Lost Abbey Angel's Share - Port Brewing Company, San Marcos
Lost Abbey has a reputation for brewing great beer. I've only been lucky enough to try a few of their beers while on vacation. What few Lost Abbey beers I've had, I've enjoyed quite a bit but I haven't bothered to bring any bottles home with me until recently. I would've loved to bring one bottle of each Lost Abbey beer home but I didn't feel like sleeping on the couch for a month, so I narrowed my prospects down and picked up a bottle of Angel's Share. It is a limited release beer and carried a premium price but I was told it was worth it.
Lost Abbey Angel's Share pours nearly pitch black with practically no head. There's a thin ring of tan colored bubbles around the outside of the glass. The edges of this beer look like a black & tan, fading from a light golden color to a dark brown and settling into it's opaque black body. The aroma of this beer is dominated by bourbon. Well, dominated may be too strong of a term but this almost smells like it has a fine bourbon as it's base, rather than a beer. The bourbon doesn't overpower the other aromas here, but it is omnipresent. There's also a chocolaty, maple syrup quality to this beer that definitely appeals to my sweet tooth... or sweet nostril... Bourbon is definitely the main component of this beer but there is a big vanilla and caramel aroma that makes this beer smell more sweet than other bourbon barrel aged beers. The Angel's Share almost smells more like a bourbon infused chocolate caramel candy than it does a beer, and that's something I can get behind.
The Angel's Share tastes a lot like it smells, which isn't a surprise considering the level of bourbon that is present. This beer tastes like a bourbon aged chocolate Stout without the dark malt of the Stout. It's a strong beer but doesn't have the heaviness of a Stout. The consensus seems to be that this beer is a Grand Cru or the ever nebulous Strong Ale. It's an important distinction to make because this beer tastes much more delicate than a bourbon barrel aged Stout. That delicateness allows for more vanilla and caramel char to come through from the barrel and also allows for more brown sugar and maple syrup to come through from the ale.
Lost Abbey Angel's Share is a very smooth beer, especially when you consider it's 12.5% ABV. I hesitate to call this beer balanced because of the omnipresent bourbon flavor and aroma, but it's a term which keeps popping up. A 12.5% Imperial Bourbon Aged Stout would lack the delicate flavors this beer has, and that is definitely worth noting. The Angel's Share is deceptively strong, it doesn't have the sort of alcohol burn that would accompany a Stout of the same strength, in fact there isn't much of a burn at all.
Angel's Share is the sort of beer I'd treat like a nice Port wine. It is strong but incredibly smooth. It's flavors would pair nicely with a good dessert and it's the perfect nightcap because it'll knock you right out. If you're able to find this beer I'd suggest picking up a bottle, it's a great example of a perfectly barrel aged beer.