I got this Angel’s Share at Whole Foods, and a friend picked up the Tomme at the Whole Foods in Glendale.  My buddy David found the latter and called to see if I wanted to go halfsies.  I think my response was something like %*&# yeah!  Anyway, I’m excited to post my reviews of these great brews.  Let’s just jump into it.

Angel’s Share: I don’t think that Lost Abbey makes anything for the faint of heart, and this is certainly one of their heartiest brews.  I think I paid about $15.99 for the 375 ml  bottle of beer (minus my 20% discount).  For such a rare beer and opportunity, I just had to do it.  At any rate, I’m very glad that  I did get the beer, which is their Judgement Day beer aged, in this case, in brandy barrels.

The Pour: Angel’s Share was a murky brown ale reminscent of a barley-wine, a feature that was actually prescient for the remainder of the brew.  Like much of Lost Abbey’s brews, this one didn’t have a ton of head retention (also like many a barley-wine).  The forboding murkiness kept calling me forward, so I decided to dive into the nose part of the brew.

The Nose: Strange to keep saying it, but the aromas were also very barley-wine like.  Given that Judgement Day is brewed with raisins, it’s not really odd or suprising that the dried fruits come off like the dry fruitiness of a barley-wine.  So, it has aromas very similar to something like Thomas Hardy’s.  Bread and raisons/dried fruits were prominent on the nose.  The sweet brandy scents and alcohol were also a major contributor to the overall aroma.  The brew promised to have a nice sweetness and caramel tone according to the aromatic impressions.

The Taste: Certainly, a nice alcohol burn was a major part of the brew.  But there was much more to this beer.  Those bready aromas, dried fruits/raisins, and caramel translated into a palate full of flavor.  Truly delicious.  Nice nutty tones along with a touch of sweetness and a medium mouth-feel rounded out the middle of this brew, while the brandy was ubiquitous but not overbearing.  The finish yielded a surprisingly nice touch of chocolate and, to a lesser extent, coffee.  Finally, the beer dried out a bit.

Overall, Angel’s Share was well rounded and complete as a beer.  It was strikingly barley-wine like, which was totally fine.  Maybe just a touch more of the brandy would have been nice.

Mike’s Rating:

Overall Satisfaction: ★★★★¼ 

Among other Barreled Beers: ★★★★☆ 

Cuvee de Tomme: It’s no surprise that this beer from the Lost Abbey is sour.  Let me correct that notion.  It’s beyond sour.  Certainly, more sour beers exist, but this one is right up there.  I love a good sour ale, so it takes little effort to enjoy a beer like this.  Categorization is a little weird for this type of beer, but I’d call it a Flemish style with a lambic edge.  For almost $30 a bottle, it’s a beer of occasional enjoyment (I’m glad they make some smaller bottles, too).  The 375 ml format is wonderful.  What about the beer?

The Pour: Coloring on the brew was somewhere between a brown ale and a porter, like a Flanders brown.  Akin to not a few Lost Abbey beers, the head retention wasn’t huge, but it was there.  It was a nice tan color that was perfect for the beer.  The carbonation on the brew was fairly fine and slowly active.  A little pop from the cork showed me that, whatever carbonation problems there might have previously been, this beer was ready to go.

The Nose: I did catch a bit of the 11.5% ABV on the nose.  It seems inevitable for a beer of the style and strength.  Upon the first sniff, I knew that this would be a hugely sour ale.  Sour cherries, touches of smoky barrels, hints of caramel and and iron-like metallic tone were all players on the nose.

The Taste: Wow!  That’s sharp.  Sour cherry sharpness made this beer bitterly acrid and fairly dry in approach.  It’s like the beer was on the edge of being vinegary without quite getting there.  Alcohol from the nose minimally reached the palate, while the smoky oak from the barrel (as well as the woodiness) were noticeable.  A small caramel pop rounded the beer out to a dry finish.  One of the best things about this beer is that every sip hits like new.

Overall: Normally, I have more notes and descriptions to give about a beer, but a puckeringly sour beer like this needs no more than I’ve said.  If you are a sour fan, this beer speaks for itself.  It’s a must-try for the person who loves a beer with pucker.  If you don’t like sours, even a mild sour, this is not the beer for you.  I think few beers are more divisive than sour ales.  You love them or you hate them.  I absolutely love this one.

Mike’s Rating:

Overall Satisfaction: ★★★★¾ 

Among other Sours: ★★★★¾ 

Among other Barreled Beers: ★★★★½