The Angel's Share Grand Cru | The Lost Abbey

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The Angel's Share Grand CruThe Angel's Share Grand Cru

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 16.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A blend of both bourbon and brandy barrel aged Angel's Share aged in oak barrels from 1-5 years

Added by Bitterbill on 02-15-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 110 | Ratings: 266
Photo of Overlord
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pains me to write this review. Ugh.

Bottle opened with a noticeable pop. A low, but appropriate, level of carbonation for the beer. The mouthfeel benefited greatly from this not being a brew designed for wine drinkers and "foodies."

Pours a blackish brown with maybe a hint of amber to it. Smells really, really complex. Whoa. Some chocolate, some molasses/rum, a bit of ... grape-y fruit???? ... some earth tones, a kind of caramel nuttiness. Pretty darn complex. No bourbon/alcohol notes in the nose.

Taste is, again, pretty deliciously complex. Molasses, some chocolate, a surprising amount of dark fruit and ... I swear that's grapes ... and a hint of oakiness to it. The dark earth, caramel, nut, and choco-molasses really are offset nicely by some of the more exotic flavors.


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Photo of alcstradamus
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours near black in color with 2 fingers of head into my Dogfish Head signature glass. A half inch layer of foam camped out for quite a while. Be careful when pouring this one, as there was large chunk of sludge that came out as I was rinsing the bottle out. Didn't expect that considering the beer is only a couple weeks old, and luckily it didn't end up in my glass.

The smell is a very rich blend of buttery toffee, caramel, molasses, dark chocolate, a bit of alcohol heat, oak, walnuts, marshmallow, earthy hops...I could keep going on and on. Just layer after layer of aroma.

At first sip, while the beer is still a touch too cold, the flavor is dominated by dry oak and tannins. The addition of the Cab Franc grapes definitely does not go unnoticed. As warming ensues, those tannins begin to disappear and are replaced by a leathery chocolate character, along with a bit of the fruitiness from the grapes. At this young stage the alcohol is noticeable but not quite as hot as fresh single barrel Angel's Share releases. The overall flavor is also not quite as brash, which really could be a positive or a negative depending on what type of beer you prefer...for me though, it seems to be a fairly neutral change.

The mouthfeel here is wonderful. Rich and creamy, almost full bodied, good levels of soft carbonation. Perhaps a tad too dry which is why it doesn't get a 5 here.

Drinkabilty is solid. This is a beer I would love to revisit. I'm not sold on the aging ability though...I think it is smooth enough at this point that it is probably already at its peak. Overall it is a wonderful beer that is unfortunately overpriced, but if you are a fan of other Angel's Share releases then it is something you should definitely seek out at least one bottle of.

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Photo of mrkrispy
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

With disdain for the pricing in my head, I picked a couple of these up from the Brewery. Love me some Angel's Share, especially after a disappointing 2009, and the blend info had me interested. I bought the bottle the day of the release, opened it a few weeks later.

Undid the cage, twisted the cork off to a surprising *POP*. I immediately got a whiff of black strap molasses. Poured in to a tulip while cold, with a nice centimeter head. Bubbles!

Chilled thoughts: big molasses and bourbon aroma, brown sugar, hint of booze. Thick, full body, perfect carbonation(!). A bit sweet, but very complex with ghosts of familiarity, chocolate, toffee. No coffee or burnt roasty character, a plus for me. Not getting the wine character I thought I would get. A thick molasses stout finish, bit of twang.

Once warmed: Dark sugar and molasses aroma everywhere, hint of alcohol and some caramel booze. I smell Brandy Angel's Share. Big beautiful flavor, carmalized sugar and molasses coating the mouth and tongue. Melted semi-dark chocolate taste. Now warmed, I get a wine note, some tannins. No oak yet. Malt, chocolate, and dark sugars sticking around. The depth is perplexing. Tannins with rich chocolate remaining on the palate, cherries too? I get some oak in the background, very well disguised. The twinge of the cab is there, but would you notice it if not told of it? Could it be giving the faint cherry flavor? I don't know. The alcohol is well hidden, virtually no hot flavors, incredible right now. Slight tan head remained the hour or so I drank it. For those worried about carbonation, this is perfect.

This beer is outstanding straight from the fridge. It is down right phenomenal warmed. Wow. I think the most intriguing aspect of this beer is what could come from aging since it is so incredible now...will the molasses and dark sugars subside, allowing more wine character to show thru? Those flavors are a wee bit too bold for me at the moment. Minimal hotness, great mouthfeel, most of it is aged, will it have legs? I would love to test out blends of older and newer Brandy and Bourbon Angel's Share to see if you can get a fair homemade approximation. I don't find the price reasonable, but I don't review based on price, and I can't say I regret handing over a left nut for a bottle after this. World Class, easy.

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Photo of Nesued
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12.7oz bottle, obtained as a member of the Lost Abbey "Sinners 2010" Club.

A refreshing pop emitted when I pulled the cork. After previous years of the Angel's Share, this was a good sign.

Appearance - Black, plain and simple, black. A very small tan head formed upon the inital pour.

Smell - Wonderful opening oak/wood notes followed by a rich caramel and sweet nose. Catching a bit of grape/fruit aromas as well, almost reminds me of DFH's midas touch a bit. Some bourbon/brandy aromas as well. I poured this cold and came back to it as it warmed. The nosed opened up a lot to include some vanilla and more oak notes. So very much going on.

Taste - The deep oak flavors are the first to emerge followed by some vanilla notes, warming alcohol middle and a strong malty finish. The grape notes in the aroma are present, but far in the background. So well-balanced in this "near barleywine".

Mouthfeel - A very light carbonation is perfect for this offering. Not too much, not absent. It assists in transporting the flavors around your mouth. Medium to medium-heavy density. Overall good for all the the beer has going on for itself.

Drinkability - Drink this at room temp, otherwise you are cheating both yourself and the beer. What a pleasure to enjoy this over a few hours in front of a warm file. Such a rich and well constructed marrying of barrels to produce an outstanding finished product. Kudos.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml corked and caged bottle. The label says "Malt Beverage Aged In Oak Barrels With Grapes"

A small pop when I removed the cork, it pours a very If not black, a very very dark brown as no light shines through when I hold up my glass to the light.

A normal pours gives me a fine layer of foam with a wee bit of lacing. The look is definitely impressive and can I say...hopeful?

On to the smell and wow. There can be no doubt about any oak aging when I smell this. Finally getting over that delighful part of the aroma, I get oodles of a grape nose along with some nice caramel malt sweetness but the grape and oak dominate big time. Let a wine fancier smell this one and I'd bet they'd like to take the next step and taste it.

Can the taste live up to the smell? Here goes.
The sweet notes from the caramel malt are actually the first flavours I taste quickly followed by that awesome woody slightly nutty flavour and the taste of grapes actually brings up the rear. Yum, I say. And there's a nice tingle from the carbonation during each swallow. Yes. I said it. Carbonation. It's still light but I can't see *anyone* saying this beer is flat!

The body is on the light side of medium, the carbonation...I already covered that.

Drinkability? 12%abv American Strong Ale. Yes, it is a Strong Ale and the abv is there though not in my face. Grab yourself a chair, sit down on it, and sit back and relax with a Lost Abbey Grand Cru. Enjoy what this beer brings to the table. Look at the bottom of your glass and see the chocolate coloured sediment sitting there. Revel in the tastiness of what Lost Abbey has added to their line. Yeah. If you haven't guessed yet, I'm very impressed with it. Super highly recommended and I hope to share it with 3 of my trading partners soon. :^)

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Photo of jrallen34
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this on tap into a tasting glass at NotB.

The beer pours black with a light tan head. The head only rises a little, has good retention but poor watery lacing.

The aroma is super sweet with lots of syrup on the front, then some nice oak and bourbon at the end. Its really sweet but in a nice way that really draws you in.

The taset is more balanced then the aroma, I was excpeecting a ton of sweet. It was sweet but not so sweet to become annoying. The front has lots of vanilla and oak, it reminds me a lot of GI BCS, 08 version, but not as refined yet. Maybe a couple more batches and this will be really really special.

The feel is warm, full, and has a long lasting oak finish.

Overall, this was one of the best beers of the night. It needs a little tweaking to be perfect, but its darn close now.

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Photo of Bajasith
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed the maximmum bottle allowed at Port Brewing February 13, 2010. Opened today as I uncorked, a nice pop followed.

A: Very dark brown opaque followed by a nice thin head that leter laced very well on a snifter glass.
S: A distinct smell of grapes perfectly aged in oak barrels and the aroma of the caramel mixed in with the 12% abv. I could almost taste this brew by just the arome... sweet... love it.
T: Wow... Everything just blends in very well. The taste of oak hits you as the fruity flavor of sour grapes and caramel blend in and the carbonation explodes the intesity of the flavor while the alcohol dissipates the earthy tones down the palate.
M: I could almost chew this brew... So good I wish I could.
D: Great brew for special occasions... High alcohol content will limit the amount you can drink, but overall an exceptional brew.

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Photo of nickd717
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap (?) at Toronado barleywine fest 2010. The question mark there is due to the fact that I heard this beer didn't exist on tap, but it was definitely Angels Share Grand Cru on the list for this fest. Maybe they poured it out of bottles behind the scenes - who knows?

Pours very dark brown and more opaque than pretty much anything else there. A nice one-finger tan head sits on top and lasts a long time.

Amazing aroma: caramel, chocolate, brandy, bourbon, red grapes, and oak.

Flavor is also really excellent, as all Angels Share incarnations are when they're carbonated. Brandy and bourbon along with cabernet grapes, oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, chocolate, and mild roast. So much going on there. Also a little alcohol.

Fairly full body with a great carbonation level (medium-low) and a little booziness, but not enough to make it a chore to drink. Nice one, Tomme.

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Photo of thedindaniel
4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Scored two 375 ml bottles at the release at the Lost Abbey with some good friends and couldn't help but open one the very same night.

Poured this into my Double Bastard tumblers (I like these for strong ales) and believe it or not, it was carbonated! The beer was a very dark raisin/prune brown color. Though there was bubbles, the small amount of white head that I got died down within a few minutes.

The smell is amazing, caramel, toffee and vanilla. Tomme could easily sell this as a perfume to beer geeks.

It starts slightly sweet and ends with a woody-bitter taste. I would even say that the barrel flavors leave behind a peppery taste. The beer is smooth and the medium carbonation works well with the beer.

This beer drinks a bit hotter than the Brandy 09 but I can see how this will be great after a year or two to mellow out. Even so, definitely enjoyable now. Note... do not fret if you cannot get your hands on this beer, while I really liked it, I found it to be VERY similar to a standard AS. But that might just be my unrefined taste buds.

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Photo of largadeer
4.84/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado's barleywine fest on Saturday. Numerous other beers were ignored so that I could savor a few glasses of this.

Opaque dark chocolate brown in the glass, topped by a quater-inch of caramel-colored froth. The head recedes to a crown that lasts until I finish my glass.

The aroma has a beautiful balance between barrel and beer; I smell brown sugar, raisins, figs and toffee alongside strong but not overwhelming bourbon, which seems to have taken precedence over the brandy barrel components. There's a slightly tart vinous quality along with subtle sherry-like oxidation in the background. Alcohol is present but subtle, lending another layer to the complex aroma.

Similar flavors are present on the palate, opening with brown sugar, sweet and tart dark fruit, caramel, lightly boozy bourbon and earthy oxidation. Dried fruit and sherry appear mid-palate along with a kick of bourbon, though it's all remarkably smooth and balanced. The blending of new and old vintages was handled brilliantly; there's a bit of fire from the newer vintages and a bit of oxidation from the older, with neither one overwhelming the palate. The cabernet franc-infused component of the blend makes its presence known as well, lending a vinous backbone that's simultaneously sweet and tart. The body is smooth, rich and nearly void of any harshness, and carbonation is at a perfect moderate level, while the finish lingers on for ages with flavors of dark fruit, sherry, tannins and brown sugar. Easily my favorite batch of Angel's Share yet.

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The Angel's Share Grand Cru from The Lost Abbey
4.36 out of 5 based on 266 ratings.
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