Carnevale - The Lost Abbey

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very good

669 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 669
Reviews: 305
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 9.34%
Wants: 44
Gots: 63 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed in celebration of Lent and Easter season, Carnevale is light bodied Saison, using Brettanomyces along with Amarillo and Simcoe hops to generate flavor and depth. Carnevale’s complexity grows with time. The citrus notes tend to wane and the wild yeast rears its wonderfully tasting head.

2008 (first release) did not have brettanomyces.

(Beer added by: seaoflament on 02-12-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 669 | Reviews: 305 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bubba83
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml into a tulip at 45 degrees. Leaves a big helping of frothy bright white head that retains incredibly and leaves behind some awesome lacing to boot. Just from the way the head is you can tell the beer is going to be super dry. A rather brilliant pilsner like yellow fills the rest of the glass, with lots of carbonation rising upwards from the base of the tulip.

Smells like freshly mown grass, and the hay you'd find in a barnyard. I pick up a little bit of an alcoholic aroma here too, along with quite a decent hop smack of the earthy/flowery variety. Peppery hints and maybe the slightest hints of fruit from the yeast.

The flavor is a bit different than the aroma. Up front there is a decent light bready/crackery bit before turning into some brief mellow apricot flavor, followed up by a big palate of earth, must, and spices. A nice hoppy bite finishes it off, with more peppery tones and flowers with a hint of citrus.

This is dry as hell. Usually I love that in a Saison but I actually think this may be taking it a little overboard. Additionally, it's probably a bit too carbonated. As far as the consistency and feel on the tongue goes, it works well.

Overall this is a very good example of a Saison that has been hopped up with some American flare. A bit simple perhaps, with not as much complexity in the fruity profile as many other Saisons, but very refreshing and tasty in its own regard.

Photo of ehammond1
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Somewhat hazy golden and yellow with a thin white cap. Limited lacing down the glass.

Sweet and musty aroma consisting of lemon, barnyard/hay, a little musty funk, and some spice notes: coriander? The aroma on this one, as I've found with a few other saisons served cold from the tap, need to warm up to really express their aroma. When cold, there's almost no aroma whatsoever.

A very well-balanced and highly drinkable saison. All the flavors come together magnificently well: sweet and tart lemon, musty barnyard hay, grass, mild yet biting spice and herb notes (black pepper and coriander).

Medium mouthfeel, though a touch metallic and sharp at times.

A delicious and classic version of a great style.

Photo of jnezda
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine glass with great half inch head. Dark golden color and white head but it faded quickly and there is a slight chill haze to add color. Not overly carbonated and the smell is traditional saison. Good spice notes of coriander and orange with a slight back end herb flavor. Over all good beer but the finish left a bit of an oily mouthfeel. Another pretty good beer from Lost Abbey. Need to make it back to the brewery for some Ten Commandments.

Photo of jondeelee
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Carnevale Ale bears many of the scents native to its Saison-style roots, including Belgian-like orange and coriander, and hints of Saison spiciness. Accompanying these is a strong hint of apple cider, as well as white grape, pear, and lychee nut aromas.

On the tongue, the brew is fruity and spicy, the former coming in waves of orange, grape, pear, and grapefruit, and the latter in hints of coriander and pepper. A good amount of hops nicely balances out the sugars, but remains far enough in the background to avoid detracting from the brew's focus on fruit and spice. The aftertaste is dominated by orange, coriander, and pepper, and lingers on the tongue for quite a while. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a well-made beer, having been obviously brewed lovingly and with a good amount of ingredients. I'm not sure it necessarily brings anything new to the table, but it is quite delicious.

Photo of IronLover
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden yellow in color with a light orange hue and excellent clarity. Poured with a dense belgian-like frosty head that reduced fairly quickly but left sheets of lacings on the glass. Wheat, biscuit, banana aromas. with a bit of funky, fruity belgian yeast that is difficult to describe. On the lighter side of medium bodied with a light oily feel that surpresses the carbonaton a bit. Wheat, biscuit malt, and banana flavors up front that taper as hoppy lemon bitterness is introduced. Hops and underlying banana flavor carry through and lead to a tangy, not quite spicy feel toward the finish. Finishes with a clean feel accompanied by a lingering hop bittterness. Lots of different aromas and flavors with this ale.

Photo of thagr81us
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one during the 'We Want The Funk!' tasting that was graciously hosted by beermeX2! Big thanks goes out to BRoss242 for sharing this one with the group! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured a hazy golden yellow with a one finger pure white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, banana, and fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, banana, fruit, and wheat. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I did not pick up on any of the spices usually associated with this style unfortunately, but it allowed the rest of the flavors to step forward and take the show. This was a pretty nice and easy drinking brew and was a nice palate cleanser during the night. Definitely worth trying if you get the chance!

Photo of biegaman
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carnevale has some head on it! Seriously, it's the kind of thing you'd need a ladder to build. And the lacing it leaves, like the universe, seems to have no vestige of a beginning and no prospect of an end. It'd be perfect except its complexion is so bleak; a tired orange tone looks as faded as last year's straw and provides no highlights or clarity what so ever.

I don't know that this actually is what the Belgian countryside smells like in summer, but that's the image that popped into my mind after first sniffing this thing. The scent of hay and tall grass spew out the glass, followed by barnyard must and floral and fruity accents. Usually "stinky" is a bad word, but with regards to saisons it's greatly embraced.

Each sip, in a nutshell, is why I think saisons are so fantastic. Carnevale has an almost alarming spiciness - rammed into the palate with brute force, courtesy of a heavy-duty carbonation - that doesn't flame out so much as gradually wilt into an herbal, savory aftertaste. Tart and acidic notes dwell in orchard fruit (apple, pear) and barnyard flavours.

The beer isn't shy about its strength and wears its weight proudly. Bubbles just shy of champagne-level help scrub much of the warmth away but leave behind a soapy, herbal hop character that is very dry and earthy. It is gritty and pungent yet possesses a certain rustic charm that makes it curiously satisfying, as if you're afforded a taste of how ales once were.

I don't want to say that all American brewers are crafting Belgian ales that meet, or often exceed, the quality and complexity of their creators, but I think it's fair to say that Tomme Arthur puts out enough of them for the whole country. Carnevale is another one in a long line of Lost Abbey beers that remarkably captures the charm and character of a Belgian classic.

Photo of Fikash
4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very frothy head, nice golden color. Nice lace to the froth as well, sticking well to the side of my Duvel glass.

S: What an amazing smell. This is why I love Saisons. Tropical fruit, banana, Belgian yeast, they all come through. I can smell this beer from the table!

T: I don't think you even need to be a beer guy to know that this is an exceptional beer. I love the fruitiness of this style, I almost feel like I've bitten into some kind of tropical fruit rather than just finished sipping a beer. The yeast flavors are actually rather understated, which is definitely a big plus for me, as these Belgian styles are typically dominated by that flavor in my experience. There is a complexity in the flavor that I could only identify if my palette was more refined.

M: The carbonation is on the heavier side, but not unpleasant. Medium mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

Overall: This is an exception example of the Saison style, which seems to be becoming easier to find as more breweries are taking a crack at it. It's delicious, highly drinkable, and not overwhelming at a modest 6.5% I highly recommend it if you dig this style.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy golden color with some sticky lacing and a small ring of white head.

S: Nice spicy and fruity smell, citrus rind, some sugary hard candy, chamomile, bread, nice overall rustic saison smell.

T: Great taste that follows the smell with some extra coriander and spice added. Orange and lemon citrus notes, wheat, and some nice subtle hop bite and dryness. I enjoy this greatly especially when it's hot out.

M: Semi tart and crisp with great sweet to citrus, medium and refreshing.

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A clear golden color, pores a thick head and tons of sticky lace that just never quits

S - Piny and floral hops and spices, with the yeast providing the earthy aromas that give it that saison style

T - Light malts and spicy with dry hop notes towards the end. I am not getting very much fruit flavors as i was hoping for

M - Medium bodied, seems well carbonated

D - A very good saison. I would have guessed a higher abv than the 6.5% it is. A very good beer

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy orangeish color with an off white head. In the aroma, earthy and a small hop presence. In the taste, small tartness, earthy, fresh hops, and a nice dry yeast presence in the end. A small hop bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry fresh hop in the aftertaste. A nice hop presence in a fine saison.

Photo of ckcanady
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A golden brew with a generous white head. Good head retention that sticks around.
S- Spicy nose with hints of pine and clove while maintaining an earthyness.
T- Starts off spicy and citrusy. There is a pepperness to it and finishes with honey and clove.
M- A medium to light nice summer beer with medium carbonation
O- A spicy/ citrus Saison yet down to earth... the way it should be. Perfect for a summer night like tonight!

Photo of professordoktor
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Mac's in Atlanta. Poured into a goblet (no tulip on hand, alas).

Based on the description - "A Saison-style blonde ale with American hops" - I'm expecting something somewhat like a slightly funkier Belgian blonde or golden.

Pours with a generous, slightly rocky off-white head that settles into a full cap of delicate lacing. Color is clear golden and more amber than many saisons.

Mineral, grapefruit, pear and well-balanced floral hops on the nose. Just a hint of honey sweetness detectable. None of the barnyard funk that accompanies many saisons, but it did have at least 5 minutes to breathe.

Crisp hop and tangy red grapefruit bitterness are the dominate flavors, with whispers of pear, sour apple, toffee and honey. A bit of astringency, too. It feels more boozy than the ABV would indicate.

Mouthfeel is not too thin, just right, with generous, fine, fizzy carbonation. It's quite dry, with an abrupt, clean finish after which a small memory of hops bitterness lingers.

Overall, I think my expectations were mostly on target. Just as much a golden as a blonde or saison, just imagine more concentrated and heavily hopped. As with most of similar styles, this would make a fine, versatile table beer.

Photo of vfgccp
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A – A stellar head dominates the glass atop a medium orange honey body. The topography of the foam isn’t quite as crazy as Red Barn, and the color isn’t quite as bright, but both are great nonetheless.

S – Orange citrus, honeysuckle, and green grass. The middle brings in a spike of pink peppercorn, and the citrus fades just enough to let a soft bready malt peak through. Trace of banana-like esters deep in the nose.

T – Tangerine and sage opening into a grass and blackpepper mid. Bright herbal and honey sweetness on the backend.

M – Lightly mineral / peppery finish with a soft, lingering herbal bitterness. Medium body with great carbonation.

O – A saison on the citrus end of the style. On whole, I’d say the quality is on par with Red Barn. Delicious.

Photo of Neffbeer
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, no bottle date visible.
Poured into a Portsmouth tulip.

A: The pour yields a light yellow colored brew with a boisterous white head. It is obviously very carbonated. The head displays pretty good retention and leaves behind a bunch of sticky lacing.

S: The nose is full of tart funky fruits, and a some noble hops. The yeast is evident as well with subtle notes of cloves and spices. Overall it displays a pleasant earthiness that I always find really inviting for the style.

T: It starts out with a healthy dose of spicy doughy yeast and a wave of herbal earthy hops. It has a distinct tartness with a pinch of salt in tow that lends itself well to the bitterness. The fruit notes surface mid palate with apples and pears being the most notable. It finishes dry and salty with a faint bitterness.

M: Medium to light bodied with a lot of carbonation present.

O: Solid saison from the Lost Abbey. It is not particularly earth shattering, but delivers what one would expect for the style.

Photo of OldIronLungs
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chalice with a feisty head that slowly settles into a heavy ring on top of a hazy gold.

Nose is pretty dead on for the style - lots of yeast, light breads, and very subtle spice.

A sip is pleasant yeasty bread, citric and clean. Nice drying hop presence toward the finish. Overall medium body with playful carbonation.

This is a solid example of the style, but in my opinion, nothing more.

Photo of jsanford
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml C&C Bottle poured into a Lost Abbey San Marco Tumbler.

A - Pours a clear, dark gold with a fluffy white head that settles down to a thick cap and leaves tons of soapy lacing. Very pretty!
S - Huge, yeasty aromas of rising bread dough with a touch of citrus, piney hops, and a touch of coriander and pepper.
T - More bread dough and spicy coriander accented by the large amounts of citrus hops. Lots of orange peel, pine resin, and grapefruit make this one of the more hop-forward Saisons I've encountered.
M - Very crisp, with a medium-thin body and sharp carbonation. Very dry and clean finish.
O - Solid example of a Saison, especially for those hot late-Spring/early Summer days!

Photo of Knapp85
3.63/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out as a typical looking Saison brew. The beer is yellow and kind of cloudy looking. The smell is a little earthy but not too much, had some nice fresh hops aromas in there as well. The taste didn't give off much of a farmhouse taste but it did have a good floral quality to it. The mouthfeel overall was pretty good. I enjoyed this beer the carbonation was pretty good despite some of the issues lost abbey was having. This brew is worthy of trying I think.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a hazy yellow-golden color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of light malts with good amounts of earthy hops. Also present are solid amounts of pears and lighter green apples, backed by slight spices.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Light malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of pear flavors. Midway through the sip earthy hops come into play and dry things out a bit. Near the end of the sip light spices come into play, carrying through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It’s got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this was a solid beer but lacked anything to really set it apart. Worth a shot but not worth seeking.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong, inviting aroma is malty, fruity and yeasty with a grassy hint. It pours a clear amber with a thick, fluffy, rather persistent white head. Mouth filling flavor is crisp and malty and has fruity and floral undertones as well as an herbal hint. Texture is fizzy and sassy, and can unexpectedly bite the tongue, so watch out! Another winner from Lost Abbey.

Photo of TenHornsProud
3.48/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice golden/slightly orange with a big white heat.

Smell is yeast forward but without a lot of distinct aroma.

Tastes of some sweet, pale malt without a lot else going on. There are some subtle sweet, hop hints and a little bit of earthy-ness, no real spice to speak of.

Mouthfeel is good. High carbonation and a dry-ish finish make this good for the style.

This saison is nice in that it is very drinkable and refreshing, but it lacks depth all around. There are SOME subtle elements but not enough to make this anything special. Even the lower alcohol percent stands out because of this. It just needs something more in any direction.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip. Aggresive pour fills half the glass with the sweet golden elixir the rest is all tightly carbonated heading. Extremely heavy river flow of bubbles from the bottom of the glass to the head.

Smell is perfumey like, nice coriander aroma's with a solid lemon zestiness like nose as well.Almost minty even.

Taste is all over the place. Very light crisp pilsner malts with a beautiful zestiness in the middle.American hops really kick this brew into high gear and leave a nice bitterness on the tastebuds.Finishes maybe a touch of brett? or just slightly tart in the finish.

Mouth is super smooth and finishes squeaky clean.Amazing medium to full bodied beverage. Excellent balance.

This beer is what summer saisons are all about you need to pick one up if you see it.

Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Light yellow, straw or light gold witha faint amber hue in the center, lightens around the edges, moderate carbonation, 1/2 finger head with some lacing lacing

S: sweet honey notes with apricot and pear and peach overtones, very crisp, the added hops are faint

T: the hops are drying at the outset and followed almost immediately by sweet biscuit honey notes. the tastes have a very seamless interplay, which adds complexity to the usually simple dry refeshing saison. The hops aren't too aggressive, but present - it's more of a pale ale meets saison rather than an IPA. The faintness and/or masking from the dryness of the saison makes it difficult to classify the hops, certainly nothing with ultra-high alpha acids such as tomahawk or warrior, but a welcome addition to old tradition.

M: the mouthfeel is a bit creamy, nothing too overwhelming with the coating but still refreshing and crisp. it welcomes warmer weather and/or working on a TransAm. It is not filling and the initial creaminess subsidse pretty quickly into a thinner nature, making the next sip welcomed sooner rather than later.

D: this is where this beer shines above all. The drinkability gives mundane pilsners and lagers a run for their money, while retaining complexity and great flavor. It is a shame that this is a seasonal and relatively expensive (8$ - 22oz?) it would easily join the ranks of great warm weather beers.

Narrative: "Carrot. Zucchini. God is that all there is? Vegetable medley every Wednesday, lasagna on Thursdays." She lamented idly while cutting away the vegetables and her Wednesday afternoon. The granite counters were not pedestrian, but nothing to write home about. The routine provided stability yet- "Why hello..." her eyes strayed as a festive Guatemalan man began skimming her pool. "I don't recall seeing him before" She watched him, pep within his step remove dead frogs from the skimmer basket, an artful spin while he skimmed the weeping willow leaves from the surface of the pool. "Such grace, finding majesty in the menial" her eyes glazed over as she startled herself upon cutting to the end of an overly ripe zucchini. "How could he add such panache to seemingly uninteresting tasks?" The spring heat seemed to lean oppresively upon the task of the ceiling fan, clicking under the stress of its laborious gyrations. "HE FINDS SUCH PLEASURE IN THE MENIAL" Menial to some, a festive reatreat to others, he removes the dead leaves of fall with aplomb, casting their black vestiges into the soil. "Senora, la piscina esta limpia" she exhales and pushed the vegetables into a united medley, "work on joyful Pan, the season of Carneval is upon us."

Photo of THECPJ
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes had on tap at Monk's

appearance: golden yellow with a 1 finger white head

smell: citrus, spices, clove,

taste: citrus, spices, with a dry finish

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: nice saison well balanced enjoyed quite a bit.


Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Monk's in Philly.

Good looking saison here, with a nice straw gold color and bone white head. Good retention too, though maybe not as good of head as you might see on Fantome. Nose hits all the right notes for the saison, lemon, grass, bready malt, yeast notes, apples, maybe a hint of funk. Flavor was spot on too--just a straightforward refreshing saison. I don't think I could spend all day searching for nuances in this beer, but it was clean, crisp, and just plain good. Feel was light, well carbonated. Overall, this is a good saison--doesn't change the brewing world, but it is well-executed and worth the try. I'll definitely order it again if I see it.

Carnevale from The Lost Abbey
89 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.