Red Poppy Ale | The Lost Abbey

Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale
BA SCORE
94.6%
Liked This Beer
4.28 w/ 1,965 ratings
Red Poppy AleRed Poppy Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States
lostabbey.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#625
Reviews:
582
Ratings:
1,965
Liked:
1,858
Avg:
4.28/5
pDev:
9.11%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
568
Gots:
598
Trade:
40
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,965 |  Reviews: 582
Photo of smcolw
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Literally looks like watered down mud in a glass. Brown, yet no light could possibly pass. Small, quickly dying head. Leaves only a couple of spots for lace.

Strong, sweet red cherry (maraschino?) aroma. If I were blindfolded, I would think this was a Kriek because of the sour nose and slight presence of Belgian yeast.

Tastes like a Kriek, too...almost. But it isn't sweet and there are more "brown" elements like crystal and chocolate malts. Very interesting as it is unusual. Good body with a mildly elevated carbonation.

Certainly not an everyday beer, but a real treat for something delicious and unusual.

 617 characters

Photo of atrocity
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy, reddish-brown body with a small, short-lived white head.

Smell: Bright, funky aroma of wine-macerated cherries and planks of toasted oak.

Taste: Whoa! Tart, juicy, lightly acidic cherry flavor at the forefront with hints of the sweet brown maltiness used as this fine beer's foundation. Distinct, well-placed tastes of oaky wood. True, it's funky, but contented to reside on the lighter end of the funk spectrum. Drying, lightly minerally finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium, soft carbonation.

Drinkability: A very well executed sour ale, and what a top-notch, classy bottle.

 610 characters

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes.

A: Pours slightly hazy ruby/brown color with large bubbles forming when poured. Very little retention and very small bits of lace forms.

S: Nice sour cherry straight away with a little bit of oak, vanilla, and vinegar.

T: Again, lots of sour cherry, it dominates the flavor profile. Underneath there is a good bit of oak and a little vanilla. Rather sweet with a great level of sourness. A touch of vinegar.

M: Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, very easy drinking.

O: Big fan of this beer, and of the style in general. Very easy drinking, would have no problem drinking this one again.

 625 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"The great events of life often leave one unmoved. They pass out of consciousness, and, when one thinks of them, become unreal. Even the scarlet flowers of passion seem to grow in the same meadow as the poppies of oblivion."

--Oscar Wilde

Cherry tomato red with Sunkist highlights when backlit with morning sunshine. The golden ecru crown is a quality slice of foam that reaches two fingers on the initial pour and lasts impressively long. Thick swaths of Belgian lace contribute to a wonderful look for a beer of this style.

The nose is exceptional. The first word that comes to mind is 'rich'. The second, third and fourth are 'sour', 'cherries' and 'oak'. It smells like this Flanders oud bruin will have an ideal combination of all the elements that make beer of this style so complex and so delicious. For specifics, keep reading.

Red Poppy is definitely the real deal. It's more bitter than most, and not quite as sour, but that's rarely a problem for the hopheaded among us. I might have started it out a little too cool, so let's see how it changes over the next 10-15 minutes. So far it's impressive.

Thankfully, the brown ale base is not lost among the sexier facets of the flavor profile. Each mouthful delivers a brisk uppercut of balsamic vinegar-like sweet and tart acidity... then a right cross of tangy sour cherry puree... followed by an oakiness that tightens things down like a vise and ushers in the finish.

The initial bitterness has calmed down to some extent, though I'd like to see it even more in the background. As the ounces fly by, I'm becoming aware of just how dry this beer is. Those little yeasties must have had their fill of all the fruit sugars. Have some cool water handy if you plan to drink more than one bottle at a time.

The mouthfeel has an intriguing combination of lightness, silkiness, suppleness and soft-edged carbonation. I'll resist the impulse to call for something bigger because it probably wouldn't improve things one iota.

Port Brewing Red Poppy Ale is the second best Flanders oud bruin that I've ever had the pleasure to consume. Compared to the perfect symphony that is Liefmans Goudenband, it's slightly (very slightly) out of tune. It's still a tremendous effort from one of America's best breweries. Thanks to tayner for the bottle.

 2,299 characters

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of ZEB89
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of mikesgroove
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

375ml corked and caged bottle served at cellar temperature and poured into a tulip glass

A - Poured a very nice and extremely cloudy and hazy light brown with just a hint of a reddish tint to it. This was very murky, but you could still see some of the light coming through on the sides and bottom of the glass, and in fact there was enough of it that I could notice some very fine sediment on the bottom, as well as some carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass. A very nice head of approximately one and a half inches in height graced the top of it, and this settled down gradually, leaving behind a noticeable amount of side glass lace but nothing that was terribly too thick. The color on it was exquisite on this one, with just this burnt sienna color ( my son has a big box of crayons) that was just very nice. Did not come off terribly thick through the pour and seemed to have a light consistency to it but we shall see.

S - The aroma itself was very strong and very pungent. Almost immediately the yeast was in your face, giving it and extremely sour presence that I was not expecting, but should have known it was coming. Underneath that the clearly evident layer of cherries was starting to come through, tying to sweeten it up and giving it that very nice overall fruity vibe. Lots of spices now coming through as well, hints of what I picked up as cinnamon and fig were mixed in very well. Overall a very strong and very full aroma that was inviting and decidedly alive.

T - I really fell in love with this one upon the first sip that I took. The flavors were so vibrant and so well defined that it was very interesting to watch this one evolve over the course of the session. The first thing you would notice upon taking a sip was the nice sour taste coming though from the yeast. Big sour notes here, once they calmed down you started to pick up the fruity notes that were lying underneath of it. Lots of tart cherries that were really pushing their way up front and blending in nicely with a very spicy nutmeg like flavor. Very well balanced with no one thing really dominating over another, making for a very nice profile. Lots of different things going on here, with hints of even grapes and/or raisins starting to show as it warms up. The finish at least to me seemed to be the best part of the entire session. At first it was subtle, giving you a sour or bitter dry finish that drew out the flavor, but once you managed to run through that initial finish, their was this long lasting barrel aged cherry sweetness that was so good, it is almost impossible for me to accurately describe. I literally tasted that for a good 30 minutes after I finished that last drop. It was very sweet and bitter at the same time, not overpowering, just this subtle long lasting taste. This was really quite breathtaking to be honest. A wonderful taste here overall.

M - Very light bodied ale, despite the huge flavors, this one really never did get too big on you. The carbonation profile was excellent as well, never going flat, even though I took my sweet old time in finishing it, there was never a dull moment. I would have to say it was more crisp and refreshing then it was smooth, and really just superb all around in every way.

D - Now this was just perfect here. Nothing at all should be subtracted, as I rarely find something that I could sit down and enjoy sipping on for more then an hour in a sitting without becoming bored. This was it though. The flavors were exquisite and constantly evolving with changing temperatures, the carbonation was damn near perfect, never getting dull or flat, consistency was perfect, leaving it light, but not thin, and the ABV a modest 5%. I mean c'mon what more could you possibly even begin to ask for. I would have had ten of these if I could have.

Overall this one literally floored me. I have loved everything that has come out of Lost Abbey, and not being biased, but seriously, who else is this consistent with quality, I mean it seems everything new they put out is better then the one before that, its almost unheard of. This was just tremendous. A light fruity sour ale that had me literally giddy with excitement. This was something not only I would gladly have again, but that I would be actively searching for more of. One of the best I have ever had.

 4,328 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12.7 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Finally got some bottles of this one as it has eluded me, mainly from lack of trying to acquire it. After trying Double Red Poppy at NOTB and loving it, I decided to get some bottles of this one.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown with a reddish tint, one and a half fingers of off white head, and moderate carbonation evident. The bottle was a very slow gusher, but didn't lose any of it.

s - Smells of sour cherries, oak, tart dark fruits, vinegar, some funk, and some acedic notes. Very sour and tart, with lots of cherries; I'm a big fan of the nose.

t - Tastes of vinegar, sour dark fruits, wood, funk, acedic notes, light cherries. Very sour and lots of vinegar. A lot more vinegar than the nose, and less cherries. Good, but a definite step down.

m - Medium body and high carbonation, dry mouthfeel.

o - Overall a nice sour flanders I enjoyed. I loved the nose, as there was a lot of sour dark fruit, especially tart cherries. The taste was a lot of vinegar so if you like that in a sour, you'll probably love this one. I liked the Double Red Poppy better, but considering that is a beer only available on tap and this is easy to acquire, it's still very good. Would certainly have it again.

 1,251 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Huge pain in the ass to get this cork out. I ended up decapitating it on accident and resorted to a corkscrew.

Appearance - Murky reddish brown body with a nice, cream colored head. Retention is spectacular as it sustains a nice pillow atop the body. Surprisingly, I have yet to have an uncarbonated Lost Abbey beer.

Smell - Cherries. Lots of cherries. I get a substantial funk behind all of it, though, which is quite welcome in my book. Not so sour smelling, really, which is also a good sign. I find that if I can smell the sour, it's usually a bad sour.

Taste - VERY tart. Overpoweringly, really. It's intense enough to overshadow any other flavors that are there. I get lots of sour cherries with some oaky barrel flavors in the middle. The finish gets a little acetic with the tartness, but it's blended with a bit of funk. The sourness lingers for quite a while.

Mouthfeel - It's not THAT tart, but the tartness just lasts and lasts. So much so that I find it hard to taste other things. It's light, dry, well-carbonated, but astringent in its acidity.

Overall - Not a balanced Flanders Red, but definitely a tasty one. I'd like to get a bit more complexity out of it, but it's just cherries all the way.

 1,252 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Anwar for this bottle. Split it tonight with the girlfriend.

A: Despite a vigorous pour into my Bruery tulip, there isn't much in the way of head formation. The beer itself is a slightly muddy mahogany color.

S: The nose is nice and tart with some nice sour cherry notes along with a slight acetic acid note. There's quite a bit of oak, which I was not quite expecting.

T: The flavor follows the nose almost exactly. Great oak and sour cherry flavors with only a touch of vinegar (which I often find a bit off-putting in Flanders ales).

M: The carbonation is quite low, lending the beer a slick feel on the tongue. The finish is nice and dry.

D: This is one of the more tart Oud Bruins I've had, but I enjoy that. The lower level of acetic acid is also a bit plus for me.

 786 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of PA-Michigander
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MarkyMOD
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of TMoney2591
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a small tasting glass and a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Thanks to the Central PA group of the Gang Bang BIF and to AleWatcher for these bottles!

Tasted a 2008 vintage (courtesy of Jeff) alongside the newer vintage from the BIF. Both pour a cloudy russet-sunset sienna topped by a half-finger of dirty cream foam. The nose of the '08 comprises light vinegar, cherries, cinnamon, raspberries, and a rich red wine. The newer vintage, on the other hand, comprises red apple, cinnamon, maple syrup, oak, graham crackers, and light chocolate. Definitely more tart fruit in the aged version. The taste of the '08 holds notes of tart-ish black cherry, raspberries, black currant, light cocoa, graham crackers, cinnamon, and clove. The newer version is somewhat similar, with notes of tart cherry, black currant, mandarin orange, clove, and sharp raspberry. Both bodies weigh in at light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a sticky finish. Overall, a great beer with or without a few years on it. I think I prefer the older vintage, but it's not too big of a disparity.

 1,092 characters

Photo of thatoneguymike
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

 559 characters

Photo of dfhhead25
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of jgunther71
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of BMart
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 94.6% out of 100 with 1,965 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.