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 pmarlowe
2.47/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2011 review: 2009 vintage. Tulip glass. Thanks to spry for sharing this. Hopes were not high after our experience with an undrinkable 2010 bottle of the brandy version a few weeks ago.

Pours a dark coffee color. Flat, like Coke which has been sitting out all day. Smell is malt, cocoa, alcohol, black cherry, a little oak. I wouldn't say it smells bad. The taste is much less appetizing: alcohol, some cola, with a slightly sour and off flavor which seems to linger forever; presents with a single note, (again) kind of like flat Coke. Full bodied, no carbonation, alcohol presence is abundant. Overall, this was not enjoyable. I managed to finish a lot more of this than the 2010, but that speaks more to my determination than the beer's palatableness.

It's a shame, because I loved the two vintages I've had on tap.
On tap at the 2012 LA Barrel Night. The notes say, "Barrel 033: Angel's Share aged 4 yrs, 4mo in HH Brandy Barrels. One of the longest aged barrels we had in the building."
(3, 5, 4.5, 4, 5)
Pours like the usual, flat Angel's Share. Aroma is very intense dark molasses, chocolate, loads of delicious dark fruit and fruitcake, blackcurrant, and straight up port. Taste is caramelized sugar, intense cocoa, oak, and vanilla bean; very port and sherry like. No carbonation docks the flavors a touch. Mouthfeel is round and full bodied, again port-like. Incredible aroma, sucks that it's flat but otherwise a superb beer.

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

375ml bottle. 2009 vintage. Great extra, thanks mikesgroove! Poured into my Lost Abbey stemmed glass.

Appearance: Pitch black with no head. Some brown around the edges when held up to the light.

Smell: Chocolate, toffee, caramel, molasses, and sweetness hit me big time. Very alluring smell. Some booziness but not too bad.

Taste: A nice mix of caramel, molasses and chocolate. Some breadiness. Good alcohol presence, very warming. Brandy in the background, I think it adds a little to the boozy taste. Almost like a chocolate milkshake honestly, very enjoyable. Quite sweet.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick. Low carbonation but it really goes well with the style and flavors.

Overall: A good beer. I am so glad it was not completely flat or infected. I enjoy it though I do not know if the risk of the aforementioned problems is worth the dollar amount. A lot of alcohol warmth, I would love this on a cold winter night.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.36/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Lost Abbey
San Marcos, CA

A dark brown and murky pour with a very thin head. Not much lacing on the glass.

A wildly complex and divine aroma. Deep chocolate, dark fruits, warm alcohol, sweet brandy, tart cherries and raisins--all these flavors are here and they all mix superbly well together. It's really something to behold.

The flavor is again complex, and my only complaint is that it's just a little too sweet. The rich chocolate, flavors of cherries, sweet and warming brandy, along with a touch of tartness are really spectacular.

A thick and substantial sipper--but it's the only mouthfeel that would allow for the substantial complexities found in this beer.

An incredible display of art in the glass. So many incredible flavors and aromas all come together for a near masterpiece of a beer.

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Photo of jimixr
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very black color.Smaat fades to a small ring. Excellent lacing on the glass all the way.

S- Dark chocolate, loads of brandy, Oak barrel, some slight fruit, roasted malt. A very nice aroma.

T- Just like the aroma, loads of brandy. Some slight vanilla, lots of roasted malts. Sweet malts very much like a barelywine. Not a lot of heat from the high abv, but the alcohol is present here.

M- Medium bodied that finishes pretty dry. Finally some carbonation in Angels Share. Its medium/low but fits this style well.

D- Very smooth. A lot of barrel character. Maybe more barrel present than I like, but still a great beer. Im just thankful I got to try it with carbonation.

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Photo of davidbowers13
1.84/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. No pop when removing the cork. Not sure if I got an infected bottle having never had it before.

A - Pours a reddish brown with zero carbonation. No head whatsoever. No legs, nothing going on. Boring to look at and uninviting.

S - Vanilla, sour cherries, fruit and a lot of wood.

T - Sour cherries up front. A touch of vanilla. Finishes with a little heat and more sour cherries.

M - No carbonation kills it for me. Tingle on the tongue and coats the mouth well.

O - Disappointed considering the cost. I expected a lot more and was left with a sour, non-carbonated mess.

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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.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Near black with a reddish cola hint with light directly behind. No head to speak of.
smell: Rich, buttery vanilla with a generous boozy warning. Decadent.
taste: this has much promise but not quite balanced imo. I've got another in the cellar. Some age may make this something amazing.
It's more mellow (re the booze) than the nose made me expect.
overall: This seems to be a very good beer with the aging potential to be great.

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Photo of drewba
2.91/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

09 Brandy poured into a tulip. I cracked this tonight because I had a friend who said he had an infected bottles, let's see how it goes.

A - opaque slick black with zero head and maybe 30-40 bubbles. After those pop, it's completely flat and stagnant. When I swirl the glass it looks like water, doesn't have any legs and does not produce any bubbles, really boring.

S - sweet vanilla, toasted wood, mild chocolate and a sharp alcoholic finish.

T - Opens with some muted vanilla and caramel sweetness, some nice roast, coconut and tons of milk chocolate and mocha. The sweetness becomes overwhelmed by harsh wood and booze.

M - medium bodied, but flat as hell. Its' only saving grace is that the flavors are sticking to my palate a bit.

O - The good news is that this isn't infected, but the bad news is that overall it's underwhelming. After a couple years, the booze is still present and sharp, the wood is burnt and harsh and the appearance and mouthfeel are subpar. The brandy is very subdued compared to a year or so ago.

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Photo of therealnomayo
1/5  rDev -74%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

2010 375ml (two separate bottles)

A: Still. Swampy. Cork came out with a squeak and no pop whatsoever. Not a bubble to be found anywhere in the glass.

S: Smell is off. I've had this on draft before and I know immediately something is wrong.

T: It's as if a filthy bar rag used to clean old beer and spoiled fruit slime from the dirtiest corner of the floor in a slaughterhouse was dragged across my tongue. When I drain-poured it, I think I heard the garbage disposal dry heaving and cursing me in morse code.

M: I spit it out entirely too fast to really even gauge the mouthfeel. Really disappointing as this beer can be amazing.

O: "The Tomme" needs someone to introduce him to "The Refund". Total palette-wrecking wallet rape and ruin-er of what could have been a great night of drinking. The only thing worse than these two bottles of beer is the realization that I still have another one waiting, taking up space where my $50 used to be.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle into Portsmouth snifter. 2009 vintage.
A: Pours an extremely dark brown with about an eighth of an inch of light brown head (despite a rough pour) that quickly vanished into the faintest collar.
S: Rich notes of brandy, over-ripened dark fruits and a touch of soy sauce.
T: I get notes of brandy, vanilla, raisins and other ripe dark fruits, wood, caramel and a touch of chocolate. The finish is fruity and sweet and the aftertaste is full of roasted flavors and vanilla. This beer is still rather warm, but I wouldn’t call the alcohol hot or distracting.
M: Luckily there is some tingly carbonation on the palate however it’s low. Body is thick and viscous, and the mouthfeel is warm and slick with a good amount of alcohol burn.
O: I actually liked this one a lot more than I would have thought, and this made a great sipper over a few hours. Better than the bourbon in my opinion.

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Photo of samie85
2.99/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2010 Brandy bottling.

A-Pours a deep coffee color with a slight rim of tan head.

S-Brandy-soaked plums with vanilla and a bit of chocolate.

T-Brandy upfront with some plums and some chocolate and some hot alcohol burn on the finish.

M-Almost no carbonation with a thick body and a very hot alcohol burn.

D-The alcohol burn fades a little as it warms to room temp., but it still lingers which really hurts the drinkability for me. I do enjoy the flavor profile, though the price point is really discouraging me from trying this one again.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
1.98/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Definitely not impressed with the appearance at all. Murky brown and mud-like in appearance. Absolutely no head or lacing at all.

Smells strongly of alcohol, fruits, and chocolate, with some obvious brandy.

Tastes hella strongly of alcohol, with very pungent over-ripe dark brandy-soaked fruits and lots of milk chocolate.

Hard to drink, very heavy on alcohol. The almost complete absence of carbonation is a big downer.

Overall it's not very good and I won't seek it out again.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

512th review on BA
@Bruery Provisions

App- This was more of a super dark brown with some purple to it. Weird kinda mix of colors and a ring of bubbles vs a head to it. On the bottle of glass was the lace and cling.

Smell- Very sweet and a little savory with a lot of dark fruits and the essence of the barreling. Not bad/not outstanding. Right down the pike.

Taste- The taste somewhat followed the nose although with the dark fruits and the brandy came the actual booze and a little bit of full bodied port/raisin.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonated. Not as flat as I thought it would be and I was happy for that, just a bit off.

Drink- For the money I spent on this it was well worth not shelling out for the whole bottle. I wouldve been dissapointed. This was tasty, different and a bit complex. Would like the other variants.

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Photo of Neffbeer
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

2009 375ml bottle into a tulip.

A: There was a lack of 'whoosh' upon removing the cork, and to no surprise the beer poured dead flat. A hint of bubbles on the edges. The body of the beer is a deep dark brown bordering on black.

S: The nose is really inviting, lovely notes of brandy, vanilla, caramel, dates, chocolate and raisins. There is a touch of oak as well from the barrels, but it is overshadowed by the other aromas. As it continues to warm some spices peek through along with some vinous grapes.

T: This beer manages to taste good dead flat, I can only imagine if it had carbonation. Two years on this bottle has really mellowed the booze and rounded the edges of the flavors. The brandy barrels are really divine adding a depth that elevates this beer to a spirit. It really is similar to some port or madeira I have had just not as sweet.

M: It obviously suffers greatly from it being dead flat.

O: Better than I expected given the bashing it has received. With carbonation this beer would be an A+ for me, and even without any I am still digging it.

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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 Rifugium
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Tria, Philly, PA

Poured into a tulip glass, a nice, cloudy, dark brown, with a small beige head that retains well throughout the drink. Little to no carbonation visible. LOVED the aroma! Big, big chocolate smell, with a definite boozy presence, and underlying dark fruits. Taste of chocolate, alcohol, and dark dried fruits up front, prunes, black cherries, raisins; molasses and brown sugar following, with the brandied-oak finishing things off with a bite, and not quite dry. Tasted best when allowed to sit and reach closer to room temperature. Full bodied, strong, and very drinkable, but not for the weak of heart.

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Photo of harrymel
1.03/5  rDev -73.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Vintage 2010

A: pours brown with excellent clarity. Absolutely no evidence of carbonation. Cork removed with no "pop".

S: Minerals. Brett? Very confusing. I've had previous versions, and this isn't adding up.

T: Yup, brett and/or something. Christ, this is super infected. Absolutely horrible. Maybe some of the original beer in there, but mostly, shite.

M: Thin. Flat.

O: This is one of the worst beers I've ever had. I took two sips and poured the rest. Absolutely horrid. I've become more and more leery of all LA beers. Tomme - take care of the issue.

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

2009 that had been in my cellar for a year

A: black with hints of red-- darker than expected. No head, no visible carbonation.

S: pecans and raisins, hint of tart-- brandy aging is notable on the nose

T: nuts, brandy, and some fruit-- again, raisins and pecans. Heat. Doesn't hide the heat but incorporates it pretty well.

M: almost no carbonation. smooth and oily. hot! not thick at all.

D: very complex. I tend to drink fast and drink a lot, but this is definitely a brake pumper. Delicious, but I'm glad it was only 12oz as the heat would probably wear away the flavor after long

Good beer. Curious about it without this much aging and with more, also

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Photo of alexhahn82
1.4/5  rDev -63.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

A. Absolutely no head, maybe like 2 bubbles, and I am a semi aggressive pourer who pours down the center to let my beer open up.

Smell. Smells of the brandy barrels that it was aged in, Semi tart almost fruit like scent.

T. Tart like, almost light vinegar. complex but brandy like starts intense and finishes soft.

Mouthfeel. Complex and sour, tart and bitter, yet sweet, the mouthfeel on this is very powerful.

Overall. I have a feeling the bottle was bad not sure though, Not sure if its worth the $16 price point.

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Photo of FLBeerGuy
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish brown into my CCB snifter. No sign of carbonation halfway thru the pour so resort to aggressive pour which yields not head, sigh, just as advertised, flat.

Nose is brandy, raisins, molasses and some vanilla, nice complexity. As it warms, the vanilla gets stronger.

Taste is brandy, raisins, molasses, sweet malts, dark fruits, vanilla and a strong alcohol presence. As it warms, vanilla becomes more pronounced. This one is definitely a sipper.

Mouthfeel is on the thick side, but not too much, absolutly no carbonation, which is not a huge negative as I don't think this needs much carbonation to begin with, but a little would help.

Overall, not a bad beer, I would like to try the bourbon barrel one. Not sure I would pluck down $15 again for this one, but I don't regret it.

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Photo of nuggetsofnectar
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22.00 bones from Capones (a bit too pricey but lets see)...

App: Obsidian black that with an aggressive pour shows little to no signs of head (quickly fades to nothing)....

Smell: Wow...strong brandy presence up front...dark chocolate and fig to follow...booze warms up the ol' factory senses...signs of port and sweet malts

Taste: Major port feel (dark red wine almost) up front...fig laced brandy...fairly thick....traces of soy sauce....good but i was hoping for a bit more depth and less port/brandy (a bit too dominant)

Mouthfeel: the upside is the nice smooth sipping quality as you slip through the ale....

Overall: a bit underwhelmed...I may have to compare to the bourbon aging...

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Photo of Beejay
3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to RocPorterFanatic for sharing this baby.

A: A murky muddy chestnut color. With absolutely no head at all.

S: Raisons, and caramel. Bready with a nice oak and vanilla scent. Molasses in there as well.

T: Dark bread, with raisons and caramel. There is bit of a tang in the finish, lending a slight tart bite to the sweetness. Big molasses flavor.

M: Thick with very little carbonation, if at all.

O: Overall the flavor is pretty good, but I would like to see what this beer would be like carbonated.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A 13 oz pour in a tulip glass at the Sunset Grill in Boston.

What a difference a little carbonation makes. Much of the same look, aroma, and flavor profiles as my previous bottle review, but the carbonation makes the difference between a great tasting but palpably strange and visibly flat brew and a world class brew. Fair head and lace. Aroma and taste, think port with all of the oak, prune, and molasses characteristics. Throw in a lively feel from the carbonation. Add to this a bittersweet back end. You've got a spectacular beer. If there were a consistency rating, this brewery would get a 1.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Sierra Grille, the less regarded brethren of Bourbon Angel's Share.

Pours dark brown/red, small tan head disappears quickly not leaving much in the way of a ring or lace.

Pretty good scent of dark fruit, cocoa, oak and some brandy.

Taste includes raisins, plums, oak, cocoa, vanilla. Brandy doesn't really stick out like the bourbon did in the Bourbon Angel's Share. Mouthfeel feels prickly and once it warms starts to get quite boozy, but it is carbonated!

Not a bad beer, but doesn't match the complexity and smoothness of the Bourbon version.

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