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Red Poppy Ale - The Lost Abbey

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Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale

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560 Reviews
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Reviews: 560
Hads: 1,837
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 568
Gots: 572 | FT: 43
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: 560 | Hads: 1,837
Photo of JohnG190
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep mahogany with a quickly dissipating cherry-tinged head. Aromas of sour cherry, melon and funk with hints of oak and vanilla. Gobs of sour on the tongue, followed by dark stone fruit. Very dry on the finish. Light bodied with lots of carbonation. Overall, a very complex and refreshing Flanders Red Ale!

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Photo of neurobot01
3.72/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of an undated bottle (purchased ~1 month prior) into a 16oz snifter.

Appearance: Murky brown, with a yellowish head that holds steady throughout at about 1cm.

Smell: Some cherry, generic tart, a little vanilla. Smells like a tangy Dr. Pepper. Fresh-sawn lumber starts to emerge as it warms.

Taste: Sour. Not getting any specific fruit, just tons of sour. Develops into a bit of metallic bite. Aftertaste is pretty strongly of metallic cherries, a bit like a Luden's Lozenge. Like the aroma, as it warms, the barrel moves a bit more to the fore, along with more vanilla. I really can't get past the metallic taste though. Kind of a bummer, because this is less one-dimensional than a lot of sours.

Mouthfeel: Nothing really spectacular, the typical moderate-to-heavy carbonation common to the style. A bit on the thin side, but not offensively so.

Overall: So close to being really good, but just too much metal taste. I might try getting another bottle and letting it age to see if that flavor mellows out, but as it stands, there are lots of better sours out there.

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Photo of smcolw
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Literally looks like watered down mud in a glass. Brown, yet no light could possibly pass. Small, quickly dying head. Leaves only a couple of spots for lace.

Strong, sweet red cherry (maraschino?) aroma. If I were blindfolded, I would think this was a Kriek because of the sour nose and slight presence of Belgian yeast.

Tastes like a Kriek, too...almost. But it isn't sweet and there are more "brown" elements like crystal and chocolate malts. Very interesting as it is unusual. Good body with a mildly elevated carbonation.

Certainly not an everyday beer, but a real treat for something delicious and unusual.

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Photo of Lothore
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- pours a deep ruddy brown hue with little to no head.

s - cherry, plum, candied fruit

t- starts of with a deep sour cherry flavor that ebbs into a strong wheatiness. Dry.

m- thick and effervescent

d- really great beer. Deep sourness rounded out by wheat.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 12.4.13
2012 Vintage

A - Pours a dark ruby red-brown with a fizzy tan head that lingers a bit.

S - Tart and acidic, cherry in the end.

T - Tart and oaky, very little cherry in the finish.

D - Good carbonation with a medium body.

O - Tart and oaky with not much of the cherry showing.

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Photo of CrazyLarry
3.45/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not my style of beer. I think it is a solid Flanders Red. Appearance: dark murky brown ale; Light head; Heavy on the carbonation. Smell: sour cherries and good bacteria. Taste: sharp light and fast, acidic, carbonation, sour cherries was fulfilled, bacteria, no real finish very clean. Mouth feel: light and acidic.

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Photo of PHBoiler
3.85/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reddish brown body with some light white lacing. Smells of tartness on the nose. Not really getting the cherry in the nose or in the body. The acidity drowns out most of the flavors I was hoping for. Given the pricepoint, I'd expect more balance, more cherry flavor. Very acidic for the style in my opinion.

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Photo of bpasquini
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very murky dark red/brownish color, leaves a nice thick tannish brown head and slowly goes away leaving thick lacing around the glass

S: Loads of sour/ tart cherry! and there is a very nice floral aroma mixed with it, assuming some of it is the red poppies. Can get hints of sweetness in it, I'm getting a very light caramel, vanilla aroma, presumably from the barrel aging, smells outstanding!

T: Sour/tart cherries! Can get a slight hint of sweet cherry in there as well. There's a very nice funk taste to it as well, I wanna say it is brett but not too sure. Then the slight bread, caramel, vanilla sweet malt comes in on the finish. The sourness level is perfect, it makes your face pucker only a little, and this makes it enjoyable to keep drinking to see if it will continue to make you pucker, fantastic in flavor!

M: Lots of carbonation, medium bodied, slightly oily but leaves a nice dry finish

O: Very well rounded beer, the smell hit me immediately and I knew it was going to be a fantastic beer, if you ever have the opportunity to get this beer, you need to get this beer!

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Photo of MNishCT77
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz. bottle picked up in the greater San Diego area, unknown bottling date (2013 vintage), poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 9/20/13 over an hour.

A: 3/3 - dark brown coloration, minimal clarity (cannot see through), carbonation was a fizzy brown head on first pour but very quickly dissipates into subtle glass lacing , minor alcohol legs

S: 10/12 - lots of pungent sour (especially vinegar) notes admixed with those brown ale roastiness

T: 18/20 - on the anterior tongue, the sour is not overwhelming - tastes a bit like stale bread; in the middle of the mouth, some of the cherry and vinous qualities start to rear their head from the oak aging; the 5.5% ABV is present but certainly not overwhelming in the taste; really a nice balance of malt and sourness!

M: 4/5 - moderate-to-high bodied and appropriately carbonated for an American wild ale

O: 9/10 - another solid offering from The Lost Abbey; I think that they picked it up spot on with the combination of brown ale and sour cherry flavors; I picked up a bottle on a recent trip to San Diego and wish that I had about three more...definitely recommended!

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Photo of portia99
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle poured into a Lost Abbey stemmed glass.

A - After a physical workout to remove the cork, this pours a slightly muddy dark brown caramelly color. Two fingers of fizzy and foamy head sits on top with a pale khacki color and showing good staying power. Mild lacing left on the glass.

S - Big aroma...filled with tart/sour cherries up front. Quite tart overall, extending beyond the fruit. Good amount of earthy funk too - brett is doing its job quite well here. Smells more alcoholic than the 5% on the label. Mild malt with hints of caramel in the background.

T - Tart but not as much as the aroma would indicate. Lots of sour cherry flavor. Background malt, a bit of caramel. Noticeable funk that adds some earthy character to the malt base. Oaky, woody barrel additions. Mild candy sugar-like sweetness. Despite aroma, no trace of alcohol is detected in the flavor.

M - Body is on the thin side. Carbonation is high, a bit foamy and gives a nice prickly feel too. Tart and funky and filled with cherry. Each sip gives a bit of a puckering effect. Perhaps a bit on the intense side of tartness for the style, but this is a positive attribute for me.

O - Overall a very tasty Flanders red. Tons of cherry, plenty of tart, nice woody notes and earthy funk. Balance of these aspects is very good. Don't buy this often enough. Have to make a note to pick up a few more bottles next time this one comes around.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blue Palms' 5th anniversary in Hollywood, CA.

Raul is trying, Raul is trying to say something, but he can't. Like watching Renoir's "The Rules of the Game", Raul is ineffable - pure beauty! Before, with Flanders Red Ales, Raulsky got that vinegar feel - but not with this bad sucker. Pure goodness. Like Christy Brinkley during the 90's - yes please!

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Photo of beerloverofbham
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip.
This beer has a foamy, cloudy head that sinks quickly in the liquid. The color is that of slightly-muddled iced tea; some cloudiness, but not much. Funk is the primary aroma here, like well-ripened Roquefort, but a second after it smells slightly like caramel. Excellent carbonation, resonating on the tongue, but dryly. It's not as tart as I expected, considering the style, but it's very sophisticated; some flavors almost go undetected. I get tastes of lemon verbena, Merlot, blood orange, and balsamic reduction. I'm drinking this a little too quickly, but can barely contain myself.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a murky mix of burgundy and mahogany. A thick wall of tan foam rises. Decent retention but eventually subsides to a fairly thick ring around the rim. Leaves some spotty lacing.

S - a complex yet nuanced nose. Notes of leather jump out first followed by malt vinegar and cherries and possibly oranges. Strong presence of wood along with hints of funky brett.

T - flavors of brow bread and hints of sweet toffee hit the tongue first but are quickly washed away by assertive flavors of tart fruit and malt vinegar. More malty character on the backend which slides into a slightly sour finish.

M - lighter side of medium bodied. Slick slightly watery mouthfeel. Surprisingly medium carbonation.

O - a well balanced and executed wild ale. While i wasnt crazy about the mouthfeel the aroma and flavors are very nice.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.39/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Opaque murky brown colour with a thin layer of light, bubbly dirty white head.

S - Acidic, funky, sour cherries.

T - Acidic and tart. Sour cherries, barnyard funk, sour cherries. Some oaky/tanic notes.

M - Medium body. Dry and tart. Light to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of jbdpsu82
4.54/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bubbly deep ruby-brown color with a finger width head. A fruity cherry aroma with a good amount of funk. taste is a beautiful biting tart flavor with a trace of the barrel aging mixed in. A carbonated mouthfeel and this beer rises above many others. Love it.

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Photo of Kjanisch7
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: A murky red-brown with a tan head.

S: Sour cherry with some funk. Had a far different, somewhat unappealing smell which was unlike most sours I've had. Made me unsure about the beer.

T: Super acidic with tart fruits. Some barrel taste coming through. Awesome sour.

M: Strong carbonation, but a nice medium body.

O: This beer was solid. Loved drinking it. The only thing that threw me off was the smell. Not sure if it was good that it didn't smell like a sour or not, but it wasn't for me. I typically enjoy the strong standard sour smell.

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Photo of SteveTheDog
2.75/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

I tried this out of a champagne flute, as per the recs on this site.

It was an effervescent amber color with an aroma that of course reminded me of cherries but also of something like a cherry lime rickey with some sweet tones but also a little bit of a smokey oaky scent. It's rare that I say this about a beer but the mouthfeel really came on strong before the taste with the carbonation. It almost felt like my tongue was being cleaned off between sips. After the cleansing of my palate, the tart cherries took over and left my mouth with a feeling of cherry liqueur feel.

Overall, I didn't totally enjoy the sensation, though I can see how some would.

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Photo of CarolinaKev
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from a good beer friend. Poured from a smaller 12.7 oz bottle to a tulip glass. Poured a deep brown-red hue with a 1/4 inch small head. Nose of sour cherries with some hints of fig and oak with sour funkiness. Taste was verytart and sour up front with a surprising nice hop bite. Good lingering sweetness and hoppiness. Good mouthfeel, easy drinking and refreshing despite its complex flavors. Overall, this was an awesome beer that I would love to have more of. Definitely a beer to seek our if you enjoy flanders reds.

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Photo of JonathanC
4.93/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Red poppy ale is a very hard beer to come by and finding it was indeed tough. Hearing all the hype from a friend that was aging his batch in a brief case, told me his story of how he won a drawing at The Lost Abbey and had the opportunity to purchase them. This just shows how rare these bottles are.

Opening the bottle you can smell an array aroma of a great handful of cherry and sour.
This beer is indeed top notch and the sour in this beer is not to overbearing at all. There is a hint of cherry that jumps in to grab you as it hits your pallet. I would NEVER pass this beer up, snag it in a heartbeat.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage. Poured from a 12.7oz corked and caged bottle into a Lost Abbey Teku. The pour has a lovely dark red color and is quite clear, but it has very low carbonation and produces no head at all. The nose is sharp and acidic with notes of cherries, sour apple, and red wine.

Medium-bodied beer. The flavor is sharp and sour, but has just enough sweetness to make it plenty palatable. Sour cherries, lemons, and white grapes smack the palate with lots of pleasing tanginess. Very restrained, almost nonexistent, hop bitterness and lots of mouth-drying tannins on the finish. Very appetizing and refreshing.

Overall, a really nice example of the style. I think it could use more carbonation and just a bit more sweetness, but I'm very grateful I was able to try this. Plus, it is easily one of the most beautiful bottles I have yet seen.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark copper with a garnet hue. The head is tan, somewhat rocky and not long for this world which I blame on the high acidity.

S: Red currents, tart cherries and some leather. A light touch of barnyard funk.

T: Supper tart and fruit with a strong acidic tartness and fruit flavors of red current and tart cherries. The oak barrel comes through next mostly with vanilla but a touch of cinnamon. There is some malt rounding out the mild but the balance here is very tart with a dry finish. Lingering fruit flavors and tartness.

M: medium bodied with a strong carbonation.

O: A sour beer of arrival, one should love tart sours before approaching this one. Tart, fruity, vanilla, tart and oak with a touch of vinegar acidity.

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Photo of Smurf2055
4.01/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip, finger of off white head. Sediment is at the bottom.

Smell is tart and balanced.

Taste is strong cherry. Sour, almost bitter. Candied, almost.

Very smooth and balanced. Sits on the tongue quite well.

Very well done, but I don’t think it’s worth the price tag.

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Photo of lsummers
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber copper with a one finger off white head. Nice and thick, can hardly see through it with just a touch of a reddish tint of light showing through.

Smells of a red wine note coming right out of the bottle as soon as I cork it. In the glass I get a much more dark sweet raspberry/cherry tartness. Touches of a leather note.

Taste hits straight away with a tart dark red fruity character and immediately includes some sour sweetness. There's a woody character mid way through along with some funky barnyard. The fruity characters fade off towards the end to leave a tart raison like musty aftertaste. Belgian yeast notes can be found mid to the end of the taste.

Mouthfeel is very crisp with what I would say feels like a high amount of carbonation in the likes of a champagne. Still has some fatness to it that makes me think this could be slightly viscus without all the carbonation.

Overall, this is tasting great and it's really standing out for me. One to try, one to buy, and one to put away to see how it changes over time.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a mahogany red, light haze, yellow colored head, dissipates quickly. Funky aroma with a mild sour nose, slight fruit notes, caramel and bread with some acidity. Carries a much similar taste, lightly sweet with fruit notes, a tart, lightly sour taste, with some bready funk notes. Lighter body, carbonation was good(especially for Lost Abbey).

Enjoyable, but Love Child 3 toaster in the night was better.

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Photo of Zive
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Vintage 2012 bottle, cellared for fourteen months, poured into champagne flute.

Appearance: Looks like a classic brown ale with a half finger of khaki head that dissipates quickly. When held up to light it takes on a more amber/deep ruby red hue.

Smell: Oak and vanilla at first, the sour scent associated with most wild ales is present to a lesser extent. The cherry aroma has faded considerably, most likely due to cellaring, and is barely detectable.

Taste: First taste is a mild tartness, though not puckering like many other sours due to the mellowness of the barrels and the sweetness imparted by the cherries and malts. There's no doubt that the base beer here was loaded with dark malts which lend a caramel character to the taste. I was concerned that this would be overly fruity, but between the barrels and cellaring that's not the case.

Mouthfeel: Silky with lots of small CO2 streaming from the base of the glass. The acidity from the wild yeast strains adds to the stinging feeling of the carbonation. A bit more mellow on the palate than most wild and sour ales I've had (Lindeman's, Cantillon, etc).

Overall: I enjoyed this beer mostly for its uniqueness. The brewing process was well thought-out here, balancing the acids produced by the wild yeast with the mellowing and sweetening effects of barrel aging and cherries. I would be interested in trying this beer either from a fresh bottle or on tap for comparison. Although this is an excellent beer and worthy of much of the hype surrounding it, I don't believe it's great enough to justify the $20 price-tag.

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Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
94 out of 100 based on 560 ratings.