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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: 683 | Ratings: 1,830
Photo of egajdzis
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy red brown color with a small, light tan head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of roasted malts, light cocoa, vanilla, dried fruits, caramel, and a bit of bourbon as well. Taste of more cocoa, some roast, raisins, and other dark fruits, some vanilla, oak, and a bit of bourbony alcohol in the finish. I guess I'll be part of the camp who prefers the Brandy version to this one, but big thanks to EDA for sharing this!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the Sixth Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer. Listed as the 2006 vintage.

A - Rich, deep brown color with a one-finger mocha head and a tiny bit of carbonation. A handsome brew.

S - Tons of stuff going on here - bourbon, coffee, licorice, caramel, malt, chocolate, oak, dark fruit, and perhaps even some apricot in there. Pretty incredible!

T - Bourbon nose with a little kick, then mellows into the sweeter malt and caramel flavors. I don't get the same complexity on taste as I do with the smell, which is a touch disappointing.

M - Lighter than I expected - carbonation tingles the back of the throat, complementing the bourbon nicely. Felt a tiny bit thin.

D - Easier to drink than Bourbon County Stout, but with the same depth of flavors and intensity. I kept going back to this one during the tasting for more.

A fantastic brew - can't wait to try the brandy version.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage 375ml bottle. Pours into my glass a deep dark rich brown with a inch of creamy bubbly light tan head on top as well. The cork popped quite loudly here and I was glad I had a glass nearby! Aromas start with a deep, rich roasted maltiness with raisins, figs, dark fruit, caramel and molasses all in play. Enticing and flowing trails of vanilla and bright, woody oak accents. Big bourbon wafts up into the nose.

First sip brings a lush, somewhat sweet rich maltiness that is lightly roasted. Notes of raisins, cocoa, brown sugar and caramelized sugars. Vibrant vanilla flavors cavort with hints of dark fruits. As it flows down woody oak flavors kiss the palate and make me envision barrels of this amazing beer lying patiently at wait in the Lost Abbey brewery waiting for just the right moment to be released from its wooden confinement. Smooth bourbon shines through on the finish and the alcohol is nearly non-existent here. A deeply complex and insanely tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has somewhat of a creaminess to it as well. This is quite carbonated and personally I think the carbonation is a little overdone here. Overall though, it's intensely complex, warming and contemplative. Definitely a sipper, but one I could sip all night. An amazing beer that I would recommend any day of the week!

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Photo of hopdog
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared courtesy of EDA (not 750ml - Thanks Carlos for pointing out my cut and paste error, I really do appreciate it!).

Poured a brownish color with a medium sized off white head. Aromas of wood, vanilla, raisins, and bourbon. Tastes of raisins and all around dark fruits, lighter bourbon, wood, and vanilla. Lively body.

Notes from and tasted on 4/14/08

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Photo of brentk56
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a burnt caramel color with a frothy beige head (after exploding as a gusher) that retains nicely but leaves less lacing than expected

Smell: More like a Heath bar than a Bourbon barrel, the aroma is filled with chocolate, vanilla, caramel and hints of dark fruit

Taste: Lots of rum-soaked dark fruit initially and joined by the vanilla and milk chocolate elements by mid-palate; after the swallow, the Bourbon element become more pronounced, with a lingering sweetness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, with buoyant carbonation

Drinkability: Superbly complex, sweet but not cloying, this is a beer that lives up to its hype

Note: The 2009 version has no carbonation and is very boozy - a real disappointment

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Photo of Sigmund
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cask conditioned at the Great British Beer Festival 2008, gravity dispense. Nearly black colour (very dark reddish brown). Intense and lovely aroma of various subtropical woods, winey notes. The mouthfeel has lots of alcoholic warmth as expected. The flavour has notes of oak and fortified wine. Very good.

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Photo of 100floods
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Purchased this at city beer. It was a 12oz bottle, apparently you coulda got 750ml bottles for the same price at toronado a few days before, whatever. How often does this beer show up in the city?

I opening it only to run into the kitchen and grab some paper towels. The cork was practically waiting to pop off and give way to a gush of foam. I almost freaked out when i saw that i had almost lost the entire beer to foam. Fortunately i didnt. I still had a glass' worth.

Once it calmed down it pout a dark brown almost black with a cream head which gave way to a thin lacing. The aromas were popping outta the glass as much as the beer was out of the bottle. Heavy, i mean fat albert heavy, aromas of bourbon and vanilla bombard the nasal cavity. I love this stuff. It seems trendy to like the big barrel beers, but man o man, this one is up there. The aromas matched the taste, heavy on the vanilla with bourbon to boot. I love it when beers taste like a liquor, but without the burn. I mean I couldn't find much else. I didn't want to find much else.

The only drags to this beer was the near explosion at the end, and the black schmootz I found at the bottom of the glass. I don't know what the fuck that was, but i didn't drink it. Luckily I have one more bottle of this year's batch. Hopefully it'll mellow out and there will be no accidents.

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Photo of isaac
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

another beer that has compelled me to write... mmm... i like it a lot...

pours a brown, orange-tinged-on the edges, bubbly liquid into my snifter. big, beige head sits cakey for a while, then sinks to lace and film. smell is wonderful - vanilla, oak, bourbon, caramel malts... dates? taste is equally complex: woody (oak with vanilla and something that reminds me of grilled peaches. i have tasted it in bourbon before), sweet like dates, with just a hint of banana. the finish is so pleasantly bourbon-y, with a bit of herbal hops. i love it. mouthfeel is nice, changing from medium to medium-thick as it sits on my tongue. almost like old viscosity in that way.

i am a huge fan, not what i was expecting, but very very good.

thanks lost abbey!

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4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WTF! is all I can say as the cork shoots out of the bottle almost breaking the light at the top of my ceiling. I cant say that I was not warned though.

Crazy carbonation flows a four finger rich tan head over the top of the glass. Body is of the blackest brown in color. Nose is delecious with toffee, molases and lovely oak infused bourbon. Waves of lace are left as the head fades. A mix of creamy carbonation carries carmalized richness into the mouth with first sip. Tasty buttered rum and toffee tones meet with lots of sweet dark fruit on the palate. Alchol tones are very well hidden except for the ways the flavors properly bring them out. This beer drinks better and smooths as it warms. Mouthfeel is a bit thick and chorolately like a bourbon truffel. Superbly drinkable.

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Photo of flexabull
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of the great BA metallitone1, thanks again!

Popped the cork on this one to celebrate the Phillies winning their NLDS series vs. the Brewers, bring on the Dodgers!

Pours a deep dark brown color with an impressive head.

Aromas are deep, and impressive. Very dark ripe fruits, lots of oak, booze, and dark bitter cocoa.

Upon first sip I notice the mouthfeel. And I don't particularly care for it. Too snappy and carbonated for my liking. Not bad, but I expected a thick and full feel.

On to the taste... dark slightly sweet cola, ripe fruits soaked in bourbon, oak, dark sugars, and slightly sweet vanilla notes. Finish is crisp with a hint of alcohol warmth. This is a deep and complex beer, that actually drinks much easier than I thought it would.

As mentioned before, my only knock is the carbonation and mouthfeel. It just seems to detract from the awesome flavors.

Drinkability is very good. This is a great beer, I just think it could be even better with a softer and thicker mouthfeel.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks goes out to kryptic for this brew.


Poured into my Westy glass a very nice black color, very nice carbonation, nice one-finger plus foamy/fizzy tannish head, which left a big island in the middle of my glass, with some sticky lacing around the edges. The nose is malty, good touch of bourbon, oak, and vanilla. The taste is malty, a healthy note of bourbon, with some oak, and vanilla. Starts of sweet, then the big malts kick in. Full body. The alcohol is present, but not too much. Very drinkable, I've waited a long time to try this one out, finally, the wait is over. Thanks Mike.

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Photo of paytoplay
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tough to pick up on the 12% alc. 2008 Bottle at O'Brien's SD a while back. Interesting mix of sour and burbon. Dark rich ale flavor, malt, sweet oak / burbon flavor that provides a complex and long finish that I have not experienced before. Still young and I feel it can age for several years. Lots of yeast in this one, but don't pour it out. The last small glass, cloudy and chunky, was outstanding!

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Photo of Kegatron
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml corked & caged bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a extremely dark brown/pretty much black with quite the foamy heat off a aggressive pour but it doesn't take too long to settle down to the point where I can get enough in the glass to properly check out the look of this guy. The final head stands about 2 fingers or so of foamy light caramel colored head. ½ finger of retention that's more creamy in nature than the initial pour and flares up quite nicely when swirled, leaving a fantastic thick cascade of lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is a strong waft of Bourbon right off the bat that melds extremely well into silky sweet notes of cocoa powder, toffee, a touch of dark fruit tang, and maybe even some floral tones underneath. There is also an unmistakable sniff of heat that intermingles with the other flavors.

The taste is full of rich notes of sweetness, including caramel, toffee, and chocolate that encapsulated in thick Bourbon notes. The blending and balance of this is just phenomenal, with neither the Bourbon nor the other flavors of sweetness taking control at any given time. It finishes sweet and a touch warm as it clears the palette and heads down the throat. The mouthfeel feels fuller bodied at first up front but then a smoother and creamier carbonation takes control, polishing out the feel, and making this immensely drinkable. Warmth is imparted by both the ABV and Bourbon character but is never stinging and doesn't interfere at all with the majority of what is going on with other flavors. As a matter of fact the richness and balance if so good, that I sometimes have a hard time picking up a hint of the ABV at all.

This is another perfectly crafted work of art from the Lost Abbey. It's just one of those beers that is so rich, complex, and well balanced that it's easy to get lost in its awesomeness, and then because of its' fantastic quaffability, not realize that it's all gone until your licking the last drop out of the glass. Extremely well done! I loved every drop!

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Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged bottle courtesy of the BA who is a legend, Tayner.

Very loud popping corked and caged bottle poured into a Boulevard chalice. The beer over-flowed the bottle pouring into the glass.

Smell, Very upfront Bourbon notes with some caramel sweetness. Mild hop flavor gets lost in the sweet malt and Bourbon flavor.

Taste, huge malt sweetness hits the tongue. Followed almost instantaneously by a sweet Bourbon flavor. Small hop flavor is detectable here, and it's more of an afterthought. Huge caramel and raisin sweetness are found in this beer, and they almost take the helm as the dominate flavors. That is, if not the the subtle, yet forthcoming Bourbon notes.

Overall, Bourbon snobs (or geeks) will love this beer. It's balanced, flavorful, and possesses lots of great Bourbon notes. Such a great beer. One that every Bourbon snob/geek should seek out.

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

375 ml Bottle acquired from City Beer Store.

The carbonation in this beer is ridiculous. I had to hold my thumb over the top of the bottle for a few minutes to avoid losing any precious drops. This was really annoying at first (it's like $2 per fluid ounce!), but once I tasted it, I realized this carbonation makes the mouthfeel great. The bubbles are tiny and create a very fine, creamy texture. As the beer rested in my glass, the head oozed carbonation, like a bubbling mud pot centered over a geothermally active region. Perhaps the Yellowstone Caldera. The liquid is on the thicker side too. My tests determined that this is the correct viscosity.

There is lots of bourbon in the smell, along with other fruits and spice. Raisins are especially pronounced. These same traits are also present in the taste, along with vanilla, carmel, and tons of sweetness. Definitely my kind of beer. It's a shame this is one of those crazy rare beers that's so hard to come by. I'd drink this all the time if I could. One of my favorites.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- very dark brown, cola colored as you see the liquid being poured. Light tan head, that gets pretty creamy when it settles down from that huge carbonation in the bottle.

S- At first, being poured cold, I get a big amount of raisin, and some chocolate. As it warms up and the carbonation is worked out of it a lot more chocolate, molasses and wood come out of it with a touch of fruitiness.

T- As expected the flavors really change from going from cold to warmer. This really needs to be consumed warmer and when a good deal of the carbonation is worked out of it. At that point you get lots of chocolate , a little fruit, and finishes with some woody tannins. The sweetness is just amazing in this beer but it's leveled out by the alcohol and the tannins.

M- as highly carbonated as this is, it really levels out fairly fast as it warms up. Getting past the carbonation, the body of this beer is surprisingly light. Quadrupels usually seem relatively light to me when thinking about how massively flavored and high alcohol they are, but Angel's Share reminds me of a Quadrupel in that regard.

D- I wouldn't drink strong ales all the time, but this specific one I could drink any time. It's so flavorful and an amazing experience.

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Photo of USCTrojanBrian
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz bottle Poured into a tulip glass.

Massive initial head aided by an unsteady, strong pour (oops). Dark as night. Beautiful bubbles in the head, lots of carbonation visible through the glass.

Raisin in the nose, perhaps? Nothing too dominant, but I can tell it's gonna be sweet. Taste very similar/trademark something about it to everything else I've had from Lost Abbey.

Chocolate. Alcohol. Super carbonated, not affecting mouthfeel but I can just see the bubbles bursting through the head. A hint of vanilla.

Creamy as it warms up (as opposed to watery or syrupy/gooey).

I'm really enjoying this, the overall flavor trumps whatever individual notes I'm picking up. Not a flavor I'd usually enjoy either, but the texture, the aroma, the flavors are working in combo really well. Well worth the raves it draws.

The one setback is, and maybe its just my own taste, I'm not getting a lot of the oak/bourbon in here. Maybe it's the sweetness (and I like bourbon because of its sweetness) in this that reveals the bourbon character, but I don't know.

Can't complain, I recommend this to anyone, its more of a sit at home and drink beer than a bar beer, if that makes sense. Grab a book, have some cheese or chocolate nearby, sit in a comfy chair, and relax type beer.

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Photo of hero27
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz corked/caged bottle.
12.5% abv

Obtained via trade with barleywinebrewer, thanks again!

Let this warm up to near room temp before taking a sip.
Pours a very dark burgundy..head of bubbly caramel-colored foam fades away slowly..leaving the rest of the dark, opaque liquid behind.
Aroma of candied fruits, sweet caramel malt, raisin, & oaky vanilla...
Flavor is more of the same..with a warming alcohol burn, a plethora of dark fruits, oaky bourbon-soaked malts, and bold vanilla.. delicious.
Had this brew after dinner this evening and it is a treat for any beer lover..very glad to have the opportunity to try this one.

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Photo of emerge077
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Garnet tone, with an ample head of tan foam. Lasting head with ribbons of lace. Body is dark with reddish glints where the light passes through. Great head retention.

Vanilla and homemade marshmallow sweetness, creme brulee and toasted caramel aroma.

Lots of wet, woody oak and long lasting vanilla flavors from the barrel. Earthy in the middle, with dark malt and light warmth from the smooth bourbon flavor. Effervescent body, with alot of subdued complexity, finishing somewhat dry. It's strength is well integrated and makes it easy to forget the 12% lurking within.

Thanks to Aaron and Jason for the chance to try this!

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml

A - Murky, deep brown with ruby highlights and 3 fingers of fizzy, tan cola head.

S - Big bourbon, vanilla, oak and sweet caramel aroma. Pretty one dimensional in the bourbon sense but very nice.

T - Sweet caramel, bourbon, vanilla, oak, raisin, caramelized brown sugar, milk chocolate and a smoky finish.

M - Highly carbonated which makes it appear lighter than it is. A little fizzy on the tongue at first but that turns into a nice creaminess as it warms.

D - Reminds me slightly of a highly carbonated Bourbon County Stout. Somewhat one dimensional on the bourbon side but that is not a bad thing coming from this bourbon fan.

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Photo of wl0307
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted by a 1/3 pint in a tall goblet, gravity-pour on cask @ BSF bar, GBBF 2008, London.

A: deep dark brown with copper-red hues, still, and no beer head (due to the gravity pour).
S: bourbon whisky and a lively vanilla scent from the new oak barrels lead the chorus, backed by a deep syrupy aroma of raisins. Rich but very mellow in terms of alcohol; the super thick malty backbone seems to wrap the relatively restrained piney hop aroma in the middle.
T: a rather sharp attack of hop fragrance upfront, consisting of oily malts, apples, piney hops, then falls heavily down the throat with a wave of warmth almost like a true spirit! Slightly dry in the oily palate in the aftertaste, where dark-fruit jam, vanilla scent of bourbon barrels, and high-octave dark maltiness intertwine before a decent and firm flow of hop bitterness rounds up the finish.
M&D: full-bodied, devilishly smooth with super-fine carbonation, and a tad oily on the palate, this oak-aged dark barley wine is great as a night-cap, satisfying in a spirit-lifting way. Better served in a sniffer, I say!

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Photo of atsprings
4.95/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Corsendonk tulip a nice dark brown with a huge frothy head. Aroma is a nice blend of Bourbon and brown malts. The taste is absolutely unworldly! Toasted brown malt, burnt caramel, Bourbon and dried fruits provide an indescribable complexity. The beer is on the heavy side of medium with moderately present alcohol and slight carbonation, certainly a sipper. This beer is simply wonderful, one of the best I've ever had!

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

375 ml bottle. 2008 bottling. 12.5% abv.

Leathery dark brown with murky, ruddy amber edges. Head starts off big and rocky and settles down to a small finger of peanut brown. Good lacing. Big bourbon aroma up front. Oak and vanilla show off the barrel aging nicely. Solid dark fruit and grape sweetness. Sweet candy edge.

Suggestions of roasted malts up front. Burnt brown sugar and herbal hop bitterness are there as well. Big bourbon flavors follow. Boozy dark fruit sweetness adds another dimension. Oak and vanilla accents blend in nicely. Sweet fruits and bourbon warmth peak before a long, warming finish. Lingering plum and grape sweetness gradually fades away. Full-bodied with a rather effervescent, rocky feel that helps lift the heavier fruit and bourbon off the palate, but almost feels over-carbonated.

Overall, very, very good.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed back on 888, reviewed from fairly meticulous notes. Shared with SAS, Inflatablechair, and theotherbeerguy.

My share poured into a Chimay goblet... was a gusher but didn't erupt.

Coffee brown.. sticky tan head with good lacing that lasts for the entire glass..

Aroma is caramel, rum, and more than enough raisin.. Fair amount of alcohol as it hits room temp and only then does the wood and bourbon raise its head.

Flavor mirrors aroma but with pronounced vanilla.. some chocolate and the perfect amount of bourbon. body is thick and smooth at the same time.. the excessive carbonation goes away by the end of the glass.

Very very rich and with a sturdy complexity... I wish I had more than the couple that are in the basement... hint hint.


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Photo of csmiley
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to prototypic for the chance to try this one.

A - Cork comes out of the bottle with a booming pop. Get this one to glass quick or you run the risk to losing some to spill over. Pours thick and dark brown. Some murkiness lingers around in the glass. The tan pillowy head rose to the top of the glass but did not go over the edge at all. Retention is out of control. Pour this one and then go find something else to do for a while because this head is not going anywhere for a while. The lacing that remains behind is spotty but not bad.

S - A wave of dark fruit hits the nose first. Definitely has some fig and cherry. Could have some of the more tart fruits like cranberry or raspberry but those are hard to pick out. Old wood and bourbon show up around midway and play a nice supporting role to the fruit. Some of the sweeter aromas pop in at the end - caramel and cocoa. Other aromas of note are dark bread and yeast.

T - Wow! Taste follows aroma pretty closely and is superb. This beer might be too complex for words to do justice. Dark fruity goodness is up front with flavors of fig, dried cherries, raisins, and raspberry. Midway shows hints of caramel, toffee, dark bread, chocolate, and yeast. Earthy flavors are more in the background with wood and moss. Bourbon is present throughout and always stays just warm enough to keep this beer delicious.

M - Full bodied with too much carbonation. Carbonation only detracts from the beer a little since it starts level out as the beer warms. Remarkably smooth given the abv. Finish is sweet and warm.

D - Drinkability is very good. This is one amazing beer. The alcohol is hiddeen very well. The taste is very complex and smooth. At 12% it goes down very easy but you will want to savor and sip this beer. I just can't say enough about how good this beer is.

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The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,830 ratings.
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