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

The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-AgedThe Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged
Liked This Beer
3.86 w/ 706 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 706 |  Reviews: 423
Photo of IronMickey
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
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 -63.7%
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 +2.6%
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 -1.8%
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 -9.6%
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 +23.1%
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 -7.5%
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 +5.2%
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 GilGarp
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the Cheeky Monk in a tulip glass.

Appearance is very dark brown with no light coming through. The head is about an inch of light brown foam that settles slowly. No lacing.

Aroma is boozy and rich with obvious brandy barrel influence. It has a bit of brown sugar sweetness, red wine acidity, and oak barrel vanilla notes.

Flavor is very intense and unexpectedly good. There is a rich carmamel and chocolate undertones that remind me of a good Belgian quad. The brandy adds a distinct flavor that includes cherries, cabernet, and oak. Tannins pull at the cheeks a little but it's not sour or tart in any way. Great depth and character.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in body and perfectly carbonated. You can sip this slowly, letting it warm, and enjoy all of the nuances that the barrel aging provides. It coats and sticks to the insides of my mouth like a syrup but it's not cloying. Warming on the way down.

I've seen a lot of ho-hum reviews of this beer but I believe when it's properly carbonated, it can be excellent. It will be interesting to see how the corked bottle in the cellar compares to the tap version.

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Photo of akorsak
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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 stakem
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ffej for sharing a growler of this at a recent tasting.

Poured into a mini snifter, this brew appears a dark brown color that is nearly black with lighter brown showing clearly through the edges. A ring of tan head forms and stays along the perimeter of the glass. A swirl releases a few bubbles of carbonation. When held to the light, this brew shows ruby clarity through the body.

The aroma of this brew is big and boozy. There is a sweet smoothness of vanilla, oak, toasted coconut, and chocolate malt that comes across quite sweet smelling. Quite an enjoyable aroma across the board.

The taste includes chocolate malt that comes across like sweetened cocoa, vanilla, toasted coconut and a mellow oakiness. There is a big brandy reinforced booze presence that is lightly fusel in character. A lasting taste of chocolate malt coats the mouth and lingers with an enjoyable aftertaste.

This is a full bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation leaning towards low but it is fitting and enjoyable or this offering. Any more carb and it might have been distracting. Lots of flavor and depth to this sipper. Overall very enjoyable and easy drinking considering the big abv.

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Photo of CruisaC
2.51/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of xnicknj
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at good dog in philly

Pours totally black, thinner tanned head, very little lacing or retention on the glass.

Huge brandy notes with earthy wood and heavy syrupy sweetness, vanilla and tannins add some flairs, honey with dark fruit as well.

Big slap of boozy brandy with plenty of barrel presence. Higher sweetness level with syrupy molasses, maple, honey, and a pile of dark fruit. Earthy roasted malt, caramel stickiness. Raisins, dates, and figs. Finishes warm and almost cloying, super rich overall.

Full syrupy body, lower carbonation (but absolutely not flat), sticky and chewy. Great flavor, nice barrel integration, very rich but an excellent beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I appreciated ffejherb sharing this growler at Stakem's Fish Fry/bottle share event -poured chilled into a snifter.

An almost black, deep brown color w/ opaque clarity and tan ring of bubbles that is thin w/ a tight bead. Speckles of lace stick to the glass which are more like 'legs' than lace. The smell is dessert-like with very sweet and almost custard-like vanilla elements w/ slight fruity figgy and raisin w/ gentle woody scent. The feel is so thick and viscous, yet there is a pleasing level of carbonation which augments the spicy dry quality of the high abv brew. The finish is long and lush with lots of residual sugar and alcohol.

The flavor is wonderfully nutty and dessert-like with lots of caramel and dark wood w/ a moderate amount of toffee and mild spice and nut in the flavor w/ toastiness and alcohol mingling amongest the slight creamy taste of the malt. There is a subtle vanilla and mild bitter malt flavor that compliments the mild barrel tannin level. I found this to be good overall and a incredible difference from the first time I tasted thiss w/ the uncarbonated version a huge letdown. I found this to be the best tasting of all the samples I have tried of Angel's Share -just head and shoulders above even the bourbon version!

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Photo of Spider889
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Local Option in Chicago. I seriously think that this has been my favorite bar of all time to date!

Dark cherrywood brown with a maple colored head.

The aroma was delicious. I really wish I had had more time to stay and get another glass of this stuff. Very maple heavy, some oak graininess. The brandy is smooth but heavy-handed. Vanilla and molasses meld with the heat of the alcohol. There was eventually a sour twinge appearing over time.

Truffle and cacao notes add both sweetness and a balancing bitterness to the beer. As it warmed I realized that the taste was really just balanced as hell. Everything worked so well in tandem that it was a true thing of beauty. Heavy smoke began to waft forth from my glass, as did brown sugar and light char become interwoven with the other more prominent flavors.

My notes state:
"Smooth as all fuck."

I think that says it all, folks.

Light carbonation, but this was complimentary to the style and sipping nature of the beer. Certainly this is better on tap from all the "flat abbey" rumors I have heard.

Overall an exquisite beer. Seek it out, it won't disappoint.

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Photo of nhindian
2.49/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

375ml bottle poured into a Lost Abbey Patron Sinner's tulip. Big props to russwbeck for sharing this, thanks Russ!

A - Pours a muddy black mixed with some flecks of brown. Perhaps some deep shades of plum as well. It pours still, despite a relatively aggressive pour, and builds pretty much no head, just the finest of rings around the edge of the glass. No lacing on this either, unsurprisingly.

S - Compared to the bourbon version, this is a somewhat sweeter, but it's hard to pinpoint why exactly since I'm getting more vanilla in the bourbon. The chocolate does come through a lot cleaner in this version, however, so that could be it. Big aromas here are coming from the barrel, the brandy, and the chocolate. Not getting much alcohol at all.

T - After the great nose on this, the taste is a complete and utter disappointment, bordering on cruel. The initial flavors are barely there and what there is comes off as bland and watery. Then, it's just sweetness with booze at the end. The flavor profile here is totally out of alignment and its almost artificially unpalatable, like sucking a crayon. Thankfully, it either gets slightly more tolerable as it warms or I was feeling a little tipsy. The flatness does this beer no favors, however.

M - The mouthfeel on this beer is just atrocious. There isn't even a semblance of carbonation here and it makes it hard to get this one down.

D - Drinkability is low on this beer. I'm not sure what went so wrong with the beer between the nose and the taste, but contrast is striking. Tantalizing aroma, but a trainwreck of flavors with no carbonation to boot.

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Photo of wchollif
2.54/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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Photo of nataku00
2.77/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of russwbeck
2.51/5  rDev -35%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of beerwolf77
1.74/5  rDev -54.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

While hanging out with sweem he twisted my arm into sharing this one with him. I knew going in it was gonna suck but I figured a tick is a tick. I think I should have passed. Upon pulling the cork we heard nothing. I mean total silence. I've heard mice fart louder than the sound that came out of this bottle.

A: Pitch black syrup. No head no lace. Not a trace of a bubble. I think I've seen more head on used motor oil spewing from my truck.

S: Sweet boozy molasses, chocolate, oak and a hint of play doh.

T: Sweet and hot. Booze soaked dark fruit, black strap molasses, prunes, wet oak and a touch of chocolate. Hot and messy. Nearing undrinkable.

M: Syrupy thick. Flat as a glass of tap water.

O: Just a hot fucking mess of a beer. I'm not sure carbonation would have saved it for me. Such poor craftsmanship on LA's part makes me sad for anyone who buys this atrocity.

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Photo of stephens101
2.49/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A hard pour down the middle of the snifter results in, wait, hold it, absolutely no head at all. This is not a propitious sign. Dark brown in color. A few spots of tan lace appear after the glass is slightly shaken. Rich sweet malts, cherries and raisins, some overly soured fruit, damp wood, spent grain and chocolate to the nose. Tastes sweet and near cloying with a big hit of alcohol up front and some chocolate, more dark fruits and spice intermingling. Move vinuos than beer-like with a watery mouth-feel. Just can't get down and make love to this one.

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Photo of bbeane
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2008 edition...
A- Poured into an oversized snifter... head is more or less non existant. Beer is black in color, with very little light showing through when held up to the ceiling

S- After some swirls, gives off a boozy sweet aroma with notes of wood

T- Well, it has a very good flavor starting out malty sweet with dark fruits, then gets an added booziness a with notes of wood

M- Has a full body but there's pretty much no carbonation

D- Its a shame, if this had at least a hint more carbonation, it would have been a pretty stellar beer because the flavor is there. Without it, I don't think it's all that impressive


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Photo of JLeege
2.33/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Brandy 2010 clearly printed on the neck
12.7 oz bottle poured into a LA tulip

Appearance- Pours a deep deep brown with no light entering the glass.

Smell- Dark fruits, caramel, oaky, a wisp of smoke, vanilla.

Taste- Lots of chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and oaky notes. I believe this is the first beer I have had that is brandy barrel aged, and it has much more dark fruit notes than a bourbon barrel. There is cherry, raison, plum, grape. Lingering chocolate with dark fruits on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Flat.

Overall- F-Word. I have finally been stung by LA. The deliverance, older vis bottles I have had have been great and carbonated, this is the first one that wasn't. I have had no problems with their 750's either. Shouldn't have bought 3 bottles of this without trying just one first. The aroma and taste is nice, it drinks quick for 11.5%, but you shouldn't have to roll the dice on a 15 dollar beer.

I love lost abbey, its a blessing and a curse.

Edit: upon opening another bottle, it is slightly sour as well. This beer is a trainwreck. Scores adjusted again.

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Photo of Pahn
2.52/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel: Flat. Unacceptable.

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

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

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Photo of JamesMcPolin
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Doing just a quick review because I had such low expectations for this brew, because of Ba threads, aware of the carbonation problems associated with this 2009 vintage.
The threads were correct of course, no carbonation, no head, no lacing, sux. Therefore, mouthfeel was way off as well and the total drinkability takes a serious hit, not to mention I paid like $16 or $17 for it. But anyways, just wanted to say the nose was still awesome and the taste wasn't bad at all. I would recommend that anyone that already has an '09 in the cellar pop it now because you're only going to get more disappointed the more time you invest into it. Cheers.

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The Angel's Share - Brandy Barrel-Aged from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 70.8% out of 100 with 706 ratings
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