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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.

109 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 109
Hads: 261
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 14.68%
Wants: 184
Gots: 32 | FT: 1
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 109 | Hads: 261
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.

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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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared courtesy of bmanning at a recent tasting alongside of Amyliz4 and Heather. Also a thanks to BeerWorld, who sent me a bottle a little while back--now I can see how this one does with some time.

A: Pours a dark chestnut brown with a decent-sized tan head. A tad bit of lacing.

S: Caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit, vanilla, and oak.

T: Very nice caramel notes alongside brown sugar and accompanying sweetness. A bit of toffee. Loads of dark fruits. Nice vanilla and oak coming through, and just a minor hint of alcohol.

M: Nice and fairly thick with good carbonation. Glad that's back on track.

D: Very, very nice. Excellent complexity with everything formed a beautifully-unified whole.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.51/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: The beer pours a hazy amber color with a rather large off-white head.

S: Very sour. Lemon, raspberry, and cherry with plenty of vinegar. Light bourbon and brandy notes with some mild vanilla and red grapes.

T: The flavor is just as off. Tons of lemon and vinegar notes. Lots of red fruits, especially raspberries, almost like a framboise in a sense. Light bourbon and brandy, a little bit of vanilla, too.

M: Medium bodied with very high carbonation.

O: Obviously this one has gone off the deep end.

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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.

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

Poured from a caged & corked 12.7oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with no head as expected and likewise no lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, bourbon, chocolate, dark fruit and licorice.

T: The taste starts out very sweet with flavors of chocolate, bourbon, dark fruit and licorice. Then a decent alcohol sting follows along with some oak-aging essence. The roasted malt character is very hearty. There is very little hops presence as you would expect in this type of beer and yet there is still a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet

M: Crisp and very smooth, quite viscous, medium-to-heavy body, very light carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, slightly filling, very strong kick, good aged representation of style, this is a good high-octane sipper to drink for a long time.

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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.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 09/18/10 notes. Poured from a 12.7 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown color with less than one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, dark fruits, caramel malts, raisins, and sweet fruity malts.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, dark fruit, vanilla, grapes, and caramel malts.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation, very smooth.

d - I thought this was outstanding. The bourbon and brandy Angel's Share beers I've had have been decent, but overly boozy and not carbonated, whereas this one was great. It smelled and tastes very complexed and balanced, and was very easy going down for 12% ABV. Would love to get another bottle of this one.

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

Received as part of my Sinners' 2010 membership. Served in my Darkness snifter.

A - The cork pulls out with a pop and some gunsmoke. A vigorous pour yields a half-finger of tan foam that dissipates to a thin ring and a touch of light haze. A few spots of lace are left behind. THIS is what low carbonation means to me. Very, very, dark brown body that is completely opaque.

S - This is unlike any Angel's Share I've ever smelled. Vinous grape notes emerge first, but as it warms brandy, rum-cake, chocolate truffle, caramel, marshmallow, dark fruits, and oaky tannins and vanillins all join in. Light oxidation adds a touch of sherry. While there are obvious booze notes it's not at all harsh or solventy.

T - The flavor is incredibly rich and smooth. Loads of chocolate truffle, marshmallow, nuts, toffee, and dark fruits. The barrel and grape notes are far more understated, and serve mostly to add depth - they emerge in the finish and contribute a light sour note and a rich tannic aftertaste. Alcohol is masterfully hidden.

M - Light carbonation tingle, wonderfully smooth medium body, with a slightly sticky finish and a woody residual feel. The tiny bit of carbonation makes ALL the difference here. There's a touch of alcohol warmth, but it doesn't show up until very late in the bottle.

D - Wow! This stuff is terrific. I had not problem putting down the 375ml bottle on my own - it's much more drinkable than pretty much every other Angel's Share I've ever tried, except maybe the '06 Bourbon version that I had on-tap at FoBAB '08.

While I understand that all Angel's Share can't be blended with this many barrels and variants, if it were all carbonated like this Lost Abbey would go a LONG way to restoring customer confidence.

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

Thanks to Plinytheyoungest for sending this up.

Cork pops off very lightly.

Poured into Lost Abbey snifter.

Pours a small layer of tan head; very expected. Color is a dark brown with a caramel hue to it.

Aroma: This beer seems to have it all. From bourbon notes to brandy notes to the massive amount of grapes added that show nicely. Big oak flavors with some molasses sweetness. Big bourbon and brandy notes that show through the entirety of this beer. I seem to get some spices as well. A hint of cinnamon shoes. Huge aroma.

Taste: This definitely is a big beer. A lot of alcohol from the bourbon and brandy barrels show here. This beer is fairly hot. Very big and boozy. Lots of oak. The grapes add another layer that I really enjoy here. But wow, this beer is massive. It has a ton of malts. Some chocolate, molasses, sweet cherry, and plum flavors. Wow, this beer has a lot going on.

Mouthfeel: Dry, bold, and warming. This is a full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation, showing nicely. It is hot with lots of barrel aging notes showing. I really don't mind it for the style, however. Ends with some nice brandy notes and oak flavors.

Overall, this beer is very solid. Full flavored and complex. It has a lot going on with it. It is drinking slowly, but that is because I don't want it to end. I am really glad I got to try this one. It is expensive, but worth it to try it. This beer has a lot going on with it.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big mix of Angel's share -- I don't want to go over which ones they are. Popped open at a recent tasting out of severe curiosity.

Beer is brown and forms a brownish head of small bubbles. Beer is clear and the head leaves some lacing on the glass but there isn't much in the way of carbonation. Looks good.

WHOA! The aroma on this beer is nearly overwhelming. Its sweet, malty, alcohol, hot, good brandy / bourbon aroma, sweet raisins -- complex.

The flavor is about as complex. There is definitely a port like character to this beer. Medium body, no carbonation in the palate, the alcohol and sweetness comes through with this raisin fruit character in the midpalate. Overall its pretty good. It is very interesting. I've had a lot of the beers that make up this blend but not all of them. I'd be interested in trying the other Angel's share to tease apart the individual characters.

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Photo of stakem
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml cork and caged bottle poured into a snifter. This brew appears a very deep murky color of dark brown as it resides in my glass. When held to the light, this brew reveals a deep ruby coloration with more clarity than I initially gave it credit for. A thin film of brown head swells up and fizzes away fairly rapidly. The bubbles hang tight to the sides of the glass and stay there throughout the duration of the experience. A bit of swirling and sipping produces some faint spotty lacework from the head and legs of alcohol cling to the glass when swirled.

The aroma of this brew is a bit of sensory overload. As soon as the cork pops there is a strong scent of booze reminiscent of both bourbon and brandy. As it rests in my glass, fruity alcohol notes come out smelling of figs, plums and raisins. Throughout the nose there is a solid indication of chocolate malt and a smooth scent of caramel/vanilla and oak tones. The smell of this brew overall is absolutely awesome. The warmer it gets, the more the properties of barrel aging come forward coupled with some notes of dark molasses and charred wood.

Tasting this brew reveals just as much character as the aroma led on. There is a bold alcohol presence tasting a bit like dark fruits akin to prunes dipped in chocolate and marinaded in bourbon and brandy. Other flavors of molasses, toffee, caramel and vanilla are all present. The chocolate property seemingly wraps itself around my tongue and lasts with a creamy sweetness of milk chocolate not the typical bitter semi-sweet chocolate that dark roast normally imparts in a brew. Yet this offering maintains a pleasant roasted bitterness to contrast the sweetness and accent the alcohol included in this brew. The alcohol has a taste that is lightly spicy and while it is not hidden at all, it is integrated perfectly into this brew. Faintly in the background is a bit of a grape taste that only emerges as the fusel alcohol seemingly evaporates on the tongue and starts to breath. It leaves a layering of flavor inside the mouth that tastes tannic and somewhat like grapes in their raw form. If you were to take over-ripened grapes straight from the vine and throw them into your mouth, with the seeds and some stems included, that is what the finish of this brew tastes like when paired with all the flavorings described above. Each sip reveals a new layer of flavors filled with oak tannins pushing forward flavors of wood and grapes coupled with chocolate, toffee, alcohol and vanilla.

This is a full bodied brew with a pleasant amount of carbonation. While the carbonation favors the low side, it fits this beer perfectly yet it is a little more bubbly than my previous angel's share experiences. I was going to hold on to this brew for awhile before opening but read some reports of possibly infected bottles. I guess I got lucky because this brew was absolutely phenomenal. I would love to get more of these to hold on to for enjoyment down the line like I previously intended.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ahalloin for sharing this gem.

A: Dark brown with decent sized head and lacing.

S: Roasted malt, bourbon, brandy, alcohol, raisins and/or dark fruits. There's a whole lot going on here. Amazingly complex. If there wasn't such a prominent alcohol aroma, it would have achieved the highest score.

T: Bourbon and brandy are each distinguishable and separate - very well done. Again, this beer is insanely complex but it's also pretty hot. Also, dark fruits and a big, malty sweetness. I really think this one could benefit from a few years in the cellar.

M: Good carbonation level, warm alcohol finish.

D: A tasty brew. Good for splitting a few ways.

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Photo of billab914
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 375ml bottle into my Lost Abbey Sinner stemware. It poured a darker, cola like brown color with a very thin, bubbly, tan head circling the edges of the glass.

The aroma has a lot of brown sugar, molasses and vanilla coming through. A woody oak and some moderate bourbon add some barrel aging depth to it. Some dark fruit with some notes of cherry, raisin and fig come through as well. It's very smooth and complex. A bit on the sweet side, but it fits the beer very well. An excellent aroma overall.

The taste shows the woody, oak and vanilla right up front. Midway it starts to get a lot sweeter with some of the brown sugar and molasses coming through. In the finish the bourbon really comes out, but is also very smooth. The vanilla lasts through the finish and some of the dark fruits come out as well. I get some bitterness to the finish, which really helps bring all the sweetness back in check. A moderate alcohol heat is there in the finish as well. Excellent flavors overall.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being low. Drinkability was very good, It was very complex and flavorful but also smooth. The barrel flavors really enhanced the flavors and depth, but also allowed the beer to shine through. Definitely the best version of AS that I've had, and just a great beer overall.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.07/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

This beer has incredible bottle variation, particularly with age, IMHO. I've had bottles that have blown me away (4.5 level) and bottles that have been half poured out.

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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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A solid pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a fat-one-finger thick , lightly cocoa-browned, dark tan colored head. The beer is a dark brown, with a touch of amber to it around the edges. The beer remains mostly opaque when held up to the light, but does show some clear, lighter amber-brown hues. The aroma is a rich mix of brandy, rich browned malt aromatics, toasted caramelized notes, dark fruity prune notes, some spicy alcohol, spicy oak notes, definite rich vanillin character and hazel nut aromatics. This definitely has hit the spot, this is the first Angel's share since the batch 1 Brandy version; a very well integrated, smooth mix of Barrel notes, dark fruit, vanilla and rich malt. It reminds me of a decadent, brandy soaked, dark spice cake; it is definitely a desert beer.

The taste is just sweet enough to work well with the spicy barrel character, and rich viscosity. Flavors of vanilla, dark caramel, molasses, brandy soaked plums and raisins, light cocoa notes and brown sugar crusted nuts work harmoniously up front. The beer is still a little cold, which tends to accentuate a spicy oak note in the finish as well as some alcohol warming / heat in the finish. This has a touch of tartness to it somehow; perhaps influenced by the grapes, the barrels and even the alcohol. The rich malt character is quite decadent, but really isn't too much and somehow manages a certain "lightness"; though this is definitely a sipping beer. As this warms up it becomes a touch richer, and a bit less spicy and alcoholic in the finish, though this still remains so. The dominant note here is the malt (though the barrel character is pretty close) with rich brown sugar, a complex nuttiness, smooth toasted malt, browned bread flavors and a really rich caramel character that leans towards buttery, dark toffee. This has just about a perfect balance between light carbonation and chewy body for a beer like this. There is even a touch of barrel derived smokiness and saltiness that comes through, to add to the complexity, as the beer warms up.

This is definitely quite nice, after being disappointed in any Angels Share since the first Brandy batch, I am quite happy to be drinking this; though to be fair much of my previous disappointment is due to the phenomenal status of that first bottled batch. This doesn't quite reach the level of that first batch, as it is a touch hot and not quite as well integrated, but this is a damn fine sipper.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.87/5  rDev +11.7%
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."


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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
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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Photo of corby112
4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle opened with a faint pop which is alarming considering all of the LA carbonation issues. Fortunately it appears that this bottle is carbonation. Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest trace of lighter color when held to a ligh source. Thin fizzy half finger mocha colored head that immediately fades into a thin lasting ring. No lacing whatsoever.

The nose on this beer is absolutely incredible! Lots of earthy oak notes accomanied by hints of vanilla, bourbon, brandy, roasted malt and dark fruit. Lately, a lot of BA age beers I've had smell and taste like alcohol bombs but this smells incredibly complex and well balanced.

Chewy medium body that has all the complexity and balance that the nose suggested. There is plenty of heat and sweet alcohol from the high ABV and barrels but this is countered by a slightly smokey roasted malt body. Hints of chocolate and toast as well as some dark fruit notes, especially grape and dark berries. Vinous with plenty of bourbon flavor and maybe some brandy too accompanied by subtle vanilla flavor from the barrel aging. Surprisingly the ABV is well masked making this pretty quaffable een though there is some nice warmth in the finish. I've been harsh critic of alost Abbey beers recently but this one is awesome and I highly recommend it.

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

375ml corked and caged bottle. The label says "Malt Beverage Aged In Oak Barrels With Grapes"

A small pop when I removed the cork, it pours a very dark..umm..black? If not black, a very very dark brown as no light shines through when I hold up my glass to the light.

A normal pours gives me a fine layer of foam with a wee bit of lacing. The look is definitely impressive and can I say...hopeful?

On to the smell and wow. There can be no doubt about any oak aging when I smell this. Finally getting over that delighful part of the aroma, I get oodles of a grape nose along with some nice caramel malt sweetness but the grape and oak dominate big time. Let a wine fancier smell this one and I'd bet they'd like to take the next step and taste it.

Can the taste live up to the smell? Here goes.
The sweet notes from the caramel malt are actually the first flavours I taste quickly followed by that awesome woody slightly nutty flavour and the taste of grapes actually brings up the rear. Yum, I say. And there's a nice tingle from the carbonation during each swallow. Yes. I said it. Carbonation. It's still light but I can't see *anyone* saying this beer is flat!

The body is on the light side of medium, the carbonation...I already covered that.

Drinkability? 12%abv American Strong Ale. Yes, it is a Strong Ale and the abv is there though not in my face. Grab yourself a chair, sit down on it, and sit back and relax with a Lost Abbey Grand Cru. Enjoy what this beer brings to the table. Look at the bottom of your glass and see the chocolate coloured sediment sitting there. Revel in the tastiness of what Lost Abbey has added to their line. Yeah. If you haven't guessed yet, I'm very impressed with it. Super highly recommended and I hope to share it with 3 of my trading partners soon. :^)

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The Angel's Share Grand Cru from The Lost Abbey
96 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.