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

698 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 698 | Ratings: 1,880
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.

 255 characters

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.

 1,190 characters

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

 240 characters

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.

 769 characters

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

 270 characters

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.

 211 characters

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.

 2,423 characters

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.

 895 characters

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).

 399 characters

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.

 422 characters

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.

 1,411 characters

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.

 281 characters

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.

 746 characters

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.

 512 characters

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.

 520 characters

Photo of DrSpaceman
3.16/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into snifter, pours flat muddy brown. Before warm up, beer is strongly sulfurous. No smell, largely unpleasant. As beer comes up to temperature more dried fruit, oak, and vanilla come through in the smell. Belgian candi sugar, oxidation, and booze. Less refined than expected, especially at this price point. Feel is too thin for the alcohol content, definitely has some heat on the finish. Overall, I am underwhelmed with both Angel's Share and Deliverance Ale.

 469 characters

Photo of timc100
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2015

Lost Abbey's barrel aged beers are reliably accompanied by a large price tag keeping them out of the regular rotation. Very happy these hit distribution.

Lost Abbey can pack in more straight whiskey flavor into a beer than most breweries specializing in barrel aging. Even as an avid whiskey drinker it can be a bit overkill (i.e. Bourbon Santa's Little Helper). Angel's Share boasts an impressive and intense bourbon flavor without muting the notes around it. Vibrant broozy sweet flavors of caramel, toffee, and vanilla icing. Has enough raw whiskey flavor and oak to keep it from being overly sweet. Drinks incredibly smooth, appropriate carbonation and medium-full body to hold the flavors, though avoids syrupy territory.

Great barrel aged beer, probably best in the Lost Abbey lineup that hits distribution - second to Churchill's Finest Hour.

 872 characters

Photo of Dave_Treat
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. An exceptional beer. Poured from bottle into a snifter. Dark almost black ale, with a burgundy undertone. Small head with decent lacing. Smells of caramel and fruits. Taste is extended with the vanilla of the barrels. Smooth. Little alcohol heat.

 267 characters

Photo of hophugger
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aromas of malt and bourbon. Flavors of dark fruits, raisins, bourbon, some oakiness and sweet booze.
Overall, very nicely balanced, with the 12.50abv coming through quite strongly, especially as this beer warms

 210 characters

Photo of bgold86
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter glass, pours a real nice dark brown. Big dried fruits nose, dates, raisins and figs, slight vanilla and roasted coconut. Taste of caramel, big vanilla and dried dark fruits sweetness, a definite winner!

 224 characters

Photo of LouAleHead
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I love malts, and this one is no exception, great feel and aroma, the taste is there but was over powered a bit by the alcohol, am i the first one to complain about ABV. Little head but it laces, aromas is awesome. So far every Lost Abbey brew i'I've had has been AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

 281 characters

Photo of breadwinner
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Boozy nose at first straight off the tap, but it really evolved nicely into a depth of dark fruit, leather, figs, a really pleasing richness. Palate is a touch syrupy, a touch sweet, a touch boozy, probably a little much overall, but solid in a digestif sort of way. Warming booze burn on the finish. Wonder what the brandy barrel does to this...

 346 characters

Photo of Jonatbr
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Very smooth malt flavor. I'm just not a fan of malty beers so I'm only giving it a 3.5 in taste as a reminder for myself should I forget I tried it. If you like pronounced malts, this is an excellent beer.

 207 characters

Photo of bnes09
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep, hazy, milk chocolate color. Minimal head on the pour with weak retention.

Sweet caramel and molasses malty aroma. Oak, bourbon, vanilla, smooth booze. Very rich and well balanced in the nose.

Flavor imparts a deep caramel and burnt sugar quality. Mild yeast presence. Subtle leafy, herbal hop. Smooth oak in the finish.

Dense, full bodied, and bordering on syrupy feel. Moderate carbonation.

Highly complex and well rounded barrel aged ale.

 459 characters

Photo of 57md
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 2011 version opened in August of 2015.

Pours the color of bittersweet chocolate with practically no head at all. The bourbon nose is absolutely lovely. The bourbon notes come through in the flavor as well; unfortunately, not much else (flavor-wise) gets past the bourbon presence. The body is thin for the style and too thin to hold up to the bourbon. The finish still has some strong alcohol esters four years later.

 439 characters

The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,880 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.