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 corby112
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown almost black color with some dark red wine mahogany hues. Completely opaque with a very thin beige head that immediately fades into complete stillness. This is disappointing after what I've experienced from the bottle(non flat vintage).

Aroma is dominated by brandy but there is also some earthy oak an vanilla notes as well as some dark fruit and toasted malt. The aroma is really dominated by alcohol/brandy and smells very sweet.

Soft carbonation up front that quickly turns into a sweet earthy, oaky and vinous flavor. Very vinous in fact with a very strong brandy presence that once again dominates and hinders the other flavors from shining. Dark fruit/berries compliment the oak and there is a pretty decent vanilla flavor. Slightly dry finish with a lot of alcohol heat. The flavors open up and this becomes substantially better as it warms. Slight tartness in the finish.

I was excited to try this on tap because the bottles I had were amazing. One of my favorite beers of all time. This batch was way too boozy and not very well balanced. Avoid and try to find some bottle from 2007 that aren't infected.

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Photo of sweemzander
1.27/5  rDev -66.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

375mL corked & caged bottle poured into a snifter. 2009 Vintage.

(A)- Pours a thick dark brown almost black color. No head or bubbles despite a vigorous pour; still as wine; flat!

(S)- Tons of sugary raisin and brown sugar. Burnt caramel and booze.

(T)- Very sugary. Tons of boozy heat. A very unpleasant grainy charcoal and graphite flavor.

(M)- Flat as can be. A very bitter charcoal and graphite; almost metallic taste that is very off-putting; syrupy.

(D)- This is flat as flat can be. This is very sickly sweet while being horribly off with a charcoal and graphite bitterness. No thank you. I far preferred the Bourbon Barrel variation better especially considering it wasnt flat!

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Flat beer gonna pour flat. Not flat, but undercarbonated even for style. Poured black. Aroma was nice, the brandy brings out the vanilla which brings out the sweetness. Some oak and chocolate malt beyond that.

Taste was a sweet, enjoyable sipper. Some dark fruit, but its sweetness not bitterness. Good, albeit expensive stuff. Prolly won't repeat given its expensive nature.

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Photo of beertunes
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage, poured into goblet. Poured a densely dark reddish black, just barely translucent on the edges. The beer poured very still, no head or carbonation.

The first thing into the nose is a huge blast of alcohol. After a few breaths to reset the olfactory unit, underlying fruit and wine scents are apparent. There may of been a hint of wood, but the alcohol scent was too strong to be certain. On the tongue, the alcohol is much less pronounced and the fruitiness is most noticeable. There are certainly oak flavors working with the brandy on the back of the tongue.

The body is nicely full and, surprisingly, not at all heavy. Drinkability is also surprisingly easy for a beer this strong. I didn't finish my 12oz bottle in one sitting, and with the lack of carbonation, I'm not worried about going flat before I have a chance to drink/share the rest. Overall, a solid brew, worth a shot if you see it.

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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 akorsak
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A snifter or two at the Brass Rail Deli. Memo at my side with a Shirley Temple.

A: The Angel's Share is black, a midnight-hued color that is as imposing as it gets. A thin head, off-white with a tan hue, comes with both pours.

S: The nose is brandy strength, booze and oaken vanilla, along with hyper-roasted stout notes. The brandy element is deceptively sweet, drawing me in with each inhale.

T: The brandy barrel drives the flavor, oaken and vinous, fortified for extra special strength. The oak adds vanilla while the brandy adds the grapey vinous notes. The strength of the ale is always just below the surface, a big filling ale no matter how you slice it. Darker, roasted malts emerge in the finish, lending a stout-like ending to the ale. Both barrel and roasted malts linger, with the brandy recurring in periodic burps.

M: The mouthfeel is lush and rich, drawing on the experience of the barrel before yielding to the fullness of the stout. The brandy barrel is a pronounced difference from a bourbon barrel, intense but not in the same manner.

I'm glad to finally have an Angel's Share on tap; a brilliant ale from Lost Abbey.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

375ml corked and caged 2008 bottle poured into tulip 28/5/13 thanks MasterSki and Sean9689 for sending me one of my longest standing wants

A dark cola liquid but there's just a slight poof when I pop the cork, even dumping it right down the center I get just a short lived film that leaves no lace, just a few pin prick bubbles but for the most part it looks pretty still. some sediment and legs on the side of the glass is something I don't see everyday

S lots of caramels and toffees, brown sugar both crystals and burnt, vanilla and brandy's strong, some sugar coated raisins with a hint of straight booze and oak, smells pretty solid

T a little more booze then the nose and loads of brandy, still woody and some candied dried fruits still there and less sugars and caramels, tastes good but the noes was much better

M silky but flat, some tannins but there's heat too, I like the aftertaste of brandy and caramel but its very still with just a couple bubbles and it may be just a couple as in two bubbles

O I want to love this beer as it smell great and tastes solid but it's pretty much dead in other areas, smell and flavor goes a long way but I'm not getting the whole package

This would be a world class beer if some issues were dealt with, I've only had a few beers from this brewery but I've noticed a trend

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

EBF sample pour. Dark pour. Very sweet in the nose. The brandy was noticeable. This one did verge on cloying. Lots of caramel, sugar & dark fruits. The flavor was pretty hot and sweet albeit compex in its fruitiness. Heavy bodied. An exhausting little sample.

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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 ppoitras
2.45/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

750ml bottle purchased as a single at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Corked and caged, 2008 vintage.

Poured into a Chimay chalice, and under-carbonated is an understatement. Scant few bubbles form with the hardest of pours. No head to speak of over this opaque dark brown brew. Upon swirling, heavy legs and tiny bubbles are seen along the glass.

Aroma is sweet and sour, tartness coupled with syrupy maltiness. Taste is worlds away from the nose: sweet and fruity upfront, moderately smokey old leather tannins in the middle, with an evaporating alcohol close. Warmth and numbing come along soon enough too. Mouthfeel is thin for the look and flavor, and drinkability is pretty limited.

Save your $30. The bad experience stories are true, much as I wanted to see them wrong.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with mahogany highlights, starts with very small cap of khaki head, gone very quick. Scent is rich and complex... notes of brandy, port wine, chocolate, fig, prune, oak, vanilla, lightly burnt carmel. Taste combines all scattered notes of scent perfectly, rich, deep dark and complex - a definite sipper. Full bodied, lower carbonation. The burbon version works a little bit better with the make up of the beer (deep and dark) while the brandy version adds a little bit of brightness. Draft adds more to the experience in body for sure as opposed to bottle.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

375mL bottle, corked and caged, stamped "Brandy 09" near the bottom

Pours a deep chestnut brown with a large amount of haze. Almost purple in color and no head whatsoever. Only a few brown bubbles on the pour.

The nose is big and bad. Brandy dominates with figs, molasses, dark cherries and a slight woodiness. Largely boozey and a tad overwhelming.

Raisins and figs with dark cherries. Booze dominates with a finish of heat and tobacco. The brandy is almost too much here. It toes the line well, but pulls back just enough.

There's not much carbonation here at all. Syrupy with loads of heat and a medium body.

It took me a little while to warm up to the amount of brandy the aging imparted on this beer. I wavered between not liking it and loving it throughout drinking the bottle. Really on the fence here.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.12/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour reveals no head and no residual foam. The color is a murky Coke and coffee colored brew.

Very viney aroma. The brandy barrels really add punchy grape, vinegar aroma to this beer. Combined with that is a greenapple, toasted malt, and barnyard backup aroma.

Very tart fruity yeast flavors combine with the winey, earthy, oakey, Brandy barrel flavors. This makes a tart and chalky dry palate with some alcoholic heat.

This beer was interetsing, but definetly not what I expected or hoped for. Especially for the price.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.69/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Lost Abbey. Despite the incredible fall from grace that this beer has had to endure, it still was one of my most anticipated beers of the day. Enough so that I was willing to drink a pint in a warehouse when it was 100 degrees out

A: Dark chestnut brown with a thin brown head with OK retention. Great clarity, this beer looks pretty nice. Retention could be better, but at 12%, that's asking for a bit much

S: Insane. Brandy booziness layered over complex sweetness with caramel, dark honey, mild nuttiness. Alcohol is practically non-existent. Oak is present, with a tannic character that works well with the booze.

T: Opening up with sweet brandy and plenty of complex fruity sweetness - figs, caramel, honey. Rather light in body, and that prevents this beer from being cloying (it's far from it), and the drying tannic finish is excellent

M: I can see why the carbonation is essential - it simply highlights everything that's good about this beer - an excellent palate, a mild zing to go with both the dryness and the tannic finish. Fantastic stuff.

D: If I wasn't going to an epic tasting after this, I would have drunk the hell out of this and the bourbon AS on tap. Excellent beers, along with DDG, the only beers I kept wanting to drink in the 100 degree heat.

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Photo of cbutova
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black with no sign of life, no head, no lacing. Looks like black wine, not even a ring around the edges of this beer. Not impressed at all with this aspect of the beer. Smell was the best part of this one. Wood, whiskey (not too huge but tasteful), raisins and dark fruit and a pinch of alcohol. There was also a lot of cocoa in the nose that I did not remember in the bottle. A nicely balanced scent on this one. Taste is also good. Huge cocoa and whiskey with raisins and dark fruit, a good wood aspect and a pinch of alcohol that could be overwhelming at points. Once again, I don't remember the cocoa aspect in the bottle. Mouthfeel was a bit light for me, very warm with extremely low carbonation. A wine-like watery consistency with a huge coat of alcohol and whiskey on the tongue. Drinkability is decent. I know this one is too pricey for the quality, better on-tap vs. the bottle, probably have it again ON-TAP due to its rarity in MA, the alcohol started to kill it after 8oz.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml courtesy of RomanW70. Pours the color prune juice with no head. Nose was vanilla, booze and a suggestion of grapes. Taste follows nose with the addition of some cocoa. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with an almost non-existent carbonation presence. Delicious beer with great complexity. This beer doesn't need a lot of carbonation, but a trace more would have really made this beer exquisite. A great offering nonetheless, but definitely one to share.

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Photo of Viggo
4.77/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle, split with Lexx at Beerbistro.

Poured into snifters, a cloudy brown/orange, thin tan head forms, settles down to a thin ring, leaves some spots on the glass, and has some nice legs. Smell is amazing, sherry, oak, rich raisins and fig, toffee, brandy, some alcohol, vanilla and chocolate, dark fruits, bananas foster, insanely rich, sweet brown sugar/molasses, just great. Taste is just as good, lots of toffee coated figs and raisins, brandy and oak, alcohol, vanilla, rum raisins, chocolate, bourbon, date pudding, caramelized bananas, toast, simply amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, low carbonation, warming, alcohol hidden very well, really coats your mouth and is insanely smooth for such a big beer. Very long finish, very rich, one of the best liquids I've ever put in my mouth.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle opened on 10.15.13
2010 Vintage

A - Pours a very dark brown and completely flat. No head at all.

S - Sweet, syrupy, dark fruit.

T - Very sweet and bitter fruit. Not good.

D - No carbonation to speak of with a heavy body.

O - Sweet, syrupy, dark fruit with no carbonation. No thanks.

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Photo of maximum12
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jcb890 for sending me this cute little bottle in an excellent trade that knocked multiple bottles from my wants list. "Brandy 2009" is stamped on the back of the bottle, close to the bottom, so the 2009 vintaaage.

Popped open in the wake of a 3-2 Twins win over the White Sox. By "popped" I mean pulled the cork, since there was no pop, & zero sizzle on the pour. Black & flat & hostile as Sauron's soul. Smell is deep, dark brandy with an underwear of raspberries, which seems a touch disconcerting. Huh.

The Angel's Share Brandy is no false advertising, this could almost pass for the real thing. The brandy is thick & tarry, coating everything it touches. Nonetheless there is plenty to experience. Hard, dark red fruits meander along the sides of the tongue. The barrel lends obvious trumpets of vanilla, subtler hints of stunningly pure maple syrup, & a woody shot at the end dries out the palate & demands another sip. Then the brandy comes home & slams everything back into the mat. Just to make sure they all know who's ruling this beer.

It is flat. Who frickin' cares? So many words spilled & I was prepared to be offended, but this tastes so good, I don't care if there are no tiny bubbles. Would it be better with? No idea. But this is straight-up good-sippin' stuff.

Excellent brew. This is what I've hoped for from The Lost Abbey, & what I hadn't found yet. Top-notch beer that I'd happily have again.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jh1982 for breaking this out for the Marquette/Syracuse game during March Madness. Sweet 16 baby! Pours much darker than I expected, looked at the bottle again to make sure this wasn't the bourbon. Low carbonation, but didn't expect much, and would say it didn't really seem to have much impact on the beer, this seems like one meant to have very little carbonation.

Good oak and vanilla aromas complementing the brandy. Also chocolate?

Taste, nice, a little sweeter than the bourbon version, a definite sipper. Licorice and chocolate seem there. Wood flavors. Raisins. I think I like the blended version better.

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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 jrallen34
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 375ml bottle into my Orval glass. This is a 2009 bottle.

The beer pours a very dark brown, you can really tell the difference between brown and black on this one. There is no carbonation at all. No head comees up at all.

The aroma is super sweet and matly. Vanilla dominates this then you get some nice notes of brandy, and wood.

The taste is all malt, tons of vanilla again almost all the way through the finish. At the end there is a little wood and an alcoholic finish.

The feel is really weak here. Its very light feeling without much of a finish. There is a light warm feel.

Overall, this is ok, nothing special, the grand cru crushes this.

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Photo of champ103
3.04/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a 2008 bottle. I found it for a decent price, and thought I would give it a try. As I pull the cork, no pop. Grr.

A: Pours a dark brown color. A tiny bubbly head forms and recedes to nothing in a second. No lace.
S: Dry wood, smoke, vanilla, sweet toffee, and chocolate in the nose. Tons of alcohol.
T: Very sweet. Lots of toffee and vanilla. Cloyingly sweet. Dry wood and smoke. Tons of alcohol
M/D: Thick and syrupy with no carbonation. The lack of carbonation and alcohol makes this a slow sipper.

I wanted to see if the 2008 finally carbonated. It is not, and pretty much ruins this for me. I don't want to harp on that issue to much. It is what it is. I hope I can find some 2009, which I hear is suppose to be carbonated. Will update my review then.

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Photo of claspada
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 750ml bottle.

Pours a dark, dark brown color, with a thin, wispy, beige-hued head. Some amber hues when held up to the light. Pretty flat and wine-like in appearance.

Aromas begin with lightly sweet caramel maltiness, which is immediately joined by dark fruity notes of homemade jam and marmalade dosed with caramelized/burnt sugars. As it warms the aromas become more brandy/barrel forward with booze soaked dark fruits and light oak char.

The tastes begin with sweet dark fruits, spiced fig jam, toasted/burnt bread, vanilla, caramelized sugars and particularly punchy oak tannins. A very meager hint of roast as it warms in the background. As it continues to warm, you are greeted with more puckering oak combined with some belly-warming, soul-pleasing brandy. Touch of earthiness in the semi-sweet finish.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with no carbonation but plenty of warmth. Oak and brandy become more dominant as it warms; drinks more like a thin liquor as you continue to sip. Flavors linger on the palate long after you sip, and sip you must.

Overall this was a nice beer to sample and one I was quite excited for as I newly found out I like brandy quite a bit, but the lack of carbonation and heavy oak makes it a task to consume an entire bottle, even over a 3 hour period. Much more suited for the new smaller 375 bottles but a touch more carbonation and restrained barrel flavors would have made this much more approachable and enjoyable.

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Photo of Rutager
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
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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The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
3.84 out of 5 based on 702 ratings.
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