The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged
The Lost Abbey

The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged
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American Strong Ale
Ranked #72
Ranked #8,840
3.96 | pDev: 18.69%
The Lost Abbey
California, United States
Very Good
The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 425 | Ratings: 713 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by mechamifune:
Photo of mechamifune
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

2009 Vintage poured into a Stone VE glass.

Pours a really nice dark brown/deep deep red color. Really a beautiful color but.... whats this, no head, no lacing, or any indication of carbonation whatsoever.... shocking....SHOCKING I tell you!!

Well not really, kind of knew that one was coming and only read about the problem shortly after paying the unfortunate price I paid for this beer. Oh well.

Smell is very pleasant.... obvious strong brandy notes, but I get a real strong sense of vanilla and a little toffee as well. Nice smelling beer.

Taste is a little more complex than the smell and very deep. Brandy is obvious upfront but without that strong sense of alcohol burn I've gotten in some other BA beers (though to be fair those examples were mostly pretty fresh). Vanilla really comes to the forefront as you get through each sip and it finishes again with what (i think) is a toffee sweetness. Obviously a lot going on in this beer and I think it actually blends together pretty well.

Well, there is no carbonation, so mouthfeel is going to more or less suck. Very sticky in the mouthfeel but there is at least a little bit of smoothness (presumably from the brandy?) Still, not a good mouthfeel.

Which would stand to reason that the drinkability isn't too great. To be fair, even with carbonation, this is a BIG beer and I'm not sure how drinkable it could ever truly be. The fact that I didn't have to force myself to finish the bottle I had I guess at least says something, but rest assure I wanted no more once I was finished.

In the end the worst part to me is seeing all the potential great things in this beer ruined by being completely flat. I'd say if you can find a recent edition of this beer that you know for a fact is carbonated (and is at a reasonable price) give it a shot, otherwise avoid.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of OlieIPA
4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

After having a pint of both Bourbon and Brandy Angel Share at the 3rd Anniversary party the other day...I couldn't resist opening this gem with some good friends of mine.

A: Pours...well, I hate to say poopy water that needs to be treated through a wastewater treatment plant...that I can design by the way. Civil Engineers are awesome! Anyways, like everybody has mentioned, there was absolutely no carbonation pop when I uncorked this beast. There was absolutely no head to go along with it, even after I had it poured 2 ft from the top of my brandy snifter. I understand that this beer had issues, well at least this batch, so I'm going to give it some benefit of the doubt.

S: Love it! Vanilla, caramel, oak, and strong barleywine characteristics. The alcohol bite and robust brandy character is definitely present as well, which is fitting for a beer of this caliber.

T: The oak and barleywine quality takes over the flavor profile much more than the vanilla and caramel does, but they do add a slight touch of complexity on the finish. As PatronWizard indicated, the oak character has a "wood-zee" like taste that is easily detected on the palate. Alcohol is well balanced as well.

M: Thick and absolutely flat! I had this on tap the other day and it was still relatively flat...but not to this I am not sure what to think. Should have more carbonation, but I don't think it affects the overall view of the beer too much...I think there is too much complaint over this aspect of the beer. Still, average at best in my opinion.

D: Comparing the tap and bottle version within days together was quite interesting. After all the bad attention this beer has had lately, I still find this a worthy beer...and one that should be on the top 100.

Overall: A great beer! If I were trying to give advice...don't review the 2008 edition, because I don't think it gives credit to overall greatness this beer actual has. Cheers!

*Note: Appearance/Mouthfeel is based on both tap/bottle.

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Photo of Wowcoolman
4.11/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of alovesupreme
4.16/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I think that at this point these bottles are not going to carbonate, this is just a bad batch.
Murky brown substance with both sediment and particles floating throughout. This is actually appealing the rating is due to its complete lack of carbonation which results in absolutely no head. And lets face it, everyone loves good head.
Lots of fantastic aromas including but not limited to, Raisons, molasses,and toffee with a pleasant vinous character probably due to the brandy.
Fig is a primary contributer to the taste. With the sweet candy presence of toffee and a warm finish due to the brandy.
This beer had a full body but no carbonation.
What a great beer this had been. $40 is a lot of money to spend on a defective product. Had this been well carbonated I would do it again but given the circumstances I would like to return my second bottle for a refund.

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Photo of M27
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of mjl21
3.86/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Acquired as an extra...thanks Ryan! This is the infamous 2008 version. 375 ml bottle poured into a snifter. Comes in at 12.5%. This has been sitting in a dark corner of my kitchen for a few months now to try and increase the carbonation.

A-Before reviewing the contents, I want to point out that there was no pop when the cork was removed. Without any force you could put the cork back into the bottle. It pours a dark brown. Pouring the beer right down the middle of the glass results in no ring or filmy layer. There are no visible bubbles breaking the surface of the beer. There is no lace left on the glass, but this one does have legs.

S-Oh sweet barrel aged beer heaven. The brandy barrel gives this an incredible nose. The brandy and oak from the barrel are forward throughout the beer. The booze is noticeable, but not overpowering. It lets you know you are drinkg a 12.5% beer. Lots of raisin and plum are apparent. It does not take long for the vanilla and molasses to come out. The sweet notes continue to be amplified as it warms.

T-The stone fruits soaked in alcohol are quite noticeable. They stay throughout. The booze is quite drying on the tongue and is very noticeable at the beginning. After a few sips it begins to numb the tongue and becomes less noticeable. After the stone fruits hit, the sweetness from the caramel malt comes in big mid-sip, along with vanilla. The finish is purely sweet chocolate. The chocolate is the predominate aftertaste.

M-As everyone has mentioned, there is NO carbonation whatsoever. The lack of carbonation really makes this beer seem off, but by no means undrinkable.

D-The beer smells great and all of the flavors are there for a great BA beer, but NO carbonation makes it seem flawed.

This beer stirs up as much passion in people as religion and politics. After months of reading about this one, it was time to remove it from its resting place. I was not holding out much hope for this one, so the disappointment level was reduced. I know they are offering reconditioned versions of the 375 ml bottles, but I feel that is way too much of a hassle. Since they released a flawed, but safe to drink, product, I am going to review that version. I feel that this has the makings of a great beer. It smells great and the flavors of the beer were quite apparant. I would be willing to try the next version provided there was quality control checks to guarantee the beer was truly ready for consumption.

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Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of coldmeat23
3.43/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
VINTAGE: 2009 (Flat)

This one pours up a deep, dark, mahogany color. Very light traces of scarlet and amber dance around the edges. No head, at all, but it's viscous enough to leave an 'oily' skirt, with each tip back.

Oak, brandy and booziness dominate this nose. I'm surprised at the boozy presence after close to two years in the cellar. (Which, honestly, I was hoping would encourage some carbonation in this bottle. Oh, well.) Much lighter, I get hints of molasses and caramel and some dark fruit notes. This is a fairly one-dimensional nose.

Actually not as 'hot' as when fresh, this is a much nicer drinker, now. It has mellowed out very nicely. The brandy still seems to be the dominant flavor characteristic though. It has backed off just enough to let some light traces of molasses and brown sugar seep through. Big hints of oak and a bigger than wanted astringent alcohol presence are here, also.
I guess that it's easier to drink than brandy, but only just. Why not just drink brandy, says I?

This has medium-to-almost-full body. The lack of carbonation doesn't really do much to the flavor, but it certainly hurts the mouthfeel. Given a touch of creaminess, this would be a totally different animal. I'd like to try this again someday, from a properly carbonated bottle.

Okay, so the 12.00%abv is not very hidden. That's okay, actually. The flavor lends this one to be more like drinking alcohol than beer anyway, so it works out alright. A sipper, to be sure, but enjoyable, nonetheless.

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Photo of Dope
2.64/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2010 bottle.

A: Cork comes out with just the slightest hiss. Pours dark brown with zero head. Appears to be completely flat. No lacing of course.

S: Boozy brandy and caramel. Not much else. Berries perhaps? Tons of caramel.

T: Brandy up front that turns oddly tart. Lots of caramel but spoiled fruit covers it up. Nothing else to it really other than some leather. Is this infected? Hard to tell versus just a generally crappy beer.

M: Heavy, syrupy and completely flat. Needs some carbonation to cut it.

O: After sipping on this for a bit I have to assume it's infected. It's just pure tart/sour fruit and a little caramel. Boy was this a waste of money. Let's try the bourbon version, maybe it can redeem itself. As for this one, I drain poured it.

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Photo of MinorThreat
2.25/5  rDev -43.2%

Photo of wtfuggles
3/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tough to know how to rate this on mouthfeel, as it was almost, if not completely, flat. Must a beer be carbonated? In this case, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. Certainly a sipping beer - sweet malt notes with a distinct brandy character from the barrel - something to be shared after dinner in snifters.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Lost Abbey : The Angels Share Brandy Barrel Aged 2009 edition.

Corked and caged bottle opens with a small "pffft". Poured into a snifter to capture the aroma, but appeared still upon pouring.

Smell is luscious. Chocolate, Vanilla, Caramel, Brandy, Malty, Butterscotch, Toffee, Candy.

Taste follows the smell somewhat, a gauntlet of flavor, with cocoa, vanilla, big time oak/wood notes. Nice tannins present. Brandy comes through also in a very relaxed fashion, building upon each sip. At times it feels like a Barleywine, with date like fruityness coupled with big doses of caramel and toffee. A pronounced roasted flavor is also very prominant in the taste. Hot damn!

Mouthfeel is ultra smooth, silky, with just a touch of mild carbonation enough to keep this beer from being absolutely still. The small carbonation is enough to carry this big, tasty, sipper/cordial of a beer.

Overall, this is a beer that highlights tastes boldly that I have only experienced hints of previously. I believe its at its peak now, can't imagine this keeping much longer and still being carbonated. A bad mofo of a beer, and this is a sipper worthy of a very intellectual conversation.

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Photo of Travisnin
5/5  rDev +26.3%

Photo of Bitterbill
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a 750ML bottle. 2008 Edition, purchased in Ft Collins for ~$30.00

Caged and corked, it had a small pop when I pulled the cork.

It pours a very dark brown with some hues of red and no head of foam....jsut a ring around the glass. Ok, so there is some foam. ;^)

The smell is loaded with brandy and dark fruits, some vanilla, and a big caramel malty sweetness. It smells nice if a bit boozy but at 12%abv, it's certainly no lightweight.

The taste is yummy. Plenty of sweetness from the malt with a reasonable(read not overdone) flavour of the brandy, light notes of chocolate, good dark fruitiness, and a nice touch of vanilla. There's lots of warming after the swallow but I don't mind that at all. Very tasty.

The mouthfeel of the liquid itself isn't bad but if there was a little mor..nevermind, I'm not going down that road.

Drinkability? This is a powerful beer, make no mistake about it but I'm enjoying the complex flavours that leave me smacking my mouth, trying to find anything that I've missed and I probably did. lol.

Bottom line: Great taste and smell and good drinkability. I'm not at all unhappy that I bought this bottle.


2009 Edition, 375ml bottle, corked and caged.

A nice pop when I removed the cork, some foam was heading for the opening of the bottle but stopped short.

A vigerous pour gave me a fine line of foam that quickly subsided to just a ring around the glass and a few small islands in the middle. The colour looks black but it *could* be a very very dark brown. No hint of any hues shining through.

The nose has a big Brandy presence that brings the big alcohol. Some dark fruits make it through as well as some vanilla but the Brandy aroma is strong.

Tasting this puppy now. I'm getting Brandy, good milk chocolate sweetness, assorted dark fruitiness, notes of vanilla, a hint of some fruit tartness(just a hint)and lots of warming. Wow This sure is tasty but the alcohol is all of the 12% that it's listed as. I've had the Bourbon offering as well and I think this one is a bit hotter.

It has a fullish mouthfeel and, I think, perfectly light carbonation for this monster of a brew.

Drinkability? Let me put it this way...I'm glad it's only a 375ml bottle as I think that's the only way to go for this son of a gun. Tasty and smooth drinking yeah but the abv is killer.

Rating: 3.0/4.0/4.0/4.5/3.5

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Photo of PhillyStyle
2.93/5  rDev -26%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12.7 oz, Corked and Caged bottle "Brandy 2010" printed on the side, ABV 11.5%:

A: Well...the first thing that I noticed was the absence of any carbonation. I contacted the brewery and they indicted that the beer should have some carbonation, but ultimately I could not get the beer to produce a head. This was very much not what I expected at all. Aside from that the body of the beer was a thick dark black.

S: A pungent boozy aroma dominated, with a hint of sweetness and woodiness to it. Pretty well what I expected from a beer that had been in brandy barrels.

T: The taste was spot on with the nose, perhaps a hint of vanilla as well. I think that the taste suffered due to the lack of carbonation.

M/D: The beer was like drinking syrup, very heavy, no carbonation to mention, as noted above, so this pretty well ruined the feel of the beer as well as the drinkability of the beer.

Highly disappointed, as I have tried several other beer by Port/Lost Abbey and have not been disappointed. More than likely I will try this again, but it is tough shelling out $12 for a beer and being completely unsatisfied.

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Photo of jcsull
1/5  rDev -74.7%

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been lucky enough to sample this one several times, from the wood, from the keg, and from the bottle. I do give the nod to the bourbon barrel one for overall beauty, especially from the wood but this one is damn fine as well. Darker than most barleywines, this one is almost the colour of a chocolate Terry's orange from the UK. The aroma is all brandy, chocolate malt, lovely deep fresh baked bread and spice. The taste is great, with a real depth of chocolate, brandy, and deep roasty malt flavors that are all well integrated and integral. The mouthfeel is medium milkshake thick with a great drinkability. Good stuff. I wish they would bottle all in 375's as well, because honestly without a friend to split this with a 750 is too much.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Rutager
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

2010 poured into a stemmed Lost Abbey tulip.

Appearance. Pours a murky cola brown with no head, very still.

Smell. Boozy brandy, some old wood and vanilla, cherries and dark berries. This actually smells quite nice.

Taste. Old wood and raisins with a bit of sour grape juice, just a little bitter cocoa powder. Not very boozy, especially considering the abv.

Mouthfeel. The body is a nice medium-full but the near complete lack (and I say near because there actually is a very small amount) of carbonation is just not very pleasant.

Overall. This beer is just a great tragedy for me. A fine brew that's ruined by having no carbonation. Maybe this was the brewer's intention but it wouldn't be my choice as a consumer. Bummed that this cost me $17. More fuel for the devil side of my love/hate for this brewery ;-)

Edit: I drank the whole thing! Not sure if it was a train wreck that I just couldn't turn away from, or if I couldn't bear to pour so much $$$ down the drain ;-)

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Photo of TexIndy
2.9/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

2008 Edition. Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a snifter. Cork comes out with barely a sound and this after storing warm for months to get some carb going per the forum tips. Flat Abbey strikes again! It was a dark brown with mahogany edges when against the light. Even with a very hard pour there was no head - just a few stray bubbles scattered about. Obviously no lacing.

The aroma was good with oak, vanilla, dark fruits and brandy being very dominant. The taste followed the aroma with oak and alcohol being the main players. Flavor is hurt by lack of carb. I think this is my first brandy beer so can't compare it to other brandy's but would compare nicely to bourbons. Mouthfeel was blah. Absolutely no carbonation so very watery and slick.

Overall, yet another disappointment from Flat Abbey. They continue to baffle me. Their Duck Duck Gooze, Cable Car and Isabelle Proximus are hall of fame beers and among my all-time favorites. But multiple others are just flat, un-carbonated disasters. I got this one for free from a buddy or I'd be pissed about spending $30 for a flat beer.

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Photo of koopa
3.36/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2008 vintage 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Pours like flat coca cola.

Smell: A muddled mixture of dark malts and faded brandy rounded out with a hint of oak.

Taste: Same as the nose but less pungent and more flabby. No alcohol heat or residual sweetness at this point.

Mouthfeel: Thick side of medium bodied with barely any carbonation.

Overall: This was one of the notorious "flat abbey" beers back in 2008 and 3 years of aging certainly hasn't helped it improve.

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Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of tjthresh
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown/mahogany with a brown head. Heavy dark friut aroma with lots of oak. Rich, and very malty with lots of fruity goodness up front. This was the last beer of a long night of sampling for me and Mike. Hopefully I will be lucky enough some day to have another bottle of this fine beer.

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Photo of billab914
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured from a 375ml bottle into my Lost Abbey stemware. Poured a dark brown, cola like color. Carbonation fizzed moderately but didn't form any sort of head. No lacing to speak of either. Could definitely use some improvement in this category.

The aroma shows a lot of the brandy and wood characteristics right off the bat. The wood comes through with a nice bold oak and vanilla flavor. There is also a big malty, dark fruit component to the nose just as big as the barrel flavors. Some sweet, plum, raisin and prune flavors all come through. Pretty nice complex and appealing nose, and not much alcohol heat.

The taste shows the dark fruit flavors up front as soon as I take a sip. It mellows into a very nice vanilla and oak flavor before finishing with a dry alcohol presence. The alcohol lingers with a warming sensation, but isn't overly hot. The malty sweet, dark fruit flavor really carries through to the finish nicely and leaves a sweet almost syrupy taste on the palate. The flavors mix very nicely together making a very good tasting beer overall. If the alcohol heat dissipates a little over time I'd definitely consider this a 4.5 in taste instead of a 4.

The mouthfeel is full bodied and carbonation is low. A little carbonation is there for me but a little too low overall. Drinkability is pretty good, it had some excellent flavors to it but the warming alcohol hurts the drinkability a bit.

Overall a good beer that I enjoyed sipping on this evening. Could use some improvement in the appearance and mouthfeel categories in relation to carbonation though. My overall rating definitely won't reflect how much I enjoyed this one given the high weight appearance has.

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The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 713 ratings