1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Red Poppy Ale - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,617 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,617
Reviews: 530
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 523
Gots: 487 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

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.

(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: 1,617 | Reviews: 530 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hellbilly
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

idk where this bottle came from but it's been in my fridge for a year now (2008). muchas gracias to the soul who left it behind...

it's been sitting so long that the cork bomb was no issue... dark orange brown color with no head and lots of clumpy yeast.

smells a bit like pickling spice/pickles or that strange funkiness that a lot of red burgundies get before they get a chance to open up... cinnamon, wet cement, fruity/cherry tart though not quite sour and malty sugars yet it's very dry.

it tastes very 'green' from young barrels and quite tannic. though i'm not sure whether the tannins dominate from the wood or cherry skins (it really doesn't matter)... also, faintly malty and oaky with a cinnamon-y brett-like stink on the finish which lingers on. medium body lacks a bit of richness. the mouth feel it is prickly and dry as it cleans the palate entirely.

not a whole bunch going on... seems as if something is missing. though, it is in no way a bad beer! 7/4/7/4/15/3.7

hellbilly, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of kleffman
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally got a whole glass of this during the O'Briens Lost Abbey night during their anniversary month. This was described as a special double cherry blend of red poppy, special for the night. Poured into a Chimay glass with zero head and a cloudy reddish color.

Smells of sour cherry, lactic acid and oak/woody aromas.

Tastes like a sweet and sour cherry with hints of vinegar, no real alcohol presence and some sugary flavors to balance it. Tart, sour cherry and some vanilla to round it out.

Decent mouthfeel for a flanders style sour beer, but nothing incredible and the drinkability is extremely high. I think this would be a good gateway sour beer, and the only reason I didn't get a refill was to spread it around a little more. There wasn't a ton available. Overall very excellent beer, and will always seek out.

kleffman, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of badbeer
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

badbeer, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of Hojaminbag
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle in a great trade with Mikesgroove recently. Thanks a lot for this great beer!

Tones of brown and ruby come together in the body to create a dark, burnt ornage color that lets just a little bit of light through. Short strands of carbonation bubbles attached to the side of the glass are noticeable throughout the beer. A large amount of clumpy sediment is throughout the beer. Very small off-white head that disappears very quickly. Doesn't leave any lacing behind.

Tartness comes through right away in the odor, a little bit like vinegar. A good dose of cherries along with some oak/woody aroma comes through.

This is extremely tasty. Up front is a nice, powerful tartness and sour cherry. A little malty sweetness comes through also. The oaky, woody notes are pretty powerful in this one also. Notes of wood and the slighest hint of vanilla. The mix of the oak and the sour cherry is a winner in this one. If you like both flavors, you will definitely like this beer.

Medium to light bodied and highly carbonated despite the lack of head.

This has great tartness with a lot of depth added by the oak flavor. These two flavors balance each other out and make this rather drinkable. Consider that with the light, unfilling body of Red Poppy and it becomes a beer I could drink all night.

Hojaminbag, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of EGledhill
2.85/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle obtained in a trade with numbeercruncher. Damn fine trader.

Poured into chalice glass

A. Cloudy brownish body, no head. Looks semi appealing.

S. Smells like sour cherries and feet. I'm not really feeling this is my type of shit.

T. Yep... Definitely not my shit. Taste like old sour cherries, I dunno, plastic maybe, vinegar, oak. It's on point for the style but damned if I like it

M. thin

D. Fuck that. It pretty much taste like eating a cherry dipped in vinegar.

So this will probably be my last attempt at any "sour" beer. I'm sure some people get down with this style but not this guy. I think I'll stick to stouts and IPA's from now on.

EGledhill, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

magictrokini, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4/5  rDev -6.5%
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

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of JoeMayo
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer absolutely blew me away. This is one of the most impressive sours I've had.

A- Pours a nice dark gold with a thick cap of foam.

S- Very tart on the nose with hints of cider vinegar.

T- Absolutely out of this world! This is one of the most well-balanced beers I've ever had. Initially very tart, but a floral flavor and notes of sour cherry and crisp apple round everything out very well.

M- Effervescent and just tart enough to dry the palate slightly after each sip.

D- Incredibly easy to drink. I was thoroughly depressed when I finished my half of my only 375mL bottle.

JoeMayo, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of akorsak
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A corked and caged 375 mL bottle courtesy of weibull. The label is visually appealing.

A: The ale is a tawny port color, nicely tinted by oak aging. There is little head at any point in time, although the ale is not flat.

S: The nose is very acetic, vinegary with a funky tart oak aroma. The pedio- and lactobacillus are pleasantly sharp.

T: Tart cherries are present but their intensity seems weak, as though they have faded over time. Oak flavor emerges at the end, coating the tastebuds with a chardonnay-like sweetness that doesn't skimp on the booze. The tartness of the lacto and pedio mixes well with the oak, seemlessly transitions from the wood to funk.

M: The ale is very dry, all the little beasties has eaten up every last bit of sugary flavor. Tart cherries, while weak upfront, manage to come through nicely in the aftertaste.

D: Wicked good, the Lost Abbey has nailed this one. Beware the yeasty sediment though, it saps some of the tartness from the ale.

akorsak, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

GClarkage, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of antilogic
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taster @ LA Barrel Tasting Night II. Tomme said the version we had was not as sour as the 2009 release will be. Too bad, I thought it was fantastic as is.

Hazy red/brown color with a minimal white head. Smell was of cherry, oak, fruits and a slight sour funk. Slightly sour, but well balanced and very drinkable. I quite enjoyed it and will do my best to get my share next release..

antilogic, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of hopdog
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
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

hopdog, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of gford217
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of WeeHeavySD poured into a tulip.

Pours a murky dark iced tea brown with hints of amber around the edges. There is a short-lived off-white head that lingers as a ring throughout with traces of lacing.

The aroma is wonderful on this with sweet and sour cherries and a slight funky tartness on top. There is an underlying earthy oak smell that gets bigger as it warms.

The taste leans more on the sour side with less of the sweetness and more of the funk. The vinegar is more prevalent in the taste than the aroma though there was a bit of brown sugar underneath.

The mouthfeel is dry in the finish from the oak and fairly astringent with decent carbonation.

This is one of the better Flanders ales I've had as it was complex and not overly sour. Very nice.

gford217, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of 0110x011
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a ruddy, opaque amber-brown. Nearly zero head, the little carbonation that does make its way to the surface forms a thin, delicate collar around the edge. Nose is sour cherry, dark fruit, vinegar, port wine, and earth. Mostly dark fruits on the palate, with the cherry and earth pretty far in the back. The sourness is quite mild as well. Light bodied, with light, fine carbonation; finish is on the sweet side. Highly drinkable.

I'm used to the Lost Abbey special releases being these huge, over the top beers, so this one came as quite a surprise. A flanders red all the way, but lighter, more delicate, and more refined.

0110x011, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of DefenCorps
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received a couple of these from synesthesia and SQNfan after largadeer convinced me that I needed to try this. Thanks guys! Got some good news at work today, so I'm pretty psyched. Chilled and into my Duvel tulip

A: First up, Red Poppy is the most gorgeous bottle of beer I've seen, visually stunning in its simplicity and elegance. The beer itself is not too bad either, mostly a clear deep crimson until a little bit of yeast slips right into the glass. There's a thin tan head that rises briefly and settles into a disk. As I drink this, it leaves a nice amount of foam on the side of my glass

S: The nose is where it's at with this beer. A combination of vinegary sourness along with a fruity (cherry-like) sweetness are most prominent but behind these lie a very appetizing amalgamation of oak, vanilla and a hint of sharp Roquefort-like funk

T: Opens up with quite a good amount sourness that's a mix of vinegary and tart cherries up front. Once the sourness begins to fade,the oak and the vanilla really come out front, very delicate and very tasty. The oak has a rather soft character which makes me think the barrels were only lightly toasted and the vanilla is subtle and sublime. Mildly tannic, this beer finishes dry and tart.

M: Excellent carbonation that prods the palate up front with a great finish

D: This is definitely drinkable, I need a case or two of this.

**Edit 20 March 2012**

I drank my 3 bottles of the '09 fresh, and held onto 1 '08, simply because of how nice the label is. The time is here.

The nose has a very nice and complex blend of acetic and cherry derived aromas, with red wine vinegar, sour cherries and black raspberries. A robust leather and mildly earthy tone is present, rather umami-like. An excellent nose. The palate is a lot more robustly tart with plenty of vinegar, a blend of balsamic and red wine with a cherry skin tannins tempering and complementing the bright sourness. The cherry fruit itself has fallen off here, all that's left is the fruit pits and skin. Robustly leathery and earthy on the mid-palate, with a little vanilla for respite. There is some lactic acid that's also present, cleaning up on the finish.Light in body with supple tannins, moderate carbonation and cleaning lactic acid character. Not particularly funky, I imagine a blend of HotD Michael (at age 1) and Rodenbach vintage would taste similar. Nowhere close to what it was fresh-ish, but better than more recent batches IMO. Still very well-structured. 4.5/4.5/4/4/4

DefenCorps, Oct 16, 2008
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 SQNfan
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The poured murky burnt red to brown in color with a very thin head that dissipated pretty quickly. The nose showed some funk along with red fruit and spice (cinnamon, pepper). In the mouth it was tart and dirty showing more funk than the nose would suggest along with less fruit. There was a distinct bitterness that began in the midpalate and lingers on. The acidity in the midpalate was very well integrated and overall the midpalate was well balanced but gave way to the bitterness in the finish.

SQNfan, Sep 11, 2008
Photo of waltonc
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle at Toronado's Lost Abbey night.

Appearance: ruby and copper with haze and not a great deal of head. As a result of the substantial quantity of yeast in the bottle, a few random little globs are floating in my glass. Perhaps my dinner will be bottle conditioned by it later this evening.

Smell: Definitely some sour cherry smells in there. Kind of reminds me of the smell of a McDonalds cherry pie in the 80s, in a good way. Okay, maybe a higher quality pie.

Taste: This is a really interesting flavor. I've never had anything remotely like it. The flavor starts out quite tart, but not mouth puckering. Cherries. Very little sweetness. Then fades into a dry, astringent finish. Very nice. I'm not keeled over by any presence of sour punch sugar straws.

Mouthfeel: As mentioned above, an interesting astringent quality.

Drinkability: It's not like you're going to pound this. Although I don't give this high drinkability marks, I don't even think it's fair to weigh that in the ranking. This is a sipping beer and given the price tag, who's going to drink more than one at once in any event? (unless you're one of those lucky people who got it on tap)

Overall, a great beer.

waltonc, Sep 03, 2008
Photo of brdc
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to nflmvp for this one. Small corked bottle, poured into a Rodenbach Grand Cru tulip.

Very dark cherry to almost burgundy in color, with a light brown head that shows very good retention and lacing.
Very rich artoma comes in waves out of the glass, sour, almost vinegary, tart and fruity, and as it warms up, oak and more oak.
Very dry, medium bodied, it is mostly acidic and sour, with little to no sweet notes. Very good, but at times the wood notes become a little too much. Drinkability is quite low for the style, but still pleasant and flavorful for such a low ABV beer.

brdc, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of mrkrispy
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this at the Release, had a few in line (thanks Port for the great service!) and got a few bottles. I traded away too many and wished I kept a few for myself haha.

Poured a pale hazy and cloudy brown with hint of red. No head at all. Looks like a nice amount of goop in the bottom.

Very pungent but pleasant aroma of cherries, a vinegar and sour bite.

Complex taste, an odd complex of sweet and sour. The sweetness is not sugary or syrupy, more refined. Definitely sour, almost astringent but not puckering. Nice cherry flavor that is in the back, not overwhelming or artificial tasting.

This is one heckuva beer, I think it can be great after another 6 months to a year. I hope Tomme and the Port make this an annual release.

mrkrispy, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of DrJay
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks go out to mikesgroove for hooking me up with this bottle in a recent trade.
This one poured a hazy, sort of murky, reddish orange with a smattering of soapy bubbles. A thin, fine cap appeared as CO2 slowly came out of solution and this finally settled into a thin collar. Some spotty, short-lived lacing clung to the glass and there was a slow, steady stream of bubbles rising to the surface throughout. Tart, fruity aroma of freshly picked berries still unwashed, cherry skins and mild vinegar. Quite earthy, with notes of tobacco and musty hay. Some bread and oak were present too. The taste was fruity and tart up front, a mixture of lactic sourness and just a bit of vinegar, with a raspberry quality yet more of a cherry flavour. This gave way to brown sugar and bread, plus a hint of toffee and chocolate towards the end. The occasional flash of vanilla appeared as well. Earthy notes of tobacco and berry skins, with just a bit of oak flavour, added some depth. Lingering, tart finish. Medium bodied with a bit of a sugary texture and lingering dryness from the oak tannins. Carbonation was average, perhaps a little on the high side. Highly drinkable, but definitely worth savouring. Great balance, very enjoyable.

DrJay, Aug 08, 2008
Photo of illidurit
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Lost Abbey for RBSG. Pours a rusty red-brown with no head. Tons of sediment. Aroma is dead-on apple pie, with an acetic sourness. Flavor is a balance between sweet and sour. Tastes like a caramel covered crab apple. Also some cherry notes in the tartness. Sharp with a mostly dry finish. Undercarbonated, but who cares? Delicious.

illidurit, Aug 05, 2008
Photo of bennetj17
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber with brownish tint, good clarity, low carbonation as a few large bubbles hang around the bottom of the glass. The head is thin leaving a soapy ring. It kind of looks like juice, maybe a bit like wine? Smell is nice, classic sweet and sour cherry mix, a bit vinegary, with a little peppery spice.

Tangy cherry flavor throughout. It peaks after a few seconds, becoming assertively tart but short of a lambic sourness. The woody vinegar presence is also nice, and in the finish you get just a tiny hint of caramel maltiness. Feels like a thin fruit juice on the palate with a high level of sparkly carbonation.

This beer is very nice for the style. It doesn't get as sweet as a few of the well-known examples do, which is key. I am not a fan of the Flanders beers as much as I like more funky lambics, but this beer was very quaffable. Recommended...

bennetj17, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of Deuane
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
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!

Deuane, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of oakbluff
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky redish orange with tons of sediment. offwhite head, some lacing. Nose- really barnyard funky, fresh cherries. Taste- bitter cherries, moderate tartness but not overwhelming. Not too sweet or too sour. Some wood in the finish. Exceptional drinkability.

oakbluff, Jun 29, 2008
Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,617 ratings.