Sede Vacante | The Lost Abbey

BA SCORE
89
very good
141 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Ratings:
141
Reviews:
16
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
10.84%
 
 
Wants:
76
Gots:
35
For Trade:
8
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 141 |  Reviews: 16
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at GRG1313’s tasting.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is malt, caramel, toffee, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great smell and tasty flavors.

 524 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of mothman
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
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 wethorseblanket
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.71/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Murky brown. No head. Not even a pop when it opens. Lifeless on the pour.

Smell - Brandy is very prominent. Vanilla and oak. Raisins and tons of caramel. Not that hot.

Taste - Brandy is still prominent. Nice oak. Sweet caramel and raisins. The liquor comes through in the back end. Just a touch of astringency in the finish. Hot and sweet in the back.

Mouthfeel - Flat. Not that boozy. Sweet.

Overall - Good, nice barrel. Not worth the price at all. The carbonation doesn't detract at all.

 545 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of MasterSki
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to Sean for sharing this one; I've wanted to try it since I first read about it. Served in a taster glass.

A - It's flat. Murky, turbid, dark brown body. I was expecting this, and it's not completely offensive for a 15% beer.

S - Loads of oak, vanilla, sweet brandy and cognac notes, a marzipan/almond note, dark fruits, and intensifying vinous character as the beer warms. Alcohol is surprisingly well-hidden; I'd never suspect this was higher in ABV than Angel's Share.

T - The taste is again surprisingly mellow, with loads of dark fruit, chocolate, vanilla, sweet brandy and cognac, red licorice, and oak, albeit far less of the latter than in the aroma. Alcohol is again quite well-hidden, although it creeps in as the beer warms up.

M - Medium-full in body, with a tannic, dry, oaky, and viscous texture. Unsurprisingly, it is still, but it's not a huge problem for a beer of this style. Light alcohol warmth but yet again, fairly mellow.

D - I liked this quite a bit, and it's a great deal more restrained than regular Angel's Share. You can really tell the age of some of the blend components, and I think Tomme has struck a really nice balance between spirit, oak, alcohol heat, oxidation, and so forth. Would a few bubbles help? Sure. Still, it's pretty drinkable for what it is, although I might balk at the price tag.

 1,345 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of IrishColonial
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of beernads
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of ShanePB
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of eawolff99
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sede Vacante from The Lost Abbey
4.06 out of 5 based on 141 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.