Sede Vacante | The Lost Abbey

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Sede VacanteSede Vacante
BA SCORE
4.15/5
Exceptional
144 Ratings
Sede VacanteSede Vacante
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States
lostabbey.com

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Sede Vacante is a blend of Barleywine aged in Cognac barrels and Brandy barrel-aged Angel’s Share and at packaging came in at 15% ABV. A contemplative beer with substantial depth, Sede Vacante imparts tones of dark fruit and vanilla, with a warming finish from the Cognac. The strongest beer to emerge from The Lost Abbey, portions of the beer spent almost 5 years in a barrel. Sede Vacante can be enjoyed immediately or cellared till the next Papal Conclave, however long that may be.

Added by MasterSki on 03-14-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
17
Ratings:
144
pDev:
10.36%
 
 
Wants:
76
Gots:
33
Trade:
6
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 144 |  Reviews: 17
Photo of t2grogan
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of macrosmatic
3.71/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks as always to eyebereej for this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from a corked and caged 750 mL bottle into an El Catador Barrel-Aged glass.
2013 bottling, consumed 9.23.18.

A: Murky dark brown, with minimal head and carbonation. Opaque. Not particularly pretty.

S: Boozy bourbon and sherry (or I assume cognac) up front. Sweet malts, notes of brown sugar and molasses. Some oak tannins. Some dark fruits and maybe lightly tart cherries.

T: Bourbon, oak, and chocolatey malts. Some dry French oak from the cognac. This is counterbalanced by the sweet chocolatey malts, milder dark fruits, and a touch of vanilla. Some brown sugar sweetness mixes into the malt body. Some lingering boozy heat after the swallow, though the dry tannins persist the longest.

M: A surprisingly thin body for anything this ABV…borderline watery compared to my expectations. The alcohol is obvious, though I wouldn’t have guessed anywhere close to 15%. Carbonation sensation is low, but not flat still.

O: This was a decent strong ale, but other than the ABV strength, there's not much here that I'd actively seek out again. Still, it was enjoyable to have once.

 1,155 characters

Photo of hopkrid
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of SimcoeKid
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Kplummer82
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mothman
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Flat. No head.
Color is a dark red wine Ruby color.

A lot of wine and cognac flavors. Very sweet and port like. Caramel and brown sugar. Toffee. Plums and cherries. Vanilla. Oak and bourbon.

Only flaw is the carbonation is a bit too low. I don't mind low carbonation, but this was just a bit too low. Otherwise berry enjoyable. Dessert beer.

 344 characters

Photo of jakemn91
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Raziel313
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of IMFletcher
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The nose is amazing, dark fruits and booze. The brandy barrel finish is amazing. But without any carbonation, it takes a serious hit on an overall rating. Otherwise it's noteworthy.

 181 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia for the Papal visit, September 2015. Fitting name and ale indeed! Good color, classic Lost Abbey strong ale look. Smells like old ale, dark fruit, port wine, Pedro Ximenez. The taste follows the nose, but weaker. And then the deadly-thin mouthfeel kills it for me. Watery, unremarkable finish. Drinks easy for a 15% brew, but sadly, I would not revisit.

 391 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PG2G
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ATeamMusic
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasting fantastic! This beer has aged and done exactly what it should!

71 characters

Photo of linnymtu
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BradleySig
4.95/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just bought the very last bottle of this from the brewery. Truly remarkable.

76 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of StoutSnob40
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Carbonation aside, and there is literally none, this beer smells and tastes amazing. Deep, rich flavor from the barrels, this beer drinks strong, but not 15% strong.

 165 characters

Photo of saxclar123
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Sanderson
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of stimulus
4.4/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Hopheadhiker
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of jeff1973
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of claspada
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of bcrossan
4/5  rDev -3.6%

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Sede Vacante from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 144 ratings