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Red Poppy Ale - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,660 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,660
Reviews: 532
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 526
Gots: 498 | 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:
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 added by: BeerBeing on 09-07-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Red Poppy Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,660 | Reviews: 532 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of metter98
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very hazy reddish brown in color. It poured with an eighth of a finger high beige head that hardly died down.
S: There are aromas of cherries and oak in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of cherries with some sourness and tartness but there is also bits of sweetness.
M: It feels light-bodied and slightly tart on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is incredibly easy to drink, especially since it isn't that tart or sour. I really enjoyed this and would definitely try it again.

metter98, Mar 17, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +16.8%

GRG1313, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -6.5%

kjkinsey, May 06, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear garnet with a film of big bubbles that fades quickly, though manages to deliver a few dots of lace

Smell: Tart cherries mixed with an almost cedary oak character and balsamic vinegar

Taste: Dry, oaky flavors up front with a bursting tart cherry flavor that develops by mid-palate; though there is considerable fruity sweetness, the lactic sourness keeps it thoroughly in check; after the swallow, the flavors start to mellow out, with plenty of lemon/lime sour fruit and oak in the finish

Mouthfeel: Despite the lack of carbonation, the beer is not flat, though its body is relatively light

Drinkability: Just a stunning achievement; the fruit is so powerful, yet so restrained

Re-sampled in 2012, courtesy of bobertkuekn, and found the carbonation problems to be corrected - upping the Appearance and Mouthfeel scores, as a result

brentk56, Oct 03, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Phyl21ca, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"The great events of life often leave one unmoved. They pass out of consciousness, and, when one thinks of them, become unreal. Even the scarlet flowers of passion seem to grow in the same meadow as the poppies of oblivion."

--Oscar Wilde

Cherry tomato red with Sunkist highlights when backlit with morning sunshine. The golden ecru crown is a quality slice of foam that reaches two fingers on the initial pour and lasts impressively long. Thick swaths of Belgian lace contribute to a wonderful look for a beer of this style.

The nose is exceptional. The first word that comes to mind is 'rich'. The second, third and fourth are 'sour', 'cherries' and 'oak'. It smells like this Flanders oud bruin will have an ideal combination of all the elements that make beer of this style so complex and so delicious. For specifics, keep reading.

Red Poppy is definitely the real deal. It's more bitter than most, and not quite as sour, but that's rarely a problem for the hopheaded among us. I might have started it out a little too cool, so let's see how it changes over the next 10-15 minutes. So far it's impressive.

Thankfully, the brown ale base is not lost among the sexier facets of the flavor profile. Each mouthful delivers a brisk uppercut of balsamic vinegar-like sweet and tart acidity... then a right cross of tangy sour cherry puree... followed by an oakiness that tightens things down like a vise and ushers in the finish.

The initial bitterness has calmed down to some extent, though I'd like to see it even more in the background. As the ounces fly by, I'm becoming aware of just how dry this beer is. Those little yeasties must have had their fill of all the fruit sugars. Have some cool water handy if you plan to drink more than one bottle at a time.

The mouthfeel has an intriguing combination of lightness, silkiness, suppleness and soft-edged carbonation. I'll resist the impulse to call for something bigger because it probably wouldn't improve things one iota.

Port Brewing Red Poppy Ale is the second best Flanders oud bruin that I've ever had the pleasure to consume. Compared to the perfect symphony that is Liefmans Goudenband, it's slightly (very slightly) out of tune. It's still a tremendous effort from one of America's best breweries. Thanks to tayner for the bottle.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -6.5%

ygtbsm94, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of jaydoc
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

jaydoc, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

375ml corked and caged bottle served at cellar temperature and poured into a tulip glass

A - Poured a very nice and extremely cloudy and hazy light brown with just a hint of a reddish tint to it. This was very murky, but you could still see some of the light coming through on the sides and bottom of the glass, and in fact there was enough of it that I could notice some very fine sediment on the bottom, as well as some carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass. A very nice head of approximately one and a half inches in height graced the top of it, and this settled down gradually, leaving behind a noticeable amount of side glass lace but nothing that was terribly too thick. The color on it was exquisite on this one, with just this burnt sienna color ( my son has a big box of crayons) that was just very nice. Did not come off terribly thick through the pour and seemed to have a light consistency to it but we shall see.

S - The aroma itself was very strong and very pungent. Almost immediately the yeast was in your face, giving it and extremely sour presence that I was not expecting, but should have known it was coming. Underneath that the clearly evident layer of cherries was starting to come through, tying to sweeten it up and giving it that very nice overall fruity vibe. Lots of spices now coming through as well, hints of what I picked up as cinnamon and fig were mixed in very well. Overall a very strong and very full aroma that was inviting and decidedly alive.

T - I really fell in love with this one upon the first sip that I took. The flavors were so vibrant and so well defined that it was very interesting to watch this one evolve over the course of the session. The first thing you would notice upon taking a sip was the nice sour taste coming though from the yeast. Big sour notes here, once they calmed down you started to pick up the fruity notes that were lying underneath of it. Lots of tart cherries that were really pushing their way up front and blending in nicely with a very spicy nutmeg like flavor. Very well balanced with no one thing really dominating over another, making for a very nice profile. Lots of different things going on here, with hints of even grapes and/or raisins starting to show as it warms up. The finish at least to me seemed to be the best part of the entire session. At first it was subtle, giving you a sour or bitter dry finish that drew out the flavor, but once you managed to run through that initial finish, their was this long lasting barrel aged cherry sweetness that was so good, it is almost impossible for me to accurately describe. I literally tasted that for a good 30 minutes after I finished that last drop. It was very sweet and bitter at the same time, not overpowering, just this subtle long lasting taste. This was really quite breathtaking to be honest. A wonderful taste here overall.

M - Very light bodied ale, despite the huge flavors, this one really never did get too big on you. The carbonation profile was excellent as well, never going flat, even though I took my sweet old time in finishing it, there was never a dull moment. I would have to say it was more crisp and refreshing then it was smooth, and really just superb all around in every way.

D - Now this was just perfect here. Nothing at all should be subtracted, as I rarely find something that I could sit down and enjoy sipping on for more then an hour in a sitting without becoming bored. This was it though. The flavors were exquisite and constantly evolving with changing temperatures, the carbonation was damn near perfect, never getting dull or flat, consistency was perfect, leaving it light, but not thin, and the ABV a modest 5%. I mean c'mon what more could you possibly even begin to ask for. I would have had ten of these if I could have.

Overall this one literally floored me. I have loved everything that has come out of Lost Abbey, and not being biased, but seriously, who else is this consistent with quality, I mean it seems everything new they put out is better then the one before that, its almost unheard of. This was just tremendous. A light fruity sour ale that had me literally giddy with excitement. This was something not only I would gladly have again, but that I would be actively searching for more of. One of the best I have ever had.

mikesgroove, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of womencantsail
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Anwar for this bottle. Split it tonight with the girlfriend.

A: Despite a vigorous pour into my Bruery tulip, there isn't much in the way of head formation. The beer itself is a slightly muddy mahogany color.

S: The nose is nice and tart with some nice sour cherry notes along with a slight acetic acid note. There's quite a bit of oak, which I was not quite expecting.

T: The flavor follows the nose almost exactly. Great oak and sour cherry flavors with only a touch of vinegar (which I often find a bit off-putting in Flanders ales).

M: The carbonation is quite low, lending the beer a slick feel on the tongue. The finish is nice and dry.

D: This is one of the more tart Oud Bruins I've had, but I enjoy that. The lower level of acetic acid is also a bit plus for me.

womencantsail, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was a real gem, I had been hunting this one down for a while now, thanks to the spinnerstown hotel for helping me out with this one. I ordered a bottle that I debated over for a while and finally gave in.

The beer was uncorked by the bartender Jack, who did a nice job with it. The beer poured out as a murky brownish red color that looked quite interesting. The head was white and fizzy, it vanished shortly after the pour. It was a very bubbly beer with loads of carbonation with every sip.

The aromas were of fresh tart fresh cherries, fresh cut wood, and several intense spices in the blend of smells coming out of this beer. The flavors were similar in the same respect. The cherries came first and they bite the tongue and hold on for a while. The wood comes through in the aftertaste leaving a really smooth natural fresh flavor on the pallet. Mouthfeel is very good too!

This beer was worth the wait, I am not even a fan of sour ales but this one far beyond any I've had in the passed. Really nice!

Knapp85, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy, reddish-brown body with a small, short-lived white head.

Smell: Bright, funky aroma of wine-macerated cherries and planks of toasted oak.

Taste: Whoa! Tart, juicy, lightly acidic cherry flavor at the forefront with hints of the sweet brown maltiness used as this fine beer's foundation. Distinct, well-placed tastes of oaky wood. True, it's funky, but contented to reside on the lighter end of the funk spectrum. Drying, lightly minerally finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium, soft carbonation.

Drinkability: A very well executed sour ale, and what a top-notch, classy bottle.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 25, 2008
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -6.5%

SocalKicks, Sep 30, 2012
Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

largadeer, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of emerge077
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle: Thanks to Jason for this one...
Explosive cherry tartness, fruity, leathery, earthy. Plenty of oak on the back end that lends it balance and traditional flavors. Black cherry through and through. A mild balsamic vinegar note blends into the funky barrel aroma, a mixture of wet stone an sea foam fade in curious directions...spicy oak reminds me of Enigma. Mild tartness, nothing off the charts. Awesome stuff!

2008 bottle, 01-04-2009

Served at 50º into a Duchesse de Bourgogne glass.

Deep scarlet body in the light, thin layer of dirty foam that leaves a substantial ring at the edge. A skim returns with a swirl of the glass. Tiny trails of bubbles feed into the foam ring. Aroma is nice and funky, farmhouse cheese, lactic with some vanilla traces. Damp forest floor with wood, earth, wet leaves and wild mushrooms. Flavors of bitter and tangy cherry pits, leather, soil, with a dominant horseblanket brett taste as it warms. Dry and oaky finish. Medium body that is right on, and the brett character makes you slow down and sip.

Huge thanks to TheBlackMallard for this one!

emerge077, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of TMoney2591
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a small tasting glass and a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Thanks to the Central PA group of the Gang Bang BIF and to AleWatcher for these bottles!

Tasted a 2008 vintage (courtesy of Jeff) alongside the newer vintage from the BIF. Both pour a cloudy russet-sunset sienna topped by a half-finger of dirty cream foam. The nose of the '08 comprises light vinegar, cherries, cinnamon, raspberries, and a rich red wine. The newer vintage, on the other hand, comprises red apple, cinnamon, maple syrup, oak, graham crackers, and light chocolate. Definitely more tart fruit in the aged version. The taste of the '08 holds notes of tart-ish black cherry, raspberries, black currant, light cocoa, graham crackers, cinnamon, and clove. The newer version is somewhat similar, with notes of tart cherry, black currant, mandarin orange, clove, and sharp raspberry. Both bodies weigh in at light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a sticky finish. Overall, a great beer with or without a few years on it. I think I prefer the older vintage, but it's not too big of a disparity.

TMoney2591, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

JAHMUR, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of zeff80
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark burgundy color with a one-finger, cream colored head of foam. It was short lived and left minimal lacing.

S - Like a great sour beer lots of dark cherries and sourness. Just a touch of funkiness, too.

T - Sour but not overpowering with a strong black cherry flavor. There are mild yeasty notes and some light caramel flavors, too.

M - It'll make you pucker but not too much. It is medium bodied and very dry.

D - This is another fabulous beer from The Lost Abbey. I'll liking sour beers more and more each time I try great examples of the style like this one.

zeff80, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

nearly 17 bucks for a 12.7oz cork and cage setup. sexy packaging. major prestige for these guys in my mind, as their stuff is rare and always exquisite. the angels share stands as one of the all-timers, so i was pumped up to try this. pours a murky brown ale color into a wine glass with a really bubbly tan head that slowly relaxes to just a lacing. smells like a flemish sour. hard. some sour cherry essence in the nose and a nice sweeter brown ale malt complement. flavor is outstanding. huge sour brett-like sting at the front end, but maybe not even brett, tough to tell, could just be the cherries here. big malty woody middle where the vanilla and spice of the oak come to the fore, balanced out by some fairly hefty chocolate malts. tart finish. this is one of the best feeling beers out, totally effervescent carbonation gives life to all the subtle complexities going on, and the medium body feels lighter than it is. i say they make a double red poppy, which is now on my must try list. this beer is fantastic, but the price keeps it a drink for the elite only. sad but true.

StonedTrippin, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of nickfl
4.75/5  rDev +11%

nickfl, May 04, 2012
Photo of Kegatron
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz corked & caged bottle into a Russian River Tulip.

Pours a hazy dark ruby (I said the hell with it and dumped the yeast in to) that possesses some lighter shades towards the bottom. The heads stands about 1 ½ fingers tall and seems pretty effervescent with an off-white color. As the glass settles I can actually see bits of cherry skin mixed in with the yeast at the bottom. A thin, creamy layer of retention skims the surface and sticks around pretty solidly at about a ½ finger or so. This just doesn't budge and flairs up nicely, leaving behind a fantastic looking cascade of lace when swirled. The aroma is a blast of cherries and tart Brett notes that are followed by a fairly pungent flush of astringent oak character.

The taste is tart cherry character that is accentuated by an additional crisp bite of Brett, with more oak notes coming out towards the end. It finishes with nice lingering notes of sourness that impart a dry feel. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and while not possessing a ton of carbonation, still has more of a slick feel to it that really helps move all of that tart character around across the palette.

This is a very nice and well crafted offering here. While I understand that this may have lost some of its' cherry freshness from when it was first brewed, the character still seemed quite pungent to me and worked well the Brett to create a mix that was more refreshing tartness than sour. Another tasty work of art from Tomme and company at the Abbey.

Kegatron, Sep 11, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks and much respect to IntriqKen for this one. Have to say I also love the labeling/packaging. Definitely the sexiest and sleekest I have seen in quite some time, if not ever.

Pours a fogged brown with basically no creme head. Nose is very antiseptic and funky and exactly what I would expect. Really, I could not expect more for the fragrance aspect. Flavor is definitely interesting. Total funky coming on the flavor. Again, this just seems like exactly what you would expect for the style. However. The fruit aspect of it is very shallow. I kind of would have liked to have just a touch more. Regardless, we are still bringing the funk here. Feel has a good liquid and carbonation to it. This is very easy to drink for a sour beer. Perhaps I am more used to it with my vastly experienced palate. Either way, this is an exemplary version of the style. Definitely worth seeking out.

RblWthACoz, Mar 03, 2008
Photo of MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #1700. 2010 Vintage. Served in a champagne tulip. My bottle says 5%.

A - A finger and a half of creamy off-white foam settles to a thick cap, and thicker collar, leaving a few specks of lace. Body is a lovely transparent ruby-brown color, with some visible carbonation.

S - A mixture of sweet malts, sour cherries, lactic acidity, a bit of cheesey funk, oak, and some balsamic and leathery notes as well. I'm glad there is still some brown sugar sweetness and that this hasn't become all acetobacter. Cherries have faded a fair bit since this was fresh, but are still moderately present.

T - Much more sourness than the aroma implies. Plenty of oak, lactic acidity, sour cherries, perhaps a bit of vanilla and sweet malt in the finish. Perhaps a bit too much barrel here, and not enough sweetness.

M - Medium-light body, extremely dry, with a hefty dose of tannic oak. Plenty of stomach-melting acidity as well. Get those Tums ready! Pleasant active carbonation and no obvious alcohol.

D - An absolute pleasure to drink, especially considering the lower ABV means one could have a few of these. Would love to try the "double cherry" version at some point, as I think that would offset a bit of the oak. Wish this one was year-round and on-tap more often.

MasterSki, Aug 11, 2011
Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -6.5%

XmnwildX12, Dec 11, 2013
Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
96 out of 100 based on 1,660 ratings.