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 PDXHops
2.25/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

2008 vintage. 375ml bottle courtesy of mattolesh, poured into an oversized snifter.

Appearance? Open a bottle of Coke, let it sit for a few days to lose every last bit of fizz, pour into snifter. This stuff is flatter than my first girlfriend (in her defense, she was only 6 at the time). Smells good, though, and not just in a “anything’s an improvement over its looks” kind of way. This stuff smells seriously appetizing, a whirlwind of sweetness: brandy, barrel, vanilla beans, fudge, brown sugar, toffee. Unfortunately, being completely devoid of carbonation means delivering on the promise of the nose is an impossibility. You get a sense of what they were going for, but it’s limp, watery and lifeless.

Overall impression: Perhaps the most disjointed drinking experience I’ve ever had. Looks like crap, smells great, tastes OK but suffers immensely from flatness. Sadly, it seems a few tweaks away from excellence. Correction: one tweak away. That tweak, of course, being carbonation.

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Photo of spdyfire83
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6th review on BA
Bomber into proper pint glass.

2008 Vintage

A: Minimal pop of cork! Burnt dark tan. Vigorous pour = less than 1/8 finger nail pour.

S: Sweet caramel + roasted chocolate malt. Alcohol well hint.

T: Complex, but full-bodied. Chocolate/caramel up-front to sweet brandy booze on the back end. Not a huge fan of booze in my brew, but this is well hidden. Enjoyable!

M: Smooth and well-balanced beer. No bite and smooth all the way thru.

O: Very tasty. Although mini-carbonation it is quite a good brew. Good as well as complex, but develops quite a bit as it warms.

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Photo of Klym
3.24/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark black with some brown hues. Despite a very violent pour, only a few clear bubbles. This is obviously flat as can be.

S: Brandy, spice, wood, rasin, and plenty of heat.

T: Nose+ some date sweetness. If I were to characterize it briefly I'd say brandy soaked raisins; a little sweet, and some peculiar sourness to the taste.

M: Flat with a medium body and less heat in the mouthfeel than in the nose and taste.

O: Don't bother with brandy angel's share; it really doesn't go well. The mouthfeel alone kills it with the flatness, but the heat and lack of interesting flavor are enough to mock the price. Far too expensive for the experience. Had the bourbon before and it was much better, would love to try the grand cru.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Split with Bendurgin, who got this for me on my birthday! Thanks! Poured into a chalice. Nice dark color, no head just a couple bubbles.

The aroma is sweet; lots of grapey aroma from the brandy, with a chunk of wood and a heaping dose of chocolate in the nose.

The taste is sweet chocolate and brandy through and through. There is a pleasent oaky finish, along with some heat that finishes like brandy. I don't know if this qualifies as "good" because it's sweet and boozy; but I do enjoy it a lot.

The body is thick and rich. There isn't any carbonation really; this is like a fine red wine.

This is tasty with or without carbonation. I'll take it either way. I do wonder how much more I might like it with a bit of carbonation though.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

I got this for Andy for his birthday a while back. Very nice of him to share it with me. Poured into a chalice. Well, this simply looks flat. No head at all and it just looks like a still dark brown mass.

Smells great though. Rich caramel and toffee come to mind with chocolate covered raisins in the aroma. Very rich and sweet smelling with a bit of oak in the aroma. Lots of dark fruity aromas here. Pretty tasty to. Sweet and slight bitter cocoa on the pallet. It seriously reminds me of raisinettes with some booze added. A bit of caramel flavors linger.

This one is flat. That sucks, but it's makes up for that with flavor. Make no mistake, this is a rich beer but it is darn tasty. A little bit of carbonation would easily put this at the top of the charts.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
2.52/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

375 ml bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

A- Very dark brown almost black color, absolutely no carbonation, no head or lacing, not a very attractive beer.
S- Really sweet aroma, vanilla, dark fruits, raisins, plums, sweet caramel, brandy, slight alcohol presence.
T- Wow not what I was expecting, really unusual sour notes, some vanilla, some brandy, vinegar, some malt but the sour taste overpowers everything else. Not impressed.
M- Medium/Big mouth feel, no carbonation whatsoever, sour taste that coats the palate, really thin and watery.
O- I was very let down by this beer, I’ve heard mixed reviews, and all the low carbonation stories that I’ve heard definitely apply to this beer. Under carbonated to a point where it affects the beer, I’ve never had an infected beer, but this one tastes like it might be, the sour notes come out so strong and really take away from the experience. I tried my best to finish this bottle but the taste was just too much, had to drain pour.

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Photo of rarbring
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is deep brown hazy, has a small off-white head, good curtains.

The smell is vinous, sherry, Madeira, sweet dried fruit but also some red vinegar.

The taste is very ripe, dried fruits, strong wine, a dash of vinegar.

No carbonation, fresh, soft and slightly oily, a warm feeling.

This is a very special beer, like other strong barrel aged ones it is best after dinner, as a strong wine.

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Photo of Nashvillain
2.55/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a very deep, dark brown into the glass, borderline light black if there is such a thing. No head or lacing, like week old growler. I do like the color though.

Smell is alcohol, figs, and other dark fruits. Brandy is heavy on the nose, this smells like an old liquor more than any type of beer. Looks like age hasn't tamed this beast.

INFECTION. No carbonation, nothing even remotely appealing about the flavor. Half-way through we all decided this is a drain pour. I will absolutely think long and hard before buying another. I understand QC is hard, but at least release an apology and offer refunds or something similar, a persistent issue for a brewery whose public policy is borderline hubris.

Terrible disappointment.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Lost Abbey : The Angels Share Brandy Barrel Aged 2009 edition.

Corked and caged bottle opens with a small "pffft". Poured into a snifter to capture the aroma, but appeared still upon pouring.

Smell is luscious. Chocolate, Vanilla, Caramel, Brandy, Malty, Butterscotch, Toffee, Candy.

Taste follows the smell somewhat, a gauntlet of flavor, with cocoa, vanilla, big time oak/wood notes. Nice tannins present. Brandy comes through also in a very relaxed fashion, building upon each sip. At times it feels like a Barleywine, with date like fruityness coupled with big doses of caramel and toffee. A pronounced roasted flavor is also very prominant in the taste. Hot damn!

Mouthfeel is ultra smooth, silky, with just a touch of mild carbonation enough to keep this beer from being absolutely still. The small carbonation is enough to carry this big, tasty, sipper/cordial of a beer.

Overall, this is a beer that highlights tastes boldly that I have only experienced hints of previously. I believe its at its peak now, can't imagine this keeping much longer and still being carbonated. A bad mofo of a beer, and this is a sipper worthy of a very intellectual conversation.

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Photo of daveytheformer
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from notes. Poured into a stemmed Lost Abbey tulip

Pours a brownish black with a vry thin khaki head that quickly fades to very light lacing with almost no spotting.

Smells like raisins, caramel, vanilla, figs, sweet chocolate, a little vinous, some brown sugar and quite boozy.

Tastes are more raisins and other dark fruits, vanilla, caramel, oak, a little bit sour (only slightly), and a nice roasted malt flavor blending very well with all the booze.

Mouthfeel is medium if not a little thin for what I was expecting. There is very little carbonation at all.

Overall is really good.

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

2010 Brandy, poured into a tulip. (Can barely read the little yellow brandy 2010 sign stamped onto the bottle)

A: Black, dead, not a sign of head. Trouble I thought, it might be infected.

S: Fish and chips - pungent vinegar. Very sweet, boozy and smells like a bottle of brandy was poured into a horrible apple cider vinegar.

T/M: Infected! This thick, oily beer sticks to my mouth and tastes like I just licked the bottom of a rotting barrel. I want to drip this onto fried food, marinate a steak in it or spray it on roses to deter deer.

A $16 disaster. I have never had a "good" version of this beer, but I will never again risk paying this much money if THIS is my reward.

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Photo of bs870621345
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 version with a big thanks to Jesse for popping this with my bourbon.

Pours a rusty, cloudy brown color with minimal head. Not flat, low carbonated, and no lacing at all.

Smells like molasses, chocolate, caramel, grapes, alcohol, vanilla, and oak.

Taste opens with a hit of grapes and caramel, moving into chocolate and nuttiness. Finishes with caramel, chocolate, and alcohol burn. Sweetness fades and finishes clean. Surprisingly dry for the style.

Mouthfeel is full and plenty of carbonation for the style.

Overall, its pretty good- but over priced.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.29/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to my boy Lunch for sending me this one in a past trade! 2009 Vintage! Tasted back-to-back-to-back with Bourbon and Grand Cru. Served from bottle into a Surly Darkness snifter. Poured a murky dark brown with a basically non-existant off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, wood, massively sweet alcohol (brandy, yum!), and subtle peat. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, wood, very sweet alcohol (more brandy!), and subtle peat. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was an excellent brew. I enjoyed this one quite a bit more than its bourbon counterpart. This could have to do with the fact that I enjoy Brandy over Bourbon, but this one was just much sweeter and more inviting. Definitely great flavor and aroma going on here. Really glad I got the chance to try this along-side the Bourbon version for comparison, but this one definitely took the cake between the two.

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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 zaphodchak
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small pour into a snifter. No head, looks like Coke without the fizz.

Smell is grape, wine, leather, mushroom.

Taste is incredibly potent. Rich, faintly spicy, leathery, tastes like tart port. So rich you'd want to sip it, and only a bit, but magnificently complex and full of flavors that expand the definition of beer.

Mouthfeel is almost water, but this is not a bad thing.

Overall remarkable, but even a small bottle is plenty.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black-ish color with a small tan to no head. In the aroma, dark fruit,, brandy notes and hints of alcohol. In the taste, brandy, small oak notes and alcohol taste in the end. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry to sweet brandy like aftertaste. Big brandy presence, small oak notes, and its a sipper.

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Photo of Krakistophales
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark plum color with no head, no lacing, no carbonation present whatsoever.

S: Grapes, something sugary creamy sweet like maybe caramel, candied fruit, and plenty of sherry aromas

T: Again, plenty of grapes up front, with the middle moving into a sherry booziness, and finishing with a vanilla and oak sort of aftertaste.

O: Not bad. The lack of carbonation makes me a bit worried, but it seems to taste good so I'm willing to keep drinking.

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Photo of Jammies
2.73/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- dark brown, no carbonation, no head....maybe one of the bad bottles...

S- sweet with some deep notes hidden underneath. Resembles the fragrance of a stout.

T- hints of caramel and vanilla, sweet and no hops.

M- light and watery

O- I was a little disappointed, not impressed with the balance. This may have been a bad bottle, I will have to muster up the courage to try this one again.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz bottle from Cava Wines in Saskatoon, no dating, ABV on the label is 11.5%.

Knowing the reputation of the beer I popped the cork and aggressively poured into a tulip, which resulted a small film of bubbles - there's some carbonation!

Pours a dark dark murky brown with hints of cola, much darker than the 'burgundy' on the label lets on. Hints of it, though, around the edges in the light.

Nose is bursting with toffee and figs, smells alot like an English barleywine at first. Caramel and toast join, oak and vanilla with a touch of booze soaked raisins all there.

What I was not expecting was the light sour character, like the juiciness of overripe yet tart fruits - reminds me a little of apricots as well, dry in the finish but bursting in the middle. Loads of toffee, vanilla, oak, prunes, dates, figs, grapes, caramel. Some earth, toast, slight red wine vinegar, cocoa, some booze in the finish but not too hot. Hints of brandy and cherries. Wonderfully complex to drink. Warming, ABV is definitely there!

While there is a little carb on the pour it is practically non-existent in the drinking, never had a beer with so little carbonation. Can't help but think it would be spectacular with a bit more to aid the silky, full mouthfeel, give it a little dipsy-do to go with the dance.

Well made, tasty as all get out but hindered to a certain extent but the low low carbonation. Still, a nice sipper for a cooler evening. Happy with the purchase.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.29/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Teku glass at the BrewDog bar in Edinburgh. 2010 vintage. 11.5%. From notes. Reviewed 29 May 2011.

A: NO head. Super-dark. Red-dark edges. Impenetrable. Impressive and pretty.

S: Huge, towering, and scarily impressive. Dry (an oakiness?), with giant alcoholic fruits, coffee, and distinctive grape. A-freaking-mazing.

T: Gods above! Punchy, grapey, winey. Sour-sweet-dry and toffee-sweet. Oddly sour, very much so, but intensely compelling, sticky, chewy, and complicated. A bit of woodiness? Indescribable. I really like this beer.

M: Anaemic, thing, sour, and vaguely drying. Really...winey.

O: The most wine-like barleywine I've ever encountered. I loved it, but it's not for everyone. Personally, I'd buy another bottle or three, but I'd be cautious about recommending it.

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Photo of Docer
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

2010 Brandy Barrel 12.7oz. bottle. 11.5% alc.

Appearance: (2.0)
- Quite the heavy pour into a small Rogue flute glass (all I really have at the time being). Pours a very dark cola brown with some slight off-white bubbly head.. only a paper thin layer which has pretty much vanished and left the smallest little ring around the perimeter of the brew. Its a nice color, but shows a major lack of carbonation.

Smell: (4.5)
- Wonderful esters, grape, fig, vanilla and oak. A wonderfully sweet malt backing up all the scents. I sure hope it tastes as good as it smells. Such a smooth girthy malt and earthy aroma. One of the best smelling barleywines I have experienced. Brandy indeed.

Taste: (4.5)
- Wonderful esters, fig, and prune notes. Nice subtle brandy notes riding strong along side a wonderful vanilla oak. Greatly melded with rich toffee and caramel malts.. seemingly concentrated down so much into one of the best tasting barleywines. Slight heat from the alcohol, but even as new as it is, it is very well hidden in the wicked good balance and blend. Seriously a great beer.

Mouth Feel: (2.0)
- Medium to light bodied, and just a very slight carbonation that allows a little bubbling on the tongue. It's still enough to call it a beer, though rather short. Slightly mouth watering from an underlying tartness, and a touch chewy from a sweetness that is unmatched. Simply not carbonated enough though at this time.

Overall: (3.5)
- It is such a shame that at this time the beer is so under carbonated. The look of the beer suffered greatly because of the lack of head, lacing, and stability. The mouth feel suffered because it became only a bit watery feeling because of the lack of carbonation as well. Everything else about the beer is stellar. I can't seem to understand why after so many years of this beer being under carbonated, that the issue hasn't been resolved. I am guessing that the yeast in the bottle and some time on my other bottle will hopefully take care of this issue years down the road though I am not keeping my hopes up. Taste and smell though is like no other.

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Photo of beerman207
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Bamadog for the hookup with this brew. Great way to celebrate!

A: Appearance is light brown, no head at all, very oily

S: The nose of this is vanilla, bourgon, cedar, strong malt

T: Very strong vanilla and some brandy in the flavor. Very complex brew that has some booze creeping in even after 3 years of age!

M: Based on the pour, I thought the mouthfeel would be awful but it was quite good.

O: Glad to have finally tried this one. Overall, it's a really good and complex beer. Could be overhyped a bit but then again I wouldn't pass up another bottle if I found one!

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the famous 09', though I enjoy this quite a bit more than most I think and I dont mind the low carbonation one bit.

A: Reddish dark brown color thats thick with little to no carbonation evident. No head or lacing, it looks like a dark spirit to me which I would say is more or less appropriate to style.

S: Lots of ripe dark fruits and raisins, prunes, alcohol ethanol sweetness and a little heat, oak big time, brandy is certainly there nicely, dark malts, butterscotch, toffee, caramel and maybe even more. Very rich complex aroma, would be a 5 without the burn in the nostrils when you stick your nose in there.

T: I get lots of butterscotch at first then a wash of sugared plums and prunes. Definitely alcohol flavors make a statement in this and add to the depth of the flavors. Almost a Dr. Pepper/coke like dark sweetness on top of the copious malt base in this beer. Savory meat notes, maple, and more combine in each sip, again reminding me of sipping a brandy in many ways.

M: The feel is like a spirit and has a bunch of alcohol heat that I didn't expect in an older vintage. Not a lot of carbonation but I think it works with something this dense and coating.

Overall I enjoyed this beer quite a bit!

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.78/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Flat, viscous, brown (hint of orange). Very little carbonation and no lacing. It looks like a glass of cola that has been left out over night.

S - Vanilla and oak - they sure deliver on those promises. Bourbon, molasses and alcohol. A nice aroma after all.

T - Initially, it is vanilla, cola and alcohol. Then the taste morphs into cola, oak, vanilla, molasses and alcohol. Aftertaste is of... uh, play-dough, grilled moss and alcohol (it is weird - but better than it sounds). Honestly, it tastes a bit like jack and coke - maybe with a splash of vanilla extract.

M - Thick like syrup and a little of an alcohol burn. Pretty refreshing though.

D - This is basically bottled jack and coke - for fifteen dollars. Honestly... for the price I am very disappointed. If the bottle was five dollars, I'd be less bitter and never buy it again because I'm not a huge fan. For the price I expected more, but this just isn't very good. I'm disappointed and saddened.

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Photo of bamadog
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cracked this one for celebrating my buddy/boss's interim appointment to a pretty big position! Review is from notes taken on 6/18/2011 and poured from the bottle (2008) to a snifter

Appearance: Pour is a dark, murky mahogany and butterscotch color (perhaps I say butterscotch, though, because of the smell?); body looks kind of dead and shows no signs of life/carbonation; a lot of oily residue is left clinging to the sides of the glass, definitely an apparent aspect of the higher ABV and time in the brandy barrel; body, as stated, is murky, but not opaque; no lacing is left behind at all.

Smell: Easily my favorite part about this beer -- smell is big and robust with lots of sweet caramel/butterscotch malts, slight hints of chocolate; definite booziness to it, and I actually wouldn't be able to tell you it is from time in a brandy barrel, because it is still reminiscent of the big bourbony scent from many other barrel aged beers.

Taste: Matches the nose so well, oh so well... Lots of big sweet caramel and butterscotch malts, tastes like melted Werther's Originals mixed with a little bit of dry cocoa powder and spirits; ABV is definitely present, but it is still blended well amongst all of the other big flavors hanging around this beer; very warm, vanilla oakiness to it.

Mouthfeel: Unfortunately, the MF falls into the area where these beers seem to get the least amount of love; the body was essentially entirely flat, and it felt a little thinner compared to the bourbon barrel aged version; body is still slick and oily, though, and I feel that the strength of the flavors carry enough of their own merit to not be too bogged down by a weaker body.

Overall: Well worth drinking, but I feel that the three years it's had in the bottle have been good for it, but much more I feel that it would start to slip. A great beer overall, though, I will always support Tomme when I get the chance.

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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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