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: 1,882
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 buschbeer
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
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 +9%
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 -12.7%
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 -18.2%
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 +15.1%
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 +7.5%
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 +3.8%
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 -8.5%
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 +7.3%
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 -0.5%
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 -2.8%
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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Photo of Radcpa
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark appearance with a little head and just the right amount of carbonation. Very pleasant aroma. The taste reminds me of a very strong coconut flavor with a little hint of alcohol. A little aging may improve the flavor even further

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L - Ugly, UGLY murky, muddy brown with tons of sediment. No head.

S - Holy whiskey, Batman! The barrel is so strong it is almost preventing me from putting my nose all the way up to the glass. Tons of dark fruits: figs, raisins, etc. Has quad characteristics. and even some caramel and toffee.

T - Boozy iced tea with those aforementioned dark fruits. Combines American Barleywine and Quad nicely. Whiseky is not as big as it was on the aroma, but plenty of that and oak are here.

F - It's a big motherf**ker and should be sipped for hours. Plenty of sweet booze, but not a direct alcohol taste and really no heat either.

O - Massive strong ale that should be treated as such. Quad-like dark fruits, sweet English Barleywine and hoppy American Baleywine all in one.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured nearly still, dark brown with a thin head quick to dissipate - opened with a pathetic little "pop"
A: Bourbon, vanilla, heat
T: Sweet, dark fruit
M: not impressive, thin for style, no carb, hot
O: A very good beer that could've been great with some carbonation

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Photo of stevoj
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Barley wine bottle share on 1/31. Very smooth, tasty stuff. Pours out a nice mahogany, , lots of sweetness, brown sugar, molasses. Silky, syrupy mouth feel, tons of warmth. deserving of the (mostly) high praise.

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Photo of CHickman
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Popped the cork and it pours a black looking mahogany brown with a 1-2 finger tan foamy head that was full of tiny bubbles and dissipated quicker than expected, leaving a creamy ring around the top.

Wow, the bourbon or whatever was in those oak barrels hit my nose about 6 inches from the snifter. Lots of toffee, caramel, molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar before more booze kicks in and unleashes earthy and oaky notes, light vanilla, roasted grains and/or smoked malts, dark chocolate and a strong sweetness that never crossed over to cloying and kept the aroma wonderfully complex. Great smelling brew. I read the label and it is indeed bourbon barrels that gives this that extra kick into the barrel aging heaven stratosphere.

Taste is a lot smoother than I expected since there is an initial heat wave with the first sip, but that settles down and just becomes part of the whole bourbon barrel aged experience. Like the nose, the flavor is rich and full of sweet malt and oaky notes which include the aforementioned toffee, caramel, molasses, maple syrup, brown sugar, earthy and oaky notes, vanilla, roasted grains and/or smoked malts, dark chocolate and of course bourbon...good bourbon with that smoky peat moss and burnt copper tin mash essence. Like the nose there is a strong sweetness that never crossed over to cloying and keeps getting better and more complex as it warms, even with the 12.5% ABV letting you know it's there with each and every sip. The aftertaste has soy sauce, burnt campfire marshmallow, more woody and oak notes and some faint piney hops that are woven into the sweet bourbon. It's a shame this bottle is only 12.7 oz.

Mouthfeel is buttery smooth and creamy considering that the booze and heat strike right from the first sip. The body is chewy and on the heavy side with very light to almost watery carbonation, a boozy, oaky finish that trails off on the sweet side with brown sugar, burnt coffee grinds, toffee and bourbon making for a nice complex ending. Enjoyable beer from start to finish, so much easier to drink than it should be - golf clap here for being so well done.

Overall the sum of all the collective parts of this brew to made this exceptional. It was very tasty, easier to drink that it should be at this high ABV level, and naturally got better as it warmed. I'm going to actively seek this out again and suggest any bourbon barrel aged beer lover do the same.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well you can have very different reviews of this depending on whether you have it on tap (excellent) or whether you play Russian Roulette with the bottles and their potential for being flat and having their customer service department tell you to go pound sand.

Even on tap, its a style of beer that should be designed to have lower than average carbonation. But at least some carbonation. The smallest wisp of tan head on the top is nice, lots of bourbon, raisin, chocolate malt, vanilla and oak aromas come out of it.

The taste is a delight, well balanced, not overly hot, the same feels in the nose are on the palate. Throw in some earthy tobacco, light char and smoke, molasses, this does a good job at being both complex and good.

With that said, I don't recommend purchasing any bottles of this. Its expensive to start with, and if they're flat (a good chance) its so disappointing.

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Photo of OGShotzy
3.86/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle was under filled. Beer never made it to the neck. I didn't realize until I left the store. Poured flat with no carbonation and certainly no lacing that others have written about. Smelled pretty good like vanilla and tobacco. However, the mouthfeel was much too flat to impress on taste or otherwise. Hopefully this was just a bad bottle (which certainly happens with barrel aged beers).

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Photo of larryarms847
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a silky rusty brown with a solid fluffy finger of off-white foam.

Raisin, fig, plum, candied sugar, caramel, vanilla, oak, and bourbon.

Caramelized sugar and candy like sweetness along with toffee, dates, vanilla, barrel, and sweet bourbon.

Medium-heavy bodied, low-medium carbonation, chewy, sticky sweet, warming.

Overall, BBA strong ales have really grown on me and this is another truly outstanding example.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown pour. World class head volume, lacing and retention.

Borderline world class very complex nose of charred oak, candied dark fruit (plum, raisin), bourbon, light notes of tobacco and leather, caramel and prune over a slightly sweet malt base.

Medium body with a smooth texture that has some creaminess. Superb carbonation that is well balanced with the body providing a bit of effervescence in the middle and a nice burst in the finish.

The flavor profile is borderline world class, especially for 12.5% ABV. Survive the onslaught of the first few sips and you will be in for quite a treat after your palate normalizes. Alcohol astringency is very well covered with just a bit emerging in the finish. Balance is world class, for a beer of this strength and it is a brewing masterpiece. A lot goes on in this complex beer, yet each element has its moment on the stage. Bourbon never leaves the palate but ebbs and flows allowing others to pop to the surface. A sweet bourbon leads off then flows into caramel by the middle. Here the other flavors of the nose arrive in roughly the following order: tobacco and leather, oak - which lingers, dark fruits and finally prune. The finish delivers a final crescendo of rich caramel that ebbs as bourbon lingers in the remarkable slightly dry finish. A little heat at the back of the throat, but far less than typical for an ale of this strength.

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Photo of CoreyC
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - dark leather, nice head
S - oak, bourbon, dark fruit, even some chocolate
T - bourbon forward, dark fruit
M - nice, some thickness
O - good BBA beer, bourbon a bit too dominate to let more other flavor come through, though. I think aging a bit might have made this even better.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

375 ml cork and cage bottle. 2010 vintage cellared since new in my basement.

Angel's Share is a very deep reddish brown color with good clarity on the pour (sediment left in the bottle). No head whatsoever.

Aroma is malty sweet with bourbon barrel in the background.

Flavor is also mostly sweet with caramel, figs, and candied nuts. The hops from the base barleywine have totally faded but the overall balance of the beer is still fantastic. The bourbon is subtle but adds a nice layer of depth.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and super smooth with almost no carbonation at all.

Overall an excellent barleywine and the bourbon barrel aging adds great character. The only downside is that it's basically flat but, for the style I don't really mind.

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Photo of LADaveBN
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours brown black with almost half a finger head. Not as dark as I expected it to be. Nose is all bourbon. Front and center. Taste is also mostly like drinking bourbon without the sting of the alcohol. I get quite a bit of oak. Moderate to heavy carbonation is surprising. However, I think it works in this case by giving it a creamy feel albeit thinner than I'd like for a BBA ale. Alcohol is hidden well. Overall, pretty good. Wouldn't seek it out again due to the high price point but enjoyable nevertheless.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz bottle poured into a Stone glass.Pour is dark brown in color.You can smell the Bourbon in there.Taste is Bourbon up front but you can also taste fruit.For me I could taste raisins.More dried fruit.Maybe a hint of Vanilla.I liked it a lot.It has a fantastic flavor to it.To me the Bourbon is blended pretty well with the other flavors.I probable would not drink this beer that often because of price.For a 12.7 oz bottle it was around 16.00.Pretty high but I just had to try it.If you got the bucks give it a try.

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,882 ratings.
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