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Red Poppy Ale - The Lost Abbey

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Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale

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560 Reviews
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Reviews: 560
Hads: 1,837
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 569
Gots: 571 | FT: 42
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 560 | Hads: 1,837
Photo of bobsy
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the ever-generous viggo for the share. Been after this one for a while.

My pour came from the second half of the bottle and benefitted from a good shot of yeast. The disparity between the initial pours and the latter was stark, with the former having a crystal clear mahogany appearance and the latter adding a new level to murky. A thing film of a head keeps up shop for the duration. Sweet fruit vinegar nose mixes with a lactic sourness. Before the addition of the yeast this struck me as a highly drinkable flanders, but lacking in the sourness I love in the style - the dregs of the bottle more than remedied this. Very prominent fruit vinegar sourness, cherries, raspberry, demerera sugar and lemon. Really complex, and nicely-balanced. Medium-light body makes this one very drinkable.

A great example of the style, and deservedly up with the best. I can't really fault this beer on any count - thanks Eric!

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Photo of GPHarris
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage

a - poured a one finger thick tan head into a tulip that settled into a thin ring that lasted for almost the whole beer. the body was a dark mahogany with some red tints to it.
s - strong sour cherry aroma with oak behind it. as it warms the oak comes through a little more.
t - puckering tart cherries with some woodiness.
m - medium thickness with lively carbonation bubbles. very dry finish.
o - really excellent beer and probably my favorite lost abbey so far.

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Photo of Mages64
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to craytonic for this bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Dark red and brown with only a little head. No sure if pics are allowed but here it is seconds after pouring: http://twitpic.com/379up8

S: dates, prunes, grapes, cherries, cranberries, raspberries(one of those) and oak. Also sweet tarts. I feel like you can tell it is about to be a little sour.

T: Dr. Pepper with sourness and Oak and vanilla in the background. Sour but not too much. Finish is sweeter and woodier. cherries.

M: Delightfully carbonated(must have been fresh;) and sticky. Hits the back of your throat hard but leaves quickly and the only remains are on your tongue and lips.

D: It's an amazing beer but I'm not the right person to ask if I would drink it all night. Special occassion beer perhaps? MUST go well w/ chocolate!

Beer it Forward.

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Photo of Stigs
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz bottle, served in a Stone Levitation glass

A - poured with about half an inch of loose & bubbly dark khaki foam which quickly fell to just about nothing within a couple minutes. the ber is a hazy ruby color with some floating sediment.

S - filled the room after the cork popped. the smell is of very strong tart cherries, vinegar, and oak. simple, but wonderful. had to go back and give this a 5, as i've been sniffing it for a good 20+ minutes before every sip.

T - fantastic balance. an initial cherry sweetness turns to tart, sour, vinegar, caramel, then a very drying oak. finishes with a lingering sourness and cherries.

M - just a bit over carbonated and distracting. body is medium, and very prickly, nice and dry but almost to a fault.

D - a wonderfully crafted brew...simple, yet elegant. has all the characteristics of the style and pulls them off. just wish it didnt leave my mouth feeling like sandpaper, though i cant stop sipping it.

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Photo of davod23
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass. 2009 edition. I've heard that this beer goes downhill in the months after release - luckily, this has been fridged since last winter.

It pours a clear, dark auburn. Minimal (and I do mean minimal) cream colored head forms, which dissipates to nothing but the thinnest of collars and some cloud-like wisps on the top of the brew. This is okay, but could be improved with evidence of more ample carbonation.

Smell is great. Sour cherries dominate, but there's a complex background of oak, vanilla, and a light funkiness that wraps around everything.

Taste is similarly great. Sweet red cherries hit the palate first, followed by a slight vanilla and oak tinged sourness. It's less of a sourness, actually - I think that "tartness" describes this beer better. It finishes quickly, but leaves a lingering trace of light sour behind.

Mouthfeel is fine. Basically, it's just barely carbonated enough to be good. One less bubble in this brew, and the beer would suffer. That said, a bit more carbonation would be better for this brew, IMHO. Of course, this is Lost Abbey, so I'll take what I can get in this department.

Drinkability is excellent. I wish this was in bigger bottles, because I would polish it off with no problem.

Very good beer from Lost Abbey. This might be the sole purchase I make at their brewery this upcoming year, as it's one of the better Flanders ales that I've ever had.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle served in a tulip glass at cellar temps. Bottle is the 2015A vintage bought from the brewery.

Appearance: dark brown and explosively carbonated. I took the cage off and the cork shot out 2 seconds later. Glints of red through and a bit of sunlight on the edges. Massive foamy head.

Nose: oaky, sour cherries, vanilla, complex lactic nose with the yeast and microbial poking through.

Taste: sour but not bracingly, sour cherries, wood from the barrel aging, very complex and wonderful. Medium to heavy body, more so than I would have expected.

Overall: I bought this after reading about it online and in books. The brewery was beautiful and the beer is nothing less than spectacular. I don't have much experience with this style and need to try more. The complex yeast, Brett and bacteria notes combined with the sourness can be off putting for some but I find it wonderfully complex. I have a second bottle to cellar.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Kegbear: Poured a deep clear reddish color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention and no lacing. Aroma of oak and sour cherries are heavily dominating. Taste is also a very nice mix between some deep oak notes with some cherry flavor also discernable. Very complex taste and some what similar to Rodenbach Grand Cru. I thought cherries would have been more prominent but they were somewhat loss in the mix.

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Photo of scottoale
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml. cork-finished brown bottle with a single wrap around label.

This was the first brew released for the Patron Sinners club, and a tasty one at that.

Poured into a tulip, a medium-dark hazelnut brown with a small beige head with some lavender tint to it. The head remains small...the visible carbonation is near perfect.

Sweet malt and cherries upfront with a tart, yeasty brett following right behind. Smells really yummy.

Initially goes in sweet with notes of cherries and syrupy malt, then quickly becomes tart and pleasantly sour to the finish. A nice earthy malt pulls through in the linqering aftertaste.

Mild ABV, medium body and just the right carbonation for this ale are really making me wish I had another, on this hot, sunny San Diego day.

This ale paired nicely with some spicy, cheesy pan fried potatoes that my girlfriend made.

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle.

Appearance - Ruddy brown, quite hazy and distinctly unfiltered. The head retained remarkably well in an oversized wine glass. This beer should be decanted carefully; the bottle has a ton of sediment at the bottom.

Smell - Wonderfully musty and oaky. Pronounced vanilla with mild barnyard funk and sourness. Cherries are present but not as dominating as they are on the tongue.

Taste - Sour, tangy cherries make up the backbone, while oak provides depth and balance. Acidity is fairly low despite the tart flavor. Vanilla appears more and more as the beer warms, blending harmoniously with the sour cherries. The finish is dry and long, revealing more of the young oaky flavor.

Mouthfeel - Fairly light-bodied and crisp on the tongue; slighty drying to the palate. Certainly not quaffable despite the light body; small sips provide a ton of flavor.

Overall - The 08 and 09 batches are outstanding. A Flemish style sour without all the acetic acid, and a great balance between oak and fruit. Later batches are solid but not as exceptional.

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Photo of Celtics17
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very tart! Cherries the big player in this sour. A very slight caramel taste. A real fruit flavored sour, and beer. One of the best sours. Full in body. I would say this is right there with New Belgium's La Folie. Both a brown ale sour. Very comparable.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/20/08- Generously shared by BA member Talisker.

Presentation- 375ml bottle with no freshness info located on the bottle. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep mahagoney in color. Soft 1/4 inch bubbly white head. Leaves light spotted lace.

Smell- Pretty straight forward here. Fairly sour notes with lots of tart cherries and a good amount of oak.

Taste- Seems a bit thicker than a 5% beer would be. Tons of semi-tart cherry goodness with a light vinegar note (good vinegar). Very oaky with a nice woody barrel flavor.

Mouthfeel- Quite dry, quenching with a medium carbonation level. Crisp and sharp.

Drinkability- Right up there with the best Oud Bruins I have had. Not too tart and loads of cherry flavor. Wish I had some cheese to go with it.

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Photo of Viggo
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to oakbluff for hooking me up with this rare brew!

Pours a cloudy chunky orange/red, kind of like grapefruit juice, thick white head, some solid lace spots, settles to a nice layer and thick ring. Smell is sour and tart, very acidic, cherries, bread, lots of fruit, quite intense, oak, nice. Taste is similar, very oaky, some caramel, vanilla, cherries, tart fruit, acidic, lemons, vanilla, acidic fruit in the finish, very nice. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, very smooth and easy to drink. Fantastic sour beer, no rough edges, very nice. Thanks Scott!

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Photo of Giovacchini
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- dark reddish brown with a half finger khaki head.

S- vinegar, cherries, funk, oak, and vanilla.

T- sour cherries, vinegar, oak, a little funk, mild vanilla.

M- velvety mouthfeel, strong carbonation and a nice puckering effect.

O- I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. With so much flavor it's hard to believe its only 5% ABV. This brew really reminded me of RR's Concecration which is a good thing. At 15 bucks for a 375 ml bottle it will be hard not to get a couple RR sours instead.

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Photo of Wadsey
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Lost Abbey Red Poppy, vintage 2011

Served in New Belgium globe glass

A: Pours deep amber/brown with modest tan head. Each sip leaves behind an arc of foam. The beer itself is clear and sparkling. 

S: Tart cherries, vinegar and damp wood vie for dominant aroma. Mouthwateringly acetic. Additional smells include pickle aromas, a low-grade funk, and a tease of vanilla. 

T: Sourness strikes tongue first, then tart cherries. The acetobacteria is not as sharp as I thought it would, earning an enjoyable and approachable medium on the sourness scale. The other aromas are also expressed on the palate. I will that the beer has vinous character. Red Poppy is like a harmonic that slowly becomes quiet. That is how it finishes. Brettanomyces becomes more evident as I work my way through glass. 

M: Deceptively light body and medium, bright carbonation. Lively mouthfeel. 

O: I love Red Poppy. It edges out La Folie as best American interpretation of the style, and I think it might beat the very best Belgians. I wish it were cheaper and available in Indiana, preferably on tap in my basement. Huzzah!

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Photo of Mississipping
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy reddish-light brown color with notable clarity, although some sediment at the bottle of the glass/bottle.  A large off-white head billows out of the body and lingers for quite a while before resting to a patchy foam.  Moderate lacing. 

S: Really pungent aroma comprised of vinegar, cherries, earthy and funky barnyard characteristics, and some oak.  Really a nicely complex aroma that flows out of the glass and can be picked up yards away. 

T: Vinegar and sour cherries up front provide ample sourness.  Oak and some funkiness linger further in the background, but mesh very well with the dominant flavors.  There is also a flimsy malt profile that provides a subtle sweetness, but it pales in comparison to the puckering sourness. 

M: Medium bodied with quite a bit of carbonation.  Spritzy and crisp.  Nice and tart and pretty drying at the finish. 

D: Absolutely delicious and very drinkable, however, it's great to sip on and enjoy the complexity and balance.  One of the best Flanders that I've had this side of the Atlantic.  

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 120z bottle into a Chimay branded chalice.

A: Brown/copper - mellow head with small amounts of lacing.

S: Vinegar, cherry and vanilla with a nice strong yeast finish.

T: Sour cherry, somewhat tanic with a crisp woody finish.

M: Dry, light-bodied with nice carbonation.

D: Smooth and light. If I could afford it, i'd drink these all night.

One of the best beers in town at the moment. Worth every penny!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sharing a bottle with my wife tonight. Bliss.

2009 vintage.

The beer appears a crimson sunburst hue, with an eighth inch of head that quickly settles to a thin layer and holds. The aroma is fabulous, with funk, cherries, wild yeast, and oak. The taste follows suit, and makes my cheeks pucker in delight upon the first sip. Insanely good, I want to trade for more of this immediately. The finish contains a healthy dose of vinegar and acetic notes, but is no way harsh. Quite the opposite, I wish I had a growler of this. My new favorite Flanders Oud Bruin.

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Photo of shleepy
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from 375 bottle into snifter glasses at City Beer in San Francisco. Writing based on 3-week-old notes.

A: Chocolate brown. Medium off-white head with decent retention.

S: Oak, Brett funk, cherries, chocolate / mocha. Pretty aromatic.

T: Fresh cherries, dipped in chocolate and gingerbread crumbs. The sourness and oak appear after the initial flavors. Clean finish.

M: Fizzy and decently carbonated. Fairly light-bodied.

O: Very solid, and I'm not usually a huge Lost Abbey fan.

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Photo of MtnSoup
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
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).

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great beer, one of my favorites from lost abbey. For an Oud Bruin this has to be my favorite I've had so far in style.

A: Huge tan head with glass coating lacing. Maroon to brown hue with lighter brown highlights with a cloudy look overall.

S: Lactic smell mixed with farmhouse funky malt and some cherry and berry notes to sweeten it up a little bit. Oak barrel vanilla adds in nicely to the mix.

t: Tart berry and cherry taste with oak smoothing out the sourness nicely. Champagne grape notes mix with the dark cherry and semi sweet oak vanilla tastes. Bitter dry back to the flavor. caramel and strawberry flavors are also detectable in this very fine oud bruin.

M: High carbonation, sparkling feel. Still smooth and elegant though, the carbo seems to work with the tart flavors.

O: Really nice Oud Bruin, very excellent beer.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle and was rather amazed it was still on the shelf. Score. Poured from corked 375mL bottle to Cuvel tulip the beer pours a dark amber brown, opaque and cloudy. The red tones of the amber are highlighted in the edges in the light. 2 finger off-white/tan head with nice retention and lacing. The nose is a blend of sour, oak, vinegar, funk, dark fruits, and tart apple. Blended well together the aroma is appealing. Similarly the flavor begins with an oaky funk at first that develops to a tart, slightly sour, vinegar cherry sweetness. Mildly bitter and well balanced. Medium bodied and well carbonated. Finishes tart and sweet with a lingering full palette sour. Very good. Overall, the price tag has kept me at bay for years but I am glad to have pulled the trigger finally. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of tut2528
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to matttYCE for this one!

2012 Vintage

A: pours a deep cola brown, that created highly carbonated "fizzy" head that quickly dissipated.

S: big sourness, tart cherries and oak right up front and its balance is awesome. some subtle vinegar presence is also noticeable. i also pick up on a caramel and sugary sweetness

T: a massive blast of tart cherries crushes the palate (awesome), big wine like characters from the oak barrel, high acidity, slight barnyard funk, caramel and a dry finish.

M: on the lighter side of medium bodied, the taste buds freak out with each sip causing intense salivation. it leaves a very vinous feel on the palate. high carbonation and dry.

O: Nice flavor profile, great balance, its one hell of a brew, and this will be one that I will most likely seek out int he future. Only wish is that it was in a larger format, because I'm left wanting a second glass

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Photo of weatherdog
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottle, 375mL
bought @ City Beer, San Francisco

A: cherry red color. small bubbles

S: Cherry. Vinegar. Toasted malts. Very caramelly. Biting acidity. Smells similar to consecration.

T: Lots of vanilla. Chocolate cherry tiramisu. Caramel. Biscuits. Clean finish. Tastes less acidic than smell implies.

M: Creamy, silky and smooth. Moose-like. An extremely comforting texture. Medium-high carbonation.

O: I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Great balance between caramel and fruit. And the texture is magical. If it wasn't so expensive, it would be one of my regulars.

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Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
94 out of 100 based on 560 ratings.