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Red Barn Ale - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Red Barn AleRed Barn Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

380 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 380
Hads: 945
Avg: 3.97
pDev: 17.13%
Wants: 73
Gots: 113 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottoale on 08-23-2006

This Farmhouse Ale traces its roots to the small rustic breweries of Southern Belgium. The word Saison comes to us from the French language and it means Season. Lightly spiced with Organic Ginger, Orange Peels, Black Pepper and Grains of Paradise, this brew promises to quench your thirst on the hottest Southern California days or wherever your travels may take you.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 380 | Hads: 945
Photo of jdklks
2.28/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Pours a light, murky, piss-colored yellow with a bright white head. The smell is of belgian yeastiness, and that's about it. Perhaps a little citrus, and some farm funkiness, but nothing too special here.

Not impressed at all with this one. Way too much yeastiness which makes it disgustingly plain and bread-like. There's some kind of nasty bitterness that I can't quite put my finger on, but that I would probably attribute to the spices. It lingers long after the finish and isn't pleasant at all. Don't really know what else to say other than that there is no complexity to speak of, and that it's gross.

As far as mouthfeel, well, at least it's carbonated. The drinkability is none. The sips sufficient to review it were enough for me, and now it is going down the drain.

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Photo of BeerManDan
2.63/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

When poured into a pint glass, the color was of a hazy wheat yellow, with a lot of foam and a fair amount of lace. The smell of carbonated citrus was very evident, not impressive. The taste was a load of carbonated citrus acid with a hint of lemon and not much of anything else. WAY to acidic on the tongue, palate and stomach. Big aftertaste of bitter, acidic flavor. Not a typical Lost Abbey Ale in my mind!

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Photo of JBogan
2.66/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a bright clear gold with a small white head which soon turns into a thin film. Good looking beer.

The nose on this was very musty and peppery.

I was completely surprised and disappointed by the taste. I'm almost at a loss for words on this. Perhaps the best way I can sum it up is to say it tasted like a Flintstones children's vitamin which had been rolled in the dirt. There was maybe, and I mean just maybe a hint of orange and honey in there somewhere but it might just be my imagination.

Mouthfeel was good. Medium bodied with a nice smoothness and moderate carbonation.

What can I say. This one was a huge letdown in the taste department. And I like this style of beer. This one however, is one I will not be drinking again.

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Photo of chinchill
2.69/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

On tap at the brewery in San Marcos.

Pours amber with a white head that soon reduces to a ring but leaves some lacing.

Aroma: medicinal, herbal and fruity (orange peel) aroma with spices.

Flavor: more spicy and less fruity than the aroma, and not as medicinal. A random clash of yeast and spice flavors.

Feel: medium body; light-medium carbonation.

O: not a good mix of flavors.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
2.69/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I received a couple of these in the Birthday BIF. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A- Really nice head. Perfectly dense with huge rocky chunks of lacing torn off from the rest of the mountain of foam. The beer is a glowing yellow with a good haze.

S- This is a skunky smelling beer. I could smell the skunky aroma right off the bat. Its paired with a light barny funk and lemon zest. Spices, minerals, and salt and pepper round out the nose.

T- I didnt care for the taste of this one so much. Its pretty bitter with a citrus rind and slightly medicinal cocktail. Light funk and plenty of spices.

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Photo of Chambic
2.83/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: clear, light yellow, like straw or hay

S: very mild, a bit yeasty, and missing some funk

T: the best part of this beer is that it's surprisingly peppery

M: on the crisp side with nothing spectacular to note

D: I'm not that into it, though I remember it tasting better the first time I had it

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.93/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden/light orange color. Tons of visible carbonation, and a big creamy white head that leaves a lot of lacing. Would have expected it to be a bit more cloudy, but looks real nice.

Smell: Yeasty aroma with hints of pepper and some fruit too, primarily pineapple.

Taste: Has a very strong bitter/somewhat sour taste, like super-concentrated grapefruit. There's a bit of yeast and fruit in there at the finish for a second, but then the other flavors return for an unpleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and pretty smooth. Nicely tingly carbonation, but not too strong.

Drinkability: The flavor here is a big problem, and makes the beer hard to drink. ABV-wise the beer is just fine, clocking in at under 7%.

I'd like to say that I just got a bad bottle of this, but I think it is a pretty fresh one and the aroma, etc. didn't seem off. Unfortunately a rather big miss for Lost Abbey, as I usually enjoy their offerings. Besides the problem in the taste, it seemed a bit off for a saison in general.

NOTE: Towards the end of the bottle I swirled it around a bit - made it a bit more cloudy (but not much) and toned down the bitter/sour taste a bit to make it a tad more drinkable (from a 2 to 2.5), but it is still problematic.

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Photo of jtierney89
3/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another cork from lost abbey that requires a bit of teeth.

Hazy bright orange hue with a billowing white head that very slowly recedes down the sides of the glass.
Funky nose of horse blanket, spoiled fruit, earthy yeast, and snappy bubblegum. Bread thats still being cooked comes to mind as well. Slightly phenolic, touch of band aid.

Brisk effervescence. Lingering semi-sour, semi-dry finish. Unique earthy hop bitterness as well. Well blended subtle flavors of phenols, drying/bittering spices and semi-sweetness/tartness. The beer is kind of all over the place presenting lots of different flavors at different times. The flavors do all go together pretty well but this isn't your traditional funky saison. This thing has some sort of other funk going on. It's kind of like they took all of the strange flavors of a saison and based it off that. The beer finishes spicy and bitter.

The beer holds up well and is definitely unique but it's also an acquired taste for those that have already acquired quite a lot. Unique and well brewed but well... just a bit off i guess. Sweet, sour, rich, and bitter. Try wrapping your head around this beer.

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Photo of gthornton
3/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a low carbonation, no head, little lacing, hay/light-golden-amber.

A mild nose - citrus/yeast. Some interesting scents open up as it warms a bit... namely peppar and... toasted celery?? really just another way of saying fresh malt I suppose.

As the beer opens up, more coriander and wheat comes forward.

Nice on the tongue. A little heavy in general. A lingering, but nice finish.

A pleasant drink, but I am not sure I will jump at the opportunity to grab it again, unless it is at a good price.

It is not as refreshing - and summery - as the marketing on the bottle hopes to portray.

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Photo of bensiff
3.05/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From the bottle it pours an opaque deep golden color with an orange hue. A thick white head subsides to a thin veil. Does my nose protest, no, that is a distinct pepper on the nose first followed up by a strange sort of dryness, finishing with some malty barnyard aromas. There is no mistaking from the nose that this one is going to have a distinct dryness to it when it hits the mouth. Yup, there it is, dry dry dry yet still sweet. And there is something unexpected, a mintiness that persists to aftertaste. Some wheat there too, and acidic citrus tang, and maybe some peach hiding out in the distant background. This one is not my favorite, well brewed by all means and for that I give it credit, but for my personal self I give it some low marks on taste and drinkability.

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Photo of champ103
3.12/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear golden straw color. A two finger white head forms, but recedes in a second. Almost not lace is left behind.
S: Husky yeast with some light fruity aromas. Lightly sweet grainy malt.
T: Sweet grainy malt with some yeast. Not much else. Really bland.
M/D: A watery and thin body. Crisp carbonation. Not hard to drink, but I am looking for my next pint before this one is half finished.

Not bad, but not a good Saison IMO. This is rather bland overall. There are much better versions of the style.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.16/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was uncorked with a decidedly weak and nondramatic faint ghost of a pop. It pours a clear golden orange with a thick creamy head that dies down to a film with small islands of foam.

The aroma is more Belgian pale ale than saison to me. Musty but no real funk. Not overly peppery, more cloves than anything. Mostly a slight lemon or orange peel. There may even be something of a hefeweizen about the aroma.

The taste is very earthy, with mild citrus fruit--slightly tart. It's very well attenuated. Finishes dry. Nice mellow malt presence. Again, though, maybe it's because I had a 750 ml bottle of Duvel earlier today, but this is really registering more as a Beligan strong pale ale than a saison for me. It lacks the peppery spiciness...even though every other review here seems to suggest otherwise, and it's kind of yeasty in a muddied, not-completely-pleasant way.

Medium bodied with barely perceptible alcohol.

I picked this up because I love saisons and it garnered an overall A- rating here, but frankly I'm underwhelmed and a little disappointed.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer #2 from our Cinco de Mayo mini tasting.
Thanks to beerwolf77 for this one.

A- Pours a nice golden straw with a quarter finger worth of head that dissipates to nothing. A small amount of haze and not much for lacing.

S- Some floral notes, grassy mostly. Corn, a small amount of wheat as well. A little bit of sugar and a small bit of clove as well.

T- A little bit of lemon, some pepper, a little bitterness in there as well. The Belgian yeast is barely even noticeable. Not a whole lot else going on.

M- A little bitterness but overall pretty smooth. Crisp and refreshing. This would make for a good summertime beer.

D- Goes down easy but doesn't have a whole lot going on. This is my first LA offering and wasn't really impressed but am looking forward to trying more of their beers.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
3.19/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle poured into a wine glass.

A: Clear golden color. Tons of Carbonation.

Smell: Intense musty smell. I know understand the "barnyard" smell description. Also getting a big bready smell. Tad bit of spice on the nose as well.

T: Spicy, peppy fell. Getting a stong black pepper taste with a bit of citrus thrown in late. Strong dry finish. Has a bit of funk that I can't place.

M: Medium bodied, with a ton of spice and activity on the tongue.

O: Decent farmhouse, I tend to like less dry finish on my saisons.

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Photo of codewarrior
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cork and caged 750mL Bomber, poured into a chalice.

Everyone raves about The Lost Abbey. I first tried their Inferno Ale, which I found on the whole disappointing. I thought this Saison was much better, but still not among the best Saisons I've had. I still don't see what all the fuss is about. Maybe cellaring will help?

A: Plain hay, semi-transparent. 1 finger head.

S: Smells quite plain. Saisons seem to be less aromatic in the nose than the mouth, but there is very little going-on here. Not much fruit, not much flower.

T: Straight-forward again. I'm starting to think more and more that this beer needs cellaring to develop. A lot of hints at the field here, but not much in depth at the level I would expect from a Saison.

F: Light in the mouth, and foamy.

D: Decent tasting, light enough to drink all-day, but given the hype, disappointing. Will put one in the cellar, we'll see how this opens up in a year or two.

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Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
3.26/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours with a huge head that lingers for ages. The beer itself is a pale yellow and crystal clear. The nose is a bit "off." Its not spoiled, but it just doesn't smell like they got the spice balance correct, it smells fairly strongly of coriander, too strongly. The taste is sweetness upfront with some nice fruity hop bitterness in the middle. The aftertaste gets much more bitter but stays more floral then piney. Overrall this beer seems like an average saison with waaaay too many spices in it. The nose and flavor is a bit muddled and frankly, a bit unpleasant.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.28/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a stemgoblet at the Yard House in downtown Los Angeles. Reviewed from notes. Cost was $6.75 USD plus tax and tip. Expectations were high given the brewery.

A: Pours a three finger head of slight cream, white colour, fair thickness, and great retention. Colour of the beer is a hazy lemon yellow.

Sm: Lemon esters, biscuity yeast, wheat, and maybe bretts. A mild strength aroma. Clean and inviting.

T: Yeasty, with lemon citrus esters, and a wheat foundation. Crystal malts. Clean and refreshing, but simple. Very well balanaced. Nicely built, but the simplicity is bothersome. No layering is present here. The yeast is the best aspect. Structurally sound, with the lemon coming through most on the climax. I like it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours. Quite light on the palate, complementing the refreshing feel. Not too thick nor too thin.

Dr: Very drinkable. Hides its ABV well. A bit pricey on draught. Drank just grand out of a goblet. I wouldn't have it again if other Lost Abbey beers were available.

It would pair well with food.


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Photo of zeledonia
3.28/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another bottle picked up on my holiday trip to NJ. First beer I've reviewed from Lost Abbey? Surprising, but true. Bottled 4 January 2012.

Pours a mildly hazy medium golden yellow, with touches of orange. Quite a nice color, and just clear enough that I can see the curtain of bubbles rising up. An eruption of nearly-white head gradually relaxes to a thick cap with rolling hills, and leaves big gobs of foam all over the place. Wowser.

Smell is... nonexistent. Even if I bury my nose in the glass, I get nothing. I can imagine some light floral notes, and can almost convince myself of some yeasty aromas. But really, if I were blindfolded, and you held this up to my nose, I doubt I would know it was there. As it warms up, it gains a bit more presence, but it's still really faint.

Taste is earthy, moderately yeasty, with a bitter twist. There's not a lot here that initially screams saison to me, but the yeast and that earthy flavor comes through strong in a second wave. There's also a chomp of flower petal slick/warm/bitter. It's decent, but only a piece of what I'm looking for. Flowers start to get more pronounced as I make my way through the glass.

Medium-bodied, a little sticky. Carbonation is medium-low but persistent, lasting until the flavor goes, too.

Not a bad saison, but not my favorite. It's earthy and mildly bitter, and at times I feel like I'm licking a flower. Looks gorgeous, though.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle purchased in Denver, CO, served into a tulip

Pours out like a prototypical Saison. Lightly honeyed, pale straw yellow with just enough haze to keep things honest looking. Close to two fingers of blisteringly white head recedes quickly, leaving behind attractive, cathedral window-looking lacing.

You get the typical saison fruits or apple, pear and lemon up front but they aren't bright or lively. It is a musty fruit smell. It doesn't smell like old beer but like old earth, like tired trees produced wimpy fruit. Cardamom and not quite clove (thyme, perhaps?) inform the fruits and make this beer seem pretty damn Belgian; it smells of the so-called Old World. A light touch of funk slips in every other inhale. Nothing amazing, but very well-executed.

Red Barn falls into the spicy & hoppy category of saison. Bittering hops (Hallartau is my guess) and brewing spices abound. You know how Winter Warmers are heavily spiced? Well this is a Summer Cooler. Some appleskin shows up and a flush of lavender & white grape as the beer warms but this is not a saison that has a lot of fruity esters going on. You can tell from my score that I prefer at least _some_ fruit action going on in my saisons. This is pretty average to be truthful.

You know that common complaint that Lost Abbey beers are undercarbonated, even flat? Welp, this bottle of Red Barn is essentially flat. There are no perceptible carbonation bubbles on the tongue (even though you can see some in the glass). Those scrubbing bubbles would have been nice; they could lift the spices of this medium-bodied brew off the tongue. The drinkability could be higher if this was a more complex tasting, more carbonated saison. As is, it is plenty light and refreshing in the way that witbiers tend to be (not to say that this is a witbier, just comparing Red Barn to a style that mixes refreshment with heavy use of brewing spices).

I am disappointed by this beer, sure. It is an average saison more or less because it simply lacks the complexity that other farmhouse ales have. It is plenty enjoyable for what it is.

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Photo of SACraig
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - golden and clear, nice head with good lace
S - Peppery and complex
T - starts complex than fades to boring, lightly hopped
M - Smooth with hardly any aftertaste
D - Not unpleasant but would not buy again

Look and smell started very promising, but the taste was disappointing. The spices are understated and there just is not enough flavor for my personnel taste.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.31/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Bottle opened with a loud pop. Poured into a tulip with an enormous (3 inch) head that receeds slowly leaving nice lacing. Light orange and very clear.

S: mostly just farmhouse yeast while waiting for the head to settle. A little apricot, some apple juice and lemon.

T: Very dry, with an earthiness that I didn't expect from the aroma. A little bready, and reminiscent of a pilsner. Honestly, a bit disappointing here as there's not much flavor.

M: Very dry, moderately astringent, short-ish linger. Bit of a bitter aftertaste.

O: Seems well-made, but just not so much my style of farmhouse ale. I'd like a little less dry, a little more fruity esters.

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Photo of CoolJosh
3.32/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks to the awesome trader who sent this one out to me.

Poured from a 750 mL, pours a very thick and hazy yellow with an orange center. White creamy head that disolves rather quickly. Over does it on the haziness that really kills the look for similar, looks like a momossa.

Now the smell I like, some skunkiness but its surprisingly pleasant, with nice sweet peach scents and soft lemon. White grapes and french oak add for a very pleasant aroma. Somewhat subdued, which is the only drawback.

Very thick feel to it, starts with very soft lemon, progresses to a tart orange and sour peach flavors. Not too impressed here. Some sort of weird malt taste that just doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a golden yellow body with just a slight hazy, the second pour is much hazier. There is a strong carbonation that pops of the base of the glass and supports a creamy off-white head for a bit.

S- This beer has an apple juice aroma with a dry hop finish with hints of sulfur to it.

T- The clean start leads to a dry almost sulfury hop finish. As the beer warms there is some apple juice flavors and a stale spice quality in the finish. There is a hop bitterness that stings just a bit as it lingers.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft fizz in the finish.

O- The dominate flavors, although still soft, were apple juice and stale spices makes this a bland beer. There was a good dry finish but the mouthfeel was a little to full to make this crisp and refreshing. I love this style and didn't get any yeast character that I like in a saision.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Naked City.

Pours golden with little white head, good lacing.

Smell is funky, wet hay, can finally understand what a "barnyard" smell is now.

Taste is slightly bitter, mellow, funky, like a bitter wheat beer.

Light bodied and dry, crisp, refreshing.

Decent beer. Not sure if it’s my favorite style though.

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Photo of Onibubba
3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first from Lost Abbey. Pours an almost too clear gold with a surprisingly short lived head. Whas up with that? Nice smells of very light citrus and pepper. Not much funk. Or more precisely, none. Taste is dominated by that peppery spiciness, and only the slightness sense of sweetness. Mouthfeels seems thin, and even at this low alcohol, that does make an appearance. A buddy I shared this with remarked that this does not seem done. Definately not a favorite in the Saison category for me. This almost seems a higher spiced and alcoholic Witte.

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Red Barn Ale from The Lost Abbey
89 out of 100 based on 380 ratings.