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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
BA SCORE
4.29/5
Outstanding
1,903 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#594
Reviews:
701
Ratings:
1,903
pDev:
10.96%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
607
Gots:
578
Trade:
41
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,903 |  Reviews: 701
Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of schnarr84
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of Budlum
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TheBrewo
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

We crack the cage and cork on a bottle stamped “BOURBON 2012”, pour an oily brew of burnt caramel coloring, letting up hues of the deepest cider around the edges with light. It held a very brief one finger head of eggnog colored bubbles. With a swirl of the glass these jump up to leave spots of lacing here and there. A thick haze cuts clarity, with little grains of black and brown sediment suspended throughout. Carbonation appears to be moderate. The aroma is huge, with mossed oak, smooth buttery diacetyls, and hearty bourbon character right off the bat, even though it is still colder. With warmth the depth of caramel malts blossoms, with rich and syrupy toffees, Vermont maple syrup, crisp and cooling vanilla bean, dead lawn, soy sauce, light rye and powdered oat, and fusel gasoline bite. Our first impression is that the flavoring is hot with big booziness like the nose, but is insanely complex, smooth, and sippable. As we sip, the flavoring opens with burnt butter, literal caramel syrups, spicy and warming bourbon, chalked oakiness, juicy ale yeastiness, palpably stinging booze, bittered fig stem, and smoothing vanilla cleanliness.
The peak comes with rich dark chocolate nibs, massively roasted caramel, light peanutiness, fusel bite of alcohol, raisin and browned apple sweetness, and straight bourbon flavoring minus any additional booziness. Sweetness washes through the finish as caramel and bourbon-soaked dates, with biting dryness of the oak coming through strongly. The mix otherwise finishes with contrasting dryness of cooked caramels, oatmeal, and barley, black pepper spice, and a revival of those beautifully creamy buttery diacetyls. The aftertaste breathes of candied apple sweetness, caramel syrups, bourbon heat, starkly drying oak, faint muskiness, cocoa nibs, fermented strawberry mash, and black pepper bite. The body is full and the carbonation is light to medium. There is oily and sticky slurp, smack, and sip, with lesser cream or froth to the lip. The mouth is thickly coated, with eventual dryness from the oak and the booze streaking the palate with astringency, puckering, and prickling the tongue. The abv is big but decently well hidden, and the beer is a slow, but glorious, sipper.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its aroma. This guy will take you an hour to drink, even if you do the right thing and share with some friends. If you’re trying to take notes and rate it will be even longer. This is one of the deepest most complex beers we’ve had the pleasure of tackling. It’s actually funny because the aging has blended each component so well that it almost comes across as simple, as everything is so hard to dissect. The nose gives wonderfully authentic wood and bourbon warmth, cleanly complementing the darkness of the grain and fruit. The flavor delivers as you would expect, with just as much punch. The booze is certainly present, but nicely contributes to the final blend, with just the right amount of sting through the end. This is a fantastic beer, and a great introduction for us into the winding world of The Lost Abbey.

 3,117 characters

Photo of JDV
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Not nearly as good as the regular Angel's Share, in my opinion. Pours a dark cola color with light tan colored super fizzy head. Bottle gushed upon opening too. Smell is vanilla, raisin, bourbon and sweet malt. Taste is similar, but much more mild than the standard angel's share which was really rich and strongly flavored. The carbonation was way too high in this body and it just foamed in the mouth, which drives me nuts. Overcarbonated and underflavored.

 459 characters

Photo of Farnswurth
3.69/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of jplopez21
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of mikeburd1128
2.5/5  rDev -41.7%

Photo of WoostaBia
4.68/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ldhughes3
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of bgold86
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
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 aerozeppl
4.55/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice deep brown color. Minimal amount of brown head. Some spotty lacing.

S: Bourbon up front. A nice earthy mustiness right behind it. Hints of basement which is a positive for me. Raisins, brown sugar plums with a slight funk. Quite a bit of fruit in there as well.

T: Very subtle. The bourbon was much more muted than I thought it would be. A nice sweetness is there with hints of molasses. Very complex.

M: Very bubbly. Nice crisp mouthfeel which was more than a little unexpected.

D: Just a really great beer. Very complex. A nice mix of the barrel and a great base beer. Recommended.

 595 characters

Photo of larryarms847
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
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 bashiba
4.57/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a thick and chewy looking dark brown with lots of sedement and just a hint of off white head.

The smell was huge, a giant vanilla and oak whiskey smell with hints of alcohol sweetness along with a big dark fruity nose with some cherries and raisons.

The taste was mellow and smooth after the assault the aroma gave my nose. Subtle malt sweetness mixing in with a nice musty yeast flavor along with a light bit of vanilla and cedar with a touch of raison and a slightly earthy and bitter hops in the finish.

The mouthfeel is warm and thick with a long lingering resiny finish carrying the flavor on and on.

A very nice sipper of a strong ale, something I would drink plenty of if the price wasn't quite so high and availability was a little greater, still it will be a very nice treat from time to time.

 813 characters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 1,202 characters

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

Photo of Maillard
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

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

Photo of woodchip
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of thufflife
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 3,473 characters

Photo of jmccraney
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of randylangford
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

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

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

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

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

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

M: Full bodied. Carbonation lack sucks.

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

 652 characters

The Angel's Share - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 1,903 ratings
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