Santo Ron Diego
The Lost Abbey

Santo Ron DiegoSanto Ron Diego
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American Strong Ale
Ranked #159
Ranked #18,392
3.87 | pDev: 11.37%
The Lost Abbey
California, United States
Very Good
Santo Ron DiegoSanto Ron Diego
Notes: A brand new offering from our barrel project. A spiced Rum barrel aged strong ale with Ginger, Orange Peel and Vanilla
Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 177 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Deep mahogany brown color. Head is short-lived and there is next to no lacing.

S: Toast, raisins, cocoa, and some of that black currant and Concord grape fruitiness that candi sugar will bring. Subtle spiced rum and dusty oak with woody vanillins. Undercurrents of ginger and a bit of orange peel. Faintly peppery.

T: Toasty malt. Brown bread, burnt crust. Soda bread. Plump raisins, Concord grape. Plenty of spiced rum character, though it isn’t hot. Plenty of toasty oak and vanillins too. Warming ginger spice on the back end. Oily orange peel comes out too. Big peppery push late. Some slight signs of oxidation in the background lend a sherry-like character. Long barrel-driven finish with a lot of lingering rum, oak, ginger, and orange peel.

M: Heavy-bodied and thick. Chewy and rich. Rounded and firm malt textures. Brush of woody astringency. Warming rum. Ample carbonation.

O: I like it. The rum barrel is fairly front and center, but the beer holds its own. The ginger and orange peel additions support well too. It’s a really refreshing change of pace to have a well done rum barrel aged beer. I was also pleasantly surprised with how well this held up. It was kept at fridge temp for the majority of its lifespan, so that probably helped. Makes me want a glass of rum next.

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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts, Apr 25, 2020
Photo of jzeilinger
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

In review - 2015 Vintage

A - Dark garnet raisin color with a thick toffee colored lacing ring.

S - Rum, raisin, light toffee, some oxidation, and a slight bit of delicate funk.

T - Rum, spice, oak, light oxidized toffee malt.heat on the way down.

M - Thick and velvety soft with enough booziness to create some

O - This bottle is past its prime.

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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania, Apr 10, 2020
Photo of SHODriver
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown topped by a dense finger of light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of sweet brown sugar and molasses with some spices and rum barrels. Slight dark fruits as well.
T: Taste is rum barrels up front with some brown sugar, oranges, and molasses. Slight ginger, mulling spices, and oak with more rum barrel. Slight alcohol as well. Swallow is rum barrels and molasses with some more ginger, mulling spices, and a hint of dark fruits.
M: This beer is on the heavier side of medium in body. Carbonation is effervescent and just a hair under being prickly while the beer has a drying finish due to the ABV.
O: Overall this one is good but not great. The barrel comes in a little stronger than I would have liked. The beer has some solid complexity and some interesting flavors but the alcohol is also hidden fairly poorly. It may be worth a try if you really like rum barrels but I don't see a reason to revisit this one.

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SHODriver from North Carolina, Sep 17, 2018
Photo of zentaoist42
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich copper color with a cream head that quickly dissipates. Right away, you get the scent of alcohol and rum with hints of leather and dark cherries. Tastes of vanilla, going to orange and ginger. Very light and a bit oily on the tongue with no alcohol burn, possibly from 2 years of aging. The finish is light and spicy like rum, complete with a mild burn. Not their greatest effort, but still quite pleasant

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zentaoist42 from California, Mar 31, 2018
Photo of jdhilt
4.36/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a one finger cream head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Opaque dark brown color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Malt & oak nose and flavor has malt sweetness with some rum and vanilla, high ABV, 12.5%, is hidden. Beyond expensive at $18.95 for a 375ml caged & corked bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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jdhilt from New Hampshire, May 22, 2017
Photo of DefenCorps
2.93/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Beermongers.

A very hazy, murky dark brown with a thin, off white head with decent retention and lacing, this looks solid. The nose is quite sweet with rum and vanilla, brown sugar, oxidized buckwheat honey (more like a sherry than an unpleasant oxidized Note) . Ginger and orange peel are noticeable. Some booze, brown sugar is also present. The palate is rather awful. Thin, watery, flabby, with a wort like sweetness, brown sugar, vanilla, rum, this is messy as hell. Dough, biscuit, dark caramel. Sweet finish with dark fruit. Light in body, cloying finish. A rare miscue from one of the O.G's of barrel aging.

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Photo of scottfrie
2.74/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

375ml bottle into tulip. Bottled 2015.

A: Pours a dark caramel brown with ruby highlights beneath a thin and short-lived tan head that quickly fizzed away into a fuzzy collar. A few wisps of lace were left down the glass.
S: The nose is interesting to say the least…with notes of molasses, toffee, candied dates, raisins, roast, vanilla, orange zest and a kiss of fruity, lightly tart, funk.
T: Flavors are intense and haphazard, but this beer tastes as described. I get boozy and rich flavors of rum, molasses, and sweet cane sugar followed by a blast of peppery spice, ginger, and orange zest. I get notes of caramel, vanilla, and leather in the finish, and just a mild bite of funk. The aftertaste is spicy, boozy, rich, and sweet. Overall everything is just a bit too much.
M: Full body but not as thick and viscous as a stout of equal abv. The booze is prevalent but not rough. Carbonation is tingly and a bit sharper than I expected. Overall the spice, wild yeast, booze and carbonation create a rather rough mouthfeel that is a bit of a chore to drink.
O: Flavors are decent but I think the incredible alcohol takes away and distracts rather than complements and accents. It’s like every ingredient was taken to eleven when a bit more subtly and balance would have been better.

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scottfrie from California, Sep 13, 2016
Photo of kojevergas
2.87/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

From one of the U.S.A.'s finest breweries (and probably my favourite in California) comes a beer labelled only "ale brewed with spices and aged in oak barrels" and "contains wild yeast." But its high 12.50% ABV seems to exclude it from the wild ale category...what devilry does The Lost Abbey have here?

PACKAGING: 12.7 fl oz. Brown glass bottle. Branded hood-and-wire cap over a cork.

Reviewed live using a teku as the serving vessel.

HEAD: Head fizzles out quickly, dying within 30 seconds. I did catch a glimpse of khaki colour and a thin weak consistency. No lacing remains on the sides of the glass after the head fades. In spite of the high ABV, I'm unable to coax any boozy legs out of the beer by tilting the glass.

BODY: Dark brown-black. Opaque. Not vibrant at all. No yeast/lees particulate is visible within.

Appears undercarbonated. It's kind of a shrug of an appearance regardless of style, but I'm optimistic given the brewery.

AROMA: Wild ale yeast funkiness and earthiness. Must. Cranberry. Raisin. Wine-like acidity. Sugarcane, maybe? Candied orange peel. Wood. Cardboardy notes (which may indicate oxidation). Unrefined sugars.

Quite the mess of an aroma. I don't get any vivid oak at all, the wild ale yeast isn't fully committed to, and the constituent notes don't seem to amount to a gestalt whole of a beer with any clear direction or focus.

Aroma is high in terms of intensity.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Rum is evident, evoking notes of sugarcane, booze (particularly on the finish), and toasted coconut. Ginger spice and caramelized orange peel do make brief appearances, but they're faint and uncommitted to (which may be a good thing since they don't really fit in this build anyway). Wild ale yeast imparts some messy funkiness and earthiness, throwing this already problematic brew further out of balance. Malt sweetness is present. Raisin comes to mind in terms of taste as well as texture, seeing as the mouthfeel is rough, dry, and slightly chewy/gooey. What is Lost Abbey going for?

Unrefined sugars/piloncillo. Maybe cassia/fake cinnamon? Candi syrup lends this a subtle Belgian blend, which may be one of the only elements of the build I like (though it clashes with the caribbean rum character). I don't taste any vanilla bean. Wormwood. Vermouth. A blip of dark fruit. Grape must.

The barrel notes clash with the base beer, and there's just not a clear direction or even style here. Mouthfeel is musty, full-bodied, warm (if not hot), and cardboardy.

OVERALL: I find myself scratching my head trying to identify what Lost Abbey's brewers were trying to do with this so I can judge it fairly on its own terms, but I'm at a loss. While drinkable in spite of its high ABV, this seems more like a fuckaround brew you'd do on a pilot system to get a feel for how to incorporate rum barrel notes than a complete carefully considered recipe for commercial release. A rare miss from a great brewery, Santo Ron Diego is one Lost Abbey offering I'd caution friends from considering. Maybe rum barrels just don't fit in with Lost Abbey's would-be Belgian ale flavour profiles.

C (2.87) / AVERAGE

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kojevergas from Colorado, Aug 18, 2016
Photo of ClavisAurea
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1 bottle dated 2015A purchased at the brewery served at cellar Temps in a teku.

Appearance: dark brown and murky with a thin khaki head. Well carbonated.

Nose: hot and boozy. Spiced rum, oaky Barrel character, coconut, vanilla

Taste: follows the nose well, very smooth for the ABV. Spicy rum, coconut, oak, char, vanilla, it says that it contains wild yeast bUT I don't get any wild character out of it at all. Medium heavy body but we'll carbonated to back it up.

Overall: very nice beer. So glad I got to try a 1st release from this world renowned brewery.

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ClavisAurea from New York, Aug 04, 2016
Photo of ccg
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: deep caramel color with good head retention and moderate lacing. 4.0

Smell: a sweet, boozy mess... in a good way. The barrel comes through in a strong way, although I might have guessed it was a cognac barrel rather than a rum barrel. Tons of vanilla, caramel, oak, alcohol, and sweetness on the nose. 4.25

Taste: A little bit of bite on the tongue from the spice, but the spice is kind of vague -- it's difficult to pin down exactly what spices I'm getting. Plenty of sweet, barrel-aged syrup on the tongue that follows the nose on this one. 4.0

Feel: Nice tingle from the carbonation. It keeps it feeling a bit light. With so much booziness, it easily could have become too syrupy. 4.0

Overall: If you like big, sweet, boozy beers, this one is for you. The ABV is 12.5%, which is high, but it actually feels and tastes even higher than that. 4.0

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ccg from District of Columbia, Jun 24, 2016
Photo of Tommo
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For the price. i would not purchase it again, however it is very interesting and i am glad i experienced it. Barleywine-esque, with great rum and carribean notes. Amazing body, and fairly delicious, though not smooth and easy to consume. a nice offering, but not for 15 dollars

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Tommo from Texas, Apr 12, 2016
Photo of mothman
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Golden bronze color. Light tan head.

Smells like a Belgian. Lots or orange and vanilla in the nose.

Strong beer with a lot of vanilla and orange peel. Toffee and rum with oak. Very Caribbean.

Medium bodied. Some heat here. Very spiced. Unique.

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mothman from Minnesota, Feb 21, 2016
Photo of BorisNorris
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep red color with caramel/burnt orange edges; thin, sturdy, beige head; great lacing.
Big oak smell; bourbon-like alcohol; light funky aroma from wild yeast; Dark rum, vanilla, clove, brown sugar.
More oak on the tongue, rich and roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate on the end; subtle finger throughout; not picking up the orange peel though. Lots of alcohol flavor.
Fair amount of astringency; high CO2; medium body; dry finish; lingering bourbon flavor.
Smells better than it tastes. Alcohol gets in the way of everything.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Came in with no preconceptions for a change. Not as impressive as many LA barrel aged beers, but unsure that was their intent. It seemed a nice change of pace and a try to explore some different flavors. Might be easy to write off as a "one off" that may or may not be that memorable. But I found it increasingly interesting as I took my time sipping between opening Christmas presents/talking at an evening get together over the holidays. The beer had been a background sipper...but last 1/3 pushed it into forefront. Found the spices (happily) to not be the usual "in your face" dominate flavor of the beer. The oak stated to come out stronger with a little warmth. Though I noticed a bit more wood and sugars than just vanilla. The dried orange peel seemed to rise to the surface and the spicy/tangy lemon like ginger wove in as a nice accent . What ended up was an interesting sipper, and one where I had a larger bottle or another 12.7
Not thinking this was a holiday beer...and don't really think of San Diego as a source of winter warmers...the fact is it was a gentle flavorful beer that would be perfect for winter night.

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BillRoth from Maryland, Jan 01, 2016
Photo of spoony
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 375 ml bottle to a snifter.

A-The beer is a dark brown color that suggests strong black tea. It is murky, but an active carbonation is visible on the glass. The head is tan and fades quickly except for a a thick collar that hangs around for almost the entire snifter.

S-The aroma is quite sweet and packs a warm alcoholic punch. I sniff prunes, figs, brown sugar, and syrup. There is some rum aroma, but it mostly comes across as brown sugar sweetness, not barrel. I don't pick up much in the way of spices until the beer nears room temperature, at which point I start to sniff ginger. Intriguing.

T-The taste is less enticing than the smell. I still pick up a lot of alcohol and sweetness, e.g., brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and a gentle whiff of spices. There is less fruit though, and the beer lacks the complexity of the best examples of the style.

M-The beer is a little thin for the style, but I chalk that up to the alcohol and the odd, prickly carbonation that doesn't really mellow out until an hour into my glass.

O-This is a good winter warmer-type beer. Lots of boozy heat and a strong, not-for-the-faint-of-heart flavor make this a good option on a cold winter's evening. It is a bit of a one-trick pony, though, and many will find the massive sweetness too much.

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spoony from Colorado, Dec 29, 2015
Photo of smanson56
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark murky brown color. Lots of spice in the nose, cloves and cinnamon are the most forward with lots of sweetness. The are slight hints of the barrel aging. Kind of muddled flavors in the taste with some burn from the alcohol. Not something I'd bother to try again

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smanson56 from New Hampshire, Dec 24, 2015
Photo of Franziskaner
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown in color and massively cloudy due to bourbon barrel aging. No light will seep through this monster. There's a fingernail of beige around the rim and covering about half of the middle. I smell sweet bourbon and ginger. The taste is a blend of sweet bourbon and vibrant spices including ginger and lemon. The mouth is thick, chewy, and warming with alcohol.

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Franziskaner from Missouri, Nov 27, 2015
Photo of Stevedore
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle. Served in a snifter glass.

Pours a murky darker brown body, one finger white head with a very short life, no retention or lacing. Straightforward for an American "strong ale". Smells of sweet molasses, brown sugar, rum, a bit of vanilla, and not a whole lot else. I am wondering if I am missing more adjuncts, but don't care to go look it up. It's a sweet smelling beer for sure, although the rum barrel is nice. Flavour is similarly one-dimensionally sweet, a ton of brown sugar and molasses, a bit of toffee, nice rum sweetness, a tiny bit of vanilla. Maybe a little bit of citrus. Otherwise, it's a very sweet beer with a fair amount of heat on it. Mouthfeel is fuller bodied, substantial, lower carbonation, but the heat is fairly strong. As a whole, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it's a very sweet beer with a little bit too much heat on it without much depth or complexity to it.

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Stevedore from Wisconsin, Nov 16, 2015
Photo of Jjski
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It takes a BIG beer to make me sip. This [email protected]@rd is abrasive , boozy, brash and absolutely not humble. Is it smooth- no, sweet- no, rummy- yes, bold-very. Age worthy and enough to stop you in your tracks with its obtuse and weighty, challenging palate. Well done!! I'm sipping for a change.

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Jjski from New York, Oct 14, 2015
Photo of mactrail
3.49/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Another one on tap at the Lost Abbey tasting room in Encinitas. Dark red brown with very little head. It flattens out in the mouth as the tongue goes numb.

An Old Ale sort of flavor. Sweet vermouth and a dose of oxidation. Nice rummy aroma, though. This must be the booziest-tasting beer I've ever had. Hot and sharp, with a rum-soaked torch lighting up the brain. Very raisiny. Rather bitter aftertaste.

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mactrail from Washington, Sep 07, 2015
Photo of Brolo75
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375 ml bottle poured into a Teku glass

A: Pours a dark sugar brown color with tan head, head is full, creamy, some lacing, good amount of carbonation, looks pretty thick.

A: Rum, spices, oak, not getting any orange peel, or vanilla, but a very strong rum aroma, alcohol is not noticeable on the nose.

T: Rum, oak, burnt coconut, slight vanilla, lots of booze, very hot, aftertaste of rum and coconut, spice comes through as it warms, slight bitterness as it warms, but rum, oak, and burnt coconut flavor remain throughout.

M: Creamy mouthfeel, has a Belgian like creaminess mouthfeel, hot finish.

O: This is a good, quality, well made beer, lots of flavors, depth, complexity, on the sweet side, a definite sipper to warm the belly, I've got one for the cellar to see how this mellows out.

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Brolo75 from California, Aug 26, 2015
Photo of Dowlers
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on draft at stone liberty station. Poured a dark reddish mahogany. Thin wispy head quickly dissipated leaving almost no residue.
Smelled of booze and sweet currents.
Taste was actually not quite what I was expecting. The beer is very alcohol forward. The rum flavors from the barrel aging to my mind over powered the subtle flavours of the ginger and orange, but I'm not a huge rum fan and I'm sure some will love it.

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Dowlers from California, Aug 15, 2015
Photo of BDeibs
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at City beer in SF. Poured into a tulip. A reddish brown color, not a lot of head. Smelled of booze and tasted a great deal of booze, although it wasn't the hot booze taste you sometimes get. it could calm down a bit, but it doesn't need the time. It was almost like sipping a bourbon and it was pretty dang good

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BDeibs from Colorado, Aug 03, 2015
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Capone's in PA. Thanks to Chris for the transportation.

Mahogany / ruby body with a quarter inch of light beige head. Aromas of barrel, oak, wine, dark fruits, spirits. Sweet with raisins soaked in alcohol, figs. Rum really comes through as the beer is allowed to warm. Complex and tasty.

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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia, Aug 02, 2015
Photo of oz10bok
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours and drinks just like a belgian quad.
Murky reddish, darker, a tan head that fades quickly with some lacing.
Spicy and boozy on the nose.
Tastes of plums and dark fruit predominate, chocolate and maltiness in the classic belgian style. A sweet, powerful spicy rum flavour throughout, almost like it was 20% spiced rum. Quite boozy, but very enjoyable. Cinnamon, ginger and vanilla too. Leaves a classic belgian thick malt feel in the mouth, but still feels thin at the same time.
This is my kind of beer!

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oz10bok from British Columbia (Canada), Jun 28, 2015
Santo Ron Diego from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 177 ratings