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Red Poppy Ale | The Lost Abbey

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Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent.

Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart.

The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from.

Added by BeerBeing on 09-07-2007

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Reviews: 570 | Ratings: 1,929
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

5.5oz pour went down way too fast. Not overly puckering - just enough. Good dank, dark fruit (plum) quality to temper, with a fairly rich mouthfeel for a wild.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle poured into my snifter.

A- Body is a very murky light muddy brown color. Pours with an approximately 1 finger white head that pretty much subsides immediately. No lacing is left behind in the glass. Cloudiness is thick and dynamic and whirls about the beer with some white yeast particles visible at the bottom.

S-An acidic tartness is the highlight of the nose and the first to hit it. Below this is a complex balance of sweet molasses, earthy mustiness, oak, and cherries.

T- Much like the nose-a pleasant sour tartness hits the front of the tongue immediately. There is a lot going on here as the cherry and oak become present underneath this and funky yeast comes through as well. The oak and cherries come through a bit more for the finish but a fantastic balance and complexity is still there. What lingers is a faint presence of the whole flavor.

M-Well carbonated and a smooth yeasty, velvety body.

D-This beer is awesome. I love it. Its a bit pricey; but well worth it (if I lived somewhere where it were available). My first of the special Lost Abbey Releases and it makes me want to find and try more of them. Very well done and perfectly drinkable.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was a real gem, I had been hunting this one down for a while now, thanks to the spinnerstown hotel for helping me out with this one. I ordered a bottle that I debated over for a while and finally gave in.

The beer was uncorked by the bartender Jack, who did a nice job with it. The beer poured out as a murky brownish red color that looked quite interesting. The head was white and fizzy, it vanished shortly after the pour. It was a very bubbly beer with loads of carbonation with every sip.

The aromas were of fresh tart fresh cherries, fresh cut wood, and several intense spices in the blend of smells coming out of this beer. The flavors were similar in the same respect. The cherries came first and they bite the tongue and hold on for a while. The wood comes through in the aftertaste leaving a really smooth natural fresh flavor on the pallet. Mouthfeel is very good too!

This beer was worth the wait, I am not even a fan of sour ales but this one far beyond any I've had in the passed. Really nice!

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Photo of seaoflament
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had 2 samples of this one on-tap at the Lost Abbey-Red Poppy release.

Poured a golden color with hints of red, a tiny crown of foam around the glass.

Aroma was great. Lots of cherry, tart and sweet, lightly toasted malts and fruity aromas. Some funky aromas in the background which increased slightly as it warmed up.

Tasted very close to the aroma. Tart and sweet cherries with crisp and toasted malt flavors, a bit of caramel and a dry, sour, finish.

This one is really easy to drink, the only obstacle is the very dry finish after 10oz or so. Definitely worth seeking out.

Decided to pop open a bottle today 4/4, after trying this one at the January release.

Wow, it looks much darker than it did at the release, WTF? This beer seems completely alien to me now. This one pours a dark ruby with some shades of dark wood. A rapidly descending half inch of foam topped the head. 3.5

Aroma is similar to what I remember in the release but this one is a little maltier and with more vinegar aromas. Still, the sweet and tart cherries dominate the nose with hints of oak but it now has a huge caramel malt backbone. Various berries, jam, vinegar, and fruit-roll up candy. The aroma is still mouth-watering but not as crisp as it was a few months back. 3.5-4

Taste is a phantom of what it used to be. The wonderful tart cherries that once fancied the tongue are almost completely gone except for a fleeting memory in the back of the palate. A slight metallic taste in the finish as well...very sad. A bit sweeter than what it used to be. 3

Carbonation level is still very good and mouthfeel is also good, maybe a little thinner? 3.5

Wow, this one started to go downhill fast. I did hear from Tomme that this one should not be aged and I agree.

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Photo of bobsy
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the ever-generous viggo for the share. Been after this one for a while.

My pour came from the second half of the bottle and benefitted from a good shot of yeast. The disparity between the initial pours and the latter was stark, with the former having a crystal clear mahogany appearance and the latter adding a new level to murky. A thing film of a head keeps up shop for the duration. Sweet fruit vinegar nose mixes with a lactic sourness. Before the addition of the yeast this struck me as a highly drinkable flanders, but lacking in the sourness I love in the style - the dregs of the bottle more than remedied this. Very prominent fruit vinegar sourness, cherries, raspberry, demerera sugar and lemon. Really complex, and nicely-balanced. Medium-light body makes this one very drinkable.

A great example of the style, and deservedly up with the best. I can't really fault this beer on any count - thanks Eric!

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Photo of GPHarris
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage

a - poured a one finger thick tan head into a tulip that settled into a thin ring that lasted for almost the whole beer. the body was a dark mahogany with some red tints to it.
s - strong sour cherry aroma with oak behind it. as it warms the oak comes through a little more.
t - puckering tart cherries with some woodiness.
m - medium thickness with lively carbonation bubbles. very dry finish.
o - really excellent beer and probably my favorite lost abbey so far.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle poured into a Teku glass

A: Lots of lacing, big head that dissipated after 4-5 minutes, brownish head, beer is a brownish-reddish color, tons of carbonation and bubbles, the head remains foamy due to the massive carbonation.

A: Big tart, sour aromas up front, some cherry in the middle, no alcohol, just smells really sour

T: Big tart, sour flavors, cherries in the middle, getting a slight Belgian yeast flavor, finishes very dry. Picked up some oak at the end, taste really good.

M: Very dry, tons of carbonation but dissipated as the beer warmed, coats the mouth with a sour tart dryness.

O: Not bad, good but not worth $16.99 for a 375 ml, I could see this being worth $9-10, maybe $12 for a 375 ml. Not a big beer, complex yes, but the price knocks me off, it was worth a try, not disappointed but not impressed. I am also not familiar with Flanders Red ales so it could just be me, cheers!

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Photo of Mages64
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to craytonic for this bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Dark red and brown with only a little head. No sure if pics are allowed but here it is seconds after pouring: http://twitpic.com/379up8

S: dates, prunes, grapes, cherries, cranberries, raspberries(one of those) and oak. Also sweet tarts. I feel like you can tell it is about to be a little sour.

T: Dr. Pepper with sourness and Oak and vanilla in the background. Sour but not too much. Finish is sweeter and woodier. cherries.

M: Delightfully carbonated(must have been fresh;) and sticky. Hits the back of your throat hard but leaves quickly and the only remains are on your tongue and lips.

D: It's an amazing beer but I'm not the right person to ask if I would drink it all night. Special occassion beer perhaps? MUST go well w/ chocolate!

Beer it Forward.

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Photo of Stigs
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz bottle, served in a Stone Levitation glass

A - poured with about half an inch of loose & bubbly dark khaki foam which quickly fell to just about nothing within a couple minutes. the ber is a hazy ruby color with some floating sediment.

S - filled the room after the cork popped. the smell is of very strong tart cherries, vinegar, and oak. simple, but wonderful. had to go back and give this a 5, as i've been sniffing it for a good 20+ minutes before every sip.

T - fantastic balance. an initial cherry sweetness turns to tart, sour, vinegar, caramel, then a very drying oak. finishes with a lingering sourness and cherries.

M - just a bit over carbonated and distracting. body is medium, and very prickly, nice and dry but almost to a fault.

D - a wonderfully crafted brew...simple, yet elegant. has all the characteristics of the style and pulls them off. just wish it didnt leave my mouth feeling like sandpaper, though i cant stop sipping it.

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Photo of davod23
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass. 2009 edition. I've heard that this beer goes downhill in the months after release - luckily, this has been fridged since last winter.

It pours a clear, dark auburn. Minimal (and I do mean minimal) cream colored head forms, which dissipates to nothing but the thinnest of collars and some cloud-like wisps on the top of the brew. This is okay, but could be improved with evidence of more ample carbonation.

Smell is great. Sour cherries dominate, but there's a complex background of oak, vanilla, and a light funkiness that wraps around everything.

Taste is similarly great. Sweet red cherries hit the palate first, followed by a slight vanilla and oak tinged sourness. It's less of a sourness, actually - I think that "tartness" describes this beer better. It finishes quickly, but leaves a lingering trace of light sour behind.

Mouthfeel is fine. Basically, it's just barely carbonated enough to be good. One less bubble in this brew, and the beer would suffer. That said, a bit more carbonation would be better for this brew, IMHO. Of course, this is Lost Abbey, so I'll take what I can get in this department.

Drinkability is excellent. I wish this was in bigger bottles, because I would polish it off with no problem.

Very good beer from Lost Abbey. This might be the sole purchase I make at their brewery this upcoming year, as it's one of the better Flanders ales that I've ever had.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's no flavor in the beer world that efficiently captures the essence of fruit acidity, dryness, and robust savory flavor like the Flander's red ale. And its with acute attention to detail and legendary brewing prowess that the Lost Abbey pours their heart and soul into the style for a taste that doesn't just match those of the flemish regions, but even eclipses them.

Hazy reds and browns swirl inside the glass, trickling with tawny golden edges, a frothy but loosely knit head pulls from the rusty body below and immediately entices the nose with mouthwatering sour cherry, black cherry, plum and all-things dark berry. With a pep of balsamic, the taste ushers in a mild fruit sweetness that seem from the distinctive black cherries, rung out straight off the branch.

With that juicy succulence and robust blackberry, plum, black cherry and currant character washing over the palate, the piquant tang of the sour ale within begins breaking apart the sweetness and commanding the taste with its own robust acidity that's a medley of hearty cabernet wine and mature balsamic. Dry cider, chardonnay, weathered oak and a full sea brine finish gives the ale a decisive sour and savory finish.

Medium-light on the palate, the ale trails toasty, nutty and almost chocolaty as its underlying savory flavors inch closely to umami status. But the high refreshment of the ale cleanses the palate with thirst-stripping lemon, lime and crabapple acidity and with an afterglow of cellar woods, cork and burlap.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle served in a tulip glass at cellar temps. Bottle is the 2015A vintage bought from the brewery.

Appearance: dark brown and explosively carbonated. I took the cage off and the cork shot out 2 seconds later. Glints of red through and a bit of sunlight on the edges. Massive foamy head.

Nose: oaky, sour cherries, vanilla, complex lactic nose with the yeast and microbial poking through.

Taste: sour but not bracingly, sour cherries, wood from the barrel aging, very complex and wonderful. Medium to heavy body, more so than I would have expected.

Overall: I bought this after reading about it online and in books. The brewery was beautiful and the beer is nothing less than spectacular. I don't have much experience with this style and need to try more. The complex yeast, Brett and bacteria notes combined with the sourness can be off putting for some but I find it wonderfully complex. I have a second bottle to cellar.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Kegbear: Poured a deep clear reddish color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention and no lacing. Aroma of oak and sour cherries are heavily dominating. Taste is also a very nice mix between some deep oak notes with some cherry flavor also discernable. Very complex taste and some what similar to Rodenbach Grand Cru. I thought cherries would have been more prominent but they were somewhat loss in the mix.

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

375ml. cork-finished brown bottle with a single wrap around label.

This was the first brew released for the Patron Sinners club, and a tasty one at that.

Poured into a tulip, a medium-dark hazelnut brown with a small beige head with some lavender tint to it. The head remains small...the visible carbonation is near perfect.

Sweet malt and cherries upfront with a tart, yeasty brett following right behind. Smells really yummy.

Initially goes in sweet with notes of cherries and syrupy malt, then quickly becomes tart and pleasantly sour to the finish. A nice earthy malt pulls through in the linqering aftertaste.

Mild ABV, medium body and just the right carbonation for this ale are really making me wish I had another, on this hot, sunny San Diego day.

This ale paired nicely with some spicy, cheesy pan fried potatoes that my girlfriend made.

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

2008 bottle.

Appearance - Ruddy brown, quite hazy and distinctly unfiltered. The head retained remarkably well in an oversized wine glass. This beer should be decanted carefully; the bottle has a ton of sediment at the bottom.

Smell - Wonderfully musty and oaky. Pronounced vanilla with mild barnyard funk and sourness. Cherries are present but not as dominating as they are on the tongue.

Taste - Sour, tangy cherries make up the backbone, while oak provides depth and balance. Acidity is fairly low despite the tart flavor. Vanilla appears more and more as the beer warms, blending harmoniously with the sour cherries. The finish is dry and long, revealing more of the young oaky flavor.

Mouthfeel - Fairly light-bodied and crisp on the tongue; slighty drying to the palate. Certainly not quaffable despite the light body; small sips provide a ton of flavor.

Overall - The 08 and 09 batches are outstanding. A Flemish style sour without all the acetic acid, and a great balance between oak and fruit. Later batches are solid but not as exceptional.

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Photo of Celtics17
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very tart! Cherries the big player in this sour. A very slight caramel taste. A real fruit flavored sour, and beer. One of the best sours. Full in body. I would say this is right there with New Belgium's La Folie. Both a brown ale sour. Very comparable.

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

11/20/08- Generously shared by BA member Talisker.

Presentation- 375ml bottle with no freshness info located on the bottle. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep mahagoney in color. Soft 1/4 inch bubbly white head. Leaves light spotted lace.

Smell- Pretty straight forward here. Fairly sour notes with lots of tart cherries and a good amount of oak.

Taste- Seems a bit thicker than a 5% beer would be. Tons of semi-tart cherry goodness with a light vinegar note (good vinegar). Very oaky with a nice woody barrel flavor.

Mouthfeel- Quite dry, quenching with a medium carbonation level. Crisp and sharp.

Drinkability- Right up there with the best Oud Bruins I have had. Not too tart and loads of cherry flavor. Wish I had some cheese to go with it.

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

Big thanks to oakbluff for hooking me up with this rare brew!

Pours a cloudy chunky orange/red, kind of like grapefruit juice, thick white head, some solid lace spots, settles to a nice layer and thick ring. Smell is sour and tart, very acidic, cherries, bread, lots of fruit, quite intense, oak, nice. Taste is similar, very oaky, some caramel, vanilla, cherries, tart fruit, acidic, lemons, vanilla, acidic fruit in the finish, very nice. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, very smooth and easy to drink. Fantastic sour beer, no rough edges, very nice. Thanks Scott!

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

A- dark reddish brown with a half finger khaki head.

S- vinegar, cherries, funk, oak, and vanilla.

T- sour cherries, vinegar, oak, a little funk, mild vanilla.

M- velvety mouthfeel, strong carbonation and a nice puckering effect.

O- I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. With so much flavor it's hard to believe its only 5% ABV. This brew really reminded me of RR's Concecration which is a good thing. At 15 bucks for a 375 ml bottle it will be hard not to get a couple RR sours instead.

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Photo of bnes09
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby color. Subtle haze allows some light through. White head. Minimal retention and no lacing.

Standard aroma of a Flanders red. Balsamic and berry vinegarette. Deep cherry and subtle poppy seeds.

Heavy dose of acetic acid imparting wine like, balsamic qualities. Middle to end, tart cherries compliment the sour, malty quality. Finishes with a flirty Brett funk.

Moderate body. Soft, playful bubbles bring the flavors to life. Residual malt sugars and yeasty dance to the tongue. Finishes dry on the tongue and sticky on the lips.

Exceptional fruited sour red ale. Elegant, complex and tasty.

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

The Lost Abbey Red Poppy, vintage 2011

Served in New Belgium globe glass

A: Pours deep amber/brown with modest tan head. Each sip leaves behind an arc of foam. The beer itself is clear and sparkling. 

S: Tart cherries, vinegar and damp wood vie for dominant aroma. Mouthwateringly acetic. Additional smells include pickle aromas, a low-grade funk, and a tease of vanilla. 

T: Sourness strikes tongue first, then tart cherries. The acetobacteria is not as sharp as I thought it would, earning an enjoyable and approachable medium on the sourness scale. The other aromas are also expressed on the palate. I will that the beer has vinous character. Red Poppy is like a harmonic that slowly becomes quiet. That is how it finishes. Brettanomyces becomes more evident as I work my way through glass. 

M: Deceptively light body and medium, bright carbonation. Lively mouthfeel. 

O: I love Red Poppy. It edges out La Folie as best American interpretation of the style, and I think it might beat the very best Belgians. I wish it were cheaper and available in Indiana, preferably on tap in my basement. Huzzah!

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

A: Pours a hazy reddish-light brown color with notable clarity, although some sediment at the bottle of the glass/bottle.  A large off-white head billows out of the body and lingers for quite a while before resting to a patchy foam.  Moderate lacing. 

S: Really pungent aroma comprised of vinegar, cherries, earthy and funky barnyard characteristics, and some oak.  Really a nicely complex aroma that flows out of the glass and can be picked up yards away. 

T: Vinegar and sour cherries up front provide ample sourness.  Oak and some funkiness linger further in the background, but mesh very well with the dominant flavors.  There is also a flimsy malt profile that provides a subtle sweetness, but it pales in comparison to the puckering sourness. 

M: Medium bodied with quite a bit of carbonation.  Spritzy and crisp.  Nice and tart and pretty drying at the finish. 

D: Absolutely delicious and very drinkable, however, it's great to sip on and enjoy the complexity and balance.  One of the best Flanders that I've had this side of the Atlantic.  

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

Poured from a 120z bottle into a Chimay branded chalice.

A: Brown/copper - mellow head with small amounts of lacing.

S: Vinegar, cherry and vanilla with a nice strong yeast finish.

T: Sour cherry, somewhat tanic with a crisp woody finish.

M: Dry, light-bodied with nice carbonation.

D: Smooth and light. If I could afford it, i'd drink these all night.

One of the best beers in town at the moment. Worth every penny!

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

Sharing a bottle with my wife tonight. Bliss.

2009 vintage.

The beer appears a crimson sunburst hue, with an eighth inch of head that quickly settles to a thin layer and holds. The aroma is fabulous, with funk, cherries, wild yeast, and oak. The taste follows suit, and makes my cheeks pucker in delight upon the first sip. Insanely good, I want to trade for more of this immediately. The finish contains a healthy dose of vinegar and acetic notes, but is no way harsh. Quite the opposite, I wish I had a growler of this. My new favorite Flanders Oud Bruin.

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

Served from 375 bottle into snifter glasses at City Beer in San Francisco. Writing based on 3-week-old notes.

A: Chocolate brown. Medium off-white head with decent retention.

S: Oak, Brett funk, cherries, chocolate / mocha. Pretty aromatic.

T: Fresh cherries, dipped in chocolate and gingerbread crumbs. The sourness and oak appear after the initial flavors. Clean finish.

M: Fizzy and decently carbonated. Fairly light-bodied.

O: Very solid, and I'm not usually a huge Lost Abbey fan.

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Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,929 ratings.
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