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
1,910 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,910 |  Reviews: 704
Photo of woodchip
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of spointon
3.44/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I poured this from a 750ml brown bottle (2008 vintage) into a St. Bernardus chalice glass. As I eased the cork from this bottle I could tell there was no pressure inside the bottle helping to push the cork out...and alas this turned out to be one of the infamous uncarbonated examples of Angel's Share.

A= Poured a slightly murky blackish brown color. With a super hard pour I was not able raise any sort of head. Completely still beer. No lacing at all.

S= The aroma of this ale was very boozy and filled with dark, sweet, malty notes. There were also some nice vanilla and oak character in there as well, but this was harder to find in the wash of bourbon.

T= Similar to the nose. Started off with sweet dark malts and caramel then the bourbon kicked in and brought some light vanilla with it. No hops to speak of. Lots of alcohol throughout leading into a somewhat hot finish. Lots of chest-warming alcohol aftereffects.

MF= Medium bodied, with zero carbonation. The flatness gave this a thin and watery feel.

D= The no carbonation thing is a huge flaw in this beer, but it had its moments. The ABV makes this a sipper either way. I would love to try this again if it was properly carbonated.

 1,202 characters

Photo of Paccamacca
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of vrbulldog22
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of dataylor21
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of thufflife
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of tedho21
3/5  rDev -30.1%

Photo of CrellMoset
4.57/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle courtesy of gford217 - thanks for this long-time want!! Poured into a 12 oz. brandy snifter. I struggled to get the cork out of this one after removing the electric tape from the corked/caged apparatus sealing this bottle shut. Eventually it came out with a thunderous pop and - watch out! - it was a gusher!

Appearance: This one's a strange thing. The pour happened quickly (as it was a gusher), glub glub glub, a thick-looking nearly black brew settling quickly into the snifter. The interesting part was that the head - while initially a big, foamy, bubbly, fizzy, cola-esque cocoa brown - somehow manages to continuously replenish itself. The initial one-finger fades quickly, and seems like it would like to continue doing so, but there's enough spare carbonation in this one just bursting to the surface that a seething sheen of bubbles foams a surface nest of carbonation that, well, at least resembles a head. The collar is similarly foamy, faintly sticky, but very bubbly and effervescence, just like the "faux head." There actually is a little bit of lace stickage - a few blobs and islands on the sides of the glass. A solid start.

Aroma: Spicy, incredibly woody, and slightly warming bourbon dominates the nose, blending well with an earthy, well-toasted malt note that lends an air of coffee to the aroma. The balance - molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, slight cocoa, tons of dark fruit (overwhelming raisin, figs) and a soupcon of lighter fruity esters (cherries, pears) - is pleasant too. The malts emerge a little more as this one warms, subduing the bourbon slightly. Oh, and the cork smells intensely of maple syrup.

Taste: Where this beer really comes into its own. Absolutely phenomenal. The bourbon is spicy, earthy, well-integrated, and not hot at all. The malt backbone is all over the place, and that's a good thing - sweet, heavy maple syrup is interlaced with thick, black molasses which intermingles with brown sugar, backed up by a four-part harmony of solid bittersweet chocolate, sweet and in some places slightly tart cherry, light Bradford pears, and dark raisins. Plenty of woody notes and their accompanying vanillan, along with a surprisingly prickly, piney hop profile round out this incredibly full, complex, multi-faceted brew.

Mouthfeel: The appearance gave away what this one would probably feel like. The body itself is probably fairly thick, but there's so much effervescence, fast, crisp, huge, but somehow still surprisingly even. This makes it incredibly light, Belgian-almost, in that it sort of floats over the tongue, airy and cloud-like. It thickens up just a little bit as it warms and the carbonation mellows out, resulting in a light, airy, but still somewhat creamy beer, almost like thinned-out whipped cream.

Drinkability: Well this one's really good. Damn good. I had the Great Lakes Barrel Aged Blackout Stout the other night, and though similar, the contrast mainly lies in the fruits. The base beer here - the Angel's Share, I s'pose - is far fruitier across the board, both in the light and dark fruit department, different in neither a good way nor a bad way. This beer is, naturally, world class, absolutely delicious, aromatic, creamy and light, and only lacking in those areas where a beer of this abv% is almost certain to lack (lacing, head retention, pure drinkablity). I'd love to have one of these to cellar, though I do fear Lost Abbey's quality control issues! Highly recommended.

 3,473 characters

Photo of randylangford
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of kevanb
4.04/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Caged and corked 375ml bottle into a whiskey glass.

Only the faintest of pops greets you as the cork comes out. It pours out like motor oil and shares the color although a bit darker thankfully. It has minimal carbonation, but more than I was expecting based on other reviews for the 2011 vintage. It has no head whatsoever but there is a tiny bit of caramel color on the top. It smells really great, LOTS of bourbon with some nice firm oak aromas with faint vanilla. Flavors are pretty strong, lots of oaky bourbon with vanilla and some dark fruits, plums and raisins come to mind. The flavors are strong, but not really balanced and get a bit washed by the strong alcohol. It is a bit thin and the alcohol is really strong but I found it to be drinkable, although this is a sipper for SURE.

Verdict: Pretty strong sipper here, but most importantly enjoyable. I did prefer the 2010 Brandy version but this vintage was done well. I'll be excited to see how my second bottle turns out in a year or so.

 1,007 characters

Photo of inlimbo77
4.01/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml, '08 Vintage
Snifter, split bottle between two people
***600th BA review***

A: Pours completely carbonation less. Flat. Flatter than flat. Dark dirty brown. Reddish hues towards corners. Murky brown color. Carbonation is knocking this down for me.

S: Rum soaked raisins. Dark fruits. Barrel is there. Vanilla notes. Wood. Toffee and caramel for sure. Maybe some oxidation too.

T: Tons of dark fruits. Rum soaked raisin. Lots of vanilla. Lack of carbonation sucks, but the flavors are still very good.

M: Full bodied. Carbonation lack sucks.

I know this beer would have been killer if there was carbonation, and maybe a little less age on it.

 652 characters

Photo of drtth
4.12/5  rDev -4%
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.

 1,190 characters

Photo of whitenads
4.21/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of rkarimi
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


3 characters

Photo of jacewg
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of crossovert
3.22/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12.7 oz corked and caged brown bottle. 2010 vintage. 12.5% alcohol.

It pours a dark brown with a fizzy off-white head that never gets very large and dissipates immediately with no lacing.

The smell is dominated by bourbon through and through. There are hints of oak, alcohol, and fruits. It isn't super complex, mainly bourbon. There is a hint of chocolate that hints in but never becomes super noticeable.

The bourbon dominates the flavor, though it isn't as alcoholic as I was expecting. It has some caramel, vanilla, and oak, but that is about it. There is some walnuttiness that comes through, almost like a stale maibock in the finish I was hoping for something with more complexity, this is basically bourbon flavored beer.

The bottle was overpriced, it is a bit overhyped.

 783 characters

Photo of facesnorth
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of stephenlee
4.57/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of ambruns1979
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of WastingFreetime
4.59/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of hopkrid
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 1,910 ratings