“Dad, when are we going to be a family again?” “I’d say when the Angels win the pennant.” One of the most memorable (and worst) lines of any movie from my childhood. Angels were indeed in the outfiled that fateful season in 1994, but I think they work their magic better in the barrel. To properly pay respect to these miracle working angels, The Lost Abbey harnessed their power to make a Bourbon aged strong ale. Do angels do a better job repairing a broken family or creating an almighty beer? Time for the numbers…
Appearance: Lighter than expected – it’s a dark brown color, rather than what usually is a soulless black tint that you typically find from bourbon aged beers (outside of Curieux). This may be a weird comparison, but this looks like melted milk chocolate mixed with some water. There was some sediment that collected at the bottom of the tulip as I drank, but there was no head at all and no lacing to be seen.
Smell: Bourbon, roasted grain, some dark fruits, but not much else… maybe some coffee. The lack of complex flavors in the nose is a little concerning for the taste; this might be a one trick pony.
Taste: Really nicely done – big bourbon kick and a bit of toastyness. The roastedness of the grains is so subtle, but you do get a faint hint of it over all the massive bourbon notes. You obviously can tell this brew is going to be in the double digits for ABV as the alcohol warms you all the way until the stomach. This beer would be perfect in your hand as you watch the first snowfall of the year. The alcohol forces you to kick up your feet and the warming bourbon is the perfect invitation into the long winter season. The finish is fairly bitter for the style of this beer, however it’s not a hoppy bitterness, but more of an oakey, tannic bitterness. Just as if you can tell if a wine has spent some time in wood, you can clearly identifiy that bourbon wasn’t the only flavor in the barrel that rubbed off on Angel’s Share.
The mouthfeel on this brew is medium bodied, which again was surprising as beers that are bourbon aged typically are thick and heavy. Because of the relative lightness in body, this beer is easy to drink (considering that this brew is 25 proof) and Angel’s Share was under carbonated (or perfect for the style in my opinion,) which also contributed to its drinkability. I was ready for more after my glass was empty… but that’s why I bought a few of these guys. I had a feeling I would enjoy this beer, and I think some age on this brew would only make it more complex.
Overall: This was a fantastic beer to review – full of surprises, tasty, and more balanced that I would have imagined. I clearly enjoyed this experience, but this brew avoids the perfect score. I’d give it an A/A-. I would knock this beer on the smell and complexity. The nose on this beer was relatively flat and although it was easy to drink, I was hoping some more flavors would have exposed themselves as I drank. That said, it’s certainly worth embracing the power of the angles.