Sede Vacante Ale by The Lost Abbey is 15% ABV American Strong Ale aged in Cognac and Brandy Barrels
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Sede Vacante is a blend of Barleywine aged in Cognac barrels and Brandy barrel-aged Angel’s Share and at packaging came in at 15% abv. A contemplative beer with substantial depth, Sede Vacante imparts tones of dark fruit and vanilla, with a warming finish from the Cognac. The strongest beer to emerge from The Lost Abbey, portions of the beer spent almost 5 years in a barrel. Sede Vacante can be enjoyed immediately or cellared till the next Papal Conclave, however long that may be.
Sede Vacante or “The Vacant Holy See” is used in canon law of the catholic church when the Holy See where the Pope sits is vacant. As of February 28, 2013, pope Benedict XVI had retired from being the pope. There was a period of 13 days that passed until the new pope was chose which was pope Francis. In commemoration of the election, The Lost Abbey had released this beer. This is possibly the strongest Alcohol by Volume ale released by The Lost Abbey to date. I never got around to get this beer until recently. 8 months later, now we will see what this is all about.
Aromas are of dulce de leche caramel, dark fruits, raisins, plums, dates, figs, dark cherries, blue berries, chocolate, bourbon, port wine, communion wine, vanilla, cognac, oak, brandy,
The flavors are of grapes, wine, rich dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, oak, brandy, cognac, chocolate, dark cherries, port wine, rich pecan pie, hazel nuts, walnuts, brown sugar, flan, dark fruits, rich raisins, plums dates, figs, coconut, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, rocky road ice cream notes, anise, licorice, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate fudge, maple syrup, and chocolate wine syrup
The aftertaste is full of dark fruit, caramel, cognac, brandy and like a chocolate wine. This is sipper of a beer but something about it makes it, quite smooth. Very interesting. Take your time with this one. Alcohol present, yet not detracting from all the rich flavors at all. Very mellow indeed. By the way, no carbonation!!
*Overall this was a heavenly, rich, delicious, and awesome beer. A beer that ascends into something that is powerful. This beer can be aged for several years. Possibly even a decade or way longer. The Lost Abbey has been one of my favorite breweries out there making some awesome Belgian beers. This one is a definite representative of the church and all that is holy. For such a sweet, boozy but very smooth beer, I cannot help myself but feel that this one definitely exceeds my expectations for the Barleywine category. It is so damn close to a quadruple aged in bourbon barrels it ain’t even funny. Let’s just say it feels like mixing St. Bernardus abt 12 with Communion Wine and holy water. Thou art Blessed. Loving this one for sure and a highly recommend to those who seek this Vacant Holy See, Amen.