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

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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

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Reviews: 423 | Ratings: 702
Photo of koopa
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
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 schlimenhaumer
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kojevergas for this one. Poured into a Gouden Carolus tulip at altitude in Denver.

A: Pours a strange, dark hazy caramel color that’s darker on the bottom of the glass than at the top. No head at all.

S: Strong brandy notes, raisins and a bit of vinegar.

T: Sour wine-like notes, quite a lot of brandy flavor. Yeast on the finish. This one is really unique – unlike anything I’ve tasted before.

M: Full-bodied with a wet mouthfeel and a little bit of tingling carbonation.

D: Perhaps it’s because I’m not familiar with the way brandy tastes, but this beer was very different from anything I’ve had before. If you’re looking for a new experience, this is a good choice.

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Photo of evilkalla
3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Serving: 350ml bottle into a snifter. I'm not sure what vintage this is, although the bottle looks very new and the ABV is listed at 11.5% instead of 12%.

A: Pours a murky, cloudy brown. Flat and lifeless. I guess this beer was intended to be this way? Not impressed at all.

S: The smell is a huge step forward. Plums, raisins, figs and vanilla dominate the aroma. Almost comes across like a dessert wine. Very nice.

T: Has a slightly sour sort of raisin-esque character to it. The GF tasted it and said it reminded her of prune juice. I can detect some hints of wood in here but this just isn't very good. Alcohol is not really noticeable, so it has smoothness going for it.

M: Flat, astringent and lifeless. Awful.

O: This beer smells good but it fails in pretty much all other respects. I like a lot of the other beers from this brewery, but this one is just not for me. I would avoid this one.

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Photo of jsanford
4.39/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

09 Vintage. 375ml bottle poured into a LA Stemmed Glass.

A - Pours a deep, dark mahogany with a wispy head that fades to a very slight off-white ring.
S - Huge, complex and inviting aromas of brown sugar, toffee, rum-raisins, figs, and bread pudding. Really nice, and just what I was in the mood for this evening.
T - Yeah, this is nice. Bitter chocolate, brown sugar, dark caramel, raisins, and intense Brandy flavors co-exist nicely, with a pleasant warming booziness that lingers for some time.
M - Smooth and sticky, with a medium-full body and low carbonation. Slow, contemplative sipper that gets better and better as it warms.
O - Such a superb Strong Ale, 2009 was a great year for both this and the Bourbon version. Not sure why this gets so much hate, but I suppose I'll try the '10 Vintage to see.

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Photo of bfields4
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 4

My first Lost Abby from the bottle poured vigorously still little carbonation. Dark ruby hued mahogany body.

Aroma held very much of the brandy barrel aging. Cherries vanilla, and some very tart notes as well.

Tart cherries oak and vanilla mix nicely in the flavor good caramel malt sweet backbone. Amazingly complex and flavorful.

Really great beer is grounded due to complete lack of carbonation. horrible mouthfeel almost makes me want to drainpour this beer, but the flavors are just so spot on I can't bring myself to do it. Great attempt at something that really could have been special, but just falls oh so short.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.29/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12.7 fl oz bottle served in a nonic pint glass, reviewed from notes:

A - Pours a murky root beer color with no discernible head. I know the ABV is high, but this is awful.

S - Heavy brandy, stale vinegar, tart grape, candy, yeast, and sweet malt. It's complex, but I'm not sure I can appreciate the brandy notes.

T - Tart, fermented grape dominates the palate (I wouldn't identify it as brandy if I didn't know better. There's some subdued caramel and toasted malt, and some tasty yeast. It's hard to identify any particular esters. The beer finishes bitter. It's got a lot going on, but not any flavors I can get behind.

M - Flat, lifeless, smooth and wet. Not sure if this is what was intended, but it does nothing to compliment the beer.

D - It's inspired and bold, but I find the brandy to be overbearing, masking some of the more subtle characters of the beer. It hides its ABV well, but it's still a sipper.

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Photo of briman
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

2010 vintage.

Pours a murky brown, with nothing in the way of a head.

Aroma has hints of brandy, grapes, dark fruits atop a potent layer of caramel malt. Vanilla enters the mix as it warms

Flavor follows, and has a vinous quality throughout. Tannic finish, but it is not overwhelming. Plenty of warmth.

This beer has a lot of complexity, but tough to get around the utter lack of carbonation. Comes across as flat and somewhat lifeless.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 fl oz brown glass bottle with hood-and-wire cap over a cork served into a Fort Collins Brewing pilsner glass in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live.

A: No head at all. Dark caramel murky brown colour.

Sm: Brandy, raisin, grape, and yeast. Sweet. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Brandy tones infuse about the balance. Sweet - especially on the finish, akin to port but less powerful. Complex, with lovely grape flavours. It's strange, but bold and inspired. I do fancy it, but all said it's a bit simple. Lovely yeast.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with a rich complexity.

Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV. I'd never know it was 11.5%. I really like this.

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Photo of bum732
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

'08 bottle

S: Malty sweet, rich caramel, some oak fruitiness.

L: Pours a murky, sewer like brown. No head, lifeless.

T: As expected, flat. Malty sweetness with a touch of brandy richness. Some fruitiness, dark cherries and plums, subtle under a layer of rich caramel. Slight roasty, but mostly oak finish. Slightly dry.

M: Flat, fairly lifeless. Not too slick which is a good thing. Some alcohol present, slightly hot.

Damn shame, this beer is amazing if not for the lack of carbonation.

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Photo of korguy123
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage into a Lost Abbey tulip.
Zero pop from the cork, just a light fizzle.

A- Opaque root beer colored pour. Tiny wisps of carbonation, but very very little. Alcohol clings to he sides of he glass.

S- Caramel right off the bat, followed by milk chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar and smooth brandy. Excessively sweet smelling. Alcohol is there but fits in well with everything.

T- Caramel and brandy right up front. There is a smokey peat flavor that resembles bbq. Vanilla, chocolate and brown sugar sweetness help with the warmth from the alcohol as you swallow.

M- Flat, syrupy and warming. Really no other way to describe it. It is medium bodied but feels thicker from no carbonation. The alcohol is there but not to the point of comforting warmth.

O- I didn't know what to expect with this. Very complex very tasty but seriously lacking because of the carbonation.

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Photo of Phelps
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the Watering Hole on Stout Day, served in a goblet.

As purple as purple gets before it's black, with a surprising amount of crimson clarity when held to the light. About a quarter inch of fizzy foam pops away on the top, its khaki color disappearing after a minute.

Tons of buttery toffee, vinous oak and oily vanilla in the nose. Hints of teriyaki blend with orange peel and sweet brandy goodness. I also get some definite fresh prune, and maybe some fig as well. Money.

This version of Angel’s Share tastes almost like a brandy-dipped yogurt raisin. In the flavor, toffee leads, along with boozy brandy grapes and prunes. Buttery oak takes over after the swallow, keeping the palate awash in butterscotch sweetness. The underlying strong ale is bright and fruity beneath the booze, with occasional bright flashes of red grapes.

Carbonation! It's soft and peppery, bit workable in this beast, and I’m happy for anything. Hefty alcohol is like spice on the tongue and comes through the nose, but is overall well-hidden by the flavor. The body, a shade under medium, breaks into just a touch of fizz as it moves.

Brandy-aged Angel’s Share is damn good stuff. The brandy works better than the bourbon, I think; the liquor at at least melds better with the bright, barleywine-style flavors of the underlying brew. Shame that uncarbonated bottles ruin this beer's ranking. It's a great, with the proper amount of bubbles.

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Photo of KAP1356
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Got some review catching up to do, and I'm starting here. 375 ml bottle dates 2009. Poured into a Victory Golden Monkey tulip...

A - Uh ohhh. No real pop when the cork is pulled. I fear the demise of the 2009 bottles has hit this bottle. Poured a completely still opaque murky brown color. Obviously, no head to speak of at all.

S - Oh man, this smells great. Strong aromas of brandy, toffee, caramel, and oak come out and warms you nicely. Some molasses and figs come next with just a touch of coffee aromas as well. Really nice aromas.

T - Gotta say, I feel like this could be much better but because of how flat it is, the flavors seem rather dull. Molasses, caramel, woody oak, and brandy come through. Malt sweetness comes next with a good amount of dark brandy soaked fruits.

M - Flat as can be and really disappointing. Heavier bodied beer that is slightly sticky and chewy. Slight alcohol burn on the backend.

O - Well, I WAS really psyched for this one, but because of how flat it was, it pretty much took everything away from this beer, except the nose. And for paying $22 for a 375 ml bottle, I was actually pretty pissed. Hopefully LA actually does something about their bottle QC.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 version that everyone talks about. Purchased upon release, cellared until now. 750 ml bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A: Upon popping the cork, I did get some "pop" per se. Dark brownish color with a hint of red tones to it. The aggressive pour yields hope there is carbonation until the beer settles in the glass. No carbonation to speak of, no glass lacing (of course).

S: Nice dark fruit smells with loads of brandy. Caramel and toffee sweetness come out with a decent amount of alcohol and some woody tones.

T: Sweet dark fruits with plum, raisin, cherry and fig mixed with the pretty heavy brandy flavors and some oak woody tones. The sweetness is sugar like with toffee, caramel and molasses. The alcohol creep back with finishing brandy flavors and some sweet vanilla. Nice.

M: Ah, the rub. Flat, totally flat. Unacceptable. Alcohol absolutely detected.

O: What potential. With carbonation, this beer will be fantastic. What else can I say.

I look forward to current vintages that do have successful bottle conditioning. The flatness ruins the whole drinking experience. You can taste how good this could be, it just isn't there without the carbonation.

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Photo of bluejacket74
2.99/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12.7 ounce (375 ml) caged and corked bottle, 2010 vintage. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a murky brown color with no head and no lacing at all. The cork was on the bottle tight, but once I got it out and there was no "pop", I figured this would be a flat bottle. The brew smells like dark fruit, brandy, molasses and caramel. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also a red grape and a bit of a weird tart fruit flavor. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little slick with pretty much no carbonation. I'm lucky I didn't get a totally infected bottle of this, it could have been a lot worse. This wasn't an awful beer, but it wasn't really enjoyable either. I'd like to try a good bottle of this brew at some point in the future, but that's not going to happen anytime soon after drinking this one.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured into Lost Abbey tulip in a side by side tasting with the 2009 bourbon barrel aged version.

Appearance: Very deep brown almost black, no head, no lacing.

Smell: Chocolate, caramel, a bit boozy, vanilla, oak , toffee, raisin, brandy, burnt sugar.

Taste: chocolate, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, a hint of coconut, brandy.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, no carbonation, silky, smooth, a hint of alcohol, warming.

Overall: This beer has mellowed a bit over the past two years. There is no carbonation/head, but the flavors are very complex. The mouth is enjoyable, with only a hint of alcohol which is impressive for such a high ABV beer. Well done.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.11/5  rDev -19%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2009 Brandy version. To my amazement there is a slight gasp of air released upon popping the cork. An improvement over the Bourbon versions I have tried, however while pouring I realized there was still not going to be any head on this beer. After a couple minutes in the glass it appears it is almost dead. Black, syrupy, and dead. The smell is not bad. Intense vanilla and oak, with some moderate alcohol fume. It's definitely very woody.

Wait, it's alive! The first sip reveals some light carboantion on the palate, enough to do the job I think. Rich malts with dark fruit character and a brandy bite. It has probably mellowed over 2 years, but still burns a bit on the way down. The mouthfeel is semi-thick and slightly syrupy.

The overall flavor is decent, but the base beer is too overpowered by the brandy barrel aging. A little more subtlety would have been nice, but I guess I should just be glad there is enough carbonation to allow me to drink it. Unfortunately I don't think I would ever recommend this beer to anyone. Carbonated or not, it's never going to be worth such a high price tag.

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Photo of Marty30
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4

2010 375ml bottle poured into a Founders snifter at 55 degrees.

A. Very dark brown almost black. No head to speak of,or lacing or carbonation. Just a few large bubbles.

S. Dark fruits,smells sweet upfront then the brandy comes through in the end. Very nice flavor.

T. Raisons, figs with some oak and brandy.I'm also getting some leather and a little tobacco.

M. There is no carb at all so it kind of kills the feel. It has a medium consistancy to it.

Overall this is a pretty tasty brew it's just a shame it's flat and pretty damn expensive! I really wish I could try this carbonated,cause I think it would be killer.

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Photo of Bung
2.39/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

350ml, 2010. Murky brown pour, nearly becalmed. Just a few bubbles. How many years in a row did they bottle this with no carbonation??? Confusing at best.

Aroma, quite a bit of fig, caramel, brown sugar, some candied sugar. Some brandy, booze.

Taste, Is this supposed to be sour?? Green apples and cider vinegar. There is some brandy, oak that kind of works with that. Completely covers up the malt profile though. There's just a faint inkling of caramel, brown sugar and vanilla.

No carb, tart as vinegar = nearly undrinkable. Medium bodied and actually not a terribly large alcohol presence.
Bourbon version was light years ahead of this.

Probably the last Lost Abbey brew I will ever purchase, I just can't comprehend the lack of giving a crap about the qc of their brews.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 350 mL bottle into a tulip. Thanks to bauermj for bringing this over.

Appearance: This has a dark brown hue with light brown edges. Totally flat, no head or carbonation.

Smell: The aroma is full of brandy. Nice red grape, molasses, caramel, smooth malt notes.

Taste: Since it is flat, the flavors blend a bit too much together. Molasses and caramel provide the malt sweetness. Brandy and some dark fruits add some further depth.

Mouthfeel: The fact that it is totally flat brings this down quite a bit. Thick and syrupy, with a fair amount of stickiness. Some burning in the throat from the brandy.

Overall: It would be interesting to try this beer if it was not totally flat.

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Photo of emagana
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

No pop so I knew this would be one of those uncarb bottles.
Pour into a tulip glass. No head but dark brown in color.
Aromas were inviting. Figs, caramel, roasted walnuts and coffee.
Starts thin and the flavors begin to start opening up. Caramel and walnuts come to mind. The brandy barrel turned this one into a great sipping brew. I enjoyed the flavors not sure if carbonation would have helped.
Enjoyed it dispite little to no carbonation. Not sure it's $15.00 worth. If the price drops I'll consider purchasing more.

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Photo of InlandTaipan
2.9/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was poured from a bottle and when uncorked made no noise.

A: Poured a dark raisin color. Head was taupe and diminished quickly.

S: This beer is sour. I know The Lost Abbey creates sour beers, but I did not think this was one of their sours. Harsh vinegar like aromas and minimal malt.

T: The flavor is delicious (planned or unplanned). Flavors reminiscent of figs, chocolate, toffee, and grape with cutting sour detail.

M: Pretty thin overall and flat.

O: This beer tastes great, but there are several portions of it which have you asking questions.

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Photo of kscaldef
2.46/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to soonami for the trade.

A: I worked the cork out the bottle wondering what I'd get. Nada. No pop. Poured out totally flat. Color is a dark, murky brown.

S: There's a strong boozy note from this that you can smell from a foot away. Under that, there's some dark fruit, primarily plum and date, and a fruitcake sort of malty aroma.

T: The first impression on the taste is that it's surprisingly sour. Not particularly in a sour beer sort of way, but sort of a tart plum or other underripe fruit way. Next I'm getting some grape flavor (from the brandy barrel? seems more like fresh grape than any brandy I've tasted). There's some chocolate in here too, but it's a bit jumbled.

M: Again, totally flat. Surprisingly thin body for 11.5%.

O: I'm on the fence if this is an infected bottle or not. It's not over the top with off flavors, but I don't think it's supposed to taste like this. The tart flavor was intriguing at first, but got old after a quarter of the bottle. I hate to pour out something this pricy, but there's other stuff in my fridge I'd rather be drinking.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I managed to get a really generous discount on a bottle of this brew one night from a guy I became friends with who was a server at a bar I really enjoy. He ended up only charging like $14 for a bottle of this that on the menu should have been almost $40.

Anyway we opened the bottle and it was poured into a wine glass, fitting for this brew because it looked just like a dark red wine as it poured out. The beer had no head on it at all. The smell was very rich with lots of sweet boozy aromas. We drank this one slowly trying to savor everything we could in this. The flavors of sweet brandy and the dark malts gave this beer a very unique flavor. The mouthfeel was a little flat and didn't really spark my interest too much... It finished with a dry aftertaste and was a little on the boring side I thought. Overall I'd like to try it fresh, not sure how old the bottle was that we had but I would enjoy having it right from the brewery.

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Photo of Chaney
2.98/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I need to thank my good buddy Blake for bringing this 2009 vintage back from Philly sometime last year. Blake, get thee to BA!

Barely even a thud for a cork pop.

A: No head whatsoever, with a dark brown (burgundy), prune juice-like appearance. Even though there was no head, the liquid was glistening and shiny, sort of like Venom from the Spider-Man fame.

S: Lots of brandy.... maybe straight up brandy even, with a distinct scent of butter and oak. Unfortunately, I also got some urine on the aromatic profile.

T: There was some major heat on this mother, and not in the most pleasant way. After a while I got used to the booze and didn't notice it as much, unfortunately the chalkiness started to get to me.

M: Of couse the carbonation is extremely low to non-existent, but that is not the point of this experiment anyway. What would have made this better for me would have been MORE sugar. That would have aided considerably in cutting through the solvent.

O: This seems to be a polarizing brew for sure, and I can definitely see why. I respect it, but don't particularly care for it.

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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.

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The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
3.84 out of 5 based on 702 ratings.
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