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Red Poppy Ale - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,708 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,708
Reviews: 537
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 546
Gots: 512 | FT: 35
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: 1,708 | Reviews: 537
Photo of yourefragile
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 375 mL bottle.

Pours a murky dark ruby brown with a thin dense cream head that fades to a thick collar and minimal lace. Aroma of oak, light vinegar, apple sauce, tart cherry; pleasant blend of acid and sweet. Flavor is oaky and mildy cherry and vanilla sweet through the body before a strong acidic sourness builds long into the finish. Medium thick body with light carbonation. A little too harsh and acidic in the finish, but a nice oak and fruit presence otherwise.

Photo of andrewinski1
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Bendurgin! Huge light pink head and a lot of sticky lacing. The body is a murky reddish brown.

The aroma is full of slightly sweet cherry.

The taste is also slightly sweet cherry (nowhere near cloying) with a generously tart finish. This strikes a pretty good balance.

The body is light to medium and the carbonation is enjoyably plentiful.

I really like this one. I always enjoy trying LA beers.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bmanning for opening this at a recent tasting.

2009 Vintage. 375mL bottle.

A: Poured a slightly-browned red with a bit of a cream-colored head.

S: Aromas of cherry are definitely present atop some funk and vinegary acid.

T: The cherries are not as strong in the taste department as with the smell, and the slightly-puckering acidity takes over. Good balance between the sweet and tart nature of the cherries with the predominate sour qualities of this one.

M: Pretty low carbonation, fairly tart, and somewhat mouth-drying.

D: Quite drinkable. Fairly complex.

Photo of Rifugium
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Thank God for Black Friday leftovers. All the beer and none of the annoying crowd! (Still the 5.5oz. pours though.)

Attractive: ruddy red-brown color, murky, with a thick ringlet of off white foam. Aroma was slightly tart and woody, notes of cherry and vinegar. Similar taste, biscuity malt base, light cherry, apricot, decently balanced acetic acid, tart but not quite puckering, slightly woody. Pretty strange that this uses a brown ale base, because it barely resembled a brown ale at this point of its life. Medium body, medium carbonation, drying effect in the aftertaste. Nice overall.

Photo of tayner
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12.7 oz bottle corked and caged, 07 vintage released in January 2008

I figured today being leap day was a day for me to take a big leap and break out a beer i have been scared to try since the only sour beer to date i have ever had was a drain pour.

A: Poured a fairly clear amber color with a rose hue. the head was just slightly off white and not too big, but it did settle into a thick ring and skimmed the top of the beer, laced very nice all the way down. Very nice looking beer.

S: Tart candy smell, oak, cherry, and some maltiness in the faint background.

T: Sour, or maybe tart is a better term. On my lips initially i tasted sour candy. Mid palate i could taste the maltiness of the brown ale with some slight nuttines to it, and the oak and slight vanilla flavors came out, and then at the back of the palate i was hit with sour cherries that gave me that sort of lock-jaw type feeling until after i swallowed. after the swallow the malty brown ale flavors stuck around and the oak flavor lingered as well. The oak was not as overpowering as i had expected, and for that i am glad, this beer has enough going on and yet still seems to be nicely balanced.

M/D: For what it is, a sour ale, it was very easy to drink. There was enough carbonation that it didnt seem syurp-y and the cherries did not taste at all medicinal like some cherry beers are. This is the first sour beer that i can say has not been a drain pour for me, so i am rating it as such with high marks. I have a couple more bottles, and i am not sure how fast they will fly out of the cellar, but someday i am sure i will get brave again :)

Photo of haazer
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Resurrection Ale House for PBW.

A - Muddled maroon brew, very dark, some hints of violet. There is lacing with a cherry tint left all over the glass. Looks great.

S - Very floral, rosey smell. A lot of vinegar, and a definite sour profile. A little bit of grape, and wood notes on the backend. Definite wine character also.

T - The raspberries are on display very nicely. Very sweet upfront, then the brew transitions into a light vinegar, lactic sour profile. There's vinous characteristics all throughout, finishing with a nice but of oak presence.

M - Mouth is light to medium bodies with medium levels of carbonation. A sweet and sour coating rolls over the mouth coating the taste buds with a vinegar aftertaste.

O - Very well put together, not overly sour, and not overly "winey". This was very refreshing, tasty, but not sure if it's worth the cost per bottle. Glad to have tried though for sure.

Photo of kawilliams81
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375 ml cork n cage bottle into a Lost Abbey chalice.

A- Pours a dark ruby/brown with a 2 finger light tan head. A few large blotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- Light chocolate malts, sour cherries, slight vinegar and funk.

T- Chocolate malt, faint roast, sour/tart cherries, some vinous notes, and some bready notes.

M- Light body and medium carbonation. Semi-dry beer that gives a tingly feeling from the sourness.

O- 6/10 sourness. Very good Flanders Red. Not as sweet and a little more sour than others of the style I have had. Worth it to try once but not one I would buy again because of the price.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, nearly opaque chocolate brown with a VERY thick tan head. The sample I got fizzed like crazy, so beware when you first pour it! Aroma is strongly oaky with malty and fruity hints and more than a bit of sweetness. Flavor has a strong oaky alcohol bite and some fruity and malty cherry tones - definitely a hint of cherry in there. Texture is fierce, attacking the tongue like a pit bull - this beer is not for the faint of heart or taste buds. This beer is intended to be sipped slowly and savored, like brandy.

Photo of JoeySchlitz
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

'09 from abfraser

A: Looks like murky brown juice when first poured with zero signs of life (i.e.. carbonation). As it sits, a light ring of carbonation forms on the edge along with a faint bit of lacing.

S: Rich sour cherries, with some vinegar lactic notes. Reminds me a little of Duchesse de Bourgogne, with a bit more toned down fruit up front. Also some red wine.

T: More sour cherries, fairly crisp and malt vinegar. The sourness bites at the back of your throat and leaves a puckering aftertaste.

M: Very light carbonation but there is just a bit to give the beer some levity. Could use a tad bit more and would be very good.

O: This is a tasty beer - kind of a mix between Supplication and Duchesse de Bourgogne. Not sure how much more pronounced the cherries would have been fresh but they are still evident. Another solid sour from the crew at L.A.

Photo of lsummers
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber copper with a one finger off white head. Nice and thick, can hardly see through it with just a touch of a reddish tint of light showing through.

Smells of a red wine note coming right out of the bottle as soon as I cork it. In the glass I get a much more dark sweet raspberry/cherry tartness. Touches of a leather note.

Taste hits straight away with a tart dark red fruity character and immediately includes some sour sweetness. There's a woody character mid way through along with some funky barnyard. The fruity characters fade off towards the end to leave a tart raison like musty aftertaste. Belgian yeast notes can be found mid to the end of the taste.

Mouthfeel is very crisp with what I would say feels like a high amount of carbonation in the likes of a champagne. Still has some fatness to it that makes me think this could be slightly viscus without all the carbonation.

Overall, this is tasting great and it's really standing out for me. One to try, one to buy, and one to put away to see how it changes over time.

Photo of BMMillsy
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle from tread with Homer321. Thanks buddy! Bottle No. 2 of my Last Night of My 20s tasting. Pours dark reddish brown slightly murky, with a big airy khaki head on top. Aroma of lots of cherries, sour vinegar, oak, some toffee. Flavor is sour cherries, acidic tones, vinegar, and an unexpected wave of chocolatey flavors and vanilla oak tannins. Earthy spicy undertones. Interesting. Medium bodied, feeling a bit heft for only 5%, with lots of carbonation. Very interesting brew, and pretty unique.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375 mL bottle into a tulip. 2010 Vintage. Thanks to readbaron for opening this with me.

Appearance: This pours a hazy medium dark brown with a murky beet red tint that is more obvious at the edges. Although I started the pour gently, it took an aggressive pour right into the center of the glass to populate a foamy tan head with small but visible bubbles. The head fades at it's leisure, eventually leaving a ring around the edge of the glass and a few spots of lace down the side.

Smell: The aroma is the strength of this beer. Although for a Flanders Red Ale I would normally expect the aroma and flavor to be quite similar, the nose on this is actually more complex than the flavor. Obvious tart cherries are the first entrant into my olfactory system, but as I adjust I sense some oak, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of cinnamon. With a few swirls of the glass, a vibrant funk rises into my nostrils, adding further complexity.

Taste: A blast of tart cherries assaults my tongue up front with just a touch of balsamic sweetness, more of a pure sour flavor than I am used to in a Flanders Red. Once my palate acquaints itself with the flavor, I get nuances of oak and red wine in the middle, but the flavor pretty much has one gear -- sour and cherry. This bottle has a year on it already, which I imagine has led to it being more sour than when it was fresh, and I can't help but wonder if it would get better with even more time to develop.

Mouthfeel: The tartness up front causes my mouth to salivate profusely right away. There is no doubt that this has a strong vinegar character and a fairly acidic feel. Lots of tannins present at the end. The body is actually a bit lighter than I would expect from a beer of this style, with the carbonation falling into the abyss somewhere between creamy and crisp. A bit of creamy, relaxed carbonation would suit this a bit better.

Overall: When the bottle was opened I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the aroma, only to be let down a little bit by the flavor. It was good, but nothing about this truly differentiated itself from other beers in the style. Why spend the effort to track this down and pay premium money for this when there are better options that are both cheaper and more readily available?

Photo of BlastBeats
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 oz. caged and corked bottle of 2012 Red Poppy - poured into my Lost Abbey San Marcos Tumbler.

Appearance: Red Poppy pours a smokey topaz color (reddish brown) with a moderately thin cap of foam.

Smell: somewhat funky tart aroma of "bug" riddled oak and cherries.

Taste: wow. I don't drink sours that often so the first few sips were pretty mouth puckering - thankfully my palate was able to settle in. A flash of sour cherries up front really seem to integrate well with the base brown. Lingering oakiness adds a nice finishing touch.

Mouthfeel: the carbonation really enables the fruit flavors to "pop" but it's not to the point of feeling spritzy.

Overall: as much as I enjoyed this one, I can't see myself buying a lot of it at 18 dollars a pop. It's kind of a "buy a bottle once a year" type beer. That said, it's a really well-made Flanders Red and I'd imagine it being a good candidate for cellaring.

Photo of thagr81us
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one during the 'We Want The Funk!' tasting that was graciously hosted by beermeX2! Big thanks goes out to beermeX2 for sharing this one with the group! 2011 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured red-brown with a half finger cream colored head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, sour, tart, wood, and cherry. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, tart, wood, cherry, and raspberry. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The wood characteristic of this one really added to the overall enjoyability (is that even a word???) of the beer. The sour/tart notes were spot on and not too harsh allowing the cherry and raspberry to shine through as well. Just a well put together brew that I enjoyed quite much.

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this on tap at the Alpine pub.

It pours a murky brown into a tulip glass with a 2 inch head that dissapates quickly

Smell- vinegar, tart, acidic, cherries and other acidic fruit. Smells like sweet-tart candy.

Very well put together in the sour department. The body of this is well balanced making it a beer you could enjoy more than one pint of at a time

Taste - lots of tart and some cherries. Aftertaste of cherries and some residual tartness but fades away very quickly unlike a lot of sours I've had.

Photo of Spider889
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Trilogy31 in my first true trade. Review from early spring, taken from notes. Bottle is the 2011 vintage.

Poured into my (at the time) new Lost Abbey tulip. A beautiful beer into a wonderful glass. The perfect pairing. The beer pours with a tall tobacco head, with plenty of visible vigorous carbonation. Excellent head retention. Beneath the long-lasting cap of foam is a burgundy colored brew. Twenty minutes after my initial pour there was still easily 1 finger of head left.

Smells of sweet vanilla and lots of fragrant fresh oak notes. Brett is there, but it is much more mild than it certainly can be (which I appreciate). Caramel syrup continues the vein of sweet aromas. As I continued to dig into this complex beer I began to detect semi-ripened cherries, old leather, and a funky salty cheesiness on the nose.

The flavor begins with a smack of dry carbonation which is almost bitingly harsh. This mellows eventually, and gives way to a large brett character. Cherry lends some acidity, though ultimately the beer shows mostly bretty funk and not outright sourness.

The malt profile here is dark and chewy with flavors of sweet browned barley and bittersweet chocolate. The cherry itself is quite subdued - with mostly greener notions. The oak really begins to take hold mid-glass, as does a rising peat flavor with continued warmth. Finally, there's some vanilla and red wine on the back end of each sip.

The mouthfeel on Red Poppy displays a high level of carbonation. I suppose it is appropriate for the style, however it also feels overdone a tad for me. So much for all of the "flat abbey" comments that were circling around this year... At least carbonation is no issue with this particular beer.

Very dry and oaky. The acidity and carbonation add an element of stinging/prickliness that betrays the 5.5% abv as something higher.

Overall Red Poppy is very well done. One of the best Flanders reds I have ever tried. This is well worth seeking out. Beers like this one are the reason Lost Abbey is so polarizing. Sure, they are known for their mistakes and poor customer service. But when they do something right, it is a truly exceptional beer.

Photo of obiwan
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%

Photo of mrandypandy
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml caged and corked bottle purchased from Hop City. Cork was a bit tricky to get out.

A- Pours a murky brown with an off tan head. Decent carbonation.
S- Vinegar like acidity and sour cherries in the nose. Musky.
T- Sour, tart. Cherries are subdued.
M- Medium to light body, well carbonated and prickly on the tongue. Nice.
O- Had this sitting my cellar for a few months and decided to pop it open. Glad I did. A well done Flanders Red with a crisp acidic bite to it. I would like to try this fresher o see if I get more cherries, but still very enjoyable.

Photo of eagles22
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: poured into a snifter, beautiful reddish brown body with a nice white foamy head.

Smell:apple cider vinegar, very oaky and sour cherries and some sweet berries at the end

Taste: starts off sour than ends with a nice mellow mouthfeel

Mouthfeel: very champagne like just to much carbonation for my palate, I like more of a oily mouthfeel

overall: this beer is fantastic!!!

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a teku)
vintage 2012
A- This beer pours a glowing dark garnet red body with a wall of microbubbles racing up to a boiling thick light tan head. The head last for a bit.

S- The slightly funky tart cherry note is followed by a wet oak aroma even during the pour. There is a hint of aged vinegar in the finish with a white cheese rind hint. Some flinty and earthy notes come through as the beer opens aswell.

T- The brett funk note blends with tart cherries notes and a malt fullness underneath. There is a wet oak barrel taste that leads to a bright tartness that lingers a bit after each sip. The cheese rind brett note comes back in the finish.

M- The medium-full mouthfeel is largely due to the big fizz and there is a soft low astringency note with no real alcohol heat noticed.

O- This beer has some nice tartness with hints of barrel and brett notes with a good support from the malt, but it has a thick heavy body that really makes it slow to drink. The tartness is more from fruit than yeast character so it doesn't have that classic Flanders Red yeast profile but it is still nice to drink.

Photo of Mavajo
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahoganny, slightly transluscent body. Big cream head. Mild lacing. Nice looking beer.

Aroma is great -- funky sour cherries, with the brown ale backbone behind it. Taste, while delicious, does not quite live up to the aroma. Tart and sour cherries, good sweetness with a strong malt backbone.

Mouthfeel is good. Brisk, bubbly carbonation.

All in all, a very good, well-made beer. But the steep price tag doesn't really make this a practical purchase IMO. It needs to be genuinely world class to warrant $13.99 for a 375ml -- and while good, this ain't world class.

Photo of nataku00
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2011 release bottle split into two Lost Abbey tulips with a friend. Popping the cork, the beer foamed up a bit, but I had a glass nearby to catch it and start pouring. First half of the pour didn't get any yeast that it was bottle fermented with, so it was mostly solid reddish brown, with hints of scarlet at the edge of the glass when held up to the light. The second half of the pour gets a bit of the yeast, making it significantly hazier, a lighter brown with some red notes as well. About a finger and a half of light brown frothy head on the pour is a good sign. Looks like a very fine champagne like carbonation.

Nose is a very pungent sour cherries, some sweet cherries as well, vinegary, with a slight hint of oak. A bit of funky earthiness as well.

Taste is light sour cherries and red wine vinegar, cherry seeds and oak mid tongue, but fades into sweet and tangy fruit, earthiness. Swallowing the beer takes all flavor with it as there is barely any aftertaste other than some chewed up cherry seeds. Somewhat disappointing that the flavor is so short on the tongue, considering how strong the aroma was.

Light bodied and well carbonated. Tingly on the tongue and surprisingly clean, unexpected for this style.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the first beers brought out for our weekend tasting during an impromptu session on Friday night after returning from the GLBC event at Fatheads. Thanks to treyrab for bringing Red Poppy out.

Poured into a 6-oz snifter, the body is a mahogany brown rich with highlights of ruby and garnet. Each sip creates a foamy ring that slips back into the beer over time, much like legs in a fine wine.

Raspberry undertones amid a primarily cherry aroma. There are hints of oakey tannic notes. Of course, with any oud bruin, there is a compelling funk and sourness. The taste is very similar with cherry dominating the fruit profile, while other berries, especially raspberry lurk beneath. The sourness is nicely balanced with a funky brett profile.

Medium consistency and a very low level of carbonation. The sourness is not too overwhelming and really lets the beer's own characteristics shine through. To me, I could drink this as an everyday sour if it were more accessible.

Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for breaking this open. We didn't have a bottle of Le Woody Brune to open for a side by side but it was a dead ringer for one of my favorites from Port Brewing.
Appears a hazy dark brown with a small, off-white head that quickly fades into a mild cap and collar. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of oak tannins, cherries, light brett, brown sugar, with a malty, biscuity aroma jumping out.
Taste echoes the aromas with the woody, slightly acetic flavors coming together.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sugary sweet, candy on the front of the tongue with vinegar acidic notes in the middle, and a semi-dry finish.

Photo of HosP
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 375ml into Fantome tulip. Got this a few times from different people, most recently Scottfrie.

A- Nice pop when cork comes out. Pours a dark murky, brown in color. A little more red when held up to the light. Nice light brown, bubbly head that leaves great lacing.

S- Cherries dominate the nose. Not as sour aroma as I would expect. Get a faint lemony, citrus smell at the end. Tough to pick out over the cherries though.

T- Follows the nose, with lots of tart cherry flavors! Not overly sour, which is nice. Makes it easier to drink I feel. Tough to get much other flavors past the cherries. Still a nice flavor to it.

M- Lighter body to it. Great carbonation, not over or under done. Not as dry as I expected either.

O- Very good, easy to drink beer. Sometimes I have a tough time drinking something sour or tart, but this is pretty smooth. Glad I have a few bottles of this to open up over some time. Nicely done!

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Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,708 ratings.