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Red Poppy Ale - The Lost Abbey

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Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale

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559 Reviews
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Reviews: 559
Hads: 1,826
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.24%
Wants: 566
Gots: 570 | FT: 40
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: 559 | Hads: 1,826
Photo of BMMillsy
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (508 characters)

Photo of tpd975
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark amberish shade of milky brown. Very little head. No retention or lace.

S: Wonderful aroma of tart red berry. Lots of fresh raspberry and dark cherry. Vinegar and oak play a big role as well.

T: Very solid beer. Tart under ripe raspberry with notes of dark tart black cherry. Lots of acidic vinegar, and oak as well. Very subtle chocolate notes. Earthy, funky, and tart. Well done.

M: Medium in body, not much carbonation, a sharp tartness.

D: Very good. (473 characters)

Photo of dvmin98
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle from Lost Abbey...375ml into New Glarus flute

Beautful deep amber/brown color...large head.

Wow, love the cherry taste that consumes my taste buds. Awesome oak flavor, perfect aftertaste that lingers, with the perfect amount of carbonation.

Smell is definitely cherry and oak...

Wish I had more of these!

Best Flanders red I've ever had. (349 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of mreusch. Pours a dirty light brown with a small tan head. Aroma of yeasty funk, some cherry undertones. Flavor is sour and tart, with some acidity at first with light cherry fruits and cinnamon in the finish. This reminds me a bit of 3 Fonteinen Schaerbeekse. Very nice.
Aroma: 8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 8/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 16/20
4.0/5 (363 characters)

Photo of hopdog
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. One of those smaller ones that make it look like you are getting more than you are...

Poured a medium and slightly hazy amberish color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of cherries, wood, some funkiness, leather, and caramel. Tastes of wood, cherries, fruity, and lightly funky. Lighter sour and tart finish.

Notes from 3/5/08 (344 characters)

Photo of Florida9
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted a 2008 and 2010 side by side

A: The 2008 is dark pastel chestnut brown in color. Forms a thin surface coating of head. The 2010 is slightly darker brown color, without the pastel coloration. Head is also livelier, but still on the small side.

S: The ’08 presents with an obvious sour tartness. Lots of fruit, particularly cherries and berries. The ’10 is less pleasant, almost dirty smelling. Still has the fruit, but it is less pronounced, and, surprisingly, less bright.

T: The ’08 offers up a pleasant blend of fruit. Sour cherries, raspberries, and a little bit of fruity wine like a grenache or beaujolais. There is a noticeable sourness, but it is not at all distracting. The ’10 is similar, but is more abrasive and less balanced. The sourness is more pronounced and comes off closer to red wine vinegar than red wine itself. The flavors do not seem to play as well together in the younger version.

M: Medium bodied and tart. Lighter carbonation. As with the taste, the ’10 is more abrasive and harsher on the tongue.

O: A very nice beer, but I obviously preferred the aged version to the newer, having found the flavors to mellowed, blended, and balanced more in the aged version. I guess the lesson learned is to let this beer sit for a few years to be fully enjoyed. (1,302 characters)

Photo of deapokid
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on 3/23. Reviewed from notes.

Liquid is a deep black cherry. The foam is huge, which makes me think that Lost Abbey is trying to make up for carbonation issues. Lacing and head are a gorgeous, attractive purple and there's definitely staying power. Visually, it's reminiscent of a sorbet; looks sweet and tasty. I'm excited!

Packs a big cherry aroma, followed by stinky brett, a deep and complex must and a vinegary acid. There's also a hint of sugar, which lightens all of the acidity. The smell is absolutely amazing and it meets the needs of the style perfectly.

Taste smacks of fresh cherries and a wonderful tingle of acidity. Conclusion is a little deeper than usual with a dry ending that has what seems like a touch of cinnamon. The ending doesn't resonate, allowing the cherry flavor to stick around, which is a nice, sour reminder.

All in all, this is very well balanced. The spice in the conclusion plays very well with that Flanders tart cherry/amontillado vibe. A top notch American take! (1,013 characters)

Photo of prototypic
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Release

Thick haze and swimming chunks of sediment crowd this ruby infused rarity. Carbonation appears to be very restrained and produces a thin vanilla colored head that barely covers the surface. It was nearly as quick to disappear as it was to arrive. Very light spotty lacing lines the glass.

Sour cherries dominate the nose and smell delicious. They're readily apparent from the first whiff. Smells tart and sour. The most intriguing and inviting aspect of the nose is the strong oak or wood-like aroma. I haven't encountered such a strong oak-y scent in a beer. There's a distinct musky aroma, but it's subtle. It's overall very deep, full of character, and smells delicious.

Red Poppy is delicious. The first sip confirms it. A very refined sour cherry flavor takes up a great deal of the flavor profile. It's interesting in that it's not all that sour or tart. Not nearly as much as I expected. I really love that aspect of it. It is sweet, but not exactly sugary. Oak is the x-factor. It adds a ton of charcter and really evens out the flavors well. I'm unsure if the refined sour flavor is attributable to the oak or not, but whatever it is, it works extremely well. There's a very slight musky aspect to it. Finishes a little sour and very dry.

The body is light and feels just a fraction too thin. Carbonation is very light. Much lighter than I'm accustomed to in Flanders Oud Bruins and similar styles. It's nice and smooth, but just a tad too thin. Despite its excellent flavor and low abv, drinkability is a little limited. The sour flavor is definitely there and it is very dry. I'm not the biggest fan of sours or extremely dry beers. Just sayin'.

Red Poppy is excellent beer. Given the rash of recent Lost Abbey criticism, I approached this one with a little caution. But, it easily lives up to the hype on its own merit. There's a whole lot to love here. What really stands out is its finesse. It has a very refined, excellent flavor and has minimal flaws. Yeah, it's a little dry and could use more body. But, I'm really grasping for straws. The flavor flat out rocks. Find a bottle. (2,114 characters)

Photo of birchstick
4.07/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a murky brown with a creamy taupe head

S - smells of cherries with caramelized brown sugar and a tinge if oak

T - starts of with mouth puckering cherry tartness. This dances around the tongue a bit until some caramelized brown sugar and a touch of vanilla enter but are overtaken by sour citrus notes. A lingering oak and a tinge of vinegar is on the finish. It is like a cherry pie filling in liquid form, pretty solid.

M - a little thin on the carbonation but it works well with this as it complements the medium body.

D - this is a solid Flanders red. The cherries really popped out ofthis one and made this one of the better beers I have had from Lost Abbey. Recommended! (689 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad

A: Murky brown color with a slightly reddish tint and a thin tan head.

S: Huge sour aroma. Big sour cherries and apple cider vinegar with a hint of vanilla and brown sugar in the background.

T: There's a great sour punch right off the bat and the sourness lingers on the tongue forever. Vinegar and dark cherries make up the body of the flavor with a hint of bready malt. The carbonation is absolutely perfect in this as well. (461 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got this bottle of Red Poppy Ale courtesy of IntriqKen, Thanks Ken!

12.7oz caged/corked bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - clear, reddish-brown color with a light beige head that stayed as a layer all the way through.

S - sour cherry and oak.

T - sour cherry flavor upfront is smoothed out with a woody oak flavor, very dry bitterness on the finish.

F - silky smooth.

D - a very special treat. (402 characters)

Photo of jsh420
3.57/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

pours murky reddish brown with a 1 finger off white head that left no lacing

smell is funky - sour and funky - tart cherries and funky barnyard

taste is very tart cherries with fishy funk and oak on the finish - very dry - sure i dont make this sound good but if you enjoy sours this beer is for you

mouthfeel light dry very carbonated - everything i want in a red wine

overall - good flavor and nose but the price tag $17 for 375ml is way too much - one of those beers where after yo try it you can not justify buying another ever!! (537 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to petesuphi for this corked and caged 12.7oz. bottle. Shared with friends on 2/1/11.

A - Poured a slightly hazy reddish orange liquid with an amber cherry glow, mild carbonation and an off-white ring around the glass.

S - Cherries and wood greet the nose and combine artfully to unveil an intensely tart aroma with some funky Brett notes and sweet cherry juice.

T - This reminds me of a liquified Sour Patch Kid. Red Poppy exhibits lots of cherry tartness with a mild oaky astringency and notes of woody tannins. Delicious!

M - Medium bodied with bristly carbonation. Finishes quite dry and sour on the palate with a pleasant puckering tartness.

D - This is definitely one of the best sours I've had to date. Red Poppy beautifully blends cherries and oak to create an extremely drinkable and approachable sour beer. (835 characters)

Photo of Deuane
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to dukedebourgogne for the hook up with this rare gem.

A-Would have thought it an IPA if you kept it more than 5 feet away from me! Slightly hazy (I left most of the yeast in the bottle)copper with a medium light tan head that reduced to a thin ring with some lace.

S-The unmistakable blast of Brett with sour cherries and a bit of oak astringency in the background.

T-Intensely sour with a nice mellowing effect from the oak. Some vanilla and a nice tangy bite from the cherries. All of this comes together very nicely.

M-Medium-light body with sharp crispness. Some dryness in the end from the oak.

D-Great flavour melding with that wonderful sour bite. I have noticed lately that I have become almost as big a fan of "sours" as I have always been with hops. I guess it is all about the extreme flavours. Red Poppy certainly lives up to the extreme flavour moniker. Nicely done, but who would expect anything less from Tomme? He has set the bar very high for himself....but he seems to keep clearing it over and over again! (1,038 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4.07/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours light brown with a faint touch of red into a champagne flute. A very minute amount of head, almost none. Lots of dark cherry's, raspberry's, fig's, plum's on the nose with a bunch of tart mixed in...sweet yet tart, pretty interesting. Lots of tart and oak on the palate, really great. Mouthfeel is light in body, very little carbonation (I could use a bit more). I really like this one...a winner, in my opinion. Will drink again, 100%. Wish there was more carbonation, which hurt the mouthfeel & drink. (509 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ok, I am not a sour beer drinker by nature, but I am trying. The rating here is based more on what I think it's supposed to be, not by how much I really enjoy it.

A - Reddish brown, a little like malt vinegar. No head, very little lacing.

S - Vinegar and sour cherries.

T - Major sour cherries, some raspberry with a vinegar back. Only a hint of malt in the whole thing.

M - Low carbed, medium to light body. Fairly smooth and creamy.

D - For the style, I am sure it's killer. For me, really, one is enough.

EDIT: 2.12.11 Getting more into sours, will have to try this one again sometime. (594 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
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! (825 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into New Glarus flute glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy deep reddish brown with lively carbonation. 2 finger head with heavy lacing and stellar head retention.

S: nice oaky & lactic acid character up front with tart cherries coming through in the middle. A little bit of funk on the finish. Smells well balanced and sour!

T: some notes of cherries and vanilla and a hint of sweetness start this off with bold notes vinegar and acidic sourness taking over by the middle of the palate. The sourness lasts all the way through to after the finish as the cherry character added depth to the tartness. The finish leaves lingering sourness on the palate. Very well balanced.

MF: high carbonation, the bottle almost gushed upon uncorking. Refreshing mouthfeel, fits the style

O: this is a great Oud Bruin. Nice balance of sour and sweet, the oak fits in nice, lots of depth and overall delicious. The price seems a bit high on this one but worth a try. (954 characters)

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle poured into my snifter.

A- Body is a very murky light muddy brown color. Pours with an approximately 1 finger white head that pretty much subsides immediately. No lacing is left behind in the glass. Cloudiness is thick and dynamic and whirls about the beer with some white yeast particles visible at the bottom.

S-An acidic tartness is the highlight of the nose and the first to hit it. Below this is a complex balance of sweet molasses, earthy mustiness, oak, and cherries.

T- Much like the nose-a pleasant sour tartness hits the front of the tongue immediately. There is a lot going on here as the cherry and oak become present underneath this and funky yeast comes through as well. The oak and cherries come through a bit more for the finish but a fantastic balance and complexity is still there. What lingers is a faint presence of the whole flavor.

M-Well carbonated and a smooth yeasty, velvety body.

D-This beer is awesome. I love it. Its a bit pricey; but well worth it (if I lived somewhere where it were available). My first of the special Lost Abbey Releases and it makes me want to find and try more of them. Very well done and perfectly drinkable. (1,179 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Red Poppy Ale. Stamped vintage date of 2012. Poured into a Duchesse de Bourgogne goblet and enjoyed side-by-side with Cuvée des Jacobins.

Brown with some earthy reddish tones. Mostly dark and cloudy and almost impenetrable by light. A coarse head rose to a finger and more from the pour, but fell without retention of any sort. A ring is left and evacuating slowly. No lacing, leaves the glass clean.

Sour cherry and woody barrel up front here. Lots of oakiness pulling through. Lighter on the cherry than I first whiffed. Very wine-like with a nose like a left-out-too-long Chianti. Touches of vanilla and candied citrus peel bleed through and vanish.

Unabashedly sour for a Flanders Red. A little dry, too. Tannic qualities from the oak barrels, however, are not shy. The fruits are tart and green. Sour cherries, sour grapes, pear skin, and a wild flora herbal profile. Still young, with even a piquant alcohol proving that, but so delectable. Very different from any other Flanders Reds tasted before. Exquisitely unique.

The body is a little thinner than standard. Carbonation is pretty sneaky in this thing. Has a weird feel overall with its lacking fullness and prickly bubbles.

The Lost Abbey has a noticeable barrel flavor in their brews. It represents Red Poppy very nicely, but I look for more sweetness to balance the sour and woody qualities. Still an excellent brew and an upper-class Flanders Red. (1,418 characters)

Photo of koopa
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml caged and corked bottle purchased and consumed at the Toronado Bar in San Francisco last week on my birthday.

Appearance: Ruby to garnet body with a 1 finger foamy off white crown that shows a touch of retention and lacing.

Smell: Cherries, small touch of vinegar, earth, fungus, and a good sourness.

Taste: Loads of dry sour cherries throughout with oak notes showing every so often. Small amount of brett and some biscuit malt.

Mouthfeel: lite side of medium bodied with just enough carbonation to get by and certainly more than normal for a LA brew.

Drinkability: For a tart sour and dry brew its fairly drinkable. (628 characters)

Photo of yemenmocha
4.62/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sour delight! Wow this ale pours a murky reddish/amber/brown with enormous head, pillowy soft, very bubbly. Nose is simply enormous, rich, tantalizing, and full of sour cherries & bready/yeasty stuff. Wild sour cherries on the palate, some Belgian estery qualities, and a nice sour finish. Good body too, and drinkable. Wow, love this one except for the price, and fortunately for the Lost Abbey that isn't a review criterion. (426 characters)

Photo of harrymel
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

A: Pours a red and brown ale with excellent clarity. Single finger, peanut colored, soap sud head dissipates within a couple minutes leaving a thin, broken sheet of the same. Little to no lacing.

S: Smells like cherry cola. Hints of apple cider, clove and cinnamon. Smells like it's a little sweet on the tart side.

T: pucker. Good sour on this one. Surprisingly sour and emami. Hints of oak, pepper and more clove. Good for the style.

M: Medium to full for the style. Light carbonation (or over carbed for Lost Abbey) is nice.

O: Well done. Not quite my cup of tea, but a very well done flanders ale. (621 characters)

Photo of GbVDave
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged 12.7oz bottle into a white wine glass. Special thanks to Tom for the hook-up!

A: Tiny pop when I pulled the cork. Barely any pressure behind it. Pours a murky dark carmel brown with a thin layer of off-white foam on top. The head quickly disappears and leaves a pretty lifeless looking beer.

S: Vinegar, sodden oak, and tart cherries. Quite fragrant.

T: See above with a slight (and welcome) sweet caramel flavor. Tart green apple and more oak than in the nose.

M: Tart, tangy, and quite acidic. Pretty darn astringent.

D: Dry, acidic, and actually quite refreshing. Gonna need a drink of water after this one. (646 characters)

Photo of Floydster
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle acquired in a trade from a great BA named seaoflament, could not make it to the release and he picked me up one, thanks for giving me the opportunity to try this highly sought after Flanders brew

Poured into my Dogfish Head snifter, sipped on it for about an hour and a half to really see what changes take place as it warms, review #550, this was my second choice for Valentine's Day but Sexual Chocolate one because of its cool name

A-Root beer color, nice red tint when held next to the light, 3/4 inch off white bubbly head, large amounts of aggressive tiny bubbles, decent retention, nice lacing which is odd for this style of beer

S-Loads of cherries, sour aromas, hint of spice, vanilla, oak, hay, funkiness, orange peel, lemon juice, vinegar, cola, sweet scents as it warmed a little bit more, nice tangy accents all the way through, some sour grapes and a tad of vinegar, oak comes to the surface after the glass sits in my hands for a few minutes, also some vanilla, fair share of bready malt causing a nice chewiness to cancel out some of the sourness, more cherries, nice long aftertaste, beer tasted extremely fresh

T-Tart sour cherries hit the back of the tongue immediately, in the middle there is some sweet fruity flavors, then the finish is slightly dry with more of a puckering cherry taste,

M-Tarty and crisp mouthfeel, light body, slightly puckering towards the beginning, taste lingered a long time even after a small sip, nice level of carbonation

D-Could drink this stuff all day, super light on the stomach and very flavorful, only five percent alcohol, goes down very easily, would go excellent with alongside a meal as well

Lost Abbey brews yet another fantastic beer, pretty sure this replaced Le Woody or is essentially the same beer, wish I had more of this stuff, probably will not change much with any age without brettanomyces, hopefully they brew more of this next year, best Flanders I have had, nice looking bottle with the new labels, worth all the hype, definitely would drink again and highly recommended to everybody (2,078 characters)

Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
94 out of 100 based on 559 ratings.