The Lost Abbey

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American Strong Ale
Ranked #8
Ranked #621
4.33 | pDev: 9.01%
The Lost Abbey
California, United States
Notes: Cue the banjos...A blend of Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout and Brandy Barrel Aged Barleywine. One of our highest and most sought after non sour aged releases.
Reviews: 463 | Ratings: 2,014 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
3.96/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2013 Vintage
375ml cork and cage bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours deep brown, almost black in color with a one-finger foamy off-white head that has short retention and leaves nothing behind

S- aroma opens with an array of dark fruits; figs, raisins, prunes and quite a bit of brandy barrel. Caramel and toffee, walnuts, cocoa, molasses, a bit of a port wine quality as well

T- the dark fruits follow the nose with a mix of raisins, figs and prunes up front, followed by molasses, brown sugar and toffee notes. Mid-palate gives a bit of chocolate, as well as dark grape notes of the brandy. The finish brings out a hint of bourbon oak, as well as more dark fruits. Lingers of brandy and figs

M medium body with almost zero carbonation leads to a flat mouthfeel and a thick bodied finish

O- the brandy seems to really compliment the dark fruit notes that come from the base beer

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Photo of snaotheus
3.76/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

375ml corked/caged bottle given to me by a friend. I think the stamp on the side of it says vintage 2013. No idea where my friend found this thing -- I know he just picked it up.

Pours black with very little head and very little carbonation. Looks somewhat thin. Smell is rich -- molasses and chocolate, booze, vanilla, oak. Probably anise, maybe a little smoke.

Taste has a suggestion of sweetness and a suggestion of fruit tartness, strong roast/chocolate bitterness, some toffee, a little raisin.

Mouthfeel is fairly thin. Overall, it's pretty good.

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Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, though, to me, there's also a hint of red in this beer. There's almost no head. What little is there is brown, and forms a ring around the glass.
The nose is quite strong with the aroma from the barrels. I get hints of dark fruit. Somewhat sweet aroma.
Taste - wow! A major mixture of flavors going on here. Some chocolate, cherries, caramel. There's a hint of bitterness also.
Thick smooth body. Some alcohol burn, but not much.
Delicious beer for a very cold night.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Fully black. Small cap of dark brown head on top. Expected for the style and ABV. Little to no lace or retention, but again, appropriate for ABV.

S - Full on dark fruit. Boozy but not sharp or hot. Licorice and sprits. Dates, chocolate, almonds. Definitely rides the line between RIS and Barleywine.

T - More sharp and Barley-wineesque than aroma let on. Sugary dark fruits, less spirit character and more roast, chocolate, coffee flavour. Lot's of candied fruits and big date, sugary plum notes.

M - Very full body and fairly dry. Carbonation is appropriate and not leaning in too strong or too weak a direction.

O/D - This is pretty nice. Maybe too much of both sides of the coin, but definitely rich, sweet, complex, and contemplative. More sweet towards the Barleywine realm than I would've preferred but it's a damn good sipper. Barrel character isn't there enough, but definitely enjoyable.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter. Bourbon barrel-aged stout blended with brandy barrel-aged barelywine. Dark, complex, tons of barrel, good amount of booze. Delicious!

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter glass from the bottle.

Appearance: Timmy thick black body with a brown tint and a head which rose initially have a finger's length off the body coming off a light tan color. Sells quick for the first sip.

Smell: heavy heavy heavy whiskey with a touch of molasses super strong at first scent.

Taste: extremely complex bro consisting of molasses whiskey grapes in a touch of chocolate and sweet barley. The beer is absolutely all over the place.

Mouth: sweet finish which comes off a touch dry with medium carbonation but absolutely a full body. Coordination is medium at best.

Overall: might be the best beer I have had in 2019, I absolutely will never forget this beer and moves up to and remains at one of my top enchalant of beers.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage; drank 9/29/15 @ California Split.

Black/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a minimal khaki head; no lace.

Marshmallow, red wine & bakers chocolate notes in the nose.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Red wine, milk chocolate & marshmallow flavors up front; oak notes on the finish. Booze heat emerged as this warmed. A rich, tasty treat with less booze heat after a year.

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Photo of 5toutman75
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First thing I notice is the lack of carbonation. The vintage of the bottle is indecipherable but I think its a ‘16. It looks like a 3 day open old stout from my fridge and I worry that there’s something wrong with it before I taste it. REading the reviews mention the low carbonation removes my concerns though. A dark brown color with the thickness of a porter rather than a stout. The smell isn’t very strong, but I get some chocolate and bourbon notes. Taste wise matches the smell. The alcohol is well hidden. The lack of carbonation is coming back to bother me and takes away from the score overall. I’m glad to have finally tried this and would be curious to try it on tap or fresh. At $18 a bottle though, I’ve had better with the golden age of super stouts that can be found now.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2017 vintage. Poured from 375 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a super dark black-brown with 1/4 dark mocha head that quickly settles to a thin skim.
S: Sweet bourbon, brown sugar, smooth dark chocolate, raisin, leather, vanilla, and a bit of wood char.
T: Sweet bourbon with smooth dark chocolate hits first, quickly followed by raisin, brown sugar, vanilla, and hints of sweet tobacco and leather.
M: Super smooth. Alcohol is present, but so well hidden. Darkly sweet. Excellent lingering and maturation on the palate.
D: Layered complexity. Wonderful sipper! Surprisingly drinkable given the blend components. Another awesome beer from Lost Abbey.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Caged and corked bottle poured into a teku

Black, syrupy motor oil which crowned with a brown pencil thin layer that quickly subsides

aroma of brandy, dark fruits, raisin

taste has the brandy, dark fruits

velvety smooth but with a slight carbonation in the back of the mouth

good beer

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Photo of emyers
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into snifter.

Dark brown with a half inch brown head.

Nose: sweet caramelized sugar and dark fruit dominate. Brandy and a bit of chocolate character.

Taste: Follows the nose - dark fruit, brandy, oak, bittersweet chocolate. Some alcohol heat on the finish. Finishes a touch sweet.

Feel: full-bodied, low carbonation, very smooth.

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Photo of rand
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

375 mL corked bottle into a snifter

Dark, sludgy brew with almost no head or apparent carb...crude oil.

Nose carries notes of molasses, carob, raisin, and plenty of booze.

Lots of oak and floral notes on the palate, playing off the molasses and raisin detected in its bouquet. Subtle hints of vanilla and tabacco are noted, especially towards the finish. Super oily and sludgy, with almost no carbonation. Long finish with sticky-sweet residuals between sips.

A nice, satisfying sipper, but could use a little carbonation, at least to cleanse the palate a bit.

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Pitch black with amber tips at edge; opaque with minimal bubbles that dissipate quickly.

S - Powerful nose; sweet prunes and malt; raisins, cherries, and brandy.

T - Sweet and boozy; malts, prunes, and a faint bitter aftertaste.

M - Thick with low carbonation.

O - Strong flavor, strong smell. Very impressive.

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Photo of Stevedore
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml cork and caged bottle. 2014 vintage. Served in a snifter glass. Dark black body, slight cola brown hue, one finger white head, good retention with no lacing. Smell is bourbon and brandy, which seem to have coalesced well. Light sweet candied sugar, dark fruit, toasted grains, touch of chocolate. Pretty much your standard strong ale with a fair bit of barrel. Flavour is similar and follows the nose. It's coalesced quite well, in my opinion. A bit hot still, with a good mouthfeel and body, low on carbonation.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.94/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours very black with a thin khaki tan head. Aroma of dark fruits, vanilla and bourbon. Flavors of oak, cherries, bourbon, slight anise and chocolate. Very thick feel that coats the palate. Overall, extremely impressive and highly recommended!

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Photo of FLima
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Nice presentation with a deep black color with a thick caramel head with good retention.
Delicious aroma with predominant notes of cocoa, mild bourbon, pine, cognac, licorice and dark fruits.
Rich flavor with notes of cocoa powder, dark chocolate, cognac-rum, licorice, citrusy, piney and earthy hops, soy, mint, molasses, tobacco, bourbon, plums, vanilla and a bit of peat. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Full body with perfect carbonation. A bit sticky. Alcohol of 12.1% completes the experience and it feels lowers.
Excellent American Strong Ale. Complex, the kind you can go on and on, with a strong personality, but with an appropriate cap of individual flavor intensity, so that no one is left alone in the backstage. Interestingly, if you pay attention, you can really differentiate both barrel aged stages with bourbon and brandy.

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Photo of bret717
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look- motor oil black; thin tan head; some patchy lacing

Aroma- dark chocolate, smoke, leather, raisin, booze

Taste- follows nose very closely, finishes with a warming alcohol burn and some lingering chocolate

Feel- medium-bodied

Overall- very enjoyable sipper with a nice medley of flavors and smells that meld nicely

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Photo of chrisrose30
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The bourbon and the brandy are definitely apparent in this beer, but they blend together nicely to create a pretty amazing beer. Upon pouring, the head dissipates quickly, and the nose is strongly brown sugar, some molasses, booze, and black licorice. It's definitely a sipper, with a creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this isn't my favorite from TLA, but it's quite nice.

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Photo of CHickman
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black color with a creamy/foamy 1+ finger khaki colored head that was packed with very tiny bubbles, fading very slowly and leaving a creamy layer on top after it dissipated. Minimal spotty lacing as expected.

Smells rich, intense and boozy up front, like burying my nose in a barrel or at least of fine glass of brandy or cognac. This has that dark fruit and raisin sweetness, followed by brandy or cognac or bourbon or dark rum. Toffee, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, oaky notes, dark chocolate and a ton of malty sweetness persist, but this still smells like a good strong ale with a ton of complexities and very interesting boozy/barrel accents. Wet tobacco and leather also come to mind as this goes between boozy, malty and fruity. Really wonderful to inhale.

Tastes brings much of the same as the nose with a dark fruit and booze sweetness that starts off in your face, but settles into earthy and oaky notes with the bourbon and brandy bringing a lot of complexities like burnt coffee, cocoa, tobacco and peat moss. Dark fruit like cherry, plum and raisin mix with vanilla, brown sugar, light piney hops, maple syrup, toffee, molasses, roasted nuts and port wine or brandy. The wood and peat moss aspects add some smoky highlights which seem to give a dry feel and help to mask the 12.5% ABV. Milk chocolate, espresso and bakers chocolate show up late as it fades with a combo of sweet and bitter. Each sip was different, full of flavor, and part of a lovely tug of war for attention.

A smooth feel while remaining thick and textured, this slid down easier than it should and is best drank as a slow sipper since it improves as it warms. The sweetness remains in check throughout, the ABV is masked perfectly and the slight bitterness adds to the overall complexities and experience. A damn fine beer, I'd love to get my hands on another bottle.

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Photo of bnes09
4.01/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark chocolate brown. Ample cinnamon head. Plenty of creamy lacing. Bourbon, roasted malt, nutmeg, molasses and veggie aroma. Flavor follows with more emphasis on the nutmeg spice. Smooth wood and sweet, malty character overall. Dense, syrupy feel. Subtle bubbles. Thick and sticky on the tongue. Solid.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

375 ml bottle - 2017 version

L - Pitch black, rich, no head or lacing - looks like death!

S - Bourbon, burned brown sugar, brandy, sugar cane. Tons of booze. It doesn't hide. Every aroma dominates - impressive

T - Sugary sweet, bourbon and brandy booze penetrate your senses. Booze will knock you out - nothing hidden here!

F - Full body and low carbonation.

O - An amazing slow sipper - lots of sweetness but perfectly blended with bourbon and brandy. Awesome brew

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Photo of buschbeer
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black and is topped with less than an inch of mocha head that leaves no lacing.

The smell is amazing. I get caramel, vanilla, alcohol, chocolate, and oak.

The taste equals, if not exceeds, the smell. I taste chocolate, caramel, and vanilla with a semi dry, oaky finish.

Full, creamy, slick mouthfeel

This beer is damn delicious. I am going to buy everything I see from Lost Abbey the next time I am in a state in which it is distributed.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - dark brown black beer with a minimal brown head at first that dissapears quick
S - big bourbon, brandy, dark malts, chocolate, vanilla, oak, toasted coconut, booze
T - again big bourbon, brandy, sweet booze, dark malts, chocolate, molasses, oak, toasted coconut
M - heavy, alc present but appropriate, aftertaste is bourbon and brandy, vanilla, sweet booziness
O - great beer. Too damn expensive at 15 bucks. God damn guys.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours a deep dark brown-but really black. Really small 1/2 finger head in the glass. There is some nice lacing and seemingly more of a foam ring as it sits and warms. Seems a bit flat at first, but we are talking about a 12.5% ABV brew and barrel aged.

Smell: Very sweet, chocolatey, hints of coffee and tobacco, caramel, and very BOOZY! Smells very dessert like. Plum, raisin, and dates.

Taste: Wow, a huge blast / bite of alcohol that simultaneously rushes to the taste buds along with chocolate and coffee. Sweetness comes through strong. There is a lot going on and very complex. You get a lot of barrel notes - nutty flavors, charred oak, the leeched out the bourbon and brandy barrels. Fades out with some smokey notes and chocolate - dries out. Plum, raisin, and dates. Very flavorful.

Feel: Quite rich and full bodied for a beer that is so high in ABV and barrel aged.

Overall: This is an amazing brew. Not one for a hot day and just after mowing the lawn. I wanted to mix with some half-and-half to make an awesome mixed drink - like a White Russian. This would make a good sauce when reduced and then poured over a huge bowl of ice cream. Very good heavy and boozy stout. Grab one if you can!

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Photo of larryarms847
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a silky and dark brown and looks like motor oil in the glass with a thin ring of light tan foam.

Richly sweet aroma of caramel, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, char, chocolate, and nice roastiness.

A wave of oak, char, vanilla, and bourbon flavors wash over the palate immediately lending way to sweet chocolate and caramel undertones.

Full-bodied, low carbonation, rich, slick, oily, and chewy.

Overall, this beer is fantastically intricate and does not disappoint.

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Deliverance from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 2014 ratings