Red Poppy Ale - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,799 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,799
Reviews: 555
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 560
Gots: 569 | FT: 44
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 09-07-2007

Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent.

Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart.

The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,799 | Reviews: 555
Reviews by spoony:
Photo of spoony
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From a 375 ml bottle into a tulip.

A-The brew is murky and brownish in color with a ruby hue. There is no head to speak of and no visible bubbles. It is sort of ugly, but not a huge departure from the style.

S-The smell gives up a decent hit of cherries, some prune-flavored malts, some dry oak, a mild tartness and a touch of funk. It is a bit underwhelming compared to other, better examples of the style.

T-The taste tracks the smell with bing cherries, light oak, and pruney malts being the major flavors. The acidity is very mild and, to be honest, could be amped up to better balance the lightly sweet fruit flavors.

M-The beer opens with a quick wave of surprisingly assertive carbonation, but the bubbles fade quickly with a slick, watery finish.

O-As a Flanders ale fan (and on the date of the Tour of Flanders bicycle race, no less), I had hopes for this beer, but I am a bit disappointed. The flavors are not very complex and the missing tartness/acidity really hurt the smell and taste score. On the bright side, the mouthfeel is nice.

More User Reviews:
Photo of SLubeski
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cracked a 2014 to celebrate the release of the 2015! Poured from a 375 mL bottle into a .4L Bruery tulip.

L: Pours a murky deep brown, with cranberry hues in the light. a thick cream/beige head forms on the pour and recedes quickly into a fine, but steady, head that laces the glass and falls away within minutes.

S: Tart tart tart, with a subtle hint of funk deep within the glass. Enticing. Subtle cherry in the middle, but you can absolutely smell the sour. Minute alcohol.

T: Oh yes. Just like it smells, really tart, and delicious. But with so much more cherry in the taste. Oak in subtle ways that mellow into farmhouse funky cherry goodness.

F: Dry. Carbonated nicely and finely, but dissipates as it warms. Coats the tongue and cheeks nicely with resiny tartness.

O: Great beer. I drink a large number of sours and this one stands up in its particular category. It is aggressive and may not be for all beer drinkers, or even sour drinkers. If you dig the style go with a classic American interpretation of it.

Photo of MtnSoup
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 version, and oh so wonderful. Tart, and still very effervescent. Tasting more sour than fruity at this point (but isn't that the point of keeping it until now).

Photo of 50marathons
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Great sour cherry flavor. Very food aroma.

Photo of ricke
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: A strangely looking murky reddish brown color with a minimal tanned head that quickly fades away to a small ring of lacings.

S: Tart cherry notes and an interesting mix of bretty funk and oak barrels. The barrel notes are more prominent than expected. Hints of other fruity notes and caramel reminiscent of an Oud bruin. An interesting and to large extent good taste, but it's not excellent.

T: The taste is actually quite acidic with sour cherry notes from start to finish. Some complementary caramel-like sweetness. Notes of wood and oak barrels. Mild funky notes and notes of berries. The finish is tart with notes of brett and cherries and a hint of minerals. After a while, the acidity mellows out a bit, letting more sweetness come through.

M: The body is quite light, too light I think. The carbonation is slightly too mellow, I would have liked it to be a little livelier and sparkling.

D: Good, but not fantastic. I've come across many comments about this one comparing it to a lambic, but too me, it is more of a sour, fruit-infused Oud bruin than a fruit lambic (which is what it's categorized as on this site). It's not as complex as some of the better comparable Belgians, but still a very impressive beer. Nice bland of tartness, barrel character and fruit flavors.

Photo of MadScientist
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark copper with a garnet hue. The head is tan, somewhat rocky and not long for this world which I blame on the high acidity.

S: Red currents, tart cherries and some leather. A light touch of barnyard funk.

T: Supper tart and fruit with a strong acidic tartness and fruit flavors of red current and tart cherries. The oak barrel comes through next mostly with vanilla but a touch of cinnamon. There is some malt rounding out the mild but the balance here is very tart with a dry finish. Lingering fruit flavors and tartness.

M: medium bodied with a strong carbonation.

O: A sour beer of arrival, one should love tart sours before approaching this one. Tart, fruity, vanilla, tart and oak with a touch of vinegar acidity.

Photo of weatherdog
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Tony for opening this up during a March tasting.

It pours a cloudy copper with deep red highlights at the edges. A bone colored head recedes quickly into a nice ring of bubbles around the perimeter

The nose of this beer is exactly what I dream of when I open up an example of my favorite style. It has a nice balance of acetic, cherry, oak, and sweet notes. The addition of actual cherries in this beer leave more cherry aroma than I've had in others but it is a welcome addition. The smell was so inviting I just kept smelling it for several minutes before I dived into the actual liquid.

The cherry is definitely present in the taste but it isn't overpowering. The tart and sour notes have are really well integrated with a fair amount of vinegar taste but not too much to label it over the top. My only gripe with the flavor is that the cherry flavors and the sourness mask a lot of the base beer and I wold like to have more of the brown ale show through.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side and the present carbonation compliments the beer nicely. it is pretty dry which I really like and allows a mouth puckering beer to be drank without much palette fatigue.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage - new style 375ml bottle: 4.5/4/4/4.5/4

Pours a deep brown color with red highlights and two fingers of bubbly khaki head on top. Aromas of dense oak and wood meet a bright sour cherry. Tart, earthy accents run throughout along with a touch of spice. Nice!

First sip brings crispness and dry oak flavors upfront. Tannic with a solid kick of tart cherry. Spice and earthy funk but the wood has really seeped in this year. Flows down dry and puckering with lingering cherry accents.

Crisp with solid carbonation. A good sipper and a tasty treat to savor. Oak seems more forward this year but overall it's still a tasty treat.

2008 vintage:

Pours into my glass a deep burgundy red with a creamy half inch of light tan head sitting atop the brew. Plenty of active carbonation too. Aromas jump out with bold tart cherries upfront. Nice tannic woody, oak aromas meld in alongside some funky, cheesy brett characteristics. A subtle malty, caramel sweetness lurks underneath. Really enticing.

First sip brings a nice crisp malt with a hint of caramel upfront that is immediately met by a rush of vibrant tart cherry flavors. It almost has a syrupy quality to it as it moves into woody, oak barrel flavors. I get a sweetness upfront that melds into a sourness on the way down. Funky, sort of cheesy brett flavors mix in as the brew finishes with lingering cherry afterthoughts. Yum.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side with a smooth effervescence of tight bubbly carbonation as it flows down. It's quite refreshing with a nice interplay between the sweet and sour. A bottle of this to myself is truly a treat and I only wish I had more. A tasty treat of a beer from Lost Abbey.

Photo of Kjanisch7
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: A murky red-brown with a tan head.

S: Sour cherry with some funk. Had a far different, somewhat unappealing smell which was unlike most sours I've had. Made me unsure about the beer.

T: Super acidic with tart fruits. Some barrel taste coming through. Awesome sour.

M: Strong carbonation, but a nice medium body.

O: This beer was solid. Loved drinking it. The only thing that threw me off was the smell. Not sure if it was good that it didn't smell like a sour or not, but it wasn't for me. I typically enjoy the strong standard sour smell.

Photo of warnerry
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottling

A - Nice pop as the cork comes out. Pours very deep red/brown with almost four fingers of tan head with a slight pink hue. Head has very good retention and leaves some nice lacing. I am surprised how dark this is.

S - Tart cherries, a nice amount of oak, and a good funky base. Small amount of balsamic vinegar.

T - Definitely tart, but not bracingly sour. Also quite a bit of bitterness in the taste, especially on the finish. Earthy and funky with tart cherries. Lots of oak on the finish. Very tasty. Thought it would have more fruit since it is this year's vintage, but I enjoyed it as is.

M - Medium mouthfeel, maybe a bit on the heavy side for the style, but I that isn't a negative.

O - Nice one from Lost Abbey, but not quite up to Rodenbach Grand Cru or Cuvee de Jacobins for the style. Looking forward to seeing what some age does this to this.

Photo of Beaver13
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 oz bottle, about 4 years old. Pours dark ruby amber with a fizzy light tan head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet cherries with some vinegary tartness and some woodiness.

The flavor is sweet and very tart sour cherry with some acidic wood notes in the background. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation that is a little prickly.

Overall, a very nice sour.

Photo of Edward_Round
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cherries are predominant in scent and flavor. Not too sure if I can pull out the flavor of the poppy. Good sour, but not exceptional in any given aspect.

Photo of badbeer
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish brown color with a nice off-white head that retained pretty good. I got some cherries and cherry pits in the aroma, also a fair amount of sourness and maybe a touch of cinnamon. Taste was sour, some cherries, but didn't really do much to impress me. The complexity of the aroma didn't translate as well into the flavor for me. It was enjoyable, but again, it didn't really stand out to me. Fairly light body with medium carbonation. It was good, but I don't think I'll be worrying about getting this again, especially not at the price. Thanks to doubleo for the chance to try it.

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bmwgirl9606 for sending me this bottle.

2010 vintage. The beer pours a slightly hazy brown color with an off-white head. The aroma is tart with some oak, vanilla, brown sugar and cherry. The flavor is heavy on the tart cherries with some oak and lemons mixed in as well. There is also a nice sweetness that resembles brown sugar. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. An excellent beer. So happy I got to try this one.

Photo of magictrokini
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque red-brown with a white ring of bubbles. Sour cherry and oak with a nice buttercream and vanilla nose. Taste is a bit the same, but the cherries modulate between sweet and sour, with the sour being very similar to the Tomme. Brown sugar and malt back mixed with the brett to give it a funky finish.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml corked & caged bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a dark amber brown with a hazy red color with a light brown lacing. Nose is tart and sour with a earthy note.

Taste is very well balanced, vinegar and a sweet earthy sour cherry with a nice full body with quite a bit of carbonation. Very good beer.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Grant35 for the bottle!

12.7 oz caged and corked bottle at about fridge temp. "Vintage 2012 C" stamped on the neck of the bottle.

Pours out a nice looking, slightly hazy deep red almost brown color. Very nice ruby red al most pink highlights when held to the light. A rather fizzy off white/ light tan colored head that quickly turned itself into a small ring. No lacing.

Big aromas of tart sour cherries. Only a bit of horsey funk, I definatly expected more, a bit of tart apples. Some rich spicey dark malt comes in as it warms. Maybe a bit of wine.

Very nice tart sour pie cherry flavors, lots of acidic sourness takes over the palate. Kind of a rich dark sugar, dark malt flavor, hint of rich oak, and just hints of horsey funk.

This beer is pretty intensely sour. A very tart sour pie cherry sourness really lingers on and on complimented by a high amount of carbonation.

Definatly one of the better examples of the style. Similar to oude tart. Not super funky, but definatly intensely sour and full of bright cherry flavors.

Photo of ehammond1
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Lost Abbey
San Marcos, CA

Dark auburn bordering on brown with ruby highlights. Great carbonation running throughout leaving an inch-high khaki head. Not much lacing at all down the glass.

Tart and sweet aroma. A complex, rich aroma combining sweet cherries, tart sourness, and oaken, earthy wood. A very full, rich, and powerful aroma--just about perfect.

Taste follows the nose nearly identically, though somehow it doesn't seem quite as complex. It's perhaps my favorite within the style--a style I absolutely love, but I wish I could taste a bit more oak. That being said, the tart sourness and the sweet cherries make for an incredible combination.

Tart, biting, highly carbonated, medium bodied.

A near flawless example of the style. There's a reason I pick this one up every year. Thanks Lost Abbey!

Photo of boatshoes
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this in a monster box from 6daysbottomocean in the Whale BIF 3. 375ml bottle. Thanks again!

Appearance- Pours a dark, very slightly crimson tinged, hazy brown into my snifter. A moderately aggressive pour yields about a finger of slightly tan head on top which to my surprise sticks around for quite awhile. Eventually dies back to a sheet across the top. Lots of beading carbonation in the body of the beer and a very small amount of lacing.

Smell- Very vinous with lots of oak present. Smells of dark tart cherries, some red wine grapes, and barrel. A little bit of vanilla even perhaps, not sure exactly where I'm getting that from, but maybe off of the barrel. Finishes with a strong whiff of lactic tartness.

Taste- Once again, very tart and very vinous. Lots of tart fruit flavors. Barrels really show through as well, adding a rich woodiness to the palate as well. Finishes on a very strong acidic note.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel was good for the style with enough, but not too much, carbonation. Drinkability was pretty good for me as well given the good flavor profile and nice tartness. However, I'm a sour head, and if you aren't this may be a touch tart for you.

Overall, a very solid shot at an oud bruin from Lost Abbey. I'm generally very impressed by the sours I've had of theirs and this one didn't disappoint.

Photo of mj001jk
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pleasant nose with tart, black cherries and dried figs, with mineral and vanilla oak overtones.

Flavors are rich and coat the palate with tart, yet ripe cherries and green apples providing lots of acidity. After the initial mouth-puckering, it gives way to a long and seductive sweetness, fruits and finishes with dry tannins.

It is hearty yet refreshing, delicious from beginning to end.

I already yearn for next time...

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown pour, not as sexy as Supplication. . . more brown, didn't have enough of the cherry edge to it, some head and/or lacing with good carbonation. Aroma is wood and fruit, cherry underplayed still.

Cherry comes out moreso on the palate, good sour qualities, almost nothing is sweet about the beer. Oak. Definite brown ale base beer flavor exists and is not overshadowed by the sour and cherry flavors. Harmony. Would actually prefer more cherry and tart flavors v. the brown ale and wood flavor, but its not a liability by any means. Damn this is dry.

What's the deal with the pricing on these? More than $1 an oz? Supplication is better and cheaper, so I can't really recommend this too strongly, worth checking out and special occasions, but damn its pricey.

Photo of jeonseh
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a GI Reserve goblet. Thanks to MiScusi for giving me the chance to try this one.

A - Could see a ton of carbonation trailing up in this one. Reminded me a lot of champagne as you could just see the carbonation floating up the whole time. Because of this, there was a constant stream of bubbles trailing up in it. Color of cherry wood with hues of gold and orange. It is a bit cloudy in the appearance as well. Didn't get much of a head on this in the goblet glass but there was a ton of carbonation on the side as well. Actually a very nice looking beer. As a note, I poured the rest of this into a flute and really still has no head or lacing at all.

S - Smell is of tart cherry that just wafts up. Also get a hint of sugary sweetness as well that cuts through the tart flavors. Also get a bit of an earthy and musty note that reminds me a bit of that distinctive Orval bretty smell.

T - Upfront the flavor is pure, tart cherry that just comes up. If this was the only flavor in the beer, it would not be that great but of course those masterminds at LA, had to just keep this packed with complexity. Later, I can just taste the funk that brings out the earthy, barny and, I always think, blue cheese like flavor. It is one of those things that is almost so nasty that it is good. At the end, get a slight hint of oak as well that just sneaks up. Really, I would not be surprised if someone told me this was just Orval's new beer brewed with cherries. The aftertaste just keep lingering around and leaves the Brett flavors hanging around. Also finishes a bit dry.

MF -like a fine champagne, it manages to have a ton of carbonation, yet it feels so velvety on the tongue. It has a great body for this type of beer which I feel should be a bit on the thinner side.

D - Overall, this is a great beer that I could see drinking with some cheese and crackers as an apetif. It is a really easy drinking beer and one that just calls you back. It has such a unique flavor that I want a chance to experience more and more of it. Each sip is different and I can't wait to open up that other bottle I received from my trade. Wished I lived somewhere close that kept this stocked as I would easily drink this a lot more esp in situations where I have champagne but the celebration does not necessarily call for champagne.

Photo of daveytheformer
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stemmed Lost Abbey tulip.

Appearance is a deep ruby almost brown color. It opens with a big tan head that fades to a lot of lacing.

Smells like cherries, vinegar, and fresh cut wood. Hints of tart lemon.

Tastes are of strong cherries and a little acidic. Strong vinegar taste with a very light caramel flavor hiding in the background.

Mouthfeel is medium with lots of carbonation. Pretty smooth for a sour. I like this so much.

Overall is a great beer. I would drink this all the time if it were in Oregon. After a day of IPAs I thought this would be the perfect finish and it certainly was,

Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Gabe at Beachwood BBQ for breaking this one out.

Pours a clear red/brown color with ruby highlights and a thin off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of tart cherries with good amounts of oak and funk. As it warms the tartness becomes even more pronounced.

Tastes great. Tart cherries flavors up front turn into very tart cherry flavors midway through the sip. Also present is a good amount of oak and a lot of dryness. This beer is on the threshold of being too much but as it stands it's perfect.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I could sip on these for a long time.

Overall this was a very good representation of the style and one I'm happy to have tried.

Photo of beatenbyjacks
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Very carbonated with a huge head. Dark purplish color that is quite impressive.

Smell - At first I didn't get much, but then the raspberries came out from behind the intense tartness.

Taste - sweet fruit right away followed by a puckering tartness

Mouthfeel - even with all the carbonation and tartness this beer is very impressive

Overall - this beer is phenomenal! for almost a session beer this one was great. glad I finally found one on the shelves

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Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,799 ratings.