Red Barn Ale | The Lost Abbey

very good
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Red Barn AleRed Barn Ale

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This Farmhouse Ale traces its roots to the small rustic breweries of Southern Belgium. The word Saison comes to us from the French language and it means Season. Lightly spiced with Organic Ginger, Orange Peels, Black Pepper and Grains of Paradise, this brew promises to quench your thirst on the hottest Southern California days or wherever your travels may take you.

Added by scottoale on 08-23-2006

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Ratings: 997 |  Reviews: 391
Photo of codewarrior
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cork and caged 750mL Bomber, poured into a chalice.

Everyone raves about The Lost Abbey. I first tried their Inferno Ale, which I found on the whole disappointing. I thought this Saison was much better, but still not among the best Saisons I've had. I still don't see what all the fuss is about. Maybe cellaring will help?

A: Plain hay, semi-transparent. 1 finger head.

S: Smells quite plain. Saisons seem to be less aromatic in the nose than the mouth, but there is very little going-on here. Not much fruit, not much flower.

T: Straight-forward again. I'm starting to think more and more that this beer needs cellaring to develop. A lot of hints at the field here, but not much in depth at the level I would expect from a Saison.

F: Light in the mouth, and foamy.

D: Decent tasting, light enough to drink all-day, but given the hype, disappointing. Will put one in the cellar, we'll see how this opens up in a year or two.

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Photo of markaberrant
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - brilliant clarity, orange tinged gold, rocky white head, effervescent

S - spicy lemon/lemongrass esters, low sweetness, hay, earthy,

T - very perfume-like, flowery bitterness, tastes sweeter than it smells, which brings out a fruity character (apricot and pear), peppery, aftertaste is alcohol and spice

M - somewhat boozy and astringent, dry finish, high carbonation is very creamy

D - pretty good american take on a saison, just some minor miscues

This is not as boozy or astringent as the first sample I had of this beer. I personally think that their Devotion is a better take on a saison (hoppy and bone dry). I'm not crazy about the spices used in this one, but maybe that is just personal preference.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass froma 750ml bottle.

A - Nice light pop when opening the cork. Pours a gorgeous hazy golden straw color with some slight orange hints. It has a huge 2 inch head that has some medium density and recedes down rather slowly leaving some real nice lacing and stickiness.

S - Aroma starts off a bit grainy and malty with some slight musty and funky aromas. Slight lemon tartness and fruitiness as well. Slight woody and peppery aroma.

T & M - Flavor starts off with some slight lemon sweetness and then some slight tartness. That, is quickly hidden by some nice malt sweetness and grainy flavor as well. There is some good funky farmhouse flavor to this beer and I believe the pepper hints makes it even more so. Nice and spicy just how i like my saisons. There is a good corn husk taste as well. Finishes dry and clean with some nice bitterness on the back end as well as some overall vinous flavors.

D - Good beer and very delicious take on a great style.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For some reason, I'm having a hard time describing this beer. Enjoying it very much, but descriptions are escaping me. I'll go ahead and try....

Poured into a tulip. Not quite cloudy, but somewhat less than a clear gold. Carbonation looks spot on, no Flat Abbey here. Good lacing.

Quality anything-goes saison/farmhouse aroma. Lemon zest, mushroom, and a bit of tobacco? I could swear some whiffs are giving me tobacco. Swirl up the glass and I get some pungent yeast - not Brett-funky, but sourdough-funky.

On the palate, this seems to bite a little more than I'd expect for a 6.7% saison. This seems to be a very well-hopped saison, with some earthy/tobacco/onion bitterness drying things out big time at the end. Citrus up front, light bubblegum in the aftertaste. Yes, this definitely skews to the hoppy saison sub-style. Tasty.

Good slick mouthfeel, provides bite without overcarbonation.

Very well-executed hoppy saison, which is what I expected of Lost Abbey. Recommended for any fan of the style, but definitely recommended if you like hoppy saisons or any blonde Belgian with a stronger than normal hop presence. The complexity and bite is slowing me down somewhat, but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it.

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Photo of Unfiltered
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I decided to pop the cork on this beauty after mowing my lawn, as if to pay homage to the harvesters who first enjoyed Saison style beer long ago. Granted, at >6% ABV this beer is not as suitable to satiate thirst as was its ~3% ABV counterpart of yore, but the experience was certainly as rewarding as that of our ancestors.

The brew poured a light caramel with moderate head, and was cloudier on the second pour as a result of this beer being unfiltered. The aroma is both fruity and spicy, as expected for a beer made with a belgian yeast strain. The mouthfeel was mildly astringent, which gave way to its brilliant estery finish.

In short, if you like beers in the genre, pick this one up.

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Photo of mytireisfat
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: 1 pint 9.4 FL oz Tall brown bottle. corked top. No best by date. Poured into a snifter.

A: 2 Finger white head that retains well. a cloudy orange color to the beer. no lacing. a very beautiful looking beer!

S: There is a sourness to this beer, that kind of mixes to citrus smell. You can get some bitterness from the hops. and a musty smell.

T: Same with the smell! got the same thing. a bit sour, bitterness, orange citrus, musty, and cellar flavor.

M: Light to medium body, very carbonated.

D: Really love this beer, lots to this beer. another great one from lost abbey! i want another already!

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Photo of drummstikk
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A saison that's dry enough to bear the name! Pale malts are dressed up in their Sunday best by orange peel, spices, and peppery saison yeast. Aroma is Belgian funk and pale malt, lingering over a clear pale amber beer. Alcohol is strong, but doesn't overpower the aromas. Hops are brisk and linger on your palette with German spiciness. It's not clear if this saison benefits from the spices or not. They are certainly not inappropriate or in the way, but you wonder why the glories of pale malt, spicy hops, and spicy yeast need anything else.

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

Poured from a 750 ml into a bordeaux glass.
Very nice pale golden color with a creamy 1/4" white head. Very good head retention throughout drinking (and I drank the whole 750 myself). Leaves some thick soapy lacing when swirled.
The spices hit me on the nose first, mostly coriander and white pepper. There's some lemon peel, like the white part inside the peel, and a faint vegetable character. There's some subtle earth and a grass/hay character too.
Tart orange and spices come out foremost in the taste, as well as some light funkiness. There's a slight hint of dill weed in there too. Finishes somewhat dry with a little earthiness.
The texture is nice, medium bodied and creamy. Very smooth and pleasant.
Overall a tasty beer, smooth and pleasant and has some character.

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Photo of IPAs4lyfe
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours pale gold with a nice creamy and frothy white head, retention was decent.

S: Smells delicious. Spice, citrus and corriander with notes of lemon meringue and a hint of vanilla. Clean.

T: Very good. Spice and malt at first which leads to a mild and restrained sourness. Then citrusy with a little grapefruit zest, dry and crisp finish. Crisp but not too crisp. The sourness going on was really nice and refreshing, subtle and bitter hops in the finish with a hint of grass/hay and earth. Complex, well balanced.

M: Carbonation is just a tad high, crisp and smooth finish like a lager. Light to medium body.

D: A nice pleasant refreshing summer beer, not exactly sessionable, but goes down easy. Lost Abbey has yet to let me down.

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Photo of Anaz
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an Ommegang goblet at Pizzeria Basta, Boulder, CO.

this beer pours a nice honey gold with a this white head.

It's got a very spicy aroma, almost too much going on at first to discern much: black pepper, cloves, even a little camphor. There is a little barnyard funk in there, but the aggressively spicy aromas don't let much of it through, it's even got a bit of a brett earthiness to it.

The taste what you would expect from the aroma with some banana and nutmeg tossed in with the pepper and cloves. THis does finish with a strong bitterness and astringency that really took me by surprise. I really didn't like it at first, but after a few more sips, well it was still very bitter, and left a sting at the back of my throat, almost like nettles. I like nettles, so by the end of the glass I was pretty happy with this beer.

The astringency and bitterness, really leave a lasting impression over the course of this beer. I find it to be a pleasant buzz, but it may not be for everyone.

I like this beer, and I'll have it again, but it won't take the place of Saison Dupont or Hennepin. It's a good saison, but a little bit of an oddball. Maybe I need a few more to understand it better. I'll definitely have a few more just to be sure.

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Photo of CraftLoverSD
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is my new favorite beer. I've tried most of the Lost Abbey/Port Brewing beers now and this is my favorite one.

A - surprised me how light colored this beer is, I kind of expected a darker appearance based on the description, being a bit darker than a lager in appearance. Had a quick disappearing head.
S - had a bit of a spicy smell, mabye a bit of cinnamon or all spice - yes more all spicy
T - starts of without too much, but then get some spicy characteristics after the sip. The alcohol is really hidden in the taste. Some hops at the beginning but noticeable at the end.
D - high. Had a 4 oz sampler and would have been much happier with a 22 oz bottle.

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Photo of Chizoad
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One, let it warm up a little. Two, don't eat M&Ms before drinking it.

Poured crystal clear honey-gold with a staggering head of foam that nearly equaled the liquid itself. Faded slowly leaving swathes of lacing on the glass and eventually a thin layer on the top.

Excellent aromas of flowers and spices. Not sure exactly how to describe them all, but it had a fairly typical farmhouse aroma, but tending away from the actual farmhouse smells like horse, etc. Occasionally I'd get an off whiff, almost like urine. Generally pleasant though.

When too cold this guy was awfully bitter and tending toward a bretty sour/bitter flavor that I did not find good. I thought maybe I had a bad bottle. As it warmed though, that was finally balanced by herbs like coriander and nutmeg and a little bit of sweetness. Sometimes metallic, sometimes like grapefruit zest, even occasionally soap. Last lingering flavor of bittersweetness was ideal, like a better melding of pilsner bitterness with the sugar elements.

Great mouthfeel with top notch balance in the carbonation. Fairly drinkable but probably best to split this beer with someone, once it's reached the right temperature.

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

Poured a hazy golden yellow with a half finger of head that left lots of blotchy lacing on the glass. Coriander and belgian strike first on the aromas that had coriander and slight apple notes. It also got a little spice as well. Belgian yeast, brett, and corinader dominate the palate which had apple, spice, and grainy accents. The beer was medsium body with a good amount of carbonation that had a sweet grainy finish. Pretty good saison from lost abbey and shows me their getting better at the belgian style beers.

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Photo of MenloBeer
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from the bottle.

A: Hazy peach colors. Golden, with good carbonation and a decent head. Nice lacing on the head.

S: Citrus-y, grains of paradise, bubblegum, orange peel and wheat. A touch of spice on the nose, too.

T: Malt balanced with spices. Dry tasting with some grapefruit bitterness. Some hop bite on the back of the palate. There's an earthy hay taste, too.

M: Not too oily, and a good amount of carbonation. Crisp, but not overly so.

D: On a hot day I can imagine sucking a few of these back, and with a 6.7% ABV, you have to watch yourself in those situations! Very drinkable, and very summer-y beer to enjoy on your porch.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this summertime treat into my Russian River snifter. Pours a very nice, murky golden straw color with a large white head that diminishes slowly. In the nose I get some funk with a strong scent of green apples (especially when it warms up). Also pick up some Belgian yeast scents. Taste definitely has some lovely spice to it. Very tasty spices along with green apple, very light funk, and some grassy/wheat flavors. A little alcohol taste toward the end. Very well balanced. I also get a bit of orange. The mouthfeel is very pleasant and medium bodied with a crisp bite to it (just like a good saison). Good drinkability on this one.

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Photo of timtim
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden with a white head that has just okay retention and leaves nice lace as the beer disappears. Nose has a hint of peppery spice followed by a hint of barn with a lemony and citrusy hoppiness that s of the seems like sweet citrus from it's harmonizing with the malt and maybe sugar. The hop comes out a lot as it warms. Taste is a very well-balanced version of the nose and is delivered on a nice, light-medium, soft body with a sweet peppery hop finish that lasts. Another great beer from one of our best breweries. i want more.

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Photo of armock
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a golden color with a white head that leaven lacing behind

S - Has a citrus spicey funky nose but its all in a good way

T - Follows the nose with spices lemon and funky flavors

M - This beer has a light body with high carbonation to it

D - Overall this was a very enjoyable beer that I could drink and have drank a number of these in a sitting worth getting to try sometime

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Photo of digitalbullet
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Apperance: Hazy golden color. Thick foamy head. Good retention. Slight lace.
Smell: Coriander, citrus. Bready yeast. Some sour green apple.
Taste: Citrus, Slight green apples, citrus. Mild hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp. Good thirst quencher
Drinkability: Good beer for the summer. Very tasty.

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Photo of tigg924
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear, gold in color, 1 inch head, high carbonation

Smell: funk, hay, and lemon

Taste: pepper, funk, hay, alcohol, and lemon

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, light bodied, dry, funky sour tasting..slightly bitter

Drinkability: A very light and smooth saison. This is a sipper and I could have a couple.

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Photo of simpliciter
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pretty golden haze with light white head
S - very mild. Spice with orange, yeast tones.
T - yeast, spicy, coriander. Bitter, but not in a hop-typical way? Very different, very striking
M - micro bubbles coast the tounge. Dry tannic finish complements lingering bitterness
D - a bit powerful for a session need, but tasty in all ambient weather conditions!

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Photo of bump8628
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden and hazy with inches of thick, white, mousse-like foam.

Soft bubblegum, clove, ginger, lemon peel, and white pepper abound. Beyond the spice there is light sweetness from the pils malt and a soft bitterness and delicate, spicy and earthy hop flavor.

This is a really nice Saison. No single element amazes, but the requisite complex spiciness and soft, refreshing character is definitely there.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The second beer of the Cinco de Mayo tasting. Poured into my duvel tulip the beer is a golden orange hue. About a half finger of white head recedes to leaves a small lace ring.

The aroma is moderately fruity with hints of pepper, coriander, oranges and bubblegum. Typical saison. Not a huge boquet but pleasant.

The flavor is fairly simple. Light fruit with a solid dose of black pepper. I'm getting a sweet tart like finish. Rather dry.

Medium body with just a touch of carbonation.

Overall not the most exciting Saison I've had but drinkable none the less.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.01/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Slightly hazy gold yellow color. Poured a 1 finger white head with fair retention to an even skim. Decanted continally. Lace in thick rings.

S: Citrus and faint ginger. Bready, slightly sweet malt. A bit muted all around, but pleasant.

T: Sweet bready malt, yeast notes and ginger. Peppery bitter and citrus rind in the finish. More balanced than most.

M: Light-body. Ample carbonation. Tart and dry finish.

D: Very drinkable, pleasant. Not overbearing with muted flavors.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle split and poured into a snifter. 6.7% ABV, no other info or date.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for bringing this beer to our Cinco de Mayo tasting.

A - A taller pour still doesn't get very much head. Decent retention to the thin white pile. Thick lace coats the glass though. The beer is a totally hazed golden yellow color that's impossible to see though.

S - The aroma is faint but inviting with a nice subtle spiciness and low citrusy kiss. A hint of ginger comes out with a low pale malty sweetness. It's got a well-balanced aroma even if the presence is a little low.

T - Red Barn tastes more like a pale wheat beer with low malt and almost no sweetness. The rest of the flavor doesn't really jump out right away as strong, but it's a well-balanced flavor. White pepper and a good lemony citrus finish.

M - Light-bodied with a stronger carbonation finish and a smooth crispness. Good balance between the flavor and the mouthfeel. The finish lands a bit on the tart, dry side but still does well.

D - It's a decent saison. I almost wonder if it's got a little age on it based on the mild flavor and aroma for the style. Still, it's got fantastic drinkability, especially for a summer beer!

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Photo of champ103
3.12/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear golden straw color. A two finger white head forms, but recedes in a second. Almost not lace is left behind.
S: Husky yeast with some light fruity aromas. Lightly sweet grainy malt.
T: Sweet grainy malt with some yeast. Not much else. Really bland.
M/D: A watery and thin body. Crisp carbonation. Not hard to drink, but I am looking for my next pint before this one is half finished.

Not bad, but not a good Saison IMO. This is rather bland overall. There are much better versions of the style.

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Red Barn Ale from The Lost Abbey
3.97 out of 5 based on 997 ratings.
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