Red Barn Ale | The Lost Abbey

very good
997 Ratings
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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 Wisconsinality
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer #2 from our Cinco de Mayo mini tasting.
Thanks to beerwolf77 for this one.

A- Pours a nice golden straw with a quarter finger worth of head that dissipates to nothing. A small amount of haze and not much for lacing.

S- Some floral notes, grassy mostly. Corn, a small amount of wheat as well. A little bit of sugar and a small bit of clove as well.

T- A little bit of lemon, some pepper, a little bitterness in there as well. The Belgian yeast is barely even noticeable. Not a whole lot else going on.

M- A little bitterness but overall pretty smooth. Crisp and refreshing. This would make for a good summertime beer.

D- Goes down easy but doesn't have a whole lot going on. This is my first LA offering and wasn't really impressed but am looking forward to trying more of their beers.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle purchased in Denver, CO, served into a tulip

Pours out like a prototypical Saison. Lightly honeyed, pale straw yellow with just enough haze to keep things honest looking. Close to two fingers of blisteringly white head recedes quickly, leaving behind attractive, cathedral window-looking lacing.

You get the typical saison fruits or apple, pear and lemon up front but they aren't bright or lively. It is a musty fruit smell. It doesn't smell like old beer but like old earth, like tired trees produced wimpy fruit. Cardamom and not quite clove (thyme, perhaps?) inform the fruits and make this beer seem pretty damn Belgian; it smells of the so-called Old World. A light touch of funk slips in every other inhale. Nothing amazing, but very well-executed.

Red Barn falls into the spicy & hoppy category of saison. Bittering hops (Hallartau is my guess) and brewing spices abound. You know how Winter Warmers are heavily spiced? Well this is a Summer Cooler. Some appleskin shows up and a flush of lavender & white grape as the beer warms but this is not a saison that has a lot of fruity esters going on. You can tell from my score that I prefer at least _some_ fruit action going on in my saisons. This is pretty average to be truthful.

You know that common complaint that Lost Abbey beers are undercarbonated, even flat? Welp, this bottle of Red Barn is essentially flat. There are no perceptible carbonation bubbles on the tongue (even though you can see some in the glass). Those scrubbing bubbles would have been nice; they could lift the spices of this medium-bodied brew off the tongue. The drinkability could be higher if this was a more complex tasting, more carbonated saison. As is, it is plenty light and refreshing in the way that witbiers tend to be (not to say that this is a witbier, just comparing Red Barn to a style that mixes refreshment with heavy use of brewing spices).

I am disappointed by this beer, sure. It is an average saison more or less because it simply lacks the complexity that other farmhouse ales have. It is plenty enjoyable for what it is.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Source/Serving; Draft

Smell: Tart lemon and the perfect level of barnyard. Some combination of flavors is mildly bacon-like - but not in a bad way per se. Lightly smokey but overall nice and fresh.

Taste: A slightly sharp bitterness and fresh lemon/orange citrus meet light coriander spiciness. Very pleasant. Lemon peel bitterness increases in the middle with a slightly grapefruity juiciness. The underlying grainyness is nice and there is definite, but low level, funkiness going on. The finish is crisp, a little more grainy, with some alcohol bite - which was surprising. Some funk remains.

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Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes from last night. This is my first real time having a saison, only other one was a sample of Pretty Things Jack D'or a while ago. Poured into a tulip hazy golden with a decent rocky white head, shrinks over time forming a ring with pretty good lacing. The smell is pretty grassy, wheat with a bit of light fruit. Fruit and tartness come out moreso in the taste. Green apple, lemon, grass, wheat, a tiny bit of cherry-like tartness, some booze taste too. A very little bit of funk and not very sour at all, I'd give it maybe a 3/10 on the sour scale. Mouthfeel was quite good considering the style, but kept it at a 4 just because of a seemingly high alcohol taste for a 6.7%. I'd try it again.

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

Pours a lightly hazy golden yellow color with a big, rocky off-white head. Smells yeasty, sweet, peppery and slightly tart. On the palate I get more of the same, with some lemon zest and a bit of funk. A refreshing beer, with a good sweet/sour balance.

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Photo of jdklks
2.28/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Pours a light, murky, piss-colored yellow with a bright white head. The smell is of belgian yeastiness, and that's about it. Perhaps a little citrus, and some farm funkiness, but nothing too special here.

Not impressed at all with this one. Way too much yeastiness which makes it disgustingly plain and bread-like. There's some kind of nasty bitterness that I can't quite put my finger on, but that I would probably attribute to the spices. It lingers long after the finish and isn't pleasant at all. Don't really know what else to say other than that there is no complexity to speak of, and that it's gross.

As far as mouthfeel, well, at least it's carbonated. The drinkability is none. The sips sufficient to review it were enough for me, and now it is going down the drain.

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Photo of IrieJackalope
4.64/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet. Appearance is an amazing golden blonde tint, a thick white foam is left behind after a soft pour. Some lacing is left behind. The aroma here is amazing. It's a mixture of funky Belgian yeast, floral notes, and soft fruity elements. Something in my mind is screaming pineapple and tropical fruit. The taste is delicious as well. Smooth, refreshing, and certifiably funky. Absolutely drinkable, could sip on this one all day. Especially during the hot Central Valley summer we've got coming up in Northern California. Lost Abbey has done this Belgian classic better than most Belgians. This is at or above the efforts of DuPont, and in IMO, well above Hennepin or any American Saisons. Overall, a fantastic effort on the part of Port/Lost Abbey.

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

A: Light golden-straw bodied. Restrained white head with decent retention. Forms a tight skim that leaves respectable lacing.

S: Yeasty, lemon/pepper/orange, grass. Definitely an americanized saison.

T: Pronounced yeast tones dominate a base of soft pepper, lemon zest, fresh grass, some herbal teas and orange. Grainy malts form the backbone.

M: A little light bodied, not thin, however. Clean, crisp, refreshing finish.

D: A nice refreshing saison. Definitely not in the superfunky saison family, more like a Hennepin. If that floats your boat this is certainly one to check out.

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Photo of Chambic
2.83/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: clear, light yellow, like straw or hay

S: very mild, a bit yeasty, and missing some funk

T: the best part of this beer is that it's surprisingly peppery

M: on the crisp side with nothing spectacular to note

D: I'm not that into it, though I remember it tasting better the first time I had it

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Photo of tedsox31
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my saison glass. The beer is clear and golden with a small white head. There is lacing that is left behind.

The aroma is a bit of funk, with some citrus notes as well. Some bready/yeasty notes linger in the background.

Taste is very refreshing...there is some funk up front, with a slight metallic note as well in the background, some citrus and is followed up by some bitterness that lingers on the palate. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel has a bit more to it than your average saison. It is well carbonated and appropriate to the style, and there is a lingering bitterness after swallowing.

This is a great example of the saison style. It is highly drinkable beer with a great taste that keeps inviting the drinker to come back for more.

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Photo of Cubsfan1087
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed the Red Barn Ale. It pours golden with white head that lingers and sticks to the glass. You can smell the citrus flavor. There is a great deal of flavor, seems like it would be a great summer season beer. It's pretty refreshing too. There is some nice carbonation to this beer as well. This was a good saison, I recommend it.

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Photo of billab914
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my Lost Abbey stemware. Poured a light gold color with a two finger fluffy white bubbly head. It has a nice steady stream of carbonation bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. Head retention is pretty good and it left some good lacing on the glass.

The aroma has a nice light funky and fruity smell to it along with some Belgian yeast and spices. There is some apple, pineapple and lemon, all with a touch of sour brett funk to it. The taste is slightly funky and sour with some sour apple flavor to it. The malt comes through and helps balance out the sourness with some bready sweet notes.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with above average carbonation, which is good for the style. Drinkability is good, it's a very nicely flavored and complex beer that I really enjoyed.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle bought online from

Poured a nice light golden orange colour with a slight haze. White head poured pretty big, thick and fluffy with a pock marked topping then faded slowly to patchy covering... quite a lot of carbonation rushes to the surface... some good patchy lacing...

Aroma - Nice light toasted biscuit malts, spicy tart fruits (apples, pineapples, light lemon zest), grassy, hay notes, light nuttiness, metallic notes, quite floral, some talcum powder, quite yeasty, light caramel sweetness, faint rubbery hints...

Taste - Quite a lot of spicy yeastiness, tart (also overripe?) fruits (apples, pears, pineapples again), slight vegetal notes, metallic, some chalkiness, salty notes, light toasted biscuit malts, bready, light floral honey sweetness, faint caramel, peppery hops...

Feel - Pretty sharp and dry... Light body... Very quaffable...

Overall - A pretty good saison. A few off notes but certainly worth a try...

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Photo of sholland119
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Teresa's Next Door, 2/28/10.

A-Pour is a hazy straw color with hints of apricot, a thin white head and some good sticky lacing.

S-Belgian yeast, sweet citrus hoppiness and a peppery note. Very nice blend of American and Belgian aromas.

T-Yeasty right from the start with tangerine, lemon, some wheaty malt, hints of white pepper. Also hints of spices become more pronounced as the beer warms. Really layered and complex while still retaining its saison character.

M-Light to medium bodied, crisp.

D-Excellent. I first had this one a couple of thousand beers ago and did not really care for it. Glad I gave it another shot after my palate evolved enough to catch up to it.


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Photo of gthornton
3/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a low carbonation, no head, little lacing, hay/light-golden-amber.

A mild nose - citrus/yeast. Some interesting scents open up as it warms a bit... namely peppar and... toasted celery?? really just another way of saying fresh malt I suppose.

As the beer opens up, more coriander and wheat comes forward.

Nice on the tongue. A little heavy in general. A lingering, but nice finish.

A pleasant drink, but I am not sure I will jump at the opportunity to grab it again, unless it is at a good price.

It is not as refreshing - and summery - as the marketing on the bottle hopes to portray.

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.93/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden/light orange color. Tons of visible carbonation, and a big creamy white head that leaves a lot of lacing. Would have expected it to be a bit more cloudy, but looks real nice.

Smell: Yeasty aroma with hints of pepper and some fruit too, primarily pineapple.

Taste: Has a very strong bitter/somewhat sour taste, like super-concentrated grapefruit. There's a bit of yeast and fruit in there at the finish for a second, but then the other flavors return for an unpleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and pretty smooth. Nicely tingly carbonation, but not too strong.

Drinkability: The flavor here is a big problem, and makes the beer hard to drink. ABV-wise the beer is just fine, clocking in at under 7%.

I'd like to say that I just got a bad bottle of this, but I think it is a pretty fresh one and the aroma, etc. didn't seem off. Unfortunately a rather big miss for Lost Abbey, as I usually enjoy their offerings. Besides the problem in the taste, it seemed a bit off for a saison in general.

NOTE: Towards the end of the bottle I swirled it around a bit - made it a bit more cloudy (but not much) and toned down the bitter/sour taste a bit to make it a tad more drinkable (from a 2 to 2.5), but it is still problematic.

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Photo of SACraig
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - golden and clear, nice head with good lace
S - Peppery and complex
T - starts complex than fades to boring, lightly hopped
M - Smooth with hardly any aftertaste
D - Not unpleasant but would not buy again

Look and smell started very promising, but the taste was disappointing. The spices are understated and there just is not enough flavor for my personnel taste.

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Photo of saccro
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - incredible foam. hazy melted butter color. lacing foam.

S - crisp clean aroma. light spiciness. sweet malty aroma. touch of fruit

T - sweet, but balanced by hops. Actually a little too hoppy for a saison. But not bothering me too much since the sweetness is there. Clean though. Refreshing.

M - Body feels a bit too heavy for lawnmower beer. Too heavy for a poundable beer.

D - I really like this beer. It is maybe a bit too hoppy and heavy with its maltiness for a saison.

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Photo of PartyBear
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It has a clear golden reddish body with a slightly foam white head and very minimal carbonation. Lots of spice in the aroma, I can detect the ginger and some nice pepperiness, there are also sweet grains in the aroma. The flavours are also spicy, with lots of pepper and a clear taste of yeasts. Behind there is a somewhat subtle maltiness that has a slight creamy toffee taste. The mouthfeel has little carbonation although this provides quite a smooth feel. Very nice saison, with an easy drinkability.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.16/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was uncorked with a decidedly weak and nondramatic faint ghost of a pop. It pours a clear golden orange with a thick creamy head that dies down to a film with small islands of foam.

The aroma is more Belgian pale ale than saison to me. Musty but no real funk. Not overly peppery, more cloves than anything. Mostly a slight lemon or orange peel. There may even be something of a hefeweizen about the aroma.

The taste is very earthy, with mild citrus fruit--slightly tart. It's very well attenuated. Finishes dry. Nice mellow malt presence. Again, though, maybe it's because I had a 750 ml bottle of Duvel earlier today, but this is really registering more as a Beligan strong pale ale than a saison for me. It lacks the peppery spiciness...even though every other review here seems to suggest otherwise, and it's kind of yeasty in a muddied, not-completely-pleasant way.

Medium bodied with barely perceptible alcohol.

I picked this up because I love saisons and it garnered an overall A- rating here, but frankly I'm underwhelmed and a little disappointed.

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

Port Brewing Company/The Lost Abbey: Red Barn Ale, Saison (05/28/08)
750 ml. bottle: Poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Clear, vibrant gold with a humongous meringue head that fades slowly, leaving some attractive looking Belgian lace and a mushroom of foam in the middle.
Odor: Sweet malt with some soft wheat aromas, clove, fresh red fruit and candy in the foreground. Earthy, floral hop notes in the background, but not too far behind the malt & yeast aromas.
Consistency: Medium body. A bit of dryness from the phenolics and malt, some acidity and a slight syrupy feel.
Taste: Sweet malt and fruity acidity throughout. Clove & pepper pheonlics, some minor cheesy funk notes and earthy hop flavors mid-palate. Finish is on the dry side, but it's not all that crisp.

This beer walks the line between Belgian pale and saison, extremely tasty.

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Photo of bulletrain76
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

75cl bottle. Clear deep gold-orange color with a big wispy and lacy head. Head sustains almost to the bottom. Potent and sweet aroma with nectar, orange marmalade, leather, and black pepper. Flavor is spicy, with ground pepper and zesty, earthy hops. Starts with a little citric sweetness, and finishes quite dry, with alcohol stripping the tongue along with a light citric astringency. Spicy pepper lingers in the back of your mouth. Medium-light body with smooth but tenacious carbonation. The dryness and spice makes it quite refreshing, but there is a tad too much pepper in the finish. Still quite good, but it would be one of my top beers if they toned this down a little.

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Photo of Deuane
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Light golden yellow with a medium white head that slowly reduces to a thin cap and leaves nice lace.

S-Spicy green peppercorn and a strong musty aroma. Some sweet biscuit in the background.

T-More spicy peppercorn and other spicy yeast notes up front with a soothing and smoothing honey covered biscuit maltiness supporting. Touch of mustiness sneaks in at the end.

M-Medium bodied, sharp with LONG lingering peppercorn spiciness.

D-A full flavoured, sharp saison that delivers a full frontal assault of spiciness and mustiness with a nice underlying honey-esque sweetness. This one is hard not to like for a saison lover like myself.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - this saison is a dark, golden yellow with a finger of tan head and small amounts of carbonation

S - typical saison style aromas, starting with crisp estiness, a sharp fresh citrus, and distinct spciness, clove, coriander, and nutmeg

T - yeasty and funky, with some earthy/peat elements as well, contrasted against some ginger and the aforementions spices as well as some tart white grapes

M&D - a wonderful saison, one of the better saisons i have had, medium bodied with well blended and balanced flavors and aromas, a taste that begs you to try another to see if you got all the flavors

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours out pale and clear with a rapidly expanding head. Once settled, I can see bustling carbonation through the crystal clear, golden body. A big, soapy, white head sits on top and slowly decays to a clumpy cap, leaving tons of bubble bath-like lacing on the walls of the glass. Looks awesome!

Smell: Lemon zest, hay, and big-time coriander. Pretty tart on the whole, with good spiciness and light funk.

Taste: Very sweet and citrusy with a tart and funky zing in the finish. Lots of coriander! Some buttery aspects. Not nearly as much barnyard funk as I was hoping for. I was digging this beer at first, but now all I'm getting is coriander and orange zest. It tastes a lot like the first beer a I ever brewed, which was an over-spiced witbier.

Mouthfeel: Very soft and fluffy on the palate. Carbonation is very active, but far from harsh. Medium bodied with hints of alcohol in the finish.

Drinkability: Not as good as I had hoped. Some more depth and funkiness would have been really nice. A good beer, but I ended up giving away the last half of it in favor of something else.

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