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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 rodbeermunch
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
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 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 HuskyinPDX
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 12.4.13
2012 Vintage

A - Pours a dark ruby red-brown with a fizzy tan head that lingers a bit.

S - Tart and acidic, cherry in the end.

T - Tart and oaky, very little cherry in the finish.

D - Good carbonation with a medium body.

O - Tart and oaky with not much of the cherry showing.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown pour, not as sexy as Supplication. . . more brown, didn't have enough of the cherry edge to it, some head and/or lacing with good carbonation. Aroma is wood and fruit, cherry underplayed still.

Cherry comes out moreso on the palate, good sour qualities, almost nothing is sweet about the beer. Oak. Definite brown ale base beer flavor exists and is not overshadowed by the sour and cherry flavors. Harmony. Would actually prefer more cherry and tart flavors v. the brown ale and wood flavor, but its not a liability by any means. Damn this is dry.

What's the deal with the pricing on these? More than $1 an oz? Supplication is better and cheaper, so I can't really recommend this too strongly, worth checking out and special occasions, but damn its pricey.

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Photo of Bung
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml. 2011. Surprisingly dark brown pour, quite a bit of carbonation throughout. 2 fingers easy of light tan foam which retained very well.

Aroma, Cider vinegar, some cherry, some funk, very light brown sugar.

A puckering sour cherry/lemon upon entry. More yeast and earthy notes after. Cider vinegar, a slight woodiness. Doesn't finish as moisture suckingly dry as some.

Good carbonation, not so much that it's like needles poking the tongue. Lighter bodied, a sipper from the sour, certainly not the abv. Fairly refreshing.

I think this is what one of these is supposed to taste like. Now if they could just impart this magical carbonation into other brews.

Enjoyed this more than the Jacobins Rouge. It's a fine line for me I guess with the implementation of the sour.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.74/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 375ml bottle into my Rodenbach Grand Cru class. 2010 version.

The beer pours a medium brown with a light tan head. It rises about a finger, decent retention and lacing.

The aroma is strong but only really shows off one smell. You get mostly all sourness with a very light hint of vinegar at the end.

The taste is ok nothing special. It starts off pretty sours then gives off a oak and vinegar finish. I don't taste any cherries.

The feel is ok, warm to the touch, with a slight dry finish.

Overall, this is ok, nothin spcial for an oud bruin, decent American effort.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Soonami for hitting this want. 375ml corked and caged bottle served in my Allagash tulip at 48 degrees. I believe this is last year's vintage (2010?). Pours a brownish hue with reddish highlights; clarity is semi-translucent. Head is loose, one inch and tan-colored and eventually settles into a consistent 1/8th inch skim. I love the nose on this beer - tart cherries, vinegar, cork and a faint briny character. Taste is somewhat consistent with nose; however, the sour cherries have definitely faded, but there is still quite a bit of residual tartness and acidity as well as the merest suggestion of the barrel. Mouthfeel is light-medium (but closer to light). The carbonation is very assertive and a bit prickly; however, not gassy. The carbonation, coupled with the acidity, leaves quite a bit of residual tingle along the sides of the cheeks and across the tongue. Finish is actually quite dry. Overall, I have to say that I prefer this beer fresh as you definitely loose the tart cherry in the flavor profile. That said, this is a very good beer and for someone who really digs the sour component; it will definitely improve with some age.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle, 12.7oz, corked & caged. The beer is clear, dark rusty colored, with no head at all. As I drank it I noticed the carbonation was really light too, not sure if the carbonation fell off with 1 year of age.

The beer smells just about perfect, so strong and funky. Both tart cherries and barnyard wild notes, but mainly the sour seems to come from the cherries. Only a hint of vinegar, so much better than other oud bruins I've had in terms of that. And it only gets better when I taste it. Very fruity and sour, basically fermented cherry juice with some brett. If I'd tried this 2-3 years ago I might have objected to the pucker-inducing sourness but now I've come to crave this attribute. This is bracing and pungent, massive in aroma and flavor.

The real downside for me is the low carbonation. Lost Abbey's struggles with carbonation have been well documented in their strong beers, but their sour beers have usually been fine. In this case I'm guessing it's the age, and it really doesn't hurt the drinking experience all that much. The light body seems to suit the style, very drinkable. This will be on my eternal wants list, and I'll actively trade for it each year it's released.

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Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Gabe at Beachwood BBQ for breaking this one out.

Pours a clear red/brown color with ruby highlights and a thin off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of tart cherries with good amounts of oak and funk. As it warms the tartness becomes even more pronounced.

Tastes great. Tart cherries flavors up front turn into very tart cherry flavors midway through the sip. Also present is a good amount of oak and a lot of dryness. This beer is on the threshold of being too much but as it stands it's perfect.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I could sip on these for a long time.

Overall this was a very good representation of the style and one I'm happy to have tried.

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Photo of maximum12
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ATLCarl for this mini-bottle that was double parked on my wants list for a looong time. Sippy-cup size 375ML bottle, split with my wife.

First there's the matter of the cork, which yielded only after it was tortured with a pliers. The pop is convincing. Pour is ruby red held up to the light, much more than it is any kind of brown. Nose is a slash of sour red fruits, red vinegar, sour but not biting. Almost like a toned-down wine. Like.

Red Poppy marches down the vinous path. The cherries are closer to tart than sour, which is good by me. Oak dries this down to the bone, red wine vinegar. But really the DNA on this is simple: sour cherries. Nice to drink down, this ought to come in bigger bottles. Fo sho.

Lovely sour that's just my speed. Very good beer that's damn close to excellent. My wife has proclaimed it her favorite sour ever...which is saying something.

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Photo of Rutager
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

And why wouldn't I be drinking a $17 beer???

Appearance. Pours a really deep, but pretty clear amber-red with two+ fingers of thick, plae orange-tan head that lasts a while. Looks nice and expensive.

Smell. Funky and woody wine, some nice cherry and light fruits. The smell has an expensive quality.

Taste. Nice tart cherries, some sour grapes and green apples, woody, especially in the finish. Acidic with just a little sweetness. Tastes super expensive.

Mouthfeel. Below medium body and below medium, but fine and lively carbonation. Felt a bit thin, but quite expensive.

Overall. I liked it. For some reason I had really high expectations for this one. I'd say the best thing about this beer is the value for my hard earned money.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 375mL bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice. Vintage 2012B. Approximately four months old.

A: Fizzy-brief tan head. The beer is mahogany and translucent.

S: Gentle scents. Wood ageing is not lost on the nose. Lightly tart, vinegar-sour, and pleasantly fruity-sweet.

T: Oh damn. This is good. This is great. This is delicious. Complex and multi-layered. There are three waves of flavour...the first is tart and puckery, heavy on fruit; the second is mature vinegar sharpness, reminiscent of a nice balsamic, carrying the oak barrel influence; the third is a lingering and enduring acidity that is my least favourite, if only because it reminds me distinctly of olives. Lightly dry and always engaging.

M: Lively, tart, puckery, smooth, sharp, and dry. All told, a wild ride.

O: I'm not huge on sour ales, but this one is excellent. The sour cherry gives the first half of the flavour an addicting taste that leaves me wanting more. The latter half of the flavour tempers this, with a more moderate, developed flavour profile. Recommended. Would have again.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap, brouwers

One of those beers whose price tag is so restrictive - excited to try on tap, which was actually MUCH cheaper on a $ per ounce basis

appearance: served in an unbranded 12oz snifter, rich garnet body, relatively lifeless beige bubbles

smell: big rich nose - oak, cedar, cherry, balsamic, vanilla

taste: really decadent stuff - huge woody notes, cherry, balsamic, vanilla, dark chocolate...not so funky, but a great amount of depth and twangy flavours to explore

mouthfeel: a little big for the style, but still smooth and decadent. carbonation not flat, but low

overall: solid stuff - really enjoyed

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.7 oz cork and caged bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip.
5% ABV, 2011

Thanks to Sweemzander for sharing this one for another one of our Tickerazzi events!

A - Hazy dark brown with a quickly fading light tan head. Patchy lace clings to the glass.

S - Awesome bruin aroma of mild vinegar and brown malt. Wood, oak barrel is hinted at with a pinch of sweetness. A swirl brings out some faint wild yeast funk.

T - Spiciness and cherry overshadows the rest of the beer a but too much but nice vinegar sourness comes through the finish with a wild yeast complexity on the back end.

M - Highly carbonated and medium-bodied, Red Poppy is mildly tart with a faint vinegar sour finish.

O - For $16? Are they nuts? While it's a good beer, it's certainly not worth that in the least. Decent and drinkable but hardly worth getting again, for me anyway.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.52/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle of what looks to be the 2010 edition since it is the new style of bottle that LA and RR have been using. Thanks to mattolesh for hooking this up. It gushed a bit upon opening and had a super huge head. I have to ding the appearance because I got a ton of sediment all throughout this beer that was kind of chunky. The smell was sour cherry-like, not bad at all. The taste had some muted cherry qualities, dirty, funkiness a bit, and a good sour twang. This was not bad at all but compared to some of the other LA sours I was a little disappointed.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at monks in philly

Pours a somewhat murky deep browned color with some reddish hues attempting to poke through. A thick, slightly rusty head retains for a bit with some webs of lacing.

Plenty of cherries with sourness throughout the nose, heavier earthy notes with oak and some acid. Some dark fruit sweetness and funk as well.

Very cherry forward with a decent amount of sourness delivered by the fruit. Some dark fruits with raisin tones and caramel sweetness throughout the malt bill. Not quite as full flavored and sour as I originally thought it would be, but still pretty tasty. Finishes dry with another gasp of cherry and oak.

Medium thinner body, somewhat watery but really high carbonation. This keg was definitely overgassed, as it took the bartenders about 7 minutes to pour a glass. I'd like to give this a try out of a bottle so I can re-review it.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.33/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Kevin for sharing this one! 2009 Bottle.

A-pours an extremely cloudy lighter brown color with strong red hues shined next to light. The head is rather thick and off white to light tan.

S-the nose has notes of balsamic up front, hints of green olives behind, there is a fair bit of dry oak giving way to a light touch of brett, light acidity and bits of sour cherries.

T-the taste has a stronger acidity and more balsamic, the oak is stronger and more present as the brett works in with the sour cherries. There is some acetic acid towards the back that detracts from the brightness of the cherries.

M-lighter to medium body, slightly grainy on the palate and rather juicy throughout. the finish is slightly undercarbonated and a little flabby also lacking the driness you would like to see with all the acidity.

D-this has some issues, the cherries are overshadowed by oak and acidity, notes of acetic acid in the finish and some random brett notes make this an overly sour slightly muddled beer.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, nearly opaque chocolate brown with a VERY thick tan head. The sample I got fizzed like crazy, so beware when you first pour it! Aroma is strongly oaky with malty and fruity hints and more than a bit of sweetness. Flavor has a strong oaky alcohol bite and some fruity and malty cherry tones - definitely a hint of cherry in there. Texture is fierce, attacking the tongue like a pit bull - this beer is not for the faint of heart or taste buds. This beer is intended to be sipped slowly and savored, like brandy.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle from tread with Homer321. Thanks buddy! Bottle No. 2 of my Last Night of My 20s tasting. Pours dark reddish brown slightly murky, with a big airy khaki head on top. Aroma of lots of cherries, sour vinegar, oak, some toffee. Flavor is sour cherries, acidic tones, vinegar, and an unexpected wave of chocolatey flavors and vanilla oak tannins. Earthy spicy undertones. Interesting. Medium bodied, feeling a bit heft for only 5%, with lots of carbonation. Very interesting brew, and pretty unique.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks out to cmurren25 for this wonderful brew. Pours a hazed and sedimentated amber color. Foam is nice for a sour and lacing is even better. Pretty looking bruin.

Nose is light vinegar and sour cherries. A little bit of wood and vanilla. Even some smoke comes in at the end. Nice and complex, puckers up quick and then dies off.

Plenty tart but not super sour, seems like barrel aging at its finest! Balances the sour, wood and fruity tartness perfectly. Little bit of brettomyces comes through...WOW, this is incredible. I knew I shouldnt have shared this! I could drink one of these every day till the day I died, easily one of the top 5 beers I have ever had. In fact, I feel my review suffers because I didnt even want to put my glass down to write anything while enjoying the experience.

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Photo of warnerry
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottling

A - Nice pop as the cork comes out. Pours very deep red/brown with almost four fingers of tan head with a slight pink hue. Head has very good retention and leaves some nice lacing. I am surprised how dark this is.

S - Tart cherries, a nice amount of oak, and a good funky base. Small amount of balsamic vinegar.

T - Definitely tart, but not bracingly sour. Also quite a bit of bitterness in the taste, especially on the finish. Earthy and funky with tart cherries. Lots of oak on the finish. Very tasty. Thought it would have more fruit since it is this year's vintage, but I enjoyed it as is.

M - Medium mouthfeel, maybe a bit on the heavy side for the style, but I that isn't a negative.

O - Nice one from Lost Abbey, but not quite up to Rodenbach Grand Cru or Cuvee de Jacobins for the style. Looking forward to seeing what some age does this to this.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one during the 'We Want The Funk!' tasting that was graciously hosted by beermeX2! Big thanks goes out to beermeX2 for sharing this one with the group! 2011 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured red-brown with a half finger cream colored head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, sour, tart, wood, and cherry. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, tart, wood, cherry, and raspberry. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The wood characteristic of this one really added to the overall enjoyability (is that even a word???) of the beer. The sour/tart notes were spot on and not too harsh allowing the cherry and raspberry to shine through as well. Just a well put together brew that I enjoyed quite much.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

350ml bottle into Delirium Tremens glass. 2010 vintage. Big thanks to sleepyhead for sending me up this one.

A: Pour a very dark clear dirty-brown cherry color with a finger of light brown head that quickly receded into a faint scum and collar. Some wispy lacing.
S: Musty notes of oak and dark tart cherries. Faint hints of other sweet berries and aged malt.
T: Rich flavors of cherry pits, prunes and old bark. I'm actually getting a lot of prunes on the palate with notes of lemon rind in the finish. Aftertaste is musty with notes malt from the brown ale. Tart fruits are very well integrated, and the base brown ale for this beer is not overshadowed.
M: Medium-full body with delicate carbonation that foams up on the palate a little bit. Bitterness is medium and well integrated. Finish is dry, but not a desert. There are hardly any chalky tannins.
D: Definitely the best LA beer I've had to date, although I haven't had lot of their rarer ones. Very easy to drink and fairly refreshing. I hope I can get some more of this stuff! Thanks again Jeff for this one!

EDIT: 2011 bottle consumed Feb 2013:
Great long-lasted head this time. Dryer and more tart with the age, reminiscent of cranberry juice. Puckering and more tannic than when fresh. Definitely an improvement with some age.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Medium brown color with a hint of rusty red and some reddish on the edges. Small, off white head that left behind some alright lacing.

S - Not overly complex, but pretty potent. Huge vinegar influence on this, and nicely sour.

T - Sour, a bit of a cherry taste, big oak and vinegar influence. It's not bad, but I was expecting something with more complexity, and possibly with some more fruit in it.

M - Just a touch too heavy for this style for me, might be due to the carbonation, would like something that seems more effervesant.

D - Not super hard to drink, but between the weight and the not-sweet-sour it's one that is easy to put down.

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Photo of n2185
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a brownish-red with a finger of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of tart and sour fruit up front followed by funky farmhouse aromas. There are sweet candy sugar notes as well.

T: lots of sour and tart flavors here with fruity and funky notes dominating. The finish is tart and slightly sweet.

M: light body with mid-high carbonation, this beer is light and dry.

O: a good beer overall. Not extremely complex, but enjoyable and thankfully carbonated.

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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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