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Red Poppy Ale - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,693 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,693
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 543
Gots: 509 | FT: 36
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 09-07-2007

Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent.

Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart.

The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,693 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer is reddish brown and does not form a head. Carbonation is low and there is a little lacing left on the glass. Beer is relatively clear.

Aroma is a strong sourness, mostly citric based. Kind of a one note aroma but it smells fine.

Strong sour flavor, again citric. There are several late flavors, sweet, strong tart, hits me in the corners of my mouth. Drinkability is high, mouthfeel is good. Carbonation plays a role in the connectivity of the beer overall.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle, 12.7oz, corked & caged. The beer is clear, dark rusty colored, with no head at all. As I drank it I noticed the carbonation was really light too, not sure if the carbonation fell off with 1 year of age.

The beer smells just about perfect, so strong and funky. Both tart cherries and barnyard wild notes, but mainly the sour seems to come from the cherries. Only a hint of vinegar, so much better than other oud bruins I've had in terms of that. And it only gets better when I taste it. Very fruity and sour, basically fermented cherry juice with some brett. If I'd tried this 2-3 years ago I might have objected to the pucker-inducing sourness but now I've come to crave this attribute. This is bracing and pungent, massive in aroma and flavor.

The real downside for me is the low carbonation. Lost Abbey's struggles with carbonation have been well documented in their strong beers, but their sour beers have usually been fine. In this case I'm guessing it's the age, and it really doesn't hurt the drinking experience all that much. The light body seems to suit the style, very drinkable. This will be on my eternal wants list, and I'll actively trade for it each year it's released.

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.87/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle tried 29 Jun 2009. Courtesy of calinalu, thanks!

Poured in a 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Small tan soapy looking head. Cloudy dark brown color. Moderate carbonation. Aroma is of sour cherry pits, somewhat musty. Quite sour with a lot of brown sugar, almost like a vinaigrette. Also dried sour cherries, some cinnamon. Aftertaste and finish is sweet-tart. Medium body. Ethanol very mild.

Nice to try but would probably not get this again.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Czoch75 beat the hell out of me in the Fight Club Rnd 2 BIF.. this was an incredible score. Clint is beyond generous.

Shared this one with Inflatablechair a while back... Sam is good people. Reviewed from paper notes.

Lite tan head.. no real lace.. only descent retention... the brew is a slightly hazed deep orange/red.

Nose is cherries with lite funk and pretty abundant acetic elements..

Cherries are less pronounced than the aroma, but are still prevalent... plenty of vinegar and some mild lactic presence.. with warmth some balsamic characteristics show.. maybe some oak, but I could easily be imagining things.

very very refreshing.

Thanks again Clint.. unheard of generosity.

3.5/4.5/4.5/4/4.5

Photo of tpd975
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A cute 500 ml bottle. Pours reddish brown with a Caesar white head. Aroma of sour and cherries and wood. Sourness on the tongue, above averge mouthfeel. Some fruit sugarness offsets. This is a sipper. Alcohol warming. A delight. Carbonation is there.
Peter FM had a bottle, and after 3.3 years it stands the taste of time. Great sor finish.

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

Thanks to bmanning for opening this at a recent tasting.

2009 Vintage. 375mL bottle.

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

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

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

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

D: Quite drinkable. Fairly complex.

Photo of Tiklmelmo
3.28/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Murky reddish brown. For the champagne cork, I was definitely expecting more fizz. Minimal off-white to light brown head.

S - Tart cherries dominate the nose, with some leather and earthy notes.

T - Puckeringly sour, almost unpleasantly so. Fairly one dimentional with some cherries and lots of vinous acidity. Not very balanced. No sweetness to speak of.

M - Slight slickness to the mouthfeel with low carbonation.

D - the 12.7oz is enough for me. The acidity isn't balanced enough to make this really drinkable.

Not bad, but definitely not my favorite. While I enjoy a good sour, this one is a little heavy on the lactic acidity without much else to back it up.

Photo of Fweezle
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I'm a huge Flanders Red fan so when I finally opened this 2009 at a recent tasting I was quite excited. Corked pulled with no pop whatsoever. Flat as tap water. Bummer.
Luckily a Flanders Red can still be somewhat enjoyed with no carbonation. Poured a murky red into my snifter followed by a slight fizz head that vanished as soon as it formed. Smelled pretty wonderful. Cherries, cider vinegar, and oak. Taste was pretty on par for a Flanders, tart cherries, wood, a little sourness and funk. Mouthfeel was a little lacking for obvious reasons, but the drinkability was pretty on point. If it would of had some carbonation it would have carried it alot more.

Photo of nomomentwasted
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hank, once again, you are the man for throwing down for two bottles of this at the vintage bottle fest. 2008 vintage.

Appearance: Reddish-brown hue, almost brick-like with more orange hues in the highlights. Light, wispy head that evaporates quickly but laces nicely. Head is a little off-white and stays pretty tame.

Smell: Lactic sourness comes through in a funky, cherry, oaky, and slightly sweet manner. The beer has had nearly two years of cellaring, and the funk is very alive and well, that's for sure. Cherries come through more as it warms up a tad, and sourness is pucker-inducing from the smell. Similar in nose to La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin, but more cherry.

Taste: The funky, sour cherry smell is no illusion, and the taste comes immediately with some vinegar acidity, sour cherry, oak, and lactic sourness on the finish. Roundly interesting, and I kept muttering to myself about how interesting it was. Complexity is high, and the subtle profile only becomes more nuanced as it warms up. Not as much brett funk as lacto, and the sourness reflects the yeast more than the cherries. Oak is more in the finish than immediate.

Mouthfeel: Not quite spritzy, and carbonation was pretty light. Sourness is not bracing but more puckering, and oaky finish is pleasant, but after the first glass and warming up, it becomes slightly less original and a bit more dominant than the vinegar sweetness and cherry sourness.

Drinkability: Drinks above the ABV in flavor, and really very similar to something like Cuvee de Tomme, except with less hints of booze. Sourness is light enough to drink a good amount, as is the ABV, but the flavors do run together a bit by the end. Still, an excellent little sour that if more readily available probably would have a few purchased of it, but with La Folie being half the cost and infinitely more available, I'd probably stick with it first.

Photo of davod23
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass. 2009 edition. I've heard that this beer goes downhill in the months after release - luckily, this has been fridged since last winter.

It pours a clear, dark auburn. Minimal (and I do mean minimal) cream colored head forms, which dissipates to nothing but the thinnest of collars and some cloud-like wisps on the top of the brew. This is okay, but could be improved with evidence of more ample carbonation.

Smell is great. Sour cherries dominate, but there's a complex background of oak, vanilla, and a light funkiness that wraps around everything.

Taste is similarly great. Sweet red cherries hit the palate first, followed by a slight vanilla and oak tinged sourness. It's less of a sourness, actually - I think that "tartness" describes this beer better. It finishes quickly, but leaves a lingering trace of light sour behind.

Mouthfeel is fine. Basically, it's just barely carbonated enough to be good. One less bubble in this brew, and the beer would suffer. That said, a bit more carbonation would be better for this brew, IMHO. Of course, this is Lost Abbey, so I'll take what I can get in this department.

Drinkability is excellent. I wish this was in bigger bottles, because I would polish it off with no problem.

Very good beer from Lost Abbey. This might be the sole purchase I make at their brewery this upcoming year, as it's one of the better Flanders ales that I've ever had.

Photo of Cakanator
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Amazing at turkey day dinner. Pours a murky brown red with minimal head. Lacing is ecxellent smells like fresh cherries. So ripe and delicious the sour level is huge and bLanced. One of my all time favorites from la. The levels of sourness is amazing I think lost abbey hAs a winner with this one.

Photo of drumrboy22
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from Sinners Club '09. Poured from 375mL bottle into Lost Abbey chalice. Beer was a ruby red color, with a very, very small head. Light, slow carbonation and no lacing.

Aroma was tart cherries, vinegar and oak.

Taste was very tart cherries, vinegar, wood and light caramel. Very good beer.

Good drinkability and a very well crafted beer. Only complaint was lack of carbonation. While there was a very small amount of carbonation present, a little more would have really added to this beer.

Photo of nickd717
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at GABF 2009...don't kill me, I'm not done yet...and then had it straight from the barrel at Lost Abbey Barrel Tasting 2009.

Here is the my review from GABF that I wrote down earlier but did not post because of the "don't review from beer fests" guideline:
Another great sour from the Flat - I mean Lost - Abbey. Just kidding Tomme, for all the heat you take, you shut us up with some great beers. This is one of them. Bottle pours hazy dark reddish-amber with a small, lasting off-white head. Aroma is tart berries with cherries standing out, oak, red wine vinegar, sweet malt, and funk. Flavor is tart, but not too much so, with some sweetness to balance lending caramel and toffee notes. Loads of cherries, raspberries, and red wine. Also some oaky barrel notes and vinegar/lemon tartness on the finish. Palate is medium-bodied and sharp with higher than average carbonation. This is a great beer overall.

So I was all set to give this a high review once I got a fair pour of it. Then I got a fair pour of it at this at the Barrel Tasting, and to be honest, dogg, I wasn't too impressed. Had sort of an odd funkiness to it that I didn't pick up the first time that threw it off a little bit. I love a good sour, but the balance has to be just right, and for some reason this time was a little off.

So I'm going to more or less average the ratings from the two times I've had this, maybe a little heavier on the good experience since that wasn't straight from the barrel and was more how this is meant to be served. Figure that's a fair assessment. Would like to try it out of the bottle sometime.

First time was an A, second was a B. Overall I'll give it a low A-.

Photo of heliosphann
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage. 375ml caged and corked bottle. Served in a tulip. Split with fellow BA infestaxion during our mini-barrel aged tasting.

A: Small amount of soapy head. Pours a sexy looking reddish brown. Leaves a nice ring around the top of the glass. Nice lacing that fades quickly.

S: Strong tart cherries, currants and plums up front. Underlying is a nice candied sweetness. Some vinegar, but not overpowering. A little oak and funky notes from the barrels.

T: Very similar to how it smells, but not as complex. The tart cherries and other various dark fruits are prevalent. Definitely some bugs from the barrels present, providing a little funkiness. Sourness kicks in towards the end, but there is also a some of the sweetness on the finish.

M: Medium bodied. A little syrupy, but the carbonation is ample enough to counterbalance it. Overall very pleasant.

D: This is a very drinkable Flanders with the low ABV and the sourness not being a pallet killer. I could easily drink a full bottle of this by myself.

A very nice take on a Flanders Oud Bruin by Lost Abbey. I would have liked a little more complexity in the taste, but overall I found it to be pretty solid. The availability and price tag is certainly a down side however.

Photo of csmiley
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Color is mostly brown with a reddish tint that really comes through in the light. Head is minimal. Using the word minimal is being generous in this case. It tops out at forming a thin ring around the edges of the glass. This would equate in to zero retention. The ring of foam is able to leave one or to bubbles of lace on the glass.

S - Aroma starts out with a heavy combination of funk and cherry. This beer actually smells straight up like a horse stable. That works for me. Horses, hay, wood, and the list keeps going. Cherry is very tart and pungent. There is a sweeter aroma that barely comes through on the tail end. Reminds me of cane sugar. The aroma for the Red Poppy is home run in my book.

T - Flavor pretty much follows the aroma. Very funky right out of the gate. The wood / oak flavor comes through a little more which works well for this beer. Of course, there is the horse and hay but they stay milder than expected given the aroma. Cherry has a very strong presence as well. It's very tart and sour overall. Could be some caramel that finishes it off.

M - Medium bodied with little to no carbonation. Finish is tart and never actually lets go of the palate.

D - Drinkability is pretty good. The flavors work well together and the alcohol is almost completely hidden. It's very tart but also very smooth. This beer could be something very very special if not for one glaring problem. Even with a little carbonation, this one would be excellent. As is, it's still pretty good but that's about all that can be said.

Photo of pwoods
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml corked and caged brown bottle poured into a snifter. Notes.

A: A murky reddish brown pour. Medium head with not a ton of retention. A bit of lacing.

S: Nice tart and sour cherries with some currant and added citrus, maybe a light lemon. Lightly funky with the barnyard aromas. Lightly sweet in the back with a good brown base.

T/M: tons of tart and sour cherries. Funk is stronger than the first time I had this. Some tangier flavors, maybe strawberries and light mango. Good sweet brown base. Tart and sour level grows a bunch as it warms further, growing toward a cider vinegar. Body is medium or more and is very nicely smooth.

D: Drinking nice and easy though not quite as much as a lighter sour.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this gem at the 2009 GABF. I enjoyed a couple samples on Thursday, but on Friday, when the line was inexplicably short, I easily had 3 or 4 pours. In retrospect, GABF is probably the best setting to consume beer from Lost Abbey. You know you are going to get a carbonated beer, something you can't take for granted with Lost Abbey. Of course, you don't have to pay for it either, which is nice.

Red Poppy was superb. Ample flavor here, but the biggest components are Oak, cherry and vinegar notes. The flavor is a fun balance of sweet and sour. I had multiple samples of this, Cuvee de Tomme, and Duck Duck Gooze. This was my least favorite of the three, but that is a reflection of how incredible the other two were. I would love to get my hands on a bottle of this, it was one tasty brew.

Photo of SykDoc
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this courtesy of StoutsnIpas, much thanks.

Poured from a bottle into a flute. It pours a uniquely ruby color that actually appears light brown when held to the light. A 1/4 inch off-white head forms and quickly reduces to minimal lacing. Mild sediment and translucent.

The aroma is fantastic. There is a nice mix of currants with an earthy component, as well as an vinegar strength that makes it interesting and good.

The taste is heavily on the sour end giving nice doses of grapes and cherries. There is again that earthy/oak note that balances well with the sour, acidic, and tart components.

The mouthfeel is quite good with a medium body and a modest level of carbonation that leaves a pleasant dryness at the finish that feels clean and refreshing. Quite sour, but good.

Overall, this is a very good beer. The sourness, although intense leaves a refreshed feeling but also keeps it from being something to drink multiples of because you no longer have a palate.

Photo of mcallister
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well I can see where the name comes into play a red ruby garnet type coor with little spritzy head that quickly fades into a ring around the glass.

Christ that is some nose. Wonderful woodsy aromas sour cherry, red currant, brett sour esters, dried berries, lavender and more. Amazing nose.

Just an amazing beer. Great oak notes follow the thick sour mouth puckering entry and middle. Full of tart fruits and berries cherry leading the way a nice acidic character on the finish and middle. Mouth is round and puckering and a beer I could sip on daily if available.

Photo of mothman
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mikesgrove for this one.

Opened the cork with the slightest pop.

Poured into Ommegang chalice.

Pours hardly any head, but the little that is there is a murky brown. Color is a hazy ruby copper brown with sediment in the glass.

Aroma: Sour cherries, some funk, wood/oak, vinegar/acidic aromas. The aroma is really making my mouth water.

Taste: Wow, this beer is sour. Big sour cherry taste, oak, vinegar with acidic flavors. Definitely has a funky taste to it.

Mouthfeel: One of the sourest beers I have ever had. Makes my mouth pucker. Very tart. Medium body with a low amount of carbonation. Ends with a bittersweet clean aftertaste.

Overall, a fantastic beer. I am really enjoying this and I know I will want more when this bottle is gone. I really enjoy how tart the cherries are. A must have if you enjoy tart, sour beers.

___
Drinking a 2010 bottled version fresh and just wanted to comment a bit on it. The abv is lowered to 5% and it is not near as sour. I have heard many people enjoy this fresh, but I say to put some age on it. It develops more of a vinegar flavor but gets a lot more sour. The nose on this starts out odd, but then gets better as it warms. Not as sour as it turns out to be.

Photo of brentk56
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
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

Photo of hwwty4
4.79/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Much thanks to Jtrockchalk for this gem.

Poured a 375ml into my oversized Dogfish Head snifter. To start with, this has to be one of the sexiest bottles I have ever had the pleasure of looking at. This beer pours a muddy garnet with just a wisp of of a head leaving no lacing. I poured this pretty hard to try to work up a head but alas, nothing. Along with no head came no lacing. The aroma is amazing. Tart pie cherries up front, balsamic vinegar, oak, and a wicked lactic tartness. The flavor matches and exceeds the taste. Simply marvelous. Huge tart pie cherries and balsamic vinegar push up front but leaving enough room for fresh oak, lactic tang, and a sublte sweetness that lingers on the palate at the finish of the taste. The mouthfeel is exceptional. Just a light carbonation that prickles the tongue, leaving the palate slightly dry and craving another sip. This beer is exceptional.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A great thank you goes out to jtrockchalk who included this want as an extra in a recent trade!

This one is russet-brown with very little head after a vigorous pour. It smells of a high quality balsalmic vinegar; wood; sour, tart monticello cherries with a background note of warm caramel. This is very nice!

The taste mirrors the smell with a very slight lactic tang and citrus zest presence. I am digging this! Not quite as sour as say Rodenbach Grand Cru or cirrca 2005 Panil Barriquée, but not nearly as sweet as Rodenbach Alexander or the Duchesse.

Mouthfeel is right for the style - vinous and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is excellent as I was through the bottle way to quickly for my liking.

If it weren't so difficult to obtain, I could see myself making this a staple.

Photo of ricke
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: A strangely looking murky reddish brown color with a minimal tanned head that quickly fades away to a small ring of lacings.

S: Tart cherry notes and an interesting mix of bretty funk and oak barrels. The barrel notes are more prominent than expected. Hints of other fruity notes and caramel reminiscent of an Oud bruin. An interesting and to large extent good taste, but it's not excellent.

T: The taste is actually quite acidic with sour cherry notes from start to finish. Some complementary caramel-like sweetness. Notes of wood and oak barrels. Mild funky notes and notes of berries. The finish is tart with notes of brett and cherries and a hint of minerals. After a while, the acidity mellows out a bit, letting more sweetness come through.

M: The body is quite light, too light I think. The carbonation is slightly too mellow, I would have liked it to be a little livelier and sparkling.

D: Good, but not fantastic. I've come across many comments about this one comparing it to a lambic, but too me, it is more of a sour, fruit-infused Oud bruin than a fruit lambic (which is what it's categorized as on this site). It's not as complex as some of the better comparable Belgians, but still a very impressive beer. Nice bland of tartness, barrel character and fruit flavors.

Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,693 ratings.