Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged
Very Good
710 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 710 |  Reviews: 424
Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chocolate rules! Here is a barleywine well malted by the includion of quality chocolate, and must lead to an increase in score. Because of the darker look, the sweeter chocolate smell, and of course the Hershey chocolate taste with brandy from the barells. Above average mouthfeel. Better more complex barleywines, Belgiums? Of course. A very expensive choice of $70 bomber all-in at Beerbistro.

 395 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to AndrewK for sharing this one at his tasting.

2009 vintage.

Pours an almost opaque brown-black with no head and no lace. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, raisins, dark fruits, vanilla, brandy, and wood. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish and a woody aftertaste that lingers after each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is good beer that smells better than it tastes. I just wish the carbonation level was better.

 503 characters

Photo of GRG1313
2.38/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Tasted shortly after release 2009 and was very disappointed by one of the most expensive ales on the market. Post tasting discovered that Lost Abbey supposedly has said that despite it's release it "must be aged" at least another six months! What's that about? They released it and are now stuck with the results. (I will, admittedly, taste it again at least 6 months from now and probably even later).

However, perhaps it shouldn't have been released and would have benefited from age at the brewery. Pours brown with no head. Thick carmel and malt nose and pours and feels thick in the glass (a good thing). Big body with bold and somewhat unpleasant flavors of burnt carmel and toffee with tons of malt. A big ripe apricot flavor and character with some sour possibly brettanomyces characteristics. Thick sweet malt flavors with sour undertones.

Very light, almost non-existent carbonation. All in all, not very pleasant. Will try again in the future. Lost Abbey is going to be stuck with these kinds of reviews and conclusions if it releases beer unreasonably early. Just my opinion.

 1,091 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

bottle from 2008 is drinking extremely well right now. tried side by side with cuvee de tomme, a once in a lifetime opportunity. dark brown in color, sludgy thick, very little visible carbonation. a nose like a fine cognac, with warming but not caustic alcohol intensity. lots of layered sugars and spices here from vanilla to clove to nutmeg to brown butter richness, this has a whole lot going on. i get some nice oak sweetness and mellowness in there too, but to me this is a little less interesting than the bourbon barrel edition, which stands as one of my favorite beers of all time. the brandy flavors have maybe worn off a bit with age, so i get the oak and the booze without all the flavor i got from the bourbon barrel. still. the angels share is a ridiculous beer in its own right, so i have no complaints really at all. smooth as velvet with warming booze, almost no carbonation, but it isnt missed. a little goes a long way here with this incredibly rich and strong flavor experience.

 997 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Knapp85
3.57/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

 943 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.54/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The much anticipated and heavily scrutinized beer finally sits in my chalice and begging to be drank.

Without over doing it, the beer can be summed up with words like port, chocolate, raisons, plumb, cherries, rum, licorice, apples, figs, dates, nuts, berries, vanilla, caramel, sorgum, grapes, anise, currant, pepper, vineous, woodsy, nutty, bready, candied, whisky... the descriptors can go on and on.

What makes this beer special is the well aged, sherry notes that become the thread that weaves in and out of all of the characteristics of the beer and ties them together. The beer harks to the beers of Sam Adams, in the Utopia and Tripple Bock. Extreamily candies and rum-soakes fruits throughout. Dehydrated fruits of pineapple, cherries, and raisons remind me of an alcoholic fruit cake.

Complex and surreal throughout, this is a unique and unforgettable drinking experience. The beer has a mystical quality about it that goes well beyond beer and into an experience of after dinner wines and brandies- imagine that. The high, and boozy, alcohols don't bother me as they only lead to added complexity, strength and boldness in this beer that strives to behave more like a liquor than a beer.

Sure the recent controversy about the carbonation level has come up and with a lot of dissatisfaction. This beer wasn't carbonated to my liking, but wasn't flat either- perhaps somewhere in between. It may cause the beer to take a hint on the appearance and mouthfeel, but the meat and potatoes of the beer hold firm. This beer ranks up there with the Utopias, J.W. Lee's, and Thomas Hardy's of the world. A truely unique beer. Thanks to Lost Abbey for the challenge of the palate!

Thanks to Adamdc! Rock on Rockstar!

 1,722 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
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.


2017.09.10 2nd impression from a 2010 vintage bottle served into a teku:

11.50% ABV.

No pop sounds upon removal of the cork, suggesting this beer's carbonation has severely declined over its 7 years of cellaring.

APPEARANCE: I do get some bubbles upon pouring, but nothing substantial enough to amount to an actual head.

Body is dark and dull, suffering from an unappealing brown-black colour. Not much vibrance or life here, unfortunately.

Looks flat and unappealing.

AROMA: Caramel, molasses, leather, dark malt sweetness, charred oak barrel, treacle, syrup, rotted date, prune, raisin, dry rotted wood, pungent fig, and grape (which I guess is the brandy...but it's quite reticent).

Time does seem to have taken a toll on this beer, with hints of oxidation evidenced by cardboardy aromatics and on obvious dryness. Close to stale, but not unappealing. There're obviously many layers of flavour in play, which is enticing, but I remember this seeming much better when I tried this same vintage fresh.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Not pleasant by any stretch, suffering from a rough dry scraping dragging mouthfeel and notes of char, dry rot, cardboard, and old dark fruit (mainly fig and prune). This has really declined with aging.

Syrupy and gooey, with too much thickness and heft on the palate. Coarse, stale, off-puttingly viscous. Has some alcohol warmth. Sludgy.

Plenty of malty sweetness combined with the dark fruits hint at the beer this once was, and there is some faint vanillin from the oak which is nice. I don't get much brandy from this, but the scintillae of grape/raisin flavours remind me vaguely of how this tasted fresh.

Tobacco, molasses, leather, caramel, treacle, brown malt. Ample residual sugars are present on the finish, which is an interesting flavour.

As-is, it's imbalanced and a shell of its former self. Oxidized and undercarbonated.

OVERALL: This might age well up to a maximum of 3 years, but the 7 I've given it has clearly destroyed it. Not undrinkable, but it's more sludgy marmite than beer at this point. It drank great fresh and I see no reason not to consume it immediately.

It does improve after decanting, so there's that. I guess siphoning off the lees is the play if you age this, and I say that as a drinker who almost always prefers Belgian style beers to be poured with the yeast included.

Honestly, the main flaw here is the fatiguing dryness of the mouthfeel, not the flavours per se...in a way, I do somewhat enjoy the rotten bend of the beer's flavour and I don't mind a little oxidation, but I did hope for this to age like, well, brandy.

Would pair well with fig newtons and/or chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.

D+ / NOT RECOMMENDED [My rating of this beer is unaffected by this review since these impressions are of the beer unfairly aged seven years.]

 3,515 characters

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of emerge077
2.48/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks Don for the chance to try a bottle i'd never take the risk on... an aged 750 served in a snifter glass.

Pours a tawny dark brown, transparent in the glass with a feeble ring of bubbles around the edges. No visible carbonation, looks a bit still.

Smells interesting, likely infected, but a bit of sour mash, maltiness and odd musty barrel character. Taste touches on these notes with a bit of tartness and a mealy unpleasant taste as well. Thin and tart, the drain drank more of this than I did :(

 507 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

2008 Bottling

Appearance: As others have noted, this looks like prune juice, not beer - no carbonation at all

Smell: The best attribute of this beer, as the lack of carbonation has no impact; the boozy element hits the nostrils right away, with a little bit of burn; underneath is the dark fruit (prune juice, perhaps) and brandy

Taste: Prune dominated dark fruit, with raisins and molasses, up front; by mid-palate, they oak and brandy elements rise to the fore and linger after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body and flabby, with no carbonation but plenty of warmth

Drinkability: The flavors are enjoyable but this beer seems to be heading downhill, not only from the lack of carbonation, but from the effects of oxidation; such a pity that the carbonation issues across so many of the Lost Abbey beers have compromised the brewery's reputation but they chose economics over reputation

Note: I am now drinking the 2009 on 4/1/11 and have gotten over the lack of carbonation and decided just to focus on the flavors. While I am going to leave the ratings from the 2008 alone, I have to say that I am rather enjoying the taste of this one. The port-like character of the aroma and the taste is enticing and, while there is some booziness, it has mellowed into a flavorful melange.

 1,294 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.3/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a deep murky brown color ale with no head whatsoever. Aroma of of alcohol vapor with some gross residual sugar. Taste is overly dominated by brandy notes with some sweet sugary malt with an almost gross feel. Body is full with no carbonation and strong alcohol showing. I know the issue this beer had with carbonation but the fundamental issue are bigger then only carbonation - way too much alcohol is showing even though I understand beer as been barrel-aged with a lack of complexity. I must admit that this example is definitely over-hyped and fall well below my expectations.

 595 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a brown color with a red tint. Almost no head and no lacing.

S - It smelled a little like Sweet Tarts candy. Some caramel sweetness, too.

T - It tasted sweet and slightly tart. Lots of booziness. I guess a little brandy taste. Some maltiness with hints of caramel and Belgian spices.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice beer. Don't know if this was how it was intended, but it certainly was interesting.

 472 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 ounce prowler into snifter, filled on 11/4/2017. 2017 vintage, 14.5%. Pours slightly hazy very dark brown color with a thin light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a spotty lace cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, prune, plum, fig, cherry, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, brandy, rum, toasted oak, and brown bread; with light notes of coconut, smoke, molasses, leather, tobacco, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Touch of booze in the aromas as it warms, but not overwhelming. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malts, fruity yeast, and brandy barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge raisin, prune, plum, fig, cherry, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, brandy, rum, toasted oak, and brown bread; with light notes of coconut, smoke, chocolate, molasses, leather, tobacco, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Mild herbal hop and brandy/oak spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of dark fruits, cherry, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, brandy, rum, toasted oak, brown bread, coconut, light chocolate/molasses, leather, tobacco, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malts, fruity yeast, and brandy barrel flavors; with a nice malt/bitter/spiciness balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Slightly increasing dryness from bitter/spiciness. Very mild carbonation and full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/rich, and lightly velvety/slick/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is extremely well hidden; a mildly increasing warmth with zero barrel barrel booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic English barelywine! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malts, fruity yeast, and brandy barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV and very mild carbonation. Amazingly balanced between all flavors. Awesome barrel integration and complexity; without being overly boozy, tannic, or drying. A highly enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

 2,177 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.69/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'06 vintage on tap at The Bistro's barrel-aged beer fest. Had a few glasses of this one.

Appearance: Dark ruddy amber, a bit hazy. The small tan head disappears pretty quickly, leaving a speckling of lace.

Smell: Smells of dried fruit, toffee, figs, vanilla and molasses with an undercurrent of brandy.

Taste & mouthfeel: Caramelly malt, chocolate, caramelized figs, raisins. Medium-full in body with low carbonation. Vanilla beans, subtle tannins, this has a pretty up-front barrel character. The brandy version is distinctly different from the bourbon barrel variety, namely in the vinous, fruity nuance that the brandy barrel lends the beer. Delicious stuff.

 664 characters

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +3.4%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 710 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.