Red Poppy | The Lost Abbey

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Red PoppyRed Poppy
Red PoppyRed Poppy

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

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.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 596 | Ratings: 2,022
Photo of Gregaroo
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

5-22-16 - Enjoyed in my backyard. Poured from a caged and corked bottle that I picked up from the brewery in early April. Poured into my Teku tall stemmed logo glass (that I also picked up at the brewery in early April). I had this ale once before at the Tomme dinner at Monk's earlier this year. So when I made my pilgrimage to the brewery in San Marcos, I picked up a bottle to enjoy today. A true sour ale, but very approachable. I took my time with this one due to the complexity of flavors. Slight white head that returns with a quick swirl. The latter sips were the best as the ale had sat for 20 minutes or so. Good to know for the next time. Oh so good.

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

On-tap 5/15/2016 at Natty Greene’s Tavern in North Attleboro, MA, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark reddish brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains sour cherries and grapes, wild Belgian yeast and light caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with tart flavors of cherries and grapes followed by some wild Belgian yeast. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a very good balance for the style. The after-taste is slightly tart.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean for the style.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is one of the better beers I’ve had in the style.

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Photo of Absolut
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a snifter. murky dark brown with a fizzy head the dissipates rather quickly.

Smells is sour, brett, cherry and bread.

taste is sour, less cherry than from the nose.

thin mouthfeel, fizzy and very dry.

quite good.

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Photo of Skwalk47
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

So good. Murky red nearly opaque. Cherries and lactic along with bread on the nose. Nice balanced tartness but woah! What's that? Some Brett funk? Yes indeed, a complex beer with tartness, fruit, and bluecheesey funkiness. Better than expected.

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Photo of david-ruddock
3.87/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not a sour nut, so don't crucify me here. I bought this expecting more a bruin than a sour, I'm not sure why (I guess I'm terrible at labels), and when I poured it, that was my first thought, as the color is an unashamedly swamp-water murky brown. I was quite excited. I took a sniff and... sour. That overpowering and yet oddly dull scent of a sour hit me immediately, there's absolutely nothing else I can smell in this beer.

The first sip was not pleasant for me, as I wasn't sure what I should be getting - I definitely don't recommend this beer over-chilled. All you'll taste when it's cold is the brett, everything else is just muted by it. Once it warmed up, I took much more of a shine to it.

The front is all sour. I don't get the kriek vibe on the initial taste - it's very much just a sour to my palate. The sour is quite strong, and combined with the carbonation this creates a very, very dry brew - there's no residual sugar hanging around. But once the sour fades, and it does, you get the taste of a beautiful bruin with a hint of cherry fruit. The malts are pleasantly roasty and rich with a hint of chocolate blending very well with the cherry, but they are undeniably on the back end of this beer.

Overall, it's a roller coaster ride of a brew. I'm not the biggest sour fan, and this beer is insanely expensive (I paid around $18 for a 12.7oz). The value simply kills the overall score for me, this isn't a "once in a lifetime" brew deserving of such a ridiculous MSRP. But if you're a sour fiend and must have it, absolutely, you want it.

Myself? I'd love to taste the bruin they use in this before the cherries and the sourness get in there. I give it a full recommendation on taste, but this beer is just too pricey for what it is.

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Photo of skeeterloveshops
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2016 batch taster at the brewery and then bottle at home later same day.
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 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.

Something delicious and unusual!

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Super carbonated, it's a pleasant surprise for a LA beer. Starts out a little bit tart, but fades quickly. Light on cherry flavor. Earthy undertones. Cherry skins, lacto and oak. Balanced sourness. Good stuff.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looks more oud bruin than it does flanders, its brown. ruddy brown. Aroma was mostly wood, dark fruit, didn't get the sour cherry explosion that the commercial tug job talks up.

Taste was much better, now we're poppin' sour cherries here, ample brown malt. Dry and oaky. Tannins. This is a good, but expensive beer. Oude Tart is the same price, but you get twice as much beer. Like I said, its good, but at a poor price point ($15/375ml).

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Photo of stephens101
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Overripe dark fruits and booze spring forth from the popped top. Dark brown and covered with a thick quilting of very resilient tan froth. Strong notes of vinegar and more dark fruits such as plum and prune are noticed aromatically. Tastes of sweet vinegar, dark cherry, plum, oak and grain followed by a slight and fleeting funkiness. Dry as bone and medium in body. With exceptional beers like these floating around it's hard not to become addicted to sours.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
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 mactrail
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

They call this a "Barrel aged Flanders Red." The appearance is murky brown stuff with a brief foam. It seems to be injected with clouds of carbonation, so it's quite a pleasing mouthful. Interesting aroma of cedar and raspberries.

Slightly tart, but the fruity and malty undertones balance the acidity better than most beers that are on the sour side. Woody with a long pie cherry flavor. On tap at the Lost Abbey tasting room in Encinitas.

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Photo of RyBrew54
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy red amber with puffy beige head. Nose is slightly sweet and funky, yet very light overal. Notes of light cider vinegar, cherry, and candy. Taste is tart cherry up front, not overly sour, with sweeter malt backing. Body is is lighter and brew is loaded with sediment. Overall a very solid and a well rounded wild ale.

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Photo of chefbigjon
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very nice Flanders. Tons of strawberry jam, some tropical notes. Not overly sour. Perhaps just a tad expensive. There are several Flanders out there that are easier to get and just as good, if not better.

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Photo of CNoj012
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look is an opaque dark brown with a huge light brown head. Smell is a very nice tart cherry with a hint of funk on the back end. Taste is sour cherries galore. Not a melt your face off sour, but a nice strong tart. Feel is light but with good carbonation. Overall this is a great beer and I would definitely seek it out if it was available anywhere near me.

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Photo of SinjaminBentek
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle.

Appearance - Dark brown hue.

Smell - Light tart, light funk.

Taste - Very tart with slight sweetness from the cherries. Tasty!

Mouthfeel - Light. High level of carbonation. High attenuation.

Overall - Nice sour

Grade (A-)

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Photo of kemoarps
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Even with a reasonably careful pour there is a gigantic massive souffle of ruddy/cream head. I've never really seen a head with that subtle red tint to it. Interesting. Anyway, massive head. Muddy ruddy brown body.

Nose is sharply sour and somewhat... earthy? Some sweet flowers dance at the periphery.

Flavour is likewise an interesting blend of sour expectations (primarily cherry etc) and there's that same earthy note but now joined by almost a hint of some baking spices. Interesting.
FInish is tart and also somewhat bitter. I'm still kind of a n00b when it comes to flanders and other more... tart. Styles. This is a damn fine one though.
Side note: I was wondering if this was what was in my mislabeled bottle, and I don't think it is. Both are quite tasty, but I don't think this is it.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Teku glass.

A - Dark red body, like crimson black cherry flesh. Fizzy off-white head bubbles then dissipates. No lacing.

N - The finest attribute of this beer: cherry sweetness and cherry tartness, coupled with an oak body calling to mind a good red wine.

T - Cherry sweetness at the front, falling to a nice tart kick on the back end.

M - The carbonation fills the mouth like countless pillows of air.

O - Solid beer. Complex, tart. I think I've smelled it more than I've sipped it. The price point is high. I won't say I'm WOWed, but I am pretty darn impressed.

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Photo of winningwes91
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another wonderful beer by tla. Pours a dark ruby red color with a pinkish white head that won't go away. Smells like cherries, vinegar and some barrel character. Taste follows suit with a nice sourness - but not overly so. Nice mouthfeel with a dry aftertaste . Not their best, but really great stuff!

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Photo of -Rick
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

dirty red look. You know you have a sour here with one smell. The taste is bitter sour with cherries and strawberries on the finish. I liked this beer a lot, but at $17 for a 375ml, I might pass next time. Glad I tried it though

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Photo of J-Rye
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Bigger bubbles than expected, not too much lacing, a very hazy but very nice mahongany.

Smell: Beauftiful malty, salty sour scent, funky oak. Can't wait to taste.

Taste: Pow! Rush of tart. Overlayed by nice malt. Fruit peaks through. Then there's something interesting I've never quite tasted before. Another review wrote balsamic vinegar, but it's less sweet, more subtle umami in the background. Shadowy, mysterious. Holy smokes this is a fantastic beer.

Feel: Sharply carbonated. Dry finish, nice linger.

Overall: Whoa, better than anticipated, even for Lost Abbey!

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Photo of KYGunner
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Delicious mixture of tart cherries, white wine, apples and balsamic vinegar. Very dry but lightly sour. It has a dry full mouthful with a moderate carbonation.

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Photo of guityler83
3.39/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

A: Deep maroon with crimson red hue when held to a light source. Long lasting head made of medium sized bubbles that fizzed the entire time - color very similar to cola - dark cream to tan or light brown. Small layer of sediment was left in the bottle but the beer still haze a slight haze.

S: Moderate tart cherry - like jam or pie filling - medium lemon tartness that gives a nice fruit juice - lemonaid w/ cherries vibe. Mild toasty, pie crust, biscuity malt aromoa. No alcohol or off aromas - very pleasant.

T: Moderate tartness with the similar cherry-aid flavor as the aroma indicated. No hop flavor or bitterness detected. Sweetness is moderate with toasted breadcrust, biscuity and strawberry like flavors. Balance is on the sourness - mild amount of funky brett character and oaky tannins are noticable in the finish.

M: Very high carbonation and the prickly carbonic bite adds some body to the thinner beer underneath. Tartness hits on the center of the tongue and fades away after a few seconds - not harsh. No alcohol warmth. But the higher carbonation leaves a drying sensation after a few sips.

O: A very nice beer, but the carbonation on this bottle was way to high. I think if that was dialed back more the tartness and cherry flavors would have come through even more without the prickly sensation hindering the overall impression. Id get the beer again just to see if I got bad bottle. - Cheers

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear brick-reddish brown. Almost looks like dried blood. Head is a very light tan, bubbly, and dense. Solid retention keeps a cap for the duration. No lacing.

Smell: Loaded with cherry. Sour cherry skin and juice. A touch of soft yeast. Solidly caramelized malt sweetness. A touch of leather. A touch of citric tartness with a soft lactic element in the back. Oak adds some seriously woody elements. A bit of old wood and damp rock. A touch of vinegar. Warming puts out a ton of oak and some solidly tart cherry skin.

Taste: Tart cherry skin. Cherry juice. Fruit leather. Tons of oak. Musty basement. Some grass and a touch of soft spice. Hint of alcohol in the back. Sharply citric with a strong undercurrent of vinegar. Lemon juice. Cherry flesh. Bing cherry. Did I mention cherry? Undercurrent of mild funk. Malts offer just a touch of toasted flavor. A hint of bread crust. Lightly cooked malt sweetness. Hints of almost cranberry. Some earth. Touch of lime.

Mouthfeel: Slightly effervescent. Medium pushing to light body with a moderate-high carbonation. Mild astringency.

Overall: Such a pretty flower.

So much cherry. It might need a bit more time to really develop, but it's a risk with the cherry. It's solid if not exactly worth the above average bottle price.

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Photo of superspak
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

3300th review! 375 ml bottle into tulip glass, 2015 vintage bottling. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty foamy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big sour black cherry, cranberry, green apple, lemon, red grape, cider vinegar, caramel, toasted oak, hay, straw, peppercorn, musty funk, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of sour cherry, fruity/funky/spicy yeast, dark malt, and oak barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big sour black cherry, cranberry, green apple, lemon, red grape, cider vinegar, caramel, toasted oak, hay, straw, peppercorn, musty funk, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Good amount of fruity/acidic tartness and yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of black cherry, cranberry, green apple, lemon, red grape, cider vinegar, caramel, toasted oak, hay, straw, peppercorn, musty funk, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Incredible complexity and balance of sour cherry, fruity/funky/spicy yeast, dark malt, and oak barrel flavors; with an pretty much perfect malt/acidity balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. High carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and moderately acidic mouthfeel that is incredible. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 5%. Overall this is a world class Flanders red ale style. All around fantastic complexity and balance of sour cherry, fruity/funky/spicy yeast, dark malt, and oak barrel flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink with the balanced acidity. An insanely amazing offering.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
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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Red Poppy from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 2,022 ratings