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

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691 Reviews
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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:
691
Ratings:
1,854
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
18.16%
 
 
Wants:
602
Gots:
578
For Trade:
48
User Reviews
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Reviews: 691 | Ratings: 1,854
Photo of GreenWBush
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2007.

Thanks go out to Shane for this bottle, an extra to beat all extras. I still owe that dude more than the, uh, Oatis that was my Cherry Adam extra in our trade. Bygones.

After reading myriad threads about this beer, I started to think obsessively about the bottle I got 4 or 5 months ago. With the riff-raff / brouhaha / shitstorm that surrounded the most recent release I figured it more than an apt time to stop imagining the beer, wondering when I should present it to a crowd of beer geeks, waiting for a solar eclipse, etc, and got down to drinking it.

Nervously, I thought about it from time to time - all the reviews made it seem like such a crapshoot - and when I finally decided to pul the trigger, it chilled all day at low temps. I popped it, and to my happy surprise it was not a gusher and it was not [at all] dead. Go.

Just a gorgeous beer, both in my snifter and my wife's. I never know why, but beers coming from those gorgeously and generally ridiculously priced 12.7 oz bottles just seem to contain more than a regular 12oz. Can't be. Deep, mysteriously murky, and as brown as you get before you run smack into black. Endless lace tides.

Nose is silken vanilla, treacle, malt syrup, and whispy strikes of peaty alcohol. Smells rich, if that's possible, and envelops you with aroma alone.

Holy crap raisin-bomb. Welcome to the Mellow Meldo-Rama! Everything is perfectly balanced, and has its place: oak, soft vanilla tannins, even the alcohol bite just fits. Only thing keeping this beer from perfection is the tiniest touch of 'off' sweetness that hits just as all the other ingredients fade. How that can the avoided with such a huge beer? The oak also really adds to the potentially lopsided English BW maltiness.

Drinkability is about as good as you could hope for in a beer this big, but it does go down better than even what I expected. Wish this would never end.

There's been some serious chatter about this brewery, and some of the rumors are disturbing. But I can only review what comes from the bottles I've had, and I've never had a bad bottle. Actually I've never had anything less than an exceptional bottle...

 2,154 characters

Photo of natelocc787
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage.

Angels Share is a fitting name for this heavenly ale. Tiny head but no head needed for this fine sipper. When then chalice was tilted only slightly, it took literally almost 30 seconds for the last bubbles to reach the surface. And I only tilted it enough to show a 1/4 inch of lace. A lexicon of flavors show in the nose and taste, one of the most complex and well crafted brews I've come across. Molasses, figs, caramelized candi sugar, plum, chocolate covered dark cherries and bourbon. Much more. Carbonation was low and the mouthfeel was pure velvet. Perfect. I'm on my way to grab more this weekend, don't be scared to drink it fresh, I know it can be cellar'd but it's hard to imagine an improvement over this.

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Photo of Brob245
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - a deep murky dark sepia with no head or lacing as expected.

Smell - very strong, you can smell the oak. Hints of vanilla and sweets dark fruits.

Taste - Wow, loads of flavors. Vanilla, chocolate with a healthy dose of bourbon with an earthy finish.

Mouthfeel - medium carbonation but still very drinkable for the alcohol content.

Overall - again WOW. A rich complex beer that's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep, deep brown color-poured from the bottle a beautiful burgundy. Small head gone all too quickly. Sweet smelling-very port and raisen like. Wonderfully deep and rich flavor. Great notes of vanilla and oak. Noticeable alcohol flavors. Whiskey like flavors as well. Very smooth and creamy considering the abv. Lingering whiskey bite on the tongue. Very impressive beer. Night cap describes it all. Many thanks to callenak for this treat from Secret Santa 2006. Best US strong I have had-period.

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Photo of Radome
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12.7 oz cork-stopped bottle.

L - Deepest brown without being black. No light gets through. Very little head, mostly just wispy swirls on the surface and an off-white ring around the glass. Light Belgian lace.

S - Aromas of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, oak. Hops are not obvious, but might be present intermixed with the tobacco aroma. No overt yeast notes. Light whiskey-tinged alcohol aromatics.

T - The flavors follow the aromas, but with some fruitiness as well. Coffee; chocolate milk; light plums; vanilla; coconut. There is a low aged, oxidized character similar to soy sauce, but it fits with the other flavors rather than detracting. Somewhat dry finish.

F - Thick body. Low carbonation. Surprisingly low alcohol burn for the ABV. Bracing hop bitterness, but not over the top.

O - This is an incredibly rich and complex beer. I t emphasizes rounded qualities from aging over the direct oak or whiskey it was aged in.

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Photo of Jmitchell3
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 375ml bottle into a snifter. Served at 55F.

A: Light off-white head. little retention. Deep reddish brown. Mild lacing, a little clarity around the edges of the glass.
S: Bourbon and alcohol. Did I mention bourbon?
T: wow. Really strong barlywine flavor. With bourbon and warming. Lots of bourbon and warming. Sweet on the first sip, deep bourbon flavor with oak, plum. the flavor is amazing and very pleasing.
M: Medium body, the alcohol is really only evident in the finish with medium warming and a bit of stinging on the back of the throat.
O: Great barleywine, fantastic oak and bourbon flavors. Phenomenal flavors and aroma. Docked points for the moderate warming. Alcohol was evident mainly in the aromas and finish, while the flavors up front were quite pleasant and balanced. Overall, one of the best barleywine's I've ever had. Highly recommended.

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

imstillthegman is, indeed, still the gman. I don't even need to know what that means to know that it's true. Why? Because he deserves my trust.

Excellent pour. Just--just remarkable, right there. It's like there's a whole little world that died just to make this pour, it's that's goddamn good.

Smells very, very... umm, what's the word? "Strong." There we go. That's the word. It's quite strong. Lots of insanely sweet malt, medium-strength west coast hops. As it warms, the strength stays at about the same intensity, but the individual flavors mellow slightly enough that the become discernible from one another. Heavy nodes of vanilla and oaken whiskey are present, along with some sweet, fruity, and lightly peaty malts. Sort of a cross between Bourbon County stout and a good dubbel.

Tastes very much as it smells. Starts hugely strong, big giant nodes of toffee, raisins, sweet brandywine, chocolate, vanilla, oak, sweet fruit lingers at the end with bitterness. Hops? No--I thought I smelled some but I think I was wrong.

 1,034 characters

Photo of pknyc
4.71/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 Vintage that was opened on March 02, 2014. Beer fridge temp (58F).

A: This is a deep brown strong ale. There is a thin ring of tan head that seems to have a pretty good life expectancy.

S: Very enjoyable. Molasses, bourbon, a very slight heat that is perfect for a snowy evening. Some fruit esters. Oak. It is robust and complex and very very good.

T: Fantastic. Sweet, caramel, bourbon, oak, very complex. Very little alcohol (and its 12.5%!) which adds so much complexity. Just a little dark chocolate. Little vanilla. This is very well done and very well balanced.

M: Perfect. Coating with a touch of carbonation which adds complexity. Outstanding.

O: I don't want to repeat myself, but it was very enjoyable, fantastic, outstanding, etc etc etc.

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Photo of KornWallace
4.71/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Date: 4/6/14
Location: Trade from PA
Glassware: Tulip
Appearance: The beer is black as night. Large viscous ring, no head no carbonation. There is a lot of cling when you sip the beer.
Aromatics: Big dark fruits with plums, dark grapes. Bourbon with a big alcohol smell. Some oxidization, little soy smell.
Flavor: The plums come in strong, heavy on the dark fruit. The bourbon flavoring is nice, warming alcohol, vanilla and some wood.
Mouthfeel: Very viscous, coating my tongue. Very warm alcohol goes all the way down my throat.
Notes: The cork swelled in the bottle, needed a cork screw to get it out. Bottled Dec. 2012. Bottle conditioned for 1 year.

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

Thanks to tayner for an amazing trade.

Pours a dark brown and ruby with a huge rocky light tan head. Appears to be quite overcarbonated. Nose REEKS of bourbon heat and dark fruits, wood. Taste = Bourbon! dark fruit, caramel, bourbon soaked raisins, vanilla, caramel apple, wood and bourbon and alcohol on the finish. Wonderful. Great sweetnes lingers in the mouth and on the lips. This one will be amazing after a few years in the cellar. Mouthfeel is suprisingly thin and waaayyy more carbonated than I expected. Drinkability is good for the style, but will greatly improve with some cellaring I think. Certainly an amazing concoction, bourbon is right up front. Defenitely a great cellar candidate. Pleased to have had the opportunity to have tried it. Thanks again, Dana!

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

Extra special thanks to Kels for sharing this the other night -- easily one of the most amazing beers I've ever had.

Appearance: Pours a very deep brown that is toffee in color with a huge 3+ finger head that is that (the carbonation is so impressive in this beer that when uncorked, a fog rolls out of the bottle and looks like something out of a mad scientist's lab); head slowly dwindles to a full, thick and chewy skim.

Smell: Toffee, vanilla, woody oak and alcohol -- smell is very sweet; essence of some burnt sugar maltiness and even some chocolate in there as well.

Taste: Holy crap. Simply amazing. Almost exactly like the smell with the toffee, vanilla, burnt sugar maltiness and hints of sweet milky chocolate; slight hints of woodiness with the bourbonesque alcohol that runs a little hot, but still very tasty and well blended with the other strong flavors.

Mouthfeel: Very warm and tingly from the alcohol; carbonation is more mild in the mouthfeel than in the appearance and it comes across as smoother than I would have expected; body is a little thick and chewy -- sticky and leaves a mild coating.

Drinkability: Too high for something that clocks in at 12% ABV. The taste is amazing, the body is warm and smooth, the smell is super enticing and matches the flavors perfectly... Quite possibly one of the best beers... EVER.

 1,347 characters

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

2006 on tap at the Toronado Barleywine Festival in Feb. of 08.

What an exceptional beer. I'm not convinced this is a barleywine strictly. It's a bit heavy on the dark, chocolate and crystal malts. It pours a dark brown, almost black. It also has a significant chocolate flavor on there. There's also tons of caramel and vanilla from the bourbon barrel. It's pretty thick, full bodied, but it goes down silky smooth. This was by far the best beer at the fest, even though I'm not sure it would classify as a barleywine by BJCP or by GABF standards. I guess that's why lost abbey classifies it as one of their "non-denomination beers." Still, this is a must have for any beer fan. What a treat. I could sit for hours and just sniff that vanilla, caramel, chocolate and oak.

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

Yes this was third course 09 BGBBD @ sierra, just sick to know that it was the bourbon instead of the brandy. So dark and happy, I've had the bourbon in bottle before and loved it and this was no exception. Poured dark with little head. Aromas were huge so much vanilla like I remembered it and thank god I got a snifter of this at the end. Went down too smooth and easy. I could care less about carb issues, this was almost complete and for me was up there with BBVD, BA Boris and Nor'easter Cl for best bourbon brews.

 519 characters

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

On tap @ Lost Abbey / Port Brewing's 3rd Anniversary party. 4oz taster. Tasting notes from 5/9/2009. 2009 vintage.

Appearance: Pitch black, with a light brown head. The head moves very well with lacing. No sign of the "flat share" here. Being on tap probably makes up for it. Very nice visually.

Smell: Wow -- complex. It's hard to figure out the nose, based on how unique it is. There is a definite sweet and oaky smell that goes throughout the nose. The smell of bourbon is very apparent. There are hints of oatmeal somewhere in the complexity. There are sweet, slightly floral tones throughout the nose. Very complex, very unique, and quite good. ONe of the few 5.0 rating beers for smell.

Taste: Just as complex as the nose. Starts off very sweet, with a strong bourbon taste. Hints of oak. Finishes bitter with a strong alcohol bite. The aftertaste is definitely is filled with bourbon. Complex and tasty -- I like it. One of the few 5.0 rating beers for taste.

Mouthfeel: There is a pretty complex, oaky, bourbon feel to this beer (if such a thing exists). There is a well executed bitter taste/feel to this beer. Heavy bodied.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipping beer. The alcohol is harsh and very apparent. Definitely a sipping beer and probably is one of those single bottle beers (if that). Tastes like it would complement food very well. Savor this beer.

Overall: This is one of my favorite beers, but again, you can't drink too much in a single sitting. This probably will age very well also.

 1,510 characters

Photo of Lothore
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me first say that at first I really wanted to not like this beer. Something about this whole frequent special releases thing kind of rubs me the wrong way for some reason.

A- I have to say this looks just about perfect. Very dark brown, almost black with a creamy, tan head that leaves quite a bit of lacing as it falls.

S- Smell is very enticing, sweet, brown sugar, spices, almost detect a sour note towards the end, slight coffee, a bit of bourbon.

T- Taste is much different than I was suspecting from the smell. Tastes creamy, mixed spices in the middle, sweet cream, a slight bit of bourbon. Can detect the alcohol warming but it blends in so superbly. The sweetness wears on you after a while. Definitely a sipper.

M- A bit thinner than I would have guessed, very crisp with a lot of carbonation. Refreshing, I'm a little tired of beers that are way too thick, this is excellent.

D- I really really wanted to not like this beer. I tried to find as much wrong with it as I could but I just couldn't. Not a huge fan of the brewery, didn't buy into the hype and I loved it. Try to get a bottle now why there is still some in circulation, you won't regret it.

 1,171 characters

Photo of mpcrump
4.74/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle at one of my favorite places - Monks Café in Philly.

A: Deep dark brown. Decent carbonation and head. Head is lighter brown in color.

S: Very strong bourbon smell. I get a hint of vanilla and something fruity. Can't quite catch it. Decent smell of some dark fruits as well - figs/plums.

T: Ah, this is what we came for. I will admit - I had this after a Deliverance. Cherries and then some dark fruits up front. Then some toffee and some light chocolate. Finishes with bourbon and a hint of vanilla.

M: Very nice. Moderate to high carbonation but still feels creamy. Very interesting.

O: Give it to Lost Abbey to make another wonder bourbon barrel aged beer. Definitely a quality beer.

 711 characters

Photo of SensorySupernova
4.74/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Black with a wispy brown head and plenty of lacing on the way down.

Smell: Coconut, caramel, figs.

Taste: Up front it’s big time caramel malt with vanilla. Bitterness peeks in a bit. Fades into a woody sweet ethanol taste. Leaves a bourbon aftertaste on the breath.

Mouthfeel: Very thick with fine carbonation.

Overall: Great sipping beer. Strong, boozy, and delicious.

 387 characters

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Pours dense deep brown, not much head, lacy with some legs. The nose is sherry, leather, prune, tobacco, vanilla, hint of bourbon. Big bold palate with dark dried fruit, figs, prunes, sherry, vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate and some malt. Very rich and bourbon.

 262 characters

Photo of SurfsideChris
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Had it on tap at Surfside Tap Room in Oceanside California. This year's brew according to Alex, their sales rep, this beer clicked in at 14.8%. Very aggressive and very boozy. Pours a cloudy dark brown with an almost non existent tan head. Beer is phenomenal just not for the faint of heart. Must love bourbon since this one was aged for almost two years in barrels.

 370 characters

Photo of Jjski
4.75/5  rDev +12%

2014 61 degrees F

dark chestnut,
minimal head,
dark fruit, fig, whiskey on the nose
Yeah its hot this year. When I knew I had some more 2014 ordered : I drank my last 2013 last week, which was smoothly sublime.
Cracked the 2014 tonight and got a huge amount of heat, barrel and vaporous alcohol which blunted the beautiful taste of the 2013 that I recalled from last week.

I had started drinking my barrel aged beers fresh ( and only aging the bottle conditioned and standard non barrel beers) in order not to lose the intended flavors of the barrel aging process. This tends to work on beers that don't have huge barrel components (KBS, Backwoods, Merkin, Clown Shoes barreled beers other than Very Angry Beast). HUGE Brews like BCBS and Bruery Smoking Wood, Bois, & Sucre can handle and benefit from time in the cellar IMHO

This one needs some time. Aged a year: 4.75. Fresh 4.0 The next 4 bottles I have coming are going to get tagged not to open for a year.

Earlier in this evening , I split a 22 oz 2013 Scucaba with wifey: and while it definitely was better than this 2014 Angel, the 2013 Angel was beter than the 2013 Scucaba (again imho )

 1,157 characters

Photo of mrkrispy
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(review of the draft version during the Bottle Release in 2008)
I went to the Bourbon Barrel release and was fortunate enough to be able to sample it in line - 3 times. Absolutely a stunning beer from first to last taste.

Glass arrived with a faint head on it with the brew a strikingly dark crimson approaching black. The bourbon nose was bold but not near overpowering.

Flavors of malt, vanilla, chocolate, with hints of molasses, bourbon, and toffee. The tastes don't linger too long, so there is no overpowering buildup. Moderate carbonation helps to cleanse the palate. Somewhat hot, much smoother than the Brandy version. A fantastic, world class beer.

 662 characters

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Must thanks to MuenchenerKindl for this treat.

From a truly unique and awesome looking bottle, pours a dark as sin liquid with ample tan head, leaving lacing all about the glass, a swirl bringing back the head quickly, leaving even more lacing. The aroma wreaks of bourbon, lots of sweet, sticky malts, vanilla, oak, caramels, marvelous.

Taste is right up there, similar to all hints in the nose, add a twist of rum, some dark fruits. A medium full body, starting tickling with carbonation, drying into the finish, and a bit slick. An exceptional beer, maybe a bit too carbonated for my taste, but a joy to drink.

 615 characters

Photo of bgramer
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Whoa - when popping the cork, you could smell the bourbon instantly, and oh what a heavenly smell.

Poured into my glass cold so it wouldn't gush as much out of the bottle, it was dark and purpley. As it warmed up, it smelled so sweet and I tasted the bready bourbon sweetness. It definitely has a candied and spicy flavor that gives it an awesome balanced complexity over the oak and bourbon which blends well together.

Imagine how well this is going to age! I'm looking forward to trying this again soon.

 507 characters

The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,854 ratings.
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