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

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by scottoale on 08-23-2006

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Reviews: 698 | Ratings: 1,883
Photo of harrymel
1.44/5  rDev -66%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Hey Tomme, stop releasing this series until you can work out the details, or just put it on tap so we can go ahead an carbonated it for you as it seems to be very difficult.
2009 Bourbon version.

A: I struggle to pull the plug on this one. It reminds me of decorking a wine bottle; I say this because it has so little carbonation evident on the corking, that there can't be any carb. So I pour it, and here we are: flat as Kansas. Dark brown. No lacing. Hazy even at the edges.

S: Bourbon, minerals, maybe a hint of urine. Lots of sweet malt. A little over the top with the minerals. Some raisin.

T: The bourbon is again, quite strong. It then reminds me of a good helping of burnt peanuts or peanut butter on burnt toast. Hints of dark raisin and dark chocolate.

M: Well, without any carbonation, I'm left with a cloyingly sweet and thick ale. Dry finish. Shit.

O: Well, I have had Brandy and Bourbon version several times. I will no longer be purchasing Angel's Share. Tomme can't manage to do properly and appears to be too proud to make it right.

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Photo of craytonic
1.52/5  rDev -64.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Received this as part of the 2009 Sinner's club mailings.

Appearance: Flat. Shit. Was afraid that would be the case. I complained to the brewery and received replacement bottles that were supposedly carbonated, but this is flat as a plank. No head, no lacing. I raised the bottle higher and higher as I poured but still nothing. I might as well get out a straw and start blowing at this point.

Smell: Booze and burt oak with some medicinal elements. There are some prunes and raisins as well, but they are buried by the aforementioned elements. Was hoping for something else but just booze.

Taste: Booze, burt oak, and medicinal elements.

Mouthfeel: Flat, and it should not be.

Drinkability: Drained poured this flat, boozy bastard. Complete disaster of a beer. At least I can finish a bottle of bud light, so what does that say about this beer?

I'll try again next year perhaps. I think Lost Abbey does make some great beers, so I am not on a smear campaign (see my other reviews for many praises), but this beer is flat undrinkable.

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Photo of FreakyBeat
1.67/5  rDev -60.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I'm all for a heavy beers, complex beers, unusual beers; I can appreciate that a lot of work went into this one, but this poorly-conceived beer simply isn't enjoyable to drink - it doesn't work.

Appearance: As many have noted, one immediately notices when pouring that this beer has very little carbonation. There is no head to speak of. As for color, it is deep and dark, like oil.

Smell: The smell is predominantly bourbon and caramel. A little one-sided.

Taste: It tastes like a sticky, syrupy, diluted bourbon. The alcohol is front and center, but it has a cloying and thick saccharine bitterness to it that makes it very unappealing to drink. It's only about 1% of beers that I wouldn't bother to finish - if this one hadn't cost so much I would have just chucked it. It really was a chore to drink. It is unfathomable to me why this beer isn't more carbonated - it's absolutely necessary.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, syrupy. Lack of carbonation makes it feel sticky and heavy.

Perhaps other reviewers got versions with more carbonation, which would have helped a lot; as it was, I thought it was a terribly-executed beer. And I was going into it expecting it to be fantastic. Perhaps the biggest letdown of a beer I've ever had - the price is absurd for the quality.

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Photo of brdc
1.88/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks tytoanderso for this one. Small corked bottle poured into a snifter.

The bottle opens with a loud pop, betraying the heavy carbonation that produces a very large bubbly head atop the dark burgundy brew. The air escapes from the head, leaving a dense, luscious two finger thick head that holds extremely well, and coats all sides of the glass on its way down.
Aroma improves as it warms, with notes of fruits, chocolate, caramel, oak, vanilla and bourbon.
Full bodied, velvety, starts as bourbon soaked plums covered in chocolate, but caramel maltiness keeps exchanging roles with bourbon heat, vanilla and oakiness.
Quite easy to drink, despite some heat here and there. There seems to be a perfect temperature near room temperature; colder inhibits the aroma, but way too hot it gets too "hot", and bourbon gets too noticeable.
I have to admit I have been trying a lot of Lost Abey beers, and most have been underwhelming. Now I see the reason for the hype. I just wanted to know the vintage, could not identify on the bottle, but this was traded June 2008.

The 2009 version, the one out there now, unfortunately, is a total flat, uncarbonated mess. Drainpour. Absolutely horrible.

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Photo of ericmunley
1.99/5  rDev -53.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The first time I tried this beer (bottle poured in a Chimay chalice) I was really disappointed.

The second time I tried this beer (on draft) it was a little better, but not worth the buzz.

The third time I tried this beer (on draft...again) it was barely palatable.

I've tried this beer three times because of its "acclaim", but no matter how many times I try Angel's Share, it still tastes like Jack Daniels with cough syrup in it. Horribly unbalanced; just an overall substandard beer.

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Photo of ShrLSU
2.18/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

So Lost Abbey gets one more shot and steals my hard earned money. This better be good, and by good I mean carbonated.

It pours a murky brown color with little to no head and very little lacing.

The nose is basically just bourbon. This isn't looking good.

The taste is just bleh. If i wanted a glass of bourbon I'd pour one from my liquor cabinet. I don't get what this is trying to be. It's like drinking a glass of good bourbon that someone left out for 6 days. You can tell the thought was there and this should be good but it isn't. I don't even want to drink the rest of it honestly.

Overall this is pretty awful. I can't see what the hype is with this beer. Maybe this was flat, I don't know. If this is what it's supposed to taste like then God help anyone that tries to finish a bottle. If it's a bad bottle (one of many from Lost Abbey) then that would make my fourth bottle of different variety that I have had which was a waste of money. If I wanted to waste money on a tease I'd drop $35 at a titty bar. I'm done with Lost Abbey. Let's pull the pin on the hype train for this brewery. Flat or not Flat, this one simply sucked.

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Photo of Wadsey
2.23/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

2011 Angel's Share Bourbon

Disclaimer: last night my tasting group sampled 2008 Angel's Share Brandy, which was dull, thin and flat, and 2010 Angel's Share, which was badly infected (smelled like plastic, teriyaki and wet dog food and had a nasty sour cherry flavor). We drainpoured both beers. 

Gently poured into New Belgium tulip. 

A: Deep brown with amber highlights. Good clarity. No effervescence, head or lacing. 

S: Bourbon, soggy wood, some dark, dried fruits, and maybe caramel. There is an off note of something akin to puppy chow. 

T: A little malty sweetness up front, then some bourbon, fusel alcohol, and faint dark, dried fruits. Light bitterness. Boozy finish. 

M: Thin body and light carbonation. Warming and dry. 

O: This particular vintage is less than average for style and abysmal for its price. The other two vintages I sampled last night are complete failures by any measure. Given the above, I will not purchase Angel's Share in the future and most likely avoid it entirely. Avoid. 

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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.46/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into my snifter.

I didn't know what to expect going into it.

The beer poured a very dark brown with zero head. Smells of raisins and bourbon. Very straight forward. Complexity is non existent here. Taste is on par with the smell. Straight on raisin beer with a slight alcohol burn. The beer seemed pretty good at first. The more I put the rim of my glass to my mouth, I wanted it less and less. It was so thin in my mouth. Like room temperature water.

If you like raisins than this one trick pony is for you. I ended up dumping it out. Ick.

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Photo of bradford
2.49/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I went down to Lost Abbey for the BBAS release sometime in 07 or early 08, can't really remember. The release party was fun, lots of good people and good beer flowing in line and inside. I bought 6 bottles at $15 a pop! Consumed with some of my good buddies February 09.
Bottle chilled and opened with little carbonation that quickly disappeared. Muddy brown color that really lost my attention due to the lack of carbonation.
Smelled strongly of bourbon and vanilla with raisins and a nutty finish. By far, the best part of the brew for me.
Taste really suffered due to lack of carbonation. All I tasted was raisins and acrid, burnt oak. I get very little bourbon and vanilla that the smell alluded to.
Mouthfeel was not bad, but nothing special. Again, the carbonation would have boosted the score here tremendously.
Drinkability was very poor. This was my third bottle, plus my two samples at the brewery, and they have gotten progressively worse in my opinion. Two of the three bottles I have opened were nearly flat, while the other was a gusher and I lost over half the contents.
I know I am in the minority here, but for $15, I expected a lot more, at least a properly carbonated beer. And now the price of a flat 750 mL bottle is $34.99 @ Hi-Time! Are you kidding me? A brewery releases a beer that has some flaws...fine, it happens. But doubling the price in doing so? You are out of your mind. I know Lost Abbey is catering to an upper-echelon clientele, but give me a break. That is ridiculous.
Note: This review is not based on one single "bad" bottle, and is not a slam against said brewery. More a mounting disappointment with both this over-priced (in my opinion) beer and talented brewery that is losing a loyal fan base because of price gouging.

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Photo of hoptrip619
2.59/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer is a lot like marriage, you can bitch about it all you want but at the end of the day it's just expensive...

A: All I can say is dirty motor oil because that's exactly what this beer looks like.

S: Pungent hot bourbon aroma, I felt like I was giving CPR to Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa. Once you get past the heat, it smells like you French toast soaked Old Grandad.

T: OUCH, FUCK! Dates, SONUVABITCH THAT'S HOT! Black licorice, MOTHER F*CKER! Vanilla.... You get where I'm going, I'm not going to taste anything for a month...

D: A thick, hot, flat bastard of a beer that is worth a try if you want to see what all the fuss is about... If I want to drink bourbon, I'll do that. Any clown can put beer in a bourbon barrel, few can justify the price tag...

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
2.65/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wow - not what I expected at all. Maybe too sophisticated for my palate.

A: Deep deep brown, almost black and no head but a solid lace from start to finish.

S: Like sherry or brandy. Sweet fermented molasses, raisins - real similar to a port. Funky (not in a good way) and strong smell of liquor.

T: Fermented fruit, brandy-like and just not right. Strong liquor flavor that is overwhelming.

M: No carbonation at all - flat and weird.

D: Rough. Couldn't finish it.

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Photo of brownbeer
2.67/5  rDev -37%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I don't know what year this is.

No pop whatsoever upon pulling the sad cork out. Pours dark brown with maybe a trace of foam around the edges. The aroma is the only saving grace with this beer. It's very bourbony with traces of molasses, maple, vanilla extract, and sharp alcohol. There is no way in hell I could drink a bottle of this flat, boozy, utter mess of a beer. The taste is packing some serious heat along with some of the aforementioned aromas coming through in the taste, but the mouthfeel flat out sucks and I can't believe The Lost Abbey is still letting stores sell this flat bourbon water. Sorry, no good.

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Photo of crosenkrantz
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
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 Koufax21
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Wow... What a disappointment. After having this on tap a few months ago and enjoying it, I decided to buy a bottle. I ignored beerandraiderfan's warning and bought my 14.99 - 12.7 oz. bottle. To his exact description... No carbonation. I mean none. I thought this was only similar in the aroma. Sweet, bourbon, caramel. The taste was off. Some kind of acrid, sour flavor. So disappointed in the bottle version. Just for the record... On tap is 10x the beer. Poor bottling.

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Photo of finewinemike
2.93/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was popped in celebration of my 27th birthday! The first thing I noticed is that it didn't pop. Off to a good start...
Pours an extremely deep brown, like a fresh layer of varnish on wood. Smells like I would imagine a port aged in bourbon barrels would smell- lots of grape (touriga nacional)/ raisin, vanilla, burnt caramel, and oak. The flavor is semi-sweet and very reminiscent of raisins (actually thought of the old California Raisins claymotion ads while drinking this), but then there's some chocolate on the finish. Really, really hated the mouthfeel- the level of carbonation made the sweetness sit on my tongue longer than I would've liked. Not worth the price to me personally, but to each their own.

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Photo of Hophead717
2.94/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark brown--raisin hued, with no head whatsoever. Not a good sign for carbonation levels.

S: All bourbon, all the time. Some dark fruits in the back, but it's kind of hard to find anything else through the strong bourbon. It works nicely though.

T: Bourbon-soaked raisins. Entirely one-dimensional.

M: Flat. Devoid of all carbonation. Definitely lacks the properties of beer.

O: This is a disappointing beer. Between the one-dimensional taste and entire lack of carbonation, this beer is a letdown. Not one I'd seek out or recommend.

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Photo of rvdoorn
2.94/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2010 vintage
Look: The beer pours a dark brown color with no head
Smell: Chocolate, vanilla, caramel and bourbon
Taste: Overly sweet (dark fruits) and alcoholic. Bourbon is very much present, but the alcohol is sharp and disturbing
Mouthfeel: medium body with low carbonation
Overall: The beer could have been so nice, could, because the alcohol is so badly hidden that I can hardly distinguish this with a bottle of pure ethanol from my work…. After the sour 2009 version, I will not try this beer again.

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Photo of dmsohyea
2.97/5  rDev -30%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

375ml bottle to a snifter glass. 2011 Vintage.

A - terrible... pours out like sludge and completely flat. Murky and nasty looking. No head, no lace, just gross.

S - Smells good, nice bourbon and vanilla notes, some chocolate and a good burst of brown sugar.

T - tastes alright, nearly exactly as I described the nose. But does have this weird metallic taste somewhere in the mid palate. No hops, just all malty bourbon flavors. Alcohol is pretty well hidden for the 12%.

M - Ugh. Flat and oily. Not enjoyable at all. No carbonation whatsoever.

O - if it was carbonated it would be a nice beer, maybe a B+. Not so with this bottle.

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Photo of joecast
2.98/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

The infamous 2009 angels share. Let this warm before opening and did manage a slight pop as the cork was removed.

The pour though I could tell was of a stll liquid. Minimal carbonation. The thinnest rim of bubbles around the edge of the glass and a light swirl of tan bubbles when swirling the glass. The beer itself is near enough to black in this dimly lit room. Interesting black sludge around the bottom edges of the bottle.

Insane aroma. Heavy doses of oak, vanilla and molasses. I mean room filling this smells so strong. Bourbon wafts through in the background. Amazing that the alcohol heat, which is easily noticeable, doesn't burn the hairs in my nose. Usually I don't like beers to have that much alcohol presence in the smell but this has quite a nice accompaniment to it.

Wow. Two sips and I'm feeling buzzed already. This is gonna be a struggle.
Quite a lot of bourbon character. Some oak and vanilla again but this time taking a back seat to the bourbon. Sweet molasses and heavy syrupy mouthfeel. Tough to judge mouthfeel actually cause I think carbonated it would be quite nice. As it is it's quite heavy and a bit sweet. Added to that, the alcohol makes it harder to get down.

Incredible beer but finishing is a struggle. Now I know why it says to share on the back label. Pity I'm not more of a spirits fan cause aside from that, the beer has a nice velvety, oatmeal body and smooth character. Now that I think of it, blend this with some mild oatmeal stout and it could be a winner. Give it five years and some carbonation and who knows.

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Photo of parris
2.98/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.25

Opened a properly aged 2008 bottle - so not a fresh bottle and probably not a great representation of the beer. I wish there was some sort of "vintage" option for BA ratings.

Completely flat pour
Nose is molasses, musty, Brett
Taste is similar to nose but super muted and a tad oaky
Super thin mouthfeel, body has completely disappeared over the past 6 years.
Aged beers can be a bit of a gamble, I totally lost on this one.

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Photo of gtn80
3.06/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 2008 bottle into a chalice.

I hate to review a flat bottle, but this bottle was procured and stored properly, but absolutely no carbonation from the pour.

Aroma is tremendous. Dark, rich, malty sugars. Wine grapes and oak.

Beer is a deep brown with ruby highlights when held up to light.

Taste is overpowering without carbonation. Too thick and viscous. Dark fruits are there, molasses, touch of vanilla. Syrupy however, with a touch of an acrid, bitter bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel is horrendous. Viscous, thick, and heavy on the tongue.

Drinkability is horrid, just alcohol and thickness. Cloying.

I hope to get to review a better bottle at some point, as I can tell the flavors are there, but this bottle was not something I enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of nrbw23
3.06/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a deep brown color with no head at all. A handful of bubbles that's all.

S- Smell is toffee and caramel malts, oak, vanilla, and bourbon.

T- Big bourbon with just a touch of malts and a bit of oak. I really like the bourbon.

M- Full in body and no carbonation.

D- I enjoyed the big bourbon taste but it was incredibly hard to drink, as it was pretty much flat. Not sure if I got a bad bottle or what. I'll come back to this one some time but until then not really impressed with this one.

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Photo of JayS2629
3.11/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A- Dark night black with very little head and what is there fades fast. No lace.

S Amazingly sweet smell. Dark fruit and licorice with woody, oak and bourbon tones in the forefront. Prunes, raisins, and vanilla oak. Dark fruit is prominant. Strong yeasty and hints of spice. Rich deep smells of dark fruit and spice. Deep whiffs of chocolate.

T- Forefront of chocolate with a touch of booze. Rum like taste with a hint of sour grapes. Lots of raisin. Fruity, dark plums, dark cherry, and grape. Mix this with some milk chocolate and a booze bite.

M- Thick, chewy, strong, boozy bite and creamy

D- A definite sipper. Creamy and sweet and boozy. Take it slow.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.11/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Enjoyed side by side with Angels Share - Brandy with nhindian. Thanks to Douglasjamjak for this one!

A: As with the brandy version, 0 head. Murky black pour. Worried about the carbonation in this one as well.

S: Lots of oak and bourbon. Big bourbon smell really dominates. Perhaps a bit of coconut, as pointed out by nhindian.

T: As with the smell, the bourbon is at the forefront here. It's followed nicely by a big chocolately middle, and a dry coffee finish. A lot better than Brandy Angels Share, but still not top of the line.

MF: Still no carbonation. The lack of which extremely hurts this beer.

O: I don't hate this one like I hated Brandy Angels Share, but it still isn't very good. Way overpriced for what you get.

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Photo of bbeane
3.11/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... a murky copper colored liquid pours producing basically no head. I was expecting this...

S- Very oaky smelling with a copious amount of bourbon presence

T- Bourbon is overwhelming vs the sweet malts of the flat beer. Some earthy wood flavor comes through as well

M- Medium body with no carbonation

O- Despite being flat, I managed to drink a fair amount of the bottle. All the great flavors are there, but the carbonation, or lack there of ruins this one. With the proper carbonation, I could see how this would be considered a solid beer


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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,883 ratings.
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