beer pours dark brown with an auburn tinge. A frothy one finger head flares up as a result of the hard pour. Retention is good and lacing is scattered. I've come to expect little to no head from Barrel Aged Barleywines, so this was a welcome sight. After the head dies down, a swirl of the glass revitalizes it. Legs are perceivable on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is of dark toffee, oak, brown sugar, and a little caramel, with strong vanilla notes and evident barrel tannins. The Cabernet Franc grapes are immediately noticeable, providing a light vinous sweetness, and they do the beer credit. Oxidation is sherry-like and graceful. Dark fruits, aside from the grapes, are of dates and figs. Notes of bourbon and brandy are both prominent.

The flavor opens with sweet dark toffee, dates, and caramel. Cabernet Franc grapes enter with celerity and linger for the duration of the taste. The marriage of rich barrel aged barleywine and vinous notes is a wonderful thing to behold. Oak is evident, and there's just a dash of tartness accompanying notes of light sherry oxidation. I find both bourbon and brandy in the flavor, but the bourbon has a slightly stronger presence. As the beer warms, the grapes become more prevalent and I begin to detect plums. The brown sugar toffee finish is rich and vinous, ending somewhat dry and sticky. Alcohol is well hidden throughout, making itself most known in the finish and imparting a warming quality.

Angel's Share has, in the past, been rife with inconsistent levels of carbonation, but I can't ask for any more than I find here. Carbonation is at an upper low to lower moderate level. The mouthfeel is full and sticky. Lost Abbey nailed it on this one. Despite the painful price ($20), I have no regrets about buying this. This is probably my favorite version of Angel's Share to date.

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
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 largadeer
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
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 Douglas14
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got through being a Sinner's member.

Pours out a deep dark black with a dark brownish-red, mahogany-like hue around the edges. A small tan heads forms but doesn't stick around for long. The aroma is of burnt caramel, bourbon, oak, and dark, sweet fruit. There is a lot going on. Smelling it low I find more of the rich fruits while smelling it high I get more of the boozy-alcohol and bourbon notes. In the mouth I initially get bourbon and hot alcohol followed by tons of dark fruit. I get no grapes whatsoever, but there is a cherry-like alcohol flavor that lingers. Lots of oak and sweet oxidized-caramel flavors. The aftertaste is definitely of old/stale beer, but I was expecting that in this beer (and every other non-sour barrel-aged beer). Very full mouthfeel. Thick, chewy, and slick.

Outstanding beer. Great experience to drink it. At just below room temperature is when it's at it's best!

Photo of DefenCorps
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

mhewes sent me a bottle of this. Thank you, Michael. In between reports of infection, and the bitter disappointment that comes with realizing that I might not drink any Younger this year, I need something good to cheer me up.

Pouring a very dark brown with a dense, brown head that recedes to a ring, leaving no lace. The nose is rather incredible. Initially very vinous and almost tart, as this breathes, the rather big barrel character is comes out. The blend of bourbon and brandy is close to perfect. The bourbon character is classic Lost Abbey, dry, leathery, tannic, woody, a little vanilla and plenty of charred oak. The brandy pairs beautifully with the grapes, lending an almost port-like character. The dry Angel's Share base is, as always, incredible. Brown sugar, a little cocoa and some toffee are noticeable, and that leather character is great.

The palate opens rather with a big barrel character, and clearly, a blend of bourbon and brandy. Charred oak, a little vanilla, burnt sugar, booze, grape skins, tannins and leather. The blend of bourbon and brandy is a stroke of genius IMO. The mid-palate has brown sugar, leather, wine and a moderate port-like character. The grapes work very well with the brandy, this is a truly harmonious blend. Drying on the finish with a perfect blend of tannins, leather and booze. Oxidation is noticeable, with the sherry and port as well as some dark fruit and cocoa. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, this only improves as it dies down. Incredibly drinkable, I hope I get to drink this on tap, I could go for a liter of this stuff. Truly among the upper echelon of barrel aged beers, along with Brandy Old Stock and Matt.

Photo of jjanega08
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A= pours a beautiful brown color. Looks black in the glass with a nice one finger head on it!!!! The head is a brownish color and holds some decent retention with some average lacing on the glass. A lot better than any other angels share that I've had.

S= Woah! Tons of aroma to this one. A nice amount of brandy some bourbon. I don't smell much of it but I do smell some of the grapes in it. Nice wood aroma to it as well as vanilla and toffee. There is a ton of aroma coming from this. A lot of stuff I dunno if I can pick it all out. There is a decent amount of alcohol in it as well. Super sweet smelling. Really amazing. Deeper you can smell some dark fruit smells like plums and figs. Nice caramel smell to it. Sooo many smells.

T= Just like the smell. I notice a lot more of the grapes in the taste however. A lot of sweetness but not cloying at all. There is a nice mixture of brandy and bourbon in the taste. Loads of toffee and dark fruit. Wow I just can't believe the complexity of this beer. The taste is similar to the smell and I went into some good detail there so I don't feel like retyping.

M= Nice strong taste and a really really dry finish.

D= The Red Poppy from the Sinners membership was good but this is awesome. I'm glad I rolled the dice just for this beer. Hopefully the others can live up to it. This beer has tons of complexity and flavor. Super delicious I can't wait to see how my other bottles do.

Photo of pwoods
4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
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 cpetrone84
4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A big thanks to Kevin for sharing this one!

A-pours a dark brown, almost black colored liquid (almost cola esq). The head is dark khaki colored and bubbly.

S-the nose is big, lots of roasted caramel, touches of dark chocolate malt, tons of dark fruits, lots of raisins with hints of wood.

T-the taste is also huge, big roasted caramel with a light underlying chocolate. the dark fruits are huge, tons of raisins that linger quite long with the wood blended in together.

M-pretty smooth, highly carbonated with a good crisp finish and a full body.

D-this is extremely tasty, huge dark fruit presence with a great complexity. everything works very well together, awesome!

Photo of weatherdog
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
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 BeerAndBourbon
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks for sharing this beachbum1975!

A. Pours a milky brown with little to no head.

S. Brown sugar sweetness rests atop a heavenly bed of oak mixed with the perfect ratio of bourbon to brandy.

T. The bourbon and brandy are both very apparent. In with the mix is the oak, dark fruit flavors, brown sugar sweetness, and some roasted malt chocolate flavor.

M. Full bodied beer with just a touch of carbonation.

D. Delicious. I've yet to meet an Angel's Share that I don't like and this is certainly no exception. Damn I love me some Angel's Share.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured dark brown with good carbonation and a dirty white head

S: Sweet. Vanilla, oak, dark fruits, brown sugar, bourbon

T: Followed the nose pretty well but wow was this good. I noticed oak, bourbon, vanilla to be more prominent but chocolate, dark fruits and everything comes out. Hints of earth, tobacco too

M: Medium to heavy, rich, smooth, lighter carbonation.

D - Excellent and a must try

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The Angel's Share Grand Cru from The Lost Abbey
97 out of 100 based on 239 ratings.