The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
The Lost Abbey

The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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American Strong Ale
Ranked #9
Ranked #616
4.33 | pDev: 10.85%
The Lost Abbey
California, United States
The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: Down in Kentucky and across the pond in Scotland, distillers who age their whiskeys for many years refer to the evaporation of the spirits from their barrels as “The Angel’s Share.” We couldn’t agree more. Each time a barrel is filled, a measure of liquid seeps into the oak and is lost for good.This striking Strong Ale is brewed with copious amounts of Caramel malt to emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors found in freshly emptied bourbon or brandy barrels. The beer spends a year in oak before it is packaged for release.
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Reviews: 712 | Ratings: 1,932
Photo of TheGent
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Bottled

Consumed on April 13, 2019.

I pulled the cork slowly to only a slight release of air. No pop.

Brown, large and very loosely packed bubbles, indicating low carbonation. They disappeared very quickly. Dark brown color. Translucent and slightly murky.

This beer has a huge nose. Bourbon, chocolate, toasted coconut, vanilla, oak. Tons of dark, dried fruit including raisins and prunes. Coffee. A hint of cinnamon. Some ABV coming Through.

Lots of chocolate. Notes of sweet and dark over the course of the glass. Chocolate covered, bourbon soaked raisins and cherries. Some cinnamon. Some oak.

A medium body with no carbonation. Pleasant warmth from the 12.5% ABV and a semi-sweet finish with some woody bitterness. Residual, sticky sweetness coats my lips.

I am really enjoying this beer. There is tons of chocolate and dark dried fruit that comes through as chocolate covered cherries and raisins. I pulled this from the basement at 55-60F and put it in the fridge for about 30 mins. This beer has held up beautifully. Has it improved? Based only on my ratings from 14 and 15 I am enjoying this MUCH more, but there are too many variables to say it has improved. Right here, right now, I think it’s excellent. There is definitely some heat, which I think works nicely.

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Photo of EMH73
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a medium to dark brown with mahogany highlights. Thin tan ring of head, no lacing present. Really looks like rusty tap water. Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, malts and dark fruits. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, caramel malts oak, raisins, figs molasses and toffee. Medium bodied for the style, minimal carbonation, syrupy mouth feel. An awesome sipper.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 version. Absolutely phenomenal and incredibly complex! Not much booze to speak of at this age which really lets the deep character of this brew to really shine through. Been wanting to try this forever now and somehow it just always slipped through my fingers but now that I've had it I get all the hype surrounding it. One of the very best beers I've ever had. Period.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with a murky ruby tinge and no head.

Smells of your typical english barley wine 'stinky foot' and bourbon barrel. Caramel, cherries, and butterscotch.

Tastes of caramel toffee, stinky foot, bourbon barrel, and a butter scotch finish.

Medium, syrupy body with a moderate carbonation.

I got this in Chico, and am drinking it Jan 26th, 2019. Very smooth, very well crafted and thoughtfully done brew.

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Photo of EMV
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a cork'n'cage 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip. 2016 edition

L: Cloudy viscous dark mahogany brown pour. No head or lacing worth mentioning.

S: Sweet caramel and toffee... bourbon and booze.

T/F: Sweet and thick... big time dark sugars... caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Very boozy... almost overpowering. Warming... unbalanced on the sweet side. Rich and ABV not all that well hidden.

O: I wanted to like this more. It's quality, don't get me wrong... but too sweet/boozy and lacking the depth/balance I was expecting. Very glad I got to try it... but honestly not one I'd seek out again.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Caged and corked bottle poured into a snifter

Murky brown liquid, plenty of carbonation in the glass, a few brown bubbles cling to one side, settles to a ring

Aroma is bourbon whiskey

Taste is bourbon, bit of vanilla, bit of oak. The taste lingers but doesn’t have the alcohol burn

Smooth, almost creamy, no sudsing

Good beer

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Photo of CMEG
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful drinking experience! I had aged this beer for over 2 years prior to drinking it. The beer pours dark brown, with minimal head. The aroma is one of the most complex and pleasant I have ever experienced. There are hints of blackberry, or currant, with an subtle earthy aroma. The taste is totally different from the aroma - malty, hints of raisin on the front, with a subtle and pleasant flavor of oak and vanilla on the back-end. This is a beer to sip and enjoy for an extended period of time. As the beer got warmer, the flavors only got richer. If you find it on the shelf - pick it up!

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Photo of beertunes
3.55/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. 12.7oz bottle poured into 12oz goblet. Poured a very still (no carbonation at all), opaque dark brown color with no head, thus no retention.

The aroma was fantastic, lots of oak, some bourbon, and dark fruits.

The taste was a bit less well defined, with the fruit notes upfront, the oak underlying, and a bit of booze at the back.

Drinkability was good, it was definitely a sipper, not a gulper.

Overall, perhaps a bit past where it was, but still a very nice brew. If you see one, grab it.

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Photo of LinusBohman
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition, poured into a tulip glass at room temperature.

L: Dark brown towards black. As it's been cellared so long there is no foam or bubbles but that is expected. Beautiful regarding it's age.

S: Bourbon, molasses, vanilla. Very sweet smell. There is alot to discover.

T: Sweet liqourice, bourbon, chocolate. Bitter bite at the end. Some alcohol but it's elegantly behind a bouqet of flavours.

M: Medium body with some creaminess to it. A bit dry feel on the tounge. Flat.

Overall: This beer has stood the test of time and delivers a sophistacated barrage of elegantly cooperating smells and flavours.
A great end to 2017.

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Photo of Avitra
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It has all of the good things about a good stout but much more subtle, so without having the bad things about a stout. There's chocolate, vanilla, lots of nuts (esp. almonds) and coconut, but they are all so subtle and embedded in the delicate sweetness of this beer. Another great "Lost Abbey"

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Photo of Derek
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not much carbonation, sweet, boozy aroma with raisins and figs. Lots of bourbon and oak in the flav, caramelized raisins, figs, sponge toffee, hint of roasted nut. Light residual sweetness, but a very drying alcohol finish.

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Photo of Slack
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml

Brown and murky with little head and minor residual legs.

Nose is bourbon and dark fruit with vanilla.

Taste is similar - dates and raisins, bourbon, malt, vanilla, and minor oak.

Mouthful is medium to heavy and full. Carbonation is average to low. Finish is semi sweet.

Really nice bourbon barrel ale. Fruity and sweet with bourbon but all in balance, nothing overwhelming. Very much recommended.

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Photo of danasofia
4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 2016 release 375 mL bottle into a goblet glass.

Look - Dark burgundy mixed with earthy brown, incredibly cloudy and opaque. Held to light, this beer looks very close to a stout. High rating on appearance based on the unique mixture of ruddy and dark colors.

Smell - Bourbon, dates, hazelnuts and walnuts and almonds, some vanilla, strong aroma of bitter cocoa, pervasive alcohol. Not as potent a smell as I would like, but very rich for what does come through. More vanilla apparent as it warms.

Taste - Simple in its movements, but largely well-executed: slight bourbon up front, followed by incredibly rich malt and dark fruity sweetness along with slight vanilla again and a broad bourbon flavor (very earthy and oaky), with plenty of boozy warmth, resting underneath all the other flavors. As with the nose, more vanilla manifest as the beer warms. Not quite perfect, but very good nonetheless, particularly because of the strong bitter coca taste that is stands out unusually compared to other barley wines. Maybe lacking, I think, in carbonation and viscosity (could see this being a bit more syrupy, just to push the look and texture its already working with further).

Feel - Sticky sweet and thick and rich, more than enough to impress me but still a bit thin and edging on watery overall. The deep, complex flavors hit hard enough to more than make up for this, but the lack of greater viscosity, syrupiness feels like it holds this beer back a bit.

Overall, this beer isn't quite at the best it could be, but still very, very good. A bit iffy on this, but end up feeling this way because of the things that make it unusual for its type: opaque and murky ruby red, brown, and black color that seems like a mixture of a more clear, bright barley wine and a stout; mixture of bitter cocoa stout flavors with malty, dark fruit, and sweet flavors of a more typical barley wine.

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Photo of crosenkrantz
2.75/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Bottle bought in 2013, no date. Perfectly stored.
After more than 4 years sitting in the bottle. At the first sip this appears to have a very well integrated bourbon flavors, very round, aged and mellowed. After a while, you realize that the flavor is actually thin, and quickly decays to an alcohol-only aftertaste. Looked like a bad implementation of alcohol+barrel.
Tasted in parallel to Lervig's BBA Barleywine, this one looked like a punch-less version of the other.
Maybe it needs 5 more years of cellaring.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12.7 OUNCE bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours a very deep shade of brown. When held to a light a small amount of ruby light comes through. It is topped with less than an inch of tan head that disappears quickly leaving no lacing.

The bourbon character really comes through in the smell. The is a lot of caramel and vanilla with hints of oak and chocolate.

The flavor contains everything I smelled. It starts out with rich caramel and vanilla flavor. Through the middle a get a little dryness from the oak, meanwhile a slight boozy flavor pervades my senses leaving me with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Full, thick, syrupy, and smooth mouthfeel with low carbonation

This is a damn good beer. The base beer supports the bourbon barrel treatment very well, and three plus years in the cellar did not hurt it at all.

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep Espresso color with minimal head
S - Figs, prunes, sweet bourbon, and malt
T - Lots of booze with a malty sweetness and and the aftertaste is a bit like soy sauce
M - Medium heavy thickness with lots of burn
O - Very strong flavor and very boozey; works for me.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: dark ruby color, no head
S: boozy, sharp bourbon.
T: high booze just like the nose. All booze, not good.
F: fire...all booze. Good god this needs 10 years to mellow out.

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Photo of TinFang
3.47/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

i bought two of these and thought the first one had gone bad. I let the second sit for six months before trying it out. The first bottle was in fact off in flavor - all the other defects are apparently inherent in this beer.

Look - murky cola dark in the glass with a faint green tint. No head even with a direct pour. Little or no glass appeal.
Smell - thought this was a sour when I pulled the cork and sniffed the neck. Sulfur and sugar. vastly improved by the pour - bourbon and fruits and a hint of alcohol.
Taste - really remarkable and complex. The bourbon note was present both on the initial sip and as an aftertaste. Unfortunately there was also a lingering bitterness. Alcohol was hard to detect.
Feel - not pleasant. The beer is syrupy and the bottles I bought had zero carbonation. Disappointing given the care that must have gone into producing it.

Overall great flavors with a single really wrong note and flat on the palette.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Truly spectacular bourbon barrel aged barleywine here in my glass. A murky, dark brown, pour reveals no carbonation and no lacing. Sweet candied fruit aroma rises and the flavors match the nose. Pretty smooth and full bodied with the 12.5 abv barely noticeable. Overall, amazing, is the word that comes to mind!

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2016 bottle

L - Pours a hazy brown, dark caramel color - with no head or lacing

S - Huge bourbon whisky aroma! Oak.

T - Caramel, chocolate, tobacco, whisky. Rich and complex, well balanced. Packs some heat but not overburdening.

F - Medium body and low carbonation.

O - This beer gets better every sip, as your palate adjusts and it warms up. By the end you are upset it's gone, and make a mental note to by multiple bottles next time!

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Photo of Marius
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

37cl bottle. Dark caramel brown pour with a thin tan head that disappears almost instantly. The smell is dominated by notes of Heaven Hill whiskey, caramel, together with nuts, raisins, red wine barrel, a bit of smoke and vanilla. The taste is sweet and just a bit bitter, with caramel, maple syrup, apple brandy and bourbon, toffee and molasses. Full body, medium to low carbonation with a sticky sweet and alcohol heavy finish.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage; drank 11/11/15 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Opaque brown/purple/black appearance.

A rough pour yielded a minimal khaki head; minimal lace.

Bourbon heat, oak & faint cream notes in the nose.

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Cream & milk chocolate flavors up front; bourbon heat oak notes on the finish. As this warmed it got even boozier. Too hot to truly enjoy fresh; wish I had one to lay down...

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Photo of mrmaps
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

I always really liked Lost Abbey beers, but there were always hard to find in my former home. In my new location when I went beer shopping: WHAM there was a ton of them I could have bought $500 'worth' of Angels Share which totals around 25 beers. They make some of the most interesting beers around with mostly hits, occasionally a miss but always with a high cost of entry. That is the way it is for a micro producing in the high priced San Diego market. Be warned. I paid $22 for my 375 ml bottle of beer experience. It is a one off experience that is worth it to me but not more than maybe 2 times.

L: Murky dirty brown with little foam retention. I am feeling cheated. Not a beautiful beer by looks alone.

S: bourbon, bourbon, bourbon. If you don't like the smell of bourbon this beer is not for you. but if you purchased an $22 bourbon barrel aged beer and don't like bourbon, there is no help for you. After the beer warms other stuff comes out, residual sweetness, caramel and vanilla with a hint of chocolate. Clearly a big old beer

T: bourbon hits but surprisingly does not overwhelm. Based upon the smell, I expected a dominate bourbon blast but it is well balanced by the oak from the aging, the hops, the vanilla and the barrel tannins. don't fear the bourbon, this is not a 1d beer -- though bourbon is a key player, there are chocoloate caramel, vanilla and malt flavors poking their heads up. This is not a hot beer by any mean which surprised me. This is a 1 hour sipper at least. Pour it cold and sip is slowly and marvel at the way it changes over an hour or more.

F: Not as thick and viscous as I expected. In fact kind of thin -- but with flavor like this who cares?

O: More slanted towards bourbon than other aged beers that I have had. It gets the I like it rating. BUT Lost Abbey beers are never cheap, but always interesting. It has to be a trade between the unusual and the cost. It is up to you to decide. I would do this one more time, but not more than that.

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Photo of g00ey
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had been looking to try this beer for a while but couldn't bring myself to spending the $16 for a small bottle. Finally saw it on tap and decided to give it a go. It was quite tasty and quite strong but, in my opinion, not worth the money they're asking.

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Photo of drtth
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The dark brown beer is served in a nonic glass with almost no head beyond a ring of foam around the glass. By midway through the beer even that is pretty much gone entirely.

The aromas easily convince this was Bourbon Barrel aged and in addition to the vanilla there is a bit of chocolate in there.

The flavors follow the nose with the vanilla pretty much in charge followed by that bit of chocolate and some hints of the oak. There is also a noticeable presence of alcohol sweetness pretty much hiding any malt sweetness.

The mouthfeel is on the full side of medium bodied and smooth with very gentle carbonation. The finish begins as the vanilla and most other flavors fade leaving the alcohol a touch of sweetness most noticeable and almost concealing any bitterness until the very end.

Overall this seems a well made beer but is not one I personally will seek out to have again. I'm glad to have tried it but for me the alcohol is just a bit too prominent. Also, it seems to me the overall effect of the flavors would be helped by just a bit more bitterness in the finish. I suspect that this is one of those beers that I'd enjoy much more after a year or two of bottle age.

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1932 ratings