Monday, June 28, 2010

363. The Lost Abbey Angel’s Share 2010

Already another from the Lost Abbey—see what a little trip to California can do four our drinking options? This makes el numero four from San Marcos, CA, including Serpent Stout 2009, Carnevale Ale and Avant Garde Ale. So so good.

Beer and World Cup? Hell yes!

Angel’s Share pours a luscious toffee with a very minimal ivory head—swirling the glass vigorously creates a covering over about half of the surface which then quickly reduces to an arabesque. As well, the swirling does leave some legs on the glass. The nose is a creamy caramel and toffee malt mixed with French oak and some sherry and fruitiness to round things out—the nose is quite luscious, complex, and balanced, and was enjoyable to pick apart. Angel’s Share starts with toffee and some creamy butteriness before moving into oak and vanilla flavors mixed with sherry and dark aged fruit alcohol flavors. The finish is tannic and sweet with a bit of an alcohol tang, creating a drying effect on the palate that brings the alcohol taste to the forefront. With a medium-heavy body and a rich, chewy mouthfeel that is slightly sticky, Angel’s Share also has a fair share of dryness in it from the oak tannins. The carbonation is pretty much a non-factor in this beer; both the oak and alcohol do more to shape and round the beer. An interesting beer, one that hints at a richness and complexity that it currently doesn’t have—it could use more aging to allow the oakiness to lessen and the malt flavors to deepen and develop. Currently, the nose is more impressive than the flavor profile both in complexity and nuance—picking the nose apart was more interesting than the body, although we enjoyed both. If you’ve got a bottle of this, sock it away for at least a year before you bust it out.

From the bottle: “Way down in Kentucky and across the pond in Scotland, distillers age their Whiskey for many years in oak barrels. Over time, some Whiskey is lost to evaporation. They refer to this loss as ‘The Angel’s Share.’ Each time a barrel is filed [sic], a measure of this liquid seeps into the oak, and is lost forever. Our Angel’s Share is a barrel aged burgundy colored ale infused with copious amounts of caramel malt to emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors found in freshly emptied bourbon barrels. Each batch spends no less than 9 months aging in the oak. As with all of our beers, this beer is brewed for sinners and saints alike. So be an angel and share it with a friend or two.”

From the Lost Abbey website: “The Angel’s Share Story: It’s warehouse #5 built in 1886 that gets the most attention. The other four weren’t built so well and succumbed over the years. On the outside, to most #5 is a rather unremarkable white washed building. That is until they pass through the weathered doors and are easily consumed. Here in the hallowed halls it just oozes history. Inside this three story building, they find row after row of whiskey slumbering away the days until the distiller calls their name and they are called into action. It’s a weathered building with a timeline of over one hundred and twenty years of continuous service. Looking around, there is a warm orange glow from all the wood inside. On both sides of the room for as far as your eyes can see, there are wood racks with carvings, nicks and dings. It smells sweet in here. Could that be the Whiskey breathing? Perhaps it’s the angels doing their work? Or is there just something sweet about 200 year old wood that intoxicates your sense of smell. Imagine the history that belongs to the wood in this ‘shed.’ It comes from seeds that were planted when the idea for the Revolutionary War was just fermenting. And it’s still here, every single day telling the story of this distillery. This warehouse has seen it all. It survived the harsh winter of 1913. There was the Tornado in 1956 and who can forget the flood of 1973? But, it’s still here. Still working, living and breathing whiskey as great grandpa designed it to do. Sure, there are more cobwebs and spiders than there used to be? It’s an old building after all. One of the family members proclaimed it to be a grand old warehouse of monumental importance, so now it’s on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. Yet, the premise has always been the same. We need a place to age those spirits. And #5 has always been there. Ask the family members to describe #5 and they all tell you the same thing.‘The Angel’s get more than their fair share from #5 but we don’t care. To us, there is nothing finer than the whiskey that comes from old #5. We wish they drank less. But then again, we really don’t need an excuse to drink more?’”

ABV: 12.5%


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