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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: 1,931
Photo of stakem
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml corked and caged bottle into a matching lost abbey stemmed glass (thanks Brett!) The brew appears a dark brown with nearly 3 fingers worth of khaki head. The cap slowly recedes holding with less than a finger of strength which is supported by nearly constantly rising bubbles. Patches of lace stick to the glass. When held to the light, a deep ruby clarity is seen through the body.

The aroma of this brew is pleasantly fruity with a deep pitted cherry scent that is lightly tart. More smells reveal a bit of bacterial funk and lactic character. Through the middle is a deep sweetness reminiscent of vanilla and barrel properties of oak. A little bit of burnt sugary sweetness almost like molassess is smelled all the way in the back. A light cheese and wild aspect come out as it warms. Collectively with the mixture of sweetness, vanilla and cherry this has a faint medicinal aspect about the way it smells but it is still very good.

For how crazy complex and enjoyable smelling this brew is, the first couple of sips are a bit one-noted. It is tart with a bit of unripe cherry flavoring that blends into a bit of brown sugar to toasted grain. Some barrel flavoring is present that is lightly spicy mixed with some mild wild notes of brett. The brew finishes quite crisp and dry with a toasty flavoring that pairs well with the fruity cherry quality.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a high level of carbonation. I say high carb but it is not overdone. It lightens the overall feel and makes it fairly easy drinking. The alcohol is very well integrated and only provides a mild warmth down the back of the throat. While this was a really enjoyable brew, I found the aroma to be the best aspect of it. I wish the flavor packed as much character as the aroma. If you haven't tried this yet, it is worth a shot.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
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 tpd975
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark amberish shade of milky brown. Very little head. No retention or lace.

S: Wonderful aroma of tart red berry. Lots of fresh raspberry and dark cherry. Vinegar and oak play a big role as well.

T: Very solid beer. Tart under ripe raspberry with notes of dark tart black cherry. Lots of acidic vinegar, and oak as well. Very subtle chocolate notes. Earthy, funky, and tart. Well done.

M: Medium in body, not much carbonation, a sharp tartness.

D: Very good.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375 ml bottle into a snifter

A- One finger beige head, slight carbonation, dark reddish brown color, lots of sediment on the bottom, very nice lacing.
S- The aroma is fantastic, cherries upfront, hints of oak, musty barnyard funk, vinegar.
T- The taste lacked something that the aroma brought out, the cherry flavor is there as well as vinegar and sour funkiness, slight taste of oak as well, but I was not as impressed with the overall taste, it lacked that punch I got in the aroma.
M- Medium mouth feel, slight carbonation, dry
O- This is a solid sour beer, from the first initial smell of this beer I was expecting something fantastic but was a little let down with the taste, still enjoyed drinking this beer and would definitely drink again.

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Photo of matttttYCE
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Russian River stemmed glass. The color of this brew is a deep, dark ruby-brown with hints of purple. The head is almost a finger high, vanilla colored, bubbly, and fades rather quickly leaving just a faint dusting in places and a ring around the glass.

The aroma is very sharp and vinegary, sweet tart, very sour cherry, raspberry, maybe some blackberry, and some funk and oak notes. Aroma is pretty nice.

Taste is certainly as the aroma alludes to. Strong sour, tart, sweet cherry taste like I just popped a Warhead in my mouth. A bit of sour apple taste as well. Also there is vinegar or red wine vinegar (better yet apple cider vinegar), acidic notes, a bit of funk, and light notes of oak.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side. The consistency is smooth and dry, the carbonation is round, the body is light-medium, and the finish is pretty lasting and dry, like that Warhead sour/tart flavor stays.

Overall this is a pretty good beer. Flanders Reds are not exactly something I drink very often, but I do enjoy them from time to time and this is one that I would definitely have again.

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Photo of SalMineo
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Warning: Please make sure to open this delicious treat over the sink to avoid making a mess all over the place. This beverage is extremely carbonated and will foam over all the place like Veuve Clique bottle after it's been shaken in a paint shaker for 15 minutes.

Pour- Has a murky beet red color tint to it. It had great aggressive head upon first that quickly disappears.

Smell-The aroma of this beer is absolutely incredible. Definitely get the smell of oak and a big funky smell with a cranberry/cherry style to it.

Taste-Tart cherries is the first thing that comes to my mind as I drink it. I then receive that love sour flavor I've dying to have. Sour Cherry just overwhelms the rest of my taste buds with a strong presence of acid in there.

Great beer but it's a huge price. $20.00 for a 375! I made the decision to purchase it because it was the last one on the shelf and I knew it was kinda of rare. It was one of those things I would only do once because I certainly not spend another $20 for a bottle like this. The price is just way too steep.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage. Pours a hazy orange tinted cider color with negligible head nor Belgian lacing. I would have scored it lower if not for the foggy residue swirling about that caught my attention. The smell is full on aggressive malt vinegar (where's my Arthur Treachers?) over sour cherries and dark grapes. The flavor and feel merge into an immediate bright tart burst that's notches shy of 'puckering'. Taste is a good mix of grape and cherries. The texture is light body cleans up quickly...almost dry, but the fruitiness lingers nicely. It's not flat, but the carbonation is hidden beneath the zip from the sour character. A reasonable drinker. Really glad that i had the opportunity to consider it...many thanks to bmanning.

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Photo of bum732
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

S: Some dark cherries, medium strength, some cola flavors. Prominent oak with additional cork, tartness with a bit of funk, some sweet cherry candy.

L: Very dark cloudy brown, tan carbonated head that dissipates to 1/8 inch of foam.

T: Tart cherry malt up front with a puckering lemon like bitterness. Some dark cola-like malt, faint up front. Finishes quite dry and acidic. More cherries with some oak in the finish.

M: Crisp high carbonation, medium bodied.

Pretty good, lacks the punch and flavor of other traditional Flanders Reds.

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Photo of brdc
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to nflmvp for this one. Small corked bottle, poured into a Rodenbach Grand Cru tulip.

Very dark cherry to almost burgundy in color, with a light brown head that shows very good retention and lacing.
Very rich artoma comes in waves out of the glass, sour, almost vinegary, tart and fruity, and as it warms up, oak and more oak.
Very dry, medium bodied, it is mostly acidic and sour, with little to no sweet notes. Very good, but at times the wood notes become a little too much. Drinkability is quite low for the style, but still pleasant and flavorful for such a low ABV beer.

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Photo of jlb502
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a goblet of this on tap for $5 and at that price point I thought it was very good. If I were judging it as a $15+ 350ml, I can guarantee that the review would read differently. By differently I mean it wouldn't exist because I wouldn't buy it.

As Flemish Reds go, this is more sour and less sweet. The aroma is cherry juice, wood and a little vanilla. I suppose there's some Balsamic as well.

The taste definitely follows the nose: Sour cherry juice, some more wood and vanilla. Normally I'd probably combine wood and vanilla into oak but here I think the flavors stand apart. There's a little chalk, or maybe just a flattening of the flavor, which eventually gives way to a light but lingering sweetness.

Overall I appreciate that Red Poppy is not as sweet, syrupy and acetic as a Rodenbach but there's a part of me that doesn't fully grasp Lost Abbey's approach here. It seems like some sort of weird middle ground between Flanders Red and American Wild. They've eschewed convention by making it more sour, so why not eschew convention some more and make it the best beer it can be? I guess that's what they did with Double Cherry Red Poppy.

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Photo of Grabbin2nd
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Notes: 3/31/09
The Lost Abbey
Red Poppy 2009
Flanders Oud Bruin
5% Abv.
12.7oz. Bottle caged and corked into Allagash Snifter

Appearance= Zero carbonation (out of a Lost Abbey beer, what a shock). Zero Head. A thin white rim around the beer, if you call that head. I would say the head that this beer delivers is almost weaker than what my first girlfriend gave. Blackish beer with red hues. Opaque body 4 sho.

Smell= Smells like red wine. Cherries, a little funk to it. I like it, it's different.

Taste= Sour! Cherries, red fruits. I enjoy the sourness/tartness. It is a beer/red wine hybrid. The taste mellows out as I continue to drink it and my taster gets use to it.

Mouthfeel= Thin, just like the beer looks. Finish is good though. The taste lingers on the sides of the tongue.

Drinkability= I probably wouldn't have more than two at one sitting. I can't put it down long enough to warm up though! The smell, the appearance and taste tells me, red wine. The finish on the palate tells me, beer. Very interesting. Glad I got to try this beer.

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Photo of mactrail
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
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 Teleweizen2
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a murky mix of burgundy and mahogany. A thick wall of tan foam rises. Decent retention but eventually subsides to a fairly thick ring around the rim. Leaves some spotty lacing.

S - a complex yet nuanced nose. Notes of leather jump out first followed by malt vinegar and cherries and possibly oranges. Strong presence of wood along with hints of funky brett.

T - flavors of brow bread and hints of sweet toffee hit the tongue first but are quickly washed away by assertive flavors of tart fruit and malt vinegar. More malty character on the backend which slides into a slightly sour finish.

M - lighter side of medium bodied. Slick slightly watery mouthfeel. Surprisingly medium carbonation.

O - a well balanced and executed wild ale. While i wasnt crazy about the mouthfeel the aroma and flavors are very nice.

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Photo of shrek806
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Stupac2 for this one.

Poured from a 375ml cork and caged bottle into a pair of mini Duvel snifters.

The pour is a medium brown with minimal red/brown head and no visible lacing. Not alot going on here.

The smell is "Funkeeee". I smell a hint of cheese with maybe some berries, maybe raspberry.

The taste is super-tart and a little sugary. I can not place the sweetness. I am thinking maybe raisins that I am tasting. Although the smell was funky, the taste is much more complicated.

The mouthfeel is quite flat. There is some bubble action going on, but not alot. It starts out quite tart and pucker-esque, but finishes with the taste of yellow raisins, with a hint of unripe blueberries.

The overall drinkability for me is about a 3.5. It is a little to tart and I am not a huge fan of the raisin taste.

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Photo of beerpirates
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375mL bottle poured into my lost abbey stemware glass

pours dark reddish brown with a medium beige head.
Aroma screams cherries, sourness and a prominent oak quality that lingers.
Flavour initially brings out the cherries with a touch of sweetness, but this is very quickly overcome by an intensely sour / tart follow-up, augmented with the oak barrel quality that seems to only intensify this puckering sourness. Definite red wine quality as well. This is one of my favourite style's , but this ale is more between rosso & marrone and a cantillon kriek , just to sour for the style! though I recognize the high quality in this ale.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed out of a 12.7 oz brown bottle with cork and cage that has the contours of a miniature 750 mL wine bottle. No bottle dating anywhere to be found, but the label looks crisp and new, so I'm guessing my bottle of this winter seasonal is from the most recent winter (2013-14).

Appearance - Pours a murky burgundy-maroon body that lets very little light through. It seems like there is a fair amount of particulate suspended in the liquid as well--perhaps due to a careless pour on my part. Atop the body sits a tan colored head about a finger and a half thick with a mix of large and smaller bubbles making for a pocked surface. Eventually it settles to about a half finger of perma-foam that leaves almost no lacing on the side of the glass as I drink it down.

Smell - Definite vinous qualities abound, with notes of sour cherry and more generic fruit acidity, red wine vinegar and musty wood aromas. Some underlying funkiness adds depth to the smell, preventing it from becoming a sour bomb.

Taste - Unfortunately, the flavor is not quite as rich and complex as the nose suggested it would be. The dominant characteristics are the sour cherry fruitiness with some sweet n' sour notes alongside a brisk vinegar astringency on the palate. The oaky elements and musty funk are not quite as forward as I would have hoped. All the same, this is an incredibly tasty beer and I love the drying finish that leaves me seeking the next swig sooner than later.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied and high carbonation, with a prickly, actively carbonated feel to the tongue. As previously noted, the finish is quite dry, defiant to the sweet fruit that is used to make this beer tick.

Overall, a more than competent offering on the Flanders Red Ale style, and one that I would gladly buy again were there not a similar option that I prefer slightly that is more readily available and comes in a 750 mL bottle instead of a 375 mL and for only a couple dollars more. Still, one that any fan of the vast tradition of sour-tasting beers from Belgium should try at least once.

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Photo of CurtisLoew
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at 99 bottles in Seattle. Drank in my hotel room out of the hotel bathroom glass (Oh the horror!)

My first lost abbey beer so i was pretty excited. I spent way too much for the bottle.

Pours dark red, light brown. Nice head/carbonation

Nice smell of cherries/vinegar/sour

taste sourness cherries vinegar oak. Pretty much like the smell. Good stuff.

Mouthfeel: good? Not really sure how to grade mouthfeel with this style.

Overall: Good beer. Not worth the price I paid for it, but I'm glad I tried it. I prefer the RR sours by a mile, they are world class.

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Photo of doppelme
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky reddish/light brown color with a bubbly white head, leaving behind little lacing. It smells very much like sour cherries. It also has a bit of a lemony zest to it as well. It tastes very much like the nose would suggest. Very tart, makes you pucker at first, but not overly tart that it can't be handled. Very good beer to drink and one you can drink a lot of with a 5.5%abv if you can drink a lot of sour beers. Overall a beer I wish I could have much more of.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5


A big thanks to forgetfu for this bad boy! 375mL brown glass high-shouldered cork & cage bottle. 2011 hand-written on the back.

Cork is hard to remove, really stuck in there. Big pop! Pours a super dark brown, fairly murky looking but not dull. 3/4 inch of khaki-colored head.

Nose is all about "cherry leather." Think real cherry fruit chews, or cherry skins. Some tanned hide, stewed berries, dried blueberries and tree bark.

Palate is super sour and crisp. All about black cherry skins, lime essence, stone fruit pits, sour peach. Reminds me a lot of Sour Warheads. Earthy barnyard funk starts to come out more as it warms up. Rawhide notes and bitter orange rind too.

Notes: A tasty brew, but not quite as exciting as I was hoping. I think it leans a little too dark cherry for me. Would prefer a brighter, "red-er" cherry flavor. And I know you shouldn't judge a beer by the name, but "Red Poppy" makes me think it will be lighter and more floral than it is...just sayin'.

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Photo of jsanford
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into a Tulip Glass. 2011 vintage. Big Flanders Oud Bruin fan, been looking forward to this for some time.

A - Pours a muddy mahogany with a 2-inch head of off-white foam that recedes quickly (and loudly, lotsa fizzing) to a slight haze and thin ring.
S - Man, I can smell this from across the room! The sour cherries dominate, with a healthy dose of red wine vinegar for the acidity. Definitely the most cherry-forward Oud Bruin I've had, but leather, tobacco, and a good amount of oak make themselves known as well. Smells wonderful!
T - Flavor is a bit subdued, really disappointing after such an amazing nose. More tart cherry, with flavors of brown sugar, vinegar, tobacco, and high quantities of oak. Taste is a bit muddy, not as clean and sharp as I'd like, and I feel the oak presence is a bit much. Damn, I wanted to love this!
M - Light-bodied with very sharp, high carbonation. Finding this to be a bit over-carbonated, too sharp for my liking, it kinda kills the flavor a bit.
O - I enjoyed this, but was hoping for much more. Initially I thought it would be a challenge to Oude Tart, but doesn't come anywhere close. Still, it scratched my Oud Bruin itch nicely!

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Photo of GbVDave
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged 12.7oz bottle into a white wine glass. Special thanks to Tom for the hook-up!

A: Tiny pop when I pulled the cork. Barely any pressure behind it. Pours a murky dark carmel brown with a thin layer of off-white foam on top. The head quickly disappears and leaves a pretty lifeless looking beer.

S: Vinegar, sodden oak, and tart cherries. Quite fragrant.

T: See above with a slight (and welcome) sweet caramel flavor. Tart green apple and more oak than in the nose.

M: Tart, tangy, and quite acidic. Pretty darn astringent.

D: Dry, acidic, and actually quite refreshing. Gonna need a drink of water after this one.

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Photo of jimixr
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml corked and caged bottle from the 2011 release. Drank from a Bells tulip.

A- Pours out a hazy looking reddish brown colored body with a full two fingers of fluffy light tan head.The head falls very quickly and leaves virtually nothing in the way of lacing.

S- Cherries are the dominant feature here. There is a fair amount of funk in the nose and a hint of barrel. A very nice aroma.

T- The cherries are again a dominant factor, but they seem to stay more subtle than the nose would indicate. Some acidic sourness. Funk and oak barrel are also there,

M- light bodied and medium carbonated. dry finish.

O- This is a very flavorful beer. Its a little to pricey for me, but I really enjoyed this one. I still have one more, but I will be holding it back for a while.

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Photo of Trilogy31
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a opaque light cola brown with an old gold coloration at the rim. Lightly carbonated though the bottle was a bit of a gusher. Nose has a heavy scent of red wine vinegar, tart cherry, a touch of vanilla as well as a healthy dose of barnyard funk. The taste is very clean if a bit one dimensional. The funk is gone and replaced by bright tart acidity, vinegar and a small whiff of cherry. Very drinkable and refreshing, could see it pairing well with a nice cheese plate.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

12.7 oz.
2009 Edition

Poured into a tulip a brownish color, not much carbonation at all, tiny fizzy off-white head, if any, basically not much sticky lacing. The nose is malty, soury, cherries, slight spice. The taste is malty, pretty soury, cherries, and some spice. Medium body. Drinkable, even though not much carbonation, it still is tasty, thanks Bill.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting.

2011 vintage.

Pours a clear brown-orange with a khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sour cherry, vinegar, and funk. Taste is the same with a mineral flavor on the finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some nice aromas and flavors.

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Red Poppy Ale from The Lost Abbey
4.24 out of 5 based on 1,931 ratings.
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