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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.

240 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 240
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: 240 | Reviews: 108 | Display Reviews Only:
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 beachbum1975
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Shared this with urbancaver and his friends yesterday. Review from notes.

I got the last pour of this beer into my small snifter. Very little head produces after a moderately aggressive pour.

Sits a brown, murky goodness in my glass with oily traces coming up the sides of my glass. I also observed a large (pea sized) chunk of yeast sitting in the bottom of my pour and the legs appeared cloudy or dusty. That's okay by me.

This still has the best nose of any barrel aged beer I've ever had. The use of wood, bourbon and brandy is top notch. I could seriously sit and savor the leathery, woody mix all night long... World class nose.

The flavor of this beer matched the nose. Complex, complex, complex. A heavenly mix on leather, vinous, bourbon, oak and again done by the masters of the trade.

Mouthfeel was my only complaint. It sat with just the smallest bit of carbonation. It it was slightly more carbonated, this would have received a 5.

Fantastic on the senses.

Photo of Urbancaver
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong strong buttery bourbon flavours with hints of the brandy coming through. Strong alcohol coming through the sweetness and almost syrupy flavors A very potent beer that is incredible smooth and flavourful! So incredibly good. Thank you to Shane who brought that to the barrel aged beer tasting this afternoon!

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ticked 07-09-10

Thanks to Sean9689 for bringing this to Alex's

A - It pours way black - almost no light passes through - with a moderate tan head and it deposits little curlicues of lace.

S - Delicious aromatic impressions of chocolate-covered dark fruit mingle with sublime booze-barrel notes. Maple and molasses notes appear after a bit.

T - The blend of beer, barrel and booze lends big flavors of chocolate-cocoa-hazelnut, impressions of vanilla, caramelized sugar, and maple, as well as dark fruity notes of raisin, date, fig, and prune. There is a vinous, Quad-y or EBW-like quality to the taste and feel. Super delicious.

M - Silky smooth, softly carbonated, very nice.

D - Exceptional.

Photo of Verecund
1.93/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle with Bucketboy on 10.26.2010.

Pours a dark, nearly night black with a thin tan head. Spoiler: This is my favorite part of the beer. It's all downhill from here.

Sweet booziness, caramel, and buttery popcorn. Grape brandy.
I don't want to dwell too much on this, so I'll make it quick: tastes of sour white grapes, plums, molasses, booze, and a brandy-like sweetness runs through it (to little effect). As it warms, I can't get through the permeating, unbalanced soured grape / vinous flavor. This is not good.

Surprisingly light and not as rich or thick as I expected. Tannic finish. Somewhat hot.

I came here to commiserate, but it looks like I may be alone here in finding this rather unbalanced, overly grapey, and not as rich as I expected, given a recent tasting of Deliverance (which was far superior, IMHO).

EDIT (Jan 2011): Based on others' recent experiences, this may have been an infected bottle.

Photo of kbutler1
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Shared by fbm115. Pours a fairly dark copper/caramel color with a very slight tan head. The aroma is actually fairly sweet with notes of caramel, toffee and a slight alcohol note. Smells somewhat oaky as well. The first sip yields a nice rich flavor that goes down pretty smooth. The sweetness is the first taste that I pick up with the caramel and toffee notes. Nice medium mouthfeel. For 12% this goes down way too easy!

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12.7 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass.

Beer comes out dark brown, almost black, withe lighter brown edges. A light brown colored small head that fades very quickly. Not much lacing to it but I'm digging the look overall. As you take each sip the liquid itself slowly trickles down back to the pool at the bottom. It almost looks as if it's a carbonated pure maple syrup, a little thinner than that, but not much, pretty looking.

Smell is good as well. There were several reviews I read in the past of bourbon, whiskey and a few other spirits and I can see that. There is a prominent feature of alcohol that tickles your nose during each sniff. However it's a bit sweet in the smell in my opinion, similar to a cognac, or a cognac/barleywine love child. Malts and hops are present but certainly not the primary features as you sniff.

The taste is a slight step up, very good. Sweet malts are present right away, slight caramel and bitter chocolate characteristics. There is also a liquor, malty flavor to it. Hops more present in the flavor than the smell in my opinion, still not that strong though. There are some slight maple flavors to it as well.

I didn't like the mouthfeel at first, a bit too complex, but it really grew on me. It's certainly full bodied, but overall well balanced. There is a warmth from the alcohol that feels like the 12.5% that the bottle indicates but it doesn't really bite at you, has a clean/fresh finish. The drinkablility is very good, but certainly a sipper. Nice on a cool day.

Like this beer alot, love to have it again, but don't know if that will happen. My first of hopefully many Lost Abbey brews.

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Tired of figuring things out on my own, angel's wings won't you carry me home?" - Social Distortion

I boycott breweries that sue other breweries (Bear Republic, Lost Abbey, etc) so I'm pretty stoked that my girlfriend picked this up on her own volition. Pours a dark, dark chestnut color. No head but Angel's Share manages to squeek out the tiniest of tiny foam collars and a wispy skim that looks like a profile of Sonic the hedgehog.

This. Smells. Awesome. Bourbon leaps upon the nose carrying licorice, vanilla, molasses and raisin. Boozey sophistication.

Tastes like it smells: dark caramel, bourbon, fig, and vanilla. Hints of decadent chocolate, more boozey sophistication. Has a burnt, steely flavor as it warms which is the only thing that prevents this from being a 5. Scant carbonation which goes over well.

Honestly my first thoughts (following "wow, this is good stuff") were this is Founder's KBS done Belgian style. A sipper but something that I could sip all night, every night...if I were a millionaire.

Photo of mdfb79
4.58/5  rDev +5%
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.

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

Finally got the opportunity to try this one (much to my surprise). Pours a rich, deep dark brown, with a minimal amount of faded white head. This one has a great nose, with raisins, plums, wood and booze. As was to be expected, there is light oxidation (which adds a bit of complexity, in this case), along with grapes, plums, bourbon, brandy, vanilla and oak. Amazing flavor here. After trying deliverance, and now this one, LA needs to keep blending the brandy AS, hopefully with more stellar results.

Photo of kels
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Mmmm....thanks pwoods for sharing this one with me. Probably not something I'd ever see otherwise.

Pours deepest chocolate, more or less black. It is completely opaque, save a layer of semitransparent alcohol that seems to separate and float just above the beer. There are deep ruby-raspberry highlights that present in the light. The initial 1/2 finger of fizzy tan foam fades immediately with little memory left behind. Just a slight ring hugs the sides of the glass and spots the walls momentarily after the wash.

The aroma of this beer is out of this world. It is so complex and deep. There's an immediate plummy, dark cherry fruitiness coupled with the warmth of charred wood. The alcohol doesn't hide itself nor come across sharply, but instead presents in a soothing and deepening way. Keep smelling a little longer, and find a rich, caramelly sweetness that is more candy-like than milk-like.

The taste really stands up to the smell - just as good. It is simultaneously caramelly, fruity, oaky, and alcoholic. The sweetness of the caramel gets a surprising complement from a juicy, chewy fruit note. The heat of the alcohol is well tamed by the warmth of the wood. The aftertaste reveals a bit of anise, vanilla and a hint of sour cherry.

Feel is not as viscous as expected from the appearance, but it holds its own at a moderate mouth. It is very smooth, and there's just a little hit of carbonation at the ends that holds the sticky, tongue-coating aftertaste around for extra long-lasting enjoyment.

Drinkability is waaay higher than it should be. It is so tasty and smooth and satisfying that it drinks easily. Too bad about that sneaky 12%...

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 popery
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From old notes (probably from Toronado's Barleywine Fest 2010). My favorite of the three versions of AS that I've tried. I found the normal bourbon version to be a bit dominated by bourbon, but the Grand Cru is smooth and the bourbon barrel-aging blends very well. This beer has a ton of different flavors bouncing around, though they all manage to fuse into a sweet, complex explosion. There are notes of brown sugar, molasses, raisins, grapes, cherries, oak, bourbon, caramel, vanilla and chocolate. The booze is felt but is warming without being harsh. Mouthfeel is smooth with a good level of carbonation for the beer (another point for this one over some other versions of AS, though that's only a bottle issue, as far as I know). I'm not sure why anyone would care about appearance here, but I've never seen a pretty glass of Angel's Share. It's a murky, muddy. dark reddish brown, approaching black, with a dissipating head, but who cares? It's also delicious. Definitely one of TLA's best.

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

From a bottle. Pours near black, nice head that settles to a wispy ring. Big alcohol heat on the nose, heavy on leafy tobacco and leather. First impression in the mouth is that the body is more thick and chewy than are some similar beers. Flavor is much more vinous than the nose, with wood and grapes in the forefront, moving into some tobacco, malt, and a pleasantly hot finish. Excellent beer, the best variation or vintage of Angels Share I've had by far.

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 Ineedabeerhere
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks for the Trade! Had this the other night with some friends, from notes.

Pours near black, with a small dark tan head, didn't last long, but left a ring throughout. Great pungent aroma of the bourbon and brandy here, hearty caramels, rich vanilla, dark chocolate, and a good helping of booze. Considerably boozier in the aroma than is felt in the taste. There is a big wood component here as well, and though I can't say grapes specifically, there is also a darker fruit character that I have been able to pinpoint more directly in some of the other angels share variations as raisin or plum. Taste is just so complex and delicious, all the rich caramels, toffee and vanilla are felt here. Robust malts, semi-sweet, but still maintains a great brown sugar note combining with all the barrel impact. Great body here as well, not extremely thick but chewy enough with a subtle carbonation that is just enough to satisfy and aid in the finish. A really great blend, I hope that I can get more of this batch and look forward to similar blends in the future.

Photo of berkey
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
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 billshmeinke
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Lost Abbey tulip.

I get a finger and a half beige head that is somewhat fizzy, and fairly quickly dies down to a good ring of foam around the edge of the glass with an island of foam in the middle that almost caps the entire surface of the beer. Oily legs on this one pull any and all lacing back into it's dark depths.

Smells intensely sweet. I get big sweet whiffs of caramel, toffee, vanilla fudge, and salt water taffy. There is a hint of bourbon and oak lying in the depths of the perfume, and a vinous dark fruit character. Incredibly pungent and sweet.

In the taste is chocolate cake batter, vanilla fudge, english toffee, caramel, salt water taffy, a big oak presence, and a sort of nutty flavor. This all gives way to a vinous dark fruit flavor with a hint of black truffles cleaning out the back end. Smoke and truffles linger. Luckily less sweet and more balanced than the fragrance suggested.

Thick and oily. Fairly viscous, and very well carbonated. The carbonation is pretty fizzy and distracting.

Good drinkability. Quite a solid offering from Lost Abbey. Not necessarily a whole lot better than the '09 Brandy or '10 Bourbon Angel's Share especially in terms of mouthfeel (this was a little too carbonated whereas the other two were carbed perfectly, Tomme must have been worried about the potential negative back lash from anyone perceiving this beer to be under carbed), but certainly more complex.

Pairs incredibly well with L'Amuse Gouda which I am enjoying with it right now.

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 sisuspeed
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to a generous BA for sending this one out.

Unwound the cage and released the cork with a nice pop. Poured into a Portsmouth tulip glass, which produced a big foamy tan head that quickly reduced to a thin, patchy film across the top of the glass. The body has a dark brown, cherry wood hue and leaves very light lacing on the glass. Looks pretty good for a 12% ABV strong ale.

Swirling the glass brings out vanilla, caramel and bourbon right away. Toffee and grapes. Some alcohol burn. Candied fruits and figs. Sweet, barrel aged, complexity. Very well done.

The flavor follows the aroma quite well. Caramel and toffee. Sweet malts, bittersweet chocolate and lingering tart grapes. The bourbon barrels seem most dominant, but at times the brandy comes through as well. The grapes are not overly dominant, but definitely noticeable. There is a decent amount of alcohol burn, especially on the finish, but it is not entirely overwhelming. Figs and oak on the finish as well.

Mouthfeel is good. This is a fairly thick, almost syrupy beer that has some creaminess to it as well. Carbonation is on the lower side, but perfect for the style. Lots of warming alcohol. A good beer for a cold nigt.

Drinkability is pretty good. Definitely a sipper and probably a beer that is most enjoyed when shared with friends. The ABV is noticeable and cuts down on the drinkability a bit, but this is a strong ale, so I'm not surprised. The flavor and aroma are great, so this is definitely a treat to drink.

Overall, this is an excellent Strong Ale / Barleywine. Lots of flavor and a complex aroma. It would be nice to see the ABV masked a little more, but I'm not really complaining. If the mouthfeel and masked heat of FW13 were combined with this beer, then I think you would have the perfect strong ale. Anyways, I highly recommend seeking this beer out. Nice work Lost Abbey.

Photo of abuliarose
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

After the humid spell we've been having lately, this bottle got a little mold around the bottom. Odd that no other bottles in the cellar were affected; this one was just asking to be consumed. The cork went with a nice pop and some smoke, so I have good feelings about the carbonation. Pouted into a snifter to reveal tall and airy crema head over a bubbly opaque deep brown body. Pretty nice for looks, this one.
Smells absolutely delicious, like bourbon vanilla ice cream with sticky toffee pudding. Nose is a little hot and heavy, but for the style and with smells like this, who cares?
Tastes warm, light and sweet. Lots of nutty character on the aftertaste and a little port or sherry dryness in there with the bourbon and oak. Drinks like one of the latter too, with even some peatiness to it that evokes scotch. There's so much going on here, but it's all very well married. Very clean finish. Carbonation is barely there and mouthfeel is smooth, watery and alcoholic. It's a sipper brew, but a good one at that.

Overall, I would love a couple of these to age, especially in the winter.

Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
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 GRG1313
3.93/5  rDev -9.9%
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 Xul
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Photo of phattysbox
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Alex (Beerworld) for bringing this to a tasting that I organized at my place.

Opened with not even a pop and no hiss - low carbonation. Quite opposite from the Framboise de Amorosa we tried next. AHEM... Onto this beer... ;)

Poured into a tasting glass and only a thin lace of bubbles appear. The beer is a dark brown and hazy, the high sugar content and alcohol is noticeable as sticky finger grasp onto the side of glass if it gets swirled.

The nose is... Amazing. Simply fantastic. Burnt brown sugar, heavy crystal malts, dark caramel, and toffee. Some oak notes, but the malty sweetness is pervasive in such a great way. The Bourbon AS has more of barrel nose than Grand Cru IMHO. Swirling reveals more complexities - crushed hazelnuts, roasted figs/raisins, dark chocolate.

The taste is better than the nose!! Toffee notes really stand out in this beer. The oak makes more of appearance now and sings with malts, lending vanilla, toasted oats. The sweetness is huge, but not in cloying manner. Alcohol is completely hidden, but quite the sipper I'm sure. Mouthfeel is medium and completely opposite from dry. Little to no carbonation, but that doesn't take away from the complexity of the beer, I think it enhances it.

Overall, one of best beers I've had and would say this almost like a desert beer. Never though I would have the chance to have it, glad I tried, and will probably have the opp. again. Thanks Alex!

Beautiful brew. Seek out.

The Angel's Share Grand Cru from The Lost Abbey
97 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.