Angel’s Share Lost Abbey

Angel’s Share Lost Abbey

Tasting: July 23, 2013
Style: Old Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels
Beer #: 480

Angel's Share Lost Abbey

(c)2013 popsonhops

“Angel’s Share” is a distiller’s term used to describe the evaporation of spirits while aging in oak barrels. Low humidity will cause more water vapors to pass through the cell structure of the oak barrel while high humidity will cause more alcohol to dissipate into thin air.

After the bourbon (or other distilled spirit) is removed from the barrel, the cells of the oak barrel are still gorged with the spirits of bourbon or whiskey. Since bourbon requires the use of newly-charred barrels, these old barrels are useless to distillers. Although the lineage is cloudy, it appears that the first brewer to recycle these rich barrels for the aging malt beverage was Goose Island with their legendary Bourbon County Brand Stout. Now it seems every brewery has a barrel-aged line.

I recently saw a commercial for Jim Beam bourbon called “Devil’s Cut”. Once the bourbon is removed from the barrel, they claim to have a proprietary process that will pull the remaining bourbon out of the cell fibers of the barrel itself. Hopefully, it doesn’t catch on as I like the current use of these old bourbon barrels.

Angel’s Share Pours an opaque cola brown, strong nose of brown sugar and alcohol ethers. First sip impression is that this is a rich syrupy ale filled with flavor. Strong raisin, chocolate and toffee. Barrel influence hits you with vanilla and earthy oak. Some green apple pops on the palate while the alcohol heat masks some of the mid-range and finishing flavors. Angel’s Share would definitely benefit with some age and at 12.5% ABV – it can certainly lay down for a few years. For now, I’ll put Angel’s Share at 92 points. At $15.99 for a twelve ounce bottle, I’m hesitant to stock pile, but I’m thankful I have another two bottles to check back on in a couple of years.

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