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
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States
lostabbey.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
694
Ratings:
1,869
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
11.08%
 
 
Wants:
604
Gots:
587
For Trade:
45
User Reviews
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Reviews: 694 | Ratings: 1,869
Photo of rayjay
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage into a goblet

Still appearance. Tiny bubbles around the edge and that's it. I was expecting this, and not offended by it because of my love for traditional English strong beers which are often quite flat. Murky appearance, deep dark brown beer full of hazy stuff (looks like yeast slurry).

Rich aroma just full of bourbon barrel. Intoxicating and strong aroma. Smells great but rough around the edges (young) and mean (high alcohol).

Lots of sweet bourbon flavors everywhere. Sweet toffee and cookies, rich black malts (no real roasted bitterness, just dark richness), carmel malts, bitterness from alcohol. Lots of very smooth bourbon masks the beer underneath. Lots of mineral water too.

The flat mouthfeel was nice with Older, but not quite working with this one. Needs more CO2, certainly the downfall of this brew. Way flatter than an English barleywine, of which I've had many. More like a watered down glass of whiskey. Value is also factored in to this review, as an expensive beer like this should have no obvious flaws.

As delicious as it is, it's a waste of great beer to serve like this. Lack of carbonation cuts way back on the drinkability, also the mouthfeel, aroma, and appearance, and why the hell not the flavor too.

Edit: I had this on tap in 2007 for the first time, and noted how flat it was (and liked it). I also like this year's flat Santa's and Older...it just somehow didn't work out for this beer like it should have. Recommended if you have $30 to blow, otherwise you'll find beers this good in the $10-15 range.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.38/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Corked bottle opened up without much sound and the virtually-uncarbonated black ale poured into my two large snifters. No head whatsoever, which ruined the appearance for me.

Nose has a delightful aroma of bourbon and roasted malt, perhaps with some very dark chocolate and/or coffee bean.

Flavors are good with a bright and sweet bourbon flavor that mixes well with the roasty/chocolately malt.

Mouthfeel is ruined with the lack of carbonation.

Drinkability suffers because it has no carbonation. It's like drinking wine or some other beverage than beer that isn't carbonated. Like many others, I want my $30 back.

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Photo of Damian
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from a 12.7 ounce bottle
Served in a snifter
Acquired in a trade with mikesgroove

Review #450

The beer poured a dark brown color with a thin, bubbly, tan head that quickly faded to a thick, frothy, lasting ring. Definitely lighter in color and thinner in viscosity than I anticipated.

The aroma was outrageous. Holy bourbon. After cracking the cork, I could smell the beer from nearly two feet away. Super sweet and oaky with strong notes of vanilla. Pure Madagascar vanilla beans, to be precise. Dried fruits (figs and plums) came through as well. Almost candy-like.

The taste was very similar to the aroma. Super oaky and bourbony with a rich alcohol warming. Vanilla and brown sugar came through strong. Maple sugar notes appeared as well. Some dark fruits (prunes and raisin) were also detectable. The beer was a touch roasty and spicy on the back end with a dry, woody, tannic, alcohol-rich finish. As much as I enjoyed the bourbon element in this brew, the beer became rather hot by the drink's end.

The mouthfeel was light, frothy and a touch airy on the palate with a crisp, large bubbled carbonation. I cannot remember having a beer that was so high in alcohol yet so thin in body.

This beer is definitely a sipper. Because of the intense sweetness and the overwhelming alcohol presence, it is best enjoyed in small quantities.

The Angel's Share was definitely one of the most bourbon-rich brews I have ever tried. While I loved the flavor and aroma, I found the intensity of the alcohol to be distracting. A bit more time in the cellar perhaps might help it mellow out.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
3.2/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared with bro-inlaw in two RR BA stems. Cork really popped out and said "Merry Christmas you shithead sinners!" Small amount of ooze but settled down, thank goodness. Dark brown with ruby highlights. Big head that settled down...beige colored. Deep aromas of vanilla and bourbon, with a slice of pecan praline pie. Truly intoxicating and exotic, to the point that I just could not pull my nose out. Big, malty flavor with some plums thrown in. A touch of hot caramel sweetness, vanilla, bourbon somehow nicely blended together. A noticeable carbonation poke on the tongue. Brightness felt in the mouthfeel, quite effervescent. Beige fizz ring stays on top of the glorious liquid throughout.

Really wish I had more than 12 ounces to share...truly special.

2009 Edition (375ml bottle)
Small pop of cork. Poured into RR BA glass...flat as a 10 year old girl. Dark brown like a cup of coffee. Good flavor, but very sad tasting. The beer is crying. C+

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Photo of nickd717
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at a BA event, thanks to Bubba83. This is good stuff, but overpriced at $30+.

A - Pours an opaque dark brown with a small tan head.

S - Booouuuurbon. Lots of it. Also some caramel, spices, and dark fruits.

T - Loads of bourbon, sweet caramel malt, spices, figs/dark fruits, vanilla, and wood. Alcohol also very noticeable. Tasty though.

M - Lots of alcohol on the finish and a medium-full palate. Carbonation is surprisingly medium for a barleywine. Hey, I thought Tomme said this style was SUPPOSED to be flat! What happened?

D - This is good stuff but maybe a little heavy on the bourbon, and that hampers the drinkability a bit.

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Photo of Benjaminkeith
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was just up for a great beer so I shelled out the dough and was richly rewarded. Full and vibrant flavors were balanced with subtle undertones that allowed each sip to be different. I don't know if I could drink more than one glass and pairing it with food would be difficult but it was an experience I would not soon forget and would recommend to anyone who likes beers with flavor.

I got the beer at Water Street Wines in Peoria IL and I think they have more but I know that they did not make much of this great stuff.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

20009 vintage thanks to OlieIPA.

Pours a very dark burgundy color, nearly black with a tiny bubbly tan head.

Scent of strong oak, vanilla, prunes, caramel, chocolate, bourbon, and sharp alcohol. A nice strong scent, the alcohol balances the intense oak out well to keep it from being overpowering.

Taste of creamy vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate, dark fruit, sugars, and alcohol. Again, the alcohol seems to balance things out, but it goes to into the finish as well. Big oak and bourbon flavors make for one very tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied, silky smooth and fairly flat. The same sharp bite of alcohol keeps it a bit lively.

A very drinkable, but boozy Strong Ale.

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Photo of Gtreid
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

375 ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Dark brown with a slight mahogany hint. The pour produced a small head that quickly receeded and left no lace.

A: Strong burbon, toffee, caramel malts, oak, and vanilla. Very boozy and sweet.

T: Much of the same as in the nose. The malts blend very nicely with the burbon barrels. I get a nice earthiness, with caramel, vanilla, and oak. The beer finishes smooth and dry, as is with most BA beers.

M: Oily, medium to heavy body. My bottle did have some carbonation, but not as much as I had hoped.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is ok for a beer of this strength. But the lack of sufficient carbonation and and the High ABV will limit it a little. Overall, I think this is a good beer. Although, I think there are many other BA offerings out there that are supierior. Skal.

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Photo of alexgrahamlv
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown to almost black. No head at all. Nice lacing on the glass. The aromas are intense as I whiff the vanilla upfront, also licorice, brown sugar and molasses. The taste is powerful! I can definitely taste the vanilla and oak upfront. Strong alcohol taste that lingers in the finish. Some residual sweetness. The body is a little thin and I think the finish is a little too alcoholic that lasts way too long. Overall good beer not necessarily a favorite though.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Still, dark reddish-brown appearance.

Nose is brown sugar, vanilla and oak. Heavenly.

Taste is of deep rich sweetness. Highlights are oak with a vanilla bite. It's like an alcoholic chocolate covered cherry. Truly wonderful.

Mouthfeel is zingy, slightly boozy but not astringent.

Drinkability is high. This is a good sipper, boozy but very tasty. Layers of complexity with every sip.

Thanks to juicestam for sharing this treat out here in the middle of the Pacific.

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Photo of Traquairlover
3.69/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to stevemcqueenjr for this bottle.

12.7 oz bottle from 2009 poured into a large snifter.

A = Opaque with a certain cloudiness to it, chestnut brown with very little head - only slight bubbling around edge of glass.

S = Very strong and sweet smells of vanilla, walnuts, pecans, molasses. Really the thing this smells most like to me is Samuel Adams Utopias, but I'm not sure how much information that conveys to most people. It is very sweet and quite strong. Deep sniffs uncover a high alcohol presence, but that is not apparent on a casual smell.

T = Treacle, charred oak, roasted walnuts. This is still a little too young to have really resolved well, but I can see how it will improve over time. It does have a bit too much of a burnt taste, presumably from the bourbon barrels, that I am not so sure will resolve itself positively.

M = Virtually still liquid, which would be okay if it had slightly more body, but it is a little too thin, even with what is admittedly a heavy body. It is almost like it has two characters, a thin alcohol and a thicker malt syrup. I imagine it will greatly improve in this aspect over time. Great mouthcoating.

D = Not all that drinkable at the moment. A great experiment, but not something that really capture my tastebuds and keeps them longing for more.

 1,306 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2008 I think). Bottle a dark brown with a thick tan head. Aroma of cohcolate, roasted malt and bourbon. Flavor of sharp bourbon initially. Some buttery popcorn too. Hmm, I like the aroma but the flavor is too bourbony. Overall, ok but not great.

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Photo of mphopkins99
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to barleywinebrewer for passing this one on.

Poured darn near black, no head and almost no carbonation to speak of. Smell of oak, caramel and a very heavy bourbon presence. Went down amazingly smooth, particularly for a 12.5% ABV. Just a wonderful, warm alcohol presence.

The ABV limits the drinkability, but this is a fantastic beer that should be savored and enjoyed. Well worth seeking out.

Mike

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Photo of fiver29
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours very dark brown color with tan head that laces and lasts the entire glass. Aroma is bourbon, oak, vanilla, and earth tones. Has a heavy body. Flavor is oak, bourbon, alcohol, caramel malts add a nice sweetness. Overall, this is a brew that lives up to the hype. I had read reports that this was beginning to sour so I decided to open it. Not with this one. Not a single sour note. The flavors meld together nicely. This would have been even better given more time.

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

Since I first became serious about quality beers, this has been my White Stag. Finally, I was able to try it.

Interestingly, it was not exactly what I had expected. It was darker and much more aggressive than I was under the impression it would (or should, perhaps) be.

I realize that with the 08 batch, there were some complications with the carbonation process, but I don't think that significantly affected the beer in a negative manner.

A--From Cask, served in a pint glass; Dark coloration (zero translucence); minimal head; appears to have a thick, syrupy quality to it.

S--Medicinal scent to it. Definitely catch hints of the Bourbon. Smells slightly of charcoal.

T--A very gruff taste to it. The alcohol content is strong and the beer is complex enough to offset this. However, the alcohol unfortunately comes through on the aftertaste. The bourbon infusion is very noticeable. As I had mentioned, it is aggressive, but otherwise, it is very palatable.

M--It burns a bit, but apart from that, there is a smooth, silky quality to it.

D--Definitely for sipping.

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Photo of PhxHorn
3.46/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I saved this one for 4 months at 75° waiting for it to carbonate. the cork came out without a pop. It pours a dark cloudy brown, with the slightest of bubbles clawing their way to the surface. Tastes of malt, caramel, coffee, bourbon. A great and powerful combination of flavors. Too bad the carbonation is barely present. There is a hint of head around the edge and on the glass when I tilt it, so there is a little bit, but not much. A major flaw in a great beer. Took me 75 minutes to get through this one, just because it's such a heavy flavor and heavy alcohol and flat. I was pretty tipsy when I was done, and my wife was under the table. We had a good time drinking this, though, and that's what was important. Some bubbles and this would be a great one. Too bad the bubbly guys are missing.

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Photo of steadydose
4.69/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

375 ml bottle 2009 version

Cork came out with an audible pop, Co2 mist escapes from the bottle. I usually don't smell the cork, but the aroma that came out of the bottle, prompted me to take a whiff. The smell of chocolate and bourbon were easily recognizable, this is going to be good.

Beer is dark brown, carbonation is evident with bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass. No lasting head, just a little froth around the edges of the glass, looks like a creamier coca cola.

The aroma is where this beer shines. Smell is wonderful. A mix of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and toffee. Just an overall sweet aroma, which grows more complex as the beer warms.

The taste follows the smell with bourbon, vanilla, slight bitterness. This beer finishes with some heat. Lots of bourbon flavor, damn good.

Mouthfeel is nice. My bottle is definetly carbonated, prickly on the toungue at first then beer ends up with a soft and creamy mouthfeel.

Smelling and savoring this beer is an absolute treat. Deep, luxurious, and delicious all come to mind when I think of describing this beer. One of my favorites of 2009, I can't imagine this beer gets any better with age, luckily I have a few more bottles to find out.

 1,211 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle (2009) into a tulip glass; shared by JDV at hopsleeroy's going away party. Thanks guys!

For all intents and purposes, this beer pours flat. The faintest hint of carbonation slowly trickles up through the vinous, seal brown body, but the minuscule bubbles do little to form any semblance of a head. The aroma, on the other hand, is phenomenal. Rich, dark fruit notes of plum and fig surround nibs of dark chocolate and toasted toffee malts. Bourbon lingers in the background.

Good flavor too, it's a damn shame this beer isn't carbonated. Liquefied caramel and malted tootsie rolls dazzle the tongue while fig & raisin adding some fructose sweetness. A drying, chocolate liquor note finishes with a hint of nail polish and breathy, raw ethanol. Body is chewy, viscous, and flat, with some spicy tang to the finish due to the alcohol heat. Warms the stomach after only a few ounces. Overall, this was a good beer, it's just too bad that it wasn't properly carbonated, or else it would have been truly great.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

thanks to Jason for bringing this 2008 bottle (i think it was 2008)

poured deep black and rather thick, i had a trace of carbonation but overall it was hard to find.

giant scents of bourbon mainly with alcohol and chocolate behind it.

mainly bourbon. there were faint hints of chocolate, some light vanilla, and maybe some oak. there was some serious heat on this, so alcohol dominated and as it warmed, it was even more dominant.

mainly a syrupy feel however there was a burning and warming sensation from the booze. the top of my tongue suffered as well as my stomach. this was a very slow sipper. i was not getting as much burn as others.

this was very good although it needs more time to mellow and allow the flavors to blend together. there was far too much bourbon in this that it took away from everything else. i can imagine another year+, this would be amazing.

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Photo of pepsican
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very dark ruby, near black with a medium sized off white head. Aroma was strong bourbon and vanilla. flavor was vanilla, oak, bourbon, candi sugar, and caramel. A bit over carbonated, slight hint of the abv but not bad. This would have been much better without the explosive carbonation, but still a pretty solid beer.

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Photo of joebrewer
3.43/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2008 vintage.

Served between 45-55 degrees as the tasting progressed.

Appearance of flat coca cola.

Smells of smoke and vanilla.

Full, sweet, and warm mouthfeel.

Tastes of vanilla, bourbon, and caramel. Only enough bitterning hops to balance. No hop flavor or aroma gets through. Wood and smoke linger through, some fruit in the middle.

Almost flat. I will remember to make sure to split this bottle at least 4 ways. More than a small glass is overwhelming.

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Photo of mbrasi
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle. Pours dark brown to black with a head that dissipates quickly. Bourbon and sweet burnt caramel aromas linger in the room. Some fig, maple, and oak in there as well. Mouthfeel is silky/syrupy very, very light carbonation but not entirely flat like the brandy. The alcohol is a little more noticable than I like, but still enjoyable. Flavors are like the aroma with a pronounced bourbon whisky flavor. Why can't they just get some more carbonation in here and it would be a phenominal brew.

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Photo of nomomentwasted
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Whew. I split the 2008 750ml bottle with tahlstro, his review below. Poured into a Chimay goblet and away we go. By far the most expensive single beer I've ever had and I've been working up the words and feelings on this for the past little while to ascertain how I truly felt about it.

Appearance: Unbeknownst to me at the time, the 2008 bottles have some carbonation issues. I poured it hard on the refill and barely got anything whatsoever. The dark hues and slightest head are beautiful, but in comparison to the frothy, dark-tan head that other reviews here mention in other bottles / ages, this was a little disappointing.

Smell: Decidedly not disappointing. Huge notes of Bourbon and major anise and barley up front, with a alcoholic burn as well. Vanilla, coffee, and chocolate are all there as well.

Taste: The most complex and flavorful beer I've probably ever had. It's such a beast I'm not quite sure if I should even be rating it since I don't really have anything else to compare it to, perhaps save for something like a bourbon-lite with huge undertones of barley, coffee, toffee, and anise. As a IPA/DIPA drinker for the most part, this was just such a heavy-hitting, alcoholic ale that I still am reeling from it's monster taste.

Mouthfeel: Warm and creamy, with almost no carbonation. This drinks syrupy almost, and not really in a bad way. It's beers like this that almost cease being beers and really become its own beast.

Drinkability: Low overall, but for a 12, what do you expect? It's all of that and more. If you can, agitate and roll the 2008s for a few days to try and get some carbonation in there, it probably would help the overall appearance and maybe even the taste. All I know is that this beer is a monster, and a hell of an animal to conquer.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
3.53/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a deep brown cola color with no head whatsoever. The only slightest bit of carbonation was a few tiny bubbles around the edge that barely made the rise to the top.

S: Sweet toffee and caramel candied malts aromas lay beneath the big nose of oak, vanilla, and bourbon.

T: Big big bourbon with just a touch of the candy malts and a bit of oak not much else makes it through the bourbon.

M: Full bodied with a nice oily slickness left behind. I only wish it had a little carbonation to perk this up.

D: I like the beer itself but am a bit let down overall. I enjoy a big bourbon filled beer, which this certainly delivers on but I thought the carbonation issue was fixed with this release. Maybe I got a bum bottle, which I hope it was but I expected a bit more out of this beer and it didn't deliver like I thought it would.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 (last years) vintage (not the new release). 375ml bottle into DFH snifter.

A - Open with a loud "pop". Poured aggressively so there was a huge head. Black with a frothy tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing behind. The head is very sticky and hangs on to the side of the glass.

S - Dark fruit, boozy bourbon, chocolate. Smells very smooth and complex...a lot more then I can describe in a review. A sweet smell fills the nose after the initial notes fade.

T - Wow. Very good. Plums, raisins, milk chocolate, malts, dark cherry, smooth bourbon flavor. Better then I expected, truthfully.

M - Medium bodied, fizzy carbonation, rich, creamy, smooth. Great to swirl around in your mouth and savor.

D - Very smooth for the style and barrel aging. Easy to drink, alcohol is smooth and subtle, very smooth. Lost Abby hits a HR on this one. Very good.

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,869 ratings.
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