1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  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

1,635 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,635
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 525
Gots: 490 | FT: 33
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: 1,635 | Reviews: 531 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikeale
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09 vintage from my Patrion Sinner's Club.
servied in my DFH snifter.
A. Dark brown color but when held up to light reddish amber, No head no lacing not even a pop when I opened the bottle.

S. Tart, sour, cherries, oak. (my wife dose not like sour, wild, etc... she smelled the beer and said "Nasty")

T. not as sour as I had expected... sour, cherries, vinagary, oakey

M. mouth coating, slick, tart, puckery, not much carbonation

D. low abv but I'm ok with one... I've already had a few beers tonight I think I'm done for tonight...

I think I'm going to cellar my other three.
I wanted to love this, I'll up date my review next time I try this.

mikeale, Mar 15, 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 MusicaleMike
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed during the "Brett Pack" dinner at Monk's Cafe. Served in a tasting glass. This beer is aged in various oak barrels and then blended together.

A: It poured from the bottle looking like old wine. No head, no carbonation. The color was attractive though, showing a deep rosy red with light brown on the sides.

S: With the first whiff, you know that there are a ton of cherries in this beer, and you know it's going to make your mouth pucker. It's also not very difficult to smell the effects of oak-barrel aging here, with notes of wood, vanilla and earth/peat. I am in love with this smell, since it promises such richness and depth of flavor.

T: The taste is as expected. Very sour up front, with a sharp acidity. The flavor of sour cherries is evenly balanced by a mature oak and vanilla flavor. Notes of peat and smoke are in the back, and make for a very pleasant rounded character, ranging from sweet to sour to earthy.

M: Though it looks as though there is no carbonation, I would describe the mouthfeel as prickly. I don't know if that is the acidity or what, but the feel of this beer is well rounded too. Prickly up front but extremely smooth towards the swallow.

D: Just excellent balance all around and a delicious beer to boot. Another factor in the drinkability is the 5.5% abv. I loved drinking this, and was almost disappointed to move onto Isabelle Proximus.

We drank this beer alongside a rabbit terrine that was wrapped in prosciutto and then cut into thick slices and laid down on the plate with a sour cherry marmalade. This was the best pairing of the night and possibly one of the best that I have ever had.

MusicaleMike, Mar 13, 2009
Photo of RidiculedDisplay
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gabe opened up a bottle for us at Beachwood and passed it around. From notes:

Appearance: A dark rose red, fairly appropriate in that sense, but there's just no head or lacing. At all. The body's color is pretty, but this wasn't just a matter of having no head or lacing, it was a matter of the beer looking flat, to be honest.

Smell: Perfume, candy sugar, vanilla, licorice on the back end. A smell very reminiscent of some Flanders Reds I've had in the past, specifically Rodenbach, although this is an Oud Bruin.

Taste: Metallic on the front end, which really, really detracted. However, I was beginning to think this was an issue with the bottle more than anything. Grass, vinousity, sourness. On the back end/aftertaste is a very lingering and surprising butterscotch-like sweetness, however, which was really surprising and nice.

Mouthfeel: Slick, but way, way undercarbonated.

Drinkability: Perfectly drinkable - not too sour at all, in my opinion. However, the flatness of the whole bottle was definitely a let-down.

RidiculedDisplay, Feb 28, 2009
Photo of chefnash51
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

tasted (a few times) at the NotB. If I ever acquire a whole bottle I will go back and try and write a more detailed review.

The first thing that jumped out was the nose on this beer. My eyes must have doubled in size and my lips formed a whoah expression. The guy from Lost Abbey pouring just kind of looked at my reaction and gave a smile that said.. yes it is a glorious smell..

What a way to break up all those Barrel Aged Imp Stouts. This was a gem that stood out.

First sniff was sweet love of sour cherries. Followed by vinegar notes pushing it's way through.. asking my senses to WAKE UP and get ready for what was about to be delivered.

The taste did not fail. No sir. Not being that familiar with Sours, yet.. I can see how some might be put off at first and then warm up to this.. but It was love at first smell/taste for me.

Can't wait until I can obtain a bottle and sit at my house and really pick this beer apart.

chefnash51, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of OlieIPA
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I would like to thank the person who so graciously provided this beer. ..you know who are. Consumed and enjoyed with my good buddy PutsDeBnABV on 2/21/09.

A: Poured a deep mahogany-copper hue with tiny amounts of lacing and head. Carbonation was easily visible as well.

S: Very subtle tart fruitiness with some earthy undertones.

T: Minute amounts of roasty characteristics up front followed by a powerful cherry-sourness that seemed to grab my attention for the first half of the sip, and then gently faded away from my palate. The earthy/soil like flavors almost reminded of a merlot, which seemed to balance out the tart/sourness of this beverage. A lot of lambic like qualities were also evident. To sum up the flavor profile, I would have to say that it was powerful and perfectly balanced.

M: A light to medium body beer that had a good amount of carbonation that wasn't overpowering.

D: At 5.5% ABV, the alcohol wasn't present at all...as anyone would expect....along with a great flavor profile made this beer extremely easy to drink. Very impressed.

Overall: I wasn't sure what to expect from this beer, but boy did it surprise me! In a good way of course. A great sour that I would I think everyone should enjoy. A must try. Cheers!

OlieIPA, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of srandycarter
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

srandycarter, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of sonicdescent
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to NOBama for including this as an extra.

Appears a dark and murky brown, similar to a belgian quad but without the massive head.

Scent is vinegar and very light fruit.

Taste was strange, the first sip was almost too much medicine taste but as it warmed it really got much better. Dark Cherries and sour as hell.

Mouth is good, this is a relatively thick drink for a sour and very carbonated. Any less carbon would make this undrinkable.

Drinkability is good but not perfect as you really can't do too many of these back to back if at all.

sonicdescent, Feb 21, 2009
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 jamie2dope
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to srandycarter for trading this beer to me. Looked like a good choice for Valentines Day. Poured this one in to my Deakin University wine glass. Coloration is a beautiful murky dark rose with shades varying in different parts of the glass. Small white lacing for the head, and what looks like tiny bits of yeast sediment all around. Smell is mighty funky, with cherries, lactic acid, and oak. Quite sour, but not overbearing at all. The sour cherries really make themselves known, along with some lemon flavor, and that tiny Oud Bruin sweetness right at the end. Body is light, with no apparent hop profile, and less carbonation than was expected. Some might find this difficult to drink, but I love sour beers, so it was not a problem. Awesome beer from the Lost Abbey, those guys truly are great at what they do. Worthy of the hype in my opinion. An extra cheers to them for going for a style that you do not see all that often.

jamie2dope, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of steadydose
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

375 ml cork finished bottle opened with a pop. A little carbonation mist came out of the opening. Poured into a tulip glass.

A vigorous poor created a quarter inch thick head. A few bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass. Color is a cola brown-red, and light sediment is in the body of the beer. Looks nice in a tulip glass.

The smell was apparent from the get go, first sniff and tart sour cherry is the dominant smell. Fruity Esters are there in the background and as the beer opens up the sweet malt becomes detectable.

First taste and Red Poppy initially made my mouth pucker, and salivate. Tart cherries are dominant upfront w/ hints of vanilla bean at the finish. Overall tart and fruity, but in a good way.

The beer has a light body, and is undercarbonated, body seems to thin out even more with time.

I enjoyed this beer's complexity and suppleness. For me the combination of sour/tart/cherry and barrel aged flavor makes this a memorable beer.

steadydose, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage. Poured into my Russian River tulip, the beer is a dark copper with a red tint. As I expected, a tiny head is the result of a vigorous pour and there is no lacing on the glass.

The aroma is slightly sweet and dominated by sour cherries, with some lactic acid and barnyard characteristics. The aroma denotes a mild tartness. Some plum and chocolate notes are evident, as well as currants. The flavor is much like the aroma. The black cherry flavor is pervasive. The beer is minimally sour and fairly tart. The lactic acid is noticeable. The chocolate is subdued and the plum is present. The finish is dry, crisp, slightly sweet, and tart with cherry flavor.

Red Poppy is medium bodied with medium carbonation. It is light on the palate and dry. Astringency is low.

A great representation of the style. I can't believe this stuff comes out of San Marcos. I prefer this vintage to the first, though the Double Cherry Red Poppy is my favorite.

HopHead84, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of beachbum1975
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Ftownthrowdown at my place last night. 375ml bottle - 1st batch (2008).

Cloudy brown with a tinge of redness... No traces of yeast in the bottle. Opaque through the center, yet visible around the edges. Very litte to no head.

Sour tart cherry followed by little bit of funk, a quick walk through the barnyard, but not too intense. A small amount of citrus and lemon zest.

Body is light, flavor is medium to full. A lot more funk in the mouth, including straw.

Hidden carbonation on the tongue. Light to moderately sour overall. Very nice.

Thanks for sharing this one!!!

beachbum1975, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the first batch.
Pours a murky brown in color. No head forming on the pour. Smell is sour funk and a good amount of bitterness. A bit more acidic than I was expecting. There's a lot more cherry flavor coming through in the flavor. Seems like it kind of fades out in the middle and is a bit empty there.
There's a bit more funk than I was expecting as well. It seems the cherry aspect of this beer has faded over the course of the last year and has been somewhat muted by the other flavors. Allowing more funk and acidic qualities to come to the forefront.

FtownThrowDown, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of deliriumfest
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed on 2/9/09

2009 Batch 375ml bottle.

Poured a cloudy brown/copper color with no head whatsoever. Aroma is full of sourness and some cherry. Taste is an amazing punch of sourness on the tongue followed by a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingers for a while. Slight carbonation and medium mouthfeel lend this beer an awesome drinkability. I am so excited that I got to try this great sour for the first time.

deliriumfest, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first bottle popped open from the latest 2009 release. Looks like I may be the first to review the 2009 batch. Had it on tap at the brewery but was too busy enjoying it. Drinking it while reviewing.

Poured into my Russian River Barrel Beers tulip. While pouring there was no head, even while pouring a little harder. Appearance is a nice red with amber tints to it.

Smells of sour cherries and bret funkyness. The cherries really come through. Smells great.

Taste is wonderful. I am not a huge fan of sours but this may very well be my gateway sour. Nice cherry/tart balance. Tart hits the tip and especially the sides of the tounge. The cherries and the malt hit the back of the tounge. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is a little low on the carbonation than I expected but the malt balance with the other things going on in the beer is great.

Drinkability. I could drink this alot. Will drink many bottles of this. I had last years release and it was not that great but this year is a winner. Glad I went to go pick some up. Thanks Lost Abbey!

PeprSprYoFace, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of brewandbbq
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008, 375ml bottle at 52 degrees.

Pours clear amber with a ruby hue. A veil of murky sediment obscured the perfect clarity before I could stop the pour. A quarter inch head of off white faded quickly leaving behind a few whisps on the surface and barely a trace of lacework.

Aromatics lead off with acid-laced malt, dried cherries, and dusty vinegar barrels. Hints of cinnamon, cedar bark, and earthy tannins follow through.

Light to medium bodied with an almost crisp mouthfeel. Lowish carbonation. A bit thin and watery.

Ripe, red fruits, tannic oak, Sherry vinegar, and malt to balance start the palate. A clean, medium-level acidity quickly steps forward as well as hints of earthy must, cherries, and grapefruit pulp.

Finishes with a peppery warmth, lingering acid, and fading tart cherries.

I'm pretty underwhelmed with this one. Once again, the carbonation on this Lost Abbey beer is low. The beer as a whole is a bit limp and timid. Not as sour, tart, or fruity as I would expect in a world class Oud Bruin or Flanders Red. A decent amount of complexity, but not enough to keep things interesting.
$20 per 375ml bottle? Ha!

brewandbbq, Feb 03, 2009
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
Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,635 ratings.