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Red Barn Ale - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Red Barn AleRed Barn Ale

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very good

874 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 874
Reviews: 374
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 10.91%
Wants: 65
Gots: 87 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 874 | Reviews: 374 | Display Reviews Only:
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first experience with anything from Lost Abbey. Shared with an appreciative friend. Corked/Caged 750 ml. bottle in to a Moretti stem goblet. No loose cork here....popped like a fine French Champagne.

A ~ The initial, careful, controlled pour produced a cloudy, golden honey colored nectar with a butter colored sticky 1 finger head. The second pour produced a thicker,honey butter colored, milky, yeasty concentrate with some bottom funk & a head like wall paper paste. Impressive.

S ~ Warm ginger snaps, honey, cloves, allspice, orange blossom & lemon peel. Floral scents & a hint of pear syrup & bubble gum?

T ~ The front follows the nose closely with Christmassy spices, a touch of clover honey, & lemon peel. As the beer warmed to room temperature the flavors enhanced & separated. Bubblegum still lurks in the wings with subtle, ripe pears. Delicate, mild floral undertones. The back side has a pleasing, peppery sharpness that warms the back of the throat but is never hot on the tongue. Intoxicating & complex.

M ~ Crisp & clean with a super nice, dry finish.
Carbonation is appropriate & helps to showcase the complexity of this beer.

D ~ The brew develops as it warms & is absolutely a beautiful American example of a refined Belgian style. Highly recommended & best shared with close friends. I'm looking forward to more from Lost Abbey.

Photo of froghop
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a cloudy orangish with a large mountainous off-white head, very nice lacing.

smell is of pear, peach, sweet malt, touch of caramel, spice in the back.

taste is smooth yet surprisingly hoppy, does not taste as sweet as it smells, malt, citrus, fruit, some spice, pleasant dry finish.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.69/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the best saison's and could be one of the best beers by Lost Abbey (that is saying something). Pours a more straw colored yellow with a cloudy appearance. A soft white head with good staying power but not much lacing.

The nose is complex but subtle. A nice balance between spice and malt. There is a grainy and wheaty flavor with a almost rye backing that give off a nice aroma. There are some nice orange, corrinader, ginger and pepper notes. Some nice yeasty notes as well with a Belgian aroma. Some minor rose peddles, but overall a very nice blend.

The taste is similar. The malt is less accentuated but still has a grain and wheat flavor. Some minor biscuit and an almost flour taste. The spice and esters come out more and add real complexity. Some fruity orange and lemon citrus undertones. The pepper and ginger back off but there is some nice rose and herbal quality with a somewhat earthy/floral taste. Very nice yeast note that brings out soft Belgian characteristics.

The body starts off with moderate taste but finishes with a dry almost crisp finish. Light carbonation helps accentuate this. Overall a great beer for a difficult style to brew. Good job.

Photo of biegaman
4.31/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An austere appearance: pristine white head with specs of silver that twinkle to the light. Accompanied by a few solitary bubbles, it sits with discipline, still and to the level, imprinting its glinty lacing. The body is a pale but gleaming apricot colour that warms a full shade or two against the light. Entirely unspoiled, this appearance is a sight of beauty to behold.

It smells just like Belgium's best saisons, but I think more is responsible than just the yeast. The write up lists ginger, orange peel, black pepper and grains of paradise as the spices used. I think the old adage that 'if you can identify the spice, you've used too much' is a good one to go by; although they are impressionable, I'm not sure my nose could pick out any of them.

The taste again is finesse, textbook style Saison right out of the BJCP guidelines. A soft malt character with some straw and wheat graininess. Light squirt of lemon zest citrus. A little peppery. Absolutely delicious, it is a blend both lightly fruity and moderately spicy.

Bitterness is low but dries out the palate on the finish. The spices linger lightly, although again, no one spice is all that easily identified. They blend well together and are especially well integrated into the lightly toasted, honeyed malt profile. A 750ml bottle is no challenge for one person to power through alone. Actually, it's ideal size.

I've read that Lost Abbey's Red Barn is a slightly modified recipe of Tomme Arthur's old Pizza Port SPF 45 saison. I remember trying and loving that saison, as I do this one, as I have everything I've tried from Port Brewing/Lost Abbey.

In fact, I think Tomme Arthur is possibly the most versatile and talented commercial brewer in the world, proven capable of remarkably brewing virtually all styles. What impresses me most, perhaps above the funky barrel aged wild ales and hopped-up American brews, is his uncanny ability to capture Belgian ales - this wonderful saison is yet another wonderful example of that.

Photo of tyboxr
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appeared a nice hue of red, very tasty indeed. Spices bounce without overtly declaring themselves. Mouth feel is of a fine moderate fizz that transports the nuances to all areas of the pallate allowing simultaneous epxperience of the elements that create this very drinkable beer. I would def. buy this one again and again.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Ledgers in Berkeley for $7.99. Pours a very nice darker golden with just the tiniest wisp of haze, a very nice head that sticks around, and some excellent lacing. Slightly sweet and somewhat tangy in the aroma, as well as a hint of spice. This smells more like a tripel than a saison, with that hint of sweetness, touch of clove, and bit of yeasty tanginess. The taste has some of those same tripel elements, but the tanginess is a bit restrained and it tastes a bit cleaner, more like a saison, and there is a fairly large hit of white pepper and lighter touch of bitter orange peel right up front. The orange builds a good bit through the taste, as does the pepper, until the finish, which has a bit more rounded yeastiness. Fairly complex, and ultimately to me it comes off as an intriguing blend of tripel and saison with a bit more aggressive spicing than most. Very nice and relatively complex summertime fare. Smooth, spicy, and relatively addictive

Photo of atsprings
4.48/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged 750mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip, like my review of Elysian The Immortal IPA yesterday, it looks like I'm the 100th person to review this beer as well! The beer pours almost exactly like Duvel does into this glass on its bottle, sporting a huge frothy three finger head, I had to wait a bit to try this one, the head lasted throughout as a one finger layer and left decent lacing. Aroma is loads of sweetness and spice, great malt presence, sweet fruits and slight funkiness. The taste is dominated by spice and sweet malts, crisp hops provide a nice spiciness, slight banana and lemon are present as well. The beer is light and crisp with a nice bite of carbonation that provides an easy drinking smoothness. This is certainly one of the best American brewed Farmhouse Ales I've had the pleasure of drinking. I have to say, so far, all the hype I've heard about Port Brewing seems truly justified.

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my Maudite tulip. Poured a hazy orange-gold with a one inch white cap. Head eventually settles into a light slick of foam and bubbles with a solid band evident around the shoulders of the glass. Some loose sheets of lacing evident during the tasting. Spicy nose, as well as the presence of citrus, tart fruit (green apples) and candi sugar. Taste consistent with nose with a slight pucker at the finish. Yeast and clove also expressed in the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is light- to medium-bodied with lots of effervescence tingling throughout the mouth. Good drinkability, but a little on the sweet side for the style in my opinion. A nice offering nonetheless.

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

Bottle at Monk's Cafe in Philly

A: Clear a slightly cloudy golden color with a finger of white head.

S: Nice mix of fruitiness and yeast. Fairly subdued even for a Saison.

T: The fruit and spice from the yeast shone through. A slightly more pronounced hop presence than in other saisons. Only the faintest hint really. Not as sweet as other Saisons. Yeast is a little bit different as well. Wonder what they used.

M: Very light body. Carbonation was spot on.

D: Love Saisons in the summer. This was a good beer but a pain to get my hands on. Hennepin is just as good if not better and much easier to get. Still have not had a bad beer from these guys.

Photo of ccrida
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle that I picked up ~6 months ago and have cellared for a hot summer weekend like this. Poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, Red Barn Ale is clear copper gold with a very large white head, very tight and long lasting, as well as very rocky settling, leaving heavy lace.

Smell is yeast and sweet grain, with a nice tropical fruitiness. It also has a bit of clean alcohol that strengthens as it warms.

Taste is pretty yeasty, semi-sweet with some hop spice, reminiscent of a saison, although it's fairly malty, a bit under-attenuated for a saison IMHO. Also comes off a bit boozy for the strength, with a drier, bitter finish. I can taste the spices, and do with out them...

Mouthfeel is on the crisper, drier side, although it's a bit thicker then I'd like for the style.

Drinkability is fine, but it doesn't impress me enough to seek out for a revisit. It was a bit to spicy and boozy to drink with speed or refresh like I look for in the style.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

25.4 oz. bottle from the Huntington Beach BevMo,

A: Pours a cloudy yellow, with a very powerful white head, a bit overcarbonated, but a pretty standard saison look once it settles down. Good lacing and retention for the head in this beer.

S: Fermented apple juice, lemon, bubblegum, lots of spice, yeast activity plays a big part.

T: Pear esters and yellow apples come out more in the taste, malt is bready and understated compared to the yeast and spice character. Grains of Paradise come more to the forefront, with some bitter lemon zest, and a shock of coriander in the aftertaste. Interesting theme of ripe cantaloupe I found throughout the beer though it is always in the background.

M: Carbonation is light once the initial bite dies down. Complex and quite smooth, a beer that really hits you at the end and makes you think about it.

D: One of the easier offerings to find from the Lost Abbey, it seems to take Dupont as a template and then add its own unique complexity and character to the style. This is one of the best saisons made in America without a doubt, and would work great with a multitude of meals. I really like this beer.

Photo of oggg
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Champagne corked, with cage.

On a hot summer day, I popped this open in hopes of something along the lines of SPF 15 or 45. Ah well, I'll always have those memories.

This one pours more yellow than orange. Quite bright, with a beautiful white foamy head. There is a minute amount of sediment at the bottom -- it doesn't really go into solution; rather it seems to fall to the bottom of my glass. The aroma gives me the impression of a hefeweizen. Near banana aromas with clove. Perhaps some coriander or something. Not exactly appealing. On the tongue, it's sweet and thick, with strong esters and phenols. The moderate hopping fits pretty well. Alcohol is subtle. Finish threatens to be sticky but actually cleans up pretty well and is pretty refreshing.

Overall: Not my cup of tea, but I'll still give it points for good hopping and good finish.

Photo of SaucyA
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Into a La Fin Du Monde glass. Poured with a huge, off-white head. Body is highly carbonated, golden color. I must comment on the rocky, persistant head again. A good looking beer.

S - Overly ripe apples, fruity esters, yeast, slightly peppery on the back end.

T - A very fruity note through the whole drink, with green apples and apple juice really showing up. Finishes slightly sweet but manages to find some dry sips as well. It's good, not amazing, but it's good.

M - A little less carbonated then I prefer, and a little slicker than I prefer. Again, not amazing, but not bad.

D - I'll finish this 750ml and be done with Red Barn Ale for the night... However, it won't be unpleasant having to do so.

Notes: My first bottle of Lost Abbey that I've tried proved to be okay. I drank an Angel's Share, but quite frankly don't remember how it tasted. I'm interested in trying some of the others from this highly touted brewery... this one just didn't do it for me... frankly it just makes me wish I had a Hennepin.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle courtesy of KingG, thanks! This pours a beautiful golden orange with a head that quickly subsided into a ring of white bubbles. The aroma is thick with spice but I can't tell you what kind. There is also some orange peel type smell. The flavor has a faint candy quality and some other flavors I can't put my finger on. There seems to a be a hop bitterness and this definitely has a rustic, farmhouse feel to it.

Photo of number1bum
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazed golden color with about two fingers of ivory head. Retains a thin but pretty full lace, with a lumpy dollop in the middle that looks like a melting mound of butter on top of a baked potato or a pancake. Leaves a little stick here and there, too.

Nose is quite floral and spicy, also very grassy. Some orange and herbal notes, too. Some funky yeast too. Lots going on here.

Taste is just as complex as the nose. I get a burst of ginger flavor on the tongue first, followed by some peppery spice, citrus and grass. There is a touch of sweetness in there. More spices through the finish along with some herbal bitterness. There is some yeast there, too.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has a nice crispness to it, but is also very smooth. A touch dry through the finish.

This is damn good and it hit the spot perfectly on a 95 degree day. Very complex and another amazing offering from Lost Abbey.

Photo of pwoods
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle, corked and caged, purchased from South Bay, poured into a flute.

A: Pours an apricot-amber with a bit of hazing. A large slightly fluffy, yet tight, white head forms and holds nicely. Good lacing from start to finish.

S: A pleasant sweet malt line with plenty of yeasty esters and light spicy hops. Maybe some coriander?

T/M: The hops are much more assertive than the nose suggested. Plenty of zesty, peppery spices with a slow rising bitterness that culminates in a dry and lasting finish. The yeast produces heavy phenolics that meld well with the spices. More of a gingery taste instead of the coriander(Because, you know, they're so similar and all, right?). Malts let off a balancing sweetness as well a some biscuity notes.

D: Decent drinkability with 6.7%. The 750 won't be too much.

Photo of nickfl
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Small, white head that settles very quickly, leaving a thin film of lace. The body is golden and perfectly clear.

S - Spicy wheat aroma with lots of pepper and a hint of fruit. Slight sulphur, but in an unusually pleasant way.

T - Begins tart with lots of herbal hops, somewhat vinous. The earthy hops continue in the middle with some yeasty phenolics. The finish is cirtusy with moderate noble hop bitterness.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A nice, earthy saison. The low carbonation is a bit off putting to me, but I guess you could think of it as sort of like a cask saison.

Photo of robbyc1
4.37/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a bomber bottle, I like the ale, I really do, but I don't think it really qualifies as a Saison. I love Saisons, and this is a bit off.

The head is like styrofoam, white, and goes off nicely. The color is like honey, a bit hazy, very nice.

The nose is a bit sweet, just missing any funk, dark candy and a bit or orange, very inviting.

The taste is easy to drink, beautiful malt, a bit of hops, and then just a nice slightly sweet follow up at the end.

Full mouthfeel, easy to drink, could have more, but looking for more complex tastes, thats all. At first, I thought it was Duvel in the bottle, but it's a bit better than that, but still I think it's more like a Belgian Strong Pale Ale than a Saison, either way I'll be seeking more.

Update June 2009 bottle from my brother Dave, thanks. It's highly cabonated, but a slight funks is there making it finished dry. It is a saison. And the spicy taste is great. Up the flavor score by 1/2.

Photo of IdleAaron
4.65/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It looks like honey in a glass; deep orange with a solid head leaving a legacy of lace in its tracks.

Smell: Nice sweet grain upfront with sweet orange rounding out the experience. An impressive mix of grain and sweet citrus.

Taste: Citrus, honey, well balanced with a perfectly subtle and mild bitter finish. This just keeps getting better.

Mouthfeel: Hearty and confident yet smooth and balanced.

Drinkability: this is definitely a sipper. The thing is, I don't think I can stop sipping. A vacation in a bottle...

Photo of joe1510
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


I was lucky to get a bottle of Red Barn from Taynor awhile back, thanks Dana! Red Barn is surprisingly clear with only the mildest of haziness through the goldenrod body. Carbonation rises quickly from every surface of the glass to the two finger cotton white head that formed on the pour. The head fell rather quickly to a half finger but left a meringue like middle. This is good looking saison.

This is brewed with ginger, orange peel, black pepper, and grains of paradise. The orange peel, ginger and grains of paradise greet the nose right off the bat in that order of intensity form most to least. There's a slight grassy hoppiness that mingles well with the added spices. As it warms the black pepper spiciness comes forward where I didn't notice at a colder temperature. This just smells like a thirst quencher.

Flavor follows the lines of the aroma with everything more toned down but also seamless. Red Barn starts off with a mild ground laying biscuity dry maltiness and is quickly overtaken by the spicing. The ginger, grains of paradise, and orange peel all come together mid palate but the only one left standing on the finish is the orange. This is where mild pepper and a mild grassy hoppiness join in and make for a delicious drying finish.

The mouthfeel is good for the style. A bit below medium bodied with decent carbonation. If I had any complaint it would be that the carbonation could be a little more aggressive. The body tends to stick around too long occasionally.

Like the nose suggested, this is a thirst quencher deluxe. A hot summer day and I would be all over this. I could polish off a couple bottles no problem while out on the deck hanging out under the umbrella.

Another good beer from Lost Abbey and one of my favorite American made saisons. Doesn't quite have the funk I enjoy so much from some Belgians but I'm digging it none-the-less. I'd pick up a few of these tonight if Lost Abbey distributed out this way. Thanks again Dana!

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

A: cloudy golden orange with a two finger foamy white head

S: musty, earthy, herbal and i think lavender. a fine aroma.

T: faint citrus zest, lemon and earthy

M: moderate body with decent carbonation although bordering on the light side of what I'm looking for. also has a slight syrupy sweetness but not enough to be off-putting

D: a good saison. I'd have again

Photo of dill
3.51/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 750ml bottle into a pint glass.

A - poured a golden color with a thick, foamy white head. i had to slow down and pour this extra slowly.

S - smells of spice and grapefruit.

T - a nice taste of spices and earthiness with some fruit.

M - light on the tongue with a little carbonation.

D - highly drinkable beer, but most saisons are. this beer was enjoyable but wouldn't stand out in a crowd.

Photo of tpd975
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one came from CoreyRhoads, I believe.

A: Pours a nice somewhat cloudy yellow color with a huge bubbly soapy head. There are bits of lacing that cling to the side for dear life.

S: Your typical wonderful Saison aromas. Tons of banana and clove. Hints of corriander and wonderful Florida citrus.

T: I really like this, one of the better Saisons I have enjoyed in sometime. Tons of citrus flavor up front. Sweet banana lingers beneath. The spice factor is wonderful with tons of clove, corriander and white pepper. Very nice.

M: Nice and light, very bubbly.

D: Pretty drinkable, this is one I did not share and had no problem putting it down even with the high carbonation.

Overall: I love what Lost Abbey does! They brew wonderfu beers that are highly sought after for good reason. Add this one to their world class lineup. I would love to have another bottle for a warm summers night, while relaxing in the hot tub.

Photo of francisweizen
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Red Barn Ale from The Lost Abbey
88 out of 100 based on 874 ratings.