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

very good
703 Ratings
no score
Send samples
The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Brandy 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 Jason on 04-23-2008

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 703 |  Reviews: 423
Photo of antoines15
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

Photo of Sarlacc83
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

Photo of Em30
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

Photo of CruisaC
2.51/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Many thanks to tendermorsel for this extra. This review shouldn't reflect what a sweet extra this should have been. Unfortunately this beers was one of the biggest letdowns I had since I've started "ticking".

No head with a standard or slightly aggressive pour. Very little off light tan bubbling around the rim. Looks like it's just sitting there, taking up space.

It's difficult for me to describe the smell, but suffice it to say it wasn't pleasant. A mix of sour burnt malt with a brandy finish. I let my wife take a whiff and her exact quote was "that's not right". I have to agree

Taste was just as underwhelming. More of the sour brandy flavor without much complexity at all.

Not sure it could get much worse, but alas we need to discuss mouthfeel. Just a generally unpleasant experience. No carbonation to speak of

I have read the reviews and honestly I was hesitant to open this one up when I realized it was the brandy version. I've tried Deliverance and was impressed but this was one of my most unpleasant beer experiences lately and by far my lowest scoring review.

 1,085 characters

Photo of chugalug06
2.51/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5


A - Amazingly FLAT. Very oxidized looking. Thick and syrupy. Very caramel colored. No fizz. No head. No Lacing.

S - Very vanilla. Strong heat scent. Very raw scent. Not overly impressive. Tons of caramel, but overwhelmed by chocolate sugary malt.

T/M - Not stimulating, at all. Flat, no bubbles :( Strong HEAT! Not appetizing. Strong vanilla and brandy.

O - Very disappointing, especially at the $20 price point. Not recommended. I really wanted to like this beer, but it let me down on too many levels. This brew was a total mess.

 541 characters

Photo of russwbeck
2.51/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Enjoyed side by side with Angels Share - Bourbon with nhindian. Thanks to Jolijuli23 for this one! This is my first Brandy Barrel beer.

A: Both poured with absolutely no head, very dark in color.

S: Lots of vanilla, chocolate and Brandy in this one. While originally I thought it smelled great, I get a lot of alcohol after a while.

T: Wow. I am really disappointed by this. Tastes like water up front, followed by that feeling you get right after you've taken a shot of vlady that you didn't actually want. It ends with some chocolate and dryness almost from coffee, basically serving as a chaser. Lots of booziness.

MF: I wanted to think everyone was over-hyping how flat these were, but they were right.

O: HUGE disappointment here. I'm glad I got it out of the way, but never again.

 791 characters

Photo of Tilley4
2.51/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

It's with some hesitancy that I even bought this beer but while I'm down in Atlanta, I did some shopping around and found 3 bottles of this staring back at me... I know of the carbonation issues they've had... but I bought it anyway. I just couldn't pass it up as it's probably the only bottle I'll ever have of it....

Pouring it into a red wine glass.. Here we go...

Well, it's definitely lacking carbonation... Pours like thinned down motor oil... Hmmm...

I'm actually digging the aromas I'm getting off of this... Big doses of oak and brandy and vanilla... Doesn't smell boozy though... Very intriguing aromas... Very complex...

And... nope... Flat and watery right up front and then I'm overwhelmed by this musty sour earthiness that wipes out every positive thing about this beer away... I love sours and wild ales but I don't think this is what they were looking for with this at all... It's painful to sip on... I'm trying to like it and give it the benefit of the doubt and pick out some positives but.... With a little carbonation and that putrid sourness gone, this would be a really good sipper at the end of the night..

As is? Drain pour and at $14.99 a pop, a rip off. I should have listened to my instincts on this.... I now know why there were 3 more on the shelves...

 1,289 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.52/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Bottle labeled BRANDY 2010 poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Dark brown with no carbonation at all and not a single bubble of head.

S - Brandy and a big sweetness up front with caramel, brown sugar and molasses. A touch of chocolate in the background.

T - FLAT, as I suspected from the pour. Trying to ignore the flatness, there is a big sweetness up front - dark caramel, molasses and brown sugar flavours all mixed together. The brandy and oak flavours are secondary but still in good proportion. The alcohol is slightly noticeable but not overly for the ABV. A hint of chocolate and some dark fruit notes come through in the background.

M - FLAT. The body is otherwise medium.

O - Was really looking forward to this beer and it turned out to be a very expensive drain pour.

 779 characters

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
2.52/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

375 ml bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

A- Very dark brown almost black color, absolutely no carbonation, no head or lacing, not a very attractive beer.
S- Really sweet aroma, vanilla, dark fruits, raisins, plums, sweet caramel, brandy, slight alcohol presence.
T- Wow not what I was expecting, really unusual sour notes, some vanilla, some brandy, vinegar, some malt but the sour taste overpowers everything else. Not impressed.
M- Medium/Big mouth feel, no carbonation whatsoever, sour taste that coats the palate, really thin and watery.
O- I was very let down by this beer, I’ve heard mixed reviews, and all the low carbonation stories that I’ve heard definitely apply to this beer. Under carbonated to a point where it affects the beer, I’ve never had an infected beer, but this one tastes like it might be, the sour notes come out so strong and really take away from the experience. I tried my best to finish this bottle but the taste was just too much, had to drain pour.

 991 characters

Photo of Pahn
2.52/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

11.5%ABV, "BRANDY" almost legibly printed on the neck of the (new style) bottle, indicating it's the 2010 vintage. Received as a birthday gift from BA morningthief.

Appearance: Flat. Free pour yields a small white froth ring around the surface of the glass that disappears immediately.

By the way, if you've read the Tomme Arthur interview about his flat beers, you may remember he pointed out that the beers his company unprofessionally sent to the market before they were carbonated were "lightly carbonated" and that the carbonation only "expressed" when served at room temperature. I did not refrigerate this beer, and it's simply flat.

Pours a dark brown / black. 1.0 for appearance because I can see that it's (unintentionally) flat, and I don't want it to be flat. The same principle whereby I'd give the beer a 1.0 if its color were green, even if it had a nice big head.

Smell: Amaretto, booze, some caramel, chocolate and yellow cake. Nice but not very strong. Really opens up with some time in the glass. Lots of different, beautiful, decadent aromas appear, disappear, reappear.

Taste: Follows nose; nutty, decadent, sweet. Reminiscent of various liqueurs. Lots of vanilla, molasses, yellow cake, chocolate cake, brown sugar. Hot finish.

Often, there's a rather gross apple-cidery-ness from the lack of carbonation that comes up in the middle and lasts through the finish. Reminds me of drinking pre-fermented homebrew. This brings the score way down, because it's not only an off note, but it masks a lot of really beautiful things that (especially barrel aged) beers like this do near the middle and end of the beer. Most of these scores would skyrocket if the brewery knew how to bottle beer correctly.

Mouthfeel: Flat. Unacceptable.

Drinkability: I am angry that a good friend of mine paid a premium price for this bottle when it shouldn't have left the brewery in the first place.

Lost Abbey should be ashamed of themselves. If a novice homebrewer like me can carbonate a big barleywine, they can make sure their overpriced beer gets carbonated. I don't expect to give any more money to these amateurs.

 2,133 characters

Photo of wchollif
2.54/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Crap, dead flat no head or bubbles to speak of. Probably skews my view of this beer as a couple of my tasting partners liked it. Had some very interesting prune, raisin and dark fruit flavors. I liked the hint of brandy barrel I got, but it was so sticky cloying and sweet I couldn't look past the fact that it needed some carbonation. Finished with loads of alcohol and caramel.

 379 characters

Photo of Nashvillain
2.55/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a very deep, dark brown into the glass, borderline light black if there is such a thing. No head or lacing, like week old growler. I do like the color though.

Smell is alcohol, figs, and other dark fruits. Brandy is heavy on the nose, this smells like an old liquor more than any type of beer. Looks like age hasn't tamed this beast.

INFECTION. No carbonation, nothing even remotely appealing about the flavor. Half-way through we all decided this is a drain pour. I will absolutely think long and hard before buying another. I understand QC is hard, but at least release an apology and offer refunds or something similar, a persistent issue for a brewery whose public policy is borderline hubris.

Terrible disappointment.

 731 characters

Photo of Dope
2.64/5  rDev -31.3%
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.

 755 characters

Photo of Onslow
2.66/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

2008 750ml bottle.. drank on july 10th 2009 @ 6:15pm::: Very light tiny pop, pours a jet black with maybe 50 small brown bubbles on a vigorous pour, headring disappears after a minute or two .. . . smell is wonderful, from clean dark fruits, to candied brandy, and all the smells of your childhood (if your parents were lushes) ... . mouthfeel of water, no carbonation, like drinking a pussy version of SA Triple bock, but its actually very easy to drink, unlike the 3x bock .. .. quite a lot of heat comes through, but for 12% not that bad .. . . even a light touch of carbonation would have been nice .. . flavours of oak, smoke, tar, chocolate plums, cherry brandy ... . you're like a bone with a bone ... I can see why people got pissed about this brew, god! the potential this beer has to be great and the way Lost Abbey went about it is unexcuseable, money grubbers! but that being said, a nice brew but all and all: a disappointment ... . ya i said bump uglies, so what you wanna fight about it!?! .. . . It will take ALOT for me to buy Lost Abbey beer again, thanks Tomme, i hope you enjoy my $32 ... you're a fuckin crook ... honestly: i did kinda enjoy this beer in a weird way, but basically it is a mess....

 1,219 characters

Photo of cubbyswans
2.68/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a New Belgium Globe

Appearance - Completely flat, no head. Looks like unfermented wort, or maybe a glass full of dirty river water. Pretty unappetizing.

Smell - smells of dark fruits and brandy, and I'm thinking this has some promise.

Taste - Brandy flavor, and a touch of sour. A hint of Oak. If there was ONE bit of carbonation in it, maybe this would be more appealing, but this is killing everything about this beer for me.

Mouthfeel - no carbonation whatsoever. None. The only reason I finished this (and I split it with a friend) is that it was $14.

Overall - What a waste of $14. I'll never buy this again. My friend bought two, and he's not happy.

 687 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.68/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 10/24/2009. 2008 bottle. Absolutely no pop at all upon uncorking. Pours a flat dark brown with absolutely no head nor any carbonation. Lots of floating yeast particles. Aroma of booze, raisin, and lots of malt. Flavor is also boozy (although I don't get liquor specifically) with lots of sweet malt, prunes, raisin. Cloying and sweet. Not very complex nor tasty to me.

 380 characters

Photo of Jammies
2.73/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- dark brown, no carbonation, no head....maybe one of the bad bottles...

S- sweet with some deep notes hidden underneath. Resembles the fragrance of a stout.

T- hints of caramel and vanilla, sweet and no hops.

M- light and watery

O- I was a little disappointed, not impressed with the balance. This may have been a bad bottle, I will have to muster up the courage to try this one again.

 391 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
2.75/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2009 Vintage
12.7oz Cage and Corked Bottle

Ahh, the infamous Brandy Angel's Share, saw this at Julio's and couldn't pass up the chance to try the (potential) trainwreck from Lost Abbey, although the pricetag was close to scaring me off.

Pours into a chalice, dark brown color with only a hint of bubbles (shocking!), no lacing but she has legs on the glass.

Smell has a large presence of oak and caramel malt, bit of a soy sauce presence, huge aroma of alcohol, even picking up grapes...

Taste is an odd mix of oak and caramel malt, significant alcohol burn, very soft carbonation (there is a slight hint of it, but you kind of have to search for it), sticky in the mouth but not overly syrupy, still picking up that weird soy sauce with grapes taste.

Honestly, it's not as bad as I was thinking (not Triple Bock bad), but I won't be buy this ever again, not even at a significantly cheaper price such as $3. Maybe it needs a bit more age to mellow out the alcohol and wood characteristics. I've got its brother the Bourbon version, so we'll see how that one stacks up with my lower expectations.

 1,107 characters

Photo of EricCioe
2.75/5  rDev -28.4%

Photo of jhb138
2.75/5  rDev -28.4%

Photo of nataku00
2.77/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

On tap, poured into a wide mouth chalice type glass. Very dark brown beer with no head with the beer filled to the brim of the glass. Dark and murky, not much carbonation was visible.

Very complex aroma, dark brandy soaked fruits, raisins and plums, dark caramel, vanilla, oak, chocolate. Alcohol was very present on the nose as well.

This is a big and heavy beer on the tongue. All the flavors from the nose hits your tongue at the same time and smack it around. Big sweetness, dark brandy soaked fruits and boozy, dark caramels, darker sweet malts, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, and oak. Flavors were a mess and I didn't know what to make of it.

No carbonation. Absolutely still, making this very sweet, sticky and syrupy, forcing me to take verys mall sips. A little carbonation would have helped the flavors be more balanced. Very warm alcohol lingers in your throat.

Some good bold flavors there, but they're too much when a beer is completely flat. Left half of the pour in the glass on the table when I got up and left.

 1,031 characters

Photo of Daniellobo
2.78/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Either a provocative barrel sour/wild ale or a pretty much infected bottle…

Presentation: 12.7 oz brown corked and caged bottle. Lost Abbey retro framed label with an illustration of a cellar where a fairy shines from the central barrel. Barrel offers a note about intent, process, and main characteristics of the brew. Shows 11.5% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Deep dark amber-brown pour, no head as it pours… faint rings bubbles.. with no retention or lacing. Really flat even for a barrel aged brew.

S - Long dark sugar sweetness, molasses coating dark fruit notes… malty… chocolate… Emerging long distant booze barrel...

T - Flavor hmmm, what a twits! Brandy notes, with that fruit and sugar under a sour apple cover! Very enticing at first… Then the sourness coated in that memory of the barrel takes a somewhat repetitive rhythm, vinegar… Ouch, it feels infected as it flows, either that and/or this is a pretty wild, wild ale...

M - Medium/full body with low/flat carbonation, and a bitter/sour energy that holds up the flow. A threat to bore the palate but as a sipper it does not quite do it at any point..

O - Enticing sipper initially, not so much as it progresses… Uff, tough one to crack in the end. Infected?

Notes: What a pity… Either Lost Abbey was trying to pull off a provocative barrel sour/wild ale or this one is very much infected. It really does not work very well either way.. Stimulating at first, tiresome rather quickly as it was asking to meet the drain... What an amazing disconnect between nose and palate… Sure, there is a link, but a thin and veiled one. And of course, all things considered, it feels like I paid waaay too much for this one. Wondering if this is an off quality-control bottle.

 1,761 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.78/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Flat, viscous, brown (hint of orange). Very little carbonation and no lacing. It looks like a glass of cola that has been left out over night.

S - Vanilla and oak - they sure deliver on those promises. Bourbon, molasses and alcohol. A nice aroma after all.

T - Initially, it is vanilla, cola and alcohol. Then the taste morphs into cola, oak, vanilla, molasses and alcohol. Aftertaste is of... uh, play-dough, grilled moss and alcohol (it is weird - but better than it sounds). Honestly, it tastes a bit like jack and coke - maybe with a splash of vanilla extract.

M - Thick like syrup and a little of an alcohol burn. Pretty refreshing though.

D - This is basically bottled jack and coke - for fifteen dollars. Honestly... for the price I am very disappointed. If the bottle was five dollars, I'd be less bitter and never buy it again because I'm not a huge fan. For the price I expected more, but this just isn't very good. I'm disappointed and saddened.

 964 characters

Photo of Mavajo
2.8/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours pitch black with absolutely zero head. Can already tell that the infamous reputation for being flat is well-founded.

Aroma is actually quite interesting. An odd and interesting blend of vanilla, grape, oak, alcohol and caramel. The taste, on the other hand, is just plain odd. Sour/tart, a grape-like character, alcohol burn, malt, roast, licorice/molasses. Not appealing.

And as the pour indicated, dead flat. Medium to thick.

Two things kill this beer. Lack of any carbonation, and just the odd taste. Boy am I pissed that I bought multiple bottles of this shit. Didn't realize it was the Brandy at the time. Lesson learned.

 635 characters

Photo of beerandcycling88
2.81/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a snifter

A Pours a very dark brown with red highlights. No carbonation at all.

S The nose is quite nice and very sweet with notes of plum like fruit, and some brandy. Also present is a bit of caramel.

T The taste follows the nose with lots of brandy and caramel. Again very sweet. ABV seems well hidden.

M Flat and thin. Not pleasant.

Overall while this one smells nice nothing else about it stands out in a good way. A huge miss by Lost Abbey and a waste of money at $16.00

 515 characters

The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
3.84 out of 5 based on 703 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.