Sede Vacante - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Sede VacanteSede Vacante

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

126 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 126
Reviews: 12
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 77
Gots: 35 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Sede Vacante is a blend of Barleywine aged in Cognac barrels and Brandy barrel-aged Angel’s Share and at packaging came in at 15% ABV. A contemplative beer with substantial depth, Sede Vacante imparts tones of dark fruit and vanilla, with a warming finish from the Cognac. The strongest beer to emerge from The Lost Abbey, portions of the beer spent almost 5 years in a barrel. Sede Vacante can be enjoyed immediately or cellared till the next Papal Conclave, however long that may be.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 03-14-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 126 | Reviews: 12 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of trancesk8er
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of BAsbill
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to Sean for sharing this one; I've wanted to try it since I first read about it. Served in a taster glass.

A - It's flat. Murky, turbid, dark brown body. I was expecting this, and it's not completely offensive for a 15% beer.

S - Loads of oak, vanilla, sweet brandy and cognac notes, a marzipan/almond note, dark fruits, and intensifying vinous character as the beer warms. Alcohol is surprisingly well-hidden; I'd never suspect this was higher in ABV than Angel's Share.

T - The taste is again surprisingly mellow, with loads of dark fruit, chocolate, vanilla, sweet brandy and cognac, red licorice, and oak, albeit far less of the latter than in the aroma. Alcohol is again quite well-hidden, although it creeps in as the beer warms up.

M - Medium-full in body, with a tannic, dry, oaky, and viscous texture. Unsurprisingly, it is still, but it's not a huge problem for a beer of this style. Light alcohol warmth but yet again, fairly mellow.

D - I liked this quite a bit, and it's a great deal more restrained than regular Angel's Share. You can really tell the age of some of the blend components, and I think Tomme has struck a really nice balance between spirit, oak, alcohol heat, oxidation, and so forth. Would a few bubbles help? Sure. Still, it's pretty drinkable for what it is, although I might balk at the price tag.

Photo of cfrances33
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Dope
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Cork pops off with only the slightest hiss. Uh oh. Pours a very very dark reddish-brown. Tiny light brown head that fades to nothing almost immediately. It's not flat but it's close. Almost no lacing, just a dot here and there.

S: Pure dark fruits, very very sweet and rich. Raisins, cherries, plums, maybe even grapes? Get some grain alcohol aroma in there, this is a big one.

T: Very heavy on the dark fruits. Again with the raisin and plum primarily up front. Big and sweet. Loads of caramel and vanilla. Finish is more dark fruits, cherry stands out this time. Pretty much pure spirits in the aftertaste, cognac for sure with lingering cherries. A little drying oak in there too. Quite hot, decent alcohol sting and very belly-warming as well.

M: Heavy and thick. Viscous. Not quite completely flat but very very little carbonation.

O: An interesting beer for sure. Lack of carbonation hurts this one (typical of LA). A 750ml of 15% ABV beer is hard enough to drink, nevermind when it's almost still. Having said that, it's quite good. Definitely a must-have for the brandy/cognac lover. It's mainly like drinking a really weak versions of the spirits. Not a whole lot of "beer" character comes through, barrel aging is just too strong. I had to subtract a little bit what from what I wanted to in this category, this was an awful lot of money for a beer that they can't even figure out how to carbonate properly (again, typical LA). Just kinda gives you buyer's remorse. Having said that, it's still unique. Reminds me of a Baladin Xyauyu in a way, just not nearly as good.

Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of bsuedekum
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of TXhomebrewer
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of pmoney
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of TheBeerTruck
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of jaylib
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of evilc
3.51/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle shared by a buddy. 6oz is more than enough with this beer, split with 4 people. At least you don't need 24 people as with Black Tuesday.

A: Looks exactly like flat Sleepin w' Shaggy , which was a gross looking beer. That said, I don't really care about appearance much - but it's a category here. If it tastes good, that's all that matters. Flat as a pancake, virtually zero carb. Tomme is saying this is normal and intended for this style.

S: Booze and raisins, normal LA smell that I get off a lot of their beers. LA loves their raisins. Not surprising given one of the component beers. Decent smell.

T: Boozy, but not as much as smell would indicate. Raisins follow through from the taste. Definitely agree with other reviewers that the AS component is much in the lead.

M: Syrup, full. Zero carb, I think it needs it. Would be interesting to try on draft as LA beers are generally better from the keg. Carbed CdT for example on draft is much nicer than the flat bottles.

O: Meh. Very much in style with other LA beers, but an uninspiring, unfinished blend. I wonder if they solely blended this for the Pope vacancy at the last minute or it was to be released under a different name? At the price, Tomme needs to produce much higher quality and not random blends.

Photo of KaslD
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of heavenlyStash
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of Callmecoon
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of StarRaptor
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of LAanne
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of ehammond1
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On Tap

The Lost Abbey
San Marcos, CA

Hazed, cloudy, muddy amber and brown with a very small ring of small bubbles atop. This leaves the glass only shiny and oily on the way down. This is not a particularly attractive beer, no matter how you slice it, but beers of this style and age rarely are.

Expressive aroma of brandy-soaked raisins, a bit of chocolate, oak complements, some cookie sweetness, and alcohol sharpness.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, and if I had to guess, I'd say this is significantly more brandy-barrel Angel's share, and less barleywine aged in cognac barrels. The brandy and barrel lead, with complementary chocolate, raisin, and sun-dried cherry flavors. Nice, though it doesn't "Wow!" me like some other beers of this style have in the past. Some alcohol sharpness as well, though all things considered, I actually think it's hidden fairly well.

Full, creamy mouthfeel, very low carbonation; coating and oily. Very appropriate and adds to the drinkability.

Good, and actually better than I was anticipating. It's a unique blend and defies a true style description, but it's no world beater. I'd rather have a couple Sucabas for the price (If I could ever find them in San Diego!).

Photo of Wantbeer
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of mookihouse
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sold out within one hour during the brewery release. From what I gathered 118 cases were produced and less than 100 were released at the brewery. No distribution out of the brewery. $38 per bottle (750ml) after tax.

Reviewed from tasters on-tap at the release.

Appearance is hazy brown with low carbonation. One of the more hazy beers I had.

Smell is great. Brandy and dark fruits and aged barrels. Taste is very close to Angel's Share but not as sweet and with more age on it. Mouth feel is very smooth. I'm interested to see how it taste in a year.

Overall very enjoyable. If you like Angel's Share you'd like this. Very pricy at $38 a bottle. I'd rather Lost Abbey offer it in 375ml bottle format as you'd want at least three people to drink that 750ml bottle.

Photo of IPAyForHops
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of Grant35
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Sede Vacante from The Lost Abbey
92 out of 100 based on 126 ratings.