The Angel’s Share

The Angel's Share labelThe Angel’s Share is a Lost Abbey Strong Ale that is barrel-aged for six months and is a respectable 10.5% alcohol by volume. My paltry one-line description there doesn’t do it justice; here’s the description from the website (and bottle):

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 barrels. The beer spends almost six months in oak before it is packaged for release.

It was the next of the three Lost Abbeys I opened up for our friends this weekend. It’s also the one I wrote the least amount of notes for, but it stands out pretty well for me.

Appearance: Reminds me of a cola—dark brown, almost black, the tan-brown head. Interestingly, it has purple highlights.

Smell: Distinctive. Oaky, bourbony, a tad smoky, a hint of sour mash, rich full malt.

Taste: OMG. (Yes, I really wrote that.) This is amazing. Rich, dark, has the most amazing bourbon character you could imagine… not sweet, but full of vanilla, oak, charcoal, caramel, biscuit, honey malt, whiskey… layered and nuanced, subtle and bold, utterly drinkable. Brilliant.

Mouthfeel: Imagine how perfect a beer feels in the mouth that I’ve described above… like that. Just right.

Overall: Not much more I can say, except that our friends Paul and Sandi had gone to the Deschutes Brewery‘s barrel tasting the weekend before, so I asked them if the Deschutes barrel-aged beers were comparable or as good. "They weren’t," they assured me. And these are people who really like Deschutes.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores 89 out of 100 and garners 100% approval from reviewers. On RateBeer, it scores 4.31 out of 5 and is in their 100th percentile.

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