1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Red Barn Ale - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Red Barn AleRed Barn Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

851 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 851
Reviews: 371
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 62
Gots: 77 | FT: 2
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:
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 added by: scottoale on 08-23-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 851 | Reviews: 371 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of francisweizen
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lucid golden, billowy white head. Nice legs and lacing. Aromas of barnyard belgin yeast funk notes mix with fresh breaked bread, lemon zest and coriander. Taste is smooth with a nice funky bread, spice, and yeast mix going on. Hops are muted. Mouthfeel is zesty, medium bodied, very very drinkable. A nice Saison but not overly complex or amazing. For my money the carnevale kills this one.

Photo of yourefragile
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A: First pour was a remarkably clear light orange color with a massive fluffy white head. Great retention and thick, clumpy webs of lacing left on the glass. Second pour was much cloudier, orange/amber color.
S: Very earthy , slightly sour and yeasty, citrus and banana aroma. Not spectacular for the style, but overall very good.
T: Lighter side of medium bodied with light carbonation that is very persistent. Very flavorful, and similar to the smell. Earthy, slightly tart citrus flavors with a little spice, coriander, lemon, clove, etc. Strong, but mild hop presence as well.

Overall, very nice, flavorful example of the style, but not best of it or from Lost Abbey.

Photo of marcpal
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml poured into a big tulip glass. Poured at cellar temperature.

A: Uncorked to a hazy orange and substantial head. The spiderlike lacing was strgon. Like a bubbled foam that hung on for a while.

S: Spices, yeast, and lots of bubble gum. Not puckering but matched well by the earthy grassy aromas. Having it warm did the smell justice Im sure.

T: Lots of banana with a mix of hops. The sweetness is on the tart side but well balanced with the earthy spices, cloves. If anything, spiciness could become overbearing at the end of 750ml.

M: Dry, earthy, and not too much puckering sweetness. Crisp carbonation is pleasant.

D: I look forward to having more, the abv is appropriate and not the typical saison in terms of taste, but cant pinpoint why? Still worth getting out and trying this one. First Lost Abbey, wondering what others have to offer.

Photo of benito
4.93/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. This is a really remarkable beer.

Huge, soapy/bubbly head atop a peach colored brew. Aromas of orange peel, grains of paradise, and unidentifiable bittering hops. There's a slight, sour-yeast scent as well.

Each sip reveals an amazing variety of flavors: ginger, orange, paradise seeds, lemon, honey, and green tea, amongst others. The spice-driven flavors are backed with a smooth, long-and-dry finish and a just-so hint of bitterness that adds a tremendous level of refreshment to the beer.

Medium in body with ever-evolving flavors. At times, the ginger stands out; with the next sip, it's the earthy hops. I don't know that I've ever had another beer that shows such a wide range of flavors with such consistency. It's a true surprise every time.

Easily the best of the year-round offerings from Lost Abbey (and the others aren't bad...Lost & Found is my favorite dubbel in the US!). This is as near-perfect a saison/beer that I've had in a long, long time.

Photo of bbothen
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cork & cage bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Orange/peach color. Bubbly head that comes up to thick whip cream like cone on top. Lots of sticky lacing. Picture perfect.

S - Citrus & yeast. Sorry, it's all I'm getting.

T - Grapefruit, spicy pepper flavors. Yeasty. Nice.

MF - Champagne like effervesence. Light, but rewarding.

D - Very nice. Would be best on a hot summer night.

As expected, another top shelf offering from Lost Abbey. Don't know if you would find a better US representation of this Saison style. I'd share this with friends over a nice dinner.

Photo of mfhlucky13
4.83/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, I want to be a Monk at The Lost Abbey.

A: Beautiful cloudy, yeasty gold with a nice thick standing head.

S: A little bit of funk, plenty of yeasty goodness with a touch of spice and fruit.

T: This is a wonderful Saison!!! A little yeasty with some spice and malt. Lots of tiny bubbles dancing on my tongue. Lightly dry finish.

M: Crisp and bubbly.

D: Very drinkable. I need to find a case to hide away for a hot summer day.

When I first read about The Lost Abbey beers I didn't believe all the hype. Then I spotted them in a little store with a large price tag. When I finally got over my stupidity I learned that The Lost Abbey is one of the best Belgian style brewers we have here in the U.S. Don't waist time like I did. Go get one now!

Photo of xymyl
4.8/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Color is murky light orange/golden color with a fluffy white head that settles to about 1/8 inch over time. Carbonation is medium.

Smell is at first strong banana and clove but eventually gives way to citrus and more spice. Apples and pears eventually show up as well. Green hop aromas show up as minor players. Yeast and light vinyl phenols (smokey bandaid and wool) show up deep in the background and only enhance the foreground spice, flowers and fruit. Eventually a malty sweetness struggles out of the din, followed by a distant soft toasty note.

Fruits including oranges, lemon, apples, pears, pineapples, and even green grapes and mango are vibrant beneath a blanket of spices including cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon upfront. The spice is complex and wonderful as you drink deeper, ranging from one pepper to another, it tastes of black pepper, but I know there is alligator pepper here as well and can taste it jumping on the very back of my tongue. Although green hops mingle with every sip, there is a hoppy bitter end to this journey that combines with a under-ripe mango note that is disturbingly fascinating.

Overall: I have been waiting to try this beer for a long time and the result of my quest does not disappoint. The brew is medium bodied, robust, complex and infinitely drinkable. I say this after drinking this 750ml bottle on my own over the course of a few hours. I'm almost finished with the beer as I write this, and I definitely want more. But there is no more, and I'll have to settle for a glass of water and dreams of visiting the little old STONE brewery (now lost abbey) again one day but seeing everything as new. Drinking it from the Affligem Chalice my younger brother gave me. He gave me the beer as well.

Photo of largadeer
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Semi-clear blond, for the first glass at least. Pretty opaque after that. Quite foamy; the head retention is incredibly good.

Smell - Spicy, estery and sweet. Notes of banana and peach with subtler aromas of grass and flowers. No real funk, barnyard or sourness to be detected; it's more of an estery saison.

Taste & mouthfeel - Bold spiciness and strong esters. High carbonation. Flavors of banana, coriander and clove with a mild, floral hoppiness. A bit sweeter than I'd like for being a rather light-bodied saison. Fruity sweetness lingers on in the finish; it never quite achieves the refreshing dryness that I like in saisons.

Notes - Good but not great. Most American breweries seem to have a hard time with saisons, and this one is no exception.

Photo of Beerzebub
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml. 58 degrees F/ 14 degrees C. Big wine glass.

Bright gold, with massive hills and valleys of white head. Chunky lace. Beautiful extremely fine murky suspension of yeast in the last glass, like ghostly musical notes until it disperses into translucency.

Fresh fruity and spicy smell. Juicy apricot, white grape, bright exotic spice, green chili, grain. Hints of cheddar, and smoky and medicinal phenols. Very nice, and plenty of character.

Tastes of pungent spice, apricot, grain, underscored by a fairly strong hop and mineral bitterness that rolls in. Grassy hop flavor, with some citrus too. Some sweetness at first, but dries out for a long finish of pungent dry spice and grassy/mineral bitterness.

Very fine carbonation, excellent texture. The mineral bitterness makes the texture mouth-drying, even when some sweetness is still detectable in the flavor, an interesting and enjoyable contrast. Not notably drinkable for a saison, but certainly refreshing and quite drinkable.

A bit too much overt spice for my taste, but an enjoyable and very interesting beer.

Photo of barrelman
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

tHANK yOU sTAN AT lONE hILL lIQUOR. And thank you caps lock. I hate you.

Poured mellow orange with a reaching head into a snifter. cloudy and beautiful.

Aroma comes with gentle funk and subdued yeast, like rising bread. Slight citrus. I had to take off my glasses so I could get into the glass. I didn't want to miss a thing.

Taste is more mellowness. A very smooth farmhouse, but not weak on flavor. Everything is working just right. I am often disappointed with spiced beers, but this one has some real self control. Just a hint of cinnamon blowis out my nose after a swallow.

Mouthfeel is dandy.

Drinkability is sky high. If I could, I would gladly drink drafts of this all day on a sunny day in Coastal California. As it so happens, I'm drinking a lone bottle on a cold, rainy day in New york. Either way, the senses are happy.

Photo of DrDogbeer
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into tulip glass. Nice golden/orange color, with huge white bubbly head. Good lacing. Smells of spice (coriander?) Good first full flavor sip. Spices, hops (good bitter feel on sides of tongue). Beer smooths as you drink, settles down nicely. Warms as you go also. Good mouthfeel, and it keeps its flavor long after swallowing. A nice beer to have with a nice dinner.

Photo of thartman
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I received this as a gift, nice bottle, nice label, no information as to where it is from. I thought it was Belgian.

Poured into an extra large wide-mouthed tulip-shaped glass a golden orange with a white head. Lots of stick to the glass. Smell of lemons, bread, yeast, and hay. Nice refreshing taste with some spice, orange, lemon, malts, lightly carbonated with a dry ginger snap cookie finish.
Nice complex and refreshing beer. Definitely worth a try. I wish I had another.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to SuzyGreenberg for the trade.

This pours a light peachy yellow with a little bit of a chill haze. Decent head with moderate lace. Nose is of wheat and light malts with some light apple and barnyard funk. First taste, wheat dominates with alot of subtle spice flavors and some maltiness. Slight hop bitterness on the finish. The mouthfeel is quite good and not overly carbonated like some american saisons. Drinkability is very high. A great shot at a saison from a great brewing co. Recommended.

Photo of srandycarter
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into the tulip

A - Beautiful almost clear honey with almost white sudsy, chunky head. Small bubble lacing persistent.

S - As others have noted, hubba bubba, yeast and coriander. Cotton candy there too.

T - Light malt, tropical fruit, nice bitter end, still retaining a slight sweet aftertaste.

M - Medium body, medium to high carbonation. Mouth coating and lingering finish. Pretty clean, too.

D - I could have a few glasses without tiring of this brew. Pretty nice.

Photo of wheelinshirt
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL corked and caged bottle from Abe's in Bethlehem, poured into a couple glasses to share with friends over dinner.

Deep gold mixed with pale orange color, big white head that has moderate retention and lacing.

Smell is a little funky, earthy, grassy, a little spice in there too. Taste is a bit sweet but has a nice combination of fruityness and grassy/earthiness. Mouthfeel was light and refreshing with moderate carbonation and this was very drinkable. Actually almost too drinkable as it was gone so fast that it was hard to enjoy.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a foggy gold with a nice white head. Nose is very strong with yeast. Flavor is yeasty as well with a strong dough quality to it and a very tangy edge. Feel is good. Not too thin. Drinkable indeed. A very decent saison, just came off a bit too tangy for my tastes.

Photo of Boto
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle: This one pours a rich, golden color. There was just a hint of haze, and a bit of an off-white head to it. The aroma is very fragrant. Earthy, musty, yeasty and grassy. The taste is very good. Somewhat fruity, grassy, spicy, just a mixed bag working VERY well together. A very good Saison.

Photo of DrJay
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was quite clear with a gorgeous deep gold, orangish hue and generous, fluffy white cap. The head was composed mostly of large bubbles that had great retention and left chunky lace stuck to the glass. Complex aroma with notes of earthy grass, lemon zest, tropical fruit, and delicate malt. There was a bit of mild pepper initially, but this became more of a general spiciness over the course of the bottle. Moderate bitterness, balanced nicely with significant fruitiness, malty base and bready, yeasty middle. It finished with a bit of pepper, then grassy, floral hop bitterness lingered. Medium bodied with carbonation on the high side, the texture was very nice. This beer was solid from start to finish, well balanced with just the right amount of spiciness. Great stuff!

Photo of aquaderek
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tasting glass, it had nice head orange color, about what you would expect from this style of beer. The nose is interesting, I read in a previous review that a "bubble gum" smell is what hits you initially. I would say that is a very good description, bubble gum, maltiness, cloves and other spices. The taste is a good combination of yeasty spicy malt. This is a good well balanced beer, the mouthfeel and drinkability are on par for the style...good beer

Photo of msubulldog25
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle came up from SoCal quite a few months ago, received from Joey (KingG) at South Bay. Needing something 'summery' for today, a chilly early-December afternoon. Hope this has stood up ok while in the cellar. Poured into the La Chouffe tulip glass.

A: Opens with a soft 'pop!' when the cork is removed. Poured up to the '250cL' line a nearly transparent light golden with lots of effervescent bubbles. The fluffy white cap rises up the narrowed neck of the tulip, cresting near the rim (a bit over two fingers). Head drops to a tighter foam with a small rocky island at the center. Nice, goop-y blobs of lace, sticking like sea-foam.

S: A surprising bubble-gum sweetness comes from the first whiff. Not quite the rustic zest I was expecting...more sniffs reveal a more traditional tart/funk aroma with grassiness, cracked pepper and spicy coriander. Subtle fruit....this doesn't smell bad at all, it's just not very strong to me until it warms.

T: Upfront ripe fruit, tart apple especially, with a bold & grassy hopping. Lightly floral/honey sweetness falls in somewhere and dry peppercorns strengthen toward the finish. Tart 'funk' seems subdued, but this has a very nice grainy naturalness that evokes the tastiest of the Belgian/French saisons. Finishes dry and spicy.

M: Carbonation level is fairly high, so there's a good crisp tingle on the tongue and more than one gassy burps. Mouthfeel seems a little thick and there remains a dry, medicinal bittering in the middle of the tongue for several minutes. Alcohol warming is concealed, but for a little glow on the cheeks.

D: A likable version of a style I really had little experience with before a trip to Belgium. This compares favorably with some good ones I've had, though can't match the awesomeness of the likes of Dupont and others. Red Barn is one I'll have again I'm sure, especially now that Lost Abbey makes it to Washington (is Oregon next?). Recommended.

Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a hazy pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a very refreshing citrus aroma with a nice peppery element. The taste is good. It has a smooth pale and wheat malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes with a lemony zest as well as a mild earthiness. This is one of the most enjoyable saisons I've had in some time. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. It's extremely smooth and loaded with tons of flavor.

Photo of akorsak
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 750 mL corked and caged bottle purchased at Capone's.

A: The saison is a very pale yellow, looking like a wheat ale. There is no haziness to be seen, which is somewhat surprising. The head is thick, approaching 3 fingers on multiple pours. The lacing from each pour is impressive.

S: The nose has some peppercorn aromas and a great deal of funkiness. The barnyard aroma is not as intense as in the Avant Garde, but it is more focused and clearly identifiable as barnyard-esque.

T: The body has a preponderance of peppercorn and cardamom, creating a a spicy taste that has a depth beyond your run-of-the-mill saison. Some honey notes add a sweeter depth of flavor, but the peppercorn flavor is the lingering flavor. The funkiness in the nose disappears in the taste, somewhat disappointing if not for the strong coriander elements.

M: The mouth is full of odd, out-of-place flavors that I'd expect from a Belgian-style ale. This saison delivers the goods, not f-ing around with things.

D: All hail Tomme. This beer is a great drink, full of spicy and funky flavors, bitter and tart and delicious. Nicely done!

Photo of rxdrewthejew
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice honey yellow with some darker streaking in the middle. Big frothy white head on this one.

S: Very sweet smell, citrus and apricot I wanna say. Plenty of peppery-ness comes out.

T: Not nearly as sweet as it smells. Plenty of the typical Belgian spicyness, with a dry and slightly bitter finish. Seems to have a bit of a lemon flavor throughout, which adds to the bitterness. The flavor is mellow but not boring.

MF: Quite bubbly, making the beer feel thicker than it really is. A sharp feel due to the spices.

O: Pretty good. I like the Avant Garde more, but this one is also a good brew. Wish the flavor was a little stronger. I think this would be better in the summer as opposed to during this cold snap we're in right now.

Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Typical Lost Abbey presentation, Belgian bomber, caged and corked, no freshness info to be had and an artistic label. This one pours clear medium golden amber, with alot of bubbles rising to the top. The head is a rocky long lasting kind of thing, eggshell in color and thick, with spotty, ringed and well developed lacing left behind. Nose is all about a bunch of fresh fruits, some light pepper and Belgian yeasty goodness. Full flavor brew, more fruityness, melon, pears, apples, spice pepper, coriander, honey, bananas, complex and interesting stuff. Lovely final pour, loaded with sediment and nutty yeast. This went great with some peppery goat cheese on toast and some nuts. Agreed, Lost Abbey is into the pantheon of top notch, U.S. brewers..great stuff, go get some and enjoy!

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

'Sunshine glinting off a krugerrand' gold. An abundance of bubbles gives the beer a sparkly look and has created a majestic crown of lemony ivory that might have been created in the Belgian countryside rather than in San Marcos. Chunky hunks of foamy lace stick like glue. The appearance should become even more spectacular when the yeast from the bottom of the bottle is added.

The nose is wonderously spicy and pretty much defines the saison style (it could pass for a BSPA as well). It's incredibly juicy fruity and has a perfect amount of zippy zestiness from the addition of ginger, orange peel, black pepper and grains of paradise. It's difficult to appreciate the pepper, but the others definitely aren't shy.

Beer like this makes me wonder why I never think of saisons/farmhouse ales when asked to name my favorite styles. A well-brewed saison is incredibly versatile and is nicely quenching at any time of year. Having had a few Lost Abbeys offerings prior to Red Barn, I'm not a bit surprised at the complexity that swirls across my tongue with each eagerly anticipated mouthful.

The lush fruitiness underlying the top note fireworks is all kinds of delicious. I'm reminded of peaches, apricots and buttery pears. A semi-firm hop presence keeps things balanced from the sweet-bitter perspective. Stopping right there would have made for a sublime ale. Adding the rest makes for an ale to savor... an ale to linger over... an ale to make me wish I lived in Southern California.

The best part about the spices is how none of them hog the spotlight. The taste buds register a warm blip of ginger here, a tart tang of orange peel there, and a playful nip of black pepper here, there and everywhere. I'm torn between trying to appreciate each of them in turn and simply enjoying the glorious whole as it washes over my palate.

The mouthfeel falls a bit short of great, but only because I'm comparing it to Belgium's finest. It could stand to be slightly more full and creamy, slightly more supple. It's odd that I liked it more when the beer was cool than I do as it warms.

I can no longer deny the obvious. Even though I didn't think there was any room, The Lost Abbey (Port Brewing) has exploded into the upper reaches of my 'top-10 breweries in the U.S.' list. They'll almost certainly be a permanent fixture as long as they continue to brew outstanding beer like Red Barn Ale. As far as I'm concerned, Tomme Arthur, Vinnie Cilurzo and Rob Todd comprise the holy trinity of Belgian brewing, American-style.

Red Barn Ale from The Lost Abbey
89 out of 100 based on 851 ratings.